Easter Holiday Activities at Woodlands Farm

Long-tailed Tits feeding at Woodlands Farm
Long-tailed Tits feeding at Woodlands Farm

 Easter Holiday Activities at Woodlands Farm

Hannah, the Education Officer at Woodlands Farm, sent me details of their Easter Holiday activities for children:

Easter Holiday Activities at Woodlands Farm, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling DA16 3RP

Friday 29th March (Good Friday)  Easter Egg Hunt 10am – 2pm
£1 per child, accompanying adults free
Can you follow our trail to find all the eggs hidden around the farm?
If you manage to find them all you will get your own chocolate egg to take home.  This is a drop in activity so pop in anytime between 10am-2pm.

Wednesday 3rd April Dreamcatchers 10am -12pm and 1pm-3pm
£1 per child, accompanying adults free
Do you love having a good dream?  Traditionally dream catchers were believed to trap your bad dreams but allow your good dreams through.   So come and join us at Woodlands Farm as we make dream catchers using willow and other natural materials.  This is a drop in session.

Friday 5th April Tour of Woodlands Farm 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm.
Join us for a guided tour of our animals at Woodlands Farm.  Meet our new-born lambs and hopefully some piglets too.  There will be a chance to stroke our chickens and get up close to our guinea pigs, Lottie and Lola.
Meet in the farmyard by the farm shop. This is a drop in session.

Parking is limited so please use public transport where possible

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

British White Cow  at Woodlands Farm
British White Cow at Woodlands Farm


Grave of Yemerrawanyea at St John the Baptist
Grave of Yemerrawanyea at St John the Baptist

As well as the buildings of interest in Shooters Hill, another intriguing entry in Adams’ and Pollard-Britten’s list of  “Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Importance” was this one about the Grave of Yemerrawanyea in the Churchyard of St John the Baptist in Well Hall Road:

Yemerrawanyea was one of the two Australian Aborigine chiefs who came to England with Arthur Phillip, first Governor of New South wales, on his return in 1792. He was presented at court, but died later, in May, 1794, and was buried by the Well Hall Road wall to St John’s churchyard. (His fellow Chief, Benelong, returned to Australia and the promontory on which the Sydney Opera House stands, Benelong Point, is named after him).

How did  Yemerrawanyea come to be the first Aboriginal Australian to die in Britain and to be buried in Eltham in 1794, so soon after the “discovery” of Australia by Captain James Cook in 1770?

The story  is a sad one, told in detail by Jack Brook in “The forlorn hope: Bennelong and Yemmerrawannie go to England“. Yemerrawanyea and Benelong had become close to Admiral Arthur Phillip who was the first Governor of New South Wales, and founder of the settlement which became Sydney. They set off on the six month voyage to Britain with Admiral Phillip on Monday 10th December 1792, accompanied by “a couple of freed convicts, four kangaroos and several dingos“. Some saw the two men as samples to be examined in the same way as the flora and fauna of the new colony, though there were also thoughts that they could learn about British language and culture in order to aid relations between Australia’s indigenous peoples and the British.

The two were treated well during their time in London; they stayed in the fashionable west end, and were bought sets of new, warm clothes suitable for gentlemen. Tutors in English reading and writing were provided, and they had the services of a servant and a washerwoman to wash their clothes. A programme of educational visits to the sights of the city, such as St Pauls Cathedral, was arranged, along with entertainment such the theatre. However it seems they weren’t presented at court, although many historical accounts claim they were. There is no record of them meeting  King George III, the monarch at that time.

Yemerrawanyea’s illness seemed to start with a wound or infection of his leg. His medical treatment seems barbaric to us today: it included laxative potions, bleeding, blistering, purgatives and leeches. Because of his illness both men left the city in October 1793 to stay at the house of a Mr. Edward Kent in Eltham, though where exactly this was is not known. They were looked after by a steward of Lord Sydney, whose family seat was nearby at Frognal House – where the Queen Mary Hospital is now. During the six weeks they lived in Eltham Yemerrawanyea and Benelong visited Lord and Lady Sydney at Frognal and got to know them well. They returned to London in November, but Yemerrawanyea continued to receive treatment. They moved back to Eltham in May the next year, shortly before Yemerrawanyea died of pneumonia.

