Sunday, July 08, 2018

Erith Fun Day 2018.

The photos were taken by me yesterday at the 2018 Erith Fun Day. Unfortunately the attendance numbers were somewhat down on last year, almost certainly caused by a combination of the intense heat (it was 34 degrees Celsius at 1pm in the sports field where the event was held) and also because of the World Cup. Nevertheless the turnout was still very good. There was representation from many local community volunteer groups and commercial organisations. I bumped into a number of people that I had not seen since the same event last year, and I was also approached by a number of readers - some of whom I had never met before in person, which was nice. Unfortunately, as many will already know, I am not someone suited to heat and strong sunlight. I burn very easily, even when coated in sun screen cream, therefore my normal policy is to wear a stout tweed jacket and floppy, broad - brimmed hat - to basically cover myself in fabric to block out the sun. Whilst this approach works well, it does leave me feeling extremely hot; originally I had planned to stay at the Erith Fun Day for most of the afternoon (I don't watch football, so the World Cup match was not of interest to me), but the extreme heat meant that I only stayed at the event for a little over an hour. I think many visitors were similarly affected. Even though a majority of the stall holders were located under some kind of cover, it must have been unbearable for them, and I don't know how some of them coped under the exceptionally hot conditions. Still for those naysayers who opine that Erith has no community spirit, I would counter that for the Erith Fun Day to get such a good turnout considering both the extreme weather and England's World Cup football match on the same day. I look forward to the event next year. 

I only discovered a couple of days ago, about an event planned for next Friday afternoon. I am concerned that Bexley Council neglect to publicise events in the local area; for example, in the past, the relaunched Erith Market, which some locals commented was "planned to fail", and the 2016 pop - up cinema in Erith Riverside Gardens, which virtually nobody knew about - and consequently the turnout for both events was very low, prompting the Council to discontinue them as they felt there was little interest - which in reality could not be further from the case. I worry that if I struggle to find out about such events, how must everyone else get on? Anyway, here is the official announcement:- "This summer experience a culinary extravaganza as the Erith Kitchen street food fair comes to Pier Road, on Friday 20 July from 4–9pm. Come along and taste fantastic flavours from around the world, including homemade Italian gnocchi, pizza, African and Caribbean food and a unique ice cream experience, luxury alcohol infused and alcohol free ice creams and sorbets. Stay cool in this hot weather with some refreshments at the ‘Not just Gin’ bar. This Vintage Horse Trailer turned fully self-contained bar works with start-up distillers from across the UK to provide premium spirits and mixers, beer and wines. Relax and listen to musicians Tim White and Daran Francis against the backdrop of Erith’s riverfront. As well as bringing people up close to the Thames, Erith Kitchen hopes to evoke Erith’s history as a place of riverside leisure". You can read the full, original article by clicking here

The photo above - click on either for a larger version - were taken by me last Sunday evening; they shows a CCTV camera that has been attached to a lamp post adjacent to the recycling centre at the end of James Watt Way in Erith - locally known as the Morrison's recycling point. The facility has for many years been the focus of almost daily criminal fly - tipping. The reasons for this are multiple. Firstly, it is easily accessible by car or van, and the facility is out of the way, at the far end of the dead end road that is James Watt Way. Secondly it is out of the way, bring located at the rear of the Morrison's supermarket, and adjacent to the buildings' loading bay. There are few if any prying eyes to see if someone is illegally dumping rubbish. To a passer - by, it may look as if the criminal fly tipper is merely using the recycling facility as designed - dropping off bottles, cans or cardboard into the designated containers to be responsibly recycled. Instead they dump building waste, old mattresses, industrial waste, used engine oil and all manner of other rubbish, which ends up being collected at great expense to the council tax payer by a waste management contractor. Recently Bexley Council have placed warning notices on the lamp posts in and around the recycling centre to try and deter the fly tipping criminals, and as of last weekend, the CCTV camera in the photo above was installed. I have been in contact with the council in respect of the camera. I have been informed that the installation is only temporary, and not the permanent addition to the local safety and security that many had anticipated. Something is better than nothing however. One concern I did raise with the council is that the CCTV camera unit is only situated about ten feet up the lamp post, and from my own observations, many of the fly tippers are "white van men" with transit type vans. The often have ladders in their vans, and it would be relatively straightforward for one of them to either damage or indeed completely remove the CCTV camera. They agreed that this was indeed a possibility, but that the benefits the camera may bring in either deterring or collecting evidence of criminal fly tippers was worth the risk; I have to say that I tend to agree with this opinion. I am monitoring the situation to see if the level of materials dumped on the site decline over the next few weeks. My concern is that as soon as the camera is removed - whether by the criminals or by the council themselves - the fly tipping at the site will return to the original levels.  What do you think? Leave a comment below, or Email me at

