Posts Tagged ‘Lewisham’

Deptford to Rotherhithe October 1988

Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Deptford to Rotherhithe October 1988 – the continuation and end of my photographic walk in October 1988. The previous post on this was Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber.

Grinstead Rd, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-25-Edit_2400
Grinstead Rd, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-25

I turned around on Grinstead Road and made this picture as I returned to Evelyn Street. Directly ahead on the other side of Evelyn St was the car auction site shown in a previous post, and towering above that two of the towers on the Pepys Estate. On my right was the grim factory wall of the former galvanised iron and zinc Ida works, at the back of Neptune Wharf on the now filled-in Surrey Canal

Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-26-Edit_2400
Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988

Clare Villas at 114-116 Evelyn Street and the neighbouring semi-detached pair Oak Villas whose doorway is at the left of the picture show us that there were then some wealthy local residents. These houses back on to Deptford Park and probably date from when this land was market gardens around the time this was bought by the London County Council in 1884. I think one of the two pairs was a little earlier than this date; Pevsner mentions both Clare Villas and Oak Villas, dating the latter to 1881.

Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10i-22-Edit_2400
Clare Villas, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10i-22

Another picture of Clare Villas. I walked further along Evelyn Street stooping to take a couple of pictures of a large block on the corner with Bestwood Street, with six rounded columns going up between its four storeys of windows with a vaguely deco feel, I think where MacDonalds now is, which I seem to have forgotten to digitise, along with an interestingly angled four-storey building with balconies on the north side of the junction, also not digitised.

Bestwood St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-26-Edit_2400
Bestwood St, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-26

I often saw this block of two storey properties with their neatly trimmed hedges from the top floor of a bus, but this time I was on foot and stopped to make a couple of pictures, of whcih this, with its row of striped posts is more successful. Though I think it looked better from the higher viewpoint of the bus. This is a council development from the 1930s.

Lower Rd, Plough Way, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-14-Edit_2400
Lower Rd, Plough Way, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-14

Scorer’s Corner has conveniently placed road signs among its wealth of text to tell us that this is the corner of Plough Way and Lower Road. The buildings on Lower Road were demolished before 2008 and the site remained empty until replaced by a rather boring development in 2015-6. This includes the site of the Dreadnought pub at right, first recorded in 1849, although its mock Tudor frontage is rather later.

The buildings along Plough Way at left are still standing, though the Prince of Wales pub, there since at least 1861 closed and became a betting shop around 2012.

The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10i-15-Edit_2400
The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 198888-10i-15

The Crystal Ball frontage at 30 Rotherhithe New Road survived until around 2011 although I think the shop probably closed rather earlier. The building was then converted into residential use.

The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-16-Edit_2400
The Crystal Ball, Rotherhithe New Rd, Rotherhithe, Southwark, 1988 88-10i-16

It name ‘The Crystal Ball’ was inspired by the pub next door, the Crystal Tavern, first recorded here on the corner of Rotherhithe Old Road in 1852 but the current building, a fine example of a late Victorian pub, is dated 1895. Although it still has the pub sign (altered to read ‘Christ All Tavern’) and the Courage cockerel you can see in part at top left of this picture, it has since 1996 been home to the Christian Arise & Shine Evangelistic Association as their London Outreach Centre.

I think this walk ended here, at Surrey Quays Station, though it was then a rather longer an inconvenient journey for me by Underground back to Waterloo, requiring changes at Whitechapel from the East London Line to the District, then at Embankment onto the Northern Line one stop to Waterloo. The extension of the Jubilee Line to Stratford, opened at the start of 2000 made journeys to Rotherhithe considerably more convenient.

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Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber

Sunday, June 5th, 2022

Liquor, Motors, Furniture, Packing & Timber My previous post on this walk in in Deptford on October 1988, More From Deptford, ended at Tooheys Liquor Barn on Evelyn Road, where this section starts.

Liquor Barn, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-62
Liquor Barn, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-62

Toohey’s Brewery was founded by two brothers, John Thomas Toohey,born in COunty Tipperary whose family emigrated to Melbourne in 1841, and his younger Australian-born brother Matthew.
They ran pubs in Melbourne and then moved to Sydney where they set up their brewery in 1869, brewing Tooheys Black Old Ale. The company went public in 1902 and began brewing lager in 1930, though normally it comes in rather smaller bottles than this one. After various mergers and takeovers the company is now owned by Japanese brewer Kirin. Evelyn St. Wines of which this was a part was on this site until around 2015.

