Friday, 27 January 2012

Edwardian Lassie

Edwardian Lassie:
If you enjoyed Lassie, then Rescued by Rover is the silent film for you! The title does rather give away the plot, but there's plenty to enjoy even without a great element of surprise. I particularly liked the distraught father's insistence upon donning a top hat before rushing out of the house, and the happy ending for all concerned - including the 'villain'.

Cecil Hepworth, director, was born in Beaufort Gardens, Lewisham. The son of a magic lanternist, he developed a film career and established studios in in Walton-on-Thames. While they churned out several films a week, this one was probably the first to include paid actors and was among Hepworth Studios' greatest successes. It even had to be re-shot twice as the original negatives wore out.

Hepworth's wife Margaret both wrote it and starred as the mother, while Hepworth played the father. Even the baby was their daughter Barbara. After all, why pay half a guinea to an actor when you could appear yourself? As for the real star of the film, Blair the dog, he was the family pet!

Posted from Caroline's Miscellany

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Art that you can takeaway: Gallery delivers fun interactive project

Art that you can takeaway: Gallery delivers fun interactive project:

Pic: Raziye Akkoc

Swing music greets you as you enter The Takeaway Shop, Amy Lord’s interactive art project. A gallery and educational space in one room, it brings together the art of bookbinding and bookmaking with the history of Deptford. Here you can make a book, have some tea and learn about what happened in an area rich with past delights and drama.

“I found loads of relics around Deptford and wanted to know where they had come from. People would tell me snippets about Deptford. They knew about the Russian Tsar living here and the author of King Kong being brought up here,” said Lord, 26, from Lewisham way.

From murder to bread riots, from the New Cross station fire in 1844 to tea and coffee merchants, Deptford’s full historical splendour is on show. But Lord’s project is not just about what she has found.

“Ideally I want people to bring photos I can copy and scan so the archive grows over time,” she explained.

With me were two freelance illustrators. Nick Marsh, 24, from Bow, got stuck in with the glue gun and some green and purple fabric. He said: “It’s a lot of fun. It gives you an excuse to play, and it’s nice to vent creativity.”

Cutting up pictures to put in his book, Richard Baker, 25, from Clapham explained why he came to the Takeaway Shop: “I moved to London about two months ago and wanted to get involved in more creative activities and meet some creative people.

“It just seemed pretty cool, to get involved and learn about the history of London.”

Funded by Arts Council England and IdeasTap, the artist’s project began to take shape in September last year: “I was seeing Deptford X [a contemporary visual arts festival from July to September] around the corner and I came to something here at number82.

“I’d been looking for a space to do a pop-up thing for a while and at the empty shops in Deptford, but no matter how many letting agents I spoke to, they said, ‘no I can’t get you in touch with the owner’.”

Originally from Newcastle, Lord moved to Lewisham a year ago having lived elsewhere in London. She studied theatre and performance design at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and has been interested in art since she was a child.

“I used to make a lot of mood-boards and things like that. My mum was generally quite crafty with me and we used to make puppets.”

The Takeaway Shop is based at number82, an independent project venue that offers exhibition space as well as development and education programmes. They also provide support for creative projects like Lord’s.

She hopes to do more workshops at schools after the project ends. It will serve up its last session on Friday, so catch it while you can.


The Takeaway Shop is open until January 27, 10.30am to 6.30pm on weekdays, 12-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

It is open until 8pm on Friday as part of the South London Art Map tour. Email the artist at or book sessions online at

For more information about Lord and the project, visit

Posted from EastLondonlines

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

South London Black Music Archive

South London Black Music Archive:

Opening tomorrow at the Peckham Space presents 'The South London Black Music Archive, an exhibition by artist Barby Asante that aims to celebrate, preserve and investigate South Londoners’ personal relationships with moments in black music history. Peckham Space will be transformed into an ‘open archive’ mapping objects which represent and explore the personal stories which comprise the fascinating history of the influence and evolution of black music in South London. Welcoming contributions from the public, this archive will include items such as books, magazines, concert tickets, posters, stories, records and CDs gathered and displayed with the reverence of museum pieces. Asante’s selected objects highlighting seminal moments in this history will share the same platform as visitors’ objects and stories depicting their own experiences through music and memorabilia [all donated items are returnable at the end of the exhibition].

