Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A drawing workshop for Crossfields...

This is still a few weeks away but I've put the details in the calendar anyway.  Here's the email that arrived in mailbox...

Dear Crossfield Neighbours!
I hope this find you well .We have recently opened up an artist led exhibition space Core Gallery in Cor Blimey Arts and hope that you may come over to one of our future events!
I was also wondering if you may be know some people on the estate who would like to take part in an Experimental Drawing Day for adults in Lewisham,on Saturday 11th September at Cor Blimey Arts/ Core Gallery: 
We are looking for people to contribute a piece of drawing for The Museum of Still Life- Deptford, which will be on display during the Deptford X festival; 24th September- 3rd October, 2010
Participants just need enthusiasm and it is not necessary to have had any prior art experience! The workshops are arranged so that drawings don't need to be representative or perfect- its about mark making and making something that becomes part of a larger whole- 'The Museum of Still Life-Deptford'.
We can take up to 25 people from each organisation we are approaching to fill one time slot. These will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
If you would like to meet us, please let us know and we will be happy to arrange a meeting you can contact us on this email address or phone  Rosalind on 0781 307 6251.

Please see attached document for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

 Rosalind Davis and Elizabeth Murton
Core Gallery
Cor Blimey Arts
C101 Faircharm Trading Estate  8-12 Creekside

Big Dance news....

Since the last post about this (here), Laban have contacted us again to tell us that they've done their....
...Walking on sunshine dance routine, but that if you didn't manage to get down to Lewisham Centre last Saturday you can't simply shrug and sit back on the sofa eating popcorn because they've cunningly put a video of it on the Laban website   so that you can practice it at home in time for the performance on People's Day on 10 July.

And even if you don't get round to doing that, you still have no excuse because you can learn the steps in Mountsfield Park before the final performance.  They're not letting you get out of it that easily!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Route 1 - the possible new path and allotment reallotment story....

Just to let you know that some of us are meeting up with the architects at the Creekside Centre gates at 4pm on Thursday, 1 July.  There's no formal agenda but I think we're going walkabout on the estate.  We also didn't formally decide whether it would be a public meeting but if you're interested in turning up and are free then please do.  In these things ''the more the merrier'' is a good principle to work from.  If the architects don't like that, then I don't think we'll like them either!

Sorry about the short notice but it was only confirmed this afternoon.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Has anybody noticed that there are a lot more goldfinches in the area this year?  With a very cheerful song, these birds often perch at the tops of trees.  Until you get the camera out. Then they disappear.  It's surprisingly camera-shy.  Though I did manage to catch this one on Creekside...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Greenwich nonsultation (3)

Deptford Dame asked yesterday why the cyclepath was on the wrong side of the road.  So I asked the consultant.  His response was that it was so that it joined up with the cycle network route into Lewisham, via Egerton Drive and Ditch Alley so that cyclists using the Ha'penny Hatch heading towards Lewisham or the Ashburnham triangle would not have to cross Norman Road.  Unconvincing response, really, because cyclists coming from Creek Road heading south along Norman Road will have to cross over Norman Road at a toucan crossing there anyway.

 Below is a view of the railway bridge on Norman Road, looking north, from their computerised graphics.  Although the bridge is depicted as single span, the revised plan is to use the existing northbound arch for motor traffic and the other arch for cyclists and pedestrians.  In keeping with planning practices, they still haven't put the Ha'penny Hatch in but if they had it would be where the blue line crosses the road.

I queried why they were using out of date maps.  ''All maps are out of date'' was the flippant response.  I pointed out that the detached end of Straightsmouth that was renamed Kay Way when the DLR was built was still listed as Straightsmouth.  How much out of date....?  Unbelievable that Greenwich Council who co-funded the Ha'penny Hatch and renamed the streets cannot put them onto their maps!

So, in order to pedestrianise 0.16 of a mile in central Greenwich they've come up with a 1.13 mile gyratory system that will make getting around west Greenwich a nightmare for people without extensive local knowledge.  It seems like a very small gain at a very high price, and the junction of Greenwich Church Street and Nelson Road will, I suspect, prove a major bottleneck.

As far as cycling is concerned, it appears* that commuters travelling east-west through the borough will have no access to the contraflow (yes, another cycle route that you can't cycle to!) on Creek Road because Greenwich Church Street is one way without cycle access so that instead of a 0.32 mile journey from Nelson Road to Creek Road Bridge, they'll have to add another 1/2 mile scenic detour around Norman Road to get to the bridge (0.9 miles).

Local Deptford to Greenwich journeys have not been seriously worsened.  You'll even be able to cycle along Greenwich High Road as far as South Street but not  if you want to go to Somerfields/Coop to do a bit of shopping (current distance, Hatch to Coop: 0.43 miles), or go to the police station to report some dangerous driving because that part is 2-lane one-way with no cycle contraflow.  You'd need to either divert up South Street, Circus Street and Royal Hill (Hatch to coop: 0.65 miles, approx 50% longer) or take the orange LCN route on the image above along Straightsmouth and then double back along Greenwich High Road (0.6 miles)  if you want to get there. 

All in all, let's sum it up.  Problem: there's too much motorised traffic on the roads in central Greenwich.  Solution: make alternative means of transport take longer journeys...

Incidentally, I picked up a few copies of the consultation document and questionnaires.  If anybody wants a copy, drop us an email to  Comments have to be in by 15 July.

