Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Down on District 45: Deptford

This post is extracted from Out of the Box the blog for news and comments from the LSE Archives. It explores the use of the Charles Booth collection information and maps to examine the development of London town centres by a new BBC series. The first programme covered Deptford High Street.

Down on District 45: Deptford
June 8th, 2012 by Andy Jack, LSE Digital Library

"BBC Two series explores social history of London using the Booth maps as a starting point
On Wednesday I watched the first part of the new BBC Two series The Secret History of Our Streets. The episode is currently available on the BBC iPlayer if you would like to watch it for yourself. The first in the six part series focused on the human story of Deptford High Street. We are told that over the course of the last 125 years the area has lost both its wealth and the tight, familial community that gave life to it. The story is one of demolitions, compulsory purchase orders, modernist concrete monoliths and a community ravaged by post-war social experimentation. It isn’t the most uplifting viewing, but the insight into an area only a handful of miles from the affluence of London’s banking district is quite fascinating.

Sheet 12 of 12There will be five more programmes in the series all focusing on a particular street.  Coming up next will be Camberwell Grove.

Map Descriptive of London Poverty, 1898-9 Sheet 12 of 12

Booth at the LSE
At LSE  we hold a considerable collection of material relating to the Booth study and we also host the Charles Booth Online Archive where it is possible to view a digital version of the map and compare it with a more recent street map. It is also possible to view some of the digitised police notebooks and see for yourself what the researchers recorded on their guided tours of the community.

PhoneBooth on Mobile Devices
We are also currently undertaking an innovative project with Edina, part funded by JISC, to mobilise the Booth maps and digitised notebooks for delivery to mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones. The PhoneBoothproject will enable people to retrieve nearby notebook entries for reading in the actual location to which the historic observations occurred. If your street existed 100 years ago and is on Booth’s maps then you will be able to find out whether the area was a den of iniquity or, perhaps part of a well-heeled suburb. You will also be able to read the police commentary on the inhabitants and understand in what ways, if any, your part of London has changed since the epic Booth study."

Please follow the link for the complete article Down on District 45: Deptford
Find out more at Out of the Box the blog for news and comments from the LSE Archives

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