Archive for the ‘Rear Window Greenwich’ Category

Rear Window (27)

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Hardly a ‘guess where this is, folks…’ post – more an update, this time from the other side of the Old Hospital site development from Number 26 – Vanbrugh Hill side, courtesy of Louiss from the Plaza.

Of course even this is out of date now – the rounded shell in the picture here has been joined already by others to the east and the distinctive (worryingly shallow) footprint of the swimming pool to be.

It’s being called Greenwich Square now – not sure when that was decided but I guess it’s okay. Bland but serviceable. I have to say the blocks are higher than I was expecting, I don’t know why I should be surprised by that. Still, at least stuff is happening now – and at quite a lick.

The other buildings that are going up at quite a speed – and which are also higher and denser than I’d expected – are those at the old Stockwell market, the new School of Architecture.

I’m expecting to see some demolition at the market too, in Church Street – Bullfrogs and that posh furniture store were both kicked out ‘due to demolition’ – I’m guessing that the 1950s buildings that look like wartime infill are to be removed and replaced with pastiche Georgian ones to keep the look of the row. I read in a Standard puff-piece about all the sundry new Greenwich developments last week (anyone else find the town quite hard to recognise from the description?) that Greenwich Hospital are planning on encouraging independent stores to fill the market shops, which is contrary to what the independent traders have been telling me.

I truly hope Greenwich Hospital have had a change of heart and they’re not just saying that to sell apartments. Those indies are what keeps the place uinque. I can only hope.

PS – don’t you just love the creepy Phantom Car in the photo?

Rear Window (26)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Not the world’s most difficult Rear Window today, from John, but one of the most fascinating we’ve had for some time. This view must be changing daily – John, I hope you’re keeping a record of this – in the future, it will be a really valuable piece of documentation.

In fact – if you have nothing else to do, I’d love to see a record of this over, say, a year. It would make a really interesting photo-doc.

Do I really have to ask if anyone doesn’t know where this is?

Thanks, John – as with all Rear Windows, you are giving us a view into Greenwich we don’t normally get to see…

Rear Window 25

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

It’s been absolutely ages since the most recent in this (very) occasional series where Phantophiles share the view from their back windows that they enjoy in Greenwich. To be honest I’d forgotten I was doing it.

So I’m delighted that Lara is sharing with us this rather fabulously yellow photo which she took from her bath. Presumably the folks in the houses opposite get an even better view…

Now, I confess I don’t actually know where this is, though I have my suspicions. There are several candidates for high Georgian/Victorian buildings, but I suspect that the real clue will be in the modern building to the left of the row where, presumably, a wartime bomb interrupted the symmetry.

So – guess away. ‘Fraid you won’t get an answer from me, but Lara might let you in on the secret of who to chat up in order to peek through her neighbours’ window to try to spot her in the bath.

Rear Window 24

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

This Rear Window view (haven’t had one for ages; good to kickstart the series again…) relates directly to the post a couple of weeks ago about Woodland Heights and its view back in the 1920s and now.

Jim says “Keri and I live in the top middle flat you see in the postcard view, so we have the pleasure of the view through that round window (everyone’s favourite when watching Playschool, surely).”

It’s an absolutely incredible view, and the reason why I particularly like this shot is the view of the old district hospital site in the middle-ground – with the gallons of rain we’ve been getting it looks like the council decided to give up with the rubbish swimming pool plans and just turn the whole site into a lido – or perhaps some natural wetlands.

Jim was impressed with some information about the houses in Dinsdale Road and Vanbrugh Hill that Methers had supplied on the preivious post, and asked me about it. I am pretty sure that data as detailed as that about Westcombe Park can only have come from one secondary source (unless I’m maligning you, Methers and you’ve been slogging it out in Greenwich Heritage Centre ;-) ) which is the sadly out-of-print Blackheath and Environs II by Neil Rhind.

