The first time that I ever slept rough in London

I'm just going through some of my photos from when I went to London to shoot them for the book.

Here's a photo of the first ever place in London that I'd ever slept rough at 12 years old after my friend Joanne had been placed into a secure unit. (Where the metal fence is)
It's Wentworth street which is just off Brick Lane in London's east end.


I'd be lying to say that I wasn't a bit scared to be honest.
Although I'd already been running away and sleeping rough across the West Midlands since the age of ten, sleeping rough at Brick Lane was a completely different experience.


I'd already been in the area a while after spending at least six months constantly running away to London and getting caught - but I never needed to sleep rough when I was with my friend Joanne. She always knew a place for us to go.
I'd got to know a lot of the local sex workers and drug users around the Whitechapel and Aldgate area, but in the late hours of the night until early morning it didn't help the place not feel any less shadier.

When Joanne got placed into secure unit (which was what she actually needed for her own safety), I was then out on my own on the London streets.
Over the coming years I soon learned the ways of the streets though.


You can find out more about my book at https://benwestwood.wixsite.com/runaway/sample-poems

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