4:26pm Tuesday 19th June 2012
By Alan Woods
ERITH’S Larner Road estate has caught the eye of a professional poet, who has penned a 1,700 word poem about its regeneration.
With the demolition of the seven iconic tower blocks due to begin next year, The Ballad of Larner Road encapsulates life on the estate.
Written by 30-year-old poet Luke Wright - who regularly features on BBC Radio 4 - the poem is a series of snap shots depicting the different walks of life living in Larner Road.
Talking about his motivation behind the poem, Mr Wright, who lives in Norfolk, told News Shopper: “There is something really interesting about what happened to housing in the 1960s.
“People thought the way forward was to build cheap, affordable housing and now we’ve got to the point where they want to put the mistake right.”
Among the poem’s characters - who are all loosely based on people Mr Wright met on the estate - is lifelong homeowner Rita, of Sara House.
Rita represents those whose entire life is symbolised by the contents of her flat, in Rita’s case through photographs, but must now build a new home when her tower block is torn down.
Other characters include Hamlet House pensioner Dennis, who dies before housing association Orbit South have the opportunity to move him to his new home in Margate.
Proud homeowner Sue, who lives in Medina House, tells “anyone who wants to listen [that] Larner Road’s alright,” denying rumours of “drugs and violence.”
Speaking of his first visit to Larner Road, Mr Wright said: “I expected it to be worse - people wrote some pretty horrible things about it on the web.
“But some of the flats I visited were lovely homes.
“People still make them their home and always try to do their best.
“There is a chin up, carry on mentality.”
Mr Wright will read the full poem aloud for the first time at a free poetry evening held on Friday (June 22) at Orchard House Community Centre from 7pm.
Visit Mr Wright's website to read the full poem.
Let years like thirsty petals fall
and sadly spiral down:
Profumo Affair, three day week,
Black Wednesday, Gordon Brown
and fifty shades of British rain
to water-stain this town.
And now the fifteen-storey blocks
that loom on Larner Road
are crummy sixties sci-fi things
that groan beneath their load
of JSA and apathy
and Social Service code.
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