Archive for June, 2014


Friday, June 27th, 2014

Photo:Mike Purdy

Mike spotted these chaps giving the Cutty Sark a spring clean which in this weather must be hot work but better than being stuck in an office…

Photo: Mike Purdy

Perhaps just a teeny bit less glamorous but nevertheless important, our friend Alan Driscoll, Greenwich’s local handyman, has been sprucing up some bollards around town.

Photo: Alan Driscoll

If there’s any little sprucery in the town centre that you think Alan and his team could do to make the place look better drop me a line and I’ll pass it on to him…

Rooms with a Flue

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Photo: Stephen

Thought the occasional series on post boxes was a little racy? Well hold onto your hats, chaps. The Phantom has set spectral sight on…..drumrolll…

Unusual chimneys.

Yeah. That’s right. There’s nowhere this blog won’t go…

This one’s a good example of a pot I’d like to see Santa try to get down. In fact I’d like to see anything get down. And of course that’s the point. Stephen was curious about this oddity in Gloucester Circus and once he mentioned it, so was I.

His brother came up with the answer – apparently there used to be problems with downdraft that could fill rooms with smoke. The vertical tube aims to reduce the effect as the air can get out of the lower tube instead of the chimney. It also reduces the amount of rain that goes down the chimney.

I guess that leaves me with one more question – if this is such a great gadget why is there only one fitted – and why don’t we see more of these flue-finials? Any Phantom Chimney Sweeps out there who can enlighten me?

All this leads me to my next quest – I’m looking for unusual chimney pots. Let’s see what Greenwich can chuck at the Phantom Pot-Fancier…

Keeping Rosy

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

This slightly blurry photo of Maxine Peake and Chriisse Bottomley doesn’t immediately bellow ‘Greenwich’. It was taken outside a pop-up cinema in Manchester for starters. But Keeping Rosy has Greenwich connections a-go-go. Its writer, Mike Oughton, lives in Royal Hill and it will be released just down the hill at the Picturehouse on Thursday. It was filmed in the Isle of Dogs, some of it looking out over Greenwich so it’s worthy of Phantom approval.

Mike’s very excited about it – it’s his first film – and I’ll be going to see it at some point (not Thursday, sadly, Mike…) If you’d like to know more about it here’s the official website….

I know, I know, this should be in Parish News (which I AM slowly updating) but hey – my blog, my rules…

Blue Badge Warning…

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

As a relatively mobile Phantom I have never known rules and regulations of the Blue Badge parking scheme. I do know that it’s supposed to allow easy access to people with disabilities, which is why I’m always scrupulous about never parking in disabled bays at Sainsbury’s even when it’s 2.00am and I’m the only one there. Likewise it bugs the hell out of me when others aren’t so thoughtful – I confess to a sneaking satisfaction when I was walking through Sainsbury’s car park recently and saw a builder’s pick up truck in a disabled space that had been clamped…

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today I’m letting you know (rather late, the email went astray – folks, do send stuff to me via the address on the page rather than via the Phantom Webmaster as it can slip through the net – about an experience a blue badge holder had in the car park in Greenwich High Road, next to the main post office.

It has recently been taken over by a private parking firm, apparently, VJC Parking management. Mr G has been a blue badge holder for many years and has always been allowed to park there free of charge. VJC have changed the rules and now blue badge holders have to pay, but instead of advertising the fact clearly, they are waiting for the holder to display their badge, then issue a PCN while the holder’s away.

Now, presumably, there is a notice actually on the signs, but if you’ve been parking there for years, it’s easy to miss changes in a sign. Mr G did his usual thing – parked up, nipped into the post office for a couple of minutes, and came out to see a warden in the middle of issuing a fine. The parking attendant told Mr G he had watched Mr G displaying the badge – which sort of goes to show they’re not up for just telling people they can’t park for free, they just want the cash.

I guess the issue here is not the parking charge as such, blue badges are supposed to allow access, not necessarily free access, it’s the way people are informed.

If I was a Phantom Parking Attendant I’d be rubbish at my job – I’d feel the need to tell someone if a rule had changed that they needed to know about. There’s deliberately taking the Michael, like the builder vans in disabled spaces – and there’s genuine mistakes. I like to think I’d know the difference.

So – just be careful if you have a blue badge, eh, folks. READ THE NOTICE!

And Now The Old Loyal Britons…

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Good heavens I feel so bloomin’ samey – all I seem to blog about these days is pubs dying. Apparently there’s an application to demolish The Old Loyal Britons and replace it with – guess what – a six-storey block of flats (plus basement) and a restaurant.

