This would have been one of those prize suspicious photos had everyone stopped moving to give me time to take the photo. It was early evening in Dagenham Heathway. You do not know Dangenham Heathway? It is a hot spot in London, one of the most exciting pieces of pavement where the action happens.
My mum and dad moved to Dagenham from Bethnal Green (another den of excitement and crime in London), They were not escaping from their dangerous surroundings, because they never really noticed that they were dangerous. Admittedly the biggest gangsters in London (the Kray family) lived in the same area, but the only actual knoqn murder happened in a pub which was on the other side of the main road.
Mum and dad felt comfortable in Bethnal Green and Dagenham. Dad was approaching his gold oldie years and he worked in the Ford Motor Company factory which was in Dagenham, so his work distance was no longer so far away. I would visit mum and dad once a year and found that Dagenham was not a bad place to live. It was full of working class golden oldies and they felt at home. Crime: of course, but again nothing out of the ordinary.
I remember one evening when we had finished the evening meal. Dad was in the kitchen and suddenly appeared quite excited. The back gardens of the various houses were next to each other and suddenly a man jumped over the fence and was running very fast. Suddenly the neighbour followed him who had been shaving in his kitchen and had a naked top body part. He jumped over dad’s fence and he had a hammer in his hand. It seemed that the first person was trying to break into a house and the neighbour saw him and an excited chase was the result in the middle of shaving and washing through the back gardens. Yes, even Dagenham had its exciting moments.
The photo? Taken by me on one of my memorable annual visits to Dagenham. I was walking along the Heathway from the local underground station and suddenly two police cars arrived, the police jumped out of the cars. You can see their uniformed appearance in the photo. They pounced on some pedestrians and detained them on the road for questioning. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, but had to be careful with the camera, not wanting to have my prize suspicious photos confiscated by the police.
Everything happened fast in Dagenham. Since this time, mum left us and dad went a couple of years ago, but Dagenham remains the same. Now and again a robbery, or even a mysterious murder case. I think mum and dad felt quite at home in Dagenham.