*I say ''appears'' because the detailed image of this junction does not show a cycle lane.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Greenwich nonsultation (2)

The online consultation document is now available here

Though I'll have to go to the consultation tomorrow to check, it does look as though they've addressed the concerns I voiced at the last consultation.  They're still using a map without the Ha'penny hatch but they've put a cycle contraflow in along Norman Road, so that my principal objection has disappeared.

The green arrows pointing south are the contraflow.  Here's a detail of the junction of Norman Road and Greenwich High Road (box 4)

As you can see  the contraflow is on the wrong side of the street but at least it's there.  I've now got a curious feeling of having been vindicated.  When I was told they wanted to make the entrance to Norman road 2 lane, I said that there wasn't enough room between the North Pole Pub and the offices, currently being used by New Deal scammers, A4E,  to run 2 lanes of traffic so that it would need to be single lane at that point, thereby leaving room for a cyclepath, they were all ''no, no, no, can't do that.''

Clearly, you couldn't get 2 lanes of traffic around that corner.

And what have they done?  They've made the junction single lane (single black arrow in the diagram, they use two black arrows when it's 2 lane) and widened the pavement for the cyclepath.  So they couldn't do it because it was my suggestion, but once they'd made it their own suggestion, hey presto, they can do it!  Mind you, they've put the cyclepath on the wrong side of the road, but I suppose they have to come up with some of their own ideas, sensible or not.  I'll have to ask them why tomorrow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Greenwich nonsultation....

Thanks to 853's blog for posting up news that Greenwich Council have set up another ''consultation'' about the proposed Greenwich gyratory system, which threatens to turn Norman Road into a 2-lane northbound one-way system.  In their first ''consultation'' they used maps that didn't even include the Ha'penny Hatch, so it wasn't clear that the Council was actually removing an important access route for cyclists into Greenwich.  In order to pedestrianise two short bits of the existing one-way system in the centre of Greenwich they've come up with an enormous gyratory system which will remove the only quiet cycle route into West Greenwich from Deptford. 

Their posh computer animations of the ''preferred'' council option will be on display at the equally posh Davenport House, King William Walk, Greenwich from Saturday , 26 June, to Tuesday, 29 June.  It remains to be seen whether they've spent all their money on the computerised graphics and the expense of hiring rooms in Devonport House so couldn't afford an up to date map on which to base their graphics....

Their online consultation pages have not yet been posted up.  Letting people participate in consultations is a dangerous concept....

Signs of the times?

Lewisham Homes spent more than £280,000 on estate signs in the last two years - no surprise when you look around at the sheer number of them. Depressingly most of them tell us not to do things. Yet our landlord freely admits that no action has ever been taken against anyone at all for breaching the rules plastered all over Crossfields.

I've posted the letter I wrote to Andrew Potter, Chief Executive of Lewisham Homes, on this subject below. Though he's not agreed to stop this programme - in fact the Head of Estate Services says that their signs are legally required - they have offered talks. Let me know what you think before we take up the offer.

Dear Andrew,

I’ve just about had it with the outbreak of blue and yellow signs that has settled all over our estate like an unhealthy rash. Last week it was slippery floor warnings everywhere, bringing the total number of signs and notices on Farrer House to 46 – that’s more than one for every flat.

At first I’d simply put this down to the troubled birth of Lewisham Homes, intent on stamping your brand on our homes to distinguish yourselves from the Council. But as successive waves of new signs have swept through Crossfields, I’ve begun to lose what little sympathy I had.

It’s not just the huge cost or sloppy way it’s been done, that I object to, though it is worth pausing to consider. I recently asked to be told the costs via an FOI enquiry, but some 30 days later I’ve heard nothing. But say that each sign cost £25 a time to design, manufacture and erect, the cost would be well over £1000 on Farrer House alone or almost £30 per flat. The fact that some have simply been slapped over earlier signs, in some cases with the old ones still showing, is testament to the casual implementation and questionable value.

Nor is it really the pointlessness of it all that annoys me. Even the most laudable are laughable in reality since there is no real prospect of enforcing them or taking action against transgressors.

No, it’s the overwhelming negativity of it all that is so dispiriting. Don’t do this; don’t do that; no parking, no rubbish, no ball games, no children over 10 in the play area (yes really!) and walk no more than four dogs at a time (why?!) You would never see this kind of signage on a private estate, where any problems are generally much more intensively managed.

These unsightly messages stigmatise us all. They are intrusive and massively oppressive. They make it clear that we all live in social housing and imply that we can’t be trusted to behave sensibly or have respect for each other without recourse to the rule book. They clearly differentiate Council properties as second class, characterise residents as a nuisance and mask poor or certainly unimaginative housing management.

What I love about Crossfields are the other signs – what I call the signs of life: the mosaics, paintings and art that makes our homes so special. I’d be happy to have more of these and equally happy to have fewer commands from our landlords. If Lewisham Homes encouraged this it could be something that would involve and engage residents and perhaps change behaviour rather than lecture and patronise us. It might even impress the Audit Commission and be an antidote to the joyless authoritarianism that characterises so much social housing.

Can I ask for an urgent review of your signage policy and a halt on any more, before we are all swamped?

Yours faithfully


Greenwich and Docklands Festival.

I'm a wee bit late announcing that the Greenwich and Docklands Festival kicked off today.  In fact, they kicked off in Greenwich Park with a performance of 3rd Ring Out at 1pm today.  The festival runs till Sunday 4 July.

There are a number of things going on at various venues and differing performance times so it's too complicated to list them here.  However, if you go to the calendar page, I've listed the principal events - in fact, there are so many happenings it's hard to see what's going on at a glance but with a little judicious clicking, you should be able to bring up the details.  There's also an overview from Greenwich Council's website here

Strychnine Come Dancing

Now there's a programme I'd watch.  According to Wikipedia: ''Strychnine causes muscular convulsions and eventually death through asphyxia or sheer exhaustion.''

