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Holland Estate Portraits

April 15, 2015
by the gentle author

In the wake of recent news that East End Homes have submitted a pre-planning application for demolition of the Holland Estate next to Petticoat Lane prior to consulting with the people who live there, a member of the staff of East End Homes told residents their homes were “unfit for human habitation.” So yesterday, Contributing Photographer Sarah Ainslie & I spent an afternoon visiting flats on the Estate to take these portraits and assess the accommodation for ourselves.

We were touched by the strong sense of community we encountered and the generous welcome we received at the Holland Estate. We found the gracious brick structures are built of better quality materials than most modern developments and are humanely conceived, offering hospitable living spaces which are cherished and well-maintained by the occupants.

Ali Sahed Goyas &  Jahnara Choudhury have lived on the Holland Estate for twenty-five years

Pascha Singh has lived on the Holland Estate for more than thirty years

Mahjdiyat, Shammi, Manveen & Arshan Ahmed at home

Yolanda De Los Buies has lived on the Holland Estate for seventeen years

Saleha Khanam with her son Shamsur Rahman and his wife Rushna Begum and their children Yaseen and Hamza – Four generations of this family have lived on the Holland Estate

Azar Ali has lived on the Holland Estate for thirty-one years

Nessa Aifun cares for her husband Rustum at home

Saleh Ahmed & Rusnobun  Bibi and their grandchildren Aakifah & Ismael

Kabir Ahmed & Nasrin Rob with their children Aakifah & Ismael

Murtata Choudhury has lived on the Holland Estate for fifty years

Shikiko Aoyama Sanderson & Jarrod Sanderson have lived on the Estate for six years

Samirun Chowdhury  with Saima Chowdhury and Taher Uddin outside Samirun & Saima’s home

Enrico Bonadio has lived on the Holland Estate for three years

Rob Ali, Ali Sayed Goyas, Asab Miah, Murtata Choudhury, Saleh Ahmed with Aakifah Ahmed & Mohammed Ismael Ali

Photographs copyright @ Sarah Ainslie

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At the Holland Estate

13 Responses leave one →
  1. YVR permalink
    April 15, 2015

    ‘Sad’ is a summary of my emotion – humanity requires more social activism.

  2. jeannette permalink
    April 15, 2015

    thank you for documenting the humans and their habitation.

  3. April 15, 2015

    The people living on the estate are a microcosm of the East End – different races and religions, living together in harmony. East End Homes has evidently done little or nothing to keep the buildings in good repair, but these people have worked hard to make their flats into homes in a community. I hope that the insatiable greed and incompetence of the owners of these and other estates will not be allowed to win. Good luck to all the residents, Vaerie

  4. Barbara permalink
    April 15, 2015

    East End Homes , sit up and listen ! A sense of community and belonging must not be swept away as it was in the sixties with East End slum clearance . Allow residents to know what is best for their well-being and respect their understanding of what it is that makes a place a home . Uprooting tenants against their will and ignoring the opportunity to develop communities is shameful . Who will really benefit from this proposed redevelopment I wonder ? I am highly suspicious .

  5. paul boucher permalink
    April 15, 2015

    Really lovely portraits of this community. The developers must not destroy it.

  6. Richard permalink
    April 15, 2015

    What handsome people!

  7. Cathy permalink
    April 15, 2015

    Thank you for sharing the loving face of this community. Your photographs are a testament to the dignity of the residents.

  8. April 15, 2015

    Yet again, the Gentle Author shows up and *ought* to shame the deviousness (not to use a stronger word!) of landlords/developers who seem determined to forge ahead in pursuit of profit, regardless of the wishes and the needs of the communities who so inconveniently live in ‘their’ territory.

  9. April 15, 2015

    Old does not mean condemned or uninhabitable it just means well used and cared for. Is the Tower of London, or anyone of the large royal palaces with all the rats, yes, there are those creatures there uninhabitable? Officer live there as do many other inhabitants.
    Owners of the property need to use their profits, made many times over to do the upkeep. I worked in the Whitechapel area for years and loved every minute.

  10. Ian permalink
    April 15, 2015

    I do hope those of us who are anxious to help avoid the destruction of this fairly obviously thriving community can offer our support in some way. Best wishes to you all!

  11. Susan Goldman permalink
    April 16, 2015

    So sad the way people are treated nowadays. No doubt the new homes built will be sold off to the rich after this little community has been torn apart and dispersed to wherever. The residents look very proud of their nicely kept homes, they don’t look like slums inside! There have been plenty of this type of housing estate that has been refurbished (look at Wapping-my great granddad lived at Parry House, Green bank, and it’s still there!) so why not this one? I hope that this estate can be saved and the social cleansing of Tower Hamlets halted, but I somehow doubt it. It’s just very very sad.

  12. saima permalink
    May 15, 2015


  13. May 15, 2015

    we love our estate and thats me and my mum and my friend Taher

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