Every generation regrets the passage of time. Some sit and sigh and others lament things lost and time passed. At the end, all we seem to be left with are our memories. However, perhaps we should be content with them rather than yearn for what once was.
The places and things we once loved and now miss may simply have served their purpose. The Excelsior was special to my mother and so became special to me, but sadly it could not be adapted to the changing needs of society while, through the vision of new owners, the Essoldo Bethnal Green became a place of business with a remarkably attractive frontage. The same is true of so many other sites in the East End and, for that matter, throughout the world. The Coliseum decayed once it lost its audience for watching folks being thrown to lions and found no other use. Likewise large, poorly lit and awkwardly built department stores do not survive once they lose sight of changing fashion. Adaptability leads to survival. The Odeon Hackney Road survived because it was transformed into a Bingo Hall once its owners realized that the area no longer needed a large picture house. Similarly, the Astoria Finsbury Park survived because it was thought suitable to meet the needs of a church. Finally, the Hackney Empire survived thanks to it proving useful as a television studio and later as a Bingo Hall. And then, thanks to the foresight of a group of people, like a phoenix, it rose once more and survives to bring pleasure to new generations who did not know it when I did.