As regular readers will be aware, I have in the past benchmarked the activities (or indeed lack thereof) of Bexley Council against our close neighbours on the opposite side of the River Thames in the London Borough of Havering. The two boroughs are remarkably similar in many ways; both have a broadly similar population demographic, geography and council tax budget, yet it seems to me that Havering seem to get much more out of their finances than Bexley do, and this is not just me thinking that "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence". As an example, the News Shopper have recently run a story about the anniversary of the cancellation of the very popular Danson Festival. It is now five years since the council cancelled the annual festival, erroneously stating that this was a temporary cancellation due to problems with the geology of the park, and drainage issues. In an interview with the News Shopper, a spoke person for Bexley Council said:- "Unfortunately Danson mid-park is not currently suitable for large-scale events such as the Danson Festival. The council saves approximately £150,000 from not putting on the festival. Whilst the festival has not been held for a number of years, we have recently increased the number of community and cultural events we have hosted and supported – and we continue to look at new opportunities to bring the community together to share experiences and celebrate". In reality a festival has been held in Danson Park since - but it has been run by a commercial events company, who charge for admission. This rather contradicts the statement that the park could not be used due to drainage issues. The real reason is that Bexley Council do not want to spend £150,000 on the very popular event. It is my understanding that the festival in the past actually operated at a modest profit. This all does look rather poor in comparison with Havering, who run a huge - and free to the public - event in Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch during the month of August. The very popular event, which is having its 40th anniversary this year, has a number of music acts playing live on stage, as well as the usual charity and commercial stalls. Havering does not just have a free festival, it also plays host to an arts festival, the award winning Romford film festival and a Havering in Bloom competition, to name but a few. Bearing in mind that Havering Borough Council has very similar demands and constraints to its budget as Bexley does, it does beg the question, how is it that Havering can offer popular arts and cultural events to its residents, but Bexley Council are unable, or more likely unwilling to? Please feel free to leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at

The photo above was taken back in 1896. It was recently sent to me by a reader. It shows local inventor and businessman Sir Hiram Maxim (the man with the white hair and beard to the right of the photograph) along with a couple of his staff, along with a couple of. They have been demonstrating the Maxim machine gun to members of the Chinese government - two representatives of which can also be seen. One of Maxim's "party tricks" when demonstrating his machine gun, was to use the continuous stream of bullets to "saw" through a tree trunk - as can be seen in the photo above. Maxim was not a man greatly troubled by ethics - he would sell his various weapons systems to anyone who had the money to pay for them, even if they were two sides in the same conflict. Maxim was also the man that invented both the fire sprinkler and the sprung mouse trap. Maxim also invented the car exhaust silencer, and as an off – shoot (if you will excuse the pun) his son, the American inventor Hiram Percy Maxim, is usually credited with inventing and selling the first commercially successful model of gun suppressor circa 1902 (patented 30 March 1909). Maxim gave his device the trademarked name Maxim Silencer, and they were regularly advertised in sporting goods magazines. The muffler for internal combustion engines was developed in parallel with the firearm suppressor by Maxim in the early 20th century, using many of the same techniques to provide quieter-running engines (in many English-speaking countries automobile mufflers are still called silencers). Former president of the United States Theodore Roosevelt was known to purchase and use Maxim Silencers. So, it is not too much of a stretch to say that many inventions that we all take for granted were either invented in Erith or Crayford at the two Maxim / Vickers factories, or by people also living in the same area. We for example also had the first petrol – powered tricycle by Edward Butler, several years before the Benz automobile, which was tested along Manor Road, and the first submarine capable of firing a torpedo whilst submerged was created by the Nordenfeldt works, also located in Erith. The end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century were a real hot house of inventive talent in the local area – some of the most cutting edge engineering took place in and around Erith.  Hiram Maxim had a stunning failure in addition to his many successes. The very first heavier than air flight was not as is commonly believed made by the Wright Brothers in 1903, it was actually undertaken in 1894 by a team led by Maxim when the experimental steam powered aeroplane accidentally took off during ground testing in Baldwyn’s Park, Bexley – it flew for an estimated 281 metres at a height of 1.4 metres, according to contemporary accounts. You can read more about the story here. Suffice to say that Maxim realised that his design of flying machine was dynamically unstable, and not viable for any longer flights. He abandoned the project shortly thereafter, leaving the Wright brothers to gain the fame and fortune that went with the first viable aerodynamic flying vehicle. As well as being a skilled engineer and inventor, Hiram Maxim was a very shrewd businessman, and I think he realised that his own flying machine was an engineering dead end, and he decided to stop throwing good money after bad, and work on other projects instead. Maxim was already a very wealthy man, and did not really need the flying machine to be a financial success at all.

