Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Immediately to the South West of Telegraph Hill, Nunhead Hill is shown - this is the area now partly covered by Nunhead cemetery.
Monday, September 29, 2008
A desperate couple are looking for clues to track down the source of a vibration which is making their lives a misery. The pulsating noise has kept Irene and Edward Funnell from a good night's sleep for 286 days and, despite attempts by a variety of authorities to find the cause, no-one knows where it is coming from. Mrs Funnell, 62, of Lovel Avenue, Welling, said: "Some people think we are mad, but we are just normal people."
The couple, who have lived in their home for 34 years, thought at first the low throbbing noise was the bass from someone's music. Then they thought it might be a lorry parked in the street with its engine running. But just before Christmas last year, 63-year-old Mr Funnell was woken up in the early hours by "an awful noise" coming from somewhere in the house. The couple got up and heard a hissing noi se as they searched for the source. They opened the back door and went outside.
Mrs Funnell said: "It was like a vibration in the head, but you could feel it in the air. My husband said he would not have been surprised to look up and see a spaceship. It was very frightening."
Almost the same spaceship comparison was used by Lord Philips of Sudbury last month to describe a mysterious hum which began in the Suffolk town in July and which has also not yet been traced. Mrs Funnell said: "We dread going to bed. We nod off but it is always broken sleep and we are awake by 3.30am. We get no peace and quiet any more."
The couple's landlord, housing association London and Quadrant, has been working to find the source of the vibration, taking apart the central heating system and checking the electrics and the drains...
(full story, 25 September 2008, here)
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
But then checking the details at Beer in the Evening I found that it is actually closed for refurbishment, with rumours of the restaurant being extended (presumably farewell to the veranda), the bar modernised and dogs being banned! Well I guess we'll have to wait and see what its like when the works finished - it will still be a pub in a great location with a decent garden. But let's hope it doesn't lose its pub character entirely, and let's hope too that they at least allow dogs in the garden - do they want to lose the 'just walked the dog in the woods and need a pint and something to eat' market (actually they probably do).
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
'When Eddie O'Mahony, then a newly demobbed sergeant with a wife and two infant sons, moved into his prefab bungalow in June 1946 he was told the hastily assembled timber panel home would last no more than a decade... Now, in a testament to both the unexpected longevity and historical significance of the prefab, almost 160,000 of which were hurriedly thrown up following the second world war to combat a crippling housing shortage, O'Mahony's home is likely to receive official protection in the next few weeks. The culture minister, Margaret Hodge, is expected to announce that the entire estate of 185 prefabs in Catford, south-east London, along with its rare, tin-roofed "temporary" church, should be given a Grade II listing." (full article here)
Monday, September 22, 2008
You can buy tickets online or at the Amersham Arms, and then go to The Hobgoblin on the day and swap them for a wristband. The Hobgoblin itself will be open all day with 'Kelvstock' presenting music from 12 noon until nine, with free admission (i.e. you won't need a wristband or ticket). Local acts playing there will include Redgress Colletive, Little Devils, The Teenage Men, Cordelia Fellowes, Vikki G and Brockley Ukulele Group (who will be on around 6 pm)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
If any of you come across this site can I just say 'welcome to South East London'. Yes, you will meet some snotty folk who will resentfully blank you for being 'off the manor' and if you're very unlucky you might even encounter some scum who will try and part you from your wallet and mobile phone. But anyone with a spark of life must surely welcome the student population - OK like every other part of the community, they have their share of idiots - but lets face it New Cross would be socially poorer without students keeping the nightlife going, forming bands, and (in some cases) staying in the area after college and stopping the area stagnating.
