Angerstein level crossing, one of two in Greenwich

Yesterday I discovered that there is a second level crossing within walking distance from my home. To be honest I’d been dining out on the news of the Charlton Lane crossing for a few years (very pretty brick pattern on the tunnel, level crossings a reasonably rare thing in London) after I discovered it while ambling around Maryon Park. But now I have two of them! This one is much smaller and is only used by pedestrians, and the track itself is only used by freight trains carrying ‘stuff’ from around the UK to Angerstein Wharf.

Yesterday’s discovery was an online one, after I was looking up John Julius Angerstein who created the gardens at Mycenae House. I recognised his name from wandering around Angerstein Wharf (well as near as I can get to it without being chased by wild dogs) and the internet told me about this crossing, just by Westcombe Park station. Angerstein’s grandson developed the railway and the crossing was included for workers to get across the line.

I had the day off today and went to visit it. Predictably I arrived just too late to see a long freight train disappearing into the wharf, which was a shame but I enjoyed meeting the crossing nonetheless. The line is very infrequently used as far as I’m aware (trains run several times a week rather than a day), though not by people – I met several while lurking there photographing it (pics below).

Map of Angerstein Crossing from Google maps.

When I lived in Camberwell I was close to Denmark Hill rail station and I loved being woken in the middle of the night by the rumbling of freight trains passing through, reminding me that I was safe and warm in bed while life was going on around me. It made the house vibrate.

Pleasingly it’s the exact same trains that pass through Denmark Hill that also arrive in Angerstein Wharf. They come from (or go to) Bardon Hill quarry in Leicestershire and they do this in a remarkably circuitous route which you can see examples of here (Bardon to Angerstein) and here (Angerstein to Bardon).

Other posts about Angerstein Crossing
Angerstein Level Crossing (31 August 2015) Know Your London
Angerstein adventure: Take a very rare Greenwich rail trip (31 August 2014) 853 blog
Angerstein railway (28 October 2013) The Greenwich Phantom
The Angerstein Railway (published 30 July 2013 but written in 1998) Greenwich Peninsula History

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1. Westcombe Park side of the Angerstein Crossing

IMG_4725.JPG2. Westcombe Park side looking left towards Angerstein Wharf where you can see the train I just missed.

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3. Westcombe Park side looking to the right towards Charlton station

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4. The crossing itself, taken from the side of Westcombe Park

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5. The opposite side of the crossing, from the Fairthorn Road entrance

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6. The rather lovely entrance to the crossing from Fairthorn Road, directly opposite Gurdon Road.

 

 

Mycenae House’s PARKSfest 2017

I popped into Mycenae House after a visit to Blackheath’s M&S for yesterday’s ParksFest and failed to take any photographs as my phone was charging at home, oops. Fortunately other people brought their cameras and tweeted some stuff (below). Looks like it was a really enjoyable day. I was surprised to discover how large the Mycenae Gardens are and amazed to see a large redwood tree, among some other pretty interesting trees. I signed up to become a ‘friend of’ the gardens and was given a leaflet on the gardens history.

Mycenae House (built in 1776) Gardens were created by someone whose name – Angerstein – I had heard of only in the context of freight trains shuttling between Angerstein Wharf and Bardon Hill quarry in Leicester. He filled the garden with some trees that have been there for over 200 years (a lovely old plane tree is still there) and after his death his collection of paintings also kicked off the National Gallery. Angerstein actually lived in ‘Woodlands’ (now a Steiner School) next door to Mycenae House.

The friends of the Garden had a couple of good tree quizzes – it turns out I’m better at recognising a species from its leaf than from a picture of the tree.

A few years ago I saw Shaun of the Dead in the gardens thanks to Pop Up Screens, it was fab though I got bitten by midges 😉 I don’t think they’re doing any screenings at Mycenae House but they do have films in Greenwich Peninsula in August (also Lee / Hither Green which is nearby).

Mycenae House (What’s On) – http://www.mycenaehouse.co.uk/whatson.html
Friends of Mycenae Gardens – https://mycenaegardens.org.uk/about/
Westcombe (Park) Society – http://www.westcombesociety.org/
Blackheath Society – http://www.blackheath.org/
Charlton Society – https://charltonsociety.org/

I enjoyed the bunting seen in the tweet above.

