AK has a keen interest in photography and, along with friends in a closed WhatsApp group, has been sharing old photos of the area where he has lived all his life, and showed what some of the new builds on the Ocean estate previously looked like. This is his story…
“I was moved from Bengal House to a new build when it was demolished. I lived there with my family and it was very overcrowded. The building had infestations of cockroaches.
Where we live now is much better, more room. The ground floor houses are nice. We can’t go into the stairwells to the new flats upstairs. People can hear their neighbours moving around in the flats.
[AK is shown some old photos of pre-demolition of the Ocean estate and of the demolition itself sparking many memories, before showing the exact location of some of the photos]
I know the name of everyone of those tags [points to graffiti on walls and names the individual people who created the tag] - all are friends or related [smiles].
So see this pub, this was on this junction over there, notice how the zebra crossing lines up [corner of Ben Johnson and Harford roads, site of new SO Stepney building].
We are around the back here, [walk along Harford Road, pointing to SO Stepney building] so about half way along this building and in a bit. You can see the blue handrail line-up at the edge of the photos. So this was the neighbourhood office. There was a lot of drug dealing around here. You can see passed the café to where the gas works used to be. There were roads here.
Both-nee-ah house, not Bothnia house, that’s how we used to say it [big smile]. That was full of infestations, yeah bad way.
It’s changed a lot around here; it is much cleaner and tidier generally. There is not as much crime, still a lot of drugs but not as bad as it used to be. It’s alright to be honest, bit of racism and that but not too bad. Anyway show me how to take better photos using the camera on my phone…”