Andrew Marr and Mary Portas help to show Primrose Hill is not just for the elite

Agnieszka Debska and Andrew Marr. Picture: cjansenphotography.com

Agnieszka Debska and Andrew Marr. Picture: cjansenphotography.com - Credit: Archant

Primrose Hill is considered by many to be inhabited solely by the rich and famous so one of its less prominent residents has launched a special project to show off the community’s different faces.

Andrew Marr's sketch of Primrose Hill artist Lulu Manasseh.

Andrew Marr's sketch of Primrose Hill artist Lulu Manasseh. - Credit: Archant

Production designer Agnieszka Debska, 39, started the Faces of the Hill project earlier this year, bringing local photographers and artists together to sketch, paint and snap around 100 residents from across Primrose Hill.

A photograoh of Mary Portas taken for Faces of the Hill. Picture: Tanya Chalkin 2015

A photograoh of Mary Portas taken for Faces of the Hill. Picture: Tanya Chalkin 2015 - Credit: Archant

Ms Debska, who lives in the Whitton block in King Henry’s Road, is now planning to publish all the artwork in a Faces of the Hill book, having already raised £6,000 for the community library by selling the work in a silent auction on May 31.

Among the 100 residents, including a dog walker, housewife, particle physicist and library volunteer, were famous Primrose Hill faces Andrew Marr and Mary Portas who helped give a much-needed boost to the project’s profile.

Ms Debska said: “I wanted to bring people from different ends of the spectrum in our community together through creative interactions.


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“It is about trying to dispel the myth that only extremely rich and wealthy people live in Primrose Hill. That was my view before I moved here but it doesn’t apply to the neighbours on my street.

“As part of the project, every resident answered a set of the same questions to see how similar we are, regardless of what walk of life we come from.”

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Mr Marr, a former BBC political editor who now presents politics programme The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One each Sunday, sketched portraits of three of his Primrose Hill neighbours for the project, including artist Lulu Manasseh.

The 55-year-old, a keen painter and drawer, who lives with his wife in Primrose Hill, said: “We have lived in lots of places and we have never found anywhere with a stronger sense of community.

“It’s got its reputation for being full of multi-millionaires and French people but in fact it is a very mixed community. It’s got a lot of social housing and people from lots of different backgrounds.

“I wouldn’t have met the people I drew without being introduced to them through the project. It seemed to me to be a brilliant idea, I hope we do it again.”

Retail consultant and TV personality Ms Portas was photographed by Tanya Chalkin, one of eight photographers involved in the project.

To find out more about Faces of the Hill or to help fund the publication of the book, contact Ms Debska by emailing me@agnieszka.tv

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