Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The new Kennington Oval reservoir... oops

Although I saw yesterday the devastating traffic effects of the burst water main between the end of Kennington Park and Oval tube, I didn't have the camera in order to photograph the chaos itself. Fortunately, a blogger passing through the area has captured it in his post entitled Flooding in Kennington and photographed the carnage in a useful photo which he's placed on Flicker here.

It was still causing traffic chaos today, but hopefully they'll sort it out soon! Still, Kennington Park Road is wonderfully quiet.

Lambeth Council does something

There is a piece in the Guardian today (topped off with a lovely picture of lots of knives) that suggest Lambeth Council are launching an initiative. I realise that this, in itself, might be shocking to some people. However, having been a resident of an north London council who will not be mentioned, I will at least defend Lambeth on the matter of recycling. Apparently, since I last lived in Lambeth (2006), they've even brought in tetrapack recycling. *squee* How exciting! But since I'm nearly as much a recycling geek as I am a public transport geek, I shall save all of the posts about recycling goodness, and the possibility/likelihood of obtaining orange bags etc. until the move has taken place.

What's interesting from the three wheeled pleb's point of view is that Lambeth Council's initiative is about knife crime, which has some bearing on the SE11 area.

I have grave doubts that any council initiative can "solve" knife crime. I suspect that public money being spent in a certain manner might well go to solve the issue, but it's likely (although not guaranteed) that the money will be put to short term fixes rather than long term solutions. It seems to me obvious that the key to tackling crime is to tackle poverty. Whilst it is not clear that it is only those who live in poverty who commit crime, it seems that there is significant correlation. I was persuaded some years ago that one solution to the poverty/crime dynamic is to spend significantly on early years projects. If one engages with women on a single income at the stage when they are first pregnant, and teaches them about healthy eating / alcohol/drug consumption risk during pregnancy, then their child is significantly less likely (due to early intervention from development agencies) to engage in a life of crime. It must be stressed that such early intervention means that they and their children are given access to services and education that mean they're not left to fend for themselves. It's been quite a while sine I've looked at any of this, but Google for the "Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development" for a source about these ideas.

So... how long is the initiative?

The Guardian says:
the five-year strategy is the first "long-term comprehensive" initiative of its kind to be set up in England

It depends what they do over the five years as to how effective it is. I'm not convinced that a 5 year strategy is long enough to tackle the causes of crime. There's too much risk that fundign can be obtained for helpful services which will then fold in 5 years time.

So... where are Lambeth Council spending their money?

The Guardian says:
a series of initiatives that include increased investment in youth services run by and for local people, a specialist outreach team for hard-to-reach youngsters, parenting classes, and a network of police officers in primary schools.

I like the sound of the parenting classes, but I'd prefer it to say "ante-natal classes" since I think that the earlier the intervention, the better. I'm also a massive fan of Camilla Batmanghelidj's charity, Kids Company. It's a self-referring charity for children in South east London, and I believe they do some great work, offering mentoring, skills, and a safe place to hang about. I hope that they'll be on the receiving end of some of the cash (rather than somebody wasting money setting up new Lambeth bodies) to do the same thing. I'm a bit sceptical about the police officers in primary schools, but we'll see. I believe I also once read a BBC article on some research which suggests that teenagers who attend /unstructured/ youth clubs are more exposed to becoming involved with criminal activities. So let's hope that we have fewer youth clubs with very structured activities, rather than more youth clubs that effectively offer little more than a pool table.

Also, I figure that since most of Lambeth's initiative will have occurred too late to offer hope to those people in the 16-19 bracket, we won't have seen the end of the knife crime / stabbings for a while yet. So... The Lambeth Council initiative (if effective) will not really kick in for another 5 years (at least) especially if targeted at younger children, and things could get worse in the meantime. That means (and here I'm being rather pessimistic) that just as the initiative starts working, the public won't have seen the effects, and the whole initiative will be pulled just as it has begun to work (if it does) on the grounds that the public will claim that knife crime has risen, and that the scheme is a waste of public money.

I hope they prove me wrong.

My strategy (and personal goals):

1. Know your nearest neighbours (at least 2 households) well enough to offer them a cup of tea.
2. Know 15 people in your postcode (preferably outside if you're on a boundary) that are also on good enough terms with their nearest neighbours to be able to offer them a cup of tea.
3. Become involved in one youth initiative in your area (youth club, Guides, Scouts, parenting classes, Sunday school, mosque group, school reading scheme).

