Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Bookstore Cafe opens.


The photos above were taken on Thursday at the launch of the Bookstore Cafe, which is located on the lower ground floor of the old Carnegie Library in Walnut Tree Road, Erith. It is operated by local organisation The Exchange. The cafe opens for breakfast on Wednesday to Friday 8am - 4.30pm; 6 - 10.30pm. Saturday 8.30am - 10.30pm, and Sunday 9am - 4pm. The cafe is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Feedback from the first couple of days has been impressive; one prominent local visitor wrote:- "Both the staff and food were excellent and could not be faulted. Without a doubt we shall return". The menus can be seen by clicking here. There are also daily specials, which are listed on a chalk board. Cookery is by professional chef Marina Power, who has run a cooking school in Ireland, and also worked in a number of prominent restaurants in London. High quality ingredients, sourced locally are used throughout, with the emphasis on freshness, taste and healthy eating. The sausages served are a custom type made specifically for the cafe by Slomers Sausages in Crabtree Manorway South in Lower Belvedere. Yorkshire, green and herbal teas are available, as is freshly ground coffee in a number of styles. The Bookstore Cafe has a full drinks licence, and serves beer from the Bexley Brewery, a full range of wines, and even Kentish gin! Plans are in place for a full kitchen garden to the rear of the Carnegie Library with vegetables grown in there to be used in the cafe. There will also be a chicken coop for eggs, and even one or two beehives in due course. The Bookstore Cafe is the first phase of the regeneration and repurposing of the old Carnegie Library. When phase two is completed, the rest of the building will be converted into a community, arts and education centre for local people. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or alternatively you can Email me at the usual address - hugh.neal@gmail.com

Launched in 2011, Google+ was an attempt by the search engine giant to compete with Facebook and Twitter on the social networking front. However, despite promising coverage, Google+ failed to lure users away from already established social network websites. In 2018, over 7 years later, Google finally announced that Google+ would close its doors.  I make no secret that I am a big fan of Google; they have turned online search into a verb, they are that good at what they do that to perform a web search has for many become “to Google”. Many of their online products such as Gmail and the Google G-Suite are excellent and widely used, but they have one product, which many people – myself included, actively dislike and avoid. Google+ was intended to be a direct competitor for social networks like Facebook, but it never gained the popularity or traction with web users – and nowadays Facebook is a verb as well. I predicted back in August 2015 that Google would pull the plug on Google+, and it would seem that this has now begun. In October 2018 Google announced that they would be phasing out Google+ over the next few months; they cited security loopholes and serous bugs in the application that could leave users data exposed to hackers. From my investigations, it would seem that whilst this explanation is essentially true, it hides the fact that Google have wanted to get rid of Google+ for ages, and this security issue provides them with a very convenient and well - timed excuse. The fact is that Google+ was and has for a very long time essentially been a source of embarrassment to Google, who have been keen to quietly terminate the unpopular and underused web service. The security issues surrounding Google+ have given Google exactly the opportunity they have been seeking for some time. I doubt many will mark the passing of Google+ - if indeed many had even heard of it. Despite some fairly lurid claims to the contrary, this does not affect other Google owned services, including your Google account, Gmail account, Google Doc accounts, Google Drive storage account or YouTube account. These are not affected. Any information you have uploaded to your Google+ account needs to be backed up, if you don’t have a local copy or haven’t done so already. The final closure is expected to happen in the first few days of April 2019. In an email sent on February 2019, Google reminded users of the impending closure. Despite only Google+ being closed, many users assumed that this would have an impact on their other Google owned accounts, such as their free web-based email service Gmail. However these worries are unfounded, since other Google services will operate as normal. It is only Google+ that will be closing.