City Motor Auctions, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-64-Edit_2400
City Motor Auctions, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-64

City Motor Auctions Ltd was just to the east of the Liquor Barn on Evelyn St and car auctions, latterly under the name Docklands City Car Auctions continued here until around 2014. Like the Liquor Barn it became a part of the large development site

Bucks,  Furniture Warehouse, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-52-Edit_2400
Bucks, Furniture Warehouse, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-52

Bucks were still here at Bridge Wharf immediately to the west of the former Surrey Canal until around 2012 and their site was then briefly taken over by the car auctions, with Bucks returning briefly when those moved to Charlton at the start of 2015. The site was derelict by the end of 2015 and demolition was complete by 2017.

I was unsure if the circular bricked area with a post at its centre was a relic of the former wharf or simply a sculpture recalling the past. I couldn’t see any particular purpose in it, so it was probably art!

Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-53-Edit_2400
Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-53

Ocean wharf was at the south-west corner of the bridge built to take Evelyn Street over the Surrey Canal. Parker Packing Co Ltd were presumably the Parker whose corner was a few yards away on the opposite side of Evelyn St on its corner with Dragoon Road. The sign at an angle points to Neptune Wharf and a sign for a company dealing in polythene sheeting, polythene & paper sacks and other items, while a larger sign behind the branches is completely blank.

Timber Sheds, former Surrey Canal, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-54
Timber Sheds, former Surrey Canal, Evelyn St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-54

The view from Blackhorse Bridge looking towards the southwest where once the Surrey Canal ran, with timber sheds along its east bank. Timber would have been a major part of the canal traffic, as the Surrey Docks were largely used for timber imports and had large timber ponds. By 2008 the timber sheds had been replaced but otherwise the view was much the same, but in 2016 the empty space was filled by a large Shurgard self-storage shed.

Timber Sheds, Blackhorse Road, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-56
Timber Sheds, Blackhorse Road, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 10h-56

The view of the timber sheds in the previous picture from Blackhorse Road, replaced some years ago by the Blackhorse Business Park.

Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-34-Edit_2400
Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-34

All the buildings along Grinstead Road have been demolished and replaced by residential properties. This was the only building I found of interest in the long stretch facing Deptford Park. The park was opened to the public in 1897 and probably Grinstead Road dates from then or shortly afterwards. I can find no explanation for the street name.

Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-36-Edit_2400
Grinstead House, Grinstead Rd, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10h-36

Another view of its distinctive doorway. I can find nothing out about this property and there are few if any clues although it interested me enough to take nine frames concentrating on the doorway. The logo above the door is I think made of the letters J & J and this house was around halfway down the street, a short distance past the former galvanised iron and zinc Ida works, at the back of Neptune Wharf. It probably dates from the early 20th century.

To be continued in a later post.

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More Deptford And A Little Greenwich

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

My walk continued along Stowage where my previous post ended to St Nicholas, Deptord Green, and then south through Deptford.

Church Gate, Skull, St Nicholas, Deptord Green, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-54-Edit_2400
Church Gate, Skull, St Nicholas, Deptord Green, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-54

Playwright and spy Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) was apparently killed in a house in Deptford on 30th May 1593 and buried in an unmarked grave in this churchyard at St. Nicholas’s Church. A web page, Death In Deptord gives the known facts and also various conspiracy theories. He had been arrested a week earlier on a charge of atheism, then a serious crime for which those found guilty could be burnt at the stake. Surprisingly he was granted bail.

He came to Deptford to escape the plague which was raging through London and was at a meeting in a private house there which is thought to have been a safe house used by government agents, and was dining there with three other spies, all connected with the secret service set up by Marlowe’s patron, Sir Francis Walsingham, to protect Queen Elizabeth from Catholic assassination plots.,

Surprisingly the lengthy Coroners Report by the Queen’s Coroner kept secret at the time was only rediscovered and published in 1925. It describes the killing as a result of a dispute over the bill and names his murderer – who was given a royal pardon 28 days later. Many have thought the inquest was a cover-up and that either the death was a planned assassination by the security services or that Marlowe was not killed but smuggled out of the country to escape his prosecution and possible burning for heresy.

