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  • hilly 11:11 am on February 9, 2016
    Tags: , future, , ,   

    River Crossing consultation closes on Friday 

    Evening rush-hour traffic on Plumstead Common Road

    Evening rush-hour traffic on Plumstead Common Road

    There are just a few days left to tell TfL our opinions about their proposed new river crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere: the consultation closes this Friday, 12th February. We can respond through an online survey with just 5 questions at:

    https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/rivercrossings/east-of-silvertown/consultation/subpage.2015-09-03.3976631085/view

    We can also tell TfL what we think by email to rivercrossings@tfl.gov.uk or by  writing to FREEPOST TfL CONSULTATIONS’.

    It’s an opportunity to tell Transport for London of our concerns about the increased traffic congestion in our area that their own traffic models predict will come as a result of the new crossings: congestion that will lead to even more dangerous air pollution and the health problems that it causes. The excellent Bexley Against Road Crossings web site has many more suggestions about what to say to TfL.

    The threat of traffic related air pollution is not hypothetical. The No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign undertook an extensive citizen science project to measure Nitrogen Dioxide levels across Greenwich in 2014. A snippet of the results, which was also published on the No to Gallions campaign web site, is shown below.

    No to Silvertown Tunnel pollution study results from 2014

    No to Silvertown Tunnel pollution study results from 2014

    The NO2 results map shows that the UK Air Quality Strategy and EU legislation  40 µg m³ limit for NO2 was exceeded at most measurement locations in Shooters Hill and Plumstead: at two sites along Plumstead Common Road and all sites along Shooters Hill and Shooters Hill Road. The cross roads at Shooters Hill Road and Academy Road, close to the Greenwich Free School and just down the hill from Christchurch Primary School  had an NO2 level 162.5% of the limit. A similar level was detected down in Woolwich at the junction of John Wilson Street and Wellington Street, close to Mulgrave Primary School. The level near Greenslade Primary was only just below the limit. Children are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of NO2 from traffic pollution.

    Upside Down Tube Map - with North/South reversal from not Geofftech.co.uk

    Upside Down Tube Map – with North/South reversal from not Geofftech.co.uk

    I’ve never really understood TfL’s argument justifying new crossings by the fact that there are many more road crossings to the west of tower bridge than to the east. It seems obvious to me that you would have fewer bridges closer to the sea because the river gets wider at it nears its estuary. A better comparison might be the difference in public transport, such as the tube, between north-west and south-east London. This is illustrated by the tube map variation from Geofftech, shown above, which reflects the tube map across to the south-east. If we were as well served as the other side of London we would have tube stations at the Rotunda, Woolwich Common, Shrewsbury Park and Plumstead Gardens, and the tube network would stretch as far as Tunbridge Wells.

    TfL would have far more chance of reducing traffic congestion and pollution by improving our current very unreliable and overcrowded public transport and creating new public transport links than by building more roads which will attract more traffic. It’s well worth reading former Greenwich councillor Alex Grant’s very informative post: The supporters of new roads across the Thames are stuck in the past. Without rail links they’d be a disaster for east London for more on the history of east London river crossings, how other modern European cities have tackled the problem of congestion and the recurrent fears that a motorway will be built through Plumstead, Woodlands Farm and Oxleas Wood.

    Transport for London seem determined to push ahead with their planned crossings: a recent e-mail from them said:

    Last week Transport for London’s Board gave approval for us to submit a Development Consent Order to the Secretary of State for Transport for powers to implement the Silvertown Tunnel scheme.  Our application will include a Consultation Report, which will set out our response to all of the issues raised in our recent consultation.  We received more than 4,000 responses to the consultation and these are continuing to help inform our final plans.
    We plan to submit an application for powers to implement the Silvertown Tunnel scheme in the spring 2016, and we will contact you again at this time once we are in a position to publish our Consultation Report.
    If our application is accepted by the Secretary of State, there will be a public examination on the scheme managed by the Planning Inspectorate. In that case, you will have an opportunity to make written representations and take part in hearings as part of the examination. We will explain how you can take part in the examination when we write again, later this spring.

    If you’re concerned about how these new crossings will affect traffic congestion and pollution in south-east London then you might like to attend the No to Silvertown Tunnel campaign’s annual general meeting which is at Mycenae House, Blackheath, on Thursday 18 February at 8pm. They ask that anyone planning to attend sign up at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/no-to-silvertown-tunnel-agm-2016-tickets-21083026901

    Oh, and complete the TfL East of Silvertown consultation before Friday.

