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The Secret History Of Our Streets - Arnold Circus

Updated Wednesday, 10th December 2014

Britain's first council estate was closely planned - how is it faring in the 21st century?

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The view from Arnold Circus pagoda Creative commons image Icon Robert Lamb under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license The view from Arnold Circus Charles Booth’s vast 1886 Survey of London ranks each one of London streets according to the class of their residents. Now in a major series for BBC Two, The Secret History of Our Streets returns to six archetypal London streets visited by Booth to discover how their fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the last 125 years.

The sixth episode features Arnold Circus, in the east end and the story of a Victorian social experiment that changed Britain. Arnold Circus is home to the first council estate which opened in 1896.

The planning of the estate, from its lack of pubs to the pattern of the brickwork, was deliberate in order to make its residents respectable, as previously the land had played host to a notorious crime-ridden slum.

Featuring compelling accounts from residents both past and present, this is the story of how Arnold Circus made the difficult journey from feared underclass to a self-respecting community; of how it became and still is a haven in heart of the City.

The Secret History of our Streets: Arnold Grove is first shown on BBC Two on Wednesday 11th June, 2012 at 9.00pm. For further broadcast details, and to watch online where available, please visit bbc.co.uk.

 

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