7:00am Friday 9th March 2012
THE origins of Blackbird Leys and the people who live there will be in the spotlight on the estate this year.
Working Class History Month, organised by the Independent Working Class Association, will take place in May.
There are plans for school projects, films on the estate and a big finale event for residents on Saturday, May 26.
Leys city councillor Stuart Craft said: “The history of Blackbird Leys is essentially the history of work because most people who came here did so because they worked at the car factory. You had people from all backgrounds – those who moved in the slum clearances of St Ebbe’s, miners from South Wales and people from Ireland, Scotland and the Caribbean.”
It is hoped the month’s activities could become an annual event.
Mr Craft said: “This isn’t just about working class history, it’s about people having pride in the fact they are working class and come from Blackbird Leys.
“You only ever hear negative things about living on an estate so this is about celebrating the positive.”
The first residents moved into Sandy Lane in the late 1950s, as 3,000 new houses and flats were built on green land south of the city.
In 2007, hundreds of people came together for a series of events to celebrate 50 years of the community, including a procession through the estate, a celebratory mosaic and a history of the estate in pictures.
Mr Craft said Pegasus Primary School children will be making pro-jects about their community’s history for the May 26 event at The Barn featuring interviews, speeches, music and entertainment.
He said they were also interested in a video project to record the memories of older people from the estate.
Nunnery Close resident Liz Brandon, 72, said: “In September, I will have lived here for 51 years. There are eight of us here who came when it was new and we’ve lived next to each other all that time.
“I love it here, even if I won the lottery I wouldn’t move. The area is peaceful, it’s lovely and all the neighbours get on with each other, it’s that community spirit.
“Blackbird Leys has so many facilities for children and adults and there’s a lot to do if you are prepared to go ahead and find it.”
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