In Windrush Square (Brixton, UK), Adjaye Associates has designed a memorial to honour the life and legacy of Cherry Groce, who was shot in her home by Metropolitan Police in front of her children on September 28, 1985. Paralyzed by the shooting, Cherry passed away as a direct result of her injuries in 2011. For the 35 years that followed the shooting, Cherry’s family and community have worked continuity together in the pursuit of truth, justice and better society. The memorial is commissioned by the Cherry Groce Foundation.
Sir David Adjaye’s vision for the memorial aims to create awareness and understanding of the life, strength, and experience of Cherry Groce and her family. Cherry’s son, Lee Lawrence explained “not only will this memorial acknowledge the terrible injustice to my mum Cherry Groce but it will also act as a beacon of hope. It will symbolize that lessons can be learned and, more importantly, applied to create the positive change we need for the benefit of us all.”
Imagined as not only a memorial but also a pavilion for the community, the design responds to the angular forms of Windrush Square’s landscape and lawn areas, as well as the nearby Memorial to African and Caribbean soldiers. The roof speaks to the protection and shelter of the Brixton community, with the use of a single column representing Cherry’s strength and support of her community. Integrated benches enhance the functionality of the memorial, allowing the public to engage with it physically, while planting serves as a reminder of change, growth and optimism.
Sir David Adjaye explained, “the construction of this memorial will speak to restorative justice and will symbolize that what matters to the community, matters to London and the whole world. This tragedy went too long in the public realm without acknowledgement and there is now renewed urgency and importance in finally facing this history.”