Backtalk

Over the next few weeks, Marmoset is aiming to upload some scanned copies of the old Crosstalk newsletter.

Contents (to date)

July 1985
August 1985
September 1985
October 1985
September 1986
April 1987
May 1987
June 1987
September 1994

Transcription of Charles Booth's account of a walk around the area
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July 1985
This is the earliest copy we have so far.
 Notes:

CTC, the tenants' collective puts its electronic typewriter at the disposal of residents - this is long before PCs and printers.

Noise from businesses on Creekside are an ongoing concern

The council resists a proposal for flower beds on the grounds that they might ''hide unauthorised persons''

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August 1985

Notes:

A long edition with ongoing news about water main problems and sewerage works.

In an interesting combination of the hyper-local with the global, page 2 is devoted to the Anti-Apartheid campaign, and where we learn that a recurrent name in the blog, Errol Shanley, was, along with his wife, a white exile who had been arrested in the 1956 Treason Trials.

On the second from last page, there is an article about the end of the single lettings scheme.  Many of the older Crossfields residents got their tenancies from a time when Crossfields was hard to let and had therefore been opened up to single people.  It's hard to imagine what was then almost a housing surplus.
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September 1985


Notes:

At this time, the Tenants' and Residents' Association was still organised as a collective - Crossfields Tenants Collective, often referred to as CTC

Concerns: beginning of the nature park, work on drainage on the estate, traffic calming,

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October 1985

Notes:

Drainage and interior improvements occupy much of this issue and page 2 has the results of a questionnaire circulated to Browne House tenants.

There's an appeal for back numbers of Crosstalk on page 6, plus a reminder that in an edition from 1977 ''Squeeze played outside Farrer House at the summer festival, and there was talk of renovating the Clubhouse, known, in those days, as the ''Hot Club House.''  This 1977 edition also had ''a poignant plea for contributions to Crosstalk and accusations of apathy.''  followed by the wry conclusion that ''Nothing's changed!''

Page 7 has a copy of a letter from the ''Mayor's Parlour, Lewisham Town Hall''  - that sounds much more cosy than Bullock's Butcher Shop.
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September 1986


Notes:

One of the consequences of driving a dual-carriageway through the estate has been that Frankham House can tend to get forgotten.  See the image on the front page.
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April 1987










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May 1987










NOTES:

The hottest spring since 1949.  This elicits illustrations of vacuum cleaners

The apparently unusable ''Redactor'' typewriter goes missing.  

Tenants' Collective agenda - need more caretakers.  The Asian Co-operative Theatre uses the ''clubhouse'' (Pink Palace).  Pressing for pedestrian lights to cross Deptford Church Street.

London Daily News covers Crossfield veteran's marathon runner at the age of 77.


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June 1987
Notes:
Mel Stanley presents her last edition of CROSSTALK KIDSTALK.
Guided tour of the species to be found in the Bronze Street Nature Park.

Women's Night Out and Lewisham Unemployed Action Group serve as a reminder of where feminism was then and also of what life in a period of high unemployment was like.

Plans to part-pedestrianisation of the High Street

Photo of the Bronze Street medallists.


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 September 1994

Here's September 1994's issue, dedicated to Sue Godfrey.  Residents who have lived here may not know anything about Sue Godfrey but might have heard talk of the Sue Godfrey garden or see the signs by the Sue Godfrey nature reserve.  This might help put a face to a name.


Notes:

Sue Godfrey was killed in a cycling accident (left-turning lorry) in Catford in 1994.  I know the name - she was chair of the tenants' and resident's association at the time - but didn't know her.  However, by chance I did actually cycle along the same route a couple of hours after the accident and saw the lorry and the ''do not cross'' tapes across the road.

In the bottom left-hand photo, there is still an uninterrupted view behind the nature reserve of the school buildings that the Rose Bruford Drama college were using.

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Deptford District 45 GLA (or GEA?)


