Jane Palm-Gold is an artist and historian living in St Giles London. Her love of St Giles led her to research the area in great detail. Whilst not as well known as some of its more illustrious neighbours—St Giles is an area packed with a fascinating and often dark and menacing past, some of which is similar today as it was centuries ago.
Jane has also created and curated a number of high profile exhibitions including ‘’Regeneration City Blues’’ on the impact of city regenerationby corporate multi-nationals taking over from local creative and cultural activity.
More recently Jane was commissioned to curate the photographic exhibition “Fear and Loathing at the Roxy”, dedicated to the legendary club that saw the birth of the Punk scene in nearby Neal Street. This acclaimed show featured the works of celebrated photographers Ray Stevenson, Derek Ridgers and Jeremy Gibbs while attracting music fans, punks, and Roxy goes of old.
Join me and Jane inside the vestry at St Giles in The Fields Church for one of the most fascinating conversations on this little known area of London and Jane’s punk heritage.
“So we’re a few steps away from a roman village—they only just discovered that a few years ago.”[3:00]
Our conversation takes place in the old vestry where plague records were kept. Jane notes that St Giles was the epicenter of so much history—not just the plague, but the gin epidemic and also the heart of the slums. She thinks people are less familiar with the history of the area because of the Victorians. Back then St Giles was a blight on the area and a bastion of crime and there was a push to erase that history to make way for the new.
“I had a will to go and see these bands and have an art career—the will was really iron in me.”[24:00]
Jane’s draw to the punk scene started at an early age, she was going out and seeing bands at 13 and 15. And not just any bands, but Queen when Bohemian Rhapsody had just topped the charts—a show that changed her life due to the mix of light, music, and performance. That deliberate mixture, which she later found out was all orchestrated by Freddie Mercury, made her want to explore a career in art and its many intersections with the music she loved.
“They cant obliterate the history of the area—it’s in the land.”[39:50]
The work Jane does around St Giles entails the psycho geography of the area—the historical resonance and sense of place and history repeating itself in a given area. Her work is infused by the people on the street and the homeless and life, when it comes down to it. Her current medium is mixed media with a style of collage that Jane says she learned as a bit of a secret when she first started exploring art when she was 18.
If you’re interested in diving into the history of St Giles and even more of Jane’s works, you can find her past and present exhibitions and work at JanePalmGold.com