Neil Rhind (author of many books about Blackheath) writes:
I am hoping that the Blackheath Buglers can help the Blackheath Society on a small point of location. The Society is moving close (November) to the publication of a Walkers’ Guide to the Heath – three long walks, all plotted out drawing the ramblers attention to features, facts and history. There is also a timeline from the Romans to the present day. This is all being compiled by the undersigned and Dr Roger Marshall, a member of the Blackheath Society committee. as part of the Digital scheme to make the Society’s collection of about 15,000 images available on a web site with full public access.
One feature noted is a concrete “horse trough” at the south end of Montpelier Row. No animals drink there but it is used for floral displays. We believe that it was once elsewhere in the Village. Can anyone tell us where?
Free copy of the Blackheath walkers’ guide to the first person to get it right.
Their email address is:
As spotted by Neil Short on Twitter, Blackheath is mentioned in Dan Brown’s new novel Inferno (he who wrote The Da Vinci Code, and other cheesy thrillers)
Here’s the passage:
“The bio was a gushing account of a child theater prodigy—Sienna Brooks—with an off- the-chart IQ, who had, in a single night, memorized every character’s lines and, during initial rehearsals, often cued her fellow cast members. Among this five-year-old’s hobbies were viol- in, chess, biology, and chemistry. The child of a wealthy couple in the London suburb of Blackheath, the girl was already a celebrity in scientific circles; at the age of four, she had beat a chess grand master at his own game and was reading in three languages.
My God, Langdon thought. Sienna. That explains a few things.”
Gripping eh? Who would have thought such an accomplished author would resort to using Blackheath as shorthand for wealth and privilege…
From Google Books, the complete volume 1 of James Abbott’s book (he of the previous post): Narrative of a journey from Heraut to Khiva, Moscow, and St. Petersburgh, Volume 1.
PDF PDF Version here. Image above from the book scan (book is from 1843, so is out of copyright).
Lucy Mangan of the Grauniad TV reviews will be reading from her book The Reluctant Bride in a shameless bid to save Blackheath Library at 2pm on Saturday. What’s that you say? Maybe it is her favourite book! Why shouldn’t her favourite book be one that she wrote herself, for goodness sake? The trouble with you people is that you are far too cynical.
On another note, Sir Ian Mills of Age Exchange wrote me a very valid email, pointing out that whilst my post “Pay a tenner to find out what will happen to your library” was factually correct, it was also extremely bad tempered. He has a point. I had a hangover. On a school night. Sorry. If you want to look at Age Exchange’s plans for the library, they are on display inside their shop. You should go regardless, it’s a great place.
Nonetheless, some of the comments below the post raise some interesting questions:
- This seems to me to be the most significant issue: If Age Exchange hadn’t stepped in to offer the council this alternative, wouldn’t there have been more pressure on Lewisham council not to close the library? Isn’t this just giving them an easy get-out?
- Is this a way for Age Exchange to expand its profile, maintain its funding, and by merging itself with the library, ensure that it cannot be easily removed from the high street? The first role of any organisation is to maintain its own existence, even if it is a charity.
- Why should local library-goers be encouraged to donate £30 per year to maintain a library service that up until this year was provided by the local council?
- Darryl claims that Greenwich Council has decided to cease funding for Age Exchange. Does Greenwich Council contribute funds to Age Exchange? (I couldn’t see any mention of them on their funding page).
- The current library is funded by Lewisham council, but Age Exchange is in the Greenwich Council part of Blackheath. How will this issue be resolved?
I’ve written before about how much I like the Age Exchange Centre. It’s great. But by offering Mayor Bullock a Big-Society-friendly way to downgrade the status of the current library, it may have done more harm than good. Maybe lobbying the current owners of the existing library building to reduce or forgo the rent could have been a better strategy, which is now unavailable to the BVLUG, as the anti-closure lobby is effectively split between two positions.
A wonderful find on eBay (starting bids at £200), this 1808 poetry book about Blackheath.
Thanks to the wonder of the internet, you can look through its dusty pages for nothing, by going to this Internet Archive page. They have a great PDF version – complete with pen and ink illustrations, or the text only version (with dubious character recognition) is here.
The illustrations are brilliant, as are the footnotes – little pieces of local history, like this one (page 40):
Clare emailed a while back, asking if there were any reading groups in Blackheath. I knew that there was one based at the library, but couldn’t remember the details. As I went to renew a book a few days ago, sure enough on the counter was all the information that you would need –
There’s a book club held at the library on the first Thursday of each month, between 6.30pm-7.30pm. Last month they were reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.
This contradicts what is written on Greenwich council’s page about reading groups – they claim that it is held at 7pm on the occasional Monday. Lewisham’s effort mentions a reading group, but doesn’t say when it is… At least it doesn’t send you there on the wrong day!
So, if you do go along, please let me know how it is, how many people are there, and whether the first Thursday of the month is the right date!