District Covered July 18/99



insert map


Walk with Inspector Gummer and Sergeant Goddard over district bounded by Deptford Creek, Broadway, Hugh Street, Creek Road and the Stowage, including parts of the parishes of St. Paul, St Nicholas and St Paul Christchurch.
Inspector Gummer is a small well dressed portly man. Jacket suit and straw hat. Has over 10 years service at Blackheath Road and knows the district well. We started about 10am, Sergeant Goddard having instructions to relieve the Inspector at noon as he was due at Woolwich Police Court.
Started at Deptford Bridge, where Deptford Creek passing under becomes the Ravensbourne. North side shops (3 storied). Gardiner's large establishment at corner, clothiers and general stores. Modern building with clock tower above – upper floors used as Liberal Club. Red as map.
Deptford Broadway. Triangular open space, paved with cobble stones. Stand for barrows and the meeting place of the neighbourhood. Political and other meetings held here. Men standing about. Good three storied shops to Hight Street, slightly poorer near Church Street. Red as map
N up Church Street (to Reginald Rd). Poor class of shops near the Broadway, 3 storied and old fashioned private houses, a few let in tenements but most look comfortable. Poorer as you go north. Pink as map. Portion of colour on east side gone – houses taken for mineral water factory. Lease for sale. East along Creek Street. With exception of two, the houses on south side are gone. Taken for business premises. On north side 2 st. houses. People look comfortable, work on the creek. Pink rather than purple of maps. Portion of street going north is poorer. East side nearly all gone. West side 2 storied houses. Purple (as map) to LB. Prefer latter.
By the S side of railway is a passage eastward leading to the railway bridge across the Creek. Known as the ''Halfpenny Hatch.'' Toll of 1d charged for crossing.
W into Leonidas Street. 2 st. 4 rooms, flush with pavement. Paint good, clean and well kept. Decent people mostly one family in a house. Purple rather than LB of map. Colour omitted on south side, Light Blue. S down Hosier Street. 3 rm'd cottages, poor labouring class. Some broken windows. Part of SE end of street taken for factory. LB as map. Colour to come off west side south of entry into Addis Street. Ground plan of street wrong at south end. Street runs into Creek Street near Addis Street. Several houses between Hosier Street and turn in Creek Street.

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Addey Street Addey St CottageS in middle of Street Lt B
'' S end – lb
'' N of Leonidas St. - lb

The worst part of Deptford

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N along Addey Street. Small 2 St houses like Hosier St. south of the passage into Hosier Street. LB in character. Between the entry into Hosier Street and Leonidas Street is a row of old houses on E. side. 4 rooms and attic in roof. Footway leading to houses is about 2 ft below level of roadway and is protected by iron railing. Some prostitutes and criminals. Low rough class: reckons this the worst part of Deptford. Went into a house here to arrest a man at 5am. Found father, mother and 5 children in one room. All rooms are small. This piece should be D.Blue lined. Houses opposite are 2 st. D.Blue in character. Northern part is 2st and Light Blue except 3 shops and publichouse north of Leonidas Street. All comfortable. Pink. W into North Street 3 two-storied cottages. Windows clean. Good white clothing drying in yard. Purple to LB. S along Church Street (Railway to Creek Street) Light blue on map. On the west side by the railway is a passage leading to High Street. Ground on south side is taken for Builder's Yard. (Holloway's), one house occupied by foreman. Two and three storied houses; a few shops, opposite Giffen Street and south of that point, people are poor. Barefoot girl came out of one house. Group of women talking in doorway near Hale Street.

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The Poor Patch east of High St
Giffen Street

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Men sitting on pavement outside publichouse with feet stretched across footway. Pony cart standing on road – chalked for sale. Few shops are comfortable. German baker etc. Purple as map for whole, but portion south of Giffen Street might be LB. South of the Addis school, houses are pulled down and ground to let. W along Giffen Street. 3 storied, about 6 rooms. Many of the houses at the east end are dilapidated and boarded up. Slatternly women standing about; some shoeless children. Low class, some prostitutes, hawkers, etc. Some houses let in furnished rooms. Street Roadway has been made up – covered with tar paving and shingle. Like street in Notting Dale. Not many charges; has improved in that respect. DBlue, with Black line as maps. S along Bevill Street. Deptford Ragged school – a large square at W. corner of Giffen Street. Three 3 St houses on east side – like Giffen St. Dark blue. E along Regent Street. Two storied houses – broken windows. Some street sellers. Two women talking in roadway as we entered. ''Well known prostitutes'' said the Inspector. The women moved off quickly, evidently recognising him. Board School extended to W. Dark Blue as map. S and W along Hale Street. Narrow crowded street. 2 st houses. Broken windows, sills broken away. Street doors open into room.

