Thursday, 28 January 2010

New Deptford bloggers!

I'm very excited to announce the arrival of ANOTHER Deptford blogger! The Shipwright's Palace blog was inspired by the Dame's very own efforts, and will focus exclusively on historic maritime Deptford and associated subjects. Knowing that the blogger in question has a huge resource of material to hand, and a deep passion for the subject, I suspect that we are in for a bit of a treat.

Pop over there and see what's up already, it will give you a flavour of things to come.

Good work fellow Deptfordians, I feel we are well on our way to becoming the most blogtastic borough in London, if not in the country! Hell, the world even!

*Edited to add - I also just stumbled across Deptford Visions, which seems to have been going for at least a year. Skinnyvoice writes mainly about adventures in photography, but is based in Deptford so you will see lots of local photos here. I love the 'found' objects and discarded ribbons etc.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

East London Line due to open early

A story in this week's New Civil Engineer suggests that the East London Line is expected to be carrying passengers in April, two months ahead of its due opening date.

And on an associated note, it looks like the funding for Surrey Canal Road station is now confirmed, according to London Reconnections.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Margaret McMillan Park redevelopment

When I visited the Deptford Update exhibition last year I took the opportunity to read up some of the documents there that related to plans to improve public areas around Deptford, including Margaret McMillan Park, Fordham Park and the underpass that links the two, and Folkestone Gardens.

I meant to write about some of them but other priorities came and went - now I see that work has started on redevelopment of Margaret McMillan Park and the footpath is currently closed off while the work is done.

I tried to track down some information about what is being done, to back up what I vaguely remembered from the exhibition, but all I could find online was a minimal amount of stuff on the Lewisham Council website, and a draft plan, which was a bit mysterious anyway without a key.

The gist of the report, as far as I can remember, was that the footpath link from New Cross Station to Deptford through this part of the park is badly lit and rather overgrown, making it unattractive in the hours of darkness. I can certainly attest to this - I would rather walk the long way round along New Cross Road to Deptford High Street than take that short cut in the dark.

The play area is rather cut off from the main thoroughfare, making it seem like a totally different park. There is very little seating and the sightlines are bad from one end of the park to the other - which contributes to the feeling of insecurity.

I eventually found the planning application documents, which revealed that the main intention of the work, as well as improving lighting and sightlines to make the park seem less forbidding at night-time, are to introduce changes that will encourage local people to use it as a place to to meet and interact, rather than just as a route from one place to another, whether that be Deptford to New Cross Station, the shops to the Waldron Health Centre, the Albany to the Amersham Arms, etc etc.

The improvements are basically going to be:

- removing or trimming back some of the shrubs that are close to the footpath
- resurfacing the footpaths and creating some new footpaths
- opening up the entrances to give them a stronger identity
- removal of two small trees
- new soft landscaping
- new street lighting
- new furniture including seating, cycle stands, bins and signs

There's a sketch but it's not very exciting in black and white I'm afraid - looking from the Deptford end.

Here's a picture of the entrance to the park at the New Cross end, to remind you what an underwhelming entrance it is!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Deptford's winter visitors

Having spent some time this morning watching a whole flock of redwings pecking around in the dog run (eugh!) I thought it was time for a vaguely twitchy post for all you wannabe ornithologists.

I've lived in the glorious south east of London for about 20 years now and I don't think I've ever seen so many redwings in one place in the whole of this time - certainly not outside of the parks.

These winter visitors are quite easy to identify, both they and the fieldfare are members of the thrush family and you might at first mistake them for thrushes. However the distinguishing features are quite clear.

With redwings, the clue is in the name. They have a quite bright stripe of red feathers just below their wings, as well as distinct yellow and brown markings on their heads. They are about the same size as the song thrush, with a similarly coloured breast, but unlike the song thrush, they are usually seen in groups. This morning's flock was somewhere between 20 and 30! They are not often seen in towns, much less cities, but the recent cold snap is the culprit. With much of the surrounding countryside still under snow, now is your best chance to spot them in our urban landscape.

Fieldfares are also winter visitors to the UK, and sometimes hang around with redwings. They are similar to the mistle thrush, much bigger than the song thrush, but with a more bluey/grey colouring to their plumage.

When it gets too warm for these colourful birds, anywhere between March and May, they will return north to Scandinavia and Iceland to breed.

Take a good look at them. You will see from the RSPB site that both are endangered.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Lewisham waste and recycling strategy

Brockley Central blog has a very interesting post from Nigel Tyrell, head of environment at Lewisham Council, about the borough's waste and recycling strategy.

Well worth a read if you want to know what happens to your rubbish and your recycling, what the future plans are, and if you read the comments as well, Nigel has answered quite a few additional questions and busted a few myths.

You can read it here.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Lewisham markets survey

Lewisham Council's markets section is asking residents to fill in a survey to give their feedback on the borough's markets. How often do you go, how do you get there, what do you think about the quality and value of the products on sale, what would you like to see more of and so on.

You can fill out the survey here online, alternatively fill in the questionnaire at a Street Trading Review stall at Deptford market on 23 January between 9.30am and midday.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Deptford film club - launch date

Deptford film club is hoping to launch on Wednesday 17 February with a showing of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, a musical made in 1967 and starring Catherine Deneuve and her sister Francois Dorleac, directed by Jacques Demy, who also directed The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

'The most joyful delightful film you’ve ever watched. You’ll emerge from this film dazed and charmed,' says the Film Club's blog. Just the thing to cheer us all up after a hard winter!

The survey results are available on the Film Club's website here, and there's still time to take the survey if you haven't done so already, by clicking here.

The venue will be the Birds Nest pub on Deptford Church Street, and screenings will start at 7.30pm. The intention is to have screenings every two weeks, they will be free but donations will be gladly received to help cover costs.
To keep up with the latest information, sign up for the club's newsletter by emailing

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Proposal to list the remains of the Royal Dockyard at Deptford

Greenwich Industrial History blog has published a detailed and very interesting proposal to list the remains of the Royal Dockyard at Deptford. There is no information about the author, but it is worth reading with the proposed development at Convoy's Wharf in mind.

As it explains, all indications are that the dock structures remain largely intact below the surface. The redevelopment should be regarded as an excellent opportunity to investigate these claims and uncover what could prove an extremely significant and extensive part of Deptford's maritime history - not to mention British history.