Angerstein foot crossing at risk of closure

REPRIEVED – as of 11 April 2019 Network Rail have confirmed that the crossing will not close permanently this Saturday. There will be a temporary closure to do the works but it will re-open. There will be a review in future (so it may still close permanently at some future point). But Network Rail are now very aware that the crossing has a lot of support and interest.

Network Rail: ‘We want to put things right on Angerstein crossing’ (12 April 2019, Charlton Champion).
Network Rail apologises and will look again at Angerstein Wharf crossing closure (11 April 2019, Charlton Champion).

The crossing has been under threat of permanent closure but that threat has receded pending review. This post links to a petition (see latest update), a form to sign up to hear more and links to other local blog posts from The Charlton Champion and From The Murky Depths.

SIGN UP to hear more: if you’d like to be kept informed of any future consultations I’ve set up an email-address-collecting form and promise not to spam you (or scroll to form below).

I’ve asked Network Rail if they’ve published a statement on the crossing’s closure (couldn’t find anything on their website) particularly in light of Matthew Pennycook’s letter (see point 5) and will add anything when they get back to me [statement at end].

PETITION TO SAVE THE CROSSING – over 750 signatures at 12 April.

VIDEO of the Angerstein crossing by Morthren

ANGERSTEIN CROSSING updates and links

  1. There’s a pedestrian foot crossing on the Angerstein branch line (which carries freight to and from Angerstein Wharf) near Westcombe Park which is due to close permanently because Network Rail are reconfiguring the track, signalling and infrastructure [Map]. The branch line is not electrified.
  2. Network Rail wrote to residents directly affected by the works on 27 March 2019. The letter implies that the works will take place from 13 to 21 April but also mentions that the steps will be demolished. Further discussions with Network Rail indicates the intention is to close the crossing completely (see 6.2 below).
  3. The crossing was added to Greenwich’s heritage list in January (via Charlton Champion) and appears on page 28 of this 151 page PDF (found via this link)
  4. Apparently lots of new flats are being built nearby and new residents might find the crossing quite handy.
  5. Greenwich MP Matthew Pennycook has written a letter to Network Rail objecting to the permanent closure without consultation.
  6. The Murky Depths has written a couple of posts, each has over 10 comments
    1. One of London’s last railway foot crossings to close? (6 April 2019)
    2. Network Rail confirm closure of Charlton rail crossing (9 April 2019)
  7. A crossing has been in use since the line was built in the 1850s. Network Rail claims that there’s no right of way but this seems surprising given its regular and continued use.
  8. Freight trains derailed at Angerstein Junction (where the freight line joins the commuter lines) in 2014 and 2015 taking the lines out of action for most of the day. In both cases accident reports indicated that the likely cause was an unevenly loaded wagon though the track was also causative factor in the 2014 incident. [2014 report] [2015 report]
  9. There was a consultation document in 2017 which discussed changes to the route used by freight trains from Angerstein Wharf (proposing to restore the line to Blackheath). I don’t know what came of it, see page 69 of 77).
  10. The Charlton Champion has included a little video of the crossing in use by a freight train with a shiny red engine and umpteen wagons in today’s post, referencing local displeasure at the planned closure.
  11. I’ve put some signs up, joining signs from at least two other people – so hopefully people will be a bit more aware of this. I spent over an hour there today and counted 25 people using the crossing in just over an hour and plenty more continued to use it after I stopped counting / timing. It is in constant, regular, sporadic use throughout the day. About half of the people I spoke to had been unaware it was due to close permanently.

Geoff Marshall’s video of the crossing published in March 2019 already has nearly 700 comments


There’s a short line of track that runs from Angerstein Wharf near the river to Angerstein Junction on the Southeastern rail network (North Kent line) which carries freight trains to and fro, around twice a day. Between Farmdale Road (near Westcombe Park rail station) and Fairthorn road there’s a foot crossing which is used by residents to carry themselves to and fro. It’s likely that it’s going to close at 8am on Sat 13 April 2019.

