Dangerous Holloway estate was ‘like living in Beirut’

Troubled: The Market Estate was beset by problems

Troubled: The Market Estate was beset by problems - Credit: Archant

New film tells tale of troubled housing project

Klodena Sulejmani

Klodena Sulejmani - Credit: Archant

The turbulent story of a notorious estate plagued by violence, drugs and prostitution is the subject of a new documentary.

Market 2 Parkside, an oral history of the Market Estate, off Market Road, Holloway, told by residents, councillors and housing officers, is the tale of “a community failed by social housing policies”.

Completed in 1967 as a utopian vision of urban housing, the estate became beset by antisocial behaviour and poor maintenance as tenants rent was scooped up into the general council budget rather than going back into repair work.

Drug dealers and prostitutes from nearby King’s Cross blighted the area during the 1990s, and in one infamous New Year’s Eve incident a group of youths stormed the concierge’s office, causing £250,000 worth of damage.

The estate was like 'living in Beirut'

The estate was like 'living in Beirut' - Credit: Archant

Sharon Jobe, former chair of the Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “When I moved into the state in 1988 it was like living in Beirut - that’s the only way I can explain it, the was burnt out cars, motorbikes, corridors set alight where rubbish was left.

“It was magnet for trouble, literally from day I moved in.”

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Klodena Sulejmani said: “When we first moved here was really, really dangerous.

“I was young, I just got taken to school and back, but I remember hallways being burnt out, lights, electric circuits, fire through letter boxes.”

Sheila Johnson, who lived on the estate since it was built, said: “Things were bad ever since bad when we first moved on, with all that glass being smashed.

“We used to have milk delivered I’d come home to find all the milk smashed all along the corridor and all glass everywhere.”

When a young boy, Chris Pullen, was crushed to death by a steel door left propped up in a communal area, the TRA was formed from concerned parents.

Membership swelled and eventually the idea of scrapping the estate and starting again was mooted.

David Kelly, a former chair of the TRA said: “People were really, really angry. People were really affected by the loss of a child.”

Margot Dunn, former Lib Dem councillor, said: “I thought there was nothing else we could do on the Market Estate, how about knocking ti down and building streets. This is where people want to live.

The estate was knocked down in 2010 and replaced by the Parkside development, which has been developed in consultation with residents, with more open space, gardens and balconies.

Market 2 Parkside was officially launched at an exhibition held in the Caledonian Clocktower, in Cally Park, from Jan 23 to 25.

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