Just in case you don’t fancy Ikea on a Saturday lunchtime…
I love archives. I’ve recently been rummaging around archives in Hackney to write an updated history of Hoxton Hall. In such a short time, my head was buzzing with the stories of Hoxton folk from the past. Counterfeiters, asylum managers, workhouse attendants, fences and costermongers… a Sunday evening BBC series waiting to happen. This leaflet from Lambeth Archives also feels like a historical document, albeit much more recent. There is the language; one parent families, single parent families, lone parent families – the adjective shifts. I also smile, a little sadly, because Lambeth has also been portrayed as the ‘loony left’, a gift for any subeditor who fancied a little light alliteration. I could imagine a leaflet like this being held up as the epitome of political correctness. But the thought that someone, somewhere wanted children to feel a connection to a book, to see a world that reflected their own, makes me feel rather warm. I really like people who are willing to do that. Seriously. I really do.
” For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”
― Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist
Happy birthday, Oscar Wilde, for yesterday and the beautiful moon that glowed over London…
Four blokes stand in the ruins of a 1930s building. They are be-suited and flat-capped. It is 1936 and they are part of the demolition team taking apart the Alhambra Theatre in London’s Leicester Square.
The Alhambra underwent a few transformations in its 82 years of life, including a rebuild after a fire. In 1936, it was finally demolished and the site is now occupied by one of the eye-wateringly expensive cinemas that host the occasional red carpet do in central London.
I found this photo on the fab Arthur Lloyd website that tells the story of Victorian music hall and theatre and tracks the buildings left behind.
In the middle of this picture, bold as brass, is this little boy of African or Caribbean heritage. Sure, I know that there were many black people in London before our official history apparently starts in 1948. But doesn’t this just make you want to tell a story? Was one of those men his father? Had he meandered in for the photo? Has someone’s grandad pointed to that pic and told them about the day the Alhambra came down?
I seriously wish I knew.
PS. Three months gap! Ouch, sorry.