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Toyin Agbetu


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Audio interview with Toyin Agbetu

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Agbetu, Toyin (Mr) (Subject of)


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When we moved here me, my sister, my father it was quite a big change, we were moving from a flat to a home, to a house - there was no lifts, I know it sounds really bizarre but when you live on a top floor, there’s only four flights in Green, but when you get used to carrying the shopping up there. Those are the days of paraffin as well, heating so all that stuff used to happen it was quite a change but it was a pleasant change in the sense that you kind of get used to a different way of living, a different space that you are going to call home, and it was quite good therefore. For some reason where we lived it was reasonably quiet. I know that not all Homerton is as quiet as this part and I know just a road away you know the typical circled urban kind of characteristics take place, but I mean you where we are was quite quiet. One of the nicest things we liked about here when we moved in was that there was a local market on the main street, Chatsworth Road and so you could do all your shopping literally a stones throw away. You were talking about changes here. Well the market in Chatsworth Rd closed down and you know we started to see different kinds of businesses coming in as more electronics took hold in popular culture. There were more mobile phones, more computers. Traditional shops started to close down. You’d see newsagents that you’d go to change hands several times; you know somebody would own it for like maybe five years then someone else would own it. When the market left something happened to the character of the place. It became colder, it began to feel more like a duplicate of the streets you see on TV; just another street, another high street with shops. They weren’t big branded shops, which was a good thing in my mind, so they weren’t the major chains, but it lost something. Fortunately now the market’s actually come back and it’s been running for just under a year now, it’s only the Sunday not the Saturday but it’s a good start.

One of the other things that used to happen was that this place called Chats Palace which was just down the road, and that was a really good hub because on a Saturday as well they used to do children’s presentations and puppet shows and stuff so we used to take the children there. And you know it was predominantly a European crowd but you’d get a mix of people from different backgrounds - Asian, African, African-Caribbean I mean the whole ?gorma? would be there. And the presentations that would happen would also be a mix, so you’d get puppet shows and plays, so what happened was that everybody was actually comfortable with each other. You know you made an effort, the children were there you’re sitting together you’re being polite, so there was that. But you’re always aware that there is this divide, I wouldn’t go as far as say a class divide but it’s bordering a class divide.