One of the founding items of the South London Black Music Archive will be a ‘limited edition’ vinyl specially produced for the project as a result of the artist’s collaboration with young people from the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) mentoring programme. This artwork was created in association with Regeneration & Community Partnerships, Tate Modern with an exclusive record sleeve by graphic design collective Åbäke. Copies will be available from record shops across South London and at Peckham Space for the duration of the exhibition. It will feature Asante’s own take on the BBC’s ‘inheritance tracks’ for which members of LOT were asked to contribute songs that inspire them. Songs chosen include tracks by Adele, Michael Jackson, Edvard Grieg, Nigerian singer Prince Nico Mbarga, Bob Dylan and Lauryn Hill which will be represented as a soundscape alongside recordings of the young people telling the stories and explaining their selections'.

The South London Black Music Archive runs from 17 January – 24 March 2012 at Peckham Space, Camberwell College of Art, 89 Peckham High Street, London SE15 5RS (in the square by the library). Launch event 17 January 6-8pm, otherwise opening times are Tuesday-Friday 11am-5pm, Saturday 11am-4pm, closed Sundays, Mondays. Admission Free.

Other events include artists’ talk on 3rd February, 18.45pm at Tate Modern; Daytime Disco 10 March 2011 at the Ritzy, Windrush Square, Brixton. Further details on the website or call 020 7358 9645 / email

As a starting point, there's this great map 'a growing record of black music landmarks in South London from venues and record shops to street corners and radio stations'.

South London Black Music Archive Map (click to enlarge)

South London Black Music Archive Map - detail showing New Cross, Deptford etc.

South London Black Music Archive Map - list of Peckham. Brixton and Elephant places

I've got a few ideas about some things I could contribute to this exhibition, and some places to add to the map. Among places featured previously at Transpontine there's:

- St Pauls Crypt and lots of other places where Saxon Sounds played in early 1980s.
- Bob Marley and Johnny Cash in Peckham;
- Ariwa Gautrey Road studio;
- New Cross 1970s reggae shops;
- Amersham Arms and other 1960s clubs
- El Partido in Lewisham
- Dennis Bovell's Studio 80

Lots of other places too I haven't got round to writing about yet at Transpontine - the Lazerdrome in Peckham, Ram Jam in Brixton etc. Where else?

Posted from Transpontine

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Amy Lord's Takeaway Shop

Amy Lord's Takeaway Shop:
The Takeaway Shop is a project by Amy Lord at number82, the art space at 82 Tanners Hill in Deptford. Amy explains:
'What do you know about where you’re living, where you wake up every morning? Archives are often unruly, dusty masses of paperwork and words locked away to keep them safe. What if you learn about the most interesting bits straight away? And more importantly, be able to TAKE them AWAY with you? This will be a place for people to drop in and learn craft activities including book-binding and paper-making, and to collect real stories about the lives of the local residents, families and the history of the area. It will be a place to meet. People that come into the shop will learn how to create individual handmade books and be able to cut, paste and assemble their favourite bits of text, pictures, true stories, people and textures, to create THEIR own mini TAKE-AWAY archive.
I think it’s important to know the area you live in, it’s history, what came before it, and who lives here now. It’s the context in which you are positioning yourself, and your life'.

Amy Lord (standing) leads a book-making workshop

Essentially Amy has collated images and text relating to the history of Deptford and the surrounding area, from which people are invited to make their own selection. Materials and instructions for making your own books are provided.

