Group News
Ramblers 3Leader Trevor Ford
August 2018
August saw me back in harness after a lay-off due to work-pressure and
operation-recovery,  so we had a fairly leisurely very local ramble requiring
no preparation. After meeting at the car park in Footscray Meadows, we
set off across it pausing briefly at the footings of the old Footscray Place.
We crossed over Five Arches and on along the Cray and then back over it
at the last bridge and thence into Bexley village via some scrubland and
past the cricket ground. Leaving the village, we went past Mount Mascal
Stables to the edge of Joyden’s Wood and parallelled the North Cray
Road and then crossed it opposite to the White Cross Pub where we had
lunch. Completing the circle on the south side of the river, we returned to
the car park via the Penny-farthing Bridge.

September 2018
Having recently done a couple of walks with my grandchildren in Epping
Forest, I had a yen to take the group there. Two car-loads, therefore, met
at Connaught Water car park and we followed a combination of two way-
marked trails, Holly and Willow. These are excellently sign-posted and
also clearly set out on the Epping Forest map that the EF charity specially
commissioned from Ordnance Survey. We crossed diagonally over a
corner of scrubland to one of the three Visitor Centres next to the Queen
Elizabeth Hunting Lodge - both well worth a visit. We then went into the
woodland, mostly following inside the perimeter, and along the Boundary
Road. Following a short detour along Lippits Hill, past a blue plaque at the
lodge celebrating the Irish poet, John Clare, brought us to The Owl pub.
Heading further north-east afterwards, we turned for home just short of
High Beach Church (where excellent Sunday teas are available). Having
praised the labelling above, I did still manage to get slightly lost between
Fairmead and Three Bridges but soon picked up the Grimstone’s Oak
ride, past the eponymous, famous (but now dead and gone) tree to return
to Connaught Water which had a good display of waterfowl.

Trevor Ford


Parks & Gardens AppreciationLeader Jill Bryant
Our last visit this year was to Southwark Park which is only one stop from
New Cross. The 27th September was cold when we arrived, but it turned
out to be a lovely hot day. The park opened its gates to the public in 1869
and was designed by Alexander McKenzie. There were a lot of large
established trees and a large lake which looked like grass because of
covering weed; however, it did not bother the many ducks we saw on it. In
1936 The Ada Salter rose garden was built by Alfred Salter, MP for West
Bermondsey. He and his wife created a place of beauty where mothers
and the elderly could sit. It is still a lovely Old English garden with a view of
the lake and the last of the summer flowers.
In 2001, the park underwent a major refurbishment with £2.5m from the
Heritage Lottery Funds. A replica of the 1833 bandstand from the Great
Exhibition was replaced; this was a splendid sight. Many parts of the park
were restored including a bowling pavilion and a children’s play area. A
short walk then took us to the Thames Path and onto The Angel, a lovely
old pub for lunch.

Jill Bryant


Local History 3Leader Christine Withams
Leadenhall Market trip
We had a highly informative trip to Leadenhall Market and the surrounding
area. Our excellent guide, Marco, explained how the current market sits on
the site of ruins dating back to Roman times. The market itself dates back
to the 14th century and was built as a meat, poultry and game market due
to its location next to a (now underground) river which allowed boat
access. Today, Leadenhall Market is filled with boutiques selling jewellery,
clothes and services. Of course there’s no shortage of good old fashioned
pubs, one of which is called Old Tom’s Bar and is named after Old Tom,
the goose that lived there in the 19th century and which died at the ripe old
age of 37! For Harry Potter aficionados there’s the famous door to Diagon
Alley on one of the side paths.

Finally, we looked at the famous Lloyds insurance building (the inside-out
one!) and the Gherkin (apparently one of the most energy efficient office
buildings in London).

