Greenwich is one of the coolest “uncool” places there is in London. It’s not profoundly unfashionable – rather somewhere that it doesn’t occur to people that there is anything more than a few museums, a nice park and the Cutty Sark. The really adventurous might know about the Trafalgar Tavern or venture out to Greenwich market on a Sunday afternoon, but essentially, Greenwich is still relatively undiscovered for one of the great regions of London.
I adore the place – but I’m not blind to its faults either. In this journal I take an affectionate but honest – at times brutally so – look, giving my own personal low-down on the things to do – and one or two of the things not to do in Greenwich.
I am being unashamedly parochial here. I will talk about the tourist sites, of course – how could I not when we have a World Heritage Site on our doorstep – but also about the things which make our town great – the little things. Interesting vistas, cool shops, bizarre novelties and quirky one-offs which make this place buzz.
Happily, the transport problems of yesteryear are remedied and Greenwich is fast catching up with the rest of London – especially now the Olympics are on their way. But with that new-found popularity comes attendant problems – over-development is threatening the old businesses and quirkiness that makes Greenwich different. High street chains are buying up the rents of the one-off stores and the universal blandness which has already hit Covent Garden and Carnaby Street looms over Greenwich like a huge Sword of Damocles.
As I write this, the Lord Hood pub in Creek Road, one of the last bastions of live music, is under mortal threat from developers – by the time this actually gets read it may be gone. The coins and medals shop in the high road has already disappeared, and the exclusive Art Deco emporium Deco Mania is going. Eagle Antiques, one of the last true junk/antique emporia is now destined to become subsumed into the restaurant next door and part of the market has already been earmarked for luxury flattery. All we can do is protest LOUDLY – and hope that somebody hears.