Archive for the ‘Trafalgar Road’ Category

The Crown

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

After yesterday’s rather gloomy post about the state of Greenwich’s watering holes I thought I’d mention something that, at least at the moment, looks quite positive.

Chris and I have been discussing The Crown in Traf Road. Now I’ve always liked the Crown as a building. It’s a neat, ‘proper’ pub, very traditional in design and with huge amounts of potential.

I have to say, though, that for me, ‘potential’ was always the word. On the few occasions I went inside for a drink the locals looked at me as though I had grown a second tricorn and I was made to feel – well – frankly rather unwelcome.

But I liked the place – not least for the images conjured in my mind by Iris Bryce in Remember Greenwich who, being brought up a stone’s throw from the pub found a job there as a very young, impressionable girl and was taken under the glamorous landlady’s wing – a woman who conjures images of a 1940s Bet Lynch, in satins and silks, and who had done out her own quarters in the upstairs of the pub as what she probably imagined as a Hollywood stage, but which sounds more like a particularly splendid tart’s parlour. Iris was goggle-eyed at this room, all swags and tassels; it appears to have been quite instrumental in Iris’s beginning to yearn for something ‘more’.

So- it’s been taken over by Inn Public, the people who run the Duke in Deptford, the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill and the Dolphin in Sydenham, thus ending their South East London takeover of pubs beginning with the letter D.

Okay – it’s a chain. A local chain, which isn’t always good (witness the previous post about Greenwich Inc.) but better than some massive behemoth like Wetherspoons or, heaven forbid, Punch. They apparently like original features, so hopefully any kit-out will be sympathetic, and hey – it’s better than being turned into flats like so many down Traf Road/ Woolwich Road – only a year or so ago we lost The Old Friends – admittedly the worst pub in the area, but one that would have definitely benefitted from a decent chain takeover rather than demolition.

I’m told they’re opening on the 1st Feb. I shall visit with interest. I’m hoping that it will continue the gradual rebirth of this little stretch of Traf Road – the Greengrocer’s next door, which was always a little tentative, is now run by the guys who run Apple and Pear at the Standard, La Salumeria has had a revamp and I just love Fay’s, the tiny caff opposite run by the sweet French guy whose name I haven’t caught yet, but who turns a simple sandwich into a work of art.

It’s small stuff, of course. But everything needs to start somewhere. Looking at old photos of Traf Road, it’s been a vibrant, local hub – and within living memory too. I was talking to a guy in Romford Market the other day whose dad used to have a fabric shop in the road – which did good business until the 70s/80s.

Perhaps it can happen again. I hope so.

I just realised I don’t have any photos of the Crown – so for the Nth day succession, no images. Soz…

The Old Bottle Shop

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Hands up who remembers the Village Market? It’s not a year yet since the market closed, and yet it seems like forever ago. The site sits forlornly waiting for anything to happen while the traders have been scattered to the four winds.

The Old Bottle Shop lady made a stab at keeping going – from that secretive little upstairs warehouse marked only by a giant plastic geisha (whatever happened to her?) – to what some consider to be even more secretive Trafalgar Road – one of the many, many many empty shops along a sad-sack street that desperately needs a revamp.

She certainly shared the space with some oddities. Whenever I went by there was something new jostling with the assortment of vintage glassware – ladies’ knickers, grow-bags, saucy stockings. But it’s been closed for some time now.

Adrian was curious, and the next time he saw her, asked her what was going on. It’s a sad story. He says “Apparently, she has been evicted by the landlord and her stock seized by the bailiffs. And sure enough, Saturday’s catalogue at the Greenwich Auction was full of beautiful old bottles of all shapes, sizes and hues – a life’s work of collecting under the hammer. “

Adrian tells me she has still has some stock in a small space in the basement of the Junk Shop (where several Village Market refugees seem to have established themselves) and was talking also about doing more car boot sales, etc. but she won’t be taking on another shop.

Perhaps it was inevitable. Tourists just don’t get down as far as Trafalgar Road – and let’s face it, why should they? It’s just a bog-standard, local street full of takeaways and a few decent shops, but with a constant flow of heavy goods traffic and narrow pavements that don’t invite browsing. The shops are tiny – and would be perfect as cutesy little gift stores (I wish The Home Front every good thing, btw – a lovely shop, and a brave move) but anyone stopping to look in a window would hold up the entire street.

The East Greenwich Traders Association are keen to make Trafalgar Road a ‘cultural corridor’ for the Olympics. I guess if nobody’s allowed to cars during the games, they could spill out onto the road, but personally, I think they have an uphill struggle ahead. Any ideas for how Trafalgar Road could be made – well – a bit nicer than it is?