Deptford High St, Douglas Way, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-45-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Douglas Way, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-45

This shop on the corner of Douglas Way is still a Halal Butcher. There was a barbers until around 2016 in the shop on Douglas Way still with the perhaps unfortunate name of H Nicks, but that and the two further shops have changed hands and are now rather more colourful, with barbers Tuttii Fruitii, Divine Beauty Hair Salon and Good Friends Chinese Restaurant and Takeaway reflecting the vibrant multicultural mix of Deptford.

Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-34-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-34

The shop on the left, closed in 1988 is now Omed Uk Ltd, African Textile & Novelty, and Richard Stone Mans Store is now DAGE, Deptford Action Group For The Elderly but that on the right, though with a new sign is still in much the same business as Deptford Cobbler. The buildings appear to have changed little. Most times when I’ve walked along here since the street has been busy with market stalls, but these pictures were made on a Sunday morning when there was then no market.

Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-35-Edit_2400
Deptford High St, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-35

There was a pub here in 1788, though the street was then called Butt Lane. It was part rebuilt in the late 19th century with the frontage rebuilt at some time between 1868 and 1894. Originally called the Red Lion and Wheatsheaf it became The Distillery in the 1890s and at other times in the early twentieth century simply as the Red Lion. It reverted to its original name around 1930 and closed as a pub in 1961-2.

The Wenlock Brewery in Wenlock Road Hoxton owned a large number of pubs across London and was bought up by Worthington – part of Bass – in 1953 and closed in 1962.

Mumford's Mill, Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-22-Edit_2400
Mumford’s Mill, Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-22

I walked across Deptford Bridge and a short distance up Greenwich High Road to photograph Mumford’s Mill which is on the east bank of Deptford Creek. The Grade II listed silo with the date 1790 was a later addition to the site, added in 1897 and built in an elaborate Italianate style by one of the leading architects of the day, Sir Aston Webb, along with his partner Edward Ingress Bell who got his unusual second name from being born in Ingress Park a few miles down the river at Greenhithe.

The 1790 mill was possibly a tide-mill – and there is a tidemill site here on the west side of the Creek, for some years a neighbourhood park but now after a fight by local residents failed to save it being redeveloped for housing. The early mill was soon replaced by two early 19th century three storey stone grinding flour mills.

But by 1897 this was a state of the art flour mill, with roller mills powered by steam. In the 1930s it was bought by the Rank Group, founded in Hull by Joseph Rank who had set up the first modern flour milling business in the UK there in 1875 and milling was soon ended. Parts of the premises were used by various companies, but much was apparently empty for several decades until converted to residential use early this century.

Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-23-Edit_2400
Greenwich High Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10f-23

I continued up the Greenwich High Road to these two adjacent contrasting doorways just off the road in Burrgos Grove. Wellington House is 2 Burgos Grove while the property at right, in 1988 shared between Joule Electrical Ltd and the Inner London Probation Service is numbered as 34 Greenwich High Rd. Probably both properties date from the mid-19th century. No 34 was extensively rebuilt in 2012 but the doorway and facade were retained.

Deptford Broadway, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-24-Edit_2400
Deptford Broadway, Deptford, Lewisham, 1988 88-10f-24

I walked back to Deptford Bridge and west to Deptford Broadway. Now this would mean going under the Lewisham extension of the Docklands Light Railway, opened in 1999. Should you be here it is worth going up to the platforms of Deptford Bridge Station which gives some of the better views of Mumford’s Mill and other parts of the area, and taking the train north to Greenwich to see more of Deptford Creek.

The north side of the Broadway has a remarkable variety of architectural styles and includes a group of five houses at the right of this picture Grade II listed as a group at 17-21 consecutive, thought to be all of late C17 origin, though all much altered later. Next is Broadway House, dated 1927, followed at 13-14 by what is probably a late-Victorian property and then a fine piece of 1930 Art-Deco – in my picture ‘Antique Warehouse’ but built for ‘Montague Burton, The Tailor of Taste’. Unfortunately I was just a few months too late to photograph the Deptford Odeon, designed by George Coles in 1938, but demolished earlier in the year – and the billboard at extreme right was in front of its empty site.

To be continued in a later post.

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Nakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

NakNakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils – Saturday 18th May 2013 was another busy day for protests in London and I covered a number of demonstrations.

End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

65 years after 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes as refugees in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) when the state of Israel was created, Palestinians and their supporters protested outside parliament calling for an end to the continuing ethnic cleansing and a boycott and sanctions until Israel complies with international law.