    Orange fug over London at time of high air pollution

    Orange fug over London at time of high air pollution

     
  • hilly 1:58 pm on January 14, 2016
    Tags: , future, , ,   

    Another River Crossing Consultation 

    Traffic in Shrewsbury Lane

    Traffic in Shrewsbury Lane

    How will the proposed new East London river crossings affect traffic in Shooters Hill? This was the question I looked for answers to in the documentation accompanying Transport for London’s latest consultation on the crossings. As TfL have previously accepted that the road infrastructure south of the Thames is not adequate to serve the proposed new crossings this seems to be an essential question for them to answer.

    The documentation includes a Traffic Impact Report: great, I thought, that’s where I’ll find the answer, but no, it turned out to be far more complicated to find what I was looking for.

    The first complication is that the report assumes that the proposed Silvertown Tunnel has already been built. It doesn’t explicitly say so: it models the traffic effect of the new crossings compared with a Reference Case, which  “reflects the highway network in 2031”.  Reading through it quickly becomes clear that the traffic flow changes calculated are the effect of adding the Gallions and Belvedere crossings to a road system which includes the Silvertown Tunnel. Not the change from today’s traffic flows to those after the proposed crossings are developed.

    No problem: there was a Silvertown Tunnel consultation recently, which included amongst its archive documents a Traffic Forecasting Report from 2014.  This should let me see the changes to traffic as a consequence of the Silvertown Tunnel, I thought, which I can combine with the latest report to see what the total impact of all the proposed new crossings will be.

    But again no. The Silvertown report also assumes a reference case which is the traffic in 2021. Why? They don’t seem to say. This reference case is defined as:

    Reference case (2021)
    6. The reference case represents 2021, and includes growth in population and employment from the 2009 London Plan. Population is expected to increase more rapidly in east and south east London than in other sub-regions.
    7.  The reference case also includes committed transport schemes. Public transport connectivity across east and southeast London improves because of planned investment including Crossrail. The Woolwich Ferry is assumed to have been enhanced with 30% additional capacity. The reference case does not include the Silvertown Tunnel.
    8. From 2012 to 2021 the proportion of travel by car is expected to fall in Greenwich, Newham and Tower Hamlets, but the growth in population and employment result in an increase in total car trips.

    Why they think the Woolwich Ferry will have 30% more capacity is also unclear – a footnote in the report just says that  “by 2031 Woolwich Ferry would need to either be upgraded at its existing location or replaced with a new crossing”. This upgrade is not a “committed transport scheme” as implied by the extract above. They also assume that the Woolwich Free Ferry will be charged, as would the Blackwall, Silvertown, Gallions Reach and Belvedere Crossings. The charges would be the same as for the Dartford Tunnel at peak times and half that rate at other times. TfL assert that these charges will counteract the “induced traffic effect” where new roads generate new traffic. However their rationale for this assertion  is unconvincing and they say it “… is not modelled in the Assessed Case.”

    The Silvertown Traffic Forecasting Report also considers in Appendix C the impact of the Gallions and Belvedere crossings on traffic flows. Interestingly it ends up with different results to those presented in the Gallions/Belvedere consultation Traffic Impact Report.

    The reports contain a large number of tables, graphs and maps of the traffic modelling results. I’ve extracted four maps to try to give a flavour of the impact of the crossings on our local streets. All four are for the afternoon rush hour traffic:

    1. The 2021 “Reference Case” from the Silvertown Tunnel Report;
    2. The impact of the Silvertown Tunnel compared to the reference case from the Silvertown Tunnel Report;
    3. The impact of the Gallions Reach and Belvedere crossings compared to the reference case and Silvertown Tunel from the Silvertown Tunnel Report;
    4. The impact of the Gallions Reach and Belvedere crossings compared to the reference case from the Gallions/Belvedere Report.

    Red on these maps indicates increased traffic flows and green reduced.

    Reference case afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Reference case afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Post-Silvertown Tunnel afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Post-Silvertown Tunnel afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Post-Silvertown Tunnel and East London crossings afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Post-Silvertown Tunnel and East London crossings afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Silvertown Tunnel Traffic Impact Report

    Afternoon peak traffic flow from Gallions Reach and Belvedere Traffic Impact Report

    Afternoon peak traffic flow increases from Gallions Reach and Belvedere Traffic Impact Report

    The scale and resolution of the maps make it difficult to work out which local roads suffer traffic increases, but it’s just about possible by zooming in and looking at the shape and orientation of the roads. The red/green bar method of showing traffic changes also tends to obscure rather than illuminate. Anyway, here’s my interpretation of what the modelling is showing.

