Saturday, April 30, 2011

Street Parties in Deptford & Camberwell

Lots of partying in Deptford and elsewhere yesterday. At Social Centre Plus, the occupied ex-Job Centre, there was an anti-Royal wedding event, with lots of people hanging out on the roof to a mixed soundtrack. During our visit the music included The Ramones, Happy Mondays and Heads High by Mr Vegas, the latter performing its usual role of getting people up dancing.

There was some republican bunting outside:

The social centre has moved next door in the last couple of weeks from 122 to 124 Deptford High Street - they are now in the main former Job Centre building. They are due in court next week so future is uncertain.

There was another street party down by the Deptford Project. This wasn't specifically pro or anti the wedding - there wasn't any royal bunting or imagery - but there was some dancing, in this case to 1940s music:

Like many of the local street parties, people were glad of the opportunity to party outside in the sunshine, but that didn't mean they were enthusiastic royalists. The retro feel of the Deptford Project event was mirrored in the actual wedding with its flyby of second world war planes - strange this summoning up of the 'good old days' of war and rationing. Perhaps an unconscious recognition that the days when the Royal Family meant something more than a celebrity reality show are already long behind us (a republican writes!).

Best decorations were at this street party on Ada Road, Camberwell with giant cup cakes blocking the street to traffic and a 'God Bless Aunty Ada' banner.

Friday, April 29, 2011

May Day Events

Various May Day related things coming up over the next few days:

Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance

Lewisham Anti Cuts Alliance will be celebrating May Day on Sunday May 1st at Social Centre Plus (the old Job Centre) in Deptford High Street with 'Mayday! Mayday! This is an emergency! We are all under attack!... An evening of discussion, dinner and debate on how trade unionists, activists and local residents can defeat the cuts'. The programme is

5pm - 6pm – dinner (bring a dish if you can).
6pm - 8pm – discussions
8pm - 9.30pm – film about the Wobblies
9.30pm - 12am – music

You are welcome to attend all or part of the event. I will be giving a short illustrated talk based on my May Day in South London history pamphlet at some point between 7 pm and 8 pm.

Jack in the Green in Greenwich

This May Day Fowlers Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green will be in Greenwich, processing through the streets and pubs with the Jack itself (a kind of green man pyramind of foliage) accompanied by folk dancers and musicians. It all starts at The Ashburnham Arms on Royal Hill Greenwich around noon - full details of the route and venues here.

Latin American Workers Association

Latin American Workers Association is running a number of activities this weekend at the temporary space in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. On Saturday 30th April, there will be a workshop on making banners using batik, for use on Sunday’s Mayday March and other demos. This will be followed by bilingual singing workshop: A las Barricadas, Solidarity Forever, Solo Pido a Dios etc! The banner workshop is scheduled for 11:00 - 16:00, singing 16:30 - 19:00. Both take place at the Studio at the Elephant, unit 207/208 at Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, SE1 6TE.

On Sunday 1st May, LAWA will be celebrating and joining the Mayday march, starting from 11:30 at Clerkenwell Green. The day's events will close with a celebration from 19:00 at the Studio Elephant, and will have music and special guests.

Mass for Migrant Workers

Over 2,000 Catholic migrants living and working in London are expected to attend a special Mass for Migrants, which will be celebrated at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, SE1 on Monday, 2 May 2011 (the Feast of St Joseph the Worker) at 11am. This event has been held at Westminster Cathedral for the past few years and has featured calls for rights and better conditions for migrants workers.

Brixton Windmill opening

May Day costumes will feature in the official re-opening of Brixton Windmill on Monday 2nd May, with a carnivalesque procession heading from Windrush Square at 2 pm, up Brixton Hill to the site of the Windmill for the opening ceremony at 3 pm. The organisers say: 'To enter the spirit of the parade, we'd love you to dress as a miller or a May Day Queen or King, or wear a hat dress with with flowers. We are also holding a fancy dress competition, for the children, who will head the parade led by the Brixton Windmill Theatre Company' (see facebook event for further details).

Later in the month there will be a May Fair in Burgess Park on May 14th organised by the Friends of Burgess Park and maypole dancing on Camberwell Green on May 21st at the end of the Cool Tan arts walk from Tate Modern to Camberwell - I will be taking part in that too, so more details to come.

Right Royal Arrests in Wickham Road

Police arrested two pensioners and a man in fancy dress in Wickham Road, Brockley yesterday 'on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and breach of the peace' ahead of the Royal Wedding. Luckily for Chris Knight, Camilla Power and Patrick Macroidan, a camera crew was on hand to record it.

The interned were taken to Fort Lewisham, no doubt to be detained over the wedding weekend. Lewisham Police Station are having an open day on May 8th. Seemingly to encourage attendance, the police are rounding up protestors and taking them there in the back of the vans.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Not the Royal Wedding

A couple of people are getting married in London tomorrow. Some other people who haven't been invited, and who the happy couple wouldn't piss on if they were on fire, are nevertheless planning to celebrate.

Most of the rest of us will probably just be happy to have the day off work, but if you feel the need for some group therapy during this time there's are some local alternatives. Seemingly there's a free anti-Royal Wedding party of some kind happening at the Frog on the Green on Consort Road, SE15 from 3 pm. Deptford Social Centre Plus, the occupied Job Centre on the High Street, are holding an Anti-Monarchy Street Party from 1 pm promising cake, dancing, drinks and music. In the same area there's also an all day street party by the Deptford Project with performance by Ta Na Deptford - unfortunately they are also showing the Wedding on the screen, some might say typical have your wedding cake and eat it apolitical Deptford art scene (generalisation I know, feel free to exempt yourself!).

There will be an anti Royal Wedding picnic in Brockwell Park at 1pm, in front of the cafe. Urban 75's Offline club night at the Grosvenor in Stockwell tonight has an anti-wedding F*ck the Toffs theme.

Nothing to do with the wedding one way or another there's lots of arts stuff going in Deptford, Peckham and Bankside as part of the monthly South London Art Map 'Last Friday'. This includes the regular Dirty Cop Friday at the Old Police Station in New Cross (114 Amersham Vale).

