Fête accomplit

Following today’s midday downpour, which coincided with the start of the Eaglesfield park Fête, there wasn’t much water left in the sky, and the rest of the afternoon was mostly warm and sunny, hence the rather painful pun of a title for this post. The organisers of today’s event could be pretty pleased with how they avoided the worst of the elements today, and the crowd was a happy one.

The main bit of news today was that the Friends of Eaglesfield Park announced that their bid to restore the Lilypond has been a successful one, and they have secured the money required to complete the works, which will be going ahead this summer. As well as relining the pond, other park improvements will include better access at the Eaglesfield road entrance (i.e. a ramp), and better (less crumbly) paths. Improved signs may also be installed, which may help to encourage new visitors to the park.

The Lilypond itself is something of an historical gem according to local archaeologist Andy Brockman, who is investigating the hypothesis that it was part of an ornamental pleasure gardens attached to the old site of the Bull Inn. The Bull used to be a much larger enterprise, which would also have had much larger grounds in which guests could promenade and take in the country air and views of the surrounding counties. Thus, the Lilypond may have been enjoyed as an attractive water feature as long ago as the late 1700’s (due to Andy’s discovery of 18th century ceramics in the pond), and its reinstatement gives the local area something to be really proud of, continuity with its rich historical tradition.

In other park news…the proposed installation of gym equipment in the park remains an open question a year after the first round of consultations took place, with apparently little enthusiasm locally. Having seen the “legacy gym” in Oxleas Woods, a gaudy day-glo affair that mainly seems to get used by children, it’s apparent that such a thing wouldn’t blend so well into the surroundings. Having said that, the current swing park (built in 1994) is made of similarly unsustainable materials, and is the central feature of the whole park; so would a bit more metal and concrete really make such a difference to the overall feel of the park? And would encouraging exercise enthusiasts into the park be a price worth paying – provided they do actually come. This is aside from the fact that there’s apparently no contingency money to maintain these Olympic legacy gyms in the long-term, so this being the case, these gyms could end up being something of a blight on the public space if no-one steps in the care for them.

Eaglesfield Park Fête

eaglesfield park fête 2011

This Year’s flyer

It’s time for this year’s Fête, fortunately there’s no mention of the met getting their copper chopper out this time, as it was rather intimidating last year…besides, the Shooters Hill skies currently have plenty of flyovers anyway, such as the one by the fighter planes and our regular chinook fly-bys.

The organisers, the local neighbourhood watch group, are putting on this event for the fourth year running, and if it’s anywhere near as good as its predecessors it will be one of the best things on all year!

The fete opens at 1:30pm and closes at 4:30pm in Eaglesfield Park, Shooters Hill SE18. Activities include a birds of prey display, children’s entertainer, face painting, football, mini tennis, raffle and much more.

Borough Commander, Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Wood, will be officially opening the fete at approximately 2:15pm.

Jenny Penn, Principal Co-ordinator, said: “We created this fete to promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch and celebrate the amazing community we have in Shooters Hill and it just gets bigger and better each year. This year we have more than 30 stalls and a wide range of entertainment.”

Eaglesfield Lilypond

eaglesfield park lilypond

The Lilypond in February

This little panorama was made back in February and was (probably) taken within days of all the trees and shrubs (bar the mulberry) being cleared from the site of the old Eaglesfield Park Lilypond. It seems that this is probably to do with the restoration project, and confirmation from the foep may come soon, alternatively Andy Brockman (who is involved in the project) may be able to give some updates during his talk at the Shooters Hill Local History Group this Thursday at 8pm at Shrewsbury House.

Trim Trail

In a previous post on Eaglesfield park, I linked to some negative feedback on trim trails, which said no one uses them – but the other day I was on Lakedale road (very nice it is too) and i saw two wooden trim points by the paddling pool, both of which were very much in use: one by a solitary runner, possibly trying to get his arm muscles in proportion to those of his legs, and one by a family who were having lots of fun twirling round on some hoops, this was at 7 o’ clock in the evening. The devices themselves were not unattractive and it was a pleasant evening, perfect for a bit of exercise.

Seeing this definitely made me feel more enthusiastic about the possibility of fitness facilities coming to Eaglesfield park.

