Tag Archives: church

Melting Spires


Every day, twitter user @blkheath takes a photo of the All Saints church on the heath. I’ve realigned them so that the spire of the church is at the same position in each image. Then I timestretched the video to see what the effect would be. Hope you like it (images used with permission).

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Bollyheath

Bits of Blackheath were covered in fake snow yesterday, apparently for a Bollywood film production, at All Saints Church.

Pics from twitter in the links below:

UPDATE: It appears to have been a romantic film directed by Yash Chopra, with the working title “Production 45”, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif.

Details below:
http://www.imdb.com/news/ni23331924/

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/bollywood/news/a368540/shah-rukh-khan-katrina-kaif-shoot-song-in-fake-snow.html

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Post-Secular Society?

The Parish of the Ascension, Blackheath, has started weekly study groups using TV show Rev as a starting point for discussions ranging from the church’s approach to social issues and its involvement in education, to loss of faith.

…He added: “We will be using Rev to explore what it means to be liberal Christians in a post-secular society…

Blackheath church swaps committee meetings for BBC sitcom Rev.

Oh really? Did I miss the moment when society was totally secular?
I quite enjoyed Rev until I read this article in the News Hopper.

UPDATE: Here’s some viewing to reset your palette. Because it’s a great piece of TV, and much better than Rev.

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Details of the proposed Piazza Square

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Buildings to be removed in the Blackheath Square Piazza proposal

Following the fuss on the previous post about the plans to develop the car park behind the library, I thought I’d try and take a look at the proposals.  Four times I’ve tried to get into the Blackheath Halls, and every single time they were closed!  I’ve finally managed, and thought I’d put the photos and captions up here, so that more people can see them.  They don’t appear to be on the Blackheath Society’s website, which is unfortunate, as it seems to have led some commenters to suspect a “stitch up”.

I’m putting the photos up here, as I think they have public benefit.  If the copyright holders want them removed, I will take them down.

The proposals seem to have many good points, but it is such a shame that they aren’t pushing ahead for the original plan – to cover a large proportion of the railway next to the chip shop and turn it into a large, pedestrian only space.  It would have been brilliant.  I can understand the concerns that have been raised about new buildings – the site is “underused”, as they describe it (I’m still not sure I agree with that concept – the trains certainly aren’t “underused” in the mornings – increasing population density has many knock-on effects).

In the end, it seems that the proposals have a sense of a “pact with the devil” about them – property developers are good at pushing for what they want, whereas local societies (even effective ones, such as Blackheath’s) will never be a match for their professional bargaining skills.  What they need is do find a wealthy local benefactor, who would fund the original plans, and suggest naming the square after him/her…  Ferrari Square? :)

They’ve asked for comments on the proposals – so please do give them, firstly to their email address blackheath.soc@lineone.net and also here if you have time to do both.  If anyone knows anything about the area (B) “owned by a family trust”, I’d be interested – it seems a very discreet way of writing about the ownership of the land.

Anyway – here’s the best I could do with my blurry camera-phone:

History of the site:

The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building – the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed the church and many surrounding buildings.

1920s map of how the carpark area looked

Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the building and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy bottling plant.

Proposals:

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s 2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site – Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

Ownership of the land on the proposed Blackheath Square Piazza

The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its private car park (B) owned by a family trust. Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new square.

Railway wall plan

Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop. Together with a ramped footpath down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square. The could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey (unreadable - #### ###) building fronting the deck. The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the square.

Initial design for Blackheath Square Piazza

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south. The illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

Blackheath Square piazza railway cutting

Photo showing the railway area, part of which would be covered.

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

A dissenting view of the plans for the square in Blackheath

Another plan of the area

Another plan of the area, hopelessly blurry, sorry...

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

The exhibition at the Blackheath Halls

An artist's impression of how the Blackheath Square could look

Where is the post office?!

The idea of a “piazza” in the heart of Blackheath Village sprang from public consultation on the Blackheath Society’s

2001 proposals for improving the Village.  Our initial ideas were ambitious: a huge raft over the railway stretching

from the bridge to the post office, paid for by accompanying development.  But the amount of development needed

to pay for such a raft would have dwarfed existing buildings.

What we are now suggesting – our “Plan B” – is more modest but in many ways better.  It demolishes the present

library block and substitutes a new development, set further back and partly on the site of the existing public car

park.  It would be taller than the existing building but comparable in height to its neighbours Barclays Bank and the

Grove House flats.

