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  • hilly 2:35 pm on August 22, 2015
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    Free Tai Chi in Eaglesfield Park 

    Eaglesfield Park Tai Chi Poster

    Following the successful Tai Chi session at Eaglesfield Park’s picnic last month the Friends of Eaglesfield Park have arranged two more Tai Chi sessions, the first tomorrow (Sunday 23rd August) at 2.00pm. Madeleine from the Friends wrote with details:

    Following a wonderful Tai Chi session held as part of the Parksfest event on 12th July and the requests of local residents, Chew-Yeen has very kindly offered to come back to Eaglesfield Park to run 2 free classes for anyone to join in. Chew-Yeen  has been practicing Tai Chi for over 20 years.   She is a member of the British Council of Martial Arts Federation and a European Tai Chi gold medal winner.
    Tai chi combines slow and gentle movements with deep breathing and relaxation. It can help to reduce stress, improve balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength in the legs.   You can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.  Come and join in on: Sunday 23rd August and Sunday 27th September  (both days 2 – 3 pm)
    A wonderful opportunity to try a few Tai Chi moves and  learn how it can improve your health and well being and according to a local resident at the Eaglesfield Park Parkfest 2015   “Trying out tai chi for the first time and in such lovely surroundings with such a beautiful view was a very special experience’”
    There is no need to “book a place”, just turn up.  However it would be helpful if you could let Chew-Yeen know if you are interested so that she has an idea of the number of people to expect or if you need further information.  Please email her at: chewyeenlawes@yahoo.com .
    Having tried out a few Tai Chi moves, why not linger a while – relax and enjoy the peaceful ambience of the park and a “communal  picnic” to share with other participants.   Perhaps you could bring a “covered dish” – some french bread and cheese, or mixed salad or cakes or fruit or a few sandwiches or your very own “signature dish”.    It’s a great way to make new friends and has proved popular on previous occasions.   Don’t forget the flask of tea or coffee !
    It really is worth coming to see what Tai Chi is all about and Chew-Yeen’s enthusiasm and expertise may well inspire you too!
    And it is Free !
    Please note however  ………… Weather permitting !  Check our blog http://www.eaglesfieldpark.org   on the morning of 23rd August and 27th September for cancellation due to bad weather.

    Let’s hope the showers forecast for tomorrow afternoon hold off .

    Tai Chi in Eaglesfield Park

    Tai Chi in Eaglesfield Park

    Tai Chi in Eaglesfield Park

    Tai Chi in Eaglesfield Park

  • hilly 5:46 pm on August 18, 2015
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    Woodlands Farm Bat Walks 

    Bat Walks at Woodlands Farm 2015

    Bats are getting more and more popular, and there are lots of opportunities to see and hear native bats. The next local bat walks are hosted by Woodlands Farm. Hannah, their Education Officer wrote with details:

    Thursday 20th August   8pm,   Thursday 27th August   7.45pm,  Thursday 3rd September   7.30pm

    Join us for a bat walk around Woodlands Farm. We have a number of different bat species living on the farm so this is a great opportunity to find out more about bats and see what we can find. You will need sturdy footwear, suitable outdoor clothing and a torch. This activity is not recommended for children under 6. £5 per adult and £3 per child. Booking is essential. To book call 020 8319 8900.

    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Forshaw on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    A good number of bats were detected at the farm as part of the Bat Conservation Trust’s National Bat Monitoring Programme in July, both common and soprano pipistrelles and some very clear noctules. Let’s hope they all show themselves in the bat walks, but even if they don’t there’s something magical about walking the farm’s woods and meadows in the half light.

    Not too far away from Shooters Hill, there are also bat walks coming up at Hall Place on Tuesday 25th August and Thursday 27th August in their beautiful gardens along the river Cray, and on 11th September Thames Water Crossness have a bat walk around the nature reserve north of Eastern Way. Their walk along Southmere Lake last week was one of the best I’ve been on for visibility and variety of bats, despite the persistent rain.  Quite a few noctules and serotines were seen swooping over the water, and pipistrelles darting just overhead around the lakeside trees. They don’t expect the walk in the nature reserve to be quite as spectacular.