I figure that if everybody followed all three steps that we could virtually prevent all knife crime in the Borough of Lambeth... Even if we only followed the top 2 steps, we'd have created such a web of people that a great many social ills coudl be solved.

Maybe I should start a "have a cup of tea" campaign. The drawback? I don't drink tea :)

Monday, 28 July 2008

Cross River Tram - more news

There's a new article on London-SE1 about a group that has been put together to attempt to ensure the Cross River Tram does not drop off the list of Boris Johnson's City Hall priorities. The photo shows a rather small group of people; I wonder where all of the activist types have gone. Also, I noticed that Lambeth Council weren't represented on the banner. I'd have thought that some of the Lambeth councillors would have been very supportive.

The members of the Back the Cross River Tram group have also put together a petition here. I'm not generally a fan of petitions, but nobody else appears to be doing anything... It would be good to get a large number of signature from SE11 people to show demand.

Anyhow, the SE1 article states that an answer is expected in Autumn re. Boris' tram review. My last post suggested that an answer was expected in July 2008, but that doesn't leave many more days...

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Update: Freddie Moody murder

Bathsheba over at Stockwell News (see blog roll) has a brief news round up and a few facts relating to those accused of the Freddie Moody stabbing. I don't have much more to add, and she's giving better coverage as it falls within her patch and slightly outside of SE11.

New SE11 blog

There are not many really local blogs to Kennington. I think I've got most of the generic "about the location ones" (ie. the ones that are /not/, proponents of the "I'm really into and I happen to live in Kennington school of thought"). However, a new blog has recently been launched for the residents of Denny Street (just off Chester Way), Denny Crescent and the people that use the communal garden of Denny street. I don't know Denny Street very well at all, but the few photos of the blog make it look like a great place to lurk about.

I've added their blog "Dennygarden" to my blog roll, so it might be worth subscribing if you are a part, or live near to that community. Click here for a quick link to It's excellent that this is another like-minded blog that exists, in their words to "share news, share views and generally be good neighbours."

Natasha Panas puts Kennington on (or possibly off) the map!

Thank you to the commentator of the last post who pointed out that a pop singer; Natasha Panas, has just released a single named after our lovely SE11 locale "Kennington".

I did download to Itunes for a quick listen, but found that I could have listened and watched the video for free by following this link from Music Remedy. It must be noted however, that the Itunes file was of a much better quality...

That being said, I'm not quite sure what the single is about. It lacks depth and profundity. Natasha appears either to be entreating that her audience emerge from the tube station and meet her somewhere down Brangaza Street, Kennington Park Place, or indeed, possibly at 41 Kennington Park Road. I was hoping it might sound a little like "I left my heart in San Francisco" or even "24 hours from Tulsa" or possibly "Baker Street" in terms of celebrating places, but I'm afraid that it only mentions Kennington once at the beginning of the song. It then mostly repeats itself about having been much too long since she last saw somebody.

Maybe I wasn't thrilled because pop is not quite my genre, and my inate "I was born 40 years old feeling" means that I can't appreciate new music, but I think not... In lyrics, it lacks imagination, and the tune is rather bland. But, what can I say? It does, after all, mention Kennington.

[Please do feel free to comment if I've been desperately unfair! This blog welcomes disagreement.]

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Cinema museum

There is a good article posted by the Kennington News blog about the Cinema Museum on Duggard Way, in SE11, which is in danger of having to close due to needing a new premises.

More frequent buses in South London

The chaps and chapesses over at Oval News have got wind from TFL that there are to be extra buses laid on in and around the SE11 area. They report here that:

1. The 155 bus will increase frequency from every 12 mins, to every 10 mins, but only on Sunday. [That seems to me to be a fairly minor change.] In case you wondered, the rough route for the 155 is as follows:

St George's Hospital - Tooting - Balham - Clapham - Stockwell - Kennington - Elephant & Castle

2. The 88 bus is due to increase in frequency from 12 mins to 10 mins on Sundays and during every evening. In addition, the weekly night buses will increase in frequency from 30 to 20 minutes. Again, if you're not sure, the route for the 88 is as follows:

Clapham Common - Vauxhall - Westminster - Oxford Circus - Camden Town

This public transport geek is pleased.

Unfortunately, we've still no update on proposals for the Cross River Tram. I'm getting rather pessimistic as the days go by.

