Archive for the ‘Romantic Greenwich’ Category

Two saved projects, one pending…

Friday, January 30th, 2015

There’s been a lot of bad stuff gone on while I’ve had my eye off the Greenwich Time Ball, but it’s not all horrors. Two projects especially, that we discussed at length over the years, have come to fruition.

I am utterly delighted that against the odds Severndroog Castle not only survived being a vandalised – and vandalisable  - ruin earmarked for private offices to become a fabulous observation tower for all. I love visiting, and the views, especially in winter, are fabulous.

Then there’s the swing bridge across Capital Quay. It was on, it was off, it was a high-rise affair, it was shelved. The money was ear-marked, the money was already spent. But now we have it and no longer do we have to trudge round Creek Road risking life, limb and lungs to get from one part of the Thames Path to the next.

But the success of these two projects for me only highlights how much else needs to be done to keep Greenwich as vibrant and individual as it can be given the blandification of the steel and glass dreariness springing up around us. I worry for the safety of the Thames Path further down, one of the few remaining bits where you can feel you’re in somewhere that is both industrial and wild, is under serious threat of steel and glass.

Then, just to keep me awake on the nights I don’t worry about that, the University of Greenwich have announced they intend to sell their Avery Hill campus, complete with the glorious Winter Gardens.

This fabulous glass fantasy is currently open to all, if a little crumbling around the edges. If it is sold, there is no guarantee that it will be even retained, let alone for public use.

The Friends of Avery Hill Park are organising a Facebook campaign – being an old and crusty Phantom I can’t find my way around Facebook so you’ll have to find it for yourselves, but I don’t see why a similar campaign that fought and won Severndroog couldn’t be arranged here – there was already applications for lottery funding to help restore the gardens. I, for one, will be happy to get behind any such project.

It has a slight advantage over Severndroog too, commercially.

While Severndroog is beautiful, it can’t take vast numbers of people so it’s not great for weddings or parties – Avery Hill could, with a little rejiggery, be perfect – though of course for me part of its joy is the quiet seclusion you can find just walking in any day…

So – a pat on the back for projects complete, a call to arms for projects to come…

Love on the Line

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Okay – here’s a charming, romantic little Greenwich tradition for St Valentine’s Day. Any ideas where it is? No?

How’s about I zoom out a bit from Graham’s photo…

Got it yet? Yeaaaaaah. I guess it doesn’t take too much working out to fathom that this small but growing collection of padlocks declaring undying amour for one’s true love is on the Meridian Line just outside the Observatory:

Graham, author of On the Line and whose excellent website is, frankly, everything you’ll ever need to know about The Greenwich Meridian (check out the fabulous-but-doomed Millennium Tree Line page, for example) has a whole collection of photos of the very spot over the years, but the padlocks are a relatively recent addition. Perhaps it’s teenage tourists, perhaps local lovers – perhaps a bit of both. Who can tell. Beats carving up trees, I say, both harmless and sweet.

For some  perverse reason they remind me a little of the Skateboard graveyard on Hungerford Bridge though I don’t know of a website where people leave electronic billets doux for the Greenwich Padlocks. Do let me know if there is one.

A few weeks ago, Graham was a bit worried because some workmen were doing ‘stuff’ to the railings and he thought the padlocks may have been removed. But I went up to check and it seems that Royal Parks are a romantic bunch. The locks are still there.


Happy Valentine’s Day folks.

The Bouquet Tree

Monday, June 30th, 2008
The Bouquet Tree – currently sans-fleurs

Benedict asks:

“While wondering about the park, I often notice a bouquet and a card left by the big tree in the rose garden. Any ideas as to who what and why this mysterious offering is placed there?”

I’ve seen that a few times too – it is definitely refreshed on a regular basis, but I have no idea whose secret this is, or why it’s done.  I’d feel very iffy about peeking at the notes – but I’m sure that there’s a wildly romantic and/or tragic tale behind this floral gesture. If anyone knows the real story, let me know, otherwise I might just have to make one up and you know the sort of tripe I come up with when I go off on one…