Network Rail is planning some track and signaling improvements and must close the crossing during the works but seems to be intending to close it permanently. Once works are completed it seems that freight trains, which must wait before it’s safe to join the North Kent line, will be waiting further back from where they currently stop which means that wagons will be stationary over the crossing and blocking it. I suppose idiots might be tempted to crawl underneath instead of waiting (can be tens of minutes).

Other posts about Angerstein Crossing
Angerstein level crossing, one of two in Greenwich (24 July 2017) – this blog
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

Statement from Network Rail (11 April 2019)
(subsequently edited thanks to a follow-up email from Network Rail – additions in pink, deletions in red)

A Network Rail spokesperson said:

“We would like to apologise for the lack of meaningful engagement with local people around the proposed closure of Angerstein footpath crossing and have decided to stop the closure process until a review has taken place.

“We planned to close the crossing, near Westcombe Park station, as part of £55m project to upgrade signalling and track on the lines from Deptford to Woolwich Arsenal and Lewisham to Falconwood, and increase the freight capacity at Angerstein Wharf from six to twenty trains a day.

“The significant increase in freight traffic and the fact trains will now straddle the crossing when stopped at red signals, presents a very real risk to the public, which we take very seriously.

“The crossing will be blocked while our engineers are working on the line over the Easter weekend, however, it will not close permanently at this point.

“We will provide a further update on long term plans, as soon as a review has taken place”.



Listing for the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival 7-15 September 2018

The most up-to-date version (and any last-minute changes) can be found at the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival minisite, part of the Free Film Festivals group.

16 CWFFF films

Current list of films, dates and approximate times (precise timing for outside films depends partly on onset of twilight and location of screen). Venues in brackets refer to the map below.

  1. 7 Sep – Fri, 7pm – The Greatest Showman, General Gordon Square (venue #3)
  2. 7 Sep – Fri, 7.30pm – Yellow Submarine, Shrewsbury House Community Centre Library (venue #11)
  3. 9 Sep – Sun, 8pm – This is Spinal Tap, The White Swan (venue #6)
  4. 10 Sep – Mon, 7pm – Silver Linings Playbook, STIR café (venue #5)
  5. 10 Sep – Mon, 7.30pm – Arena – Stanley and his Daughters, artFix Woolwich (venue #2)
  6. 11 Sep – Tue, 7.30pm – Journey’s End, Charlton House (venue #8)
  7. 11 Sep – Tue, 7.30pm – Get Out, artFix Woolwich (venue #2)
  8. 11 Sep – Tue, 7.30pm – Jargon – More Than You Ever Wanted To Know & The Joy of Essex, Tramshed (venue #4)
  9. 12 Sep – Wed, 7.30pm – Snatch, The Star (venue #9)
  10. 12 Sep – Wed, 7.30pm – Do the Right Thing, artFix Woolwich (venue #2)
  11. 13 Sep – Thu, 7.30pm – The Doo Dah Man, Starbucks (venue #1)
  12. 13 Sep – Thu, 7.30pm – 3rd edition of the International Short Film Competition, Charlton House (venue #8)
  13. 14 Sep – Fri, 6.30pm – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Shrewsbury House Community Centre Library (venue #11)
  14. 14 Sep – Fri, 7.00pm – The Dish, Charlton House (venue #8)
  15. 14 Sep – Fri, 7.45pm – Young Frankenstein, Severndroog Castle (venue #12)
  16. 15 Sep – Fri, 7.00pm – Sister Act, General Gordon Square (venue #3)
  17.  (Plus a film at Venue #7 tbc)
  18.  (And a film at Venue #10 tbc)

Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival map

CWFFF festival map v2
Festival Map v2 (raw unlabelled Google Fusion map)