But seriously, now that you're reading, the Laban is getting ready for a  Big Dance event in Lewisham this Saturday, 26 June, 11:30am to 3pm.  The idea is to learn a fun dance routine and then to perform it at  Lewisham Peoples' Day on 10 July in Mountsfield Park.  In their words:

Join in the Big Dance for Lewisham by learning a routine specially choreographed to get the whole borough dancing, at home, at work and at school.

Laban’s Big Dance team will be in Lewisham Town Centre to teach the routine between 11.30am and 3pm on Saturday 26 June.  They’ll be joined by Bass Station and DJs from the British DJ and MC Academy. For those people who can’t make that date, there’s a chance to learn the routine from a video on Laban’s website at

Over the next few weeks the Big Dance Team from Laban dance centre will also be out and about in the borough helping people learn the fun and simple dance routine. The dance can be learnt by people of all ages and abilities, from toddlers to older people. 

The final Big Dance performance will take place at Lewisham People’s Day on Saturday 10 July in Mountsfield Park (  For those who haven’t yet had a chance to learn the routine or for those who want to perfect their dance moves, workshops will run during the day from noon.  At 4pm, everyone will be invited to the Main Stage to perform the dance to a live performance of the 1980s hit Walking on Sunshine by Katrina, formerly of Katrina and the Waves.

Laban is offering free Big Dance workshops to workplaces around the borough. If you would like Laban to visit your workplace, please contact Louise Jardine at or 020 8691 8600.

The project is part of T-Mobile Big Dance 2010, the London-wide celebration of dance taking place from 3-11 July. The bi-annual event is the world’s biggest and most influential dance initiative, showcasing the diversity of dance styles and cultural attractions in the capital. Across nine days, dance will be staged in unusual places throughout the city - shops, parks, galleries and museums. Led by the Mayor of London in partnership with Arts Council England, Big Dance is also being funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games.

T-Mobile Big Dance in the South East is being coordinated by Greenwich Dance, one of the city’s five Big Dance Hubs. Laban’s Big Dance for Lewisham has been commissioned by Greenwich Dance and is supported by Lewisham Council.

Project Manager Louise Jardine says: “More and more people are getting enthusiastic about dance, thanks in part to the number of TV programmes that have brought it to new audiences. That’s why Big Dance for Lewisham is so exciting – it really is for everyone and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never danced before. We’ve already started getting out and about teaching the routine to people and we’re excited to see how many people will turn up for the final performance. Watch this space!”

For more information, see and

Deptford's poor keeping filmmakers in work...

I've just been passed a letter addressed to ''Dear Residents'' from Lewisham Homes Community Involvement Team.  Odd that I didn't get one - I only get invited to Senior Moments events.  Anyhow, bearing in mind that Lewisham has a higher than average number of people working in the public sector, so will be hit harder when the cuts arrive, there may be interest in people's tales of life on benefits...

Here's the letter in a letter with a contact number at the the bottom for anyone wishing to contribute.  Don't expect to get paid for it, mind...

Dear Residents,
Lewisham Homes has been approached to ask residents to come forward if they would like to participate in this televised interview about life on benefits, if you are interested please contact the person below.
Kind Regards,
Community involvement team
Century films are currently looking for people to interview as part of a programme idea that we are working on for the BBC.

The programme will explore the current benefits system and also look ahead to the imminent large scale reform that it is likely to undergo under the new government. We want to hear what life is like on benefits and how best they might be reformed, from the people who actually use them and will be affected by any changes.

We are looking, at this stage, to interview families or individuals who are currently on benefits about their personal experiences. We are hoping to interview people later this week and Louisa mentioned that I may be able to directly contact somebody from individual residents associations to speak about this in a bit more detail. If this is not possible could you kindly forward my email to them which has my contact number in the footer below so that they can contact me.

At this stage we are just filming a 5 minute taster tape for the BBC which will not be broadcast and anyone who takes part is not obligated to be involved again should the programme go ahead.

We really hope that a programme of this kind will give a voice to the people directly affected by an issue which is in such wide debate amongst politicians and society at large.

Century films is a multi-award winning production company which specialises in hard hitting documentaries please do have a look at our website for more information:

Many thanks in advance for your help,
Jess Franses

Development Researcher
Century Films
020 7378 6106

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crossfields TRA Meeting: Thursday 24 June 7.30pm

On the agenda this Thursday at the Tenants and Residents Association meeting:

Lewisham Cycle Path and our allotments
Growing things, loss of an allotment and using Creekside Centre (see blog post here)

Deptford D Decker
The man behind the proposal to turn an old bus into a pizza restaurant next to the Bird's Nest will be coming to present his idea after 8pm...(see blog post here)

Deptford X Crossfields Residency
Suggestions and ideas needed for how an artist might engage with residents (both children and adults) on the estate during the summer to produce a 'work of art' (be it film, sculpture, soundscape, painting etc) for Deptford X 2010 (24 September–3 October...(more info here)

Crossfields Festival 2010
Suggestions and ideas and commitments to help for our annual er..'community day' on Sunday 5th September.

Audit Commission
Any comments, criticism or praise you'd like to pass on to the Audit Commission about Lewisham Homes? (see here)

Tenant Transfers
We'll be asking the attending Lewisham Homes officer: How the hell do you get out of here?

