Sunday, January 24, 2021

The White Rose.

I took the middle of the three photos above on Thursday afternoon. The stickers were glued on to the Woolwich bound route 99 bus shelter outside of All Saints Church in Upper Belvedere. Several other bus shelters in Upper Belvedere, including the Bexleyheath bound 401 stop in Picardy Road had also been fly posted with similar stickers, which you can see in the lower of the three images above -  click on any one for a larger view. I understand that we live in a society where we have free speech, and the ability to disagree with others on a multitude of subjects, but frankly I find the stickers to be promoting a philosophy that is downright dangerous. I am sure that many readers will have been affected by Covid-19, either personally, or via a relative or friend. I am also of the opinion that Transport for London (TfL) will take an exceedingly dim view of people vandalising their property. The person or persons applying the stickers to the bus shelters are entitled to their views - as perverted and misguided as they are; what I find offensive is that they are attempting to subvert others into their warped and completely without scientific basis philosophy. What also offends me is that the anti vaccination group are calling themselves The White Rose. You may not be familiar with the name, but it was originally coined in World War Two as the name for a heroic group. The White Rose was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students including Hans and Alexander Schmorell. They attended the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials by the Nazi People's Court, and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment. Hans, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on 22 February 1943. During the trial, Sophie interrupted the judge multiple times. No defendants were given any opportunity to speak. The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime's crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups. Today, the White Rose is well known both within Germany and worldwide. Thus I find it offensive that a group of deluded conspiracy theorists whose dangerous and scientifically incorrect views who are plastering local bus stops with their stickers, should have the sheer gall to use a name most connected with a group of heroic anti Nazi campaigners. What do you think? Email me at

During the last week there has been some interesting news; apparently the balloon shaped like a baby Donald Trump, that was used in the protests against the former presidents' visit to the UK in 2018 is going to become an exhibit in The Museum of London. I am led to believe that it will be housed in a gallery along with other historical items of protest - placards from the Suffragettes, and banners opposing the Vietnam War. What it will also share museum space with, is in my mind even more interesting. The baby Trump balloon will be housed alongside the placard once wielded by the "Less Protein" man - Stanley Green. He used to patrol Oxford and Regent Street in the West End, holding aloft a large board proclaiming the evils of eating too much protein, and “sitting”. He used to sell self published tracts explaining his rather unique world view. Stanley Green was a true British eccentric, and became somewhat of a tourist attraction in the 1980's. By all accounts, Stanley was a difficult character. He never settled in a job, never married and lived with his parents in a council flat in Northolt for most of his life. His campaign against eating protein began after his mother’s death in 1967. I can recall seeing him on an almost daily basis when I worked for Silica Shop in Tottenham Court Road. Stanley Green, one of 20th century London's best-known characters. For 25 years he was a regular sight on Oxford Street, warning people about the dangers of eating protein. There he would share his ideas for improving the physical and psychological well being of the country, based primarily on the idea that the consumption of too much protein led to the moral turpitude he had first encountered in the Navy during the War and which had then infected the whole country. He would wander up and down Oxford Street in his recognisable peaked cotton cap, preaching his gospel in his soft but resonant tone, with his placard clearly visible above the pedestrians’ heads and his shoulder bag full of his curious little booklets. On Saturdays he would decamp to Leicester Square to spread the word there, selling his pamphlets and presenting his placard to the cinema-going public. He began his crusade at the age of 53, then stuck at this resolutely for fully quarter of a century. His message evolved just once, to incorporate his belief that too much sitting was almost as big a problem as the eight ‘passion proteins’. According to his theory, these were “Meat, Fish, Bird, Egg, Cheese, Peas, Beans and Nuts”. These were the raw materials of the ‘Protein Wisdom’ that was the subject of his eccentric pamphlet. His placard, by now a common sight bobbing over the heads of the people milling around Oxford Circus, now incorporated an additional sign beneath the main banner, warning of the dangers of sedentary life. Too much sitting, he argued, just formed more protein. He believed it made people uncontrollably passionate, and that this was a source of anarchy in the world. From 1968 to 1993, Stanley Green could regularly be seen in Oxford Street campaigning against the dangers of eating protein. When he died in 1993, the Museum of London acquired his placards and a complete set of his hand printed booklets - Eight Passion Proteins. Stanley had paraded up and down London's Oxford St for the last 25 years carrying a placard warning against the dangers of lust and passion caused by fish, meat, bird, cheese, egg, peas, beans, nuts and sitting, and selling his leaflets at 12p each - later the price was raised to 20p, as his printing costs increased. Until he qualified for his free travel pass, he would cycle the 15 miles from his home in Northolt to Oxford Street, with his placard on his back. He recalled with pleasure that motorists used to toot their horns and wave as they passed, and on occasions, whole coachloads had stood up and cheered him. His own diet was porridge, fruit, steamed vegetables, lentils, home-baked bread and barley water mixed with milk powder. Stanley Green died back in 1993, ironically it is thought of malnutrition due to his poor diet. By the end of his remarkable life, Stanley Green claimed to have sold some 87,000 of his pamphlets. He had been embraced by (most of) the people of London as one of the city’s eccentrics and had even taken part in a fashion show for Red or Dead at the invitation of Wayne Hemingway.

