Rose

Cliff tells me that the homeless lady known as Rose, well-known for sitting in the rose garden at Rangers House, often sitting on a park bench reading, has died. There are a few wreaths dotted around inside the garden in her memory.

Cliff says that he was at the garden talking to regular visitors a couple of days ago. Many seemed to know that she died recently but no one seems to have any idea what happened or how she died. He says:

All I know about her is that she was younger than I or a lot of people thought, only in her 40′s it would seem; and that she liked an egg mayonnaise sandwich from the tea hut on the heath.

I remember when we talked about her before, many people here knew her – or at least knew of her, and several people used to slip the odd tenner her way, either directly or to the tea hut. She seems to have been well-spoken and well-read and some mentioned that she went to Blackheath Station at night (though others said she slept during the days as it was safer.)

I would like to have known more about her – what made her ‘choose’ to live that life – if indeed ‘choice’ was any part of it. I would have liked to know what she used to read, and I would like to know that she was not alone or in pain at the end.

A sad story that puts one’s own concerns in perspective.

Stephen sent me a photo of her – he wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to post, but you know, I think it is charming – and as many remember her. May she rest in peace.


the attachments to this post:

Rose by Stephen
Rose by Stephen

Rangers House roses
Rangers House roses


9 Comments to “Rose”

  1. Michael says:

    I believe she was killed by a cement lorry whilst crossing the A2 on her way to the tea hut. She was taken to hospital but died the next morning. Wally my dog would say “hello” every time he saw her in the park. She’ll be missed.

  2. How dreadful. I am so, so sorry to hear it.

  3. Dazza says:

    If that was the incident with the cement lorry, it was on Christmas Eve if I remember rightly.
    Such a tragic loss, I hope she finds the peace she deserves.
    There are so many people out there whom we pass every day without recognising. Be they homeless, victims of domestic violence or just unhappy with their lot in life. The pain that some suffer in silence can be deafening to those who listen.

  4. Kate says:

    How awfully tragic. May she rest in peace. It is touching that you have written something about her and her everyday life to preserve her memory. Whether it was her choice or not to live an unconventional life which some might view as being an outsider in society, I hate the thought of someone being alone at the last.

  5. Stephen says:

    I saw an incident board by the tea hut which mentioned the 24th of December. I went through the rose garden the other week and wondered why she wasn’t there. It was a mild day and I was surprised not to see her.

  6. Benedict says:

    I will lay a tribute to Rose from far away http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2008/06/the-bouquet-tree/

  7. Cliff says:

    it seems ‘Rose’s’ real name was Maria Bennett, she was indeed run over on the A2 between the park and the tea hut on Christmas Eve and later died, there are lots of flowers & a couple of wreaths on the telegraph pole by the tea hut and on her bench in the Rose garden, all looking very nice.
    A very sad story, but nice to have some detail, thanks to all.

  8. David Carson says:

    I wonder, Rose must be the lady that I’d sometimes see walking down Royal Parade and Tranquil Vale around dusk; what a tragic loss of life. May she rest in peace.

  9. pamster says:

    I have ony just heard about Rose’s tragic death.She had such a pretty face and lovely complexion. We ofter wondered how she survived the cold, wet conditions in the park
    It would be fitting if she could be remembered in the park, by some form of celebration or memorial . Any ideas?