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This is an electronic notice board created by residents, businesses, etc. in Kennington so that we can share information about:

  • Local products and services that we want to recommend
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  • To add a notice to the board, please press the 'Contribute an answer' button at the bottom of this page (you may need to scroll down).

    -- Jim Chapman (home@jim-chapman.net), March 16, 2002


    Mobile phone transmitter - Quick action we can all take

    Mobile phone transmitter - Quick action we can all take

    If you are concerned about the proposed mobile phone base station on top of Gateway House, please do the following:

    1) The consultants acting on behalf of Hutchison telecom, known as '3', have asked for comment in their letter to immediate residents. Doing so will have the benefit of putting you on their correspondence list for further developments. Send the note, as short as you like to:
    or phone Alwyn Hoogendyk on  020 7462 6940.

    2) Speak directly to the Gateway House freeholder's agent - he has agreed to house the base station. His name is Peter Dove, the company is Millar Kitching and his number is 020 7808 3434.

    Please pass the message to to your neighbours and ask them to do the same.

    Kind regards
    Jason (18 Aulton Place)

    -- Jason (jasoninken@hotmail.com), March 16, 2005.

    Kennington Gardens Society: Spring Flower Show: Saturday 19th March

    Kennington Gardens Society  
    Spring Flower Show

    Saturday 19th March
    St Anselm’s Church Hall
    Entries by 12,00 pm show opens at 2,30pm

    Plants, flowers, cookery and handicraft competitions,
    Bring and Buy, Plant stall, Local Honey, raffle and children’s competition

    Details and information call Frances McKay 0207 582 2327

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 16, 2005.

    See Kevin Spacey on stage for £5

    See Kevin Spacey on stage for £5

    Mary Stuart Masterson, Kevin Spacey, Steven Weber
    in the British premiere of
    NATIONAL ANTHEMS by Dennis McIntyre
    at The Old Vic, The Cut, London SE1

    Wednesdays 16, 23, 30 March and 6, 13, 20 April. Performances start at 2.30pm and last for 2 hours.
    Tickets 0870 060 6628 (quote ‘local’) £2.50 booking fee per transaction

    Set during the late 80s in a plush Detroit suburb, National Anthems chronicles the class clash between an affluent couple with social aspirations and the neighbour they grudgingly invite into their home. This parable of American materialism sees the action played out over real time, as tensions between the cast of three – Spacey's threatening stranger Ben and the Reeds – inevitably intensify.

    ‘Kevin Spacey is mesmerising… a dazzling performance’ Guardian

    ‘A classic new play in the mainstream tradition of American post-war drama… absolutely superb production’ Michael Coveney, Front Row

    ‘Spacey’s performance has the sense of danger and edge we associate with the double Oscar winner’ Variety

    ‘Mary Stuart Masterson and Steven Weber are excellent’ Financial Times

    Visit www.oldvictheatre.com for further info on the production and to sign-up for news of forthcoming shows and casting updates.

    -- Cathy (cathyvprece@aol.com), March 16, 2005.

    Tube line closures?

    Tube line closures?

    Mar 15 2005

    South London Press

    COMMUTERS could face months without a Tube service if a plan for repairs is approved by train chiefs. Sections of the Northern line, serving stations between Kennington and Morden could be the first to close for track and signal improvements. London Underground's managing director, Tim O'Toole, told a London Assembly Transport Committee meeting about a move to close sections of the Northern line.

    The work would be carried out by private firms Tube Lines and Metronet.

    A London Underground spokesperson said: "Under the Public Private Partnership, engineering work can only be undertaken at night or during weekend closures.

    "London Underground would consider closing sections of lines outside of these times to accelerate Tube improvements, but only if three preconditions can be met."

    She said these are: that Tube Lines and Metronet have the resources to carry out the work; that any economic benefits are reinvested into the Tube; and if London Underground can arrange alternative travel arrangements.

    She added that it could be months before the plans are approved.

    A Tube Lines spokesman said: "We have put in a draft plan to London Underground for closures on the Northern line."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 16, 2005.

    Tube closure bombshell

    Evening Standard

    10/03/05 - News and city section

    Tube closure bombshell

    By Dick Murray Transport Editor

    Key sections of the Tube's busiest line could be shut for up to two months at a time.

    Plans have been drawn up to close seven sections of the Northern line in turn to carry out repairs.

    The line, from Morden in the south to High Barnet and Edgware in the north, carries 650,000 commuters a day.

    Urgent large-scale engineering work is required at Bank, Old Street, Camden Town and Kennington making these sections most likely to be shut first.

    Closure would be a massive undertaking for London Underground which would have to provide alternative travel, including designated bus services, in heavily-congested areas.

    The move was revealed by Tube managing director Tim O'Toole to the London Assembly's transport committee. He said the situation on the City branch is so bad "it is driving us all nuts".

    He said the drastic action was needed because night-time engineering work is failing to clear the backlog of vital repairs. Frequent overrunning of night work is also causing huge delays in the day. The most difficult section of the line to close is between Morden and Kennington. Commuters living along that stretch, which includes Balham and Tooting, have no other comparable public transport.

    The Northern is the most unreliable line on the network with signal and track breakdowns virtually every day causing huge problems for commuters.

    A spokesman for Tube Lines, in charge of maintenance and improvement, said: "We have put in a draft plan to LU for closures of the Northern line." Passenger watchdogs said they would only agree to the plan provided commuters were told months in advance of alternative arrangements and that LU would be able to guarantee that the closed sections would re-open on time.

    Cynthia Hay, of Capital Transport, said there was "huge concern" that proper alternative travel arrangements would prove inadequate.

    Ken Livingstone has already said that he does not think lines could be closed which serve heavily used shopping areas. However, closing sections at a time could get around the Mayor's fears. The idea is to complete much needed engineering work over a shorter time-scale than confining it to limited periods at night or weekends.

    Metronet, in charge of two thirds of the network, is also understood to want to close sections of other lines.

    * New measures to stop roadworks bringing London's busiest streets to a halt were announced today. Transport for London will set timetables for local authority roadworks ensuring that neighbouring areas do not carry out major works at the same time.

    Find this story at
    ©2005 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Coke dealer gets five years

    South London Press

    Coke dealer gets five years

    Feb 15 2005

    A COCAINE dealer who turned his home into a drugs factory and hid thousands of pounds in his fridge has been jailed.

    Adelino Lourenco, 42, was a middleman and drug mixer in a £100,000 plot.

    But he claimed he only got involved after a blackmail threat and told police he had stomach cancer. Lourenco admitted conspiracy to supply a class-A drug and possessing criminal property.

    He was jailed for five years at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court on Thursday.

    The court heard that police raided Lourenco's home on November 3. He had hidden £14,000 cash in his fridge and in shoe boxes.

    Police also found a 200g block of cocaine in his kitchen and several small bags of the drug. Lourenco confessed to officers: "I have stomach cancer and I've been selling cocaine for three months at £50 a wrap."

    Lourenco, of Seaton Close in Kennington, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a class-A drug between July 13 and November 3.

    He pleaded guilty to a second count of possession of criminal property on November 3.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Fear for future

    South London Press

    Fear for future

    Feb 15 2005
    By Gareth Dorrian

    THE founder of a historic youth club has demanded assurances about its future.

    Fred Peters, a former piano player who once performed in front of Mick Jagger, set up Ethelred youth club in the wake of the Brixton riots 24 years ago.

    But volunteers have not yet been able to secure a long-term lease that would help the organisation with future funding.

    Mr Peters is unsure if Lambeth council wants to grant the lease.

    More than 100 troubled kids in Kennington and further afield use the facility in Lollard Street every week for sport and a range of other activities.

    Mr Peters said: "This has been going on for years. Some time ago it seemed that Lambeth wanted the place to build affordable housing.

    "Developers told us about their intentions and we started a dialogue.

    "But we were bulldozed with a barrage of bureaucracy and nothing was ever resolved."

    Mr Peters, 58, added: "If a child comes to me and says he is hungry because he's fallen out with his parents, I'll give him some money for fish and chips and we can talk about it at the club.

    "But things aren't simple like that with the council."

    Mr Peters said a lease of less than seven years made it more difficult to get funding for equipment and repairs.

    He added: "We need security and want to see the council embracing the organisation for its good work."

    A council spokeswoman said: "We are proactively working with the club and its users to secure a long lease and to develop the surrounding areas in line with regeneration plans for the area so the facilities and venue can be fully utilised by the young community members."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    The Big Chill 2005

    South London Press

    The Big Chill 2005

    Feb 18 2005

    THE Big Chill festival favourites Punchdrunk are set to host a project incorporating art installations, live jazz, swing and dancing in a disused brick factory in Oval this month. Supported by The Big Chill, Punchdrunk's latest venture, The Firebird Ball, fuses Shakespeare's tragic play Romeo and Juliet with Stravinsky's mythical musical piece The Firebird to form a decadent romantic thriller.

    The company transforms the cavernous depths of a long-disused edifice at Offley Works, not far from Kennington park Road, into a tangled wood - making a stage for 18 performers and musicians to perform on.

    * The Firebird Ball is at Offley Works, Offley Road, Oval, SW9 until Sunday, March 27. Tickets cost £15/£12. Box office: www.bigchill.net.

    Fact file

    * The Big Chill is a multimedia festival, bar, club event and record label. The bar is at Dray Walk, off Brick Lane, E1 6QL. Tel: 0207 392 9180.

    * The Big Chill festival takes place at Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Malvern Hills, Herefordshire from August 5 until August 7 2005. Tickets cost £112/28, under fives free, £25 for camper van passes. lineup in April

    * The Bill Chill line up for 2005 is to be confirmed in April. Acts to have played the festival in the past include Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, Coldcut, Mister Scruff, Lol Hammond, Ross Allen and Bent.

    * The Big Chill was founded by Pete Lawrence and Katrina Larkin in 1994 - it started off as a Sunday all-dayer in Islington's Union Chapel. The following summer it moved to the Black Mountains on the Welsh borders. 700 people attended.

    * In 1998 The Big Chill moved to Dorset. After a one-off event at Lulworth Castle in Dorset in 2001, The Big Chill moved to its new home, the Eastnor Castle Deer Park in the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire in 2002. These days around 27,000 people attend annually.

    * Acts who received early exposure at The Big Chill and have gone on to success include Zero 7, Gotan Project, Royksopp, Tom Middleton, Mr Scruff, Lemon Jelly (above), Fila Brazillia, Talvin Singh, Bent, Amy Winehouse and Goldfrapp.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Brutal knife attack caught on CCTV

    South London Press

    Brutal knife attack caught on CCTV

    Feb 22 2005

    THIS is the terrifying moment a knifeman plunges a blade into a man on a double-decker bus, writes BEN ASHFORD.

    The attacker sinks the weapon into the head and neck of his 21-year-victim and flees while he lies gasping in agony.

    The CCTV shot - released by cops this week - captures the brazen attack on February 7 that took place in broad daylight and just a few feet from fellow passengers.

    The victim is still recovering in hospital from multiple stab wounds and is said by police to be in a "very bad way".

    Detective Sergeant John Freeman of Kennington CID said: "He has at least two large areas of scaring on his hairline and a four-inch scar across his neck. By luck, it didn't sever a main artery.

    "It was a vicious attack, that seemed to be with the motive of robbing the victim of his phone."

    Today, the South London Press is calling on readers to support the police in their battle to stem the tide of knife crime blighting South London.

    The sickening attack took place on a 133 bus in Kennington.

    Cops were called to reports of a stabbing on board the Elephant & Castle-bound bus outside the Guinness Trust buildings in Kennington Park Road at 11.50am The CCTV pictures show, the attacker, believed to be 16 or 17 years old, with a blade and then him lunging at his victim.

    After the thug fled, an ambulance arrived and took the victim to hospital while cops moved in to investigate the attack.

    DS Freeman added: "This was a serious assault where a young man was subjected to injuries that at first were believed to be life-threatening. The man is in a bad way.

    "This attack happened just before noon on a Monday morning and I would urge anyone who was in the Kennington Park area or who was on the number 133 bus to contact us with information."

    Call Kennington CID with information on 0202 8649 2436 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Puss footing around

    South London Press

    Puss footing around

    Feb 24 2005
    By Clare Casey, Streatham Post

    THERE'S nothing unusual in a cat with nine lives - but one with six toes on each paw takes some licking.

    This moggy has a grand total of 24 toes because of a rare genetic condition called polydactyly. A standard feline only has 16 toes - four on each paw.

    Many pet lovers believe cats blessed with extra toes bring good luck.

    Shirley Germain, a veterinary nurse at Streatham Hill Veterinary Surgery, said: "Cats normally have four toes on each paw and a central paw pad, but one with six toes is unusual.

    "Years ago I used to have one myself, but I haven't seen many since then."

    "Six-toes" Ziggy has been taken in by Streatham cat rescuer Dawn Travers.

    His Kennington owner died last week and left him and a white three-legged cat homeless.

    Dawn, of Hillside Road, is looking after them both.

    She said: "Cats with six toes are very rare indeed and the only kind you ever get is a tabby.

    "I have been taking in strays for 35 years and haven't seen one like this for ages. I would love to keep him but there's just not enough space here.

    "I won't let him be parted from the other one - Snowy - so whoever decides to adopt them will have to take them both."

    The condition does not hinder Ziggy in any way and, says Dawn, makes him all the more lovable.

    * This week Dawn took in another two strays - KitKat and Rolo. The former had been attacked by a fox. To adopt a cat call Dawn on 020 8671 6358.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Cannabis march to be banned

    South London Press

    Cannabis march to be banned

    Feb 25 2005

    IT USED to be the home of the so-called 'softly-softly' approach to cannabis possession and for many it's the natural place for a festival calling for the drug to be legalised. For six years, thousands of revellers descended on Lambeth to back the campaign. CLARE CASEY finds out why the event has been banned

    LOVE it or hate it, it was an established fixture in the cultural calender.

    In less than a decade the annual Cannabis March and Festival in Lambeth became better known than the borough's country show.

    But not any more. Lambeth council this week announced it would not let the event's organisers hold the festival at Brockwell Park in Herne Hill.

    The authority has banned what would have been the seventh festival, alleging drug dealing took place in the Victorian park at last year's bash. The move has angered organisers who claim the decision was taken for political reasons. Thousands of people marched annually from Kennington to Brockwell Park for the festival in support of a global call to legalise cannabis. Similar events take place around the world to mark Cannabis Liberation Day.

    But Lambeth's executive member for environment, Councillor Clare Whelan, said it would be "irresponsible" to let the festival go ahead.

    The Conservative councillor told the South London Press: "Residents and council officers who went to last year's event were offered drugs by dealers.

    "It is against the law to sell drugs and I was horrified to discover families - not just one or two but a substantial number - had been approached by dealers. Brockwell Park is council land and it is up to us to take a stand.

    "We cannot condone letting an event go ahead where drug dealers operate, because that would be completely irresponsible.

    I absolutely support liberty of speech and people campaigning for a change in the law but this is a different thing altogether.

    Lambeth has had a reputation for turning a blind eye to cannabis smoking but we must remember it is still illegal."

    This so-called "softly-softly" approach was undertaken in 2001 when Lambeth police pioneered a lenient approach to cannabis possession in which people caught with small amounts of the drug were cautioned rather than arrested. This is no longer the case.

    Festival organiser and Green Party drugs spokesman Shane Collins claims the Liberal Democrat and Conservative-run council axed the event because of Cllr Whelan's political persuasion, an allegation Cllr Whelan denies.

    Mr Collins said: "The council is making itself look foolish.

    "Cllr Whelan is a Tory and that's why she doesn't want it to go ahead.

    "I would be interested to see a list of all these residents who complained to her officers - I suspect it's very short.

    "On the one hand the council bleats on about a sense of community and says it is really important to provide events for the people of Lambeth, but then they stop us doing just that.

    "Thousands of people look forward to this free festival every year and to pull it with no explanation is a disgrace. It's a safe event which is all about people having fun.

    "By stopping it they have made themselves look extremely stupid yet again."

    The festival might be banned but Mr Collins said the march to the park, via Brixton, would go ahead as planned on Saturday, May 7.

    On the same day similar protests calling for the legalisation of cannabis will take place around the world.

    Residents neighbouring the park had mixed views about the festival ban.

    Simon Cobban, of Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, was disappointed.

    He said: "I have never seen any trouble and it's a good festival. It's not only the march but there's good food and it's a fun day out.

    "It tends to attract the 'dogs on strings-type' but my only complaint is there are a lot of camper vans that park on this road for the couple of days surrounding the event."

    A pensioner in Norwood Road, who asked not to be named, said: "I'm sure the council has stopped it with good reason.

    "Sometimes the music is a bit loud - but not as bad as the megaphones you hear when the Lambeth Show is on.

    "Those young ones don't cause any trouble but they leave a lot of litter."

    Staff at Tanley's Irish bar in Dulwich Road said the ban would be bad for business and the community.

    Full-time bar worker Evelyn McDonagh said: "I always choose to work when the cannabis festival is on because it's such a fun day.

    "You get loads of people popping in for a couple of pints and it's a good atmosphere.

    "I think it's a shame for everyone that it's not going ahead."

    -- Cathy (cathyvprece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Cork pops for a 'weak' town hall

    South London Press

    Cork pops for a 'weak' town hall

    Mar 3 2005
    By Greg Truscott, Streatham Post

    A CELEBRATORY champagne reception was thrown by the town hall because it received a "weak" rating for delivering services.

    Politicians and bureaucrats quaffed bubbly and nibbled canapés at the plush event to celebrate a rise in Lambeth council's performance rating from "poor" to "weak", it has emerged.

    Councillors joined chief executive Faith Boardman and her deputies to toast the result of the council's Comprehensive Performance Assessment - an audit into how well it works.

    Local authorities are rated good, fair, weak or poor.

    Furious opposition Labour councillors say the party should not have taken place because there was nothing to celebrate.

    Labour leader Councillor Steve Reed said: "Despite huge Government investment and a 35 per cent increase in council tax, Lambeth council has failed to move up one single place in the league table of London's councils under the Lib-Dems and the Tories.

    "The fact that they hold a champagne reception to celebrate the fact that Lambeth council is 'weak' tells you everything about the Lib Dem attitude."

    Lambeth's Lib Dem leader, Councillor Peter Truesdale, has dismissed Cllr Reed's criticism of the reception, which was held at Lillian Bayliss School in Kennington in January.

    It was paid for by council contractors Cleanaway and Focus Education.

    Cllr Truesdale joked: "What's he going on about? The canapés were so small, I had to eat when I got home.

    "I was also disappointed with the champagne. It was as fizzy as one of Cllr Reed's speeches."

    He added: "We held the reception to bring all the people together who are helping to improve Lambeth."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Man denies killing soccer star's cousin

    South London Press

    Man denies killing soccer star's cousin

    Mar 4 2005

    A BRICKLAYER accused of killing a cousin of football legend Lou Macari in a drunken brawl told police he could only remember getting kicked in the face.

    Scott Elliott, 21, was arrested after a policewoman saw him land a knockout blow to 28-year-old Joseph Macari outside a kebab shop, it is claimed.

    Elliott said in interview he had only had three drinks at a friend's birthday party in a nearby bar and denied even noticing a brawl involving up to 20 people in Kennington Lane, Kennington, on November 2, 2003.

    He said: "I was not drunk, I was not disorderly. I was sat on the kerb next to my girlfriend and I got kicked in the face.

    "I remember just holding on to my girlfriend. As soon as I got hit the police were there and I was cuffed."

    Asked about his swollen eye and marks on his right knuckles, he said: "I don't know how I got it."

    Elliott admitted it was "possible" he had got in to a fight and hit someone but said he could not remember doing so.

    He added: "No punching, kicking, scuffling, nothing. I would not have gone out there if there was a punch-up."

    Tests later revealed both men had alcohol levels associated with "extreme drunkenness", the Old Bailey heard on Monday.

    Mr Macari, a trainee policeman from Swansea, smashed his head against the pavement after being punched and was taken to hospital where he was found to have brain damage caused by a fractured skull.

    His life support system was turned off the next day.

    It is claimed Elliott tried to walk away from the scene of the brawl but was handcuffed by police after a struggle.

    Elliott, of Elworth House, Oval Place, Oval, denies manslaughter.

    The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Crossing woman is critical

    South London Press

    Crossing woman is critical

    Mar 8 2005

    A WOMAN is in critical condition after a hit and run early on Sunday morning.

    She was crossing the road near traffic lights in Kennington Park Road, close to the junction with Kennington Lane, Kennington, at 3.15am. The woman, in her 40s, was taken to St Thomas' Hospital suffering from serious multiple injuries.

    The vehicle, which is thought to be a silver Daewoo Matiz found near the scene, had not stopped.

    It has damage to its front and a smashed windscreen.

    Police investigating the collision are appealing for witnesses or anyone else who can help.

    The crime is being investigated by the collision investigation unit based at Hampton Traffic Garage.

    As we went to press, investigating officer Sergeant John McAree said no arrests had been made.

    He added: "The car was found in a badly-damaged condition near the incident. The woman is still in a critical condition and her family are with her at St Thomas'."

    Information to police on 020 8941 9011.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    West End bus is facing cuts

    South London Press

    West End bus is facing cuts

    Mar 11 2005
    By Clare Casey

    A SHOCK proposal to reduce the number of buses on a well-used route has sparked anger.

    Hundreds have signed a petition calling for bus chiefs to re-think plans for a cutback on the number 3 route.

    It is one of only a few buses that go from Crystal Palace to the West End and is hailed by many as a lifeline.

    It stops at West Dulwich, Herne Hill, Brixton and Kennington before crossing the river at Lambeth Bridge.

    Lambeth councillor Russell A'Court said it would be a terrible loss.

    "Residents of both Lambeth and Southwark have been outraged by this proposal," he said.

    "Many people see the number 3 as a lifeline and want to see more of them, not fewer. To cut back on a route like this where there aren't many buses anyway would be a silly decision."

    Transport for London (TfL) proposed a cut of 20 per cent to improve the service. That would mean buses every eight to 10 minutes rather than every four to six at peak times.

    People living in South Croxted Road, West Dulwich, said they feared fewer buses would also mean they would travel at even greater speeds, something they have complained of for years.

    Resident Ann Shaw, 61, said: "We have all complained about how fast they come down this road, often overtaking each other.

    "I believe that if there are fewer buses they will come faster to try to get through the timetable and back to the depot more quickly.

    "There are already great problems with them. We don't see one for about 20 minutes and then four will show at once."

    Southwark councillor Kim Humphreys is one of those who has been collecting signatures for the petition.

    He said: "People feel strongly about the loss of such a major bus and are hoping TfL sees sense."

    A TfL spokesman said: "From April the number 3 will be reduced from Monday to Friday peak hours only, from a bus every six minutes to eight minutes.

    "Our survey work shows that the service levels will still be sufficient for the number of passengers using the service. In addition we are introducing a number of other measures designed to improve service reliability on the number 3 which has, on occasions, been below the level TfL expects."

    There will be an extra number 59 and 159 an hour to compensate. Anyone worried about the speed of buses should contact TfL customer services.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Estates may go private

    South London Press

    Estates may go private

    Mar 11 2005

    TWO estates are due to be transferred out of council ownership later this month.

    The Kennington Park and Bridge estates in Oval, Lambeth, are to be transferred into the hands of a private housing association in just over a week.

    Fifty-seven per cent of residents voted in favour of the "stock transfer" in June last year.

    Tenants were more favourable of the transfer than leaseholders who had purchased their homes from the council under "right to buy" legislation.

    The transfer plan goes before Lambeth council's executive on Monday for final approval. As soon as council leaders give the proposal the nod, an application will be sent to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister seeking consent to dispose of the estates.

    The 848 homes will then be transferred to Hyde South-bank Homes on March 21. The housing association plans to invest £20million in the estates over three years.

    The work programme includes new kitchens and bathrooms for each home, as well as upgraded security and environmental improvements. This is expected to bring estate homes up to the Government's "Decent Homes Standard", a mandatory target to insure social housing meets minimum standards.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    NORTH LAMBETH AREA COMMITTEE Tuesday 29th March 2005 at 7.00 p.m.


    Tuesday 29th March 2005
    at 7.00 p.m.

    Pedlars Acre Community Hall, Opal Street, SE11
    (close to Kennington Underground Station)


    Come and hear about:

    o Development of the Beaufoy Institute site
    o Sports Action Zone in North Lambeth
    o Local road and pavement repair programme

    Agenda papers will be despatched and available on the website from 17th March 2005.

    For further enquiries or information about questions/petitions to the area committee, contact:
    Rita Chakraborty at the Town Hall
    (T: 020 7926 2225 e: rchakraborty@lambeth.gov.uk)

    Website www.lambeth.gov.uk
    (link: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/services/government-democracy/democracy/committee-reports.shtml)

    Date of next meeting
    Thursday 12th May 2005

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2005.

    Room available/London SE11

    Room available/London SE11

    Room for female lodger available in beautiful, light flat on peaceful street in central south London overlooking Georgian square with garden. Close to Elephant & Castle/Lambeth North tubes (Bakerloo and Northern lines), many buses and within walking distance of Soho, both Tates, South Bank. Vegetarian preferred. Gay friendly. Small room with double futon. Share the rest with with owner. Rent £90 per week plus share of bills. Tel 07753 677650

    -- Lucy Kimbell (inbox@lucykimbell.com), February 09, 2005.

    Frenzied stabbing after bus row

    Frenzied stabbing after bus row

    Evening Standard
    08/02/05 - London news section

    A man is seriously ill in hospital after being repeatedly stabbed by a youth during a frenzied attack on a London bus.

    The stabbing occurred at about 11.50am yesterday on the top deck of a 133 bus in Kennington after a row, police said.

    The victim, 21, was attacked as the bus, heading towards Brixton, entered Kennington Park Road. Police are hunting a black youth, aged 16 or 17, seen running off moments after the attack.

    Find this story at
    ©2005 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 09, 2005.

    Man knifed on double-decker

    South London Press

    Man knifed on double-decker

    Feb 8 2005

    A BUS passenger was yesterday fighting for his life after he was stabbed during a row upstairs on a double-decker.

    The man, believed to be in his 20s, was attacked on the day the Met launched an operation to stamp out transport crime.

    Cops were called shortly before noon following reports of a fight between two men on the southbound 133 in Kennington Park Road.

    As we went to press, officers were hunting for the knifeman, who is thought to have fled through Othello Close into Kennington Lane.

    A Met spokeswoman said yesterday: "We're not sure at this stage what the dispute was about.

    "All we can confirm is that there appears to have been a stabbing on the 133 bus.

    "A man is in hospital and his condition appears to be life-threatening.

    "At the moment we're looking for a second man who appears to have fled the scene."

    Cops sealed off the bus at a stop outside the Guinness Trust flats in Kennington Park Road.

    Officers had also sealed off parts of Othello Close. A witness, who lives in nearby Cornwall Square, said: "The whole place is crawling with police.

    "There's about 10 cars and a van. I think they're waiting for the sniffer dogs.

    "The bloke must have run off from the bus and through here. I think he then headed off in the direction of Hurley Clinic [a doctor's surgery]."

    The Met's Operation Chicago began yesterday, targeting robberies, thefts, ticket fraud and other offences committed on our transport system.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 09, 2005.

    Have your say on London Parking

    Have your say on London Parking

    We are carrying out a survey on London parking, to co-incide with the GLA's enquiry, which is holding hearings shortly. Many London community websites have posted links to it, and the responses are rolling in.

    See the text below, and the accompanying notes. The survey is now live, so if you do it as a test, make sure your answers are genuine and honest!

    Richard Gaunt

    Have your say on London Parking

    The London Assembly is holding an enquiry into the parking regime in the capital. Are the restrictions needed, is the enforcement fair, are consultation processes working?

    Tell us what you think, and we'll pass the message on to Ken, as well as sharing the results with our subscribers.

    To do the survey, go to
    http://optima.benchpoint.com/optima/SurveyPop.aspx?query=view&SurveyID=138&S S=YxAMobBOv

    You can also email this link to your friends and invite them to take part

    Note to London Website editors:

    This is a web survey by Benchpoint(tm), a new system which delivers fully analysed results in real time. It is "branched" in that respondents follow different threads through the survey, depending on their answers. This means they do not have to answer irrelevant questions.

    Respondents' responses to this are anonymous, and we cannot identify individuals.

    The survey is "Unofficial", in that it has not been sponsored or financed by the Greater London Authority, or any other organisation. Its content follows the terms of reference of the Parking Enquiry. It will take a couple of minutes.

    About Benchpoint

    Although principally designed for the Corporate and Government measurement market, Benchpoint is an advanced tool for any sort of opinion polling.

    With a general election on the horizon, we are developing some interesting survey ideas to shed some light on local constituency issues and identify if campaigns are driven by policies, parties or personalities, and we hope you would like to be involved.

    Benchpoint(tm) can also host regular surveys where respondents' basic details are held on the system. When they return to do a survey, they do not need to re-enter their demographic data each time.

    I would be happy to organise a demonstration to show you how it works, or answer any questions.

    Richard Gaunt
    Benchpoint Ltd
    138 Wellesley Road
    London W4 3AP
    Tel 0771 169 1928

    -- Richard Gaunt (gaunt@benchpoint.com), February 08, 2005.

    Meeting re. Vauxhall Bus Interchange Station

    The Vauxhall Society
    Vision 4 Vauxhall
    Vauxhall Bus Interchange Station

    The Vauxhall Society and Vision 4 Vauxhall will be holding a meeting on TUESDAY 22nd FEBRUARY at Vauxhall St Peter's Heritage Centre, 310 Kennington Lane, commencing 7.0pm, for an update on the new Vauxhall Bus interchange station.  Officers from TfL will be on hand to answer questions and listen to suggestions for improvements.

    We also hope to have an update on the Cross River Tram project.

    All are welcome - please spread the word!

    Jim Nicolson

    -- Jim Nicolson (jasnicolson@waitrose.com), February 08, 2005.

    First Impressions

    Financial Times / Arts & Weekend

    First Impressions

    By Sathnam Sanghera
    Published: February 5 2005 02:00 | Last updated: February 5 2005 02:00

    At my request, former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith is demonstrating a party trick: an impression of Kenneth Clarke. "I can't be bothered with this interview!" he exclaims, in a style vaguely reminiscent of the former Conservative chancellor. "I can't be bothered with this interview! Oooooh!"

    Duncan Smith snorts, giggles and, encouraged by Tim Montgomery, the Tory minder sitting in on the interview, moves on to impersonating Lord Tebbit. "Did you listen to Norman on Today this morning?" he inquires. A short pause as he mimics Tebbit's sombre facial expression. "Well, Miss Montague ...I'd like to tell you, you are talking total nonsense ..."

    That's a bit better than your Kenneth Clarke, I admit. Tim applauds and requests Edward Heath. Duncan Smith drops his chin and, in a voice that sounds a little like the former Tory prime minister and a little like Jade Goody, growls: "Oh, an absolute nightmare! An absolute nightmare! Oooh!" He switches from the baritone to a squeak. "And I wonder if you know who this one is? I speak like this and make my points very clearly because I am Enoch Powell ..."

    It's a surreal end to our chat. But then the beginning is pretty surreal too. Duncan Smith arrives 20 minutes late, apologising profusely and declaring: "I've just come from playing football at West Ham." As Tim has already explained that the reason for his delay is that he has been having lunch with (another) national newspaper, I assume that Duncan Smith is making a (surreal) joke and laugh out loud.

    I was told that IDS had no sense of humour, but he is actually very funny, I think to myself. Ha ha ha! But as I guffaw, Duncan Smith blinks back at me. "It's not a joke. I was at Upton Park, playing for the Parliamentary side. We were playing a team of the sons and grandsons and daughters of Holocaust survivors."

    I am still laughing when he says this, but stop suddenly. The setting isn't helping make things feel less surreal: for some reason Duncan Smith has asked to meet in the middle of a church - between the pews of Christ Church in Kennington, to be precise. Getting my bearings, I have another stab at getting the conversation going, posing the most straightforward question I can think of: what's he doing with his time now that he isn't Leader of the Opposition?

    "Well, I write," he replies. "About politics. And I've done some film reviews. As my children have got older, we've gone to watch more adult films." I suppress a snigger. "I don't mean top shelf adult films! Of the adult variety, that is and er ...I play sports. I'm also a constituency MP. Still. And a huge amount of my political input is through this, the Centre for Social Justice."

    He gestures at the stained glass window and explains that this church has been the centre for non-conformist worship for more than two centuries. Wilberforce spoke here and the spire was donated by Abraham Lincoln's family to acknowledge its support for abolition. Now it is also the headquarters of his think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice, formed with private money. "It's not really a think-tank," he inserts, saying it is more concerned with the "practical application" of new approaches in various voluntary projects around the country than policy formulation. "Think-tanks are Westminster-based and sit in a nice atmosphere, writing pamphlets. We write pamphlets, but the CSJ is a way of life. It is about getting people, Conservatives particularly, to realise that what you do is more important than what you think. We are trying to draw attention to the plight of the worst off, from a Conservative standpoint. Essentially, we have taken the concept I had as leader and privatised it. The Conservative party has to decide if it wants it."

    So, to summarise: Duncan Smith has set up a think-tank, that isn't really a think-tank because it is not about thinking but doing (though it does think as well), to persuade the Tories to become the party for Britain's underclass. It's a radical idea, but problematic for a number of reasons, not least because it is supposedly a manifestation of Duncan Smith's "legacy" to the Tory party and as he was leader for such a short amount of time (25 months), it's debatable whether he has very much of a legacy to preserve.

    During his brief tenure he surprised everyone by not being the reactionary, hang'em and flog'em leader that everyone expected. But his policy initiatives were so drowned out by speculation about his leadership abilities that most people would now struggle to identify what they were. Most members of the public probably still see him as the rightwinger's rightwinger - the former army man who inherited Lord Tebbit's seat in Chingford and rebelled over Maastricht.

    He rejects the analysis. "I think, such as it existed, that was a pretty temporary view of me. As leader I confounded that whole principle." But he's setting himself quite a task in trying to persuade the Tories, and then the public, that the Conservatives can be the party for Britain's underclass. "I never said these things could be done overnight. Over a number of years the Conservatives managed to get driven into a small box marked 'only for the selfish', which is not true. It is a caricature. We need to break out of that box."

    As he says this, there seems to be a change in his mood. He glances at his pager. He taps his fingers on the table. Any warmth he may have exuded earlier has gone. I ask if he is bitter about how he was ejected as leader - after all, if things had gone well, he would have been leading his party into the general election right now. "Whatever I feel publicly or privately is generally kept to myself these days." An awkward pause. "It just happened and what happened is for other people to write about." What was the worst part of it? "The worst thing was the end really, the nature of the lies that were told about my wife. We were exonerated [by the inquiry into whether his wife Betsy earned her state funded pennies for secretarial work], but it took six months."

    And it was an expensive process - apparently he has ratcheted up £300,000 in legal fees. Who will pay these? "My legal fees haven't been paid yet. As and when anybody assists me with them, that's up to them, or if the party assists me, then it's up to it. If and when that happens they'll be gratefully received." Might the party pay? "I've no idea, you'll have to ask the party that." Would he like the party to pay? "I'd love to have to not pay my costs, but who pays them is up to them." Is he asking the party to pay? "Well, if I was, I wouldn't tell you. But the answer to that is that nothing has been paid."

    His mood doesn't improve as we move on to discussing the Conservative party's general election strategy. Yes, he supports Howard's asylum and spending plans. Yes, he thinks the Tories can win the election. Yes, there are lessons from Bush's victory in the US. "But without me listing them, you've got my recent pamphlet on the subject. I won't repeat all of that." Will he be involved in the general election campaign? "I guess I will be, but I haven't really discussed it with them yet. It's not really my problem."

    We have 90 minutes to talk but if he carries on giving such brief, exasperated answers, we'll finish early, even with the late start. He sounds so annoyed now that I dare not ask him about his one man show (according to the papers, only 67 people attended an "audience with Duncan Smith" at Liverpool's Philharmonic). But I do risk inquiring about The Devil's Tune, his 400-page novel described by one newspaper as a "thriller-cum-wartime-mystery-cum-political-vendetta, set in London, New York, Washington and Italy". It was panned by the critics. "You won't get a copy of it, because it was sold out," he remarks after a sigh. "Never been remaindered either, by the way. I enjoyed writing it. But if a politician writes a book, people review the politician."

    Is there going to be a paperback? "Yeah, I hope so." Does he have plans for other books? "Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm in the middle of doing some other stuff." I read that he wants to write a novel set in British politics. "I might do that one day. There's a couple of factual books I want to write." Such as? "Well, yes, historical stuff really." Biography? "Could be. I can't tell you any more than that. The point is that I will be writing more." A shrug. "I might do anything, which is basically what I'm saying to you."

    Does the possibility of media punditry appeal? He's done bits of TV work. "Well, I'll do it if they want me to." Michael Portillo has made a career out of it, I observe cheerfully. "Yeeees. So far. We'll see where that takes him." A smile, revealing white, even, gritted teeth. "You know, there are lots of opportunities out there. I'm very upbeat about it all."

    He doesn't sound upbeat at all. He sounds pissed off. I give up trying to get any more answers out of him. But before I leave, I've heard that he does a great impression of Kenneth Clarke ...


    Find this article at:

    -- Cathy (cathyvprece@aol.com), February 07, 2005.

    Trains, Bus Lanes, and Automobiles


    Trains, Bus Lanes, and Automobiles

    Transport Policy Shapes the Future
    Join the debate

    The Lambeth Transport Local Implementation Plan is how we will deliver the London Mayor's Transport Strategy and forms the basis for future funding bids for projects until 2011.

    From 1st February to the 15th April 2005 Lambeth Council needs to hear what you think about our proposed transport policies.

    We will be holding a series of workshops to discuss our plans for:
    · Cars, Taxis, Buses, Trains, Trams and Tube
    · Safety and Security
    · Parking
    · Cycling and Walking
    · Disabled access and accessible transport
    · Maintenance, sustainability and pollution
    · Freight

    Venue: Pedlar's Acre, Opal Street, London, SE11 4HZ

    Date: Monday 21/02/05

    Time: 7-9pm

    *Light refreshments will be provided

    For further details, please contact Faz Mussa on 020 7926 2827 or e-mail: lip@lambeth.gov.uk

    -- Faz Mussa (lip@lambeth.gov.uk), February 06, 2005.

    Local boxing hero Danny Williams tours Lambeth Schools


    Local boxing hero Danny Williams tours Lambeth Schools

    Schoolchildren from a handful of Lambeth schools are to benefit from a masterclass presented by world heavyweight boxing contender Danny Williams.

    Released: February 2, 2005 11:29 AM
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 03, 2005.

    Cherie writes off Paris

    Evening Standard

    03/02/05 - London news section

    Cherie writes off Paris

    By Patrick Sawer And Luke Leitch, Evening Standard

    Olympic ambassador Cherie Blair has dismissed Paris's chances of winning the 2012 Games - and insisted they will come to the capital. At an event to encourage London's cultural elite to back the bid, Mrs Blair said London had nothing to fear from Paris, and lightheartedly rejected its claim of cultural superiority.

    She said: "We are going to win the bid. Paris? What does Paris know about culture? New York? No contest. London is the cultural capital of the world. Of course we are going to win - how can we fail?"

    Mrs Blair's words underlines a growing determination that London should emerge victorious when the host city is announced in Singapore on 6 July.

    She was speaking at the Royal Festival Hall, in front of representatives from the Tate, the Rambert Dance Company, the Arts Council, The Royal Opera House, the South Bank and the Society of London Theatres. Guests included Michael Grade, Melvyn Bragg, Royal Court director Ian Rickson, and Orange Prize founder Kate Mosse.

    Mrs Blair said: "I believe our full proposals - across sporting venues, transport, volunteering, culture and education - really will create an amazing Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is something that could reach out to every kid in London and say something positive to them."

    Her comments came only 24 hours after Paris municipal chiefs revived the two cities' ancient rivalry with a series of barbed comments.

    Unveiling their 20-year Local Urbanism Plan, the Parisian authorities said they wanted to prevent la Londonisation of their city - meaning an city sharply divided between the rich and poor.

    Paris's councillor in charge of housing, Jean-Yves Mano, said: "I don't want Paris to look like London, with a very wealthy population on one side and a very poor population on the other."

    Paris city council claims its central area is far livelier and more diverse, with a greater mix of shops, restaurants, cultural facilities and people. However, Londoners were quick to refute the claim that their inner city was only for the very rich or very poor.

    The revival of Notting Hill, Kennington and other previously rundown areas has reversed the flight to the suburbs. "The Parisian view of London seems a bit out of date," said Darren Johnson, the Green Party group leader on the London Assembly.

    Both cities have their share of problems, with the divide between rich and poor, expensive housing and the question of how to assimilate immigrants. But London tourist chiefs say only the British capital, with its noise, exuberance, inventiveness, glamour and eccentricity, can claim to be a true world city.

    Taking food as an example, Richard Harden, of the Harden Food Guide, said: "London scores magnificently in the range and quality it offers of everyone else's national styles of cooking. In terms of scale and variety, its only obvious competitor is New York."

    Meanwhile British people living in Paris said they loved their adopted city but could not deny its shortcomings.

    Fashion designer Sara Reddin said: "When it comes to social matters Paris, and France in general, is in the early Eighties. They are starting to introduce reforms like equal rights watchdogs but I haven't seen any black politicians."

    Additional reporting by Sam Lyon and Toby Rose.

    Find this story at
    ©2005 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 03, 2005.

    North Lambeth Area Committee: Wednesday 16th February 2005

    North Lambeth Area Committee

    Wednesday 16th February 2005
    at 6.45 p.m.

    Redfearn Centre, Ground Floor
    Lilian Baylis Technology School
    329 Kennington Lane SE11
    (close to Vauxhall Underground Station)


    Come and hear about
    o Regeneration in North Lambeth
    o Recycling in North Lambeth
    o Local Implementation Plan for the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy

    Agenda papers will be despatched and available on the website from 8th February 2005.

    For further enquiries or information about questions/petitions to the area committee, contact:  Rita Chakraborty at the Town Hall
    (T: 020 7926 2225 e: rchakraborty@lambeth.gov.uk)
    Website www.lambeth.gov.uk
    (link:  http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/services/government-democracy/democracy/committee-reports.shtml)

    Dates of future meetings
    Tuesday 29th March 2005 Thursday 5th May 2005

    -- Frances (fforrest@lambeth.gov.uk), February 03, 2005.

