Friday 31 May 2013

Twinkle Park summer festival Sunday 9 June

Although strictly speaking Twinkle Park is in Greenwich, I don't like to hold that against it. And if you've never had chance to explore this little oasis at the end of Watergate Street, the summer festival - this year on 9 June - is a good excuse to do so.

‘Sounds in the Park’ is presented by Twinkle Park Trust and Friends in partnership with Parksfest 2013, a series of free events organised by Friends of Greenwich Parks and supported by the Royal Borough of Greenwich. 

This Summer Festival will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Twinkle Park, close to the River Thames. This charming ecological garden with a large pond is the serene habitat of wildlife, and is surrounded by colourful shrubs and tall trees. It is a magical place of relaxation and beauty. 

It will be the eighth annual summer event organised by members of the Trust, and volunteers and is a free event open to the general public. This lovely setting will provide an open air stage for the Paul Zec Jazz Quintet; reggae by DJ Patrick Gardener; Heart of Soul Steel Pans; Arty Party - mask making; Pond Dipping (a children’s activity), Pimms O’Clock cafĂ© and refreshments. 

In addition the Festival will host displays by the Twinkle Park Trust and Build The Lenox project; Utrophia, Community Garden, the Solar Smoothie and Portrait Stall. 

The Festival is supported through grants from Greenwich Parks Forum and the Royal Greenwich Festivals, Royal Borough of Greenwich. The Park has recently undergone a clean up provided by United House, a friend of Twinkle Park Trust and Twinkle Park Trust Friends. United House plan to fund a replanting scheme this autumn. 

Both Twinkle Park and neighbouring Charlotte Turner Gardens, managed by Twinkle Park Trust received the Green Flag Community Award in 2012, nine years for Twinkle Park and 4 years for the Gardens; and are now being assessed for the 2013 award. It is a day when visitors from both the local community and members of the public from further afield, come together to enjoy a great day of events for all the family, young people and adults in the great open space of Twinkle Park.

Sounds in the Park
Sunday 9 June, 1-6pm
Twinkle Park, Borthwick Street, Deptford
Bring a picnic and a rug!

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Elderly woman dies in fire on Deptford High Street

An elderly woman died in a fire on Deptford High Street in the early hours of this morning and a second woman had to be rescued from a flat on the second floor of the building, which is next door to the Morley's Chicken Shop. Fire crews and police were on the scene this morning and closed the road to carry out their investigations. According to the official report from the London Fire Brigade, officers from six stations attended the scene; one of the closest of those, New Cross, is earmarked for closure in the proposed cuts. With response times set to increase if these closures go ahead, it begs the question of whether the second woman would have survived in those circumstances.

From the LFB website:
Firefighters were called to a fire in a shop converted into flats on Deptford High Street during the early hours of this morning. Crews rescued an elderly lady from the ground floor of the building but sadly she later died at the scene. A second woman was rescued by firefighters using a ladder from a flat on the second floor and she was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service suffering from smoke inhalation. The fire damaged a large part of the building’s ground floor. The Brigade was called at 0131 and the fire was under control by 0228. Six fire engines, 35 firefighters and officers from Deptford, Greenwich, Lewisham, New Cross, Old Kent Road and East Greenwich fire stations attended the incident. The cause of the fire is being investigated by London Fire Brigade’s fire investigation team and the Metropolitan Police.

Updated: the victim has been named as 82-year-old Giuseppina Fazzani and the police are now treating this as murder.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

In Situ project space launches

Thursday sees the opening of the In Situ project space on New Cross Road, right next door to the Royal Albert, one of Deptford's finest locals. Art and ale, potentially a great combination.

The space has been under development for some time but on Thursday the waiting will be over, with the official opening sponsored by By the Horns brewery and the first residency a three-week 'adventure in lifestyle, craft and noise' by Gaggle Cave, a '20-strong alternative female choir'.

After the private view on Thursday, Gaggle Cave will be open to the public, Friday 31st May – Thursday 20th June, 12 - 8pm daily and Gaggle live rehearsals will take place every Tuesday during their occupation, 7 - 9pm.

Find out more about the In Situ project space at the Facebook page.

Giffin Square becomes whole again...

..well almost. Just the last few hoardings to remove. I make it approximately 15 months since the rest of the square was finished.

Friday 10 May 2013

Food for thought: upcoming events

This week's round-up of upcoming events is focussed entirely on my favourite subject: food. Well my favourite subject after beer, that is.

This weekend in Deptford Market sees the first in a series of live performance works, curated by Something Human in collaboration with Brockspace. This series Freshly Packed/Always Check the Label ' explores themes of flesh, meat, life, the body and mortality'.

At 11.30am on Saturday you can witness American artist Anya Liftig carrying out the first of the works outside Codfather's fishmonger. She will be... er.. talking to and then cooking a lobster. Not recommended for vegans or those of a sensitive disposition.

Next weekend is the launch of the 'Deptford Food Court' in Douglas Square. Try to set aside the images of dingy shopping malls and plastic seats that the words 'food court' conjure up. I'm sure it will be way more tasteful and chic than that. According to the poster below, there will be 15 new food stalls as well as chairs and tables at which to eat your food, although only 11 traders are listed on the poster. New Saturday regular In a Pikkle will be there, and even if you don't have room for a full meal I recommend dropping by for one (or three) of their lovely fishcakes.

