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Don’t mess with our East End 'footprint'

PUBLISHED: 19:46 27 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 05 October 2010

Dear Editor THE so-called humdrum’ existence of daily life is rarely humdrum to the individual who is living it. It is full of pain, anxiety, pleasure and love. This is as true of the street sweeper as of the merchant banker, as true of the 12lth century shepherdess in the fields of Stepney as of the 21st century manager of the mobile phone shop in Commercial Road. Common human experience links all generations. At the same time, each generation leaves its highly individual footprint on the record of the human race

Dear Editor

THE so-called 'humdrum' existence of daily life is rarely humdrum to the individual who is living it. It is full of pain, anxiety, pleasure and love.

This is as true of the street sweeper as of the merchant banker, as true of the 12lth century shepherdess in the fields of Stepney as of the 21st century manager of the mobile phone shop in Commercial Road. Common human experience links all generations.

At the same time, each generation leaves its highly individual footprint on the record of the human race, footprints which have shaped the present in which we live now, when the choices we make and the actions we take are shaping the future of children yet unborn.

They will be citizens of the global village in ways we can only begin to imagine.

But they will also be citizens of Wapping, Bow and Bethnal Green. In spite of virtual reality, they will continue to live in these homes, to walk these streets, to endure or to enjoy what their locality has to offer.

Like us, they will want to know who walked here before them, who created this park, founded this school, named this building-and will have a right to know.

The Bancroft Archive and History Library at Mile End allow us to grasp something of the extraordinary richness and complexity of human existence in the East End.

They should be celebrated not because we venerate the past, but because we are inextricably linked to it whatever our personal origins.

We too will be 'the past' one day. The eyes of the future will look back on us critically, perhaps with understanding, through the records which we have left.

Or do we want those records to be swept under the carpet?

Eve Hostettler

Millwall, Isle of Dogs


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