I was delighted to hear this week from Tony Robins, who grew up in the area in the 1930s and 1940s (his war time memoirs are available online here). Tony recalls: 'From 1930, the year I was born, to 1948 (National Service),we lived at 77 Kitto Road, on the corner of Erlanger Road. Nobody could live closer to both parks, and my sisters & I considered they were ours - I think nobody could possibly have spent more time playing in them than we did! We knew our address was 77 Kitto Road, New Cross, S.E.14., and always said we lived at New Cross, or New Cross Gate (or even just the Gate) - not at Telegraph Hill, even though the parks had that name. After the war, coming home by bus or tram either along the Old Kent Road or Queens Road, or the other way from Lewisham or Greenwich, when paying my fare I learned to tell the conductor simply "The Gate, please".
So when was Telegraph Hill invented? I believe that the Telegraph Hill Centre opened in 1968, and there was a community body called the Telegraph Hill Social Council around this time and into the 1970s. But I think these were conceived as serving the Telegraph Hill Ward, part of the Lewisham Council area that extends almost to Honor Oak. I think it was probably the designation of the Telegraph Hill conservation area in 1990 that created a sense of a more narrow boundary, defined by the housing built by the Haberdashers Company in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. This is the area focused on by the Telegraph Hill Society, rather than the more architecturally and socially mixed Telegraph Hill Ward.
None of this matters too much, names do shift and after all 'New Cross Gate' was a new name compared with Hatcham, the area's older moniker. But I do think when people make a point of saying they live in 'Telegraph Hill not New Cross' as opposed to 'Telegraph Hill in New Cross' they are kidding nobody but themselves. What worries me more is that the imagined geographic distancing easily slips into a social distancing, with some people perhaps believing that they are somehow superior because they live several metres higher above sea level than the folks down below.
This is what Tim Butler and Garry Robson found in their academic study 'London Calling: The Middle Classes and the Re-Making of Inner London' (Oxford: Berg, 2003), in which they describe ‘Telegraph Hill’ as a middle class ‘enclave’ marked by ‘an element of smugness that is somewhat off-putting’ and a ‘denial of the wider area (New Cross) in which Telegraph Hill is located’. This is something of a stereotype, but a recognisable one nevertheless.
Tuesday 23rd September: Writers’ Workshop - Southwark’s local historian Stephen Bourne, author of several successful Black History books, will be sharing his experience of writing for local and mainstream publishers.Venue: Nunhead Library Time: 7-9pm, free.
Thursday 25th September: Comedy night, with Radio 4’s Arthur Smith, Ben Butler and Emmi Ogle plus the regular ‘Pull The Other One’team. Venue: The Ivy House, 40 Stuart Road Time: 8.30pm. All Tickets £5 before 8.30pm.
Friday 26th September: Film Night, Dulwich Paradiso returns to Nunhead with the screening of mike Leigh’s “Happy-go-lucky”. Venue: upstairs at The Old Nun’s HeadTime: Doors 7.45pm. Film 8.30pm All Tickets £2 (inc membership).Sunday 28th September: Nunhead Walk, local historian Ron Woollacott MBE will take you on a walk around historic Nunhead. Venue: Outside The Old Nun’s Head Time: 11.30am (Walk approx.1.5 hrs). Free.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
There is a free showing next Friday 26th September 2008, 6 - 9 pm, Deptford Arms, 52 Deptford High St, as part of Deptford X's 10th anniversary invited projects and the annual Artful Festival. Further details from the Deptford 45s website.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It seems that the 'for sale' sign outside the pub has been there for a while (details here), rather than being prompted by recent events as I suggested earlier.
I think it's a shame that Ken has gone into this bunker mentality - it would have been better if he'd accepted that it was a mistake to close the pub and open a strip joint instead. There was overwhelming local opposition to his plans and he really is digging himself into a hole by appealing - because the fact is he needs people to come into his pub and he is making himself and therefore the pub increasingly unpopular.
Having said that, opponents of the plans will need to get their act together, as Magistrates Courts can and do overrule licensing decisions made by Councils.
See previous posts for the background to this row.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
On Tuesday 14th October, Neil Gordon-Orr will be giving a talk (with music and visuals) on 'Deptford Fun City: the musical history of New Cross and Deptford', covering everything from music hall through to punk, reggae, Britpop and beyond. It takes place in the Deptford Arms, Deptford High Street at 7:30 pm, and admmission is free.