Following the positive feedback I have had from several readers after last week's article on the 75th anniversary of the first use of Colossus - the world's first digital, programmable computer, I have news of another historical computer first, which is even less well known to the general public than the story of Colossus. After the end of World War II, the ten Collosi were either dismantled, or covertly moved from Bletchley Park to GCHQ, where they were used to break Soviet and Warsaw Pact ciphers for at least a decade. The engineers, programmers and operators of this ground breaking group of computers mostly went back to their pre - war civilian careers and due to the exceedingly high security around the whole project, nothing was said, and the whole idea of a digital, programmable computer was swept under the carpet - in the UK at least; in the USA academics picked up o the idea and a computer called ENIAC was created; but the story of ENIAC is for another occasion. In the UK, a war weary population still suffering under rationing looked for some way to lighten the post war gloom. A company called Joseph Lyons and Co were best known for their chain of tea shops and for the Lyons Corner Houses in the West End of London. The tea shops were slightly more up-market than their ABC (Aerated Bread Co) counterparts. They were notable for their interior design, from the 1920s Oliver P. Bernard being consultant artistic director. Until the 1940s they had a certain working-class chic, Situated on or near the corner of Coventry Street, the Strand and Tottenham Court Road, they and the Maison Lyons at Marble Arch and in Shaftesbury Avenue were large buildings on four or five floors, the ground floor of which was a food hall with counters for delicatessen, sweets and chocolates, cakes, fruit, flowers and more. As well as this they had hairdressing salons, telephone booths, theatre booking agencies and at one period a twice-a-day food delivery service. On the other floors were several restaurants, each with a different theme and all with their own musicians. For a time the Lyons Corner Houses were open 24 hours a day, and in their heyday each one employed in the region of 400 staff. They were colourful and bustling, with bright lights and ingenious window displays. In the post-war gloom, the Lyons Corner Houses, smarter and grander than the local tea shops, provided a degree of escapist relaxation. but by the 1950s and 60s they were more regarded as quick stops for busy shoppers where one could get a cup of tea and a snack or a cheap and filling meal. The tea shops always had a bakery counter at the front, and their signs, art nouveau gold lettering on white, were a familiar landmark. Before the Second World War service was to the table by uniformed waitresses, known as 'Nippies', but after the War the tea shops converted to cafeteria service. In 1954 Lyons established the first "Wimpy Bar" at the Lyons Corner House in Coventry Street, London. Originally the bar was a special fast-food section within the more traditional Corner House restaurants, but the success soon led to the establishment of separate Wimpy restaurants serving only hamburger-based meals. The management and Lyons was very forward thinking, and several of the board members were aware of the work that the Americans were carrying out on ENIAC, and the work that was being carried out at Cambridge university on a stored program, digitally programmable computer called EDSAC. They realised that the EDSAC computer could be modified away from its primary purpose of carrying out complex scientific calculations, and instead be used to undertake work to assist in the running of a large company - the very first business use of a computer anywhere in the world. The catalyst came in 1947, following a trip to America by Thomas Thompson and Oliver Standingford, two managers with wide experience of clerical procedures. On their return they produced a report for the Lyons board which basically said that electronic computers hold the key to office efficiency and for £100,000 Lyons could build one themselves which would show a saving in office expenditure of £50,000 per year. As mentioned, at this time Cambridge University were involved in their own computer project, EDSAC. This was designed for academic calculations and quite inappropriate for office work but Lyons did see the potential in the new technology. However, they did not want to play a passive role merely keeping in touch and in due course acquiring machines as they came available from manufacturers. In this way they could not influence machine design and this they felt was essential if the problem of commercial clerical automation was to be sold successfully. Instead Lyons donated £3,000 to Cambridge, to help in their EDSAC project, on the understanding that Cambridge would give them advice when needed. The result was LEO - which stood for Lyons Electronic Office. The LEO's makers were pioneers in software development and testing, and they refined the processes needed to run very large and complex computing jobs. These were truly early days of computer manufacture: there were no assembly-line robots, silicon chip fabricators and injection-mould plastics specialists forming a supply chain to build the LEO. Instead it was carpenters, plumbers, sheet-metal workers and engineers working on thermionic valves, switches, wires, ducting, resistors and power supplies. The LEO was built at a factory on Minerva Road in Acton, West London, and moved in crates to Cadby Hall, where it was assembled. The LEO was more or less the EDSAC: it sported 3,000 electronic valves, 32 storage tanks that held 32 numbers of 17 binary digits, and executed 650 instructions per second. An electronic key fob for a present day family car has more computing power. Later revisions of the LEO machine could share processor time across multiple scheduled work, known as multitasking these days, utilising spare capacity to run different jobs; it was a feature the machine's designers eventually turned into a business. The team also engaged in business process engineering and use of real-time analysis before these concepts actually entered the business arena. Also, the world's first woman business programmer worked on the LEO. LEO was capable of accounting for transaction data such as orders, supplies, invoices and complex payrolls in a fraction of the time it had taken clerks and conventional business machines. It was able to deliver management reports on the activities of the different business divisions in time for management to respond effectively, often at the end of the day in which the activities had taken place. A feature of the applications Lyons put onto LEO was the level of ambition. An application was not considered worthwhile unless it delivered an improved business process, entering the requisite transaction data into the computer once only to produce a multitude of outputs. Under the guidance of project manager John Simmons and with its very high caliber staff, the LEO team successfully launched what came to be known as the information age. Three versions of LEO were built; and mark one, two and three. All sold moderately well, but even by the standard of the day they were huge, expensive, power hungry machines. By the 1960s the Americans had captured much of the UK computer market. Their machines were better engineered, more reliable and above all, less expensive. With other British computer manufacturers suffering from the same American onslaught the British government supported the merger of British interests to counteract the imports. LEO merged with English-Electric and they in turn merged with other famous companies such as Marconi. In time British computer manufacture faded away. Incidentally, the EDSAC computer upon which LEO was based is being reconstructed / replicated by a group of volunteers at the The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. You can read all about it by clicking here. What do you think? Leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at hugh.neal@gmail.com


McDonald's in James Watt Way, Erith have applied for a physical extension to the existing building, in addition to the extension in opening hours that I detailed some time ago. Bearing in mind how busy and crowded the existing facility often gets, I can understand their logic. Whether any changes to the existing building will increase noise to local residents is currently unknown. More regarding this in a future edition. 