The first book in this superb series of everything you could possibly want to know about Blackheath, about the village itself, has been reprinted and I am eagerly awaiting Volume III later this year, but II is pretty rare. You may find it on Abe Books or Amazon Marketplace or alternatively all the local libraries carry it (if you can find one open…)

Jim’s also asked about other pictures of the old Greenwich & Deptford Hospital /St Alfege’s Workhouse and I found this fascinating account. Apart from a couple of nice pictures, I am especially impressed with the sheer variety of the fare served at the workhouse. These paupers got to taste EIGHT different types of food in a week. Luxury! Of course it was the same eight foods every week. It’s a really interesting, if frankly dismal read; despite the workhouse’s huge size it was seriously overcrowded and the woefully inadequate rations given to poor boys even at the time shocked one of the teachers there.

Of course now I want to know more about the accommodation for ‘bad women’…

Then and Now (6) Part Two

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Dear Mother and Dad

Things are still going well in East Greenwich. On some nights you’d even believe it’s a normal hospital. The girls in the nurses’ home are such a hoot. Joan and I staked four vamps last full moon; it was exciting but Joan snagged her stocking and nylons are so hard to come by with all this rationing. Thank you for the garlic, so sorry to hear about Fluffy. You might want to cremate him, it’s not worth taking chances. Love to you both and tell George not to worry, 


‘Fraid this postcard was unwritten too, it’s not surprising since I got it and yesterday’s card as a pair. I assume they were bought as a memento by a nurse who lived at the old Nurses’ Home (now Woodland Heights).

Of the two I find this the most interesting card because there’s just so much of old East Greenwich to see. The dark, satanic castle-like place in the middle of the background isn’t Vanbrugh Castle, but the old Greenwich and Deptford Hospital – the old Union Workhouse/Asylum. It was demolished to build the short-lived 1970s monstrosity Greenwich District Hospital which, in its turn was demolished to build – well, as yet, bugger-all.

I can’t tell whether there are two gas holders in the deep background, or just the one and a cloud. Just beyond the (treeless) turning circle, you can just see the top of the Vanbrugh Tavern and bits of Humber and Dinsdale roads.

It’s almost impossible to get the exact same angle for a shot today, because the area around the car park (in which I once, on a very, very cold night, saw a cab doing scary ice-dancing) has a whole bunch of trees and shrubs, so I had to try to get a photo from the road.

Gone is the old hospital, but the not-quite finished cable car is, I think, rather a nice touch.

I have one more pic for you, that by rights, should have its own ‘Rear Window’ post – but hey, it fits in so well with today’s  piece that I’m including it here. It’s from Thomas’s kitchen window, up in Woodland Heights:

Thomas tells me he never tires of it. I believe him.

Rear Window (23)

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Isn’t this a fascinating photo? For all of us who can’t see behind the various hoardings, an aerial shot of – what I calculate to be five separate building jobs – though I may have miscalculated – it could be more, could be fewer.

It’s a shot taken for the forthcoming book Greenwich Then and Now by Barbara Ludlow and Julian Watson, taken by Julian from the window of a kindly upstairs resident of Coltman House and I love it because it’s not a static shot, it’s work in progress.

In the foreground we have the ‘gardens’ themselves – and, from what I have seen of the plans, they are much greener than the area’s been for years, much to the chagrin of English Heritage for whom I usually have a lot of respect but whose desire for an urban dockfront feel at this bleak spot would be as specious as greenery and a hell of a lot less enjoyable when the icy Thames winds blow for the three-quarters of the year that don’t have the sunshine you always get in architects’ plans.

Next to the gardens, on the left, is the interminable Foot Tunnel project which has, frankly, been a bit of a disgrace. I have lost count of the number of cyclists I’ve seen going up to the door, realising the whole bloomin’ thing is shut and, knowing that there’s nothing down at Woolwich either, turning round wearily to peddle their way up to Rotherhithe. This is a public highway – which is why, up to this particular works, it was left open 24 hours a day and if it did close, for filming, for example, (i.e. when someone else had to foot the bill)  it had to have proper provision made. The excuse of the DLR is fine for pedestrians happy to shell out for the ticket but cyclists can whistle. It is, apparently, due to be opened ‘in the new year,’ whatever that means – my bet is ‘in time for the Olympics’ which seems to be the mantra for everything these days.