Thursday 30th October sees Scott Wood leading The Dark Arts Walk, starting outside The Hobgoblin Pub, opposite New Cross Station, at 7pm. The walk will take in New Cross and Deptford's strange and ghostly folklore and history. Ghosts and ghost hunters, witchcraft and the devil, an exploding chip shop and boozers from beyond the grave.The walk will take approximately an hour and a half and will end with a pint at the Dog & Bell, Prince Street.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Meanwhile there is a lot of building work going on at the former Earl of Derby in Dennetts Road, with an extension downstairs and a function room upstairs. The whole exterior of the building has been painted so somebody's making a real effort, which is great as I feared this was going to be another vanishing pub replaced with housing. Not sure exactly what's planned, but the owners are Remarkable Restaurants Ltd who refurbished the George and Dragon in Acton, which has had good reviews - so expect food as well as drink.
Monday, September 15, 2008
At the end of the street, the former St James Church building (built in 1853) still stands.
For some years it housed the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance before it departed to its new purpose-built dance building on Deptford Creekside. When Laban was in New Cross it was headed for some time by the US dancer Bonnie Bird, who invited the composer John Cage (her former accompanist) and Merce Cunninham to run workshops with students at Laban in July 1980; Cage and Cunningham performed in in the Great Hall at Goldsmiths (details in this list of Cage’s work). Among the graduates of Laban here was the choreographer Matthew Bourne, well known for his adaptions of Swan Lake and more recently Dorian Gray. Today the old Laban buildings seems to be used by the Creative Lewisham Agency.
Next to it is the new Church building, which dates from 1982:
On the side of the old Church is small garden of remembrance. There is a memorial to local people who died in the First World War and another for the 1939-45 dead ‘in Remembrance of all who died in this Parish through Enemy Action – called from World at War into his Kingdom of Peace’.
This is poignant, for at the other end of the road, on the corner of New Cross Road, the ‘temporary’ low rise buildings occupy the site of second world war bomb damage – directly opposite the Iceland store stands where on 25 November 1944 the Woolworth’s shop sustained a direct hit from a V2 rocket, killing 168 people – the worst attack of the war.
The quiet road of today has also seen less serious violence, from the religious riots of the 1870s outside the church, to the 1977 ‘Battle of Lewisham’ when anti-fascists gathered material from this road to throw at the National Front marchers.
Oh yes and there’s the cows! To encourage recycling, these bins have been decorated by Artmongers with a sign inviting people to ‘Feed the Cows’.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Let's try and find the oldest graffiti in South London - make sure you photograph any contendors quickly because it might not be there for much longer. So far the Cold Blow Lane 'T.Rex' graffiti is the oldest confirmed, assuming it was contemporary with the band it must have been painted in 1977 at the latest (when the band's singer Marc Bolan was killed), and in all probability in the band's peak period of 1972-73 - making it 35 years old at the point it was painted over.
Auburn Close is a small estate squeezed in between Goodwood Road and the railway line, managed by Wandle Housing. Further down, an alleyway at the bottom of Goodwood road has a chalked anti-violence message on the wall (Right Peace, Wrong Piece).
Another alleyway at the north end of Tarragon Close brings you out in Sterling Gardens, fairly modern flats, now best known as the scene of the brutal murder of two French students earlier in the year. Wandering around this new housing, much of it quite anonymous and featureless, even bland, caused me to reflect on how places acquire a history. I guess even the most apparently soulless places get woven into personal histories as people are born, play, fall in love, grow old and die there. These interconnecting intimate memories weave together a local community sense of place, into which are woven too the recollections of more dramatic events - wars, crimes, riots, the achievements of those who lived there and went on to be writers, footballers, pop stars... So in New Cross, as everywhere else, every street has a story even if it can't immediately be read off the buildings like in places with more obviously 'historic' architecture.