Patricia Henry


Ramblers 2Leader Helen Salmon
September ramble guided by John Harbert
Eight of us met at Sidcup Station on a sunny and warm autumnal morning
ready to catch a train to Woolwich. There was a delay due to signalling
problems but that did not matter as we had a ‘catch up’ on what we had
been doing since our last ramble. We boarded the train and continued
nattering. The train stopped at Slade Green and John suddenly noticed
that passenger information system said ‘the train is terminating here.’ We
all quickly got off the train only to watch it leave to continue its journey. We
were told by a member of staff that signage was incorrect!! Not deterred,
John suggested that we do the walk from Crayford Marshes to Erith - we
all agreed.
 
We made our way to the footpath off Moat Lane and to our left we saw the
walls of Howbury Moat which date back to the 12th century, although a
manor house occupied the site well over a thousand years ago. Notable
occupants include Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and the distinguished admiral,
Sir Cloudesley Shovel. The ruins and moat of the house called Howbury
constitute a scheduled ancient monument, and a Jacobean tithe barn
survives - but in a deteriorating condition.

As we continued on the path with the Thames to our right, we could have
been somewhere quite idyllic as the cloudless blue sky was reflecting on
the water and there were a large number of yachts sailing past. If we
turned to our left we could hear and see the industrial estate with the many
recycling centres. We ignored this and, as we were looking at the view
over to Essex, someone called out that they could see a seal at the
water’s edge. Obviously, we were delighted to see it. This was the same
day the beluga whale was seen at Gravesend. We continued along the
path towards Erith Yacht Club where it becomes a pavement walk in an
industrial estate and on towards Erith where we had lunch at Morrisons.
 
During lunch, some people were reminiscing about forgotten foods from
the 60s and 70s such as lemon puffs and Angel Delight. Before we left, a
number of packets of butterscotch flavoured Angel Delight were located
and purchased!!

Helen Salmon


Local History 2Leader Pauline Watling
10th October - Suffragettes Exhibition
Another bright and sunny day saw us walking round the back of St. Paul’s
Cathedral (which still gives me a thrill when I look at it) on our way to the
Museum of London. Having read about the exhibition in the newspaper, I
was surprised to find that it was housed in quite a small area and was
prepared to be disappointed. However, the film and memorabilia were
touching and evoked the mood of the time. It is easy to forget just how
brave and fanatical these females were in the continued era of male
dominance and how hard it must have been to carry on the fight when all
seemed impossible. Having read about the horrors of force-feeding, I was
shocked to read of one suffragette who was subjected to it 233 times!
Many never returned to full health. I wonder how much longer the struggle
would have lasted had the Great War not happened?

Sadly, there was no mention that I could see of our own Dame Ethel Smyth
who was born at Sidcup Place in 1858. She was a renowned composer,
sportswoman and suffragette whose most famous composition was The
March of the Women which became the anthem of the Suffrage
movement.

Hoping that there was more to see, we were directed to a further room of
exhibits and information which was interspersed with items from “Olde
Englande” (ie. my childhood), which we all found fascinating. A happy time
was spent in red velvet cinema seats, exactly like those at the Gaumont at
Stratford Broadway, reminiscing and watching films of how life was during
our childhood days and back to the turn of the 20th century. My day was
really made when we each stood up and the seat banged behind us. I was
straight back to being 10 and at Saturday Morning Pictures! It was another
wonderful U3A day out!!

Rinka Halliday


MiscellanyLeader Val Gosden
Our first trip out in August 2018 was to Hall Place, Bexley, where we
enjoyed a cuppa together before visiting the House itself. Here there were
several exhibitions. One was about the Magic Lantern, and several
pictures of different parts of the world were displayed. Another featured
the splendid work done locally at Queen’s Hospital* by Dr. Harold Gillies
who pioneered a technique for ‘repairing’ the damage done to faces of
soldiers during World War 1 and who became known as ‘The Father of
Plastic Surgery.’ The third exhibition featured many large-scale models of
famous buildings from around the world, made by using small Lego bricks.

