Boundary Estate 3 – Residents United!
The Amazing Boundary Estate Community
Those of us lucky enough to live on the Boundary Estate know just how special it is which, given that it’s just a council estate on the borders of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, may come as a surprise to those of a view that the east end is home to nothing more than crime and poverty. Looking at a map and seeing that we’re hemmed in by Brick Lane, Bethnal Green Road, Hackney Road and Shoreditch High Street might confirm that view.
Well, we’ve got news for you – the east end isn’t so bad and the Boundary Estate is far more than just another east end council estate. From the very start it was something a little bit special, Britain’s first ever council estate built between 1894 and 1897 on the site of ‘The Old Nichol’, a notorious slum. The history of the estate will be covered in a later post, here we just want to let you know why those of us who live here care so much about it, and show you just how beautiful the estate is with a selection of images.
Although the estate is undoubtedly photogenic, a large part of what makes the estate special are the people who live here. Many residents have lived here for years, some have lived here all of their lives and have chosen to stay and raise their own children here. There’s a true sense of community that has developed due to the location and history of the estate. Being out in the far west of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and formerly a London County Council estate, meant we were largely left to our own devices. Until very recently the estate was seen as an white elephant, a collection of old, hard-to-let listed buildings, expensive to maintain and repair.
This meant we were very self reliant, people who lived here really wanted to be here and those who didn’t want to stay left quite quickly. Residents have over the years, and certainly over the past twenty years, come together to make sure their estate was loved. Residents have campaigned hard for decent services, twice stopped the estate from being sold off, organised annual festivals – forerunner to the Arnold Circus Sharing Picnic – raised funds for playgrounds, organised replanting abandoned garden areas, bought & cared for planters and have been involved in the refurbishment of Arnold Circus. Oh, and we set up and run our very own launderette too!
Today we’re right at the heart of one of London’s trendiest areas – Shoreditch. New businesses, restaurants, shops and art galleries have blossomed in recent years and all properties on the estate are in high demand. It seems everyone wants to live or set up business here. New apartments have sprung up where warehouses and factories once stood, and luxury hotels line streets that were, not too long ago, some of the seediest in town. How times have changed! The Boundary Estate, however, stands proud and is still, for the moment, a council estate, albeit a very special council estate. Pop by and take a peek, we don’t bite. Well, not very many of us any way. And we’ve got very clean clothes!
Residents Plants – Lovingly Tended for Everyone to Admire
© Boundary Estate Community Launderette Company Limited 2010