Thanks for heads up Lesley Ramm @HornseyN8. BBC- "Archaeologist Ben Robinson explores the hidden villages of the capital. Despite many rural settlements like Hornsey and Dagenham being swallowed up by the expansion of London, Hampstead residents successfully fought to preserve their village heritage, while in recent years Londoners have created a new breed of urban villages like Crouch End and Walthamstow."
The ladder got a very brief mention at 3 min 55 sec. The iPlayer link is here
Hugh recently mentioned the way developers changed place names for marketing purposes - great example (at 4 min 50 sec) of Gravelpit Wood changed to Highgate Wood and Churchyard Bottom becoming Queens Wood.
I watched this last night and I have to say that I found myself getting very Victor Meldrew at the programme.
It's looking at the notion of ‘village’, but it doesn't really examine what that means in the London context nor really feed much in about the social questions this raises. You can't make a programme of this sort and gloss over those issues.
There's an acknowledgement at the end that ‘villages’ tend to be in wealthier areas, but they don't really explore this and the implications of the wealth divide. This glossing over is compounded in their clip from the Hornsey Historical Society. The HHS spokesman refers to the origins of the Ladder as being a 'working class area' in contrast to the wealthier Hornsey. In fact the Ladder could probably more accurately be described as having been in lower middle class. The real concentration of working class poverty was in fact in the very centre of Hornsey - clustered to the South and north of Hornsey High Street. The legacy of that is today's council estates around Hornsey High Street. I'm sure it'll have been due to the editing, but how it came out in the cut reinforced for me the sense of 'we the smart little ‘village’ over here vs you the non-villaged hoi-poloi over there (and ne'er the twain shall meet)'.
I had thought that the presenter has no historian credentials, but am surprised to learn as a result of your post that in fact he does. I assume that this is more superficial than most of his work.
I was exasperated by this ‘documentary’ programme about present-day London ‘villages’, relying as it does on a cast of exclusively white, mostly middle-class characters in Clapham, Dagenham, Walthamstow, Crouch End, and Hornsey. These are the places I live and regularly work in. The programme-makers must have worked pretty damn hard to keep the local black, brown and yellow faces - and their stories - off the screen. Sad.