Margaret17 Watts, the atmosphere of it with the warmth, it was as if it hugged us when we came in. The moment we saw it, we wanted it. One of the things since we did all move in at once, we were finding some of our furniture didn’t fit and we needed things we hadn’t got. So it turned into a very fast tradition that we would leave items by the rubbish chute, things we didn’t need, with little notices on them, you know, things like 'This lamp works, but we don’t need it anymore.' 'This fridge works, but it hasn’t got a light.' 'Mind the middle draw in this chest.'
And then the break-ins started through the bedroom window. They’d smashed my aquarium and flooded the place - it was beyond belief and I didn’t know what to do. This would have been 1982/83. Nobody had expected it to turn into a no-go estate.
I got appointed as Block Rep for Watts House. Well, a lot of people started to come to me to fill in forms for them and so on, because there wasn’t anyone else to ask. This was housing benefit and they want to take my children away and please can you help me, because I’ve got to appeal to the social fund. Basically, I was doing the job that the Social Services didn’t.
And I somehow got turned into a spokeswoman and we were trying to tell them what it was like. And Mr Southwall who was then the Director of Housing, said, 'Oh, it can’t be that bad - you’ve done your garden.' And I said, 'Yes, and have you ever tried to get a condom off a climbing rose?'