Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Walking Tour of Deptford - Monday 2nd May

Marmoset has written a lot on this blog about Charles Booth's Poverty Map of Deptford. If you're interested in the history of Deptford and wondering what to do on Bank Holiday Monday, actor and writer Sean Patterson is leading "an unconventional walk that combines architecture, literature, social history and psychogeography to bring this rich story to life".

The walk starts at 10.30am on Monday (there was also a walk today and yesterday) and costs £10 (£8 concs). The walk is two and three quarter hours long including a short stop at a pub. Meet outside the Deptford Deli cafe on Tanners Hill SE8. For more info go to
To book call 07957 222070, or email

"Booth's Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London, undertaken between 1886 and 1903 was one of several surveys of working class life carried out in the 19th century. It is the only survey for which the original notes and data have survived and therefore provides a unique insight into the development of the philosophy and methodology of social investigation in the United Kingdom." (

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bits and bobs...

Greenwich, after what must have been a serious diplomatic incident between Councils, temporarily closed its borders this morning...

They discovered shortly afterwards that it had just been a wind-up...

I managed to have a quick word with the service engineers and let them know that the bridge surface was convex, so that it turned into a paddlestrian crossing in wet weather. 


Some of the recent graffiti along the pathway seems to have a bit of a drug theme, so I thought that this under-the-arches contribution was rather cute by comparison....  If it has some covert drugs meaning please don't tell me...I just don't want to know!


Crosswhatfields blog got a concerned email from Michael in Castell House about a van accident that occurred shortly before 2:30 yesterday (Wednesday, 27 April).  A van had run off the southbound carriageway on Deptford Church Street, opposite Wavelengths, severely damaging the railings which were there to protect pedestrians, and continuing into the wall
Note that the wall above the first layer of bricks has been moved sideways.

Did anybody witness this accident?  Michael was trouble by the fact that the ambulance crew , first on the scene, did not seem to have attempted to enter the vehicle but had waited for the police to arrive.  We don't know whether this was because it was already too late to do anything or whether it was because ambulance crews don't carry the necessary tools for opening twisted van doors. 

However, Michael's analysis of road safety along Church Street, bearing in mind the wall a couple of hundred metres down the road was only just repaired a few months ago, seems accurate:

Drivers go crazy on this short stretch of dual carriageway, going fast on
the first bit of 'open road' they get to after the stop-and-go queuing of
most London roads. Maybe this legacy dual carriageway should be made single
carriageway now that it is no longer a part of some central planner's inner
London motorway scheme.

We hate walking from Deptford Bridge station to the estate along that road.

We wish the pavement was at least a metre higher than the roadway.
And, without witnesses, this is pure speculation but the bus lane stops there and there's a small stretch of road where people will undertake in order to get the racing line for the Bird's Nest roundabout.  A continuous single carriageway would be far safer.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crossfields Green Spaces Fun Days – pick up your window box kit!

Friday 29th & Saturday 30th April 
Friday 13th & Saturday 14th May, 1-4pm
at Creekside Centre, 14 Creekside

•    Collect your Window Box Kit:
FREE Compost, herbs, flowers, seeds and tools for every window box on Crossfields

•    Learn how to Grow in even the smallest space
Workshops on getting your window boxes full of food and flowers. And Special advice for Kids!

•    Get Involved!
Find out about exciting opportunities for Community Gardening on the Estate. Food Growing, Guerilla Gardening, Mini Allotments and more…

•    Plus:
Tea and Cakes. Jams and Preserves. A Very Special Raffle and...

•    WORMS!
Fun for All, Young and old… help out naming our friendly worms.

These days are primarily for residents of Crossfields to come and pick up their Window Box Growing Kits – an initiative developed by Crossfields Green Spaces group as a result of a successful bid to Lewisham Homes' Community Improvement Competitive Fund.

Anyone interested in helping out on these days, please contact John on 07981 020 862 or email

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Royal Wedding-dong

I've got a vague memory of hearing on overnight Radio 4 something to the effect that, of the 5000-odd applications to hold street parties on the 29th, most of them are for London.  But none for Glasgow.  This may give ardent republicans some get-awayday ideas for  next Friday.

