Sunday, July 05, 2009

Plumstead versus Erith.

The press advertisement above (click on the picture for a larger view) is for a computer based, multi player, virtual world played online, similar to Second Life or the World of WarCraft. Players from around the world could log in, interact, communicate with one another and both compete and collaborate in various challenges online. Nothing unusual there then. Except this was in daily use back in 1984! Many years ahead of its' time. You can read a lot more about Games Computers Play by clicking here. You needed an 8 bit Atari 800 computer, a 300 baud acoustic coupler modem, plus the special software, and a subscription to play. All far too exotic and expensive for a spotty nerd from Upper Belvedere back then, but I did aspire. Click on the image above to see a larger version of the advert - it makes interesting and very far sighted reading. Please feel free to leave a comment below.

I featured a photo of a large silo in the yard of RMC Aggregates, at the junction of James Watt Way and Wheatley Terrace Road in Erith, in a previous Maggot Sandwich posting which you can re - read here. Well, events have overtaken me, and the depot has been closed and the buildings are being demolished. The Silo has already gone, and much of the other cement production equipment is currently in the process of being demolished, cut up by a couple of blokes with Oxy - Propane torches, and taken for scrap - at least they will not have to go far, as the Erith depot of European Metal Recycling is only a few metres away. I wonder what the site will be used for in future? There has been quite some residential development behind Morrisons, on the river edge, but I do not think that the RMC site could be used for apartments, mainly due to the fact it is what is known as a Safeguarded Wharf. In essence this means that the Mayor of London and the Port of London Authority have decreed that the site must remain as a wharf and not be redeveloped for non - industrial use. Here is a shot of the outside of the place taken yesterday. It is all looking rather sad and dreary, even on a bright summer's day.

Erith Riverside - July 2009  622

The event that prompted me to get my camera out and go for a walk along the river front yesterday, was something that occurred on my way across Morrison's car park, on my way home. A number of aeroplanes had been flying over, apparently following the path of the River Thames Eastwards, away from London. I heard the distinctive sound of a Rolls - Royce Griffon aero engine and looked up to see a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV in distinctive D - Day livery flying low overhead. I stopped to watch - there can be nothing quite so inspiring as seeing a Spitfire in the air, especially in the area where the Battle of Britain was fought back in 1940. My reverie was broken when I realised that almost no - one else in the car park was watching; they were all far too busy filling their cars with bags of shopping. It would have only taken a minute or so to stop what they were doing and pay a silent tribute to those who kept our shores free from the Nazis back in 1940. Some confused priorities I feel. A few moments later, a fat and spotty chav mother with two dirty faced whelps in a buggy added insult to injury by pointing skywards and saying to them "Look - it's a choo choo plane!" The brain addled, saggy uddered boiler almost certainly thought she was educating her unwashed offspring. Is this the real legacy of the RAF and the Battle of Britain - to leave us in a society where such indifference and plan wrong headedness become every day occurrences? I despair. The only small crumb of comfort I have encountered can be found if you click here.

I see that a travel company has started offering Chav free holidays; a smart marketing move that should prove a big success.

Erith Riverside - July 2009  616

The photo above shows the small vessel, the M.V Wild Eel, and its' owner making his way ashore at Erith, after another hard day as the only full - time licenced commercial eel fisherman on the whole of the River Thames. A trade that has gone on for hundreds of years from the same location.

I have noticed that the Plumstead area is well populated with erudite, opinionated and prolific Bloggers. The likes of Plumsteadshire, Planet Plumstead, Plummy Mummy, 853, and Plumstead Zone 4 along with several others, all show that there is a high level of interest in local issues and events. Erith is only a short distance from Plumstead, it is roughly the same size, and has a very similar social and economic outlook. If you search Blogger by author location, you do come across quite a number of blogs from Erith residents most of which have been started and abandoned, or are only occasionally updated (hint - if you Blog, do it regularly, that way your readers tend to stay around). Anyway, there is no Blog covering events, issues and opinions that affect Erith and its' surroundings, other than the humble Maggot Sandwich. I wonder why? Is Erith less remarkable than Plumstead or Woolwich? I know Plumstead gets many more events, mostly organised by enthusiastic locals; things like Comedy on the Common and the Plumstead Live! music festival. All Erith gets is the River Festival, and even that got unexpectedly cancelled this year. I did Email the organiser to try and discover why, but was not granted the dignity of a reply. Why am I alone in documenting the area? Your thoughts and feedback below, if you please.

