Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Spring Celebrations in South East London

Beating the Bounds is an English tradition where the boundaries of a certain area, parish, town or county, is marked out, sometimes by bouncing people off of boundary markers, more often by whacking the boundaries themselves. The general idea is that without maps and road signs, folk in the past would need some pretty clear reminders of exactly where one place starts and the other ends.

Giving the boundaries of Lee the thrashing it richly deserves is the Dacre (women’s) Morris Troop on Saturday 23rd April. They’ll be starting at their namesake pub the
Dacre Arms, Kingswood Place, SE13, 10.30am for an 11.00am start, processing along the boundary of the old Dacre estate before calling at the Duke of Edinburgh at about midday and the Woodman at about 1pm (both pubs are along Lee High Road) and finishing at the Dacre at about 2.30-3.00.

All are welcome and the Dacre web page is
here. Information and directions (you’ll need them) to the Dacre are here


Another tradition that emerges locally at this time of year is the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green, who some of us followed around Greenwich last year and the jolly green giant is going around Borough this year. If you have not seen the Deptford Jack before, and not made it to the Hastings or Rochester Jacks in the Green, there is nothing more evocative of spring than seeing a bunch of tipsy people in fancy-dress coming up the road at you, one of whom is dressed as a tree.

The dressing of the Jack will take place on Saturday 30th April at Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street, SE1 (which coincides with a Star Trek meeting so, ha-har, come see when minority interests collide) and the Jack and co head from the Horseshoe from 12.30pm on Sunday May 1st before setting out to the following pubs (at approximately the following times):

12.30pm at the very latest: Leave from the Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street,
1.00pm: Royal Oak, Tabard Street,
1.30pm: Lord Clyde, Clennam Street (this is possibly the shortest street in London - it is just off Marshalsea Road)
2.00pm: Founder's Arms, Hopton Street, Bankside (near Tate Modern)
3.45pm: Market Porter, Stoney Street
4.30pm: The Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street,all in the Borough, London SE1 area.

Sarah Crofts, who organised this fantastic event, says "All of the these stops are confirmed, but between the Founders Arms and the Market Porter, we may venture on to the Millennium Bridge and cross to the north side of the river to the Centre Page, Knightrider Street, near St. Paul's. This depends entirely on the weather; Jack does not like high winds and as it is very exposed on the bridge, it may not be possible for him to make the crossing.

Everyone is welcome on both Saturday evening and Sunday. Most of these pubs do food on Sundays, but the longest stop around lunch time will be at the Founders Arms. The Horseshoe also does food if you want to have something to eat when we return."

The Sunday parade/pub-crawl coincides with the monthly folk session at the Horseshoe Inn. A map to the Horseshoe is here:

For more information on the Jack and the Lee Beating of the Bounds, contact Sarah.
For more information on this honest working class, urban tradition, go to Sarah’s website.

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