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) –
Friends of Mycenae Gardens –
Westcombe (Park) Society –
Blackheath Society –
Charlton Society –

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.

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.

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.

All the open air cinema screening organisations listed, and many others, are showing other films across London and a reasonably complete list is here:

*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.


Camberwell Free Film Festival – on now

Camberwell is a 14 minute train ride from Blackheath to Denmark Hill station, plus a 10 min walk into the main shopping bit of Camberwell, so pretty much half an hour door to door.Dulwich is a tiny little bit further away though.

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Camberwell Free Film Festival – 31 March to 10 April 2016

7 April (Thursday)
A girl walks home alone at night – 9pm, Jazz Live at the Crypt, Camberwell Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 23.28.05

8 April (Friday)
Another Sunday and Sweet FA + Fraktus – 7.45pm, Dulwich Hamlet Football Club

9 April (Saturday)
Paddington – 1pm, Sceaux Gardens Tenants and Residents Association – Camberwell
Changing face of Camberwell + Pool of London – 2pm, William Booth College – Camberwell
Bugsy Malone – 7.30pm, Longfield Hall – Camberwell

10 April (Sunday)
Suffragette – 2pm, William Booth College – Camberwell
Tangerine – 8pm, The Flying Dutchman – Camberwell


Getting there
It’s the Victoria train and it runs every half an hour, last one returning is 00:21 and if you miss it the N89 runs through Camberwell ‘village’ or the 185 and 484 buses go past Denmark Hill on their way to Lewisham.
[Find next train from Blackheath to Denmark Hill]
[Find next train from Denmark Hill to Blackheath]


53 bus route: Underground Film Club at Waterloo vaults

Underground Film Club shows great films in a vault underneath Waterloo station (you can hear occasional rumbling of trains) and you can enter it via Launcelot Street on Lower Marsh. The screening room’s part of the Rooftop Film Club (which takes place in several locations around London including the Bussey Building in Peckham and Kensington Roof Gardens).

It looks like this! Last night I saw Shakespeare in Love which was great.

Their screenings over the next few weeks are

  • It’s a Wonderful Life – Wed 23 Dec (8pm)
  • The Big Lebowski – Thur 7 Jan (8pm)
  • When Harry Met Sally – Fri 8 Jan (7pm)
  • Pulp Fiction – Fri 8 Jan (9pm)
  • Strangers on a Train – Sat 9 Jan (5pm)
  • True Romance – Sat 9 Jan (8pm)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sun 10 Jan (5pm)
  • Amy – Sun 10 Jan (7.30pm)
  • Blade Runner – Thur 14 Jan (8pm)
  • The Diary of a Teenage Girl – Fri 15 Jan (7pm)
  • Straight Outta Compton – Fri 15 Jan (9pm)
  • Casablanca – Sat 16 Jan (5pm)
  • Suffragette – Sat 16 Jan (8pm)
  • Worth checking out their programme as they have been adding other films as they go and I don’t know how long the season lasts there.

If you’re in Blackheath you can get the 53 bus all the way to Lower Marsh from several bus stops in the non-villagey bit of Blackheath: in the Royal Standard area, Maze Hill (bus stop Q on Prince Charles Road) or Greenwich Park (bus stop T on Shooter’s Hill Road). Get off at Westminster Bridge Road (bus stop A, Lower Marsh) – I’m pretty sure the bus terminates there, at least all the ones I’ve taken so far have done.

Carry on in the same direction ignoring Carlisle Road on the left and crossing to Lower Marsh on the right. Upper Marsh is on the same side of the road. Keep walking along, past the cool looking cafes and the Little Marshans toy shop and head left into Launcelot Street, and the venue is on your left.

Once inside you can collect a wristband and follow instructions to the screening room, which involves going up some stairs and then down some other ones (not sure what facilities are available for wheelchair users or others with mobility difficulties).

For the return journey to Blackheath it’s bus stop K on Westminster Bridge Road (follow Lower Marsh road back to Westminster Bridge Road and turn right, it’s the first bus stop and is underneath the arches).

Obviously you can take the train to Waterloo East from Blackheath station (any Charing Cross train stops there too) but if the 53 isn’t too much of a walk away from the village for you it’s less of a walk at the other end.

Other adventures on the 53 bus route
The Cinema Museum (Kennington, a short walk from the Elephant & Castle 53 bus stop by the Coronet Cinema)

Blackheath Village Day – horses, history, and terpsichore

On Friday I spotted a sign in a newsagent for a school jumble sale event, then noticed it was for July 2015. This has had me wondering about the fate of old A3/ A4/ A5 flyers advertising such events. Does anyone collect them for future archives, and displays about tombolas and booksales of the yesteryear-yet-to-be?

Recently I’ve been noticing some lovely signs around Blackheath again for the extravaganza to celebrate Blackheath Village Day and I spent much of yesterday wandering around the village enjoying the entertainment.

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First up was the spectacular wind which did this to the grass…

…and then we had the lovely Woolwich ponies parading around near Clarendon Hotel. These are the horses and riders of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery which is based in Woolwich and which has over 100 horses with coats of a beautiful chestnut brown (of varying shades).