On Southerngate Way (left) and Goodwood Road (right) there are surviving stink pipes, sewage ventilation pipes first put up in Victorian times to clear noxious gases from the sewer system. For years I thought these were just lamposts with the lights removed, now I know differently and keep spotting them everywhere.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Bill Alexander (1910-2000, pictured) grew up in Hampshire and joined the Communist Party in 1932, taking part in the the anti-fascist 'Battle of Cable Street' and then joining the International Brigades on the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War (at the time he was living in Southwark). In 1938 he took over for a while as commander of the British battalion in Spain, before being wounded and invalided back home. In the 1960s, Alexander moved to South London, working as a chemistry teacher at Sydenham Girls School. In retirement, he became secretary of the International Brigade Association, and published British Volunteers for Liberty, an account of the International Brigade in Spain. In 1996 he returned to Sapin with other surviving volunteers and was awarded honorary Spanish citizenship. He died on 11th July 2000, aged 90 years.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
'In May 2007 global media giant Google launched ‘Street Views’, an application enabling users to access a digital archive of street level photographs taken across five cities in the United States. By mid-2008, the service covered over 50 US cities, and was also launched in Australia and Japan, with more countries in the pipeline. In this paper, I want to locate ‘Street View’ within a history of urban representation and metropolitan discourse. Beginning from the invention of photography which initiated new systems of ‘mapping’ urban space in the 19th century, I will trace the ways that the convergence of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with distributed networks and mobile media initiates new struggles over public space'.
Scott McQuire is Associate Professor in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. His most recent book The Media City: Media, Architecture and Urban Space was published in the Theory, Culture and Society series by Sage in 2008.
The talk is on Tuesday October 21, 2008, 7:00pm - 9:00pm, in the cinema at Goldsmiths College, New Cross. Admission Free, All Welcome.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
It happens at The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49, Borough High St, London, SE1 1NA. Nearest stations are London Bridge and Borough. It is just off Borough High Street , a map is here.Talks start at 8.00pm. £2.50 / £1.50 concessions. All Welcome.
Another SELFS-related event on 30th October sees Scott Wood leading The Dark Arts Walk. Join Scott outside The Hobgoblin Pub, opposite New Cross Station, at 7pm for a walk taking in New Cross and Deptford's strange and ghostly folklore and history. Ghosts and ghost hunters, witchcraft and the devil, an exploding chip shop and boozers from beyond the grave.
The walk will take approximately an hour and a half and will end with a pint at the Dog & Bell, Prince Street. This walk is part of the Artful festival and is in conjunction with "Stories from another London" magazine One Eye Grey.
I haven't actually tracked down the original Vogue article yet, but will be scouring the magazine racks tomorrow.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Ghost Trade and the Spectre of Change includes one day projects from PILOT:, CollectingLiveArt, and Ding Dong Twist Club (featuring the launch of Deptford X’s anniversary book by Bob & Roberta Smith); plus on-going installations such as Sarah Baker’s new video work, Studs, a remake of The Stud, the screen adaptation of Jackie Collins’ best selling novel; a new setting of Yinka Shonibare’s White Flag at Half Mast, originally commissioned by the Hayward Gallery; a site-specific installation drawing on the legacy of the pawn brokers’ symbol from Fran Cottell; an upside-down harbour in Deptford Creek by Helen Barff; and Pavement Sonnets, Deptford Scars, an audio-walk made up of interviews, history, and site-specific sounds specially created for Deptford X by Ben Cummins.Most events are free, no need to book. Further details at http://www.deptfordx.org.'
Sunday, September 07, 2008
in Bow as it is in Lewisham.
Scalp us this day our lump of lead
as we backslaps the pox-hounds and Berkshire Hunts
For thine is the manor, the flash and the bovver.
Not sure if this is an original nineteenth-century rhyme, or one of the author's many capable pastiches of 1840s literary forms. Does anyone know?
