The Foot and Mouth Memorial
Almost opposite the Cutty Sark Pub, sandwiched between a little cobbled street and the river wall at Ballast Quay is a delightful little Italianate garden. Hardly a few feet across, and behind black-painted iron railings far too high to climb (thank God) its shady trees, graceful urns and what is possibly the prettiest potting shed in the world provide a sudden and charming respite from the stolidly urban, if picturesque, landscape around it.
I am convinced that many walk past it without even noticing it – which is a shame as I have spent much time pondering over the curious little home made memorial within its dappled sunlit quiet. Made from old plumbing pipes and other found objects, a life-size white ram rears up at a gnarled old tree, at its feet a plaque remembering the thousands of animals who were slaughtered – not because they were infected with foot and mouth disease – but in the pyres ordered by the government to contain the 2001 outbreak. I might have expected it in the countryside – but in Greenwich? I passed it today because I was reminded about it by someone reading this blog (thank you!) – it looked a little battered – maybe it’s been forgotten… I hope not.