Saturday, 25 May 2013

Ward Park

Northcott Place
Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Northcott Place on March 4th,  the final day of her Royal Visit in 1963. The towers were occupied and she was taken to visit a family on the 14th floor. She looked down on Surry Hills and remarked to the Housing Minister Landa "You have a lot more slum clearance to do here". Prince Philip commented that the towers were bigger than any single flat group in London. Their son would grow up to rail against these buildings and to delight in manning wrecking balls to demolish them.

Northcott Place had been designed according to "the latest Swedish ideas in flat design" and had been acclaimed by Landa as "an outstanding example of what could be done in slum clearance". Only 43 of the 288 families that had been living in the terraces that were cleared were rehoused in the blocks and the new residents would never develop a sense of community. Taxi drivers refer to them as suicide towers.

Riley Street North
Riley Street South

Riley Street passes just to the east of the tower blocks. Only children's playgrounds and barbecues lie on top of where it once passed. The connection was removed so residents of the flats would have ready access to playing fields where they could grow up healthy and disease free. Devonshire Street was extended to link Riley Street to Bourke Street as well as Crown Street instead of Cleveland Street. Now that link is to be obliterated on the whim of a Public Servant. So will O'Farrell be re-establishing the connection in front of the blocks? Nobody can obtain any information other than two crude street maps with a line of dots on them.

Ward Park is to be remembered as the name of a tram stop. This is ironic as the trams turn the playing fields of hope in the 1950s into killing fields.

No comments:

Post a Comment