He was buried at the Church of St John the Bapist, as Jack Brook describes:

The vicar of the church, the Rev. JJ Shaw-Brooke, officiated at the funeral. Yemmerrawannie was buried as a Christian among the graves of the local residents of the Kentish village. Eltham Parish burial register records: `May 21. Yemmorravonyea Kebarrah, a Native of New South Wales, died May 18 1794, supposed to be aged 19 years, at the house of Mr Edward Kent’.

A sad end to Yemerrawanyea’s short life, 10,000 miles away from home in cold, dank England. Benelong lived in Eltham for a couple of months after the funeral, before starting on his long journey home.

St John the Baptist, Eltham
St John the Baptist, Eltham

Live at the Bull

The Eskalators live at the Bull
The Eskalators live at the Bull

The Eskalators kicked off a season of live music at The Bull on Shooters Hill last night in great style with a brilliant ska set that included one of the best versions of Hey Joe I’ve heard, and that includes the Tim Rose version I heard back in Leeds more years ago than I care to remember. I’m frequently very pleasantly surprised at how talented the musicians are that play at small local venues, and the members of the Eskalators were no exception. They were all good, from the lead singer who looked a bit like author Ian Rankin but with the attitude of Paul Jones and with a great ska voice, through to great rhythm, keyboards and trombone but especially the bassist and sax player. A brilliant evening!

The atmosphere the Eskalators generated in the Bull is captured in this audio clip:

There are also several videos of the band playing at last year’s Danson Festival on YouTube.

The full list of bands playing live at the Bull are:

Band Dates

February 23rd            Eskalators

March 9th                   Cross Logic

March16th                  48 Thrills

March 30th                 The Rant

April 13th                     Hard to Handle

April 27th                     Caretakers

Well worth a visit. The beer was good too!

Special offer at the Jasmine Restaurant

Detail of the Kapalishvara Temple, Chennai
Detail of the Kapalishvara Temple, Chennai

Avzol from the Jasmine Restaurant on Shooters Hill e-mailed about my search for the perfect naan, and with a special offer for e-shootershill readers. He wrote:

Special offer for all at E-Shooters Hill  and also for your readers and subscribers. 20% Off* on all collections and deliveries at The Jasmine Restaurant until 19/03/2013.

*when paid in cash 10% otherwise, offer excludes king prawn dishes, chef’s specials and drinks.

Avzol thought that the secret of a perfect naan was in the preparation and freshness of the dough; they make their dough just before the restaurant opens and keep it chilled,  but they only make enough dough balls to last the evening, so it’s fresh every day. In his wide and long experience of tasting naan, he has “never found any naan tastier than those made by street vendors across India and Bangladesh, I suspect their over use of ghees make it that much more tastier”. So the more fat, the more flavour but the less healthy! At the Jasmine they aim to provide healthier food by using fresher ingredients and less salt, oils and ghee.

Seems like a good excuse to go for a curry.

The Jasmine Restaurant
The Jasmine Restaurant

Birds of Rye Presentation at Shooters Hill Local History Group

Yellow-footed Gull at Essaouira
Yellow-footed Gull

Greenwich Park Ranger John Beckham will be talking to the Shooters Hill Local History Group on the subject of “Birds of Rye Harbour and Surrounding Area” on Thursday, 21st February. The presentation will take place at Shrewsbury House, Bushmoor Crescent starting at 8.00pm. John regularly gives presentations on ornithology to local groups and is one of the leaders of Greenwich park tours and rambles.