The Takeway Shop runs until 27th January 2012, open from 12 noon - 5:00 pm on Sunday, 10:30am – 6:30pm weekdays (except Tuesday when it's closed), with a late night until 8 pm on Friday 27th January as part of South London Art Map tour. Workshop places are free, but you need to book in advance to be sure of getting a space at

The book I made
I enjoyed making a book, and was impressed by Amy's obvious knowledge. There have been a number of artist-based projects linked to aspects of Deptford's history in recent years, and sometimes they can be quite superficial appropriations. Amy has clearly put the hours in and developed quite a collection of material, much of it unfamiliar to me (and I've been studying this stuff for years). I think she is right that getting an understanding of the history of an area is a good way of orienting yourself in a place that may be new to you. That's certainly what got me started, and indeed Transpontine has been partly about sharing some of my developing understanding and learning more through interaction with commenters and other local bloggers.

One of the images used in the Takeaway Shop - Pyne Brothers drapers store in Lewisham High Road (now Lewisham Way) in 1891. This stood opposite where Lewisham Arthouse stands today (previously Deptford Library)

Detail of above photo - note the windows advertising Costumes, Mourning, Drapery and Dresses. Note too an entrance through to the New Cross Public Hall, a major public building of the time which must have been behind the store (where among other things a Grand National Christmas Fair took place in 1884)

Posted from Transpontine

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day 2012: To remember the world's atrocities and genocides, two events are being held by Lewisham Council.


(Caroline's Miscellany)
This boundary post on Vesta Road, Telegraph Hill marks the historic border between Kent and Surrey. In the long years since county boundaries have been withdrawn, the post has developed a tired lean. Nonetheless, its message is still clear even if redundant.

Look more closely, and there's a smaller, stumpier boundary marker at its foot. The shorter sign reads 'Haberdashers' Company' and marks the edge of the guild's estates. The City of London Livery Company developed the area in the late nineteenth century, building houses "of a superior class" from here down to New Cross Road. Their presence remains visible locally, not only in the form of bollards but also in the Haberdashers' Aske's Schools.

Posted from Caroline's Miscellany

Thankfull Sturdee and the Deptford Connection

The Jack-in-the-Green, Deptford
An exhibition of photographs from the Thankfull Sturdee Collection is now on display at the new Library at Deptford Lounge.
Opening hours - Monday-Friday 7am - 10pm, Saturday & Sunday 7am-7pm
Tel: 020 8314 6399

Thankfull Sturdee was born in 1852 at 209 Evelyn Street. In 1883 he married Catherine Sarah Bland when he was living at 27 Albyn Road, St. John's, London SE8. In 1903 they were living at 16 Bolden Street, not far from Albyn Road, but by 1910 they had moved to Brockley, London SE4, where they lived until his death in 1934. 

In 1911 he joined the Daily Mirror as a press photographer. A keen photographer and local historian he recorded Deptford’s history in images. His negatives and two series of prints with his own notes were donated to Deptford Borough Library not long before he died. These are now held by Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre.

Copies have also been uploaded to Lewisham Heritage's Picasa site at

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

History Talk

History Talk: Forest Hill Society Local History Evening

Thursday 23 February - 7.30pm – upstairs at The Hob

We’ve arranged for the fabulous Steve Grindlay to give a talk on an aspect of Forest Hill History. What Steve doesn’t know about Forest Hill isn’t worth knowing! Come and join us and learn more about this great place we live in.

Steve's talks are always popular and well presented. This is another great chance to find out more about the history of Forest Hill.

Posted from

Catford Market cries put spin on folk album’s poem

Catford Market cries put spin on folk album’s poem: EARLY folk songs about South London have been brought back to life.

Posted from The Mercury News

Love Over Gold mural update

Love Over Gold mural update:

In December 2011 we contacted Lewisham Arts Service to ask for their assistance in the potential restoration of the Love Over Gold mural on Creekside. Cockpit Arts inherited the mural (originally painted in 1989) when they bought the building but had had to replace the rotting wooden doors which contained the centrepiece of the mural in October 2011 (see previous post). Brigid Howarth (Lewisham's Creative Industries Officer) responded with the suggestion of a meeting in the new year, and last week she met with artist Gary Drostle, Becky Kingham (Cockpit Arts studio manager) and Sue Lawes (representing Crossfields) at Lewisham's Civic Suite.