    Also on 11th September the Friends of Shrewsbury Park will be holding their second bat walk of the season. The perfect place for a lark in the park in the dark, hopefully enlivened by the heterodyned sound of echo-locating bats and the sight of them flitting just above head height.

    Finally for bat fans there is annual Bat Fest at the Natural History Museum on 29th and 30th August, starring the marvellous Jenny Clark MBE and her education bats. Here is a video of Jenny at her bat hospital talking about bats in her own inimitable style.

  • hilly 10:43 am on August 17, 2015
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    Attempt to de-list Elmhurst Cottage 

    Elmhurst Cottage

    Elmhurst Cottage

    An application has been submitted to the Royal Borough of Greenwich to remove Elmhurst Cottage from the council’s Locally Listed Buildings list. If successful this would remove the protections given to buildings on the list, and ease the way for redevelopment of the 0.3 Acre site. It was submitted by a local company, Building Design & Services Ltd., but appears to be on behalf of a company named Broadberry International Limited. There is no indication as to the reason for the request, but I suspect it is not out of academic concern for the historical accuracy of the local list.

    The heart of the case to remove Elmhurst Cottage from the list, which is laid out in a Heritage Statement prepared by HeritageCollective and submitted with the application,  appears to be twofold: that the cottage was not built until 1895-1896 and that it was too humble for important historical people such as the Lidgbird and Dallin families to live in.

    The evidence presented that the cottage was not built until 1895-1896 relies on part of a hand-drawn map that was submitted with an 1889 planning application for a new stable on a property further down Shrewsbury Lane. The map, which is part of catalogue item MBW/BA/39056 in the London Metropolitan Archive, is shown below followed by the equivalent area from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 OS map, which clearly shows Elmhurst Cottage. The hand-drawn map does not include a number of buildings that are shown in the OS map from just 5 years later, and has a number of inaccuracies in the shapes, orientations  and positions of the buildings compared to the Ordnance Survey map. For instance, it does not include the huge Haddon Hall, just over the lane from Elmhurst Cottage. Haddon Hall also appears on Alan Godfrey’s 1866 and 1914 maps, so it was certainly there in 1889. The size, shape and outbuildings of the large house named Elmhurst are not captured accurately on the 1889 map, nor are those of the Homestead. In fact it is an amateur map intended to show where a new stable would go, not to show the size, shape and location of neighbouring buildings.

    It is clear that the 1889 hand-drawn map is not conclusive evidence of the presence or absence of Elmhurst Cottage, or of the date it was built. The Heritage Statement includes a snippet of the 1894 OS map mislabelled as being from 1896, plus a part of the 1866 OS map mislabelled as being from 1889. If nothing else the presence of Elmhurst on the 1894 map shows that it was there before the 1895-1896 claimed.

    Map from HeritageCollective's Heritage Statement about Elmhurst Cottage

    Map from HeritageCollective’s Heritage Statement about Elmhurst Cottage

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 Ordnance Survey Map of Shooters Hill

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 Ordnance Survey Map of Shooters Hill

    The Heritage Statement provides no evidence that a wealthy family such as the Lidgbirds or the Dallins would not have lived in a cottage such as Elmhurst Cottage other than some information from a directory of 1910 about who lived at the cottage. This is many years after the Dallin family lived at Elmhurst.

    The Heritage Statement quotes a passage about the history of Elmhurst Cottage from an e-shootershill post about buildings of local interest, however it fails to include any of the more detailed information about the historical associations of the cottage in a later post about Elmhurst. This cottage is one of the few reminders of the families – the Lidgbirds, Dallins and Jacksons – who shaped Shooters Hill. Colonel Bagnold also lists a number of senior military people who lived at Elmhurst: Col. Shipley; Lord Ribblesdale; Col. Foster; W Fitzhardinge; Col. Wooley-Dod; Col. Murray-Smith; Major Barstow; Col. F. Watts-Allen. A rich local history.