Last Wednesday - the fourth of July, marked an anniversary that you could be forgiven for having missed. Hotmail turned 22 years old, having ushered in an era of web-based email, great swathes of spam and one of the greatest ever security errors. Launched on 4 July 1996, Hotmail offered "independence" (oh what a pun) from traditional ISP-based email, which required users download messages into a local reader. Hotmail allowed users to create their own email account and view their messages within the web browser, without needing to be tied to a specific provider. With a mighty 2MB of free storage, something that seemed absurdly generous in an era when PCs shipped with between 4 and 8MB of onboard RAM, Hotmail's user base grew rapidly to 8.5 million happy emailers (although it is not clear how many of those were examples of the burgeoning spam industry) and Hotmail soon attracted the attention of a certain software behemoth. Microsoft purchased the service in December 1997 for a purported $400m and found itself in the slightly awkward position of owning a hugely popular internet service that didn't actually use any of Redmond's Windows technologies and, horror of horrors, ran on a variety of UNIX-based systems, which at the time were seen as a threat and direct rival to Microsoft products. While Microsoft worked to incorporate Windows Server systems into Hotmail, competition arrived in the form of Yahoo! Mail in 1997 and the all-conquering GMail from Google in 2004. Hotmail, however, had other problems with which to contend. Back in those days Microsoft were about as good with internet security as Cyril Smith was with hang gliding. A security flaw, that could only be described as "catastrophic", emerged in 1999.  Hackers were able to access pretty much any account, knowing only the user's Hotmail user name. 2001 saw more security problems, with hackers able to retrieve messages from another users mailbox. As GMail attracted many users away from Hotmail, Microsoft tinkered with re-brandings and redesigns seeing the venerable website incorporated into the MSN family and then renamed Windows Live Hotmail in 2005. In 2012 the service became known as, leveraging the branding of the email component of Microsoft's ubiquitous office suite. By 2013, Microsoft had shifted all 300 million active Hotmail accounts to its new web mail client, whether they liked it or not. While Microsoft played with Hotmail, Google's GMail juggernaut rolled on, reporting over 1 billion users at last count, compared to the relatively paltry 500 million claimed by

