Posts Tagged ‘thamesmead’
“Thamesmead – with its own identity!
“But still a lively part of London, growing from the river, the changing Thames.”
Courtesy of the London Metropolitan Archive, here’s a corking film from 1970 about the development of Thamesmead, including footage of the old Plumstead Marshes as well as the Royal Arsenal lands now buried under west Thamesmead, as well as a fruity soundtrack and a super-posh pronunciation of “Erith”.
Utterly fascinating, not least for how much the new town was built to depend on cars, and also how the waterways were incorporated into the development. (“That water adds to the visual interest of a place has been evident for years in many parts of London” – so much for the old Surrey Canal.) Shame the international yacht terminal never happened, mind.
This Greater London Council film was shown at local schools in the early 1970s, and a second film, Living At Thamesmead, is also online. I’m told (by Charlton Athletic matchday announcer Dave Lockwood, no less) that another one exists about the building of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach. Time to petition the archive to get that on YouTube too…
Thamesmead fans might also enjoy episode 45 of the fine South London Hardcore podcast, which deals with SE28’s appearances on film and TV.
If you get the chance, take a look at the best thing written about the cable car yet, by Owen Hatherley for the Guardian website. In it, he says Boris Johnson has run London like a “twee nostalgia theme park” – a description that could arguably apply to the “royal” borough of Greenwich, in all its forelock-tugging glory.
The Council is requested to -
Appoint His Honour Judge Hilliard QC as the Honorary Recorder for the Royal Borough of Greenwich for the duration of tenure as the Resident Judge at Woolwich Crown Court pursuant to Section 54 of the Courts Act, 1971.
A borough or city has the power to appoint the senior judge at the court which serves it to the position of “honorary recorder”, with the aim of preserving ancient links between cities and the judiciary which existed before the old assizes system was abolished in 1972.
They’re rare in London, where the boroughs don’t have much heritage as institutions – the City has one, who still has a formal role within the square mile’s governance, who sits at the Old Bailey. The others are in Croydon, Kensington & Chelsea, Redbridge, Southwark and Westminster.
The appointment means Judge Nicholas Hillard QC can wear red robes in court and be addressed as “my lord”, rather than “your honour”. But what’s in it for us? According to the council…
The Honorary Recorder is an honorific position and provides a bridge between the judiciary and local government and thus the wider community. One of the roles of the Honorary Recorder would be to attend the inauguration of the Mayor and to be invited to other meetings and civic functions as appropriate, this could include civic receptions, freedom of the borough ceremonies and civic week.
As we all know, it’s local government and the “wider community” which really needs linking up – after all, we don’t get invited to any civic receptions. This has the potential to be a massive waste of time, doesn’t it?
Well, yes, it does. But hopefully Judge Hillard can prove this sceptical post wrong. His colleague, Judge Roger Chapple, has been striking out to do good things in Southwark, where’s he’s borough recorder.
According to the excellent London SE1 site, the Inner London Crown Court judge has been speaking of the need to reconnect the courts with the community.
“Daily I and my fellow judges see the ghastly, corrosive effect of local crime – much of it knife crime, much of it gang related.
“I can’t help thinking that my court could do something more to help in the fight against crime.
“Soon after arriving at Inner London Crown Court, I tried to start an initiative by writing to the local schools and inviting them to send groups for visits: to watch a case in action, meet a judge, to sit in the dock.
“Very, very few replies were received – sadly none of them positive.”
“I’m going to try again; with the additional clout that you have given me as the honorary recorder of Southwark I might achieve more than I did last time around.”
With Woolwich Crown Court these days located in the Belmarsh Prison complex in west Thamesmead, and better known for staging high-profile terrorism cases, the court has the additional disadvantage of being physically isolated from its community.
So hopefully Judge Hillard will use his position to break down a few walls between us and them. Otherwise, he’ll just be another trinket to be wheeled out whenever the council wants to wine and dine a selected few. With council budgets still being cut, spending time and money on another heritage adventure risks leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
If you’re quick, you can put a public question into next Wednesday’s council meeting (which will approve the appointment) to be answered by cabinet members or the leader. (Here’s what happened last time.) Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon today.
It hasn’t been the best of weekends to enjoy it, but the Thames Path is one of the best things about this part of London. If you take the borough as a whole, Greenwich borough has the longest riverfront in London, and as well as a walking route, it’s a designated cycle route too.