    Why is someone trying to de-list Elmhurst Cottage now? Who knows – the applicants haven’t given any indications of their plans, nor have they talked to neighbours of Elmhurst Cottage,  who first learned of the attempt to de-list when they got the Royal Borough’s letter. Although it seems clear that the cottage has been sold because it is no longer up for sale, the Land Registry has not yet been updated with the new owner’s details. HeritageCollective produced the Heritage Statement for Broadberry International Limited. No company of this name comes up in a search of the Companies House web site. and a Google search only gives a British Virgin Islands company for which the last information is 2007. It seems unlikely that Broadberry Data Systems, Broadberry Consulting or Broadberry Care Solutions have moved into property development, so the plans for the site remain a mystery.

    The notice about the application gives details about how to comment:

    Any person who wishes to make representations to the Royal Borough about the application should do so in writing (via email or post) by 08-Sep-2015 to building-conservation@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or to Planning Department, 5th floor, Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6HQ

    It is also possible to comment on-line on the planning pages for the application. The Royal Borough of Greenwich web site includes information about how buildings get on the local list, as well as the list itself.

    • Deborah 1:50 pm on August 18, 2015

      I have commented elsewhere on the inaccuracies of the maps and I see you have come to the same conclusions, which shows what a shoddy job “Heritage Collective” have done. What amazes me is that they have made a subjective statement regarding the desirability of the cottage as a place of abode for someone from a grand family, then compound this silliness by stating that a piece of tenuous evidence from a much later date proves the statement to be conclusive. The “research” has been very sloppy, selective and full of errors. The John Lidgebird they cite (“High Sheriff of Kent”) as you know, cannot have been the one who built Elmhurst Cottage, as he died, quite possibly a lunatic, in 1771. His son, Henry inherited the estate and he continued the building work at the Arsenal. As you have written before, it seems likely that he had at least two sons: Henry Lidgebird Junior and John Lidgebird are mentioned in conjunction with the building works into the 1840s. Now, a memorial tablet in St Nick’s states that Henry died, unmarried, in 1820. As you also discovered, he died intestate and there followed nine years of litigation, after which the estate was divided between two distant relatives: Mary Dallin (again, not the one referred to by Heritage Collective, but her mother) and Ann Wilding. It is notable that neither Henry Junior nor John inherited any of the estate. It does not seem inconceivable, therefore, that the two were illegitimate. This is certainly a better explanation as to why John would live in a humble dwelling on part of his father’s former estate, than the nonsense suggested by “Heritage Collective”. Out of interest, Hilly, have you looked at the Kentish Independent for 1976?

      • hilly 3:07 pm on August 18, 2015

        That’s an interesting thought about the younger Lidgbirds, have you come across any records of them? I haven’t looked at the Kentish Independent, sounds like a walk down to the Heritage Centre is required.

    • Deborah 2:21 pm on August 18, 2015

    • Deborah 3:51 pm on August 18, 2015

      A former occupier of the cottage has been asking local people. She contends that the cottage was not rebuilt and is the original old building. I seem to recall a newspaper article about an exact replica being built, which would account for the oldy-worldy materials. I suggested she look for the article in the Kentish Independent, but I think she may live in Somerset. I can’t find any local Lidgebirds on Ancestry or FindMyPast. The St Nick’s parish records have been digitalised, so perhaps the name has been persistantly mistranscribed. Of course, the sons will have been baptised with the mother’s surname/s if they were illigitimate. I’ve started to draft my representations, but will wait to see whether you find anything at the HC.

      • hilly 10:19 am on August 21, 2015

        I scanned through all the 1976 Kentish Independents yesterday and couldn’t find any mention of Elmhurst Cottage. Wonder if it could have been a different newspaper?

    • Deborah 9:56 pm on August 18, 2015

      Ah, just spotted my error. I confused two Henry Lidgbirds.

