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Pedestrians turn clock back to 1929 for East End street party

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:41 05 October 2010

A BIG birthday celebration is being held in London’s East End with a plain, old fashioned street party. They’re turning the clock back to 1929 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Living Streets charity on Thursday to “show what we think streets should be used for”

By Mike Brooke

A BIG birthday bash’ is being held in London’s East End with a plain, old fashioned street party.

They’re turning the clock back to 1929 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Living Streets charity on Thursday (August 13) to “show what we think streets should be used for.”

The charity, the oldest campaigning organisation for pedestrians in the world, is footing’ the bill for the party outside its offices in Whitechapel’s Wentworth Street, off the famous Brick Lane.

NO CARS

They’ve even got Wentworth Street cordoned off to traffic so East Enders can come out for a good old cockney knees-up.

“Over the years our streets have become less about people and more about traffic,” said the charity’s chief Tony Armstrong. “We hope the day makes people realise our streets can be social spaces like they once were.”

The day will be packed with events and stalls. Blue Badge guide Rachel Kolsky brings to life the varied history of the East End’s streets, transporting people back in time with stories of the Huguenots, the Jews and today’s Bengalis. The Whitechapel Gallery nearby is showing films as part of the celebrations.

TRAFFIC

The charity started out as the Pedestrians’ Association in 1929 before changing its name to Living Streets.

It met for the first time on August 13 that year in response to increased motor traffic.

There was no Highway Code, pedestrian crossings or speed limits back then.

Within a year, the Pedestrians’ Association lobbied for driving tests and compulsory third party insurance.

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