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Everyday London Life: Local Street Scenes

The London I live in can sometimes look like a well-heeled, prosperous city rich with colour, bright and shining, vibrant with promise. But at other times it appears to be undeniably grey and grimy, with a kind of sad shabbiness borne of generations of poverty and neglect.

I’m experimenting in trying to capture creatively that slightly darker, starker mood of some of the not-so-pretty everyday street scenes, as shown in these few images, all taken locally in Leytonstone, East London… πŸ™‚

urban-fruit-and-veg-stallurban-street-shopfronturban-street-sceneurban-landscape

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Living the High Life…

I grew up in a farming community in the Highlands of Scotland, then brought up my children in a rented council house in an old fishing village just along the coast from Inverness, but I now live with my husband in a tiny one bedroom first-floor flat in an old Victorian-built property in East London. Living in such a small, relatively confined space with no garden, I find I really miss just opening my door and sitting on my herb-scented doorstep with a cup of tea, enjoying the fresh air, feeling the breeze, neither being fully inside or outside.

I wonder sometimes what it must be like to live in an ordinary high-rise tower-block, with no possibility of a garden but perhaps with a tiny balcony space looking down over the rooftops, potentially bringing a little bit of the outside in – would that feel better or worse than where I live now? Would I feel trapped in a concrete prison, or would the soaring height instead bring a feeling of open-ness, especially if I could have a few carefully-chosen terracotta plant-pots filled with flowers and herbs to fill my senses?

I guess I’ll never know, but I pass this particular tower-block and its twin regularly, and often wonder what it must be like to live there… living-the-high-life

Lost in the Myths of Time…

Behind all the movies and TV dramas documenting the never-ending speculation over the identity of Jack the Ripper, it’s all too easy to forget that regardless of the man behind the myth, his five confirmed victims were real women, with real lives, who suffered very real and brutal deaths at his hands.

The first and fourth of his victims, Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nicholls and Catherine Eddowes, were buried in communal graves in the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park, East London, not far from where I live. Today, two small round plaques laid in the ground either side of a pathway mark the general area of their last resting places – single flowers are often placed there by passers-by who realise the significance of the names.

Second victim Annie Chapman was buried by her family in Manor Park Cemetery, and third victim Elizabeth ‘Long Liz’ Stride was buried in East London Cemetery.

And his fifth and final victim Mary Jane Kelly, also known as Marie Jeanette Kelly, was buried in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cemetery here in Leytonstone. Although the small grave marker that exists today is not the original, and may no longer even indicate the exact spot of her burial, again flowers are often left in her memory.

Five real women living in dire poverty in London’s notorious East End in the late 1880s, all for varying reasons down on their luck with no-one to help support them, all brutally murdered by a madman over a period of a few short months well over a hundred years ago, all now sadly lost in the myths of time…

Marie-Jeanette-Kelly‘None but the lonely hearts can know my sadness. Love lives forever’