List of venues (mapped above)
1. Starbucks, Greenwich shopping Park, D, 1C, Bugsby’s Way, SE7 7ST
2. Artfix, 51 Powis St, Woolwich, SE18 6HZ
3. Woolwich Big Screen, General Gordon Square, SE18 6HX
4. Tramshed, GLYPT, 51-53 Woolwich New Road, SE18 6ES
5. Stir Café, 23 Anglesea Rd, Woolwich, SE18 6EG
6. White Swan, 22 The Village, Greenwich, London SE7 8UD
7. Old Cottage Café, 16 Charlton Park Rd, SE7 8UB
8. Charlton House, Charlton Road, SE7 8RE
9. The Star, Plumstead, 158 Plumstead Common Rd, SE18 2UL
10. Charlton Park, Charlton Park Lane, SE7 8PG
11. Shrewsbury House, Shooters Hill, SE18 3EG
12. Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, SE18 3RT

Films showing by venue

  1. Starbucks, Greenwich shopping Park, D, 1C, Bugsby’s Way, SE7 7ST
    The Doo Dah Man (13 Sep)
  2. Artfix, 51 Powis St, Woolwich, SE18 6HZ
    Arena – Stanley and his Daughters (10 Sep), Get Out (11 Sep), Do The Right Thing (12 Sep)
  3. Woolwich Big Screen, General Gordon Square, SE18 6HX
    The Greatest Showman (7 Sep), Sister Act (15 Sep)
  4. Tramshed, GLYPT, 51-53 Woolwich New Road, SE18 6ES
    Jargon – More Than You Ever Wanted To Know & The Joy of Essex (11 Sep)
  5. Stir Café, 23 Anglesea Rd, Woolwich, SE18 6EG
    Silver Lining Playbooks (10 Sep)
  6. White Swan, 22 The Village, Greenwich, London SE7 8UD
    Spinal Tap (9 Sep)
  7. Old Cottage Café, 16 Charlton Park Rd, SE7 8UB
    Film and date tbc
  8. Charlton House, Charlton Road, SE7 8RE
    Journey’s End (11 Sep), 3rd edition of the International Short Film Competition (13 Sep), The Dish (14 Sep)
  9. The Star, Plumstead, 158 Plumstead Common Rd, SE18 2UL
    Snatch (12 Sep)
  10. Charlton Park, Charlton Park Lane, SE7 8PG
    Film and date tbc
  11. Shrewsbury House, Shooters Hill, SE18 3EG
    Yellow Submarine (7 Sep), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (14 Sep)
  12. Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood, Shooters Hill, SE18 3RT
    Young Frankenstein (14 Sep)



I’m screening ‘The Dish’ 📡 @charlton_house as part of the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival :D

THE DISH (2000) [12]
The above is just the trailer, come and see the real thing*
Charlton House, 7pm^ on Friday 14 Sep 2018 – FREE

As part of the Charlton & Woolwich Free Film Festival I’m putting on a free open-air screening of The Dish at Charlton House next month (with subtitles ON). Come and see this lovely film and have a look through a telescope too – we’ll be joined by the Flamsteed Astronomical Society. I am exceedingly happy about this event.

The Dish directed by Rob Sitch is one of my favourite films. It’s heartwarming and funny and in July 2018 was voted 16th (by Australian film critics) in the Top 25 Australian films released in the 21st century and it has an incredible 96% ‘fresh’ score on Rotten Tomatoes’ tomatometer.

The film is about the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing, specifically about the television picture signals that were sent from the surface of the Moon and picked up back home on Earth by the receiving radio telescope at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory in New South Wales – aka The Dish.

Screenshot 2018-08-18 01.20.17.png

My friend visited the Parkes telescope not long after the
film was released and brought me this lovely souvenir

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon they were understandably keen to get out and stretch their legs rather than undergo a scheduled rest period, but this caused a bit of a challenge. The timings meant that Moon hadn’t fully risen above the horizon and so wasn’t quite in sight of the Parkes dish.

In order to grab the television signals from the lunar module’s antenna the Parkes team had to orient the dish so that it was fully vertical and pointing at the horizon – but a windstorm turned up, putting the safety of the team and the integrity of the dish itself at risk…


L-R: Patrick Warburton as NASA’s Al Burnett, Sam Neill as director of the observatory Cliff Buxton, Tom Long as Glenn Latham and Kevin Harrington as Ross ‘Mitch’ Mitchell.

