Archive for July, 2012

Breaking news – the toilets in St Marks Church crypt are working

20 Jul

Today, Rodney, from LRL Refurbs, was busy getting the toilets ready for the St Marks Churchyard Makeover event tomorrow -21 July.

Stallholders and users of the Oval Farmers’ Market will be relieved to know that the toilets in St Marks Church crypt are working.  The toilets are not public but can be used by market users in an emergency. A particular thanks are owed to St Marks Church who have upgraded the original dilapidated toilet and added an additional one.   The toilets have yet to be decorated but they are operational

[I’ve asked Rodney to come to the market tomorrow.  If he does, he will no doubt be feted as a local hero :-)]   


What would you do?

17 Jul

If you see a plant that looks like this what would you do?

A. Take a cutting and offer it to your neighbour
B. Pull it out and stick it on a compost heap
C. Report it to someone

This is Japanese knotweed – a notifiable weed. In the UK, it is classifed as controlled waste and can only be disposed of at licensed sites. If you see a plant like this report it and learn how to dipose of it correctly.


More bicycle vandalism around the Oval

15 Jul

Signs were recently placed on abandoned/vandalised bicycles near the Oval Station. For once, I was looking forward to taking a picture of a tidy cycle stand to commemorate the event. As you can see, I failed.

Today there seemed just as many vandalised bicycles albeit in slightly different places. Given the number of surveillance cameras in the area, I’m surprised anyone would take the risk but seemingly they do.


Sex establishment applications in Lambeth

14 Jul

Support for a local petition against the Max II sex establishment application was being gauged at the Oval Farmers’ Market today. The organiser joined the Oval Partnership volunteer recruitment stand.
[Note: The Oval Partnership does not express formal views on such applications but does try to report on such local issues in a neutral manner.]

Changes in the law, require sex establishments to register as such.  Lambeth’s website includes a page relating to current applications for sex establishment licences in the borough.

As of today, there are five current sex establishment applications – three relate to premises in the Oval Ward and two in Princes Ward.  Four of the five are in part of Vauxhall sometimes referred to as Voho (a nod to Soho).  The fifth, Max II,  is a premises at the corner of Crewsdon and Brixton Roads

In support of the Max II application, the premises has been operating for a number of years and does not appear to be associated with local crime or anti-social behaviour. One resident said that she felt safer late at night becuase there were bouncers on the door. However, the balance of opinion at the market today was against the application. It is estimated that getting on for 100 people signed the petition. The key objection seemed not the principle of a sex establishment but, in this case, its location.

In the interest of balance, if anyone wishes to post comments in favour of the application please feel free to do so.


Re-enacting scene from Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ at St Marks Kennington

09 Jul

Not that I would recommend it but here is how to re-enact a scene from Hitchcocks ‘The Birds’ at St Marks Kennington.

Sit on the back steps of the church in the early evening.  Wait for one of the carrion crows to start checking you out. Think to yourself ‘Aahh…poor thing. He looks hungry’.  Throw him something to eat and wait.  A second one arrives so thow o be fair you offer something to him as well.  A few seconds later all hell will break loose as the crows decend en masse from their roosting place. Unbeknowns to you, they’ve been watching from above.

Although they seem aggressive, these particular crows are relatively shy and will soon move away if you stand up. Don’t attempt this with small children present as the birds can be a bit scary!


Helping the homeless feed themselves?

08 Jul

Alan is a local homeless person. He tells me that he has been on the streets since he was 14 (22 years in total, 16 of them around St Marks Church Kennington). Conversation turned to food as it often might with homeless people. I was surprised that Alan wasn’t aware of the blackberries growing in the churchyard so I introduced them to him. This is a picture of Alan eating one of the first ripe blackberries of the season from St Marks Kennington.

Not that it’s easy to live on the streets but the encounter reminded me how we seem to be losing the ability to take advantage of the food around us. While around the churchyard planning for the 21 July Freshview/Churchyard makeover event, I noticed lots of fungii. Would you be able to tell the difference between poisonous and edible varieties? I certainly can’t. If you said ‘blackberry’ to a young person most would think first of a mobile phone before thinking of the wild fruit. The recent ‘Who Feeds Lambeth’ event reminded us of the need to source more food locally. Part of the long term solution is to educate us all, particularly those most in need, to take advantage of what is around. Let’s hope the next generation knows that while you can’t get an internet connection on a blackberry bush at least you can eat the fruit 🙂


Offley Works History -White Brothers Printers

08 Jul

One of the great benefits of the internet is to bring together people with a common interest that might otherwise never have met.  Peter Maher (see picture) has been recounting fond memories of his time as a trainee foreman between 1967 and 1970 with White Brothers Printers at Offley Works.

White Brothers Printers were based on the ground floor of  Offley Works F-Block -the two storey building subsequently occupied by Furniture Aid.  Back in the late 1960s, the owner was Fred White and Christopher Davenport the General Manager.  Peter recalls that Christopher’s father was a director of Christies.  White Brothers printed Christies auction catalogues and other things like ‘long-boat’ holidays on the Norfolk Broads.   Peter operated the guillotine, bookbinding and collating machine and ran occasional errands delivering letters and parcels to Christies’ Auction House.

At the time, about 20 people were employed half of which were women.  Peter’s foreman Jack had been with the business for many years and seemingly wanted to hold on to his own job so wouldn’t let Peter practise what he was learning at the London College of Printers -Elephant and Castle.  He remembers when the computerised guillotine came it speeded up the process for cutting the reams of paper/card.  He once burned his hands on a book binding machine and was off sick for a while but was called back by Eileen the forelady to supervise the printers in changing over the guillotine blade as the foreman was off sick and nobody else knew how to change the blade.

Peter left to join the Merchant Navy but remembers his time at White brothers with great affection.

At the time, trainee foremen like Peter would not have been kept informed of the machinations of business and building ownership but its interesting to recount a young man’s perspective.  During Peter’s time, he felt that Christies owned the place and the name ‘Offley Works’ was less familar to him.  He recalls that Christies had a store room for antique furniture upstairs.  Many years later Furniture Aid continued to use the space for storing furniture.  One of the neighbouring blocks was a perfume factory. Peter recalls the business being taken over by the owner of a small engineering company which occupied part of F-Block.

White Brothers Printers may have evolved  into Christies International Media Division but that’s another part of the story.

The story of Offley Works continues…

On a slightly more contemporary note, Peter can shed a little light on the use of the access road to Offley Works behind the back of the former Belgrave Childrens Hospital (BCH).  This has been a source of contention for the residents of BCH and Matching Green – the developers of Offley Works.  For Peter that access road, which is off Prima Road – was the main entrance he used to Offley Works. There was no outside gate in those days.