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On March 14 1986, a plaque and photograph of Olive Morris was unveiled by her mother Ms Doris Morris to commemorate the naming of Lambeth Council’s building at 18 Brixton Hill as Olive Morris House.
The naming of the building was proposed at a time where the Council was run by a progressive group of politicians, who in response to community campaigning, renamed several buildings, streets and public places after Black leaders. In addition to Olive Morris House, in this period also Marcus Garvey Way and Bob Marley Way (SE24) were named. Apparently there is also a small public space in Lambeth named after Olive, but it is not listed in London AZ.
In the programme of the naming ceremony Ms Doris Morris is mentioned, but we also know that Beverley Bryan addressed the ceremony guests, from a picture published in The Windrush Legacy, despite her not being named in the programme.
The programme for the evening included music, poetry, presentation of a bouquet and refreshments.
At the time of writing this, Olive Morris is undergoing extensive refurbishment. The ground floor, that used to operate the Lambeth Housing Services public desks, has been turned into an corporate-looking open plan “one-stop shop” for all types of Council Services. It is also been re-branded as Lambeth Customer Services Centre, and decorated with design furniture and large colour photographs of people dancing and doing sports.
The side entrance where Olive Morris picture and photograph were located is being now refurbished, so perhaps it is a good moment to find out what are the Council plans for relocating it. You could help by contacting Lambeth’s Facilities Manager and requesting that the picture and plaque are reinstated and given a prominent place where customers and staff are able to see it clearly.
Louise Polton – Facilities Manager
tel: 0207 926 3500
Lambeth Town Hall
London SW2 1RW
Liz Obi observed that the new Customer Service Centre dos not have a children play area, despite being a large space with over 30 counters, where many women with small children have to wait long times. Perhaps it could be suggested to the Council to create a play area and dedicate it to Olive Morris, in memory of her constant fight on behalf of women’s equality. If you would like to help with this, please get in touch.