Lewisham Shopping Centre’s pop-up maritime museum

Note it’s CLOSED on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

This was a delightful thing to discover as I was leaving Lewisham Shopping Centre yesterday. Some genius (it turns out to be @museumsailor and colleagues) at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has come up with the brilliant idea to have a pop-up maritime museum in a vacant shop lot among the regular high street shops. I liked it a lot. It’s near what I think of as the main entrance to the Centre, near the Clock Tower (if you’re looking at the entrance TK Maxx is on the left hand side), apparently it’s been there since February.

There was a glass cabinet with decorated (shark’s teeth, feathers) Tahitian neckwear used to show off one’s higher status, and some stiff fabric made of woven grasses for the less exalted community-members. Also a Polynesian navigational aid with shells representing islands, and sticks representing the layout, directions and prevailing winds etc. Having no sense of direction I’d need a “You are here” shell or bead that would follow me around as I travelled among the Polynesian islands.

photo 4

Glass cabinet (picture above) with some wax stuff that I didn’t investigate (on upper shelf) and (on lower shelf) there’s the fancy neck decoration roughly in the middle of the shelf (the thing with the rows of black feathers with white shark teeth) and on the right (with the white parcel label on top) there’s a woven fabric. I think most of the items on display were modern recreations rather than originals as we were encouraged to handle them.

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Close-up (above) of a recreation of a Polynesian nav-aid which sailors would use to navigate the seas around their islands. I’m trying to imagine the smartphone version.

There was also a sextant, I didn’t get a chance to play with it, maybe next time. I don’t know how it works beyond you point it at stuff and use a book of astronomical stuff to work out where you are, in relation to the angle you’re at to various planets or stars. When I went on a cruise a couple of years ago I wanted to take one with me but thought better of it when I saw the book of tables I’d have to understand before I set off.

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Here’s a handy video (below) showing how to use a home-made one. I’ve watched it so now I do know how a sextant works!

I felt the wonderful Tall Ships Festival in Greenwich and Woolwich needed more science talks about navigation (and lots of other topics), and I’d probably enjoy an evening class in that.

Shortly before the festival I wrote this post (on my main blog) about what I might put in an Imaginary Maritime Science Festival that might take place at the same time as the next Tall Ships festival.

The pop-up museum is open until 9 July 2017 and runs from Thur-Sun (Thur-Sat: 10-5, Sun: 11-4pm).

C_ts-CmXcAECnFO

They’re looking for volunteers to help, and are having a recruitment session on 24 May (Wednesday) at 11am. Contact lyates@rmg.co.uk for more info.

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There’s something interesting going on at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, to do with the use of plants. Checking the QH website, or searching the title (‘Unearthing season at Queen’s House’) on Google didn’t bring up anything though. Since found it, but too late.

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Below are messages created from lollipop sticks, I’m not sure what the round things with feathers are.

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Visitors were also invited to suggest what explorers to Lewisham would take back with them. Lewisham has a very big fruit and veg market… this suggestion featured a few times.

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Lewisham’s Bus Stop A is out of action until November

Note that the 380 bus will be on diversion from 7 September until after the OnBlackheath event has finished – it won’t go through Hare and Billet road.

A tantalus is a wooden cabinet that displays your alcoholic beverages but is locked in such a cunning way that without the key your servants and children can’t quaff any, according to the Wikipedia article. Something similar is going on at Bus Stop A in Lewisham which is now veiled behind a ‘site entrance’ (see pic below) and is inaccessible. This is thanks to the interminable crossrail roadworks resulting in inconsistent travel routes, from week to week, and reminds me of the stairs at Hogwarts which move around when they feel like it.

Even with a wire cutter Bus Stop A will not bring me any buses.

There is no visible information here to tell me where I can get the bus I want. The closest bus stops offer me buses that are going in the wrong direction, and there’s no information there either. I was a bit miffed.

  1. I know Lewisham well and know where the Blackheath-bound 380 buses stop. Clocktower (bus stop P), then Bus Stop A (when it’s in use) then up Lewisham Hill which is hail-and-ride.
  2. I’m fit enough to walk to either of those two stops
  3. I feel pretty safe in Lewisham though I feel a lot safer at a bus stop surrounded by taxis and rail passengers than I do exposed in the middle of the shopping centre surrounded by closed shops and random strangers. There’s hardly anyone on Lewisham Hill at night so I’d pick that one before the ‘city centre’.