Meetings usually close at 9pm and baby-sitting costs are available.
The Pink Palace, 50 Frankham House.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ThamesWorld - Liquid history - revisiting Deptford's riverfront

A few snapshots from the performance on 20 June 2010...before my batteries retired for the day...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Deptford Jobcentre news

I did a quick post on this back in March but  missed the Deptford Dame's post on Thursday, 17 June, but it appears that after having been assured of Deptford Jobcentre's survival by a Labour minister this has been overturned by the new government.

Joan Ruddock has raised this volte-farce a couple of times.  On 10 July:

Joan Ruddock MP today expressed her anger at the planned closure of JobCentre Plus on Deptford High Street and accused the Coalition Government of hypocrisy.

She said ‘The government says it wants to get people off benefits but it is taking away the best opportunity people have of getting back into work. The Labour minister had assured us Deptford would retain its Jobcentre.’

‘I am meeting urgently with management and unions to see what can be done.’

‘There is no doubt the negotiations between the department’s property agents and the developer took far too long but a workable solution had been reached. Cutting services to the most needy is exactly what I expected from a Tory led government.’ 

And again on Monday 14 June:
At DWP questions on Monday the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions agreed to meet Joan Ruddock about Deptford Jobcentre Plus.

The exchange from Hansard is below:

Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford) (Lab): Last week, the new Government announced that the jobcentre in Deptford, serving 2,500 of my constituents, is to be closed. Will the right hon. Gentleman meet me urgently to discuss how he plans to help the unemployed in my area, or is this to be the first example of how the coalition seeks to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from its savage cuts?

Mr Duncan Smith: I am very happy to meet the right hon. Lady at a moment of her convenience. I understand that the centre had reached the end of its lease, and we are trying to find a way of ensuring that there is support in the area. I am happy to meet her and deal with those specifics.

It's hard to get nostalgic about anything to do with the DWP, but at least it was convenient for Deptford locals.   I wouldn't hold my breath on a positive outcome from Joan Ruddock's meeting with Duncan Smith. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lewisham Homes and the Audit Commission

On page 7 of the latest Homes magazine, tenants and leaseholders are invited to give the Audit Commission our views on the services provided by Lewisham Homes, via three focus groups to take place over the next two weeks. Please ring Adele Stevens on 020 8613 7651 if you want to take part.

I did. Apparently there are only two focus groups, one for tenants and one for leaseholders, and the leaseholder one is at the Town Hall on 28th June...the tenant's one is probably next week – not much notice, eh?

Number Crunching

Meanwhile I was interested to read on page 9 the results of a National Housing Federation survey of residents, carried out on Lewisham Homes' behalf. "The results show that we are seeing results..."

At the end of this article it says "See more performance information online, or register to take part in surveys and have your say!" But if you go to the Lewisham Homes website, you will be hard put to find where on the site you can do this.

Meanwhile, the Council's Housing Select Committee found a less rosy picture in an independent survey on the service provided to leaseholders:

71% were dissatisfied with the standard of major works carried out
74% were dissatisfied with the standard of repairs
67% felt charges for repairs and maintenance were unfair
82% felt charges for major works were unfair
70% were dissatisfied with the billing process
64% felt their housing manager did not keep them informed about repairs and maintenance

Perhaps leaseholders are a more whingeing bunch!

(The Committee's report can be downloaded here)

Lewisham Homes online service

12 noon, 18 June

A new expensive-looking version of the Home arrived in my letterbox today.  It says there's a new way of checking your rent (and service charge balances) online.

Sounds good. So, following the instructions, I visited and looked for the 'Account login' quick link on the blue navigation menu.  Only there is no blue navigation menu.  So I went to ''register'' on the purple menu instead and filled in the form and hit enter...

Thank you for taking the time to complete the registration process.
Your request for an account has been passed to Lewisham Homes and is awaiting approval. Once approved you will be sent a Password and a unique PIN number which will then enable you to access your account within the Online Portal.
If you have any queries or questions please goto the Contact Page for information on how to get in touch.

No email with password and PIN yet...the online part of it must be on its lunch break.  I'll update this post when or if anything happens.

17:30, 19 June, still nothing....

01:08, 20 June

Saturday night so I wasn't expecting much.  But I had some money in the bank, I think I have just gone into arrears and I wanted to get the money in before I spent it - so much for striking while the online's hot.  I've still not had the confirmation email and then if I get that, I'll still have to wait for the password sent by post.  I'm beginning to wonder whether I made an error with my email address....

08:50, 23 June

So, France have been eliminated ignominiously from the World Cup finals, Wimbledon has begun, an Irishman with a Welsh surname, Morgan, has just scored a century for England, thereby beating Australia in the one day internationals, and still nowt, nowt at all.  Unless the recorded delivery the postie tried to deliver at ''07h2'' was a letter from Lewisham Homes, but I can't find out until said postie returns my letter to the sorting office. 

12:15, 23 June

Aha, progress!  They've managed to do part one of the registration process.  I got an ''automated'' email thanking me for applying to register for the online service.  I'm not sure what kind of automated service takes 5 days to get an email back.  But this is not online as we have come to know it, no this is Lewisham Homes online...   Anyhow, I now have a password but I can't access all the services until I get the PIN which is apparently being delivered by post.

Oh, I almost forgot.  England beat Slovenia and it's sunny.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thames World - Liquid History 19-22 June

A live promenade performance along the banks of the Thames, following the Thames Path in Greenwich from the Ahoy Sailing Centre, Deptford, celebrating an epic history of the Thames that runs and runs...