Horses from Woolwich parading through Blackheath is a fairly regular sight in fact and happens two or three times a week (around 9am) with a rider on one horse in the middle with another horse on either side, plus a couple of main riders fore and aft handling just the one horse; about 33 horses in total go whizzing past. I’ve never seen them gallop but they can canter along at a good pace, pooing as they go.

Rock Choir were belting out some tunes as I walked down into the village, including one which I’d only ever thought of as music from an M&S advert – they were very good and had an enthusiastic crowd dancing along.

My ponderings about historic flyers were rewarded by a visit to the Bakehouse behind the Age Exchange which had an exhibition on the history of entertainment in Blackheath with copies of adverts for events in the 1800s and early 1900s, including reviews of some of them. I thought this review, from 1840, was a bit harsh…

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I hadn’t realised George Grossmith had entertained on local soil – he and his brother Weedon wrote the excellent The Diary of a Nobodyso it was nice to see his name appear a couple of times, one of a couple of names I immediately recognised (the other was William Webster).

The last time I was in the Bakehouse was years ago for a lunchtime film screening but I don’t think they do those anymore. Mind you there are film screenings on Wednesday evenings in Mycenae House (Blackheath Standard area).

The lantern-making workshop sounded fun but it was for children so I thought better of turning up – I’m now on the search for lantern-making workshops for grown ups though 😉

Then I came across Swing Patrol doing some dancing in the bitterly cold and blowy afternoon, they were fantastic and taught the crowd some Charleston steps too. They have a new course starting in Greenwich in January.

I didn’t stay around for the lantern procession or switch-on of the lights, but the Blackheath Christmas lights are apparently now ON.



53 bus route: The Cinema Museum – Neil Brand accompanying & introducing a film on Wed 7th January at 7.30pm, £3

The Cinema Museum is in Kennington but living in Blackheath I head across the heath to get the 53 bus to Elephant & Castle (eg from Wat Tyler Road (Stop L)), alight at the old Coronet Theatre (I think it’s a nightclub now) and then walk round the roundabout to get myself to Dugard Way.


Wednesday 7 January 2015, 7.30pm (doors 6.30pm)
Neil Brand introduces and accompanies Tol’able David
Cinema Museum, Dugard Way, Kennington

“BBC television presenter, dramatist, composer and writer Neil Brand will be introducing, and accompanying, Henry King’s American classic Tol’able David (1921), directed by Henry King and starring Richard Barthelmess as David Kinemon, a simple rural boy who stands against a hillbilly bully in this rural adaptation of the David and Goliath tale.

Doors open at 6:30pm for a 7:30pm start. Entrance is £3, £2 of which goes to the Museum. If you would like to come along then please email us at to request seats. (Please supply a name and email for each seat reserved please.)”

It’s on the same side of Elephant & Castle as the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the walking route I use from the Coronet Theatre is here – you can also use the underpass, should you wish 🙂

A lovely evening at the Woolwich Grand Theatre watching Belle

Belle_posterI’m on the mailing list for the South East London Film Club Listings which told me that the film Belle was showing at the Woolwich Grand Theatre Film Club tonight, tomorrow (24th) and Saturday (25th) at 5pm (not Saturday), 7pm and 9pm, for a fiver.

It’s a lovely film which I was surprised to have missed on its main release and particularly nice to see lots of Greenwich and other recognisable bits of London on the screen. Beautiful music too, which was by Rachel Portman (she also did the scores for Emma and Chocolat among others) and a very pleasant screening room – I got a comfy sofa as I went for the 7pm screening so it was super quiet. The people running it made me a cup of tea as well and as there was no popcorn on-site I nipped across the road to the very futuristic new Tesco that seems to have sprung up since I was last in Woolwich (other than for the Tall Ships).

I also spotted the open air screen (free) in General Gordon Square which seems to show cultural things. I think it was showing a music performance but couldn’t hear any music.

Belle tells the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate daughter of a white Navy captain and a black slave woman who dies. The father brings his daughter to the family home (Kenwood House, actually for real, not just used as the family home in the film, it’s where they lived) of his aunt and uncle and asks them to look after her for him. She has a good status (rank and money, particularly after her father’s death where she’s left with money) but as someone of mixed race and illegitimate she is excluded from formal family dinners and debutante events. Her family treat her kindly, but still as ‘other’.

Her uncle (William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield) is the Lord Chief Justice at the time and is working on a dodgy insurance claim relating to a ship which jettisoned its slaves (to drown) and claimed that this was to maintain the survival of the ship. He has to make a judgment on the case – whether to make the insurers pay for the loss of the ‘cargo’ or to apportion blame to the ship’s crew who made the decision. There’s a romantic sub-plot and a happy ending for Dido and the events depicted in the film led to the eventual abolition of slavery in the UK.

Woolwich is about half an hour away from Blackheath (depends on the bus route but 53, 54, 380 and 422 go from the Village or Shooter’s Hill / Standard areas) and all those buses return to Blackheath from Bus Stop S which is opposite the cinema, by the library.

Here are some pics I took of the Woolwich Grand Theatre’s main hall and the area leading up to the red room (where the screening took place).