Now I know it’s not the prettiest pub ever, but it has loads of potential and keen management up for making a go of it. It’s not been open long in its most recent incarnation. Do we have to have dreary identikit newbuilds everywhere? Surely the reason Greenwich is what it is is the variety in architecture.

It’s Ref. 14/1636/F on the council website. Remember – if the council get more than 8 objections they HAVE to consider it…

Please can I write about something else now…

The Swan. Going, Going…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Photo: Mike Purdy

Sorry, folks, it’s started. Mike went to have a look the other day and there are demolition guys working as fast as they can to demolish the Swan before any pesky protest group manages to stop it.

The workmen were pretty hostile to Mike – a far cry from the jolly chaps that allowed Phillip to look around a couple of weeks ago. This lot were unpleasant – as you’ll see from the photo above, where one of them is making a rude gesture…

So, if you want to get a look at it get yourself down there quick, eh.

Photo: Mike Purdy

I guess it was always a very slim chance, the campaign was started FAR too late for anything to really happen. But let’s take inspiration from Sir John Betjeman who famously failed to stop the Euston Arch from being demolished, but, through the publicity, managed to save St Pancras – and look at that particular ‘white elephant’ now.

Let’s keep an eye on the Thames Pub, and make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

I understand that the roundel above the pub is to be retained to be set into whatever monstrosity goes there next as some kind of sop to the neighbourhood.

You can’t polish a turd, they say, but you can stick a flag in it.

Ending Enderby’s Agony (Or at least making a fist at it…)

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

I’ve been banging on about the plight of Enderby Wharf for years. Not just me, of course – in fact I’ve been a lightweight in comparison to some, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that we have a truly important piece of industrial history that faces a not just uncertain future, but is mouldering away before our very eyes.

It is, of course, the birthplace of transatlantic communication; the place where the cables that connect us to the USA were manufactured before being shipped out and lain under the seabed.

Some of the winding gear is still there on the riverfront as is, of course, the once-smart Enderby House, but both languish under uncertain futures. Enderby House was even left with the front door wide open for vandals, foxes, whoever to just go in and do whatever they wanted.

Barrett are to redevelop the area (so much for the pledge to keep the area as a working one…) and are demolishing everything they can, but a group, Enderby Wharf has been formed to try to save Enderby house, the winding gear and other river front curiosities like these fabulous steps.

They have a lovely little leaflet which tells you more, and there’s loads on the website.

There’s a meeting on 25th June with Hard Hat, the PR firm working with Barrett, and it would be great to get a head of steam working over what could happen with Enderby House and the Winding Gear, so that they can not only be used for something good, but cherished as much as some of Greenwich’s Royal and cultural history.

I am very excited about the formation of this new group. We can’t stop the relentless development of the riverfront, but we can act to save what history we have left.

Bugsby’s Here to Stay

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Graham has just forwarded me this news from the Port of London authority, which, if you recall, was considering changing Bugsby’s Reach to Waterman’s Reach in commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the 1514 Act of Parliament regulating watermen, wherrymen and bargemen.

There were a total of 47 responses to the consultation, breaking down as follows:

· 10 in favour
· 34 against
· 3 neutral

Those for the change cited the proposal as: ‘fitting commemoration of the river’s past, present and future working life.’

Those against the proposal felt that: ‘historic names should be left alone’; ‘Bugsby’s Reach is a local name reflected landward in Bugsby’s Way’; and ‘The lack of information about Bugsby’s background should not be a reason to remove his name.’

The PLA say:

Having considered the balance and nature of consultation responses, we have decided not to proceed with the proposal to rename Bugsby’s Reach.

Actually, I personally think that the Watermen should be commemorated – and I’d have been quite happy to see Greenwich Reach renamed – after all, it’s not like we’d forget our own name.

Oh, the Excitement…

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Photo: Mike Purdy

I was tickled by this photo by Mike of the fever that’s gripping Greenwich over the World Cup. The Gate Clock showed willing with a screen, but clearly the sunshine outside was showing a little more willing…

Infilling the Infil

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

So this appears to be the new infil for where the old 1950s bomb damage infil was in the market and, I have to say, from the first floor up, it’s pretty impressive, at least from the outside. They have stayed true to Kaye’s original style and put in good quality sashes etc. It remains to be seen what happens with the ground floor. I am expecting it to be all one shop so they can get some dreary chain in, but hey, you never know…

I did have a ‘before’ photo for this, but can’t seem to find it. If anyone has one I’d be glad of it…