    The reference case, which just reflects population growth and an increase in Woolwich Ferry capacity, already has big increases – 100 cars per hour or more –  along Shooters Hill Road, Shrewsbury Lane, Plum Lane and slightly surprisingly Donaldson Road too. The increase along  Plumstead Common Road looks even bigger, and also along Kings Highway, Wickham Lane down towards Knee Hill.

    Bringing the Silvertown Tunnel into the model there is a decrease in traffic flow along Shrewsbury Lane and Plum Lane, but an increase in Red Lion Lane which runs in a similar direction. Along Shooters Hill and Shooters Hill Road traffic flows increase again, and the route down through Charlton to the tunnel has more traffic, affecting Baker Road and  Stadium Road past the hospital then Charlton Park Lane and Cemetery Lane.

    In the Silvertown Tunnel report the impact of the additional crossings at Gallions Reach and Belvedere is a very slight reduction of traffic along Shrewsbury Lane, but an increase along Eaglesfield Road to Plum Lane which is unexpected (and unlikely I would have thought), and an increase in Plum Lane itself. Not unexpected are the additional increases in Plumstead Common Road and the route down to the High Street via Griffin Road, nor those from Plumstead Common down Kings Highway to Wickham Lane and Basildon Road and Eynsham Drive. There is lots of red showing big increases from the A2 over towards Gallions Reach and Belvedere, affecting Upper Wickham Lane, Lodge Hill, Okehampton Crescent, Brampton Road and Knee Hill (yet again).

    It also predicts that traffic going along the bottom of Herbert Road, through the shops will increase. Can you imagine even more cars trying to negotiate the hazardous route between parked vans and oncoming buses in the rush hour?

    The final map, from the current consultation, is similar to the previous one but now there is an increase in traffic along both Shrewsbury Lane and Eaglesfield Road. Other flows appear to be increasing less than in the Silvertown report. In the Gallions Reach/Belvedere report TfL admit to using an earlier version of the traffic model than in the Silvertown report, but don’t really explain why.

    The striking feature of all of these maps is the amount of red on them, showing cumulative increases in traffic flows as each crossing is built.

    The traffic modelling doesn’t seem to take account of how the roads actually are. For example, that nice straight red line showing increased traffic from Shooters Hill along  Shrewsbury Lane and Plum Lane through to Plumstead Common Road. These are residential roads, not suitable to be used as a through route, with speed bumps, and a 20mph limit along Plum Lane.  Very often the traffic is single file due to parking on either side of the road. Plum Lane passes close by Plumcroft Primary School. And at the bottom there’s that narrow one way stretch of Plum Lane, making traffic going down the hill turn left and then right along Kirk Lane to get through to Plumstead Common Road. The very sharp turning between Plum Lane and Plumstead Common Road doesn’t exist as far as TfL are concerned.

    Similar points could be made about many of the other roads showing increased congestion on TfL’s maps. There are campaigns in Plumstead and Bexley to oppose the crossings, largely because of the devastating impacts on local residential roads.

    With increased traffic and increased congestion comes increased pollution, and that means increased damage to people. In 2010 9,416 Londoners died as a result of air pollution, according to research by Kings College, London. Nine thousand four hundred and sixteen people just in London. The health effects of Nitrogen Dioxide, NO2, are a particular concern:

    The main effect of breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide is the increased likelihood of respiratory problems. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, and it can reduce immunity to lung infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis.
    Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have significant impacts on people with asthma because it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Children with asthma and older people with heart disease are most at risk.

    The UK Air Quality Strategy and EU legislation both set an annual average limit for NO2 of  40 µg m-³. In London in 2013 only two local authorities met the limit for NO2, and Greenwich wasn’t one of them. Kings College’s London Air web site has mapped 2010 NO2 levels across London: I’ve included a snippet showing Shooters Hill below. The 40 µg m-³ is shown in yellow on the map, with higher concentrations in deeper shades of orange and red. As well as the major roads, there are high levels along Shrewsbury Lane and down Eglinton Hill, Sandy Hill Road, Burrage Road, Plumstead Common Road and Swingate Lane.

    Modelled annual mean NO2 air pollution, based on measurements made during 2010 from London Air web site

    Modelled annual mean NO2 air pollution, based on measurements made during 2010 from London Air web site

    We have until Friday 12th  February to respond to this latest consultation. The main themes of this consultation are whether it would be better to build a bridge or dig a tunnel at the two locations, and about how public transport might link to them. We can respond through an online survey, by email to rivercrossings@tfl.gov.uk or by  writing to FREEPOST TfL CONSULTATIONS’.