Gasometers, hotel development and the Kennington Oval

I've not spotted any of the other blogs picking up on this, but Construction News plus have reported here that the Buncefield Major Incident Investigation Board (set up after a tanker explosion near an oil plant) have called for reviews of building around "dangerous" sites.

The reason that this affects us around SE11 is because of the proposed hotel development at the Kennington Oval. There is still to be a public enquiry, but the decision about whether building work might be taking place too close to the gasometers could well slow down the planning process once the public enquiry (which is due to take place soon) has happened. I'm in two minds about the development. A well built hotel, offering jobs and facilities for local people, is not to be immediately shouted down. On the other hand, there will be a definite increase in traffic around the roads that would lead to the hotel, and those roads are in very residential areas. The proposals would have to be thought through to demonstrate that people weren't kept awake or furthur polluted by having the roads around the Oval used for deliveries.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Lilian Baylis surfing ahead

I just caught this news item in today about Lilian Baylis Technology School (on Kennington Lane) winning 10k funding in order to promote computer use in the homes of some of their students.

The e-learning foundation (who have handed over the cash) consider that low income families often do not have computers at home, and so children from the low income families have less access to the opportunities that technology provides. Also, apparently providing households with computers allows members of the wider family to use the same computer for job searching, so providing a computer gives benefit to the entire household.

It all sounds rather good, but I do wonder how they know that the computer will be used mainly? primarily? sometimes? for educational purposes (which is why they think the enterprise is worthwhile). Maybe they consider that the sheer existence of computer technology in the home, is, of itself of educational value, whatever the use the computer is put to.

Anyhow, I'm all for Lilian Baylis receiving grants (they don't exactly charge fees), so good for them!

Monday, 21 July 2008

New SE11 related blogs and a look at the political wards

I've resisted adding SE11 councillor blogs to the list until recently because I do not support any particular political party. However, I today discovered two blogs both written by different parties, so I do not appear partisan and since they both cover the area, it seems a shame not to link to them. They are as follows:

1. Oval News - by 3 lib dem councillors in the Oval Ward

2. SE11 Action team - by 3 labour councillors (and some of their supporters) in the Princes Ward

That made me wonder about the rest of the Lambeth political wards, and whether they are represented. (SE11 is largely spread across the Borough of Lambeth, but there are a few bits at the north end that come under Southwark's control). There's a nice handy map of the Lambeth Wards on the Lambeth Council website.

As you can see, the ones that are relevant to SE11 and surrounds are:

1. Princes Ward - This is really the northern part of SE11. It goes up as far as the southern half of Brook Drive, runs down the middle of Kennington Park Road and does not go any furthur south than Kennington Lane. The map also indicates that it covers half of the river Thames! [Labour - as of July 2008]

2. Oval Ward - This is a major constituent part of SE11 and also covers quite a lot of SW8. It includes the whole of Kennington Park, Oval cricket ground (which is its centre) and Vauxhall Park. It goes south as far as Dorset Road and Thorne Road, east to cover a small portion of Brixton Road, and in the north, it runs down the middle of Kennington Lane. [Lib-Dem - as of July 2008]

3. Bishop's Ward - There is a very tiny part of the north east corner of SE11 that is covered by Bishop's Ward. The northern part of Old Paradise Street, the northern part of Fitzalan Street, the whole of Walnut Tree Walk and a very small segment of Kennington Road all fall into this ward. I think, however, that my own postcode map boundaries are a little hazy around here, because SE1 creeps into some of the streets around here. [Lib Dem - as of July 2008]

4. Vassall Ward - This is not strictly a part of SE11, but it's very close to Oval, and covers the area south-east of SE11. For our purposes, it goes down the middle of Camberwell New Road in the north, and Clapham Road on the west. [Labour / Lib Dem Split as of July 2008]

5. Stockwell Ward - Again, this also does not cover SE11, but is situated to the south west of SE11. [Labour as of July 2008]

The political parties of the councillors and the councillor details are all condensed on very helpful Lambeth Council page here.

