Lewisham residents call to save Windrush icon’s crumbling home

The former home of a Windrush icon is falling into disrepair just seven years after his death.  

Brenton Pink, fondly remembered as ‘Mr Pink’, lived in the colourful Lewisham house from 1967 until his death in 2017, aged 92.

A meeting to discuss the property took place between The Victorian Society and Lewisham council on Thursday as part of early efforts to save the site. 

MR PINK’S HOME TODAY: ‘Nothing £2 mil and a lick of paint won’t fix’ is etched onto its side

Pink arrived in England from Jamaica in 1957 as part of the Windrush generation and worked as a refuse collector for Lewisham council for 23 years.

The home is memorialised in a 1997 film by award-winning director and former BBC Commissioning Executive Helena Appio who produced an Arts Council documentary about Pink’s house and history. 

CHILL: Pink relaxing on his vibrant front porch

Appio said: “The house really was as it appeared in the film. Mr Pink was very poetic, and seemingly very happy. His life had been very tough, but he wasn’t bitter.” 

The house was popular among residents who often saw Pink working and singing in his garden.

In the film Pink said: “I had a dream that I must get this house, and when I get it I must keep the original colour.

“Then I will add my own, my additions make a difference, brighten it up. I’ve created part of Jamaica here.”

Appio shared the video on Facebook after hearing of Pink’s death and it has since been viewed 44,000 times and shared almost 10,000 times.

Thousands of people have left comments sharing memories of him and his distinctive home and calling for the building’s preservation.

Marc Gooderham's painting of Pink's house
INK FOR PINK: The house continues to inspire artists across south London

Marc Gooderham, a Lewisham artist, painted Pink’s home in 2020. “I’d admired it for such a long time and so many people expressed feelings for it.

“His character was in that house, he made it a work of art,” Gooderham said.  

The home was originally called Beaufort Lodge and was designed by architect Alfred Cross in 1850.

Cross also designed the nearby Somerset Gardens, which are listed as buildings of historical significance.

Joe O’Donnell, director of The Victorian Society, said the charity has made a request to Lewisham council to submit a new listing application.

He said: “We will stress the building’s group value with the listed buildings in Somerset Gardens, its architectural value, and the historical and cultural significance of its former residents including Mr Pink.”

PRIME PORTRAIT: Appio’s film captures Mr Pink’s home in its prime

Featured image credit: Google street view, Image credits: Helena Appio, Marc Gooderham

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