e-shootershill homepage

Recent Updates Page 2

  • hilly 12:46 pm on September 13, 2015
    Tags: , garrison church, , , ,   

    Open House Weekend 

    St George mosaic at St George's Garrison Church after first phase of restoration

    St George mosaic at St George’s Garrison Church after first phase of restoration

    St George’s Garrison Church will be open for London Open House weekend, despite not appearing in the Open House brochure. Between 10am and 5pm on the 19th and 20th September we’ll be able to see the marvellous mosaics after phase 1 of their restoration and the new tensile fabric roof that protects them. It is planned to have a mini-autumn festival at the church, with food and arts and craft stalls. There is no charge for stalls, if you’d like to take part contact Julie Ricketts, the Heritage Project Officer, on hpostgeorgeswoolwich@gmail.com. Also contact Julie if you’re interested in helping other Friends of St George’s to show visitors round on either of the two days.

    It’s a mystery why the restored church isn’t included in the Open House brochure, especially when an article about the restoration and the new roof appeared in the RIBA journal. The only reason I’ve heard is that they “had too many churches already”.

    New tensile roof protecting  St George's Garrison Church

    New tensile roof protecting St George’s Garrison Church

    The weekend of 19th and 20th September looks like being packed with interesting local events. As well as St George’s Garrison Church and London Open House, Shrewsbury House is hosting its own open house on the Saturday, there’s the Woolwich Carnival also on Saturday, Severndroog Castle are holding an autumn festival as part of their Open House on Sunday,  and The Walking Time Machine has a Battle of Britain Anniversary Special walk on Sunday. More about all of these below.

    Shrewsbury House‘s Open House is free and runs from 12 ’til 4 on Saturday. It includes:

    Activities & Presentations by User Groups
    Photography, Yoga, Keep Fit, Singing, Fencing, Wine Making, Short Matt Bowls, Tai Chi, Beavers, Jujitsu, Pilates, etc etc
    Children’s & Family Activities
    Toddler & Pre-School activities, Face Painting, Ballet & Street Dance.
    Live Music & Dance
    in the Princess Charlotte Room
    Bubbly & Cake on the Kent View Balcony
    A Pop Up Indulgent Cafe with a View complete with Millinery, Hand Made Jewellery & More
    Tours of the House
    with Spoken Guide by Local Historian

    There is also a “What do you want your Shooters Hill to be?” wall chart quiz which sounds interesting.


    Shrewsbury House open house poster

    Woolwich Carnival is on Saturday 19th between midday and 5.00pm. Sounds good from their description:

    Inspired by the diverse and active community groups in the Greenwich area the Woolwich Community Carnival Committee are bringing back carnival to Woolwich this summer on Saturday 19th September.
    Woolwich Carnival will be a celebration of local culture and community. There will be a parade, costumes, live music, dance, community stalls, food and crafts, steel drums and plenty of good vibes – a great way to bring neighbouring communities together for a day of collective summer festivities.
    This year’s theme is Feeling Good – all things that make us happy.

    The local highlights of London Open House for me are the Gordon Square walk and talk and the opening of the Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral (formerly Granada Cinema), both on Saturday, and the Severndroog Castle Autumn Festival on Sunday.

    The Gordon Square walk and talk is intriguingly entitled “Many Ways to Sit: The Social Dynamics of Gordon Square“.

    Meet: Sat 10.30am next to the big TV screen, General Gordon Square SE18 6HX. First come basis. N D T
    A tour and talk looking at the problems and potential of seating in public places, focusing on Gordon Square, Woolwich. A ten minute documentary film will be shown in a nearby venue, made in collaboration with users of Gordon Square.
    Gustafson Porter 2011.

    An unexpected highlight of Open House a couple of years ago was a walk and talk about the Woolwich Squares. This gave a fascinating insight into the challenges of designing and developing Gordon and Beresford Square and the solutions that were adopted, often with tricky negotiations, such as the late addition of a requirement to have the large screen in Gordon Square. The description of the project to transform the square has some fascinating snippets:

    This project aims to transform Woolwich into one of London’s best-connected, most sought-after riverside areas. Developed with the local community, the landscape masterplan draws on the town’s rich architectural and military heritage to create two multi-functional, fully-accessible spaces called ‘Garden’ and ‘Ballroom’, connected by Greens End’s revitalised streetscape.
    Gordon Square is a daytime garden which can be layered with different uses, including specialist markets and public events. A scrim of water in its lawned amphitheatre can also be transformed into an ice rink. Beresford Square is a more formal space supporting a daily market. Its east side illuminates with the setting sun and changing patterns of light encourage local residents to linger and meet against the dramatic backdrop of Arsenal Gate.

    I’ve never heard the water feature called a “scrim of water” before, and love the thought that it could be turned into an ice rink, though the slope might make it interesting!

    The former Granada Cinema at the end of Powis Street, which is now the Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral, is a very welcome new addition to Open House this year. It will be open on Saturday between 1.00pm and 5.00pm. Its description in the Open House guide barely does it justice: “Lavish and atmospheric former cinema with interior by Theodore Komisarjevsky, converted to Bingo Hall in 1960s. Grade II* listed.” Komisarjevsky, once a stage designer for the Russian ballet, designed the interior in gothic style and used motifs from European cathedral buildings such as Amiens, Rouen and Lyons in the auditorium, so it doesn’t seem inappropriate that it is now used as a cathedral. I was allowed to have a look round the cathedral last year, some of my photos are here on Flickr, and was very impressed both by the building itself and by the care with which it had been restored. Well worth a visit.

     Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral, formerly Woolwich Granada Cinema

    Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral, formerly Woolwich Granada Cinema

    Detail of auditorium at Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral, formerly Woolwich Granada Cinema

    Detail of auditorium at Christ Faith Tabernacle Cathedral, formerly Woolwich Granada Cinema

    Severndroog Castle is always worth a visit, both for the building itself and the excellent views from the top. For this years Open House the volunteer team are also planning an Autumn Festival, with “singers, musicians and folk or Morris dancers. Also, local food producers, in particular fruit and vegetables or cheese.” The castle will be open on Sunday between 10.30am and 4.30pm, with tours every half hour.

    On Sunday it would easily be possible to combine a visit to St George’s Garrison Church and Severndroog Castle with an afternoon guided walk, the Walking Time Machine Battle of Britain Anniversary Special, led by local archaeologist Andy Brockman. Andy’s last guided walk was fascinating, and this one promises to be equally so. It starts at at 2.00pm at the Oxleas Wood Cafe, and is described in the History Mill Facebook group:

    To remember the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz the History Mill invites you take take part in a special guided walk to see how in the Autumn of 1940 Shooters Hill and Plumstead prepared to face the Luftwaffe and a possible German Invasion.
    Where: Meet at the Oxleas Wood Cafe
    When: 2pm Sunday 20 September 2015
    Duration: Approximately two hours ending at the Old Mill Pub, Plumstead Common.
    The Battle of Britain and the Blitz are part of the mythology of modern Britain but seventy five years ago they were all too real.
    In September 1940 the sky above London was criss crossed with the vapour trails of Luftwaffe bombers and British Spitfire and Hurricane fighters while down below the ARP Service, the Home Guard and other civilian services worked with the anti-aircraft and barrage balloon crews to help protect London and its civilian population from the German onslaught.
    At the back of everyone’s mind was the fear of a German invasion which could come at any moment and would inflict on London the damage wrought in Madrid and Warsaw.
    This special anniversary History Mill timewalk will be led by conflict archaeologist Andy Brockman and will visit the sites associated with that momentous Summer of 1940 on Shooters Hill, including some of the sites seen in the Time Team “Blitzkrieg on Shooters Hill”, and demonstrate how the local landscape was taken over by a Total War, the effects of which we are still seeing today.
    Families and well behaved dogs welcome.
    Please dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear suitable for a two hour walk on pavements and through local parks.
    Free: Donations to the Plumstead Make Merry welcome.

    What a great weekend in prospect, I feel exhausted just thinking about how to get round everything. Oh, and I almost forgot that Woodlands Farm has its Autumn Equinox Walk on Sunday at 10.00am too.

    Detail of decoration at Severndroog Castle

    Detail of decoration at Severndroog Castle

  • hilly 6:03 pm on September 7, 2015
    Tags: , , ,   

    Shrewsbury Park Bat Walk 

    Friends of Shrewsbury Park‘s bat walk poster

    September is the start of the breeding season for bats and also when they  start to build up their fat stores for the winter hibernation, so hopefully there will be plenty of them around for the Shrewsbury Park bat walk on Friday. Kathy from the Friends of Shrewsbury Park e-mailed the poster and details of the walk:

    Please find poster attached giving details of the Bat Walk on 11 September, starting at 7.45pm in the car park.
    It is free to you as you are a member of the Friends of Shrewsbury Park. You will see that we have decided to charge non-members for the walk. If non-members join the Friends, then the walk will be free to them. By charging non-members, we will increase the funding towards our drinking fountain. If they join, then we will increase our membership.
    We will have to spend a few minutes at the beginning of the walk checking membership.
    Just a reminder, if it is raining, the bats will not be out, nor will we.
    Fingers crossed for a dry evening.

    This is the last local bat walk for this year as far as I know. Lots of bats have been detected and sighted on all the others, let’s hope Friday maintains the record.

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015

    Brown Long Eared bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    Serotine bat from Jenny Clark's education team at Batfest 2015

    Serotine bat from Jenny Clark’s education team at Batfest 2015

    • hilly 10:40 am on September 10, 2015

      Got an update from Kathy this morning:

      Just a reminder about the Bat Walk this Friday, at 7.45pm, starting at the car park. If you are coming, please wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing, and bring a torch. All children must be accompanied by an adult, and all dogs must be kept on a lead. You will have the opportunity of listening to the bats via our bat detectors.

      The walk is free to FSP members, but we will be charging non-members £2. If you know anyone who wants to come on the walk and who is not yet a member, please ask them to join by Friday noon and the walk will be free to them. They should email fspdog@hotmail.com

  • hilly 2:35 pm on August 22, 2015
    Tags: ,   

    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
    Tags: , , ,   

    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
    Tags: , ,   

    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.

compose new post
next post/next comment
previous post/previous comment
show/hide comments
go to top
go to login
show/hide help
shift + esc