Through the hole in the wall: Milner Square 1935-1975

Password: milner

Produced and Narrated by Susan Oudot
Directed by Chiara Messineo
Edited by Dan Jobar

When Islington Council took over their slum tenements in the 1970s, Milner Square’s residents were dispersed to estates and New Towns. They gained bathrooms and boilers, but lost their tight-knit community; they were filled instead with a sense that the world – their world – had changed forever.

Through the candid, colourful and often emotional recollections of those who lived there through the pre- and post-war years, this film shows them returning to the Square and beautifully recaptures a place in time, and its importance to those who called it ‘home’.

For more information on this HLF funded
project visit the Milner Square project or contact


The Premiere of through the hole in the wall: Life in Milner Square 1935-1975

The premier of through the hole in the wall: Life in Milner Square 1935-1975 was held at the Screen on the Green, Islington Green on Tuesday 8th September.


It was a full house attended by all those who had contributed to the film including the interviewees and their families and current residents who allowed the film to be shot in their flats. Guests from Age UK Islington, Islington Pensioners’ Forum and Veterans’ Association were also invited to attend.24

After the screening an afternoon tea supplied by Marks and Spencer was held for the attendees at the Islington Town Hall.(photos Tony Oudot)

For more information on this HLF funded project visit the Milner Square project or contact


Filming ‘through the hole in the wall’ in Milner Square.

The film crew and interviewees spent the first sweltering week of July filming the documentary in Milner Square and other locations. Some current residents kindly allowed the film crew access into their homes to film some of the scenes.Filming2

Eight former residents were filmed being interviewed in the square and inside some of the houses (now converted into flats) that they used to live in. Ron is seen here being filmed in Almeida Street about to walk into the square ‘through the hole in the wall’. He was interviewed talking to Susan in the square and also inside the house he grew up in.

The support team!

Support-Team1A big thank you to Runner Emma, Data Wrangler Georgia and Show Runner Julie who looked after the film crew and the interviewees and made sure everything was logged and backed up. Some Age UK users braved the heat and came along to watch the filming in the square. But three crew members from Italy who had joined us on the project were totally at home in the heat: Virginia Sedia (Second Camera and Stills Photography), Giuliano Barbieri  (Additional Second Camera) and Federica Binanti (Production Assistant).

Watch this space to hear news on the final film.

For more information on this HLF funded project visit the Milner Square project or contact


Through the hole in the wall: Milner Square 1935-1975

Islington Local History Centre and Museum has been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a documentary film and oral history project that looks at the history of Milner Square, Barnsbury, and examines the social and economic changes experienced by those living there from 1935-75. Milner Squ Hole in the Wall 1975

A group of past residents, spanning three generations, were filmed in the square, talking about how life has changed since the 1930s-70s and comparing their experiences with those living there today. The film also revisits the square’s industrial past, looking at the Richford Iron Foundry and the British Syphon Factory (which later became the Kardonia Greetings Card Factory) which provided work for many local people before their closure. The oral histories and archive material – photographs, news cuttings etc. –  provide a unique insight into this period and discuss issues around the break-up and re-housing of the community through the compulsory purchase order of property by the council in 1972.

The resulting documentary film will then be shown in elderly care and support centres throughout Islington, as part of reminiscence therapy and enrichment sessions for the elderly. This will not only provide a catalyst for further oral histories and engagement, but will inform those resident in the borough today of its heritage.

MSq-1952-PatCoxWriter and producer, Susan Oudot, says: “Having been born and brought up in Milner Square I am very excited to be working on this project. My hope is that we can produce a film that will give people some understanding of what this now-affluent area used to be like. But, more importantly, that it will remind those who lived through that period of their own past and encourage them to talk about it, in the hope that we are able to capture more of this important time in our local and national history.”

Keep an eye on the Milner Square page for further updates on this exciting project. For more information contact


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