Thursday 28 March 2013

'20 Years on after Stephen Lawrence's death': British Future debate in Eltham

David Lammy MP sitting on left; Deborah Mattinson standing
On Wednesday 27 March, British Future and Britain Thinks held a citizens’ jury and debate in Eltham, at Eltham's new Harris Academy (formerly Eltham Green school) "to help to ensure that local voices are heard during our national conversations about how Britain changed since 1993."
The panel included two backbencher MPs, Conservative MP Gavin Barwell and Labour MP David Lammy, as well as 'public attitudes specialist' Deborah Mattinson to discuss public attitudes and proposals from the workshop.

There was a thoughtful essay by way of preview to the event posted by Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future, here who co-incidentally has also lived in Eltham. "...Living in Eltham when the inquiry reported, I remember how the media coverage seemed to me to only capture part of the story. It was important to see justice done. But that should never depend on choosing whether to deny the existence of racism or stereotype white working-class communities instead...."

BBC 4's Today programme reported on the Eltham Harris Academy event the next morning - link to the 8 minute report by Mike Thomson here (starting at 2.44.30 secs in). There are also some tweets about the event by British Future at @britishfuture.
British Future have released this short video from the debate MPs

Here's my quick notes from listening to the Today programme this morning:

....Stephen Lawrence's killing in 1993 is an unavoidable reference point in any conversation about race in Britain....the British Future event brought together two generations to discuss how much has changed in Eltham since the then (although attributed the Harris Academy to 'Greenwich' rather than Eltham)....

Deborah Mattinson moderated discussions of one group, 17-18 yr olds (?). Reporter refers to the 1999 MacPherson enquiry which found the police to be "institutionally racist" but says that "few believe that's true today". One of the young people says that "it's fear or ignorance rather than racism", that's how he likes to view things. Others believe the levels of racism in Eltham have been exaggerated and now there is more of a mix of races and cultures in Eltham which has helped improve the situation. There are references to a 'groundswell of youth who are disengaged from society'....

The 'top vote' on what to propose was for a need for 'more practical learning' - should be able to do things like 'plumbing' and not just 'geography'. Gavin Barwell MP promised to take this back to his 'boss' Michael Gove.

The report finishes by asking whether "this gathering will prove to be anything more than well-intentioned hot air?" Patrick Carswell (?) concludes "that's up to the residents of Eltham".

Thursday 14 March 2013

'Born in Lewisham Hospital' 16 March, 2pm

As well as supporting our Lewisham neighbours in any event, this is important to Greenwich borough residents too. Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, the alternative posed, is very far for many ill or pregnant Lewisham residents. QE Hospital would become very pressurised for all users, even more than it already is.

More on the Save Lewisham Hospital website.

Interesting list of people born in Lewisham Hospital on the Transpontine blog.

Friday 8 March 2013

Join the Wrens!

Random photo time...

Join the Wrens
We still need you

As a loose connection to International Women's Day, a poster from our trip to HMS Belfast last November (which also contains an in-joke for family...)

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Be a local tourist in Eltham: Sunday 24 March 2013

From the Royal Greenwich website:

'Be a Local Tourist Day' in Eltham offers a host of free activities from tours and historical adventures to musical entertainment at Eltham landmarks. Locals can explore the hidden gems on their doorsteps and visitors from further afield are welcome to discover new treasures in this historic town.
This is an annual event and will be held on Sunday 24 March this year. Highlights include:
  • Eltham Palace
  • the Bob Hope Theatre
  • St John the Baptist Church
  • the fire station
  • The Lodge, home of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club
  • Spring Wedding Fayre at the Well Hall Pleasaunce
  • discounts and promotions at local shops
Download and print the Be a Local Tourist flyer to enjoy the offers. The flyer is also available from Greenwich Tourist Information Centre.

Further information

For more information contact the Tourist Information Centre on 0870 608 2000 or email

Sunday 3 March 2013

Folly, medieval bridge or cattle screen?

 View from the 1st floor of Lion pub
We had lunch at The Lion pub today, set on the River Darent, at Farningham, Kent. It's a Vintage Inn pub and very cosy it was too. Roaring fireplace, welcoming staff and a nice menu including the usual roasts and even a 'beetroot strudel' for veggies. The 18thC pub is in a lovely setting, with lawns and seating right up to the river where our children have happily waded before in the summer and apparently Charles Dickens has fished for trout. The Lion's staff apparently "could change a team of horses in three minutes!" The 13thC St Peter and St Paul's church can be seen in the background.

I was intrigued though by this old structure in the stretch of river outside the pub. Historians disagree what it is - is is a remnant of an old bridge? A wealthy man showing off? Is it an old cattle screen preventing cattle from wander down the shallow stream?

There is a board next to the structure which usefully tells us: "It is thought to have been built between 1740 and 1770 although the exact date is unknown. The structure is unique and its purpose has been puzzled over. Once thought to be a folly or the remains of the north side of a medieval bridge, the structure is in all probability a cattle screen, built to prevent cattle wandering downstream whilst crossing the ford.

The Farningham screen is the only one in the country to have been constructed in such an ornate way and would probably have been built whilst the Hanger family owned Farningham Manor...."

There's some interesting information here too by a rambler.

Saturday 2 March 2013

"Hurry with the curry" says Eltham MP Clive Efford

My mother's homemade keema and aubergine and potato
Our local MP, Clive Efford, invites you to nominate your favourite south asian restaurant in Eltham for the 2013 Tiffin Cup. As explained further on his website:

"Clive Efford has launched the search for the best Indian or South Asian restaurant in his constituency.

The Tiffin Cup, now in its eighth year, celebrates the best of South Asian cuisine and offers people an opportunity to celebrate the rich variety of flavours served in restaurants up and down the country.
Members of Parliament are asked to nominate the most popular South Asian restaurant in their constituencies – and Clive is asking for help from local residents.

So if you’re keen on a korma, delight in a dhansak or love a lassi then this is a chance for you to choose your favourite local curry house......

To nominate your favourite South Asian restaurant either email Clive at or visit Nominations have to be in by March 28th, so hurry with the curry."

Hmmm..."keen on a korma, delight in a dhansak or love a lassi" Nothing like a bit of alliteration...

It is about time this blog, considering its name and the fact that it is written by a Brit-Asian, tackled the local 'Indian' restaurants (of course many are Bangladeshi, a different country, people). So, who are the candidates in Eltham? Here's my list of Indian restaurants in Eltham:

7 Newmarket Green
Eltham, London, SE9 5ER.  020 8850 3591
377 Well Hall Road
Eltham, London, SE9 6TY.  020 8856 3777
[one of our regulars...]
The Cafe Raj
69 Well Hall Road
Eltham, London, SE9 6SZ.   
020 8294 2494
52 Eltham High St
Eltham, London, SE9 1BT.   020 8850 6578
220 Eltham High St
Eltham, London, SE9 1BA.   020 8859 4213

Moonlight Tandoori
3 Tudor Parade, London, SE9 6SY.   020 8859 4994
97 Westmount Road
Eltham, London, SE9 1XX.   020 8859 3300
267 Eltham High Street
Eltham, London, SE9 1TY.    
020 8850 8022
[used to go here years ago]

86 Eltham High St, London SE9 1BW.  
020 8850 2626
[one of the newer, more up market additions...]

Have I missed any? Who are your favourites? I'll reveal mine all in good time, before the deadline...