Now for the weekly local safety and security updates from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association. Firstly a report from Barnehurst ward:- "On Monday 11th February at approx. 10.15am a resident in Northumberland Way opened his front door to a man purporting to be a police officer. The 'officer' asked for his name and phone number, as he walked away he tried to cover his face from a neighbour's CCTV. The resident was suspicious but did provide his mobile number. Later that day the 'officer' phoned. The resident asked for his warrant number and the 'officer' rang off. The resident describes the man as aged in his late 20's/early30's. He got into a silver Vauxhall, where there were 2 other man sitting. This incident has been reported to the police. There are still reports coming in regarding theft from motor vehicles offences with three being reported this week. The first was on Thursday 7th February at 10.15pm in Barnehurst Avenue where two males were disturbed breaking into a transit van. They were both described as being black and one wearing all grey clothing The other two both occurred overnight. the first on the 7th February where Ray Ban sunglasses were stolen from a Peugeot 208 in Northall Road the second on the 8th February where a handbag was stolen from the boot of a Nissan Qashqai in Barnehurst Avenue. There was no damage to any of the vehicles. Please make sure that your vehicle is locked securely. Do not rely on the electronic fob - always check manually that your vehicle is locked. The team have been and will continue to work later shifts both in uniform and plain clothes this week whilst on uniformed hi visibility patrols. This in response to the increase in motor vehicle crime. A group of males were stopped in Old Manor Way one of the males decamped from the scene, unfortunately for him he left his car, mobile phone, and house keys behind. He has since been interviewed and admitted the offences of possession of drugs and obstructing police. We are always grateful for any information received regarding criminal activity, the team will look into all intelligence received and take action where appropriate. If you feel uncomfortable talking to the police consider calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 this is completely anonymous and you do not have to give any personal details. A member of the team will be at Barnehurst Golf course on Friday 8th March at 1pm, please come along for an informal chat about any concerns or issues that you may have or just pop in to say hello. Please be aware that sometimes due to operational reasons on very rare occasions we may have to cancel our contact sessions at short notice, Any cancellations will be published on our twitter and Facebook pages which can be found for twitter @MPSBarnehurst and Facebook, Barnehurst Police". Belvedere ward:- "As part of Operation Sceptre (our initiative to reduce violent crime in London) we are once again completing searches of areas across the ward in an attempt to locate items that have been used in or may be used to commit crime (weapons and suchlike). Please do not be alarmed if you see officers searching in areas you would not usually expect us to. Staff at the Lesness Abbey Heritage site discovered a kitchen knife in the undergrowth / entrance to the woodland last week which was subsequently collected by the team and taken to a safe location for destruction. We are continuing to visit a ‘street a week' and this week have visited Halt Robin Road. The team spoke to various residents and a few issues were raised such as speeding and fly tipping in that particular street. Over the coming weeks, the team plan to monitor this location due to these issues being raised. We have been busy across the ward with enquiries taking place in Viking Way (on the industrial estate), Cheshunt Road, Osborne Road, Albert Road and Methuen Road in relation to a number of offences/ crime reports. There has been one reported burglary in the last week, between Friday 8th and Sunday 10th February where an occupant of a house of multiple occupancy in Barnfield Road reported that his room had been broken into. It is unknown at this stage what, if any, items were taken from the property". Bexleyheath ward:- "Below is our brief summary of what has been happening on the ward: There has been one report of a burglary along St Audrey Avenue Bexleyheath on Sunday 10/02/2019. The time was about 1900hrs and entry was via upstairs bathroom window Also another one reported on the 01/01/2019 between 5.30pm & 5.30pm along Bedonwell Road Bexleyheath, entry was via rear kitchen door. In relation to both burglaries, both addresses have been given smart water packs as crime prevention. Both streets were leafleted with criminal prevention leaflets and the team would conduct