TheDish image.jpg

*The Real Thing by Russell Morris is one of many fabulous songs featuring in the film’s soundtrack, with a lovely score by Edmund Choi.

^Exact timings to follow

Parental guide
There is brief strong language and the film is certificate 12 in the UK.

Timings / telescopes
More info to come but it looks like the doors will open at 6.30pm, there’ll be a bit of time to grab a bite to eat (the Charlton House tea rooms will be open), look at the telescopes (or rather through them) and get comfy for the film. In a rather nice touch the Moon will be, somewhat disobligingly, only 20 or so degrees above the horizon meaning it might be a bit difficult to spot. Just like in the film!! Other stars / planets may be available, weather permitting.

It’s an outdoor screening so please consider your comfort – warm clothes and light rain protection (no umbrellas please!). If the weather doesn’t look promising we’ll move into the Library so the screening will go ahead regardless of the weather. You can bring camping seats but please sit behind those on mats so that their view is not obstructed.

Food / drink
Will be available from Charlton House.

Subtitles / accessibility
The film will be screened with subtitles on. Both Charlton House and the outdoor screening area are wheelchair accessible (and there is an accessible loo on the ground floor). There’s also a lift but won’t be needed for this visit.

Buses 53, 54, 380, 422 and 486 stop nearby. The 486 can be picked up from opposite Charlton rail station, the 380 turns onto the same road a little further up the (quite steep) hill. Charlton station is served by trains from Charing Cross, Waterloo, London Bridge, Cannon Street and, less frequently, Blackfriars and St Pancras (also West Hampstead and Luton).

From Blackheath it’s the 54, from Blackheath Standard 53, 54 (the 380 takes a more circuitous route) or 422, from Westcombe Park it’s the 422.

Further reading 📡〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️


Open air cinema in Greenwich Park and Peninsula (and South East London)

While I haven’t heard of any open air cinema screenings taking place in Blackheath or Lewisham there are a few taking place in Greenwich.


Greenwich Park with Luna Cinema

  • Blade Runner 2049 (Fri 13 July)
  • Pretty Woman (Sat 14 July)
  • Dunkirk (Sun 15 July)

Greenwich Peninsula with Pop Up Screens

  • Baby Driver (Fri 17 August)
  • Bridesmaids (Sat 18 August)
  • La La Land (Sun 19 August)

Ruskin Park, Camberwell / Denmark Hill

Denmark Hill rail station is a 15 minute direct train journey from Blackheath (Victoria Line), you can also change at London Bridge. It’s one stop after Peckham Rye.

Denmark Hill with Pop Up Screens

  • Get Out (Fri 27 July)
  • Grease (Sat 28 July)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Sun 29 July)

Peckham Rye

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 (*see note below – the return walk may be longer) from Peckham Rye, which is itself only 13 minutes from Blackheath station on the Victoria trains. Or change at London Bridge.

Films in July include at the Bussey Building with Rooftop Film Club – Black Panther, Romeo + Juliet, Deadpool, A Quiet Place, Pretty Woman, Spirited Away, Dirty Dancing, Spice World The Movie, The Greatest Showman, La La Land, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Cape Fear, Lady Bird, Top Gun, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Avengers: Infinity War, Vertigo, I, Tonya, 2001: A Space Odyssey – but check the listings periodically as they add new films (for example they’ve not listed their August films yet).


Technically it’s slightly closer to Hither Green rail station than to Lee‘s station but it’s also a short walk from a 202 bus stop (Stop ID: 58365, aka Stop F) just by the Sainsbury’s and the 53 bus also stops nearby.

Manor Park Gardens, Lee / Hither Green with Pop Up Screens

  • The Jungle Book (Fri 24 Aug)
  • Dirty Dancing (Sat 25 Aug)
  • Ghostbusters (1984) (Sun 26 Aug)

Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival

In the second week of September the CWFFF springs into action and some of the films screened will be in the open air. I’m on the organising team and will be screening The Dish at Charlton House as an open-air screening on Friday 14th September. It’ a free screening so no tickets 🙂

Other free open air screenings

Summer By The River at The Scoop (between City Hall and HMS Belfast and near to London Bridge Station and Tower Bridge (the bridge, the station’s on the opposite side of the river) at More London.