    Northern line closed for weekend repairs

    This is Local London

    Northern line closed for weekend repairs

    Extensive work to improve the Northern line means there will be no service between Camden and Kennington stations on the southbound Bank branch during three consecutive weekends in February and March.

    The closures will take place during the following weekends: 19/20 February 2005, 26/27 February 2005, 5/6 March 2005.

    The Charing Cross branch and the rest of the Northern line will be fully operating, including the northbound Bank branch. During the work Old Street station will be fully closed, with Moorgate station a 15 minute walk away. There are a number of bus services in this area including the 43, 141, 76 and 243. Valid London Underground tickets will be accepted on these services.

    Passengers are advised to allow more time for their journeys during this important improvement work. For more information, check out the TfL website www.tfl.gov.uk or call London Travel Information on 020 7222 1234.

    4:20pm Tuesday 1st February 2005
    By James Stern

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 02, 2005.

    Improving from what?

    South London Press

    Improving from what?

    Jan 28 2005

    I WRITE with regard to claims made in your paper by the Liberal Democrat and Tory leaders of Lambeth council. They proudly boasted that Lambeth is the "fastest improving council in London, according to the Audit Commission's ratings". I think they are in need of a little perspective. This claim stems from Lambeth's gain in points since the last inspection. But they neglect to mention that, after almost three years in office, the council has failed to move up one single place in the league table of London boroughs despite huge Government investment and a 30 per cent council tax rise.

    It's like a football manager saying: "Well done boys. We're bottom of the league again, but this year we only got relegated by 20 points instead of 30." The Liberal Democrats and Tories should stop slapping themselves on the back and start sorting out the dire problems which I believe THEY have caused in parking, benefits and housing, to name but a few.

    Stephen Richard Morgan Renfrew Road Kennington

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 31, 2005.

    £15k violin snatched

    South London Press

    £15k violin snatched

    Jan 28 2005
    By Ben Ashford

    IT WAS lovingly strung by master-craftsmen more than 100 years ago and has rested under the chin of generations of classical musicians.

    But now the 1883 Gand and Bernadel violin - worth around £15,000 - has fallen into less-refined hands.

    Owner, violinist Nick Pryce, 57, was on his way home from rehearsals for a small recital in South Kensington when muggers jumped him from behind and wrenched the rare instrument from his grip. He gave chase but the pair jumped into a getaway car and sped off.

    Mr Pryce told the South London Press: "That violin was my baby. I'd had it for 10 years and treasured it because of its uniquely warm sound.

    "It was a one-off handcrafted model from the 19th century and, without any insurance cover, there is no way I could afford to replace it."

    The robbery happened at 8.30pm on January 11, at the corner of Cooks Road and Otto Street in Kennington.

    Mr Pryce - a retired soloist - had gone into the nearby White Bear pub and was walking home when the thugs struck.

    "I was 100 yards from my flat when a couple of guys jumped me. I chased them but they jumped in a car.

    "I wasn't badly hurt but the shock was awful. I don't think they even realised what they had in their hands."

    Police want music shops and musicians to lookout for people trying to sell the violin.

    It has a distinctive red varnish with four ebony pins, and was kept inside a dark blue, canvas case with two violin bows.

    The robbers were both about 25, 5ft 10in tall and wearing woolly hats.

    Anyone with information should call PC Nishit Doshi of Walworth robbery squad on 020 7232 6267 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    A small cash reward is on offer.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 28, 2005.

    Local Transport: North Lambeth Workshop


    BAC Local Transport

    See Page 5 of this report about a North Lambeth Workshop taking place on 21st February at 7pm at Pedlar's Acre, Opal Street (off Kennington Lane), SE11


    Released: January 25, 2005 10:31 AM
    Filesize: 36kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 27, 2005.

    Bring our big top back

    Bring our big top back

    Jan 25 2005
    By Ben Clover

    South London Press

    RUNNING away to join the circus is a tradition going back centuries.

    But a Kennington-based troupe is running away to be re-united with a big top they had to leave in the south of France.

    Bassline Circus had been booked for shows on the Continent last year but when the tour fell through the troupe couldn't afford to get their new £10,000 tent back home.

    Performer Susannah Ford said the group was fighting back by mounting a fundraising night this Friday to go and get it back.

    Susannah said: "We were distraught when we had to leave it behind. It's a beautiful big top and we need it for our bookings this year."

    The Kennington performer, whose acts include the use of an angle-grinder and a pair of specially-made iron knickers, added: "We need to raise £1,000 to go and get it back.

    "On the fundraising night there will be live music, fire eating, escapologists, acrobats, stilt-walking, hoop artists and more besides."

    The 12 core members of Bassline Circus met on the London performance circuit and have been working together for the last 18 months.

    This year the troupe's plans include appearances at Glastonbury and the Lewisham comedy festival, Spikefest.

    The fundraising night is at Bar Lorca, Brixton Road, Brixton, from 9pm and costs £5.

    For more information call 07899 771297.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2005.

    Loutish copper jailed

    South London Press

    Loutish copper jailed

    Jan 24 2005
    By Clare Casey

    A POLICEMAN who swore and lashed out at passengers on a late night train and then rang 999 claiming to be the victim has been jailed.

    PC John Nicholson, 27, was sentenced to 60 days for abusing two passengers and then lying to cover up his behaviour.

    Presiding at Bow Street Magistrates' Court, deputy district judge Nicholas Evans said he had no choice but to jail him.

    He said: "According to reports from your superior, you are a hard working, responsible officer.

    "But your drunken loutish behaviour caused immense fear to members of the public.

    "It happened late at night on a train where people are effectively a captive audience and they were subject to your thoroughly objectionable behaviour.


    "You first of all turned on a female passenger and called her a 'f***ing slut' and then bent down so your face was almost touching another passenger on the train, and said 'you f***ing c**t'.

    "When he objected to your language you then swung at him with your fist and tried to kick him."

    Mr Evans told the court on Thursday that had PC Nicholson not phoned 999 and blamed the other passenger he would have escaped a custodial sentence.

    The incident happened when Nicholson, who was based at Kennington police station, was travel- ling home from London to his Bromley home on February 8, 2004.

    The off-duty officer, who had pleaded not guilty to using threatening and abusive behaviour, was arrested after getting off the train at Eden Park station.

    Defending, Dean Luxton, said Nicholson regretted the "few moments of recklessness at the end of a drunken evening".

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2005.

    Hostess killer cops seek man

    South London Press

    Hostess killer cops seek man

    Jan 24 2005

    DETECTIVES hunting the killer of a club hostess have appealed for a man with "vital information" to come forward.

    Camille Gordon, 23, was stabbed to death outside the Blue Bunny club, in Soho, on March 1 last year.

    They launched a fresh appeal to find her killer this week and announced a £20,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

    Camille spent time in Castaway's club, in Peckham High Street, the night before her death.

    She was driven to her South Norwood home by a man who detectives are still trying to trace.

    Days later a man walked into Kennington police station with "vital information" but cops lost contact with him and want to speak to him again.

    Anyone with information should call detectives on 020 8358 0100 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (CATHYVPREECE@AOL.COM), January 25, 2005.

    PC Tech Support: Frank Bornemann

    PC Tech Support

    I'd like to recommend to you a local PC Tech Support person:

    Frank Bornemann
    Tel: 020 7735 9830
    Charges £25 callout
    He said it is best to phone him because he gets so many emails it might take him a while to get back to you.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2005.

    Business Letters


    January 23, 2005

    Business Letters

    MOVING MONEY: One topic that the interesting and informative report on the economic benefits of immigration (Special Report, Business, last week) did not address is that of the repatriation of immigrants' earnings. These transfer payments must surely have a substantial effect on the UK economy and the UK's balance of payments. Globally the value of immigrants' repatriated earnings exceeds that of aid payments.

    Garth R A Wiseman
    Kennington, London

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2005.

    FW Evans bike joins museum collection

    London SE1 website team

    FW Evans bike joins museum collection

    20 January 2005

    An Evans bicycle purchased in Kennington Road in 1929 is the newest vehicle to join the collection at London's Transport Museum.

    The recent donation is from 95-year-old William Wagstaff who bought the bike in 1929 and has finally decided to hang up his bicycle clips for good.

    Mr Wagstaff purchased the bicycle when he was 20 years old from FW Evans http://www.evanscycles.com/ in Kennington Road on 14 May 1929. For many years he was a member of the Cyclists' Touring Club and his spare time was spent cycling all over the country. The bicycle is still in full working order despite having covered thousands of miles.

    In 1938 he married and moved to Shirley in Croydon. During World War II he commuted on the bicycle to the Bermondsey telephone exchange where he worked as an engineer. The museum has also been given the original Black Lucas 'Silver King' cycle lamp Mr Wagstaff used during this period, still half covered with hand-made blackout paper.

    FW Evans no longer makes bicycles but it has a burgeoning chain of retail stores, including branches in The Cut, Waterloo Road and London Bridge. The original Kennington Road shop is now occupied by the Cam Pharmacy.

    London's Transport Museum http://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/ in Covent Garden is about to begin a major redevelopment which will see the museum expand its displays to include the River Thames, cycling and congestion charging as well as buses, trams and the underground.

    To see a photograph of Mr Wagstaff on his bicycle in his twenties, go to http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view.php?ArtID=1365

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2005.

    Trickster Alert!

    Trickster Alert!

    Dear Neighbours

    This morning we have received this warning from a member at the Lycee, opposite Kennington Green.  Our police contact details are below.

    Take care

    Best wishes


    I remember last year you circulated local people about a bogus caller asking for money.

    You might like to know that over the weekend the Lycee has had three visits from a woman asking for money. She is in her thirties, with a slight Asian look about her. Her story is that she has a sick daughter and the electricity meter has run out. She claims to live above Tony's Cafe on Kennington Green. On each of her visits to the Lycee she has mentioned the name of the last person she tricked to add to her credibility!

    A neighbour alerted me to her scam this afternoon and by chance she buzzed on my door at about 10 pm asking for the exit code for the gate. I called a neighbour and we got the Police but she had escaped.

    The Police have her description and will hopefully get cctv footage from here.

    It might be worth letting people know about her because when such people start these games they tend to keep working the neighbourhood.

    I doubt that she is dangerous but she is a nuisance and needs to be stopped.


    Police contact details:

    ·         For Oval Ward we have PC Rob Ellison 756LX covering Vauxhall and Wyvill Estates and Mawbey Brough Estate.  Also Oval PC 668LX Gerry Fox covering Oval station, Harleyford Road, Dorset Road Estates, and Fentiman Road.  Also Paul Courtney 925LX (Paul.Courtney@met.police.uk 020 8649 2462) covering Kennington Park Estate and St Agnes Place.
    ·         In Princes Ward we have PC 710LX Jane Brown (Jane.Brown@met.police.uk 020 8649 2862) who covers Kennington Road, Cottington Close Estate, Penwith Manor Estate, Cotton Gardens Estate, Methley Street, Cleaver Square and Walcot Estate; and PC 448LX Errol Maile (errol.maile@met.police.uk 020 8649 2462) covering Spring Gardens, Vauxhall Gardens Estate, and the Embankment.  PC Mark Collins covers the Ethelred Estate.
    ·         Bishops Ward is covered by PC 551LX Mark Sullivan for China Walk Estate, St Thomas’s and Lambeth Road, PC 699LX Mitrovich who covers Tanswell Estate, Lower Marsh and Waterloo (basically the area opposite the Old Vic Theatre) and PC Mick Lacey 740 LX for South bank and Waterloo
    ·         There are other officers covering the Vassall Ward and Myatts Field Estate, all contactable on the office number, 020 8721 3661

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), January 24, 2005.

    See Kevin Spacey on stage for just £12!

    The Old Vic Theatre Company

    See Kevin Spacey on stage for just £12!

    Following on from our “Aladdin” and “Cloaca” ticket offers, we have a new treat in-store for local residents.  At the beginning of February, Kevin Spacey will return to the London stage after 7 years in The Old Vic's production of "National Anthems".  A darkly comic critique of American materialism, Dennis McIntyre's play is set in Chicago and plays in real-time.  The play co-stars Mary Stuart Masterson and Steven Weber.


    Simply call 0870 060 6628 and quote 'local community offer'.  All tickets must be collected via Box Office and proof of residency must be shown.

    Matinees are at 2.30pm.  Tickets subject to availability.  Further information available from www.oldvictheatre.com, where you can also register for email updates.

    Do forward this to any local residents who would like to be included on future mailings.

    Rachael Stevens
    The Old Vic Theatre Company
    The Cut, London SE1 8NB
    Direct line: 0207 902 7582

    -- Rachael Stevens (rachael.stevens@oldvictheatre.com), January 23, 2005.

    PA: Gala Bingo, Kennington Road


    PA - Report for meeting 1.02.05


    See Pages 78 to 100 regarding the Gala Bingo, Kennington Road SE11

    Released: January 21, 2005 11:15 AM
    Filesize: 3033kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 22, 2005.

    KENNINGTON, OVAL & VAUXHALL FORUM Monday 31 January at 7pm at Saint Anselm's Church, Kennington Cross

    Find out what's happening. Meet your elected representatives, make contacts & like-minded friends. Have your say, help make a difference at:

    Monday 31 January at 7pm
    at Saint Anselm's Church, Kennington Cross
    286 Kennington Road - at the junction of Kennington Road and Kennington Lane

    AGENDA: 1. Welcome 2. Apologies 3. Introductions 4. Minutes of last Forum, 28 Sept. 2004 5. Matters arising not covered in the agenda

    6. TRAFFIC CALMING: Vauxhall Street north traffic calming and cycle scheme presentation: consultation questionnaire. Other areas with speeding problems ? Your input invited. Information on Fentiman Road, Richborne Terrace, and Dorset Rd from Mary Acland-Hood.


    7. Lighthouse Community Consultation 2005: Tell us what you think. Help to shape new community projects and how programmes are delivered: Victor Jibuike
    8. St Agnes Place Community Plans: Annette Spence, community development worker.
    9. Jonathan Street Shops: Problems and Needs: Kennington Association and Jonathan Street Traders: Mr Jim Patel from Kunal Confectioners, 30 Vauxhall Street.

    10. NEWS & UPDATES: (Including ongoing items & planning: Ian Adams, see below*)

    10.1 Parks & Green Spaces: Friends of Kennington Park: chair, Mark Rogers, and Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space: chair, Diana Braithwaite.
    10.2 Riverside Community Development Trust: News of joint working and projects in KOV & North Lambeth Riverside area: Vice Chair, Philip Moore.
    10.3 Lambeth Riverside Festival 2005: the plans so far. Bring your ideas: Danielle Arnaud.
    10.4 Arts for Kennington Cross lavatories: Friends of Kennington Cross: Celia Stothard.
    10.5 KOV Chair's report: including: Winter Warmer Party and the character of KOV, all Lambeth Fora Chairs meetings, Review of Area Committees, Lambeth Community Strategy: Celia Stothard.
    10.6 Area Committee items: Upcoming items for Area committee meeting on 16/02 plus. Your views and items sought: Rita Fitzgerald, KOV vice-chair.


    11.1 Town Centre Manager's Report: including: Progress on Town Centre team's Service Plan and Review of Community Development Work.
    11.2 Good News From Lambeth: The new Comprehensive Performance Assessment.

    12. Any Other Business.
    13. Date of Next Meeting: KOV AGM: Wednesday May 25 2005
    14. Close of official Business: Refreshments, informal discussions, information exchange.

    * Discuss ongoing items with KOV Forum & Board members: Planning, Business, Shops, Trees, roads, parking, transport, crime & community safety, housing, environment, schools.

    Areas for information on your group, business, idea or initiative: bring materials, promote/network.

    Info/contact: North Lambeth Town Centre Office, 20 Newburn Street, London SE11 5LR
    Temporary information officer: Azom Mortuza: amortuza@lambeth.gov.uk 020 7926 8295

    -- Frances (fforrest@lambeth.gov.uk), January 20, 2005.

    The Durning Library: Reading Group: "The Master" by Colm Toibin

    The Durning Library

    The Book Reading Group
    Wednesday 26th February at 7 pm
    "The Master"
    by Colm Toibin

    The Reading Group meets at the Durning Library on Wednesday 26th February at 7 pm.  The book this month is "The Master" by Colm Toibin.

    New members welcome.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 20, 2005.

    Courting couple parted after 76 years


    January 19, 2005

    Courting couple parted after 76 years

    By Alan Hamilton

    A bicycle ride that began in 1929 has come to an end in London’s Transport Museum

    WILLIAM WAGSTAFF and his trusty companion Evans were inseparable for 76 years. They went courting together, endured the Blitz and took memorable holidays in Cornwall and the Isle of Man.

    Now they are parted, Mr Wagstaff at the age of 95 to a retirement home in East Sussex and a still-healthy Evans to London’s Transport Museum, to represent an earlier, gentler and more environmentally friendly age of travel.

    On May 14, 1929, the 20-year-old apprentice telephone engineer walked into F. W. Evans’s cycle works in Kennington, South London, and exchanged his £13 life savings for a shiny black racer.

    The faithful Evans ensured that Mr Wagstaff was never late for a date with his wife-to-be Gladys when the couple were courting in the 1930s.

    More than seven decades, 50,000 miles, three saddles and numerous sets of tyres later, Evans was still going strong and in regular use.

    Only when Mr Wagstaff, on a trip to the shops, had a brush with a motorist who knocked him and injured his confidence did he decide to donate his one-owner-from-new bike to the museum, where it will form part of a permanent display.

    Jan Hibbard, 65, Mr Wagstaff’s daughter, said yesterday that her father had ridden Evans almost every day of his life until he was 93. “It has all the original parts, right down to the stainless steel wheel rims, which cost extra when it was new, and the oil-powered lamp, which is still covered with blackout paper from the war, when Dad used to ride 12 miles home to Croydon from his job at Bermondsey telephone exchange.”

    The only non-original parts are the handlebars; as he grew older Mr Wagstaff exchanged the dropped racers for a more comfortable upright set.

    Robert Excell, a curator at the museum in Covent Garden, said that the cycle still worked remarkably smoothly, despite some 76 years’ continuous use.

    “Mr Wagstaff had soaked everything in oil to preserve it and even gave us the original saddlebag and toolkit, which he got with the Evans when it was new. It is made of a heavier metal than modern bicycles and that is partly why it has lasted so long,” he said.

    The Evans company still exists, but no longer manu- factures frames and con- centrates, instead, on its chain of 17 specialist cycle shops.

    Mark Smith, a director whose grandfather bought the company from the original Mr Evans, said: “It’s no longer efficient to manufacture frames here; I’m afraid the industry is now dominated by Taiwan. Evans used to have a good reputation for touring bikes, but that’s a dying side of the market. What people want now is mountain bikes.”

    We shall have to wait until 2080 to discover whether today’s Taiwanese mountain steed has the life expectancy of an original Evans.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 20, 2005.




    Jan 19 2005

    William rode bike for 75 years

    By Tom Parry

    WILLIAM Wagstaff has finally given up his bicycle - after riding it almost every day for 75 YEARS.

    Mr Wagstaff, 95, spent his £14 life savings on the bike on May 14, 1929.

    He named it Evans after the F.W. Evans cycle works in Kennington, South East London, where it was made, and went on to wear out three saddles and about 15 sets of tyres.

    He biked from his home in Croydon, Surrey, to work in Bermondsey, South London, in the Blitz.

    Cornwall and the Isle of Man were among other destinations as he totted up 50,000 miles in a lifetime's pedalling His daughter, Jan Hibbard, 65, said: "Even into his 90s he used it two or three times a week. But a car knocked him off and upset his confidence."

    The bike has its original saddlebag and tool-kit and an oil lamp masked with blackout paper from the war.

    Mr Wagstaff has given the bike to the Transport Museum in London.

    Curator Robert Excell said: "It's remarkably well preserved, partly because they made them out of stronger steel in those days and partly because Mr Wagstaff soaked everything in oil to preserve it. It's a real gem."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 19, 2005.

    76-year-old bike rides into history

    The Scotsman

    Wed 19 Jan 2005

    76-year-old bike rides into history


    IN A consumer-driven world where the latest technology faces obsolescence by the time it has left the production line, William Wagstaff’s bicycle serves as a reminder of an era when things were built to last.

    He bought his hand-built black racer from the FW Evans cycle works in Kennington, south-east London, as a 20-year-old apprentice 76 years ago and has ridden it ever since.

    The shop - which later spawned the Evans cycle store group - is no longer there, but Mr Wagstaff’s bike is still in full working order.

    Until recently, Mr Wagstaff continued to ride his bicycle on a regular basis but at the age of 95, he has decided to hand in his bike clips for good and has found a new home for the bike he affectionately calls "Evans".

    It is now an exhibit in London’s Transport Museum.

    Mr Wagstaff, a retired telephone engineer, bought the bike for 12 guineas - or £12.60 - on 14 May, 1929, when he worked as an apprentice. It would have cost him a month or two’s wages. But it was money well spent.

    Today, a similar bike from Evans - depending on components - could cost between £500 and £1,000.

    In 76 years, Mr Wagstaff has covered an estimated 50,000 miles on Evans. A member of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, he has ridden his trusty bike as far afield as Cornwall and the Isle of Man.

    It saw him through his courting days with wife-to-be Gladys in the 1930s and it transported him through the Blitz, when he would ride it to work.

    But after a nasty brush with a motorist Mr Wagstaff, who now lives in a care home in Littlehampton, east Sussex, decided to donate the "one owner from new" machine to the museum.

    His daughter, Jan Hibbard, 65, said yesterday: "He rode the bike almost every day of his life until he was 93, but he was knocked off during a shopping trip and it upset his confidence, so he decided to offer it to the museum.

    "It has all the original parts, right down to the stainless steel wheel rims, which cost extra when it was new, and the oil-powered lamp, which is still covered with black-out paper from the war, when dad used to ride12 miles home to Croydon from his job at Bermondsey telephone exchange."

    Robert Excell, a curator at London’s Transport Museum, said: "It is remarkable how smoothly it works considering the bike was in regular use for around 75 years.

    "It is made of a much heavier gauge of metal than modern bicycles and that is partly why it has lasted so long."

    This article:

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 19, 2005.

    On This Day - January 18

    "PA" News

    Tue 18 Jan 2005
    2:48am (UK)

    On This Day - January 18

    1778 Captain Cook discovered Hawaii.

    1788 A penal settlement was established in Botany Bay, Australia.

    1879 The first England-Wales football international was played at Kennington Oval in London, England winning 2-1.

    1882 AA Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, was born in St John’s Wood, London.

    1911 US pilot Eugene Ely, in a Curtiss aircraft, made the first landing on the deck of a ship – the cruiser Pennsylvania moored in San Francisco Bay.

    1912 British explorer Captain Scott reached the South Pole – only to find the Norwegian Amundsen had arrived 35 days earlier.

    1933 The “bodyline bowling” row flared up in an Australian v England Test match in Adelaide.

    1944 The 900-day siege of Leningrad ended.

    1977 In the worst rail disaster in Australian history, 82 people died when a Sydney-bound train was derailed.

    1989 Knuckledusters, hand claws and other offensive weapons were officially banned by the Home Office.

    1992 Faced with a new outbreak of terrorism, the Government decided to send more troops to Northern Ireland.

    ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay purchased Hollinger International for £260m to acquire Telegraph newspapers.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 18, 2005.

    Harry's despicable Nazi stunt is an insult to us all


    Harry's despicable Nazi stunt is an insult to us all

    THE SUN has been bombarded with letters from all round the world about our picture showing Prince Harry sporting a German army uniform with swastika to a party.

    Many came from readers who lost family members in Nazi atrocities and almost everyone was deeply offended by the 20-year-old royal’s thoughtless, insulting behaviour.

    IF Prince Harry could not work out that dressing as a Nazi would upset everyone, then perhaps his level of intelligence is not as high as his er, dubious exam results suggest.

    Kennington, SE London

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 17, 2005.

    Out and about

    Observer : Gay London

    Out and about

    London is the gay capital of Europe, and a new Time Out gay and lesbian guide to the city tells you all the places it's in to be out. We pick some of the highlights

    Sunday January 16, 2005

    Even without a guidebook at their disposal, most gay visitors to London would soon find their way to the nearest gay bar. Call it gaydar if you must, but would those same visitors be as quick to locate the best venues for experimental gay theatre, or the nearest place for a night of camp comedy? Would they stumble across the gay-friendliest hotels and restaurants, and would they really make the most of all that gay London has to offer - or simply go on a gay pub crawl?

    Over the past decade, the scene in London has grown at such a rate that it has become the gay capital of Europe, if not the world. For more than 20 years Time Out magazine has been providing London's gay and lesbian community with a weekly guide to what's on, and now it has decided to launch a dedicated guide.

    The Time Out Gay & Lesbian London guide isn't simply a guide to those parts of London which proudly (and loudly) proclaim themselves as gay. Rather it's a guide to the entire city, viewed from a gay perspective. Here's a taster.

    Where to stay

    Rates are for a double room

    For hanky panky

    The Philbeach
    30-31 Philbeach Gardens SW5 (020 7373 1244)
    From £63.

    Long before Soho became So-Homo, Earl's Court was the gay capital of London. And if the walls could talk at the Philbeach, London's most in-your-face gay hotel, they'd have some saucy tales to tell. It's typically English B&B material, if a bit grubby. But people don't come here for the chintz. For the Philbeach has gained a reputation as a cruisy hotel: if you don't enjoy being propositioned in the bathroom, request a room with en suite facilities.

    For Soho action

    Clone Zone
    64 Old Compton Street W1 (020 7287 3530)
    From £95

    You've bought the clothes, the porn and the sex toys: now put them to good use by renting a crash pad right above the famous Soho shop. For a scene queen holiday, you don't get closer to the action than this: a couple of rooms even have a view of Old Compton Street. Bedrooms have faux-wooden floors and contemporary decor, plus cable TV, hi-fi, fridges, and wireless internet access.

    For swimming with an MP

    Dolphin Square Hotel
    Dolphin Square, Chichester Street SW1 (020 7798 8890)
    From £260.

    Dolphin Square is a London legend. This massive 1930s mansion block survived bombing during the war. Its posh flats are home to politicians, barristers and civil servants. And one wing of the building is devoted to an attractive hotel. Allium, the smart restaurant run by former Savoy chef Anton Edelmann, is complemented by a glam period cocktail bar; both overlook the indoor swimming pool.

    For flashy fashionistas

    The Baglioni

    60 Hyde Park Gate SW7 (020 7368 5700)
    From £300.

    Attention, fashionistas. The Baglioni, part of an exclusive Italian group, has made a flamboyant foray into London. In a bold move, it has nixed the tired minimalist aesthetic and upped the glam. The fantastic lobby bar is part baroque, part Donatella Versace: spidery black chandeliers, burnished gold ceilings and gigantic vases filled with roses. The chic bedrooms are more masculine: dark wood floors, black lacquered tables and taupe walls. Ostentatious, yes. And about time too: when you're spending this kind of money, you want a good show.

    For kitsch sake

    34-36 Sussex Gardens W2 (020 7262 0905)
    From £85

    In a row of dowdy hotels, the Pavilion is a shining star. Or more like a disco ball. When it comes to decor, this hilariously kitsch B&B has tongue firmly planted in cheek. The themed rooms are a riot: Casablanca Nights is a Moorish fantasy complete with Moroccan lanterns; the Highland Fling is a tartan theme park, with plaid bedspreads and stag antlers. Rock stars love the place: a favourite shag pad is Honky Tonk Afro, with its mirror ball, fuzzy dice and heart-shaped mirrored headboards.

    Where to eat

    For people watching

    15 Broadwick Street W1 (020 7494 8888)
    Mains £3.50-£12

    Costing £4.2 million, deeply chic Yauatcha is the latest venture from restaurateur Alan Yau. Taking up residence in the basement of Richard Rogers's new Ingeni building, it serves exquisite food. Oh, and there's a kick-ass tearoom on the ground floor.

    For brunch

    18 Wellington Street WC2 (020 7240 4222)
    Mains £12-£28

    This remains one of London's best restaurants for modern American cuisine, with a seasonally changing menu of delights. The decor of the first-floor restaurant is cool and contemporary, with cream and chocolate tones, and the ground-floor bar is excellent for cocktails.

    For a sense of occasion

    5 Raphael Street SW7 (020 7584 1010)
    Mains £3.50-£28.50

    Has Zuma taken over from Nobu as the capital's most glamorous dining spot? Possibly, if the wait (several weeks for dinner when we tried) for a reservation is anything to go by. Not to mention the strict two-hour sittings. Still, the food remains compellingly good, helped by service that is well informed and friendly.

    Branch: Roka, 37 Charlotte Street W1 (020 7580 6464).

    For old times' sake

    First Out
    52 St Giles High Street WC2 (020 7240 8042)
    Mains £4.95-£5.95

    London's first lesbian and gay cafe-bar is still going strong. A favoured West End meeting place for yonks: it used to be the only place to get a copy of the Pink Paper in daylight hours without having to get a dodgy massage as well. With soup and bread at £3.50, a lot of locals treat the place like a canteen. Despite the best efforts of the management to give First Out a frequent facelift, it's a bit like M&S knickers: not the trendiest, but affordable, comfortable and you know what you're going to get.

    All night long

    60 Old Compton Street W1 (020 7439 2183)
    Mains £9-£14

    This stalwart is the only 24-hour gay venue in London that isn't a sauna. Food and service aren't always up to scratch, but it's a popular haunt and mostly delivers. The key to Balans's success is the diversity of the menu: it covers everything from steak and chips to generous salads, grilled fish to green curry.

    Branches: 239 Old Brompton Road SW5 (7244 8838); 187 Kensington High Street W8 (7376 0115); Balans Cafe (24 hrs), 34 Old Compton Street W1 (7439 3309).

    Where to party

    In the thick of things

    Compton's of Soho
    51-53 Old Compton Street, W1 (020 7479 7961)

    A Soho institution, Compton's is popular with crowds of beer-drinking, blokey gay men in bomber jackets. The cruisey atmosphere extends to both floors. Shaved heads optional.

    For warm evenings

    The Yard
    57 Rupert Street W1 (020 7437 2652)

    A gay men's bar with a courtyard, loft bar and food. It's very popular during the summer, when the courtyard comes into its own. The Yard attracts a slightly smarter, after-work crowd.

    For members only

    Shaun & Joe
    5 Goslett Yard WC2 (020 7734 9858)
    Admission £10 to non-members after 10pm Fri, Sat (membership by invitation only)

    A new members' bar and club from Shaun Given (ex-general manager of Shadow Lounge) and restaurateur Joseph McColgan. Similar in feel to the Shadow Lounge, Shaun & Joe has fabulous decor, great service, delicious cocktails and a superb food menu. Membership brings privileges, including free entry and the chance to jump the queue.

    For glitz and glamour

    Too 2 Much
    11-12 Walker's Court, off Brewer Street W1 (020 7437 4400)
    Performances 7pm. Admission £7

    A glitzy new lounge bar and club. The owners have spent millions refurbishing the old Revue Bar, a famous strip joint, and it shows. The entrance resembles the lobby to a grand hotel; old features like the banquettes and chandeliers have been lovingly restored.

    For offbeat fun

    Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 373 Kennington Lane SE11 (020 7737 4043)
    Admission £5

    This legendary, offbeat club features 'post-gay vaudeville and post-punk pogoing'. Amy Lamé hosts; DJs the London Readers' Wifes play the best retro set in town.

    Where to chill out

    For doing as the Romans did

    Chariots Shoreditch
    1 Fairchild Street EC2 (020 7247 5333)
    Admission £13; £11 concessions

    London's biggest and busiest sauna is decked out like a Roman bath - and there's plenty of Roman-style debauchery. Search for your own gladiator in the swimming pool, two steam rooms, two saunas and Jacuzzi - and then tame him in a private cabin.

    Branches: 292 Streatham High Road SW16 (8696 0929); 57 Cowcross Street EC1 (7251 5553); 574 Commercial Road E14 (7791 2808); 101 Lower Marsh SE1 (7401 8484).

    For letting off steam

    Sauna Bar
    29 Endell Street WC2 (020 7836 2236)
    Admission £13; £10 concessions

    A comfortable bar, steam room, splash pool, showers and private rooms have all been crammed into this small, men-only sauna. There's also a 35-man Jacuzzi - the largest in the UK.

    For working up a sweat

    Oasis Sports Centre
    32 Endell Street WC2 (020 7831 1804)
    Non-members (gym) £5.90 each use. Induction fee £9.30. Admission pool only £3.20; £1.25 concessions

    The Oasis, a gay mecca, is renowned for its palm-fringed sun terrace and outdoor heated swimming pool - a haven for sun-seekers and sturdy winter dippers alike. If you're less ballsy, try the adjacent indoor pool, which has swimming and aqua fitness classes.

    For swimming in style

    Tooting Bec Lido
    Tooting Bec Common SW16 (020 8871 7198)
    Closed September-April

    On a sunny day, this south London lido evokes Miami Beach circa 1950, with its colourful Art Deco touches, sunbeds, palm trees and gaudy blue waters. It attracts a considerable gay constituency, though be warned: screaming kiddies are also out in full force.

    For serious cruising

    Hampstead Heath Ponds
    NW5 (020 7485 4491)
    Open May-September daily, 7am-7pm. Free

    Surrounded by lush woodland, the secluded lakes are magical enclaves, the stuff of midsummer nights' dreams. The men's bathing pond is not exclusively gay but is very homoerotic: after all this is Hampstead Heath, the world's number one cruising ground. A sheltered concrete sundeck allows nude sunbathing and the changing rooms are full of smouldering glances. The ladies' bathing pond has a similarly sapphic appeal.

    What to buy

    Not just a book shop, also a haven for women, the Silver Moon Women's Bookshop (Third floor, Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road WC2; 020 7437 5660) has the largest selection of lesbian titles of any bookshop in the country. For music, Blackmarket (25 D'Arblay Street W1; 020 7437 0478) is the focal point of the UK dance vinyl scene, with house imports the speciality.

    But where London really excels is in fashion. The new Alexander McQueen http://www.alexandermcqueen.com/ store (4-5 Old Bond Street W1; 020 7355 0088) is a cross between a spaceship and a gallery. Ozwald Boateng http://www.ozwaldboateng.com/ (9 Vigo Street W1; 020 7437 0620) dresses Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Lennox Lewis and more with prices from around £900 for ready-to-wear. Paul Smith http://www.paulsmith.co.uk/ stores (40-44 Floral Street WC2; 020 7379 7133) have unpredictable but entertaining window displays, and similarly enjoyable clothes inside.

    Coco de Mer http://www.coco-de-mer.co.uk/ (23 Monmouth Street WC2; 020 7836 8882) is the place for glamorous lesbians, with its sumptuous crimson interior, objet d'art dildos and peep-show changing rooms that allow your partner to 'spy' on you. One decadent lingerie shop. Myla http://www.myla.com/ (77 Lonsdale Road W11; 020 7221 9222) is best-known for its saucy lace-and-freshwater-pearl G-string, thanks to an episode of Sex and the City. Finally, Rio Beach (1A Earlham Street WC2; 020 7497 5259) has two floors of beachwear and swimwear with a brightly coloured ethos to live up to its Brazilian name. Also famous for its clubbing gear.

    What to do

    For queens who love queens

    Kensington Palace
    W8 (020 7937 9561)
    Admission (LP) £10.80; £7.20 5-15s; £8.20 concessions

    Princess Diana's legions of gay fans are among the hordes of tourists who pay a pilgrimage to her former residence. And, like the People's Princess, Kensington is far more warm and intimate than other, more regal palaces. A series of Diana's dresses, including the blue silk number in which she danced with John Travolta at the White House, are permanently displayed.

    For edgy art

    Whitechapel Art Gallery
    80-82 Whitechapel High Street E1 (020 7522 7888)
    Admission free; one paying exhibition a year

    An unexpected cultural treat in this bustling commercial area, Whitechapel Art Gallery has been exposing Eastenders to contemporary art for more than a century. The line-up this year includes amateur films by Polish factory workers, photographs by Richard Prince and a 'story of modern art' show with work by Manet, Bacon, Warhol and Cindy Sherman.

    For design gurus

    Design Museum
    28 Shad Thames SE1 (020 7403 6933)
    Admission £6; £4 concessions

    Formerly a warehouse, this 1930s-style building is now an acclaimed shrine to design. It's hard to ignore the shop's glossy design books and chic household accessories, but remember you're here for the exhibitions. On the first floor the Blueprint Café (a smart Modern British restaurant) has a balcony overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge; the ground-floor café is run by the estimable Konditor & Cook.

    For romantic views

    Primrose Hill


    To the north of Camden, with its gracious terraces, Primrose Hill is as pretty as the actors, pop stars and writers who live there. The main shopping street, Regent's Park Road, is a pleasant mix of cafes, quality gastropubs and restaurants, and smart shops.

    For the fetish crowd

    London Dungeon
    28-34 Tooley Street SE1 (020 7403 7221)
    Admission £13.95

    Warm up for a fetish club with a visit to the London Dungeon. Tucked away under the Victorian arches of London Bridge, this disturbing world of torture, death and disease attracts hordes of ghoulish visitors. Expect dry-ice fog, gravestones and hideously rotting corpses.

    · The Time Out Gay & Lesbian London Guide published by Time Out is out now.

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 16, 2005.


    Sky Sports > Experts

    Tuesday 11th January 2005

    The Sky Sports football team - led by commentator Martin Tyler and his first-class back-up crew of researchers and statisticians - pride themselves on being the best in the business.

    This is your chance to use some of our expertise! Every Monday Martin will be on hand to answer your statistical posers and put the record straight where required.


    Dear Martin, Apart from Stan Mortensen's hat-trick in the "Matthews Final" of 1953, has anyone else achieved the same feat? Best Wishes for the New Year.
    Srinivas J Rao, Bangalore

    MARTIN SAYS: A happy New Year to you too Srinivas. I can tell you that apart from Stan Mortensen in 1953, two other players have managed to score hat-tricks in FA Cup finals, but neither of them in living memory. The first man to bag a treble in the final was Billy Townley of Blackburn Rovers, in the 6-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Kennington Oval back in 1890. The second was Notts County's Jimmy Logan, who scored three of Notts County's goals in the 4-1 win over Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park in 1894. Mortensen of course did it as Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 at Wembley some 59 years on. It is quite amazing that in another half-century no-one has managed to repeat the feat, even though we have had many players scoring twice in the final, including the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ian Wright, Michael Owen, Bryan Robson, Ricky Villa, Stuart McCall and Ian Rush, who did score twice in the final on two occasions - both against Everton.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 12, 2005.

    Foreign territory

    Telegraph : Money: City diary

    By Robert Watts (Filed: 09/01/2005)

    Foreign territory

    Oliver Letwin, the jolly Shadow Chancellor, is penning a speech for Tuesday on international aid. This is something of a first for the chummy old Etonian, who is stumbling onto territory normally dominated by Gordon Brown. "It has been noticed that Letwin is giving this speech when the Chancellor is out of the country," grumbles our man at the Treasury.

    So, at which prestigious venue will this important lecture be delivered? Mansion House? The Institute of Directors? Err, no. Letwin will hold forth in the rather low-profile offices of the Centre for Social Justice, a think-tank specialising in poverty issues, in Kennington Road, South East London. We were intrigued as to why the Shadow Chancellor is dragging the press to such a modest venue until we discover that a certain O Letwin lives on the very same road.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 09, 2005.

    Flats too many ...

    South London Press

    Flats too many ...

    Jan 7 2005
    By Zara Bishop

    A PETITION has been signed by 200 people against plans to replace almost 90 homes which had to be demolished after a gas explosion.

    Residents of the Ethelred Estate in Kennington say proposals to replace the Kerrin Point tower block would see too many new homes on the site.

    Ricky Rennalls, who has lived on the Ethelred Estate for five years, said: "People don't want this development for a number of reasons. They want to cram too much into the space. There is already the redevelopment of the former Gala Bingo Hall site."

    Residents of 88 flats had to be rehoused after a gas explosion at Kerrin Point in June 1997.

    The block was demolished in 1999 and temporarily replaced with a children's play area and outdoor sports facilities. Lambeth council now wants the site at the end of Hotspur Street to be sold off and used for at least 88 affordable and private homes.

    The executive is expected to authorise a consultation on the plans at its meeting on Monday, with final approval expected to be given as early as April.

    There is already permission to build 62 flats on the neighbouring former bingo hall site, on the corner of Kennington Road and Black Prince Road.

    Does Ricky have a point? Write to South London Press, 2-4 Leigham Court Road, Streatham, SW16 2PD or email letters@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 07, 2005.

    FA Cup trophy's sale to set football memorabilia record

    Independent | News > UK > This Britain

    FA Cup trophy's sale to set football memorabilia record

    By Louise Jury, Arts Correspondent
    07 January 2005

    The FA Cup is the oldest football tournament in the world and today attracts global television audiences of 600 million.

    Such is the interest in the coveted trophy that the auction house Christie's yesterday predicted that the sale of the oldest surviving FA Cup was likely to set a new world record for football memorabilia when it is sold in London on 19 May, two days before the cup final.

    It is not the original FA Cup, which was stolen in 1895 and never recovered, but the lost trophy's replacement which has been put up for sale by heirs of Lord Kinnaird, the sportsman and FA president. It is expected to fetch up to £300,000, dwarfing the previous world record of about £158,000 for Pele's shirt from the 1970 World Cup final.

    David Convery, the head of sporting memorabilia at Christie's, said: "I've been doing the sporting job at Christie's for 17 years now and we've sold some fantastic items in the past - and will do in the future, but this is the most historical piece I've ever sold. Being a football fan myself, to hold this trophy aloft and think of everyone who has won it, is wonderful. In terms of provenance and history, nothing comes close to it."

    The FA Cup, which reaches its third-round stage this weekend when the big clubs join the competition, was founded in 1872. The original trophy was stolen in 1895 from the shop window of William Shillcock, a football and boot manufacturer in Birmingham, which had been proudly displaying it after Aston Villa won the final against West Bromwich Albion.

    Although a £10 reward was offered for the recovery of the trophy, it was never seen again. Instead, Aston Villa was fined £25, which covered the cost of a replacement as close in design to the old cup as possible.

