Category Archives: blackheath village

Farewell To Blackheath Library

Farewell to Blackheath Library poster
Spotted on a tree along Pond Road, a “farewell to Blackheath Library” poster:

Blackheath Village LIbrary Users’ Group

Farewell To Blackheath Library

Please join us for a meeting to mark the closure, on May 27th 2011, of our village library.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday 17 May from 7-8.30pm at the Bakehouse, Bennett Park, (behind Age Exchange).

We shall thank our supporters and librarians, and formally wind up the Users’ Group. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Wine and soft drinks will be available for a donation on the night.

Any queries to se3villagelibrary (at) yahoo.co.uk or 020 8852 4032.

I hope the councillors who agreed to close it have the balls to attend.

UPDATE: My Latin typo corrected (I blame comprehensive educayshun you know….)

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Polling my leg


I had a great idea for a website a while back. It was going to be called wherethefuckismypollingstation.com. Catchy hey? You’d go to the website, enter your postcode, and the site would show you a map to the appropriate polling station. (The link on the URL above takes you to Greenwich council’s site. Good luck finding your polling station…)

I’ve managed to dig my polling card out from a pile of junk mail, and it seems to be in the same place as usual (St Michael’s Church Hall), but I can never find the details on Greenwich or Lewisham’s websites. Without the card, I’d have no idea what time it opened for business.

If you’re a Lewisham voter, you’re more likely to be voting at Blackheath village library. If it’s still there.

Anyway, whether you vote “yes”, “no”, or “will it make any difference” tomorrow, make sure you vote.

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Books as doves

Blackheath Village Library Read-In Protest

Neil Rhind spoke about the history of libraries in Blackheath, and then revealed that he had popped into the Blackheath Standard library recently, because he needed to check something in his book Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 2, but couldn’t find it on the shelf. A library assistant informed him that “it’s always out. It’s the most stolen book from our library, after the bible”. He seemed delighted by this!

Here’s an extract from the reading by Blake Morrison, from his book The Justification of Johann Gutenberg

One day in the forest, when he was feeding the birds, he says, “it was as if the dove that perched [on my hand] spreading its wings had become an open book. And the dove departing from me was like a book taking flight. And the grain the dove held in its beak was like a kernel of knowledge seeding itself through the world.”

A very pertinent passage, as the grain is about to be snatched from the beaks of future generations.

Both Blake Morrison and Nicholas Cranfield (the vicar from All Saints Church) emphasised the community aspects of the library. Blake Morrison described what he called “bibliotherapy” – the act of reading with others, as something of great value. He emphasised that when politicians define the needs for cuts across services, they often draw a choice between front-line healthcare services, or library services. He spoke very well about his experiences, and said that library services often actively reduce the need for healthcare, by nurturing people’s minds, reducing their reliance on other services. I guess this sort of symbiotic relationship is hard to prove on a balance sheet, but it certainly chimes with my gut feeling of how a library benefits society. Nicholas Cranfield spoke of libraries as a “civilising force”.

On the downside, there wasn’t enough space for the protest inside the library- they should have held it outside with a PA (maybe they could have borrowed the mic from the crazy morris minor sound-system, or moved the bookshelves to make space for the protestors – the shelves were on wheels, so why not make some space?!

All in all, it was an uplifting experience. I’m just not sure that Lewisham Council was paying attention.

(Photo credit: Mrs Bugle, deep undercover…)

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2pm: Save Blackheath Library

As you’ve probably already seen, today (Saturday) there will be a day of protests across the country against the proposed library closures. Lewisham Council want to close Blackheath Village Library, so please show your support. Come and read extracts from your favourite book at 2pm. The following authors and local people will be attending:

Neil Rhind
The spectacularly good writer of Blackheath Village and Environs, occasional commenter to this blog, and all round expert on anything to do with Blackheath’s history. To be honest, if you’re living in Blackheath, it’s worth attending just to hear him speak. This blog wouldn’t be what it is without his books as a reference-point.

Lucy Mangan
Columnist for The Guardian, and writer of many books, including The Reluctant Bride: One Woman’s Journey (Kicking and Screaming) Down the Aisle, (extracts of which made me laugh as I was nervously preparing to marry Mrs Bugle).

