Last night, I hosted a viewing of The House that Mum and Dad built (1982), the BBC Open Door documentary focussed on the council-led development of Segal Close in Lewisham, a scheme that enabled people on the housing waiting list to build their own homes. Following the viewing, several of the original selfbuilders – Pauline Kennedy, Jon Broome and Geoff Stow – gave testimonies of their experiences. Since building their homes in the 1980s, all have gone on to use their experience in a professional capacity – Jon in his architectural work, Geoff in his work project managing group selfbuild schemes, and Pauline in her community work. Their contributions were followed by Kareem Dayes, one of the founders of RUSS, a Community Land Trust recently set up in Lewisham that hopes to develop housing focussed on building and developing community.
It was really inspirational to hear both from people who have been through this process and what it had done for them. But also to realise that even in today’s toxic housing climate, people are using some of the lessons learned from these schemes. You can listen to them here!