Water pain: Westcombe Hill closure set to last all week

Westcombe Hill, 23 February 2015

We’re indebted to Craig at the @TfLBusAlerts Twitter feed for giving us some more info about the closure of Westcombe Hill in Blackheath, which is causing problems for local travellers at present.

The road’s been closed for four days to deal with a burst water main, with works not expected to finish until this Friday at 5pm.

Routes 108 and 422 are diverted via the A102 between Blackheath Standard and Woolwich Road, while the 286 is running straight down the A102 from Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout, skipping the Standard.

Wednesday update: Job done…

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Charlton Athletic Museum now open Fridays at The Valley

Charlton Athletic museum

While the current state of Charlton Athletic is in a certain amount of turmoil, fans and neighbours can now find out more about the club’s past in a small museum that’s recently opened at The Valley.

The fan-run Charlton Athletic Museum is based in old office space at the top of the stadium’s north stand, on Harvey Gardens.

It’s now open 11am to 3.30pm on Fridays – the entrance is by turnstile 40, near the Charlton Lane end of Harvey Gardens. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Charlton Athletic Museum

Exhibits include memorabilia from the club’s 1947 FA Cup victory and the Addicks’ famous 1957 win over Bill Shankly’s Huddersfield Town, when they came back from being 5-1 down to win 7-6.

Material from the club’s seven-year exile from The Valley is also on display, along with newspaper cuttings depicting the club’s highs and lows.

Charlton Athletic museum

It’s an absorbing collection which depicts not just how the club has changed, but how its local neighbourhood has changed too. Could you imagine the players’ kits being taken down to a laundry in Charlton Lane to be washed now?

The volunteers behind the museum are hoping to arrange for it to be open by appointment on matchdays, but for now, if you’re free on a Friday, it’s well worth a visit.

One of the volunteers, Clive Harris, will also be talking about the club’s history to the Charlton Society this Saturday (2.30pm, Charlton House, £2 for non-members).

Charlton Athletic museum

Of course, it’d be remiss of this website to neglect the fact that events at the club recently haven’t exactly been harmonious. Head coach Bob Peeters was fired last month and many fans object to what they see as dishonesty and interference in team matters from current owner Roland Duchatelet. The electronics tycoon is running Charlton as part of a “network” of clubs led by Belgium’s Standard Liege, whose former head coach Guy Luzon has now turned up in charge at The Valley.

The club’s supporters’ trust is holding a public meeting tomorrow night at the Woolwich Grand Theatre so fans can air their views.

Meanwhile, it’s unlikely to end 7-6 this time, but tickets for Charlton’s match against Huddersfield Town on 28 February – which sees the return of former manager Chris Powell – have been reduced to just £5 each across the ground. Tickets can be bought from the ground or by calling 03330 144 444.

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Charlton Road’s bridge barriers are coming down – but get set for disruption

Charlton Road, 15 February 2015
Work begins today on fixing the bridges that carries Charlton Road over the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach – but expect some disruption while work is carried out.

The bridge at Charlton Road was damaged following a collision in October 2013, in which a car veered off the carriageway and knocked some of the railings into the A102 below.

Nobody was injured, but following safety inspections the Charlton Road bridge and its sister structure on Old Dover Road, Blackheath, had temporary barriers put in place last spring while Transport for London figured out what to do.

Now, “stakeholders” (that is, neither me nor you) were told last Thursday that work begins tomorrow. We managed to get hold of this via the Greenwich Cyclists newsletter, so thought it only polite to pass it on.

Remarkably, even this notification of essential safety work is being spun to make it look as if it’s a big bonus; rather than TfL belatedly acknowledging that its 46-year-old bridges weren’t up to scratch.

The Charlton Road Bridge and Old Dover Road Bridge over the A102 have been identified for refurbishment in order to improve user road safety. Transport for London (TfL) have appointed EM Highway Services to carry out this work.

To ensure the safety of pedestrians and personnel who will be carrying out these works, traffic management measures will be put in place at both locations.

Why are we doing this work?

