Yesterday when I came home the welders were working in on three or four flats all over the building. The reverb from their generators shook through the walls like they were working right next door. When I went out, I watched them from platform four of the train station – the arc welders working three at a time putting up the big plates of iron, the blue welder’s flame flashing like sparkles from the gangways, a trio of council officals wandering in and out of the flats that had already been blocked off by the grey iron doors.
Soon, these iron bands will block off a third, then a half of Claydon House, just like they block off a third of that huge estate I see out the window. How will it be when the whole estate is empty but for one or two holdouts? How would it be occupy a single flat in a building this vast, to feel the emptiness spreading out through the building at night, to walk down gangways past sealed off flats, knowing no one else’s steps will tread the concrete stairwells – to know the building will soon be rubble?
For now, people are coming out again to enjoy the light evenings. Kids on the gangways, the Africans and Latinos who seem to make up most of the Heygate’s residents feeding on and off the rampways. Two young English girls, hair back in those ponytails young English girls seem to favour, one of them pushing a baby carriage with that stolid efficiency of young English single moms, as if having a baby has fulfilled their duty in life . . .the friend chattering and breaking into random dance moves – hip-hop hand gestures, a more obvious 80’s style sway of her hips and legs; the robot – moving as if to music only she can hear, describing to her friend through motion what is playing in her head.
Hi my name is Tom I’m leaving a comment to see if you could help me. I’m a MA Photojournalism student at the College of Communication on the Elephant roundabout. The course has a long-term project documenting life around the Elephant and on the Heygate as the area changes with the regeneration. This year we’ve been given a brief of ‘Work’. I am trying to contact both residents and the Tenants and Residents Association to learn more about the situation of employment on the estate and possibly base my work around this. If you feel there is any way you could help me I’d be very grateful. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks Tom King.
Hi my name is Enrica, I’m a documentary filmmaker that graduated from the National Film and Tv School and have, since graduation, has realised several documentaries. My last one, a 90min film shot in Colombia, was broadcast on More4 True Stories this December. I am also a resident of the Elephant. In fact my window faces the Heygate Estate and since I moved to my flat in 1997 I have been following the on-going story of the Regeneration Project and I have finally decided that I would very much like to make a documentary following, over the last months before it will be finally emptied, the lives and stories of the people who inhabit the estate, to understand their feeling and thoughts about the move. Their present, as well as their past and their expectation about the future. Some of you have been living in it for a long time, for others is may be just a year or two, but for all of you it must be quite a special moment in your life. I would like very much like to meet up to know you, have a chat and also to explain my documentary project better, and see if you will be interested in participating in it. My e-mail is: email@example.com
Please get in touch. Looking forwards hearing from you,