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Folks, I’m sorry about this extended ‘holiday’. Sadly there is an awful lot going on in Phantom Land at the moment and I am simply unable to post. I AM reading all your mail – there’s great, fascinating and shocking stuff in there. I’d love to discuss it all with you – and I will – but not now.
One thing I need to clear up. Some people have asked why comments are turned off – this is nothing to do with censorship, personal blocking or any other kind of consipiracy. It’s just to do with spam-management – comments automatically turn off after 14 days to prevent spam-bots posting random posts about mail-order brides, knock-off trainers and fake university degrees.
I will be back as soon as I am physically able to be.
The Greenwich Phantom @ August 4, 2014
Folks, please accept my sincerest apologies for not posting recently. I’m afraid the situation demands I take a short break from haunting. Please keep an eye out – I WILL be back and as soon as possible – I have important things to discuss with you – but the next couple of weeks, perhaps longer, are not going to see much in the way of Phantom activity.
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 24, 2014
I walked past this last night and to my shame didn’t take any notice -I got so used to seeing orange tape during the Olympics I lost the urge to be curious.
Consider me severely rapped on the insubstantial knuckles as this is actually interesting. Paul tells me it’s an archeological dig, up near what’s left of Queen Elizabeth’s Oak. They’re looking for this:
The old Keepers Cottage was built around the same time as the observatory, and is shown on a map of 1695. It was surrounded by an orchard and looks to have been pretty substantial, which feels a bit odd given how empty of dwellings (other than the observatory) the centre of the park is.
There was an offical keeper which was a grace-and-favour post (I seem to remember Princess Caroline was Ranger for a while; can’t see her stomping around in boots clipping teenage scrumpers round the ear…) and the guy who did the actual clipping round the ear of small boys nicking apples. He lived in this cottage. If memory serves the ranger got something somewhat grander.
Paul tells me there was a ground survey here a couple of years ago and archeologists are now digging around four holes. He says they’re very friendly people so do go and have a chat…
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 11, 2014
I guess by my own blog rules this should be going into Parish News. But rules are made to be broken, especially ones you make yourself and this event has historic precedence.
The last time Greenwich Theatre was at risk, back in the late 1960s, the whole community got together and not only saved it from demolition and rebuilt it to an extremely high standard, they made the theatre a force to be truly reckoned with. Greenwich Theatre in the 1970s and 80s was massive, attracting every big star you could imagine.
Of course that all disappeared with the cash – first losing great swathes of money in the disastrous Glory of the Garden Arts Council review, more recently with the money quietly siphoned off from the arts to support the Olympics and, as far as I know, never reinstated afterwards.
The theatre survives and it is battling back. But the building is in danger. Sadly at the time that it was rebuilt by ordinary people’s generosity and hard work, they never imagined a time when a council would be so hostile as to even consider selling it off for – god knows what – housing, I assume – so they failed to buy the place and put it under covenant, which, in retrospect, probably would have been a good idea.
Of course, they never reckoned with the council of today. Sadly although the people of Greenwich own the theatre morally, having put in hard work and love, the council owns the building. And it’s looking hungrily at the land prices around Crooms Hill.
So once again the theatre needs saving. Not because, as it was in the 1960s, it’s falling down – the building’s just fine, thank you, but because of council greed.
When the building needed support last time around they held a series of regular Music Halls to support it. ‘Kitty Kelly’s’ they called it. If memory serves, it took place in the Green Man Pub (sadly long dead) up on the heath. They’re trying the same thing again, to raise awareness (and a war chest) but this time they actually have a place to hold it – the theatre itself.
It’s on Sunday 20 July 2014 at 7.30, ‘fun, laughter and song will sweep through Greenwich Theatre with the return of Kitty Kelly’s acclaimed Music Hall.
Featuring Mr Colin Sell (of R4 I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue fame) on the pianoforte, Mr Robert Lister (founder member of Ewan Hooper’s 1969 Greenwich Theatre company) in the chair, supported by a talented cast including the inimitable Miss Colette Kelly and the irrepressible Mr Peter John.’
Back in the late 60s there was a bit of a Music Hall revival going on. I have no idea if there is now (though of course with the commmemorations of WWI going on the songs will be on every school curriculum) but I am nailing my colours to the mast now. I believe we need to save the theatre – putting it into a multi-use, mutilated Borough Hall is NOT an acceptable alternative – and I am behind the efforts to preserve the building 100%. This one is important.
