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Newsletter 2007 10 No 10 by HC120301075550


                                                                                                                 OCTOBER 2007
                                                                                                                 Sponsored by The Scolt Head
                            The Scolt Head
                          107a Culford Road, N1 4HT
                                020 7254 3965
       The Scolt Head is De Beauvoir’s new local.                                         WELCOME TO THE TENTH ISSUE of the De Beauvoir Association
                                                                                                                0207 254 2881
  Formerly the Sussex Arms, the pub has changed hands.                                    Newsletter. We hope everyone had a lovely summer, despite the
    Come and visit the coast in the heart of Hackney.                                     variable weather. It seems people are still talking about the fun we had
                                                                                          at the Party in the Park on 14 July, which was a tremendous success. We
   Our seasonal menu changes daily. Come and eat, drink and flick
                                                                                          estimate about 400 people came and, despite the poor weather in the
        through Penguin classics in our family-friendly pub.
                                                                                          weeks before, the sun shone for us. Having previously relied on the
                        Pub Quiz every Monday @ 8pm                                       generosity of local businesses for sponsorship, this year we received a
               Acoustic Music every other Thursday @ 9pm                                  grant of £2,500 from Hackney Council for Voluntary Services / Team
                                                                                                                          Hackney / CEN, which allowed us to do
                Our kitchen is open for lunch and supper
                     12–4pm and 6.30–10pm every day                                                                       much more. All the children’s activities
                           Roasts every Sunday                                                                            were free, including a drumming
         Watch live sport at The Scolt, we even have Setanta                                                              workshop, the bouncy castle, face
  Our function room is available for private hire. Birthdays, work                                                        painting, a wonderful magician and gifts
        events, weddings and Christmas parties – book early.                                                              of a toy and a book for every child. The
                                                                                                                          fire brigade sent a fire engine – always a
         Contact us on 020 7254 3965 or                                                             favourite – and St John Ambulance came
                                                                                                                          too, as did the Police Community Support
                                                                                                                          Officers. (cont. p2)
             DE BEAUVOIR GARDENERS (                           Magician Chris Nicholson shows a few tricks to Speaker Faizullah Khan of
             Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 8.00pm in the crypt   Hackney Council
             of St. Peter’s. New members are very welcome.
             9 OCTOBER           GARDENERS' QUESTION TIME                                 Contact us at or text or leave a message at
             6 NOVEMBER          THE GARDENER'S CHRISTMAS – Paul Patton                   07962 422149; Our website is at
             7 DECEMBER          AGM
                                                                                                         DBA PUBLIC MEETING
                        The Rosemary Branch                                                              Tuesday 16 October, 7.30pm
                     2 Shepperton Road, London N1 3DT
                      24-hour box office: 020 7704 6665                                       The Scolt Head, 107a Culford Road (formerly the
                                                                             Sussex Arms)
The Barber of Seville: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 23, 26, and 28 October                         Agenda:
The Four Note Opera: 13 to 28 October                                                      Election of the DBA committee; we need more people
Hoo-Hah Conspiracy Secret Cabaret: 22 October
The Rain in Spain: 30 October to 3 November                                               to get involved
                                                                                           Edward Benyon will speak, and answer questions
    Thanks to Typhoon Creative Partnership ( for our logo
       and to Supreme Printers ( for the printing                 After: stay on and make it a social evening with your
                                                                                          friends and neighbours
                                   - 2 -                                                                          - 7 -
Organisations such as Discover, De Beauvoir Gardeners, Canine Partners,      History Corner
Quicksilver Theatre, St Peter’s Church and Beavers Playgroup added to        National Role for De Beauvoir
the magic. We also sold cakes and drinks and a lovely ice-cream lady
                                                                             Did you know that a national newspaper was once edited in De Beauvoir? The
called Amanda came. We thank Murphy Group for providing the disabled         Morning Star, the communist paper once called the Daily Worker, was here for
toilet, which made the event more accessible. We have already started        about eight years. The paper is not seen much these days but Presto Minimart in
thinking about next year but if you have any suggestions, let us know.       Southgate Road sells it.
Lots of people helped but the main organiser was Kathryn Moore and
                                                                             It had long been in Farringdon Road, close to the rest of the national press in
we owe her a great debt. The last words on the Party in the Park 2007,
                                                                             Fleet Street but left in 1989 when funds ran dry in the wake of perestroika in the
however must be yours:                                                       Soviet Union. That was the year the Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union had once
 “The afternoon was very enjoyable and my mum enjoyed herself as well       supported the paper through bulk orders.
as my gran. We should have one every 3 months.”
