Editorial comment: 1957 attitudes would cause scandal today

Islington Gazette: September 4, 1987

Islington Gazette: September 4, 1987 - Credit: Archant

One of the best things about our weekly history spreads is the sidebar where we reproduce the Gazette edition from this week 30 and 60 years ago. The results can be comical.

Take, for example, the Gazette from this week in 1987. The front page was about a group of angry protesters trying to block concerts from taking place in Finsbury Park.

Among their gripes were revellers’ anti-social behaviour in residential streets and “senseless noise” emitting from shows in the park. They were campaigning for Haringey Council, which ran the park, to ban concerts there.

After the controversy over Wireless Festival in the park a couple of months ago, it’s amazing how nothing had changed three decades on. To this day, campaigners are still trying to stop Haringey from allowing shows there. The story from 1987 could have been copied almost word-for-word in 2017 and no one would notice the difference.

There’s often less amusement to be had from our editions 60 years ago, however. They are regularly a horrid reminder of the backwards attitudes of those times.

In June 1957, for instance, the victim of a vicious glassing in Caledonian Road was referred to as “coloured” in the Gazette’s court report.

It’s happened again this week. We reported how two-year-old Christella Haginikola was crushed to death by a dodgy pipe which fell from the top of a five-storey house.

The pipe was corroded and not up to standard, but no charges were brought against the landlord. Instead, the coroner put it down to accidental causes and landlords merely told to keep a “watchful eye” on their houses.

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Christella could have been 62 today. We should be thankful such thinking would be a genuine scandal in 2017.