When building a new supermarket in Hackney, London, Tesco stores were obliged to commission some public art works as part of the development. The supermarket was built on a site where formerly there had been a street (Chalgrove Road) with houses and shops on it. They agreed to fund a sound art work which was essentially an oral history of the road made from interviews with people who had lived on or near it between 1910 and 1970. These interviews included reminiscences about Dr Jelly who would visit his patients on the road on a penny farthing bike, a family of children who had been killed when bombs were dropped on the road during world war two and a Vietnamese pot bellied pig who belonged to a pet shop on the road and used to wander around it. The stories were played on six speakers put around the site with each one playing a different set of stories in an attempt to preserve some of the history of a place that was becoming just another metal box supermarket building. Unfortunately the dry cleaner who worked on the corner of the site took such a dislike to the installation that he persistently complained to the council and the sound work was eventually removed.
History, of course, is a continuous process and below are scenes outside the dry cleaners shop on the site more recently accompanied by some of the recollections.
Dr Jelly had a wooden belly. Every time you knocked him down you had to pay a penny - Childrens rhyme sung on Chalgrove road in the 1920's