A useful website for those looking for houses in SE11 - [Part 1 of house hunting in SE11]

This is Part 1 of an ongoing series for people interested in buying, renting, obtaining local authority / housing association property, squatting or crashing on somebody's floor in the SE11 area. I'll also see if I can talk a little about obtaining parking, permits and car clubs in Lambeth as well. is an excellent resource whether you are looking for a property to buy or rent in SE11. The site features an SE11 area information page where you can find such information as council tax rates, school performance ratings, crime statistics and some 'word on the street' submitted by SE11 residents.
You can search lists of houses in SE11, flats in SE11 and view selling prices of any house in your street in the last eight years. If you're feeling particularly nosey, you can see how much your neighbours bought their house for! (Or indeed, in this climate, how much money your neighbours lost when they sold their house!!)

[And in case you wondered, FindAProperty have agreed to link to me from their website. However, in the interests of keeping things fair, I've decided to launch a general guide to searching for property in the SE11 area, as it's something I've considerable experience of! I must also add that, out of all the property portals, Findaproperty is one of my personal favourites, but I'll talk in furthur detail about some other portals later in the series.]

Sunday, 20 July 2008

More Dippy Egg Cafe goodness

You'll recall about a month ago I made a post with some photos about the opening of the new Dippy Egg Cafe on Kennington Road. Oddly, since that day, I've found that one person (or I'm presuming one person) searches this blog (often several times a week) using the Google search term "dippy egg cafe" "opening times". I don't know who they are or whether it's a web-crawler thing, or quite what, but here is the answer...

I have been informed today, through a reliable source, that the promoter of the Dippy Egg Cafe is now extending its opening hours. In addition, there is currently a summer offer running, as follows:

Mon- Fri: 7am - 10pm (Except Monday evenings)
Saturday: 8am - 10pm
Sunday : 9am - 3pm

Apparently, the cafe also offers free wifi, and there is currently a special summer offer which means a free glass of wine with evening meals is available. Also, it's now possible to bring your own bottle.

How exciting!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

The inspiration for the SE11 blog; 56a infoshop

I've been meaning, for a while, to make a post about (part of) the reason for starting this blog.

I used to work in the SE11 area in a job where I was required to spend a considerable amount of time trudging around Kennington, Elephant, Vauxhall, Stockwell, Brixton, all over really. Whilst working, I chose to walk a great deal, and I took a lot of short cuts through random areas. Such trudging lead to lurking, and the lurking lead to a great deal of knowledge about some really groovy hangouts.

The one that really inspired the blog though was the discovery of the 56a Infoshop on Crampton Street. It was the first place that made me say, "I wonder why more people don't know about this... it's a really good local place to lurk about". I know that Crampton Street is in SE17, but it's one of the places I really wanted to add to the map, even though it's outside the mapped area (and it's also one of the reasons that SE17 is a place that I'm qite interested in blogging).

The 56a Infoshop on Crampton Street is a kind of information resource and food distribution centre and social space, based loosely around a theme of "radical" politics. It appears to be held together by volunteers who work fairly limited shifts. This sounds like a bad thing, but actually the limited opening times almost always guarantee that it's open when it says it will be. At certain times, the Fair Shares food place (I hesitate to say "shop" since I think it would be better characterised as a "way of life") is open, and it sells (not for profit) vegetarian and vegan goods. At other times, they run free bike workshops for teaching people how to fix bikes. My favourite part though, is the kind of archive of books, zines, pamphlets and odd bits of paper based loosely around the theme of alternative politics. It include anarchy, encapsulates feminist info (really hard to find this these days), socialist literature, queer history, alternative histories of London, squatting info, and a whole lot of things that don't quite fit into the categories outlined. Also, they have a fair amount of non-UK related material.

When you first wander into 56a, it's quite odd as it doesn't appear to be "staffed" by anybody. There is no hierarchy, and anybody can come and affiliate (or just lurk there) themselves, if they feel that the space might be useful for them to read, study or hang about in.

There is a website for the 56a Infoshop here.

Edit: There's a great video by some friendly looking ladies about their work too.

Exciting SE11 Threewheeled Announcement

Well, I promised an exciting announcement, so please don't be too disappointed...

The threewheeled one will actually be moving to the SE11 area semi-permanently (we have to do a house move, which is actually just some logistics about hwo to move 4000 books), either on, or at some stage prior, to August 31st. This means that there will be no more unsatisfactory trips across London on fact finding missions, and hopefully, there will be a lot more photographs from the Kennington, Oval, Vauxhall triangle. I will be able to actually get out a little more on the bicycle and explore a few of the Vauxhall corners of SE11 that are not sufficiently known to me at present (the excitement mounts...)

