Tag: Greenwich Page 2 of 4

Greenwich in 1986

Back in the dark days of the 1980s home videos were a bit of a rarity. Thankfully for us Ruffles we have some footage from 1986 showing my Mum and Dad, my brother and I and some of the extended family.

I asked my Dad to tell me how he came to film us and this is what he said:

“Do you remember Keith and Dawn Morley? They lived in Sandhurst Road, which is parallel to Glenfarg Road where we lived. In 1986 they fostered a young lad called Mark (aged about 16 or 17) whose mother had died unexpectedly.

Well, Mark rashly bought a video camera from Dixons on credit, which he could not really afford. So I took the opportunity to ‘rent’ it from him for a few weeks, which resulted in me recording various family activities as can be seen on the video.

Unfortunately, I did not keep the mini-VHS master tape, but just copied it to a Phillips V2000 tape.

This was the type of video recorder we had at the time, but there was VHS, Betamax and V2000 systems for domestic video recorders, although subsequently VHS won the market against Betamax and V2000, even though it was technically an inferior technology.”

Domestic video recorders aside, one of the best things about the two hour video is that some of it features a trip to Greenwich Park. I live in spitting distance of the park now and it is pretty amazing to see what has and hasn’t changed in the last 24 years.

Park Vista in the background

The toilets are still there!

The gap in the buildings is the Maze Hill and Park Vista junction

My brother splashing in the empty boating lake puddles

Pretty sure that exit hasn’t changed a bit either!

We then walked down to the Cutty Sark, and you can see the tea clipper in its dry dock. You can also see the horrible concrete surrounds of Cutty Sark Gardens. Some cynical grumpy folks might say it doesn’t look very different now…

You can read more about the Cutty Sark here and here. 😉

Looking towards Deptford, I think that industrial building in the left background isn’t there anymore. I wonder if Greenwich Industrial History might know more?

The foot tunnel entrance is obscured by a lovely band of concrete.

And here is the video, I am the one with the pigtails, my mum is wearing the cream coat, my Dad is unseen as in all our family photos, and I have no idea who the other people are! 🙂

I love this slice of 1986 and feel quite lucky to have footage of my brother and I as children. Also, bearing in mind my parent’s eventual separation and my Mum’s death five years later, I feel really blessed to have this wonderful footage of us together as a family.

So thanks Mark! :).


Vikings, Martyrdom and a Tea Clipper

Yesterday was a pretty awesome day to be a Greenwich tax payer as the council and the folks behind the Cutty Sark had decided we would get a free trip on the refurbished tea clipper. It isn’t even open yet, and we even beat Her Majesty The Queen!

I booked tickets for 4pm, and with some time to kill before then we decided to go to the church of St Alfege as they are celebrating the murder of Ælfheah of Canterbury who was captured and martyred by marauding Vikings in 1012.

Being agnostic I wasn’t so bothered about how wonderful it was that St Alfege died because he wouldn’t let his mates pay a ransom to the Vikings to secure his release, but we did get an awesome church built on the spot where he died instead.

Thanks to the church and Regia Anglorum we also got an 11th century Anglo Saxon village for the week and I took some photos of this fantastic re-enactment .

Also, if you are in Greenwich on Christmas Eve, the church choir perform on their own shortly before the midnight mass. They are amazing. Stunning singers.

Men being manly with axes.

Loom weaving.

Women chatting. Nothing ever changes.

Thread making? Or the earliest form of a friendship bracelet?


Oh no! The Vikings are back! Quick! Hide the babies!

Beautiful ship #1.

Making flour? Looks a lot like the process still used in Morocco to make Argan oil

Harp playing too! 🙂

After that wonderful experience, I walked round the corner of my local area to see stunning ship #2!

So, the Cutty Sark. A major landmark in Greenwich, engulfed by fire in 2007, fastest tea clipper in the west, cost £50 million to refurbish yadda yadda yadda. But what did it feel like to go into the new building?


It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I felt quite emotional as I slowly walked along the gangway that takes you into the ship itself. I stared up at the gorgeous plating on the hull and was in awe. Amazing.

Stern and rudder

“Composite construction, a wooden hull on an iron frame”

Replica tea chests hung from the ceiling and tea chest patterns were marked on the floor of the lower hold.

Video screens depicting the tea trade were lined up on both sides of the lower hold.

A large wall covered in material and rows of seating made up the Michael Edwards Studio Theatre. A video showing the Cutty Sark’s routes round the world was projected onto the wall.