  • Wimbledon live coverage (3 – 15 July)
  • Grease (Tue 17 July)
  • Moana (Tue 24 July)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (Tue 31 July)
  • Beauty and the Beast (Tue 7 Aug)
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Tue 14 Aug)
  • The BFG (Tue 21 Aug)
  • Into the Woods (Tue 28 Aug)

Tudor Barn in Eltham also has some low cost open-air screenings (£3.50 plus booking fee)

All known open air screenings in London

All the open air cinema screening organisations listed, and many others, are showing other films all across London and a pretty complete list is here:
Open Air Cinema Screenings 2018

Note – Bussey Building

*Don’t forget that the last direct weekday trains from Peckham Rye to Blackheath are 23:48 and 00:22 from Platform 4 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 year 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 21.45 (they had to wait until sunset first of all and then had the Q&A before the film). 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.

I probably wouldn’t go back to Bussey House by myself for this reason – it’s fine with friends but when I’m visiting as a solo female film-goer then wandering around unfamiliar bits of Peckham by myself late at night and missing trains isn’t something I really want to risk and they don’t warn you about this beforehand, so… no.

The 1900 House (TV prog from 1999/2000) was set in Charlton & Blackheath Standard

The other day, while doing some housework, I remembered the hardworking and brilliant ‘maid of all work’ in a television programme I saw years ago when I first moved to Blackheath, called The 1900 House. I’ve discovered that the whole programme is available to watch again and spent yesterday watching it on my day off while rain and thunderstorms raged outside. The programme was filmed in 1999 and moved a modern family into a house as it would have been in 1900, to create a living history documentary to see how they found the experience of being Victorian. Tough as it happens, but they enjoyed a great deal of it, as did the audience.

There’s a lovely bit a few weeks in where Joyce (the mum) is reflecting on a point at which she’d had enough and just wanted to ‘put on her hat and walk out’. That sounds a very Victorian way of expressing it – no-one really wears everyday hats these days – so it seemed like she was certainly in the right mindset. They all stuck it out. The maid, who was a cleaner in real life and whose mother and grandmother had been too, wasn’t in the programme for very long but there were scenes of her visiting a library to discover more about the very hard life of working class Victorian women who might work for 15 hours a day every day. They didn’t have much time (or resources to fall back on if they lost their job) to campaign for votes for women, something done more by middle class women. It was an interesting programme.

I was very new to Blackheath when it aired in 2000 and had completely failed to spot that it’s set in the next village, Charlton, with excursions into Blackheath Standard. I was reading the Wikipedia article which mentioned Elliscombe Road (‘hang on that sounds familiar’) and then spotted that it was the one in Charlton. The Clarendon Hotel features in the opening sequence as the family changes their 1999 clothes for 1900 ones and are then conveyed in a horse-drawn carriage to their new house in 50 Elliscombe Road.

Occasionally I take the 380 bus to Charlton rail station, alighting at the Sundorne Road bus stop on Wellington Road. The previous bus stop, also on Wellington Road, is the Elliscombe Road one and the bus announces the road name, so I’ve been hearing that name for years while paying attention to it so that I get off at the next one (incidentally I wonder if there are any two bus stops in London closer together than those two). I’d not like to drive a horse and carriage down Eastcombe Avenue though, which is further up in the journey from Blackheath, it’s a bit steep.

The Apple N’Orange fruit shop at Blackheath Standard opposite the library features in the programme too – it’s still there, same name, open late and on Sundays. At one point the eldest daughter gets a Saturday job there to stave off the boredom of having not that much to do and limited opportunities as a sixteen year old Victorian girl. We also see some bicycling going on around Blackheath Pond (Princess of Wales pond) and St German’s Place too.

Further reading