Mythology of London

Rose Goodchild


For my project I decided to explore the concept of London and what it means to be a Londoner. Each borough has stereotypes and pre-conceived notions of identity. For example, someone from Croydon behaves and has different expectations placed on them compared to someone from Hammersmith and Fulham. These factors are sociological, environmental and deeply political. Such as, Camden has the best state primary schools, according to the Good Schools Guide, but the most drug misuse, according to an enquiry by the Mayor of London in 2011-2012. After finding a resource succinctly showing these “best and worst” of each borough, I have extrapolated and created 8 unique characters based on specific boroughs of London.

From South London:
Lewisham - most very small businesses and the least cinemas
Greenwich - longest riverfront and the most school truancy
Southwark - most office romances and the most bike theft
Lambeth - most bus lanes and the highest murder rate From
North London:
Islington - most single people and most binge drinking
Camden - best primary schools and the most drug misuse
Westminster - most valuable houses and the highest crime rate
Tower Hamlets - most tall buildings planned and the most arsonists

Continuing with the concept of stereotyping, using these very polarising statistics I have created characters to represent these areas as their base principles as such. So the character for Greenwich is a naughty school child who spends his days, instead of in school, on the Thames riverfront. Greenwich has the highest Nigerian population in London so I chose for the name to be Oluwademilade, which is a boys Yoruba name meaning God crowned me. These characters, similar to the children’s series Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan are meant to be modern iterations of what should be considered mythological beings who are centuries old.

As a vehicle to express and explore my characters I have created costumes of the four South London characters. However through my practice I decided these would only take me so far in creating a system of use around the characters, so am creating tarot cards of them. I am making 24 character cards, 3 of each character. One in the classical imagery used in historical cards, one in the Celtic style which are that of my personal tarot cards and the final will be in the style of the very modern minimal highly stylised iterations of these traditional ideas. So for Greenwich I chose to correlate the character with the Fool card, as a lot of the symbolism and imagery I had created for the character were similar to those presented in that of the Fool card.

For my final presentation of my work and ideas, I will be doing a reading, using my cards, dressed in one of my costumes.