Open air cinema on your doorstep (if you’re in Blackheath / Greenwich / Lee / Peckham)

This weekend the Luna Cinema is screening Groundhog Day (Fri 7 July), Arrival (Sat 8 July) and Top Gun (Sun 9 July) in Greenwich Park.
http://www.thelunacinema.com/greenwich-park/4592086264

The Rooftop Film Club is showing lots of films all summer on top of the Bussey Building in Peckham. The building is a three minute walk* from Peckham Rye, which is itself only 13 minutes from Blackheath station on the Victoria trains.
http://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/venues/bussey-building/

Pop Up Screens is showing Jurassic Park (Fri 25 Aug), Four Weddings and a Funeral (Sat 26 Aug) and Grease (Sun 27 Aug) in Manor House Gardens, which is listed as Hither Green but seems pretty Lee-ish. It’s a 17 minute walk from Blackheath station (according to Citymapper). You can also take the 202 bus to Stop F (on the opposite side of the road from the Sainsbury’s, Burnt Ash Road Lee Road (Stop ID: 58365), the 261 stops there too, then walk up a little bit to the crossroads and turn right into Taunton Road.
https://www.popupscreens.co.uk/tickets/events/upcoming/venue/4

All the open air cinema screening organisations listed, and many others, are showing other films across London and a reasonably complete list is here:
https://storify.com/jobrodie/open-air-cinema-screenings-london-2017

*Don’t forget that the last weekday train from Peckham Rye to Blackheath is 23:51 and you might need to allow a bit longer to walk back to the station as they close off the main cut-through back to the station. I discovered this last night after a lovely screening of Pride and Prejudice there (with a fun Q&A with Joe Wright the director beforehand) which has a run time of 2h 15 and began at 9.45. I’d allowed 10 mins to get back to the station and had quite the sense of humour failure when someone tried to redirect me to follow a different, longer route in an opposite direction, risking losing the train – fortunately I won that argument, they opened the barrier for me and I got the last train home.

 

How competitive walking (in Blackheath) captivated Georgian Britain h/t @FakeDaveGreen

via How Competitive Walking Captivated Georgian Britain – Atlas Obscura

I’ve been enjoying this surprising article about competitive walking in Georgian Britain, it was particularly interesting to me given that it takes place partly at Hare and Billet in Blackheath which has been the site of my own recent excursions 🙂

Incidentally the reason I took up walking in and around London was after re-reading Dickens’ Oliver Twist in my mid-twenties. I’d always taken the bus everywhere before that (living in Camberwell at the time meant the tube was less of an option anyway) and enjoyed reading about people walking through bits of London I passed on the bus. It just hadn’t really occurred to me that one might or could walk around London, or that it might be done for pleasure, or health benefits. The people in the book had to walk from necessity (couldn’t afford the alternatives) so it probably wasn’t much fun for them.

I would have been no good at Georgian competitive pedestrianism though. Because I’d regularly bussed and walked the journey from Camden to Charing Cross, and from Charing Cross to Camberwell I’d assumed it would be plain sailing to follow the 53 route back to Blackheath. So one hot Saturday afternoon a few years ago I set off from Camden and walked all the way to Deptford before thinking better of it. According to my GPS tracker I’d done 14 miles in about six hours, which is fairly feeble (and the distance can’t really be much more than 9 miles – though I was following the less direct bus route). By the time I arrived at Deptford Bridge I was more shuffling than walking. A 53 bus arrived and I realised I wouldn’t be able to get on to it as I could barely lift my feet up, then someone with crutches arrived (overtaking me) and the driver lowered the platform for them and I was able to shuffle on. I remember my hip joints squeaking as I walked up the stairs to my flat and I thought I’d never do that again, though by the next day I was perfectly fine. These days I tend to restrict myself to 40 minute walks though, can’t be too careful 😉

Walking in London is actually quite hard-going and it’s not that related to the distances. You’re constantly keeping out of others’ way and at very regular intervals you’re required to cross roads which breaks your pace a fair bit, not to mention the general background efforts at being ‘London alert’. And in my case especially, trying not to get lost (this is why I follow the bus routes).