01 April, 2012

East Wickham and Welling

I went on a walk for health today, one of a series issued by the Green Chain Working Party to encourage walking, especially in the South East London Green Chain. All this has rather the atmosphere of 'graded' walks for tuberculous patients of the early twentieth century and indeed the walks are graded. I was on the eighth out of ten today. East Wickham open space is really not very interesting although I did see some robins and perhaps a wren - it was very small. Also a Brewer's Georgian pub. The medieaval church at East Wickham was too small for the influx of congregation for new housing so they built a new one adjoining the churchyard.

The new church's foundation stone was laid in 1932 and was one of the 25 new churches built as a result of the Bishop off Southwark's appeal for funds for the project. Very little money was available for the church here so that the design brief was to keep it simple and austere. The church outside is unchanged but the interior has been altered since the 1930s

There - much bigger!
After a pleasant pizza and tiramisu lunch in Welling I walked on to Danson Park to get in some sunbathing. The Old English garden was, as always, quietest and I had a pleasant half hour sitting in the sun looking at a sundial that had been presented to the Borough on and for the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's golden wedding in 1997.

Hardly anybody came into the garden. I sat on a seat in memory of a councillor who was 'first substitute charter Mayor' when the Urban District of Bexley was incorporated as a borough in 1937. The oak tree where this icorporation took place still lives in the park and is also emblazoned on the municipal coat of arms.

Bexley was home to William Morris the interior decorator (although he would probably hate that term) and social reformer who lived at the Red House. It is a little incongruous to walk along a suburban street of ordinary semis and detatched houses and suddenly find a house in a strange mix of Art and Crafts and Gothic styles. Designed for him by Phillip Webb in 1860 William Morris lived here for 5 years until 1865. In spite of the picture which makes it look as though it is built of London Stock Bricks, it is very red.

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