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 8, 2014
RE: Sainsbury’s and Former Comet Stores, 55 & 57 Bugsby’s Way, Greenwich, SE10
The request made to the Secretary of State to call in the above proposal was carefully considered against the call in policy as set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 26 October 2012. It was decided that it should not be called in and that the application should be left to London Borough of Greenwich Council to determine.
I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and I understand that there will be great disappointment as a result. It is however, now for London Borough of Greenwich Council to determine this application.
So basically,be prepared to avoid the Blackwall Tunnel area for the next few years until IKEA is finally burned down by some crazed Michael Douglas type. My bet is it will be a Saturday afternoon, though frankly I’m taking odds on Sundays or perhaps a bank holiday.
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 7, 2014
In case you’re wondering what all the support vehicles and shut-offery is, the latest bit of filming is, according to David, a new movie called ‘Grimsby’ with, according to IMDB a pretty impressive cast list.
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 7, 2014
After a catastrophic loss of photos from my computer (I don’t want to talk about it, it’s too depressing…), sadly this is the best shot I currently have of Severndroog Castle but I’m rather proud of it. It’s a screenshot of the displays at the top of the Shard which I named – there was a competition to nab free tickets to the opening day by coming up with the best thing you can see from the Shard that isn’t a big-hitter tourist attraction and I won.
But there’s a chance now that Severndroog is just about to become a big-hitter tourist attraction itself. Well, okay, maybe not as big as the Shard (in any capacity, save soul), but it is going to reopen and you will be able to go up it, there will be stunning views from it and (and this is the best bit) it costs just £2.50 as opposed to the £30+ you’re looking at for the Shard.
The Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust was formed some years ago to try to save the crumbling tower up in Oxleas Wood from death-by-grafitti. They received a bit of a blow at first when they failed to win that ghastly X-Factor style competition to ‘win’ the money to restore historic buildings but local voluteers decided it was worth doing anyway and they’ve been quietly beavering away at it ever since. I ‘bought a brick’ and it seems a lot of other people did too, as they’re re-opening on 20th July.
That day there will be guided tours and tea between 10.30am and 4.30pm. I am very excited to see it, but to be honest, I am prepared to wait just a tiny bit longer as I have a horrid feeling that that day is going to be horrendously crowded. In future throughout the summer they will be open Thursday, Friday and Sundays 12.30pm – 4.30pm for tours and every day except Monday the tearooms will be open between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
I did actually see up there a few years ago when it opened for one day only on Open House day. The queues were dreadful and you were allowed 5 short minutes view-time once you’d climbed all the way up there but it was enough to know I really, really wanted to go back. This one is going to be special, folks – and it will be open all summer between those times.
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 7, 2014
Oh, you crazy kids! Thanks for all the mad Greenwich chimneys – more to come (suitably spaced so as not to over-stimulate…) but I just couldn’t resist Louise’s shot of the anti-Santa zig-zag flues in Brand Street.
I confess – and this is embarrassing – I’ve never seen them before, however many times I’ve walked down Brand Street (probably too busy being nosy elsewhere – and don’t tell me I’m the only one…)
I’m assuming it’s something to do with air-flow or water ingress, but in truth I don’t know. Any thoughts, folks?
The Greenwich Phantom @ July 1, 2014
Mike spotted these chaps giving the Cutty Sark a spring clean which in this weather must be hot work but better than being stuck in an office…
Perhaps just a teeny bit less glamorous but nevertheless important, our friend Alan Driscoll, Greenwich’s local handyman, has been sprucing up some bollards around town.
If there’s any little sprucery in the town centre that you think Alan and his team could do to make the place look better drop me a line and I’ll pass it on to him…
The Greenwich Phantom @ June 27, 2014
Thought the occasional series on post boxes was a little racy? Well hold onto your hats, chaps. The Phantom has set spectral sight on…..drumrolll…
Yeah. That’s right. There’s nowhere this blog won’t go…
This one’s a good example of a pot I’d like to see Santa try to get down. In fact I’d like to see anything get down. And of course that’s the point. Stephen was curious about this oddity in Gloucester Circus and once he mentioned it, so was I.
His brother came up with the answer – apparently there used to be problems with downdraft that could fill rooms with smoke. The vertical tube aims to reduce the effect as the air can get out of the lower tube instead of the chimney. It also reduces the amount of rain that goes down the chimney.
I guess that leaves me with one more question – if this is such a great gadget why is there only one fitted – and why don’t we see more of these flue-finials? Any Phantom Chimney Sweeps out there who can enlighten me?
All this leads me to my next quest – I’m looking for unusual chimney pots. Let’s see what Greenwich can chuck at the Phantom Pot-Fancier…
The Greenwich Phantom @ June 26, 2014