      • Deborah 10:25 pm on August 18, 2015

        However, I have found other John Lidgbirds in Plumstead, both contemporaneous and later than Sir John. As Sir John had only one child and, as the surname is uncommon, one would assume that the other John Lidgbirds are relatives – although, perhaps, with less claim to the estate than Mary Lidgbird and Ann Wilding.

    • Deborah 3:18 pm on August 21, 2015

      I’m trying to think of another local paper at the time. I think another popular one that covered this area was the Bexleyheath Observer, which is held on microcfiche at Bexley Archive Centre. They also have the News Shopper for a greater range of dates than Greenwich.

  • hilly 9:44 pm on August 9, 2015
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    Woodlands Farm Summer Activities, Henri Le Worm and Flockstars 

    Woodlands Farm summer events poster

    Woodlands Farm has been very busy over the summer so far, and there’s more to come over the next few months. As well as being the (secret) host for ITV’s new show Flockstars, there was the opening of the Henri Le Worm community garden by Raymond Blanc and also Rosie the Gloucester Old Spot gave birth. Next week the farm’s summer activities for children start, and a series of walks around the farm is planned, including three bat walks.

    Hannah, the Education Officer at the farm, wrote with details of the summer activities for children:

    Tuesday 11th August Orienteering 10am-2pm  £1 per child
    Can you find your way around the farm without getting lost?  Try our different orienteering courses to see how good you are at navigating.  No need to book, just drop in.

    Thursday 13th August Pond Dipping Sessions at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm. £1 per child, accompanying adults free
    Come and see what you can find hidden beneath the surface of the water.   Using nets we will delve into this mysterious world.
    Booking is essential, call 020 8319 8900

    Tuesday 18th August Felt Making Sessions 10am-12pm £2 per child.
    Did you know that felt is made from sheep’s wool?  Join us at Woodlands Farm as we make some amazing felt flowers, butterflies and other animals using just wool.  This is a fun and messy activity which everyone can enjoy.  No need to book, just drop in.

    Wednesday 19th August Be a Farmer for the Day 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm £3 per child, accompanying adults free
    Ever fancied seeing what it is like to be a farmer?  Join us as we have a go at feeding and weighing our animals as well as walking our fields to check all our animals.  This event is only suitable for children over 8 years.  It is essential to book, call 020 8319 8900

    Thursday 20th August Gruffalo Day! 10am-12pm    £3 per child, accompanying adults free
    Inspired by Julia Donaldson’s classic book join us as we journey into the deep dark wood in search of a gruffalo!  This activity will involve a walk into our woods which is about 20 minutes and not suitable for buggies.  It is essential to book, call 020 8319 8900.

    Tuesday 25th August Gruffalo Day! 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm    £3 per child, accompanying adults free
    Inspired by Julia Donaldson’s classic book join us as we journey into the deep dark wood in search of a gruffalo!  This activity will involve a walk into our woods which is about 20 minutes and not suitable for buggies.  It is essential to book, call 020 8319 8900.

    Wednesday 26th August Dragonfly Day 11am-3pm £2 per child
    Drop in for a day all about these fantastic insects.  Go dragonfly spotting, follow our trail or make your own dragonfly to take home.  Just drop in, for more information call 020 8319 8900

    Thursday 27th August Pond Dipping Sessions at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm. £1 per child, accompanying adults free
    Come and see what you can find hidden beneath the surface of the water.   Using nets we will delve into this mysterious world.
    Booking is essential, call 020 8319 8900

    Efts (baby newts) at Woodlands Farm

    Efts (baby newts) at Woodlands Farm

    Newt at Woodlands Farm

    Newt at Woodlands Farm

    Everyone at Woodlands was sworn to secrecy about the celebrity guests and barn full of border collies that came to film parts of the new ITV series Flockstars , a kind of celebrity “One Man and his Dog”. Maggie e-mailed the story:

    Woodlands Farm was delighted when the producers of a new reality TV show decided that this was the perfect place for their stars – dogs and sheep as well as people – to get to know each other and work on their skills before the grand finale in the Flockstars Showground down in deepest Kent.
    For the six weeks that the crew were with us they needed peace and quiet, as well as our lovely fields, so the staff and volunteers at Woodlands Farm on Shooters Hill were all very discreet about what was happening here and made up some wonderful excuses to people who asked why we had so many sheepdogs in the barn. We did our best to provide a relaxing atmosphere for the celebrities and their shepherd mentors while carrying on keeping Woodlands Farm going.
    We enjoyed having them all here – it was so quiet when they went! Our own farm sheep and cows may well feel differently as they now have all their fields back!
    Just to mention, the celebrity shepherds competing are DJ Tony Blackburn, former Eternal singer, Kelle Bryan, Brendan Cole from Strictly, Fazer aka Richard Rawson, Lesley Joseph from Birds of a Feather, TV presenter Amanda Lamb, Corrie legend, Wendi Peters and the ten-time Paralympic Gold medallist, Lee Pearson, CBE.  You’ll also see some stunningly brilliant dogs, striking sheep and pretty challenging geese and ducks. And did we mention those young, but experienced shepherd mentors, Welshman Ioan Doyle, Scotland’s Emma Gray and England’s Ed Hawkings?
    Full details of Flockstars, which starts on ITV on Thursday 30 July and will run for eight weeks can be obtained from the ITV press release , available now, which was embargoed until today. See http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-packs/flockstars

    The programme is on  Thursdays at 8.30pm. It’s not quite as bad as the reviews make out, and the farm looks really good.

    The  Henri Le Worm community garden is a collaboration between Charlton Manor Primary School, Blue Peter horticulturalist Chris Collins, Olivier Blanc, the creator of Henri Le Worm and Woodlands Farm. The garden was initially exhibited at the Hampton Court Flower Show before being moved to a site at the farm. Olivier’s father, the Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc officially opened the garden in July, giving an impassioned speech about the importance of food education.

    Raymond Blanc opens the Henri le Worm community garden

    Raymond Blanc opens the Henri le Worm community garden

    Rosie the Gloucester old Spot and her two surviving piglets

    Rosie the Gloucester old Spot and her two piglets

    The farm’s next monthly walk is in September, and then they take place each month for the rest of the year:

    Sunday 20 September—Autumn Equinox Walk
    Sunday 25 October—Mid-Autumn Walk
    Sunday 22 November – Short days, cold winds
    Sunday 20 December – Pre-Christmas Walk

    More about the Bat Walks in a future post.

    Woodlands Farm Monthly Walks poster

  • hilly 11:48 am on August 7, 2015
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    Fan Museum Open Day 

    Fan Museum Open Day Flyer

    The Fan Museum in Crooms Hill is holding what has become its annual open day tomorrow, Saturday, between 11.00am and 5.00pm. Residents of Greenwich and Lewisham can get in free provided they bring along some form of identification with their current address (e.g. Driving Licence, utility bill etc.). The museum’s press release gives some background:

    Located in the heart of historic Greenwich, The Fan Museum occupies two handsome Grade II listed Georgian townhouses – lovingly restored internally and externally. It is the only museum in the UK devoted in its entirety to the history of fans and the ancient craft of fan making. The museum houses in excess of 5,000 objects (not all on show at any one time) including works by Salvador Dali, Paul Gauguin and Walter Sickert.
    The museum comprises two distinct displays. One is permanent, and serves as an introduction to fans: their history, manufacture, types and sources. The other is thematic, and changes several times a year. The museum’s current exhibition, Fans of the Belle Époque features a glittering array of fans dating from 1890s-1910s.

    There will be curator-led mini tours for visitors and fan-making demonstrations throughout the day, plus a chance to sample their acclaimed afternoon teas.


    The Fan Museum in Crooms Hill

    The Fan Museum in Crooms Hill

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