                                                                                               The paper moved temporarily to offices near Old Street and in
 “We had a wonderful time. It is a great community event and the                              about 1990 – old hands are not quite sure of the date – moved
children look forward to it every year. They particularly liked the fire                       to 1–3 Ardleigh Road, next to the Scolt Head pub (formerly the
engine and face painting. “                                                                    Sussex). It was not printed there but in Bethnal Green on the
 “Party in The Park was a very enjoyable day that reflects the local                          presses of East End Offset, owned by its ideological opponents
community and brings people together.”                                                         the Socialist Workers Party. (They called each other “Stalinists”
                                                                                               and “Trots”.)
 “Fantastic event. I really enjoyed it. The stall was very busy and the
children made superb masks! Free books for children is such an excellent                        The editor at the time was John Haylett, who had been a
idea. Well done to everyone.”                                                                   member of the group that had left the Communist Party of
                                                                                                Great Britain in 1988 to found the Communist Party of Britain
 “Fabulous community event – plenty of kids with smiling faces”.            (CPB). The paper’s editorial policy is tied to the CPB's programme, “Britain's Road
 “Very enjoyable fair for all – adults and children. We had great success   to Socialism”, but it is not a mouthpiece for the party.
with our stall getting signatures to prevent excessive and poorly designed
new buildings on the De Beauvoir Council Estate. Lots of enthusiasm for      The paper left De Beauvoir in about 1998 in the wake of a factional struggle at
community gardening!”                                                        the top of the CPB. Haylett had been sacked early that year, leading to a strike of
                                                                             12 of the 15 editorial staff employed at Ardleigh Road. Management gave in after
 “More community in the parks! Thanks”                                      five weeks and reinstated Haylett but the journalists had to agree to stop
 “Fantastic!!! We at the local Fire Station had a great time. The kids      producing their rival weekly paper, The Workers’ Morning Star. Haylett still edits
loved our fire engine and we loved their enthusiasm and questions about      the Morning Star.
the work we do. See you next year.“                                          Since 2002, the Morning Star has been edited at William Rust House in Beachy
 “Really good time with lots of good things to do. Enjoyed the Pimm’s!”     Road, Bow, a building named after the paper’s first editor from 1930 to 1949. PB
 “Lovely day, very good for children. Would be great to see a BBQ and
some live music for ambience and a smaller kids' bouncy castle or            Rugby in Hackney: Hackney Bulls Youth Rugby Club
paddling pool. Will definitely come back next year for sure.”                Interested in playing Rugby? Then come and play with the Hackney Bulls at
 “I had a lovely time.”                                                     Clissold Park between 10.00 and 12.00 every Sunday morning. We play Tag
 “Lovely community atmosphere – friendly, calm, happy – and the sun         Rugby for the Under 7s and Under 8s, and field full competitive teams from Under
                                                                             9s to Under 15s.
was even out – and reflected the disposition of the visitors”.
                                                                             It's fun, fast and furious and there are no round balls in sight.
 “Very child-friendly, excellent services for my 5 and 3 year old. Good     No prior experience required – just lots of energy and enthusiasm.
face painting and lovely tarts. See you next year”                           The Club is run by professional coaches supported by parents/volunteers
Indeed, we hope to see you all next year. Please remember an event of        with the required CRB clearances. We're the fastest growing youth rugby
only three hours takes many, many weeks of organising. So if you would       club in London.
kindly volunteer to help, it makes the work less for each member of our      Come along this Sunday at 10.00am and find out what we do.
team and will help to ensure the Party’s longevity. It's also a fun way to   You can find us near the Café just beside the Children's Playground. For
                                                                             more information visit or call 07967016999. OS
get to know the people of De Beauvoir and make new friends. KM/PB
                                       - 4 -                                                                                         - 5 -
                                                                                         dust, noise, vibration and those broken paving stones caused by heavy trucks
NEWS FROM YOUR COUNCILLORS                                                               driving over pavement edges.

Record results for Hackney schools                                                       While the meeting in February did not take a formal position, the general
For the first time in history more than half the pupils in Hackney schools received      consensus of residents was that the council highways department should
five or more A*–C GCSE grades. Provisional figures released on Thursday 24               introduce traffic calming measures while keeping to a minimum the amount of
August, show that 51% of Hackney pupils gained five or more good GCSEs.                  street furniture used.