Many parts of the country are currently plagued by the theft of vehicle registration plates. This is exceptionally the case locally, where it is a significant issue. The reasons for number plate theft are varied; but include the following, according to research carried out by motoring organisation the RAC. The organisation sent Freedom of Information requests to 34 police forces and based on the responses it received, it has revealed that more than 20,700 number plates were stolen in England and Wales during 2019 (the most recent year for which statistics were available) – an average of 56 per day. But why are criminals stealing just the car’s number plates? Put simply, to disguise their own cars, or cars they plan to use for criminal purposes. One of the most common ways to use stolen number plates is in fuel theft. Drivers attach stolen number plates to a car and then drive into a fuel station, fill the car with fuel and drive off.  Fuel theft is not the only reason number plates are stolen. Cars with stolen plates have also been used in other crimes, including shop lifting, burglaries or robberies. Other cases have involved drivers avoiding paying for insurance or tax by attaching stolen number plates to cars of a similar make, model and colour, and then driving around without the risk of triggering automatic number plate recognition systems on police cars. Why do I need to be concerned? Because if your number plates are stolen and attached to a car used in a crime, police will use the number plate details to trace the car, which will come back to wherever the car is registered. So you could find the police knocking at your door. Worse still, if the number plates have been attached to a car of a similar make, model and colour to yours, you would have to prove it wasn’t you. If you don’t happen to have a good alibi, that could land you in all sorts of trouble. Even if that doesn’t happen, you could still find yourself on the receiving end of fixed penalty notices or parking tickets if someone is driving around with your registration number on their car. Whilst these issues are common around the UK, the local area has a specific issue that is unique to the region. According to reports I have read, in some instances, nearly one in twelve vehicles using the Dartford River Crossing are on false, cloned or stolen plates. This is because the authorities removed the toll booths in 2014, and installed an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system. As a result, the booths on the Kent side were removed and the charge is now only payable online, by post, or in certain participating retail outlets. The charges vary according to the type of vehicle. Motorcycles are free but there are standard charges for cars, two-axle goods vehicles and larger vehicles with more than two axles. Drivers who fail to pay the charge are issued with a penalty charge notice. There are no signs warning of penalty charges. Local criminals either steal number plates, or clone them from similar looking vehicles in order to evade the crossing charges. Locals have received penalty charge notices from the crossing administrators when in reality they had not used the crossing - in some cases they were actually on a foreign holiday at the time of the alleged offence. A vehicle very similar to the innocent one had been used with cloned plates. One in twelve of the 37 million vehicles on UK roads could have cloned registration plates, according to research. The vast number of cloned plates, in which a car’s identity is disguised by the false use of an authorised registration or characters amended to a registration that does not exist, are associated with serious criminal activity. Dr Ken German, a director of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), who collated figures from various official sources, said that according to the police there are thousands of cloned plates spotted every day by their Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and CCTV cameras clearly in an attempt (they suggest) to avoid detection when stealing petrol, parking illegally, speeding or committing more serious offences such as burglary or robbery. About 1.75 million of the 37 million vehicles of all types in the UK (about 32 million of those being cars) are estimated be wearing cloned registration plates. This is made up of 250,000 vehicles of all types - including cars, motorcycles, HGVs, vans, caravans, motor homes, plant and agricultural machinery - reported stolen last year, plus the 500,000 vehicles written off by insurers. There are also about a million vehicles still un-recovered from the last decade. The remainder of the one-in-12 total - about 1.25 million vehicles - is made up of legitimate registrations that have been doctored so they read differently. More than 100,000 sets of number plates are stolen every year but many more will have been altered with paint, a felt tip pen or black tape to deceive ANPR cameras or witnesses to a crime.

