Croydon has become synonymous with the riots after the now iconic footage of Reeves furniture store was broadcast around the world.
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Aerial footage showing the historic furniture shop alight shocked many, as the destruction and looting of high street shops turned to a 144 year-old family business, burning one of their two premises to the ground. The seemingly random nature of the attack on the House of Reeves changed the atmosphere of the London riots. The brutal burning, rather than looting for products either to keep or sell is perhaps what is most shocking. In contrast to looting, there was nothing to be gained by the perpetrator.
In an exclusive interview with Blottr, House of Reeves Director, Trevor Reeves, spoke of the lasting impact that the riots have had on his business, and on the community in Croydon. Trevor expressed that one year since the riots, community spirit is generally stronger. He explained that ‘there is a will to make things better’, and that ‘nothing bad is going on at the moment’.
However, although as an established business House of Reeves had adequate insurance, other shops that were affected have not had similar compensation, from insurance policies or from the government. The fire that ripped through Reeves was so severe that it spread to the shops and flats across the road. While Reeves has not been rebuilt, the remains of the old building were removed and boarding erected. The buildings across the road have been left in their burnt-out state, with nothing done to fix this scar on one of Croydon’s oldest streets.
Not only have the other shops on the corner been left untouched, Mr Reeves was sure to emphasise that regardless of insurance pay outs or even regeneration of the buildings , you ‘can never be compensated for the extra hours, or the heartache’.
Although Mr Reeves described an improved community atmosphere he also told me how his current shop, and the site of the burnt shop, now surrounded by boarding, have been repeatedly target by both burglars and vandals. In the last year the House of Reeves premises on Church street has been burgled and has had lead stolen from the roof. The boarding that surrounds the site of old shop, and has pictures dating back to the 1890s, as well as images of the fire and the aftermath, has been attacked four times, pulled down, and graffitied.