woodberry downs memory shop

Woodberry Down Memory Shop

For anyone moving into one of the new-build high-rise private flats which are inexorably replacing the Council blocks on the Woodberry Down Estate, the Woodberry Down Memory Shop in Seven Sisters Road must seem like an excellent idea.

What better way for the Woodberry Down resident of today to discover the history of the area? To discover the opinions and hopes of those who willingly stepped aside for the regeneration scheme, to the last man, woman and child, having fully accepted the benefits of wholesale demolition and replacement.

Except for a small matter.

woodberry down memory shop
photo by nico hogg

Those people still live here, on the Woodberry Down Estate, and do not agree with the loss of their homes and the memories associated with them

They live here in significant numbers too, because the regeneration master plan (whichever revised version we are up to, there have been so many the exact number slips from the memory) has not yet obliterated 50% of the estate.

If the new residents sincerely wish to know the opinions of the current residents, all they have to do is walk across a building site and knock on a door. Unfortunately we cannot return the compliment because, as the repairman for my tumble dryer recently observed, “The concierge would never let me in.” The sharing only goes one way.

Online, the Woodberry Down Memory Shop states that, “We’re hoping to collect lots of stories, photos and memories – good and bad!” Gotta love the way they artfully managed to associate the word bad with the Woodberry Down Estate. As if they’d ever use the word bad in connection with private flats in the new tower blocks.

If this resident of the Woodberry Down Estate cherishes any single memory about the place above all others, it’s of a time when the opinions of local residents were actually taken into account and helped shape local policy.

How different to when he recently read in the Times about the fatuous “Happiness” survey. Where the newspaper memorably announced (4th February 2014), “Residents [of the Woodberry Down Estate]… are now so proud of its redevelopment that they are near the top of a happiness league.” Anyone know how a happiness league is compiled? Me neither. Nor do I know anyone on the estate whose happiness was mysteriously measured.

The article recalled a quote from George Orwell’s 1984. I think it covers the Woodberry Down Memory Shop too, which opened 6 days after the Time’s article: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

Sorry, must go. A nice man from the Woodberry Down Memory Shop is here with a winsome looking rat.