The historic photo above (click on it to see a larger version) shows the old Pembroke Road Level Crossing back in 1970, along with a London - bound train which has just passed over the level crossing on its way to Belvedere Station. I can recall walking over this crossing with my Mum when I was very small, and remember looking into the gate operators little hut, to see him drinking tea. The level crossing was replaced with a metal footbridge back in the late 70's / early 80's. The road in the background has not changed very much, though the building on the left of the photograph is now a private house. I think back then it was a women's hair dressers, though I am not certain. Can anyone who has better knowledge please let me know? Comment below, or Email me at

If you look back at the now very extensive archive of old Maggot Sandwich updates, and visit some of the entries over the last fourteen and a half years that I have been running the blog (under the "About Me" panel at the top right of the screen) you will see a box marked "Blog Archive" - if you click on the drop down button, you can see a list of the well over eight hundred and twenty weekly entries that I have made - select and click on any of these to see old, historical content). You will notice on some entries that photos just show placeholders, or embedded YouTube videos no longer play. This is caused by a phenomenon called "Link Rot". There are lots of reasons for link rot: websites are restructured or shifted to a new content management system and break all the previous URLs; articles get moved behind a paywall; people delete social media accounts or change their privacy settings; or links contain information that goes out of date, or YouTube videos are taken down due to copyright violations. A piece of software called "Amber" has been created to stop this from happening. Amber has been designed by Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and it provides what it calls a "persistent route" to information on the internet by automatically taking and retaining a snapshot of every page on a website and storing it on the same website's server. If for whatever reason a URL goes dead, rather than returning a 404 error page, the tool should provide visitors with the relevant snapshot. The snapshots are stored on the same server as the website but can be configured to save them on third-party systems or in archival systems. All very clever stuff, but no good to me at present, as at the time of writing, Blogger, the platform which hosts the Maggot Sandwich does not support Amber - maybe in time; it would be a very powerful tool to have access to.

Whilst travelling around the local area, I have encountered a couple of examples of technical archaeology, in the form of BSB "Squarials" - antennas once used to receive the long defunct British Satellite Broadcasting Service, that was beaten in business by the technologically simpler, but cheaper and more reliable service from Sky. The satellite age did not really kick-off in the UK until 1989 when a Rupert Murdoch run Sky Television went head-to-head against BSB. The stark difference between the two services was perhaps best symbolised by their radically different satellite dish designs: Sky’s was an ugly, wire-mesh, affair, cheaply made by Amstrad, whereas the BSB squarial was of an elegant white, adhering to that aesthetic so beloved of home make-over programmes – clean, sleek lines. At the time, the Sky service was a very technologically pedestrian analogue FM system, whereas the BSB service was digital from the outset. The BSB Squarial was a technological marvel - it was a phased array antenna - something previously only seen in high end military radar applications. It was very difficult to make, and BSB heavily subsidised the antennas to buyers from the outset. Undoubtedly the BSB squarial was the more elegant of the two but whose carried the most popular service? Well BSB offered then state-of-the art D-MAC satellite technology and an eclectic mix of arts, sport and entertainment programming, but for those who chose Sky there was unlimited ALF, 21 Jump Street and The Price is Right. Much in the way that VHS beat the marginally superior Betamax video recorder format a few years earlier. After not very long, Sky bought out BSB, and the D-MAC satellites were decommissioned. Thirty two years or so later, a very few people still have the defunct antennas attached to the outside of their houses - there is one I have seen in Northumberland Heath, and one in Barnehurst. They are now of some minor historical importance.

