Monday, 9 June 2008

Forest Hill & Sydenham up in flames

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but it was quite a scene.

I woke up to a normal day, but apparently the fire had already started (just before 8 I believe) and the smoke was already rising.

Then, just before 9 the electricity went off. I spotted the black cloud and thought maybe some evangelical swimmers may have been looking to bring forward the demolition of the Forest Hill Pools.

I set off with my camera to investigate and found that the local electricity sub-station was in flames (or at least some oil fired generators next door) [story on the BBC]. Here they are on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

So, I took a few photos for the record.

[Click here for the full set of photos on Flickr]

Now, it seems that the record will be more complete thanks to these photos as they will probably be used in the South London Press and Mercury Newspapers. In fact, one is already on their website.

Quite a day, and that was BEFORE I went off to visit the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve and Forest Hill Day at the Horniman Museum gardens!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Forest Hill Events

In case you have not read about it on other sites or blogs, this is a quick reminder (for those who have yet to get around to removing this site from their feed readers) that this weekend June 8th, 2008 is Forest Hill Day.

There is no site to point you to (disappointingly), but it is to be held from 12:00 to 17:00 at the Horniman Gardens this Sunday.

At the same time, the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve is also holding an Open Day from 12:00 to 18:00 (they have a great new blog at least, well done!)

I'll do my best to be there, I hope you will too.

Lots of fun for the whole family I'm sure.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

"... a failure to communicate"


I was responding to a comment elsewhere on this blog about reservoirs and I tried to find a post I had written on the subject on this site. It related to the Beechcroft Reservoir just across from the SE23 border that happens to include a 9 hole golf course on top of it (!) for the Aquarius Golf Club, but I couldn't locate it.

I was sure I had written it as it was a feature of my very last walk and I even had a photo to go with it.

Having searched the site for a few minutes I found the post, half-written in this site's draft folder (from January).

I apologise unreservedly and will make sure I get that post finished and online as soon as possible, if only for posterity, and to resolve the issue of differentiating between the Beechcroft reservoir and the abandoned (?) Honor Oak Reservoir.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Seven Songs

So what do I do? I normally bin ANY chain mail letter or email within seconds, no matter who it comes from. I really do not care if by doing so I am incurring the wrath of alien beings that will eat my liver (it is nicely marinated) or seven plagues will be visited upon my life (Ha! I have Boris Johnson as Mayor, I only have 6 left to try and deal with!)

However, I was 'tagged' by Max for Seven Songs and I had already been interested by Andrew's original reply, so what the hell!

This is nothing more than a list of 7 songs I like at the moment, some of which have only been played once on (great idea and way to find new artists). Take it, or leave it, I don't mind, but it is an excuse to show I am still around and checking out this blog. In fact I have some other posts that should go up, so will probably try and get them up soon too.

So, the rules:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

Imogen Heap - Headlock
I first discovered Imogen's music through and getting to know her style has opened up lots of new avenues for me. I personally find her style totally involving and I am in awe of her skills (she does a lot more than just sing, check out the performances on video). Imogen, I'd love to meet you one day!

Jem - Come on Closer
I believe I must have hear Jem's voice before, but it has re-appeared on my radar only fairly recently. This particular song gets me going and I feel happy every time it happens to play. I actually now start my radio with "Artists like Jem"

Dr. Hook - Everyone's making it big but me
I grew up with these guys. This video is from the Old Grey Whistle Test, but please bear with the intro and listen to the words. 70's country/hippy/rock was great! What happened to them? I can probably guess.

eberg - Love your bum
Inventive, creative, funny and poignant. An entire song written from lyrics taken from the packets of toilet paper. Genius! (you'll need to select the song from his MySpace page as I can't seem to link directly to it)

The Muppetts - Mahna Mahna
I happened to look up a particular Kermit song I wanted to quote the other day, and it led me on a path of discovery, including this song (and my daughter's favourite, the later version with Sandra Bullock). Oh, the things that shaped our childhood!

Camille Saint-Saens - Aquarium
I love this piece. I could have included lots more Classical music, but there is something magical as well as romantic about this. Can I admit, I used to have it as my ringtone, and would still if I could sort it out?

Kate Havnevik - New Day
A very recent discovery and one I will most certainly look out for more in future.

Now, as for tagging, I am at a little bit of a loss as I actually hope/expect anyone I tag (because I like to see a job through) to bin this request, or not be able to do anything about it, but what the hell! So, over to you, your consciences and your to-do list:

Gabriella, Adrian, Alisa, Gareth, Alastair, Sue, and Ploop

Sunday, 6 April 2008


Everyone else is posting about it, so I thought I'd add a few links too:

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Done Walking

The target was met, the map was folded and filed and the photos are all online. What is left to do?

I had thought I might start another related blog looking at Forest Hill past & present, but to be honest, I do not have the time. With an expanding family, the business and a growing focus on my wine blog, I don't think I could do justice to another Forest Hill blog.

