At the bottom of the garden are three sycamore trees, which I watch throughout the year as they come into leaf and are brushed by storms and when they are filled with seeds, to when they go brown and sleep for the winter. They tell me when a storm is coming along the valley and hide the singing birds. They are there in one of the oldest photos of here that we’ve got. What they must have seen, the building of the factory, all the workers who lived here, the tyranny of Mr Hart , who’s father owned the flat upstairs, a Nazi ,who terrorized all the local kids and whose taint still is on his son.
Our block of flats was built in the 1930s as accommodation for workers in the paper factory that was across the river. It made Hirsch packing paper that went all over the world – now long gone. In the picture above, our block is the long building in the left hand corner. Our flat is at the far end. You can see the baby sycamores to the right of it. We think the picture is about 1950.
The factory was accidentally (hmm) burnt down during the war, and the flats sold off – to guess who, My Hart who was a leading member in the council. I remember our Estate agent saying our flat has no history – but I think it must have loads. Workers came here from all over Europe.Yet it was the young Mr Hart who planted the pines that blocked our view of the river, and planted fast growing pines that block one side of the garden and he under planted the Sycamores, strangling the life out of them – the middle one this year looks weak and ill. What does this say about the man?