Last Monday afternoon there was a serious fire at an electricity substation in Lower Belvedere, as you can see in the photo above - click on it to see a larger version. The fire, which occurred in the substation / transformer unit adjacent to the Starbucks and Lidl stores caused a power cut which affected many properties and businesses in the DA17 postcode area. For most residents, the power outage lasted approximately one hour - it would appear that the electricity supplier was able to reroute power away from the affected unit and restore service to local people. Thanks once again to regular Maggot Sandwich contributor and long time reader Miles for bringing the story to my attention, and for supplying the photo above.
The photograph above is around 160 years old, and thus well out of copyright. I have digitally restored it, as the original was very yellowed and covered in dark spots. The photo, which you can see above, is what may well be the earliest surviving photograph taken in Erith. It depicts a structure that was apparently known as the Round House. There has been much discussion as to the location of the Round House, but a report from the Kentish Times, 1925 states that “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”. Can you see the lady sitting on the steps? The man with the what looks like an outsized musket can be clearly seen in the foreground - the weapon is actually what is known as a punt, or duck gun. It is a muzzle loading flintlock weapon that was designed operate in a similar way to a modern 12 bore shotgun - firing a cloud of lead pellets at the intended target. The punt or duck gun was designed to be fired from the prone position, as if you were standing, the ducks and geese would see you and fly away, and also they had a fearsome recoil, likely to knock you off your feet. The usual way of operating such a weapon was to use a small boat (punt), lay down lengthwise in it, and to float out into the river or pond and then to wait until a flock of game birds landed nearby, then give the unwitting flock a broadside. Not very sporting, but that did not count for much when you were trying to bag some food for the table.
A garden area at Flaxman Court, Belvedere – an Orbit Independent Living Scheme recognised in the Britain in Bloom awards. Orbit issued the following press release on Thursday. It reads:- "Orbit housing schemes for older people in Bexley are celebrating after scooping awards in national and local horticultural competitions. Buckles Court and Flaxman Court in Belvedere, Sherwood House and Lambert Court in Erith, and Bushey Court and Marler House in Slade Green, which all offer purpose-built accommodation exclusively for older people, have all been awarded certificates in the Royal Horticultural Society’s national gardening competition – Britain in Bloom. The Community Garden Awards recognise smaller community groups, such as those based at independent living schemes, who have nurtured their outdoor spaces for the benefit of fellow residents and the wider local area. Buckles Court was awarded with a level one certificate, Sherwood House received a level two certificate, whilst Flaxman Court, Bushey Court, Lambert Court and Marler House all received a level five – the highest certificate available. The schemes were also entered into the local Ruxley in Bloom competition run by Ruxley Garden Centre, where Marler House was awarded third place in the Best Communal Garden category and Lambert Court received two Silver Gilt awards for both the Best Front Garden and Best Rear Garden. Hayley Case, Estate Team Manager for Orbit, said: “We’re so very proud of these awards and of all our residents, employees and contractors who have worked really hard together to brighten up our outdoor spaces. As a result of the pandemic, we’re all valuing our outdoor spaces more than ever and we’re determined to build on the success of these awards and continue to work with our residents to create brighter, greener spaces for the community.”
Thanks again to correspondent Miles - the photo above (click on it for a larger view) shows the new Electric Vehicle charging station at the BP garage in Bexley Road, Northumberland Heath, which has recently opened after a considerable period of construction. The work to install and configure EV charging points in the car park of Erith Morrison's, which I featured a few weeks ago seems to have stalled; at present all that is visible on the Erith site are a couple of metal poles and an EV charging graphic which has been painted on the tarmac adjacent to the unfinished facility. I will keep and eye on the (slow) progress, and advise accordingly. If you have any information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following announcement was released last week by Bexley Borough Neighbourhood Watch Association:- "A borough-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) has come into force from Monday 25 October following a recent consultation with Bexley residents and businesses and will be in place for three years and subject to future reviews. The aim of the PSPO is to help reduce the community impact of drug and alcohol misuse, specifically the health impact of nitrous oxide along with problematic street drinking and associated anti-social behaviour, including litter. The consultation that ran from 6 to 20 October followed a request from Bexley Police to introduce the PSPO. 1663 responses were received with 97% of residents supporting a boroughwide PSPO to address the misuse of nitrous oxide canisters, and 85% of residents in support of a boroughwide PSPO for street drinking. Prohibited behaviour within the PSPO area will include – committing or being likely to commit, alcohol-related anti-social behaviour - being in possession of (without a lawful or reasonable excuse) nitrous oxide canisters - consuming, inhaling, injecting or smoking any substance capable of stimulating or depressing the central nervous system (eg nitrous oxide) - behaving in an anti-social manner within any public car park or any park - behaving in an anti-social manner in any other public space, whether on your own, or with any other person(s). Anyone found to be in breach of any of these by an authorised person - including a delegated officer of the London Borough of Bexley, a police constable or a police community support officer - will be issued with a brief intervention card offering access to substance misuse helplines; as well as being asked to surrender any psychoactive substances (e.g. nitrous oxide) and dispose of any alcohol in their possession. If over 18 they will also be subject to a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £100 with an early pay reduction to £60.00. Information on the local support available for drug or alcohol addiction will also be shared with anyone in breach of the rules who may need it. Inhaling nitrous oxide gas can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, collapse and consequent injury. Taking it can lead to a range of health problems, such as burns, a dangerously increased heart rate, swelling on the brain, nerve damage and anaemia, as well as serious psychological problems. Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Sue Gower MBE said: “It isn’t just the anti-social or the litter side to this issue that concerns us – more important there are the very real health implications for anyone inhaling nitrous oxide. We are hoping that this order will deter people from risking their lives in this way. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to take part in this consultation. It was clear from the responses that our residents feel that this is the best way to tackle this kind of behaviour. We shall be monitoring the PSPO to see how successful it is over the next few months. We are keen to also hear from residents on any other local crime and disorder issues that may concern them. The Bexley Crime survey is currently live online. The results of this survey will help the Community Safety Partnership decide its priorities for 2022/23.” The Bexley Crime survey runs until 31 December and is available online at www.bexley.gov.uk/crimesurvey A paper version of the Bexley Crime Survey can be requested from the Community Safety Team by calling 020 8303 7777 or writing to the Community Safety Team at Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath DA6 7AT. Once complete, please return your paper survey by post to the same address. All information, conditions and future updates in relation to the new PSPO will be available at www.bexley.gov.uk/PSPO. For further Community Safety information including PSPO updates, please sign up to our BCSP e newsletter www.bexley.gov.uk/newsupdates".
Thanks to the many readers who contacted me to suggest this weeks ending video, which features veteran YouTuber John Rogers, and his recent trip to Erith. Like many of his videos, this one is quite long at 22 minutes, but it is well worth a watch.