King's Cross Voices

Memories (Ashadur Rahman)

Ash spent much of his childhood moving back and forth from Bangladesh where he was born in 1981. He recalls the many hours he spent as a youth at the Calthorpe Project in Grays Inn Road. He was interviewed in 2005.

“I look back at Calthorpe and I just have so many memories.  I did a lot of gardening, which people would be surprised if I told them I was a gardener.  I won quite a few competitions.  I had a plot on which I used to grow a lot of veg and spend a lot of my time, constructive time, making my plot look good, looking after it and watering it, growing a lot of vegetables, taking them home and cooking it, or my mum doing the cooking.  But I spent a lot of good times there.  On the weekends we would play football, we'd have cooking sessions and we'd have arts and crafts.  There was so much going on.  If there were festivals coming up I'd help out with the festivals. There would be barbeques, there would be tennis competitions, and there would be lots of football tournaments.  There were all sorts of things.  Those were really the days to be a child; good, and I kind of missed that.  Those were the days when youth were very respected and very well behaved.  They looked up to the workers, respected them, and I can't really argue with those days.

It was predominantly mixed; there was a nice mix of Bangladeshis as well as some Asian kids as well as the local white youths, so it was predominantly mixed, to be honest.  When you played football, you might have more Bangladeshis at a certain time, but that's because it was a certain time, and for example I remember on the Saturdays when we used to play football at Calthorpe, there was a tradition that at two o'clock there would be a big kick-off, everyone would turn up, and a lot of Bangladeshi families would eat around one o'clock so all the boys would eat around one o'clock, travel there for a two o'clock kick off.  But in the morning session, it was predominantly very mixed.  Rounders and stuff like that.  And then the other race would go home around one o'clock for their lunch.  So it was a different transition: a different group comes in, and another group goes, and then we'd all play football until seven or eight o'clock in the summer.  No one wanted to go home.  All we'd do is play football, football, football.”

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