By TOM SMITH
Crowning a day of high drama, a pin fell in the south London suburb of Streatham yesterday afternoon. "It was terrible" said one local resident, who wished to remain anonymous. "The pin was on the table one moment, then all of a sudden, it fell, just like that - I'm utterly gutted." he said. The tragedy occured in a semi-detached house on a quiet street off the High Road. Police and emergency services were on the scene within five minutes, but were unable to save the unfortunate pin. A large crowd that had gathered at the scene did not help, impeding the desperate rescue efforts. Deputy Chief Inspector Brian O'Toole of the Metropolitan Police, in charge of the operation, admitted that the Streatham catastrophe was the "worst case of its kind" that he had seen in a career spanning four decades.
Earlier in the day, in a separate incident, a spec of dust was blown off a window sill in a house in a nearby street. Meanwhile, at the pond in Tooting Common, a drop of water was seen dripping onto the surface of the lake. Witnesses expressed their shock and disbelief as a calm afternoon in the London backwater rapidly descended into a scene of utter devastation and chaos. "We all knew that something like this happen in other countries" said Jenny MacNeill, 44, an estate agent from Brixton. "but to watch it unfold before your own eyes is just unbelieveable" she said. Her mother, Margaret Joyce, 70, also from Brixton added:"what happened to the spec of dust was bad enough - but then there was the drop of water and the pin... My heart goes out to all the victims
and their loved ones".
Experts were divided as to the cause of the tragedy. Madelaine Potts of the right-wing think-tank Superbus linked the catastrophe to the recent influx of Eastern European migrants, while Terry Bond of Save the Green Planet blamed global warming. On a more balanced note, Professor Miles Williams of Birkbeck College, University of London explained that "we simply don't know." Professor Williams told the assembled press how shocked he was by the latest developments. "The pin was so beautiful. It's unbelieveable that such a thing could happen to a pin like that."
Theresa May, the Prime Minister, called the devastation " appalling " and ordered an immediate public inquiry. "This is a terrible day for pins of all complexions. This government believes that such a tragedy should never be allowed to occur again. " her spokesperson said. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared on Newsnight last night, and accused the government of nurturing a culture in which pins are allowed to fall with impunity. "The incompetence of this government is just incredible" he said.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement last night, in which the Queen expressed her "deep sympathy" for the people of Streatham.
The escalating crisis in South London sent jitters throughout the global markets. In the City and Wall Street share prices fell sharply, before recovering a little at the close of trading.
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The Streatham Sketchbook
The Streatham Sketchbook is a unique collaboration between Streatham based artist Jiro Osuga and London historian Mireille Galinou. It explores life in the south London suburb past and present, with a particular emphasis on its little-known cultural heritage. The book is lavishly illustrated throughout with Jiro's paintings inspired by the neighbourhood, historical images reproduced for the first time, and some superb photographs of Streatham today by Torla Evans.
Available from Your London Publishing
Visit the website of Jiro Osuga's late friend Townly Cooke, featuring the best of the artist's paintings, drawings and photography.