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Living in London in the 1970s


For the first 35 years of my life i lived in London. London was for me a very experiential place. I expect it still is. I lived for a time in a settlement in Bethnal Green We would have communal meals together in a formal setting . Grace before and after the meal pronounced by the head of house. We would some of our evenings in a local pub. This was the days of licensing hours with pubs closing at 11pm. Some of the pubs in the area would their lights out at 11pm but still carry on serving booze. The house we lived in was a Queen Anne built dwelling. Next door but one the house had been taken over by an Architect and he had his work rooms in the same building. There was some lovely oak paneling which was so good it was Listed. One night we were at the pub and he invited a group of us back to his house . He opened a bottle of Beaujolais and then said oh lets have something to eat with it . So we all filed into his oak paneled dining room . I finally went to bed at 3am . Getting up at 7am to to work the next day.
I remember on another occasion having a girl friend at Balham . One late night i was going home to stay with my parents . Traveling from Balham tube station to Morden. On entering the platform I walked past a young woman lying on the seat with a bottle of wine. I walked past and she shouted to me where are you going and i said Morden . She said take me with you? To which i replied no!


Do you mean somewhere like Oxford house ? Or a community driven environment? I find this very interesting :+1:.

I take it, it wasn’t Beaujolais then :wink:


yes like oxford house. It was st Margaret’s house Old Ford road Bethnal Green. It still exists but its no longer a community. I was there for 2 years 1973-5.


Was the girl on the platform your girlfriend, or was that a different girl?


Nothing to do with wine but I’ve just seen this 1935 photo of St Margaret’s House on Twitter



It looked like that when i lived there . My room was the second window from the right on the top floor as you are looking at it.The tree that the observer can see on the right of the picture is in the grounds of the Bethnal green museum .
“in 1855, Albert put forward the idea of a new building on the Brompton Park Estate to house elements of the Great Exhibition. The building would use the new iron-framed technology that had made the Crystal Palace itself possible. Four days after making his proposals public, the firm of Charles Young and Co came forward with a design. Things moved quickly, helped by the radical design of the building. Work began in early 1856 and the new museum opened in July 1857.

In 1864, the structure was dismantled to make way for a more permanent building on the Brompton site; this in turn would become the Victoria and Albert Museum, which stands in Exhibition Row alongside the Science and Natural History Museums.

A plan was published to resurrect the building in the East End – an area in dire need of improvement and a splash of culture. And so the new Bethnal Green Museum became the V&A’s eastern branch. Otherwise, Britain’s first purpose built museum, and a fine example of an early cast iron structure, might have ended up as scrap metal.

The original iron frame, still visible inside, was bought to Bethnal Green in the 1860s, re-erected, and finished with its distinctive red brick to the designs of JW Wild.

In June 1872, The Museum was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Princess Alexandra)” copied from http://eastlondonhistory.com


We were there last weekend.

It is now the V&A Museum of Childhood.

We stayed at the Town Hall Hotel (the old Bethnal Green Town Hall) and I walked past St Margaret’s.


The Town Hall hotel looks expensive. They dont show any prices on their website. I am fortunate I have a friend who lives in a village near Billericay . We have known one another for 50 years.She has a large house and i have a room with a separate bath room all to myself. I go and stay with her for a week every year and it enables me to visit my old haunts in London