The inside of the hull bathed in green.

Upstairs is the ‘tween deck which focused on the crew of the Cutty Sark, and the wool and whisky trades. There was also a interactive video display where people could steer the Cutty Sark home from Australia. I sadly ran the ship aground in Antarctica!

Video projected onto the side of a bale, I thought this was a really great way of displaying content.

Above the ‘tween deck is the main deck where you get to see the top half of the ship in its full glory. There aren’t any exhibitions to see here but exploring the deck, seeing the views, the masts and the 11 miles of rigging is more than enough to keep you enthralled.

Best weather ever.

I doubt this beautiful view would have been possible without the 3 metre raising of the ship.


View towards St Alfege showing the blue sea the ship floats on.

After the main deck you take the stairs or lift down to the Sammy Ofer Gallery where you can see the rest of the hull. Unlike the SS Great Britain in Bristol, the sealed off hull area isn’t humid or uncomfortable and is instead light, spacious and airy.

Stern and rudder from below

The gleaming belly.

Wonderfully, the concrete sides from the previous dry dock haven’t been covered up and you can see the differences between the 1950s refurbishment and now.

This practice has been maintained throughout as the new metalwork added to the ship, to make it structurally sound, has been painted grey and the original metalwork has been painted white.

At the stern of the ship is a wonderful 19th Century figurehead collection, children will love it. The white figurehead is Nannie Dee, an figurehead that used to be on the front of the ship… I think.

I do like the sea of glass, the reflections are lovely.

Lots of space and the cafe feels quite unobtrusive from this end of the gallery.

We had to have a cup of ship’s tea, or Twinings tea to be accurate. 🙂

I didn’t get the shot quite right but I tried!

I absolutely love history and having a slice of shipping history fifteen minutes walk from my home is just wonderful. I haven’t been to the ship before and I can only imagine how awful it was for locals when it was burning back in 2007.

I have been to a number of modern museums and comparing it to the Museum of London at Docklands I can only say it is just as good. Both make me want to go back again and again. And once all the exhibits and activities are finished the museum will be even better.

It is a shame entry is £12 when The Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum are free but the Observatory is not free, so hey ho, some things are worth paying for.

A day later I still feel really happy and excited to have gone and a second trip is a must. Greenwich is such a lovely place to live.


More photos from the day can be found here.

*These happened to be the words I used to describe how I felt when I briefly chatted to Richard Doughty. Poor man. I made a bee line for him as soon as I recognised him off the telly!


Meantime Brewing Company

Back in October I took the boyfriend to the Meantime Brewing Company for a boozy treat. For £15 each you get an excellent two-hour tour explaining the brewing process, the ideology behind Meantime and lots of free beer… if you can drink it that is!

The tours are currently on hiatus as Meantime is refurbishing its visitor area, the latest details can be found here.

A stone’s throw from Greenwich and the O2, Meantime moved to Blackwall Lane two years ago in order to expand its business. The brewery was started by Londoner Alastair Hook on Penhall Road, Charlton in 1999 and at first just brewed and bottled beer for other brands.

As detailed here, Meantime gradually developed its own beers, opened The Greenwich Union pub in 2001, and The Old Brewery restaurant in 2010. I can fully recommend the restaurant’s £15 lobster nights, yum yum yum.

Armed with a tasting glass we were taken round the brewery by charismatic guide Peter Haydon and were shown in excellent detail how the brewing process worked.

The Meantime logo sits atop the ROLEC vats

Huge shiny vats of booze

Spot the London Eye and the Jubilee Bridges on the London Lager labels

Meantime has its own laboratory where batches of beer are checked and tested frequently

Old and current brands brewed and bottled by Meantime

Haydon told us great stories about the history of beer in London and it was great to hear about the changes in business and drinking culture over the centuries.

As a non-beer drinker I only had a tiny amount of the London Lager, India Pale Ale and London Porter offered, but the other half more than made up for it as our tour group was small and you can’t waste five pint tankards can you!

He also bought a case of the Chocolate and Porter Style Ale which he indulged in over the next week or so.

We had a great time and are very much looking forward to the opening of the Meantime shop so we can pick up a well-priced case of beer on a regular basis. Here’s hoping the refurbishment will include the shop!


Elephants and Lambs

Today I visited Mudchute Park and Farm for their lambing season, and on the way I passed through the Old Royal Naval College to see the set that is being built for the filming of Les Misérables.

The part of the film being shot in Greenwich relates to the Elephant of the Bastille, an unfinished monument conceived by Napoleon in 1808. The elephant is used as a shelter for a character named Gavroche in the film.

