Thursday, March 06, 2008

Streets In The Sky

Interesting stuff on the news today about this East London Estate.

Tower Hamlets Council wants to pull it down and 80% of the people unfortunate ( i.e. 'poor') enough to live there agree.

But 'a group of leading architects' is protesting, claiming that the building, by these people, is a model of its kind, comparable, in the words of the very famous Lord Richard Rogers, with the great Regency crescents of Bath.

Now I am neither an expert on 20th Century architecture nor, would I like to think, an anti-modernist nimby with a phillistine bent BUT I could not fail to notice two obvious things during the BBC's news report this morning.

1. The people interviewed who want it demolished either live on the Estate or have the job of maintaining it, and are what we used to call 'working class'.

2. The people who want to save it most certainly do not live there and are what we still call 'posh'.

Perhaps then I am an unreconstructed old reactionary after all, but the whole thing reminded me, and I bet you saw this coming, rather depressingly of this.

The Jam - 'The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong' (1982)


  1. I grew up in the East End, on a council estate, that while not quite as legoland as that one, was still built around the same ideas. Nice green spaces in the middle of concrete blocks. Supposed to be nice for the people that live there. In reality it creates a dead space in the middle that is shielded from the world outside, effectively a no mans land. And as for blocks...I've lived on the street I'm on now for six months and I know more of my neighbours than we ever knew when I grew up...

    I think we've had some really interesting 'modern' architecture, things that deserve the same preservation that older buildings do. But council estates? Send em back to the bombsites they were built on!

    Oh and sorry to say I bloody hate that song! Great lyrics, but...who told Weller calypso was a good style for him to try out? heh. :)

  2. I'm with the 'working classes' pull the hellish thing down. It's not safe for human habitation. And while they're at it pull down that god awful thing near Paddington Station that the poshos seem to love. Yeurk!

    I live in Tower Hamlets and we have some protected, interesting
    60s social housing by Racheal Keeling. They are though relatively low-rise and painted white. More of this then please rather than THAT.

  3. There was a time when working class people really wanted to live in the new council estates, they were seen as being much nicer and modern places than their ratty old terraced houses. Funny how things change.

    I loved them when I was a kid, all those concrete ramps and structures were great for playing run outs.

  4. Run-outs...bloody hell, that's taking me back. You're right though, all the ramps, and stairwells; and those funny little sheds for bikes that a lot of estates used to have. When you're a kid though everything looks great. I loved the Barbican buildings - they were the view from my bedroom window; it was like having mountains outside; and inside there was like something from Logan's Run or some other such science fiction film.

  5. The same sort of shite happens up here as well

    All sorts of hell-holes unfit for human habitation that the chattering classes and luvvies feel have 'character' and must be retained.

    And I'm with Simon - candidate for the worst ever song by The Jam.

    Songwriters get embarrassed when their songs go wrong....

  6. Pour moi the worst ever song by The Jam is 'London Traffic' off of 'The Modern World'. Hands down.