Rectory Gardens Video Archive Morning with Spectacle Media

Battersea-based community interest company Spectacle Media are welcoming people to delve into their extensive archive of video footage of Rectory Gardens and its history.

Rectory Gardens is a street of houses in Clapham’s Old Town, less than a mile from Studio Voltaire, that was severely damaged by bombing during WWII. In the late 60s, a group of squatters moved into the street and slowly renovated the houses. From the 70s to the eviction in 2014, the street played host to an industrious community of artists, musicians, poets and unconventional ‘free thinkers’.

Spectacle has an extensive digital video archive with thousands of hours of video from 1979-present. Themes include: urbanism, human rights, social justice, utopianism, alternative media, top-down vs. bottom-up regeneration, housing and more. Over the next six months, Spectacle Media will host a series of free online participatory film editing and oral history workshops using their archival recordings with participants during the final months of their squat-turned-housing-cooperative, the eviction and beyond.

You will have the opportunity to learn more about the project, how you can get involved in upcoming participatory video editing and oral history workshops and watch footage which charts the changes in the area over the last thirty years.

This event celebrates the launch of our new programme Unearthed: Collective Histories – a new twelve-month programme of commissions, workshops and events uncovering the overlooked and 20th Century histories of Studio Voltaire’s locality. In this first phase of the project, we are working with Lambeth-based archives, schools, artists, and residents to investigate two local landmarks linked by a shared history of WWII bomb damage: Rectory Gardens and Clapham South Shelter. The programme will see the creation of a learning programme, a public programme of events, and a project curated by a new resident-led research group, ‘Unearthed Collective’ as part of Lambeth Heritage Festival 2023.

About Spectacle Media CIC

Growing out of Spectacle’s decades of pioneering participatory video practice, Spectacle Media is a non-profit Community Interest Company specifically championing community uses of digital media. Spectacle Media uses new technologies to empower groups and individuals through learning video-making skills, working collaboratively on community-led media production and engaging with online participatory filmmaking and editing.

Spectacle Media also has access to Spectacle’s production equipment and thousands of hours of Spectacle’s unique video archive on themes including urbanism, human rights, social justice, utopianism, alternative media, top-down vs. bottom-up regeneration, housing and more. Spectacle Media aims to develop projects to open and explore the video archive with communities interested in its content.


Studio Voltaire has step–free access throughout our gallery, participation and events spaces, cafe, shop and garden. Accessible toilets and baby change facilities are available on the ground and first floor. All our toilets are self-enclosed and all-gender.

Read access information here

If you have any questions or need assistance with your visit please contact us on +(0)207 622 1294 or email

Image Credit

Rectory Gardens, c. 1980. Courtesy Spectacle Media.