That’s not how I remember it

Posted on 17 March 2023

With help from Hyde Charitable Trust, residents have created a book about the old Packington Estate.

Over 150 guests attended the launch of ‘That’s not how I remember it’, a book gathering lived experiences of the old Packington Estate, Islington. The event was held at the estate’s ARC Community Centre on 10 March 2023, and attended by residents, the Mayor of Islington and Hyde colleagues.

Funded by Hyde Charitable Trust (HCT), together with the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Islington Council, along with Hyde social value support from City Plumbing, residents worked with arts organisation AiR to make the book as part of the on-going Pack*Art project. The book reflects memories and voices from a place with a complicated reputation.

Research for the project included thirty-three oral history interviews, which were recorded with people who lived and worked on the old estate between 1970 and the demolition that began in 2007. Aged between 18 and 86, the interviewees shared personal reflections of the estate. The testimonies reveal the richness and complexities of everyday life.

The Pack*Art Panel said in the book’s introduction:

“On a cold morning in March 2022, we visited the Islington Library and asked to see what was archived on the old estate. What we found was a history written by outsiders – politicians, journalists, judges – describing a ‘disaster estate’ and a problem needing to be solved. One of us said, ‘that’s not how I remember it.”

So, the group set out to change this. After the event, a panel member said:

“Pink book, pink drinks, and pink light – the launch was a magical evening to celebrate our book. We did it – we made a book!”

Andy Hulme, our Chief Executive Officer, who attended the event, said:

“Raising the profile of our residents in a positive way, and cherishing their life experiences, in a society which can still make assumptions is part of why we fund community projects like Pack*Art. Thanks to our Booster Fund, the book could be completed, allowing AiR and Packington residents to see the result of all their hard work. This project has ensured that residents’ stories are now part of the recorded history of the estate.”

The book is available to buy at the ARC coffee shop and online from the Pages of Hackney website. Residents have also recorded it as a free audiobook which is available to download from all good audiobook sources, including Spotify.

Since December 2022, we’ve pledged £250,000 in grants to our community partners through Hyde Charitable Trust’s (HCT) Booster Fund. The fund was set up in response to the cost of living crisis. Our partners deliver a wide variety of services to our customers and communities, and each requires different support.