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The Secret History Of Our Streets - Deptford High Street

Updated Thursday, 16th April 2015

How did the "Oxford Street of South London" come to be one of the poorest shopping streets in modern London? 

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Deptford High Street Creative commons image Icon Mike Quinn under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license Deptford High Street The first street in the series exploring social history, one road at a time, The Secret History Of Our Streets, is Deptford High Street.

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 in partnership with The Open University, 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.

In Booth’s time, Deptford High Street was "the Oxford Street of South London"; today, marooned amid 70s housing blocks, it’s one of the poorest shopping streets in London.

Featuring compelling accounts from residents, including one family which has been trading on the High Street for 250 years, the film tells the story of transformation and endurance as the people themselves tell the history of their own past and the street they lived in. Through these deeply personal accounts, of huge extended families living together in a single street, the bigger story of slum clearance and the unraveling of the old ways of life will emerge; a change which shaped the lives of tens of millions of British families all over the country.

The Secret History of Our Streets: Deptford High Street is first shown on BBC Two on Wednesday, 6th June 2012 at 9.00pm. For further broadcast details, and to watch online where available, please visit





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