Now for the weekly safety and security reports from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association. Firstly an update from Barnehurst ward:- "Another excellent result for Barnehurst having no burglaries and just one theft of motor vehicle for the past week. Victim left a white Ford Transit panel van, registration number LD11 FHW locked and secured on Friday 29th June 2018 at 09.30pm in Northumberland Way. The following morning the van found was discovered stolen. On Wednesday the team conducted a drugs warrant at Hampton House, Erith Road following continued complaints of drug dealing. Crayford Ward officers, Bexleyheath Ward officers and the dog section also assisted in the warrant. One male was arrested and investigations continue regarding this. On Friday 29th June 2018 a male was arrested following a road traffic collision in Colyers Lane. This male was on a stolen motorbike and was not wearing a crash helmet. The injuries sustained required surgery and the male is now back behind bars. Off road bikes have been reported to have been seen ridden between Northend Road and Hurstwood Avenue. If you know who are riding these bikes or where they are coming from please let us know so will can deal with them appropriately. The team have met some of our vulnerable residents and our visits have been warmly welcomed. We ask our residents to keep an eye on their vulnerable neighbours. If you feel your neighbour maybe vulnerable please contact us and we can pay a visit to ensure crime prevention measures are in place. If needed we can arrange for the bobby van to make a further visit to provide door chains, window alarms etc. to improve security at a reduced charge of cost free depending on the criteria. The team will be at the Barnehurst Golf Club on Tuesday 10th July at 11.00am. Please come along and join us. We are looking for residents in the ward who are interested in Neighbourhood Watch". Belvedere ward:- "Throughout this week the team have been attempting to arrest wanted offenders on the ward. This has resulted in the arrest of a male for domestic related offences, ABH, threats and criminal damage. PC Holmes has also issued an harassment warning letter to a resident of Draper Close in relation to an ongoing ASB (anti-social behaviour issue). The team have spoken to a male in Nuxley Road after various members of the public informed us that he had been asking several people for money – words of advice were given to this male and we are keeping a close eye on the area should he return. Over the last few weeks the team have noticed a slight increase in ASB by children in the Nuxley Road and Albert Road areas. Similar to last summer, this involves bicycles being used in an inconsiderate manner both on the pavements and into oncoming traffic in both streets. The team have been able to speak to some of the young children involved in this activity, to give advice on cycle safety and riding sensibly. Should we receive further complaints, we will be taking further action against those involved. Certain members of these groups have also been involved in other incidents amounting to ASB and criminal damage at a newly opened business in Albert Road. PCSO Worrall has been able to identify the names of these children and the team will be visiting their respective home addresses in the coming days to discuss the issues with them. Our next Community Contact session has been arranged for Tuesday 10th July 2018 from 12.00pm at the Co-Op in Nuxley Road". Bexleyheath ward:- "There has been no reports of any burglaries or attempted burglaries on our ward recently which is fantastic. We are also continuing high visibility patrols around Martens Grove and surrounding areas including the garages between Grove Road and Braeside Crescent as this is becoming an area for youths to congregate and misbehave. A Traffic Operation was conducted along Nursery Road as we received complaints from local residents about speeding on the street. Also a learner driver was processed for no insurance whilst learning to drive, we also took part in a warrant that was recently completed. A mobile phone was stolen whilst the victim was in ASDA Bexleyheath. A theft of push bike was reported stolen between 02/07/2018 & 03/07/2018 along Stirling Road Bexleyheath. In relation to motor vehicle crime, below is a summary of what has been reported: 29/06/2018 – Items stolen from a van within the Broadway area; 28/06/2018 – 30/06/2018 Number plates had been stolen from a vehicle along Grove Road Bexleyheath; 02/07/2018 – Officers on foot patrol had found an insecure vehicle and had made contact with owner, no items are believed to be taken". Crayford ward:- "On Thursday 21 June police were called to Maiden Lane after it was reported that a white Audi A3 had been criminally damaged, it looked like a hammer had been taken to the side of the vehicle. On Monday 25th June at approx. midnight a mobile phone was snatched out of someone’s hand in Station Road, totally opportunist, the Male ran past and quite literally snatched it and continued to run. We all refer to our phones all the time, to check the time of the next bus or train or similar, please keep it out of sight as unobtrusive as possible when out in public. Between Wednesday 27th June at 18.30 and Thursday 27th June at 00.30, two excavators were stolen from a locked site on Crayford Industrial Estate. The equipment was fitted with trackers and the following day police were able to intercept the suspects and arrests were made. At Optima Park on Wednesday 27th June a lady reported that her gold Apple iPhone with a pink case on the back had been stolen from her place of work. It was reported that on Wednesday a door was broken in to leading to a shared storage shed/garage used by residents at flats in Claston Close, the door was forced but nothing was stolen, no CCTV or witnesses. On Friday 29th June at 12.40 an elderly lady received a phone call from a Male saying he was calling from her bank, he told her that her account had been compromised, obtained her PIN numbers and sent a courier to her address to collect her bank cards. She realised that she had been duped and called her bank, to find that some money had been stolen, both cards were cancelled and new ones will be issued. This was a despicable crime on one of our older residents but could happen to any one of us. Please never give anyone your PIN, no official organisation would ever ask for this information, ever! On Saturday 30 June an IC1 Male aged about 20 years was seen to steal front and rear number plates off a Peugeot 206 LX, number plate Y695LBA in Dale Road. A routine stop of a vehicle in Maiden Lane on Saturday 30th June led to the owner