It’s a busy time at Woodlands Farm, with the lambing season in full swing and the lambing trained volunteers on a rota to support the ewes. This leads up to the Lambing Day fair on 9th April, Easter Holiday children’s activities and the start of the surveys of the farm’s flora and fauna.
Some 38 of the farm’s 70 pregnant ewes have given birth so far, and there seem to be more triplets this year. The first to lamb were the recently arrived, rare breed Manx Loaghtan which have striking black lambs, now old enough to be gambolling in the fields. The newly born lambs will be on display at the farm’s annual Lambing Day fair on Sunday 9th April from 11am to 4pm, entrance price £2 for adults £1 for children. The fair will also have the usual stalls, country crafts, children’s activities and café and barbecue.
The week after Lambing Day the farm will host its Easter Holiday events for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with details:
Easter Holiday Events
Tuesday 11th April Mad Hatters Tea Party 10.30am-12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm
The second in our series of events to celebrate 20 years of the Woodlands Farm Trust. Come along to our Mad Hatters Tea Party, dress up and join our celebrations as we make fun hats and prepare some food to start the party! £4 per child. Booking is essential, to book call 0208 319 8900. Don’t be late for a very important date!
Wednesday 12th April Marvellous Minibeasts 10am-12noon or 1pm-3pm
Do you love creepy crawlies and bugs? Join us as we find out all about minibeasts. We will be doing a craft as well as using magnifying glasses to see what we can find in the woods. £4 per child. Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900. This walk is not suitable for buggies.
Thursday 13th April Egg-cellent Easter Trail Any time between 10am and 2pm
Join us for our annual Easter Trail. Can you find all the different Easter Eggs and Spring Animals hidden around the farmyard? Find them all and you will get your own Chocolate Easter egg to take home. Drop in any time between 10am and 2pm. £2 per child
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah is also the person to contact if you are interested in helping with the comprehensive set of surveys of the wildlife and plants at the farm. They start with the monthly bee walks to record the numbers and types of bumble bees, the next one of which is on Wednesday 19th April, then there is the first of the pond surveys, mainly looking for amphibians, on Thursday 27th April. Later surveys will include wild flowers, hedgerows, butterflies, moths, mammals and bats.
There is a Severndroog Castle film night on Thursday 16th March at Shrewsbury House at 8pm arranged by the Shooters Hill Local History Group.
Films of the campaign to save Severndroog will be shown by the Shooters Hill Camcorder Club and will include the TV Restoration programme; the visit by the mayors of Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark: the opening of the building and an open day event.
A visitor fee applies, everyone welcome.
The story of Severndroog Castle is one of successful community activism, which started when the castle was under threat of being sold off to a private company for use as offices in 2002. The Severndroog Castle Alliance (later the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust) was formed by residents living in the area with the aim of saving the building for community use. The castle was included in the BBC Restoration series in which viewers voted on which listed building should be given a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for remedial work in 2004. Although the castle only managed second place in the south-east section of the programme, ultimately it was Heritage Lottery funding that allowed its restoration, as well as funds from charities such as the Country Houses Foundation; The Pilgrim Trust and The Architectural Heritage Fund. Now the castle is run by volunteers who organise regular events and open the castle to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 12:30-4:30pm. It’s worth a visit for the views alone.
Woolwich Opera Works (WOW) are holding a free concert of Spanish-themed music at All Saints Church in Herbert Road on Sunday, 26th February. Their website provides more detail:
Sunday, February 26, 2017, 4:00pm 5:30pm
WOW are excited to present 4 world class singers to celebrate our one year anniversary. The theme of the concert is Spain and it includes operatic highlights from well known operas in the first half featuring Carmen, Le nozze di Figaro, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Fidelio, Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore. After a short interval the programme continues with a lighter selection of gorgeous Spanish Songs and culminates in a beautiful arrangement of Rodrigo’s En Aranjuez con mi amor.
Sopranos Donna Bateman and Sally Silver are joined by tenor Dominic Natoli and baritone Ricardo Panela who are accompanied on the piano by Jeremy Silver.
Tea, coffee and cakes will be sold in the interval and there will be a retiring collection.
Tickets are not required for Sunday’s concert, but it is possible to reserve seats (until 3.50pm) through this website.
This is WOW’s second free concert at All Saints. Founders Sally and Jeremy Silver along with soprano Namrata Shah, bass-baritone Tony Baker and tenor Tony Stocks performed a programme of opera favourites before the church’s Candlelight Carols service in December. This highly enjoyable evening, even for those like me who usually avoid opera, included operatic greatest hits such as Puccini’s O mio babbino caro, Verdi’s Libiamo ne’ lieti calici and Bernstein’s Maria, and was very well received by the audience. I’m looking forward to Sunday’s concert.