But for those of you who are able to take advantage of the bank holiday yet unable to take the train north for the day, you might as well make the most of it by visiting the Deptford Project street party.  You'll even get a chance to board a railway carriage. And the train has even got a curator, which apparently is nothing like a ticket collector, who will be curating in a Jaine Laine train vein.

In the words of Maria, at the Deptford Project:

''...we are going to throw a BIG STREET PARTY not just for them- but for DEPTFORD!''

 Here are the details:

Like 'em or lump 'em nobody can avoid the fact that Kate and Wills are getting hitched! And us South Eastenders aint gonna let them have all the fun! The Royal Family are giving us the day off work on the 29th April and we are going to throw a BIG STREET PARTY not just for them - but for DEPTFORD!

Come and join us bring your instruments, wear your best and look forward
to a day of celebrations!

...The train cafe will be curated by Jaine Laine as part of 'The Deptford
Archive' to represent an ordinary working class couple at their wedding breakfast during the last years of the Second World War. Projections from The Deptford Archive will be shown and music of the era will be played. 

You are invited to sit down and take part in the traditional wedding breakfast, enjoy the delectable home made scones & jam, nibble on sandwiches & food, and try the wedding favours, all over a nice cuppa tea!

And if that wasn't enough we also bring you;


* THE 'ROYAL' DEPTFORD PHOTO STUDIO (Your chance to update the archive!)
* MARKET STALLS- local arts/craft/clothing

.....and just so the happy couple don't feel too left out- we will be

'So move your HAM &EGGS down to THE DEPTFORD PROJECT for a DING DONG and a
nice cuppa ROSIE LEE'

Don't forget to wear your best! Wedding look-a-likes welcome!

Friday the 29th of April 10am-5pm at The Deptford Project.

Hope to see you there!

For more information please visit:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

'Get Involved' in more broken promises and waste more time and money

The April 2011 edition of 'Home' magazine popped through the letterbox today. Page 4 has details of the latest round of the Community Improvement Competitive Fun – an opportunity for groups and individuals to apply for a small amount of funding to contribute to improvements in the local community, environment and safety. Expressions of interest are invited from Lewisham Homes residents by 27 May 2011 – contact the Community Involvement Team on 020 8613 7660 or email

Last year, two applications from Crossfields residents were among the winning bids. Crossfields Green Spaces applied for funding to give everyone who wants one a window box kit (more details in next post), whilst resident JP got the go ahead to increase the number of litter bins around the estate, particularly in the Nature Park area.

However, JP has just copied Crosswhatfields into a recent email he has sent to the Community Involvement Team which indicates that not all successful applications

Subject: 'Get Involved' in more broken promises and waste more time and money...

"I write in reply to an email from your office asking for 'ideas' for local projects. About a year ago, in response to a previous 'Get Invoved' initiative, a suggestion that I had made for provision of waste bins in the Bronze Street Nature Park 'won' funds for completion and over the next few months, a string of phone calls, correspondence (most of which I retain) and a visit for siting purposes ensued. The visitor was one Will Sharp, who now works in another section, or so I was told when I phoned to say that the promised work had not been completed.  A subsequent phone call got yet another promise to call back that was not kept.

"Don't you feel these initiatives are in danger of being ridiculed if nothing develops except a string of paperwork and wasted effort? Further, if anyone there has the inclination to check, could I be told what happened to the bins?  The summer has arrived early and already builders from the nearby site in Creek Road, workers from adjacent light industry and residents from surrounding estates are lunching here and some are leaving garbage. There are no waste bins here or in next door's Ferranti Children's Playground, which is also often strewn with litter.

"What's really going on down there in Holbeach House? I think Council Tax payers deserve to be told, don't you?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Social Centre Plus move into the main Job Centre Plus

This in from the folks at the Job Centre....


Social Centre Plus – who occupied the old Job Centre on Deptford High Street in order to create “an anti-cuts space for the community” – celebrated completing their brief move next door by announcing a new programme of events and another Open Day for this Wednesday (20th).

