Spike Milligan’s concerns over London housing in the sixties…
Is it possible we wonder, to have a conversation on house prices without a reference to London and its surrounding suburbs and counties? Probably not, and with good reason. Ask Myleene Klaas, she can’t get a garage for ‘like two million’ anymore. Whilst we feel Myleene’s pain you cannot say that you weren’t warned!
In 1967 the leading light of alternative comedy in Britain, Spike Milligan wrote to the editor of the Daily Telegraph: “Sir, reference your photo and article on Highgate cemetery, the view for it sounds ominous. I predict within five years blocks of flats will appear on it, or ‘luxury type modern maisonettes.’ It seems as though money has taken over morality when it comes to land and houses in London and I don’t seem to find anyone free from the taint”
The London landscape has changed dramatically since the early fifties, the physical and cultural make-up has changed and one wonders where the true Londoner will eventually end up? The heart of the city has long since gone to the Oligarchs and their live-in staff whilst the suburbs have become the second tier in the rich stakes. There is no postcard lottery, it is a matter of digits on a bank balance and Milligan got the gist of it alright.
Whilst there is no doubt that the influx of ethnic groups since the fifties has changed the ‘make-up’ of a Londoner there can be no doubt of the role the financial institutions have had on the city and the gradual erosion of the ‘born and bred’ from the city’s heartland.