So, I admit it, I am bowing out. Of course, the content needs to stay up, that is one of the great things about blogs - loads of seemingly unrelated content on every topic imaginable, that one day will be a researcher's greatest find.

I will therefore be keeping this site live, and possibly even posting Forest Hill related photos and thoughts from time to time, but I will admit to you openly now that these will be few and far between.

If you are interested in Forest Hill, there are two things you should do straight away:

1. Join the Forest Hill Society

2. Sign up on (and say Hi! to me there: my alias is RobWinton)

and in the best Monty Python-esqe Spanish Inquisition manner

3. Shop Local - and support local businesses.

Thanks for following my treks and hopefully we can stay in touch via this site or either of the sites above.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Early Spring

Something to make you smile

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Forest Hill History Information Resource

Steve Grindlay's excellent presentation is now available to all.

You can find it here ( - a rather complicated way to show it, but it allows you to see each slide and zoom in to see the details of the photos.

I thoroughly recommend a quick browse through the topics and you can then take more of a look at the ones of interest. I know, for example, that many will be interested in the list of current and past public houses, or the surviving evidence of the local breweries.

I don't think Steve has a site of his own for your questions, but you can always log in to either the Forest Hill forum at or the Sydenham Forum at as I know he uses these regularly.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

What a great turnout

Over 120 people came to the event last night, wow!

You can read a little more about it on the Forest Hill Society website, and I will link to the online presentation when it is available too.

thanks Steve!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Last chance reminder for tonight

Just in case you have missed all the other reminders, this is one more quick post to remind those who are interested in Forest Hill that there will be a presentation tonight at The Hob (from 7pm) by Steve Grindlay on the history of Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park.

More details here

See you there! And if you are a reader of this blog, do come over and let me know. I realise it has been very quiet around here lately, but I hope to take up the new challenge soon.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Condemned no more

A brief update on my post entitled, Condemned (20th of August 2007), about the property on Church Rise whose foundations were undermined by builders.

The good news is that the scaffolding is coming down at this property.

The bad news is that so is the building.

The demolition work has begun in earnest, and in what I guess is a desperate attempt to salvage some investment from the ruins, the bricks are coming down one by one for re-use.

Sad to see it go. I wonder what might be built in its place?

Here are some quick photos I took today:

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

The history of Forest Hill

It would be far from an exaggeration for me to say, "I learned everything I know about Forest Hill from this man" when talking about Steve Grindlay.

I first met Steve on the history tour he led around Forest Hill last year, when we expected a dozen or so people on the first Forest Hill Society social event. In the end over 70 people turned up and we had a great time walking all over the area and we learned a lot.

However, if you were there, you'll remember the hard time we all had getting a chance to look at the old photos, documents and other materials Steve had prepared.

Steve has kindly agreed to dedicate another evening of his own time to present more information about how Forest Hill came about, who built it and why, and some of the key features of the area. This time he will hold the meeting upstairs at The Hob, by Forest Hill Station, on Wednesday, January 30th 2008 so we can see the photos better and ask more questions. I know I will be there, and judging by the level of interest in the last event, I hope you will too.

Please do come along, and bring your friends. The event is free and starts at 19:00.

... oh, and if there is enough interest on the night, I volunteer to then lead a walk around Forest Hill in the near future to look at the areas that were of most interest on the night.

See you there!

A History of Forest Hill
19:00 Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
The Hob, 7 Devonshire Rd
Forest Hill, SE23

(brought to you by the lovely people at the Forest Hill Society)

Blogging in Lewisham - 2008 motivator

Anyone out there fancy starting to plan another get-together for early 2008? I feel the need for a chat to get the energy flowing again to start anew in 2008.

We've already been here to Forest Hill, and although the Jolly Farmers seems popular, I wonder whether there might be somewhere else we might try that would accommodate us in such a way that more of us could interact? Last time we ended up rather fixed and unable to move to meet new people.

Any suggestions from other parts of the borough?

It would probably have to be mid to late Feb at this point to give us time to plan, so it is worth starting to ask the question.

What think you Andrew, Kate, Richard, Wulf, Max, and everyone else (too many to mention everyone these days)?

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Still alive and kicking, but not walking

I really do owe you a wrap up of all the walks and some thoughts on the experience, but somehow I have not found the energy to do this. It seems a large, and somewhat traumatic, task.

On December 15th I did complete the last walk, and finished it off with a talk, organised by the Forest Hill Society, to a (small but attentive) assembled audience at the Rockbourne Youth Club.

If I had written up the presentation properly it would be easier to add here, but as I prefer to keep things informal and to make it relevant to the audience (otherwise known as "off the cuff") I only jotted down ideas, so I still need to pull it together properly.

Anyway, as a placeholder for the moment, here is a photo of me (I realise I have not been able to take a photo of myself on the walks, so I have yet to really appear on this site) during the presentation.

I have some thoughts on the experience, and also about what to do next, which I will post soon, I promise!

Happy 2008! Make it a healthy one and get out walking too.