Police raid in Camberwell

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have started their wedding celebrations early with a series of blatantly political raids on social centres and squats across London - 'pre-emptive' policing, i.e. arresting people on the basis that they might commit a 'crime' (like demonstrate against the monarchy) at some point in the future. One of the buildings targeted was the Rat Star by Camberwell Green, squatted for around two years and home to countless gigs, parties and meetings. Suddenly it is deemed a nest of criminals, with up to 15 vans of police raiding it and 19 people arrested - supposedly for 'abstracting electricity'. Earlier this week the police launched an appeal for information on last year's murder of a 90 year old pensioner in Camberwell - perhaps they could usefully redeploy some of the numerous officers hanging out at an empty building in Camberwell all day today?

Latest reports are that Brockley's own Chris Knight has been arrested in a further round of arrests this afternoon.

Injuries in Police Car Accidents

Ever gasped as a police car comes tearing down the wrong side of the road at high speed and wondered whether they really needed to be in such a hurry? New figures gathered via a Freedom of Information Act request show the number of civilian injuries and deaths in collisions with police vehicles in London over the past five years.

In that time, the Metropolitan Police has been in involved in 7,649 collisions in London, which have led to the deaths of 21 civilians. On average there are four accidents a day. Westminster is the worst area for accidents, with Lambeth coming second (see article in Guardian).

The full data set for London boroughs, 2005-10, is also available. I have done a quick analysis for South East London boroughs and the figures break down as follows:

Lambeth – 71 civilian injuries;
Southwark - 57 injuries;
Croydon – 47 injuries, 1 death;
Greenwich - 43 injuries, 2 deaths;
Lewisham - 39 injuries, 1 death;
Bexley - 25 injuries;
Bromley - 25 injuries.

Across those six boroughs that's a total of 307 injured and four killed in the five year period.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

South London Shorts

A couple of new films shot locally. The first was made by students at Bacon's College in Rotherhithe, and features a stop motion tour of the area around the school including Russia Docks Woodland and the mysterious Stave Hill - an artificial mound from the ancient Thatcher age of the mid-1980s.

The Urban Rambler by Do the Green Thing is a short film extolling the wonders of walking home from work. It was shot in Bermondsey, Brockley and Deptford - see what locations you can spot (looks like More London on Tooley St at the beginning, Deptford High Street tie mural and Friendly Street als feature).

The Urban Rambler from Do the Green Thing on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poly Styrene RIP

Sad to hear of the death today of Marianne Elliott-Said better known as Poly Styrene of great first generation punk band X-Ray Spex. Born in Bromley, I remember that she lived in Dulwich in the 1990s.

This film of the band playing their song Identity in 1978 appears to have been filmed in Andrew Logan's warehouse space on Bankside by the south end of Tower Bridge - you can see one of Logan's trademark mirror pieces on the stage. In the 1970s this was a semi-derelict area where Logan held his famous Alternative Miss World parties and his neighbour Derek Jarman made films. Today the refurbished Butler's Wharf is full of expensive eateries, luxury flats and offices. Sadly, punks no longer clamber over its rooftops. But the spirit of Poly (and indeed of the late Derek Jarman) will never be erased.

Live at Thames Poly

Looking through a friend's neglected looking collection of old cassette tapes recently week I came across a bootleg of Sonic Youth playing at Thames Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich) in 1985. Whether the tape still plays I am not sure, but one of the tracks is featured on a double album released in that period called Communicate! featuring bands recorded live in the Cellar Bar, Thames Poly Student Union in Woolwich (Calderwood Street) between Sep '84 and July '85.

The album was put together in 1985 by Thames Poly social secretary Leigh Goorney, and released on CD in 1992. According to the sleevenotes, the PA crew started packing up the gear in the middle of the Sonic Youth set because the gig was running late! The full track listing includes:

1. THE EELS Granny
2. MARC RILEY Black Dwarf
3. BIG FLAME All the Irish Must Go to Heaven
4. THE PASTELS Something Going Down
5. THE JUNE BRIDES No Place Called Home
6. MARK PERRY Crazy! Crazy!
7. MARK PERRY Release the Natives/Spanish Heaven
8. THE MEKONS Help Me Make It Through the Night
9. UT Sick
10. THE EX M.M.M. Crisis
11. BOGSHED Fat Lad Exam Failure
12. THE THREE MAJOHNAS Like a Virgin
13. THE THREE JOHNS Vicious Acapella
15. THE NIGHTINGALES Only My Opinion
17. THE VERY THINGS The Gong Man
18. CONFLICT The Guilt & The Glory
20. SONIC YOUTH Kill Your Idols
21. FIVE GO DOWN TO THE SEA Unga Bunga Song

Nice mix of anarcho-punk, early indie-pop and post-punk noise. Anyone remember any of these gigs or others at Thames Poly? I saw Conflict there around this time, supported by Karma Sutra and Liberty, and later in around 1990 I saw Chumbawamba with Wat Tyler (though this wasn't in the Cellar Bar, it was in a hall somewhere).

Click to enlarge this full list of gigs there from 1984/85, taken from the CD cover - Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream are among the others who played early gigs there at this time.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Biggest Aspidistra in the World

The Biggest Aspidistra in the World was a hit song in the late 1930s for Gracie Fields, the quintessential Lancashire comedy singer. So it might seem strange to try and claim this as a South London song. Still years ago somebody told me that it was inspired by an actual aspidistra plant in Evelina Road in Nunhead - this is mentioned in passing in a couple of places online, but I can't be certain that they aren't just amplifying a rumour that I passed on to them!

The song was written in 1938 by Will E. Haines, Jimmy Harper and Tommie Connor (the latter also wrote I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and the English version of Lili Marlene). Connor is on record as saying the inspiration for the song 'came when he was walking along a London street' and saw a woman in a window with a giant green plant (Our Gracie: the life of Dame Gracie Fields - Joan Moules, 1983). But the road in question isn't identified in this source. Can anybody confirm the Evelina Road connection, or maybe a connection between Tommie Connor and South East London that would make it plausible? He was born in Bloomsbury in 1904 and died in Farnborough (Kent) in 1993, so that leaves plenty of time in between to wander the streets of Nunhead!

