Author Topic: Do you see what I see?  (Read 523 times)

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Offline MickG

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Do you see what I see?
« on: 06 May, 2018, 12:12:50 PM »
I have mentioned several times in various debates, that the area of land known as Newham and its predeceasing boroughs of East and West Ham, are still relatively young in historical terms. While that thought was rolling around in my mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to expand on that theme a little from the perspective of those who lived in Newham at an earlier time.

I have been studying a 1893-1895 Ordnance Survey map of London which includes most of Newham. The link to the map to paste into your browsers is at the  bottom of this article. The map can be zoomed in and out to show fine detail.

Some of the what we now consider to be the key road infrastructure had not yet been built and some of peoples movements, employment, habits and perceptions would have been influenced by what existed at the time. As an example, if someone were to look at a open green field and come back some years later with another person and see the field had been built on, the first person would be able to visualise in their minds eye, what had existed previously to what existed now. The newcomer however would have great difficulty in visualising the field that had previously existed. So it must be with all our memories as each succeeding generation witnesses change to their environment, and only the written memories of those that have passed before, (local historians),  aided with items like maps, can help convey a possibly different way of life.

In the south of the borough, virtually everything east of the Beckton Road/Forty Acre Lane junction is shown to be undeveloped open land. Interestingly Forty Acre Lane is shown to be north of the Beckton road rather than south of it which it s now. Much open space can also be seen east of Green Street and Katherine Road. To the north outside the borough, Ruckholt Road and the Eastway in Leyton that cross Hackney Marshes also have yet to be built. This would have heavily influenced locals of that time, with the main route for travellers going in that direction being along the old Temple Mills lane via Angel Lane route. I always remember Temple Mills Lane as little more than a narrow back road, but in its time, locals would have perceived this as a major route. Carpenters Road only went north westwards as far as the River Lea and much of the heavy industry had yet to be developed. To many locals at the time, Carpenters road may have been perceived as a pleasant walk into the countryside.

The Royal Victoria Dock shows numerous jetties protruding out into the dock, something that did not exist in the time I knew them and I must admit, I never knew they existed until I saw them on the map. Once again, a person working in the dock in the late 1800's would have had a completely different perception of its layout than later generations.

The more one studies the map, the more one sees. I have little doubt that todays younger generation will in the future, have a lot to tell as yet unborn generations how things used to be in Newham. I suspect that change in this part of the world will be great indeed as what are now 100 year old, become 200 year old terraced houses. Somehow I suspect most will not last that long. It will not be long before a youngster of today starts a conversation with, "I remember when.............".

http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=14&lat=51.5264&lon=0.0140&layers=163&b=1


Offline KenM

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #1 on: 07 May, 2018, 11:52:13 AM »
Hi MickG, The changes that I have seen in (Custom Hse) the area that I was born makes me cry.
The once neat red brick terraced houses have been mutilated. Now we have a mixture of coloured render, plastic doors & window frames, a terrible mismatch. The traditional style of building has been lost in a rush for progress.
Kenm

Offline ed styles

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #2 on: 08 May, 2018, 07:00:24 PM »
Mick and Ken ,
                   on the subject of locations around Thames and dock area , I watched the opening sequence of James Bond for your eyes only last night and the helicopter flight down the river towards Barking look  ed very familiar , he then swerved into the wasteland then i realized it was the old Beckton  Gasworks  and as Mr Bond was weaving in and out of the remaining buildings I was shouting at him to slow down so I could get a butchers and closer look to see If I could locate me old homestead .It all looked very eerie and desolute but as I taped the film I will have a closer in depth look at it . Th other famous film made there was the Vietnam war film Full metal Jacket totally unrecognisable as war totn vietnam with Plastic Palm trees

All the best Ed

Offline MickG

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #3 on: 08 May, 2018, 09:15:02 PM »
Ed, I Googled Beckton Gas Works as a film location and found Wikipedia has extensive information on this. Below is an extract I have copied from Wikipedia on this subject.