I’m not sure what you’d do if you don’t know the area very well or aren’t very mobile – get a taxi I suppose if you can afford it. It’s pretty poor of TfL not to have a map or some info – at the bus stop I mean, who cares if there’s information on a website – on the options available.

Paul (@bitoclass) is my go-to-guy on Lewisham’s changing transport infrastructure and he tells me that Bus Stop A is now out of action until November.

My solution was to speak with the driver of the 380 bus that terminated at Lewisham station (just a few feet back along the route I’d taken from Platform 1 at the railway station). He very kindly let me get on and take the bus around to the standing point (behind the shopping centre) – we had a very nice chat about our favourite bus routes and the changes in Lewisham and how confusing it all seemed – before he began his new journey which included dropping me off in Blackheath.

 

Greenwich to Kew by boat

Thanks to Thames Clippers extending their ferry service to include a stop at Westminster Pier as of 1 August 2016 it’s now much easier to journey fairly directly from Greenwich to Kew. Directly-ish, but at least you can get off one boat and get on another at the same pier now (Westminster) though you will have to leave the pier to get a ticket for the second part of the journey. Note that this is  journey is only possible between April and October.

I did the whole trip in reverse last week and it took two hours (on an express clipper, I’d expect it to be 2.5hrs on a regular service but I’d allow three hours).

It’s a two-stage journey:

  1. Greenwich to Westminster (fast, frequent service with Thames Clippers)
  2. Westminster to Kew (fewer boats, more leisurely journey with Thames Cruises)

1. Greenwich to Westminster
(RB1 and RB1X [express] ferries with Thames Clippers)

Thames Clippers has a fairly frequent and fast service but you may have to queue for a boat. In fact at busy times you may end up queueing and not actually being able to get on the first boat, having to wait for a later one. At weekends some of the boats are express boats and will get you to Westminster more quickly, missing out some of the pier stops.

From 15 August 2016 the new times (PDF) will be as follows:

0853 (0934), 0923 (1004), 0938 (1015), 0953 (1034), 1008 (1045), 1023 (1104), 1038 (1115), 1053 (1134), 1108 (1145), 1123 (1204), 1138 (1215), 1153 (1234), 1208 (1245), 1223 (1304), 1238 (1315), 1253 (1334), 1308 (1345) – this one is cutting it a bit fine in terms of getting tickets for the Kew boat, 1323 (1404), 1338 (1415), 1353 (1434), 1408 (1445), 1423 (1504), 1438 (1515), 1453  (1534), 1508 (1545).

The ones in grey won’t get you to Kew, the ones in brackets are arrival time at Westminster, starting times are from Greenwich Pier next to Cutty Sark.

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You cannot smoke or vape anywhere on Thames Clippers ferries. There are loos on board and a Costa with hot drinks, alcoholic drinks and sweets and biscuits.

Tip: Be sure to allow enough time at Westminster Pier to go to the booking office to get a ticket to Kew as it seems these cannot be bought in advance. They prefer you to be there 30 mins before the sailing.

2. Westminster to Kew
(Thames River Boats)

The rate-limiting-step will be getting a boat from Westminster to Kew because there are fewer boats and the take about one and a half hours. Because the journey involves going under Hammersmith Bridge if the tide is too high the journey will take longer (the boat has to wait for the waters to recede otherwise it’s all a bit scrape-y).

Once at Westminster you’ll need to exit the pier, collect a ticket, then return to the boarding point for the boat. An adult single is about £14 but it’s £8.65 if you have a travelcard (not Oystercard, they don’t seem to be geared up for that as far as I could tell).

Latest sailings and journey times can be found here.

Sailing times vary (check in advance) but generally there are four sailings between 10am and 2pm, for example –

  • 10.30am (arriving at midday)
  • 11.15am (12.45)
  • 12.00pm (1.30pm)
  • 2pm (3.30pm).

For the first half hour of the journey there’s a commentary over the public address system telling you about the local sites. On the boat I was on (Connaught) there was a bar downstairs serving alcoholic & hot and cold drinks and snacks. You can smoke or vape on the open upper decks. There are loos on board.