“Following last Tuesday’s failed eviction attempt by bailiffs and builders sent by landlord Paul Jackson,” Jenny Wilshere said, “the SCP Collective decided to move out of number 122 into number 124 next door. You can currently find us by knocking on the door underneath the ‘Christ Life’ sign.”

The move was undertaken in order to maintain a safe space open to the community, Wilshere said on behalf of the anti-cuts group. “Despite the fantastic showing from almost 100 local residents in order to prevent the bailiffs from entering last Tuesday,” she continued, “we can’t be sure that the Locks Bury Services thugs won’t return with heavy tools and violent intentions. So we felt that the best way of keeping open a genuinely community-led space against the cuts was by moving into a new site which had no legal eviction order hanging over it.”

Wilshere emphasised that the space was once again open to the community, and that Wednesday’s Open Day – which will include food, drinks, a film and even a barbecue (“weather-permitting!”) – would be the first of many. “We have loads of events planned, but we want members of the local community to continue to make use of the space, so we once again invite everyone to come and pay us a visit for a quick cuppa and a nice chat.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

South East Central: not a blog but a forum

Those helpful chappies over at Brockley Central have quietly put a local forum online - more of a soft launch than a full-frontal fanfare but the more people that use it, the better it will be able to serve us all.  It feels like another piece in the local jigsaw.  It's set up in  different area spaces - Brockley, Lewisham, Ladywell, New Cross - plus a more general section for SE London and beyond, tradespeople, stuff for sale, etc, etc.

Click into the banner above and it should take you there...have a nose around and, if you've got a couple of minutes, register yourself.  

Seven miles done

The élite women in two groups coming up to the 7 mile marker:

And the leading group of wheelchair athletes picking up speed on the way down from Creek Road bridge (You won't appreciate how hard it is to race these things uphill until you see these powerful guys struggling up the other side!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Man abducted from Creekside. Tulipa triffida suspected...

I meant to post something about the marathon tomorrow - you know, stuff about how it's at the bottom of our road and how they're all Virgin's, and how the Duke over the road was serving marathon breakfasts (followed by marathon lunches, of course...) and that the fit ladies would be passing at around 9:36am but that the roads might be shut from such-a-such o'clock


...I'm afraid, I regret to have to inform you, that an innocent passer-by on Creekside was abducted between Ferranti Park and the Laban at 10:51 this Saturday morning and has not been heard of since.  Police suspect it may have been a flesh-eating tulip (tulipa triffida) which had escaped from a local Blue Peter garden and found its way into Ferranti Park.

Police have released this photograph in the hope that it will jog the memory of any member of the public who may have seen the attack:

But officers from Operation Trefleur were anxious to warn the public not to approach this tulip as it may be dangerous.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Douglas Way

Get ready for a shock...Fully grown trees in Douglas Way! Some even have blossom...What next!

The new Cycle Path is taking some time what with it needing 20 Eastern Europeans an hour to lay one paving stone. Each time I've been down to the market, my favourite stalls have been in different places as the new paving progresses. Since work started on the square recently, the secondhand market has reached all the way up to Watsons's Street and I quite liked it like that (can't speak for the stall holders, who have been messed around right royally since these renovations began)...

A little bird tells me The Albany is at last looking at plans to rearrange its front door to face the high street, funds permitting...That would indeed be evolutionary!

Still, there's a way to go, but yesterday (Tuesday) we spotted the trees which must've gone in over the past couple of days. Not some poor little saplings that might get easily get damaged before they've put down roots, but young adult trees (of a species that obviously doesn't need much root space)...If time allows, more pictures to follow with Wednesday's market in full flow...(or send us yours)...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Copper thieves

Crossfields resident Yvonne has brought this to our attention...

On Tuesday she had a British Gas engineer round to do an annual service of her boiler. He pointed out to her that the copper overflow pipe on the outside wall had been sawn off. Along the landing, a neighbour's pipe had also been removed. I had a look at mine – still there hidden among the plants, but next door where the pipe was more easily accessed it had been cut off. There is also a huge crack in the wall.