It should be an interesting talk. A very wide variety of different birds are seen at the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and their January sightings included: over 2500 wigeon, 972 teal, 2130 brent goose,  bittern, a smew, 68 white-fronted goose, 10 goldeneye, six pintail, two great white egret, a little egret, large numbers of curlew, lapwing, golden plover, snipe, a flock of 26 ruff, 220 dunlin, 180 knot, 120 sanderling, 61 grey plover, three avocet, a bar-tailed godwit, several woodcock, five jack snipe spotted redshank, three marsh harrier, merlin, peregrine, a buzzard, a hen harrier, brent goose, red-throated diver, 75 gannet, 70 guillemot, 120 razorbill, three slavonian grebe, Mediterranean gull, 180 fieldfare, 45 redwing, 235 skylark, corn bunting flocks, a raven, a firecrest and the highlight, a hawfinch.

Buildings of local interest

Edwardian Romanticism on Shooters Hill
Edwardian Romanticism on Shooters Hill

Whilst browsing in the local history section at Woolwich Library I came across a slim, typed, A4 document entitled “Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Importance” by Councillor N.R. Adams and Borough Planning Officer C.H.J. Pollard-Britten, published in April 1983. It lists and describes interesting buildings across the borough, including quite a few here in Shooters Hill. I hadn’t come across many of the building described, and the descriptions sounded quite interesting, which seemed like a good excuse for a stroll round the local streets with my camera. Also the selection of buildings didn’t include quite a few that I thought would be essential members of such a list, so I arranged my route to pass some of them too.

I started on Shooters Hill itself.  The list included the Police Station, Christ Church and School, Samuel Phillips Memorial Shelter, and the Castlewood Day Hospital, but not the Water Tower or the Bull, though the nearby houses in the photograph at the top were there:

Nos 157 and 159

Built in 1907, a pair of semi-detached villas in the Dutch style, standing on the previous site of “The Bull”. 2-storey in red brick with blue brick diaper work in the two main front gables. Slate roof and English Tudor style chimneys. Example of Edwardian romanticism uncommon in this area.

“Uncommon Edwardian Romanticism” – a good start. I headed round the corner into Shrewsbury Lane, where several of the document’s entries are remnants from Victorian times when the area was dominated by large houses. Two walls from that era are described. The one between number 55 and Occupation Lane marked the boundary of Haddon Lodge, which appears on the 1866 OS map and according to Bagnold was built by William Jackson Esq. in about 1860. Then there’s the wall next to number 61, which was part of the enclosure of  Park Villa and West Villa, former 19th century buildings which were demolished in the 1960s.

On the other side of  the lane is Elmhurst Cottage, which is described as:

No. 40

‘Elmhurst Cottage’

Small single storey timber building – originally appeared on Ordnance Survey map of 1846, but rebuilt in previous style in 1976. Lidgebird, brickmaker for the Royal Arsenal, lived here. Built of wood with slate roof and sash windows. Decorative trellis work to sides of windows and projecting porch.

Elmhurst Cottage
Elmhurst Cottage

The cottage is all that remains of a much larger residence in spacious grounds called Elmhurst, which Bagnold describes as ” a substantial residence built by the Dallins in 1859 and occupied by the family up until 1868 or later.” The Lidgbirds and Dallins were significant families in the history of Shooters Hill. John Lidgbird, who was made High Sheriff of Kent in 1741, was a major landowner in the area. The eagles in his coat-of-arms are one possible origin of the name Eaglesfield. In the nineteenth century the Rev Thomas Dallin was the first vicar of Christ Church. He was married to Mary Lidgbird, a descendant of John. I guess that’s where Dallin Road got its name from.

The only other houses mentioned in Shrewsbury Lane are 48 and 65. The fire station and Furze Lodge, the former gas decontamination centre, aren’t in the list. I notice the conversion of Furze Lodge is now complete and ready for people to move in and enjoy the views.

