BBC Cally Road documentary on tomorrow night (Wednesday 20th) 9pm

BBC2’s Secret history of our streets on Wednesday 20th at 2100 is on the Cally Road.  There’s a clip online already about the 1970s dream of living on the Bemerton.  I know the production company worked with readers of this site so let’s see who popped up in filming.  I have greatly enjoyed the previous episodes of this series, so have high hopes.  If you can’t wait to get stuck into some local history have a look at the remarkable 40 or so comments from people who used to live in or had relatives in the Crumbles/Beaconsfield Buildings or this history of Rufford Street (which needs updating).

Rufford Street, Randell’s Road and bits of Gifford Street are the few surviving examples of the Victorian tenements that used to form a huge grid pattern estate that was demolished for the Bemerton, Delhi-Outram etc.  We also have an update of the Booth poverty indicator (Rufford Street was ‘black’ in the 1890s ‘vicious semi criminal’ etc).  You can look at the Booth maps for yourself online by entering a modern post code – always a salutary experience.

The BBC series is linked to the Open University, although the hand over between the two websites is a bit cack-handed – you can find more resources here and on Cally specifically which has a pic of my old flat at the bottom of the Cally in the one-way though without the roaring traffic.

Back when Century Films were doing their research for the documentary I asked them for a donation to a local civic charity, CYP say in return for helping with research, but as is typical with TV companies, ‘we would struggle to justify a blanket donation as you suggested‘.  They did pay contributors which is good. Would be nice to know what the overall budget for the show is, though the BBC zealously guard such numbers as part of their journalistic independence.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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12 Responses to BBC Cally Road documentary on tomorrow night (Wednesday 20th) 9pm

  1. ada fisher isle of bute scotland says:

    William I lived in Rufford Street/Randells Road from 1947-1960 before I married. Worked in York Way from 1954-1974
    I think you must have lived near Balfe Street/Wharfdale Road. I remember when the one way system wasn’t a one way system. Trolleybuses were in use. Italian friends of mine Toni and Victor owned “Vittorio’s”cafe near to Keystone Crescent for many years. (close to the “Scotch House”) A wonderful baker with the name Baker was between Balfe and Wharfdale Rd. Sold the most wonderful freshly baked sausage rolls. Ready just in time for the factory/offce workers having lunch time break.
    Look forward to the programme this evening 20/6/12

    • hi Ada thanks for your comment – always great to hear from people far afield with a kings cross connection. some great memories. I too was fond of local baked goods – the ‘Bun in the Oven’ bakery on the Cally contributed to my expanding waistline until the baker tragically died. I lived on Rufford Street for maybe 8 years and on the cally near the corner of wharfdale for about 2 years

      • ada fisher isle of bute scotland says:

        Bill believe it or not we lived in Rufford Steet(44 Clarence Terr.) Those were the days when the milkman had a horse and cart. Gas lamps on the corner to swing on. (None on the staircase) We lived in what we called a Scottish ghetto and after moving to the “Buildings” a mixture of Irish Spanish Italian and Cockneys.
        My parents were moved to South London after demolition of the Bldgs. Hated it and moved back to St.Pancras.
        Mum died and Dad returned to Bute where I joined him. Dad’s brother Robert also returned to Bute and is now 91. (I am 74)
        We still retain fond memories of that time and friends we made and still have even although they are far flung.

      • ahh yes those buildings were demolished and eventually became Bingfield Park. were you facing the old chapel/concrete works or the other bit of rufford street?

  2. ada fisher isle of bute scotland says:

    The last block in Clarence Terr. was in Rufford Street. Consisted of three flats on each floor of a five storey block. One toilet on each landing . Gas mantles for lighting and no hot water.
    .After a year we moved to the top floor of 16 Clarence Terrace which had one flat on each floor plus electricity and a “geyser”
    We were fortunate to have the luxury of watching the old Pullman steams trains emerge from the Kings CRoss tunnel past the Old Chapel and cement factory en route to the north. Wonderful views across to St.Pancras and Euston shuttle yards.

    The last time I visited the area was when Mr Wilson (Paget Memorial Hall)celebrated his 80th birthday. Bingfield Park was more like a cemetery holding on to many secrets.

    • crikey that sounds tough. must have been very noisy and dirty when the steamers were coming through i guess. that area looks very different now that the york way viaduct has gone and some huge buildings are appearing on the old shunting yards. do you have any pictures maybe? send them to me and i can stick on the site.

      where do you sit ada on the balance between nostalgia for tight-knit communities and the startling inadequacy of the physical accomodation? which do you think was more important?

      • adafisher says:

        Hi Bill
        Sad to say I don’t have any photographs of the “Bldgs”
        Regarding nostalgia v physical accomodation, We were so lucky when we moved to 3a Beaconsfield Buildings in 1953. Ours was a ground floor flat and the only one which had a separate bathroom and toilet inside the flat along with a large kitchen, sitting room and two bedrooms. This housed Mum, Dad two sisters and one brother.
        (Albeit when the going got tough the sanitary ware on the landings above became blocked and surged up through our toilet . Excretia had to be swept through our bathroom and kitchen and out into the passageway.

        It was at this point my mUm and Dad along with others started a residents association and marched to Downing Street with complaints to Sir Keith Joseph. Hence the demolition.

        As for being a tight knit community. It certainly was. Everyone looked out for each other. The only trouble witnessed was usually within a family itself. The nostalgia I enjoy is probably quite different to the families of ten who lived in two rooms and prefer not to remember the lack of day to day needs.
        Most of us had strict parents and love and affection in abundance – but very little money.

  3. Rob Smith says:

    Hi I’m a Clerkenwell and Islington Guide and I’m running a walk about the history of the Cally on July 8th . I expect Kings Cross Environment Blog readers will be familiar with most of the recent history, but I’m keen to hear any stories from people who live in the area. Just so I can say Ill beat the BBC Ill donate a pound to Copenhagen Youth Project for each ticket I sell. Heres the details
    Meet at Kings Cross Tube Euston Rd entrance 11am Sunday 8th July walk costs £10 or £7.50 concessions – see for more info and tickets.

    Rob Smith

  4. Pingback: Kings Cross local history – send us your pictures etc | Kings Cross Environment

  5. Iris Cardy says:

    We lived at 4c beconsfields buildings which was one room and share toilet before we moved to Clarence terrace, we had the flat on the top floor, through the fire doors, had the loft to play in and the tenants hung the washing there, I would sit on the fire escape on the roof looking at the post office tower and the London skyline, I went to Copenhagen school

  6. Annie says:

    Anyone know how safe the Bingfield Park area is now? I’m a student and am looking at a property there but want to know how safe I would be walking back home alone at around 10pm? Any feedback would be much appreciated! 🙂

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