    From 1896 to 1910, the replacement was awarded to teams including Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Manchester City. It was presented to Lord Kinnaird in 1911 to mark his 21st anniversary as president of the Football Association, which he had helped develop after a long playing career. He remains the only footballer to have played in nine FA Cup finals, between 1873 and 1883, playing in a number of positions, from goalkeeper to forward.

    Such was his popularity, that before one final members of the crowd released the horses from his carriage and pulled him the last few hundred yards to the ground at the Kennington Oval in London themselves. He spent 33 years as president of the FA until his death 1923 at the age of 75 and the trophy has been in his family since.

    Mr Convery said it was a good time for the heirs to sell, as the market for football memorabilia was very strong. Golf memorabilia used to attract the most interest but key Japanese buyers disappeared after the Japanese economic collapse of the late 1990s.

    Mr Convery said footballing memorabilia had taken over as the most sought-after. "Football is on everybody's television screens around the world. We are finding lots of new buyers and new vendors," he said.

    As to who would buy such a famous trophy, Mr Convery noted that all the clubs who once held it high in victory might be interested. But there was bound to be interest from private individuals for such an unusual and rare item.

    The trophy will go on show in Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester at the beginning of February before being displayed at Christie's in London until May's auction.

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 07, 2005.

    Treasured trophy to go under the hammer


    January 07, 2005

    Treasured trophy to go under the hammer

    By Jack Malvern

    SPORTS enthusiasts with deep pockets will be given the chance to buy the FA Cup for an estimated £300,000, it was announced yesterday. The trophy is expected to become the world’s most expensive piece of football memorabilia when it is sold by Christie’s in May.

    It is the oldest surviving version of the Cup, manufactured after the original was stolen from a Birmingham shop window in November 1895, and the only one likely to come on the market. The third version, a new design created in 1910, is held at the FA’s headquarters in Soho Square. The fourth is held by last season’s winners, Manchester United.

    The second incarnation, made from sterling silver, shows the results of the early finals, when teams such as Bury, Sheffield United and Everton were the most skilled in the country. It is the only FA Cup held in private hands. The first Challenge Cup, created after a meeting of the FA on July 20, 1871, is believed to have been melted down by thieves to make counterfeit coins.

    The thief snatched the trophy from a shop owned by William Shillcock, a football and boot manufacturer, after Aston Villa’s Cup Final victory over West Bromwich Albion in 1895. Despite a £10 reward (£706 in today’s money) the Cup was never seen again and Aston Villa were fined £25 (£1,765) to pay for a replica.

    The new Cup lasted until 1910, when it was given to Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird, a chairman of the FA for 33 years. The Cup is now being sold by the Kinnaird family, which has passed it down from generation to generation.

    Kinnaird was an eminent figure who became the main architect of the modern professional game. He played in nine FA Cup Finals and once for Scotland. His most memorable performance on the field was for Old Etonians, who beat Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup Final of 1882, three years before players were allowed to become professional.

    A striking figure in his red beard, quartered cap and long white trousers, Kinnaird won an ovation from the crowd when he performed a victory handstand in front of the pavilion. His popularity grew so much that, before one Cup Final, members of the crowd released the horses from his carriage and pulled Kinnaird the last few yards to the pitch at the Kennington Oval.

    He was a Liberal in the House of Lords until 1886, when he crossed the floor to become a Unionist.

    Under his stewardship, football became the national sport, with crowds rising from 2,000 to 100,000 spectators. “I believe all right-minded people have good reason to thank God for the great progress of this popular national game,” he said.

    Kinnaird died on January 30, 1923, aged 75. The peerage died out after his grandson, Kenneth Charles Kinnaird, died in 1997, leaving no male heir.

    Likely buyers of the trophy include Manchester United, who won it in 1909 with a 1-0 victory against Bristol City, Tottenham Hotspur, who won in 1901 with a 3-1 replay victory over Sheffield United, and Newcastle United, who became the last winners of the trophy when they beat Barnsley 2-0 in 1910.

    Bury, who won the FA Cup for the only times in 1900 and 1903, said that they would love to buy the trophy but would not be able to afford it. “We are fighting to keep the club alive at the moment,” a spokesman said. “So no.” The FA said that it would not be bidding because it already had a replica.

    David Convery, the head of sporting memorabilia at Christie’s, said that the buyer would probably be a British individual. “We are confident that it will stay in England,” he said. “There isn’t much value for English football memorabilia overseas.” All England World Cup medals have been bought by British private buyers. The Cup is expected to beat the record for football memorabilia held by a replica of the Jules Rimet World Cup trophy, which sold for £254,500 at Sotheby’s in 1997.

    Other top-priced football memorabilia includes Pele’s shirt from the 1970 World Cup final, which sold for £158,000 in 2002. The world record for a football medal is £125,000, set by Gordon Banks’s 1966 World Cup-winner’s medal in 2001.

    The trophy will go under the hammer as part of the Football Memorabilia sale on May 19.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 07, 2005.

    Captain Bligh exhibition at the Museum of Garden History


    Captain Bligh exhibition at the Museum of Garden History

    Dead Reckoning : Captain Bligh

    Museum of Garden History, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1
    1 February – 1 April 2005
    Presented by Parabola and the Museum of Garden History

    Private View Thursday 3 February 6 – 9 pm

    A temporary exhibition mounted in conjunction with the 250th anniversary of the birth of Captain William Bligh, who is buried in the Museum of Garden History’s grounds and was a local resident in North Lambeth, Dead Reckoning links visual art practice, historical research and museological display with critical, investigative writing and curatorial practice.

    Continuing Parabola and the Museum of Garden History’s dedication to producing multi disciplinary displays, publications and contemporary art commissions, the exhibition aims to explore both the fact and fantasy surrounding Bligh’s life. Artist David Cotterrell will construct a ‘simulation’ of Bligh’s historic 5,800km open boat journey taken in the HMS Bounty’s lifeboat. Directly informed by the anecdotal and navigational notes taken from Bligh’s log, Cotterrell’s panoramic first-person view, not unlike a flight simulator, will chart the shifting horizon witnessed by Bligh and his companions on their travels. This work will form the visual focal point of the exhibition. Displayed on a recently developed prismatic screen material that enables the viewer to see projections in full daylight, the installation will allow visitors to experience an immersive space merging with the several separate elements of the entirety of the exhibition.

    Local Historian Jon Newman will research and develop a core text relating Bligh’s unique story for this exhibition. This writing will be developed for display alongside relevant archival images taken from collections at the Museum, the Minet Library, the RHS Lindley Library, the National Maritime Museum, London and the Mitchell Library, New South Wales, Australia. As well, some unusual artefacts will complement the projection, images and text. These will include XVIIIc. nautical instruments from HQS Wellington and two very rare American comic books detailing the Mutiny on the Bounty, which will add to the debate between historical fact and myth making.

    Two small publications will be produced to further enrich the exhibition. One will fully document the exhibition, including the entirety of Newman’s text, images of ephemera and artefacts and documentation of Cotterrell’s artwork. The second booklet will be a re-print of a text owned by the Museum, Beloved, Respected and Lamented, by JE Chandler.

    An Education and Outreach programme targeting local residents, schools and senior citizens will help to invigorate interest in the exhibition for local people. Working with Blackfriars Settlement and a number of local primary and secondary schools including the London Nautical School, Parabola and the Museum of Garden History see this proposed display as a turning point the Museum’s Local Heritage programming. The first in a series of Local Heritage temporary exhibitions, this display will inaugurate the Museum’s permanent Local Heritage display.

    For more information, please contact: info@parabolatrust.org or Danielle Arnaud on 020 7735 8292

    Supported by Arts Council England

    123 Kennington Road London SE11 6SF UK T/F: +44 (0)20 7735 8292 www.parabolatrust.org info@parabolatrust.org

    -- Danielle (info@parabolatrust.org), January 06, 2005.

    Christmas Chips


    Christmas Chips

    The seasonal celebrations are drawing to a close and the question of how to dispose of your Christmas tree looms. Lambeth has the answer. Four recycling sites offering free tree chipping will be open between January 6 and 12.


    Released: January 5, 2005 8:32 AM
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 05, 2005.

    Analyse this

    Telegraph : Arts

    Analyse this

    (Filed: 04/01/2005)

    She’s a 57-year-old spinster with teddy bears in her bedroom, her mother in the spare room, and a loathing for introspection. So why is Ann Widdecombe, politician-cum-novelist, about to try her hand as a television agony aunt? By Nigel Farndale

    Be honest, if left alone with Ann Widdecombe’s fridge, could you resist a peek inside? You could?

    What if you arrived early for a meeting with her and she asked you to wait in the kitchen and help yourself to coffee, adding, ‘the milk is in the fridge’? Exactly. With a clear conscience, then, I can reveal that Ann Noreen Widdecombe keeps a well-stocked fridge.

    There is single cream and lettuce. There are tomatoes, eggs and cartons of New Covent Garden soup. So far so healthy; she must be sticking to ITV’s Celebrity Fit Club diet, the one that so publicly helped her lose three stone in 2002.

    But what’s this? Eight chocolate-chip brioche rolls? A couple of bottles of champagne? A tub of tiramisu?

    Ann Widdecombe, the 57-year-old MP, novelist and incurable attention-seeker, lives in a terraced house in Kennington, south-east London. It has a lilac painted front door.

    Although her 93-year-old mother Rita has lived here since 1999 – perhaps the tiramisu is hers – it is very much a single woman’s house. The mirror in the bathroom is placed low over the sink (she is 5ft 11/2in and, as she says, ‘don’t forget the half’), there is a bowl of sanitary pads on top of the lavatory – for guests? – and there are cats wandering in and out.

    On one wall of the sitting-room there is a samurai sword alongside a ceremonial naval sword (her father was a senior civil servant in the Admiralty and for a few years was stationed in Singapore, where Widdecombe lived between the ages of five and nine).

    There is also a framed photograph of Widdy, as she calls herself on her website – ‘the Widdy Web’ – with the Pope (she converted to Rome in 1993, in protest over the Anglican church allowing the ordination of women).

    As we sit down on pale green leather sofas, I notice the crucifix around her neck. It reminds me that for all her frivolous appearances on television – she has done Louis Theroux and Basil Brush, as well as Celebrity Fit Club, and in February will star in her own agony-aunt show for the BBC (entitled Oh No! It’s Ann Widdecombe) – she considers herself to be a high-minded moralist.

    The political subjects associated with her tend to be either coloured by her Catholicism (anti-abortion, anti-gay rights), or her aversion to libertarianism and liberalism (she is pro the ban on fox hunting and pro the reintroduction of the death penalty). She also writes serious novels which sell well and meet with favourable reviews.

    Her first, The Clematis Tree, was about a family struggling to cope with a handicapped child and her second, An Act of Treachery, was a love story set in occupied France. Her third, Father Figure, which is published later this month, has a topical theme: the rights of fathers over their children.

    I ask her, then, whether she thinks her flirtations with lowbrow television undermine her seriousness as a politician and novelist.

    ‘I often hear politicians complain that they can’t get their message across because they are unrecognisable,’ she says in her fluty voice. ‘Well, I always score high in recognition polls. Always. And when people recognise me, what they say is not, “Oh, you used to be the Shadow Home Secretary”, but, “You’re that MP from Fit Club.”

    'If you appear on programmes such as that, the next time you are on television talking about politics, viewers pause to listen for three sentences instead of three words. But there are limits; I turned down Ruby Wax.’

    As she talks she constantly blinks her pond-black eyes. It makes her seem vulnerable, which must be an illusion because, as she tells me, she has ‘no hang-ups’, never suffers nerves, never cries, and has no interest in analysing herself. Yet she doesn’t seem to mind analysing others.

    Her new television programme, after all, sees her attempting to solve family crises, love quandaries and workplace spats and is, in turn, a spin-off from a bizarre, no-nonsense agony-aunt column she wrote for the Guardian called ‘Buck Up’.

    But, looking for fissures in her armour-plating, I wonder whether Widdecombe’s mad whoring after applause is simply a matter of her raising her political profile, as she claims. Could there have been a degree of masochism in her agreeing to humiliate herself on Celebrity Fit Club?

    ‘I did it because I wanted to lose weight,’ she says matter-of-factly. So why not do that in private? ‘Because I had a serious point to make which is that our obsession with physical perfection is out of all proportion.

    'I argued with the experts on that show most of the time about their “councils of perfection”. We marginalise the disabled, the disfigured, the odd, simply because we’ve got this image which now is entirely physical. I mean, the spiritual side of life is just being kicked to one side.

    'People are willing to undergo the most horrendous operations for the sake of increasing their bust size and I think, “Is there nothing more important in this world?”’

    Perhaps there isn’t, I suggest, given that cosmetic change is ultimately intended to help us procreate.

    ‘It’s nothing to do with procreation at all! If you think of the women’s magazines, television, all the programmes about losing weight, having face-lifts, the multimillion-pound business that is the cosmetics industry, I mean, the whole thing’s gone mad!

    'Do you think the war generation thought for one second how straight their teeth were? I mean, it’s crazy!’ In terms of her appearance, there is little you can say about Ann Widdecombe that she hasn’t already said about herself. Her descriptions have included the words ‘short’, ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, ‘spinster’ and ‘crooked teeth’.

    Presumably this was partly a defence mechanism: saying it before anyone else can. Also she may have reasoned that if she made no effort with her appearance she could justify being single, not only to herself but to the world. Yet she took it further, seemingly revelling in the mockery she received about her looks.

    When she heard that her nickname around Westminster was Doris Karloff, for instance, she took to answering the phone by saying ‘Karloff here’. Now the black, pudding-bowl haircut has gone, along with the extra pounds. Was it belated vanity?

    ‘Now, look. I always said if ever there was a health reason for my losing weight, I would probably do it, but that I wasn’t interested in it for cosmetic reasons. And if I had been remotely interested in it for cosmetic reasons, I wouldn’t have gone all my political career with your profession being rude and spiteful and nasty – and just not minding. I would not have done it.

    'So you are wrong to say it was vanity. It was, very straight-forwardly, backache. As for the hair, I see no reason why someone shouldn’t go blonde if they want to try it out.

    'I had been keeping in my natural dark – dyeing the rest to match it – and the white was taking over. I mean, your lot in the press gallery of the Commons were talking about the zebra crossings in my hair as they looked down.’

    Did she find that hurtful?

    ‘Oh, no. I didn’t. But I do occasionally find it irritating.’

    Widdecombe did a documentary with Louis Theroux before she lost weight and went blonde. She seemed prickly and defensive in that. She seemed much more friendly and jolly when she did Fit Club some time afterwards. Was this because beginning to lose weight improved her self-esteem?

    ‘No. I was very wary of Louis Theroux. I mean we had a bust-up on day one because he asked questions which I’d said I wouldn’t answer.’

    The questions were about her virginity. She doesn’t believe in sex before marriage and once threatened to sue a journalist who expressed doubts that she really was a virgin. I try a more tactful approach. How many times has she been in love?

    ‘Sorry, been…?’

    In love.

    ‘In love? Er… once. In Oxford.’

    She refers to her fellow student Colin Maltby, now a married banker. Their relationship was chaste and fizzled out after three years. So he was the one love of her life?


    And does she ever look back and regret not having married him?

    ‘No, I don’t. I don’t think it would have been right for either of us. He is now very happily married. Successful man. Great family. I think both of us have been happy, as it turned out, not marrying each other.

    'Um, if you’re asking me in the broader sense, do I wish I’d married, the answer is no. It was never a conscious decision not to marry. A lot of people say, “Oh, you put politics first,” well, tosh, I didn’t.

    'It was chance, because Mr Right didn’t turn up. It was also choice because he was never a big enough priority to go out looking for.’

    Was it partly that she had a low sex drive?

    ‘I don’t know, I’ve never bothered. You know, I’m very ha… I take myself as I am. If I was sitting here depressed that I hadn’t married, I might be asking myself those questions, or if I was sitting here with a failed marriage behind me, I might be asking myself those questions…’

    Her mother calls from upstairs.

    ‘Oh, hang on. Yup! I’m down here! Hello!’

    She disappears and returns a few minutes later.

    ‘Right, where were we?’ I ask about her mother. ‘I love having her here and I very much hope that I outlive her, because I wouldn’t like her to have to cope with losing me.’

    It’s a strange comment, but I think I know what she means. Does she ever think about what it will be like to go back to living on her own?

    ‘No, but I mean, my Mum’s only lived with me since ’99, after Dad died.’

    When she lived on her own and got home at night, did she ever wish someone was there? A companion?

    ‘It is that moment when I’m always grateful to be solo. It’s when I come in, after a dreadful day in politics, shut the doors, and there are no demands at all. I mean, there might be a cat crying for food [Widdecombe owns two], but that’s it.’

    So she prefers her own company?

    'I think that the brute truth is that I’ve enjoyed being alone. I love my own company. I’m the best company I know. I mean, I can make myself laugh uproariously.’

    Not everyone in Widdecombe’s party finds her as funny as she claims to find herself. When I asked one senior Tory what he thought of her he said she was a ‘freak show’, a ‘dinosaur’, and ‘the political equivalent of the Taliban’.

    Part of the ill feeling must stem from the unhelpful ‘something of the night’ comment she made about Michael Howard in May 1997. It undermined the future leader badly. As she will be fighting a Tory seat in a few months’ time, does she now feel any regret or guilt about what she said?

    ‘None at all. None at all. None at all.’

    So she still thinks it?

    ‘I don’t take back a single word I said in 1997, including the famous phrase, but, that was 1997, and we are now in 2005.’

    If she doesn’t retract it, it means she still believes it.

    ‘I’m not going to re-rehearse it, either. I’ve moved on, he’s moved on, the world has moved on and I’m living in 2005.’

    Ann Widdecombe is a stranger to self-doubt. She has the masculine traits of literal mindedness, remorselessness and a bluff refusal to concede weakness. When I ask her about these traits she says, ‘No, they are not masculine traits they are human traits.’

    From where does her political certainty come? The Bible?

    ‘I think the answer to that is, yes, to some extent, obviously. But if you take the pro-life issue, most people think I’m pro-life because I’m a Catholic. Actually, I’m probably a Catholic because I was pro-life.’

    She goes to confession?

    ‘Of course.’

    And she has vices to confess?

    ‘I think everybody does. I think people have… quick tempers, um… people have resentments.’

    What does she think happens to people who have sex before marriage?

    ‘What do you mean?’

    Well, do they go to hell?

    ‘We don’t know who goes to hell. But it’s not to do with totting up every single thing you’ve done and when you cross a certain line you’re dispatched off to the infernal region. I mean, come on! I have lots of friends who have done things I disapprove of.

    'But I am not their judge. They know I disapprove and the interesting thing is they remain my friends.’

    Although she is reluctant to analyse herself, she does concede that her doggedness and ambition probably come from her father; while her brother, Malcolm, a vicar who is ten years older than her, is more like her mother – more gentle and placid.

    ‘But I don’t analyse things in all this great depth. I mean, I know it’s very fashionable to look into every last possible motivation, and to think therapy is the answer to everything, but as far as I am concerned there were things I wanted to do, and I’ve managed to do most of them.’

    There is something slightly otherworldly about Ann Widdecombe. She didn’t own a television until her mother moved in five years ago. Her speech is peppered with oddly outdated words such as ‘golly’, ‘darn’ and ‘bunkum’. And I notice the teddy bears in the room. Are they hers?

    ‘No, they’re mother’s. That’s mother’s corner there. We’ve even got a camel that sings.’

    She picks up a fluffy camel and it starts singing an Arabic song.

    ‘Friends bring them. Those two were gifts from friends. That one I got at some exhibition. They get eaten by the cats and discarded and others come.’

    The camel continues its song.

    ‘Sorry, he does shut up in the end.’

    She stares at it in her hand.

    ‘I do have a fair collection of bears.’

    Given her suspicion of therapy and analysis, presumably she doesn’t see anything regressive about an adult collecting teddy bears?

    ‘I don’t consciously collect bears. People give me bears, you know, and I’ve got bears – I mean, I’ve got bear plates, I find that very endearing. Most people find it quite yucky, and I say, “Doesn’t matter, you don’t have to look at it.” '

    'You know, the whole world may laugh at my bear plates, but if I like them I’ll have them because it’s nothing to do with anybody else, and it does nobody an iota of harm that I have bear plates up there. If I want them there, I’ll have ’em there.’

    ‘Father Figure’ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99) by Ann Widdecombe is published on 13 January and is available from Telegraph Books Direct (0870 155 7222). Please add £2.25 for p&p

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 05, 2005.


    Sky News


    The Prime Minister of 1976, James Callaghan, was reluctant to move into Downing Street, according to files released for the first time.

    Instead, the Labour politician wanted to stay put in his grace and favour residence at No 1 Carlton Gardens which overlooks the Mall and is home to the Foreign Secretary.

    Callaghan, who had served as Foreign Secretary, was concerned that the Downing Street flat would be too "uncomfortable" for his wife Audrey.

    Mr Callaghan was so against the idea of moving in to Number 10 that he threatened to go back to his own London flat in Kennington Park Road - a rundown area of south London.

    Officials were worried about his security - and him staying in Carlton Gardens was not possible because it was needed for the new Foreign Secretary.

    According to the documents released to the National Archives under the Freedom of Information Act, his defiance startled officials.

    Shortly after Mr Callaghan was elected as PM, Sir Michael Palliser, a senior Foreign Office official, wrote to his counterparts in the Prime Minister's office seeking to raise the delicate issue.

    Mr Callaghan was eventually persuaded to move into Number 10 although the papers do not give any indication as to what made him change his mind.

    Last Updated: 09:23 UK, Tuesday January 04, 2005

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 05, 2005.




    Jan 4 2005
    By Jane Kerr

    JIM Callaghan was happy to be Prime Minister in 1976 but very put out over moving into 10 Downing Street, it was revealed today.

    Previously Foreign Secretary, he tried desperately to hang on to the Carlton Gardens residence - overlooking The Mall and St James's Park - which went with that job.

    Mr Callaghan complained of the "discomforts" a switch to the No10 quarters would cause wife Audrey and even threatened to live in his own South London flat as PM.

    Finally he backed down - for unexplained reasons - and did make the move, say files released today under the new Freedom of Information Act.

    On its first working day, 50,000 government papers were made public. Previously they would have been subject to the 30-year rule.

    Constitutional Affairs minister Baroness Ashton of Upholland said it was "living, breathing proof" of the difference the act would make.

    Labour's Mr Callaghan, now 92, took over as Premier from Harold Wilson, who sensationally quit in March 1976.

    Letters between civil servants show Callaghan was at first determined not to force Downing Street on his wife.

    Ken Stowe, the principal private secretary at No10, told the Foreign Office: "Since he was adamant that he was not prepared to inflict upon his wife the discomforts of living in No10, then he would have to live somewhere else."

    If driven to it, he would elect to stay in his present flat in Kennington Park Road. Mr Stowe added: "I felt bound to say this was not sensible - operationally and for security purposes, it was necessary for him to have a self-contained and serviceable residence.

    "He then said that in that case, he would live at 1 Carlton Gardens."

    The files also contain Wilson's resignation speech to Cabinet, in which he said he had no "hidden" reason. When re-elected in 1974, he had decided to stay only two years.

    Mr Callaghan was PM until the arrival of Mrs Thatcher in 1979.

    Among off-beat snippets in the records, Ministry of Defence papers on UFOs simply list endless sightings by the public, rather than secret evidence of life out there.

    The BBC, it emerged, was refused permission to film the TV comedy Porridge in a real jail.

    Any major disclosures will probably have to wait for historians and journalists to seek their release. Files released today can be seen at the National Archives in Kew.



    THE Army made a secret record of all non-white recruits to limit their numbers in the military.

    Those with "Asiatic or Negroid features" had their files marked with a code by medical officers to distinguish them from whites.

    Files show the data was used for almost two decades from 1957 to limit ethnic minority troops, designated "D factor" personnel.

    A briefing paper written in 1972 for the Adjutant General of the Army and marked "In confidence" said: "Officially, we state we do not keep statistics of coloured soldiers. In fact we do... to ensure our assimilation levels are adhered to."

    The system was so secret not even ministers were told, and when questioned the Army lied.

    When, in 1972, the Institute of Race Relations requested a breakdown of "coloured" soldiers it was told no record was kept as all troops were treated alike.

    Mediterraneans, Africans and even the odd "swarthy Frenchman" had their files marked D Factor as late as 1975, and possibly later.

    The Army justified its denials in a 1975 memo that said: "Since it stems from medical records, this information should not be disclosed outside the department."

    The data shows there were less than one or two per cent of non-white soldiers per unit.


    BRITAIN planned to let IRA hunger strikers die in prison.

    Whitehall had plans to let them fade away five years before 10 Republicans died in the H-Block protests which started in 1981.

    In his 2001 autobiography, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams accused the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of being "the architect of the hunger strike deaths". But in a 1976 report, Northern Ireland Prisons chief Lyn Davies told Whitehall that giving in to hunger strikers would elevate their status above other inmates.

    Mindful of the special privileges IRA prisoners won in a 1972 hunger strike, he wrote: "We should be resolute in our intention not to weaken". He said it should be made known hunger strikers would be allowed to die.


    PRESSURES on both miners and pit bosses during the bitter strike of 1984/85 are revealed in National Coal Board files.

    One report is from colliery manager, G Longmate, at Markham Main pit in Yorkshire.

    He details the problems of managing working miners who crossed the picket line.

    In February 1985 Graham Smith - one of the first of four miners to return to work at the pit - complained he was not getting enough protection after his house was vandalised.

    In his memo to the NCB board justifying his treatment of Smith, Longmate insisted he had done all he could, while revealing the tensions which the strike caused.

    In the report Longmate stated: "As a manager I spent a major part of my life at this time nursing Smith and other workers and attending to their every need."

    As more men returned to work Smith's round-the-clock police protection had to be withdrawn.

    Longmate wrote: "I explained that there were now more men to look after."

    The files did not give any insight into behind-the-scenes political dealings during the battle between Margaret Thatcher's Tory government and the unions.


    THE Home Office refused permission for popular BBC sitcom Porridge to be filmed in a prison.

    Senior officials did not want the comedy starring Ronnie Barker to show what jails were really like.

    In letters written during its 1975 heyday, they claimed it already used sets that were true to life.

    The refusal followed a request by Porridge's producer Sydney Lotterby to film three short outdoor scenes in prison grounds.

    He assured the Home Office no real prisoners would be involved.

    And one Home Office broadcasting officer recommended the request be granted.

    But his superior replied: "In view of the generally effective stage sets used in the programme thus far, we do not understand the apparent need to use a real prison."


    PETER, the Home Office cat, was in hot water after an "unfortunate incident" involving the Queen.

    In 1962, a Whitehall official noted "humiliation" had been averted only in the nick of time.

    A quick-thinking civil servant had thrown "a soiled doormat out of a window a few seconds before the appearance of HM". He added: "The offender was Peter."

    Peter's crime was kept secret, however, allowing him to retain his public image - and dignity.

    He had become a firm favourite after appearing in a television documentary about Whitehall in 1958 - and even had his own fans.

    One who wanted to buy him a new collar was told "since Peter is an established civil servant, he cannot be allowed to receive gifts".

    But he was just one in a succession of cats employed from 1929 as "mousers" to keep the halls of Whitehall rodent-free.

    Bizarrely, it now seems they were the subject of many memos.

    The most controversial cat came after Peter's death.

    Peta - all the previous cats had been male and called Peter - certainly had the breeding.

    The pedigree Manx was a gift from the Lieutenant Governor of the Isle Man, Sir Ronald Garvey.

    Officials even suggested that Peta "being of nobler birth should be classified as a member of a non-industrial grade". But the Treasury insisted "mouse catching is an industrial activity and the post should be graded accordingly".

    And in February 1967 one official, GJ Otton, noted she had become "inordinately fat", "lazy" and "a source of embarrassment".

    Staff in turn were complaining that she was fouling their offices, which reeked of cat urine.

    "May I make a plea for the cat to be put down?" one official fumed in a memo.

    But the main problem was that Peta was never allowed out because of "the history and publicity of her appointment".

    Otton in March 21, 1967, wrote: "Loss, death or injury would release a flood of press copy."

    Peta was retired to the country in 1976. Unusually, she left without causing a stink.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 05, 2005.


    Daily Record


    Jan 4 2005


    JAMES Callaghan fought against moving into Downing Street after becoming Prime Minister in 1976.

    He complained taking up residence at No 10 would cause 'discomfort' to his wife Audrey.

    Files released today reveal he tried to stay at No 1 Carlton Gardens, his official London home as Foreign Secretary.

    He was so set against living in Downing Street he threatened to use his own London flat instead.

    His stand alarmed civil servants.

    Sir Michael Palliser, a senior Foreign Office official, wrote to his counterparts in the PM's office over the issue.

    He said he had to intervene for the sake of future foreign secretaries. He wrote: 'Since Ernest Bevin moved into No 1 Carlton Gardens in 1945, the house has been occupied by successive foreign secretaries, apart from the period during which it was under restoration.'

    Ken Stowe, principal private secretary at No 10, was sympathetic.

    He replied, saying he had tackled Callaghan about the issue.

    But it seemed Callaghan was unmoved.

    Stowe wrote: 'Since he was adamant that he was not prepared to inflict upon his wife the discomforts of living in No 10, then he would have to live somewhere else and, if driven to it, would elect to stay in his present flat in Kennington Park Road.

    'I felt bound to say this was not sensible, operationally and for security purposes.'

    How Callaghan was persuaded to move to No 10 is not recorded in the file.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 04, 2005.

    Why Jim arrived so reluctantly - and Harold went so fast

    Why Jim arrived so reluctantly - and Harold went so fast

    Papers show Callaghan hated No 10, while Wilson feared conspiracy theories as he quit

    Alan Travis, home affairs editor
    Tuesday January 4, 2005


    Jim Callaghan refused to move into Downing Street when he became prime minister in April 1976, saying the flat at No 10 was so uncomfortable that he was not prepared to inflict it on his wife Audrey, according to files released under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The Cabinet Office papers released today at the national archives in Kew also reveal for the first time the eight-page resignation statement that Harold Wilson made to the cabinet in which he tried hard to dispel speculation about the timing of his decision to step down.

    Callaghan's reluctance to move into Downing Street is revealed in a "personal and confidential" note from Ken Stowe, the PM's principal private secretary, to his opposite number at the Foreign Office.

    Stowe warned his colleague that Callaghan wanted to move into 1 Carlton Gardens, the well-appointed traditional "grace and favour" home of the foreign secretary.

    He said he had raised the difficulties involved with the new prime minister: the problem of having two official residences at public expense; the fact that he would have to deprive his choice of foreign secretary of an official residence; and the fact that Carlton Gardens was a base for official entertainment.

    "Since he was adamant that he was not prepared to inflict upon his wife the discomforts of living in No 10 then he would have to live somewhere else and, if driven to it, would elect to stay in his present flat in Kennington Park Road," Stowe reported.

    "I felt bound to say that this was not sensible - operationally and for security purposes it was necessary for him to have a self-contained and serviceable residence as prime minister. He then said in that case he would live in No 1, Carlton Gardens."

    Callaghan, who had been foreign secretary before getting the top job, said his successor could have the official flat in Admiralty House. Stowe said Callaghan was prepared to undertake to use Carlton Gardens only as a personal residence for himself and Mrs Callaghan, so it could be used for official purposes by the Foreign Office.

    But the idea was enough to make the permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Michael Palliser, fume.

    He told Downing Street that it was not on, pointing out that since Ernest Bevin had moved into Carlton Gardens in 1945 it had become established as the official residence of the foreign secretary.

    The FO needed it for entertaining visitors such as Henry Kissinger, who had visited recently. The alternative of Lancaster House was "far from ideal".

    The combined weight of opposition among the mandarins seems to have proved enough to crush a prime minister, as the file contains no further correspondence. Callaghan soon moved into the Downing Street flat.

    His elevation to No 10 had been triggered by the sudden resignation of Harold Wilson, another event covered in the newly released documents. Wilson's decision came immediately after the Watergate revelations in the US and a banking crash in London, which triggered some speculation that his sudden departure was in some way forced.

    So on the morning of March 16 1976, Wilson went out of his way to explain the timing of his decision to his cabinet colleagues. Barbara Castle is said to have sobbed when he broke the news.

    Wilson told the cabinet that he had set out in a confidential statement in July 1974 that his preferred departure date as "party conference 1975". The summer's pay and inflation problems meant that he had revised his departure date to late December.

    He said he had told the Queen on December 9 that he would go in mid or late March, and the audience he had with her had been arranged "some weeks ago". His timing, he stressed, "was not related to any recent events".

    Turbulent years

    Wilson's statement, released today for the first time, certainly gives no hint that the security services had anything to do with his decision, as some have speculated. It shows that he gave his colleagues four reasons for his decision to quit.

    The first was that he had been "leader of this party for over 13 exciting and turbulent years - nearly eight of them in government. My period as prime minister has been longer than that of any of my peacetime predecessors in this country," he said.

    He added that he had led four administrations and been on "one or other front bench" in the Commons for more than 30 years.

    His second reason certainly fuelled Denis Healey's belief that the timing was designed to help Callaghan. "I have a clear duty to the country and to the party not to remain here so long that others are denied the chance to seek election to this post," Wilson said, adding that the cabinet contained the "most talented team this century" since Campbell-Bannerman's 1906 Liberal government.

    Wilson denied that he was stepping down because of his age (he had just turned 60) and noted that Attlee, Churchill, Macmillan and Douglas-Home had all been a similar age when they became prime minister. Callaghan was 63 at the time.

    His other two reasons were less significant: he felt his counter-inflation policy was safe, whoever succeeded him, and he felt there was a danger that decisions seemed to be coming round a second time.

    "I want to make it quite clear... that these reasons represent the total explanation of my decision," he said, trying to dispel speculation that he was getting out before some hidden crisis emerged. "There are no impending problems or difficulties - economic or political - known to the cabinet, which are not known to the country and which are not already the subject of the political discussion of our times."

    Historians will regard his claim that all his four administrations had been "happy cabinets" with amusement in the light of the infighting documented in the Crossman, Castle, and Benn diaries.

    Wilson advised his successor, who he knew would somewhere in front of him around the cabinet table, that being PM was a full-time calling, and the "easy, spacious, socially-orientated days of some of my predecessors" were gone.

    He said he had had to work seven days a week, for at least 12 hours a day, but the variety and interest - at least 500 different documents to read in a weekend - meant that one never got bored, and so never got tired.

    But he warned that prime ministers had to watch out "for that cloud no bigger than a man's hand which may threaten not tomorrow's crisis, but perhaps next month's or next year's".

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 04, 2005.

    Kay Coombs OBE


    New Year Honours Dec 31, 2004


    Miss Kay Coombs, Formerly HM Ambassador, Tegucigalpa.

    For a full list, go to:

    If you would like to hear more about Kay's "Diplomatic Duties", do come along to the Friends of the Durning Library evening event on
    Monday 17th January
    at 7pm for 7.30pm
    at the Durning Library, 167 Kennington Lane, SE11
    Nibbles and drinks - suggested donation £2
    Come early - space is limited!

    Kay's last talk on her time as HM Ambassador in Mongola was a huge success, and she now turns to her 36 years' experience of diplomatic life in general - delights, disasters and unusual events!

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 02, 2005.

    Rise & shine

    Independent > News > UK > This Britain

    Rise & shine

    Who will be the rising stars of 2005? The Independent's experts in art, literature, fashion, politics, film, architecture, music, gardening, design, photography, food and sport offer their predictions

    Compiled by Caroline Kamp
    01 January 2005

    Art by Michael Glover

    Varda Caivano, 33, was snapped up by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London even before she graduated from the Royal College of Art in the summer of 2004. Her first solo show at the gallery is scheduled for May, which will represent a quite astonishing career trajectory: less than 12 months from graduate student to a solo show in the gallery which currently represents artists such as Chris Ofili, Peter Doig and Grayson Perry. Graham Crowley, her former professor at the Royal College of Art, has no doubt that she deserves it. "She's one hundred metres ahead of the rest," he said this week, "in her sense of art history, her intensity of commitment and her sheer intelligence."

    Caivano, who is part Danish and part Italian on her father's side, and Argentinian on her mother's, grew up in Argentina, and now has a studio in Islington, where she makes densely worked abstract paintings of a fairly modest size in a decidedly post-Romantic tradition. Delicate, sensitive and intuitive, they seem like movements towards depictions of objects and landscapes which stop just short of their goal. "Painting for me is a way of questioning images," she comments, "where visible objects with a secret depth appear to reveal a kind of irrational truth."

    Others to watch

    Daniel Sinsel, 28. His wonderfully meticulous paintings of impossible objects in strange juxtaposition with each other look, in their crispness and sureness of touch, as if they might have been painted in the 18th century. But it is an 18th-century sensibility which has arrived here via an immersion in Surrealism. Sinsel will have his first solo show at Sadie Coles HQ next year. Barnaby Hosking, 26. As painting revives, so more recent innovations - video art for example - begin to look tired and repetitive. An exception to this is the work by Norwich-born video artist Barnaby Hosking. Hosking's videos fascinate and engage because he projects them on to velvet, and he makes videos in conjunction with objects - a painting for example - asking us to consider how one relates to the other. Simon Keenleyside, 29. A regular in group shows, Keenleyside makes fantastical landscape paintings based on remembered scenes from his upbringing in Essex. He paints woodlands; the painted surfaces are rich brash, excitable, bizarre. He is a young master of invented landscape.

    Comedy by Julian Hall

    Andrew Maxwell, 30.

    However dubious the honour of winning Channel 4's Kings of Comedy may seem, there is no doubt that likeable Irish comedian Andrew Maxwell will continue to pick up acclaim from all quarters. The youthful Maxwell has already been performing for 12 years. This experience speaks for itself in his ability to mimic voices and movements, and also in his measured storytelling technique with which he tackles issues such as political ideology and even paedophilia fairly and intelligently. This style was shown off to great effect in his show, This Is My Hour, which won near universal acclaim in Edinburgh this year. Maxwell, a survivor from Channel 4's ill-fated RISE, is no stranger to television. Apart from a number of domestic credits he has appeared on Late Show with David Letterman in the US, a testimony to the width of his appeal. It won't be long before he gets a more permanent TV mooring and has the chance to develop his image.

    Others to watch

    Miles Jupp, 25, is currently in the last few days of a stadium tour of Scotland playing Archie the inventor, his character in the CBBC's Balamory. It was as another less agreeable toff in the 2003 Edinburgh hit, Gentleman Prefer Brogues, that he made his name on the comedy circuit. Jupp is planning a new solo show this year and promises to become as popular with adults as with children.

    Alan Carr, 28. Think Kenneth Williams with Eric Morecambe's glasses and you get nearer to the image and charm of Alan Carr. Cheeky, gossipy and irreverent, Carr may not yet have the exposure of his namesake Jimmy, but his career is making an ever-upward movement. Since his last Edinburgh show in 2003 he has been signed up by one of the two big comedy agencies and is the regular warm-up for Jonathan Ross. Russell Howard, 24, possesses a boyish, infectious charm. He won the final of Channel 4's So You Think You're Funny aged 19 and it was only his fifth stand-up gig. Since then he has gone from strength to strength supporting Daniel Kitson on two national tours, and he was recently commissioned by Radio 1 to write and perform on the late-night comedy show, The Milk Run.

    Architecture by Jay Merrick

    Patrick Lynch, 35.

    Lynch is one of the interesting new wave of Serious Young Men in British architecture. This particular SYM is rather protean in terms of what has influenced him, a curry-wolfing, card-carrying humanist and stream-of-consciousness conversationalist who's more likely to conflate the anguished existentialism of Talk Talk albums with crime novels and Waiting for Godot than bore for Britain on the middle-period buildings of Le Corbusier. The panoptic young intellectual has produced architecture of both rigorous modesty and rigorous, if not hilarious, experiment.

    Lynch Architects' commissions began coming in 2000. A concrete apartment building, a translucent Hoxton penthouse, the Casa Vasseur (a private residence) north of Rome, even a beautifully incised flat tombstone designed to prolong the life of bouquets. They demonstrate a roughly articulated modernism: nothing flashy here. Lynch's East London Black Women's Organisation centre - recently destroyed in a fire - and the brilliant transformation of Marsh View, a black-boarded Norfolk bungalow, into an architectural Incredible Hulk show real confidence.

    What Lynch brings to the table is a high- res scrutiny of the socio-historic grounds for architecture.

    Others to watch

    Tonkin Liu. Mike Tonkin, 44, and his Taiwanese wife Anna Liu, 39, have achieved lift-off in the past year, with award-winning buildings and public-realm projects. They deliver a spare modernism, concerned with the subtle effects of light and texture. They'll surely be asked to design an art gallery.

    Luz Vargas, 45. I first encountered Vargas three years ago, when she was developing an intriguing, standardised helix-like form for buildings. Her fascination for geometry has finally been clocked by the architectural press, and her singular brand of architectural order has surfaced in the super-crisp makeover of a large law firm in Kennington. CJ Lim, 40. The boyish Malaysian professor based at London's Bartlett School of Architecture is the wild card in the pack. Lim is fascinated by Alice Through the Looking Glass and his extraordinary satirical visions made him the star of the British pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale. This may be the year his brilliant fictions crystallise into architecture.

    Sport by Matt Tench

    Christine Ohuruogu, 20, athlete. A member of the England under-19 netball team, this second eldest of seven children only decided to concentrate on athletics after winning a 400m bronze medal at the 2003 European Junior Championships. The decision was scarcely welcomed by her netball coach, who warned her that she would miss out on the opportunity of playing in the 2005 World Youth Championships in Florida.

    She knocked seconds off her time before the Olympic trials in Manchester, where she astonished everyone by defeating a field that included the European bronze medallist, Lee McConnell, in a winning time of 50.98 seconds, well inside the Olympic qualifying mark of 51.50 seconds.

    Stunned and tearful at the close, Ohuruogu admitted that she had no idea what the Olympic qualifying mark was before the race. "I didn't know what it was," she said. "But I thought if I could finish in the top four at least I could get a relay spot. That was my aim for this year."

    That aim was revised in Athens, where the 20-year-old student - she is studying linguistics at University College, London - became the fifth fastest Briton of all time, clocking 50.50 to qualify from her heat.

    Although she went out at the semi-final stage, the speed of her improvement and the assured manner of her performance at the highest level held out the clear hope that this powerful, naturally-talented athlete might emulate the achievement of Katharine Merry in 2000 by taking an Olympic medal at the Beijing Games of 2008.