Furze Lodge - former Gas Decontamination Centre
Furze Lodge – former Gas Decontamination Centre

I continued down the hill into Plum Lane where the document describes a terrace of pretty cottages:

Nos. 10 – 32 (even)

Mid Victorian period – two terraces, split by Vambery Road, of small 2-storey yellow stock houses with slated roofs. Stone dressings to front doors and ground floor windows. Some houses have been pebbledashed. Terrace north of Vambery Road bear inscription, ‘Shrewsbury Villas – built 1858’

Shrewsbury Villas - built 1858
Shrewsbury Villas – built 1858

I decided to head back via Genesta Road to take a look at another building that isn’t in the list – the United Kingdom’s only modernist terrace. On the way I expected to see the only wall post box left in SE18: a “Victorian letter box in wall adjacent to No. 90 Plum Lane”.  I was disappointed to find just a blank wall, which must mean that there are now no wall post boxes in SE18.

Russia-born architect Berthold Lubetkin‘s terrace at 85-91 Genesta Road is Grade II* listed, and is described on British Listed Buildings as follows:

Terrace of four houses. 1933-4 by Berthold Lubetkin, in conjunction with A V Pilichowski who secured the commission from C J Pell and Co. developers. George West Ltd. builders. Monolithic reinforced concrete construction, painted, with flat roof. Narrow frontage houses, 7.7 metres deep, on three floors, the ground floor lower than the road owing to the extremely steep site. Houses arranged in mirrored pairs. Ground floor with entrance halls, loggia rooms and garages, first floors with reception rooms and kitchens, the second floors with three bedrooms and bathrooms.
Entrances set back behind single pilotis to each house, which support the projecting upper storeys, and given further enclosure by curved projection to side. Most houses retain their original Crittall metal doors, and No. 91 has original bell. Garages, set further back, retain original doors. All windows to front are the original Crittall metal frames with side-opening casements, as are those to the rear except where noted. First floor with continuous horizontal windows across facade, each of ten vertical lights with some opening casements, set in projecting concrete frame – a very early use of such a feature. The second floor has a similar five-light window, with to side, doors on to balcony with cyma-curved concrete front and steel sides. This is a very distinctive and classic Lubetkin design, perhaps derived from the Bauhaus but evolved by him into one of the most characterful design features of the 1930s. Rear elevation simpler, though with similar Crittall windows surviving to Nos. 87 and 91 and to the upper floors of No. 85. The small bathroom and toilet windows to No. 89 survive, but the others have been altered. Ground floors originally with open loggias, now infilled with wood or glass but retaining their ‘garden room’ characteristic. The interiors survive remarkably well in all the houses, though No. 91 is the most complete.

Entrance halls with magnesium chloride floors, save that to No. 87 which has woodblock floor. Curved cloakroom in projection to side of front doors. Circular staircases with cupboards underneath, their timber newels scooped out on ground and first floor levels to make semi-circular features, admitting more light and space. A series of curves completes this newel wall at the top of the houses. First floor landing with cork floors. Reception rooms in two halves with square archway between, devised to give a sense of division without loss of space and light, and with two doors opening on to landing to enhance circulation space. On the second floor, No. 91 retains its original bathroom fixtures, with tiled walls and floors. The bedrooms have composition floors. Ladders secured over the stairwell give access via rooflight to flat roofs.
The front and side retaining walls with planting boxes are an important part of the composition, as are surviving gates and gatepiers. The rear gardens incorporate some walling and edgings in their steeply sloping sites.
Lubetkin was an emigre architect from the Soviet Union who settled in Britain in late 1931. This is his first building here, yet it is a confident and mature work which reveals many of the design details which were to appear in his later and better-known public commissions. The houses are the only completed terrace in England built in the modern idiom during the 1930s, and they are remarkably well preserved. Lubetkin himself designed only two other private houses, both in Whipsnade and including one for himself.

One of the terrace was recently up for sale, and there are currently some great pictures of the interior and a floor plan on The Modern House web site.

I headed back via Eglinton Hill. The first two houses in Adams’ and Pollard-Britten’s list had changed unfortunately: the red brick front and yellow stock brick return at number 29 had been pebbledashed and the carriage doors at number 35 are now a window. The houses further up were interesting though, and I’ll write about them in a future post.

