“Whatever you do, don’t play with those Pilgrim Way kids”
When I first wrote about growing up on a post-war prefab estate, I had no idea that local people living nearby might have formed negative attitudes toward such places and their residents, deserved or otherwise. As a prefab boy, I was not aware that I and other prefab kids may have been seen as social pariahs by middle class home-owners. But following the publication of my 2015 memoir Prefab Days I was intrigued by a comment from a former schoolmate, who quoted a woman living in a “proper house” not far away, doling out essential advice to one of his friends: “Whatever you do, don’t play with those Pilgrim Way kids”.
I did do some superficial research on the possibility of anti-prefab prejudice, but I could not find anything substantial then, but yesterday my son Ben sent me a link to a 1975 BBC Nationwide report in which a typically patronising BBC-accented reporter slums it in the ghetto, elswhere in London. If you can swallow the the trivialising journalistic conceit, typical of Nationwide, he fakes amazement when he finds that residents, faced with redevelopment “actually liked living here”, and, thirty years on, gets a cockney earful or two about ignorant middle class pedlars of anti-prefab bigotry:
(Anyone recognise the reporter? They don’t make reportage like that any more…………..)
Thanks Ben. Comments welcome, as ever………