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East End history project in world’s first public housing scheme

PUBLISHED: 21:22 01 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:06 05 October 2010

Recognize anyone? 1950s day outing to Southend from St Hinda's

Recognize anyone? 1950s day outing to Southend from St Hinda's

AN ORAL history project has been set up in London’s East End after community workers discovered a 1950s documentary film about their centre. Now they want to record memories of anyone who has ever lived on the Boundary Estate, behind Shoreditch Church

By Mike Brooke

AN ORAL history project has been set up in London's East End after community workers discovered a 1950s documentary film about their centre.

Now they want to record memories of anyone who has ever lived or grown up on Bethnal Green's Boundary Estate, behind Shoreditch Church, the world's first public housing scheme opened by the Prince of Wales in 1900.

The project is being run by St Hilda's East community Centre in Club Row, in the heart of the estate.

A 'community memories' team which has been given £43,000 Lottery funding is recording people's experiences of how the area has changed over the years.

Staff were inspired after discovering the documentary about St Hilda's showing pensioners' groups, youth clubs, children's activities and evening dances.

"We're hoping people may remember coming to St Hilda's as children or taking part in other activities," said its director Rupert Williams. "Maybe someone remembers taking part in the original 1950s film or recognises someone in the photograph!"

In the picture is Jenny as a toddler (bottom, third from left) who remembers the trip to Southend-on-Sea and now volunteers with the project.

"It's wonderful to have the chance to root through old photos and have a trip down memory lane," she says. "I would love to meet other people who remember St Hilda's like I do."

'The Boundary' was built in the late-1890s to replace slums known as 'The Jago,' notorious for thieves, cut-throats, prostitution and rife with disease and sickness.

Project coordinator Anna Phillips is looking for anyone who has had a connection with St Hilda's to get involved over the summer.

She can be contacted at St Hilda's 020-7739 8066, or by email here.

The project runs till February, recording oral history interviews and collecting photographs and other artefacts to build a community archive and made into a commemorative film and booklet.


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