    As I’ve said before in posts about a previous consultation and about Oxleas Wood  TfL need to say how they will solve the inadequacies of the transport network south of the Thames and demonstrate that new crossings will not cause congestion and pollution in residential roads. Otherwise people will think that they are cynically conspiring to cause chaos and compromise air quality in south-east London so as to be able to justify a new motorway from the A2 to the river through Oxleas Wood, Woodlands Farm and hundreds of Plumstead homes.

    Traffic in Plum Lane

    Traffic in Plum Lane

     

     
    • Deborah 5:14 pm on January 14, 2016

      It is shocking the number of people living in Plumstead who argue that traffic will be reduced, when even TfL’s models (and answer in Parliament) say otherwise. They are going to answer yes, regardless of the evidence. When I asked about tolling at the TfL roadshow, I was told that, when Dartford Bridge is congested, tolls will be adjusted to send traffic west to Gallions and Silvertown, thus adding to the traffic problems on the lower road and Shooters Hill.

  • hilly 10:19 am on September 20, 2015
    Tags: , future,   

    Lot 220 

    Plot of land adjacent to Furze Lodge

    Plot of land adjoining Furze Lodge

    “Back to London for Lot 220, Land adjoining Furze Lodge, Plumstead  SE18″, the auctioneer said, “Lot of interest, someone on the phone, couple on the internet. Shall we start at £30,000?” The bidding quickly progressed to £60,000 in £5,000 steps when it was sold to a phone bidder.

    I was watching the final stages of Allsop’s residential auction over the internet at home. I had dropped in for a while to the real thing at the Cumberland Hotel, in a large basement meeting room smelling of toast and hotel breakfasts, picking up a thick, glossy brochure and sheaf of addenda on the way in. There were probably a couple of hundred people there, sitting on a dozen long rows of chairs, loitering at the back and huddled against a wall that had been declared a TV-free zone for those who didn’t want to accidentally appear on a TV show that was being made about the auction. On the opposite side a raised dais hosted a set of be-suited phone bid takers. At the front alongside the auctioneer was a powerpoint slide showing the current property being bid for with the latest price. The auction was surprisingly slow; many times a new bid was announced seconds before the gavel descended for the third and final time taking the auction off again in decreasing increments. Unfortunately I couldn’t wait for lot 220, which was just as well as they didn’t get to it until some 7 hours later.

    The catalogue description of the scrap of land that looks like a small, tree-filled garden area for Furze Lodge was:

    A Freehold Site extending to Approximately 0.016 Hectares (0.040 Acres). Possible Development Potential subject to all necessary consents being obtained
    Tenure
    Freehold.
    Location
    The property is situated on the west side of Plum Lane close to Dallin Road, opposite Shrewsbury Park with views across London. Local amenities are available nearby, with the more extensive facilities of Woolwich town centre being within 1 mile to the north. Docklands Light Railway (London City Airport 10 minutes) and Overground services run from Woolwich Arsenal Rail Station. Road access is afforded by the A207 (Shooters Hill) and A205 (Academy Road). The open spaces of Shrewsbury Park and Shooters Hill Golf Club are close by.
    Description
    The property comprises a broadly rectangular shaped site which extends to approximately 0.016 hectares (0.040 acres). The site has frontage to Plum Lane.
    Accommodation
    Site Area Approximately 0.016 Hectares (0.040 Acres)
    Planning
    Local Planning Authority: London Borough of Greenwich.
    Tel: 020 8921 4661.
    The property may afford possible development potential subject to obtaining all necessary consents.

    The area of the plot, 0.016 hectares, is equivalent to a square of side 12.7 metres, so why would someone pay £60,000 for it? I can only assume that it’s because of that magic phrase “possible development potential”. Any development would, of course, require planning permission, and at the moment it seems unlikely that permission would be granted. The people who carried out the conversion of the former gas decontamination centre that expanded Furze Lodge applied for permission to build a tiny “two and half storey two-bed dwelling house” on this plot. Amongst the 8 reasons the Royal Borough planners gave for rejecting the application were that the proposed property would “be built on land previously set aside for the use of the flats at Furze Lodge as a communal garden space”, which was approved under the original Furze Lodge application. They also mentioned the adverse impact of the house on homes in Brinklow Crescent and the problem of overlooking neighbouring properties in Dallin Road and the new Furze Lodge flats, and that the density of the development was too high.

    London’s housing shortage is the root cause of developers’ willingness to pay high prices for tiny plots of garden land like this. There are a number of other cut-off scraps of gardens in the area, particularly along Mayplace Lane, where multiple applications to build tiny houses have been rejected by the planners, following which the land has been neglected and in some cases has become an eyesore. I get the impression that the owners are waiting for political change or the pressure of increased demand before submitting yet another application to build, leading to uncertainty for neighbours who value their environment. At a time when tens of thousands of new homes are being built across Greenwich do we really need to squash little boxes into every gap on the hillside?

