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Mapping the Change: Old Ford Voices & Island Memories

As the landscape of Bow has been altered forever by new development, the archive captured some voices of local people reflecting on life, work and play during the last century in Fish Island and Old Ford. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund as part of Hackney Museum's Mapping The Change project.  


Old Ford Voices & Island Memories

Oral history excerpts

Ted describes strong community spirit and pride in Old Ford [09:23]  



Stories of growing up on Fish Island, the local firms, and working as a ‘Timber Man’ on the canal, when it “was a hive of activity”. [04:47]  


Memories of nearly 30 years working at Bryant & May match factory [05:14]  



Brenda shares fond memories of Fish Island and Pilgrim House. Describes shops and landmarks on the Island, and remembers the Island’s first Black resident. [06:15]  



Describes the work of the local Waterways and the changes at Old Ford Lock on the Hertford Union Canal. [04:32]  



Recounts his battle to keep his company ‘H. Forman & Son’ in the area - a fourth generation family salmon smoking business. 



Explains the origins of Percy Dalton’s Famous Peanut Company and remembers the diverse range of people that worked at the former Fish Island institution. [04:04]  



Arrived in Old Ford from Jamaica in the 1950’s. Remembers seeking out “tropical food” and adapting to British food. Reflects on the ways that the people and place has changed. [06:30]  



Tells what life was like in Old Ford for a teenager. How Fish Island was part of the Bow community before the motorway. [07:34]  



Childhood memories of Fish Island during the Second World War - running free and swimming in the canal; the weekly trip to the pawn shop for his mum; and his later work driving cranes at the canalside timber companies. [07:45]  



Describes her “Fishy Island” from the 1930’s: childhood games, school, shops, factories, her work and experience of bombing during the Second World War. [08:02]  



Explains her connection with Kelly’s Eel & Pie Shop in Roman Road Market. Recalls when pie & mash was eaten regularly by local people. Explains the way the community is changing and how this is affecting her pie & mash business. [07:00]