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.