The mysterious lizards of Charlton

Lizard stencil
Lizard stencil outside Charlton House

In an area where little’s been done for many years to smarten up the streets, these lizard stencils popped up a week or so ago. There was one behind Charlton House, and one on a wall in Victoria Way.

Victoria Way lizard
A lizard in Victoria Way

In fact, there were three in Victoria Way…

Victoria Way lizard
A lizard rests in the sun in Victoria Way
Victoria Way lizard
A lizard about to get run over

And one about to go for a drink at the Charlton Liberal Club (if it hadn’t closed last year).

Charlton Church Lane lizard
Lizard on Charlton Church Lane

There wasn’t one at Charlton Reptiles, though…

Charlton Reptiles
No lizard stencils here

They were washed away by rain last Monday, all except one – at the bus stop at the top of Victoria Way. There were some mutterings that they may have been gang symbols – but the locations would seem to count against that.

Hopefully, they were put there by someone who wanted to brighten up the area. Or even just for a laugh. In an area where the public realm is tatty and civic pride is lacking, they caught the eye. Will the lizards return? We wait and see.

Lizard stencil
Charlton Road lizard

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The Lewisham Natureman comes to Charlton

Lewisham Natureman
The mural can be seen at the bend in Bramshot Avenue by the A102

One of south London’s most distinctive – and best-loved – graffiti artists has left his latest calling card in a overlooked corner of Charlton.

The Lewisham Natureman’s white stags – often adorned with that borough’s crown logo – have been spotted in locations including the River Quaggy in Lee, wasteland in New Cross, the old Catford dog track and underneath a railway bridge in Lewisham.

Possibly the most visible one is on a gate at Greyladies Gardens, a block of flats on the Lewisham flank of Blackheath.

Lewisham Natureman
The stag welcoming you to Blackheath

From the Wildcornerz website:

The Lewisham Natureman is a legend thought to have its roots in South East London’s local graffiti scene. He has never been seen and is only represented by a small carving, that can be found [normally hidden] in the wastelands, train sidings and rivers of the borough. This has given way to the belief that this character is not human at all but actually a spirit of the wild; an urban incarnation of the Green Man or Cernunnos; the stag lord.

He also takes the form of a small white deer that can be seen wandering the desolate places of Lewisham, grazing on wild vegetation and drinking from the boroughs three rivers. The creature is also known as the ‘Wild Walker.’

It’s been a while since one of the stags have appeared – but now one has emerged in Bramshot Avenue, Charlton, on a wall next to land which until recently hosted a large advertising hoarding.

Lewisham Natureman

Lewisham Natureman from Siebert Road

It’s not the Lewisham Natureman’s first appearance in Greenwich borough – one was spotted outside the former Thomas Tallis School in Kidbrooke two years ago.

Long-standing residents may remember horses grazing on this land until the 1980s – the Natureman’s reappearance may help jog some memories, as well as giving travellers stuck on the Blackwall Tunnel approach something to gaze at.