There had been protests in Jerusalem earlier in the week on Nabka Day against the continuing sanctions against Palestinians that have crowded them into an ever-decreasing area of land, diminishing almost daily as new Israeli settlements are created and new restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians. Many of those protesting in London from Jewish or Palestinian backgrounds and as usual these included a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who had walked down from North London; they see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism.

The speeches were continuing when I left to cover another event. More at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing

London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

On the opposite side of the River Thames thousands were gathering by the Royal Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, alarmed at the attack by the government on the principles that underlie our National Health Service and the threats of closure of Accident and Emergency facilities, maternity units and hospital wards which seem certain to lead to our health system being unable to cope with demand – and many lives put at risk.

Nine years later we are seeing the effect of these policies with ambulance services unable to cope with demand, lengthy delays in treating people in A&E, delays in diagnosing cancers leading to increased deaths and more. And although it was only a matter of time before we had a pandemic like Covid, and exercises had shown what needed to be done to prepare for this, the NHS had not been given the resources to prepare for this, leading to much higher death rates than some comparable countries.

Part of the problems of the NHS come from disastrous PFI agreements pushed through under the Labour government, landing NHS trusts with huge debts that will continue for many years. This forced NHS trusts into disastrous hospital closure plans, some of which were defeated by huge public campaigns. Many of those marching were those involved in these campaigns at Lewisham, Ealing, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Whittington and other hospitals around London.

I left the march as it entered Whitehall for a rally there. More at London Marches to Defend NHS.

Guantánamo Murder Scene – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

London Guantánamo Campaign staged a ‘murder scene’ at the US Embassy on the 101st day of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike in which over 100 of the 166 still held there are taking part, with many including Shaker Aamer now being forcibly fed.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.

More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Other protesters outside the US Embassy included Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, born in the US and currently living in Birmingham, whose husband Shawki Ahmed Omar, an American citizen, was arrested in Iraq by American forces in 2004 and turned over to Iraqi custody in 2011. He was tortured by the Americans when they held him and was now being tortured by the Iraqis and also was on hunger strike. She has protested with her daughter Zeinab outside the US Embassy for a number of weekends and on this occasion was joined by a small group of Muslims who had come to protest against Guantanamo, appalled by the actions of the US waging a war against Islam and Muslims.

Shawki Ahmed Omar is still held in Iraq; before he died in 2021 former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark recorded a video calling for his release which was posted to YouTube in with the comment by another US lawyer “This case is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in recent United States history. It is a case where the US government essentially lied to the US Supreme Court to cover up torture and to be able to turn an American citizen over to people who they knew would torture him.”

A few yards away, kept separate by police, a group of supporters of the Syrian regime, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was also holding a protest in favour of the Assad regime and against western intervention in Syria.

More at More US Embassy Protests.

Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

I met thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK as they marched through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre, many dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. Many wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Although it was a large protest, with perhaps around 5,000 marchers I think it received absolutely no coverage in UK media, and I seemed to be the only non-Tamil photographer present. Tamils were rightly disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax.

The march had started from Hyde Park, and I caught up with it on Piccadilly and went with it taking photographs to Waterloo Place where there was to be a rally. But it had been a long day for me and I left just before this started.

More at Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.

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Greenwich and Deptford Creek October 1988

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Caesars American Restaurant, Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, 1988 88-10e-55-Edit_2400
Caesars American Restaurant, Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, 1988 88-10e-55

I had spent several days wandering around Hackney in the previous months and decided it was time to go back south of the river and picked on Deptford for my next walk. I’d decided to get a train from Waterloo East to Greenwich as my starting point, but arrived in to Waterloo with some time to spare and walked briefly along Waterloo Road. You won’t find Caesars there now, its place taken by a vape shop and Tesco Express.

Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-56-Edit_2400
Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-56

I took the train to Greenwich Station and came out onto Norman Road which is on the east side of Deptford Creek. There are still some industrial sites here but the area to the north shown in my photograph now has tall blocks of flats both on the creek side (to the left of my picture) and on the right. There was no access to the Creek here.

