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 your name, my dear?

What?

J: What's your name?

My name's Sarah.

J: Hello Sarah, I'm Josh and this is Dustin.

S: Oh right, Jo- oh posh names now, innit! [laughs]

Dustin: And what's your name?

Lucy!

J: Hello Lucy, hello Sarah.

S: Lucy! Well see, we're old, but we've still got nice names!

J: Yeah lovely names!

S: Yeah, yeah!

J: How long have you guys lived in the area?

S: All our lives. I was born in a street down there called Drysdale Street. And that's where I was born down there, and I only live opposite now. I haven't moved far.

D: How, how has the neighbourhood changed over the years?

L: Oh I think it's beyond description, really, innit?

S: 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.

L: [laughs]

S: And then of course the war came along and ruined everything.

D: So do you have any memories of the prefab homes that used to be up in the-?

S: Prefabs? There was some at the top of Hoxton, wasn't they?

L: I don't know, I can't remember prefabs

S: Yeah, they was up, where, er -

J: Shoreditch Park

S: Shoreditch Park there was, and this street here, Ivy Street, there was prefabs down there, just past the school, cos my two children went to school up there, and as you went by there was prefabs. And the only people I knew lived in them was a fella who came out the army, going to have a land fit for heroes, he lived in a prefab. It shows ya. I tell you what, the prefabs, we would have all liked one. Cos what, they had better amenities. They even had an ironing board that come out the wall to come down to do your ironing on, and then it went back into the wall! [both laugh]. They were built, they were nice. And the people that did live em, live in them, when they was going to be taken all away, they all got up, especially over Bethnal Green, they wouldn't move! they boarded it all up, they wouldn't have touch em, because they all had little gardens all round as well. They was all growing little bits of vegetables and flowers - the women was doing the flowers, the men had their little bit of vegetable patch at the back. It was quite, it was like, it was a community, wasn't it? I've got to say, we don't go without today. We're better off, money-wise, aren't we?

L: Oh yeah, yeah

S: I mean, we go and get our pension every week.

L: But this market used to be pretty full all the week -

S: Oh, every day -

L: - didn't it? with all the different stalls

S: - people came down and got their shopping

L: But there's no, nothing here now other than the couple of supermarkets and that

S: That's right

L: And do you know who I was just thinking of, do you remember Mrs Brown, in -?

S: Yeah

L: She used to have what , they used to call her the rabbit lady

S: Yeah, the rabbits

L: Cos her stall was out every day

S: There was a lot of stalls with food on it. Pigs tails!

L: That's it.

S: And you know what, there used to be a pub, just, just on the c- where the library is, and that's where her stall was, opposite the library there.

L: Yeah

S: And they used to go in and have a Guinness -

L: [laughs]

S: - and you'd be standing outside with a pig's tail in your hand, eating a pig's-

L: Pigs' trotters!

S: And trotters! Pigs trotters!

J: [laughs]

L: The tail [??]

S: And my brother'd come along and say where'd you get that from, and he'd break it off, he'd walk off with the last bit of the tail, you know, whatever it was! [laughs] Well I can't tell you any more, I want to go home and get my vegetables until I overcook my dinner