Friday, September 05, 2008
- Faded London celebrates the overlooked traces of the past - fading 'ghost' signs, manhole covers and obsolete street furniture, like cattle troughs. The focus is a bit more South West than South East London, but hey.
- Jam Circus, top Brockley watering point, has set up its own blog with news from the bar and other local bits and pieces.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
By his own account, Courtney went to some of the first 'acid house' events in London - Shoom in Thrale Street, Southwark and the parties held in old prison museum in Clink Street by London Bridge: 'The Clink was wicked... Very druggy and very housey place, full of proper hardcore havin'-it-larger's in there. And it was good cos it had all these individual cells so it was like having loads of little VIP lounges'.
Soon he started a club of his own: 'near the Elephant and Castle, I found a viaduct arch beneath the mainline railway track running over John Ruskin Street... The Arches was the first all-night, illegal rave in London... All the other clubs in London shut at about 2 am but mine was still banging at 8 o'clock in the morning! ... Under this great big curved, black and red railway arch roof there was the scaffolding gantry holding the DJ on the decks, massive speakers either side and the lights hanging above; and below that this heaving mass of lunatics just going completely mental, arms in the air, whistles and foghorns blowing... Steam and joint smoke hung like a fucking fog, people were dancing on speakers and scaffolding... we'd have a girl walking round in a Playboy Bunny outfit with an ice-cream tray round her neck full of ready-rolled spliffs for a quid each - Get yer Joints 'ere!' And big plastic dustbins filled to the top with ice and free apples and Ice-pops... we had a mad mixture of people: from hardcore ravers, professional clubbers, black geezers, white geezers, plenty of women, football hooligan nutters going all smiley, hardnuts softened by Ecstasy... I had names DJing there before they became superstar DJs like they are now - Danny Rampling, Carl Cox, Fabio & Grooverider, Brandon Block'.
The police at the nearby Carter Street station were not happy, and eventually it was raided by 'army of 150 police, with some fuckers called No 3 Area Territorial Support Group in flameproof overalls, bulletproof body armour and steel helmets with radio microphones, carrying an angle grinder, a hydraulic ram, sledgehammer'. 26 people were arrested and one person was apparently later jailed for five years for his part in running the club.
Later he was involved in putting on free open-air raves - 'I bought a massive removal van with a diesel generator ·and drove in on to fields or grasslands. Tooting Common was one. Peckham Rye was another... I'd open up the back of the lorry, set up the DJs decks and put these dirty big speakers outside. We'd get eight, nine hundred people up there really going [or it. Speakers booming it all out. And cos I didn't charge no one the law had a job Slopping me doing it. It just started attracting loads of gay blokes, which is something I hadn't counted on. But then it was the Common, the well known shag-spot for gay geezers doing some fresh air cruising, so I guess it made sense'.
He also ran a club for a while at the Fitness Centre in Southwark Park Road: 'It used to be the hottest place. It was this windowless basement space made for about 30 geezers to work out in; not two hundred people to get off their tits'.
Then he put on a club called 'Crazy Mondays', at Futures on Deptford Broadway, a club owned by Harry Haward (later as a 'retired gangster', the Chair of Deptford Action Group for the Elderly): 'It ran from 6 a.m. Monday morning till about 2 p.m. in the afternoon... there was villains, hardcore ravers, pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, lap dancers, strippers, drag queens, club owners, club promoters, club dancers, celebrities, sports stars (Nigel Benn and Gary Mason were there), doormen, bar staff, waitresses, croupiers, gamblers, cab drivers, sex club people - basically, mostly everyone that had· worked over the weekend in the nightclub trade watching other people having a good time, all came down to mine to have their own'.
Courtney was evidently in that generation of crooks who saw the money-making opportunities in the club scene but he is also obviously a true believer, extolling the wonders of ecstasy and raving in breaking down racism in London and challenging his own anti-gay prejudice.
Anyone remember any of these nights/places? Where exactly was Futures? There was apparently also a club night there called The Treasury. Memories/flyers of any South London clubs, parties and gigs always welcome