Posters, Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-41-Edit_2400
Posters, Norman Rd, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-41

The area around Deptford Creek now has many artists studios, but back in 1988 I wasn’t expecting to see this kind of display in the area, and it wasn’t at all clear whether this was a result of fly-posting followed by vandalism or art, though I inclined to the latter. It certainly had become art by the time I photographed it.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-44-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-44

Finally on Creek Road I was able to see the creek itself, looking across to Deptford from the Greenwich end of the bridge. In the distance is the spire of St Paul’s Deptford. Tall blocks built around 2017 on Copperas Street now block that view.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-45-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-45

Walking across the bridge gave me this view of the Deptford side. Creek Road Bridge is a lifting bridge and in 1988 often caused severe traffic delays in the area when lifted at high tides to allow vessels to pass. I think bridge lifts are now rare, though at least until recent years they were still occasionally needed to allow vessels carrying aggregate to berth at Brewery Wharf just below the bridge on the Greenwich side.

In the distance you can see the Deptford Creek Railway Bridge which was also a lifting bridge, though of very different design. I understand this is now welded in place and incapable of lifting.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-46-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-46

Although Deptford Creek forms the boundary between Deptford (in the London Borough of Lewisham) and Greenwich for much of its length, the area around its mouth from a little south of Creek Road as far west as Watergate Street in Deptford is in the London Borough of Greenwich, including the whole now former site of Deptford Power Station. Both sides of the Creek were industrial in 1988, though the last of the three power stations had ceased operation in 1983, and it was spectacularly demolished in 1992. The first station, designed by Sebastian de Ferranti and opened in 1889 was the world’s first ‘central’ power station, operating at high voltage and on an unprecedented scale and closed in the 1960s.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-32-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-32

Much of the Deptford side of the Creek north of Creek Road was occupied by scrap metal dealers and in 1988 this brick building at Crown Wharf was the offices of London Iron & Steel Limited.

Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-33-Edit_2400
Deptford Creek, Creek Rd, Deptford, Greenwich, 1988 88-10e-33

The Creek turns west after going under Creek Road, then around to the north to enter the RIver Thames. There is a large pile of scrap on the wharf in front of the disused power station and Turbulence, a general cargo vessel, 1426 tons gross built in Selby, Yorkshire in 1983 is moored there. Large heaps of sand and gravel are at an aggregate works on the Greenwich bank, though previously there had been a gas works here.

Today the scene is entirely different, with large residential developments on both sides of the Creek, at Millennium Quay on the west and New Capital Quay on the east. A new footbridge joining the two across the mouth of the Creek was opened in 2015. This is a swing bridge which also occasionally has to be opened to let vessels pass at high tide.

My walk continues in a later post.

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A Threatened Hospital, Riverside Walk, Syria & Mali

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

A Threatened Hospital, Riverside Walk, Syria & Mali – pictures from nine years ago on February 15th 2013.

Fight to Save Lewisham Hospital Continues

My work began at a lunchtime rally opposite Lewisham Hospital where the whole local community is fighting to save their hospital with both a legal challenge and further mass demonstrations including a ‘Born in Lewisham Hospital’ protest a few weeks later. Parts of the hospital across the main road are in the picture.

People were appalled by then Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s decision to accept the proposals for closure, and to ignore the mass protests by local residents. Not only are the proposals medically unsound and will lead to patient deaths, but they also represent short-term thinking that will result in a huge waste of public funds.

Lewisham was a sucessful and financially sound hospital and had received sensible public investment to provide up to date services, and the services to be cut will have to be set up again at other hospitals. Closing Lewisham would not only incur high costs, but would waste the previous investment in its facilities.

Closure was only considered because of huge debts inherited when it was merged into a group which had earlier made a disastrous PFI (private finance initiative) agreement to build a new hospital a few miles away. Both the hospital group and Jeremy Hunt had been shown to be telling lies about the scope and cost of the replacement A&E and maternity facilities which would be needed if Lewisham were closed.

The well-attended protest was organised by the Save the Lewisham Hospital campaign which was raising funds for a legal challenge as well as a new poster and leaflet campaign and the forthcoming mass demonstration. But this was not just a campaign for Lewisham, but one that is vital for the whole of the NHS. Behind the speakers was a banner for the South-East London ‘Save Our Local NHS Hospitals’ campaign quoting Nye Bevan: ‘The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.‘ They certainly had the faith in Lewisham.

