Author Topic: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)  (Read 639 times)

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Offline M Diekhoff

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Hello!

My name is Marissa, and I'm currently pursuing an MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths. This summer, I'm going to be working on my dissertation, and am hoping that a few of the members on here might be up for helping me. I have really enjoyed looking through all of the memories and photographs posted here, as they play right into what I am exploring. I am interested in the connection between urban development, memory, and heritage making, and am hoping to look at how the lived experience of a specific plot of land in Stratford has evolved from WWII to now throughout several periods of 'regeneration.'

The area I am looking at is 150 High Street in Stratford, which is currently comprised of the reconstructed Yardley's box factory and two more recent developments from the Olympic-area reconstruction (the Halo building and the Opal Court building). As this development has been heralded as the 'Spirit of Stratford' in its most recent wave of regeneration, I thought this would be an interesting plot of land to look at in depth for how its transformation from a mixed industrial factory/residential area to the commercial/residential space it is now has affected the character of the area, its community, and individual residents.

I am ideally looking to speak with anyone who has a history of living on this end of Stratford or who has worked (or had family that worked) in the Yardley's box factory to conduct informal interviews about your experiences. I would love to listen to any stories you have, experiences of the various periods of redevelopment (post-war, closing of the Yardley's, Olympics), and look at any photographs or memorabilia as well. If there are any of you that might not have lived or worked in this specific area, but have experiences with the Stratford area as a whole that you'd like to share, I would love to hear from you as well!

If anyone is interested in participating or would just like to ask more questions about the project, you may comment on this post, send me a private message through this forum (my username is M Diekhoff), or contact me via email at marissa.diekhoff@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading, and I am looking forward to speaking with anyone that is willing to share.

Best,

Marissa Diekhoff

Offline Abbey

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #1 on: 10 May, 2016, 03:49:52 PM »
Hello Marissa

I lived nr the area you mention but I don't think my limited memories will be of much interest.  However, if you contact Robert Rogers via this site (if he gives the link of course), I think he is a local historian, he may be able to point you in the right direction.

Also, on the home page of the forum 'search' Yardleys or even Carpenters Road and you will see postings from people with a connection.  You may also be able to send them an email via the site;  incase they don't see this message.

The fact is not everybody uses the site regularly any longer but I wish you luck.
A.

Offline M Diekhoff

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #2 on: 10 May, 2016, 04:36:24 PM »
Hi Abbey!

I'm interested in hearing any of your memories, however great or small they may be. I'll message you soon to speak more.

Thank you for your advice! I wanted to make a general post before reaching out to individuals directly, but I will give that a go as well.

Thanks again for your reply,

M

Offline MickG

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #3 on: 10 May, 2016, 11:42:11 PM »
Hello Marissa,

I neither lived or directly worked in the Stratford area although my occupation frequently took me to the whole of Stratford including the High Street area.

I think the biggest change you are likely to find in the area are the effects of gentrification. This is something that has effected many areas of London, some might say blighted as far as the existing residents and communities are concerned. Gentrification was going to come to Stratford anyway but I think the advent of the Olympics probably greatly accelerated the process.

Although many people would have come and gone from the area probably since the 1880's, the communities, spirit and character of the area again probably would have felt much the same. The wholesale removal and relocation of all the industry in the area, and that was a lot, would have caused many difficulties for people, particularly transport difficulties to relocated workplaces for nearby residents that worked in those industries. Inevitably industrial relocation would have meant that some people would have lost out on the employment side.

It is always the natural desire for residents to improve the environment they live in but in many ways that process is often self-defeating. A better environment attracts newcomers whose thoughts, aspirations and heritage may not be the same as those of the existing community. I am talking trendsetters here so my remarks do not get misinterpreted. As the gentrification process grows pace, property prices tend to rise more quickly and prices in Stratford are now sky high. These economic pressures tend to force out long-lived existing communities causing the entire character of an area to completely change.

It is fair to say that although I knew Stratford like the back of my hand, I do not know it now. The same would be true of much of London which I knew equally well.

