Group News
Book Reading • Leader June Reid

Our book for December was The Girl in the Letter written by
Emily Gunnis and chosen by Susan. This book was a bestseller
when it was published last year. It is a highly emotional story
and a gripping read. The time scale starts in the present day but
switches back to the nineteen-fifties in a many-layered
narrative. The present-day section begins when a young
woman journalist stumbles upon a letter written in 1959 and
tucked in an old piece of furniture which her mother has found.
The letter is a pitiful plea from a girl to her boyfriend pleading to
be rescued. She has been placed in a home for unmarried
mothers and the baby is to be adopted after the birth. The
journalist is a young woman with her own problems but is
horrified as she begins to investigate the story behind the letter.
This story has been based on true facts which highlight the
treatment of these poor souls. This is another book which jumps
from the present to the past alternately but the period detail is
very well observed and the pace is gripping. It is well worth a

June Reid

Ramblers 3Leader Trevor Ford

December walk around Silvertown
The December walk started at the same place as Roy’s earlier
in the year - the Thames Barrier - but we went in the opposite
direction initially, ie, away from Greenwich and towards
Woolwich. Although not having great highlights, the walk
showed us less familiar areas, as befitted the guide book
London’s Hidden Walks. Certainly, I had not been under the
Woolwich foot-tunnel before, ½ km mostly deserted, though we
did have to glare significantly at a cyclist who either couldn’t
read or wilfully disobeyed the ‘no cycling’ notices. Once on the
other side, we walked through Silvertown past the Tate & Lyle
factory. You might think Silvertown would have been named
Sugartown or Rubbertown (or even Boomtown*) after the
various industries that have employed thousands here in the
past, but it was actually named after S. W. Silver who made
rubber cable-covering. We went past the large nude lady in the
middle of a round-about and on towards the north end of the
Thames Barrier. Unfortunately, the park there was closed for
the day, apparently only so some construction work could be
done at the extreme far end near the tube station, so we missed
the marvellous topiary called the Green Dock representing
waves. Instead, we had our packed lunch at a smaller green
space farther on where the war memorial was sited. This also
commemorates the huge *explosion which killed 72 workers on
19th January 1927 when the Brunner-Mond factory exploded.
The factory had recently been converted to purify TNT for the
war effort. The fatal explosion could be heard one hundred
miles away and is still the largest in London’s history. Turning
north away from the river past the vast Millennium Mills, we
headed to the Royal Victoria Dock. We clambered up the metal
steps to the top walkway of the bridge which has been modelled
on the top deck of a liner. We went down the other side (most
avoiding the lift) and onto the end of the walk at the Emirates
Airline cable cars, past the Excel centre. We all then swung out
across the Thames (it was a windy day) and over to the O2.

Trevor Ford

Craft & Chat • Leader Pauline Springhall

The Craft and Chat group has been running now for about two
years. We meet 10 am to 12 midday every 1st and 3rd Thursday
of the month at Christ Church, Main Road, Sidcup in the new
West Wing. There is wheelchair access if required. Everyone is
welcome to join our craft group. Tea and coffee will be supplied
in a friendly environment with group members who will
encourage and support you with your crafting projects. Please
bring your own materials for the craft for your choice.

Last year the group knitted cardigans, hats and cot toys for
premature babies, and also crocheted and knitted blankets for
the elderly persons’ wards at Darent Valley Hospital - which is
an ongoing project of ours. Although we make our own choice of
garments for friends and family, we also support many charities.
The group has participated in fund-raising events by making
bunting, jams chutneys, cakes and homemade beauty products
and much more.

If you are interested in joining our group, or want further
information, please phone Pauline Springhall on 0208 308 1975
or 07460 361222.

Dates of our meetings in 2020: 16th Jan, 6th Feb, 5th March, 19th
March, 2nd April, 16th April, 7th May, 21st May, 4th June, 18th
June, 2nd July.
Holiday period: 3rd Sept, 17th Sept, 1st Oct, 15th Oct.
Autumn break: 19th Nov, 3rd Dec & Christmas Holiday.

Happy New Year.

Pauline Springhall
Sidcup and District U3A