    Others to watch

    Ryan Moore, 21, jockey. Ryan Moore started riding lessons at the age of four and was straddling thoroughbreds by the age of 10. Now 21, he is poised to push Kieren Fallon and Frankie Dettori all the way in the race for the 2005 Flat Jockeys' Championship. The only thing still required is the backing of a top stable.

    Matthew Tait, 18, rugby union player. Tait's first taste of the ball at Newcastle is already the stuff of legend. Given his chance in Newcastle's last game of last season, he ran home a blistering try from well inside his own half. Now a regular in the team and a certainty for the 2005 England Elite Player squad, his team mate Jonny Wilkinson had this to say: "Matthew is a fantastic athlete. He's the player to watch [and] he's certainly made his mark during training."

    Politics by Andrew Grice

    Ed Balls, 37. This will be an important year in the rise and rise of Ed Balls, Gordon Brown's closest adviser for the past 10 years. He will swap his backroom role for front-line politics by becoming Labour MP for the rock-solid seat of Normanton in Yorkshire at the general election expected in May. Balls had to leave his Treasury perch, where he was chief economic adviser, after becoming a Labour candidate. But no one doubts that he is still in Brown's inner circle.

    The Norwich City supporter is married to Yvette Cooper, a minister in John Prescott's office and MP for the neighbouring seat of Pontefract and Castleford. A potential rift looms between them after the election, when their respective constituencies are due to disappear under boundary changes.

    His critics blame him for infusing Brown with Eurosceptic views and thwarting Tony Blair's plans to take Britain into the euro. They say he should stick to economics, at which he is brilliant, claiming he lacks political nous. But if, as expected, Brown succeeds Blair, there are many in Westminster who see him as a future Chancellor.

    Others to watch

    Liam Byrne, 33, was elected as Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill at a tricky by-election last July which many expected the party to lose. The bright father of three, a Harvard MBA graduate, has already impressed Westminster watchers and is tipped as a future Cabinet minister - and possibly a Blairite rival to Ed Balls in a future Labour leadership election.

    Theresa Villiers, 36.

    One of the few rising women stars in the Conservative Party. A London member of the European Parliament, she'll be fighting the Tory-held seat of Chipping Barnet at the general election. Seen as bright, articulate and ambitious by colleagues, she will be the new Tory MP to watch after the election. A fast-track promotion beckons. Nick Clegg, 37, is among the brightest in a bunch of young Liberal Democrat modernisers who are likely to lead the party in future years. The 37-year-old former MEP is likely to become MP for Sheffield Hallam after the general election. Described as brainy, young, dynamic and personable, Clegg is a non-tribal figure who used to work for Leon Brittan, the former Tory minister, when he was a European Commissioner. He speaks five European languages and is well-placed to make the best of his new platform at Westminster.

    Pop music by Fiona Sturges

    Jem, 29. You can play gigs for years, you can get great reviews, you can even write a song for Madonna. But if you really want to make it big in the UK, you have to crack America first. This, at least, is how it worked out for the Welsh singer-songwriter student Jemma Griffiths, aka Jem. Early on in her career, Jem wrote a letter to Stevie Wonder in braille asking him to produce one of her songs. Alas, the soul legend never replied so instead she made friends with the music producer Guy Sigsworth. He was so impressed by her song "Nothing Fails" that he played it to Madonna, who promptly recorded it for her American Life album. Soon after, Jem decamped to Los Angeles, landed a record deal (with Dave Matthews' ATO label) and set about making her début, Finally Woken, a beguiling blend of soul, hip-hop and folk. Buoyed by an appearance on the soundtrack to the hip teen drama The O C, the album thrust her into the upper reaches of the American Billboard charts, selling 100,000 copies. With Finally Woken's UK release in February, Jem mania is only a matter of time.

    Others to watch

    Kano, 19. Hot on the heels of Dizzee Rascal comes East Ham's unfeasibly handsome Kane "Kano" Robinson, the latest rising star in London's grime firmament. His magnificently assured single "P's and Q's", released last month, revealed an MC and lyricist at the top of his game. With an album on the way this spring, 2005 is sure to be his year. The Rakes. If the success of The Libertines is anything to go by, the future looks rosy for these wry "pre-post-punks" in their mid-twenties from north London. Having already made waves with the singles "22 Grand Job" and "Strasbourg", they're now proving an exciting proposition on the live circuit, prompting comparisons to PiL, The Fall and Joy Division. Bright lights and degeneracy beckon.

    Tyler James, 22. Is he too good to be true? Armed with boy-band good looks and a voice that suggests someone twice his age and experience, this gifted singer-songwriter offers a refreshing spin on the "nu-jazz" sound, infusing it with his distinctive soul-pop sensibilities. Excitable critics are already calling him the British Justin Timberlake. We can but hope.

    Film by Roger Clarke

    Karl Golden, 30, director.

    Golden's début feature, The Honeymooners, was one of the most underrated films of 2004, a shrewd black comedy of disappointed love and people behaving very badly indeed. Despite his low public profile, Golden has caught the eye of many big shots in the business. He's been hired to helm a BBC Films production of a Patricia Highsmith story, the acerbic fundamentalist family satire People Who Knock on the Door. Filming starts this March in Canada and at present Danny Huston is attached to the project. There's also a late-summer production date pencilled in for his "campus comedy set in the north of England" which is being produced by Trainspotting's Andrew McDonald and DNA films. He currently has more than 10 film projects on his personal roster, including the first ever feature film to be produced by Rory Bremner's Vera Productions. Dublin-born and now based in Bethnal Green, Golden is nothing if not ambitious. "Directors only have a lifespan of 20 years," he tells me. Citing Neil Jordan and Stephen Frears as figures he'd like to emulate, he's certainly geared up for the long-haul career.

    Others to watch

    Emily Blunt, 21, actor.

    Newcomer Emily Blunt caused quite a stir as the Sapphic teenager in Pawel Pawlikowski's outstanding My Summer of Love. Expect to see a good deal more of her in the extravagant US mini-series Empire, set in ancient Rome - and in a Stephen Poliakoff TV drama where she plays Bill Nighy's daughter. Emily is also cast in Who Killed Norma Bates with Ralph Fiennes, and dons a druggie mantle in Chasing Dragons, with Patrick Bergen. Both are being filmed this year.

    Amma Asante, 35, actor, made a gritty début in the Swansea-set A Way of Life, which was released in November and attracted much favourable attention. Despite the very British and downbeat nature of the film, she's about to sign up with a US agent. Well-connected and ambitious, she's a talent to watch.

    Saul Dibb, 23, director. With a soundtrack by Massive Attack and a stand-out performance by So Solid Crew's Ashley Walters, Saul Dibb's début feature Bullet Boy is pegged for release on 8 April. The story of two brothers and a street fight that escalates completely out of control, it's drawn admiring crits in festivals including Toronto. This will raise his profile considerably.

    Books by Boyd Tonkin

    Diana Evans, 33.

    Eat your Home Counties hearts out, Private Eye scoffers. The great Neasden novel has arrived. Those of us raised in the much-mocked tracts of semi-detached London have taken heart from the shining wave of cosmopolitan-suburban fiction that began in Hanif Kureishi's Bromley. In Diana Evans's début novel, 26a, the Neasden of the 1980s becomes a place of mystery, fantasy, joy and - finally - of desolating melancholy. This is a haunting and cherishable story of family life, of London life and, above all, of that alien and secret planet we call childhood. Evans's depiction of the inseparable twins Georgia and Bessi, with their Nigerian mother and Derbyshire father, may draw on some autobiographical material. But it soon grows into a self-assured fictional world of irresistible warmth and charm, with an undertow of sadness that deepens towards tragedy. Diana Evans trained originally as a dancer, but later completed the celebrated MA course in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. 26a (published by Chatto & Windus in March) may at first attract glib comparisons with other books or authors, but - like every other hugely promising début - it sounds like nothing but itself.

    Others to watch

    Nick Laird, 29. Twin-track careers in poetry and fiction have become more common of late, and Nick Laird from Co Tyrone will emerge as a literary amphibian in 2005. In January, Faber will publish his first collection of verse, To a Fault. In May, Fourth Estate publishes his début novel, Utterly Monkey.

    "Belle de Jour". The cult blog of this high-maintenance poule de luxe with a viciously elegant style has prompted an orgy of media guesswork about her identity. In January, Weidenfeld finally releases The Intimate Adventures of a London Call-Girl.

    Malcolm Gladwell, 41. The British-born New Yorker writer saw his first book, The Tipping Point, become a prime example of its own theme. Blink, due from Allen Lane in February, focuses on our intuitive ability to know something, without knowing why we do.

    Food by Caroline Stacey

    Anthony Flinn, 24.

    It's not "if" but "when" Anthony Flinn earns his first star from Michelin - the arbiter of excellence that chefs obsess about at this time of year. It could be later this month. Even if he has to wait another year he'll be no older than that other prodigy Marco Pierre White. Either way Flinn faces a challenge if he wants to keep his profile low; he's already resisted TV programme makers and publishers. Since May critics and diners have eaten his highly evolved dishes, like white onion risotto with Parmesan "air" and espresso, and duck breast with olive oil chocolate bon bon, with a chorus of lip-smacking and praise.

    Only 8 years after leaving college Flinn has brought molecular gastronomy to Leeds in the restaurant he runs with his father, also Anthony, sister Holly and girlfriend Olga Garcia.

    Anthony's offers this exceptional food without the pomp or prices that invariably go with star-seeking cooking. There was no build-up; young Flinn appeared as a fully formed, truly original chef, as if from nowhere. Well, actually from Spain, and the kitchen of the legendary Ferran Adria's El Bulli. Anthony's is booked up every Saturday night beyond March. All this within a year; think what Flinn can achieve in 2005. Anthony's, 19 Boar Lane, Leeds (0113 245 5922)

    Others to watch

    Ian Pengelley, 33.

    His Nobu-like work caused a stir at Notting Hill's E&O and spots of TV cooking helped put the tow-haired chef's name and distinctive style about. In February, when he opens Pengelley's in the Carlton Tower Hotel, the Hong Kong born chef will be making an even greater impression with Asian-influenced dishes.

    Rachel Humphrey, 26.

    Cherchez la femme, goes up the cry. But women chefs rarely enter cooking competitions. Let alone win them, as Rachel Humphrey easily did when her kitchen prowess earned her the Academy of Culinary Arts award. Since then she has been promoted to senior sous chef at Le Gavroche.

    Brett Graham, 25.

    When the restaurant provisionally called The Point opens in March with Australian Brett Graham as its head chef, "It will be," he declares, "the best neighbourhood restaurant in London." We needn't doubt him. He's been groomed by The Square's Philip Howard, who sees a star-winner in the making. "He has phenomenal palate, he's a bloody good cook, energetic, and an annoyingly nice guy."

    Classical Music by Michael Church

    Matthew Wadsworth, 30.

    Lutenist Matthew Wadsworth dazzles with his dexterity, yet this youthful Mancunian has an impediment. "I can see light and dark," he says, "and colour if it's very strong. But basically I'm blind, and always have been. Having no sight is absolutely no disadvantage for a musician." Was music always his ambition? "Not at all. I was obsessive as a child and I still am. What obsessed me at six was motorbikes. My parents bought me a crash helmet and a little machine and I scrambled round a field. I didn't fall off - with my disability you develop a good sense of balance."

    At 16 he became the first blind guitar student at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, and immediately set about expanding the braille repertoire. Graduating to the lute at the Royal Academy, he quickly emerged as a world-class player: the CDs he's now releasing of 17th-century music which he discovered in the archives are models of their kind. He is increasingly in demand as a recitalist and chamber player: next year he will tour America for the first time. And he's an ideal role model for the sight- and hearing-impaired children with whom he also works.

    Others to watch

    Alison Balsom, 26.

    Having just formed her own ensemble, this trumpeter is rising fast. She trained at the Guildhall and the Paris Conservatoire, has mastered natural and piccolo trumpets, and has a repertoire ranging from Albinoni to the most avant garde commissions. As a BBC New Generation Artist she's about to be ubiquitious on Radio 3.

    Matthew Rose, 26.

    "Commanding" is an adjective usually reserved for performers with age and experience, but it's the one critics reach for most often when describing the voice and physical presence of this British bass. He ushered in the drama of Sweeney Todd; his sword-fighting galvanised Faust.

    Amir Bisengaliev, 17.

    He may still be a violin student at the Purcell School, but he's already begun a successful career. Born and bred in Kazakhstan, he gave his first concert at seven: at 13 he released his joyous début CD of virtuoso pieces. The Romantic Virtuoso stuff is where he intends to make his mark, and I predict he will.

    Photography by Nick Hall

    Immo Klink, 32.

    Always passionate about photography, German-born Klink originally came to London to study for an MA in business law. During this time he managed to get a job as Wolfgang Tillmans's studio manager. "I play in all fields," he says of his photographic work that covers editorial, fashion and art, "something I learnt from Wolfgang." He's involved with a network of artist-activists whose main aim is to reclaim public spaces from advertising and corporations. He's photographed Urban Climbing, Circle Line parties, Buy Nothing Day, World Bank and G8 summit protests. The last G8 meeting in Evian lead to his latest project on European communes in Spain, Italy and Wales. "I'm glad I studied law; it gave me a good understanding of society," he says, "plus, I know my rights." Klink has been chosen to show alongside Andreas Gursky, Boris Mikhailov, Luc Delahaye and Tracey Moffat at the inaugural Emergencies exhibition at the new Museum of Contemporary Art in Leon.

    Others to watch

    Joe Clark, 22.

    A recent graduate from the University of Northumbria, Joe Clark featured in last year's Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition at The Barbican and has shown at the Sarah Myerscough Gallery in Mayfair. Working exclusively at night, his empty urban landscapes such as Vent and Ramp, Untitled (Trees near South Shields) or Untitled (Washing Line) might not sound like they'd set your heart racing but they're beautiful; graphic, dark, intriguing, like scenes from our dreams.

    James Mollison, 31.

    Kenyan-born Mollison will be exhibiting his stunning portraits from James and Other Apes (Chris Boot, £24.95) at The National History Museum (28 May - 18 September). These are beautiful, tightly cropped close-ups of apes' faces, each photographed as an individual, with a name and biography, begging us to question what separates them from man.

    Martina Mullaney, 32.

    She graduated from the Royal College of Art last summer and in March she has her first New York exhibition, inaugurating the new Yossi Milo Gallery, and will be showing Turn In, a series of minimalist large-scale colour photographs of night shelters and hostels for the homeless. She finds a melancholy beauty in sparse institutions.

    Design & Interiors by Fiona Rattray

    Peter Traag, 25.

    Sometimes it only takes one chair to launch a design career. Within days of graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003, Peter Traag received an e-mail from the famous Italian design company Edra, expressing an interest in manufacturing his prototype armchair. The London-based Dutch designer assumed it was a friend playing a joke: Edra makes some of the most iconic chair designs in the world. That kind of thing just doesn't happen to young designers, does it?

    A few months later, at the 2004 Milan Furniture Fair, Edra unveiled Traag's Sponge chair (below) to an approving audience. The young designer found himself sharing the vast stand with two of the biggest names in furniture design: Italy's Francisco Binfaré and the Campana brothers of Brazil.

    The reason for Edra's enthusiasm, I think, is simple. After years of retro-fixated, sleek-lined armchairs, the world is ready for something different. Over-exposure means that chairs which once had the cachet of exclusivity are fast losing their lustre. The fantastic thing about Traag's Sponge chair, is that thanks to its construction (as the foam expands to fill the mould, the loose fabric cover inside it is forced into folds) every chair is different. It's mass production, but with a thrilling element of originality and chance.

    Beginner's luck? I doubt it. Traag is only 25, but his other designs are similarly accomplished. And Edra certainly doesn't think so - he's currently working on a new project for the Italian company. This year in Milan he will represent the best of young British designers in the Design Museum's show Great Brits: The New Alchemists. I'm sure he'll do us proud.

    Others to watch

    Onkar Singh Kular, 30.

    This YBD grabbed the design world's attention with his Pantone tea mugs (pick the colour that matches your perfect brew). Look out for his latest work, inspired by famous TV armchairs, at London's Geffrye Museum in February.

    Kirsty Carter, 25, and Emma Thomas, 25.

    This graphic-design duo was responsible for a fair portion of the best post I received last year. Visit www.apracticeforeverydaylife.com to see what I mean: no throbbing icons, just stacks of clever, simply executed ideas.

    Kazuhiro Yamanaka, 33.

    As well appearing in the V&A's Brilliant lighting show (and catching the eye of the great Ingo Maurer), of the London-based Japanese designer's slick new furniture designs. His is a name to remember.

    Fashion by Susannah Frankel

    Ann-Sofie Back, 33.

    She's no newcomer to fashion. In fact, the designer graduated from the MA course at Central Saint Martins in 1998 but, like other talented members of her generation, has eschewed the publicity-seeking antics of her predecessors for a more gentle and business-like approach. If that makes her sound as though she should have taken up the post of chief designer at MaxMara, don't be fooled. It's worth noting that, while Back has never sold out by designing publicity-seeking, barely-there flash trash, her designs are far from conventional. A typical show begins with the finale - the designer takes her bows with the entire cast before a single outfit has been seen. Her signature is to question and ultimately subvert all things feminine, a philosophy she extends to the casting of her shows: Back doesn't employ traditional models, but uses friends and "real people" instead. Everything from visible panty lines to wet T-shirt competitions and the wardrobe of the transvestite has come under her critical gaze, inspiring garments that, though idiosyncratic, are increasingly beautiful in the traditional sense too.

    Others to watch

    Miki Fukai, 37, first came to the fashion industry's attention four seasons ago with a collection featuring patchwork clothing made out of the striped sleeve details of hundreds of 1970s tracksuits. She has since given the world sportswear-inspired pieces crafted in canary-yellow parachute silk, deconstructed knitwear and, new this season, possibly the world's most glamorous summer dungarees. Born and raised in Tokyo, Fukai worked as a stylist there before enrolling on a theatre-costume-design course at the London College of Fashion, followed by the MA fashion-design course at Central Saint Martins.

    Sarah Swash, 25, and Toshio Yamanaka, 30.

    The Central Saint Martins-trained design talent behind Swash won no less than three prizes at the prestigious Hyeres fashion festival in France earlier this year, following in the footsteps of Viktor & Rolf. The label débuted at the London collections in October, displaying a lightness of spirit and touch combined with a conceptual approach.

    Gardening by Anna Pavord

    Ceri Evans, 28, graduated with distinction in the summer after an intensive year-long course in garden design at the English Gardening School in London. The distinction was an unexpected bonus. So was her audition as a presenter on the upcoming TV show The Great Gardening Challenge. Not so unexpected for those who know her. She's been a model for almost 10 years. She looks good. She works out. "But I don't want to be seen as just another dumb blonde," she says forcefully. "I want to show that I really know my stuff." So having been "obsessed" with her garden since she acquired her first house seven years ago, she decided to turn a hobby into a career and make a radical change in her life. In gardening, that's not unusual. You only see the point of it when you've a plot of your own. People come to gardening and garden design as a second career when they've become disenchanted with their first. "I like to do things aimed at first-time buyers," she says. "Designs that are young, funky." Having parents who were draughtsmen, she is quite at home with a drawing board. Her only problem? She can't throw plants away.

    Others to watch

    Michael Owers, 23, is in the middle of a three-year careership scheme organised by the National Trust to train the head gardeners of the future. He left a job in sales and marketing to take up a place he was offered at Blickling, the National Trust property in Norfolk, where he works under the head gardener, Paul Underwood. Comparing his old job with his new, he says: "You don't get compliments in sales and marketing. Here, visitors are always saying how lovely the garden looks. It makes me feel good."

    Aude de Liedekerke, 30. The glasshouses in the superb walled garden at West Dean gardens, near Chichester in West Sussex, are gardener Aude de Liedekerke's special responsibility. She's 30 and relishes the opportunity she now has to see plants through the whole of their growing lives. She worked previously as a florist with Harper and Toms; before that, she was in the fashion business. Would she go back to either of her old jobs? "Never," she says emphatically. "This is so much better."

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 01, 2005.

    Man is shot outside club

    South London Press

    Man is shot outside club

    Dec 30 2004

    A man is in a serious but stable condition in hospital after being shot outside a nightclub.

    The 32-year-old was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after being shot near the Supreme Club in Goding Street, Kennington, early on Monday morning.

    Police were called to the area just after 5.30am to reports of a disturbance outside the nightspot.

    When officers arrived on the scene, a man was seen running towards the Albert Embankment.

    As he was detained, the shooting victim approached police officers and asked for help.

    He was taken to hospital where his condition was said to have improved as we went to press.

    The man detained at the scene was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and taken to a South London police station.

    He has since been released on police bail to return to the station on January 26.

    Detectives from the Met's Operation Trident shootings team have refused to release any further details about the incident.

    The officers have appealed for information and witnesses.

    Contact the Trident shootings team at Putney on 020 8785 8580.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 01, 2005.

    Reduced price Aladdin tickets for the local community

    The Old Vic Theatre Company

    Reduced price Aladdin tickets for the local community

    Dear Community Members

    I am pleased to announce that we are holding a special community performance of our hit pantomime "Aladdin" starring Ian McKellen on Saturday 15th January at 2.30pm. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of 3i, we have a limited availability of tickets at just £5 each.

    To book, please call in to the Box Office at The Old Vic in person or, alternatively, send an email with the number of tickets you would like and your name, credit card number and expiry date to oldvicboxoffice@theambassadors.com. Please specify that you are a community contact when you book. You can also call direct on 0207 401 3280 but please avoid our busy times of 1-2.30pm and 6-7.30pm.

    Please pass this email to any other group in the Lambeth/Southwark area, but please do not forward outside of this area, as we want to ensure that all tickets go to our community contacts.

    Tickets should be booked asap to avoid disappointment.

    All best

    Rachael Stevens
    Marketing Officer

    Rachael Stevens
    The Old Vic Theatre Company
    The Cut, London SE1 8NB
    Direct line: 0207 902 7582

    -- Rachael Stevens (rachael.stevens@oldvictheatre.com), December 30, 2004.

    Topsy-turvy Tube

    Evening Standard

    29/12/04 - London Cuts section

    Topsy-turvy Tube

    By Patrick Sawyer

    Imagine a London where it is impossible to get to St Paul's or Oxford Circus by Tube and where everything worth doing happens south of the Thames.

    Now two designers have brought the vision to life - turning the capital on its head and making south London the heart of the metropolis.

    Daniel Letts and Andrew Fox have turned the iconic Tube map upside-down, linking dozens of south London districts by Underground, and leaving previously well-served areas of the north reliant on bus, car and train. The number of Tube stations north of the Thames falls from 239 to 71.

    As well as highlighting how badly served the south is by the Underground, their map invites us to imagine London in a different and intriguing light. How would the capital look if the Victorian navvies had dug south not north?

    "The map shifts the focus away from traditional ports of call, such as the West End and the City, and replaces them with previously isolated areas like Peckham and Coombe," said Mr Letts, a branding consultant who came up with the deceptively simple idea.

    With the Tube map turned 180 degrees, dozens of new stations could be created along the lines. The designers christened the stops with street and town centre names.

    From as far as Woking (replacing Upminster in the east), the map stretches to Bluewater shopping centre (normally Uxbridge in the west).

    In the south the network stretches as far as Banstead and Leatherhead - but if you're going north on the new Tube system, you won't get past Tottenham Hale.

    In between is a maze of destinations, some familiar but previously inaccessible (at least to northerners-such as Old Kent Road, others with enticing names such as Monks Orchard and Hilly Fields - in reality Beckenham and Brockley.

    The lines have new names, with Clapham and Docks replacing the Hammersmith and City line, and the Piccadilly line renamed Elephant and Castle. Some locations would, ironically, be better connected, with Stoke Newington and Southall finally on the Tube.

    The idea came to 41-year-old Mr Letts, who lives in Kennington, as he considered the familiar map while waiting at King's Cross station. He asked designer and artist Mr Fox to redraw it. Both are part of a creative group called Thinkers Block, which aims to re-imagine the everyday and the familiar.

    "South London has always felt so much more mysterious and inaccessible to me," said Mr Fox, 31, of Ladbroke Grove. "With this map London suddenly becomes a very different place."

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 29, 2004.


    SE1 Direct 217: New Year celebrations


    Streets in the area bounded by Westminster Bridge, York Road and Waterloo Bridge will be closed to traffic from 10pm, as will Westminster Bridge Road between the river and Kennington Road. Additionally, Waterloo Road will be closed between the river and Baylis Road/The Cut.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 29, 2004.

    Cricket: Hope is reborn for a team long accustomed to losing

    International Herald Tribune

    Cricket: Hope is reborn for a team long accustomed to losing

    Huw Richards
    Wednesday, December 29, 2004

    There may, perhaps have been more joyous sporting locations this year - Boston in late October, maybe - than London's Kennington Oval cricket ground on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 25, but it is hard to believe it.

    The West Indies, the formerly British-ruled islands of the Caribbean, have made an incomparable contribution to cricket. They have produced remarkable players, great teams - until recently the West Indies team had the highest all-time winning percentage of any national squad - and above all a sense of joy and festivity. Those players and teams were an unparalleled source of pride and identification for people afflicted by poverty at home and racism when they moved abroad.

    Little pleasure, though, has been taken from the past decade as West Indies has dropped from the top of test cricket to near the bottom, saved from backmarker status only by the inadequacies of Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The general expectation was that, after losing seven of eight matches in home-and-away series of five-day tests, West Indies would lose to the host, England - fresh from victory over the world champion Australia - in the final of the one-day Champions Trophy.

    It looked even more that way when the last specialist batsman, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, was dismissed with West Indies 71 runs behind, leaving two Barbadians, the wicket-keeper Courtney Browne and fast bowler Ian Bradshaw, at the wicket with only another specialist bowler to come.

    Their initial resistance seemed merely a postponement of the inevitable, as they accumulated runs in ones and twos.

    Gradually, though, momentum grew, and hope was reborn - hope, though, that could have been dashed by a single false stroke or good delivery amid gathering darkness. Tension ratcheted inexorably, but Bradshaw and Browne, in their 30s yet novices at this level, seemed immune as they stroked their way to a victory greeted by a baseball-style pileup of purple-clad West Indian players in front of the Oval's venerable pavilion.

    No setting could have been more fitting than the Oval, with its proximity to areas of London heavily settled by the early migrants of the postwar years making it the ground most associated with West Indian success and celebration.

    West Indies had won against the odds often enough before. Against stereotype, their players have often excelled in adversity, assumptions that their play is based on spontaneous natural talent overlooking the technical excellence and tough-mindedness associated with their game at its best.

    Bradshaw and Browne displayed both qualities, but in a context different from those of their predecessors who had fashioned improbable victories. Those wins were against a background of strength, produced by players with the self-confidence of habitual winners. This team had become accustomed to losing.

    This result won't reverse the cultural, political and economic handicaps against which West Indian cricketers must battle.

    It won't add a cent to a combined national product that is around 6 percent of Australia's. It has been argued that it might even be bad for West Indian cricket, an unexpected victory providing ammunition for those who would argue that nothing much is wrong with it, when plenty is.

    Maybe so, but against that is the renewed pride and confidence that can come from a performance like this. This was a reassertion of cricket as a source of joy.

    And even though England has still to win a serious one-day trophy, few home supporters grudged the purple-clad pileup and its exultant fans - not as many as would once have attended an Oval test, but still audibly ecstatic amid the gloom - one iota of it.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 29, 2004.

    Kennington policeman convicted

    London SE1

    Kennington policeman convicted

    25 December 2004 - London SE1 website team

    North Lambeth police officer John Nicholson was this week found guilty of a public order offence relating to an incident on a train in February 2004.

    On Thursday at Bow Street Magistrates Court PC Nicholson - who is based at Kennington Police Station - was found guilty of an offence under Section 4A of Public Order Act 1986 (threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress).

    PC Nicholson has been bailed until 20 January for sentencing.

    The charge relates to an incident which took place when Nicholson was off duty and travelling home on a train from London on 8 February 2004.


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 28, 2004.

    PLUMBER: Yen Lin Chong


    I would like to recommend another plumber:

    Yen Lin Chong
    Lives in Herne Hill
    CORGI No.: 196094
    T: 020 8674 8617
    M: 07798 530265

    I tried to find one today (Bank Holiday) because my combi boiler died last night and eventually found Yen Lin on movethat.com http://www.movethat.com/London/Forum/Local_Traders/#82674 where it said he was working over the holidays.

    He has a call-out charge of £30, unless he can fix the problem when it is £50. He replaced the pump, had one on him and didn't charge for that at all! There is some other switch/part that needs replacing but he has got it going temporarily and will come back with that part on Wednesday.

    Nice guy, too.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 27, 2004.

    Forthcoming marriage: Dr B.C.A.L. Fitzwilliams and Dr E.M. Wain


    December 23, 2004

    Forthcoming marriages

    Dr B.C.A.L. Fitzwilliams and Dr E.M. Wain

    The engagement is announced between Benjamin, son of Mr and Mrs Edward Fitzwilliams, of Old Cilgwyn, Cardiganshire, and Mary, daughter of Mr and Mrs John Wain, of Kennington, London.


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 23, 2004.

    Tai Chi comes to Kennington!


    & Chi Kung


    Kurdish Cultural Centre
    14 Stannary St SE11

    2pm on Thursdays
    Beginning Thursday 13th January 2005

    - Training is Free -

    TO ENROL - Tel: 020 7793 0268 – E-mail: KenningtonAssn@aol.com

    Sponsored by Lady Margaret Hall Settlement and the Kennington Association

    Government backs Tai Chi

    A range of fitness classes may be offered to older people on the NHS. To back it up, Tony Blair attended a "keep on moving" class for older people in southwest London. An exercise specialist with the primary care trust, said ‘the programme includes training in Tai Chi. Tai Chi is designed to release the body's internal energy to promote well-being.’
    ‘Advocates believe it combats problems of the heart, breathing and digestive system as well as relieving stress.’
    The Guardian 03.11.04

    Training Advantages: Develop correct posture, tone your muscles, reduce fat, strengthen your heart and lungs, and improve your balance, coordination and fitness level.

    1. Master Michael Jacques, also known as ‘Iron Silk’; Founder of the Zenon Wudang, and Combat Tai Chi Chuan Programmes, Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Social Sciences, Post Graduate Certificate in Further Education, British Open Tai Chi Champion 1992/3, Grade ‘A’ BCCMA Instructor [BCCMA – British Council for Chinese Martial Arts: Sports Council Governing Body; TCUK – Tai Chi UK Limited]
    2. Sidet Elizabeth A. Ogole; aka ‘Golden Eagle’; Co-founder of the Holistic Relaxation, and Aqua Tai Chi Chuan Programmes, Bachelor of Science [Hons] in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Master of Science in Advanced Information Technology & Multimedia, British Open Tai Chi Champion 2004, Grade ‘B’ BCCMA/TCUK Instructor

    www.tsfitnesspromotions.com info@taichiuk.co.uk taichiuk@hotmail.com www.taichiuk.co.uk

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), December 18, 2004.

    Man dies saving son

    Evening Standard

    17/12/04 - News and city section

    Man dies saving son

    By Justin Davenport and Luke David

    A father has been stabbed to death trying to protect his son from bullying by a gang of teenagers.

    Benjamin Durao, 35, was fatally wounded after confronting the gang when they damaged the front door of his home.

    He chased them away, but one turned and confronted him and then stabbed him.

    A medical team treated the victim at the scene before he was taken to hospital but he died shortly after arriving there.

    Two boys, both aged 14, have been arrested in connection with the murder.

    Detectives have appealed for anyone who witnessed a chase through the estate which is believed to have involved the victim and a group of up to four boys.

    They are investigating reports that one of Mr Durao's sons had been the victim of bullying.

    Today neighbours on the Myatt's Field estate in Kennington described Mr Durao, an Angolan-born painter and decorator, as an " intelligent and friendly" man who "always wanted to help people".

    They said he and his family had endured a campaign of harassment for a week before the murder.

    Claudio Pinheiro, 33, said the victim's three sons had been involved in a confrontation with a group of older boys as they played outside their home last week.

    "One of my friend's [Mr Durao's] sons aged seven went to tell his father and he came and said to the boys, 'He's been living here for a long time, you can play together', but the [older] boys didn't like it.

    "The next day they came around to their house and started abusing him. It happened again the next day and they called the police, but the police didn't come.

    "The boys kept coming round. My friend said he would talk to them but his wife said 'don't it's dangerous' but he said he had to talk to them, his boy had to play somewhere.

    "The boys were already prepared to kill him and stabbed him. An hour later he was dead in hospital."

    Mr Pinheiro added: "It's getting worse. Our children have to grow up with this."

    The murder comes days after the Government announced plans to ban the sale of knives to under-18s.

    Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 8721 4005 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/15407725?version=1
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 17, 2004.

    Man stabbed after rowing with teenagers

    Evening Standard

    17/12/04 - News and city section

    Man stabbed after rowing with teenagers

    A man has been stabbed to death after an argument with a group of youths outside his London home.

    The 35-year-old was killed after chasing a gang of teenagers from his house on the Myatts Field Estate in Kennington.

    Police were first called to the address in Crawshay Court at 4.30pm on Thursday when a group of teenagers damaged the front door of the house.

    Two hours later the gang is believed to have returned, the man chased them through the estate before being stabbed.

    Police have arrested two boys in their mid-teens and are trying to trace another two teenagers who are believed to have been involved.

    The victim and suspects are black. Anyone witnesses should contact DCI Stuart Cundy on 0208 721 4005.

    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/15405824?version=1
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 17, 2004.

    Teenager made lives a misery

    Teenager made lives a misery

    Dec 17 2004

    South London Press

    A 16-YEAR-OLD boy who terrorised a housing estate has been banned from entering it and many surrounding streets.

    The youngster has been given an Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO) after he was identified as a ringleaders of a gang which made life a misery for people living on the Kennington Park Estate.

    A dossier of evidence built up against him by Lambeth council showed he threw fireworks at people, caused criminal damage, intimidated residents and used foul language to them.

    The youth had already signed an Acceptable Behaviour Contract but breached it.

    When Lambeth took its case against him to court, the judge said he found the application for an ASBO banning the boy from the estate and surrounding area was well justified.

    The ASBO was made on December 2 and will be effective for a year.

    Lambeth's executive member for housing, Councillor Keith Fitchett, said: "The message here is clear: we will not tolerate antisocial behaviour on our estates or on our streets."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 17, 2004.

    Kennington Association Newsletter December 2004

    Kennington Association

    Chairperson: Angus Aagaard

    C/- 235B Kennington Lane
    London SE11 5QU
    E: KenningtonAssn@aol.com

    Wednesday, 15 December 2004

    Dear Neighbours

    1. Bazaar & Winter Draw

    Another great success! No thanks to me! I injured my foot on the Friday night before the Bazaar so Kay took over the helm and the Team mucked in and all went off smoothly as usual. They raised over £730, which was quite amazing as there were so many Christmas fairs and other events competing on the same day. To quote Angus, our Chairperson, “Community events, such as our Bazaars, are always only as good as the time and effort that local volunteers put in to make it happen - it’s no surprise then to know that our Bazaars are one of the best around. You did a great job - Thanks!”

    2. Postal Matters

    The meeting with our London Assembly Member, Val Shawcross, and the manager at our local sorting office in Crampton Street in October was well attended. We met with Martine Munby (Senior External Relations Manager, London, South East and East of England martine.munby@royalmail.com), Claire Catchpole (Business Manager) and Brian Chapman (Delivery Office Manager).

    The postcodes of those Kennington residents present were noted and questionnaires were sent out to random households in all the delivery walks in Kennington by the South London Quality Team at Royal Mail's Nine Elms Lane office. This was organised by Claire who asks that if residents have an opinion or complaint, please do contact the Customer Service Centre who are there to help. (08457 740 740 Royal Mail Customer Services, FREEPOST, RM1 1AA)

    Some of us have been in direct contact with Brian (brian.e.chapman@royalmail.co.uk 020 7703 0007) about delivery matters. He is happy for the residents to contact him directly, but points out that he is only responsible for deliveries, so he will have to pass on to the relevant manager any other issues such as collections and wait for them to reply. Brian has also been going out with some of the delivery officers to see if there is anything he can do to assist them with their deliveries, and he hopes that this will have an impact on the level of service provided.

    Martine has organised a follow-up review meeting at 1.30pm on Friday, 28th January, at which we will also be joined by Melanie Corfield, Head of External Relations, London & South East for Royal Mail. Please be in touch if you would like to attend this meeting.

    3. The Kennington Association Art Auction at Pizza Express

    The KA Art Auction at Pizza Express in November raised over £3,000!!! There were calls for us to do it again. In all, the Community generously donated over 80 high quality works of art and Pizza Express generously hosted the event at no charge, even providing canapés, and their staff were all so helpful.

    4. New Community Initiatives

    As you know, the Association will use all the proceeds from the Art Auction for the local community. We have been considering some ideas put to us and have already decided on a couple:

    · Older Persons’ Tea & Coffee Afternoons at The Durning Library

    This group, organised by Lambeth Libraries, meets on the third Wednesday every month and has discussed some ideas of the types of things they would like to be able to do. Top of the ‘wish list’ seems to be a coach trip to Southend-on-Sea! They would also like to have some more quadrille dancing sessions. The KA committee decided to donate £500 to enable them to make these and/or other arrangements as they would like.

    If you would like to know more about this group’s afternoons and activities, please contact Audrey at the Durning Library on 020 7926 8682.

    · Tai Chi comes to Kennington!

    We have been asked if it might be possible to organise Tai Chi classes, in particular geared towards the Over Fifties in our community.

    We contacted Michael Jacques, Chief Instructor and Master of Tai Chi UK, http://www.taichiuk.co.uk/, and he has agreed to hold an initial 12 weeks of Tai Chi classes for us. The Kennington Association committee agreed to cover his fees of £600 and then we looked around for a local venue.

    We learned that the Kurdish Cultural Centre at 14 Stannary Street SE11 was available at the time that suited Michael and when Lady Margaret Hall Settlement offered to cover the rent there, we were able to confirm that classes will begin at 2pm on Thursday, 13th January for twelve weeks. This will enable us to find out how great the demand is, and if they are popular we can look towards extending the sessions later into the year.

    All are welcome, especially the Over Fifties for whom Michael already runs several classes around London. To enrol telephone 020 7793 0268 or email KenningtonAssn@aol.com.

    We are also looking at how to help some local Schools develop upon the Music provision they offer. We are learning that it is an area that receives insufficient funding.

    Meanwhile, we wish all our members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    With best regards
    Cathy Preece
    Membership Secretary

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), December 17, 2004.

    Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre Festive Event Wed 22nd Dec 6pm

    Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre Festive Event Wed 22nd Dec 6pm

    Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre

    100 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5EL
    0207 582 4480

    Would like to invite all community minded folk to a Free Open Evening and Festive celebration on Wednesday 22nd December 2004 from 6 p.m


    Spanish Guitar Duo
    DJ - Pedro - a Brazilian legend
    And others

    Please bring a bottle; we are only licensed to sell alcohol to members and their guests, so the bar will not be open.

    Free Membership available. Soft drinks and snacks will be provided

    VGCC is a volunteer run, not for profit charity helping to provide well-being to the local community

    Please see our website www.vgcc.org.uk for details of events/classes/clubs

    For further information please contact:
    Tim Boxall
    Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre
    100 Vauxhall Walk, London, SE11 5EL
    0207 582 4480

    -- Tim (thespringvgcc@yahoo.com), December 17, 2004.

    Small van for sale

    Small van for sale


    Seat Terra Vista Van

    color RED
    year 1990
    taxed till 31 march 05
    mot till April 15 '05
    genuine mileage 53,000
    petrol engine 903 cc
    spare bench seat and roofbars included

    contact Anna on phone 020 7582 8963 or me@annabest.info

    -- Anna (me@annabest.info), December 17, 2004.

    Top 10 hits set to ring in the New Year

    South London Pacific

    Top 10 hits set to ring in the New Year

    Dec 17 2004

    MOBO winner and urban sensation Estelle rounds off a great year with a PA at Ministry of Sound's New Year's Eve bash.

    She will be performing her acclaimed two top 10 hits 1980 and Free at the party, hosted by the superclub's popular urban night Smoove, joined by residents DJs Shortee Blitz and Masterstepz, plus Firin' Squad, DJ Dodge and Heartless among others. Hardened house-heads can throw shapes into 2005 at Heat NYE at Brixton Academy, with an exclusive midnight set from Tall Paul, with Fergie and Eddie Halliwell among the 30 DJs playing across four arenas.

    Other New Year's Eve club highlights across South London include the Bug Bar's NYE bash hosted by Brixton's best funk/soul brothers Leslie Love and Linx. Down the road Brixton's hip DJ/bar Plan B says it's "throwing its music policy out of the window", with drapes and mirrorballs, and house, funk, disco, party hip-hop and classics all night long.

    Club-goers can rely on South London Pacific for a NYE party with a totally tropical twist. Aloha 2005! features a night of Latino grooves, GoGo beats, 60s R'n'B and dance party favourites, with a "tropicalisimo" dress code. Live music is from the venue's very own house band Los Trios Pacificos and The Trombone Mountain, plus DJs and more.

    The White Horse in Brixton is hosting its Hat and Prop party, inviting revellers to turn up with - you've guessed it - hat and prop for a fun NYE.

    DJs will be providing a mix of hip-hop, soul, disco, break and drum'n'bass, with prizes for the best hat and prop combination (?!).

    ****** Smoove NYE,Ministry ofSound, GauntStreet, Elephantand Castle.Doors 9pm5am, tickets£35 from01702 345050or from www.ticketbank.co.uk

    ****** Heat NYE, Brixton Academy, Stockwell Road, Brixton. Doors 8pm-7am, tickets £20-40, from 0870 7712000.

    ****** NYE at The Bug Bar, St Matthews Church, Brixton Hill, Brixton/ Doors 9pm-5am,tickets £20 from 0207 738 3366 or viainfo@bugbar.co.uk

    ****** Plan B NYE Party, Brixton Road, Brixton. Doors 9pm-5am, tickets £20 at the venue or log onto www.ticketweb.co.uk

    *****Aloha 2005!,South London Pacific, Kennington Road, Kennington.Doors 8.30pm-4am. Tickets £18 from the venue, by calling 020 7820 9189, or emailing nye@southlondonpacific.com

    ****** Hat and Prop Party,The White Horse, Brixton Hill, Brixton.Doors 8pm-4am, tickets £15 in advance from the venue.Call 0208 678 666 or email info@whitehorsebrixton.com

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 16, 2004.

