Views From A Pear Tree: Life In Highbury Quadrant
When residents of the Highbury Quadrant estate realised that so many of their neighbours had been living there since it was built in the late 1950s, they wished that their key memories and stories could somehow be collected. Now their dream has become reality. They formed the Highbury Quadrant Oral History group and made a film, titled ‘Views from a Pear Tree’. The film weaves the everyday stories of life at Highbury Quadrant together with a history of how the estate came into being. You can see the film here:
The project enabled the residents to rediscover their own history and hopefully has inspired a new generation of residents to get involved in local community activities.
The project coordinator said: “We had such fun putting this film together. It gave us a chance to talk to our neighbours, especially the many older folk who have lived here for over 50 years who told us what their experiences were like. Younger people found it fascinating.”
“Making the film got us researching into Islington and London archives, we found some amazing photographs, news articles and many interesting facts about our estate. For example, we realised that a statue on the estate that we take for
listed work of
work on the
the statue –
called The Neighbours – which has led to it being renovated.
The project group also found out a lot about how the Highbury Quadrant estate was designed as model ‘modern’ social housing by a leading architect, whose aim was “to create a place even the queen would be happy to call home.” They learned how the ideas and values of the post-war generation meant that Highbury Quadrant was developed with a real passion for social justice. It included a community hall as well as play facilities for children. The old back gardens on which Highbury Quadrant was built were retained and there are now over 1,000 trees on the estate, with generous spaces between the blocks.
Early tenants formed the Quadrant Community Association (QCA), which has voluntarily organised social events and community services since the 1950’s and still does so. Today, there are many ideas for improving Highbury Quadrant; and continuing to celebrate its rich and important history. The interviews that provide the basis of ‘Views from a Pear Tree’, and the film itself, are all part of this process.