The large team of volunteers at Catcuddles have helped many cats and people in the local area. They take in and foster cats that need a home. For example: when their owners are being evicted or are emigrating and facing the prospect of euthanizing their cats; families whose children have developed allergies and asthma from their cats; people whose parents have died and left cats behind; those who have found stray cats or have even had them give birth in their gardens; and local vets who’ve had cats dumped on their premises. They also neuter hundreds of stray cats in the area to help to keep their explosive numbers down. The cats they take in are not all housed at Howarth Road; they have a network of fosterers around the area.
And of course they are best known for pairing hundreds of formerly unwanted cats with loving adoptive families.
The dedication of the volunteers in rescuing cats is quite inspirational. One recent rescue here on Shooters Hill was of a mother cat and her 5 kittens: the Shooters Hill Six. This was a five day rescue operation which saw volunteers staked out in freezing temperatures tending traps to capture the cat and kittens. Catching them was only half the story. The tiny kittens were riddled with ticks which volunteers had to remove by hand. Also the kittens were feral because they had had no human contact, so, as with other feral cats, volunteers had to handle them every day to prepare them for adoption. Happily all but two of the six have now been adopted or reserved for adoption.
The council planners’ reasons for refusing Catcuddles application are difficult to understand. They say that “retention of the property as a cat sanctuary creates excessive noise and odour”, but this just isn’t true. I’ve visited the Catcuddles’ Greenwich Hub myself and noticed no noise or odour. The council’s own environmental health officer has said that there was no problem with odour, and the daily care volunteers are meticulous in their hygiene. There have never been any complaints about noise, and captured cats are known to be quiet to make themselves less conspicuous. The planners also say that it “would result in the loss of the property as a dwelling house”, which is simply untrue as Catcuddles founder, Evina Koroni, lives in the house. The final reason is that it “has involved the creation of numerous structures in the rear garden which have a detrimental impact in terms of design, appearance and scale.” But the cat pens in the back garden are low key and unobtrusive, as the photographs on the charity’s web site show. From the outside the house is indistinguishable from all the other houses in the street.
There are some positive signs for Catcuddles. A group of volunteers had a very constructive meeting with one of their local counsellors, Council Leader Denise Hyland, who told them she would look into the application. The strong support on the petition and crowd funding initiatives are also encouraging. If you would like to help you can sign their petition, contribute to the appeal costs or send them your stories about adopting from or working with Catcuddles.
The next meeting of the Shooters Hill Local History Group will be on Thursday 16 February at 8pm at Shrewsbury House.
The presentation by Mary Mills of the Greenwich Industrial History Society will be about the future of Enderby House on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Everyone welcome, a visitor fee applies.
Enderby House is a grade II listed building which has been neglected and fallen into disrepair over the years. It was built in about 1835 by the Enderby family who established a ropewalk and a factory for making sales on the Enderby Wharf site around the house. In the 1850s a company called Glass, Elliot & Co took over the site and it was where they jointly made the first transatlantic telegraph cable as well as many other early telegraph cables. Later they were absorbed into the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company (Telcon) which manufactured a second transatlantic telegraph cable at Enderby’s Wharf. This was successfully laid by the SS Great Eastern. Submarine cables were made by a succession of companies at Enderby’s Wharf up until 1975.
The area has since been redeveloped and the river front is now crowded with blocks of flats, with more being built. It is also the proposed site of a controversial cruise liner terminal: there is concern about the air pollution created by docked liners which will have to generate their own electricity using their diesel-powered engines because no shore-based generating capacity is planned. Enderby House is still standing, sandwiched between blocks of flats and the cruise liner terminal, but its future is not entirely clear. The developers say they “are proud to be refurbishing the building into a Gastro pub and cultural hub for Greenwich”, but a group of local people have formed the Enderby Group to “secure the future of Enderby House and the cable loading equipment on the Alcatel-Lucent jetty as a permanent centre for telling the story of the sub-sea cable industry on this site, its key role in world-wide communications”. They have their own ideas about what should happen to the house and its surroundings to ensure that the area’s historical importance to modern telecommunications is not lost.
Thursday’s speaker is the secretary of the Enderby Group, so it should be a fascinating talk covering the history of Enderby House, and much more.
It’s half term next week, and as usual Woodlands Farm have laid on some interesting and educational activities for children. Hannah, the Education Officer, wrote with the details:
February Half Term Events
Wednesday 15th February. Print yourself a picture 1pm-3pm
Come along for our afternoon of printing. Come up with your own pattern or design and then using special paint and rollers you can print this picture onto paper to take home with you. £3 per child. Just drop in to make your own print.
Thursday 16th February Woodlands Farm Trail – Then and now 10am – 1pm
The Woodlands Farm Trust is 20 years old! This trail is the first in a series of events celebrating the history of the farm. Can you follow our photo trail and recognise the different places on the farm and how they have changed in the last 20 years. £2 per child.