French flags are now flying from the walls of the ORNC and the entire central area has been covered in tarpaulin with dark gravel on top. Carriages from the 19th Century are dotted around the area and the central area looks quite desolate.

It was pretty cool to walk through a film set too!

Fake ground on the left, real paving on the right

The lavender smelt lovely

Not sure if this is entirely historically accurate

Fake left, real right

I then wandered down to the foot tunnel and experienced the awesome new lifts that have been installed (at last!) at either end of the tunnel. They are huge inside and are very swish in comparison to the dirty mess of the stairs and tunnel itself.

It was then time for my first 2012 visit to my favourite city farm, and I had my customary walk round to say hello to the pigs first.

I was hoping to see some baby lambs and was quite lucky to be there at the right time of the day when the farm’s volunteers were feeding the sheep. I was led into the sheep shed where all the mummy sheep were looking after their young and lots of parents and their children came in too.

It was quite wonderful seeing the lambs and there was a little white face lamb that had been born yesterday huddling in the corner of its pen. They were all running about and feeding on their mummies, a beautiful experience.



Once I had torn myself away from the lambs I said hello to the lovely llamas.

I then witnessed turkey rape which wasn’t quite so pleasant!

But the lovely flowers on this plant made me happy again, as did my hot chocolate from the Mudchute kitchen. 🙂

Happy Easter etc!


#GreenwichTweetUp 3 at The Big Red Pizza Bus

Another Greenwich Tweet Up was had last Saturday and this time we went to Deptford to experience The Big Red which is a BUS, with PIZZA. Awesome.

We had a smaller crowd this time but still managed to ensnare welcome another newbie, Helen of West Greenwich.

In attendance were:


The Big Red was launched last June and I first heard of it through our local Dame shortly after it opened. They serve pizzas, salad, tapas, starters and various type of booze (including Meantime beer, yay for local products!).

The menu isn’t particularly extensive but extra pizza toppings are available, and I was offered a few more cocktails to choose from when I didn’t fancy the three on offer (I had a few Tequila Sunrises in the end, £3, yum!). Their website also lists upcoming additions to the menu so do ask if you fancy something slightly different, they can only say no.

We had dough balls with garlic butter, garlic bread and bread, olives and dipping oil to start and these were served quickly and were a lovely, light start to the meal. We all ordered pizzas, a few pepperonis, a flamenco and a seaside, and these were also served quickly and were hot on arrival.

As a red onion lover I particularly enjoyed this topping on my pepperoni, and the mozzarella balls were lovely too. The pizza was good, if a little undercooked for my liking, another minute in the oven would haven crisped up the base more, but the flavours were good and all the pizzas arrived within a minute or so, excellent timing.

This lot were happy too.

A few of us had desserts and this was Sam’s tiramasu, official verdict: “really good, delicious”. My chocolate fudge cake with cream was also excellent, lovely and moist and HUGE.

Outside area, a wee bit nippy for January but the bus itself was lovely and warm.

The gang.

I asked if we were allowed to sit in the driver’s seat… and the answer was yes. YAY!!!

We all had a great time on the bus and enjoyed the food and drink. Service was friendly and quick and we each spent about £27 including food, a number of drinks each and tip. And! We got a lift home in Richard’s flash car! Woo hoo!

More photos of the pizza fun can be found here.


Caird Library at Royal Museums Greenwich

Like the Deptford Dame I was invited to a bloggers preview of the re-opening of the National Maritime Museum’s Caird Library last Saturday.

The Caird Library used to be housed in the main part of the museum, but with the building of the Sammy Ofer wing the opportunity was taken to move and extend the library into a new space. Caird Library staff can now keep a significantly larger percentage of the 2,000,000 item collection on-site, and items can be retrieved from storage within forty minutes.

Along with The Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the museum is in the process of rebranding itself as part of Royal Museums Greenwich to tie in with the Queen’s decision to make Greenwich a Royal Borough as part of her Jubilee celebrations.

This event was an opportunity to promote the new wing, the free facilities available at the Caird Library and to show how the three museums are trying to have closer ties with the local community and those interested in Naval history.

I went along with my Twitter pal @mtcrowe as the RMG’s Digital Marketing Officer Emma McLean was happy for us all to bring a plus one to help us spread the word. After an introduction by Emma, Eleanor Gawne, Head of Archive and Library, gave us a talk about the development of the new facility, and with her Caird Library colleagues, a tour in small groups of the new storage spaces.