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The Gasworks, Products Works and Alps were used as a location for TV and cinema filming on a number of occasions. In the 1960s comedy films and TV programmes, such as Michael Bentine’s It's a Square World were shot here. The mounds of chemical waste were used to portray mountaineering scenes.[7] In 1975 the film Brannigan starring John Wayne used the location. The opening sequence of the 1981 James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only was filmed here. The scenes involved Roger Moore as James Bond attempting to regain control of a helicopter operated by remote control by his nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The gasworks buildings were also used in a number of scenes representing a dystopian 1984 London in the 1984 film version of the George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. In 1986, the film Biggles: Adventures in Time used the gasworks as a location for a weapon testing ground.

Patrick Keiller's 1997 film Robinson in Space visits Beckton, including 'East Ham Churchyard' ("the largest in England" noted the narrator Paul Scofield) opposite Beckton Alps.[15] Asylum, a 2000 film of Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit for Channel 4, was partially shot at Beckton Alps while it was still a dry-ski slope.[16]

In the final hour or so of Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick's 1987 movie portraying the Vietnam War, Matthew Modine (Private Joker), Adam Baldwin (Animal Mother) and their platoon go into Huế, a Vietnamese city, to clear it of Viet Cong and snipers. Kubrick had the whole gasworks selectively demolished and the art department then dressed the 'set' with latticework and appropriate advertising hoardings to make it believable. At one point the soldiers enter a building to flush out a sniper. This building was one of several located between the central buildings of the old gasworks and about 200 yards from the river Thames. The final scene sees the soldiers marching off into the (London) sunset against the silhouettes of the burning gasworks' chimneys and buildings, singing the Mickey Mouse March from the US children's TV show. In the film a period of several days takes place in the protagonist's lives as they travel through the industrial quarters of Huế city; in reality the action took place within just one square mile. According to Kubrick collaborator Leon Vitali, who worked on Full Metal Jacket, the gasworks were built by an architectural firm that also constructed much of Huế.[17]

British pop/rock trio The Outfield filmed multiple sequences for the video to the band's 1987 hit 'Since You've Been Gone', from their album Bangin', at Beckton Gasworks.

The video for Loop's 1990 single 'Arc-lite' was filmed on the set of Full Metal Jacket.[18] The gasworks was used as the main background scene for the Oasis video 'D'You Know What I Mean?', as it shows the band members playing on a concrete slab within the gasworks. The videoclip for Marcella Detroit's 1994 single 'I Believe' was shot in this location. Also, the 1995 TV series Bugs episode 'Out Of The Hive' shows the entire works in a scene where a car drives off an unfinished bridge in flames.

Derek Jarman's 1986 promotional video for The Smiths 'The Queen is Dead' single was partly shot at Beckton Gasworks.

Part of the 1985 Max Headroom TV Movie 20 Minutes into the future was shot at Beckton Gasworks.

Offline MickG

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #4 on: 08 May, 2018, 09:21:50 PM »
Ken, Have you ever seen the film Neighbourhood 15? There used to be a video of this on the Newham website in two parts. It was filmed all around Custom House and Canning Town and was about the building of the Kier Hardie Estate following the wartime bombing.

Offline KenM

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #5 on: 09 May, 2018, 11:37:33 AM »
Hi MickG & Ed, the more that I see of the changes made in the name of progress of the area that I was born & lived for 20 years,  I find deeply depressing. Mick I have not seen Neighbourhood 15, it sounds interesting viewing.
Kenm.

Offline MickG

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #6 on: 09 May, 2018, 02:57:15 PM »
Ken, you can find the film Neighbourhood 15 which is in two parts at

http://www.newhamphotos.com/p1027275707/h6BBFA268#h6bbfa268       for part 1

http://www.newhamphotos.com/p1027275707/h6BBFA268#h6f8b4305       for part 2

Offline KenM

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Re: Do you see what I see?
« Reply #7 on: 10 May, 2018, 02:29:58 PM »
Hi MickG, the 2 links that you posted make for very interesting viewing
The film of the homes rising out of the badly bombed areas is amazing, I note that they are terraced blocks which kept many communities close together. Where did it all go wrong with the rapid growth of the tower blocks?
Kenm.