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Beds seen through ground floor windows. When visiting with Inspector in the morning the women were standing about the doors, criticising their visitors. At an afternoon visit I found them sitting on groups on the foot path, one on a chair, more on the edge of the curbstone whilst one woman completed a small circle by sitting in the road with her feet toward the kerb. Costers driving home on their pony carts. Candle factory at west end of street, emitting very evil smells. Not much crime. Dark Blue rather than Dk B lined as map. N into Stanhope Street. 2 st houses, flush with pavement. Broken windows, cemented roadway blocked with barrows. Two men breaking up some gas fitting and putting the metal in a sack. A few Italians; some costers and prostitutes; shoeless children running about and frowsy women gaping at the doors. Board School takes greater part of north side. The west end of the north side is more open and the people a little cleaner, approximating to LB. Dark blue lined black as map.
S along Church St. to Reginald Road. 2 and 2 ½ st houses. A few are modern, near on S. side near Church Street. Some houses covered with creepers; clean curtains. Nice little houses – only a few on south side near Reginald Place look poor. Two contractors; remainder comf. working people. Mission Church on north side. GFS home on south. Pink rather than purple on map. Has improved.

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High Street, Deptford

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S. into Reginald Place. Broad street 2 st. houses – 6 rooms – flush with pavement, quiet working class: paperhanger; people in regular work. 2 families as a rule. Nearly as good as the Road. Pink to Purple. Purple on map.
At the end is Amelia Terrace. Row of old cottages (2st) with flower gardens in front. On front of centre house is a full sized figure of a sailor holding a Union Jack. Pink to Purple. Purple on map.
Reginald Street. 2St 6 rms. Exactly like Reginald Place. Pink to Purple. Purple on map.
W to High Street. Wide market street. 2 and 3 storied houses, almost as many styles of building as houses, the only agreement being that they all have shop fronts, sometimes a part of the original building but more often an addition thereto. Near the Railway Station, the Public Hall is being converted; two shops being improvised, one on each side of the pillars supporting the porch. Most of the shopkeepers live over their shops. Best shops are nearest the Broadway; decline in character being gradual to Railway arch. Red as map to archway. North of Railway arch to Evelyn Street, the shops are 3 storied. Trade is less brisk, and shops not so good on the east side. Some assistants living over drapers. Red as map.

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At this point Sergeant Goddard relieved the Inspector. He is a thin man of about 40. Face mottled, the result of bad digestion or too close application to the worship of Bacchus. Walks slightly lame, owing to rheumatism. Has been over 10 years in the sub division but for last 18 months at Blackheath Road.

From the corner of High Street, a new road has been cut through to Creek Road continuous with Evelyn Street, involving the demolition of a great part of Wellington Street and Queen Street. It is named Creek Road.. Land is cleared and L.C.C. advertise it ''to let'' except a plot near east end where a new Deptford Fund House is being erected.

W along Queen Street. Few cottages at east end, staning back, are closed – boarded up. 2 st houses, poor looking white curtains, broken windows, few flowers here and there. Narrow street. Rough labouring class. Dark Blue as map.

S to Albury Street (late Union St – Creek Rd on map). Deptford Medical Museum at S. corner of High Street. Old 3 st houses built for middle class and formerly occupied by sea captains etc. Fine panelled doors, carved lintels. Now most are occupied by

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Mary Ann Buildings lb

Crossfield Lane Crossfield Lane N side – db

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labouring people, 3 or more families in the house. Doctor, day nursery, Registered lodging house (about 40 to 50 beds) Purple as map

S along Church Street to Andon Buildings (late Union Terrace). A few 2st houses with bsement. 2 families in each. Narrow paved court. L.Blue as map. Back into Church Street and then West along winding passage to Mary Ann Bldgs. At east end is a small cottage, about 3 rooms, ground floor only with large garden in front filled with vegetables, new laid eggs for sale. Pink in character. Then come to old 2st cottages. Roadway has been made up and you descend by two cteps into the cottages. Salvation Army Barrack at west end. North side, modern 4 rooms cottages, only east end built. Light Blue rather than DB of map,

South past church to Crossfield Lane. On south side 2 and 3 storied old houses, used as shops. Few paris of old boots, stays (?) and stocking strung up outside one: a very primitive second hand store. North side – 2st and 3st modern houses. Very neglected – broken and dirty windows, doors open, children playing about. Costers, woodchoppers etc. Squalid poverty LB to DB LB. On map.

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Alfred Place – lb

Copperas Square – db

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On north side, at east and in Rectory Bldgs. Three blocks of tenements, 5 floors. Belong to Industrial Dwellings Co. Labourers, but dn't look paoor. Rough; better than the street. All the tenements are full and place is better than 10 years ago when many were emply; including one block. Purple to LB. LB on map.

North west side of Church Strret in Alfred Place 5 two-storied houses with small gardens in front, filled with broken boxes and other rubbish. Costers. A few broken windows bout don't look very poor. LB to DB DBlue on map.

E along Alvar Street. 2 st houses, flush with pavement. Two families. LB as map.

