Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Monopoly Game

One of the many attractions that I’ve enjoyed over the thirty years that I’ve lived in London, and I must say on and off, has been the sheer prominence of history, locked up in its working class areas such as here in my beloved East End. I can stand for hours in front of an old building imaging things or events, what life would have been like for a much poorer working class in times gone by. Well I say for a much poorer working class, but the truth is, that still in London’s east end, poverty has never completely disappeared as I’ve tried to highlight in posts now and again.

Constant and alphabet soup like in nature, the pace of change seems to have stepped up a gear or so recently, of course the city prepares for the Olympics, a non event in my book, sold as a complete pack of lies its so-called benefits to our community, and I have yet to see any. What I do see is luxury apartments shooting up everywhere for the rich and well off as they begin to move into an area occupied for centuries by the working class poor.

Many new apartments have been created or rather converted out of the old storage warehouses and factories that were once connected to the London Docks, the Docks serviced by the working class poor who made their homes in slums and hovels whilst the rich looked the other way when they were starving and trying to get by on the poverty pay, many died in that fight to survive but they never gave up. One weapon that was used in the fight for survival was the establishment of the cooperative movement that provided many cheap retail services to the working class. Now without the need of a history lesson here, the cooperative movement was untenable to capitalism and over a long period of time it set about dismantling and acquiring its assets, a good example of this would be the latest development to spring up in Whitechapel. Apartments in the luxury Sugar House start from £485,000 and go up to more than £1m for the penthouse pads. The gorgeous stone-carved grade II-listed building at 99 Leman Street was the Co-operative's headquarters in the late 1800s, and proving that Whitechapel is no longer as cheap as the Monopoly Game suggests (£60)
For Your Sunday treat I've found some wonderful and extraordinarily old photographs of old East London hope you enjoy them:

 Aldgate Pump 1908

Leman Street 1902
Leman Street Today
Limehouse 1936
Munsell Street 1902
Whitechapel 1913
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Chris H said...

Someone once said that the poor will always be with us! But I don't think he meant that we were to ensure the poor were always with us.

As to the olympics, if the developers and speculators were to be denied a profit then you can guarantee that they wouldn't be happening.

Profit is king.

Norbert said...

Hi Chris,

I've heard it said many times that it's not a crime to be poor whatever that means, but to me the real crime is the system that allows us all to live in one form of poverty or another when there is enough in the world for all to be without wanting!

We must continue in our own ways to strive and make that system non-existent, and I know I need not tell you this!

As for the Olympics, handed to the developers and speculators by whom, non-other than Nu Labour and Red (allegedly)Ken.

Chris H said...

The system we have means that there has to be the poor, else there could not be the rich. It's not rocket science!

Nice pictures btw, I expect to see George Lansbury peering out from. You should have a look at the Pathe News site for old films from the region

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