It’s just a piece of greenery, a small park you might say. I have to turn the clock back to my childhood days – exactly from 1946 until 1966 when I lived on this small piece of green earth. Not only me, there was a street on it, Norah Street, Bethnal Green, London E.2. It was where I grew up. My mother was born there with her sisters and brother. They were attached houses, no bathroom, no running hot water, but we called it home and each house even had its own back yard. The toilet was in the yard. When the houses were built in 1884 there was no electricity. Everything was powered by gas, and the original gas holders were still in our house, in my bedroom.
There were at least 50 houses on this piece of grass. They were built as a square and a pavement ran through the middle. It was my playground, my childhood. The large building with the red and white bricks was always there. We called it the Adelaide after Queen Adelaide, born 1792, who was the wife of King William IV. It was our landmark. The buliding was a residence for nurses that served in the local hospital. It was always there and still is today, and still in use.
I took this photo on one of my annual visits to London, which no longer take place. My father passed away last year at the age of 100 and I no longer have close family in London. I have been living in Switzerland since 50 years, but there are places you never forget, because they are part of your life. I have seen many changes in London over the years. The high appartment blocks on the right were built a lot later when I was no longer in London. There was an article in the local newspaper before my street was demolished as it was found a disgrace that such a street is just left to ruin. My parents sent me the newspaper cutting many years ago and I still treasure it now as my last memory of Norah Street, Bethnal Green, London E.2.
“The last paved, pedestrian street in Bethnal Green has been neglected, boarded up and left to rot.