Geezers watch a great film called Goodbye Longfellow Road

Watching the film Goodbye Longfellow Road at the Tower Hamlets Archives

On Tuesday afternoon the Tower Hamlets branch of the U3A in conjunction with the Tower Hamlets Archives in Bancroft Road showed the film Goodbye Longfellow Road. It was made by Yorkshire Television and transmitted in 1977. It depicts the demolition of streets of houses near Clinton Road in Bow to create a section of Mile End Park.

The film opens with bailiffs and the police evicting squatters from what today would be million pound three storey houses. Back then they were allowed to decay under the GLC and had been passed on for free to 2nd Genesis Housing Association and then to NOVO housing association. The GLC had compounded the corruption by giving the housing associations grants to carry out work which they did not do! Meanwhile social security were paying the housing associations £14 a week rent to house needy people in insanitary conditions.

Tenants who complained got nowhere and in some cases were beaten up.

This was a brilliant piece of undercover journalism and fly-on-the-wall style filmmaking.

A big thank you goes to the organisers for showing this film.

Alan Tucker


  1. From: Francis Murphy

    Hi there. I was a refugee from War torn Belfast in the 70’s and was helped greatly by the community in the East End.
    I lived in a squat in Longfellow road when the documentary was made. I didn’t feature in it but had got to know the family down the street who took part. They were lovely people.
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Me and my parents lived at 67 Longfellow Road, and my aunt, uncle and great gran lived at 69 Longfellow Road. We were one of the last of six families to leave the road. Our landlord didn’t want to give up the property. We had many years of good times there. My mum (Mrs Annie Newson) and aunt (Mrs Esther Green) are in this documentary, they are the ladies standing in the doorway doing an interview to the camera, my aunt is the one with the glasses. I also appeared in this documentary, I was the young lad with brown hair and wearing a blue bomber jacket with red and white stripes around the tops of the sleeves, on a bright red new Raleigh Chopper. I had that bike right up until 1981. We were moved to Milton Keynes when they moved us out, I’m getting teary eyed remembering everyone. Sadly all the family have passed away now, I’m the only one left. The Newson line ends with me. Why why why did they have to flatten the place and move all our families to god now’s where.

  2. Who’s stupid idea was that to knock down all those houses and put a useless strip of grass from St. Paul’s way up to victory park
    Must have been lots of back handers going on back then
    I remember it going on as I still lived just off burdet rd back in 1963-76

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