Then and Now: A Review

Owen Ward

This website was created in September 2019 to document the shocking levels of filth on the streets of Bloomsbury at the time, particularly in the locality of King’s Cross. Since then, it has grown to include other matters of concern in Bloomsbury. But it is of course worth asking the question – did the website succeed in its original intention?

To go some way to answering the question, we have taken ‘then and now’ photos, taking the most shocking of the photos originally documented on the website four months ago, and examining how those places look now.

Although these photos won’t hit the headlines, they are far more significant than most of the things we read in the paper. Environment Services have taken note of the problems highlighted on this website, and through working hard, engaging with residents, and bringing in further resources, coupled with our own research, use of Clean Camden, and advertisement to residents of its worth, have managed to make a real difference to the area, and a positive one at that. Difference that cannot be shown through statistics, nor used by politicians to advertise their worth – but a difference truly valuable to Bloomsbury and its people.

Praise must be given where it is due.

It shows that Camden isn’t all bad – when problems are drawn to their attention and positive change is actively sought, positive change can indeed be brought to an area. Environment Services seem to have really fostered a level of pride in the area among Veolia’s operatives. Below shows a photo where after wind had blown a bin-bag into the road and caused a mess after a car destroyed it, a fly-tip removal operative got out his van with a bin-bag to litter pick the length of the road. It was neither his job to collect rubbish, nor clean the streets – and yet he went above and beyond to keep the streets tidy. This is something absolutely unthinkable four months ago.

It is now about solidifying these changes, extending them further, and fostering a reputation of Bloomsbury as a clean and tidy place to live, work, and visit. Hopefully our report can go some way to achieving this. It is also of course about enjoying the sense of pride brought to an area by such a level of cleanliness.

Some further photos over the past week are shown of the local area, exemplifying a consistent and impressive level of cleanliness perhaps not seen since the Georgian Era itself.

In the coming weeks we will be working to begin implementation of recommendations contained in our report.

Published by owardkx

I am a resident of Queen Alexandra Mansions, in Bloomsbury. I am also a committee member of Bloomsbury Residents' Action Group and of the Bloomsbury Conservation Areas Advisory Committee, each working to protect residents and heritage in Bloomsbury.

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