Says the publicity referring to the river, but you'll have to be quick to catch this before it runs out...incidentally Tuesday's 22nd June performance commemorates the Empire Windrush's docking at Tilbury – ain't that neat when you're looking at the stories of immigrants interwoven with working class dockers? Sounds like a cue for a song: Waterloo Sunset, some Irish jigs, some calypso and ska...

Saturday June 19: 2.30pm
Sunday June 20: 3pm
Tuesday June 22: 6pm prompt 
Tickets £5, numbers limited, 10 years +
Reserve tickets:  or

Meeting point for the Promenade: The Hoy, 193 Creek Road, London, SE8 3BU.
Wear flat shoes! (says the publicity, but really you need old trainers, those pebbles are hard, plus a hoodie or an umbrella, it is Wimbledon, innit)

More editor's notes: this will be a great way to experience Deptford/Greenwich beach, though you could do this any time if you knew the tides, without a load of theatrical types shoving history down yer throat whilst singing. No, honestly, this will be fun and a unique experience! 
(It is also worth noting that it is brought to you by the original team who founded and built The Albany)

Local Art Openings & Open Studios this weekend (FREE)

ARCH GALLERY presents Dale Wilson
The weekend kicks off tonight with an evening reception/private viewing of new paintings, 6-9pm. Runs 18th June - 17th July. Open: Tues - Sat, 10-5pm
15 Resolution Way, Deptford, London SE8 4NT

COCKPIT ARTS – FREE ENTRY! 60 different designer-makers for you to meet at Deptford Open Studios including nine emerging talents in their Creative Careers project. There will be kids fun with Re-silicone, workshops with jeweller Teri Howes, a new pop-up cafĂ© by Kennards and more.
Open on Friday 18th June, 6-9pm and Saturday & Sunday 11am-6pm.

CREEKSIDE ARTISTS OPEN STUDIOS + 'A' Block, an inaugural show from Creekside's resident artists...
COR BLIMEY ARTS OPEN STUDIOS + JumbleJumble – an arts-focused boot fair – pick up art works and materials at a snip...+ CORE GALLERY
Friday 18th June, 6-9pm for drinks & sounds at Creekside Artists (Building A, Faircharm) & Cor Blimey Arts/Core Gallery (Unit  C101, Faircharm)
Saturday 19th June, 11am-6pm, Sunday 20th June, 11am-6pm

GOLDSMITHS B.A. FINE ART DEGREE SHOW also opens tonight 6-9pm and runs over the weekend 

Image from the Goldsmith's website, artist uncredited.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New film about The Tunnel Club

Some of Crossfields' elders will remember the legendary Tunnel Palladium, a comedy club run by the late comic, compere and prankster Malcolm Hardee in the Mitre pub, situated in the middle of nowhere out in East Greenwich on the Blackwall Tunnel approach.

Sunday nights at The Tunnel are memorable for being where many of today's established comedians experienced their first baptism by fire in front of the hardest hecklers in town – locals from Greenwich and Deptford. Hardee also compered The Fez Club during the golden years of GLC funding at The Albany Empire around the same time, and later opened Up The Creek in Creek Road, before buying The Wibbley Wobbley floating pub at Greenland Dock in Rotherhithe.

Ex-Crossfielders (and a couple still here) have contributed to a new film by Jody VandenBurg. The Tunnel is a pilot for a new feature film to be made about Hardee, and the 30 minute short has been nominated in Film London's 'Best of Borough' Awards, which Jody hopes will win the public's vote. It is now online to watch and vote for on the Film London website:

A must for students of comedy and local historians!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deptford X Artist in Residence

Local and beyond artists are currently making applications for Deptford X (happening in September). One of the opportunities they may apply for is the Artist in Residence programme, which is open to any artist living or working in Greater London. The Deptford X panel will select four applicants who will receive £2,500 to complete their project, two of which should be living or working in Deptford. One of the groups/ organisations applicants are required to work with is Crossfields/Crossfields TRA.

Deadline for applications is 28th June, and the selected artist would begin working with Crossfields residents on 13 July, and run workshops between 20 July and 10 September to produce a work of art (or installation/film/video/performance etc) to be displayed somewhere on or about the estate...

If I could give you more information regarding the Crossfields residency I would... perhaps the TRA Chair will be able to provide more details at the next TRA meeting, but we will obviously have more info when an artist has been chosen and we hear what they would like to do with us flat dwellers.

Meanwhile, artists who haven't already checked this out should go to:

The other groups/locations where residencies will happen are Deptford Market (working with the street traders) and The Albany...

Anti-Vuvuzela Filter!

I don't know about you, but I don't like the B flat drone of the Vuvuzela. Some people have come to love it. However there is apparently now an antidote.

The Telegraph reports:
"For just £2.45, armchair fans can download a 45-minute audio clip which purports to cancel out the ear-splitting din of the traditional South African stadium horns during televised matches...The anti-vuvuzela filter is the brainchild of Clemence Schlieweis, 29, a recording and mixing engineer from Munich in Germany. He sampled vuvuzelas from an early World Cup match and created an "inverse" sound wave with the same amplitude as the original, but with the peaks and troughs of the wave reversed. If the MP3 music file is played on a computer placed near television speakers during a game, Mr Schlieweis claims that the two sounds will effectively cancel each other out."

There is further advice for technically minded folk here to fiddle with settings on your telly:
They warn that they haven't tried the aforementioned anti-vuvuzela filter...

Meanwhile, the BBC are considering the move to cut out the sound using their red button service, but are worried that this will also tune out the commentators' voices – apparently you won't be able to hear the vowel sound "e"!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Senior Moments....

