East Greenwich Pleasaunce and Friends

Yesterday we went to a rather sweet little event at the East Greenwich Pleasaunce, – carols in the park with mulled wine, mince pies and Father Christmas, who turned up in a tinsel-covered sports car. It was rather low-key, of course – the FEGP are very new – but it will get bigger, I hope – it was sort of fun in a “local carols for local people” kind of way. The “male voice choir,” not one under the age of 900, was festively dressed in Victorian garb, and though they didn’t seem too sure of any of the words, or indeed the tunes, it was all very seasonal. Kiddies queued up in pretty much equal numbers to see Santa or sit in his decorated car – almost a bigger draw than the Man Himself. Admittedly we didn’t last very long – two cups of mulled wine, to be precise, but it’s important to support events like this, and we might have stayed longer had we not both trodden in dog crap, which somewhat dulled the atmosphere.

East Greenwich Pleasance

It’s a funny little park – surrounded by Annadale Road to the West, the railway to the South, Chevening Road to the North and Halstow to the East. It was the overspill cemetery for the old naval hospital and there are still about 3,000 seamen buried there (including veterans of Trafalgar and The Crimea,) under great slabs of Victorian gravestone in the shape of anchors, rope etc. It’s got a fab old wall around the outside, which has what’s left of a row of pollarded limes around it – sadly they’re not very well thanks to the long hot summers we’ve been having. There’s a small kiddies playground and a couple of areas where dogs aren’t allowed though you still need to look out for your feet – it’s Dog-crap City in places, as we regularly found during a rare outburst of keep-fit activity and started trying to run every morning in the park (that lasted an, ahem, limited time.)

There’s supposed to be a lot of wildlife there but apart from the ubiquitous squirrels, foxes and the odd garden bird, I’ve not really seen that much. The main gate is in Chevening Road, with some rather splendid iron railings (don’t be fooled by the big gates looking closed – they usually only open the side one,) and another more recent one provided by one of those fab Section 106 agreements which forces local developers to give something back to the community at the railway end of Halstow Road. Occasionally the council forgets to open this one, so if the park is open but these are closed, it’s worth reminding them. If they’re not reminded, they tend to treat EGP as a bit of a poor relation to the bigger Well Hall Pleasaunce in Eltham. Pah.

Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce

Well – it’s pretty obvious really – they’re a bunch of local people who encourage “the use and enhancement of East Greenwich Pleasaunce.” They’re quite new – only inaugurated in 2006 – but they have big ideas – a cafe and – heavens above – working toilets, and they have little events from time to time. Maybe because they’re new, maybe because they’re small or maybe because they’re not involved with something Royal, this lot are a whole lot less stuffy than the nearby Friends of Greenwich Park.

3 Comments to “East Greenwich Pleasaunce and Friends”

  1. Nick Martin says:

    I think the ideas sound good. When I lived near there as a kid in the 1960′s, the Pleasuance seemed to be a spooky place, and I don’t think I went in there more than twice. Anything to make the place more warm and inviting sounds good to me, but I’m not sure what the residents with houses adjoining the place would think ?

  2. Tristan says:

    I highly reccomend the Welsh rabbit in the cafe, and the Wednesday morning knitting group are a friendly lot.

  3. Susie says:

    The knitting group at The Pleasaunce Café happens every Wednesday morning but attendance is erratic. We need more people to come along and knit together (or crochet, if you prefer). You don’t have to be able to knit: there is usually someone there with the necessary knowledge to get novices started. And Lizzie, the café’s proprietor, has bags of needles and yarn for sale, with profits going to charity.