There are no stops on the way to Kew but the boat continues on to Richmond and Hampton Court.

When you arrive at Kew familiarise yourself with the chalkboard. The return journey is very tide-dependent so timings can change.

Return journey
The last boat from Kew Pier is likely to be between 5.30 and 6.30 and again it will take an hour and a half to get back to Westminster. There are plenty of boats from Westminster to Greenwich, even on a Sunday.

 

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
http://www.freefilmfestivals.org/filmfestival/camberwell/

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]

 

Countdown – bus stops in Blackheath, what bus is coming next?

Every bus stop in London has its own 5 digit code which, when stuck at the end of these addresses (replacing the XXXXX), will tell you what bus is coming next

Here are the 5 digit codes for the bus stops in Blackheath.

Index
Arranged by Area
• Blackheath Village
• Blackheath Royal Standard (not yet done)
Arranged numerically

Arranged by area

Blackheath Village

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
A: 73011 (towards Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]
B: 54957 (towards North Greenwich, Shooters Hill or Woolwich) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
C: 71099 (towards Charlton or North Greenwich) – 54, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]
D: 73966 (towards Shooters Hill) – 89/N89 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (opposite side, Age Exchange)
E: 57823 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Tranquil Vale (The Crown pub)
F: 71750 (towards Lewisham) – 380 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
(arrival-only for 386 bus – 48093 [web])
G: 50082 (towards Charlton, North Greenwich or Shooters Hill) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202, 380, 386 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
H: 71474 (towards Charlton or Greenwich) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]
J: 59288 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
P: 47151 (towards Charlton) – 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]
Q: 76438 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BX: 76535 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) –  53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]
BU: 48799 (towards Charlton) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (Clarendon Hotel)
K: 54570 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) –  89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (next to duck pond, near Princess of Wales pub)
L: 58007 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
M: 54136 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]
F: 77673 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
N: 49487 (towards Greenwich or North Greenwich) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]
W: 72061 (towards Eltham or Lewisham) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Royal Standard

Not done this bit yet…

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Parade)
BJ (towards ) –  : [mobile] [web]

Arranged numerically

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
P: 47151 (towards Charlton) – 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
(arrival-only for 386 bus – 48093 [web])

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BU: 48799 (towards Charlton) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
N: 49487 (towards Greenwich or North Greenwich) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Royal Parade (heathside, opposite Taste of Raj and Rockit)
G: 50082 (towards Charlton, North Greenwich or Shooters Hill) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202, 380, 386 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
M: 54136 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (Clarendon Hotel)
K: 54570 (towards North Greenwich or Welling) –  89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
B: 54957 (towards North Greenwich, Shooters Hill or Woolwich) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (opposite side, Age Exchange)
E: 57823 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Montpelier Row (next to duck pond, near Princess of Wales pub)
L: 58007 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
J: 59288 (towards Lee Green or Lewisham) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
C: 71099 (towards Charlton or North Greenwich) – 54, 108, 202 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Clarendon Hotel)
H: 71474 (towards Charlton or Greenwich) – 54,  202,  380,  386 [mobile] [web]

Tranquil Vale (The Crown pub)
F: 71750 (towards Lewisham) – 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (Stratheden Road / Shooters Hill Road)
W: 72061 (towards Eltham or Lewisham) – 108, 286 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath Hospital (just before turning into or out of the village, on Lee Terrace)
A: 73011 (towards Lewisham) – 54, 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

Blackheath station (same side, Railway Pub)
D: 73966 (towards Shooters Hill) – 89/N89 [mobile] [web]

Prince Charles Road (Maze Hill, Andrew Gibb Memorial)
Q: 76438 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) – 53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Charlton Way (Vanbrugh Park / Beaconsfield Way)
BX: 76535 (towards Deptford, Lee Green or Lewisham) –  53, 54, 202, 380 [mobile] [web]

Prince of Wales Road (St German’s Place)
F: 77673 (towards Lewisham) – 89/N89, 108 [mobile] [web]

 

 

 

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.

2015-12-05 12.22.06

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…

2015-12-05 12.34.32

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.