Hosepipes, Ships in Bottles and H&S Gone Maaaaad

Lots of little things going on in the Park, most of which are related in some way or other to the Olympics. Ruth spotted the course being watered over on the eastern side :

I find myself wondering whether there will be special dispensation for Olympic hosepipes when the ban comes in in April. I guess so, since you’ll be able to get the old jalopy cleaned at a commercial car wash but woe betide you if you try to water your runner beans. Not that I’m bitter or anything – it’s not like Thames Water have a serious pipe burst reported by half of East Greenwich on Christmas Eve and take until 10th January to do anything about it…

But, moving on, it’s not all bad news. It would seem that the rather wonderful Ship In A Bottle that lived on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square for a few months last year is to come to Greenwich.  Greenwich Meridian Graham noticed what looks suspiciously like the plinth being erected outside the NMM RMG

One might think this was a bit previous, since, from the posters outside, it looks as though they don’t actually have the money yet, but according to someone’s newsletter I was reading somewhere (can’t remember if it was the FoGP or the NMM or even somewhere else) they’ve been planning the move for months which makes me think that when these appeals for the public to save works of art for the nation come round the people in charge of them already know which ones will succeed.

But hey – I’m delighted. I really like the Ship in a Bottle – deffo my favourite Fourth Plinth incumbent so far – and hell – a lot better than that tedious Anthony Gormley ‘People’s Plinth’ installation – just imagine if we’d got that

Moving up to the Observatory and Graham also notes that they’ve been sawing-off the spikes from the railings of the path that lead round to Observatory Gardens:

He says that the gruesome reason he was given was “Someone told me that a tourist had impailed himself and that the emergency service had to be called to get him off” but he also very wisely suggests that ‘ you might like to check that…’

Of course being a lazy Phantom and having a real work deadline today, I haven’t gone anywhere near actually checking whether someone’s speared themselves or not – but it feels pretty unlikely to me. My suspicion is that it’s more the fear that a tourist might impale himself. A shame, really. Not one I’m going to kick and scream about – but the railings do look just that a little bit less charming now. Do we have no sense of personal responsibility in this modern world that it’s someone else’s problem every time we do something stupid?

Finally, Graham also sent me a rather wonderful article on Garden Visit dotcom which suggests a bit of creative arson that makes me smile. I hadn’t ever really thought about that particular avenue – but now they mention it, it’s something Royal Parks should be flagging up as an important feature of the park, rather than using it to store bins. A campaign in the making, methinks…

Happy weekend in the Park, folks – enjoy that central avenue before it’s closed off in a few weeks eh…

the attachments to this post:

ship in a bottle plinth 2 low
ship in a bottle plinth 2 low

decapitated railings Graham
decapitated railings Graham

ship in a bottle plinth
ship in a bottle plinth

watering for the olympics
watering for the olympics

11 Comments to “Hosepipes, Ships in Bottles and H&S Gone Maaaaad”

  1. Dazza says:

    Within weeks of the appeal to bring the Ship in a Bottle to Greenwich, there was a planning application posted on the railings at the bottom if King William Walk for the Plinth to be built. I thought the same as you, bit previous I they didn’t know if they were going to get it. However, I suppose they can always make a use for it if we don’t get the artwork. Suggestions on a post card………

  2. Old China says:

    I also like Ship In A Bottle and would be very happy for it to come to Greenwich (imho the worst 4th plinth feature wasn’t Gormley’s effort, it was the appalling multi-coloured perspex model of a hotel).

    I like the current encumbant too, although I’m really looking forward to the giant blue chicken on the 4th plinth, next year!

  3. Franklin says:


    I don’t have any strong views on the Ship in a Bottle itself, and would have no objection to it going somewhere inside the museum – after all, they have a lot of empty, echoing space to fill.

    But I think the location chosen by the NMM is totally inappropriate: it ruins the clean, low profile of the Ofer wing, and makes the Ship in a Bottle seem rather cartoonish.

    I’ve therefore been hoping that they wouldn’t be able to raise the readies to buy the thing, and so it particularly irks me that they’re building the plinth before they even know that they’re going to be able to buy the thing. What are they going to do with the plinth if they don’t get the funding? Take it back down again? Stick the giant blue chicken on it?

    And the railings below the observatory! Arrgghh again! Architectural and historical vandalism! I am astonished that the Park authority would allow that to happen, much less do it themselves.

    Not a good day for Greenwich…

  4. Adam says:

    Good riddance to the spikes! Removing them to lessen the possibility of a horrible accident is entirely reasonable in my view. Personal responsibility only goes so far.

  5. Franklin says:

    Personal responsibility doesn’t extend to not impaling yourself on four-foot high railings?? How far does it extend? Perhaps we should dig up the path up to the Observatory lest someone rolls down the hill Jack-and-Jill style?

    PS: Ignore this if you’re being facetious.

  6. Darren says:

    Don’t forget that Thames Water appear to be responsible for the great underground treasure hunt of Croom’s Hill, aka the road works that won’t die!

  7. Stephen says:

    “Perhaps we should dig up the path up to the Observatory lest someone rolls down the hill Jack-and-Jill style?”

    They have put fences across Observatory hill, presumably to stop people rolling down.

  8. Franklin says:

    Erm, I think they’re there to stop people walking up and down – so that the grass can grow back before the Olympics.

  9. Stephen says:

    Yes it would have that effect as well.

    Maybe they will have success with the turfs this time.

  10. Greenwich pensioner says:

    If you are concerned about what Locog is doing in the Park, then I can recommend NOGOE’s photo-diary. For example on Locog’s use of water:



    See also this entry:


    on the Queen’s Lawn which Jeremy Edwards, LOCOG’s manager of the “Greenwich Park Venue”, calls a “field”.