Filling the in the Pits and building the Wates Estate – by PP

I can’t think of anything else except the way the building went on over the Wates Estate.  They had great plastic bubble tents and they built underneath so they could carry on building through the winter. I reckon that’s why some of them are beginning to disintegrate underneath because you can’t mix concrete properly in frosty weather even if you have got a bubble.

It started way over there, opposite Simpson Road. That’s where they put the first buildings and then they gradually crept this way.  Then the lake–that started virtually fifty yards from the end of the road–was filled in.  The stuff that went in to filling it in used to come down by lorry load; every half an hour or so they’d be a lorry load of something. There were whole staircases – they were still clearing bomb sites I think –  staircases, doors; none of it was broken up. It was just tipped into the lake. Of course, as it rotted, it subsided so a lot of Breamwater Gardens is very lop-sided. They are built on concrete rafts so they won’t sink – it’s rubbish – but that’s how it was filled in, just willy nilly, with anything they wanted to get rid of.  People used to dump old cars in there. Anybody who wanted to get rid of anything, “Put it in the lake, they’re filling it in”.  I’m sure it was strictly forbidden but that is what people did.  The building project gradually moved along and finished up over there.  So instead of having a nice open aspect, admittedly with a dangerous lake, we were now closed in; it was getting more urban and we did miss the cows. The children used to wake up very early and they would climb the window bars in their bedroom and call out to everybody going by early: the road sweeper knew them, all of the cleaning ladies who went to work at 6 o’clock in the morning all knew them. I hadn’t a clue who these people were. “They’re the little ones climb up the bars and shout to us.”