Harold Hill: A People’s History

harold hill action group

“The following piece was recently posted onto a web chat page under the title of The Pickey Project:

I’m planning on erecting a large fence with razor around Harold Hill and introducing a passport system to allow anyone under the age of 30 in and out in small groups of no more than one. I also want to take steps to introduce an immediate 1000 hours community service for anyone who commits any crimes against the old people that live there. The application of 24 hour manned gun turrets, CS gas and long distance lasers to be used as and when deemed fit in such areas could be a starting point.’

It is opinions like this, although rarely uttered in public in such a fashion, that have been prevalent in the areas surrounding Harold Hill for almost 60 years.

When the original working-class residents moved in from London they were viewed in the surrounding areas much the same way most people view asylum-seekers today: ‘the great unwashed’, work-shy, alcoholics and criminals.
We were seen as the barbaric horde, flooding out of the bomb-damaged slums, where, presumably, we should have stayed.

It is against this attitude, that I, as a Harold Hill resident and local community activist, set about writing a people’s history of Harold Hill at the turn of 2003.”

An excellent new site on working class history, culture and politics in Essex. Indeed, on one of the most maligned areas of one of the most maligned counties in the UK.

The stuff on youth movements is brilliant, including an account of a “love in” organised by Romford’s only hippy, and the locals who were entrusted with writing the publicity for a free gig in a park and duly included an article entitled “all coppers are bastards”.

The Money/Work/Religion/Politics bit includes “Margaret Thatcher: Reggae, Royalism and Riots”.

Check this out – proper history!

One Comment

  1. Danny
    That’s a brillant site mate. I recall stomping round Romford in my youth.
    2004/07/27 @ 11:34 am

    Christ, the amount of time I spent in Harold Hill…

    Hippies didn’t survive long in Romford, they tended to move up the hill and out of town to Brentwood.

    It’s still a lower middle class stronghold especially compared to say Becontree or Ilford. But it’s a very small place compared to, say, Hornchurch or Elm Park, and it’s in a funny place: closer in to the City than Hornchurch, but tucked away. The main road in goes over a railway bridge which is very narrow — great place to set up the hun turrets.
    2004/07/27 @ 12:06 pm

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