Eagles in the field

Wow! The 3rd eaglesfield neighbourhood watch fête was absolutely fantastic. The main park users catered for were the children but i’m sure the dogs didn’t mind. A possible 3rd user group was being sounded out yesterday with the beginning of a council consultation regarding funds allocated for new fitness facilities in the park. There are currently 3 main options:

  • trim trail (monkey bars etc dotted around the park)
  • one gym area (possibly in the south east corner, almost certainly not the top by the lily pond)
  • neither

It would be great to get some more park users (improved access and signs are also coming), although there are several issues to be sorted out at the grass roots level including environmental effects, materials to be used, colours, maintenance etc. For those interested in finding out more, the councillors/friends of eaglesfield park can provide more information. At first i thought that a trim trail might blend in more (require less levelling), but on further reflection i think it could actually be more intrusive as it would involve spreading these potentially unattractive structures over a much larger area, it didn’t take long to find an blog rant on the subject, with a main complaint being that people don’t actually use them – it’s not certain whether people would use an outdoor gym any more or less either.

Moves to make a permanent feature of ww1 gun base are coming along. It was probably installed to help defend against zepellins flying towards london, and is highly significant as it remains a unique find.

The reinstatement of the lily pond is looking promising too.

Neighbourhood Watch Fête

If you thought neighbourhood watch was about ostracising young people, putting up worrying signs, being paranoid and twitching curtains, think again, because the eaglesfield neighbourhood watch scheme are a positive force promoting what’s good whilst remaining vigilant concerning the not so good. Actually this area is more good than not, the local met beat has the lowest crime rate in the borough (in april 2010 it was 5.83) and the group can probably take some credit for keeping it that way.

When the scheme was conceived in around late 2005/early 2006, i attended a meeting about the rising tensions between local residents and a group of youngsters in eaglesfield park, and yes the reactionary squad were out in force, claiming that if children got caned at school everything would be alright! but with the advent of the group, and the introduction of a detached youth worker (who got them to plant crocuses and take a bit of care of the park) things gradually got better. I’m not sure what happened to the yoof, although i did hear a rumour that as a treat the youth worker took them to chessington at the end of the summer, where they managed to get thrown out… i believe they were moved from the park to the woods after that, having seen them once when london bubble were performing there one night (incidentally they are back this august, trying to stop the dogs running off with their props!).

Since then the scheme has got bigger and better, and with the inception of its website, which recently celebrated it’s first birthday, the whole police ward has gradually become more interconnected with residents on different streets (cleanthus, foxcroft, kenilworth, bushmoor etc) joining up under the shooters hill umbrella with the backing of the local safer neighbourhoods scheme.

As part of their ongoing positive action, they will be presenting their annual Fête tomorrow (sat the 12th of june) from 130 to 430, and have amassed an impressive selection of activities.

  • Meet ‘Rufus’ the harris hawk from CBBC Animals At Work and other working birds of prey
  • Play ‘beat the goalie’ with the Charlton Athletic FC
  • Take part in mini tennis with the Shooters Hill Lawn Tennis Club
  • See the Police Air Support and meet the mounted team and traffic division. Plus Cadets and Met Specials and the Shooters Hill Safer Neighbourhood Police team
  • Listen to the Corps of Drums 97 Cadet Battery (Woolwich)
  • Children can take part in a ‘Nature Trail’ and have their face painted
  • Guided tours of the trees in the park will be hosted by Arboriculturalist Joe Woodcock.
  • The police have pulled out all the stops this year and you will be able to see the Met Police Air Support team and traffic divisions. Cadets and Met Police Specials will be on hand, and the Shooters Hill Safer Neighbourhood Police team.
  • Join in the nature trail and guided tour, and have your face and hands painted.
  • Take part in the raffle to a win 2 pairs of tickets to see Bon Jovi in the VIP suite at the 02, plus many other great prizes.
  • Yummy home-made cakes and refreshments will be on sale, as well as a bric-a-brac stand.
  • The fete opens at 1:30pm by PC Fiona Genovese of the Shooters Hill Safer Neighbourhood Police Team.

