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..."

What's your name by the way?

Yeah, what's your-?

Julian.

Julian. What do you do for fun, Julian?

What do I do for fun? Do you mean what my - what is your recreation?

Yes, yeah, yes.

Sailing small boats.

Oh really, lasers, or? [laughs]

No, I sail cruising boats at the moment.

Really?

Yes. But I've done it since childhood cos I grew up at Gravesend on the river, and so we'd bunk off at lunchtime and go rowing instead of having school dinners, so it's well ingrained.

It's in you, it's your blood. I grew up in Cornwall so I spent a lot of time in the ocean.

Well you know what the temptations are then. School versus water.

Oh, there's no comparison!

No no [laughs] as you say, there's no contest.

How long have you been in this area for then?

About twenty five years.

Twenty five years. Do you consider yourself to be, er, embedded in Hoxton, do you think there's a kind of Hoxton person, do you think there's-?

Erm, I think I'm a guest in Hoxton really, a tolerant, tolerated umm, person who's joined a community really. Because the community was largely created after, after the decimation in the war, with the new flats, as they were then, which are now rather old flats, and they're being refurbished and so on.

Josh: Do you, I mean, I wonder, I don't know if, do you know anything about Shoreditch Park and the prefab homes that used to be there?

Julian: Erm, I've seen pictures of them, and I was involved with the consultation on how the park might be redeveloped. And I was very keen that the North-South track of the road should be maintained through the park, as if you like, as a memory of that time, when prefabs were there.

Josh: Yep.

Julian: Its, its geographical location is accidentally based on what was dropped from above. It's not where you would put a park ideally, it's too much on the edge of Hoxton and the Shepherdess Walk area, if you like.

Josh: So have you seen the neighbourhood change a lot in the last twenty five years?

Julian: I've see - yes. One of the reliefs is that it hasn't changed as much as, erm, Broadway Market or parts of Islington. Because the anchorage of the community with the public housing underpinning it, is very, erm, means you have an unmobile population, which is good for building a community. And so, three generations since the war have grown up here, and you see that's evident in the street. Er, I mean there are 55 languages spoken in the street, so, erm, you know, we have an incoming population of great variety and interest and so on. But thank goodness we haven't become middle class.