FOWC with Fandango: Lamppost

The End of Norah Street

First of all, sorry for the bad quality of the photo, but it was from an english newspaper that my mum sent me many years ago. She died in the early eighties.

The photo shows the street where I grew up, at least part of it. There were two squares, identical, and on each side row of attached houses. This is the top square, and I lived in the lower square. The houses were built in 1884 before the invention of hot running water, electricity and inside toilets, although electricity arrived some time at the beginning of the 20th century. Ok, that is just a background. The street was ready for demolition in the photo, the houses all empty.

Between the two squares there was a narrow street for cars and there was a lamppost. you can see it on the left at the front of the photo. It looks quite old fashioned and it was, but the lamp lit up every evening. I grew up with this lamppost with other kids in the street. It was not just a lamppost it was part of our adventure playground. The other parts of the adventure playground being the ruined houses, bombed remains after the second world war. So back to the lamppost. If you look at it in detail you can see that there is some sort of handle towards the top. You needed a rope, a skipping rope as all kids had. The rope would be hung on the handle. There was a little box towards the bottom containing the electric parts of the lamp. It was very handy to climb up to and stand on. The rope was hanging down. You gripped the rope, jumped off the box and could swing around the lamppost. We kids took turns, one after the other. If you were lucky you might be alone and had the lamppost all to yourself.

I grew up in this street and only left when I was 20 years old, but the lamppost was still there. Today lampposts have become sleek works of art, but I remember my lamppost in Norah Street, Bethnal Green, London. The street no longer exists of course and neither does the lampost. It is now a small park. They could have kept the lamppost as a memory of the days gone by, or am I getting sentimental.

Norah Street 2006
FOWC with Fandango: Lamppost

7 thoughts on “FOWC with Fandango: Lamppost

    • Very much so, but as kids we never realised it. I remember the gardens of the houses where the flowers still grew. Part of the main road was still quite flat, near Brick Lane where the Sunday morning market was. The cellars were still there and we would walk past to school and see the hundreds of rats scuttling around. I think the late James Herbert based his book “The Rats” on it. He was also a Bethnal Green boy, although I did not know him.

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    • It was the street where I grew up. It was a complete working class neighbourhood, now been rebuilt with high rise blocks etc. Although it was a good thing that the old Victorian slums were cleared away, it was part of my life.

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  1. I remember lampposts from when I was a kid. That’s how you knew it was time to go home. When the lamps went on, everyone raced home. No cell phones. But we all knew — when the lights went on, you had to go home. Out here, we have no streetlights and it is VERY dark out there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen kids out playing after dark in the 18 years we’ve lived here. But back in Boston, they used to play outside at night.

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    • We all used to play at the end of the street. Now and again I see a familiar name in Facebook, all golden oldies now. We have a road near us and also the village is well lit. We often have storks sitting on the lampposts in Summer.

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