Derek Jarman outside Prospect Cottage Photo by Howard Sooley

Derek Jarman Pocket Park blog – part 9

Lights, Camera, Action!

February 2023 saw the completion and release of Journey to Dungeness, a film made by Scout Stuart with artist Juliet Davis-Dufayard. The film follows our group’s journey to Derek Jarman’s home and garden at Prospect Cottage. It’s a 5-minute film, using Super 8 in part, a favourite medium of Jarman in his own work. Although digital technologies dominate today’s film-making, artists continue to use Super 8 for the specific quality & aesthetic that it can produce. We hope you agree that Journey to Dungeness captures the stark yet beautiful landscape as well as exploring the colours, textures & patterns that Derek Jarman created in his garden. The film, which launched at Manchester Art Gallery throughout LGBT History month can be watched here.

Still images courtesy of Scout Stuart


We are delighted that Journey to Dungeness will be joining the North West Film Archive (the public film collection for the five counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside). The archive currently holds over 50,000 items of film and video relating to the lives and experiences of people in the North West from the early days of cinema, right up to the present day.

Back in our garden here at Manchester Art Gallery, we are noticing the signs of spring arriving. Hurray! You may remember that the garden was originally planted for the first time a year ago so it has been fascinating to see the progress of the plants over the past twelve months. We’re proud to say that nearly everything has survived, despite the UK experiencing three heatwaves in the summer of 2022 with record temperatures. Our only casualty was our beloved Acer tree. We were very sad to see that it was not thriving in our Pocket Park and we finally decided to replace it with a Rowan tree (Sorbus Cardinal Royal), which was planted in March. From May to early June the foliage is mid-green with a slight silver underside and clusters of white flowers should appear over spring/early summer, followed by bunches of berries that turn crimson red in mid to late summer. The foliage should turn a rich russet-red in the autumn to provide post-summer colour to the garden.

Derek Jarman Pocket Park volunteers planting our new Rowan tree.

We were able to ascertain that the Acer was still alive by gently scraping the surface of the bark which revealed green living tissue underneath. With this in mind, we started to look for another home for the tree and it has recently been transferred to the garden at Platt Hall where we hope it will have a long and happy life! You can read about the garden project at Platt Hall, another Manchester green space here.

On 20 March the Derek Jarman Pocket Park was the subject of SuperNature, a regular slot on Lauren Laverne’s BBC6 Music breakfast show. Lawrie Roberts, Pride in Ageing Manager at LGBT Foundation, was interviewed by Lauren about the importance of the garden and what it means to the volunteers. You can listen to it here (at 1 hour 9 minutes into the programme) until 19 April. The subsequent twitter post about the interview has been viewed over 21,000 times!

Photographs by Mindy and Fiona.

– Paul, Hazel & Mindy, members of the Derek Jarman Pocket Park Group


The Derek Jarman Pocket Park is supported by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Pocket Parks, Pride in Ageing at the LGBT Foundation ManchesterThe IGNITION ProjectRoyal Horticultural SocietyExterior ArchitectureThe Postcode Lottery Trust, Manchester Wellbeing Fund and United Utilities.