Blackheath fireworks are one of the highlights of the year in this corner of south-east London, with people streaming towards the heath from all the surrounding streets. This year’s display was particularly good, helped by drier, warmer weather than usual. Let’s hope it’s the last year in which Greenwich Council doesn’t pay its fair share of the costs. Thanks to Lewisham Council for organising it.
It’s been a few years since we’ve managed to go to any of the Open House London properties, but today we made it all the way over the heath to see Britain’s only Brutalist Quaker Meeting House, tucked away down a side road near the station in Blackheath. Designed by architect Trevor Dannatt OBE and opened in 1972, it’s a clever building, split over two levels and making good use of a small corner. I particularly like the way light is let in around the corners of the main meeting room’s ceiling, as well as through the wooden window structure in the centre. The mood in the building was as serene as you might expect. You can see more of my photos of Blackheath’s Quaker Meeting House here.
After that, we walked over to Boone’s Chapel on Lee High Road; I’d never heard of this until it was mentioned when I went to visit Charlton House’s Summer House on Thursday to take some photos of the restoration works in advance of Open House Weekend for The Charlton Champion. It turns out that the architect responsible for the restoration work had done similar work at Boone’s Chapel and is now based there, and part of the display explained the history and importance of Charlton House’s Summer House in a much better way than I’d seen previously. I failed to get any photos, though: too many people in the way – hopefully I’ll get back to an open day there at some point soon.
Also on the subject of heritage open days, I have some photos on the Charlton Champion today of the Grade II-listed structures you can visit night or day, any day of the week, namely two K2 telephone boxes…
Friday evening the week before last, shot from the top deck of the 54 bus shortly after getting soaked in the two minute walk between the station and bus stop. Two hours later the pavements were more or less dry again.
Across to Blackheath Village first thing Saturday for a haircut. Nice autumn light shining on the display outside the florists by the station.
Over to Charlton Park next on Charlton Champion duties to photograph the official opening of the new skatepark, built by Greenwich Council and funded by developers taking over the old skatepark site in Woolwich (amid much inevitable controversy).
Full set of skatepark pics at The Charlton Champion.
I’ll definitely be back there soon to take more photos; the light wasn’t ideal (sudden brightness between downpours as Storm Brian passed over), and a longer lens would be better – I had assumed that my 14mm would be ideal for capturing the whole skate bowl scene but, as always seems to happen when I use a wide angle lens, it was quickly abandoned for the 35mm. Next time I’ll take the 60mm for more portraits.
The evening was spent playing guitar with Ronnie Ripple & The RipChords at Genesis cinema in Mile End; a fun gig performing after a screening of Back to the Future. I really should have used it as an excuse to face down my 30 year fear of playing the intro and solo for Johnny B Goode, though. Hopefully there’ll be another chance there soon.
I’m often ambivalent about the charms of Blackheath; a place desperately convincing itself that it really is an idyllic rural village set by the city, but often as traffic-jammed, noisy, and estate agent-plagued as any other part of London. Last night, though, I walked over the heath from the village back to Charlton, taking a detour to watch the kite-boarders and have a look at the wildflowers along the bunds of Prince Charles Road; it was warm, the sunset brewing up to spectacular, just about possible to ignore the traffic along the A2, and – on foot – take in the variety of plant life barely-perceptible from the bus.
Maybe I’ll put my campaign to have the whole heath re-forested on hold a little bit longer.
Photos all shot on the Fuji X-E1 and processed in the far-from satisfactory Windows Picture Manager. Home insurance payout can’t come soon enough.