/ The London Traveler
London — By Andrea Kirkby on October 6, 2009 at 5:52 am
Filed under: featuredarticle

We live here: Haggerston Estate portraits

Haggerston Estate[map], in Hackney, is a soulless brick built estate; five floors of flats in big rectangular blocks. But right now, each window sports a super-life-size portrait of the resident.

Or the former resident, I should say, because the estate is being cleared for demolition.


Columbia Road estate, East London - a vision of concrete

Locals decided to take portrait photos and put them up to cover the boarded-up flats – taking urban desolation and making it a work of art instead. Suddenly the wall was covered with smiles and humanity instead of blankness.

It’s a piece of art, but it’s also a social comment on the way that council housing has dehumanised its residents – and now they are fighting back. After all, it’s the people, not the flats, that make up the community.

Photo by Paul Flannery on flickr. Anyone who wants to understand the campanilismo of East London, by the way, really should read the interesting little duel in the comments to the photo on flickr!

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  • Marianne says:

    Andrea, interesting article. I would love to see the photos of the residents. For how long will these be up? Or in other words when when the estate be demolished?

  • RMT says:


    The ‘I am here’ project is still up and will remain up until Samuel House, Haggerston Estate is demolished in approximately 2 years time. I know this because I am a resident and am one of the people in the portraits.

    The project was created and installed by two other residents of Samuel House and their colleague at Fugitive Images.

    I think it’s a shame Andrea didn’t manage to post a picture even of it or link to the project’s website.

    Nevermind, I can do that for you.


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