Now - a request for information; I have been informed that the permanent traveller site located opposite the recycling facility in Thames Road, Crayford appears to be empty and unused. Has the site been vacated? If so why and how? If there is another reason the site currently appears unused? All information will be treated in the strictest confidence. Email me at email@example.com.
Thanks to a regular reader and occasional contributor, who chooses to remain anonymous, here are a couple of architects impressions of the new development which is scheduled to be built opposite Bexley College in Walnut Tree Road, and across the road to the Old Carnegie Library - home of The Exchange. The development will be built on the piece of long empty waste ground which historically was once the location of Erith Tram Shed, which was demolished back in 1976. The developer, Flanagan Lawrence descibes the site thus:- "Won in Competition, this scheme for BexleyCo Homes will provide 60 homes of mixed tenure. The site is immediately adjacent to Erith Station and directly opposite the southern entrance to the adjacent College. An east, west orientated route from the Station opens towards a view of the Grade 2 listed Library. The plan form cranks away from Bronze Age way to create an acoustically attenuated garden for the residents, whilst the building form steps up to follow the contours of the site to create a new street façade opposite the Town Hall". It strikes me that this new development will mean that the adjacent underpass linking Erith Station with the town centre, which runs underneath Bronze Age Way will have to go. Flanagan Lawrence describe themselves as "an award-winning, design-led studio of architects and interior designers, based in London. Our practice has continuously expanded to develop extensive and collective expertise across a broad range of public and private sectors and building typologies. We have experience of designing for residential – private, BTR, affordable, Prime – commercial, hospitality and leisure, cultural and master plan projects. Our creativity directly translates into the fresh and progressive designs we create. Through a method of rigorous exploration and evaluation of concepts, ideas and detail, our innovative designs are both creatively compelling and commercially effective. Dynamic teamwork, both internally and externally, ensures we provide timely, effective and transparent information. Our contemporary, energy efficient designs are well planned and detailed and take account of the everyday needs of the people who use them. Our architecture is varied in its language but consistent in its ambition to place people at the heart of each project. We don’t assume that the way something has been done in the past makes it inevitably right for the future and so we spend time with our clients developing the brief and ensuring that the maximum potential of a site is realised - to the benefit of new residents, the existing local population and the client".
It used to be a relatively common thing to see Internet cafes in most high streets. Erith has had a cyber cafe in the former solicitor’s office in Cross Street for several years. It seems that they are becoming an endangered species though. Rather than go to a cyber cafe to log on using one of their computers, most people now will have a laptop or tablet, and will merely look for a local coffee shop or fast food outlet like McDonald’s that offer free wifi access to their customers. It would seem that this “value added” approach will break down the Internet cafes’ business model – mobile computing devices are nowadays so ubiquitous that the provision of bulky fixed desktop PC’s has become outmoded. I can see exceptions to this though; I note that Internet cafes are still popular in areas with a population that is predominantly composed of low income, transient residents. I can see the attraction – if you don’t have a lot of spare cash, and are not likely to be around the area for very long, you are unlikely to want to invest any money in a computer which may only work on UK voltage – cheaper and more convenient to keep in touch with the folks at home by paying a couple of quid to use someone else’s computer for an hour over a cup of coffee. This seems to hold true both in Erith and Plumstead, despite both towns having large and wifi enabled McDonalds close by the cyber cafe. I would be interested in others’ views on this.
Following my article about the demonstration which took place in August outside of Bexleyheath Library by members of extreme right wing fascist group Patriotic Alternative, I have been researching some of the views and policies of the far right, I came across something rather interesting; The name “Nazi” was meant as an insult when it was first coined. If someone called Hitler a Nazi, he would have been offended (admittedly briefly, before the name caller was taken away and shot). Hitler was the head of the catchily named “Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeitpartei” – which translates as the National Socialist German Workers Party. When Hitler invented this name, he apparently did not think it through very thoroughly. Hitler’s political and moral opponents soon caught on to the fact you could shorten Nationalsozialistiche to Nazi. Why would they do this? Well, because Nazi was a very old and unrelated term of abuse in the German language. The standard butt of German jokes at the beginning of the twentieth century were stupid Bavarian peasants; just as in the past, Irish jokes always involved a man called Paddy, so Bavarian jokes always involved a peasant called Nazi. The reason for this is just as Paddy is a shortened form of Patrick, Nazi was a shortened form of the very common Bavarian name of Ignatius. This meant that Hitler’s many opponents had an open goal; He had an extreme right wing party that was filled with Bavarian hicks, and the name of that party could be shortened to the standard German joke name for Bavarian hicks. At first, Hitler did not know what to do about the derogatory nickname “Nazi”, and it was a source of embarrassment – at least until he got into power, when he and his evil cohorts persecuted their opponents. Those that managed to avoid the concentration camps ended up fleeing Germany; refugees started to turn up all over Europe in the pre WWII years, where they understandably started complaining loudly about the Nazis, and pretty much everyone who was not German got the erroneous idea that this was their official name. To this day most people go round believing that Nazis went around calling themselves Nazis, when in reality they would have probably beaten you up, or worse for saying the word!