So, erm, yay!

I'm still working at ways to improve SEO (search engine optimisation) in order to increase the traffic to this blog just to try and ensure some more readers (and hopefully comments). It would be great to hear if people wanted a review, photo or comment on any particular area. One of the issues with the blog is that it seems very old fashioned (in any corner of the web) to produce pages about a particular geographic location. If I was posting about George Bush, sex, porn, celebrities, breaking news or conservative vs. labour politics, I'd probably have a high readership. However, the internet (probably through sheer design) seems biased in favour of "interest" groups as opposed to geographic locations. I'm identified by a "" address as opposed to a "" style address. That makes things a little more democratic; we don't judge what people say, based on their location... However, I want a blog that encourages people to look around them, and know their neighbours, and build communities, and stuff like that, so I really want to target readers in SE11, and it's proving difficult...

Friday, 18 July 2008

SW8 - Guildford Road death - furthur information

Furthur to the post made last night, it now appears that furthur information (from amongst other sources) ThisisLondon and Wimbledon Guardian has been released on the 18 year old male, stabbed in Guildford Street last night.

The man's name was Frederick Moody (and he was known as Freddy). He had studied for a short time at Kingston University, and was due to start work as an apprentice in the Construction Industry.

There are various "eye-witness" and "the neighbour said" results floating around the web, but I figure it will all be in the papers soon enough...

My prayers and thoughts are with the friends and family of Freddy, and with the friends and family of the 16 year old currently in custody. This sort of crime can only be described as scandalous in our society. It is a scandal that such a young life should be held in such low regard that it might be taken in this way. It is also a scandal that somebody did not become involved in the life of perpetrator(s) a little earlier in order to prevent them considering knives an option.

I want people to talk about the courage that young people require, not so much to kill, but to refuse to kill. It takes courage to live, to study, to get a job, especially in some areas of South London. It's a responsibility placed squarely on the shoulders of the entirety of London to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to grow in communities of virtue that promote the courage to protect, and not the courage to kill.

Edit: An online memorial site has been put up for tributes to Freddy Moody.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

SW8 - Guildford Road stabbing

The BBC reported about an hour ago, and the Guardian a little bit later that a man (probably in late teens) was fatally stabbed in Guildford Road (SW8) at around 19:00 this evening. The reports say South West London, but most readers will be aware that that's only down the road in the area that falls between Vauxhall and Stockwell.

The Guardian report also notes that it will be the 21st teenage stabbing if the guy turns out to be under eighteen.

Another one. One too many. Somebody's somebody.

We can talk about knife crime as much as we like, but it doesn't seem to solve anything. Peace isn't easy to come by.

I have a friend who lives in Guildford Road. I hope she's ok.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

SE11 to be green? SE11 to stay polluted?

Whilst we're still on the edge of our seats awaiting the results of the Cross River Tram review, Boris Johnson has been busy...

He has abolished the proposed congestion charge for large, gas guzzling four wheel drives, and decided to prevent small cars from being exempt from the charge. So that should keep the residents of Kensington and Chelsea happy... Phew. However, in order to still be seen as keen, green and good for the planet, he has proposed some more "low carbon zones". There appears to be rather little information around at the moment on their exact location, but "Elephant and Castle" has been suggested as a "low carbon" area over at the Building website.

We won't have any more details info. on the zones until September, but the question of interest is "what geographical location counts as Elephant and Castle?". If Elephant and Castle extends down Kennington Lane, Kennington Park Road, (or implausibly Kennington Road), then SE11 might be set to become a little quieter and greener too. If SE11 does not count as E&C, the question remains open; does it mean big heavy trucks won't bother passing through SE11 to reach the Elephant, or does it mean that they will all stop/park/remain in SE11 to avoid entering Elephant and Castle?

Watch this space.


Mr Onion Bag has a post (and some photos) relevant to this area about some cardboard pigeons, constructed under Vauxhall Bridge and speculation as to who put them there.

I passed under that bridge the other day and wonder the same thing, but I think that the cardboard pigeons look a little sinister. I wonder whether they actually work in deterring pigeons.

Does anybody else have any knowledge on who put them there?

Monday, 7 July 2008

Battersea Tube Home?

There's an article in today's Kennington news journal about the proposed tube extension to Battersea, which would apparently be paid for by some developers who want to put a vile building next to the lovely (but somewhat derelict) power station.