This is up nearly 4% on last year’s record result and continues four years of non-       We are constrained by law regarding the size of some signs, but we have met
stop improvement. This year the increase in Hackney’s schools performance is             with officials and cabinet member, Councillor Alan Laing, to stress the importance
three times faster than the rest of England, where results only went up 1.2              of striking a balance between a meaningful impact on traffic and minimising the
percentage points. In just four years Hackney schools’ GCSE results have                 environmental impact of the measures themselves.
improved by two-thirds on the 2002 figure.
                                                                                         De Beauvoir Estate
                                            It comes as education services in            Hackney Council have been canvassing the views of residents across the De
                                            Hackney are now rated as ‘good’ in the       Beauvoir Estate on how they think their estate can best be improved under
                                            Joint Area Review (published in              Hackney’s Estates Plus scheme.
                                                                                         The four options being considered are:
                                            Local policing is resulting in a reduction   • A masterplan for the whole estate in order to see how best it can be improved
                                            in crime. Crime is falling faster in         • No further action
                                            Hackney than anywhere else in                • Partial implementation of the Estates Plus strategy excluding demolition of St.
                                            London. We were the first borough to             Brelades and Benyon Courts
                                            hit the 20% reduction target from            • Implementation of the Estates Plus proposal which includes demolition of St.
                                            2003/4–2007/8. The latest figures                Brelades
                                            show crime falling by over 28% since
                                            2003/4. The figures for DeBeauvoir are       Views across the estate have so far been mixed. However, a very strong message
even better, at (May 2007) 24.4% for the year. This fantastic achievement is in a        has been expressed that all residents on the estate should see benefits from
large part due to the work done by your local Safer Neighbourhood Team. Funded           redevelopment. For this reason, there has been no decision taken at this stage
by the London Mayor and your local council, these teams have made a big impact           and further meetings with the residents steering group will take place over the
all over London but particularly here in DeBeauvoir.                                     coming months.

Residents on Colville Estate have asked the police/community liaison group to            Ufton Road back in play
help lobby for the installation of CCTV cameras on their estate. Councillors are         We’ve worked with local residents to see the football pitch on Ufton Road
currently investigating how funding might be secured.                                    resurfaced so children have another safe place to play games. We have asked
                                                                                         that the markings allow for not only football, but also for basketball and tennis.
Traffic calming
We were grateful for the opportunity of speaking to the De Beauvoir Association          The area has been tidied up and the surrounding walls will soon have the graffiti
at your well attended meeting in February. Discussion centred on the various             removed.
traffic measures for the ward. We went through the drawings of proposals and
spoke about the suggested measures for the 20mph speed limit and lorry ban.              LOCAL COUNCILLORS’ SURGERIES
                                                                                         These take place from11am until 12 noon on the second Saturday of each month at the
The Council has begun implementation of the new speed limit and lorry ban                Colville Community Centre, Colville Estate, Branch Place, N1. And there's a walkabout
throughout De Beauvoir Ward. We welcome these schemes. Your local councillors            surgery every third Saturday, visiting all parts of De Beauvoir in rotation.
joined residents in successfully pushing for the measures to be extended to the
whole of the ward, rather than selected areas as originally conceived. We believe        Mobile and text number is 07722 868937 and e-mail addresses are …
that they will make a major contribution to road safety. The lorry ban in particular
will improve the local environment by stopping the increasing use of the area as a
“rat run” for tipper lorries carrying spoil from city building sites, cutting down on
                                       - 6 -                                                                                   - 3 -
Police panel
Ann Ford represented the DBA at September’s meeting of the police panel.              How we stopped the bulldozers in De Beauvoir
Matters passed to the DBA were raised and people will get individual responses.       Graham Parsey recalls a historic fight
June/July crime figures for De Beauvoir ward
12 robberies, including 3 snatches of handbags and nine robberies from people.        It is easy, 40 years on, to forget how close many homes in De Beauvoir came to
27 burglaries – more in the north of the area than the south.                         demolition. In 1968 Hackney Council was committed to the demolition of every house
54 motor vehicle offences comprising 34 thefts from vehicles and 20 thefts of         between Downham and Balls Pond Road.
vehicles.                                                                             In 1963, despite desperate resistance by the residents, Hackney Council had
The message from the police is that people can help themselves to avoid               determined to redevelop the entire area between Downham Road and the Canal. This
becoming victims of theft by NOT leaving items in view in cars.                       resulted in the loss of properties of identical form and condition to the rest of De
                                                                                      Beauvoir. It was an emotional time and the suicide of the local doctor was attributed to
Party in The Park 2007 Accounts                                                       the stress he suffered at the loss of his fine surgery, which stood on the corner now
We made a healthy surplus on the party, which will stand us in good stead for         occupied by the Rose Lipman.
next year, when there is no guarantee that we will get the all-important grant.
