Monthly Archives: November 2008

Cab Driver: “I love Blackheath…”

Black taxi cab in London

Me: “Oh yes, it’s great.”

Cab driver:  “Yeah, it’s like a rose in the middle of a steaming pile of manure.”

Interesting description…  I wouldn’t go that far myself, but it’s always nice to hear someone complimenting the place where you live.

He also had an alternative reason for the name Blackheath, but I can’t remember what it was… It wasn’t the Black Death, and it wasn’t the darker sand theory… Perhaps it will come back to me after the hangover clears…

Photo by Flickr user Neovain used under a creative commons license.


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The shadowy figure of a woman in Victorian clothes still haunts the Hare and Billet Road

The Hare and Billet Pub, Blackheath, old painting

Matt wrote:

Hey – I only just saw an old blog post of yours about the Hare and Billet Ghost. I’m actually the guy who wrote the original message board post about it, and my friends seriously saw it before Googling. Well, they say anyway.

It doesn’t seem to show any more as the AOL page it came from has been deleted, but I’ve found a cached version. If you’re still interested, I’d be grateful if you could blog it to preserve it for posterity:

“Hare and Billet Road, Blackheath, SE10

The shadowy figure of a woman dressed in Victorian clothes still haunts the area of the Hare and Billet Road.

She is thought to have been a woman who had just left her husband and was waiting for her lover, who never arrived. When she realised that she had been jilted she hanged herself from an elm tree.

Her ghost has been seen as recently as November, 1971, when she is said to have almost collided with a bank executive who did not realise that she was a ghost.”

There’s a cached version here.

I’ve no idea whether this is a genuine local myth, or has been recently created. But I suppose all myths start somehow…

Image credit:  “Near the Hare and Billet Inn” – a section from a painting by Thomas Luny (1759-1837) held in the British Library.


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Blackheath Poetry Society

The Blackheath Poetry Society will be meeting on Monday 12 January 2009 at 8pm.  Entrance is free.  The theme for the evening is “Home and Family” — they bring a poem or two on this theme, and read round the room.

They are primarily a poetry appreciation group, but for those who write poetry themselves it’s an opportunity to read your work and get feedback.

They meet in various members’ homes in the SE3 area.

Please email for further details or see their website

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Rockets over Blackheath

A couple of videos showing the Blackheath fireworks… Shame I couldn’t make it. I was knee deep in mud at the Brockham Bonfire… Very soggy.

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Orangutans in Blackheath

Orang-utan outside Sainsbury's in Greenwich

If you’ve seen an orangutan in Blackheath, it’s probably because Daniel, a Blackheath local, has been dressing up, and lurking outside Sainsbury’s, trying to raise funds to conserve them.  I just hope he didn’t have to take a 108 bus full of school kids…  He writes:

Volunteers for the Great Orang-utan Project do not receive any form of funding, and are therefore required to raise the entire amount. The basic cost of the project is £1599 per volunteer, making the total cost £3198. This excludes insurance, flights and other expenses.
The cost of the project contributes to conservation projects made by the wildlife centre, and helps to employ experts, train locals and improve the conservation efforts through education and research programmes.

So far, as a result of our fundraising we have managed to raise £327 towards our target. Sainsburys Greenwich showed their support by allowing us to use the entrance of their store to collect from the public on Saturday 18th October. The day was a huge success, having donned an Orangutan suit for the entire day we managed to raise £260.21! We also received a personal donation of £25 from our local MEP. The rest of the funds were made up from car boot sales and on-line auctions.

We are currently appealing to all local business, individuals and Associations for help in any way. Whether it be a monetary donation, a fund-raising event,  donating stock or unwanted gifts that we can be auctioned on-line,  anything that can help us take one step closer to achieving our target.
Soon we will also be opening an account on the website which allows people to donate a promise or item (like the promise of the use of a Rolls Royce for the day for example) and people bid for that promise.

If possible we would like to highlight that if anybody would like further information or feels they can help us achieve our target, they should contact us via the following e-mail:

It looks like an interesting project, and whilst the animals aren’t in Blackheath, the fund raising is, so if you can help out, please drop them email to find out more.

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Best fireworks in the UK, or Blackheath at least

fireworks-blackheath photo by flickr user Gillbrit
The Guardian had a very internet friendly headline the other day “10 Best Bonfire Night Celebrations in the UK“. I’m glad to say, Blackheath was included, but slightly less happy that I can’t see it, as I will be at the Brockham bonfire.

The Blackheath bonfire night fireworks event is on 8th November at 8pm and is free to enter.

Great photo by Flickr user Gillbrit taken in 2007.


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Spooks in Blackheath

Bookshop on the Heath in Spooks on BBC1

I’ve just spotted The Bookshop on the Heath (more here) in Spooks on BBC1 (see iPlayer to watch the episode, about 26min30sec in).

Harry goes off to see an old spy, who turns out to be up to something, whilst nodding off over some Soviet literature… Selectric gets a nice bit of product placement, too!
Selectric in Blackheath Village shown in Spooks on the BBC

Inside the Bookshop on the Heath in Spooks

There’s also a shot of the military college in Greenwich later on, I think.

Of course the official site doesn’t go into any of the references mentioned in the episode, such as the mysterious “How to Get 165 Eggs from Every Chicken” alluded to in the Blackheath scene. Where is the director’s podcast commentary, like in BSG?!

Images copyright BBC.


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