Here is a picture of the lovely Battersea power station, taken from Wikipedia:

Here is a picture of the vile building (with the power station to the right) that some people want to place in Battersea:

Now, as a self-confessed public transport geek, it would be grand to see a development of the Northern Line from Battersea to Kennington, but I want to raise a few issues that I think may be shared by other Londoners:

1. The wonderful development of a new tube station at Battersea, funded through private finance, is a waste of money when one considers that the tube could be extended much furthur than just one stop. Once one has begun digging underground, and arranged labour, material, machinery and civil engineers, one might as well go a lot furthur south. If TFL could get government money for tube expansion (or even tram lines), we wouldn't have to be so grateful to private finance for such suggestions as new bits of tube.

2. Extending the tube by one segment of line and one station just does not justify the monstrous building that has been suggested. I'm actually in favour of new housing/buildings in London, but I have one condition for all buildings. Buildings should not be considerably higher than those already surrounding them. SE11 has got off lightly because of the historic nature of its buildings, but poor Elephant and Castle is about to be dwarfed. So if you want the rocket monstrosity meant for Battersea, put it in Canary Wharf, not Battersea. I do not object to new housing, but I don't understand why new housing has to be very tall skyscrapers. Such skyscrapers are simply not designed to promote community or shared life, and I think that they're a really bad idea.

3. If the height of the building were not bad enough, there is the beautiful power station to consider. Would anybody really contemplate building the rocket next to Buckingham Palace, or Big Ben? No. Of course not. But because this is South London, and the area is in need of regeneration, it's considered that anything goes...

I really am in favour of the tube station at Battersea, (although I have no idea how long it might shut Kennington tube and/or the Northern line for) and in favour of regeneration (if it can be proven to benefit the disenfranchised of Battersa), but that building is too large a price to pay.

And finally... I discovered a really great little map, posted by somebody on the Urban75 forum, which shows all of the proposed transport links in London by 2016 if, by some miracle all of the funding were secured. The proposed Cross River Tram line is in a groovy purple colour.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Friends of Groups in Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall (includes SE1, SE11 and SW8)

If you ever visit one of the SE11 fetes, fairs, festivals, events in the park etc. there are always numerous tables, staffed by a number of determined looking people, who run "friends of..." groups in the area... If you've only just arrived, you could do worse than joining one of the groups. However, you should be cautious in your choice as if you're persuaded to join all of them, you could find yourself without any time whatsoever!

I've made a list of the current "Friends of" groups in SE11 (and a few on the borders in SE1 and SW8) that I currently know to exist, and a little about what they're currently doing. I don't quite know who is still operating and whether the "friends" are historical remnants or currently active. Please do leave a comment if I missed your group and want it added or have furthur current information:

Friends of Kennington Cross - (Website is a shell at prseent (Sept 2010). They're currently working on the ArtsLav project - reviving the disused lavatory on Kennington Cross).

Friends of Spring Gardens -   An old site from 2004 which was replaced in 2010 by the Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (the original name for Spring Gardens)

Friends of Lambeth Open Space (SE11) - The website/blog has not been updated since 2005. I don't know whether they are still active.

Friends of Durning Library (SE11) - The link is generic and takes you to a library website with contact details for all of the "friends of" library groups in Lambeth. I know that there are regular talks which are put on by the Friends of Durning Library, but there are currently no details online. If you're local, the best thing to do is check the library notice board.

Friends of Roots and Shoots (SE11) - A direct link to their website. Joining provides a newsletter, pre-arranged access to the garden etc. The website provides a calendar for up and coming events.

Friends of Kennington Park (SE11) - A very active group who support and look to improve Kennington Park.

Friends of Imperial War Museum (SE1) Lots of information on their website.

Friends of Archbishop's Park (SE1) - New(ish) website.  I updated this post in September 2010.

Friends of Vauxhall Park (SW8) - Website is back up again.

