Barnsbury Housing Association caretaker celebrates 40 years on the job

PUBLISHED: 16:29 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:29 07 September 2017

Richard Bull.

Richard Bull.


Everyone knows Richard “Dickie” Bull in Barnsbury, after all, he’s been going in and out of their homes for 40 years now.

The card given to Richard by people on the estate. The card given to Richard by people on the estate.

As caretaker of the Barnsbury Housing Association since 1977, Dickie has carried out maintenance in almost 200 properties and got to know generations of families.

And after celebrating the milestone at the age of 70 he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

“It’s a bit of an achievement, I think,” he told the Gazette. “It’s an alright job, I’ve always enjoyed it.”

He took over the keys to the area after a friend of his left the job. Already living on the estate, Dickie was fed up of having to travel to his job at a slaughterhouse in Upminster, Havering, and thought he’d give it a go.

“It was quite easy to start with,” he said. “But then we started having lots of problems with the pipes. We eventually sued the architect.

“It’s changed a lot here but there are some people who’ve been here as long as I have. A lot of people moved off in the early days when Right to Buy came in but I’ve seen a lot of kids grow up here.”

Dickie is proud of the fact there’s still very much a community feel to the area, something that’s few and far between these days in inner London.

“Everybody trusts me here,” he said. “They let me go in and out of their flats with the key and do my work. Everyone looks after everyone else.

“I look after the kids around here as if they were my own. I’ve watched them all grow up.”

He’s referred to by bosses as a linchpin of the community, and he will be until for years to come if he has his way.

“I’ll still keep going as long as I can do the job,” he continued. “My wife works in the finance office so as long as she’s doing that I’ll be here I think.

“I’m not quite as fit as I used to be but I’m still running up and down the stairs.”

To celebrate his milestone, bosses at the Barnsbury Housing Association took Dickie out for a slap-up meal at Frederick’s in Camden Passage with his family.

And when he is ready to hang up his keys and spend more time on his passion – fishing – there’s no doubt some youngsters in the area who have looked up to him who would be willing to take over the role.


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