The Blackheath Society would not, of course, undertake the development.  Our role is to show what is possible, likely

to receive planning permission, and acceptable to Blackheath people.  We would then, with the owners of the site –

Lewisham Council and a family trust – seek a developer or development partner to carry the scheme forward.

plan caption:
The current proposal focuses on the public cark park (A) owned by Lewisham council, and the library block and its

private car park (B) owned by a family trust.  Part of Blackheath Grove (C) would be incorporated into the new

square.

wall plan:
Despite the acknowledged costs and difficulties of building over the railway cutting, we believe that a good case can

be made for a small, prefabricated, lightweight pedestrian deck by the chip shop.  Together with a ramped foothpath

down towards the Post Office, the deck would ease pedestrian movement between the Village and the Square.  The

could be combined with the redevelopment of the chip shop to provide a three-storey #### ### building fronting

the deck.  The existing parapet wall would be partially removed to give access and a clearer view through to the

square.

nice plan

Initial ideas looked at a wider area including the yard to the north and the railway cutting to the south.  The

illustration shows how buildings and a deck over the railway could have looked.

History of the site:
The site where Blackheath Village Library now stands was from 1863 until 1845 occupied by a much larger building –

the 1,000 seat Methodist church with 120ft tower and a Sunday school to the north.  In 1945 a WW2 bomb destroyed

the church and many surrounding buildings.

In 1961 the present “library block” filled the gap, but from several points of view filled it unsatisfactorily.  At two

storeys, it is dwarfed by the neighbouring Barclays Bank, stylistically it is weak and unappealing.

In development terms, the buidling and the private and public car parks behind it represent a gross under-use of a

key site in the heart of the Village.

To the north and east of the site, houses which had been damaged beyond repair at the western ends of Wemyss

Road, and Blackheath Grove were replaced by five and four storey blocks of flats in the 1950s.  These were joined in

the 1990s by a four storey block “The Point”, with basement car parking on the site of the former Express Dairy

bottling plant.

OSplan:
Ordnance Survey plan of about 1920 showing the Methodist church and Sunday school.

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Blackheath in 3D, in Google Earth

All Saints Church Blackheath in 3D

I was trying out the new version of Google Earth, and noticed that All Saints Church now appears in 3D, if you enable the “3D Buildings” option. The Dome is also modelled, as is the London Eye, and other famous landmarks. It looks fairly simple to add your own models, using Google’s free Sketch Up software… I had a quick go at creating a 3D version of The Railway pub, as it is a simple shape – It needs a lot of improvement, but you get the general idea:

The Railway Pub, Blackheath in 3D

Try downloading the software, and perhaps between us, we can create the whole of Blackheath in 3D! Also, if you’re into planetary things, you must try the new Mars model inside Google Earth. See here for more info.

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Blackheath does God – religion as lifestyle

All Saint's Church, Blackheath, in the fog by Flickr user CaptainMcDan
The Times had an article about the local church in Blackheath. Which is fine, I guess, although I couldn’t really understand how this was in any way newsworthy… Lots of people find God when they suffer difficulties. It has a photograph of a luminously backlit attractive young lady standing next to a vicar in front of the picturesque All Saints church, and feels as though it could have been written about a major new boutique that was opening up, or perhaps a new theatre.

It’s not so much the story which is unbearable, as the endless lifestyle/fantasy elements within the article. Why is it that everyone writing within the colour supplements of the broadsheets has children called Wilma and Archie, and edits magazines?! Can’t any of them be systems analysts, dental nurses, life insurance salesmen, or work in telesales? Anyway, it sounds like church is great fun, with lots of candles and incense if you fancy it…

I might stick to confused atheism, but it ain’t half grumpy. God, I wish there was a secular church sometimes. A grown-up’s youth club, for want of a better term. Where people could meet up with their neighbours, and say hello, safe in the knowledge that they probably aren’t axe-murders, because they are “good Christian people”… No, hang on, that needs a bit of work, doesn’t it… Maybe Dawkins should restart his Bright movement as a national youth club for adults.

Still, the comments in the article are ace… I’m surprised nobody wrote the classic “There is no God, and Dawkins is his prophet”…. Where is Margaret Atwood when you need her? Or Bartlett for that matter:

Photo by Flickr user Captainmcdan.

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Videos of the Heath

Henry sent a link to a video that he made recently for the local church. It’s very nicely shot, and is presented by the local vicar, Nicholas Cranfield, explaining the history of the local area.

There’s also another one of his videos here, about last year’s fireworks. I’m always happy to post videos of anything Blackheath related, so please send them in if you spot any!

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