A big part of this project is the collection and sharing of play memories.

Some residents of the East End have lived here all their lives, while others have come from places all over the world.  For each of the adults we spoke to, however, the world of their childhood has been radically different to the one surrounding them today.

One website speaks to that difference.  This site is part of Age Exchange, the UK’s leading reminiscence arts charity, and is rich with the oral histories of long-time area residents.  We’ve listed the memoirs of individual authors on our bibliography page, but there’s something particularly compelling about the chorus of voices speaking here and the lost microcosm that they call up.  We live in the same streets they’re speaking of, but they’re nearly unrecognizable from the photographs.

Not only has the landscape changed dramatically in that time, but so have the ways in which people experience it.  Even the picture below, one of many we’ve seen of this game, demonstrates a freedom to transform public space into playspace that was once taken for granted.

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We hope that by encouraging adults of all ages to remember their own play memories we’ll slowly make advocates of the whole community, so that once again these streets can be used by children for play.

 

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