Afrikan Boy – What Took You So Long

Afrikan Boy is a young, up and coming, Woolwich musician. He first came to prominence a couple of years ago when he produced the hilarious “Lidl” about his short lived career as a shop lifter and getting barred from Asda. Since then, he has collaborated with M.I.A, and handled various topics to do with Nigeria such as Visas, Lagos, wearing Traditional clothes, and the music of Femi Kuti. More recently he has produced a whole series of songs about his life as a student and graduate, which constitute his newly released mixtape, most of which can be heard using the player below. He still makes lots of witty observations, although these now mingle in with additional moments of vexation.

The Woolwich Grand

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Cinema! Theatre! Live Music! At one time all these were available to the residents of Woolwich, but no more. It is our hope to set up an arts centre in the old regal cinema on Wellington Road, previously the N-tyce night club, in order to provide acccess to the arts for the local community. The regal cinema used to be a place of civic pride when it opened in 1955.

A small group of local artists are hoping to run the old cinema as a place for the local community to enjoy – their aspirations for the area have however met with some difficulty, as the Christ Apostolic Church, which already has 10 venues in London, has taken out a lease from the council. The church has apparently agreed to find a way of sharing the cinema space between its prayer meetings, and the group are trying to achieve the backing of the council to return this old cinema to its original function as a civic amenity in an area that has already given over two of its beautiful cinemas to gala bingo and the new wine church (I have to say that the new wine church have done a good job of renovating the old odeon, although I didn’t feel especially welcome when I sauntered in one Saturday afternoon – but access to the magnificent bingo hall is even more difficult).

To this end, the group are staging a public meeting at the cinema on Tuesday the 3rd of May at 6.30pm. This meeting is open to anyone interested in the project:

Cheese and wine will be available, turn up for a chat, a tour, making connections and a chance to hear future plans for the The Woolwich Grand Theatre.

It would be wonderful to be able to get in to one of Woolwich’s glorious old buildings, even better that it would be a real cinema and live performance space for the local community.

The theatre has a website and a facebook page, where more can be found out about what the group are doing at the moment, mainly painting the front doors it seems!

Here is a promo video from 2009, so this is clearly not a new campaign: Greenwich Council have stated clearly their aim of regenerating Woolwich, and let’s hope they support the idea of a local arts centre:


Walking from the top of hare st straight down the middle of the powis street and then round the market a bit various sounds can be picked out of the din, an acoustic guitar being tuned up, an incomprehensible preacher, some market traders, a rattly barrow, and a couple of stalls playing music.
Powis St and Market Square, Woolwich by eshootershill

London Open House Weekend

Severndroog Castle
Severndroog Castle
Title: London Open House Weekend
Location: Severndroog Castle
Link out:
Description: Grade II* listed triangular brick Georgian tower with Gothic windows. Standing 63ft tall in woodlands it offers spectacular views across the capital. Built to commemorate the 1755 conquest of the Malabar Coast by Sir William James.
Start Date: 2009-09-19
Start Time: 10:00
End Date: 2009-09-20
End Time: 15:00

Arrive early to avoid disappointment as only 20 people can be on each floor at a time, so the queues back up a lot.

If you would like to sponsor a part of the tower for £5, you can do that too, and have your very own Severndroog Brick!

This is probably the best chance this year to have a look at the impressive interiors and views that can be enjoyed at Severndroog Castle, the campaign to save the castle for the public is now in it’s fifth year, and the more support it receives at events like this the better the long term prospects of having our own castle on the hill will become.

On some open house weekends, although not this time, it is possible to visit the unique Lubetkin Houses, which were reportedly the architect’s first commission before going on to design the penguin pool at London Zoo among other things.

Another art deco gem in this area is the mind blowing “Italian Gothic” Gala Bingo Club on Powis street, formerly known as the Granada Theatre “The most romantic theatre ever built” [1. Granada images found on]. This is a fascinating place to visit, not least because it acts as a happy reminder of the impressive art deco achievements of Woolwich, along with the Odeon and the Co-Op (which is now destined to become a multi storey car park as part of the controversial Woolwich Triangle proposals) – note – the Granada is open on Sunday only from 1030 to 1130, although bingo membership is another way to enjoy the place, but it would be hard winning any games if you kept getting distracted by the intricacies of the carved wooden ceiling!

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