I'm not sure how to take this.  I just got a letter from Lewisham Homes,

 Dear Marmoset....

Senior Moments?????

How the hell did they decide on my age?  I mean it's not as if they're going to send me a free bus pass. Oh no, for that you have to jump through hoops, filling in forms and keeping other people waiting in Post Office queues.   Yet they're perfectly happy to fit me into the ''senior moments'' category.

Or have they sent it out to everyone?

I don't think I like being put in the senior moments box by people I don't know and who don't know me.  No, I'm certain I don't like it.

Now where did I put my keys.....?

New path update – your input required

On Friday evening, me and Marmoset met with WWM Architects, represented by Arthur, Steve and Jonathan, at Creekside Centre. They had just had a meeting with Jill Goddard, founder of the centre. Jill is now Executive Director of Thames Estuary Partnership, a dynamic woman with a full time job, who has stepped back to Creekside to salvage the Centre from extinction....

Having guessed what the meeting might be about and why it should involve representatives from Crossfields, we were a little weirded out by the first half hour of our meeting. Steve described their role as 'spacial negotiators', having to work in partnership with local authorities, communities and developers with a brief originating from Design For London. At some point soon they would like to present some workable ideas to Lewisham Council...

The focus was on how Crossfields as a community might use the Creekside Centre, and how we might like to expand our use of our green areas. They would like to introduce us to Claire Pritchard, who runs Greenwich Community Development Association (, a long running project that had just moved close by into Norman Road. Claire could come and tell us how to develop our green areas. All very interesting, but when were we going to get to 'the path'?

Getting to the point

Although there were plans in front of us on the table showing the route of the path, this was last thing being talked about. I suggested that these ideas about green areas we had just discussed were sweetners, since extending the path meant one of our gardening enthusiasts would lose their garden. They confirmed this. However, they believe the land belongs to Network Rail with whom negotiations were at an early stage. Later it was clarified that they did not envisage that the new extension to the railway path would be fenced off, so north and south parts of the estate would not be cut off from each other. But the garden would go.

They stressed that their focus was on improvements to our area that happened to include the proposal for the extension of the path and what happens to it at either end. Marmoset and I were entrapped in a bit of 'blue sky thinking' – or pie in the sky, as I like to think of it, such as we have come to expect from architects employed in the public sector given free reign to imagine our futures, unlike those engaged by developers who might at some stage be asked to draw up something to assauge a Section 106 community use....

They were expanding on ideas that had arisen in the Creekside Charette that had obstensibly had the aim of protecting us from the most dismissive aspects of new developments, unable to stop them, but suggesting ways to soften their harsher aspects...

It immediately appeared to me that there were snags and problems with almost all of the ideas on the table. No wonder these guys called themselves spacial negotiators, they were more like date finders for all the disparate interests, hoping to get a marriage from the most unlikely partners. I was reminded of local heroes long gone who made careers out of this sort of thing, for instance Jess Steele and Richard Walker, who, among others (eg Creekside Forum as was), fought for us to get the Ha'Penny Hatch. Marmoset and I were out of our depth.

How does your garden grow?

For starters, they had been looking at our little patch as a delightful collection of 'green areas', and wanted to improve our 'garden' spaces. The vision was of one long gone, the orchards that were here when we were Kent, let's not mention that's before it became home to the most toxic and smelly industries outside the city (tanning, potteries, slaughter, etc) that were housed around the Creek. These new boys must know that now the Thames is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe, but that doesn't necessarily include the land alongside.

Perhaps the GCDA might be able to help us, for instance, to increase the potential of our green areas by establishing more growing areas (allotments to you and me)...but I wondered after the meeting if the GreenwichCDA would be able to offer funding for what is essentially Lewisham Council land. Is the land even fit to grow on, for instance? Wasn't the nature park so contaminated they decided not to build on it? And, who on earth would manage our little green spaces? And there might be lots of us balcony dwellers who dream of growing stuff and then lose interest when most of our plants die after a hot summer or a cold winter...(a bit like Glendales, really, leaving a lot of bare patches)...

It became clear that 'looking for other parts of the estate to cultivate' was compensatory to the loss of the garden that the new path would cut through...That the path would be extended alongside the railway up to Deptford Church Street didn't appear up for debate. Another piece of land would be found for this gardener, we were told, with no one accusing anyone of 'squatting' on owned but unclaimed land.

I told them we had an Allotments Rep who we could take this to. I failed to say that Crossfields allotments were a rather informal arrangement, and this could be complicated. It appeared that was already recognised, in that land ownership was rather hazy. Marmoset and I also failed on the spot to identify other 'growing areas' whilst the architect boys thought we might take down the big trees on the Farrer lawn, for instance, and replace them with less shady and, er..., more trendy, fruit trees...

Whilst we liked the idea of returning to the Kent garden that this area once was, we already foresaw differences of opinion among the community on the whole tree thing. I say 'trendy' because the trend was definitely 'grow your own', regardless of the quality of the soil around here, which I was reminded earlier by one of our gardeners, is possibly still contaminated. It became apparent, whilst we were blue-skying with the architects, that they hadn't even walked round the estate yet and identified the green areas they had most likely mapped out from a Google satellite view. (BTW, it was a bit creepy that Frankham House, Congers, Finch and Cremer weren't included on it, but let's not get paranoid, and put it down to their concerns with what was closest to their main objective, 'the path')...