I no longer live in London but return visits to areas I knew including Stratford leave me completely bewildered.
« Last Edit: 10 May, 2016, 11:44:39 PM by MickG »

Offline linda co

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #4 on: 11 May, 2016, 08:58:59 AM »
Hi Marissa and Abbey a warm welcome to the site to both of you.

I'm afraid that I don't have much knowledge of the Stratford area but a relatives late mother used to work in the Yardley factory. When I next speak to him I'll ask him if he has any memories or photos of when she worked there.

Good luck with your studies
Regards
Linda

Offline M Diekhoff

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #5 on: 11 May, 2016, 04:34:49 PM »
Mick--
Thank you for your thoughtful response. This is exactly the type of sentiments I hope to collect and analyse from across generations and varying experiences/connections to the area. As an outsider to the area, I can see many echoes of the institutionalised processes (such as deindustrialisation, gentrification, and national heritage making, etc.), but what I'm hoping to explore is just what kind of an impact this has had on the way the area is lived, remembered, and felt by those that have experienced the many changes. I would love to include what you have written in my project, and will probably be following up with a few more questions in the near future if you're keen to share more!

Linda--
If you could pass along my contact info, that would be such a wonderful help! I am interested in relational knowledge of the area as well (including how memories and stories are passed on from one generation to another), so if he would be willing, I would love to speak with him.

Best to you both!
« Last Edit: 11 May, 2016, 04:36:52 PM by M Diekhoff »

Offline MickG

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #6 on: 11 May, 2016, 11:17:34 PM »
Marissa, Please feel free to use what I have written provided you clarify I am referring to trendsetter types when I mention newcomers to the area.

Although I have said I did not live an work in your target research area, one lasting memory I do have of the area is smell. To me there was nothing pleasantly aromatic about the area, stench would perhaps be a more descriptive word. Your target area is relatively small, but within about a quarter mile radius of it there were perfume makers, acid and chemical works and a sweet producers to name but a few. I always personally found smells emanating from Yardley's obnoxious and to me resembled nothing like their final product. I have a lasting motivational memory from Yardley's which pops up like a distant cue card whenever I walk into a large department store which has perfumery section just inside the front doors. I find the mixture of aromas hanging in the air so powerful, I usually try to find another entrance to avoid it.

Wind direction is no respecter of boundaries and dependent on which way the wind was blowing, residents of this area would have to endure the flavour of the day. I have heard stories of housewives finding their washing on the outdoor lines containing small holes as wind borne microscopic vapour chemical or acid droplets attacked their clothes. Hopefully a contributor with more personal experience and knowledge of this will be able to give you more personal memories.

Offline dave twitchett

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #7 on: 15 October, 2017, 10:00:54 AM »
I used to cycle regularly down Carpenters road en route from East Ham to Hackney in the fifties..The stench was appalling and helped me to develop a sprint which came in useful on club runs. The sprint was self defeating though as  although it got you through the smell quicker one needed a deep breath earlier. Dave Twitchett

Offline ron copus

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #8 on: 15 October, 2017, 11:39:45 AM »
Yes I remember the smell .. used to work for bouts tillotsons the haulage firm when I left school..
used to walk it every morning & night .. it was just past the dog track on the right ..

Offline nollanhej

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #9 on: 15 October, 2017, 03:28:28 PM »
I cycled down Carpenters Road, to get to Fish Island Industrial Estate. Used to run the gauntlet of jeering young ladies most mornings. Happy days!

Offline biff

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Re: A Warm Hello -- Call to Stratford Locals (past and present)
« Reply #10 on: 15 October, 2017, 04:25:49 PM »
Hi All

My Dad worked at Yardley's box factory and when he came home from work there was always a smell about him.
It wasn't unpleasant but was quite a strong smell of mixed aromas. A couple of my mates dads also worked there
at times and the same smell was noticeable. Going on the single decker bus that used to run down Carpenters Rd
the smells emanating from the various factories ( Boake Roberts, Yardleys other factory, Paint Works, Meat processors
and various other pen and inks) was enough to make you hold your nose. Now all gone and the Olympic site built
over the top of them.