Now for the weekly local safety and security updates from Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association. Firstly the report from Barnehurst ward:- "Over the past week, Barnehurst has suffered one theft from a motor vehicle. The incident took place in Courtleet Drive on Friday 15/01/2021 at 19:30 hours whereby a Catalytic Converter was stolen from a Volkswagen Golf. This type of crime is increasing rapidly on the Borough. Since this Incident on Friday Barnehurst Ward Officers, we have been knocking on doors making residents aware. Vehicles such as the Toyota Auris, Lexus RX, Honda Jazz and Toyota Prius are prime targets so if you or any of your neighbours own one of these vehicles please take steps to prevent your vehicle being targeted. The team have been paying particular attention to the ABC roads including Fairford Avenue due to drug dealing taking place. These patrols will be continuing over the coming weeks". Belvedere ward:- "There have been a few incidents occurring in the last week around vehicle crimes throughout the ward – a car was stolen from outside number 12 St. Augustines Road. It had been parked at the location for some time (over the Christmas and New Year period). A resident of Milton Road reported that at the start of this week someone had cut all four tyres of his van which had been parked outside of his property at the time. On Tuesday evening a resident of Abbey Road reported that her vehicle had been broken into (however no items appear to have been taken from within) whilst it had been parked at the residents parking area of Florence Road / Manorside Close. There was an attempted burglary reported on Monday this week, In Norman Road. Access to the property was not gained however the person responsible had approached the property via the rear garden, and was found to have used items from within the garden (belonging to the resident of the address) in an effort to get in. Please be aware of this and ensure that all personal items that may be left in gardens are securely stored away (perhaps in a shed). We have been getting further reports of ongoing suspected drug use and dealing in and around the Clive Road / Upper Abbey Road area – with younger people arriving in the area both on foot and in several different vehicles. We are patrolling the area as much as possible and are in close contact with partner agencies with regard to this issue". Bexleyheath ward:- "There have been no reported burglaries on the ward over the last week which is good news. Along Albion Road in the bowling alley car park, the pay and display machine has been broken into every so often and money is taken from inside. Also, there was a report of criminal damage to a motor vehicle along Heathfield Road Bexleyheath on Tuesday 12th January". Crayford ward:- "On Wednesday 13th January between 02:00 and 13:30, a black Mercedes was stolen from outside a property in Maiden Lane. It has since been recovered by police in Essex after being used in an attempted burglary. Between 21.30 on Thursday 14th, January and 10:15 on Friday 15th January the rear number plate was stolen off a vehicle whilst parked at the rear of shops in Crayford Road. Number plate RJ59 LUR should be on a black Renault. It is believed that an attempt was made to break into a garage in Iron Mill Lane on Tuesday 19th January between 02:00 and 02:10. The resident was alerted by the alarm going off and when checking found the garage door open but undamaged, nothing had been taken. On Tuesday 19th January between 1:30 and 1:35 in Shuttle Road, a resident was woken as his motorcycle alarm was going off.  On checking, he found the cover removed and the disc lock had been broken off the front wheel. On reviewing CCTV it was established that two young males had been attempting to steal the bike. Please visit for more information on how to keep your motorcycle as safe and secure as possible".  Erith ward - no report this week. Northumberland Heath ward - no report this week. Slade Green and Northend ward:- "A delivery driver had his car stolen on Friday Jan 15th after leaving his vehicle running as he delivered a takeaway. Please do not ever leave your engine running for any length of time. A small window pane was broken in Forest Road in the early hours of Saturday 16th Jan. This has been reported as an attempted burglary at this time although enquiries are ongoing to ascertain if someone was trying to get inside. Barnett Close and Maynard Close have both had separate incidents of having a window smashed by stones being thrown. These have happened at night but added to the Forest Road window, it may be a pattern developing. We will be making patrols and enquiries across the ward for any similar incidents." Thamesmead East ward:- "No burglaries to report this week – However, remain vigilant at all times. Motor Vehicle crimes - Between the times of 12:00 pm on Tuesday 12/1/21 and 2:00 pm on Saturday 16/1/21, a vehicle parked outside of Duxford House had both the front and rear number plates stolen. Lytham Close- a vehicle was stolen between 11:00 pm Monday 18/1/21 and 06:30 am Tuesday 19/1/21. Redbourne Drive- another vehicle was stolen between 11:00 pm Monday 18/1/21 and 07:30 am Tuesday 19/1/21. Between the hours 00:10 am and 08:00 am on Tuesday 19/1/21 a vehicle parked in Sunningdale Close was stolen from outside of the property. Another vehicle parked in Redbourne Drive was stolen between the hours of 1:40 pm and 3:20 pm on Tuesday 19/1/21. The above vehicle stolen all had key less entry systems". West Heath ward;- "No burglaries have been reported to us over the last week, we have however been hit by a number of motor vehicle crimes this week. Theft of catalytic converter Abbotts Walk Friday 15/01/2021  between 19:15 hours and 19:23 hours. Theft of a Transit van Hollingbourne Avenue Monday 18/01/2021 between 14:00 hours and 17:15 hours. Theft of a minibus Orchard Avenue between Sunday 17/01/2021 20:00 hours and 06:40 hours Monday 18/01/2021. Theft of a dark blue Mercedes Bideford Road between Sunday 17/01/2021 22:00 hours and Monday 18/01/2021 15:00 hours. The team received intelligence that youths were gathering around the Pantiles, smoking drugs, and leaving used Nitrous  Oxide Canisters. We patrolling the area late last Saturday evening when we came across several parked vehicles at that location. The occupants and their vehicles were searched, the canisters cleared up by the youths and they were dealt with for breaching government guidelines".

The end video this week features a short film taken at Slade Green Station - the least busy railway station in the London Borough of Bexley in terms of passenger numbers, but due to its' proximity to the Slade Green sidings and train sheds, it experiences a great deal of rail traffic. Comments to me at

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