Top left Barry in the kitchen of his old home, Chearsley, Haygate estate Underneath Barry in the living room of his new home, SE1

Below Slideshow, Various

I moved into the Heygate in 1974, when it was first built. It was a nice place there. Everyone got to know everyone, from scratch. I moved in with my parents and my brother. I was about 18. I was working as an assistant gardener for Southwark. When I left school I wanted to do an outside job. What I really wanted to do was go in the police force, but in the end I couldn’t do that, and the next best thing was gardening. I went from gardening into the Park Warden service, then into the Park Ranger’s service. I’ve been with Grounds Maintenance at Manor Place for the last three and half years. I cut the grass on the estates. I like being out in the open, in the fresh air. I enjoy everything about it.

I really liked the Park Ranger job, I did that for about twelve years. Every day was different. If anything happened, you had to go and deal with it. I can deal with difficult people. I don’t do it so much anymore, but I still hope I’m good at it. You go to these situations and the people are shouting; you’re there in your uniform and you have to try and calm it down. They love to get you to do what they’re doing: shouting. You calm it down with your voice, talk slowly, not too high, keep your voice at the same level, you don’t shout back at them.

I left the Heygate last year. November 17th 2008, I moved into my new place. It’s a nice size. It’s still in the area. It’s near my brother, and near work. When I was looking for a place, my next door neighbour, an elderly lady, was saying don’t leave, Barry, please don’t leave. But then I got this flat, and it’s lovely. I’ve met my neighbours and they’re nice. I get on all right with anyone really, I always say hello, and how are you?

I remember Christmas time on the Heygate, that was nice. We’d go and see neighbours; other neighbours would come in, just for half an hour or so, say Happy Christmas and all that, have a chinwag. Mind you, mum used to do more of the talking than me. I’d come home from work and she’d be out on the landing, talking to the neighbours, if it was a nice evening.

I used to use the shopping centre at Elephant and Castle. I went to the Tescos. I used to get my hair cut in the Barbers across from the Sundial Cafe. I used the bank on the corner. I used WHSMiths for my music. I’m into the Sixties. I like stuff you can get straight away, that you don’t have to listen to three times! I like things you can sing along to: Buddy Holly, Neil Diamond, Mick Jagger, Abba; nothing too heavy.

I liked the Elephant and Castle how it was before. I was surprised I knew so many people and so many people knew me. Since mum died, I was there on my own, and people were always saying hello. Now I’ve moved away I don’t see them anymore. I didn’t want to move, to tell you the truth. It wasn’t easy. I lost two stone in weight – rushing about looking at places, back and forth to the council. It’s prime land, when you think about it. You can get any bus from here over to the city and you’re there in 5-10 minutes. I don’t think they’ll make provision for the working class like us.