Blake Morrison
Prolific author, literary editor of both The Observer and the Independent on Sunday.  His latest book is The Last Weekend.

Lindsey Davis
Lindsey Davis – Writer of historic novels, titles include Rebels and Traitors, set around the English Civil War, and Nemesis, an Ancient Roman detective series. Which sounds like fun!

Father Nicholas, from All Saints
The vicar from the big pointy church on the heath. Not this.

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Bit of a carp new year…


Had a report on Twitter that some of the carp in the pond next to the Prince of Wales pub have died – he suspects that some overflow from defrosting drains may have overflowed during the cold weather. Anyone else know anything?

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If you want to save the library…


Write to the mayor, and sign the petition. That’s the message from the Blackheath Society, who today sent out an email to its members:

The first priority is to mobilise and demonstrate as much support as possible to preserve a credible library service in the village. The BVLUG are organising a petition which we hope as many as possible will sign. This can be done at Blackheath Station on Saturdays and at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings in coming weekends. This got off to a flying start last weekend, with some 900 signatures – please add yours.

An online petition will also be organised for those unable to sign in person – details will be announced separately.

UPDATE: The online version is here.

They recommend writing to the contacts listed below, and (interestingly) quoting the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, which lists the duties of Library Authorities. Lewisham Council is a Library Authority, and here’s the section:

7 General duty of library authorities

(1)It shall be the duty of every library authority to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof, . .

Provided that although a library authority shall have power to make facilities for the borrowing of books and other materials available to any persons it shall not by virtue of this subsection be under a duty to make such facilities available to persons other than those whose residence or place of work is within the library area of the authority or who are undergoing full-time education within that area.

(2)In fulfilling its duty under the preceding subsection, a library authority shall in particular have regard to the desirability—

(a)of securing, by the keeping of adequate stocks, by arrangements with other library authorities, and by any other appropriate means, that facilities are available for the borrowing of, or reference to, books and other printed matter, and pictures, gramophone records, films and other materials, sufficient in number, range and quality to meet the general requirements and any special requirements both of adults and children; and

(b)of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service, and of providing advice as to its use and of making available such bibliographical and other information as may be required by persons using it; and

(c)of securing, in relation to any matter concerning the functions both of the library authority as such and any other authority whose functions are exercisable within the library area, that there is full co-operation between the persons engaged in carrying out those functions.

What I think this means is that in 1964, Lewisham Council agreed to take on these responsibilities, and they aren’t able to shirk them, just because central government threatens them with massive cuts.

Anyway, please sign the petition if you can, and please write/email to the people the Blackheath Society suggests. They’ve prevented the closure in the past, so they know what they’re talking about!

The Mayor : Sir Steve Bullock
Mayor’s office
Civic Suite, Town Hall, London SE6 4RU
tel: 020 8314 6193
email: steve.bullock@lewisham.gov.uk

Ms Aileen Buckton, Executive Director for Community Services
email: aileen.buckton@lewisham.gov.uk

Please CC blackheath.soc@lineone.net and the local councillors and MP:

Chris Maines(LibDem) CllrChris.Maines@lewisham.gov.uk
Amanda De Ryk (LibDem) CllrAmanda.DeRyk@lewisham.gov.uk
Kevin Bonavia (Labour) CllrKevin.Bonavia@lewisham.gov.uk
Heidi Alexander MP Heidi.alexander.mp@parliament.uk

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Library Closure Meeting on Wednesday 7pm

Lewisham Council are planning to close Blackheath Library (opposite the Post Office). There’s a meeting about the closure on Wednesday (tomorrow as I write this) 28th July at 7pm, at the Leemore Centre, Clarendon Rise, Lewisham SE13 5ES. Please go if you care about your library. I can’t make it (really bad timing), so please let me know what happens. Very conveniently, it is nowhere near the library itself (see map above).

Take the 108 bus towards Lewisham, and get off at Lockmead Road. Buses are every 3-8 minutes. Journey is less than 12 minutes. Less than 5 minutes walk from the bus stop to Leemore Centre.
108 bus to Leemore Centre for library closures.

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