Remember Me

Last of the asks for today, folks, and definitely the oddest.

Jan is on a documentary photography course, and as part of her assignments, she has to create a portfolio. She has decided to record the impromptu tributes erected to people who have died from RTAs on the streets around Greenwich. She says:

“I am interested in capturing how and why deaths are remembered. Some tributes are just flowers, others have photographs and personal items. Some can be identified with a little research.”

It is interesting – and quite a recent phenomenon. A few years ago, the most you might have seen would be a bunch of flowers tied to a lamppost. Now the tributes are getting really quite large.

At first I wondered if a project like this might somehow be intruding upon private grief – but no – this is very definitely public grief – something we Brits have never been very good at in the past. Perhaps the advent of these roadside memorials is a nation trying to find new ways to explore the concept of grief from what is essentially scratch – we’ve always bottled it up before, and now we don’t really know how to deal with it, so we’re trying out different forms of expression. And Jan’s decision to capture it is a fascinating social document of something happening now.

After getting over the shock that there are indeed enough of these things in the area to make a project from, I turned my thoughts to Jan’s question, which is quite specific. She asks:

“For many years of driving up and down Shooters Hill Road I have noticed at the junction of Farjeon Road imitation flowers attached to a pole. I have been unable to find out why they are left there and what they “commemorate” if anything. Would you happen to know, as I would like to include this in my PF and am hoping to have a little background info for each image.”

Parochial old Phantom, once again, has no idea – (oooh – Shooters Hill Road – it’s -oh, about a mile away. Nah, guv, not my manor…) but maybe someone here does?

Oh – and Jan – maybe you could upload your project onto a website or a Flickr account so we can see the finished results?


14 Comments to “Remember Me”

  1. Benedict says:

    A very interesting project Jan, touched on here a while back,
    http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2008/06/bouquet-tree.html
    I wonder if its connected to the Shooters Hill flowers…..

  2. Jan says:

    Hi,

    a few words, first of all TY for your blog. Secondly TY for asking my question :o )

    I too did wonder about the sensitivity of recording these sites and would it be intruding, then I thought as you did well they ARE public and why put them in public if not for the public to view and pay respects. Documentary style photography usually serves a purpose, seeking to change or explain certain things,my course isn't high brow (NCFE level 2) but is very interesting makeing you question why we take photographs,are we trying to put across a message other than "that looks pretty"

    If my portfolio shows where accident spots occur and could possibly be used to campaign for better cycle routes, reduction in speed etc then it serves a purpose….it will probably sit on a shelf collecting dust LOL. When complete I will upload my images to Flikr, its due for submission in May so if interested watch this spot :o )

    I have some images of Remembrance and of Severndroog Castle that cover "in memoriam" which maybe a theme if I don't find enough tribute sites to provide 12 suitable images.Link to my photostream if it works! Or if anyone wants to be nosey.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12544345@N08/

    hmmmmmm more than a few words….

  3. Marmoset says:

    We've had a couple of ghost bikes in the last year, Jan, both on the Woolwich Road. Though Adrianna's memorial has now been removed – strangely, it's more unsettling now that it's gone – but just along where the Woolwich Road meets Trafalgar Road at the Bottom of Vanbrugh Hill, there's Stella's ghost bike.

    The bikes were placed there by Greenwich Cyclists (http://www.greenwichcyclists.org.uk/) and they may be able to give you some background on their reasons for putting them there.

    Unfortunately your hope that documentary photos might lead to safer roads is going to be a vain one as far as Greenwich road ''planners'' are concerned – they gave in around the 80s and are not likely to take road safety seriously until they become criminally liable for their roads.

    BTW, some lovely local photos on your flikr pages.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My daily commute has taken me past Farjeon Road for the past five or so years. I distinctly recall an 'RIP' banner appearing a couple of times on the pedestrian bridge nearby, co-inciding with the laying of fresh flowers next to the imitation flowers. I seem to think it marked an anniversary – there might even have been a date and/or a first name on the banner. On other occasions additional imitation flowers have appeared on the lamp post. I haven't seen anything for a while though and was under the impression that perhaps the 'memorial' was coming to the end of its existence. As for why it's there, I'm afraid I haven't a clue – but it's been there for a good three or four years at least.

  5. greenwichite says:

    I'm almost certain it is to commemorate the death of a motorcyclist. I think a quick google of motorcyclist death on Shooters Hill will find out the rest. The flowers have been there for many years now.

  6. Jan says:

    to Greenwichite – I have tried a "quick" Google lol and a long one….even using advanced features the hits it returns are pretty poor. It took me a while to find the details on Richie Goodall who was a victim of a motor cycle meets van incident on Shooters Hill, and I remember when it happened and the tributes are still put there annually. :o (

    I have tried looking thru the back issues of the newshopper and another online contact (ty eshootershill) suggested the possiblity of a tragic accident in 2006 http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/bexley/381386.Frightened_teen_fled_crash_scene_in_panic/

    but I am not sure if this is the one or if the floral tribute has been there longer?

    Any other suggestions where to look would be gratefully received.

    To Marmoset I have been to the touching site in Vanbrugh Hill for Stella :o ( I used to live in Earlswood Street and know how awful these roads and junctions can be….

    ty for you comments re my flickr…took me a while to have the confidence to show people what I was taking…

    Jan X

  7. Eleanor Rigby says:

    There is another sad spot on Shooters Hill road on the left as you go up just before Thompsons garden centre.

  8. Rob says:

    Maybe one of the councillors for the ward will know? As Eleanor Rigby says, there's another tribute just over the hill in what then becomes Dover Road I think.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Not bike related but there were flowers and wreaths around the big oak tree in the Rose Garden in Greenwich Park last weekend. I'd never seen any there before.

  10. Anonymous says:

    On Shooters hill at the junction of Farjeon rd a man, I think in his late teens, was knocked down and killed a few years back.

  11. Jan says:

    Hi, thanks for all the responses. The Farjeon Road memorial has now been confirmed and links to the news story I posted earlier. I have spoken to his siter and she has no problems with me including it in my portfolio. Thanks also for the other spots mentioned. I shall research them when it sops snowing!

  12. edorourke says:

    There is what I assume to be a tribute to a child in the garden of those flats next to the Rose of Denmark pub on Woolwich Road. I might be wrong though, I've never really looked too closely.

  13. The Greenwich Phantom says:

    No – I've seen it too, though I've never looked too carefully. It's been there some time, as has the memorial under the tree in the rose garden by Rangers House. It gets refreshed every so often.

  14. Jan says:

    I have edited and uploaded some of my images of the tribute to Stella Chandler if anyone wishes to view.

    As it is half-term next week I shall probably do more research so thanks again for any memorials you spot.

    regards

    Jan