Fight to Save Lewisham Hospital Continues

Thames Path Greenwich Partly Open

Here’s what I wrote back in 2013:

I had some time to spare between protests and it was a nice day, around 10 degrees warmer than we’d been having and sunny, so I decided to take a bus to North Greenwich and walk along the Thames Path, having heard that parts of it had re-opened. The weather changed a little and there were some dramatic skies.

There is still a section of the walk that is closed, a giant building site where Delta Wharf once was up to Drawdock Road, but on each side of this the walk is open. although the council sign on the footpath leading from Tunnel Avenue still indicates it is closed. At the river the path north is blocked, but you can walk south to Greenwich.

A panorama – the same path in opposite directions at both sides

At first the walk goes alongside a giant manmade landscape of sand and gravel, like some alien planet – and behind the conical hills the Dome and the gas holder, with occasional lighting towers and cranes add to the scene. Most of this is behind tall fences, but fortunately these have gaps between the posts allowing you to see and photograph. Years ago the path here went through a working container dock, the Victoria Deep Water Terminal, with yellow lines marking the route, though occasionally it was blocked by crane operations, and we waited rather than have heavy containers overhead. There are a couple of my pictures of this and others from the riverside path in the 1980s on my London’s Industrial Heritage site.

Beyond there the riverside path seems rather empty, with many structures having dissappeared, including the huge concrete silo I photographed. But something new has appeared, ‘guerilla knitting’ on some of the trees and posts along the path.

Many more pictures at Thames Path Greenwich Partly Open on My London Dairy

Stop Western Intervention in Syria & Mali

It was the 10th anniversary of the march by 2 million against the Iraq war, Stop the War organised a small protest at Downing St calling for a stop to Western intervention in Mali and Syria and against the possible attack on Iran.

Many on the left feel that the failure of that huge protest to actually prevent the UK taking part in the invasion of Iraq showed a failure in the leadership of Stop The War to make any quick and efffective action to follow it up. Stop The War have also failed to convince the public at large with their more recent campaigns against intervention in Libya and now against the support being given to the Free Syrians and the Mali government. As the upper picture shows there were some supporters of the Assad regime, from a small left group, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), taking part in the protest. Almost certainly the great majority of supporters of Stop The War while against UK military intervention would like to see more support being given in other ways to the Syrian rebels.

Stop Western Intervention in Syria & Mali

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NHS Victory Parade in Lewisham: 2013

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Among years of gloom for the NHS, under various reorganisations which have furthered the Tory project for privatisation a few bright spots have stood out, mainly where local people have stood up and fought to retain NHS hospitals and their services. One of these was celebrated on 14th September 2013, when the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign held a community march through Lewisham past the hospital to a free celebration in Ladywell Fields of their High Court victory which overturned the government closure plans.

The government had planned to close most of Lewisham Hospital, a hospital serving a large area of South London simply to allow the NHS to continue to make massive PFI repayments due from the building of other London hospitals at Woolwich and Orpington through contracts that were badly negotiated under a Labour government when interest rates were high; these contracts had already by 2013 delivered huge profits to the banks with payments of over £60m a year.

The popular campaign was also backed by the London Borough of Lewisham and both the council and the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign went separately to the High Court for judicial review of the decision by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – and both were successful.

A new Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust was established in October 2013 as it states “following a period of intense controversy” and after early problems claims to have made considerable progress in maintaining a good service at the two hospitals in Lewisham and Woolwich including 24/7 emergency services at both as well as some other services in the area.

There had been previous large protests against the closure plans – which I photographed in November 2012 and January 2013 along with a couple of smaller events. But rather fewer came for the victory celebrations, which were led by a council dustcart with large posters on it. Behind the marchers were a couple of nurses in uniforms that they wore to take part in the Olympic opening ceremony, along with a small street band.

The parade ended in Ladywell Fields behind the hosptial, with live music, dancing and a children’s dance competition, although it and the parade were a little dampened by the continual light rain. But it was a good day for the people of Lewisham and for those of us who support an NHS free at the point of service, for “everyone – rich, or poor, man, woman or child” to “relieve your money worries in times of illness”.

Although they were celebrating victory, Jeremy Hunt had then yet to concede defeat, announcing the government would appeal against the decision. I think his advisers probably told him there seemed no chance an appeal would succeed and any appeal would simply waste public money. Eventually the policy was dropped.

Lewisham Hospital Victory Parade

See also:

Save A&E at Lewisham Hospital – Nov 2012
Save Lewisham Hospital – Jan 2013

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.