urban75 blog

See the ruins of Brixton Castle, set in a delightful little park named after a jazz drummer

Well, OK, it’s not really a castle, but I imagine that to a young kid with a bit of imagination, these recently created ‘ruins’ in Max Roach Park could easily be some ancient monument that must be defended at all costs.

Max Roach Park is a lesser known bit of Brixton green space, and runs parallel to Brixton Road, from Loughborough Road to St John’s Crescent.

The park underwent a lengthy restoration in recent years and now contains a purpose-built playground and play area, the aforementioned fake castle ruins and loads of benches scattered about for adults to enjoy a summer picnic (or several cans of Special Brew).

The park must surely be the only one in London named after a drummer, namely the  American jazz legend Max Roach (January 10, 1924 – August 16, 2007).

Roach played with all the jazz greats,  including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and Sonny Rollins, and visited the park in 1986.

He was also a political activist,  recording a number of albums centering on black equality issues, including the album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite (1960). Here’s Max in action:

I’m still not entirely sure why a Lambeth park should end up being named after a North Carolina drummer but it’s something I could get used to. Perhaps Brockwell park might sound better as Keith Moon park ?

More info:

Max Roach Park,  Brixton Road, SW9 7ND
Tube: Brixton
Train: Brixton, Loughborough Junction
Bus: 3, 133, 59, 159

Location map for Max Roach Park

New York Times obituary on Max Roach