burglary patrols within that area. Between Wednesday 06/02/2019 & Thursday 07/02/2019 Overnight a vehicle was broken into using the wireless key system along Brummel Close, laptop was stolen from vehicle. Between Tuesday 05/02/2019 and Wednesday 06/02/2019 Another vehicle was broken into using the same method of entry and currency taken, this was also overnight. This was along Mayplace Road East. There was also a report of criminal damage to motor vehicle along Belvedere Road Bexleyheath between the Thursday 07/02/2019 & Friday 08/02/2019 that had happened overnight. A large rock/boulder that was the size of a football had ended up on the vehicle and windscreen smashed. On the Thursday 07/02/2019 – There was a report of an interference with motor vehicle along Midhurst Hill Bexleyheath during the early hours in the morning, vehicle was rummaged through and nothing taken. We had had reports from LIDL that youths are riding their bikes in the car park area causing ASB, the team conduct regular patrols to disrupt the group. The team has received reports of males on bikes causing ASB in the carpark area at the Premiere Inn, patrols are conducted daily. If you do wish to pass on information to Police then please contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111. Please do not hesitate to contact us via Twitter, Facebook, email and the ward phone. If you are after crime prevention advice, please look at the Met Police website which has lots of information that you may find useful. Remember in an emergency please dial 999 or 101 for non-urgent reporting". Crayford ward:- "On Wednesday 06/02/2019 there was a report of criminal damage to a motor vehicle along Beech Walk Crayford. We have been at TOWN HALL SQUARE over the last week surveying our residents living there about anti-social behaviour there and around the town centre. Over the coming weeks we will be calling at homes around the Bourne Road / Marden Crescent and Hall Place Crescent area to speak with residents about their concerns. We will be at the Ellenor Charity shop in Crayford Road on Wednesday 20 February between 12.00-13.00. We will be providing crime prevention advice so please feel free to come and have a chat with us. If you do wish to pass on information to Police then please contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111. Please do not hesitate to contact us via Twitter, Facebook, email or via the ward phone. If you are after crime prevention advice, please look at the Met Police website which has lots of information that you may find useful. Remember in an emergency please dial 999 or 101 for non-urgent reporting". Erith ward:- "Last Friday and Saturday we had a joint operation with the Dogs unit, Slade green SNT and Northumberland Heath SNT – Patrolling around all 3 wards hot spot areas a number of people and vehicles where searched with some good positive results, We are hoping to do this again. Crimes are down this week in Erith no Burglaries but 3 theft from M/V just keep remembering to not leave items in your vehicle when you park it up. Crimes of note for the week: Theft from MV (Motor Vehicle) Wednesday 06/02/2019 South Road; Shoplift <£200 Friday 08/02/2019 Morrisons, James Watt Way; Theft from MV (Motor Vehicle) Friday 08/02/2019 Erith High Street; Theft from MV Friday 08/02/2019 West Street". Northumberland Heath ward:- "Last weekend we worked in partnership with the Specialist Dog Unit and conducted patrols in drug hotspot areas with a Springer Spaniel called Katie. With the assistance of Katie and her handler we patrolled all the hotspot areas within Northumberland Heath, Slade Green and Northend and Erith. A number of people and a vehicle were searched, as a result of this we are looking to work with the dog unit again in the near future. Following our recent Ward Panel Meeting the team are focusing on Motor Vehicle Crime in Charlieville Road, fly tipping in the alleyways around Bexley Road and regularly patrol these areas but we need your help and assistance to improve on these issues. reported anti-social behaviour/ drugs in Becton Place. The team regularly patrols these areas but we need your help and assistance to tackle and improve these issues. A number of items were stolen from an unlocked porch in Mill Road overnight on Friday February 8th between 10.45pm and 7.30am the following morning. Please ensure all windows and doors both inner and outer are secured when retiring for the night. Theft of a motor vehicle in Cookson Grove on Thursday February 7th at approximately 2.30pm. The victim advertised his vehicle on Gumtree and arrangements were made with the prospective buyer to inspect the car at the victim's house. On checking the vehicle the suspect made off. A black Ford Focus was stolen between 4.15- 4.20pm on Friday February 8th near the