Anyway the song does mention Crystal Palace, alluding to its destruction by fire in 1936:

We 'ave to get it watered
By the local fire brigade,
So they've put the water rate up 'arf a crown.
The roots stop up the drains,
Grow along the country lanes,
And they come up 'arf a mile outside the Town.
Once we 'ired the Crystal Palace for an 'ot 'ouse,
But a jealous rival went and burned it down.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Come Outside

Enjoying 'Come Outside', the new single by Brixton band Melodica, Melody and Me.

See also their earlier video for 'Piece me back together' with its South London locations.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Deptford Church Street 1881

Continuing my research into the history of Deptford Church Street, I wanted to follow up on the suggestion that it had been a major shopping street in the 19th century. So today I had a look through the 1881 Post Office London Street Directory, which certainly bears this out.

In that year there were over 100 shops and other businesses listed for Church Street. This included no fewer than eight pubs:

Druids Head (no. 8)
Oxford Arms (32)
Kings Arms (78)
Three Compasses (176)
White Horse (107)
Robin Hood and Little John (117)
Trinity Arms (176)
Kings Head (199)

There were also three coffee rooms:

George Price (41)
Mrs Selina Mitchell (197)
Mrs A. Goodman (203)

Alongside the various bakers, fishmongers, chandlers (candlemakers), confectioners and greengrocers there were a few less common occupations. There was a bird dealer at no.5, a clog maker at 72 (Richard Sharpless), a firework maker at 104, a bicycle maker at 171 (Thomas Cave) and a watchmaker at 179 (John Carr). A couple of surnames testify to a German presence in the area - Frederick Hagmaier was a baker at 189 and Ludwig Puhlmann was a picture frame maker.

Presumed factories/workshops included George Banks, Ginger Beer Manufacturer (12-16) and Tyne Foundry and Engineering Company (no.45).

There were also two churches: Christ Church (somewhere between 59 and 75) and the Unitarian Baptist Chapel (between 167 and 171). John Addey's School - forerunner of todays Addey and Stanhope - was at number 62.

At number 101, Henry Froud was operating as a cart and barrow proprietor. My great great grandmother, Sarah Reed, was living at that address in 1851, and as her dad (John Reed) was a carman I assume that when he was living there too he had his cart on the premises - many of the people living on Church Street at the time must have been living above the shop or in the modern parlance in 'live-work spaces'.

Also have a good clue to the location of their home. Giffin Street was between numbers 91 and 93, and between 107 (the White Horse) and 117 (the Robin Hood and Little John pub) it is stated 'here the Greenwich railway line crosses' (the railway was extended from Deptford to Greenwich in 1838).

So number 101, as well as its near neighbour the White Horse pub, must have been on the West side of Church Street between Giffin Street and the railway bridge - pretty much on the site of the Wavelengths swimming pool and library. Will give a nod to the ancestors next time I'm in there.

The railway bridge and the Oxford Arms (now Birds Nest) are, I believe, the last surviving structures, although no doubt both have had work in the last hundred years. The Birds Nest is no longer next to Slaughterhouse Lane, home to a butchers carrier back in 1881.

I also had a quick look at the 1950 directory. Still plenty of shops, with one notable factor being that Italian surnames had replaced the German ones. At 101 there was a shop run by Frank Rossi, with Salvatore Bottone running a hairdressing business next door at 103 and Constantine Cortellessa working as a boot repairer at 107.

(Note on numbering: even numbers are the East Side - Birds Nest side - odd numbers on the West Side - Wavelengths side - with lower numbers starting from the Broadway end)

Anti-cuts round up

Occupation in Greenwich

A group of students have occupied the reception area of the King William building at the University of Greenwich in protest at plans to cut the single honours philosophy course there. The occupation started on Tuesday - more about their campaign here.

ESOL Protest in Plumstead

Last month (3 March) 150 students and staff at Greenwich Community College held a protest at the Plumstead centre against cuts to English language courses. Ironically with David Cameron making a big deal about migrants learning English, funding for courses across the country has been slashed.

Lewisham CAMHS Protest Next Week

Lewisham Unison and Unite union branches have called a protest next week against cuts to Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). They say:

'Initial budget cuts totalling almost £500,000 this year are proposed for Lewisham Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. This follows budget reductions to CAMHS made by Lewisham Council and NHS Lewisham (formerly Lewisham Primary Care Trust). More cuts are planned for the next 2 years. Services affected include the Schools Service, CAMHS social workers, forensic services, refugee and asylum seekers and looked after children. A number of longstanding and very experienced staff will have to leave the service.

This is a reduction of almost a quarter of the whole Lewisham CAMHS service and will lead to fewer front line workers and longer waiting lists for children and young people. This is an essential service which has been commended in various government inspections.

This attack comes after the government has promised to protect front line health services and when only last month the ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ government mental health strategy highlighted the need for local and accessible child mental health services.

Protest on TUESDAY 26TH APRIL, 12-2PM, KALEIDOSCOPE CHILREN’S CENTRE, 32 Rushey Green, Catford, SE6. Speakers and Songs from 12.30'

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lewisham Choral Society perform Tippett

Lewisham Choral Society, a leading local amateur choir, are holding a concert in The Great Hall at Goldsmiths in New Cross on Saturday June 25th. The concert will feature spirituals by Michael Tippett, as well as other music.

Tippett was the musical director at Morley College in Lambeth from 1940 to 1951. During the Second World War he met and worked with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears at the College. A pacifist, he was jailed for a short period as a conscientious objector. Tippett's most famous work is a Child of Our Time, prompted by events in 1938, specifically the assassination of a German diplomat in Pairs by Herschel Grynszpan, a Jewish refugee teenager in Paris. The work is structured around a number of settings of African-American spirituals, some of which will feature in the Lewisham Choral Society performance.

It's all for a good cause too, with funds being raised for the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care. Ticket enquiries to 0208 309 0439 - facebook events details here.

Crossway Cafe

Crossway Cafe in Nunhead (93 Evelina Road) offers one of the great South London vegetarian breakfasts, certainly a contender for top of the fry up league. Their vege option includes egg, sausages, mushrooms, hash brown and bubble'n'squeak (beans too if you want them), plus a slice of bread.

See also Vege Breakfast at McLaren's.