As the artist originally commissioned to paint the mural, Gary Drostle had asked specialist paint manufacturers, Keim, to survey it and estimate the cost of its full restoration (Keim's paints were used in the original). They came back with a figure of £10.5K – a lot of money to find! Gary advised that splitting the work needing to be done into smaller segments over a period of time – as funds became available – would ultimately cost much more, but he estimated that the cost of simply reinstating the centrepiece of the mural on the new steel doors would be around £1000, since the same expensive paints would not be required for this.

Brigid explained that funds available to her to spend on public art were a miniscule £2000, but that the landmark mural was one that the borough was very proud of, and she was prepared to commit £500 seed money to help get renovation started. Becky Kingham kindly offered to match this amount with a further £500 from Cockpit Arts. It was decided that Gary be commissioned to put back the missing part of the mural on the new doors.

Another £9.5K needs to be found through voluntary fundraising efforts on the part of Crossfields and Cockpit Arts over the next 12 months, with initial help from Brigid to put together a funding package. At a time of continued budget cuts in the most needy areas, mural restoration may come bottom of the list, but we hope that there is enough community support to back up any approaches made to those organisations (such as local developers) who may have the spare cash to commit to such a project.

The London Mural Preservation Society has also contributed some helpful ideas for fundraising which we hope to follow up in the coming months. Work will not start on the doors until the Spring, but once restored, the meaning of the Love Over Gold mural will again be apparent.

Posted from Crosswhatfields

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Urban Free Festival 1992

Urban Free Festival 1992:

'The Dewdrop Inn. Deptford. For all the old punks n freaks' is a great facebook groups with loads of photos of that pub from the 1980s and 1990s. The Dew Drop Inn was on the corner of Clifton Rise and Angus Street SE14 - sadly now converted to flats (I will do a post about it another time). As the pub faced on to Fordham Park it was the main drinking hole during the legendary Urban Free Festivals held in the park in the early 1990s, which attracted tens of thousands of people from all over London and beyond. I have taken some of the photos of the festival from the facebook group to give a flavour of it - hope nobody minds, this is priceless cultural history

I thought that the festivals ran from 1990 to 1995, but as this 1992 programme says Urban Free Festival III ('You can't kill the spirt') so maybe the first was actually in 1989.

The line up in 1992 included Back to the Planet, Brain of Morbius, The Seas, Sensor, Fat Dinosaur, Sidi Bou Said, Attila the Stockbroker, Moral Panic, The Rythmites, Levitation, Dr Phibes and the House of Wax Equations, RDF, Test Department, Co-Creators, Community Charge and many more. All this and the 'Free the Spirt Rave Big Top'.

Groups involved in organising the festival that year included South East Musicians Collective, SYLVIA (Support Your Local Venues and Independent Artsits), Conscious Collective, Dole House Crew (who squatted the Peckham dole office) and Sonic Relief with sponsors including The Dew Drop Inn, Music City, Catford TUC Centre for the Unemployed and Lewisham Council.

I believe these photos were taken by Seran Tahsin, who was not sure whether they are from 1991 to 1992. I think probably 1992, because there is a great bit of film footage from 1991 and the structures look a bit different.

I had some great times at those festivals will write some more about the later ones at some point. Any good memories or stories, leave a comment as always (and why was it the Deptford Urban Free Festival when it was plainly in New Cross?!)

Update: here's a couple of interviews with people remembering the festival (film was made by people from Deptford.TV Collective in 2007)

Posted from Transpontine

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Takeaway Shop

The Takeaway Shop: No, I'm not talking about one of Deptford's many fried chicken takeaways; the Takeaway Shop is a project by Amy Lord which is running from 20-27 January at Number 82, the gallery at the bottom of Tanner's Hill.