Temporary concrete barriers have been installed at both bridges following a collision at Charlton Road Bridge, which caused damage to the existing parapet. The objective of this scheme is to replace the damaged parapet at Charlton Road Bridge and upgrade the parapet at Old Dover Road Bridge to enable them to contain any errant vehicle. The new parapets will be similar in appearance to the old parapets but the height will be slightly increased to 1.4metres to improve safety for cylists. Once the works are completed, the existing temporary concrete barriers and fence will be removed.

The Road Modernisation Plan is the biggest investment for a generation consisting of hundreds of projects to transform junctions, bridges, tunnels and pedestrian areas. Working with London’s boroughs it will make our roads safer and more reliable, and London will be a better place in which to live, work and travel.

What times will the work take place?

The parapet replacement works are planned to begin on Monday 16 February 2015 for approximately 6 weeks or until the work is completed. The general working hours will be from 09:30 to 15:30, Mondays to Fridays. Works will take place on Charlton Road Bridge between 16 February and 13 March 2015 and on Old Dover Road Bridge between 9 March to 3 April 2015.

To facilitate the works to be carried out safely, the existing concrete barriers will be temporarily repositioned in the footway until the parapet replacement work is completed, at which point all the temporary barriers will be fully removed from site. The repositioning of the barriers will be carried out at night time between 22:00 and 05:00 on weekdays.

Temporary two-way traffic lights will be deployed at each of the two bridges as and when required during these works and localised pedestrian diversions will also be put in place while these works take place.

What we would like you to know

As with all works on the Transport for London Road Network, we must balance possible disruption to residents with disruption to traffic. Working these hours provides us with the best chance to complete these works safely and as quickly as possible whilst minimising disruption.

Keeping London moving

Transport for London is firmly committed to minimising disruption. We have worked closely with our contractor, EM Highway Services and the Royal Borough of Greenwich in order to reduce the impact of these works on road users, local residents and businesses as far as possible.

I hope you will appreciate that a certain level of disruption is inevitable, and I apologise in advance for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of these essential works. Should you require further information or an update during the delivery of these works, please contact our Streets Customer Services department on 0343 222 1234, email customerservices@tfl.gov.uk or via the web at www.tfl.gov.uk/contact.

So get set for a few weeks of disruption while some rather precarious work is carried out on the bridges. But at least the ugly barriers are finally coming down…

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30 years ago: Greenwich councillor’s Thames Barrier buffet bother

Clips from Thames News, the ITV news programme for London from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, are being uploaded to YouTube by Fremantle Media, which owns the former broadcaster’s archive.

The cataloguing’s touch and go, and as ever with news about the capital, south-east London material is very thin on the ground – there’s some limited footage of the aftermath of a 1988 shooting at an abattoir in Shooters Hill, or the announcement of plans to extend the East London Line in 1989, 21 years before it actually happened. This clip about the Met Police’s annual report ends in a very 1980s Blackheath Village.

But the two best clips actually relate to Charlton. Above is footage of the Queen opening the Thames Barrier in 1984.

And here’s long-serving Greenwich councillor Jim Gillman complaining about the price of tea and coffee in the Thames Barrier’s cafe in June 1985.

Here, Gillman – who stepped down as Kidbrooke with Hornfair councillor last year – is seen telling reporter Marc Wadsworth how he doesn’t want to see people ripped off. Wonder what he makes of the prices now? Enjoy.

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Charlton ghost sign uncovers long-lost Arthur Cooper wine merchant

Bramshot Avenue
Work to convert a corner shop in Bramshot Avenue into a house has revealed a sign belonging to a long-gone chain of wine merchants.

The ghost sign reveals the old off-licence on the corner of Wyndcliff Road used to be part of the Arthur Cooper chain of wine merchants, which by the 1970s was a 300-strong chain of stores, mainly across southern England and south Wales.

Arthur Cooper wine merchant

Part of the Courage brewing giant, the name fell into disuse by the 1980s and the chain seems to have been all but forgotten about.

If you remember this as Arthur Cooper, it’d be great to hear your memories. You can still bid for some Arthur Cooper wine coasters on eBay…

(Thanks to Tweeter @CDPL1 for pointing me in the right direction on Arthur Cooper.)

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Charlton Toy Library’s Easter party – can you help?

Last year's Charlton Toy LIbrary Party

Diddi Dance providing the entertainment at last year’s Charlton Toy Library Easter Party in Charlton Assembly Rooms

Charlton Toy Library needs sponsors and donations to support its fundraising Easter Party. Can you – or your business – help?

