The BBC are reshowing “The secret history of our streets”; it’s based on Charles Booth’s social surveys and episode 1 is about #Deptford High Street. It’s fascinatingly shot, with focus of the story just outside my flat.

When Booth started his surveys Deptford Hight Street was a retail Mecca and while surrounded by poverty, there was money around. Somethings only change slowly and London was biggest city that had ever existed; the wealth north of the river must have been stupendous. The post war period was a retailers golden age, but the wealth dried up, and the urban planners decided to rebuild London. The show discusses the family disruptions caused by the redevelopment of Reginald Road, and to complete the story, they’re starting again. They have some contemporary film of some housewives talking about depression, one even was sent to the Doctor’s by their husband. These disruptions were made worse by a level of family proximity which they valued, but I find incomprehensible and was seen to be disrupted by moving to Brockley (about 1 mile away). There have always been nomads and homesteaders though.

The pictures of the horse drawn rag and bone man, the 19th century’s attempt at recycling brought back memories. No. Really!

You can’t make a film about Deptford High Street without talking about the Deptford Arms, and its left wing history and the film talks in some depth about the street’s relationship with alchohol. It’s hard to comment, since the film was made some time ago, possibly before I arrived in 2009, but they record that the number of pubs has fallen from 12 (on a street about 800 yards long) to two, although the Job Centre has just opened. They capture the Deptford Arms becoming a betting shop and the growth of street drinking, and contrast it with the hard drinking undertaken by our parents and grand-parents (although lets face it, most of this drinking was done by the men.) There’s a story about the colour bars in the pubs, one of which was disrupted by a black army veteran who shot up the Deptford Arms. (While one never condones terrorism, he claims it worked as a political protest, they let him drink there afterwards.)

Since its on the BBC, it’ll only be on the web for a couple of weeks, and then disappear into their /dev/null.

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