Haven’t had one of these for ages, so I thought I’d go with a parklet that looks much smaller than it actually is today.
It’s in the area just north of Maze Hill station, around Tyler Street/ Walnut Tree Road (which is bisected by it) and Columb Street and manages to encompass open grassland, mature trees and a kiddies playground in an area that in my memory at least is always teeny.
It’s clearly the result of bomb damage and what has always amazed me is that there is a park there at all; that the whole of it wasn’t just subsumed into new builds. I am sure it would be now.
I was curious to know just which bombs it might have been, so I enlisted the help of resident Phantom Blitz Expert, Stepen Hunnisett, who gave me a rundown of just how flattened the area had got by the end of World War II:
- 8/9/1940 (no time given) – Tyler Street/Trafalgar Row – High Explosive /Incendiary Bombs – Fire at Francis Campion’s premises
- 17/10/40 @ 16:58 – 16-18 Tyler Street – High Explosive Bomb – no casualties
- 10/01/41 @ 00:15 – Tyler Street – numerous Incendiary Bombs – no casualties
- 8/9/40 no time given – Maze Hill Station – Incendiary Bombs on line
- 9/9/40 no time given – 99 Maze Hill – Incendiary Bomb – fire in house
- 9/9/40 @ 23:11 – 111 Maze Hill – Incendiary Bomb – fire in house
- 9/9/40 @ 23:15 – Maze Hill Station – Incendiary Bomb on down line
- 17/10/40 @ 17:20 – 75 Maze Hill – High Explosive – no casualties
- 18/10/40 @ 23:59 – 139 Maze Hill – High Explosive – 1 walking casualty
- 18/10/40 @ 09:19 – Maze Hill Station – 2 Delayed Action Bombs discovered in Goods Yard
- 18/10/40 @ 10:12 – 37 Maze Hill – UXAA Shell
- 20/10/40 @ 22:50 – 139 Maze Hill (again) – High Explosive Bomb
Blimey – after that little lot it’s hardly surprising there’s so much post-war new-build. Of course they were aiming for (among other things) the railway line – and sometimes actually hit it – but it’s clear living round Maze Hill in 1940 was a dangerous occupation.
The area is still pretty darn cute (I’ve always loved Walnut Tree Road) but it must have been even cuter before 1940. Still – respect to whoever decided not to cover every single inch with what must have been much-needed housing and instead pay attention to the social needs of the people who were going to live in the new homes.
If you’d like to know more about wartime Greenwich and Blackheath, Stephen has two of his occasional Blitzwalks coming up. The first is this Sunday, May 19th, at 11.00am, the second, unusually, on a Friday 28th June at 6.30 p.m.
Both walks meet outside All Saints Church, Blackheath Village, cost £9 per head and last 2 hours 45 minutes. You can pay on the day but pre-booking is strongly advised as they’re always popular, via the website.