Monday, April 18, 2011

David Bowie crowns the May Queens

Last Thurday's South East London Folklore Society event on May Day in London went well, with a packed room upstairs in the Old King's Head off Borough High Street. I gave a talk, based on the research for my May Days in South London pamphlet, followed by a film made of the Deptford Jack in the Green procession in 2006, accompanied by a great live music performance with a band put together for the event featuring David Aylward, Tom Scott-Kendrick, Richard Sanderson and others.

As always when you've just finished writing something, somebody tells you a fact that you'd wished you'd known before. In this case, Alan B. from Southwark Cyclists pointed me in the direction of this great 1966 clipping reproduced in Any Day Now: David Bowie - The London Years 1947 - 1974 by Kevin Cann (click on it to enlarge):

The caption reads: 'In glorious sunshine on Saturday eight Bromley May queens were crowned by local pop singer David Bowie, at Bromley Football Club ground in Hayes-lane. They were (left to right) Anne Button (Bickley), Christine Baker (Hayes Common), Carol Sharp (Pickhurst Park), Linda Dutton (Sundridge Park), Rosemary Reynolds (Bromley), Jacqueline Mann (Shortlands), Yvonne Lomax (Bromley Common), and Sandra Cousins (Southborough). About 500 people watched the event, at the end of the day's football match.

Before the ceremony the May queens and their attendants walked in procession down Bromley High Street, starting from Queens Garden, on their way to the football ground, accompanied by the 13th Company, Bromley Boys Brigade band, and that of the 1st St Mary Cray Girls Life Brigade. The queens and their contingents will take part in the crowning of the London May queen on Hayes Common on May 14'.

Last week's SELFS was the last organised by Scott Wood, who has done a great job in developing the monthly event. As was mentioned last week, SELFS started off as pretty much a front organisation for South London pagans who invented the name back in the 1990s in order to be able to book a room at Charlton House without drawing too much attention to themselves. Under Scott's direction it has gradually turned into what it says on the tin - a genuine folklore event appealing to sceptics, forteans and folklorists alike but with plenty of high strangeness to keep it interesting. Nigel of Bermondsey is now taking over, so Dr Who style, the role of Dr Selfs will be renewed in who knows what direction.

More Bowie

But wait there's more Bowie South London madness... Also last Thursday, someone told me the tale of Bowie rehearsing during the Hunky Dory/Ziggy Stardust period at Underhill studio at 1-3 Blackheath Hill. This has been mentioned at Transpontine before, but the new element I was unaware of was that Iggy Pop and Lou Reed rehearsed there too.

Today it was great to hear Deptford's own Danny Baker back on BBC London after serious illness, starting out with the genius touch of playing Stanley Holloway's 'My word you do look queer'. He also referred to this episode in Kevin Cann's book, mentioning that the studio was in the basement of a chemist opposite his old school, a fact unknown to him at the time, but making sense of the incident in his school days when a boy was ridiculed for claiming that he had seen David Bowie at the bus stop.

Bowie's Underhill Studio years are also mentioned in (Greenwich resident) Paul Trynka's new Bowie book Starman: The Definitive Biography. He states that Iggy and Lou Reed used the space to rehearse for British tours, and that later The Only Ones used it too. The chemist, Gee Pharm as it is now called, is still there on the corner of South Street. There's a man in Deptford who has implied that he supplied some er... non-pharmaceutical chemicals... to musicians in the studio, including Mr Bowie who claimed that 'it's not for me, it's for the band'. Will have to pump him for some more stories.

New Cross in Bloom

Cherry blossom in Gellatly Road and Telegraph Hill Park:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Waiting Room

Following Deptford Dame's recommendation I checked out The Waiting Room, the new coffee place at 142 Deptford High Street. It's near the train station, in the row that includes Kids Love Ink and the retro clothes shop.

It's a small place and I guess will function mainly as a refuelling stop for people grabbing a coffee as they head to the market or to catch a train - it is opening pretty much 7am to 7 pm, so will definitely meet the need for that early morning hit.

There is a sofa and some bar stools so you can sit in (I did), though I think you could only fit six or seven people in there so don't turn up with a huge group thinking you are all going to sit round a table - it's not that kind of place. What it does do is serve very good coffee and a range of home made cakes - I had the lemon polenta which was just the right moist place on the dry to sticky continuum.

It also has a book swap shelf which currently has some very interesting titles - quite a few Philip K Dick and surrealist books. If you are going to avail yourself of these, make sure you take something decent down to replace them with - I don't want it all to be Jeffrey Archer books next time I go in!

Anyway good luck to them, good to see something socially useful opening up rather than yet another betting shop.

(yes I know, not a very good photo but have you tried taking pictures of shop fronts on the High Street on market days?)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Shipwrights Co-op in Deptford and Woolwich

Following yesterday's post on Deptford Church Street, here's an interesting snippet about the shipwrights co-operative formed by workers in the Royal Docks in the 18th century.

In the 1750s 'a society of shipwrights came into existence... as a retail co-operative society. It opened a bakery at Chatham, a cornmill at Woolwich and a butcher's shop in Church Street, Deptford. The shops offered cheap provision to the local poor, undercuttng the bakers by a penny per quartern loaf, and in Deptford greatly reducing the cost of meat. The Chatham and Kent bakers prosecuted the shipwrights, both for baking without having served an apprenticeship to the trade and for selling bread below the lawful price, but lost at Maidstone Assizes in July 1758 and at Quarter Sessions the following April. The verdicts were followed by "great rejoicing" among shipwrights and townspeople and the Red Flag was hoisted at Woolwich, but the following March, on a Sunday night, the mill mysteriously burned down'.

Source: Masters and journeymen: a prehistory of industrial relations, 1717-1800 By C. R. Dobson (1980)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Deptford ancestors and old Church Street

My great great grandmother, Sarah Reed, was born in Deptford in 1839. On the 1851 Census she is shown living at 101 Church Street, with her parents John (a 'carman') and Elizabeth (born Elizabeth Say), and her siblings John, William, Charles, Emma, Jane and Warren. Her parents had got married at St Paul's Church in Deptford in 1831, where Elizabeth had been baptised in 1808. Elizabeth's parents, Thomas Say (a bricklayer) and Francis Blackwin (born 1771), also lived in Deptford. They would have been my great great great great grandparents. So while I have only been living in New Cross for 15 years, I can say I have local ancestors going back more than 200 years!

