26 September, 2010

The Camber Well

Strange things lurk behind suburban houses, and the lady who lives in this house has a historic monument in her back garden.

A rare opportunity arose to see this today, so I set off in the gloom of an autumnal day to see the Camber Well. After a trek round the whole of Grove Park off Camberwell Grove I managed to find the right house with a small printed notice on the gate. I joined a small group and Noreen introduced the well and John, who has been digging it out. All they have recovered so far is Victorian back fill when the well was filled in got building land. The great slab of York Stone you can see in the picture is an attempt by a Victorian builder at a cap. You can also see the round brick work of what must have been a substantial well at least four feet in diameter.

John, who is digging it out supported by donations from coffee supplied to visitors, I had a cup as it was rather too cold for a beer or a wine, thought that the well might be pre Roman although all he has found so far is Victorian backfill. The well has been there for a very long time and is marked on some old maps. Other speculation is that "Camberwell Grove" might be something from prehistoric religion 'druid', or of course it might be eighteenth century romanticism. Never the less the dig is of great interest for the insight into the lives of the early inhabitants of London. John's website is here and you can read more about the well there, as well as some other aspects of London'd history.

25 September, 2010

Cheam, Dorking and Leatherhead

A visit to Cheam as a convenient stopping off point to buy a fare to Dorking led to an interesting hour or two in the Sutton Museum and the Lumley Chapel. There are a few interesting old weatherboarded buildings in Cheam and one of these is called 'White Hall' and was home to one family from the 17th Century until the 1950s.
The display there was quite interesting and encompassed the history of the house and Cheam in general.

After Cheam it was time to take the train to Dorking and Leatherhead. Leatherhead did not have much of interest about it but Dorking had a massive cock.

22 September, 2010

Barrow in Furness and the Lakes - Semper Sursum

Barrow is an industrial town with some reasonably good bus services into the Lake District. I went there for my holidays this year, which was quite fun in spite of the diurnal rain. The main photographic highlight was a tour of the Barrow Town Hall with its ballroom, council chamber, retiring room and Mayors Parlour. There were lots of things with Bees and arrows on them (B-arrow) and some furniture which had come from Mr Ramsden's house, the first mayor, which had R on them. The first mayor was the promoter of the Furness Railway and he and other industrialists, including the Duke of Devonshire, got together to promote the first town council. The history of the town is writ large in the town hall in stained glass and oil paintings.

A day in Kendal was wet so no pictures there alas. We did not stay for the torchlight carnival as that would have meant taking a bus back at eleven at night. Some fine cafes in Kendal though, and a very fine Quaker tapestry exhibition. This showed aspects of the Friends history and works, and I was impressed to see a panel depicting the Scott-Bader Commonwealth. This was a fine insight into the beliefs and practices of the Friends. You can read about, and see it here.

A day at Ambleside and Windermere was fun with a cruise on the lake. Ambleside has the quaint bridge house and also the Armitt Library and Museum where we hid during the downpour and looked at Beatrix Potter's paintings of fungi.

Another day saw us go into Ulverston and look from afar at the Sir John Barrow monument.

I also saw Swarthmoor Hall which I had met at the Quaker Tapestry exhibition.

All in all a good holiday even if the weather was unkind.

21 September, 2010


I've blogged about East Tilbury before, but this time I found the library with its Bata Museum. This was very interesting. The factory stands all alone in its bleakness.

The main reason for going was to see Tilbury Fort, a fort built by Henry VIII originally but altered during Charles II day. Visitors enter by the watergate, an impressive gate to show the might and majesty of the Kingdom to visitors.

The underground passages were closed due to a power failure (so they said) but the rest of the fort including the powder magazine complete with replica barrels was open.
The Officers quarters had some curious chimneys.

It's interesting to see these places...