Here's what she says about it:

What do you know about where you’re living, where you wake up every morning? 

Archives are often unruly, dusty masses of paperwork and words locked away to keep them safe. What if you learn about the most interesting bits straight away? And more importantly, be able to TAKE them AWAY with you?

This will be a place for people to drop in and learn craft activities including book-binding and paper-making, and to collect real stories about the lives of the local residents, families and the history of the area. It will be a place to meet. 

People that come into the shop will learn how to create individual handmade books and be able to cut, paste and assemble their favourite bits of text, pictures, true stories, people and textures, to create THEIR own mini TAKE-AWAY archive.

I think it’s important to know the area you live in, it’s history, what came before it, and who lives here now. It’s the context in which you are positioning yourself, and your life.

82 Tanner’s Hill, Deptford SE8 4PN

20th – 27th January 2012 

(Closed 24th)
10:30am – 6:30pm weekdays, 12 – 5pm Sat & Sun

Late night Friday 27th January as part of South London Art Map tour (until 8pm)

PLEASE EMAIL TO BOOK A SLOT [amy-lord at hotmail dot com]

Posted from The Deptford Dame

Friday, 6 January 2012

Deptford Copperas

Deptford Copperas:
Copperas Street is a topographical reminder of one element in Deptford's industrial past. Copperas manufacture began here in the seventeenth century and continued until 1828. Although now largely forgotten, the industry was once a highly significant one.

Copperas, or iron vitriol, is a ferrous sulphate. It was made from iron pyrites stone: not the shiny, 'fool's gold' form but heavy, dull black pebbles found in London clay and on Kent beaches. Once manufactured, Deptford copperas was used to make black and red dyes. (Other possible uses included production of sulphuric acid, or oil of vitriol, dye fixative, ink and gunpowder manufacture. It even became an ingredient of various patent medicines)

Sir Nicholas Crispe - whose main trade activities were in West Africa, and included the slave trade -established copperas manufacture in Deptford, off Church Street. The works had their own dock on Deptford Creek. An account given to the Royal Society in 1678 described the copperas bed as 'about an hundred feet long, fifteen feet broad at the top, and twelve feet deep, shelving all the way to the bottom.' The bed had clay and chalk at the bottom, with a wooden trough in the middle which led to a cistern. The iron pyrites stones were laid about two feet deep, then left to ripen for five or six years in the sun and rain before they began to produce a liquor of sufficient strength. New stones would be laid on top every four years to refresh the bed.

The liquor ran into a cistern which could hold seven hundred tons. The cistern was built from chalk-caulked oak boards; further boards sub-divided it to prevent leakage. Its liquid was pumped to a lead boiler some eight feet square where it was boiled with scrap iron for a week - thanks to improvements brought in by Crispe. Prior to his innovations, the process had taken about 20 days. This was expensive, as the fuel for this process was Newcastle coal.

Once sufficiently concentrated, the liquid was left in a cooler for a further two weeks for the crystals to form. Deptford's cooler was unusual in being made of tarras, a form of cement, rather than the more usual lead. It was twenty feet by nine feet, and five feet deep. The copperas would form five inches thick on the bottom and sides.

The copperas works are not simply a forgotten piece of local history or a byway of industrial history. Rather, researcher Tim Allen argues that they force us to reappraise the origins of the Industrial Revolution. Well before the development of the coal and steel industries in the north, these chemical works in London and on the Kent coast required capital investment and a long manufacturing process, and produced large returns. Copperas also contributed to many other industries, and was arguably a vital forebear of the modern chemical industry.

Image: Iron(II) sulfate [copperas], from Wikimedia Commons.

