Prior Street – and Allotments
Prior St, SE10
Continuing my look at Greenwich Streets I’ve turned out of Circus St into Prior St – a short, sweet little road which climbs gently up to meet Royal Hill before theoretically turning into Point Hill.
The houses in this pretty little street are mainly terraced and flat-fronted, with little canopies over the doors, which makes me think, in my untutored way, that they are Georgian rather than Victorian. Some single, some double-fronted, most also have basements. Some have loft conversions, but these look like historic rather than modern affairs. Every so often there are the occasional interesting-looking garage-like doors to what looks like back-entrances built into the terraces.
Once again I don’t know anyone in this road – so if you live here or know someone who does, I’d welcome additions and comments about it. Is it a good road to live in? Are the natives friendly?
At the top are some of what must be the poshest allotments in Greenwich. When I was looking for an allotment myself, I came across the Prior St gardens and salivated. They are run by a separate group to the council, but (now) come under its protection. It wasn’t always that way.
They’re an odd shape because, apparently, they are the site of the old railway line that joined Nunhead to Greenwich which only lasted between 1871 and 1917. I assume it was derelict for a while before becoming briefly a lorry park and a garden centre.
Over the years the allotments have had threats to their existence – not least from when the council wanted to close the allotments to build 23 houses. A splendid campaign was fought and mostly won (the council just took enough land to build two houses in the end.) Huzzah for the people -it proves it can be done occasionally. The other plots are now protected under the Allotment Act, though I doubt I will ever land one of them.
Judging from the number of them (18) and the size of some of the gardens round here (tiny) I should have put my name down at birth for one here and I’d have probably still been waiting even then. The person at the top of the 100-strong waiting list went on in 1998, so that’s only nine years so far. So some time to go yet…
Still when allotments are as beautifully kept and enjoyed as these clearly are, it’s hard to be anything other than delighted by this place. It even has its own website – http://www.priorstgardens.org.uk/ with some pretty pictures and info about them.