Some parts of Deptford today would still be recognisable to them - St Paul's and St. Nicholas' Churches and much of the High Street. But Church Street itself, the earliest actual address I have for my relatives, has very little left from the 19th century with the exception of the Birds Nest pub, with older buildings also on the Broadway near the Church Street junction.

The street seems to take its name not from St Paul's, which was built in the 18th century, but from its older function as the route from the original Deptford settlement near to what is now Deptford Bridge to the parish church of St Nicholas', dating back to the 14th century.

Ideal Homes states that that in the 19th century Church Street was a main shopping street, and as late as the 1970s there were seemingly still significant shops there at the Broadway end (see final photo), but the last remaining older buildings (other than those mentioned above) were demolished in that period, making way for the Lewisham College building and some newer housing on the opposite side of the street. We can though get a sense of pre-demolition Church Street from photographs and paintings.

At the British Library site, there's a picture of the Old Roman Eagle pub and Assembly Rooms in 1841. Richard Carlile's The Republican magazine reported in 1825 that: 'A numerous meeting of the mechanics of Deptford was lately held at the Roman Eagle, for the purposes of establishing a Mechanics' Institution in that town, Dr Olinthus Gregory in the chair'. This led to the setting up of the Deptford Mechanics Institution on the High Street.

Ideal Homes has a picture of Deptford Theatre, which stood on the east side of Church Street, backing onto the creek (note windmill), and was at is peak in the early nineteenth century and closed in the 1860s. The theatre was next door to the Oxford Arms pub, which is still there today in its current incarnation as The Birds Nest.

Also from Ideal Homes is this 1922 painting of Deptford Church Street by Evacustes A. Phipson.

At the always useful Dead Pubs there are these two photographs of a Free House and Off License at 165 Church Street in around 1920. I think the dog might be my dog's great great great grandparent!
Matt Martin has a couple of great old shots at his True Londoner's Flickr photostream. The first shows the fire brigade in action at The Druids Head pub, located at 8 Church Street near the Broadway end. The pub was there from at least as early as 1840 through to the 1970s.

Finally there's this fine 1970s image of a policeman helping kids across the road, with Church Street stretching out behind them from the Broaway end. On the right is Gardiners store, and the chimneys of The Oxford Arms (now Birds Nest) can be seen behind.

Any other stories, memories or pictures of old Church Street very welcome - still can't even work out the 19th century numbering to guess where number 101 might have stood.
Obviously my detailed knowledge of Deptford geography before I moved round here is sketchy - where was the Deptford Odeon in relation to the photograph with the policeman?

(updated 13 April 2011 - see also Deptford Church Street 1881)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Social Centre resists eviction

An eventful morning at Deptford Social Centre Plus, the occupied ex-Job Centre Plus office on Deptford High Street. With eviction threatened, supporters gathered in front of the space as well as inside. Bailiffs and builders turned up but were blocked from taking the building, after which they evidently retired to the Deptford Project cafe to consider their next move.

See also report at East London Lines.

Hilly Fields: saving Deptford Common

For the existence of Hilly Fields park we have to thank those who campaigned against it being built on in the late 19th century. The campaign first came to national notice with a flurry of letters in The Times in 1888. 'Vulpes' wrote on September 18 1888:

'An opportunity still exists, though it is rapidly passing-away, of securing an open space of about 40 acres, lying off Loampit-hill to the south of Deptford, and known as the Hilly-fields. Any one unacquainted with it, and feeling interested, should take the train at Cannon-street or London-bridge, alighting in about ten minutes at St. John's, where a walk of five minutes more will take him to the spot I name. I venture to think he will agree with me that the preservation of this glorious hill is not merely a matter of local but one of metropolitan - I might even say of national-importance, for I doubt if another spot in the world can exist more eloquent in interest to all imbued with affection for our existing institutions or our past history.

On reaching the summit of the hill at the back of the West Kent Grammar School, the eye gazes unimpeded on an amphitheatre of charming beauty and pathetic interest. To the north lies Deptford, backed by the river Thames with its shipping, and in the distance the heights of Highgate, Barnet, and Epping Forest, the Deptford spires, rising amid stacks of chimneys and clouds of smoke, pleading eloquently for the preservation of this, the poor remains of what was once its common, for as "Deptford-common" this spot is still described on maps of even modern date, though now, through what means I know not, owned by private proprietors, and apparently destined in the immediate future to be the prey of the insatiable maw of the speculative builder.

The local tradition is that Queen Elizabeth in the generosity of her heart took this common from Deptford, and as an expression of the national gratitude presented it to Sir Francis Drake and adjacent property being still owned by a family of his name gives some colour to the report. If it be true, very hard measure was meted out to Deptford, which it would be a graceful act of the nation at large now, as far as possible, to repair, by securing to it what yet remains of its common unenclosed and uncovered by bricks and mortar.

To the east of Deptford lies Greenwich with the twin towers of its world-famed hospital, backed by the heights of Blackheath; farther round, the eye rests on Lee Church, the woods of Eltham hiding the ruins of its fine old palace, equalling, it is said, in its architectural design, Westminster Hall. Bromley, Chevening Park (beneath whose oaks one of our noblest philanthropists felt the inspiration which culminated in the abolition of slavery), and the Weald of Kent display to us the prominent figures of the famous Knockholt Beeches,which stand boldly above the horizon recalling to our minds the name of Darwin, who lived and worked and sleeps under their shade...'

This was backed up on 25 September by Edward J Swain (40 Adelaide Road, Brockley) who wrote:

'what a grievous loss it will be to thousands, both young and old, if the only remaining hill is ultimately built over. There is no finer view near London than, looking south-east, can be got from the side of the Grammar School,and in several particulars it is unique. I cannot but think there are hundreds of householders in the richer districts of Blackheath, Lee, and Eltham who would readily bring their influence to bear upon those with whom rests the preservation of the hill, and who would gladly assist, if any local fund was started, towards securing this end'.

Crucially, the campaign secured the support at an early stage of Octavia Hill of the Commons Preservation Society, who wrote on 27 September:

'These fields lie within moderate distance of the large, poor district of Deptford. If ever I happen to see a glass of wild flowers in the homes of the people there, I am invariably told that they were gathered in the Hilly-fields, probably on the Sunday afternoon's walk. What a source of pure, healthy enjoyment and refreshment such a walk is to those living in a neighbourhood like Deptford'.

