Changing view from Greenwich Park

The changing view from Greenwich Park looking towards the Isle of Dogs is well noted as new towers continue to spring up around Canary Wharf. But wandering through the park the other day, I noticed that the view looking towards the Dome has also substantially altered. I took a photo and by luck found one in my archives which roughly corresponded to it so have been able to create this animated GIF which illustrates some of the changes to that part of Greenwich over the past eight years. [Read more…]

Why I cannot support the Mayor of London’s Silvertown Tunnel proposals

I have never met a constituent who did not agree that the two sides of the Thames east of Tower Bridge should be better connected. The issue is how we achieve that cross river connectivity in a way that contributes to a sustainable local transport system that delivers benefits for local residents in terms of improved air quality, inward investment and expanded opportunities.

In the wake of Transport for London’s (TfL) October-December 2014 consultation, I took the view that the case for a new road tunnel under the Thames linking Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown had not been made convincingly. I hoped at the time that TfL would listen carefully to the concerns that had been raised and respond positively to the range of suggestions that were put forward by the council and others to improve the scheme. [Read more…]

Obituary: Owen Bryce

By chance today I learnt of the death of Owen Bryce at the age of 95. Woolwich should be proud of Owen, not just because he was a shopkeeper here but because he was one of the people who started revivalist jazz in Britain. ‘Trad jazz’ – played by a group of lads from Woolwich in wartime Barnehurst.

We don’t hear much about ‘trad’ these days. The history of popular music tends to be written in terms only of rock and roll – but, for the discerning teenager in the late 1950s, ‘trad’ was what it was all about. We knew about Owen Bryce, same way that we knew about Chris Barber, Terry Lightfoot and people like that – and we knew Owen had been one of the first. We rather looked down on any band that became too popular. [Read more…]

Remembering Mike King

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Mike King was a rather exceptional human being. I first met him early in 2012 in Greenwich Park where he was photographing the start of a cycling event and was soon struck by the sweet nature of this tall, smiling man with a couple of Nikon DSLRs around his neck.

I like to think we became good friends quickly and over the next couple of years it was a great honour to spend time with this gentle man. He was naturally modest but his achievements were many, having covered Olympic games, World Cups and other major events to create a stunning body of work, first as a staff sports photographer on Fleet St and latterly a freelancer. [Read more…]

The Greenwich Peninsula: what a difference a decade makes

On Tuesday, after months of negotiations, the Council’s Planning Board will determine whether or not to approve Knight Dragon’s revisions to the 2004 Greenwich Peninsula masterplan. The proposals are wide-ranging but the core issues at stake are an increase in the total number of permitted “units” across the site from 10,010 to 15,720 (a 57 per cent increase) and a corresponding drop in the overall proportion of affordable homes from 38 per cent to 25 per cent (22.7 in this application to be added to those already in the pipeline).

When set against the principles underpinning the original Peninsula vision and the collective expectations of the community, Knight Dragon’s offer falls disappointingly short – a view I expressed candidly to their representatives when they presented their final proposals to me last week.

That is not to say that the proposals do not contain much that is to be commended. The plans for a new transport hub (and cycle superhub) at North Greenwich, new and enhanced open spaces, better community facilities, a riverside running track and improvements to the Thames footpath and cyclepath will improve the quality of life for those living in the area. [Read more…]

Anniversary of the opening of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel

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It was on this day, August 4th, in 1902 that a new way of getting across the Thames, built by the London County Council, opened to the public. The new foot tunnel, which had taken about three years to build, connected Greenwich with Millwall on the other side of the river. The anniversary of the opening provides a good excuse for looking through the newspaper archives for reports from the time. [Read more…]

The woman that walked to the Painted Hall from Cornwall (and nearly wasn’t allowed in)

Here’s a great story found, found in an 1851 edition of the West Kent Guardian, of how an 84 year old woman walked from Cornwall to Greenwich to see the Painted Hall but almost wasn’t allowed in because she looked too “grotesque”.

Mary Callinich arrived at the gate to Greenwich Hospital, having first visited the Great Exhibition, and asked to see the Painted Hall and the Chapel.

The Sergeant guarding the entrance gate, rather unsympathetically, denied the Cornish pensioner entry on the grounds that she had “got such a funny hat”. With that, she whipped out a black velvet bonnet and obviously transformed her appearance such that she was promptly allowed in.

She expressed her “highest gratification” as she departed after a two hour visit. Having seen what she came for, one wonders if the formidable Mary Callinich simply walked back to Cornwall afterwards.

Read the full article below:

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You can find more interesting newspaper stories from the past in the British Newspaper Archive.