I had a really happy childhood in London’s East End, living in what was called a ‘pre-fab’, a type of prefabricated house which was supposed to be temporary while the council sorted us out permanent accommodation. My parents did not have much money, but at that time I had no idea that we were not very well off. There was always nutritious food on the table, and I had good friends to play with. On Sundays there were visits to the seaside with relatives or occasional trips to London’s West End for film premiers or shows. Generally life for my 10 year old self as far as I was concerned was better than average. Here I am aged 10 with my parents in the garden of our pre-fab:
When I was 13 in 1970 the council sent my parents a letter; they had a brand new flat for us on the other side of the Thames in South East London. My heart sank as my parents accepted the flat and I saw it for the first time. You can see our kitchen window, which is the 4th window from the top in the tall block of flats.
The only good thing about moving there was that I found a school more suited to my musical/creative talents, rather than the stuffy grammar school I was currently attending. Apart from the school, which I adored, the whole move turned out to be a disaster.
Originally when the estate was brand new, only working families who couldn’t afford a mortgage were housed there. This was okay for the first few years until the initial tenants either died or moved out. Over time the flats and maisonettes were filled by the work-shy. Police and the Fire Service were called out regularly to fights, gang warfare, and fires. I moved out when I was 21, but by then Dad had died and Mum was too set in her ways to want to move. There were clubs for pensioners, and she wanted to stay. Wikipedia describes the estate as one of the largest and most deprived council housing developments in London.
Came the day about six years’ ago when the whole estate was razed to the ground. I watched from a distance as my old block of flats imploded in on itself, aided by a liberal helping of dynamite (the best thing that could have happened to it!). By then I’d persuaded Mum to live near me in the relative peace of the countryside. A new private estate then rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the slum it had been before. The luxury 4200 palatial properties there now are very sought after, and some even have a million pound price tag on them! How weird is that?
Stevie Turner is a British author of women’s fiction, suspense and darkly humorous novels. You can find her on the following social media:
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WordPress Blog: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/