Monday, April 11, 2011

South East Central

South East Central is a new forum set up by the people behind Brockley Central.

The busy comments threads at Brockley Central have functioned as a quasi-forum for some time, but unlike a blog where people can only reply to posts initiated by the bloggers, anybody can start a thread. Also Brockley Central mainly covers Brockley as you might expect, but the new site covers a broader geographical area. It has sub-fora for Ladywell, New Cross, Deptford and Lewisham, none of which to my knowledge have a lively online forum at the moment (with the partial exception of the Telegraph Hill forum).

Local forums like this can be addictive and endless arguments about kids in cafes, dog walking and parking can sometimes leave you with that 'in my life why do I give valuable time, to people who don't care if I live or die' feeling. But they can also be a good way of finding out what's going on in your area and talking about it. If you look at sites like London SE1, Nunhead Forum, East Dulwich Forum or Sydenham Town Forum, you can see the potential - nothing much happens in these areas without it being flagged up.

It's early days for South East Central - the site was only launched last week - but it already has 150 members. So go along and spread some news.

Sudan talk in Camberwell

A meeting coming up in Camberwell later this month focuses on the plight of the Dinka Ngok people in Sudan, suffering violence in the drawing up of the new border between the north and south of the country. It seems that they would prefer to join the south, but live in the disputed border region. This from the organisers:

7pm, Wednesday 20th April, Ratstar, 298 Camberwell Road, London

Hear first-hand reports from Abyei, Sudan, of struggles over a new national border, watch video & photos of the aftermath of recent attacks on Abyei villages & discuss how we can support the Dinka Ngok people of Abyei who are calling for solidarity


Richard Biong: Dinka Ngok activist & former Abyei resident
Tim Flatman: UK activist recently returned from Abyei

The imposition of a new national border dividing North & Sudan Sudan is exaggerating tensions between neighbouring Dinka Ngok and Misseriya communities as the Government of Sudan manipulate the situation to grab land, resources & increase their bargaining power in negotiations between political elites in North & South Sudan.

The Dinka Ngok people cannot defend themselves alone, when faced with superior weaponry provided by the Government of Sudan. Their calls to relations in the South to defend their land and homes as villages are burned & they are forced to flee are being resisted by international governments who insist on negotiating a solution themselves, constantly redrawing borders in response to fresh waves of state-sponsored violence, in effect rewarding ethnic cleansing.

Come to Ratstar on Wednesday 20th April to hear more and discuss what we can do to answer the Dinka Ngok’s call for solidarity'.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

See it Come Down

Yes the demolition of the Heygate Estate (SE17) is really happening . This picture (click to enlarge) was taken from the top of the 343 bus - you can't see much from ground level because of the hoardings.

Though I'm not old enough to say I saw the Heygate go up, there must be a lot of old people who did and who are now seeing it come down, putting me in mind of the great song See it Come Down sung by Roy Bailey (written by John Pole): 'We was all one where we lived, wish we were now, We had debts and dole and kids but we did have neighbours. Where the street was they want to build a tombstone tower, Like a monster concrete moneybox for strangers. Every last square foot of it worth a hundred pounds, Some day we'll see that come tumbling down'.

Still in the song, it's an office block that replaced the housing, in the case of the Heygate the situation was perhaps more ambiguous. Sure the flats weren't the most beautiful buildings in the world, but easy as it is to romanticise the terraced streets they replaced some people probably found the central heating and space to be an improvement. Some would argue that it was never the architecture that was the problem but the poverty and all that goes with it.

In the background of this photo another building is going up - the Shard at London Bridge. Who knows, maybe there are children growing up now who will see it come down too, demolished one day as an early 21st century folly.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

May Day in South London

Hot off the press, this new pamphlet published by Past Tense covers the history of May Day festivities in South London from ancient times through to the present day. It covers both the traditional seasonal customs and the more recent May Day socialist and anarchist demonstrations, and indeed shows how these 'green' and 'red' elements of May Day have become interwined over the last 100 years.

This pamphlet includes the stories of Walworth and Bromley May Queens, May Games in Greenwich Park and Shooters Hill, the Deptford Jack in the Green, demonstrations in Bermondsey and Woolwich, Horse Parades on the Old Kent Road, Maypoles in Kennington and St Mary Cray, festivals on Clapham Common and at Crystal Palace. The cast includes Henry VIII, Robin Hood, John Ruskin, milkmaids, chimney sweeps, Bermondsey Settlement, Woolwich Children's Co-operative Guild, North Camberwell Radical Club, the New Cross National Union of Railwaymen and the Dulwich College National Union of School Students.

May Day in South London: a History by Neil Transpontine (Past Tense Publications, 2011), 50 pages, A5, £3.00. Available to order online (£3.50 including P&P) - see box in right hand bar.

Also available from:

- Bookseller Crow
, 50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace SE19
- The Review Bookshop
, 131 Bellenden Road, Peckham SE15

- Woolfson and Tay Bookshop, Bermondsey Square, SE1.
- 56a Info Shop, 56a Crampton Street, SE17.

You can buy a Kindle digital book version from Amazon for £1.49 plus VAT (£1.72 in total)

The pamphlet will also be available at next Thursday's South East London Folklore Society May Day event, where I will be talking on the subject of the pamphlet.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Burl Ives on the Old Kent Road

Came across this picture at the Getty Images Archive. It shows the American folk singer Burl Ives in the Thomas a Becket pub in the Old Kent Road. The picture was taken by Kurt Hutton in 1952 and published in The Picture Post at the time. Not sure what he was doing in the pub, possibly it was simply a staged photo opportunity. In any event in May 1952 he sold out the Festival Hall on the South Bank, so he was seemingly beyond playing in pubs.

1952 was a signficant year for Ives - he had been blacklisted for having Communist ties but then in that year appeared before Senator McCarthy's House Unamerican Activities Committtee. His decision to testify - and talk about other supposed Communists - lifted restrictions on him, but led to other folk singers denouncing him, notably Pete Seeger. They didn't make up until 40 years later when they appeared together on stage.

