Thursday, November 28, 2013

Spooky Deptford in new Kate Mosse book

The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales is a new collection of short stories by Kate Mosse (no not her). One of the stories, The Princess Alice, is set in Deptford - the narrator lives in a flat in Glaisher Street and finds a diary after browsing for books among 'the second-hand sellers who set up shop outside the Albany'. The sinking of the Princess Alice boat in 1878 and the 1944 Woolworth's V2 disaster feature in the story, as do locations such as Wellbeloved butchers on Tanners Hill and the famous and now departed anchor:

'I found myself wondering if any of the drivers had even noticed the tiny streets through which they were driving. Did they see the stories beneath the cobbles and all the wharf buildings, the distinctive character of this corner of south east London? Or did they only notice the booze shops hidden behind metal grilles, the burger joint and 24-hour supermarket where the drunks congregated, trying to make friends with anyone foolish enough to make eye contact.

A piece of urban art - what town planners and the Daily Mail call a "feature" - sat at the top of Deptford Church Street. A large wrought-iron anchor set in stone, reminding shoppers of the district's martimepast. Two boys and a girl were clambering all over it, hooking their legs over the arms, hanging upside down like monkeys'.

(the sharp eyed will notice that in the story the author renames the High Street as Deptford Church Street - a mistake or poetic license?)

On the subject of the anchor, here's a short film of last month replica anchor procession through Deptford, with soundtrack by David Bloor

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