Toni Davey 2011


They’re moving father’s grave to build a sewer

They’re moving it regardless of expense.

They’re moving his remains to lay down nine-inch drains

To irrigate some rich bloke’s residence.

Now what’s the use of having a religion?

If when you’re dead you cannot get some peace

‘Cause some society chap wants a pipeline to his

tank and moves you from your place of rest and peace…

A walk in the park should be a pleasurable experience. For Toni Davey, it was much more than that: an escape, a sanctuary, a flashpoint, a dispossession, a catalyst, an achievement, a failure.

Shadwell Park is much more than a park to a lot of people – the only open green space for miles – it is the back yard of many. When the park became threatened by Thames Water, a threat that would turn an oasis into a construction site for their new super sewer, the community came together, spoke out in one voice and roared NO! in a show of unity that had been unprecedented for decades.

Today, Toni is strolling round Shaddy Park, walking her dogs, looking in wonder at the dazzling laser light display twinkling from the rippled river, listening to the leaves rustle in the gentle salty breeze; joggers huffing and puffing, their feet heavy on the crunchy paths; birds flocking around bread crumbs thrown by the man with the blue plastic bag; the Tai-Chi man softly casting elegant shadows in the dappled sun. She has failed.

Three years ago, along with her community, she took on Thames Water in an epic fight to save this park. It was the fight of her life, and credit where credit is due, she kicked some major arse! But money won. This glorious park, which holds so many memories for so many people, will soon be ripped to shreds, its lawns gouged, its trees felled. Battle lost, but with a realization that her community is as strong as ever. Whilst people mourn the death of the real East End, they fail to see, it’s still here. Still alive. Still kicking.

Now father in his life was not a quitter

And I’m sure that he’ll not be a quitter now.

And in his winding sheet, he will haunt that privy seat

And only let them go when he’ll allow.

Now won’t there be some bleedin’ consternation,

And won’t those city toffs begin to rave!

But it’s no more than they deserve, ‘cos they had the bleedin’ nerve

To muck about a British workman’s grave.


About the authors | About Dan Jones | About the project

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2 thoughts on “Toni Davey 2011

  1. my uncle`s ashes are in shadwell park he didnt want to leave the comunity he worked hard for as a labour counciler. i played there as a kid in the paddleing pool and on the banana boat and the umbrella and the swings, and by the little cafe we used to watch the punch and judy show its all gone now so why cant they leave the park alone all thats left is the grass anyway somewhere for the old folk can go and have a bit of fresh air and quiet. this country has gone right down the pan its no wonder the kids grow up with no respect look what the country has done to there parents……..


  2. Thanks for sharing your memories, Rachelle. It’s good to know other people love Shaddy Park too, and because your uncle’s ashes are there that gives us even more reason to save it!


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