Unfortunately for us bloggers and photographers, photos were not allowed of the storage areas. However we were told that the storage areas have 9km of shelving spread over two and a half floors. They also feature those really cool rolling racks that you see at universities and wonder if anyone has ever gotten squished in. 😀

After the formal bit we were given plenty of time to have a nose around the new facilities and to look through items the Caird Library team had prepared for us from a list given to us with the invitation.

As you can see from the PDF many of the items listed have information and photos about them listed on the Caird Libray’s site, very useful for research purposes if you can’t come to the library yourself, and also useful in deciding what to ask the team to retrieve from storage.

Below is one of the items I requested to see and as I love maps this was a delight. The maps shows the course of the river from London to the sea.

River Thames printed chart by Richard Stanier dated 1790 ( G218:8/1) includes both the River Thames and the Thames Estuary, with cartouche

Books detailing the sinking of the Royal George whilst anchored off Portsmouth, the ship was built down the road at Woolwich.

An Account of the Loss of the ‘Royal George’ at Spithead, August, 1782… the 27 books that make up this collection are bound in wood taken from the wreck

Medical textbook owned by Captain Bligh, cited as particularly interesting due to its provenance. I had never heard of the term before but take great delight in understanding it now, I aim to use it in conversation to impress in the future. Tee hee.

Captain Bligh’s copy of William Buchan,’ Domestic Medicine: or a Treatise on the prevention and cure of diseases by Regimen and simple medicines with an appendix, containing a dispensatory for the use of private practitioners’ (London, 1779, 6th edition (PBD6069). Originally the property of Captain Bligh and subsequently in the possession of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers on the Pitcairn Islands

As mentioned above, you can access the Caird Library’s content for free, including log books, Admirality records, certificates of competence, letters, diaries, crew lists, business records (including the P&O archive), charts and maps. You can also read the 200 journals they subscribe to, and use their computer stations to access online journals and resources. Photocopying and scanning facilities are available, and content can be saved to USB stick to take home.

Another interesting feature is the hundreds of ship plans that can be accessed using a large touch-screen computer. These plans have been painstakingly scanned in and the staff are aiming to slowly scan in all of the 1,000,000 they have in storage over a number of years. The most famous of ships have had their plans scanned in first, so contact the library to see if your favourite is available.

This is the first local event I have been invited to through my blogging endeavours and having not visited the museum before, oops, it was an excellent event to have been invited to. I hope the RMG carries on with these kind of events as any kind of free public outreach event is an excellent way to encourage people to do something they wouldn’t have done before.

I also had the opportunity to talk to an astronomer from the Observatory and to promote the astrophysics talk my Dad does around the country. Hooray! It is a little dream of mine that one day my Dad will speak at the Observatory round the corner from my house. We also used to visit the park and the Observatory when I was young as we are from the area.

Here are some links to other blogs from this event:

Bloggers Preview of New Library, Caird Library blog

The Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum, Deptford Dame

The Holy Grail of Nautical Books, Night of Bones

The Old Order Changeth, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins

Nerding Out at the Maritime Museum, Ice Floe


Bianco 43 Delivery

Pizza options in East Greenwich are somewhat limited so I was quite excited to hear that our newest independent pizzeria Bianco 43 were expanding into my bit of Greenwich. Bianco 43 opened on Greenwich Church Street last year and seems to do a good trade, hopefully beating Pizza Express for the best pizzeria in central Greenwich!

Bianco 43 Delivery opened on Lassell Street the Monday just gone and we ordered dinner from them on Friday night. I wanted to order soon after their opening to see what the delivery service would be like on their first weekend night.

We ordered at 8.30pm and the food arrived at 9.25pm, we were told to expect a 45 minute wait so I was a little disappointed about the long wait in comparison to other other takeaways locally. However, I have heard that they only have one delivery driver at moment so I guess a long wait is to be expected until the takeaway is more established.

Nice packaging

Arancini, fried rice balls filled with minced meat, tomato sauce and mozzarella, £2.90

Focaccia garlic bread, £4.90

Please hold pizza flat. 🙂

4 Stagioni, tomatoes sauce, artichokes, cooked ham, sausages and mozzarella, £10.90

So, was the food hot on arrival? Not really, warm would be a better description. But, all the flavours were good and the food is miles better than any Dominos/Pizza Go Go takeaway so this is easily improved with quicker delivery.

