Kidbrooke is a part of London that mostly ought to be avoided. My enduring memory of the place was, returning home from Eltham on the bus one night, having to stop to save an elderly black man who was being stoned by some youths while he waited for the bus. In an extraordinary piece of cooperation, all the passengers and the bus driver himself got out and chased the youths away but as they had bikes we couldn’t apprehend any of them. And, as HB reminded me recently, the bus stop in question is only a few hundred yards away from where Stephen Lawrence had been stabbed to death.
The cancer that blighted the area, the Ferrier Estate, is now undergoing a huge transformation. And of course society is becoming more tolerant, albeit at a painfully slow pace.All this is to set the scene for this afternoon, when I returned to Kidbrooke because my daughter had been invited to a party there. There wasn’t enough time to drop her off, go home and come back, so I waited around in Kidbrooke Green Park. It was a pleasant, sunny afternoon, but there weren’t many people out, just the odd dog-owner. Eventually a group of children turned up to play an informal game of football. They honestly looked like they had been hand-picked for a diversity training photo. There were at least four different ethnicities (and three girls) in the group and they had a grand old time for about half an hour.
It’s a single anecdote, I know. But it’s heartening to believe that the ghosts of the old, ugly Kidbrooke might finally be able to be put to rest.