*This hospital was demolished when the new Queen Mary’s Hospital was
built.
We visited ‘Simply Chocolicious’ in September, where we each made a
dozen small chocolates using both white and milk chocolate. The two sorts
of chocolate were in easy-to-pour bottles, and we were shown how to use
them in an interesting way, also adding small decorations to each one as
we went along. It was good fun making these, and whilst they were cooling
we were able to personalise the paper bags we would be taking the
chocolates home in. These small chocolates were lovely to give as gifts or
even for us to eat ourselves!
It was a lovely day in October when we took a walk in The Glade, where
we enjoyed seeing the ducks on the lake, and a flying heron. Some
members of the group had not visited The Glade before, and we all
agreed that we were lucky to have such a lovely open area to visit. We
then repaired to The Chunky Teapot where we had light refreshments
whilst making plans for our next three trips out.
Val Gosden


Ramblers 2Leader Helen Salmon
Our October ramble was a 4-mile walk around the East End. We started at
Pudding Mill Lane and walked along part of the Greenway. This is a wide
path over the northern outfall sewer which was created by J W Bazalgette
in the late 1850s to combat London’s sewage problems. Being high up,
we had great views over London on one side with the Queen Elizabeth
Park on the other. We veered off towards the end to cross Old Ford Lock
and walked along a bit of the river Lea. Having done a bit of road walking,
we made our way along Abbey Lane towards the Abbey Mills Pumping
station and then past some workers’ cottages of 1865. A bit further on, we
climbed on to the Greenway again and had a great view of the ornate
architecture of the Pumping Station - how beautifully the Victorians built a
sewage works!

A bit further on, we returned to the River Lea, passed a number of barges
and walked over Three Mills Green where there is a memorial to workers
who died there in industrial accidents. Over the river led to former corn
mills House Mills, Clock Mill and the Miller’s House; later they were used
as a brewery. Badly damaged in WW2, the mills have been restored and
are used for film studios and education projects. Having followed the River
Lea to the Bromley-By-Bow lock, we returned to the road, Twelve Trees
Crescent (no sign of the Twelve Trees) and beside the former gas works.
In a little green opposite, we found an unusual memorial to gas workers
who died in the two world wars lit by a gas lantern together with a statue of
the Chairman of The Gas Light and Coke Company from 1906-1916. Our
walk ended here with a bus ride to Canary Wharf and return home by DLR.

Mary Webb


Mono Digital PhotographyLeader Roy Morton
September’s meeting was more of a workshop centred around macro
photography while experimenting with camera settings and lighting. Indoor
subjects were taken of fine cut glass and crystal, leaves, shells and a dead
fly, the latter being mounted onto a pin. The final shots were taken in the
garden of flowers, vegetation and spiders’ webs. Owing to the outdoor
location, we had to cope with a slight breeze moving the subjects, adding
to a greater understanding of the range of skills needed to take successful
macro photographs.

We viewed the results on a TV, then, after discussing our morning’s
efforts, our usual Four Seasonal photos were shown depicting both
Summer and Autumn. Macro photography can  be used to take unusual
and interesting abstract style photos of innumerable subjects taken at
unusual angles. Most modern cameras have the facility to take an
acceptable close up photograph without the need of a macro lens,
although using one of these specialist lenses does allow at least taking life
size images.
Roy Morton


Book ReadingLeader June Reid                       
Our book for October was Conclave written by Richard Harris and chosen
by Pat. This was a really gripping and suspenseful story on an unusual
subject - the election of a new Pope. 118 cardinals are behind the locked
doors of the Sistine Chapel meeting to cast their votes in the world’s most
secretive election. The chosen one will become the most powerful spiritual
figure on earth. The political machinations amongst these revered and
trusted figures make for a fast-moving and suspenseful tale.
Unputdownable! We voted it one of the best choices of the year.                                                                                                                          

June Reid
Sidcup and District U3A