Tag Archives: house

BBC drama in Blackheath

What Remains BBC TV drama
OK, I admit it. The house from the excellent new BBC drama “What Remains” was driving me nuts. It’s somewhere in Blackheath, but where? I wandered up and down Pond Road, thinking it was near the railway bridge… Close, but no cigar.

What Remains house 2

I knew I’d seen it before. Then one of the production designers tweeted that it was in Eliot Park.

And here it is, looking considerably less spooky surrounded by leaves and blossom on Google Streetview!

There’s a great post about the production here. Amazingly, the interiors of the house were all shot in a studio.

It’s a good first episode – hopefully the other three parts will live up to the first.  If you’ve ever lived in flats inside a converted Victorian house, it will push many buttons – the way sound travels in unexpected ways, the timers on the lights, the uncared-for communal areas.  It has lots to say about modern life in a city, and online too.  Don’t be put off by Frank Gallagher.  It’s a subtle performance, and the house really feels like the star of the show.

Anyway, there’s a good review of the first episode in the Telegraph, complete with a fantastic new genre “Norwood Noir”, which should clearly be “Blackheath Butchery”… Can’t wait to find out whodunnit. It’s clearly not going to be the teacher.

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The Pagoda and The Guide

The Guide - Pagoda front cover

The Guide Magazine has a front cover splash this week about the Blackheath Pagoda.  It goes over many aspects of the Pagoda, except how much it is on the market for.

Terrible flash-driven magazine website here (it’s on page 24)

Kershaws estate agents are selling it, but on their website it’s only listed as £POA.

If anyone finds out what the actual price is, do let us know. I tried, but failed…

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The Paragon

The Paragon in Blackheath, by flickr user John Poulton
Interesting post on Flickr about World War Two bomb damage to The Paragon (former home of our recently acquainted character General Sir James Abbott).

The photograph shown in this post is by Flickr user John Poulton (a different one from the link above, due to copyright).

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Burglar Bill in Blackheath?

According to a slightly spurious press release yesterday, Blackheath came highest in a list of London postcodes for home insurance theft claims.

Across the UK, Chorlton in Manchester came first, followed by Blackheath, then Hammersmith.

Greater London has 10 of the 20 worst postcodes in the country.
Local councillors have called the survey “unfair, broadbrushed and misleading”.
The survey analysed more than 1.1 million insurance inquiries on the site last year.
It found 8.65% of homes in Chorlton claimed for theft or burglary.
It also found Blackheath, SE3, and Hammersmith, W6, as the most at-risk postcodes in London for theft-related insurance claims, with 8.17% and 8.06% respectively.

BBC News

The survey covered request for home insurance quotes on moneysupermarket.com which sounds slightly iffy to me… How can a quote be used as a test as to whether a valid claim was made for a theft? These aren’t crime statistics.

I should reveal that before living in Blackheath, Mr & Mrs Bugle lived in Hammersmith, near a strip club. Never had any trouble there, possibly due to the high proportion of bouncers, but it certainly felt less safe than Blackheath.

On the whole, this story is great news. If it encourages people to avoid moving to Blackheath, on the basis that it is a terrible place to live, then that leaves more space on the lovely heath (and the trains) for the rest of us!

So, here’s the question – does Blackheath really qualify as the most burglar-ridden area in the UK? Or is it just that people in Blackheath are organised enough (and can afford) to sort out their home insurance?

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Pagoda Planning Proposals – Garden Grabbing?

UPDATE: Image removed due to rights issues – originally from this PDF file.

The current owners of the awesomely beautiful, and historically fascinating Pagoda in Blackheath have put in a planning request to Lewisham Council, to turn part of their back garden into an “eco-house”. The full details are here, and the documents submitted are here.

I highly recommend a look through the plans. Whatever your opinion on the site, it is a well put together document, full of historical photos and paintings of the Pagoda, the area around, and a spectacular Tithe Map from 1762:

UPDATE: Image removed due to rights issues. Original can be found here.

It could be argued that this is an example of garden grabbing, dressed up with a fig-leaf of eco green-washing. The primary definition of an eco-house in my mind is one that reduces dependency on resources, such as fuel, electricity and water, through innovative uses of alternative technologies, such as heat pumps, solar panels, wind farms etc. From what I can understand of the plans, this appears to be a retirement flat with some turf on the roof.

From the planning documents:

Although The Pagoda was originally designed as pavilion for taking tea, entertaining and enjoying the distant views it was later extended and adapted into a house over a period. It was listed when a house and it will continue to be so. The viability of this in social and economic terms is not compromised by this application.

The planning document includes a letter from John Payne Estate Agents, confirming that in their opinion, the remaining garden attached to the Pagoda would still be “sufficient” for a house of that size. (Page 17 of 25).

The proposal also quotes Blackheath Historian Neil Rhind (who was not referring to the specific plans for the Pagoda’s garden), when justifying the addition of a new architectural style to the area (page 11 of 25):

‘…it is not just the architectural set-pieces, listed buildings or formal uniform terraces that set Blackheath’s overall character. It is the juxtaposition of these with a rich and varied mixture of buildings of different periods; unexpected corners, strange historic survivals, and stylish new additions – all these give Blackheath its distinctive and pleasing character.’

I wonder if Mr Rhind feels like a film critic misquoted on a movie poster! The Blackheath Society felt that they could not endorse the plans (page 17 of 25):

The wooden pergola running the length of the pond, erected by the present owners, combine to provide a most attractive outlook from the house and undoubtedly enhance its current setting. In our view, their loss would be detrimental to that setting. If the current plans were to be approved, the long pergola (which we accept is modern and in need of restoration) would be lost, while the 1920s pergola would be taken out of the Pagoda garden and become a prominent feature outside the main living room of the new building.

We accept that the essential character of the Pagoda’s setting is a walled garden and that your proposals seek to retain that character. Nevertheless, the proposed new building would be very close indeed to the principal garden elevation of the house and would occupy more than half the present garden area: its very high wall would result in the Pagoda finding itself in a heavily reduced setting. A slightly smaller footprint of the new structure, moved slightly further South, and retaining the pergola, would change this significantly.

Lewisham’s Conservation Area Policy specifically mentions safeguarding larger gardens of listed buildings: the planning authorities will need to be persuaded that the planting proposed in the scheme, on the boundary wall and for the roof element, will result in a permanently acceptable replacement for the lost planting and greenery.

Taking all the above into account, and with considerable sympathy for your proposals, as matters stand the consensus of the committee is that we should not support the scheme in its present form.

Following this, the plans were modified to move the boundary wall slightly to the south.

The proposals were originally submitted back in February. The planning department have not yet reached a verdict.

(The images shown above are from the planning documents, which are publicly held by Lewisham Council. I will take them down if they are subject to copyright).

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I want one!

Blackheath Pagoda figurine on eBay

The perfect tacky adornment to your mantelpiece. Your very own, genuine original Blackheath Pagoda figurine. For only 110 Australian dollars. I have no idea why this is being sold in Australia, or how many of these have been made. (here’s the real thing). What an extremely strange object. God bless eBay.

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