I took quite a few more pictures on my stroll around Shooters Hill buildings of interest,  which I’ve uploaded to a flickr set of Shooters Hill Interesting Buildings. I’m planning future photographic perambulations to visit the other buildings of architectural and historic interest in the area, which I’ll add to the set. Suggestions for buildings that should be included would be welcome.

91 Genesta Road - part of the United Kingdom's only modernist terrace
91 Genesta Road – part of the United Kingdom’s only modernist terrace

Farm goes Welsh for a day

Snip from S4C's programme Ffermio
Snip from S4C’s programme Ffermio

Barry Gray from Woodlands Farm e-mailed about a recent visit to the farm by children from the Welsh School London and representatives of the Farmers Union of Wales which was filmed by the S4C TV channel for their Ffermio programme. Barry wrote:

Because of our Welsh connection, (our manager, Dai Jones is from Ceridigion and is a native Welsh speaker), we had a visit from the Farmers Union of Wales and children from the London Welsh School for a totally Welsh speaking visit on January 29th. The report of the visit has just appeared on the Welsh speaking channel SC4 on a programme called “Ffermio”.

I append a link to the programme http://www.s4c.co.uk/clic/e_level2.shtml?series_id=503056891 This is episode 5, the piece about the farm begins at 17.00 mins into the programme and you can get English sub titles by pressing “S” on the bar!

It’s an interesting programme, all in Welsh with English sub-sitles, and I learned  some new things about the farm and that the Welsh for guinea pig is guinea pig. It is available to view on the S4C web site for another 32 days.

Snip from S4C's programme Ffermio
Snip from S4C’s programme Ffermio

MoD close footpath – permanently

MoD notice that footpath is closed permanently
MoD notice that footpath is closed permanently

Steve e-mailed me to say that the MoD has closed the footpath next to the former Cottage Hospital on Shooters Hill, without any consultation and at very short notice. There is a notice about the closure of the footpath at one end of the footpath which has been completely blocked with fencing at each end.

Academy Place end of the path
Academy Place end of the path
Shooters Hill end of the path
Shooters Hill end of the path











Steve wrote:

Just to let you know about a permanent footpath closure next to the Red Lion Lane bus stop and the former Castle Wood Day Hospital, now social housing just below Red Lion Lane on Shooters Hill.
Closure took effect on Monday 4 February and was done without any public consultation. The footpath is well established and I first saw a notice about closure on Friday 1 February.
The notice which is from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation gave the phone number 020 8781 3157 for the Estates Team Leader. The reason for closure is litter and nuisance to residents on the M.O.D. estate; also the footpath is on land owned by the M.O.D. but then so too is Woolwich Common!
The litter problem is not new and could be dealt with by the M.O.D./Greenwich Council and the Neighbourhood Watch could address any nuisance issues.
Followers of e-shootershill might want to challenge this decision and get it reversed.

The blocked path is shown on the Google Map snippet below. As Steve says it is an established path, frequently used by members of the public. My rambles round the area often include the path as part of an alternative to Red Lion Lane. This way down to the bottom of Red Lion Lane near the Shooters Hill Campus has a very open, rural feel and passes close to the embankment of the former miniature rifle range shown in the 1914 OS map of the area. Although it is MoD land it is open to the public at both ends and the path closure won’t prevent general access to the area. Quite a lot of land in the area is MoD owned, including  Woolwich Common.

Google Map snippet showing blocked path
Google Map snippet showing blocked path

I tried a number of times to get through to the Estates Team Leader on 020 8781 3157, but always got an answerphone. However I did manage to talk to Chris at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation via their Aldershot office. He explained that the path had been closed because of nuisance caused to local residents by schoolchildren gathering there after school – it had become a local meeting place –  and there were also concerns about food and litter dropped there. They had checked their records and confirmed that the path was privately owned by the MoD and had consulted the local council before putting up a notice saying the path would be closed. He also pointed out that Red Lion Lane provided a nearby  alternative route.