     
    • Kris 7:41 pm on September 22, 2015

      I would like to echo your observations on the auctioned scrap of land, and also the ‘developer creep’ that goes on wherever it looks like a lucrative investment – never an opportunity for people in the area in need of housing. I suppose all we can do is be alert to planning consultations and Council meetings and trends – and act on them.
      The Furze Lodge developers could have been more creative and sympathetic to the neighbourhood and their buyers instead of selling it off for quick cash.

  • hilly 10:43 am on August 17, 2015
    Tags: future, ,   

    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 5:24 pm on October 1, 2014
    Tags: , future,   

    Constitution Rise Woodlands 

    The pond in the Constitution Hill woodland

    The pond in the Constitution Rise woodland

    Wide Horizons  have been making progress on their project to turn the 5-acre woodland site on Constitution Rise into an outdoor learning centre. Their Director of Operations Hamish Cherrett recently e-mailed local residents with an update:

     Since my last communication we have been working hard on various fundraising bids to secure essential funding to improve the access and ensure basic amenities such as water supply and toilets are installed along with works including remediation of the ponds at the north of the site.
    We have also been talking with some local primary schools about long term partnerships to assist with regeneration and conservation work as well as using the site as an education base, any partnerships are still to be confirmed however we hope that classes from at least two schools will start to use the site regularly from October. Over the coming weeks we will have groups of young people undertaking conservation and ground clearance work so you will likely see activity around the entrance at various times. All activities will be structured and are being led by Wide Horizons tutors, any activity will take place between 10am-4pm.

    Wide Horizons are planning to hold an open evening at their centre in Eltham where they will present their proposals for the woods over the  next 2 years. They also hope to have the Head Teacher of at least one of their partner schools present to share their thoughts about the woods project. The date for the open evening hasn’t been announced yet.

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey's 1866 OS Map of Shooters Hill

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1866 OS Map of Shooters Hill

    Google maps snippet showing location of woodland on Constitution Rise

    Google maps snippet showing location of woodland on Constitution Rise

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As can be seen on the snippet above from Alan Godfrey’s 1866 OS map, above, the woodland on Constitution Rise used to be part of the grounds of a large house called The Rookery.  According to Bagnold it was once called The Grove and in 1802 it was leased by Henry Lidgbird to a G.T. Goodenough who lived there until 1819. After that it was the summer residence of Edward Strachey, the second son of Sir Henry Strachey, and his wife Julia. They called the property Goodenough House, and it was referred to as such by the philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle who visited the Stracheys in Shooters Hill a number of times. Carlyle, in his Reminiscences, described the house and its gardens as follows

    They lived in Fitzroy Square, a fine-enough house, and had a very pleasant country establishment at Shooter’s Hill ; where, in summer time, they were all commonly to be found. I have seldom seen a pleasanter place ; a panorama of green, flowery, clear, and decorated country all round ; an umbrageous little park, with roses, gardens ; a modestly excellent house ; from the drawing-room window a continual view of ships, multiform and multitudinous, sailing up or down the river (about a mile off) ; smoky London as background ; the clear sky overhead ; and within doors honesty, good sense, and smiling seriousness the rule, and not the exception.

    Edward Strachey was an employee of the East India Company and worked in India for many years in various posts culminating in his appointment as a judge of the provincial court of appeal at Dacca. On his return to London he held a post at East India House where his colleagues included James Mill, his son John Stuart Mill and Thomas Love Peacock. The Stracheys were also well acquainted with Edward Irving. Edward Strachey died at Shooter’s Hill on 3 January 1832 and his wife on 20 November 1847.

    The house was occupied, again according to Bagnold, between 1845 and 1847 by Henry Alwin Soames, and its name had changed back to The Grove. It appears on the 1866 OS map as The Rookery, and has that name in a local directory of 1874. There were a number of other occupants, mainly military men, until it was demolished to make way for the Wimpey Estate around the time that Bagnold was writing in 1936-38.

    I doubt that anything remains of the house, and its gardens, while still umbrageous (perhaps too umbrageous), are very overgrown. It’ll be interesting to hear more about what Wide Horizons plan for the future of the Rookery’s gardens.

    Guided tour of the woodland site in February

    Guided tour of the woodland site in February

    Chickens at Wide Horizon's Eltham Centre

    Chickens at Wide Horizon’s Eltham Centre

     
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