    Way Forward blocked by Hoon

    Telegraph > Opinion > Spy

    (Filed: 15/12/2004)

    Way Forward blocked by Hoon

    The members of the executive committee of Conservative Way Forward, the Thatcherite Tory faction, thought they were on to a good thing when they decided to hold their December meeting away from the hubbub of Westminster on Monday night.

    But it seems that their choice of venue - Gandhi's curry house in Kennington - was not quite as obscure as they had hoped.

    "We'd only just been served our poppadums when Geoff Hoon and his entourage sat down at the next table," I'm told. "There was no way we could discuss our agenda with the Defence Secretary in earshot, so we spent the rest of the meal discussing the weather."

    Hoon, it appears, remained blissfully unaware of the impact of his arrival. "It was a farewell dinner for a colleague," his spokesman tells me. "The restaurant is one of Mr Hoon's favourites."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 15, 2004.

    Local youth silenced by ASBO


    Local youth silenced by ASBO

    Residents in the Oval area can look forward to a more peaceful Christmas this year thanks to successful legal action against a 16-year-old youth.


    Released: December 13, 2004 11:58 AM
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 13, 2004.

    Drug dealer found in pile of washing

    Drug dealer found in pile of washing

    Dec 10 2004

    South London Press

    A CONVICTED drug dealer was found hiding in a pile of laundry during a police raid.

    Carl Russell, 47, was caught in his home on the Ethelred Estate, Kennington, on Tuesday by officers from the asset recovery squad.

    He had been sentenced to five years at Inner London Crown Court on December 4, 1997, for dealing Class-A drugs but had failed to pay up a £215,963 confiscation order.

    He was sentenced to 810 days in prison at Horseferry Road Magistrates' Court on Tuesday and £113,00 of cash and his assets were frozen.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 10, 2004.

    Buy of the week: Taste of the Med

    Evening Standard

    Homes and Property

    Buy of the week: Taste of the Med

    By Fay Greenslade, Evening Standard - 08/12/2004

    Mediterranean style has arrived in Kennington, SE11, after the renovation of this split-level flat, tucked behind an antiques shop. The interior has been gutted and transformed into three levels, using an effective mix of materials, including glass bricks, tall, vertical steel radiators and curved walls, painted in warm ochre and rustic shades.

    Open-plan sitting and dining areas lead down to a contemporary kitchen/breakfast room and a large conservatory, which opens out onto a private, high walled patio garden.

    A study, and galleried bedroom with mirrored wardrobes, overlooks the kitchen/dining area.

    Vauxhall and Kennington Tube stations are within easy walking distance.

    Aylesford (020 7351 2383) is asking £295,000.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 09, 2004.

    Friends carry on renting

    Independent > Money > Property > Homes

    Friends carry on renting

    With fears of falling house prices, young flat-sharers are in no hurry to buy their own homes, says Chris Partridge

    08 December 2004

    Rents are rising over most of the country as both first-time buyers and buy-to-let landlords defer purchasing in the face of the uncertain property market, according to the latest survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

    The rise is being led by London, where rents have gone up on average by 6 per cent in the year to the end of October. Rents in the rest of the country have gone up by 4 per cent. The South-west is also experiencing a rent boom, but rents in the East have gone down slightly, RICS found.

    London and the South-west are the areas with the biggest declines in house prices, as reported in the RICS property market survey last month, indicating that frustrated buyers are renting instead. "There is definitely an increase in demand, particularly at the lower end of the market," says RICS spokesperson Jeremy Leaf. "Uncertainty about market prospects and poor affordability mean that people are opting to rent."

    The rent boom is good news for buy-to-let landlords, who have suffered from rapidly increasing capital costs and declining returns. London landlords are seeing an increase in yield for the first time since April 2001, according to the survey. In all other regions yields are still going down very slightly.

    The average price for a two-bedroom flat in London is currently £1,517 per calendar month, up about 8 per cent over the year, compared with about 3 per cent for the rest of the country. Rents for one-bedroom flats in London have risen about 6 per cent, with rents over the rest of the country rising by just 2 per cent.

    For houses, however, the picture is reversed. In London, house rents have gone down, by as much as 5 per cent for a four-bedroom detached house. In the rest of the country, house rents have risen by between 3 and 4 per cent.

    Although buy-to-let landlords are doing much better now, they are still reluctant to invest in more property - which is adding fuel to the rent increases by tightening supply.

    Affordability is also an issue, according to Ian Dickson, of Winkworth in Acton. He says: "We saw a dramatic increase in the rentals market in mid-summer. There is now not a lot of difference between renting and buying, as the interest on a mortgage is about the same as the rental." In his area, the main market seems to be for professionals sharing, Dickson says: "The biggest demand is for flats with two double bedrooms, the classic layout for sharers."

    Dale Hodgson, of Hamptons in Fulham, warns landlords not to assume that just because demand is outstripping supply, renters will accept lower standards. "Although there is more demand in the lower rental areas, they are not skimping on quality - they are much more demanding than they used to be," he says.

    Stephen Ludlow, director of the London estate agent Ludlow Thompson, has seen particularly sharp rent increases for one-bedroom flats. He believes this is due to increased demand from people who have been sharing. Until recently, their next move would have been to buy but they have been deterred by the prospect of price falls so they are upgrading to their own rented place instead. "When people first enter the rental market, they look at the cheaper option of sharing with friends and work colleagues. As their income grows they can afford more privacy and a higher standard of accommodation," he says.

    At Ludlow Thompson's Kennington office, for example, the rent for an average one-bedroom flat is now £200 a week, up by £10 from this time last year. According to another survey, by the specialist buy-to-let mortgage lender Paragon Mortgages, the rental market is also being fuelled by young people leaving home earlier but buying their first property later.

    According to the survey, people now leave home at 20, whereas the current over-65s left home at 22. The vast majority of people, more than 80 per cent, want to buy eventually, but nowadays only 60 per cent manage to get their own place by the age of 30, - down from 68 per cent.

    Both surveys have found that private rents now dominate the rentals market, reflecting the decline of council accommodation. Most of the young people who still live at home expect to move out into rented accommodation, and are four times more likely to move into privately rented, rather than socially rented homes, according to Paragon.

    John Heron, managing director of Paragon Mortgages, believes that the figures illustrate that Britain is becoming a much more rental-based housing culture.

    "This demonstrates that renting is not a minority practice but rather one that most people do at some point in their lives, and in many cases for long periods of time," he says. "Over a third of people have lived in rented accommodation for more than five years, and 21 per cent for more than 10 years."

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 08, 2004.

    Grace and intelligence, with a will of tungsten

    Financial Times

    Grace and intelligence, with a will of tungsten

    By Clement Crisp
    Published: December 3 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 3 2004 11:45

    Lilian Alicia Marks, who died on December 1 on the night after her 94th birthday, made her debut as a dancer at the age of 10 in pantomime at Kennington, billed as "the child Pavlova". Her gifts took her to classes given by the Russian teacher Serafine Astafieva, and here Serge Diaghilev saw her and engaged her for his company.

    Aged just 14, Alicia Marks became Markova, member of the Ballets Russes, with Balanchine's staging of Stravinsky's Le Rossignol (in which she was the nightingale) for her debut. For the next five years, the Monte Carlo opera house and tours throughout Europe (with either an over-protective governess or her mother as companion) were Markova's world. Watching Diaghilev's stagings provided a marvellous education for the girl the impresario called his "English daughter".

    In 1929 Diaghilev died and his company disbanded. Markova returned to England, to become a vital figure in the infant British ballet being shaped by Ninette de Valois and Marie Rambert. She worked for Rambert, then joined de Valois' Vic-Wells company in its first season, as a ballerina able to justify stagings of the "classics" (Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker).

    In 1935, with her Diaghilev colleague Anton Dolin, she formed the Markova-Dolin Ballet, which toured Britain for two years - with Markova sustaining an astounding eight performances a week in leading roles. She was then invited by Leonid Massine to return to her Ballets Russes roots and become a leading ballerina with the Monte Carlo troupe, and for the next three years she led the company with Alexandra Danilova, in Europe and in long tours criss-crossing America. Exiled to the US by war, she was adored wherever she danced, and in 1941 joined the young Ballet Theatre, giving legendary performances as Giselle, in Massine's Aleko and in Antony Tudor's Romeo and Juliet. Her genius lay in the purity and sensitivity of her dancing - sublimely musical and ravishing in technical ease - and in the imaginative control she exerted over huge audiences, performing happily in the vastness of the Hollywood Bowl as well as in big opera houses. John Martin of The New York Times saluted her as "the greatest dancer who has ever lived", an accolade that Markova greeted with the words: "That's all very well, but I'm the one who has to live up to it."

    In 1948, Markova (with Dolin, her partner) returned to London and conquered a new public at Covent Garden as Giselle, as Aurora, as Odette/Odile. She and Dolin next undertook a series of tours from which grew Festival Ballet in 1950. The success of the company was owed to the combination of international stars and a wise and traditional repertory. Markova withdrew from the troupe following injury, and the remaining decade of her career - she retired in 1963 - was spent as a guest artist in Europe and America. She was a box-office darling: the announcement "Markova in Giselle" brought interminable queues outside any theatre. Markova was director of the ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, throughout the 1960s and then, for five years, distinguished professor at the University of Cincinnati. She returned to London in 1974 to teach, to stage ballets and to serve her art. She was made DBE in 1963.

    Markova was one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century. She had a delicate physique, a tungsten technique masked by a gentle appearance, and a flawless musical understanding. Everything she did had to appear effortless, which she achieved by an implacable will and total concentration. I adored her, and her knowledge and her prodigious memory for dances and dancers taught me infinitely much ("Alicia, tell me about . . . ." "Well, dear, I remember Mr Diaghilev saying . . ."). Uniquely, she had ballets created for her by Fokine, Massine, Nijinska, Balanchine, Ashton and Tudor. A fascinating portrait of her, still working at the age of 90, appears in Dominique Delouche's film Markova, La Légende (2001). Until the end of her life she remained a marvel of grace and dance- intelligence.

    Clement Crisp

    Find this article at:

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 03, 2004.

    Dame Alicia Markova

    Independent Home | Obituaries

    Dame Alicia Markova

    Ballerina of steely muscle and evangelical, unsnobbish zeal

    03 December 2004

    Dame Alicia, the woman who brought ballet to the people, dies at 94

    Dame Alicia Markova: Obituary

    Lilian Alicia Marks (Alicia Markova), dancer, teacher, director and writer: born London 1 December 1910; ballerina, Ballets Russes 1925-29, Rambert Ballet Club 1931-33, Vic-Wells Ballet Co 1933-35, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 1938-41, Ballet Theatre 1941-46; co-founder and prima ballerina, Markova-Dolin Ballet Company 1935-37; co-founder and prima ballerina, Festival Ballet (later English National Ballet) 1950-51, President 1986-2004; Vice-President, Royal Academy of Dancing 1958-2004; CBE 1958, DBE 1963; Ballet Director, New York Metropolitan Opera House 1963-69; Professor of Ballet and Performing Arts, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati 1970-2004; President, London Ballet Circle 1981-2004; died Bath 2 December 2004.

    Alicia Markova was Britain's first ballerina and became a living legend. She seemed to be made of superior, more durable material than other mortals: she concealed muscles of steel under the frailest possible exterior; at 92, she was still skimming across a studio floor demonstrating nuances of phrasing to dancers a quarter her age, her exquisitely narrow, unblemished feet still supple.

    She began her career when British ballet hardly existed and was to be instrumental in the development of Britain's first companies - Ballet Rambert and the Royal Ballet. Her stage partnership with Anton Dolin lasted 30 years; together they launched touring ensembles which transmuted in 1950 into London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet). A professional at 10, engaged by Sergei Diaghilev at 14, she was the original baby ballerina.

    As a child prodigy, she was billed as "Little Alicia, The Child Pavlova". It may have been an opportunistic sobriquet, but of all the world's ballerinas she was the closest to Anna Pavlova through her dark, slender looks and through her evangelical, unsnobbish zeal to bring ballet to ordinary people all over the world. Aged nine, she had been taken to see Pavlova perform and with her father's help got herself invited to Ivy House, Pavlova's home in Golders Green, London. Pavlova put Alicia through her barre exercises and showed her how to rub herself down with cologne.

    Unlike Pavlova, though, Markova always welcomed the new. Giselle was the ballet most closely associated with her, but she combined a love for the classics with an appetite for modernity. She was the clay for some of the 20th century's greatest choreographers when they too were just starting out - George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor. She starred in some of Leonid Massine's biggest, most important ballets.

    Many spectators thought Markova was Russian, but her name had undergone the regulation Russianisation by Diaghilev. She was born Lilian Alicia Marks in Finsbury Park, London, in 1910, the eldest of four girls. Her father Arthur was a mining engineer whose ancestors had been involved in the design of Tower Bridge and the lights on Broadway. Arthur was Jewish and his wife Eileen Barry had converted to Judaism. The family prospered. By 1914, Arthur had a factory in the Caledonian Road, manufacturing "rubberine", his invention, used by the Army to prevent tyres puncturing.

    Alicia was a physically fragile, solemn little girl, shy and obedient. Aged six, she still didn't speak and didn't mix much with other children, being mostly taught at home by a strict governess known as Guggy. For most of her life Markova was to remain reticent, preferring to let the ebullient Dolin do the talking. It was not until she retired and began a vigorous career lecturing and teaching that she came into her own as a speaker, the small voice speaking with a hushed composure.

    Alicia began dance lessons on the recommendation of a specialist, to remedy what looked like knock-knees and flat feet. Eileen enrolled Alicia and her second daughter Doris to learn "fancy dancing" at the Thorne Academy in Muswell Hill where the Marks family then lived. Her first performance was at a local talent competition and her parents were astounded. Their daughter, so timid in real life, was completely unfazed at being on stage and she won the prize of five guineas.

    Accepted into the cast of Dick Whittington, which opened at the Kennington Theatre in December 1919, she attracted enthusiastic attention. The Daily Telegraph called her "a very accomplished ballerina in miniature". Another dance student, the 17-year-old Patrick Healey-Kay, later Anton Dolin, came to see "the Child Pavlova" and was so impressed he left flowers at the stage door.

    Revising her previous scepticism, Eileen enrolled Alicia with a Russian teacher, Princess Serafina Astafieva, at the Pheasantry in the King's Road, Chelsea. ("You have a racehorse," was Astafieva's verdict to Eileen.) Dolin, also a pupil there, pinched her and pulled her hair because she was so solemn.

    One day Diaghilev arrived to watch the class. He decided to have a Fairy Dewdrop solo choreographed for Alicia in his lavish new production of The Sleeping Princess (better known as The Sleeping Beauty), opening in London in 1921. But Alicia caught diphtheria. As compensation, Diaghilev arranged free tickets for her and sometimes sat with her, explaining what was happening. Alicia's solemn dedication entranced him. When he returned to London in 1924, he engaged her in the Ballets Russes.

    By then she was 14, still very thin and small, and her family's financial fortunes had plummeted. Her father had been the victim of a swindle - "When I was six we had a Rolls-Royce," she said. "By the time I was 13, nothing." In 1924 he died of pneumonia.

    Accompanied by Guggy and chaperoned by another Ballets Russes dancer, Ninette de Valois (future founder of the Royal Ballet), Alicia set off with the company for Monte Carlo. "Is that the brat?" de Valois had asked on meeting Alicia at Victoria Station, but she soon found her a sweet, intelligent and disciplined child. In the exclusively adult milieu of the Ballets Russes, Guggy was a dour guardian, forcing Alicia to lead a drab life of work and study. On good days, Guggy allowed sweet-toothed Alicia two chocolates but, if she was criticised a lot in class, the chocolates were withheld.

    The normally intimidating Diaghilev was Alicia's substitute father. People called him Sergei Pavlovich, she called him Sergipops. Her first, small role was Little Red Riding Hood in Aurora's Wedding (extracts from the 1921 Sleeping Princess); her first major role was as the nightingale in Le Chant du Rossignol, choreographed on her in a new 1926 version by Balanchine. Igor Stravinsky guided her through his score's fearsome complexities. Henri Matisse designed her all-white body costume. Alicia's incredible virtuosity thrilled Balanchine. He included double tours en l'air, a turning jump from the male lexicon, and devised a diagonal of fouettés that gave the impression of a little bird hopping.

    Alicia Markova toured with the Ballets Russes in 1925-29. She danced Papillon in Mikhail Fokine's Carnaval and the Bluebird pas de deux from Aurora's Wedding; she performed the title role in Balanchine's La Chatte. In 1929, during the Ballets Russes season at the Royal Opera House, Diaghilev promised her important roles for the following season. But it was not to be: Diaghilev died on 19 August that year and the company folded. Alicia was holidaying in Brighton when she saw the shocking headline.

    There followed real poverty. Unable to afford classes, she worked out in her bathroom, with the towel-rail as barre. Ashton used her in the commissions he received. She danced in his ballet sequence for Dryden's Marriage à la Mode at the Lyric Hammersmith. She danced works by de Valois and Ashton which were funded by the Camargo Society and Ballet Club, the fledgling stirrings of British ballet.

    For someone accustomed to major opera houses, the Ballet Club's 18sq ft stage at the Mercury Theatre was quite a contrast. The audience's proximity probably helped develop Markova's magisterial concealment of strain, no matter how hard the dancing. She projected a peerless image of sweat-free effortlessness, of floating, delicate serenity. "Her technique was bolts of lightning and steel," wrote the choreographer and writer Agnes de Mille:

    However, it took a professional eye to recognise this. She seemed to laymen to float in a mist, and they remained wonderstruck.

    The mystique was further fuelled by her preference for taking her daily class in private (creating the rumour that she never needed to do class), her unvaryingly soignée appearance, and by her habit in rehearsals of just marking out - once in high heels and a mink coat. ("I was cold," she said.)

    She danced the witty Polka at the 1931 premiere of Ashton's first masterwork, Façade, and at subsequent performances the Tango and Tarantella. The same year she played a tap-dancing prostitute in his Rio Grande, the following year she started in the shows he was staging at the Regal Cinema, Marble Arch, between film projections. For £20 a week, she danced three times a day. Later, she did this while appearing elsewhere, shuttling between stages in taxis:

    I would do my first two shows at the Regal, then I'd go to the Wells and open the programme with the White Act from Swan Lake. I'd come back to the Regal to do my 9pm show then I would go to the Mercury Theatre and do their last item on the programme, perhaps Façade.

    Through the Regal Cinema, she became loved by the general public and de Valois invited her to become a guest artist with her newly founded Vic-Wells Ballet. She started in 1932, in two ballets by de Valois: Cephalus and Procris and the barefoot Narcissus and Echo. The same year she staged and danced Fokine's Les Sylphides for the company. She watched the great Russian ballerina Olga Spessivtseva's Giselle, an interpretation that was in Markova's words "touched with soul and poetry". It taught her about dancing beyond technique into a world of distilled emotion.

    Partnered by Dolin, she made her début in Giselle at the Old Vic, in the Vic-Wells Ballet's 1934 premiere, becoming the first British ballerina to dance it. "She was unique in the role," says the critic John Percival. "The outstanding quality was her lightness in Act 2." The same year, she danced two other classical Vic-Wells premieres: the first complete Nutcracker and Swan Lake in Britain. She danced more Ashton ballets, including Foyer de Danse (1932) and Les Masques (1933) and the premiere of Les Rendezvous (1933). She created the role of the Betrayed Girl in de Valois's The Rake's Progress (1935) at Sadler's Wells.

    By then it was also clear that Markova and Dolin could fill theatres on their own. In 1935, they left the Vic-Wells Ballet to start the Markova-Dolin Company and, from then on, de Valois would concentrate on developing Margot Fonteyn to fill the gap. The Markova-Dolin Company lasted two years, touring a mixed repertoire. In 1938 Markova and Dolin joined the choreographer Massine's new Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, appearing across Europe and America. As the company's prima ballerina, Markova created roles in several ballets by Massine: Seventh Symphony (1938); Capriccio Espagnole (1939); Rouge et Noir (1939); Vienna 1814 (1940).

    She was in America with the Ballet Russe during the Second World War years. They covered great distances in uncomfortable trains without sleepers. In 1941, she joined Ballet Theatre (now American Ballet Theatre). There she was reunited with Dolin and worked with the choreographer Fokine. She was in the premiere of his comedy ballet Bluebeard (1941), dancing a cancan in the finale. She danced in his new production of his Les Sylphides. "He taught me . . . there is no beginning or end to the movements - they melt away like sound on the air," she wrote.

    Markova created roles in Massine's Aleko (1942) and Tudor's Romeo and Juliet (1943), sleeping in her dressing room during rehearsals to save time. She and Dolin performed Giselle at the Hollywood Bowl before an audience of 35,000. They accepted the invitation to appear in Billy Rose's new Broadway revue The Seven Lively Arts (1944-45), dancing Scènes de ballet to Stravinsky's commissioned score. (Ashton was later to choreograph his own version.)

    In 1946 she, Dolin and the impresario Sol Hurok re-formed the Markova-Dolin Company, touring America, the Caribbean, the Philippines. She was now the world's highest-paid dancer - on $1,000 a week - but she missed England. Aged 38 she returned to de Valois's company (later to become the Royal Ballet), triumphantly dancing Giselle with Dolin and Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House and making her début in The Sleeping Beauty.

    On the other side of the Atlantic, she appeared in a baseball stadium in Montreal, introduced by a regiment of Mounties. She danced in South Africa and Kenya. In 1949, she and Dolin embarked on a season at the Harringay arena, billed as "The World's Greatest Ballet Stars". They formed another ensemble, which became the seed for London Festival Ballet. Markova thought of the name, to coincide with the Festival of Britain, and the company gave its London opening on 25 October 1950 at the Stoll Theatre.

    She guested with companies abroad, she gave concert tours with Milorad Miskovitch, in 1955 she danced Giselle in New York with the young Erik Bruhn. In 1959 she made her début in Ireland, appearing in Giselle for the last time, and was the subject of BBC TV's This is Your Life. In 1962, she gave her farewell performance, partnering Miskovitch in L'Après-midi d'un Faune with London Festival Ballet. Between 1963 and 1969 she was ballet director of the New York Metropolitan Opera House, staging dances for operas.

    Markova never really retired. She remained married to her art, her phenomenal memory making her an illuminating coach, her personal history offering a reservoir of important souvenirs. The subject and author of many books, she appeared frequently on television and film.

    Nadine Meisner

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 03, 2004.

    Dame Alicia Markova



    Dame Alicia Markova

    Prima ballerina of international renown and exceptional talent, who popularised her art around the globe

    Friday December 3, 2004

    Alicia Markova, who has died at the age of 94, epitomised all the qualities of a great ballerina: a total dedication to the art of classical dancing together with an imaginative understanding and insight into establishing a character through mime.

    She will for ever be associated with Giselle - her 1960 autobiography is called Giselle And I - but her range was far, far wider than that. She created roles for all the great choreographers of the 20th century and, during her performing career, she was an ambassador for ballet comparable only to Anna Pavlova, dancing in places where classical dancing of her quality had never been seen before.

    She was uniquely open to facing such challenges - to appear in pantomime, in revue, in vast arenas, and to travel thousands of miles to fulfil an engagement she thought of as important in reaching a new audience. To such suggestions, often put forward by her former classmate and long-time dancing partner, Anton Dolin, she would consider a moment, open wide her big brown eyes, and say, "Well, why not?"

    Born in Finsbury Park, London, the eldest of the four daughters of Arthur Marks and Eileen Barry, and christened Lilian Alicia Marks, she was a thin, delicate child and a doctor suggested that a little "fancy dancing", as it was then called, might strengthen her fragile legs. Consequently, she was enrolled at a branch of the Thorne Academy in Palmers Green.

    The child did seem to become stronger, but her ballet teacher, Dorothy Thorne, also recognised that she had a pupil of exceptional gifts, quick to follow instructions, technically secure, and with a lively sense of performance.

    Alicia danced in pupils' displays - her first stage appearance was on February 21 1919, in a solo eastern dance, which she had arranged herself; but she always dated her first professional engagement as being in Dick Whittington at the Kennington Theatre the following year. Lily Marks became Little Alicia, and was billed by the enthusiastic management as "the Child Pavlova", a sobriquet which was to lead to trouble later.

    Convinced, by now, that their daughter should have the best training, her parents decided to take professional advice. Her mother accordingly took her to see Princess Serafina Astafieva, a former member of the Imperial Russian and Diaghilev ballet companies, who had a studio in Chelsea. Innocently, she handed in her daughter's card. Astafieva read the "Child Pavlova" inscription and flew into a rage, almost driving them away.

    Alicia's tears of disappointment, however, won her permission to watch the class and then dance a solo to show what she could do. Astafieva was impressed and told the mother, "Your little girl is like a racehorse; you must take great care of her and keep her wrapped up in cotton wool." It was advice the mother followed, and Alicia never forgot.

    She was enrolled at the studio, and was chosen to perform three dances, arranged by Astafieva, at the Royal Albert Hall on June 26 1923. By then, Alicia had attracted the interest of a fellow pupil, Patrick Kay, who was to be transformed by Diaghilev into Anton Dolin, and they began to practise together.

    When, in 1924, her father died suddenly, leaving small provision for his family, a fairy godmother came to Alicia's rescue. Emmy Haskell, whose son Arnold was to introduce the word balletomania into the English language in the 1930s through his best-selling book of that name, immediately undertook to sponsor Alicia's lessons. She encouraged the child and told her about the history of ballet. She also persuaded Arnold, then an undergraduate at Cambridge, to come and see her protege in class. Already bitten by the ballet bug, Arnold saw Alicia's potential at once.

    It was Astafieva who invited Diaghilev to her studio to see her pupils, above all Alicia. After he had seen her dance, the great impresario patted her on the head and said he would engage her for his company, and, during that 1924 London season, took Alicia to see all his company's performances so that she could learn from watching his incomparable artists.

    Diaghilev changed her surname to Markova, and in January 1925 she joined the troupe in Monte Carlo, accompanied by her formidable governess, known as Guggy, and placed in the care of Ninette de Valois. De Valois's brother, the photographer Gordon Anthony, visited Monte Carlo that year and was introduced to "a very small and alarmingly frail young girl with a serious and pale 'El Greco' face framed by sleek black hair. I particularly remember her lustrous dark eyes."

    She was known to the company as Diaghilev's "latest idea", but Diaghilev, as always, knew what he was doing. Because she was so tiny, at first Alicia could not be used in the corps de ballet and only in a few roles, such as Red Riding Hood in Aurora's Wedding, the one-act ballet salvaged from The Sleeping Princess of 1921, and the little American girl in La Boutique Fantasque.

    However, in May 1925, Diaghilev chose her to study the title role in Stravinsky's Le Rossignol, for which George Balanchine, then also at the beginning of his career, was to make new choreography. She danced the part the following month at the ballet's Paris premiere and won the admiration of the famous critic André Levinson. (More than half a century later, Markova, whose memory was phenomenal, was to recreate and teach her Rossignol solo for the George Balanchine Foundation Archive.)

    During her four years with Diaghilev, Markova also danced the title role in Balanchine's La Chatte (created by Olga Spessivtseva) and Princess Florine in the Blue Bird pas de deux in Aurora's Wedding. Above all, she was accepted into the circle of painters and musicians who surrounded Diaghilev and, like all his favoured dancers, received from them a life-enhancing education.

    She was promised even more roles; Diaghilev predicted a great future for his "little English girl", and Giselle would surely have followed. But in August 1929, Diaghilev died. For Markova, who was devoted to him, it seemed the end of her world. In fact, it marked the beginning of a new one - as the ballerina who would enrich the first steps of British ballet, the companies being formed by Marie Rambert and de Valois, with choreographies by Frederick Ashton.

    When Rambert and Ashley Dukes opened the Ballet Club at the tiny Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill Gate in 1931, with a company consisting mainly of Rambert's pupils, Markova was engaged as a guest artist - at a fee which just about paid for her taxi home. But she had opportunities to dance some of the great classical solos, and to create roles in ballets by Antony Tudor and de Valois - such as Bar Aux Folies-Bergère, in which she created the role of La Goulue, the can-can star, and showed unexpected humour and roguishness. The dancer's walk was based, legend has it, on the style observed by de Valois in the ladies of Soho.

    Especially important was her friendship and collaboration with Frederick Ashton, who made many roles for her in ballets such as La Péri, Façade (the technically fiendish Polka), Foyer De Danse and the elegant, possibly erotic Les Masques. Of this, Markova always insisted it was "much deeper than people thought".

    Markova first danced with the Vic-Wells (now Royal) Ballet in 1932 when she made some guest appearances in ballets by de Valois. In 1933 she was appointed prima ballerina and Ashton celebrated her technique, her "gaiety and warmth and wit", by making for her the ballerina role in his Les Rendezvous, his first commissioned work for the company, which premiered that December.

    A momentous evening was to follow when, on New Year's Day, 1934, a night of a thick London fog, the Vic-Wells Ballet staged Giselle, for the first time, at the Old Vic. Markova danced the title role, with Dolin, as a guest, partnering her as Albrecht. The triumph was complete. Markova proved a true successor to the great line of ballerinas who had danced the ballet ever since Carlotta Grisi created it in 1841.

    And it led to de Valois staging the four-act version of Le Lac Des Cygnes (as Swan Lake was billed then), thus laying the classical foundations on which her company was to build. Markova undertook the double role of Odette-Odile, partnered this time by Robert Helpmann, and set the seal on her right both to the title of ballerina and to the great classical roles. Lilian Baylis, who shared de Valois's faith in the possibility of building a native ballet company here, was well aware of Markova's importance, for it was to see her, just as much as the rest of the company and the repertory, that an audience for ballet was built up and sustained at the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells.

    The salary that Miss Baylis could offer was £10 a week, but she gave Markova permission to accept other engagements so long as she could count on her loyalty. Without Markova, it is doubtful if the infant company could have established itself so quickly. By the time she left, in 1935, to form with Dolin their own company to pioneer ballet throughout Britain, there were young dancers capable of sharing her repertory and she had inspired, above all, Margot Fonteyn.

    The Markova-Dolin Ballet lasted from 1935 to 1937 and toured widely, presenting not only the classic ballets but also works by Bronislava Nijinska, Les Biches and La Bien Aimée, and by the 18-year-old Wendy Toye, whose Aucassin And Nicolette, in designs by Motley, was one of the most popular. The company toured all over the country and generated enormous enthusiasm, even if no classical ballet had been seen there for generations. It was this pioneering aspect which appealed most to Markova, and of which she was most proud.

    Her international career, disrupted by Diaghilev's death, resumed when she joined Massine's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, from 1938 to 1941. There, she was reunited and shared roles with Alexandra Danilova, beloved Choura, who was, until her death in 1997, Markova's greatest friend in ballet. With that company she would create roles in ballets by Fokine, Les Elfes and L'Epreuve D'Amour; and by Massine, notably his Seventh Symphony (Beethoven) and Rouge Et Noir, to music by Shostakovich, with designs by Matisse, who painted the decoration on Markova's tights.

    Her commitment to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo meant that Markova, together with all the other dancers, had to leave for New York after the outbreak of war to fulfil engagements there. With that troupe until 1941, from 1941 to 1946 with American Ballet Theatre, and then with a troupe presented by Sol Hurok, featuring Markova and Dolin, she danced coast to coast across America, and visited Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, Honolulu, Manila and South Africa. Those years witnessed the height of her artistry and stardom.

    Returning to Europe after the war, she became a guest of the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, in 1948. In two weeks, the company learned the complete production of The Sleeping Beauty, coming to it at a comparatively late stage in their careers. Markova's Aurora, I wrote at the time, was built on her beautiful stage presence, precise, almost fastidious execution and great aristocracy of bearing. Hers was a great Aurora.

    Thereafter, Markova and Dolin were guests in many great cities in Europe before forming another company of their own, which Markova christened Festival Ballet (it became today's English National Ballet). The first performances were given in 1951, but Markova, having seen it successfully launched, left to dance in the US and then to guest again with the Royal Ballet. Her final ap pearances, however, were with London's Festival Ballet. She retired from the stage at the end of 1962, but her career was by no means over.

    Markova subsequently directed the Metropolitan Opera Ballet (1963-69) in New York, was professor of ballet and performing arts at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati (from 1970), and became guest teacher and producer for many ballet companies throughout the world. In 2002, at the age of 91, she featured in a documentary, Alicia Markova, La Légende, made in Paris by Dominique Delouche, which showed her coaching young dancers of the Paris Opéra Ballet and working alongside the French ballerina Elisabeth Platel in Les Sylphides, which she had learned so many years before. She was as sprightly as ever. It is her - and our - good fortune that so much footage has survived to preserve the true quality of her dance and her art.

    As early as 1935, Cyril Beaumont published an eloquent monograph celebrating her artistry (he had been a treasured mentor in explaining to her the place she occupied in history as the link via Pavlova back to Marie Taglioni). Other writers also sought to capture her elusive spirit. The American poet and critic Edwin Denby spoke of the "wonder a real ballerina awakens" and described her Giselle: "The beautiful slender feet in flight in the soubresauts of Act II, how she softly and slowly stretches the long instep like the softest of talons as she sails through the air; or in the échappés just after, how they flash quick as knives; or in the 'broken steps' of the mad scene of Act I, when, missing a beat, she extends one foot high up, rigidly forced, and seems to leave it there as if it were not hers... those wonderful light endings she makes, with the low drooping 'keepsake' shoulders, a complete quiet, sometimes long only as an eighth note, but perfectly still."

    Denby also wrote of her acting in Giselle, as late as 1952. "The dance-like continuity she gives her gestures and mime scenes - all the actions of the stage business imbedded in phrases of movement, but each action so lightly started it seemed when it happened a perfectly spontaneous one. In this continuity, the slow rise of dramatic tension never broke or grew confused."

    Markova was made CBE in 1958, DBE in 1963, and in the same year received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award of the Royal Academy of Dancing.

    She is survived by her sister Doris Barry, who, as a skilled PR officer, did much to smooth her career, and a younger sister, Vivienne, who in 1970 became Arnold Haskell's second wife. Her youngest sister, Bunny, who had a brief career as a dancer, predeceased her.

    · Alicia Markova (Lilian Alicia Marks), prima ballerina, born December 1 1910; died December 2 2004

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 03, 2004.

    £42k for drugs takeaway

    South London Press

    £42k for drugs takeaway

    Dec 3 2004

    A GANG who turned their Chinese takeaway into a drugs den serving up ecstasy and ketamine alongside fried rice have been stripped of their assets.

    Accountant Rena Wong, 28, and mastermind Ci Kwan, 43, were ordered to pay back a total of £42,669, which police seized from 10 bank accounts taken out in aliases.

    A third dealer, Cheng Huang, 35, was found to have "no realisable assets" so escaped having to pay back any money he made from the operation.

    Inner London Crown Court was told how the trio made £729,016 over five years. The court heard the seemingly innocent Royal Chinese restaurant in Streatham High Road sold food at the front counter. At the rear of the shop, ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis were on the menu.

    Drugs officers found more than £66,000 worth of drugs hidden among rice and noodles in the kitchen and in a "warehouse outlet" at a nearby flat.

    Kwan, who was "right at the centre" of the organisation, admitted his role.

    He was ordered to pay £38,772 or face a further 10 months in jail.

    The court heard how he faces possible execution by firing squad back in China when he is deported after serving his six-year sentence.

    Wong, who was jailed for three years and 10 months, and Cheng who got six years, both denied any part in the crime but were convicted at their trial in February.

    Wong was ordered to pay back £3,753 or face a further three months in prison.

    Police recovered 38g of cannabis from the oven, 39 ecstasy tablets in the fridge and 85 further tablets in Kwan's car parked outside when they raided the restaurant.

    Officers then went to Kwan's flat in Lambeth Walk, Kennington.

    Officers recovered 2.6kg of cannabis and thousands of ecstasy tablets.

    Kwan pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply ecstasy, conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of ketamine with intent to supply.

    Wong was convicted of conspiracy to supply ecstasy, conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of ketamine with intent to supply.

    Huang, of Streatham High Road, Streatham, was convicted of conspiracy to supply ecstasy and conspiracy to supply cannabis.

    Speaking outside court, Detective Sergeant Alistair Milne, of Lambeth Financial Investigation Unit, said: 'This result follows on from excellent work by Lambeth's drug squad who are committed to ridding the area of the scourge of drugs and those who peddle in them.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 03, 2004.



    To celebrate the successful run of "Cloaca" at The Old Vic, we are offering two very special "closing" deals exclusively to our local community for two specific performances:

    Monday 6th December, 7.30pm
    Best seats in the house for just £12. To book, call 0870 060 6628 and quote “local” offer. You must be a Lambeth or Southwark resident and bring proof of address when you pick up the tickets.

    Wednesday 8th December, MATINEE (2.30pm start)
    A limited allocation of complimentary tickets. Simply reply to rachael.stevens@oldvictheatre.com with name and number of tickets you would like.

    “Cloaca”, directed by Kevin Spacey, stars Neil Pearson, Stephen Tompkinson, Hugh Bonneville and Adrian Lukis. The show runs at The Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 until December 11th.


    Rachael Stevens
    The Old Vic Theatre Company
    The Cut, London SE1 8NB
    Direct line: 0207 902 7582

    -- Rachael (rachael.stevens@oldvictheatre.com), December 02, 2004.

    Alicia Markova: The Times obituary


    December 02, 2004

    Alicia Markova: The Times obituary

    Alicia Markova was still two months short of her twentieth birthday when British ballet effectively began in October 1930 with the foundation of the Ballet Club (which later became Ballet Rambert) and the first performances of the Camargo Society. This was a producing organisation which put on special programmes bringing together all available local talent, including Rambert's dancers and those of Ninette de Valois, who were soon to become the Vic-Wells Ballet although at that time still only supplementing the operas at the Old Vic.

    The teenage Markova already had experience in leading roles with Diaghilev's Russian Ballet; she was blessed with a phenomenal technique and beautiful style. Inevitably, she became the first ballerina of all these emerging ventures. Just as inevitably, they were unable, with their limited resources, to contain her talent for long and she left for international fame. Most of her career was spent touring the world at the head of various companies and later as a guest star. However, her presence at a critical time proved invaluable in founding a British ballet tradition, not only by attracting audiences to the early efforts of the young companies but by the inspiration she provided both to creative artists and to other dancers.

    To a later generation, Markova's fame has been hidden by the universal admiration for Margot Fonteyn; but Fonteyn, a decade younger, was one of the dancers who learned much from Markova's example, and while they were both working there was no need for rivalry between them because their gifts were different and complementary.

    Lilian Alicia Marks, born in Stoke Newington, north London, had as a child shown an early interest in theatre, music and dancing, encouraged by her Irish mother. But her first formal lessons in "fancy dancing" were taken on medical advice to correct weak feet and legs. She revealed an astonishing facility and at ten earned the considerable sum of £10 a week as principal dancer in the pantomime Dick Whittington at Kennington Theatre, billed as "Little Alicia, the Child Pavlova".

    This unwise sobriquet caused Alicia and her mother to be angrily turned away when they first applied for her admission at the age of 11 as a pupil of Seraphine Astafieva, the leading teacher in London; but the child's tears led to an audition and acceptance. In Astafieva's studio in the King's Road, Chelsea, her serious education began; here too she first met Anton Dolin, with whom her career was to be closely linked, and she was shown off to Serge Diaghilev.

    When the Marks family was in straitened circumstances following the sudden death of her father (a mining engineer of Polish ancestry), it was Astafieva who persuaded Diaghilev to consider the child, still only 14, for his Russian Ballet. After a long audition with his new choreographer, George Balanchine, she was accepted.

    Diaghilev renamed her Markova and placed her at first in the care of Ninette de Valois, whose initial reluctance to be saddled with the little brat quickly turned to the beginning of a lifelong friendship and mutual admiration.

    Markova was so tiny that it was difficult to cast her except in carefully chosen solos. In her first season, Balanchine created for her the role of the Nightingale in his Chant du Rossignol; he also made solos for her in the world premiere of Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortilèges. There were child roles she could play in La Boutique Fantasque, Petrushka and Aurora's Wedding (as Red Riding Hood) and she was given Papillon's solo in Le Carnaval. Later she grew sufficiently to be put into the corps de ballet, which Diaghilev thought an essential step in her development, but she also danced leading parts for him in Balanchine's La Chatte , Massine's Cimarosiana and (laying the foundations of her future fame in classic roles) the "Bluebird" pas de deux and a single performance of Swan Lake Act II.

    On Diaghilev's death in 1929 the company broke up. Markova returned to London and had no employment, except for a three-month opera season in Monte Carlo, until Frederick Ashton invited her to appear in dances he was doing for Nigel Playfair's production of Marriage à la Mode at the Lyric, Hammersmith. With the beginnings of regular ballet seasons by British dancers later that year, Markova was immediately in heavy demand, and she became Ashton's first muse. At the Ballet Club and for the Camargo Society he made a great many highly contrasted roles for her: among them the title part in his languorously poetic La Pen, the witty polka in Façade (ending with a double tour en l'air in point shoes which nobody attempts nowadays), a sexy Creole girl in Rio Grande, the insolently proud ballerina in Foyer de Danse, the immensely chic and naughty lady friend in Les Masques, and the tragic Marguerite in Mephisto Valse. Many of these and the other roles she took then and later brought out a gift for shrewd comic characterisation far removed from the pure classic perfection for which she was most widely celebrated.

    The tiny fee which was all Rambert could afford was only enough to keep Markova in ballet shoes; to support herself while immersed in constant rehearsals and performances she also had to dance three times a day between films in a cinema at Marble Arch, the choreography again by Ashton. During 1932 Markova began dancing sometimes for de Valois's company at Sadler's Wells, too, and staged Les Sylphides for them (the first evidence of her exceptional memory for choreography, which was largely based on her great musicality). In 1933 Markova and Ashton both joined the Vic-Wells Ballet. The first role he made for her there was in Les Rendezvous, a triumphant display of her wit, charm, romantic lyricism and brilliant technique.

