6 June: The Secret History of Deptford High Street

Where: Birds Nest, Deptford Church Street
When: 9pm Wednesday 6 June 2012

BBC2 are showing a new documentary on the history of Deptford High Street. Join us at the Birds Nest pub for a live screening – plus a skype Q&A with the documentary’s Jaime Taylor (editor and assistant producer) and Joseph Bullman (director and producer).


Here’s how the BBC describe the programme, one of six documentaries about London high streets…

In 1886 Charles Booth embarked on an ambitious plan to visit every one of London’s streets to record the social conditions of residents. His project took him 17 years.

Once he had finished he had constructed a groundbreaking series of maps which recorded the social class and standing of inhabitants. These maps transformed the way Victorians felt about their capital city. This series takes six archetypal London streets as they are now, discovering how they have fared since Booth’s day.

Booth colour coded each street, from yellow for the ‘servant keeping classes’, down to black for the ‘vicious and semi-criminal’. With the aid of maps the series explores why certain streets have been transformed from desperate slums to become some of the most desirable and valuable property in the UK, whilst others have barely changed. This landmark series features residents past and present, exploring how what happened on the street in the last 125 years continues to shape the lives of those who live there now.

In Booth’s time, Deptford High Street was ‘the Oxford Street of South London’. Today, marooned amid 70s housing blocks, it is one of the poorest shopping streets in London.

Featuring compelling accounts from residents, including one family which has been trading on the high street for 250 years, the film tells the story of transformation and endurance as the people themselves tell the history of their own past and the street they lived in. Through these deeply personal accounts of huge extended families living together in a single street, the bigger story of slum clearance and the unraveling of the old ways of life emerge – a change which shaped the lives of tens of millions of British families all over the country.