Charlton Toy Library is a small, independent registered charity that has been running for over 30 years. It is based at Charlton House and provides a range of facilities to the local community including: a low cost borrowing service of toys, books, DVDs, CDs, baby safety equipment, dressing up clothes and games and puzzles and stay and play sessions three times a week from 9.30am – 12.30pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It also offers advice, support and information on a wide range of child development and parenting skills.

Additionally the Toy Library runs an Outreach Programme which provides a much needed service in the local community, providing advice and support and taking clothes, books, toys and games to women’s refuges and four HomeStart groups in the area.

The aims and objectives of the Toy Library are two-fold: to provide child development and parenting support to disadvantaged families and a safe and welcoming environment for local families with young children to have access otherwise unaffordable toys, books and child safety equipment.

Charlton Toy Library does not receive any public funding and relies on the endeavours of a small team of tireless volunteers in order to continue to operate. We are currently planning a fundraising Easter Party for Saturday 21st March and are looking for local businesses who would be willing to sponsor or give donations in return for free publicity. To make the party a success we need the following:

  • Donations of £150 to cover venue hire
  • Children’s dance/music activities
  • Children’s craft activities
  • Cakes
  • Raffle prizes
  • Small chocolate eggs (bags of mini wrapped eggs or small wrapped eggs)
  • Small party bags (to fill with chocolate eggs)

As well as helping to raise much needed funds these are great community events enjoyed by up to 150 local parents and children. If you would be able to help Charlton Toy Library by providing any of the things listed above please contact Charlotte on 020 8315 0055 or via e-mail at charltontoylibrary@gmail.com.

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Charlton’s White Swan campaign winds down – is the pub now safe?

White Swan, Charlton, 12 December 2013/ Nikki Coates
The campaign to save Charlton Village’s White Swan is winding down after it emerged the venue is likely to stay in use as a pub after it is sold to new owners.

The pub’s future has been in question for some time after protracted efforts by its owner, Punch Taverns, to sell the building.

It was declared an asset of community value last March. Punch confirmed its intention to sell the building in October, triggering a six-month period for community groups to register their interest.

The Save The White Swan group was formed to investigate ways of buying the pub – a tough ask with the pub on the market for £950,000. But it has decided to wind down its operations after being assured the Swan will be kept in use after its sale. The buyer is believed to be a pub company, but the sale cannot go through until after the asset of community value moratorium ends on 23 March.

“We decided that we couldn’t in good faith go ahead with a campaign asking people to stump up hundreds and thousands of pounds if the White Swan wasn’t actually, for now, at risk,” the campaign’s Paul Chapman wrote on its website.

“The money we needed to raise was always going to be a record-breaking sum, at a time when everyone is feeling the pinch financially… and the near-certainty of the Swan remaining a pub made it impossible.”

Charlton’s pub-watchers will now need to stay vigilant and keep an eye on what happens next with the Swan, and hope that the interest generated in the pub – sparked by a Facebook group calling for Woolwich Equitable owner Antic to take over – will convince a new owner to give it a much-needed revamp.

Similarly, the future of the village’s oldest pub, the Bugle Horn, will also need watching. The Bugle – which is also owned by Punch Taverns – does not have the same ACV protection as the Swan, while its management has been unhappy about the attention focused on its neighbour.

It’s worth pointing out that Greenwich Council could do a lot to secure the future of both venues by putting Article 4 directions on them, preventing a change of use. That’s a tactic which eventually worked in Catford, when Lewisham Council stopped the Catford Bridge Tavern from becoming a supermarket. New owners are hoping to reopen it later this year.

While a lot remains uncertain, the campaign group certainly deserves a pat on the back for keeping the issue in the public eye and picking up the baton from the Charlton Society‘s original decision to try to protect the pub. Greenwich Council’s deputy leader John Fahy also deserves thanks for using his contacts to bring interested parties together.

The campaign group also deserves credit for battling on, despite the stress caused by a former manager of the pub’s attempt to start a rival campaign, which solicited for donations to his own private account (something the official campaign wasn’t doing).

Hopefully they won’t be forced to reconvene to try to save another pub – but who knows?

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