“It was time to cut the cake, and then the fuse went. I knew they took it out.”

I came to Clapham Park in the 1970s, when my son was nine. It was quite nice, I got on with everyone. We used to take it in turns to wash our clothes in the launderette. Then you have to put it in the drying cupboard where there was a gas fire. We have no tumble dryers, no! 

Everybody have their electric metre downstairs. When the fuse blew you have to go to the caretaker. Each block had a caretaker.

When my daughter was 18 we had a party and I went to my neighbours — we called them Hilda and Stan after Coronation Street — and I said to them ‘We’re having a party and I’m inviting you tonight.’ I knew they wouldn’t come, they were very prejudiced, they say hello, but they don’t mean it.

So, when the party was going on and the young people was coming around and when music was playing, reggae and dub (not English music!), and it was time to cut the cake, everyone was come around, and then the fuse went. I knew they took it out. All the lights went out and the music, it was completely dark. My husband said, ‘Don’t worry, don’t move, I’ll go with my torch.‘ And he put the fuse back and the lights came back on.

— Anonymous

Part of a collection of oral histories about regeneration and community change, as told by members of the Clapham Park Over 50s Club to Creative in Residence Stella Barnes.

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