Sunday, April 10, 2011

See it Come Down

Yes the demolition of the Heygate Estate (SE17) is really happening . This picture (click to enlarge) was taken from the top of the 343 bus - you can't see much from ground level because of the hoardings.

Though I'm not old enough to say I saw the Heygate go up, there must be a lot of old people who did and who are now seeing it come down, putting me in mind of the great song See it Come Down sung by Roy Bailey (written by John Pole): 'We was all one where we lived, wish we were now, We had debts and dole and kids but we did have neighbours. Where the street was they want to build a tombstone tower, Like a monster concrete moneybox for strangers. Every last square foot of it worth a hundred pounds, Some day we'll see that come tumbling down'.

Still in the song, it's an office block that replaced the housing, in the case of the Heygate the situation was perhaps more ambiguous. Sure the flats weren't the most beautiful buildings in the world, but easy as it is to romanticise the terraced streets they replaced some people probably found the central heating and space to be an improvement. Some would argue that it was never the architecture that was the problem but the poverty and all that goes with it.

In the background of this photo another building is going up - the Shard at London Bridge. Who knows, maybe there are children growing up now who will see it come down too, demolished one day as an early 21st century folly.

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