Ives went on to become known as an actor as well as a singer, notably in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and East of Eden.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Spoken word night at Social Centre Plus

Deptford Social Centre Plus - the occupied Job Centre office next to Iceland at 120 Deptford High Street - may be be getting evicted soon. But determined to go out with a bang they are packing in as many events as they can.

Tomorrow (Friday 8th) they are hosting an evening of spoken word and poetry featuring, among others:

CAPTAIN OF THE RANT: 'Angry, sharp, passionate and energetic, Captain of the Rant has been named "one of the best new performance poets I've ever seen" by Attila the Stockbroker and has wracked up hundreds of gigs all over the UK'.

STEPHANIE DOGFOOT: 'Calm, intelligent, sharp poetry and stories from this wonderful new talent'.

ANT SMITH: 'Easily the loudest, most-rage-filled poet working today, Ant Smith blares out righteous acapella song poems with gusto and wit'.

From 8:30pm, admission free, facebook event details here.

On Monday (11 April, 7 pm) they are having a meeting, 'Anti-Cuts: What Next?... After a short introduction, the meeting will break down into working groups in order to discuss and coordinate strategies of fighting back against the brutal cuts agenda'.

Measure your microclimate

Intriguing call for volunteers from Goldsmiths - couldn't quite work out whether it relates to product design, installation art or a situationist experiment in psychogeography* - here's what they say:

'We are a design team from the Interaction Research Studio at Goldsmiths, University of London. Over the last year, we have been working on various digital devices for reflecting on aspects of the home’s local microclimate, such as subtle variations in temperature, light, and air currents - imagine something like an indoor weather station. Now we would like to lend these devices to you for 3 or 4 months in return for telling us about your experiences of living with them. If you are interested and live in SE4, SE8, SE14, SE23 please contact: Kirsten Boehner at or call 07779 168 516.

[in its original sense of 'the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals' (Debord) rather than current usage of 'I wandered through London waffling on, too drunk to differentiate between fact and fiction, but who cares, I got a publishing deal out of it anyway'].

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Save Greenwich Philosophy

The University of Greenwich is intending to close its Philosophy degree programme with immediate effect. The decision has been criticised by the British Philosophical Association and a campaign has been launched to save the course. They argue:

'The School of Humanities management announced on March 23rd that recruitment to the Philosophy BA as been stopped, with immediate effect, and that all places on this degree already offered to students for the coming year are to be rescinded. They have further recommended to the University Academic Planning Committee that the Philosophy BA be closed down. No objective argument was presented for this halt in recruitment and closure. A request was made for the relevant documentation to the Head of School and vice chancellor, but no response has been received. On March 29th, the HOS and DVC confirmed the planned closure in a school meeting, citing financial reasons. The evidence cited was insufficient, including both partial out-of-date statistics...

The Philosophy degree at the University of Greenwich has been running successfully for over 20 years. The staff are committed to providing the highest level of teaching and the programme received excellent reports at its last validation. Recruitment to the programme tripled last year, and applications for the coming year are higher still. The University is well known for it’s championing of widening participation, and its high intake of BME students. Many of these students are unable to move away from home in order to study, and Greenwich is one of the very few institutions left in the South East offering Philosophy to students whose achievement is likely to be less than straight A’s. Philosophy has an essential place in any University worthy of the name'.

The Save Philosophy at Greenwich Campaign is having a 'Greenwich Speakers Corner' protest this Saturday April 9th, 2 pm - 4 pm at Greenwich Campus, Near Queen Anne building (facebook event). There is also an online petition.

Out of the Void

From yesterday's Standard:

'Squatters were evicted today from a council building they had converted into a venue for illegal raves. High Court enforcement officers removed about 15 people from the former housing offices in Peckham owned by Southwark council...

The Peckham squatters gained access to the building [in Meeting House Lane] about four months ago, renaming it "The Void" and erecting a stage for performances in a large back room. Paintings and murals covered the walls and members of the group lived in rooms still packed with council documents. The squatters included teenagers and a number of dogs were kept at the property, which had been empty for two years and was due to be renovated...

Grandmother Raga Woods, 69, who has lived in squats for 50 years, said: "These squats are providing homes for people on very low incomes. We have a sense of community. We put on entertainment and we do a lot of good. All of us are considerate to the neighbours as well. Some of them complained that we were playing the music too loud at night so we turned it down. If not for us, these buildings would just be sitting empty. This particular building has been empty for years. That's why it is called The Void."'

(this is the former Acorn Estate Housing Office - I believe Southwark Council has agreed in principle to grant a lease to local voluntary organisation The Peckham Settlement to develop a new building there)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

May Day in London

Next Thursday (April 14th) at South East London Folklore Society is a May Day special:

'May Day in London: Jack-in-the-Green and beyond - The night will be a celebration of all things May Day which will lead into a discussion on the proposed removal of the May Day bank holiday by the present government and what we can do about it. Soon to be ex-SELFS host Scott Wood will speak briefly on May Day superstitions and folklore. Neil Transpontine will speak on May Day and Beltane from the Roman era to the present day, concentrating on celebrations and festivals in South London. Rediscovering Urban Rituals show their film on their Jack-in-the-Green procession in Deptford with the Fowlers Troop with a live musical re-enactment'.

8 pm start at The Old Kings Head, 47-49 Borough High Street, SE1.

This will be the last SELFS hosted by sometime Transpontine contributor Scott - but fear not, plans are in place for somebody else to step into his shoes. Also if everything goes according to plan with the printers, I will be launching a new pamphlet on the history of May Day in South London.

Facebook event details

Bermondsey Musical History Walk

Interesting Bermondsey walk coming up - also one in Wapping for those across the river:

'Surrey & Middlesex Dockside Unity Arts Outreach Project presents chat and song musical history walks. Think of them as a series of short concerts. Think of them as a walking tour. Think of them as really top days out with ace tunes and chatter from Chris Roberts and Nigel of Bermondsey (accompanied by Stuart Forrester). At every stop there are short tales about the area and also a song about the location. Walks last about two hours, are free and end at a pub. However numbers are limited so we would like you to book by contacting:

April 16th Bermondsey: Cross Bones to Old Justice. Start 4PM Crossbones Graveyard Redcross Way & Union Street. London Bridge tube. The Bermondsey Suite: The outcast dead and literary greats, medical oddities and pure collectors, London folktales and lost rivers make appearances in this stroll from Borough to the waterfront at Bermondsey. Sometimes it’s better not knowing what lies beneath the streets but if you are sure you’d rather find out then this is the time to do it.

