A project by Historic England – The Future of the High Street – has released a short film made in Croydon.
If anyone needed any further reinforcement of the notion that Croydon town centre had become run-down and neglected after a decade of development blight, then About Us/Without Us, which has been shot in the middle of a covid-19 lockdown, provides four minutes and 24 seconds of bleak confirmation.
The film has been made by youth group Art Press working with charity group Turf Projects.
“We’ve discussed our experiences and memories of the high street, and experimented with filming, audio work, and illustration to make our final film.”
As one of the voices in the wistful film says, “We’ve been talking about what we want the future of the high street to look like. We want more green space and community space, and less decisions made about us, without us.”
Welcome to Croydon.
It’s all pretty down-beat stuff, grime and grim in equal measure. The buckets in the Whitgift Centre to collect the rain coming in through the leaky roof, a high street dominated by shops, many of which are shuttered, some never to trade again.
The technique of using historic black and white images of buildings and inter-cutting them with shots from today only seems to emphasise how run-down things are now compared to decades ago.
The future of the high street? Maybe not here.
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