Friends of Lollard Street Adventure Playground (SE11) - (No web site as yet, but much of their activity is co-ordinated in conjunction with the Kennington Association

Friends of Lambeth High Street Recreation Ground (SE11) - Formed approx. March 2010,

United Friends of Oval (SW8) - This group appears no longer to be active (September 2010).  Website (July 2008) reports that they're actively attempting to resist the development of badly thought out plans for a hotel at The Oval, but would welcome better a thought-out hotel

Friends of Kennington Green - (Doesn't currently exist, but has been mooted according to Google, July 2008)

Friday, 4 July 2008

Iknit from Bonnington Square to Lower Marsh

Not SE11 related, but we wandered out to the wonderful haven of Bonnington Square, SW8, the other day, past where the Iknit knitting shop used to be. I'm not really into knitting, but the Iknit people are, and they've made knitting into something of a social activity again, so they deserve lots of points, because that can't be such an easy feat. And also, they're a local venture which, whilst based around business, appear to have a focus upon building the old fashioned community notion of "common good". Yay for them.

I always thought that the shop suited Bonnington Square (which is a beautiful tranquil jungle in Vauxhall), but they've been so successful in promoting their business that they've upped and moved to SE1. This is entirely forgivable because they've gone to the lovely Lower Marsh, one of /the/ best shopping streets in London, where you can do things like buy real books (Crockatt and Powell), healthy food (Coopers - if you go in early enough), coffee surrounded by Vespas (Scooterworks), vintage things (Radio Days - an utterly fabulous shop), real proper menswear (Trussons - and they're not rude about selling to women) and some outrageous outfits for visiting your granny (Honor). So Iknit are there now too, and the street gets huge marks for having relatively few chain stores. (Yes, I really think Lower Marsh, Waterloo is much cooler than Oxford Street, but being that the Three Wheeled One is the exemplification of anti-cool, that's not saying much).

Being an anti-essentials-consumer (where essentials for me are basically food, books and second hand clothes), I'm happy to report that all of those shops are shops where browsing is possible and one is not pestered! And for people that really like old fusty book shops, do check out "Second hand books" in 20 Lower Marsh, where they probably win my award for the friendliest welcome in London! (Ahem)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

North Lambeth Parish fete - Lambeth Palace - photos

I do admit that I have added Lambeth Palace to the map, even though it's not strictly SE11. I'm not sure if I've ever commented that whoever drew the postcode boundaries drew them in such a way that SE11 was denied any views of the river! Consequently, there is a thin slice of SE1 that runs down the Albert Embankment to Vauxhall, and that slice includes Lambeth Palace. Also, another interesting fact is that Lambeth Parish doesn't sit in anybody's diocese, it's sort of its own realm. I wonder if they take in exiles... A pertinent question!

Anyhow, the palace does get a special mention on the map, and the incumbant of Lambeth Palace seems to allow (not sure if it was just this year, or whether it has been ongoing) the Parish of North Lambeth (an amagulmation of St Peter's (Vauxhall), St Anselm (Kennington Cross) and St Mary (Lambeth - Methodist/Anglican)) to hold its fete.

We went very briefly on Saturday, mostly because it was a bit of a rush to get from the fete to the London ordinations elsewhere in the afternoon! Here are a few snaps of the fete, and a couple of lovely ones of the garden in full bloom. Will try to make it back some other time to take more photos of the gardens, because they're lovely. The fete was well organised with South London Jazz orchestra, cake stalls, bric-a-brac, strawberries and cream, tombola, raffle etc. It was exactly what one would hope for in a traditional English (in the absolutely broadest sense possible, where English includes everybody who happens to live here) parish fete, the weather was glorious and it was wonderful that so many people stopped by.

NB - The usual qualification stands. I try to take non-generic pictures in "peopled" crowds. If you can see yourself and object to being photographed, please leave a comment and I will take the photo down.

Bouncy castle:

Generic fete:

South London Jazz band

Flowery walk:

Lavender-like flowers:

I'd like it if somebody could tell me what the lavender-like flowers are called... They're incredible.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Croydon Tram? Cross River Tram?

Some interesting news just in from The Mayor Watch blog on the fact that TFL are buying out Tramtrack Croydon. I wonder if this is potentially a piece of joined up strategising by the mayor. It would eventually fit well with my pipe dream of linking up Croydon with the Cross River Tram and giving south London an alternative transport infrastructure. All that is required is a "yes" to go ahead with (at least) the southern section of the Cross River Tram. On the other hand, it may be that the Croydon Tram buyout has nothing to do with an overall plan, and is just "one of those things".

Ed: Unfortunately, the comment left in the comments section by James appears to reflect that the purchase of the Croydon tram by TFL was one of the last moves of the mayoral regime of Ken Livingstone, and consequently does not imply anything about Boris' commitment to tram policy in South London. So, back to waiting for furthur news...

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