This weeks' video clip is slightly unusual, prompted as it was by my sight of a Spitfire over flying Erith yesterday afternoon; it is a complete 21 minute documentary called "Churchill's Island"; the first ever documentary to be awarded an Oscar, this Canadian film from 1941 was aimed at U.S audiences in the months before America joined with war after the Pearl Harbor attack. If the narrator's voice sounds somewhat familiar, it is because it is that of well known actor Lorne Greene. By modern standards, this propaganda film is pretty crude and it is quite obvious to someone exposed to over sixty years of cinema and television since, exactly what strings the makers were hoping to pull with the target audience. Back then, this was cutting edge and extremely rousing stuff, designed to sway American poular opinion into support for Britain and her Commonwealth allies and against Hitler and the Nazi hordes assembled just twenty two miles over the English Channel. It is certainly fascinating as a historical document - see what you think.


  1. WOW!
    You just don't get ad's like that anymore. Look at the amount of WORDS!
    I have a real fondness for old PC Mag's of that sorta time, the ad's were always quirky and geeky. Funny you say it's from '84 as that was the first time I'd ever heard of anyone playing over a…I can't say internet connection as the term didn't really exist then. Dial-up connection?
    Anyway my mate Alan's Dad worked for a big International Company and Alan went in with him when he went to work on a weekend and spent ages playing M.U.D.
    Actually that's something I wanna raise what ever happened to decent print and film ad's? These days their either CGI or in the film posters case it's just lazy photoshopping.
    I LOVE old movie posters but there's nothing in the last 8 years or so I think is "classic".

    I dunno you take a photo and the object disappears a week later. I bet the Maggot Sandwich conspiracy nuts are going mad.
    Interesting to see what they do with the site. Wonder what the actual definition of a "Deep Wharf" is. Beautiful colours in the picture. Looks almost Spanish sunshine. I don't think it looks sad and dreary, tatty? Yes but not dreary but then I do try and see buety in everything even a rusty old building!

    Talking of planes of yesteryear a couple of weeks back I saw a Lancaster Bomber and 3 Spitfires flying low over Swanley. Turns out In was below their turn around path for Biggin hill Air show. Really made my day.
    "The brain addled, saggy uddered boiler", now come on Mr.P', don't hold back! Please say what you really think! That's the problem with a democracy, you can't sterilise the lower orders…
    I didn't know there is only one fulltime Eel fishman working the Thames. I wonder who buys his catch? I've gone Eel fishing before, nasty, difficult, slimy business.
    Hmmm…it IS puzzling that the Plumstead area get's many, many more Bloggers than Erith but I think that maybe due to the make-up of the population of the area. Most of Erith is working bod's who have family ties in the area. I think that their not fussed about putting fingers to keyboard about the state of the town/area where as Plumstead as always had more of a…transient population? As in people move into the area cos it's cheap then after awhile move on. Maybe I'm wrong.
    Not had a chance to look at the video yet so sorry can't comment!

  2. Acoustic Couplers and Prestel Modems. Like retro man...

    I had one of these modems with my Commodore 64, greatest computer of the eighties ;-) 300bad up 600baud down!

    Commodore 64 as used by the first American kid to hack Noraid!

    Re the Spitfire, I echo your sentiments. Being "next door" to Rochester airport we get a few exotic aircraft flying REAL low overhead.

    Today I was overtaken as I came out of Asda by a Grumman F4F Wildcat. Now that's not an everyday occurence especially as it was in a lovely shade of yellow!