Popular Islington caretaker retires but door is always open

07:03 04 July 2012

Ron Cumber

Ron Cumber


A caretaker who has looked after estates across Islington for more than three decades has finally called it a day.

Lifelong Islington resident Ron Cumber has decided to hang up the overalls after 35 years keeping housing blocks shipshape, from Archway to Holloway.

Mr Cumber, 65, of Surr Street, Holloway, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my job and don’t regret a thing. I was never that brainy at school so couldn’t work in an office. I liked the outdoors so this suited me.

“The only reason I haven’t gone on longer is that you’ve just had enough when you get to a certain age.

“It will be hard to stop caretaking though.”

Now that he has more time on his hands, animal lover Mr Cumber plans to spend more time with his pets – including a dog, a parrot and a tortoise.

Mr Cumber was raised on the site which is now the Emirates Stadium, before moving into the nearby Harvist Estate following slum clearances.

He started caretaking in the 1970s on the Girdlestone Estate in Archway, before spending the last 20 years on the Hyde Village Estate, off Hungerford Road, Holloway.

Remembering the old days, Mr Cumber said: “Everything’s changed, even down to the roads, which used to be two ways, but now they only go one way. People have changed as well. I like people now and everyone on the estate is lovely but years ago my mum would hang the house key on a bit of string – you can’t do that now.

“I would go back to when I was a child when you could have fun for free because everything costs money now.

“Highbury Baths were about 6p when I was younger.”

He added: “I have told the older ones, even older than me, that just because I’m retiring, it doesn’t mean they can’t knock on my door.”

Victoria Manly, Hyde Village service supervisor, said: “I’m really sad he’s leaving. He was always full of smiles.

“He was a real people person, who was always jolly, and would walk with people through the estate.

“He was very concentious and always made sure his jobs were done to perfection.”


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