Oral Histories

Home, Langholm Close. Photo by Marcia Chandra, 2018.

A collection of stories about regeneration and change, as told by members of the Over 50s Club to Creative in Residence Stella Barnes, Summer 2018.

“Brixton had a reputation in them days… There were Teddy Boys beating up Black men.”

I came to London in 1963. I arrived in Victoria station from Grenada more than 50 years ago. I couldn’t get accommodation easy. In them days you never got houses, Black people never got houses. We found a place and a woman showed us round. She said the landlord (he was a Jamaican man, she […]

“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 […]

“It’s because of society. Maggie Thatcher started it – me, me, me!”

I moved here in 1979. It’s changed radically. There is no community now. Before, where ever you lived in the block, everyone was nice and helped each other. There was the odd one who was doolally but we tolerated them. When I was ill recently, no one knocked on my door. Luckily I have two […]

“There is only a 50/50 chance they’ll be social dwellings”

I don’t live on Clapham Park estate, I live nearby. If you go along Kings Avenue, you find they are building new homes. There is only a 50/50 chance they’ll be social dwellings. I don’t think much of it is going to come out as social dwellings. I don’t know if they’re caring about the […]

“We’d all have a bath on a Sunday”

I didn’t have a childhood.  We’d go up Brixton market when the stalls shut and pick up the veg off the ground. My mum would get bacon bones and make a stew. We’d scrub the white mummy stones outside the houses and get sixpence. You could buy stale cakes for sixpence, my mum used to […]

Lifts and stairs

“The lift in my building breaks down all the time. When the lift breaks down, I have to walk all the way up to the third floor. It breaks down ever-so often. I had to get the Fire Brigade one time when my son was stuck in the lift.  My son is a DJ, it’s […]

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