Surely they weren't working from Estate Plans which we still haven't been supplied with. We pointed out there was a patch of land near the Wilshaw allotments that was so overgrown that a dead body was found there recently only when some estate lads had been working to clear a bit of the land to make a BMX track. The TRA had been asking whether this land was part of the estate for a long time and had never got an answer. It was certainly never included in any maintenance. Could our architect friends perhaps finally find out once and for all who owned it?

Creekside Centre

As previously stated, they were also interested in expanding the use of Creekside Centre. Would residents like the use of it as a clubhouse? We talked about using the classroom area for table tennis or dance classes, but all this is dependent on plans for how the building is managed in the near future. The Centre needs to expand its revenue sources, but realistically, any alternative community uses should not interfere too much with the intrinsic purpose of the centre – environmental education and nature conservation. There is much public confusion around just what that is, and meanwhile, the Centre itself has still to find the funds to finance a manager that could keep the building open and be able to co-ordinate alternative uses.

Nevertheless there are possiblities there that it is hoped Crossfields folk may work with – summer events, playschemes perhaps...all ideas welcome. But probably nothing that involves the TRA directly, who in their present incarnation don't really have the wo/man power to run more than the Crossfields festival once a year by the skin of their teeth. All hands to the deck. (By the way, more news on Crossfields Festival soon)...

The West End...

As for the path through the estate, it is indeed a proposal to favour cyclists. Despite denials, the plan to extend the present path through to Church Street on the south side of the railway was obviously the reason for all this cuddly talk of green areas, but it was also unclear. Perhaps the pavement area by the bus stop would be divided into pedestrian and cycle path, encouraging cyclists to use the new entrance.

Perhaps another crossing of Church St would be made that led to Resolution Way. That was certainly how the path had been drawn on the map presented to us. It was suggested that when the Tidemill development was complete, the old Mechanic's Path would be opened up (and not closed at night), offering another safe route for pedestrians and cyclists, ie from Deptford Station direct to Ha'Penny Hatch.

Arthur had been involved in drawing up plans last year to redesign Church Street which involved getting rid of the bus lanes and reducing the dual carriageway to single lanes with a large central area studded with trees. This proposal would mean the road was much easier to cross and three informal crossing points were indicated on his plans. But they weren't hopeful of this going ahead any time soon, since it would be such a large and expensive project.

The architects seem to think this is the salve that would solve what they see is a great divide between us and the high street – even bigger than the Creek in the West-East division, Steve said. I pointed out the road was extremely busy and couldn't accommodate the loss of the bus lanes. They said they thought it was a quiet road on the whole. I said you haven't been here on Saturday when it could take half an hour to get out of Creekside by car, or when either of the tunnels are closed or there's an accident on the A2 or A200 and Creekside becomes a rat run...

The East End...

I was later reminded that the Blackwall Tunnel is now closed until further notice every weekend, so it is no wonder their scheme for a single lane Church Street is not being taken on seriously at this stage. Talking of the Greenwich end of things, it was very unclear what would happen to 'the path' when it meets Norman Road. Their plan showed it proceeding along the north of the railway after Norman Road, meeting with Straightsmouth to end up in Greenwich.

Unfortunately, as Marmoset pointed out,  this 'continual path' idea is scuppered by Greenwich's plans for a two-lane one way system planned to be put in place in time for 2012. Crossing such a bypass presented a problem that these boys still had to work out, and it appeared their 'spacial negotiation' abilities might be stretched to the full on that. One can only speculate what plans there may be for Deptford roads to be unveiled in the future to accommodate the wonders of Greenwich in 2012.

Another area the architects would like to develop for community use is the patch of land at the Greenwich end of the Ha'Penny Hatch which is owned by Thames Water, and they would welcome suggestions from locals for this too, 'spacial negotiations' with Thames Water were ongoing...

I mentioned to Steve, Arthur and John that there were ideas for this space emanating from some Creek boat people that sounded rather feasible in the spirit of a Berliner canal sort of happening. I was told the ideas couldn't include licensed premises...Doh!...surely this is a great spot for such a project before the hotel gets built on the disused industrial estate...tea by day, beer by night? No one around to hear it? Across the Creek, nestled in nowhere...Perhaps Pizza John and his Deptford Dekker might like to relocate?....I urge all local impresarios willing to pay ground rent to get in there now....

Over to you, folks...

In the meantime the WWM boys were tweaking with what they could. We agreed to meet again in a couple of weeks with a walkabout to identify potential in the green areas on the estate that we might 'develop' (anyone up for mocking up a fake dead body for them to come across? sorry, bad taste).

I hope this next meeting will include some Crossfields gardeners who know rather more than Marmoset or I about growing things in our green areas, or anyone who has something to say about the path extension, and others who may be interested in what we want and need in the area that might utilise Creekside Centre.

We'll let you know the date of this meeting as soon as we know (perhaps the 24th June before the TRA meeting?), but in the meantime if you've got any ideas let us know, contact crosswhatfields, the TRA, talk among yourselves, or leave your comments below.

Background information:

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I thought I saw a pussy kite.... the Kite and Bike festival today.  It you missed it today, they'll be there again tomorrow (see post), Sunday, 13 June.

Also spotted: the three sharks of England in rather unusual formation preparing for their match tonight.

...and an air guitar...

And if you would like to get your bike security marked by the police, they'll be up there again tomorrow doing it for free.

(And you thought Health and Safety gone mad was new....)

Stalking the swallows

I think they know they're being watched...all seven of them...

In the 3rd photo, there are only 4 chicks and an adult.  All bar one had previously left the nest but 3 of them returned, evidently preferring to have their meals delivered.
And then there were none...

