Shoreditch Park Project

Exploring the recent history of a neighbourhood of factory built prefabricated homes, and the design of daily life in east London.

"It was ever so poor, when we was young. Very poor, wasn't it? Our mothers used to come out shopping every single day, because not like today, you can go in and fill your basket, you couldn't do that, your money didn't go to that. That money was every week lotted out each day, It was life."

"...its geographical location is accidentally based on what was dropped from above. It's not where you would put a park ideally..."

Josh: What's you name, my dear?


Josh: Hello Irene.

Um, Irene, what do you do for fun.

What do I do for fun?! Well I don't do much at the moment. Quizzes and crosswords and all the things out the newspapers. But apart from that I don't do much [laughs]

What does it mean to be a real Hoxton person?

Well I dunno, I've never been anywhere else. I've only ever lived round here. And I lived in a prefab!

Oh did you! oooh

See I mentioned the prefabs to them last week.

This is what we really - we want to find out as much as possible about the prefabs - so anything you remember, tell us your story.

Irene: Yeah, well, our prefabs were the first one - the first lot to go up after the war, because our house got bombed. And erm, we didn't have a bathroom, all you had was a big square, erm, hut, but, and they divided it into two bedrooms and a sort of a big square bit where you could put a table and chairs and a little, little kitchenette sort of thing and that was it. But you got a - what did we have? - an electric cooker, and the sink, the toilet was outside with a coal shed next door [laughs] but we did have a garden. And, er, that was about it. Oh yeah. But, er, used to go to the school over by the park. That, er, Whitmore school. Used to go there. And that's about it, I think!

Was there a good community in the, er, prefabs in Shoreditch Park? Was there, was it a nice place to live, was it-?

Irene: Well yeah, everybody, you didn't have to lock none of your doors or your windows [Irene laughs] and you could just go out and leave it and you know, all the people were all friendly and you, everybody else was erm, you know, they were sort of, erm, everybody knew everybody else, not like these days, I mean half of em. Where I live now in a block of flats, I don't know most of them!

Dustin: Who did you live with?

Irene: Me mum and me dad and me young brother. I remember taking him out in the pushchair to one of the shops in Pitfield Street, used to be all shops along there. And, er, I left him, I got back home and I'd left him outside the shop! [laughs] My mum said, "Where's Alan?", I said "outside", she said "he's not"!

I'd been shopping for her and left him out there. Forgot all about it. He was in the pram [laughs] I said, you couldn't do that these days, you, somebody would walk off with them, wouldn't they? I, I wouldn't like to live anywhere else now, I'm too old, you know. You hear of some elderly ladies and they move, and the next minute you're hearing they've all died, so I though no, I'll stay where I am. I've been in my flat sixty years.


Yeah [laughs]




Moved there in 1953, sixty years this year