Finally, and a bit further afield, the launch of Edible High Road also takes place next weekend, but in Forest Hill. Somewhat outside the Deptford boundaries, I know, but there's a possibility that this could be rolled out across other parts of the borough next year, so worth keeping an eye on.

Summer 2013 will see SE23 transformed into a fruity Urban Orchard! 

Local shops and businesses are hosting 70 beautiful fruit trees as part of a city-wide network of Edible High Roads, a real celebration of urban orchards. From the Horniman Museum to sober firms of solicitors and fashionable pop-ups, SE23′s business community has warmly embraced the Edible High Road. 

So turn yourself into a Tree Hunter by exploring our urban orchard using a special Edible Trail Map; the first 100 Tree Hunters under 11 can claim a free potted herb worth £1.99 from Shannon’s Garden Centre on Stanstead Road.

You can read more about the project, which is part of the Chelsea Fringe garden festival on the Lewisham Gardens website here.

A matter of opinion

Last year before Deptford High Street 'improvement' works began, the council held a public consultation event at the Deptford Lounge. This was to tell people - residents, shop owners, market traders and so on - what they were proposing to do to on the High Street and ask for their opinions about how often they use the street and what would encourage them to shop there more often. 

With plans afoot to remodel the south end of the high street, the survey also included a question about what should happen to the anchor. 

At the event I was told by one of the staff that the results of the survey - which at the time was still open  - that there was strong support for the anchor to stay in Deptford, backing up my own experience of talking to people about it locally, and the comments they make on this blog and on other social media sites.

Since then, as has been reported on here and elsewhere, the future of the anchor in Deptford - seen here just prior to being removed from the High Street - is far from certain.

At the moment it is being stored on the Convoys Wharf site, and some councillors and officers have said that once redeveloped, the former dockyard will be its permanent home.

This would be utterly pointless in my opinion, you might as well send it back to Chatham where it came from. For a start, most of the former dockyard is still there - some parts such as the Olympia Building are even above ground - on the site of Convoys Wharf. The developers have paid plenty of lipservice to their commitment to acknowledge the former heritage of the site, and depending on how that pans out in their masterplan, they shouldn't really need an anchor to create the maritime link.

What's more, if they did need something, it would be more appropriate to request the return of the clocktower from the former 18th century storehouse, whose cupola was shipped away to Thamesmead in 1986, where it still remains unnoticed and unmarked in the middle of a dying cluster of shops.

I have always argued that the anchor - while not being originally from Deptford Dockyard, and being a relatively new addition to the High Street - should stay on the High Street itself. It is an overt symbol of Deptford's maritime history, of which there is very little else - close to zero I would suggest - left in our main thoroughfare.

When I first moved to this part of south east London it was several years before I came to appreciate the full significance of the area's role in England's maritime history. This was partly due to my own ignorance of course, but also because there was so little sign of anything to do with the docks, shipbuilding or sea-faring in the heart of Deptford. I strongly feel that we need something to make sense of Deptford's long and chequered history, something that serves as a constant reminder of the skills, industry, trade and international links that played such a significant part in its past.

But enough about what I think. Perhaps no-one else in Deptford really agrees with me?

I've been passed a copy of the results of the survey that I previously mentioned, obtained from Lewisham Council, and thought you would be interested to know about the strength of feeling in Deptford.

It's not just a moaning old blogger banging on about keeping this powerful symbol in our midst. There were 185 respondees to the survey - not great, but not to be sniffed at either considering it's not easy to get people to fill in a form or complete a survey online.

Here's the relevant bit:

What do you think the Council should do with the anchor?

Try and keep it in Deptford:   84%
Give it back:     12%
Don't know:     4%

You could argue that retaining it on Convoys Wharf is the same as 'trying to keep it in Deptford' but I'm willing to bet my worldly goods that that wasn't the solution the 84% of respondees had in mind when they ticked that box.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Sneak peek at new footbridge proposals

Apparently there was a bit of a hoo-ha last week when someone at Greenwich planning department prematurely posted the documents for the revised proposal for a new footbridge over the mouth of Deptford Creek.

I wrote earlier in the year about the initial design, which was clunky, ugly and generally pretty piss poor. Unsurprisingly it attracted a lot of complaints.

For once Greenwich Council stood up to the developers (who are building the footbridge in exchange for getting a few more storeys on top of the biggest block) and insisted something more appropriate was  developed.

The documents were published on the planning website last week, only to be hastily pulled a couple of days later, apparently because the details were still being finalised.

Happily they were up there long enough for us snooping bloggers to take advantage, hence I offer you the following (possibly exclusive?) sneak peek of what to expect.

Credit where it's due - this elegant little cable-stayed bridge which presumably rotates around the tower to open the Creek for larger boats, looks like it might do the trick very nicely. As someone who's regularly disappointed by the architectural calibre of local developments, I await further details and an official announcement with some excitement.

Until then, shhh!