If we want to express concern about the closure and ask for the path to be reopened we can do so via e-mail to dioopssouth-lms13d1@mod.uk, and we can always contact local MP Clive Efford on clive@cliveefford.org.uk. I have an increasing collection of letters from Clive on House of Commons headed note paper so I’ll be interested to hear what he thinks about this.

Oxfam Touch of Glamour at the Trafalgar

Oxfam Touch of Glamour poster

Greenwich Oxfam are marking International Women’s Day with a “Touch of Glamour” in the Nelson Rooms at the Trafalgar Tavern on Thursday 7th March starting at 6.30pm. Part of Oxfam’s national Get Together, the event aims to showcase local female talent and raise money for Oxfam to transform the lives of women living in poverty around the world.

The evening’s entertainment includes music from south-east London singer songwriter Sarah Flotel, a reading from her new novel “How to Create the Perfect Wife” by Eltham-based author Wendy Moore  and stand-up comedy from writer, broadcaster and comedian Viv Groskop. It ends with a cat-walk show from local boutique Traffic People.

Nails Inc will be offering free manicures throughout the evening, stylist Bee Barnsley of the Stella & Dot Foundation will give style tips and there will be a range of fashion and craft stalls.

Here’s one of Sarah Flotel’s  songs as a taster:

Tickets cost £8.00, which includes a free cupcake,  and  must be bought in advance. They are available from :

Blackheath Oxfam Shop
Greenwich Oxfam Bookshop

The event is suitable for people aged 11 and over, but under 18s must be accompanied by an adult and i/d is required.

All ticket proceeds, as well as 10% of everything sold on the stalls, will go to Oxfam.

Crossrail Station Box Tour and Fun Run

Artists Impression of Crossrail Station Box from Crossrail Station Box Completion Event – 27 February 2013 Information Sheet
Artists Impression of Crossrail Station Box

Berkeley Homes are holding a Crossrail station box completion event on the 27th February to celebrate the completion of the 2-year long construction project 4 months ahead of schedule, and to raise money for Demelza House Children’s Hospice and the Berkeley Foundation.

The event offers the opportunity to take a tour of the station box or to participate in a fun run 20 metres below ground level.  Tours will last 30 minutes and will start out every half hour between 3.00pm and 5.00pm with a maximum of 20 people per tour. The fun run starts at 6.00pm and, in the words of the Berkeley information leaflet:

With the emphasis on FUN! This will not be a competitive event, there will not be any timekeeping and there will be no winner. In fact the only prizes will be given for the best fancy dress.
The fun run will take place inside the station box, approximately 20 metres below ground level! The size and nature of the space makes this a unique and not to be missed event.
One lap of the station box is approximately 500 metres. Runners are free to run, jog or walk as far as they want within the time limit of (30 to 40 minutes). How far will you get?
The fun run will commence from 6pm. All participants will need to arrive to register and access the station box by 5.30pm.
Fancy Dress – Yes, fancy dress costumes are encouraged. Exciting prizes will be given to those judged to be wearing the best costumes. However, sensible running footwear is essential.

Because of the location of the event it is restricted to people over 14 years old,  taller than 1.2m and who are happy traversing a seven storey scaffolding staircase. Anyone under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Registration is necessary to participate in the event. This can be done either by by phone on 020 8331 7275 or e-mail to woolwichstationbox@berkeleygroup.co.uk. A minimum donation to Demelza House Children’s Hospice of £5.00 is requested for the tour and £10.00 for the fun run. Berkeley will match all donations with a donation to the Berkeley Foundation.

Unfortunately the Herrenknecht tunnel boring machines, Sophia and Mary, won’t have arrived by the 27th – they are on their way from Plumstead.

Completion of the station box is a major milestone for Crossrail, but the funding for the rest of the station is still to be agreed between Berkeley Homes, Greenwich Council and the Department for Transport. Once complete Crossrail will run 12 trains per hour into central London and on to Heathrow. It is expected to lead to an increase in house prices in Woolwich and other areas along the route. Berkeley Homes plan to build 2517 homes in the Royal Arsenal site.

Crossrail station box site
Crossrail station box site