A scrutiny panel of councillors has been looking into ways of improving it as a cycle route, and officers have come up with a report – you can read it here (4MB PDF). It features some good ideas, such as sorting out the irritating cobbles at Greenwich Millennium Village, changing signs so they read “North Greenwich” rather than “Blackwall Point”, and (yes!) installing cycle stands outside the Pelton Arms pub.
Councillors are meeting on Tuesday night to discuss it – and the public’s welcome to come along and ask questions if they want. A lot of attention will be on plugging the gap between the Thames Barrier in Charlton and King Henry’s Wharf in Woolwich, something which would dramatically change the way the path is seen – as well as helping people access the fantastic Second Floor Arts facility at Warspite Road.
That said, hopefully there’ll be room for my own gripe to be addressed – sticking some signs up to get pedestrians out of the cycle path by the cable car (and cyclists out of the pedestrian bits), where markings were worn away by the cable car contractors and not reinstated, while the pedestrian bit was never marked.
I’ve seen some sights commuting along the path over recent months, and sooner or later someone is going to come a cropper – or prompt someone else to come to grief – some day for paying more attention to their iPad than their surroundings.
My other gripe is that it doesn’t do much about improving access to the path – but this seems like an encouraging start.
Boris Johnson launched his transport manifesto on Monday, and there’s a line in it which went largely unnoticed which could have profound effects in Woolwich.
“I will launch a new car ferry service from Thamesmead to Gallions Reach, to replace the ageing Woolwich ferry.”
That’s the first confirmation that the mayor’s planned ferry – overshadowed by the Silvertown tunnel keffufle – would replace the Woolwich Ferry, whose three vessels were launched nearly 50 years ago. I’ve gone on about the joys of the ferry before, but it’s very hard to imagine Woolwich without a crossing which has existed in various forms for hundreds of years.
I’m also not sure how motorists – particularly the lorry drivers which mainly use the ferry – will take to seeing the link between the North Circular and South Circular broken.
The ferry will be at the site of the scrapped Thames Gateway Bridge, which begs the question – why not just build the bridge?
Boris’s manifesto shows where he’s angling for votes:
“I killed off my predecessor’s proposal for a Thames Gateway Bridge because of the damaging impact it would have had on Bexley, and I will not resuscitate it. Instead, I will continue to call on the Government for residents within Greater London who live close to the Dartford Crossing – notably those living in Bexley and Havering – to be given the same discount on the Dartford toll as residents of Dartford and Thurrock.”
The obvious bribe to zone 6 motorists aside, why would a ferry not have the damaging impact on Bexley borough that a bridge would?
As for the Silvertown crossing:
“I will also seek powers to construct a new Blackwall relief crossing, a road tunnel that will cross from Greenwich Peninsula to Silvertown, near the Royal Docks, and which will be completed within ten years. The government has committed to explore the case for using the Planning Act to streamline planning for proposed additional river crossings in East London.”
In other words, no more pesky inquiries like the one that killed off the Thames Gateway Bridge.
There’s more, including a very vague plan to extend the Docklands Light Railway to Bromley, in the full manifesto.
Speaking of mayoral matters, the Guardian’s Manifesto for a Model Mayor is well worth a read, and features a couple of contributions from me – see if you can spot them.
Catching up on local news, this caught my eye on the News Shopper website…
It’s a horrifying tale for sure, with a man being told he should “burn in hell” because “men should only lay with women”. Indeed, you wouldn’t find such views pushed through people’s letterboxes under the guise of a “local newspaper” which had rewarded their author with a free pen, would you?
Wonder what happened to that free pen? Wonder what it’s being used for now?
The Snooze Shopper hasn’t learned its lessons from that attempt to start a row, though – last week it launched a campaign against Staffordshire Bull Terriers, demanding its owners make the dogs wear a muzzle in public.
“Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you some harrowing stories involving victims as young as nine and as old as 90. We’ll also be calling on you to Shop a Dog.”
Tasteful. Just like the logo with the blood-splattered tag.
I won’t link to it, because the website hits are all they judge success by, and I’m sure the champagne corks are already popping in Petts Wood over a 205-comment thread of bile at the foot of the story. But I’ll happily link to Battersea Dogs’ Home’s response:
“By encouraging Staffordshire Bull Terriers to be seen as dangerous, your campaign is fuelling the abuse and abandonment of a much-maligned breed which does not deserve its negative reputation.”
Still, when there’s a vigilante attack on a Staffie owner next year, I’m sure the News Shopper will be first to bring us the news.