Apparently, a kilo of copper can fetch £4 (and more in recent times). The engineer told Yvonne it was fetching around £12,000 a ton, and that there was no point in replacing the pipe since it would more than likely be cut again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hello and goodbye...


Kids Love Ink, Deptford's own very stylish Tattoo parlour (and fabulous sign-writers!), have just opened a new coffee shop next door but one to their premises (which has also had a make-over) just north of the railway. The ever epicurial Deptford Dame has the initial low-down...


Nearer home, a light and airy new cafe has opened at the front of Faircharm Trading Estate, offering coffee, tea, soups, sandwiches and paninis, cakes and...breakfast. Open Monday-Friday 8am-4pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm, it will serve the businesses in Faircharm, and, well, anyone else who finds themselves on Creekside in need of sustenance.


The Deptford Project train cafe is undergoing some alterations both to its exterior (a living grass roof has been mooted) and its opening hours, which have been extended to 5.30pm. They will also be trying out table service next week, to combat the often overlong waits at busy times between ordering and getting your food and coffee. We look forward to seeing the new look and improved service at this highly popular venue (and to getting a new picture to replace this older one!).


If you didn't know already, the Deptford Deli has been opening in the evenings for dinner since early March. There are new opening hours (Wed-Fri 12-4pm and 6pm-10pm, Saturdays 10am-10pm, Sundays 12-5pm, and it is licensed. Over again to the Deptford Dame for more details...


Thanks to new reader Simon for alerting us to the news that East West Supermarket on New Cross Road (opposite Addey & Stanhope school) has now closed, after what must be twenty years of service to the Deptford community supplying Eastern and Oriental food ingredients and kitchen accoutrements.We wish the family a happy retirement.


....who are having to leave the old Job Centre offices next Tuesday 12th April...(unless they decide to put up a fight to stay)...Events and open days will continue until then...


Less imaginative new businesses are currently preparing to open for business. Just a few doors down from Codfathers, it's goodbye to Balloons For London, and Hello ANOTHER WET FISH SHOP...

And two doors down from the old Job Centre, a refit has been going on for awhile. Rumour has it was going to be a Chinese Travel Agents, but latest speculation has it as a Chinese Money Shop...We had a look inside recently when the Chinese/Vietnamese builders were in – the floor has been beautifully tiled, the walls freshly painted, but suspicions were aroused by the large window at the back of the premises behind which was an office-like room – usually a sign of some sort of financial trading...

Postscript (12/4/11): A new sign has gone up, and this shop is going to be a Vietnamese & Chinese supermarket with Money Transfer facilities...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deptford Station

It appears work is finally starting on Deptford station...Pop over to the Deptford Dame for this enormously welcome bit of news.

STOP PRESS - See also the Dame's update ...

Here's some pictures taken in 2003 – yes, 2003, before digital cameras. Those who have continued to use the station on their daily commute may remember a bit of a clean up and paint job in between then and now (personally I've refused to commute since well before that date). But only last week I could observe no change in the awful conditions Deptford commuters have had to tolerate for so long now...

 The ticket machine in 2003 often didn't work...
Praise the Lord! Rejoice! Hallelujah! (sound of trumpets and generally loud symphonic celebratory noise)...

Postscript: Volker Fitzpatrick told us at their (underpublicised) Open Day that SOUTH EASTERN RAILWAYS are responsible for the maintenance of the station. Since commuters will have to use the same entrance until November, perhaps someone could start a campaign to get them to CLEAN IT UP!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Deptford Community Bus Stop


It's very rare that the Crosswhatfields editorial team (ahem!) get to meet up so we were able to make the most of the bus shelter opposite Wavelengths as a windbreak when we bumped into each other last Friday.  As luck would have it Church Street was closed to traffic so not only was the bus shelter much quieter than normal but we even got the opportunity to watch the road sign painters painting road signs.  We were highly impressed with the speed and craftsmanship needed to walk sideways while steadily pouring quick-dry paint into a bottomless tin and ending up with neat lettering. 