admitting that he was in possession of cannabis and he was dealt with appropriately. It was reported that between 1st May and 30th June a black BMW, number plate GU15YLT was stolen from a garage at Willow Walk, the keys were in a safe place and not used to commit this offence. Between 19.00 on Friday 29 June and 09.00 on Saturday 30th June a blue Ford Transit was broken in to and tools stolen near Claremount Crescent. On Tuesday 3rd July police were called to a public order offence. It transpired that a Male had tried to use a £50 for £5.00 of goods, the note was being checked and believed to be a forgery. The Male left the premises after an altercation and threats. The £50 note will be destroyed. On Wednesday 4th July our team assisted Barnehurst and Bexleyheath Safer Neighbourhood Teams with a drugs warrant at Hampton House in Barnehurst, a Male was arrested. In the last week a van has been seized for having no insurance at Maiden Lane as well as tickets being issued for using a mobile phone whilst driving, no insurance and MOT. Today there was a foot chase close to Marden Crescent after a Male was suspected of having cannabis, he dropped his joint and lost his mobile phone along the way which has now been booked in to Bexleyheath Police Station. We have completed several weapons sweeps around the ward in the last week as well as lots of visible foot patrols. We will be working with partner agencies to deal with anti-social behaviour occurring in the Dale Road area. Our next contact session is at the Ellenor charity shop in Crayford Road on Wednesday 11th July between 11.00-12.00, please come along to say hello, tell us your concerns or ask for crime prevention advice". Erith ward:- "Erith ward officers have been out and about on the ward. ASB at St Fidelis Road. Officers have been to the estate and conducted a weapon sweep of the area. No weapons were found. Erith ward has a number of motor vehicle crime this week. TFMV (Theft From Motor Vehicle) - Riverdale Road, tools stolen between the hours of 16:00 on the 24/6/18 and 22:00 on the 26/06/18; Car park Park Spring Court - Damage to paintwork of vehicle; TFMV, West Street - Tools and Hoover taken between 28/06/18 00:00 - 17:00 on the 02/07/18; TFMV, Compton Place - Ladders taken of roof of van between 09:00-15:00 hours on the 03/07/18; Att Burglary (Attempted burglary), West Street - Nothing taken, damage to rear door. 01:00—01:30 hours on the 03/07/18. People have been stopped and searched for cannabis in the Riverside area and have been dealt with. We will be attending 11/07/18 Coffee with Cops at Cops in the Riverside shopping centre - please come along and see us".  Northumberland Heath ward:- "The team are pleased to report that CCTV has been installed at the Northumberland Heath Recreation Ground to help to detect and deter individuals from committing anti-social behaviour in the area. Four stop and searches were conducted by officers in the park which resulted in one male being reported for possession of cannabis and a quantity of alcohol was confiscated. Two further males were stopped and searched in Erith and reported for possession of cannabis. No burglaries reported to us over the past week which is once again excellent news. One motor vehicle interference overnight on Friday 29th of June in Hengist Road. It is not clear how entry to the vehicle was gained as there was apparent outside damage, however the vehicle wires had been cut and were left hanging under the driver’s seat. One theft of motor vehicle in Beechfield Road in the afternoon of Monday July 2nd. The driver was delivering parcels and left the keys in the vehicle whilst delivering. An unknown male entered the vehicle and drove it away at speed. The vehicle was later recovered however the keys and the remaining undelivered parcels were taken". Slade Green and North End ward:- "Only one crime of note this week. A van was left unattended for 10 minutes outside the Premier shop in Bridge Road at 8.30pm on Saturday. Upon returning outside the owner discovered the van had been stolen along with tools inside. PC Mark and James were on patrol on the Frobisher Road estate last Saturday morning. 2 males were seen riding on a moped and upon seeing officers they got off and ran away. Mark and James chased and although the males weren’t caught, they left behind a mobile phone and other evidence meaning the investigation has some excellent evidence in the hope of finding who the suspects were. The bike was registered as stolen and is now back with it’s owner. Two positive stop and searches this week with cannabis taken from both suspects and the appropriate warnings given. Patrols have been ongoing over the marshes and by Erith yacht club in the hope of catching off road bike riders using the land illegally. 2 males were turned away on Sunday as they approached the path to come along and ride". Thamesmead East ward:- "Burglaries - No burglaries to report this week. Motor Vehicle Crimes - Between the overnight hours of Wednesday 27/06/18 and Thursday 28/06/18, a motor vehicle was stolen from Redpoll Way. Between the dates of Tuesday 26/06/18 and Saturday 30/06/18, a motor cycle was stolen from Eastgate Close. A motor vehicle was stolen between the hours of 7:30am and 08:00pm on Saturday 30/06/18 from Parkway. Between the hours of 11:00pm of Monday 02/07/17 05:00am and Tuesday 03/07/18 a motor vehicle locked and secure parked in Holstein Way had the front window smashed, nothing taken. Another vehicle also parked in Holstein Way had the front passenger window smashed, purse and cash was taken from the glove box between 10:30pm Monday 02/07/18 and 11:10am Tuesday 03/07/18.  Have a Say event (Community Contact Session) - Tuesday 10th July between the hours of 12:00pm and 1:00pm, the team will be attending Lakeside Health Centre, Yarnton Way. An opportunity for members of the community who prefer face- to – face contact, to speak with a Dedicated Ward Officer. Good News - Whilst patrolling, PCSO’s Gina Buckley and Lorraine O’Hara who, on seeing 3 males and 1 female on the top floor near to the stairs of Maran Way loitering, made their way to the individuals getting nearer to them a smell of cannabis was detected. Radio call to PC’s John Pruden and Nana Quarshie-Awuah resulted in all being searched and intelligence gained".

The end video this week shows the results of the conversion of the old Woolwich covered market into London's newest street food market. It certainly looks very nice. I actually suggested a use similar to this nearly ten years ago - I suppose good things come to those who wait. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or alternatively Email me at

No comments:

Post a Comment