Archway on north side leads to Bronze, late Copperas Square. Three 3 storied houses on west and 3 two storied on east side. Cemented yard in front with much litter. Dirty and Ragged children. A murder here some month ago. Dark Blue. Not marked on coloured map.

Part of Alvar Street east of Creek Street is cleaner than west part – but still LB. Costers etc. Entrance to Asphalte works at end of street.

Benmmore Street These form a block of small
Hamar Place and 2st cottages together with the Knott
Dugold Street Street.

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Street frontage. Street are narrow. Hamar Place faces wall of works on he Creek bank. Costers and street sellers, a few Itialins. Dugold Street has houses on south side only. Dark Blue as map.

W along Bronze Street (late Copperas Street). South side is old dilapidated houses, windows broken, thoers closely curtained, Low labouring class. On north side houses are more modern. 2 st with gardens in front near middle of street. Houses very neglected; wood and brickwood damaged at east end. Signs of great and continued neglect. At west end of north side is a pottery (red). Children amusing themselves by throwing pellets of clay at each other. One girl knocks another over in middle of street and is at once assailed with a volley of oaths from a woman at first floor window. Dark Blue as map. Centre of N side might be LB.

Into Church Street (Railway to Creek Road). Three stoied houses and shops on west side. Have been good but look neglected now. Rough men and women at doors. Better near Creek Road – shops. On east side 2 and 3 storied houses. Registered lodging houses near Bronze St – and old double fronted house. Two storied houses are modern

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Berthon Street – purple

Knott Street W side – lb

Creek Road E of Knott St purple

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modern – 6 rooms and bay window – but neglected and knocked about. Bricks peeling, flagstones broken, woodwork perishing for lack of point. LB except shops on west near Creek Road Purple on map.
E into Pender Street 6 rooms, bay window. Fitted for two families. Rent marked on board as 10/6. Same estate as those in Church St and same neglected look. Many children playing in street. LB as map
E into Berthon Street. 2 st. 6 rooms. Better condition. Two families. Some mechanics and others in regular work. Purple rather than LB of maps.
Knott Street On west side a few 2 st houses with gardens in front near Rly arch. LB North of Bronze Street, 2 st house like those in Bronze St. Creek Road Bd. School has been extended and has entrance here. LB to DB. Houses on east side are 2st and small, like Benmorie St. LB on west and DB on east side. DB on map.
E along Creek Road. N. side 2 ½ st, gardens in front. 2St on south side. Near Copperas Lane is a row of old cottages (2st), much poorer than rest of Road. A few shops. Pink as map except near Copperas Lane. LB to Purple.
N into The Stowage. A stinking unpaved lane with wharves on north side, until the bend in road is passed.
One

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The Stowage E end db
W end purple

Maiden Court – db

Cross Street – purple

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One pink house in wharf. On south side 2st modern houses occupied by a low rough waterside population. DB to Purple at west. On south side near Cross Street is Maiden Court. A narrow court yard reached through archway. 2 small cottages; some broken windows. DB: not marked on map.
S into Cross Street. 3 2st houses on west side. Purple. Pink on map.
N into The Orchard. Irregular open space with 2st cottages on three sides. Labouring people. LB, except at east end where houses are painted and better kept – Purple.

General Remarks This walk includes the greater part of poor Deptford. Both officers agree that it is better than it was; not so much crime or violence. To me, little or no improvement is apparent in the poor street and I have grave doubts as to the knowledge of the police of the social condition of the people. They measure the streets mainly by the proportion of offences against the law and diminution of these.

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these is an improvement which they attribute to improved social position.
The Irish streets – the block between the Rly and Hales Street appears little different to 10 years ago; possibly more congested, except Giffen Street where so many houses are closed. East of Church Street the houses belong to the Addey Charity. All are small and poor, Addey Street being distinctly poorer than formerly. The Addey Charity has a school in Church Street and is now building a large red brick building in New Cross Road, which will take its place.
North of the Railway, the streets appear poorer and more neglected. Rectory Bldgs and Mary Ann Bldgs are better than they were, but against these must be set Crossfield Lane (distinctly poorer).
Most of the people living here work at one of the factories along the Creek. Beside the Chemical works, there are numerous business places employing a large number of 'hands'. The Parish Yard, the Hay wharf, and the Asphalte works employ many hands and numbers also work at Penns and Humphrey and the riverbank. The Steam Navigation Cmy has a large yard in the Stowage. All these works are bush and work is plentiful so that no man need be unemployed.
An Italian colony is growing up near Knott Street, ice cream vendors and asphalte workers; some have also settled down in Stanhope Street.

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