April 29th Ratcliffe & Wapping: Cable Street to Wapping waterfront. Start 2PM Old Town Hall Cable Street. Shadwell or Tower Bridge tube. Terrible Tides and deathly docks: Political riots, staked murderers, escaped tigers, ghostly polar bears and the dreaded witch of Wapping all feature in this two hour amble round E1. There are also well hung pirates, hanging judges and other Thameside shocks around the old docks and back streets of one of London’s spikier boroughs. What better way to spend a happy day?'

Further details:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Future of New Cross Library

This received today from

'The Council have announced the closure of New Cross Library for 28th May, at the same time they also continued an apparently open process of bidding to take over the library. However, in reality, they had already made their mind up about who was going to take them over. Darren Taylor is a ‘social entrepreneur’ who has been running a kind of library on the Pepys estate in Deptford for a few months subsidised by his computer recycling firm Eco Computers, he offered to take on 4 of the libraries due for closure.

There are many problems with this deal but to sum up he seems to be prepared to allow the council to provide no financial contribution to the running of the library or making the repairs that are needed after the years of neglect, it’s not exactly clear who would actually hold the lease and it allows the council to continue with its plan to make librarians redundant. He also seems ready to allow the council to continue to use the basement of the building for storage, rather than making this available for community use.

All these things can easily be improved as the next best deals for the council must have cost them tens of thousands of pounds per year. It’s also a pretty shoddy way to transfer such an important asset with little or no community involvement and has a whiff of paternalistic victorian philanthropy about it.

On the positive side the suggested governance structure allows members of the community to run the library pretty much as they see fit, there will be one paid library manager, the library will be open twice as much as it was and all he wants in return for his ‘gift’ of approx £20k PA from eco computers is that the library becomes a drop off point for people to leave old computers for him to recycle. Although the deal has all but been done, the next few weeks will see negotiations in which the all important details are finalised.

The question is - should we get involved in the final negotiations to improve the deal and make it work for the community, let it happen but don't support it or actively oppose it and try to stop the deal? We intend to discuss and decide this at 7pm All Saints Community Centre, 105 New Cross Road (junction with Monson Road) on Monday 11th April'.

Interesting update - would like to know more about the New Cross library deal - presumably whoever's running it is expecting Lewisham to pay the salary of the manager, or is the whole project going to be subsidised from the profits of Eco Computers? As an ex-librarian my concern is as much for the library staff as for keeping the building open - as I've said before a good library is about skilled workers not just books. Also has Lewisham now officially abandoned plans for a new library in Briant Street, promised once upon a time as part of the New Deal for New Cross?

Laurel and Hardy - You're Nicked (1982)

In the tradition of songs about police harrassment of black people (see also Smiley Culture's Police Officer or MC Eksman's Ruffneck Cockney), here's Laurel and Hardy's You're Nicked from 1982.

'Him look pon mi neck, him see Rasta scarf. Him seh 'Do you know about the fire down at New Cross'. Brixton riot also gets a mention. Don't know too much about these South London MCs - anyone help?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Holiday in Greenwich Park

Nice film clip from the summer of 1963 of a bus trip organised by Blackfriars Settlement in Southwark: 'It was the time of their lives for 200 Southwark children... they were going down to Greenwich for a glorious day in the country'. Rather patronising as you might expect - apparently Greenwich Park was 'a wonderful open space such as a good many had never seen before, real grass too'.

If you wondered what a 1960s children's playground looked like, look no more. Also some film of the Cutty Sark (click on image to play).

Can anybody identify the Southwark estate?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Smiley Culture in Catford

Nice bit of footage of the late Smiley Culture , seemingly shot at a Fashion records showcase at the 10 club in Brownhill Rd, Catford in 1983. There's a little bit of Maxi Priest, then I believe Papa Face then Smiley doing Cockney Translation, obviously already well known to the crowd a year before it became a hit record. If you have any memories of that club or even that night please comment.

Details have now been confirmed for the demonstration called by the campaign for Justice for Smiley Culture on Saturday April 16th. It will be assembling at noon at the Southbank Club, 124 - 130 Wandsworth Road SW8 2DL, and then heading to New Scotland Yard.


Previously at Transpontine we have acknowledged the wondrous loveliness of Katy B and her Peckham and New Cross connections. An interview in this week's Guardian reveals further details: 'Born Kathleen Brien ("the most Irish name ever") to a plumber father and postwoman mother, Katy grew up in Peckham, south-east London and learned her trade as a vocalist on the underground dance scene... I went to FWD [Rinse's legendary dubstep/grime night in east London] every single week. But I had work the next day, so I'd be the first one there at 10, on my own, then I'd leave at 12 to get the night bus home." Where were you working? "In Lewisham, in JD Sports. But it was alright. I didn't even have a hangover, 'cos I couldn't afford to drink."

(love the new single Broken Record, reminds me of Let Me Be Your Fantasy by Baby D, a track that for some reason always makes me think of the Venue in New Cross - remember dancing to that track there at some point in the 1990s)

New Cross Bombed and Bombing

Some reflections by Les Back, published in the new issue of The Paper (April 2011):

'Britain is a bombed and bombing culture. This is captured in the opening of Virginia Woolf’s essay Thoughts on Peace in an Air-raid written for an American symposium on women in the war in August 1940. As part of the recent graduate Collective Futures symposium at Goldsmiths we took these insights for a walk along the New Cross Road. Pausing at the house of Barnes Wallis, inventor of the ‘bouncing bomb’ immortalised in the 1954 film The Dambusters, to read at the curb side extracts from W G. Sebald’s On the Natural History of Destruction. The plaque on Wallis’ former home makes no mention of his deadly inventions or the raids or attacks on the Möhne, Eder, and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr area that resulted in the drowning of close to 2000 people. Drifting down the street the group including students from all over the world stopped by the Rising Sun café to hear a reading from Virginia Woolf’s essay in the ‘bomb print’ of a V2 rocket that killed 168 people in 1944. The readings evoked the shared human frailty of the civilians who died in Hamburg, Berlin and London'.

Full article - Fear that Stops the Thinking