Prefabs update: Pilgrims Way talk

Pilgrims Way NW9, looking toward Barn Hill. Origin unknownPretty much as I remember itFellow Pilgrims Way denizen Paul Kennedy recently sent me a file used to illustrate a talk by Philip Grant of the Wembley Historical Society. The talk covered all the prefab estates built just after the war in Wembley, including Pilgrims way, and draws on evidence held by Brent Archives. The Pilgrims Way section is about half way through the talk, and includes a letter from Charlie Watts and some images I have not seen before. Thanks Paul!

Here are some of the slides Philip used, but you can also download the complete presentation Kingsbury’s Post-War Prefab Homes (pdf file – 8Mb) Continue reading

Season’s Greetings 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers. Thanks for following!

Back next year with more stories. Still learning!

 

 

Prefabs are back!

So the UK government has rediscovered prefabs! Well done – better late than never I guess. Anyone who had the privilege of growing up on one of Churchill’s post war prefab estates and has lived long enough to tell the tale could have told our leaders at any time since the sixties that prefabs have the potential to transform our endemic housing problem and even help banish enforced homelessness.

Perhaps the government has been influenced not so much by the  opinions of the diminishing number of people who, like me, experienced prefab life in post-war Britain, but by more recent and newsworthy examples of successful prefabricated housing interventions elsewhere, in response to chronic housing problems and international emergencies such as the 2011 Tsunami. For instance, since the only home to remain standing in one devastated Japanese village was a prefab made in the Philippines, business has apparently been booming:


Continue reading

Taking Off: Exploring Cultural Education in Lincolnshire

We all want the best for our children and grandchildren, but sometimes opportunities for enriching their development are hard to come by in a county like Lincolnshire, especially outside our main towns. Fortunately, help is now at hand.

 

Last December over 50 cultural, arts and education professionals attended an event called “What if Every Child Could Fly in Lincolnshire?” to demonstrate their passion and enthusiasm in supporting all children and young people in the county in having the opportunity to experience great arts and culture. The event was so successful that a follow-up event is planned. Continue reading

A new way to decorate your Christmas tree…….

…….which you can see for yourself in St Botolph’s Church (aka the Stump) in Boston Lincolnshire until January. 3,000 Christmas tree stars and a nativity scene knitted by people across Lincolnshire, all dedicated to family, friends, memories and even pets.

Called Christmas Knitivity, this imaginative project was organised by BBC Radio Lincolnshire in partnership with St Botolph’s Church. Local radio staffers and Boston parishioners got together with Oldrids store to decorate more than 30 trees with these unusual emblems. Continue reading

Where were you when Mrs T resigned?

The media are making a predictable meal this week out of the 25th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s resignation and Bernard Ingham’s revelations about the shenanigans that led up to it. The current hoo-ha immediately reminded of where I was on November 22nd 1990 at 9.30am, when the news broke.

I was sitting in a well-known café in pre-gentrification Leeds city centre, staring out at drizzle-soaked passers-by, when the news was announced on the radio (it might have been on the telly,) just audible over the desultory chatter in the room. Not everyone there heard it immediately, but within seconds everyone got up and cheered and waved. That’s what the people of Leeds thought of Margaret Thatcher after eleven plus years of Tory government.

Oddly I cannot for the life of me remember where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated, but I do remember when the King George VI died, February 6th 1952. I was out shopping with my mum in Neasden (NW10) and we saw the news on a newspaper stand poster. Nobody cheered that day, I bet.

Bernard Ingham’s account in the Yorkshire Post

Blown off course, but land is in sight

Martin_phonebox_crop_150I have been distracted lately by working on a new blog for my home village of Kirkby on Bain, Lincolnshire. I have to admit I was sceptical about the idea, but how wrong can you be? To my surprise, after only a few days, it’s a hit, at least round here, and oddly satisfying to work on, especially after the extreme frustrations of working for the local University.

Come to think of it, this turn of events rather bears out my growing conviction that websites, including blogs, tend to work best when there is a ready-made audience, or constituency, regardless of numbers. Building an audience is much harder.

The most-read story so far is about that great British icon, the red telephone box, and how it has been saved from extinction in our village. Give it a whirl.

However, fear not, I do have a lot more of my own stories to tell here, and I hope to have normal service resumed fairly soon.