diamond geezer

 Wednesday, December 25, 2013

For my very first proper December 25th post, I'm continuing my quest to visit streets in London called Noel. Sorry, but I'm unable to bring you a Yuletide treat, instead whisking you off to the heart of London's largest housing estate... in Barking and Dagenham. Merry Christmas?

Noel Square (Becontree)



Now this one's obscure. And it's not obviously square, unless you're in a helicopter. Imagine a five-way road junction, three sides grass, with a string of interwar cottages along each side. I say cottages, whereas in fact the only residents ever to have thought this would have been the first, relocated to the Becontree estate in the 1920s from East End slums. Think solid but modest, in a hotchpotch of styles, in a terracey semi-detatchedy sort of way. And all of them with gardens, small at the front, rather bigger out back, which would have been heaven for many a Cockney refugee. The number 5 bus stops close by on Longbridge Road, which boasts an ideally situated Lidl, several takeaways and a Cyrillic-scripted off licence. All the sideroads look much the same - nowhere Nigella would live but the bedrock of outer London housing stock. Much in evidence are London brick, stonecladding and pebbledash, the latter unexpectedly popular. We're in the heart of Becontree, nearly a mile from the tube station of the same name, amid a labyrinth of residential roads. The street map in this particular corner features swirling crescents and concentric curves cut by straight line - a bit like a Celtic tattoo pattern, should any local resident consider getting cartographically branded.



On the street corner that is, essentially, Noel Square, the only non-residential building is the 'Kidz' nursery. I thought it was derelict to start with, then I looked closer and realised it was merely very well protected. Elsewhere they'd have named this junction Noel Circus - the main intersection has a clearly circular structure - but thus far a mini-roundabout has been kept at bay. The main thoroughfare is Campden Crescent, which sweeps boldly through between Give Way lines. It's on the southern side of this road that all the interest is, assuming you like municipal lawn and squat shrubberies. Foothpaths lead across this mini village green, protected by very low metal railings, which have somehow never been nicked for scrap. Here I met the local postie, delivering Christmas packages to several addresses, much later in the afternoon than usual. Here I met a stooping headscarved lady throwing what looked like a bagful of cake scraps onto the path, which can only have advantaged the local pigeons. And here I met a mother and daughter both pacing up and down, talking loudly into separate mobiles, as if they'd really rather not be doing this in the house.

The name "Noel Square" appears three times. Two signs are considerably older than the third - one of these above a "No Ball Games" sign, the other above a sleeping cat. Only one Noel Square resident has leapt into the full Christmas spirit with a wreath on the door, while elsewhere decorations are conspicuous by their absence. But I bet everyone around this corner of Barking and Dagenham is tucked away celebrating today, and maybe, just maybe, revelling in their choice of address.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream