The Sutton Estate is close to my heart, for reasons set out in the attachment (Letter below). If the proprietors will let me scatter Aunty Una's ashes there, I would be happy for any residents past or present or their survivors to join me in a miniature act of remembrance for all of them.
MISS UNA CAITLIN MADIGAN, deceased
I am writing on behalf of my late aunt, Una Madigan, and myself, both of us former residents of the Sutton Dwellings in Cale Street. The Dwellings are a sacred ground to her because it was where her parents, John (Jack) and Josephine Madigan, lived out their exemplary lives, in 4 D Block ( subsequently Delmerend House). They are to me too because her parents were parents to me, although I lived with my mother, Maureen Brigid Dorling, when she was single, in 30 P Block. Una died recently aged 82 and it was her last wish that her ashes be scattered as close as possible outside the site of the Madigan flat. I very much hope that you feel be able to agree to my doing that in the near future.
Essentially, that’s it. The rest is about why I feel this matters, and it need not detain the hard-pressed. The warm reddish-pink brickwork, the daft ivory pediments over the block entrances, the unforgiving tarmac of the yards, on which kids nonetheless bounced, of Sutton Dwellings seem to live when they do not. But they remain, when all the curious generations for whose lives they provided a stage, a reference and a structure have passed. Of course the fabric has changed and looks set to change again, but it remains crucially important to our humanity to honour and respect those who dwelt within it. That is why I hope that room can be found within all the aspirational business plans to keep at least one of the blocks close to the way it once was.
Do you know when Una, and then I, were growing up the rooms were still lit by popping gas mantles and heated by cast iron ranges as black as your hat?