Housing project named after Hackney boy turned Hollywood star Idris Elba
PUBLISHED: 10:02 18 January 2011
Olivia Harris, www.oliviaharrisphotos.com, 07881 810 878
The Wire actor brings his dad to see Hackney housing scheme, which has been named after him
Hollywood actor Idris Elba returned to his Hackney roots on Friday (January 13) to open an affordable housing project named in recognition of his achievements.
Elba, who played Stringer Bell in hit US crime drama The Wire, opened two new blocks of apartments in Andre Street, next to Mossbourne Community Academy in Downs Park Road, Hackney Central.
The Golden Globe nominee, who grew up in Holly Street, Dalston, but now lives in California, brought his proud father Winston Elba, 69, to visit Elba House – the larger of the buildings.
He told the Gazette he had been surprised to hear about the unusual accolade and wanted to see it for himself.
“I was really moved,” he said.
“It is well documented that I was in Hackney for quite a long length of time. But just to have someone say: “We are so proud of what you have done we are going to name a building after you that is cost-effective, clean and new,” is a great honour.
“Everyone has the right to own a home so I think this is a really good idea.
“I told my dad and I think he believed it less than me,”
“I thought the building belonged to him,” said Elba senior, who now lives in East Ham.
The film and TV actor, 38, was a pupil at Laburnum Primary School in Haggerston, before it closed, and Kingsland Secondary School in Shacklewell Lane, which later became The Petchey Academy.
He is a former member of the National Youth Music Theatre and will star as Heimdall in Kenneth Brannagh’s film Thor later this year.
He took a tour of the £6.2m part-buy part-rent project in Hackney, met some of its future residents and unveiled a plaque on Friday.
One-bedroom apartments in the scheme, by not-for-profit organisation A2Dominion New Homes, start at £99,000 and two-bedrooms at £119,250 for a 45 per cent share. They are only available to existing Hackney residents.
Danny Lynch, London development director for A2Dominion New Homes, said: “We’re delighted to name Elba House after Idris Elba, who has strong links to the Hackney area.
“The block is providing much-needed high quality new homes for affordable rent, whilst a smaller block at the scheme offers affordable homes for part-buy part-rent to help local people onto the property ladder.”
Pat Benjamin, 44, who is moving into one of the new apartments at Elba House, said: “I wanted something new and fresh - a new year, a new start, and this is ideal.”