Liz Davis, Buffy to her friends and neighbours, lives in Bayer House with Fred. Back in her youth a teacher at a drawing class encouraged her to go to art college, pointing out to the uncertain Buffy that her grant would be equivalent to what she currently earned at the book shop (how times change...).
Good move - Buffy has been a professional artist since her early forties, our disappearing worlds being a strong theme running through her work (buildings, wildlife). Her latest exhibition, Wild City, a collaboration with the natural History Museum, is at the Town House Gallery.
We moved here about 20 years ago. We came to Golden Lane because Fred teaches architecture and he’d used it as a project and knew it well.
Where were you before?
In Vauxhall in a ginormous Victorian council flat so a bit of a change. Our Bayer House maisonette is the same size as one of the corners in our old flat.
Just a forest of trees, birds, the clematis is just coming out, there’s a pear tree, honeysuckle. We have a lovely beech tree which is home to goldfinches, blue tits, sparrows, pigeons, a blackbird…
What do you like about living on the estate?
I like the fact it’s such a friendly community. The maisonette is so small we spend all summer with the door open - and so does everyone else. There’s an inside and outside world which means you get to know your neighbours. There’s such a generous landscape – we need it.
What changes have you seen or expect to see?
Much much greener – when I first came it was just concrete, very stylish and very smart and architectural and I can understand why purists would want it to stay that way. But that was when we were surrounded by a lot of bombsites and undeveloped land and there was lots of wild life. Now we are more hemmed in by buildings so it’s important now for our estate to be greener. There are so many more birds now and more nature.
What is your favourite building on the estate?
Goodness, that’s really hard to say. I think I’d have to say Great Arthur House just knocks me out every time I walk up to it because of the roof, that overhang. I like the views across it especially when you come on to the estate from Hatfield House and you see it in relation to the whole estate. The colours, the swimming pool, it’s so beautiful and fantastically composed.
I like the Rotunda, it looks like a little bastion, a piece of the old world. It’s just a luxury really – just there to be beautiful.
How important is it to know your neighbours?
Very important. People are generally happy living here. You end up having lovely chats. When I lived in Lambeth it wasn’t always so and I worry with everything going on that our community might be affected too.
Who is your favourite artist? That’s too hard a question. Artist of this week is Peter Doig. His last show was fabulous.
Tate: Modern or Britain?
Britain is solid and always have very carefully curated shows. Modern is great fun especially with children, they can just charge around. It’s also very exciting with its new addition. I find their blockbuster shows are too overwhelming so I prefer the size of Tate Britain. It’s solid, not shifting. The thing about London is it’s constantly changing, it’s not precious. It’s very much of the present, which is what I love about it, but sometimes we end up losing wonderful buildings and spaces and some of our history.
Art: Deco or Nouveau? I’m an artist, I like both!
Who is the best actor ever?
I was always in love with Dirk Bogarde…
Best song ever?
What is your favourite word? Hello
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
Many pairs but they’re nearly all worn out. I have them for years and wear them carefully, trying to make them last. I never want to let them go.
Handbags to match?
No - not a handbag person. I have one that I hardly ever use. I use an old camera bag.
What is your favourite species of pondlife? Frog
Have you got green fingers? For flowers but not for veg
Gosh, I think my favourite smell is L’Heure Bleue and the smell of damp woods in autumn. My friend makes perfumes and we’ve been trying to make that smell – we got very near it, but it’s impossible.
Boiled or scrambled? Boiled
Roast or mash? Mash
Yoga or pilates? Yoga
Soccer or rugby? Hate sport
Cats or dogs? Cats
Finally, are you a vampire slayer or is it just a rumour?
I am a vampire slayer. Don’t forget it.
Hello Billy Mann...
Billy Mann, Golden Lane Estate resident, writer of regular column the 'Golden Lane Gazette' for City Matters, Secretary of the Golden Baggers allotment group, Community Builder and collector of tasty gossip has joined the GLE Comms Team to bring you a regular slot about the people who live and work on Golden Lane Estate, with his good self as first subject.
How long have you lived on the Golden Lane Estate?
What brought you here?
The 55 bus.
Where were you before?
What is your favourite TV programme?
The Big Bang Theory.