The following article was originally published back in 1925 in the Kentish Times - it was written by "Tumbler" Bell, the pioneering sportsman and union activist of late Victorian times who became a chronicler of old Erith in the pages of the then local newspaper. He wrote:- "Prior to the establishment of Messrs Easton and Anderson’s Engineering Works on the river bank at the bottom of what is now known as Manor-road, Erith, what was known as the Round House stood on the site. A short distance away was Anchor Bay Farm, occupied by old Mr and Mrs Harry Graham, who saw the rise, decline and passing of both the engineering works and Messrs J R White and Co’s brickfields. They lived to a ripe old age, deservedly respected by all who knew them. To provide housing accommodation for the workmen, the houses in Appold-street, Wheatley-terrace, James Watt-place, and Rumford-place were built, and owned by the proprietors of the engineering works. Houses were also built on one side of Manor-road, including the Royal Alfred public-house. After sundown the locality was very dark, the exception being the well-lighted Royal Alfred, consequently the spot for congregation was the “New Light”, and by that name the house was generally known. The youths of the neighbourhood used to meet outside this house to discuss Rugby football, quoits, running, etc. There were English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh lads. Many could play fifes, whistles, etc. A fife and drum band was formed; practice was allowed in the “Shant” (a long, narrow wood building, in which Easton and Anderson’s workmen took meals). When proficient, the band paraded the streets, and a good show it made. All went well till the day it was discovered that the side drummer’s mother had converted the drum into a cinder sieve. The band broke up as a consequence. The “New Light” was used by workmen from both the works and the brickfields. Lively arguments took place as to who could run the faster, which usually ended with the men taking off coats, waistcoats, and boots, toeing a line in the centre of the road, and racing each other along the road, round the houses, or round the backs in the brickfield. That soon started the running craze, and young brickmakers and foundry workers were soon finding quiet spots for practising to prepare for racing each other at a given distance. When talking to admirers or critics some of the runners boasted of remarkable running feats done. One evening one of them visited the “New Light”. After drinking a quantity of liquor, he began to boast, and got so speedy that those present deliberately doubted his statements. “How far is it from the ‘Light’, up Manor-road, to Beadle’s Bridge, round Crescent-road, to the bridge at Whittingham’s shop, and back to the ‘Light’, and how long would it take you to do it?” He told them. Challenged, he took off coat, waistcoat, and boots, and toed the line in the road. Watch in hand, the time-keeper and starter got him off, and immediately stopped the watch. All went back into the “pub”, to wait. After a time the runner stumbled into the bar, panting heavily. The judge showed him the watch, and said, “You’ve done it in no time.” “If I hadn’t fallen down twice, I’d have done it much quicker,” said the runner. Amusements would be arranged to take place on the same day as major events. A farmer’s four-wheeled waggon was stood opposite the “pub”, to be used as a platform for singing contests, bobbing for apples, eating treacled rolls, etc. A well-greased pole with a leg of mutton tied at the top was erected for a climbing competition. Running races and other items took place. On these occasions Don Andrews (a local comic singer) would climb into the lamp frame at the top of the lamp standard nearby, and recite the words of a ditty, and finish each verse with “Sing, brethren, sing,” and the assembled crowd would join “Don” and sing wholeheartedly."
Police want to question a man after he robbed someone of their mobile phone by using an imitation hand gun. His likeness was caught on CCTV, which you can see above. The incident happened on a train between Dartford and Slade Green around 3:11pm on 29th September. The suspect got off the train at Slade Green. Please contact British transport Police on 0800 405040, Ref 420 of 29/09/20 if you have any more information.
Now for the weekly local safety and security updates from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association. Firstly, the report from Barnehurst ward:- "Good news this week for Barnehurst residents. There have been no reports of burglary and no reports relating to vehicle crime. On Sunday 18/10/2020 at 06.00 pm In Eversley Avenue, a rear window was found smashed. It’s believed the damage was caused by a metal pellet from a BB gun. Over the past week, the team have received numerous calls from residents reporting a suspicious male supposedly canvassing for BT in the vicinity of Mayplace Road East. Following another call, on Tuesday 20/10/2020 the team attended Woodside Road where the male was stopped. Checks revealed this male was canvassing on behalf of Money Saving Expert and BT therefore do not be concerned as they will be in the area over the next few days". Belvedere ward:- "The team has been made aware of two males that had attended several shops in Nuxley Road last week and were using distraction methods to confuse staff of each shop whilst using the payment card reader. One of the males would alter the amount to be paid and then ask for a refund. We are actively patrolling the area to deter these males should they return. We have also been given information relating to suspected drug dealing around the same area. Again, we are patrolling the area frequently to deal with and deter any offenders". Bexleyheath ward:- "On Thursday 15th October there was a report of burglary along St Audrey Avenue Bexleyheath. The victim is having building work completed at the address and items were taken when builders were not present. Van was spotted and suspects were confronted. This was between 1230hrs and 1245hrs. On Tuesday 13th October, a van was reported stolen with tools inside overnight along Rochester Drive. There was a report of a bag stolen from a work van whilst vehicle was stopped at Freta Road Bexleyheath between 12 and 1230 midday on Sunday 18th of October. Also, a passport was reported stolen from the victim's bag on Friday 16th October whilst shopping in the Broadway. On Saturday 17th October there was a report of a theft from a motor vehicle along Lyndhurst Road Bexleyheath, number plates were reported stolen. On Tuesday 13th October there was a report of a vehicle that was vandalised whilst parked in the ASDA car park in Bexleyheath between 11 am and 12 midday. On Friday 16th October a mobile phone was reported stolen whilst the victim was in