dairy in Brook Street, unfortunately the victim briefly stepped out of the vehicle and left the engine running. Two power tools were stolen from a panel van parked outside the Wheelies bike shop in Bexley Road on Saturday February 9th between 9am and 1pm. Also a recovery vehicle was broken in to in Hind crescent overnight on Sunday February 9th and Monday 10th February when the owner returned to it at 7am and discovered two ramps had been stolen. The next drop in Police Surgery will be held in the Northumberland Heath Library on Wednesday February 20th at 2pm". Slade Green and Northend ward:- "In the very early hours of Sunday 11th February a male was attacked at an HMO (House of multiple occupancy) in Craydene Road. He received nasty injuries to his neck and was taken to the Royal London. Fortunately the injuries are not life threatening or life changing and he is now out of hospital. 2 suspects are outstanding and one of them has been named. This was not a random attack as it was part of an ongoing family feud but we will keeping up our patrols of Craydene Road for reassurance purposes. One other crime of note was a van being stolen overnight Sunday 11th February into Monday 12th February from Bridge Road. A different stolen van was today found in The Nursery by PC's Mark and James after some information was sent to us by a resident. The happy owner has been informed. This sort of good work has come as a result of information received by the public which is why we always ask everyone to let us know of anything they feel may be suspicious in their road. It may be nothing but unless we know, then we can't help. Mark and James, along with Erith SNT, assisted our colleagues from Northumberland Heath SNT in executing a drugs warrant last Friday. No major drugs factory was found but there were some drugs present after this they went on patrol late Friday (and Saturday) with a police dog handler who brought along a drugs dog for patrols of all three wards late into the night. Several stop and searches were carried out by all officers and some cannabis was seized during the course of Saturday night. PCSO Mark will be attending the Slade Green Big Local Community Safety meeting on Wednesday the 20th to get update on all their latest news and events etc". Thamesmead East ward:- "Non Dwelling Burglary: Bayliss Avenue Thursday 07/02/2019 between 1:am - 3am By Suspect/s unknown entering the premises and taking the till from inside. Criminal Damage to Motor Vehicle: Alsike Road Saturday 09/02/2019 7:20am passenger side window smashed, vehicle searched no property stolen. Good News: On Monday 11/02/19 PC Nana arrested a male for Domestic related offences. On Thursday 07/02/19 The team attended St John Fisher RC school to interact with their reception class, whilst there we learned they had received a letter from the Rt Hon Damian Hinds (Secretary of State for Education) and the Rt Hon Nick Gibb (Minister of State for School Standards) congratulating St John Fisher for being in the top 1 percent for schools in England. On Saturday 09/02/19 PCSO's Buckley and Hobbs were invited to celebrate the induction of new reverend Angela Bacon to Emmanuel Church in Yarnton Way. Next Meeting: Street A Week in Aspen Green on Saturday 23rd February 2019 between 10-11am. The team would like to invite Thamesmead East NHW members to join our Ward Panel. Ward Panel members have the opportunity to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by working with your neighbours and your police team to set priorities for the forth coming months. Meetings are held 4 times a year". West Heath ward:- "We are very pleased to announce that there have been no reported burglaries over the last week and only one theft of number plates stolen from a car in First Avenue overnight Tuesday 5th to Wednesday 6th. Hopefully this means our burglary Besafe message is working. If anyone would like a copy of our DIY Home Security Survey to share with your neighbours please call the team on 0208 721 2885 or email on Westheath.SNT@met.police.uk. The team held a street briefing in First Avenue on the 10th February, several residents attended despite the inclement weather and the main issue arising from it was people smoking drugs in the alleyway between First Avenue and Madison Crescent. The team will be increasing our patrols to the area. We have been concentrating on our drug hotspot areas of Heath Avenue and The Pantiles with extra patrols both on foot and mobile patrols. We have a new NHW Co-ordinator for Iris Crescent putting our NHW coverage up to 78 percent". 

The end video this week features some coverage of the recent Erith Model Railway Society Show, which was held on Saturday the 26th January 2019 and Sunday 27th January 2019 at the Longfield Academy in Longfield. Comments to hugh.neal@gmail.com