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#11 - Mary Allen / The Irish Centre / 1950-2015

MaryAllen Leica04
Mary Allen at her home, May 2015. Photo: Elly Clarke

I met Mary Allen at her home in Agar Grove Estate, which she moved to in 1950. She gave me tea and lots of biscuits!

Mary's sticky memories were to do with her involvement with the London Irish Centre in Camden Square, around the corner from where she lives. Over the past 60 years The Irish Centre has played a huge role in Mary's life - for the friends, community (as well as the bacon and cabbage suppers!), and she a huge role within it. In 2004 Mary was awarded a Good Citizen Award for her services to the Irish community in Camden. For thirteen years Mary and her late husband took Camden Mayors to Waterford, Ireland, for civic visits, with tales of buying a salmon, Mayoral Chains lost in transit and - on one visit - staying in the spectacular Waterford Castle...

Mary spoke to me about how it was to move to the UK in the 40s, what a bad state Britain was in then, post war, and the role Irish people played in the rebuilding process. And how many Irish people there were in Camden in the '50s.

With four children, many grandchildren, several great grandchildren and a embedded in the community, Mary's home is packed with photographs. In the video, she showed me two of these.

Later this year Mary has to leave her home as the estate is due to be demolished. She will move to another flat in the area.

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