    Markova's arrival as her regular ballerina enabled de Valois to begin mounting the old classics: The Nutcracker, Giselle and Swan Lake. These were to provide a staple of Markova's repertoire from then on. For many years her Giselle was acknowledged as the best in the western world, unrivalled for the tragic depth of her acting, her phrasing of the solo in Act I (which with lesser dancers could look blatantly superficial) or the illusion of ethereality she brought to the second act. But the apparently less profound ballerina role in The Nutcracker almost equally revealed her supreme artistry, with its crystalline delicacy and beautiful detail.

    During this early period of her career Markova performed for other choreographers too, most notably in ballets by de Valois, who created for her the wickedly vulgar, riotously funny role of La Goulue in Bar aux Folies Bergères as well as the gullible pure young girl in The Rake's Progress.

    In the summer of 1935 Mrs Laura Henderson, the owner of the Windmill Theatre with its undressed revues, underwrote a West End season and a provincial tour proposed and organised by her manager, Vivian van Dam, for the Vic-Wells Ballet with Markova and Dolin as its stars. This led to the idea of their starting the Markova-Dolin Ballet which toured successfully for two years with a repertoire including Nijinska's Les Biches, with Markova as the ambiguous person in blue, and what may have been the first murder-mystery ballet, Keith Lester's Death in Adagio, where, wearing a blonde wig, she was improbably but enjoyably cast as a homicidal typist. But the strain of eight performances a week prompted Markova in 1938 to accept Leonide Massine's invitation to join the new Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her new roles there included creations in two of Massine's symphonic ballets, Seventh Symphony (Beethoven) and Rouge et Noir (Shostakovich No 1).

    Markova's commitments with the Ballet Russe resulted in her finding herself in America during the Second World War and (with no obvious work for her at home) she joined Ballet Theatre in 1941, creating further roles including Princess Hermilia in Michel Fokine's last ballet, Bluebeard, the gypsy Zemphire in Massine's Aleko, and Juliet in Antony Tudor's hauntingly beautiful Romeo and Juliet to music by Delius. She also played Taglioni in Dolin's Pas de Quatre with a subtle mixture of charm and aloofness that eluded all successors, as did too her apparent ability to soar across the stage with no regard for the power of gravity. During her Ballet Theatre days, Markova took time off to dance with Dolin in the world premiere of Stravinsky's Scènes de Ballet for a revue, The Seven Lively Arts, and to tour central America with a new Markova-Dolin group. Further tours with this group followed, and guest appearances with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where John Taras created Camille for her (in beautiful costumes by Cecil Beaton), and de Basil's Original Ballet Russe, where she appeared in one of Jerome Robbins's early works, Pas de Trois.

    These occupied her time until she and Dolin reintroduced themselves to British audiences through a guest season with the Sadler's Wells Ballet at Covent Garden, summer 1948, during which they both danced the full Sleeping Beauty for the first time. Next they pioneered the use of vast arenas for ballet (long before similar opera presentations) with seasons at the Empress Hall and at Harringay; these were followed by long tours with a supporting group as a forerunner of Festival Ballet which they founded (and Markova named) in 1950. Injuries forced Markova to leave the company in 1952 and subsequently she worked entirely as a guest artist and in concert performances, continuing however to take on new roles including Bournonville's La Sylphide which she danced with the de Cuevas company. Among her wide-ranging appearances at this time were programmes with the Indian dancer Ram Gopal, others with Pilar Lopez and her Spanish company, an Italian opera season at Drury Lane, and Ruth Page's ballets The Merry Widow and Revanche (based on Il Trovatore ) in Chicago.

    Markova's last stage appearance was in 1962, but even she did not realise that until, interviewed at Heathrow on January 1, 1963, en route for New York while recovery from a tonsillectomy, she said without premeditation that her new year resolution would be to stop dancing. Following this decision, Markova became from 1963 to 1970 the director of ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and subsequently lectured at the University of Cincinnati. Even in later retirement she still staged ballets (especially Les Sylphides, which she had studied with its choreographer, Fokine) and coached dancers in some of the roles specially associated with her. Her enthusiasm remained undimmed, especially for the many activities she undertook to help the progress of young pupils studying ballet.

    She was appointed CBE in 1958 and DBE in 1963. Her book Giselle and I, published in 1960, records her thoughts and experiences of her best-known part, and her reminiscences Markova Remembers (published 1986) provide a remarkably frank, informal account of her career, written with a lively humour surprising to those who knew her only in more formal circumstances. Her oft-time partner Dolin also interrupted his own stream of autobiographies for a book on her: Markova, Her Life and Work.

    A dancer's work is ephemeral and no worthy record of Markova's dancing remains on film, although some of her masterclasses were shown on television. But her performances all over the world brought pleasure to innumerable spectators, and her example fired many young dancers to follow the career she herself irradiated with such lustre.

    Dame Alicia Markova, ballerina, was born on December 1, 1910. She died on December 2, 2004, aged 94.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 02, 2004.

    Minutes of the Area Committee Meeting held on Wednesday, 24th November 2004

    Minutes of the Area Committee Meeting held on Wednesday, 24th November 2004

    Minutes 24 11 04


    Released: December 2, 2004 10:53 AM
    Filesize: 38kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), December 02, 2004.

    Christmas Cheer from Roots & Shoots

    Christmas Cheer from Roots & Shoots

    If you live near Kennington Road, you might enjoy a visit by 'Fever Pitch', a choir singing Christmas Carols in Kennington on Thursday, December 16th from 7pm.

    The choir will be starting from Thai Pavilion near the Imperial War Museum (7pm) and will be walking up to Kennington Cross stopping at a few pubs (to be arranged) on the way. If you live near Kennington Road, the choir would be pleased to drop by and sing for you!

    PS. Roots & Shoots are now snowed under by Christmas Trees ready to be sold! They are also selling Christmas wreaths!

    30th November

    To the Friends of ‘Roots and Shoots’,

    ‘Fever Pitch’, a London Choir who have supported Roots and Shoots in the past and entertained us at a couple of our Open Days will be singing Christmas Carols in aid of Roots and Shoots on Thursday 16th December from 7pm in the Kennington area.

    If you would like them to sing at your door or to celebrate some Christmas Cheer with some Friends as the Carollers wander through the snowy streets and squares of Kennington, then please contact Jo on the tel. number below.

    We would welcome your response so they can plan their route.

    We would be very grateful if you could reply by 8th December.

    Just to remind you – We are now selling Christmas Trees and are open Mon – Fri and on Sat 11th and Sat 18th from 10am – 3pm.

    Come and enjoy roasted chestnuts and mulled apple juice on Saturday 11th.

    We are also selling Christmas wreaths, our own freshly pressed apple juice and London honey!!

    Tel. no: 0207 587 1131


    Roots and Shoots,
    Walnut Tree Walk,
    Lambeth, SE11 6DN

    -- Jo (admin@rootsandshoots.org.uk), December 02, 2004.

    BAZAAR: Saturday, 4th December 11am until 2pm St Anselm’s Church Kennington Cross SE11

    Dear Neighbours

    It's that time again!

    This is just to remind you that we have another Bazaar this Saturday at St Anselm's, as usual.

    Sinan and Camber have again agreed to provide the "Man & A Van" so if you need stuff collected on Friday afternoon/evening, do be in touch and I'll pass your contact details on to them.

    Kate Hoey will be doing the Winter Draw at 1.30pm on Saturday, so do be sure to get your ticket stubs and money to us in good time.

    Very many thanks
    Best wishes


    Saturday, 4th December
    11am until 2pm
    St Anselm’s Church
    Kennington Cross SE11

    (at the junction of Kennington Lane and Kennington Road)

    New and nearly new items, books, tombola, raffle, bric-a-brac, cakes, jumble, etc: If you have items you would be willing to donate – they can all be delivered to the church on the Friday evening (3rd December) between 5.30-8pm – or on the Saturday morning between 9-10am.

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), December 01, 2004.

    Raped in church grounds

    South London Press

    Raped in church grounds

    Nov 30 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    A 27-YEAR-OLD woman was dragged off the street into a church courtyard and raped.

    The woman was on her way to Kennington Tube station when the attacker struck as she walked along Kennington Park Road at 10.30pm.

    He dragged the victim, who comes from South-east London, into the courtyard of St Mary's Newington Church where he raped her in the enclosed grounds between the church hall and the main steeple tower.

    Police said they are working on a description of the suspect but believe he is now white.

    The incident occurred on Monday last week.

    PC Ben Turner of Southwark Sapphire Unit, which investigates sex crimes, said: "This is a particularly brutal attack and we are working very hard to trace the person responsible.

    "Anyone walking to the Tube station or waiting for a bus at that time may have seen a man forcing a young woman off the street."

    Detective Inspector Kerry Pauling of, Southwark Sapphire Unit, added: "She is very traumatised. If anyone does have any information please do contact us."

    Anyone with information should ring PC Ben Turner or Detective Sergeant Rupert Bonny on 020 7232 6182.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 30, 2004.

    Richard and Judy uncorked

    Independent > News > Media

    Richard and Judy uncorked

    With their new Friday afternoon Wine Club already repeating the success of their Book Club, Richard and Judy tell Ciar Byrne how they overcame a tricky start on Channel 4, ignored the rise of Paul O'Grady and are now producing vintage television.

    29 November 2004

    Halfway through our interview, Judy Finnigan throws a glass of wine over herself while attempting to wave goodbye to a guest. "You're not supposed to wave with the wine glass," jokes Richard Madeley, before displaying the sort of concern that has endeared viewers for more than 15 years to television's highest-paid couple - not rushing to fetch a cloth, but ordering her another glass of rosé.

    Given their troubled relationship with alcohol - Richard was cleared of shoplifting after walking out of Tesco without paying for the booze stashed in the front of his trolley, while Judy has been the victim of unfounded newspaper speculation that she is a secret drinker - is it really wise to have launched a wine club on their Channel 4 magazine show?

    The answer is yes. The Richard & Judy Wine Club, which invites viewers to drink along with the couple on a Friday afternoon, is a canny commercial enterprise. So far more than 40,000 people have paid up to £54.95 for one of the cases of wine that accompany the show. They have achieved the "Delia effect" - when they showcased French chardonnay, it was soon "walking off the shelves", says Madeley, in a slightly unfortunate analogy.

    "They have pitched it at exactly the right level for beginners who want to learn a little more and might feel a bit intimidated by other vehicles out there," says Guy Woodward, deputy editor of the wine magazine Decanter.

    The semi-voyeuristic appeal of watching a husband-and-wife presenting team living out their marriage on air, tiffs and all, has helped to turn Madeley and Finnigan into a major force in British television. They earn more than £1m a year apiece, and Channel 4's head of programmes, Kevin Lygo, has described their show, which regularly attracts ratings of up to 2.6 million, as "the cornerstone of the schedule". In May they signed a £6.5m three-year deal to stay at Channel 4, making them the best-paid duo in television. As presenters, only Graham Norton and the soon-to-retire Sir Trevor McDonald are paid more.

    The wine club follows the tremendously successful Richard & Judy Book Club. A mention on the show can send a title soaring to the top of the book charts - the couple's favourite read, Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor, saw a 350 per cent sales increase and is the best-selling book of 2004 to date.

    "They have awakened a whole new sector of the market. They have really engaged with the books in a way that has made people want to go out and read more, which is a very difficult thing to do on telly. The book industry has gone 'Wow, this is so huge'," says Joel Rickett, deputy editor of The Bookseller.

    Success has been hard won, however. When the show launched three years ago, it was plagued by low ratings and scathing reviews, and Channel 4 was left wondering whether it had done the right thing in poaching the presenters from ITV's This Morning, the daytime magazine show that made their name.

    Madeley, whose desire to be open and frank is mirrored in his body language - he soon abandons his chair to sit cross-legged on the floor of the green room where we are talking after their show and even, helpfully, holds my tape recorder - admits that Channel 4 had doubts in the early days. "When it was a bit rocky to begin with, naturally they were a little bit 'Oh shit, have we made the wrong decision?'."

    The show was launched two months earlier than expected - Cactus Television, the independent production company jointly managed by Jonathan Ross's brother Simon and his wife Amanda which makes the programme, was forced to convert an old polystyrene factory in London's Kennington into a bespoke studio in record time. It soon became clear that adapting a double act who had made their name in a late-morning slot to a more sophisticated early evening audience was going to take time.

    The launch show on 26 November 2001 attracted an initial audience of 2.5 million, but lost 800,000 viewers in the first 15 minutes, and ratings soon slumped to as low as 1 million.

    Madeley says: "We thought we'd got the format OK, and then you go on air and the live reality is so different from the theory that you've been practising in the studio. You can get the technicals right on the pilots, but the heart, the soul and the personality of a live-sequence show like this only comes through doing it. We realised that after a week, and we thought 'Oh fuck, this is actually going to take us probably three to six months to get right'."

    But the press was not prepared to give the pair any breathing space, and quickly pounced on the show.

    Madeley admits: "Of course the critics, fair enough, realised that it wasn't right and fell on us like falcons really. It would have been a very good story to say that we'd left this successful show called This Morning with a big company like Granada, come to Channel 4 and fucked up, fallen flat on our faces."

    While other presenters might have ignored the headlines, they read every word the newspapers printed about them, and were determined to prove them wrong. Finnigan, who has declined to join her husband on the floor and is still sitting demurely in a chair, says they kept faith they could turn their brand of charm on Channel 4 viewers - a more upmarket bunch than the slackers, students and stay-at-home parents who tuned into This Morning. "Instinctively, deep down, we knew we'd got it right, it just takes a long time to bed in. I remember people asking us daft things like 'Are you going to get really hip and cool because it's Channel 4 and are you going to start wearing leather?'. No. There's no way without looking like complete prats we could get away with that, not that we would want to either. We're still essentially ourselves."

    Madeley adds: "We just had to keep going really. We used to read the reviews in newspapers like the Mail which were really out to get us - it did turn into a bit of a vendetta - and we thought 'OK, that's their world, this is our world, either we sort this out ourselves, to use a military analogy we fight to get off the beaches, or we give in'. And we just kept fighting."

    Over the ensuing months, both Channel 4 and its new presenters learnt to relax. While initial programmes included as many as 17 items, because the channel wanted the show to be "slick and pacy", they quickly realised that it worked better with just three or four main features.

    Madeley and Finnigan differ in their appraisal of when the show reached a turning point. For him, it was a review in the Financial Times, which praised the show for taking criticisms on board and made the "very clever" observation that to begin with they had been overly concerned with differentiating the programme from This Morning, "defining ourselves by what we weren't".

    For Finnigan, the more cautious of the two, the critical moment came later on when the ratings for the book club proved it was a hit, boosting the audience by up to 400,000. The idea of a television reading group was something that the couple had unsuccessfully tried to convince ITV to do on This Morning - the channel refused, claiming that viewers would be bored.

    Before Madeley and Finnigan joined Channel 4, the hour between 5pm and 6pm was regarded as the "graveyard slot" by most schedulers. When Richard & Judy took off, however, ITV realised the massive potential of the time slot, and programme chief Nigel Pickard pulled out all the stops to tempt them back to the channel, offering them "quite a lot more money" to move the show lock, stock and barrel. But Finnigan and Madeley were sceptical about whether ITV would welcome the more upmarket ABC1 audience they are now attracting.

    Finnigan says: "We all looked at each other and thought, 'They are not going to want this demographic. ITV does not have the same audience'."

    ITV responded by launching its own teatime chatshow, hosted by Paul O'Grady, which has recently trumped Richard & Judy in the ratings, albeit with more downmarket fare. In the New Year, ITV plans to move Today with Des and Mel to the slot, with veteran chatshow host Des O'Connor and Melanie Sykes. Finnigan and Madeley have known O'Grady for years - as his alter ego Lily Savage, he was a regular guest on This Morning - but relations seemed to have soured after Cactus insisted that Joan Collins could not appear on ITV before honouring a prior commitment to Richard & Judy. When the couple secured a coveted interview with Madonna, O'Grady was quoted as saying: "I don't give a toss who Richard and Judy have got - it could be the Pope for all I care. Whoever they get, I'll still be nailing them in the ratings day in and day out."

    Amanda Ross, the energetic joint managing director of Cactus, admits that the show does have a "tough guest policy" which means it will not interview guests who have appeared on other daytime chatshows, but rubbishes reports that the company threatened to ban other authors from Collins's publisher, Robson Books.

    O'Grady has since sent a big bunch of flowers and a letter of apology explaining that he was misquoted.

    "Paul is what you might call a very volatile person," says Finnigan. "I think he says things without thinking about it and without realising what he's really said. But as far as we're concerned there's no way that we are in a ratings war with him. Our audience is completely solid and it's building year on year. We've not lost one viewer to ITV. Paul's supposed rivalry with us, whether he really feels like that or not, is just bonkers as far as we're concerned."

    They quit This Morning in 2001, following a series of rows with the team then in charge at ITV network centre, most notoriously with former head of daytime television, Maureen Duffy, dubbed "Duffy the vampire slayer" by the press, whom they believed had been charged with making the programme work without them.

    Madeley is candid. "The truth of the matter was that we were pissed off... ITV became very worried about what would happen to This Morning if we were poached, if we got run over by a bus, went into the Grand Canyon on our summer holiday. They increasingly, very gently, but in a rather sinister way, tried to remove us from our own programme."

    When the message came down on from on high that the couple should not take part in the daily phone-in, one of the highlights of the show, and that they should conduct interviews separately, Madeley says, "we said 'fuck off' and Granada said 'fuck off', but this kept happening and we just got pissed off".

    Ironically, they both insist that they had no intention of leaving before the arguments began. But when Ross, a friend of the couple, realised they were becoming increasingly unhappy, she made overtures to Channel 4 on their behalf.

    Finnigan says she is "happier here professionally than any job I have ever done". As well as presenting the show, Madeley and Finnigan are executive producers. They arrive at Cactus each morning at 11.30am and spend the rest of the day in production meetings with the Rosses and rehearsals. The entire building - including a purpose-built studio, newsroom and editing suites - is a Richard & Judy factory. It is small wonder that their increasingly high-profile guests enjoy coming here to be interviewed. An on-site chef prepares canapés for after the show, and the dressing-rooms are among the best in town. Each is equipped with a shower room, a large Venetian-style mirror and a hand-picked gift - Sir Elton John was recently presented with the latest must-have black leather travel bag as featured in Vogue, while Madonna liked her present of a purple handbag so much that she immediately went online to order similar accessories for her friends.

    Their list of interviewees is impressive - Bill and Hillary Clinton, Cherie Blair, Madeleine Albright, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Leonardo DiCaprio have all sat on the purple celebrity sofa. One wonders what the former US president made of the inane quiz slot "You Say, We Pay", in which viewers have to describe a series of items to the couple without using their names in return for a cash prize.

    Madeley explains their interviewing technique. "We're not soft, but we're never judgemental. We try to be journalistically fair. That doesn't mean holding back on difficult questions, it just means not coming at people with an attitude. If you've been doing it for as long as we have, word gets out that you're not going to look like you're playing a game of softball with me and Judy, but equally, they're not going to stitch you up."

    They both agree that Hillary Clinton has been their favourite guest to date - describing the "bulletproof moment" when she realised her interviewers just wanted a friendly conversation, and let down the invisible screen she had until then put up between her and them.

    The pair met in the early 1980s when they were working together on Granada Reports in Manchester. They quickly became a couple, leaving their first marriages behind, and in 1988 were chosen to become the faces of ITV's new daytime magazine show This Morning. Both are keen to stress their background as journalists. Finnigan's first on-screen role was as Anglia Television's first female reporter, while Madeley began his career on local papers in Essex and London. At 19, he joined BBC Radio Cumbria as a news producer, and went on to work as a reporter and presenter for Border Television and Yorkshire Television.

    Asked how they have managed to stay at the top of their profession for so long, Finnigan says: "I'd like to say it's because we're both good journalists, but I know it's not entirely that. It's clear that people do like the fact that we have a relationship and a married relationship which allows us to be more open with each other."

    In preparation for the show, they read all of the newspapers, make sure they catch one of the lunchtime news bulletins and insist on being given a breaking-news list before they go on air.

    Madeley reveals: "When we were on This Morning, we used to do a four-day week and John Leslie was my stand-in on a Friday. I'm not dissing him, I'm just saying I used to go into my dressing-room on a Monday to find all of Friday's newspapers still bound up with twine. And I thought, 'How the fuck can you go on air with a show like This Morning, which is a live show, news reactive, not reading the papers?'."

    So what does the future hold for the husband-and-wife team? It is "too early to say" whether they will sign another deal with Channel 4 in three years' time. They have no ambitions to pursue individual projects, insisting they have already proved they can work separately and "can't be arsed really".

    The one place that it seems highly unlikely they will end up working is the BBC, which they both find "frightening", even under their former boss at Channel 4, Mark Thompson. "It would be a little like an artist working for the Civil Service," says Madeley, without a hint of irony.

    Both have book contracts on the table - they co-wrote an autobiography published in 2002 and also write a weekly column for the Daily Express - and Finnigan in particular is keen to try her hand at fiction.

    Madeley says: "The next thing is at some point to find time to smell the flowers. Five days a week - it's only telly, it's not digging ditches, you're not on a chain gang - but, I'm sorry, it is quite tiring and intellectually demanding." Despite this professed lack of further ambition, when I ask whether they would like to step into Michael Parkinson's role as late-night chatshow hosts, Finnigan praises Parky's "longevity" and Madeley's eyes light up. "Yeah, maybe some kind of Saturday-night version of what we do now," he says. There is clearly life beyond the purple sofa.


    Early years

    Born in Manchester in 1948, Finnigan attended Manchester High School for Girls before reading English and Drama at Bristol University. Essex-boy Madeley, eight years her junior, started out as a rookie reporter on local newspapers in Essex and London. At 19, he went north to work as a news producer on BBC Radio Cumbria.

    Regional reporters

    In 1978, Madeley joined Border Television as a reporter and presenter, and two years later moved to Yorkshire Television, where he reported and presented on the news magazine programme Calendar. Meanwhile, Finnigan had joined Granada TV as a researcher in 1971. In 1974 she took her first on-screen job as Anglia Television's first female reporter.

    Granada Reports

    Finnigan rejoined Granada in 1980, working on a range of live programmes including Flying Start, Scramble and Granada Reports. In 1982, Madeley was recruited to co-present Granada Reports. On his first day in the job he was greeted by Finnigan, who had been asked to look after him as part of a parenting scheme. "Boo," she said. "I'm your mummy." They quickly became a couple.

    This Morning

    In 1988, Finnigan and Madeley were asked to become the faces of ITV's new morning magazine show, This Morning. They were to stay there for the next 13 years. Highlights included Finnigan greeting Keith Chegwin's admission of alcoholism with the words, "You've got a lot of bottle", and Madeley impersonating Ali G. They quit in 2001 to join Channel 4, following a series of rows with ITV network centre.

    Trials and tribulations

    The usually upbeat Madeley hit a low in 1990, when he was accused of stealing alcohol from Tesco after forgetting to pay for bottles in the front of his supermarket trolley. He fought for a year in court and cleared his name. Finnigan's most embarrassing moment came when her dress fell apart on stage during the National Television Awards.

    Richard & Judy

    Since 2001, Madeley and Finnigan have presented the 5pm to 6pm show on Channel 4. Disappointing early ratings were turned around by the success of the Richard & Judy Book Club, which has taken the publishing industry by storm - the 16 titles featured on their show this year were worth £22m or two per cent of the total consumer market, according to The Bookseller. They are now aiming to build on this success with a wine club, and more clubs are planned next year. Guests on the show have included Bill and Hillary Clinton, Cherie Blair and Madonna.

    Family life

    The couple have a teenage son and daughter, Jack and Chloe, in addition to Finnigan's adult twins, Tom and Dan, from her first marriage. They have homes in Hampstead, Cornwall and Florida, and in their spare time enjoy watching The Simpsons and repeats of Frasier.

    Oliver Duff

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 29, 2004.



    We have learned that one unfortunate member recently developed septicaemia, spent five weeks in hospital, and nearly had her leg amputated to save her life! All because of pigeons!

    They were nesting in the guttering which then developed a leak. This water was contaminated and when it came into contact with a very small scratch on her leg, our member nearly died.

    We are told that pigeons also very often nest in attics where they can foul uncovered water tanks. This apparently happens more often than you would think. We have been urged to advise you that cold water supply tanks must have a cover to protect the water from birds, mice, etc. This is a massive problem where a block of flats share a water tank.

    The following information from Nottingham City Council's website is relevant.

    Pigeon Control


    Pigeons and their excrement can cause damage to buildings and illness to the public. Pigeons should be deterred from roosting as excrement builds up quickly. Throwing bread or other food waste will attract pigeons and their associated problems and perhaps other pests such as rats. Illnesses and problems linked with pigeons include:

    Psittacosis - a flu like illness which can cause death in vulnerable people
    Meningitis - rare, but one causative agent is commonly found in pigeon nests
    Salmonella - diarrhoea, vomiting and in extreme cases septicaemia and possibly death
    Skin diseases
    Insects including mites and fleas
    Attraction to rats
    Aggravated chest problems and asthma


    -- Cathy (kenningtonassn@aol.com), November 29, 2004.

    Do MPs really need to hunt for something worthwhile to debate?

    Independent - Letters

    20 November 2004

    Do MPs really need to hunt for something worthwhile to debate?

    Sir: British politicians, especially on the right, talk a lot about how the UK is giving up powers to Brussels. It is vital, they say, that democratic control stays in Westminster.

    Let's look at how the MPs have spent their time recently: resolving to wage war in Iraq (100,000 dead at the most recent estimate) - 10 hours; discussing the sixfold growth in the Chinese economy since 1984 and the challenge it poses to the UK and Europe - two written questions, one on the illegal importation of cat and dog fur, one on Chinese inward investment into the UK.

    Instead we learn that some 700 hours of parliamentary debate has been spent on arguing about whether to ban hunting. The Government has grown used to dangling this childish bauble in front of MPs whenever they need distracting. And the MPs have fallen for it every time.

    There is more than one way for democracy to die. You can have phoney parliaments and bogus elections (à la Stalin), you can arrest and kill your opponents (à la Hitler), or the political class can quietly demonstrate their incompetence.

    London SE11

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 27, 2004.

    Christmas Market

    Christmas Market
    to be held at
    St Anselm's Church Hall
    Saturday 27th November
    starting at 2 pm

    -- Betty (bettysevern@yahoo.co.uk), November 27, 2004.

    Police appeal over church rape

    Evening Standard

    26/11/04 - London news section

    Police appeal over church rape

    Police are appealing for witnesses after a woman was brutally raped in a church courtyard.

    The 27-year-old was dragged into the courtyard of St Mary's Newington Church, Kennington as she walked to a Tube station along Kennington Park Road at 10.30pm on Monday.

    PC Ben Turner, of Southwark Sapphire Unit, said: "This is a particularly brutal attack and we are working very hard to trace the person responsible.

    "Anyone walking to the tube station or waiting for a bus at that time may have seen a man forcing a young woman off the street. If you did see something, we urge you to contact us.

    "We have no description of the suspect. We are unsure of ethnicity, but he is not thought to be white."

    The victim is 5"5 with brown mid-length hair. She was wearing a white top and dark trousers.

    Anyone with information about the attack should contact PC Ben Turner or DS Rupert Bonny, at Southwark Sapphire Unit on 020 7232 6182.

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 26, 2004.

    £7m auction of properties

    South London Press

    £7m auction of properties

    Nov 26 2004
    By Zara Bishop

    AN AUCTION of council property is expected to net the authority more than £7million.

    Twelve lots with a total guide price of £7,225,000 will go under the hammer to raise money for Lambeth council.

    It is being disposed of as part of a £20million property sell off by the authority.

    Camberwell-based auctioneers Andrews Robertson will be handling the sales in the New Connaught Rooms in Great Queen Street, Covent Garden on Thursday, December 9.

    Bids are invited for a parade of 19 shops in Kennington Park Road and Kennington Road valued at £2.5million.

    A former residential home with outbuildings including a bungalow in Garrad's Road, Streatham, has a guide price of £900,000.

    Eleven shops in Wilcox Road, Vauxhall, were valued at £800,000 and four shops next to each other in Woodvale Walk, West Norwood, have a guide price of £190,000.

    A commercial unit and the 11 shops beneath it in Lower Marsh and Launcelot Street are expected to fetch at least £500,000.

    The rest of the portfolio of seven properties have a combined guide price of £2,350,000.

    Councillor Ashley Lumsden, Lambeth council's executive member for finance, said: "We are looking to raise as much as we can so we can invest it in things local residents have told us they want to see improved.

    "Resurfacing of roads, improvements in parks and improvements to people's homes are the three big areas we are keen to invest in."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 26, 2004.


    The Durning Library


    Come and join in the festive spirit


    The Durning Library
    167 Kennington Lane
    SE11 4HF
    020 7926 8682

    Wednesday 15th December 2004
    2.30pm - 4pm


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 25, 2004.

    Seasonal celebrations for North Lambeth


    Seasonal celebrations for North Lambeth

    There is plenty of festive fun planned for the north Lambeth area over the next couple of weeks when two sets of Christmas lights are switched on.


    Released: 23 November, 2004 04:46
    Filesize: 12kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 24, 2004.

    'Party pooper' Mayor told to lighten up

    South London Press

    'Party pooper' Mayor told to lighten up

    Nov 23 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    KEN Livingstone has been branded a "party pooper" as his plans for New Year celebrations come under attack.

    The London Mayor has a £1million budget, but will offer just a short fireworks display at the London Eye.

    The plans have been criticised by Liberal Democrats as being for television cameras rather than the people of London. The party has also criticised him for failing to publicise any events.

    A spokesman for the Liberal Democrat London Assembly group said: "Last year, it was not safe for people to go to the Eye so they erected screens in Trafalgar Square.

    "The money is going to be used to do the same firework display again this year - that's not really for Londoners, it's for the telly. Why not have a party for Londoners? We have Trafalgar Square which has now been pedestrianised and is a world-class venue as Ken Livingstone keeps pointing out."

    The spokesman added other cities such as Edinburgh, Sydney and New York held street parties.

    Mr Livingstone responded: "London will celebrate New Year's Eve with a spectacular firework display, visible from all over London and with 150,000 Londoners able to view directly in the vicinity of the London Eye."

    In South London there has been little mention of Christmas celebrations so far.

    A Lambeth council spokeswoman said there was no Christmas event confirmed for Brixton, while only Streatham has so far been lit up. Its lights were switched on by Mayor Irene Kimm on Saturday.

    The council spokeswoman said England cricketer Graham Thorpe was due to switch on Clapham's lights at Lavender Bar and Restaurant, Clapham Road, at 6pm on Thursday.

    Actress Maureen Lipman will flick the switch in Waterloo at Cubana Bar and Restaurant, Lower Marsh, at 6pm on December 1.

    In Kennington, there will be a day of festive fun at St Anselm's Church, Kennington Road, on Wednesday, December 8.

    In Southwark, a Frost Fair is planned alongside Bankside between noon and 10pm, on Friday, December 17.

    There will also be a Flavas Festival in Peckham Square between December 3 and 5.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 24, 2004.

    Cowardly OAP killer jailed for life

    South London Press

    Cowardly OAP killer jailed for life

    Nov 23 2004

    A CONVICTED rapist who battered an 82-year-old woman to death has been jailed for life.

    Serial robber Elroy Simmonds, 26, preyed on frail and elderly pensioners across South London for "easy cash".

    Hilda Ashdown -- his sixth victim - died of a brain haemorrhage 10 days after he attacked her in her Camberwell flat.

    The Old Bailey heard how Simmonds and an accomplice burst in as Mrs Ash-down cooked chips with the front door to the flat left open.

    Simmonds repeatedly punched her in the face and kicked her as both demanded cash.

    Mrs Ashdown was later found by her son slumped and bleeding heavily in the flat in Monclar Road, Denmark Hill.

    Simmonds, of White Hart Street, Kennington, was later linked to the murder when cops found her blood on his trainers. He denied murder, 10 robberies and two counts of assault with intent to rob. A jury found him guilty of all charges except one of robbery, where they failed to reach a verdict.

    Speaking after the sentencing on Friday, Detective Superintendent Gary Richardson said: "Elroy Simmonds targeted the most vulnerable people in the community - elderly people, mostly women living alone - which tells you what kind of a man he is.

    "He was after easy cash. I've no doubt whatsoever that the streets of South London are a safer place with him behind bars."

    The court heard how Simmonds began his criminal career aged 14 robbing schoolchildren in South London.

    In 1996, he was jailed for six years for raping and attempting to rob a 49-year-old woman.

    His latest robbing spree began in June 2002 when he attacked and fought with pensioner Eric Kjaer.

    He resumed his attacks eight months later, targeting Mrs Ashdown in March 2003. He was arrested around a month later.

    Judge Stephen Kramer jailed him for life for the murder and a total of 12 years for the robbery and assault charges, to run concurrently.

    He said: "You did not use weapons - you did not need to. You terrified each of them.

    "It might be said, in view of your targets, it was only a matter of time before you killed one of your victims.

    "You are a danger, particularly to the old and the vulnerable, and a devious and scheming young man.

    "You have shown no remorse and no regret at any stage. The sentence for murder is mandatory, it is life imprisonment."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 24, 2004.

    Fairytales – the Grimm truth


    November 22, 2004

    Fairytales – the Grimm truth

    Heather Neill

    Children’s Christmas shows are reviving the darker edge of traditional stories

    DANIEL CERQUEIRA is a strapping figure in jeans, sweatshirt — and a sweet pair of Cuban heels decorated with floppy roses. Roaring down the steeply raked circular practice set in the Young Vic’s Kennington rehearsal room, he is already both funny and frightening. But then, as a queenly Ogress with a taste for human flesh, he is meant to be. Cerqueira’s cannibalistic character is returning in Sleeping Beauty, Rufus Norris’s 2002 success, which this Christmas will be at the Barbican.

    As much as anyone this season, that Ogress personifies the prevailing idea: fairytales are more to do with blood and guts than sweetness and light.

    This isn’t a departure from the true nature of fairytales, argue writers and directors, rather a return to their essence before the Victorians diluted their power and Disney frosted them with sugar.

    In Stratford Laurence Boswell is bringing back last year’s touching, funny and expertly choreographed Beauty and the Beast for the Royal Shakespeare Company. “In our version, quite a few of Beauty’s predecessors have been eaten,” he says cheerfully.

    At the Watermill in Newbury Andy Brereton is directing Neil Duffield’s version of Arabian Nights and it is he who uses the word “trapped” to describe the effect of capturing oral tales in print. In these three cases the “trapping” took place in 17th or 18th-century France — most famously by Charles Perrault in his Contes de ma mère l’oye (Tales of Mother Goose) — but modern audiences may be surprised to find just how much of the earthiness, the sexuality and the cruelty were present in those early literary versions.

    In a pre-Perrault variation of Sleeping Beauty, recounted by Marina Warner in From the Beast to the Blonde, the dozy heroine had two children by a married king without waking up. The king’s jealous wife later invited all three to court and proposed cooking the children in a pie for her husband to eat. Norris has combined the cook who saved their lives with the fairy who originally cursed the princess into the conscience-stricken fairy Goody. In Perrault’s retelling, the cruel queen has become the Ogress, Beauty’s mother-in-law, reinstated by Norris.

    “Perrault is the most fun,” he says, “keeping the darkness, while shedding child-unfriendly aspects, but it has two distinct parts — before and after the long sleep — and a main character who doesn’t do anything.” Combining the two most active characters, the bad fairy and the cook, solves the structural problem and satisfyingly mixes good and evil in one character.

    Norris is fascinated by the moral ambiguity of nature, represented here by a wild forest of speaking Thorns, while his wide-awake Beauty is an active heroine who helps to save her own children.

    Sooner or later adapters of fairytales refer to the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim’s book The Uses of Enchantment. “Bettelheim said that Beauty and the Beast is about the awakening to adulthood through sexuality,” says Boswell. “It is about leaving home, about discovering yourself through facing something which is terrifying” — all of which could equally apply to Sleeping Beauty and Scheherazade in Arabian Nights, who saves her life by telling stories to keep the murderous Sultan’s interest after he has already dispatched 999 brides. According to Brereton, in an early version, “She ended up with three sons by the end of 1001 nights. It was quite saucy.”

    Fairytales frequently include a problematic mother or mother-figure. Norris’s Ogress presents a threat to Beauty, but recognises her own dilemma: wanting to eat the thing she most loves. In Northampton Royal’s Hansel and Gretel, Phil Porter has conflated the children’s mother with the witch in the candy house in the Grimms’ tale. His witch ends up as biscuits and sweets given to the children, thus turning them into cannibals. More people-eating.

    Bettelheim praised fairytales for making it clear that “a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable”. Hans Christian Andersen, whose bicentenary falls next year, drew on traditional themes, especially death and ageing, so wholeheartedly that he is often mentioned in the same breath as Perrault and Grimm.

    Pam Gems’s version of The Little Mermaid for Sphinx Theatre will resume its tour next year, while The Little Fir Tree is the Christmas offering at the Crucible Studio in Sheffield. Both tales caution that if you get what you wish for you may regret it. The mermaid forgoes her nature to pursue a mortal who does not love her.

    It is a bleak tale and Gems said she had to find “a fusion of ideas” in a post-Christian, post-Freudian world without “losing the strange Dane”. She has humanised the original and introduced some humour, but the darkness remains.

    Andersen was a lonely man and the writer James Phillips regards the story of the little fir tree, which is cut down, festooned in baubles and then neglected and finally chopped up, as autobiographical, “an ugly duckling which didn’t turn into a swan”. He has introduced other characters, “new incidents and a bit of comedy, but you have to go into the darkness. Kids are up for it and for complexity of ideas; it’s parents who worry.”

    In preliterate times fairytales must have reflected the circumstances of teller and audience, which probably included people of all ages. These latest stage versions are firmly in that tradition, reflecting a morally ambiguous age, but one which is also playful and in which women take a leading role.

    Meekly wait for your prince? Not likely! You might just end up as someone’s snack.


    Barbican (020-7638 8891)
    Dec 11 Jan 11

    Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon (0870 6091110)
    Until Jan 16

    Watermill, Newbury (01635 46044)
    Dec 1-Jan 8

    Royal, Northampton (01604 624811)
    Dec 7-Jan 15

    Crucible Studio, Sheffield (0114 2496000)
    Dec 9-Jan 8

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 22, 2004.

    Offending we will go, offending we will go...


    Offending we will go, offending we will go...

    Filed: 21/11/2004)

    After the bill to ban hunting was passed last week, Melissa Kite rode out with the Surrey Union Hunt at Effingham Hill Farm near Cobham where men in pink are brewing civic disobedience.

    As the riders of the Surrey Union Hunt exchanged small talk beneath a pink November sky, there was little to suggest that this was anything other than a cordial social scene.

    While impatient hooves crunched the frosty ground, the chatter was about last night's dinner party and plans for the weekend. And yet, as the 50 riders and professional huntsmen began Friday's meet at Effingham Hill Farm near Cobham, there were undercurrents of rebellion.

    In the car park, men in red coats handed out flyers. The leaflets contained precise instructions for the actions to be taken in three months' time, when this social get-together will become a crime.

    Until now, the ladies and gents of the Surrey Union have indulged in nothing more risky than a sip from a hip flask and a sneaky cigarette. (They also, of course, hurtle across open country on spirited mares.) However, when the hunting ban comes into force in February - barring a legal challenge or a stay of execution from Tony Blair - they will have a more serious pastime on their hands.

    The leaflet, which is being distributed to hunts up and down the country, instructs members that when the ban comes into effect they should restyle themselves as "hound exercise" clubs in order to be able to pursue a legal activity that will permit their survival.

    "On the first day of outlawed hunting individual followers may then get together, each taking charge of a hound or two, and overtly break the law by hunting forbidden quarry," it advises. "Should anyone be arrested then all others would come forward also to offer themselves for arrest. All would plead guilty in court and the hope is that as many as possible would refuse to pay fines and prefer to go to jail."

    The leaflet counsels restraint and suggests that hunting people always co-operate with the police by turning themselves in. Violence is to be avoided "at all costs", it urges. "The aim is to ensure that a great many people obtain a criminal record, so that a future government will see the need to repeal the ban and rectify the injustice."

    Like housewives during the Blitz, everyone in the polite crowd was ready to do their bit. The Surrey Union has swelled in numbers and many young people and metropolitan types are flocking to join. Karl Sessions, 28, from Kennington, south London, on his first hunt, said: "I don't think a ban is justified. I came to see hunting for myself before deciding. I think I will come again." Izzy Myers, 31, from Roehampton, south London, called it"a travesty".

    Most at the hunt were determined to look on the bright side, many seeming unable to face the fact that the ban is now a reality. When a man in a Ford Escort wound down his window and shouted, "Only 90 days to go!", one young rider asked: "What does he mean?" Someone explained and he said: "Oh, the ban . . ."

    Seven years after a private member's bill was introduced to end hunting with dogs, the ban was made law on Thursday. As this paper predicted last , it was a kamikaze move by peers that led to hunting being made illegal by February.

    The Hunting Bill was forced through amid scenes of chaos and confusion, with the Lords wrecking a delaying motion that would have postponed it for 18 months. Their move dashed Tony Blair's last hope of avoiding full-scale civil disobedience by huntsmen in the run-up to a general election next spring.

    Not before the motion proposing the delay had been flung between the two houses in a desperate round of ping pong, however. Ministers and their appointees tried every trick and ruse they could think of to have a ban, but not one that would come into force straight away.

    In the end, seven years of impassioned campaigning by Labour MPs came down to a desperate wrangle between Commons and Lords clerks over whether the Government could force through a delay without the consent of peers. As the clerks danced on the head of a pin, ministers proposed a compromise delay until 2006.

    Labour backbenchers yelled at Hilary Armstrong, the chief whip, in the Commons canteen: "We don't trust you. It's a trick." In a measure of the paranoia now rife on the Labour benches, they believed it was an attempt by the Prime Minister to invalidate and destroy his own Bill by the back door.

    As the Commons lobbies reverberated to the deranged sound of clang after clang of division bell, the Labour MP Stephen Pound summed up the mood as he rushed past to vote on a series of baffling amendments: "Madness, pure madness."

    When the Lords finally put the kibosh on the delay, Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, accused the Lords of being "like turkeys voting for Christmas". All that was left was for the Speaker to declare at 9.02pm that the Parliament Act was duly invoked, to cries of "shame" from the Tory benches and cheers from Labour.