Friday, June 11, 2010

A new entrance to our estate?

Post edited due to new information

Crosswhatfields had an email from Arthur of Witherford Watson Mann Architects (WWM) as follows:
We are the architects working on part of the Route 1 Lewisham Links Creekside Tie-In, commissioned by Design for London on behalf of London Borough of Lewisham. This work is looking largely at the connections running east west between Deptford High Street and Greenwich. We would be grateful if we could arrange a meeting with the Crossfields Estate residents committee, or a representative to introduce ourselves and discuss the project.

We arranged to meet Arthur today at 5.30pm but have only just had confirmation of the meeting place, which is Creekside Centre, so apologies for the short notice.

This is what I think it may be about:

Running a NEW path through the estate...

Deptford D Decker

You may have noticed there is an old double decker bus parked next to the Bird's Nest. This bus already has a Facebook identity – Deptford D Decker  – and, as is the fashion with Facebook, lots of locals on Facebook have made 'friends' with it/him/her/the project...316 to date.

Deptford D Decker's profile reads: "A double decker bus is currently undergoing a rapid transformation in Deptford from retired Yorkshire workhorse to a lovingly revitalised, revamped pizza restaurant come takeaway, it's set to all be very exciting stuff indeed!"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recycle with Free Give Group

Emma has written to tell us about an alternative to Freecycle (see Local Links in the lefthand column on this blog). Called FREE GIVE, it appears to operate the same way...

Emma says:
If you haven't heard yet, there is wonderful organization called Free Give Group ( ). Free Give Group connects people who are giving and getting unwanted items for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills and, at the same time, helping someone in your community by gifting them the item you no longer need. Another benefit of using Freegive is that it encourages people to get rid of junk that we no longer need and promote community involvement in the process. By using Freegive, not only are you able to get rid of your item with the minimum of fuss; you will also be doing your part in stopping another reusable item ending up in a landfill. It's completely free to join and everything posted must be free.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Nothing to do with Crossfields but it's still strangely compelling viewing... The BBC's Springwatch programme has several webcams watching a selection of chicks being fed here. These swallow chicks are not far off fledging. Of course, I've no idea when they'll leave the nest, but I'm guessing that they're more likely to first fly in the morning. So if you're one of those people who fire up the computer before you've had your morning coffee, you might get lucky...

EDIT: Lunchtime, 10 June.  No, they're still in the nest.  Maybe they're going to wait for a fine sunny morning....

St Nick's community festival this weekend

I got this flyer in my letter box yesterday. I confess I've never heard of the Sir John Evelyn Charity before. But it looks as though it's got something for all, from ''Pimms o'clock'' to bouncy castles. Though perhaps it's better to do the bouncy bit before the Pimms....

12 to 5pm this Saturday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Watch the England games on the big screen at The Albany FREE!

If you're looking for a venue to watch England's first game in the company of fellow supporters, get down to The Albany on Saturday 12th June. This game will be shown in the theatre, I'm told, and there will be beer and pies available throughout. Performance poets Charlie Dark, Scroobius Pip, Kat Francois and Polar Bear will be cheer leading in the pre-match warm-up and at half time.

More info on this and the other two England games on the Albany website here. Since kick off is at 7.30pm you're advised to get there early to grab a seat (the Box Office confirms doors will open 6.30pm, contrary to the info listed on the website at the time of this post). Keep checking there for news of other game screenings.

It's not clear whether future games will be in the theatre or cafe, but both venues will be great places to watch with friends (as long as the beer doesn't run out).

You can also watch the footie on a big screen at:

THE BIRD'S NEST (+ sweep stake)
THE WICKHAM ARMS (+ barbeque on Saturday)

...any others you know about? 
Or perhaps you'd like to tell us about FOOTBALL-FREE ZONES!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Estate Inspection – Frankham House

New Quality Inspector Ruth will be doing the rounds at Frankham House on Wednesday 9 June, starting at 10am.

She inspected Congers, Farrer and Finch on 2nd June, but unfortunately at too late notice for any of the TRA to attend. Hopefully these blocks had posters informing them of the walkabout.

Glendales cut the grass last week (Thursday? ). There is no schedule for when they might do this – the frequency is dependent on requirements, ie how high the grass has grown. Therefore we have no idea whether they did this because Raphael pointed out the height of the grass on the last inspection of the south side of the estate on 27th May, or if they came on their own volition...

Postscript 9/6/10: they still have not cut the grass in front of Holden/Browne.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fireworks on the Thames

I got to the riverside on Millennium Quay with plenty of time but noticed that the barge that the fireworks were going to be launched from was downstream by Wood Wharf.  No problem, I thought, and cycled into Greenwich.

The barge is in front of the Seabourn Sojourn.  (Shouldn't that be Seaborne Sojourn?).  Then, of course, they towed the barge up the river back near Millennium Quay.  So I followed it back to where I'd been at the start.  It ended up on the north side of the river moving up and then downstream as the firework display happened.


These are definitely cuter though. If you can ignore the muck in the Creek.   I make it 7 cygnets...

Creek Clean up reminder

The fecund Creek is in full breeding mode, and is now home to a family of swans with eight cygnets, and a couple of families of geese with goslings...

Perhaps you can spot them tomorrow if you go down to help with the Creek Clean Up (10.30am–1.30pm - meet at Creekside Centre). This is part of a focused volunteer effort to clean up and remove Himalayan Balsam and litter from the Ravensbourne River system. More info on 'The 3 Rivers Clean-up' here.