Friday 17th February Get Wild in the Woods 11am – 1pm and 2pm-4pm
Come and join us in the woods as we learn how to survive in the wild. Have a go at shelter building, wild cooking over a fire and learn what animals need to survive. £4 per child
Age 7+ Booking essential, to book call 020 8319 8900
For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Ricketts on email@example.com
It’s the farm’s 20th anniversary this year – 20 years since it was established as a charitable trust with the aim of “promoting conservation, sustainable farming and education for the benefit of the community” – following People Against the River Crossing‘s successful campaign to prevent a motorway being built through the farm and Oxleas Wood. Every time I visit makes me more aware of what a loss that would have been.
Public Running Dates 2017
We look forward to welcoming you back in 2017 for another summer of nostalgia, riding behind our steam and electric locomotives. The dates and timings have now been confirmed.
The railway and clubhouse will be open from 2:00-5:00pm. Train rides will be available for children and adults(!), with the last ticket issued at 4:30pm. Refreshments are available in the clubhouse.
Sunday April 9th 23rd
Sunday May 7th 21st
Sunday June 4th 18th
Sunday July 2nd 16th 30th
Sunday August 13th 27th
Sunday September 10th 24th
Sunday October 8th (last running)
Santa Special 2017
Tickets for the 2017 Santa Special, to be held on Sunday December 10th, will be on sale at the last two Public Running Events, September 24th and October 8th. Ticket prices are to be confirmed, with a maximum of 4 tickets per family, Admission to the Santa Special is by ticket ONLY.
The maximum age of children will be 8 years, and each ticket allows one adult to travel with the child. Please note that no parking will be allowed on site on the day of the Santa Special.
Open Day 2017
We will be holding an open day for visiting clubs on 7 October.
Father Christmas has a busy weekend coming up in Shooters Hill: he’s visiting St Nic’s Fête at Christ Church on Saturday and Woodlands Farm Christmas Fair on Sunday.
St Nic’s Fête runs from 4 to 6 pm on Saturday, 3rd December. There will be a visit from St Nicholas who will bring a gift for all the children present. There will also be Mulled wine, mince pies, homemade cake, crêpes, biscuit decorating, tombola, a treasure hunt, children’s activities, a Christmas gift stall, and local craft stalls. Then there is a children’s disco from 5.00pm. Entrance costs £3.00 per child with a £5.00 cap per family.
Maureen sent me details of Woodlands Farm‘s annual Christmas Fair on Sunday 4th December from 11.00am to 3.00pm:
All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Christmas Fair. Come and meet Father Christmas, sip mulled wine whilst browsing stalls of local produce and crafts for early Christmas present ideas, or relax in our café while the kids enjoy crafts and games. A great festive day out for all the family. Entry is free, but donations are welcome – all money raised helps us to care for our animals. A great family day out!
No parking on site – please use public transport.
While at the farm there may be a chance to see some of the farm’s new arrivals: British White cow Clover’s new calf and two other recent additions to the farm’s herd.
Shooters Hill Local History Group will be meeting on Thursday, 1st December at Shrewsbury House starting at 8.00pm. Steve wrote to me with the details:
The Shooters Hill Camcorder Club are putting together a local history film night for the Shooters Hill Local History Group on Thursday 1 December at 8pm at Shrewsbury House.
Short films will include ‘After the Storm’ about the 1987 storms; ‘Down to Earth’ featuring the tunnels under Greenwich Park and ‘The Princess Alice Disaster’ telling the story of the sinking of the passenger paddle steamer.
A visitor fee applies.
Sounds like a really interesting meeting!
There’s an imposing memorial to those who died in the sinking of the paddle steamer Princess Alice near Woolwich in 1878. The inscription on the memorial tells the story of what happened:
The Saloon Steamer
Returning from a pleasure excursion
Was wrecked off Tripcock Point
By collision with
The steam collier “Bywell Castle,”
On the night of
September 3rd 1878.
It was computed that
Men women and children
Were on board,
Of these about 550 were drowned
One hundred and twenty were buried near this place.
To the memory
Of those who perished
National sixpenny subscription
More than 23000 person contributed.
A presentation is being given by a member of the East Wickham and Welling War Memorial Trust to the SHLHG on Thursday 20 October at Shrewsbury House at 8pm. A visitor fee applies.
The presentation is about the WElling WILL REMEMBER THEM community project which received Heritage Lottery funding.
The project researched those men from the district who served and died in the First World War. See also www.ewt.org.uk
The East Wickham and Welling War Memorial Trust was established following the First World War to raise funds to construct a Memorial Hall dedicated to the men from the local district who fell in the war. The hall is no longer in existence and the Trust re-registered as a grant giving charity in 1995. Since October 1995 the Trust has awarded grants of over £600,000 to the community, and is probably now the largest source of community funding in East Wickham and Welling.
The WElling WILL REMEMBER THEM project was set up in 2013 to research and tell the stories of the local men from East Wickham and Welling who fought in the First World War. Local people were recruited as Research Volunteers to uncover the stories of the 105 men who are listed on their war memorial and to find out about other men from the local area who fought in the Great War. They were assisted by Year 5 and Year 6 children at Foster’s School who researched some of the men who attended their school.