Posted from Caroline's Miscellany

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A death in the marshes

A death in the marshes:
A tragic story from 1877:

'At daybreak on Saturday morning a boy employed to frighten crows from a cornfield discovered the body of a gentleman up to the waist in water in the marshes forming a portion of Woolwich Arsenal, The body was subsequently identified as that of Mr David Darling, a pensioned officer from the Royal Arsenal, of 7 Amersham Grove, New Cross. The deceased was last seen alive at the grave of his wife in Plumstead Churchyard, and it is conjectured that in walking through the marshes he was overtaken by the darkness and got into a bog from which he was unable to extricate himself' ('Lost in a Bog', The Times, 5 March 1877)
The elements of Kent marshes, a churchyard and a frightened boy put me in mind of a story written not long before, albeit set further out in North Kent (believed to be based on the marshes around Cooling, beyond Gravesend):

'Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard... and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip' (Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, 1861)

Posted from Transpontine

History of Albury Street. Final Part.

History of Albury Street. Final Part.:
History of Albury Street. Part 8

No. 37.
Old buildings in the neighbourhood with a romantic past such as Deptford’s are invariably associated with well known historical figures. It is reputed that Admiral Benbow lived at No. 20 Union Street, north side (Now number 37) and that Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton spent some time at No. 19 (now number 34) the house built by Reyalls and Pearce.

No. 34.
It is unlikely that Admiral John Benbow who died in 1702 ever lived in Union Street. He leased Sayes Court in 1696 for 3 years from John Evelyn, but does not appear to have been there much. His son, John Benbow the Traveller, who died in Deptford in 1708 and in great poverty, might possibly have lived in Union Street. No evidence has been seen to prove or disprove that Lord Nelson stayed there. It is of greater significance that from the first, Union Street was inhabited by men connected with the Royal Navel Dockyard. Lucas’s will mentions houses occupied or in the possession of five sea captains and three shipwrights. Union Street must have been with these people, the most affluent in the parish, in mind. As the mortgage made with John Loving, the block maker, suggests, it was these people who provided some of the capital needed by Lucas. The rate books which go back to 1730 on the south side, and to 1750 on the north side of the street, show that this link with the dockyard was maintained until it closed in 1869. By the middle of the nineteenth century, there are signs that the occupants of some of the houses were of a lower social order. For instances No. 24 Union Street on the north side in 1851, was in multiple occupation, the heads of the three families being a labourer and two sawyers. But even then fourteen occupiers of thirty-two houses were craftsmen employed in the Royal Naval Dock Yard or were master mariners. Perhaps the most striking thing at that time was the number of private schools or academies flourishing in the street, which seem to have occupied no less than four houses.

Albury St, North side still mostly intact.
The last vacant site in Union Street was filled in 1838 when No.7 on the north side was built. Already, No. 21 on the same side had been pulled down and replaced by a pair of houses first rated in 1829, but by-and-large, Union Street remained intact until the end of the nineteenth century. In the last quarter of the century Lucas’s own house on the south east corner and No.2 on the south side were demolished and replaced by a single building facing the High Street, and the public house (King of Prussia) was rebuilt. In 1882, Union Street was renamed as a part of Creek Road and in 1898, became Albury Street loosing its anomalous numbering. The final re-naming of the street was necessitated by the re-aligning of Creek Road to join, at its west end, Evelyn Street, thereby at last obscuring the field pattern shown in the map of 1623, cutting off the north east corner of James Browne’s land. But even up the time of the Great War, Albury Street remained very much as Lucas left it. But by 1921, the south side had been broken and two large gaps appeared in the terrace in the middle and at the west end.

Since the Second World War these gaps have been made wider and recently they coalesced leaving just four houses of the original twenty-three. The north side has been luckier. A few houses at each end of the terrace on this side have be altered or rebuilt and since demolished, but a sizable number of the houses remain These houses are among the few survivors in the whole of London from the first two decades of the eighteenth century and although the gaps in their ranks are to be regretted, the four houses on the south side of the street and the longer series on the north must be seen as one of the most important treasures architecturally and historically among domestic buildings in London.

My thanks A Quiney for allowing me to reproduce his thesis on Union/Albury Street.

Posted from Old Deptford History