Eaglesfield Park Open Air Gym/Green Flag Status

Today I received some campaign materials from Clive Efford MP, which included the news that Eaglesfield Park is going to have its own Open Air Gym (?!) and improved signs and paths in order to meet the criteria for the prestigious Green Flag Award.

The concept of an open air gym seems quite strange to me as I’ve become happily accustomed to the idea of people getting their endorphins behind closed doors on those bizarre W. Heath Robinson style contraptions that allow you to run nowhere, lift nothing and so on – walking the streets is certainly much more pleasant now than it was at the height of the jogging craze; these days I can happily amble around in a reverie without sweaty spandex clad neurotransmitter freaks huffing and puffing at me from all directions.

The money itself is going to come from an Olympics Legacy fund. I assume the idea is to use the events to enthuse local people about sport at the same time as giving them an outlet for all their newfound enthusiasm – this is the legacy, and surely a good thing if it gives people something to do other than moan about the bankers nicking all our money. I’m personally looking forward to the target sports at the artillery barracks, and will be watching as much Robin Hood as I can in the run up to the games. I’m not sure if local people will be able to get tickets though, quite possibly not, and even if they can I’ve heard that they change hands for thousands of pounds.

As for the Green Flag award, it sounds quite good considering the recognition that the Plumstead Common Environment Group have earned as a result of their award winning restoration of the Slade Ponds. It certainly bodes well for the Lily Pond plans as being able to write “Green Flag Status” on grant applications helps to make a good impression on the potential future funders by demonstrating that there is a precedent of time and money being invested in the park.

Eaglesfield Park: The changing landscape

Coat of Arms of John Lidgbird Sheriff of Kent, 1741
Coat of Arms of John Lidgbird Sheriff of Kent, 1741 - from which the park takes its name

The modern name for Eaglesfield is derived from the coat of arms of John Lidgbird, who was made High Sheriff of Kent in 1741 and owned the site. His coat of arms displayed two eagles. The current play park there has seen a number of changes over the years, but as features go, it possibly started out as a dew pond, formed to collect drinking water for the Oxen grazing on deforested areas (hence the name Oxleas)[1. From the Eaglesfield Park management plan (2008 draft).].

At some point it became the yacht pond, as seen in the postcard pictures below, and later still a paddling pool, before being transformed into a play park around 1994.

There’s also pictures of the (hopefully) soon to be reinstated Lily Pond.

Update – plumstead-stories.com sent me another nice one of the park, can’t quite figure out whereabouts it is though:
eaglesfield park

Good Dog (Owner)

It might not quite be a banksy, but the council dog stencil does seem to be fairly effective at keeping the hill clean and safe, at least in the bits it appears; I certainly would tread carefully walking across the roundabout lawns on the wimpey estate, or certain parts of eaglesfield or shrewsbury park or the woods, although things are getting better.

Anyway it seems to be a fairly serious initiative with its own enforcement officials being geared up to hit anti-social dog-owners where it hurts, i.e. the purse.

I’m not sure what kind of dog the stencilhound is? I once saw a similar street painting in paris, and it was definitely a lapdog of some sort, you know the type that fits in a handbag, but the Greenwich version appears to be modelled on a cross between a Poodle and an Alsation, I call it a Poosation.

The Treasures of Eaglesfield Park

Title: The Treasures of Eaglesfield Park
Location: Eaglesfield Park Lily Pond
Link out: www.foep.org.uk
Description: Find out more about the history of this fantastic park from the
Bronze Age to the present day and be part of shaping its future:

* A new wildlife pond for Eaglesfield Park – what do you think?
* Displays, pond restoration plans and information
* Guided walks of the park will begin at 2pm and 3pm: look at the history of the park, it’s wildlife and proposals for restoring the pond
* Children’s Nature Activities – seed planting, bark rubbing, colouring and more
* Dress up in 1940’s costume and join in the fun!

Free entrance / disabled access: Via ramp at the corner of Foxcroft Road and Cleanthus Road, SE18

Organised by: The Friends of Eaglesfield Park, Froglife, Groundwork London, and Digging Dads Army Project

Working in partnership with Greenwich Council Parks and Open Spaces
Start Time: 12:30
Date: 2009-06-20
End Time: 16:00