    By this time, hunt supporters were demonstrating outside Windsor Castle as Mr Blair met Jacques Chirac. The French President duly obliged the hunting lobby by declaring hunting "a fine sport". It was perhaps a foretaste of the embarrassment pro-hunters hope to inflict on Mr Blair in the weeks and months ahead.

    Many had given up hope long ago that a way could be found to preserve the 300-year-old tradition, an industry worth £15 million a year that involves half a million people.

    Only a few die-hard optimists in the Countryside Alliance were still insisting, as MPs began to debate the Bill on Tuesday, that Tony Blair would persuade enough Labour MPs to back a compromise and hand them a last reprieve. "We're still confident Mr Blair can do it," said one. By Tuesday night, when MPs had roundly rejected a compromise by 321 votes to 204, such optimism finally died away.

    Everyone in the debate now agrees on one thing. The past two weeks have been more about pinning the blame than finding a solution. For his part, Mr Blair voted with the majority of Tory MPs for a licensed hunting compromise on Tuesday. But many saw it simply as an attempt to wash his hands of the ban, which was after all a Government bill. Others saw it as an example of pitiful weakness. Mr Blair's lead was ignored by six cabinet members and 50 other ministers who voted for abolition.

    Ministers may introduce a separate one-line Bill in the next few weeks to delay the ban, but this will need the support of the Lords and cannot be subjected to the Parliament Act. Peers say they will not back it. "We buy huntsmen a little more time before we kill them and we let Blair off the hook," as one senior Tory put it.

    As things are, Mr Blair could face deep embarrassment in the run-up to the election if hunting people mount demonstrations to rival the fuel protests that took place before the last election. It has also made it easier to challenge the Bill under human rights legislation, because the Joint Committee on Human Rights has ruled that the Bill is only compatible with EU law if it has an 18-month delay to allow huntsmen to prepare.

    The Tory leadership does not share the view that hunting is a good election issue. They agree with Labour strategists that scenes involving angry landowners in green wellies will only motivate millions to support Tony Blair. The Prime Minister's own polling shows that 20 per cent of people are passionately against hunting, 10 per cent passionately in favour and 70 per cent are uninterested.

    Michael Howard may question the wisdom of it, but hunting people are still preparing to do all they can to help Tories in marginal seats, even promising to put envelopes through doors for them.

    A legal challenge to the use of the Parliament Act - the basis of which is the quaint inanity that the Parliament Act of 1949 was itself forced through using the Parliament Act of 1911, which it was replacing because it was invalid - has now begun. If successful, it could overturn not only the Hunting Act but all other legislation passed using the Act, including the War Crimes Act and the Sexual Offences Amendment Act, which lowered the age of consent to 16 for homosexuals.

    Few believe that either this challenge or a separate human rights action using EU law will work. The Countryside Alliance admits privately that the main tactic now is to keep hunting going in some legal form so that it can one day be revived in its fox-killing guise.

    "Sod the legal challenge," said one well-known hunting campaigner. "If we can keep up morale, that is more crucial than anything else. We need to keep ourselves going and then, whenever we get rid of this f***ing government, whether it is in six years or 11 years' time, we will still be there."

    Until then, there is little the thousands of people whose jobs are at stake can do except to make life as difficult for Mr Blair as they can. As one hunt member put it: "They can ban hunting, but they can't ban us."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 21, 2004.

    Man jailed for pensioner's murder

    BBC News

    Man jailed for pensioner's murder

    A robber who killed an elderly woman when she fought back with her stick after he pushed his way into her house, has been jailed for life.

    The Old Bailey heard Elroy Simmonds, 26, of Kennington, south London, punched and kicked Hilda Ashdown, 82, at her home of 47 years in Camberwell.

    Simmonds was found guilty of murdering Mrs Ashdown who died 10 days later.

    He was jailed for 12 years concurrently for other robberies and assaults and must serve a minimum of 16 years.

    Simmonds, a convicted rapist, preyed on elderly victims and would knock on the doors of their homes claiming to be from the council or looking for someone.

    He would then push his way into the homes of his victims, all 11 of whom were aged between 73 and 95, and demand money.

    Sometimes Simmonds was with another man, including the time he forced his way into Mrs Ashdown's home.

    Judge Stephen Kramer told him: "In a campaign of robberies, you preyed on and targeted old people.

    "It was only a matter of time before you killed one of your victims.

    "I have come to the conclusion that you are a danger, particularly to the old and vulnerable.

    "You did not use weapons - you did not need to. You are a fit young man. Your chosen victims were neither. You terrified them."

    The court heard Simmonds was convicted of robbing other schoolchildren when aged 14.

    And at 18 was jailed for six years for robbing and raping and 49-year-old women with learning difficulties in her own home.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/11/19 15:52:13 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 20, 2004.

    Robber Gets Life for Pensioner Murder

    PA News

    Fri 19 Nov 2004
    1:29pm (UK)

    Robber Gets Life for Pensioner Murder

    By Shenai Raif

    A robber was jailed for life today for killing an 82-year-old woman who tried to fight back.

    Elroy Simmonds, 26, punched and kicked housebound Hilda Ashdown after pushing his way into her home of 47 years.

    She was treated for a broken nose but died 10 days later of brain damage, the Old Bailey was told.

    Simmonds, a convicted robber and rapist, was told he was a danger to old people and was ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years.

    Judge Stephen Kramer told him: “In a campaign of robberies, you preyed on and targeted old people.

    “It was only a matter of time before you killed one of your victims.

    “I have come to the conclusion that you are a danger, particularly to the old and vulnerable.

    “You did not use weapons – you did not need to. You are a fit young man. Your chosen victims were neither. You terrified them.”

    Simmonds, of Kennington, south London, was convicted of murder.

    He was jailed for a total of 12 years concurrently for nine robberies and two assaults with intent to rob during three months last year.

    His 11 victims were aged between 73 and 95.

    Simmonds knocked on doors in the morning, claiming to be from the council or to be looking for someone.

    After pushing his way in, he would demand money and would steal the small amounts they had. Some of the offences were committed with another man.

    Simmonds denied being responsible when he was arrested, but he was convicted after the brave victims relived their ordeals in court.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 20, 2004.

    Robber guilty of killing frail OAP

    South London Press

    Robber guilty of killing frail OAP

    Nov 19 2004

    A SERIAL robber who preyed on frail and elderly pensioners faces years behind bars for battering an 82-year-old woman to death.

    Elroy Simmonds, 26, barged into Hilda Ashdown's home, demanding cash, before punching her in the face and kicking her.

    She died 10 days later in hospital from a brain haemorrhage.

    Simmonds, of White Hart Street, Kennington, was this week found guilty of murder, five counts of robbery and one of assault with intent to rob between June 2002 and April 2003.

    Simmonds targeted vulnerable pensioners across South London by posing as a council worker or asking for help, the court heard.

    Mrs Ashdown, of Monclar Road, near Denmark Hill, died after becoming his sixth victim on March 15 last year.

    He was later linked to the murder when cops found traces of her blood on a pair of Air Max trainers found at his home.

    Nicholas Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said there were common features to many of the attacks. "The victims were elderly, mostly women, mostly living alone. They are a safe, easy target.

    "No weapons were used. He is young and fit, he doesn't need a weapon. But he uses violence against the elderly."

    Simmonds's first victim was Eric Kjaer, 77, who was sweeping his friend's driveway in Camberwell, in June 2002.

    He and passers-by had struggled with Simmonds but the thug escaped by wriggling out of his jacket, socks and trainers.

    Eight months later he resumed his attacks.

    Victim Mary Hammond, 74, of Dorset Road, Clapham, told how Simmonds and an accomplice barged into her flat.

    "He was saying 'I want twenties, I'm only here for the twenties'," she said.

    "He pulled my panic alarm from around my neck and pushed me to the floor.

    "While I was on the floor he kicked me in the stomach."

    Mrs Ashdown had also tried to fight off Simmonds using her walking sticks but paid with her life.

    An Old Bailey jury is still deliberating on six further robberies.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 20, 2004.

    A present to get the hump about

    South London Press

    A present to get the hump about

    Nov 19 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    IF YOU can't decide what to buy your loved ones for Christmas, then a local councillor has an idea that's hard to pass over.

    This year, why not give that special someone a gift they can marvel at and treasure... a speed hump in the street outside their front door.

    Lambeth Liberal Democrat council-lor Marcus Mayers has suggested his council implement a "a sponsor a road hump scheme" where residents fund the installation of speed bumps in their street when the council cannot afford to do so.

    The Stockwell councillor's suggestion would see Lambeth's residents who wanted sleeping policemen in their road asked to dip into their wallets to fund the traffic calming measures in addition to paying council tax. He claims it could be run in a similar style to sponsored tree planting.

    In a question to council environmental officers, Cllr Mayers writes: "In order to increase the amount of road calming in Lambeth would the council implement a sponsor a road hump scheme?"

    In a reply to Cllr Mayers' question, officers from Lambeth council state they would not object to sponsored traffic calming measures.

    But the "sponsor a road hump scheme" has received a less favourable response outside the corridors of Lambeth Town Hall.

    In June this year, teachers, governors and parents of pupils at Walnut Tree Walk School in Kennington staged a protest calling on the council to install traffic calming measures out-side their school. After a long-battle Lambeth council agreed to put in place the measures.

    Headteacher Jeanne Carabine said it would be unfair if road humps were put in place on the basis of whether residents and other groups could afford to pay for them.

    She said: "We had to protest to get the council to do something to slow the traffic outside the school.

    "I really think it is ridiculous to suggest that road safety measures could be sponsored by people who want them in their street.

    "The measures should be allocated were the safety needs are greatest. The council should use the huge amount of money it makes from parking enforcement to fund such schemes."

    What do you think about the 'sponsor a speed hump' idea?

    Write to South London Press, 2-4 Leigham Court Road, Streatham, SW16 2PD or email letters@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 20, 2004.

    Mayor wades in over racism feud

    South London Press

    Mayor wades in over racism feud

    Nov 19 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    KEN Livingstone has repeated his call for a town hall to reinstate a sacked worker "victimised for raising the issue of racism".

    The Mayor's call coincides with the third anniversary of homeless assessment officer Alex Owolade's dismissal by Lambeth council.

    Mr Owolade lost his job of 13 years on November 20, 2001, with his bosses citing gross misconduct.

    An employment tribunal found Mr Owolade's dismissal amounted to victimisation under the Race Relations Act.

    In August, it ruled he should have his job back but Lambeth has appealed.

    Mr Livingstone said: "Institutional racism must be rooted out of the public sector.

    "This case is a clear example of a black worker being victimised for raising the issue of racism.

    "Alex Owolade must be reinstated in accordance with the findings of the employment tribunal decision.

    "Let's work together to defeat racism."

    Mr Owolade has always believed he was sacked because, as a union shop steward, he supported two council workers in the community alarms service who said they were being victimised on race grounds.

    When his case first went to an employment tribunal, Mr Owolade started a campaign to root out racism in the council which has continued since.

    In a statement, the authority said it was "deeply disappointed" by Mr Livingstone's statement.

    It stated: "The council opposed Mr Owolade's application for reinstatement in view of the personal verbal attacks he has made on managers within the council, including the chief executive, for which Mr Owolade was criticised by the tribunal.

    "In all the circumstances the council does not consider that it is practicable for Mr Owolade to return to work in the housing department or indeed anywhere within the council.

    "The campaign which Mr Owolade and his supporters has waged in the borough has engendered such antagonism that the relationship of trust and confidence which needs to exist between an employer and employee no longer exists and could no longer exist.

    "The council strongly refutes the accusation of institutional racism levelled against Lambeth by Mr Livingstone."

    It said it was addressing recommendations made after an independent inquiry into the community alarms service.

    Council leader Councillor Peter Truesdale said: "We have made enormous progress on promoting racial equality and will continue to strive to do so.

    "We are proud to have adopted a position of zero tolerance on discrimination."

    Mr Owolade said: "For most workers the test of whether the council is really serious about making race equality a reality is whether I get reinstated.

    "Lambeth council has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of better race relations for the country."

    Mr Owolade will lead a public march starting from Kennington Park at 1pm on Saturday.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 20, 2004.

    Polar Express at IMAX 29.11 for Lambeth communities

    Dear all

    Please see the below invitation to a special preview of Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks, to all Lambeth residents, and forward through your networks. Tickets available on a first come first served basis.

    Frances Forrest

    The British Film Institute invites you to attend a special advance screening of

    The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience
    Monday 29 November
    at the
    bfi London IMAX® Cinema

    Screening starts at 6.30pm for 7.00pm

    This spectacular 3D IMAX film has just broken box office records in the U.S and will appear on Britain's biggest screen at the bfi London IMAX® Cinema.

    The Polar Express IMAX 3D combines state of the art animation with the magic of IMAX 3D - audiences will be grabbing at falling snowflakes, dodging the screeching trains, and experiencing the howl of the steam whistle at 12,000 watts of sound.

    Late on Christmas Eve a young boy lies in bed hoping to hear the sound of reindeer bells from Santa's sleigh. To his surprise a steam engine roars outside his window and the conductor (Tom Hanks) invites him aboard. Soon he is on an extraordinary journey to the North Pole, where he receives a magical gift that only those who believe in Santa can experience.

    Families welcome. RSVP detailing the number of tickets you require by noon on Thursday 27 November to lucy.jennings@bfi.org.uk.

    Please note all seats will be issued on a first come, first served basis.

    For further information on The Polar Express and the bfi London IMAX® Cinema visit www.bfi.org.uk/imax


    BOX OFFICE 0870 787 2525 | MORE INFORMATION www.bfi.org.uk/imax

    -- Frances (fforrest@lambeth.gov.uk), November 20, 2004.

    Pensioner killed after fighting back

    Evening Standard

    18/11/04 - London news section

    Pensioner killed after fighting back

    By Paul Cheston

    A robber who inflicted sickening fatal injuries on a defenceless 82-year-old woman is facing life imprisonment.

    Hilda Ashdown hit out with her stick and tried to raise the alarm as Elroy Simmonds battered her after barging into the flat where she had lived for 47 years.

    The attack was just one in a terrifying series against vulnerable old women around Camberwell from June 2002 until Simmonds's arrest last year. In each case he is alleged to have made off with small amounts of cash from purses and handbags.

    Simmonds, 24, was convicted unanimously yesterday at the Old Bailey of murdering Mrs Ashdown as well as five charges of robbery and a count of assault with intent to rob.

    The jury are continuing deliberations today on six further charges of robbery and related offences against women aged between 68 and 95. Nicholas Atkinson QC, prosecuting, had told them how Simmonds, sometimes accompanied by another man, would knock on doors claiming to be employed by the council or to be looking for someone. If he could not con his way in he would push his way past his victim.

    In March last year Simmonds and his accomplice barged into Mrs Ashdown's home. She was kicked and punched in the face as she tried to activate her alarm, then held down in a chair while the thugs rifled her handbag.

    Her son Roy told the court how he arrived home to find his mother seriously injured and deeply distressed. "She told me she had been burgled. She was in the hallway, her face covered in blood," he said. Mrs Ashdown died from bleeding in her brain 10 days later.

    Simmonds, of Kennington, denied all the charges. He was trapped when a footprint at the scene matched a pair of his trainers which bore traces of blood from his victim. He will be sentenced after all the verdicts have been returned.

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 18, 2004.

    Out-of-date food left on the shelves

    Evening Standard

    18/11/04 - London news section

    Out-of-date food left on the shelves

    By Victoria Fletcher and Jonathan Prynn

    Supermarkets are displaying food on their shelves that is past its sell-by date, a snapshot Evening Standard survey has found.

    We visited eight supermarkets in different parts of London on two days this week.

    All but one were selling goods ranging from sausages to salads that should have been withdrawn because they were out of date. The findings follow Tesco's £25,000 fine for stocking old and mouldy food in its flagship store in New Malden.

    The company admitted a range of food safety breaches, including allowing mice and rats to infest areas where food was stored. In our survey we found Tesco's stores in Kennington and Old Kent Road stocking food past their use by or display by dates.

    In the worst example, we were able to buy a pack of cooked beetroot that should have been eaten on Saturday.

    The 24-hour Tesco in Kensington was selling salads with tuna and chicken that were a day out of date. Sainsbury's in Battersea also stocked old food that we were able to buy, including skimmed milk that should not have been on display beyond Friday.

    In Kilburn, Safeway, the supermarket chain now owned by rival William Morrison, was selling lemons that had turned brown and should have been sold last Saturday, as well as vegetables that were out of date. Safeway was the most careful in our survey. Staff in the Walworth Road branch were removing old items from the shelf during late afternoon, although many items may already have been bought by shoppers earlier in the day.

    All supermarkets had in-date versions of the products pushed further back on the shelf, often out of reach for older shoppers.

    Supermarkets are supposed to have rigorous systems to stop out-of-date food staying on display. However, many shoppers who contacted the Evening Standard said they had been sold food that should have been disposed of.

    Mark Humphries, 24, said he bought two packs of Ski smooth yoghurts at his Tesco store in Sutton on Saturday. When he got home he noticed they should have been consumed five days earlier.

    "The packaging looks fine but we haven't dared try what's inside. We think it might smell a bit off. It might be just a one off but we will be on our guard from now on."

    A BBC TV investigation last week found widespread confusion among shoppers about the significance of different phrases used on packaging such as "sell by", "use by" and "display until".

    Tesco said: "Our daily procedures and checks are of the highest standards in the industry.

    "An average store has around 40,000 lines on its shelves at any one time.

    "Staff in store check products every day to ensure out-of-date items are removed. Cases of out- of- date products being sold to customers remain very rare."

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 18, 2004.



    Can anyone recommend a tradesman to fit a bathroom suite and do some tiling in the Kennington area? It's not a huge re-model just a direct replacement job that shouldn't take long.

    Thanks in advance

    -- Daryl Bloomfield (darylbloomfielduk@hotmail.com), November 17, 2004.

    Area Committee Small Grants Information



    Grants for improving community buildings or providing equipment of up to £5,000 are available for organisations in North Lambeth

    For further details and to register for a fundraising /networking seminar on Tuesday 7th December 2004
    Please contact:

    Ms Jacqueline Christie
    North Lambeth Town Centre Office
    20 Newburn Street
    London SE11 5JP

    Tel: 020 7926 8295
    Fax: 020 7926 2778
    Email jchristie@lambeth.gov.uk

    Completed application forms must be returned to the Town Centre office by 12 noon on 10th January 2005

    -- Jacqueline Christie (jchristie@lambeth.gov.uk), November 17, 2004.

    Angels over Vauxhall - The festival continues…

    Angels over Vauxhall

    The festival continues…

    20 November
    2 – 4.30 pm
    "Your eyes are so small,
    Yet they can see enormous things."

    Free workshop with Becca Brewin
    A workshop to challenge and inspire how we see the world around us by exploring the mystical poetry of Jalladuin Rumi through language and movement.

    The Story of Rumi

    An evening of enchantment with the great Persian poet Jalladuin Rumi, the most sensual of poets.

    26 November
    The Blue Angel

    A German cinema classic from 1931, and the film debut of Marlene Dietrich – an angel of the flesh
    Suggested donation £7

    2 and 3 December
    The Nativity

    An adaptation of the Mystery Plays with music for Christmas by the Inner City Players

    10 December
    It’s a wonderful life

    Frank Capra’s perennial favourite, the ultimate feel-good movie with James Stewart and an angel, of course
    Suggested donation £7

    19 December
    Carol Service

    Celebrating the end of ‘Angels over Vauxhall’ and the beginning of the Christmas Season
    FREE and all are welcome!
    Mulled wine and mince pies served afterwards

    Don’t miss the opportunity to spend time in one of Vauxhall’s finest buildings!


    -- Wilma (wilma.roest@virgin.net), November 15, 2004.

    Live another day


    November 12, 2004

    Live another day

    Mysteriously axed from his role as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan has been left to contemplate the future. Martyn Palmer found him unshaken, but stirred

    Pierce Brosnan’s youngest son sometimes gets confused about what exactly dad does when he’s not at home. When he jumps into his car - an Aston Martin, of course - and drives off along the Californian coast, is he embarking on some dangerous mission to save the world, or has he just nipped down to the shops to buy a loaf of bread? It’s no wonder that Paris Brosnan is bewildered; after all, he’s only three years old. “He thinks dad is some superhero because he’s seen a bit of the Bonds,” says his father. “And that’s a big image for any kid to handle.” And it’s not just toddlers who find the line between reality and fantasy a little fuzzy. When Brosnan walks into a restaurant or a hotel bar virtually anywhere in the world, some wag will almost certainly send him over a vodka martini, shaken not stirred. “How many times? God, I’ve no idea. A lot. I don’t keep score, but it happens a lot…” Doesn’t it get annoying? “No, no it doesn’t. I usually just raise a glass and say ‘cheers’. It’s only their way of saying that they like the work, and that’s fine by me.”

    For a decade now Brosnan has been James Bond - a very, very good one, too - and Bond has been Brosnan. The Savile Row suits and the highly polished brogues seemed to fit him like a second skin; and when he discarded them to hop into bed with one lovely or another - well, they would, wouldn’t they? Brosnan is good looking in the way that central casting used to dream about. Square jawed and blue eyed, athletic 6ft 2in build, dark hair flecked with grey, he wears his 51 years remarkably well, like a Gucci tux. His Bond has been pitched just right - rugged and suitably macho like Sean Connery, but deft enough to recognise, with a hint of a smile or a flicker of the eyes, that there are times when it’s all just too silly for words, just like Roger Moore used to do so well.

    But now it’s over and the actor who re-invigorated a billion-dollar franchise is contemplating a future post-007. If he feels betrayed by the way it’s ended - in a prolonged and rather messy fashion - he’s careful not to show it. “It was ten years almost to the day,” he says. “And I feel a great sense of achievement that it worked, that they did so well at the box office and that a generation grew up with me as Bond.” And the satisfaction of knowing that he will go down as a classic Bond - like Connery and Moore - and not a dud like Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby? “It’s very hard to talk of yourself in those terms,” he says. “I did the best job that I could possibly do. It’s a huge character to step into.”

    He’s already moved on, at least in terms of making different films, but he’s enough of a realist to know that, like Connery and the rest, he will never really escape it. “You get branded as a Bond and I will always be one of the Bonds.” His latest film, a heist movie called After the Sunset, teams him with Salma Hayek as his love interest - they play jewel thieves - and Woody Harrelson as the FBI agent trying to catch them. Both pairings work well, and the film has the light touch of romantic comedy thriller that Brosnan feels at home with - and which his biggest hit to date (outside of Bond) The Thomas Crown Affair proved.

    The film was shot almost entirely on location in the Bahamas - where a huge resort hotel formed the backdrop for much of the action. Brosnan was unaware at the time that this would mark his first official post-Bond role. Now, back in Nassau to promote the new film, he’s still trying to work out exactly how Bond came to an end. “Does anyone know how it ended?” he asks. “My contract was for four films, and the invitation was extended for me to do a fifth, and I said yes, and then, for one reason or another, they changed their minds.”

    Others will say what Brosnan is too dignified to say himself. Matt Mueller, editor of Total Film magazine, thinks ditching Brosnan is a panicky move: “He has saved the franchise and would have been fine in the role for another four or five years. Apparently, Pierce wanted the character to be more character-driven, and that could have been a point of conflict. If they get the wrong man, it could blow up in their faces.” There has been speculation that producers Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson want a younger Bond and are looking at an actor in his thirties. Those apparently in the running include Clive Owen, Hugh Jackman, Ioan Gruffudd and even Paul Bettany.

    The Bond studio, MGM, has recently been acquired by Sony, which is said to want to broaden 007’s appeal and move him away from the older male fan base to grab a bigger slice of the lucrative teen market which flocks to see the likes of Spider Man and Charlie’s Angels. In other words, Brosnan is too much of a grown-up, a man’s man. But it’s difficult. You tamper with the Bond legacy at your peril. Cast the wrong man and the world’s most successful film franchise ever could be struggling in an increasing field of rivals. Meanwhile, the negotiations to find the new man continue out of the public eye.

    Brosnan, of course, knows exactly what it’s like to be the subject of such speculation. He was first lined up to play the character in 1986 when Roger Moore decided to call it a day. The late Cubby Broccoli, who had single-handedly invented the movie franchise after acquiring the rights to Ian Fleming’s novels, offered Brosnan the role, only to lose him when the producers of Remmington Steele - ironically a pseudo-Bond role he was playing on US television - refused to let him go. Timothy Dalton took over, and Brosnan would have to wait eight years for another chance. When it came, he was ready. “It was daunting, very daunting. But somehow, because it had come into my life before, it seemed like it was my destiny to play the role.”

    He obviously would have preferred to make at least one more. His first, GoldenEye, was in 1995 and took $350 million worldwide, while his last, Die Another Day, in 2002, grossed a staggering $430 million. Brosnan is the first to point out that he has enjoyed his share of the rewards. Playing Her Majesty’s longest-serving secret agent has made him an A-list star, commanding multi-million-dollar salaries; he’s set up his own company, Irish Dream Time, on the back of it; he owns houses in California and Hawaii, fast cars and the rest. But it’s still a shock when you are unceremoniously dumped. “It’s very hard to find the truth in that town,” he says. “All I know is that they changed their minds. If it’s true, they are looking for a younger actor, good luck to them. It’s out of my control. Do I take umbrage at this? Am I staggered by this? No. It’s a hard business and I wish them well, and I wish the next guy well.”

    Brosnan is well used to setbacks. He’s had to endure plenty of them, both professionally and privately, in what has been a remarkable life. Born in Navan, Co Meath, Brosnan came to London when he was 11 with his mother, May, a nurse, and her partner, Bill, a Glaswegian who would become his much-loved stepfather. His father, Thomas had separated from May when their son was a toddler. London was exciting, but it was also tough. Plonked into a large South London comprehensive, it was a struggle to be accepted. “It was huge and it was a baptism of fire, there was a lot of fending off the lads because you are easy pickings as a Mick. I fought. I had to. I had one glorious fight over the milk one morning. I had a soft spot for a girl and this lad had been on my case and he said something to her and that was it. And so it began. The fighting went on until I thought ‘this is nuts’, and I began to reinvent myself. I used humour to be accepted, until I was one of the lads.”

    Along with “the lads”, he’d pop to the cinema in Clapham or Wandsworth, and the first film he remembers was Goldfinger with Connery as Bond. “I loved it.” He was asked to audition for school plays, but wouldn’t dare. “A bunch of cissies did that. No way could you do that.” Instead, he went to see Hollywood films and their stars - Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen - and marvelled at their cool. “It wasn’t so much that I wanted to be an actor, I just wanted to be up there on the silver screen.”

    He left school at 16, a gifted artist - he still paints most days he isn’t filming - and worked as a graphic artist in a small studio in Putney, which mostly supplied drawings of furniture for newspaper ads. “I wanted to do album covers, something that was hip and cool. I made the coffee and watered the spider plants.” Escape was provided at a performing arts centre in Kennington after a chance conversation with a colleague about his love of cinema. “I had long hair, an earring, a great coat. I was about 17, I walked in and life changed like that [he clicks his fingers]. There were all these different people there, working class, middle class, black, white, musicians, poets, writers. It was just awesome. I thought to myself, ‘If this is acting, I’m going to have some of this!’”

    Within a year he told his parents that he wanted to give up the day job - Bill was worried but May encouraged him. “Dad wanted me to have a good trade. He was like, ‘What are you doing with all those theatricals?’” he laughs. “He thought I was turning. It was, ‘Dad, I’m not, I just really like it.’”

    After drama school, Brosnan did his share of provincial theatre and television. In 1977, he’d married Australian actress Cassandra Harris and she encouraged him to try his luck in America. They took out a £2,000 loan against the mortgage - claiming it was for a new central heating system - and headed to LA. “Once I got there [I had] the most glorious feeling that anything could happen. I felt a sense of freedom about it and luckily I got work, because financially there was a lot at stake.”

    Brosnan landed Remmington Steele almost immediately. High-profile, prime-time and relatively lucrative, the gamble had paid off. He had a family to look after - Cassie had two children from her first marriage, to Dermot Harris, brother of Richard, and their son, Sean - which suited him just fine. He’s never enjoyed being a bachelor. “Family is where I’m loved, and I can take care of those people that I love and make myself happy by caring for them. And, you know, to play that singles game is exhausting and ultimately very lonely.”

    Cassie’s death, from ovarian cancer in December 1991, left him completely devastated. He’d nursed her at home, and she died in his arms, one day before their 14th wedding anniversary. For a long time afterwards, he said later, he cried every day. He legally adopted his two stepchildren and carried on working - there was still a family to look after. When he eventually met Keely Shaye Smith, a model and actress, in 1996, he fell in love a second time. “I was lucky. I found love twice.”

    They have two children, seven-year-old Dylan Thomas and three-year-old Paris Beckett, and they married in 2001. Whenever possible, the family travel with him - the Bahamas for After the Sunset was a perfect location, and they rented a house next to Woody Harrelson and his two young children. “Dylan even has a little part in the film,” says Brosnan. “And now he’s got the bug and wants to be in movies all the time. What can you do?”

    Directed by Brett Ratner, After the Sunset stars Brosnan as Max Burdett, a jewel thief who retires to the Bahamas with his lover and partner in crime, Lola (Hayek). But when his nemesis, FBI agent Stan Lloyd, tracks him down, he’s not entirely sure he’s suited to retirement, especially when there’s the tempting prospect of stealing one of the world’s most famous diamonds from under Lloyd’s nose. All in all, it’s an unashamed popcorn movie, fast-paced with great-looking actors, stunning locations and plenty of gags.

    Life goes on, is the Brosnan philosophy. And it’s there to be enjoyed. “I’ve moved on from Bond. It’s over. You think you’re going in one direction and suddenly you’re going in another. But that’s happened to me many times. I have nothing but fond memories.” He recently became an American citizen. “I’ve lived in America for 23 years and it’s been a great country to me. I’m deeply proud to become an American.” A committed environmentalist who supports numerous green charities, Kerry got his vote. “Some of the things the Bush administration has done are disgraceful. I have children and I have to fight for their future and their children’s future. It’s pretty simple, really.” So Bond is no more - at least for Pierce Brosnan - and he no longer goes off to work to fight cartoon bad guys, but it’s nice for Paris to know that his dad is still trying to save the world - in his own way.

    After the Sunset opens on Friday

    Copyright 2004 Times Newspapers Ltd.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 14, 2004.

    Katie Grant: Thanks, Uncle Frank, for losing your head


    November 14, 2004

    Katie Grant: Thanks, Uncle Frank, for losing your head

    You just never know when the Jacobites are going to turn out handy. This week, under their auspices, I found myself most unexpectedly swept into the ambit of the lord mayor of London (not Red Ken, but the proper city chap) and, instead of supping tea on the train back to Glasgow, drinking champagne in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

    I was in the Puffin offices in the Strand, handing in the final proofs for Green Jasper, my latest children’s novel, when I decided to visit Paternoster Square by St Paul’s Cathedral to have a look at Temple Bar, the Christopher Wren gateway into London, which I knew was in the process of resurrection.

    My ancestor Colonel Francis Towneley (Uncle Frank as we call him) figures large in the story of the bar — but it has a curious history even aside from his contribution.

    Until 1878, there was always a gateway straddling Fleet Street to mark the boundary between Westminster and the City. There it stood until growing traffic congestion made it impractical and it was pulled down and dumped in a yard off the Farringdon Road. It caught the attention of Sir Henry Meux, a brewer who thought it would make a splendid wedding present for his new wife. And so he had it rebuilt as the gateway into his park in Hertfordshire, although it was an odd gift because the Bar ’s main claim to fame, and the reason for my interest, is the fact that its roof was used as an exhibition space for traitors’ heads. Lady Meux was clearly a wife with a sense of humour.

    But she died, and he died and the great gate fell into terrible disrepair until the Temple Bar Trust was set up in 1976. Funded to the tune of £4m by the Corporation of London, stone by stone the Bar was carefully dismantled yet again and brought back to London last year.

    Here is where the Jacobites come in, for the head of the last unfortunate to have his pitch-soaked bonce hoisted high on its roof was none other than my Uncle Frank.

    As I stood watching the workmen, somebody asked me what I was doing and when I told him, he fetched the gaffer and before you knew it, I had an invitation to the opening ceremony the following day. Thanks, Uncle Frank!

    He himself did not have my luck. After declaring it “better to die by the sword than fall into the hands of those damned Hanoverians”, he found himself on the Jacobite retreat, abandoned with his regiment in Carlisle. Hauled back to London, tried and condemned, he was hanged, drawn and quartered on Kennington Common on August 10, 1746.

    That should have been the end of his story, but it was not, for, having decorated Temple Bar for 26 years, my ancestors nicked his head and whisked it back to Towneley Hall, Lancashire. Once home, they placed it in a basket which they handed round with the port after dinner so that guests could pay their respects. Eventually it was decided Uncle Frank needed a bit of privacy and he was popped in a hatbox and kept in the domestic chapel.

    The hatbox was later sent to their bank in London, where it remained until the vaults were cleared during the war. Yet another journey north for poor Uncle Frank, but this time the family decided it was time he joined the rest of his remains in St Peter’s church, Burnley.

    But Uncle Frank was not quite finished yet. In 1974 my mother asked for the vault to be opened so that we could see how his head was doing. Suffice to say that Uncle Frank was doing fine but also that a companion had appeared, for there were two heads in the tomb, one most certainly Frank’s — the pike-hole was still clearly visible — and the other unidentified.

    Of such things, as I have discovered, books are made, and while I don’t suppose Uncle Frank would have been especially delighted to feel he would to end up the subject for a children’s novel, he would surely be pleased to know that one of his descendants was still raising her glass to his name. As for me, I’m just pleased my trip to Temple Bar turned out rather better than his.

    Copyright 2004 Times Newspapers Ltd.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 14, 2004.

    14-year-old girl accused of murdering barman

    South London Press

    14-year-old girl accused of murdering barman

    Nov 12 2004

    A TEENAGE girl from South Norwood has been charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    The 14-year-old girl appeared at Camberwell Green magistrates court on Wednesday charged with murdering the 37-year-old on London's South Bank on October 30.

    The accused girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also faces charges of attempted grievous bodily harm on two other men, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    A post-mortem examination of Mr Morley's body revealed he suffered a ruptured spleen, broken ribs and more than 40 bruises to his head and body.

    Magistrates referred the case to the Inner London Crown Court where the girl, who has been remanded in custody, will appear on Tuesday November 16.

    The girl is the fifth and youngest defendant to be charged with killing Mr Morley.

    Four other youths, all male, have already appeared before magistrates this week.

    On Tuesday, a 17-year-old from Kennington, south London, appeared before Camberwell Green magistrates. Three others from Kennington - 19-year-old Barry Lee, and two 16-year-olds - were remanded in custody by the same court on Monday.

    All four men are due to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday.

    A vigil was held for Mr Morley in Soho, central London, on Friday November 5, where he had previously worked as a barman.

    Five years ago, he was a bar manager at the Admiral Duncan pub on Old Compton Street when a nail bomb exploded, killing three people and injuring more than 70.

    At the time of his death, Mr Morley was living in Chiswick and working as an assistant manager at a bar in Earl's Court, west London.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 13, 2004.

    Gay killing 'filmed on mobile'

    Evening Standard

    12/11/04 - News and city section

    Gay killing 'filmed on mobile'

    By Ross Lydall, Local Government Correspondent, Evening Standard

    Mobile phone photographs were taken as a gang beat gay barman David Morley to death, Ken Livingstone claims.

    Mr Morley, 37 , from Chiswick, was attacked last month as he sat chatting to a friend on the South Bank.

    Police believe he was set upon because he was gay. He suffered a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs and 40 separate bruises from a hail of punches and kicks.

    Mr Livingstone, who campaigns against homophobia, made his claims when he was asked about Mr Morley's death at a public question session in Acton last night.

    Three teenagers appeared in court this week accused of murdering Mr Morley. Market trader Barry Lee, 19, of Kennington, and two 16-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before Camberwell magistrates.

    Mr Morley, who worked at the Birdcage pub in Chiswick, was a survivor of the nail bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in 1999 which killed three people.

    He was attacked in Jubilee Gardens near Hungerford Bridge, now renamed the Golden Jubilee Bridge.

    Mr Livingstone also said last night that he was working with gay rights group Stonewall to educate children about gay and lesbian lifestyles to reduce "rampant homophobia" in schools. They are drawing up teaching aids to spread tolerance and will organise a conference next year for all London schools "to help teachers tackle this discrimination".

    Mr Livingstone said: "Broadly, London is a very tolerant city. There is much less racism, much less sexism than other great cities around the world. When you go into our schools and colleges there is very little overt racism and sexism. There is completely open and rampant homophobia."

    He said part of the reason for this was Section 28, which made it "illegal to have any discussion about homosexuality" in schools. The law has since been changed.

    The Mayor used the public meeting to express concerns about government plans for 24-hour licensing and his wish for new community police teams to crack down on low-level antisocial behaviour.

    He said he feared the effect that round-the-clock opening could have in suburban town centres, and said late-night venues should be forced to contribute towards the cost of extra policing.

    He said: "We say that the publicans and clubs must pay the cost of the extra policing. We have not got the Government to agree to that yet but we are absolutely signed up. We all want a 24-hour city but not down our street."

    Richard Barnes, the London Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon and Tory police spokesman on the Metropolitan Police Authority, said: "It has a potential for disaster in outer boroughs."

    Mr Livingstone said he had met incoming Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to discuss plans to further roll-out six-strong teams of community officers to neighbourhoods in each of the 32 boroughs under the Met's control. The Mayor said: "I said it was my intention that as we get these neighbourhood police on the streets they should start to enforce the laws."

    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/14672397?version=1
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 12, 2004.

    Ethelred nursery and children's centre outstanding


    11 November 2004

    Ethelred nursery and children's centre outstanding


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 12, 2004.

    Sixth person charged with barman's murder

    Sixth person charged with barman's murder

    Wed November 10, 2004 05:31 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - A 20-year-old man has become the sixth person to be charged with the murder of a barman in London, according to police.

    Reece Sargeant of Kennington, south London, will appear at Camberwell Magistrates Court on Thursday to face charges that he and five others murdered David Morley, 37, police said on Wednesday.

    Morley was killed in the early hours of October 30 on the South Bank, a popular area of theatres, restaurants and nightspots near the River Thames.

    He had been with a friend who was also attacked. An autopsy on Morley, who survived the 1999 nail bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in London's Soho which killed three people, concluded he died of multiple injuries to his head and torso.

    Sargeant is also charged with the attempted assault of two other men, robbery and violent disorder.

    Five other teenagers, Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from south London, a 17-year-old male, two 16-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have already been charged in connection with the murder.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 11, 2004.


    Sky News


    A sixth person will appear in court later today charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    Reece Sargeant, 20, of Kennington, south London, will appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court.

    Mr Morley, 37, of Chiswick, west London, died after he was attacked near the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank shortly after 3am on October 30.

    Sargeant also faces charges of attempted GBH on two other men, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Five teenagers accused of killing Mr Morley appeared before the same court earlier in the week.

    Last Updated: 05:50 UK, Thursday November 11, 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 11, 2004.



    in St Anselm's Church at Kennington Cross
    from 3pm to 6pm then 6pm to 9pm.

    Dear friends, neighbours, colleagues, representatives and councillors,

    Please see attached (text also below) details of our WINTER WARMER.

    As at last year's party, we will be transforming St Anselm's church into a social, dancing, networking space for all. This year's party is co-hosted by
    Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum,
    Riverside Community Development Trust,
    Kennington SureStart and
    Lighthouse Educational Services.

    The party will start at 3pm with afternoon events including activities for children with SureStart's resident artist Beth Higgins, and continue into evening events from 6 to 9pm - or later if the spirit takes us.

    The idea of this community party for all, is to invite other groups or businesses, who may not have the premises or budget, to take a space in the church area and perhaps to contribute an event during the 6 festive hours.

    Lighthouse Educational Services will be hosting a discussion event in part of the space at 3.30pm and 7pm.

    Sean Creighton at RCDT - see above - BY MONDAY NOV 22nd please.

    with best wishes from us all - Celia.




    hosted by Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall Forum,
    Riverside Development Trust,
    Kennington Surestart,
    Lighthouse Educational Services (L.E.S.)
    and other local groups and businesses*

    286 Kennington Road at Kennington Cross SE11
    at 3pm to 6pm - and 6pm to 9pm

    Children's events by KenningtonSureStart and L.E.S. event at 3.30 pm and 7pm

    Local individuals, groups and businesses are organising this WINTER WARMER PARTY FOR ALL in the Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall area. We'll be pushing back the pews and decorating tables, making plenty of room to sing and socialise, dine and dance - or just sit, nibble and sip and network.

    *If you would like to make this your group¹s seasonal party too, contact Sean at RCDT ­ see below* BY MONDAY 22/11 PLEASE.

    BRING YOUR family, neighbours, colleagues and friends; MAKE THIS YOUR PARTY - bring your talents** and tastes** to share;

    CELEBRATE THE SEASON and achievements of the past year;

    MEET NEW FRIENDS and EXCHANGE IDEAS with like-minded individuals; FROM 3PM:
    **OPEN MIC. for all ages, singers, poets, budding actors and all with stories to share.
    **REFRESHMENTS - Hot punch, teas and coffee. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks with suggested donations ­
    plus: **BRING YOUR OWN bottle and a dish of your favourite nibbles to share**
    MUSIC: **Bring your own CDs all are welcome to bring requests and join in**
    FROM 5PM: **DANCE: spectate or participate, as the music moves you**
    FROM 8PM: WORLDWIDE MUSIC DJ: MIKE Gebreyohanes will be Dj-ing: Worldwide music: disco, Ethiopian, Latino, Arabian and Asian ­ don¹t forget your CDs.

    NETWORK - There will be areas for information on your activity, group or project - to discuss and promote.

    *If you would like to sponsor or help organise our WINTER WARMER PARTY, please contact:
    *Sean Creighton at Riverside Community Development Trust: email: info@rcdt.org 020 7926 2775
    If you would like this to be your group's party too, tell Sean your needs and ideas too - BY MONDAY NOV. 22nd please.



    Sean Creighton
    Development Consultant
    Riverside Community Development Trust
    Tel 020 7926 2775
    Fax 020 7926 2778
    Email info@rcdt.org

    -- Sean (info@rcdt.org), November 11, 2004.

