|:: York Rise, front entrance, circa 1940 ::|
The first tenants at York Rise, in 1938, were families who had previously been housed at the rear of Euston station. The land was needed to extend the station and the railway company was obliged, by law, to rehouse their workers. The company owned land in Dartmouth Park which they leased to the Housing Association and paid for the flats to be designed and built. Families who moved here couldn't believe their luck, moving from overcrowded unsanitary tenements to new, clean flats near to Hampstead Heath, with gardens and space for their children to safely play outdoors. The flats had other amenities: a built in kitchen with larder, a range (fire/stove) in the living room, a balcony to sit out in the sunshine, a wooden airer over the bath, a copper in the kitchen for heating water - even the drying lines outside, innovative in itself, were topped with ceramic finials created by Gilbert Bayes, Royal Doulton's ceramic genius, some of whose work is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The granddaughter of one of the original families has contacted me through this blog and wrote, "I'm sure uncle Fred was proud of his little patch and wanted other people to like it too, I think that was the prevailing attitude of the place. I know they all thought they'd won the lottery when they moved there, a long way to move in London terms but at least all your neighbours came too and you got your own front door and indoor loos and proper bathrooms for the first time. I can imagine them all arriving en masse raised some eyebrows among the locals too." Just think, a journey that now takes 10 minutes by car was considered in 1938 to be moving a long way off your patch - in fact, people used to come up here from 'London' for their holidays a hundred years ago!
|1939 Balcony garden|
One of our neighbours who has lived here all his life, remembers winning the annual gardening competition aged 8 in 1954 - although he confesses it was with the slight help of an older boy!
|:: Before we started: Ivy, cotoneaster, shrub roses ::|
Recent Past and Present:
In 2009, a small group of us were asked whether we'd like to apply for Capital Growth funding in order to grow vegetables. Yes, we'd be up for that. We were given permission to use the borders and central bed of the neglected gardens, with all the work that entailed, and were awarded half the grant we'd applied for - just enough to get started.
|:: April 2009, Time Bankers dig out the old shrubs ::|
|:: June 2009, community digging day ::|
|:: July 2009, first raised beds are built ::|
|:: Showing the children how to sow seeds ::|
|:: August 2009, the last root comes out (reluctantly) ::|
|:: October 2009 - first produce growing ::|
|:: Clearing ivy in walled border, November 2009 ::|
|:: Veg Patch, June 2010 ::|
|:: Veg Patch, July 2011. Northern end ::|
|:: Veg Patch July 2011. South view, fruit trees ::|
Any questions? I'm happy to help if I can.