The rotten streets I once called home

SIR MICHAEL CAINE has spoken of his horror at returning to the “sink estates” in the area he once called home.

By (Daily Mail)

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Published: Sun 15 Mar 2009, 11:23 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:42 PM

The actor said children in Elephant & Castle, South London, were being “left to rot” and growing into “animals”.

Sir Michael is no stranger to the tough streets of the capital, as he grew up in the same area when “spivs” prowled with razor blades sewn into the brims of their hats.

But on returning to film a low-budget thriller about gang culture, he was shocked by what he found. Much of his time shooting Harry Brown was spent around an area called the Heygate Estate, a 1960s social housing scheme that is to be demolished. And none too soon, according to Sir Michael.

Sir Michael, 75, moved to Camberwell from Rotherhithe in the 1940s, when he was 12. He lived in a prefabricated house which had electric lights and an inside bathroom.

“That terrible place for me was a step up,” he said. “But when I see how children live now, compared with the flats there now it was like a middle-class dwelling.”

“(The film) is about sink estates and the violence on them,” he told the Evening Standard. “This is a dark portrait but unfortunately it is very true and we’re all responsible for it. We left the children to rot. We left these children and they grew into animals.”

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