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Fatima inside the 575 Wandsworth Road house. ;

A student's experience volunteering with the National Trust

Fatima Kashtwari, a BA Liberal Arts student in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, writes about her experience volunteering at 575 Wandsworth Road through the King's Civic Leadership Academy. 

Stepping into 575 Wandsworth Road was like entering a world far away from London - where history and art seamlessly embraced each other. This remarkable house was once home to Khadambi Asalache, a poet, novelist and civil servant who transformed his living space over the course of twenty years into a work of art, using discarded pine doors and reclaimed floorboards.

I had the wonderful opportunity to become part of the team through the King’s Civic Leadership Academy, a programme that connects students at King’s with charity organisations across London. I joined the National Trust ,Europe’s biggest conservation charity, to support Nora, Ruth and Laura at 575 Wandsworth Road, where the team were seeking ways to connect the local community to this exceptional place.

As I wandered through the rooms of 575 Wandsworth Road, a deep connection to Khadambi Asalache's creativity and spirit emerged naturally. His journey from Kenya to Britain was intricately woven into every nook and cranny of his home. His artistry conveyed a powerful narrative of his experiences and inspirations – a story that needed to be shared.


Fatima inside the 575 Wandsworth Road house.
©National Trust /Arnhel de Serra

Connecting Art & Heritage

Offering a glimpse into the walls of 575 Wandsworth Road can do much more than contain memories. They serve as an extension of Khadambi Asalache's poetry and a reminder that our stories are woven into the fabric of those who walked before us.

We knew that Khadambi Asalache's home would speak to many but inconspicuously placed on a busy road in London it was up to us to draw people into his world, exploring the cultures that inspired his work and creating space for the community to connect with their own artistry, heritage and culture.

The unique perspective of a younger audience was core to achieving this and I had the privilege of crafting initiatives that brought the community closer to the heart of 575 Wandsworth Road and deepen their appreciation for creativity and heritage.

Working with talented and passionate artists, writers and filmmakers I supported the curation of a host of events for Wandsworth Arts Fringe and Happy Streets Festival. My main project has been developing a programme of immersive poetry workshops for people aged 18-25 as part of the New Wave initiative to engage younger people in heritage. I will be returning in September to deliver these workshops in collaboration with a local poet, as part of Heritage Open Days.

These events prove to be more than just an opportunity to bring people together – they transform into bridges, connecting the local community in Wandsworth to the endless treasures that reside within the walls of 575 Wandsworth Road.

575 Wandsworth Road interior with details of walls and staircase.
©National Trust /Robin Forster

Get Involved

I extend an invitation to you to be part of the joys of 575 Wandsworth Road and discover the creative legacy of Khadambi Asalache, by volunteering or joining us for one of our events – from writing and poetry to papercutting and collage, there are so many ways to get involved:

In a Strange Place free evening poetry workshops for young people

In a Strange Place is a series of free evening poetry workshops for young people (aged 18-25) designed and hosted by myself, Hilaire McLiesh and Zahra Hamdulay. Exploring themes of belonging, language and new perspectives, develop a new understanding of your own creativity in an inspiring setting. Workshops take place on Monday 11, Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 September (18.00 – 21.00) and include free pizza, a tour of the property, tailored exercises, and a notebook and pen to continue on your artistic journey. Places are limited so make sure you sign up through the National Trust page

Tours with King's Volunteering: 575 Wandsworth Road

On Wednesday 20 September, in collaboration with King’s Volunteering, the team at 575 Wandsworth Road will be welcoming King’s students and staff for a day of discovery to learn about different volunteering opportunities and how to become part of a growing creative community. Book your place.

National Poetry Day special celebration

Finally, on Thursday 5 October (National Poetry Day), there will be a special celebration event at Battersea Arts Centre, marking ten years since 575 Wandsworth Road officially opened its doors and showcasing the creative legacy of Khadambi Asalache. For how to attend, please email