I’ve always thought that the houses on the corner of Lansdowne Lane have one of the best views in London from their back windows.
You know the drill. You’re minding your own business, walking down the road, then a car pulls up. The window winds down, and a confused face appears.
“‘Scuse me… do you know where Bramshot Avenue is?”
Thousands of vehicles pass through the Charlton car pound each year. It sits right at the end of Bramshot Avenue, on the site of a former railway yard, where the Metropolitan Police runs its vehicle forensics service.
Yet despite it being in an obscure corner that most local people will never even have set foot in; there’s no signs at all pointing to a location that many people have to find through no fault of their own.
If someone approaches you almost anywhere between Greenwich and Woolwich asking for directions, chances are they’re looking for the pound. Over recent months, I’ve been stopped as far away as the Thames Barrier, Old Dover Road in Blackheath, and Vanburgh Hill in Greenwich. I can never work out whether the Met gives them duff directions, or if a scary proportion of London’s motorists are completely clueless with a map.
Yet it’s so tucked away, it’s pretty tough to give verbal directions for – there’s few direction signs of any kind to refer to as a reference and so you’re stuck trying to work out how many streets away Eastcombe Avenue, by which time the confused motorist is even more lost.
It’s tempting to think “sod them, they’re only idiots who can’t park properly”, but this is where many of London’s stolen cars end up – even if you find your vehicle parked up around the corner, it’ll end up detained in a forensics yard for a spell.
It’d make all our lives just a little easier if the Met Police or Greenwich Council could put a few signs up pointing to the pound – otherwise Charlton will continue to contain more lost souls than most other parts of London.
The Thames Path foot tunnel, from Neil Clasper.
Incidentally, Neil has some wonderful new photos of Charlton on his website.
Today’s announcement of a royal wedding got me thinking back 30 years, and how similar these times feel to the early 1980s. More specifically, it got me thinking back to 29 July 1981, when Prince William’s dad got married – because I was at street party, in Tallis Grove, Charlton, where my grandparents lived.
Somewhere at my parents’ house, there may still be a small Charles & Diana cup obtained at that party.
I don’t remember any details of it – I was a few days short of being seven years old – but it remains a vivid memory, probably because I don’t recall anything like it happening since then. Indeed, even that 1981 street party must have been a bit of a throwback to the past – the photo above, from the wonderful plumstead-stories.com, is of a 1953 coronation bash in Ancona Road, SE18.
Indeed, the site has a wonderful gallery of street party photos dating back to 1918.
Do you have any memories of any street parties in Charlton, or the neighbouring areas? Did they really die a death after 1981? Do you have any photos? I’m not interested in predicting what’ll happen next year or your views on royalty – I’m just after talk of cake, bunting, and cherryade. I’d love to hear any memories, and perhaps we could even publish any photos here.
From CAFC fan site Charlton Life, a message from contributor Tom Hovi:
On 14th November 1940, Invicta Road School near Blackheath Standard, was being used as an Auxiliary Fire Station when it was destroyed by a Parachute Mine killing 12 firemen and 2 civilians. The charity Firemen Remembered is planning on erecting a memorial plaque at the school to honour those killed and to create a lasting memorial to their sacrifice.
If anyone knows any surviving family members or descendants of those killed, or the descendants of anyone who served at this AFS Station during the war, we’d love to hear from them as we would like to invite them if possible to the unveiling.
You can either contact Stephanie Maltman of Firemen Remembered via www.firemenremembered.co.uk.
There have been some hitches with the plan since it was first announced earlier this year – the original idea was to unveil it today, the 70th anniversary of the attack. But the charity is still hoping to to do something next year.
Photo courtesy of the London Fire Brigade archive.
Outside St Luke’s Church. There are wreath-laying ceremonies on Sunday morning here, and also at Charlton cemetery.