The Wrong Un PH in Bexleyheath". Crayford ward:- "Not a good week on the crime front this week I’m really sorry to say. There have been two robberies. On Wednesday 14th October at 18:40, the victim was walking up Lower Station Road and speaking on his Samsung Galaxy S10 mobile phone when he was shoulder barged by a male in a group of three walking towards him. His phone was then snatched, he also had a pull-along toolbox which they tried and failed to take. The suspects are male, aged between 20-30 years, the main suspect was dressed in black clothing, a black puffa jacket and Nike trainers. The other robbery took place along Thames Road on Friday 16th October at 19.10. The victim was robbed of his mobile phone, the suspects were in a vehicle and suggested they had a knife. A construction site in Watling Street had a secure lock-up broken into between 18:00 on 15th October and 6:45 on Friday 16th October. A number of hired items were stolen. Tools were stolen from a locked shed in Dale Road between 08:00 on Sunday 18th October and 07:00 on Monday 19th October. It is believed that the suspect(s) came over the rear fence and smashed the door to gain entry. A large amount of initialed tools were stolen. Between Sunday 11th October and Sunday 18th October, a large artificial plant in a pot was stolen from the front garden of a property in Heath Road, a vehicle would have been required to move this. A black Yamaha motorcycle number plate DG67 NNO was stolen from Ridge Way between 19:00 on Monday 19th October and 08.00 on 20th October, the owner still has the keys. A white Skoda Octavia was broken in to in Woolbrook Road between 12:00 on Friday 16th October and 16.45 on Saturday 17th October, Rayban sunglasses, a torch and a phone charging kit were stolen. The vehicle was definitely locked and no damage was made to gain entry to it. Just one, but one too many still, catalytic converter reported stolen this week, from a Honda Jazz whilst parked at Sainsbury car park on Tuesday 20th October between 11:35 and 12:05. Between Tuesday 13th October and Wednesday 14th October two Mercedes parked in close proximity between Iron Mill Lane and Iron Mill Place had their number plates and screws removed, the mounting brackets were stolen and the number plates and screws left behind. We have received six reports of vehicles being badly scratched along Crayford Way and Barnes Cray Road. It seems to be notably from Wednesday 14th October, the cost of repairs is high. We know people have different thoughts on the COVID 19, some people are very scared and cautious, others are blasé but the rules are in place to keep us all as safe as possible, whether we like these rules or not is irrelevant. The police have tried to explain and encourage the public to stay within the guidelines, it is only a matter of time and police WILL be enforcing these rules and fines will be given". Erith ward:- "This week 2 thefts of motor vehicles, these do not seem related and happened in different areas and at different times. Both VIWs contacted and reassurance visits carried out, leaflet posting in the areas, also emails sent out with vehicle crime advice. Stolen vehicle recovered in Tower Road by Erith officers not related to the theft of above. Two Residential Burglaries both from HMOs TV stolen and the other had a suitcase stolen, these do not seem contacted and are in different areas, VIWs were contacted and cocooning carried out in the areas. This week we held a knife arch outside Bexley College 1 knife was recovered and a positive stop for cannabis. The community ward survey will be ready next week if you could fill this in, it will only take about 1 minute but will give us a good feedback on issues." Northumberland Heath ward:- "The team has been continuing with patrols in our ASB hotspots, including Becton Place, Brook Street, Wheelock Close, Northumberland Rec. We have had a report this week of two youths on electric scooters who have approached a young male in North Heath Rec and snatched his bag from him. Today PC Suat and PC Pezzato were at the recreation ground with Bexley council workmen who were installing the pincher gates, these gates will reduce the capability of motorbikes entering the park and slow down pedal cycles and scooters. Within the next month, the second set of pincher gates will be installed to the second entrance of the park. As Halloween approaches, the team has been advising the local shops to limit the sale of eggs and flour, posters will be supplied for them to put in their shop windows. If you are or know of any vulnerable persons who would like an A4 poster to put on their door asking children to refrain from knocking, please get in touch with the team and we will pop one round to them. There have been no burglaries on the ward this week. We have however had one theft of motor vehicle from Eastry Road". Slade Green and Northend ward:-"No burglaries in the last week. 2 stop and searches whereby drugs were found. One fine issued and one official warning was given. The team assisted the Erith team today with a knife arch operation at Bexley College. We are aware of a group causing criminal damage and ASB last Saturday evening in various parts of the ward. CCTV images are being collected and extra patrols will be ongoing in these areas". Thamesmead East ward:- "Attempted Burglary -On Saturday 17/10/20 at 2:00 pm an unknown person had tried using a key to enter a flat in Osney House, Hartslock Drive.No entry gained and no damage to the door. Remember remain vigilant, close and lock windows and doors even if you’re only going out for a short time. When the nights get longer keep burglars guessing – use timer lights. Motor Vehicle Crimes - The front and rear number plates were stolen from a vehicle parked in Surlingham Close during the early hours of Friday 16/10/20. Between the hours of 8:00pm on Sunday 18/10/20 and 5:20 am on Monday 19/10/20. Both number plates were stolen from a vehicle parked outside of Wyfold House, Wolvercote Road." West Heath ward:- "There were no reported burglaries from Wednesday 14/10/20 to Tuesday 20/10/20, but there was one reported theft of a motor vehicle for the same period. On Saturday 17/10/20 at 2300 hours the informant’s vehicle a grey Mercedes index GF67 UCY was stolen from outside the victim’s driveway at Chessington Avenue".
The end video this week is courtesy of Erith's Carnegie Ensemble - the house band of The Exchange, based in the Andrew Carnegie gifted library in Walnut Tree Road, that is currently undergoing phase two of its restoration. You can read more about the project by clicking here. The Carnegie Ensemble can be seen playing Percy Hilder Miles Cello Quartet (1906) - Finale. All was done via Zoom and edited together. Do give it a watch, and send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.