Income                                                                                In 1968, flushed with the success of its actions in 1963, Hackney now targeted the
Team Hackney / HCVS Grant               £2,500.00                                     remainder of De Beauvoir on the grounds of there being a low density of housing
Float carried over from 2006 Party         £11.93                                     because of the wide roads and generous gardens. Only Northchurch Road, three sides
                                                                                      of the Square and the north part of Hertford Road would be spared from demolition.
Raffle                                    £134.00
Book Sales                                £228.28                                     The stuccoed Regency terrace on the east side of the Square was demolished and
Cakes and Ice Cream                       £246.00                                     replaced by the Lockner Estate, which was a prototype of what was to be rolled out
Pimms, Juice, Tea                         £226.94                                     throughout De Beauvoir.
Total                                  £3,347.15
                                                                                      The creation of the DBA
Expenditure                                                                                          DE BEAUVOIR ASSOCIATION WEBSITE
                                                                                      1968 saw the foundation of the De Beauvoir Association by two newcomers, Robin
Licences                                   £21.00                                     Young and Stuart Weir. Its task was to oppose this redevelopment and lobby
Insurance                                 £262.50                                     Hackney to formulate a more constructive policy for the area. That year also saw the
                                                                                                                         07962 422149
Publicity                                 £594.20                                     passing of the Housing Act, which enshrined the concept of General Improvement
Participating Organisations' Costs /                                                  Areas (GIA's) whereby the Government finally recognised that the nation’s housing
                                                                                      needs could not be met solely by new building and that much of the housing stock that
 Donations                               £862.00
                                                                                      was being cleared was capable, with suitable investment, of an extended life.
Gazebos, Tables, Miscellaneous           £445.93
Decorations                               £51.99                                      The DBA, under Robin and Stuart, was dedicated to the welfare of the whole
Refreshment Costs                        £316.11                                      community rather than being a preservation society seeking the ‘gentrification’ that had
Postage                                   £10.50                                      already happened elsewhere. It protected tenants from the knock on the door and the
Total                                  £2,564.23                                      £100 offer to move out which was commonplace at the time, particularly in the Square.
                                                                                      It provided legal representation so local leaseholders could obtain their freeholds and it
Net profit                                 £782.92                                    founded a Housing Trust to acquire vacant properties in the area to provide social
                                                                                      housing for local tenants. It also set up a playgroup and nursery. In 1970, to replace
                                                                                      the frequent leaflet drops, a bi-monthly newspaper, The De Beaver, was started,
St. Peter’s Community Café                                                            providing a powerful voice for the DBA. It was circulated free to 4000 people
The café has been open in the crypt of St. Peter’s Church since June. Run by          throughout the area and to the entire Hackney Council.
Martin, Zelda and Steve, volunteers from the Catholic Worker movement, it's
small, friendly and comfortable, with art and posters for events that reflect their   The DBA campaigned for Hackney to declare all of De Beauvoir a GIA. It was reluctant
varied interests and concerns. Prices are amazingly low, and the volunteers           to do this but a freak election result in 1968 had given control of Hackney to the Tories.
make all their customers very welcome. The café aims to provide for everyone:         They conceded GIA status to the area that would have survived under the original
                                                                                      plans for redevelopment but, crucially, they the GIA up to Englefield Road.
kids who might be bored or lonely, older folk who are isolated or don’t cook
much for themselves, and anyone in between. The aim is to build links and             This declaration and the Tories' four-year term of control were sufficient to stall the
provide informal support networks. They are averaging about 20 customers a            march of the bulldozers and provide a breathing space for calmer reflection. They also
day, and aim to reach 40. They would welcome more volunteers: if you are              gave time for strident campaigning to save the Southern Area, the space between
interested, call 020 7249 0041, or drop into the café itself. KMN                     Downham and Northchurch Roads, of which more in a future article.

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