It was actually quite touching to see how many people stopped to warn us that the stop was out of service.  That big London does have its social side after all - first it was the workmen, then passers-by

Ah, RUST STOP....!



I'd forgotten that there was an almost completely faded sign under the railway bridge.  I stopped to see if I could decipher the text but it was too far gone for me to get most of it.  Just odd words like ''industrial storage'' which must have been advertising arches to let in what was then Mechanics Path before they booted the mechanics out, stuck up a gate and upped the rents for tenants possessed of greater resolution .  It looks like there's a trace of an 0800 number lower down but that would mean that those numbers have been around far longer than seems likely.  Does anybody remember?



Ok, this is a wandering post, but to be fair, we've only wandered 50 yards at the very most.  Here's another bit of fadery, this time a weather-beaten, disintegrating paper sign on the railings next to Crossfields Street.  Does anybody know who's been killing or harming trees?  It looks like it's been up for a fair amount of time.

The full text was:

                  FOR THEIR DOGS


1)Despite the post saying it was posted by Sue, it wasn't, it was posted by Marmoset - I think the purposeless meandering style may already have given that away.

2)  Watching paint dry....It might seem odd but newly tarmacked roads give rise to grateful posts on cycling forums...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Convoy's Wharf demolition in progress

 Pictures taken by Sue from Deptford Adventure Playground

Despite Planning Permission not yet being granted, and serious concerns that this 16th century Royal Naval site has not been thoroughly surveyed nor is being properly protected, agents of Convoy's Wharf developer Li Ka-shing (Hutchison Whampoa to you) are presently demolishing everything on this site except the Grade II listed Olympia warehouse (the wavy roofed structure), another brick structure and some trees.

Much lies beneath the present concrete surface. More to come on this, but meanwhile see Crosswhatfields posts here. See also Deptford Dame, Shipwright's Palace, London's Lost Garden or do a google search – even Wikipedia has more information on this site than you'd ever get from the present vested interests of both council and developer.

There is another way, say local campaigners...that doesn't include 3500 residential riverside apartments in three towerblocks, retail outlets and parking for 2,300 cars that will never see their way out onto Creek Road.

The site is, in Lewisham's own planning guidance, designated for commercial use, so how did such high-density housing get into the mix? There are also debates around the use of the wharf as a protected marine area with the developers arguing that such protection takes it below economically viable levels if preserved.

Local visionaries see the area as the ideal location for a Marine Enterprise Zone, based on new advances in British industry in navigational equipment. Why not, while we're at it, create a working boatyard, training projects and other maritime and heritage-related facilities (an annex to the Maritime Museum for instance), use the river to its utmost, and enhance Deptford as a World Heritage Site – and not some dormitory for the City as it is fast becoming, or a short-term (thinking) holiday home for Olympic visitors.

It may seem at first an equally ghastly idea to turn the area into a tourist spot, but nevertheless there's a logical link with Greenwich's naval history to where it began, in the King's Yard, Deptford, the first of the Royal Dockyards, developed in 1513 by Henry VII to build vessels for the Royal Navy. It's a short walk from Greenwich (or would be if Greenwich council and the presently dormant Galliard Peninsula development co-operated, possibly a snag here).

Job creation in the Marine Enterprise Zone? It promises to be a lot more than the presently proposed cleaning, retail and waiting on tables.
No money in it? Maybe not as much as there could have been if some foresight had been shown some time ago to not only cash in on the Olympics, but allow Deptford to become Lewisham's flagship heritage area (ya boo sucks to Greenwich) instead of being its number one dumping ground for people it doesn't want in Lewisham and then, conversely, a dormitory for the City...But no money for Mr Murdoch and News International waiting for a percentage on the sale of those luxury flats if the present plan didn't go ahead, boo, hoo...Not so much money for a weak local authority, now suddenly attuned to new Tory rules on business rates but still looking at Council tax on 3500 new properties in three tower blocks....

Too late? Never too late for Real History, Ethics and Respect.
Lewisham Council's motto is Live, Work and Learn. But it long ago forgot how to Listen.

And that is no April Fool joke.