The takeaway menu is different and varied from your bog standard pizza menu, I had never heard of arancini before but it was pretty good and padded out the meal nicely. The toppings and the chunky pieces of mozzarella were lovely and it was nice to have a well seasoned garlic bread with actual chunks of garlic on it.

We spent 18.70 in total and if we had just got a 12″ pizza it would have only been £10.90, much cheaper than a local rival.

Bianco 43 Delivery is a welcome addition to the local area and I look forward to our next order, but we will collect this time, not just to speed up delivery, but to also see the wood fired oven and our pizza being made.

Here’s hoping Bianco 43 Delivery is a permanent East Greenwich fixture.


East Greenwich Pleasaunce Tree Planting

Thanks to an email from the Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce, I was able to participate in some tree planting this fine January day.

Arriving at the Pleasaunce at 1pm I found a group of ten fellow planters including FEGP chair Matthew Wall, Gavin and Anne of Transition Westcombe and David and Lewis from The London Orchard Group who were there to provide the technical know-how.

David and Lewis showed us in two stages how to plant the six trees, “three apple trees, a plum, a gage, and a pear”, did the first one for us, and then assisted with the rest.

My tree planting partner Zoe marks out the square of turf that needs removing

Hole dug! My Dad and his girlfriend would be proud!

Zoe poses for a funny photo AKA packing down the removed turf before planting our tree

Fellow planter Nigel loosens the soil with a metal stake (technical name anyone?) so he can dig his hole

Holes dug, trees planted, hessian cover applied, time for the next stage: stakes, mulch, nails, hammers and cages

David and Zoe bang a stake into the ground, Zoe and I banged in the other, the metal stake banger thing is heavy! Hard hat time just in case your head gets knocked!

Zoe holds the cage, Gavin nails the cage together. Manliness proved

Nigel and his planted tree, the mulch was provided free of charge by the Parks and Gardens department of Greenwich Council, nice!

Zoe and I anoint our planted tree with cider as part of the New Year tradition of wassailing

…but we didn’t sing, we left that to David!

Happy planters one and all!


Nevada Street Deli

Slightly an odd post this one, but as the nights’ get colder and Christmas gets closer, I start thinking about the year nearly gone and this encourages a scour through old photos.

Tonight’s find is a folder from the 14th of May when him and I went to the Nevada Street Deli for breakfast one Saturday morning. We had been intending to go for a while and as my birthday is the 11th of May this was a good excuse. We had a lovely stroll through the park from our place by Maze Hill also, such a lovely day.

However, the Nevada Street Deli is no more as very shortly after our visit the deli became Heaps Sausages and we still haven’t been to see the change six months later! Oops!

I have heard nothing but good about Martin Heap and his bangers so I am sure it is well worth a trip. What I would like to say is that we had a splendid breakfast that day in May and I hope the menu hasn’t changed too much.

I don’t quite understand the relationship between the deli and Heaps, can someone explain? The change from the deli to Heaps was being advertised in the shop that day so I would assume the change is a positive one!

Anyway, the food was ace, and as I never got round to putting up these photos I am glad to now.

Not the largest deli in the world, but it was perfectly formed

Lovely utensil jar, I do like a nice one

The deli’s version of Gravadlax for him

Heaven on earth for me, mushrooms, bacon and and gorgeous bread, plus a pot of tea for two

Lovely looking sarnies, lovely presentation

Lovely spot too!

So if you fancy a sausage or two, pop down to Heaps. I think we might have to take a trip to stock up for Christmas now! Mmmmmm sausages!


#GreenwichTweetUp 2

Last night was Greenwich Tweet Up 2 and we headed for The Pelton Arms again.

Saturday night is live music night at the pub and we saw The Repertoire Dogs strut their stuff. I thought they were ace and Ellie, Wayne, Michael and myself inflicted our awful dancing on our fellow pub-goers. There is a video but I will resist and not put it on YouTube!

Attendees included:

designedbyblind and Mercer


Charlie, a normo! i.e. she is not on Twitter, a friend of Helen’s

Also, the photos are crap, sorry!

Hai, my name is L A R A <<< A battle I will never win

Michael and myself, cheers!

Sam and Wayne

Wayne eating guide dog Mercer’s chew. Silly

Ellie, Sam and Wayne

Helen, Charlie and Jack

The dashing and sweet Michael who is raising funds for Movember

Another lovely night was had by all and Sam and I rounded off the night with a lovely lamb shish kebab from Greenwich Kebab. \m/

Keep your eyes peeled for the next #GreenwichTweetUp in 2012…


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