By 1974, after I began working in Westminster Social Services and had met
Jessica that Michael came to live with me and the three of us took up residence, for three months, in an unoccupied children’s home in Droop Street, NW10 which was opposite the Area Office. These photographs were produced in the June that we moved in.
This children’s home, now that they were coming out of fashion, had closed and a new use was being sought. Eventually it was to become a residential facility for people with mental health problems, and when, in 1986, I left Local Authority employment to take up freelance work I became a consultant to the manager. One of the then elderly residents had spent her life in a hospital as, being an unwed mother, a moral defective. These hospital wards were being closed down and their residents were to be supported in the community. Four other residents then occupied a flat in Harrow Road. They were mentored by a senior staff member who I supervised.
Rather unfortunately, this building was named St Jude’s, after the saint known to Catholics as the patron saint of lost causes.
Matthew and Becky still enjoy telling how, when they came for the weekends, they experienced the thrill of choosing any one of the numerous available bedrooms. The children also had access to the kitchen, with varying results.
These two pictures, from that July, demonstrate first the intense industry and excitement generated by cake-making; then the awful moment of truth when Michael’s disappointment, Becky’s visible disgust, and that, as granddaughter Flo later said “Matthew’s world has ended” is displayed. Four ounces of salt had been used instead of that quantity of sugar.