Behind that, we can just see the entrance to the new pier and, separately but together, the strange skellingtons that will make up the ticket office and the cafe. I’ve heard all sorts of rumours about what’s going to be there – a Zizzi’s, Nandos, Byron (no indies, natch) but in case you can’t read Steve’s photo

it looks as though it’s actually going to be that retail-park blandity Frankie and Benny’s. Sigh.

Steve’s been trying to get the signage sorted out around that area for some time – after ORNC hours it’s quite hard to get through from West to East Greenwich in that part as random paths have been shut off and the ORNC security guys are not to be argued with. He’s discovered that this mess will stay until the whole area opens properly but has been at least promised some signage. Go, Steve.  Let’s hope it’s not like this splendid example of Greenwich Council signage, wrong on so many levels and spotted by Dan:

Which leaves us with the Cuty Sark herself. I don’t want to know what’s gone on with the engineering, what kind of stress those timbers are under or what corners were cut. We were left out of the loop when it mattered and all we’re likely to get now is platitudes if, indeed, they ever decide to actually talk to locals at all. But I have to say she’s looking good. Every time I walk past she seems to have a bit more fluffy frou, a little extra gold, a shininess more of paint. At last she looks like a ship again. Who knows – she might actually be ready for that all-important date.

And all this encapsulated in one photo. I can’t wait for Barbara and Julian’s book (one of several very exciting volumes to be published soon, and not Julian’s only outing.) It’s due at the publishers at the end of the month so we should see it – actually I don’t know how long books take to come out once they’re written so let’s just say ‘soon.’

Rear Window (22)

Monday, August 15th, 2011

No prizes for guessing where Matt lives on today’s Rear Window. He captions this photo “”The Only Reason We Can Afford To Live In Greenwich”, and says “there’s nothing like being woken by the 0532 to Charing Cross every morning,” a comment that will probably bring back memories for Benedict…

Actually, I’m delighted to hear from Matt, as he is the editor of the much-missed-but-hopefully-soon-to-rise-again Smoke, A London Peculiar, one of the two great specialist underground London literary magazines, both currently on sabbatical while the publication world remains in turmoil – the other being, of course, the creepy One Eye Grey, whose ed is also based sarf of the river, and is still conducting some rather good (and free) walks, though not round these parts.

Not to be outdone, Matt’s been cataloguing the camp statues of London (ahem) and brought out a boardgame, Soho, which I confess I haven’t played, but which has some fantastic-looking cards. He’s also, as a newcomer to Greenwich, decided to start his own Greenwich-based blog.

Welcome to Greenwich, Matt, and let’s see a new edition of Smoke soon, eh…

Rear Window (21)

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A rather splendid view today. Even Brian reckons he’s “a really lucky boy.” Fancy having such a great view of the Observatory every time you open your curtains – though to be honest, I just love the Aristocats rooftops and chimneypots m’self. And the lush green of willow trees makes it look wonderfully fresh, something that the Aristocats didn’t have quite so much of.

But where is it? I’ll let you have a little guess for a bit, then post the other pic Brian sent me which should help you get your bearings…

Rear Window (21)

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Today’s Rear Window shot is from Dennis – a wonderfully private view, but with one of the most public places in Greenwich peeping over it in the background.

There’s something about ventilation ducts and drain pipes on Victorian buildings, nearly all retro-fitted and yet somehow so ubiquitous that we don’t ‘see’ them.  Here we have a fabulous forest of 20th (and perhaps the odd 21st) Century shafts stuck on, Brazil-like, to some cute terraces. It shouldn’t work, but it sort of does and although St Alf’s gloriously restored tower almost glows in its newness above them, I confess to finding the arrangement of those pipes a really interesting combination.

As to where it is, though, um, I truly can’t get an angle on it in my mind. I’m sure someone will, though…

Rear Window (20)

Friday, May 27th, 2011

…Because every Friday should have at least one picture of a cat. This is John’s cat Lobby eyeing up lunch in his Greenwich back garden…