    His paintings have just earned me £7m at one show. Can you tell who it is yet?

    Independent > News > UK > This Britain

    His paintings have just earned me £7m at one show. Can you tell who it is yet?

    Why, it's Rolf Harris of course, and prices for his work have risen tenfold since 2000 at his sell-out exhibition

    By Anthony Barnes, Arts and Media Correspondent
    07 November 2004

    Rolf Harris, the broadcaster once known for his daubed paintings and the catchphrase "Can you tell what it is yet?", has joined the ranks of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst as one of the UK's most bankable artists.

    Just four years after he staged his first art exhibition in Britain, his works now fetch up to £125,000 each - commanding 10 times the prices they fetched in 2000.

    His latest exhibition, at the Halcyon Gallery in central London, will raise more than £7m through sales of original canvases and limited-edition prints. Already at least £1.3m of the £1.6m-worth of paintings on sale, which include nudes, landscapes and portraits, has been snapped up.

    Harris's credibility with collectors has come at a time when he is enjoying further success with his BBC1 series Rolf on Art, in which he reinterprets the works of the masters. It has become the most-watched arts programme on British TV. The most recent run of shows featured an audacious effort to create a mammoth reproduction of Constable's Haywain in Trafalgar Square during a live broadcast.

    The 74-year-old presenter trained as an artist in the 1950s, coming to Britain from Australia to study at the City & Guilds of London Art School in Kennington. He exhibited in the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition before being sidelined by a career in TV and the pop charts, with hits such as "Two Little Boys".

    During the 1970s he used his art background to create giant stylised paintings with household paint and decorating brushes. But later success with his Animal Hospital programmes, which ran for a decade, meant he had little time to devote to his art.

    Harris began to concentrate on his painting again after being offered an exhibition at the Halcyon's Birmingham space. The gallery's managing director, Paul Green, said: "We were introduced by a mutual friend, I went to visit him at his home and I was gobsmacked, to put it mildly.

    "The whole house was based around art. His work, in true Rolf fashion, was stuffed all over the place. Then we went out to his carport and there were paintings sitting outside with cobwebs, footprints, slugs and whatever.

    "A lot of people in the art world will dismiss Rolf, but they are simply wrong. He has great talent."

    Mr Green said he had no doubts the entire run of prints for the latest exhibition, worth more than £6m in total, would sell out. They range from £215 to £695, and some at £525 each have already sold out.

    "It's nothing short of a phenomenon," Mr Green added. Last year an American buyer, unaware of the painter's celebrity or reputation, bought one of Harris's works, Flower Seller at the Elephant and Castle, for £95,000.

    Harris said he had long had the impression many viewers would have wanted to own some of the large works that became his trademark on TV. However, these were often done on washable backgrounds which were cleaned after recording, or even thrown away.

    "I think the paintings that I'm doing now are a chance for people to get an image of mine that they like and hang it on their wall," he said.

    He no longer stores works at his home but has added a studio. "Every time I can see a few hours free, I'm up there painting again and it's wonderful."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 10, 2004.

    Girl, 14, on murder charge

    10/11/04 - News and city section

    Girl, 14, on murder charge

    Evening Standard

    A schoolgirl has become the fifth teenager charged with the murder of barman David Morley.

    The 14-year-old from South Norwood, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is due to appear before Camberwell magistrates today. She is also accused of conspiracy to rob, robbery, violent disorder and attempted GBH with intent. Police yesterday also arrested a 20-year-old man in south London in connection with the murder.

    Barry Lee, 19, a market trader, a 17-year-old male and two 16 year-old male youths, all from Kennington, are due to face a preliminary hearing at the Old Bailey next week.

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 10, 2004.

    Girl, 14, charged over barman death

    South London Press

    Girl, 14, charged over barman death

    Nov 10 2004

    A fifth teenager is set to appear in court charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    The teenager, a 14-year-old girl from South Norwood, London, will appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court.

    Mr Morley, 37, of Chiswick, west London, died after he was attacked near the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank shortly after 3am on October 30.

    The girl also faces charges of attempted GBH on two other men, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    A 17-year-old male from Kennington appeared before Camberwell Green Magistrates Court charged with the same offences. He was remanded in custody.

    Three teenagers accused of killing Mr Morley appeared before the same court earlier.

    Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Fitzalan Street, Kennington, south London, and two 16-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were remanded in custody.

    All four males are due to appear at the Old Bailey next Monday.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 10, 2004.

    Murder denied in 'serial robber' case

    South London Press

    Murder denied in 'serial robber' case

    Nov 9 2004

    AN 82-YEAR-OLD woman died of a brain haemorrhage after she was punched and thrown to the floor, a court heard.

    Hilda Ashdown is believed to be the sixth robbery victim of alleged serial thug Elroy Simmonds, 26, on March 13 last year.

    Simmonds, of Tobey Close, White Hart Street, Kennington, is said to have carried out 11 robberies on the frail and elderly.

    He denies murder, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, 11 counts of robbery and two counts of assault with intent to rob between June 14, 2002 and April 19, 2003.

    A pair of grey trainers found at Simmond's home bore traces of Mrs Ashdown's blood and matched a footprint found at the scene outside her flat in Monclar Road, Denmark Hill.

    But Simmonds insisted a mobile phone stolen from a 90-year-old victim and found at his flat was given to him by a friend he could not name for fear of reprisals.

    Simmonds told the Old Bailey on Thursday that he bought the trainers from a car boot sale and had only worn them for three or four days while decorating his home.

    The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 09, 2004.

    Fourth teenager charged over murder

    South London Press

    Fourth teenager charged over murder

    Nov 9 2004

    A fourth teenager has been charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    The 17-year-old male youth from the Kennington area of London will appear at Camberwell Magistrates' Court.

    The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also accused of attempted grievous bodily harm on two other people, two counts of violent disorder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    The charges relate to attacks against 37-year-old Mr Morley, of Chiswick, west London, and a number of other people near the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank shortly after 3am on October 30.

    Three teenagers accused of killing Mr Morley appeared before Camberwell Green magistrates court yesterday.

    Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Fitzalan Street, Kennington, south London, and two 16-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were remanded in custody.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 09, 2004.


    SE1 Direct

    Sunday 14 November

    Meet 10.30am at 121 Westminster Bridge Road; £2 donation + train fare + lunch

    Map: http://quicklink.se1direct.co.uk/?id=915

    150th anniversary guided tour with London's Necropolis author John M Clarke. Meet at former railway building then train from Waterloo to Brookwood for cemetery tour.

    Contact Anna Robinson (see below) to reserve a pub lunch (£5.95) or bring sandwiches

    Details: AKRobinson@lambeth.gov.uk or 020 7926 6076

    History: http://www.tbcs.org.uk/railway.htm

    Buy John M Clarke's book from Amazon.co.uk: http://quicklink.se1direct.co.uk/?id=916

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Three charged in murder of gay London man

    United Press International

    Three charged in murder of gay London man

    Published 11/7/2004 5:28 PM

    LONDON, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- Three British teenagers have been charged with the London murder of a gay bartender, the BBC reported Sunday.

    David Morley, 37, died after he and a friend were attacked on London's South Bank in the early morning hours of Oct. 30. He had 40 distinct bruises as well as a ruptured spleen and fractured ribs.

    One of the accused has been identified as 19-year-old Barry Lee, a market trader from Kennington. The names of the other two, both 16-year-old boys, have not been released.

    The three are charged with murder, attempted grievous bodily harm, robbery and violent disorder. They will appear in court Monday.

    Four additional suspects were being held Sunday in separate south London police stations.

    A candle-lit vigil held Friday in Morley's honor was attended by more than 1,000 people in London.

    Copyright © 2001-2004 United Press International

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Brown to scrap VAT on Live Aid's charity DVD



    Nov 8 2004

    Brown to scrap VAT on Live Aid's charity DVD

    By Rosa Prince
    Political Correspondent

    GORDON Brown yesterday pledged to waive VAT on sales of the Live Aid charity DVD and the remake of the Band Aid single.

    The Chancellor told a delighted Bob Geldof before a star-studded launch of the 1985 concert recording.

    Organiser Sir Bob said: 'It will be a hugely significant sum of money that will help alleviate the misery of the hungry in Africa.'

    The concert, split between London and Philadelphia, brought together stars including U2, Queen and Madonna - but has never been released before.

    A remake of the 1984 Band Aid record Do They Know It's Christmas? - the biggest-selling single of all time - is set to be recorded on Sunday.

    Sir Paul McCartney and Bono are among the performers who will star on Band Aid 20. The U2 frontman will make a comeback to sing the line he delivered on the original: 'And tonight, thank God, it's them instead of you.'"

    In 1984, 3.5million records were sold in the UK raising millions to help starving people in Africa.

    This time if just 1.5million copies of the DVD and CD are sold, charities will get an extra £4million because of the VAT refund.

    But with a host of top stars signed up to take part in the charity recording - tipped to be the Christmas No1 - the saving could hit £20million.

    Each £4 CD single normally brings the Treasury 80p. It is only the third time a record has been made exempt from VAT. In 1984 Sir Bob was forced to plead with the Tory government for months before ministers agreed to drop the VAT levy. This time, it was Mr Brown who approached Live Aid campaigners.

    Mr Brown said: 'People can buy the DVD and record this Christmas knowing all the money will go to support the vital work of the Band Aid Trust in the poorest countries of Africa.'

    Stars including Ant and Dec joined Sir Bob at the launch of the DVD in Kennington, South London.

    Sir Bob said: 'In a remarkable gesture wholly in the spirit of Band Aid, the Government has refused to take a single penny from sales of the Band Aid 20 record and the Live Aid DVD.

    'Those of us old enough to remember the original song 20 years ago will have noted the contrast between the Government's response then and now.'

    The CD goes on sale on November 29. The final line-up also includes Robbie Williams, who recorded the entire song in Los Angeles last week. Producer Nigel Godrich will choose the line he wants the singer to contribute to the final mix.

    Chris Martin of Coldplay will sing the first line and play piano. Danny Goffey of Supergrass will play drums with Fran Healy of Travis on guitar. Other stars include Dido, The Darkness, Busted, Kate Moss, Will Young and Jamelia.

    Proceeds will go to the Band Aid Trust for famine in the Darfur region of Sudan.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Three on gay killing rap


    Monday, November 8, 2004

    Three on gay killing rap

    THREE teenagers have been charged with murdering gay barman David Morley during a series of street attacks.

    Market trader Barry Lee, 19, and two 16-year-olds are in court today.

    They also face charges of attempted grievous bodily harm on two other victims, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    Lee, of Kennington, South London, will appear with the other youths at Camberwell Magistrates Court.

    Mr Morley, 37, of Chiswick, was battered as he walked on London’s South Bank in the early hours of October 30.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Keeping business going swimmingly

    BBC News

    Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 00:31 GMT

    Keeping business going swimmingly

    Self-confessed workaholic John Gandley once claimed he would like to keep working until he was 80.

    With his firm Gandlake up and running for 30 years now, he could well be on his way to that landmark.

    Mr Gandley has 38 years of experience in the printing industry and helped to found the business which he now heads as managing director.

    What was your first car?

    A 1948 grey Ford Prefect with the old rack and pinion steering.

    It was the only one I could afford. If my memory serves me well, I paid £30 for it and sold it back to the garage after one year for £20.

    What was your first job?

    My very first job was a lifeguard at Kennington Oval Swimming Pool.

    However, I entered into the world of computers through the Civil Service, having been employed by the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance.

    I remember the salary was £600 per year.

    What was your first house?

    A newly built mid-terrace. I purchased it in 1965 and paid somewhere between £2,000 and £3,000.

    What's the best bit of business advice you've had?

    To always keep your customers happy.

    I am proud that our average customer stays with us for over eight years - we also have customers that have been with Gandlake for 25 years.

    What can the government do to boost business?

    The Freedom of Information Act comes into force in January 2005 - this dictates that all public authorities in the UK must pass information on activities, subject to stated exemptions, to anyone who makes a written request within 20 working days.

    With this in mind, I think it is vital to develop legislation that allows for greater use of electronic documents as this will be the easiest way of presenting information to citizens.

    What business story is grabbing your interest at the moment?

    The e-government 2005 deadlines and the need for electronic output is a major story at the moment because it will change the way millions of people view statements and pay their bills.

    Local authorities are interpreting the information they receive from central government in different ways with regard to what they have to do to comply with the 2005 compliance ruling.

    If you speak to four different councils you will get four different answers to what is required. Some will tell you they are just going through the motions and doing the minimum to comply.

    Other councils aren't sure when the deadline is, what needs to be done or how they should achieve it.

    Some councils don't feel the pressure at all and don't feel they need to be doing anything and some councils say they are taking it all very seriously and complying.

    The government should promote the success of the National Project to all councils and reinforce that they should learn from them and comply with these requirements.

    What's the biggest challenge facing business now?

    Finding the hidden costs.

    Our customers will often say that they have purchased software elsewhere, in the past, believing that they will have no more to pay and have then been hit with additional maintenance, support and upgrade costs, to name a few.

    All of our software costs are presented upfront and many businesses approach us because of that.

    What was the proudest moment of your career?

    I am proud that Gandlake has been a market leader for so long and has remained a healthy profitable company since it's inception over 30 years ago.

    My greatest achievement though, has to be running the print and mail systems for the Department of Social Services and Inland Revenue as well as implementing the first successful large scale print and mail system - known as the Automated Document Factory - for British Gas.

    Gandlake has served the output management and document needs of major organisations for more than 30 years - and currently handling business from one in four of the UK's councils.

    The group also boasts private sector customers including: River Island, Carlton Cards, British Gas, Irish Independent News Papers and Hoseasons.

    It transformed from a partnership to a limited company last year.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2004/11/08 00:31:59 GMT

    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Barman's killing: three in court

    Evening Standard

    08/11/04 - London news section

    Barman's killing: three in court

    Three teenagers were appearing in court today accused of the alleged homophobic murder of a barman. David Morley, 37, of Chiswick, was set upon by youths as he sat on a bench on the South Bank after a night out.

    Market trader Barry Lee, 19, of Kennington, and two 16-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were appearing before Camberwell magistrates.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 08, 2004.

    Barman murder: three charged


    November 07, 2004

    News in Brief

    Barman murder: three charged

    THREE youths were charged last night with the murder of David Morley, 37, a barman, in south London last weekend. Two are aged 16 and cannot be named. The third is Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Kennington, southeast London. All three are also accused of assault and robbery in connection with attacks on two other people in the area. Police have said they believe the attacks were homophobic.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 07, 2004.

    Trio charged over barman killing

    BBC News

    Sunday, 7 November, 2004, 01:03 GMT

    Trio charged over barman killing

    Three teenagers have been charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    Mr Morley, 37, from Chiswick, west London, died after he and a friend were attacked on London's South Bank shortly after 3am on Saturday, 30 October.

    The three charged are Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Kennington, and two 16-year-old boys.

    They are charged with murder, attempted grievous bodily harm, robbery and violent disorder and are due before Camberwell magistrates on Monday.

    Four other suspects have been bailed to return to separate south London police stations.

    Candle-lit vigil

    A post-mortem examination showed Mr Morley died from multiple injuries. He had 40 distinct bruises as well as a ruptured spleen and fractured ribs.

    More than 1,000 people attended a candle-lit vigil in London in his memory on Friday.

    People gathered at St Anne's Church in Soho while others lit candles in the street. Some then proceeded to the crime scene.

    Mr Morley worked at the Admiral Duncan pub in 1999 when a nail bomb killed three and injured 73.

    He escaped with minor burns and helped rebuild the pub after the attack by David Copeland.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 07, 2004.

    Three charged over gay barman's murder


    Three charged over gay barman's murder

    2.20AM, Sun Nov 7 2004

    Three teenagers have been charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley.

    They are Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Kennington, and two other 16-year-old boys who cannot be named for legal reasons.

    Police charged all three with the murder of David Morley, attempted grievous bodily harm of two other victims, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    The charges relate to attacks against Mr Morley and a number of other victims near the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank shortly after 3am last Saturday.

    All three will appear at Camberwell Magistrates Court on November 8.

    Four other suspects have been bailed to return to separate south London police stations.

    Mr Morley, of Chiswick, west London, suffered 40 bruises, a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 07, 2004.

    Three teenagers charged with gay man's murder


    Three teenagers charged with gay man's murder

    Sat November 06, 2004 10:31 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - Three teenagers have been charged with the murder of gay barman David Morley, police say.

    Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Kennington in south London, and two unnamed 16-year-old boys were charged with murder, attempted grievous bodily harm, robbery and violent disorder.

    Morley, a 37-year-old from west London, was beaten by youths who attacked him and a friend last month as they walked through London's South Bank, a popular area of theatres, restaurants and nightspots near the River Thames.

    The three teenagers are due to appear before Camberwell magistrates court on Monday, while four other suspects have been bailed to return to separate London police stations.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 07, 2004.

    Trio charged with gay barman murder

    South London Press

    Trio charged with gay barman murder

    Nov 7 2004

    Police have charged three teenagers with the murder of gay barman David Morley on London's South Bank.

    The three are Barry Lee, 19, a market trader from Kennington, and two other 16-year-old boys.

    Police charged all three with the murder of David Morley, attempted grievous bodily harm of two other victims, robbery, violent disorder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

    The charges relate to attacks against Mr Morley and a number of other victims near the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank shortly after 3am last Saturday.

    All three will appear at Camberwell Magistrates Court on Monday.

    Four other suspects have been bailed to return to separate south London police stations.

    Mr Morley, of Chiswick, west London, suffered 40 bruises, a ruptured spleen, fractured ribs.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 07, 2004.

    Of Good Report

    “Of Good Report”
    A new play by John Antrobus

    John Antrobus and Johnny Speight team up on the Frankie Howard Radio Show. John is a pacifist, fresh out of Sandhurst, and Johnny's a fan of George Bernard Shaw (and Stalin) from the East End of London. As the Cold War hits light entertainment a man at the Beeb wants names. Someone is due for a walk in the woods...

    White Bear

    138 Kennington Park Road
    London, SE11 4DJ
    PHONE - 020 7793 9193

    Ticket Price: £12.00



    Of Good Report tells of John's writing partnership with Johnny Speight, who died in 1998. Another veteran of television comedy, Johnny grew up in the East End as the son of a docker. After factory work and jobs as a milkman and a cook, he was introduced to Frankie Howard, Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan, and began work on Frankie Howard's radio show. He is probably best remembered for creating the controversial Alf Garnet in Til Death Us Do Part, while also writing That Was The Week That Was and Morcambe and Wise. His play The Compartment (1962) was credited with giving Michael Caine his first break. Of Good Report relates the dawning of a golden age of comedy. John Antrobus and Johnny Speight team up of the Frankie Howard Radio Show. John is a pacifist, fresh out of Sandhurst, and Johnny's a fan of George Bernard Shaw (and Stalin) from the East End of London. As the Cold War hits light entertainment a man at the Beeb wants names. Someone is due for a walk in the woods... — Whatsonstage.com

    Previews Start
    : Nov. 9, 2004
    Opening Date: Nov. 11, 2004
    Closing Date: Dec. 5, 2004

    Show Times:
    Tue-Sat 7:30pm. Sun 4:00pm

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 06, 2004.

    RSPB London House Sparrow Project - Request for Information

    RSPB London House Sparrow Project - Request for Information

    A request for information with a positive biodiversity flavour.

    Chris Osman, who works for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), is working on the RSPB London House Sparrow Project, investigating the causes of the decline in house sparrow numbers in the capital. I act as - get this - the "sparrow champion" for Lambeth. Such privilege. The house sparrow is also a priority species for the London Biodiversity Action Plan, and the Lambeth Community Strategy Environment Group has also proposed a House Sparrow Species Action Plan for the Lambeth Biodiversity Action Plan, which I'm now drafting up.

    Chris and RSPB's research biologist Nancy Ockendon are currently looking for suitable house sparrow colonies in London for their study, and have identified a few that they can use; however they we are still some way short of the total they'd need.

    Chris has asked me if I know of any house sparrow colonies in Lambeth that we could tell him about. Chris is keen to hear urban or suburban sites - including parks, open spaces and allotment sites, which are frequented throughout the year, but particularly the breeding season, by 10 or more sparrows.

    Ideally house sparrows will be nesting at or nearby the site, but the main thing is that local residents or groups will be willing to assist with regular maintenance of a food supply where applicable, and occasional access to Chris and Nancy for monitoring purposes. Chris has asked me to put feelers out for such sites, and names of any of sites and any helpful residents or site users. Obviously we can give access to Chris and Nancy to the Borough's parks and greenspaces, but I do want you as local residents or interested parties to be fully involved in this from the beginning. You probably have as much information - if not more - about sparrows than I do in many locations, so your expertise would be priceless.

    If I can supply Chris with suitable sites and contact details he will initially arrange a meeting with the potential helper(s) and assess the suitability of the site and its house sparrow colony. Obviously I'd be involved wherever I can, and I'd come to any meetings and site visits. I am only too happy to pass on Chris's email address to you, and I'm sure he'd be happy to acknowledge you in all findings and reports.

    This information will be of incredible value for the Lambeth BAP and the House Sparrow Species Action Plan, and help us to protect and promote this important little bird. I do see quite a few house sparrows when I'm out and about in Lambeth on parks and open spaces so I'm sure we can quickly add to the database!

    Chris and Nancy are working on the hypothesis that the sparrows' main problem is a lack of food during the critical nestling stage during the breeding season, so they'll be operating 3 different feeding regimes within sample colonies. At some, they'll provide a high protein diet (probably meal worms) during the breeding season; other colonies will have year-round seed; and the rest will receive no supplementary food (or rather nothing more than is already being provided). Monitoring the number of birds at each colony over the 3 years of the study should hopefully highlight any population change.

    Your assistance will be very much appreciated, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind regards

    Dr Iain Boulton
    Environmental Education Officer
    Lambeth Parks

    4th Floor Blue Star House
    234-244 Stockwell Road
    London SW9 9SP

    Tel: 020 7926 6209
    Fax: 020 7926 6201
    Email: IBoulton@lambeth.gov.uk

    -- Iain (IBoulton@lambeth.gov.uk), November 06, 2004.

    Saxy Mr Rudi

    Saxy Mr Rudi

    Nov 3 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    Streatham Post

    OAPS enjoyed a mixture of West Indian and English culture at a party to celebrate Black History Month.

    Voluntary group Make a Difference organised the bash.

    It included West Indian and English music and food at Streatham's Darby and Joan club in Leigham Court Road.

    About 60 pensioners enjoyed a performance by a Rastafarian drumming group based at Kennington's St Agnes Place.

    Saxophonist Rudi Jones - who performs under the name Mr Rudi - also entertained at the club.

    Make a Difference chairwoman Gloria Bailey said: "People enjoyed the performances so much - everyone was tapping their feet."

    Lambeth's deputy mayor, Councillor Daphne Marchant, gave a speech at the party on Thursday afternoon last week.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 04, 2004.

    Bad Girl Antonia lays down the law to kids

    Bad Girl Antonia lays down the law to kids

    Nov 2 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    IN prison drama Bad Girls she's tough-talking Yardie Darlene Cake who's been banged up for four years for smashing a girl in the face with a pint glass.

    But in real life actress Antonia Okonma is a former South Bank University student who said if she ended up in a prison cell she would pass the hours by reading the Bible.

    On Friday, she was one of four speakers who recounted their life experiences to a group of 100 Kennington youngsters to make them think twice about getting involved in crime.

    Antonia, 22, from Kensington, was invited to the event at Kennington's Pedlar's Park community hall by Brixton-based voluntary group Keep the Dream Alive.

    Antonia told the youngsters how she got her first big break on the hit ITV crime drama.

    Other speakers included 26-year-old Kevin Bennett from Main Company recording studios.

    Kevin, from Brixton, told the teenagers how despite getting a criminal record when he was younger, he had been able to achieve his ambitions.

    Keep the Dream Alive vice-chairman Genex, 37, told how he defrauded a bank of nearly £300,000 and ended up returning the money after having a "spiritual experience" while serving time in Brixton prison.

    The youngsters also had a session with police where they talked about why they might be reluctant to report crime.

    A representative from South Bank University spoke to them about the benefits of education.

    Project director Tola Onigbanjo said: "People who have given up a life of crime are now happier with other things they are doing - they don't have to look over their shoulder.

    "We aim to leave something positive with the youth so they know they don't have to go into crime and at the same time, let them know education is important and that they can utilise their talents."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 03, 2004.

    Drug den 'threat to safety'

    Drug den 'threat to safety'

    Oct 29 2004

    South London Press

    A FILTHY subway used as a drug den could threaten passenger safety at a landmark new transport interchange, a councillor has warned. The subway, at Vauxhall Cross, is shut to the public but its sloping entrance ramp has become a night-time haunt for drug addicts and vagrants.

    The underground ramp, next to the bus station, is piled high with used syringes and litter. Lambeth's executive member for community safety, regeneration and transport, Councillor Andrew Sawdon, said: "This is a complete no man's land and one of the worst scenes of environmental degradation in central London.

    "Plus, when this bus station opens, there will be public here - ordinary people using night buses. This will be a threat to their safety."

    Cllr Sawdon said it was not Lambeth's responsibility and called on Ken Livingstone to take action. The tunnel is owned by London Underground.

    Cllr Sawdon said: "I think the Mayor of London should step in and sort this out personally.

    "After all this is supposed to be one of his flag-ship projects - it's not looking like much of a flagship project at the moment."

    A Transport for London (TfL) spokeswoman said: "We are cleaning it up. We have asked Lambeth to get its sharp implements team to do the work, then we will clear away the rubbish."

    She said TfL would seal the ramp off with a gate and meshing. The Vauxhall Cross interchange would open before Christmas, she added.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 02, 2004.

    The Old Vic - Local residents' offer

    The Old Vic - Local residents' offer


    “CLOACA” is directed by Kevin Spacey and stars Stephen Tompkinson, Neil Pearson, Hugh Bonneville and Adrian Lukis. It runs until 11th December



    TO BOOK TICKETS, PHONE 0870 060 6628 AND QUOTE ‘CLOACA LOCAL’. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-6pm.


    Please bring proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, driving licence) when you pick up your tickets.

    For email updates, sign-up at www.oldvictheatre.com

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 02, 2004.

    Fitness walks in Kennington Park

    Lambeth - Sports and Recreation - Healthy lifestyles

    Fitness walks in Kennington Park

    Exercise on referral

    The main focus of the Exercise on Referral Scheme is the primary prevention of coronary heart disease.

    This scheme has been specifically developed to offer tailored exercise programmes for people leading a sedentary lifestyle who suffer from any of the following medical conditions:

    Controlled hypertension, Diabetes type 1, Diabetes type 2 controlled, Asthma, COAD, Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, mild anxiety/depression, obesity, or Hypercholesterolaemia.

    Physical activity and sport is seen to play a key role in improving health and well-being and can alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the conditions referred to above.

    There are a choice of sessions; aqua aerobics, circuit, gym sessions and healthy walks. The walks takes place in:

    Brockwell Park - every Tuesday at 2pm, meeting at the Lido.
    Myatt's Fields Park - every Friday at 3.15pm, meeting at the conservatory.
    Streatham Common - every Thursday at 1pm, meeting at the Café.
    Kennington Park - every Monday 1pm, meeting at the Café.

    These walks are for all abilities and ages - absolutely anyone can come along. It's a great chance to meet new people, and get some exercise at the same time. The walks will be taken by a qualified instructor - so pop along for free!

    Please call on 020 7926 0761 for further details.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), November 02, 2004.

    KA Art Auction: The Taster Catalogue

    KA Art Auction: The Taster Catalogue

    Hi All

    The first Kennington Association Art Auction takes place on Wednesday, November 10th at Pizza Express: below is a list of ten typical items to be auctioned (all 80 or so will be listed in the final catalogue on sale at the Auction) and a poster giving details of times and dates of the Auction and the PreView. We look forward to seeing you there.

    Best wishes

    The Art Auction at Pizza Express: Just ten of the items entered for sale…

    The Kennington Association
    Art Auction
    At Pizza Express*

    A Short Taster Catalogue of Items for Sale

    Art Auction: 7.30 pm Wednesday 10th November
    (Doors Open 6.30pm)

    Viewing: 7pm Monday, 8th November

    Catalogue at the door, including a glass of wine, £2.50

    On Wednesday, 10th November, The Kennington Association will auction more than 80 paintings, prints and other works of art donated by Kennington residents and friends. Proceeds will be used to help fund new, deserving community initiatives in 2005.

    The lots to be auctioned include something for everyone: there are lots that are expected to sell for under £25, many for between £25 and £85 and some that should reach well over £100, or even £200 or more. And it should also be a great fun event. If you want to have an early look at the items, or to choose the ones you want to bid for, come also to the viewing on Monday, 8th November.

    Below is a list of ten typical items for sale are listed…….

    1. Night-time Motorscape by Jim Cross. Oil on board. 40x80cm.

    2. Sand, Sea & Sky. Soft colours at low tide. Large print in white mounting. 26x33cm.

    3. Framed original watercolour of Cleaver Square by Valerie Otte. Autumnal elegance in Kennington. 55x40cm

    4. Ginger Cat; A Grant Palmer Sculpture from Country Artists. A 23 cm long, 20 cm high friend for life.

    5. Nude Woman. Oil on board. Dramatic yet sensitive, 90x60cm by Nina Vilsoen.

    6. Orange Crescendo 1 by Owen Barfield: magnificent 120x60 cm abstract, oil on canvas. Will bring any room to glorious life.

    7. Fairlight: 60/150 Limited Edition Print of a Linda McCartney photo, signed by Linda herself. A real original! 40x60cm

    8. Life Force: an explosion in colour, well framed print, mounted on card behind glass. 65x55cm

    9. Pink Dawn over the Hills: Framed 120x80cm spray-painted on canvas. An evocative and misty landscape.

    10. La Main D’Or framed poster print (1) of Pirro: fireworks and the feeling of France. 80x56cm
    La Main D’Or framed poster print (2) of Pirro: colourful 80x56cm (To be auctioned as pair)


    Kennington Association
    The Art Auction
    Pizza Express*

    7.30 pm
    Wednesday 10th November
    (Doors Open 6.30pm)

    Kennington Residents have donated more than 75 original paintings and prints for the auction.

    All proceeds to the Kennington Association for community activities in 2005.

    Catalogue at the door, including a glass of wine, £2.50

    Viewing: 7pm Monday, 8th November

    * Pizza Express, (316 Kennington Road
    Corner of Windmill Row & Kennington Road)

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), October 31, 2004.

    Mothers share anger four years after deaths of sons

    South Londo Press

    Mothers share anger four years after deaths of sons

    Oct 29 2004

    PROUDLY looking at photographs of their sons, Maria Miller and Dawn Allimi describe the past four years as "a living nightmare".

    Time is meant to be a healer, but for both mums the painful memories of the tragic accident that claimed the lives of the two lads is still fresh in their minds.

    On the evening of August 1 2000, motorbike rider Dean Miller and pillion passenger, 15-year-old Tunde Allimi, became involved in a high-speed police chase after officers suspected the bike was stolen.

    Just 30 seconds after the powerful Suzuki vanished from the sight of police, it crashed into a vehicle in South Norwood Hill, South Norwood, killing Tunde and leaving Dean, a college student from Greenwich, with a brain injury.

    Recalling the night, Mrs Miller, from South Norwood, told the Advertiser: "Under my curtains I could see a swarm of light coming down. I just thought there had been a match played at Crystal Palace."

    The light was actually coming from the traffic tailbacks outside following the accident involving her son, which happened nearby.

    Shortly afterwards, she got a phone call from her daughter saying there had been a motorcycle accident involving Dean.

    He clung to life for 11 weeks at Atkinson Morley's Hospital, in Wimbledon, as his family prayed for the 23-year-old's recovery. But he died on October 11, 2000.

    A tearful Mrs Miller said: "The consultants told me he had suffered such severe brain damage that it would be a miracle if he came round.

    "At times there seemed to be signs that he was coming around.

    "But the staff made him comfortable as they could see he was slipping away.

    "Dean was so kind-hearted and a wonderful son."

    His passenger, Tunde Allimi, a pupil at Selhurst High School for Boys, was killed after he was flung into the path of a car.

    His mum, Dawn, from Upper Norwood, said: "He was such a helpful boy, he was willing to help anybody he met.

    "He was a fun-loving boy who was very well cared for."

    It was over a year before an inquest was opened into the deaths of the two boys.

    At Croydon Coroners' Court, both families were left shocked by many of the things that emerged from the hearing.

    Police officers said they had given chase because they suspected the bike was stolen. But although Dean was the lawful owner of the machine, he had been disqualified from driving.

    Eyewitnesses described the bike roaring past at 90mph and the victims' legal representatives claimed the officers' continued pursuit was in defiance of Metropolitan Police safety rules

    But the pursuing officer said circumstances had not warranted giving up the chase.

    The inquest also heard one police driver had been disciplined by his supervisors for trying to block the speeding motorcycle by positioning his patrol car at an angle across the street.

    And the Met was criticised by the victims' legal representatives for leaving a trainee control desk operator in charge of monitoring the pursuit.

    A jury returned a verdict of accidental death, with coroner Dr Roy Palmer saying this finding would not prevent the families exercising their right to take civil proceedings.

    Mrs Miller said: "For us, the inquest left a lot of gaps and the matter had not been closed."

    Both families later approached the Police Complaints Authority (PCA), who looked into the case for a year. But they were satisfied the matter had been fully investigated.

    Still unsatisfied, the Miller and Allimi families are still pursuing the case and feel that somebody should be made accountable for the accident.

    They are angry that the police pursuit was not called off at an earlier stage.

    Mrs Allimi said: "You can't really move on.

    "For both of us it's been sheer hell since this happened. It's like living in a nightmare - you think it is all really a bad dream."

    It was alleged at the inquest that the chase was raciallymotivated because officers could not accept two young black men could be riding a high-powered bike legally. Police witnesses denied any racial motive.

    The families have now approached the Monitoring Group, a registered charity, which is now investigating the incident.

    Mrs Miller added: "My eldest daughter has lost her only brother. She used to take him to school - she certainly hasn't got over this. You just have to get on with your life the best you can, but it's so difficult."

    * A special memorial service for Dean Miller and Tunde Allimi is being held on Tuesday, November 16, from 6.30pm. Anybody who knew the boys is invited to attend St Mark's Church, 56 Kennington Park Road, London.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 30, 2004.

    Man, 87, has Christmas cash snatched by female trickster

    South London Press

    Man, 87, has Christmas cash snatched by female trickster

    Oct 29 2004

    AN 87-YEAR-OLD was robbed of his Christmas savings when a woman tricked her way into his home.

    She conned her way into the elderly man's flat by pretending to know his family before stealing a wallet containing £500 in cash, which the pensioner had saved to buy Christmas presents for his grandchildren. The burglary took place at around 2pm on Saturday at an address in Lambeth. Detective Constable Paul Donoghue, of the Kennington Robbery Squad, described the theft as a "callous crime".

    He has appealed for witnesses and information.

    The suspect is described as a 5ft 2in tall olive-skinned woman, aged around 20-25. She was slimly built and had brown hair which was tied up, apart from four ringlets which hanged down.

    She also spoke with an "unusual" accent.

    Anyone with information should call the robbery squad on 020 8649 2434.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 30, 2004.



    I'd like to recommend to you an electrician:

    Patrick Blake
    07950 382154

    Lives in Lewisham and lectures in Electrics at Lambeth College.

    Recommended by my plumber, Oliver, and doing loads of work for his father, Mario, a neighbour upstairs in my building. Mario is thrilled with him too.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 24, 2004.

    Planning: 193 Kennington Lane and 292-294 Kennington Road

    Planning: 193 Kennington Lane and 292-294 Kennington Road

    Planning Applications Committee 12 10 04


    See Page 4 for details of the decision

    Released: 22 October, 2004 03:58
    Filesize: 32kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    Of Good Report

    Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London


    Of Good Report

    Play about Till Death Do Us Part creator Johnny Speight.

    Remember Spike Milligan, Tony Hancock, the Two Ronnies, Alf Garnett, Frankie Howerd? If so, you will probably enjoy "Of Good Report" at the White Bear on Kennington Road from 9 November to 5 December. The Box Office is on 7793 9193.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    Can you help some local young people?

    Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London


    Can you help some local young people?

    A team from the Prince's Trust are aiming to help improve the environment of Kennington's community centre near the Oval tube station. They need decorating materials and equipment. Do you have any spare paints, brushes, buckets etc? If so, please contact Josie Falkner on on 07775 598848 (email jfalkner@ntlworld.com).

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    How much your MP costs

    How much your MP costs

    MP: Hoey, Kate (Lab, Vauxhall)
    LONDON* £1,574*
    IEP £4,658
    STAFF £64,745
    TRAVEL £5,093
    ST TRV £0
    ST'NERY £3,629
    IT £1,404
    TOTAL £81,103
    RANK 649

    * - MP claimed £1,574 London supplement

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    MPs hit taxpayers' pockets with £209m expenses claim

    Independent > News > UK > Politics

    MPs hit taxpayers' pockets with £209m expenses claim

    By Marie Woolf and Ben Russell
    22 October 2004

    MPs have run up a £209m expenses bill since the last general election and have claimed taxpayers' cash to buy new fridges, sofas or even television licenses, it emerged yesterday.

    The astronomical cost of Britain's 659 MPs was revealed as their expenses claims were published for the first time. They showed that members are claiming an average of £118,000 a year in taxpayers' subsidies on top of their £57,485 salaries.

    Tony Blair, who has official residences in Downing Street and Chequers, ran up a bill for £43,000 since the last election in subsidies for his constituency home in Sedgefield, which he bought for £30,000 in 1983.

    Downing Street insisted that the cash was to pay the mortgage on the detached residence, called Myrobella, and crucial repairs to the property, which also serves as an office.

    The Prime Minister is among a number of cabinet ministers, including Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, who receive grace-and-favour residences from the state but also claims tens of thousands of pounds to run another private home.

    Outer London MPs claimed £500,000 in housing subsidies even though their constituencies are often only a few miles from Westminster. The bulk of those 49 MPs claimed the allowance, designed to help MPs with constituencies in far-flung parts of Britain. Tony Banks, MP for West Ham, claimed £20,000 for a housing allowance even though his constituency is a Tube ride away from Westminster.

    The senior salaries review board (SSRB), which sets public service pay, recommended that some allowances be slashed. It also proposed that the controversial "additional costs allowance" for accommodation should only be updated in line with inflation. The SSRB recommended pay rises of 2 per cent for MPs and ministers. But it warned that MPs' pay lags far behind comparable jobs in the private sector.

    MPs are allowed to claim expenses for staff, office costs, accommodation and travel to and from their constituencies. The subsidies come on top of MPs' salaries of £57,485 a year and a cabinet minister's salary of £72,862. The expenses show that as well as travel and accommodation, MPs claimed £11.49m last year in incidental expenses, £430,000 in staff travel, £720,000 for stationery, £2.2m in postage and £1.17m in IT provision.

    The most expensive MPs last year were Claire Curtis-Thomas, Labour MP for Crosby, who claimed £168,889, and Keith Vaz, the former Europe minister, who claimed £164,265.

    A spokesman for Unison, Britain's biggest union, said: "Some of these expenses seem excessive, particularly when we have other public sector workers who are on very low wages."

    One of the top 10 big spenders branded the publication of expenses "a total nonsense". Peter Pike, the MP for Burnley, who claimed £153,989, insisted those with large expenses were among those who spent the most time working hard. He said the figures could be "quite misleading". "I genuinely believe you have got to look at what MPs do ... You cannot just look at them off the peg."

    Mr Pike sits on three select committees in the Commons.

    The Green Book, the pay guide for MPs, says they should claim only for "those additional costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred" while working away from their home.


    By Marie Woolf

    Ministers with grace-and-favour homes are also claiming tens of thousands of pounds in housing allowance. They include:
    Tony Blair has a smart family flat above 11 Downing Street and an elegant country residence at Chequers, Buckinghamshire. He also owns a spacious detached house in his Sedgefield constituency. Recently he purchased a £3.6m Georgian house in central London. Over the past three years he has claimed £43,029 in housing allowance payments, which Downing Street says he has used for the mortgage and repairs at Sedgefield.
    Gordon Brown has a small official flat above 10 Downing Street, a flat in central London and a house. He has claimed £43,178 in three years.
    John Prescott has a grace-and-favour flat at the top of Admiralty House in London, an official country residence in Dorney Wood, Buckinghamshire and a house in his Hull constituency. He has claimed £57,066.
    David Blunkett, has an official residence at Government House in Pimlico. He also owns a one-bedroom house in Southfields, south-west London, which he rents out, and a house in his constituency. He has claimed £54,755 over three years.
    Jack Straw has an official country residence in Chevening, Kent, and an official London residence in Carlton Gardens off Pall Mall. He also has a family home in Kennington and a house in his constituency. He has claimed £44,019 in housing expenses since 2001.
    Margaret Beckett, Environment Secretary, has a grace-and-favour flat in Admiralty House in Westminster, a detached cottage in her Derby constituency and a flat she lets in Westminster, near the House of Commons. She has claimed £50,176 over the past three years.
    Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, has a government flat in Admiralty House as well as a house in Kennington, south London from which he gains a rental income. He also has a home in his constituency. Mr Hoon has claimed £54,217 in three years.
    Michael Martin, the Speaker, has an apartment in Parliament. He also owns a flat in London and a house in his constituency. He claimed £42,501.


    The four Sinn Fein MPs claimed more than £430,000 between them last year in expenses and allowances, although they refuse to take up their Westminster seats.

    Michelle Gildernew, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, topped the Sinn Fein list, collecting £115,420 between April 2003 and March 2004. The sum included £18,400 towards the cost of living in London, and £67,738 for staff. Sinn Fein's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, MP for Mid Ulster, claimed £110,653; the party president Gerry Adams, MP for West Belfast, claimed £109,315; while Pat Doherty, the West Tyrone MP, claimed £104,064.

    Sinn Fein MPs have office accommodation at Westminster. They have not sworn or affirmed the oath of allegiance to the Queen.


    By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent

    Outer London MPs claimed nearly £500,000 last year to cover mortgage payments, rent and hotel bills in Westminster even though their constituencies are only a few miles from the House of Commons.

    Most MPs with seats in the commuter belt around London claim substantial amounts under the "additional costs allowance" which covers the cost of staying away from home while on parliamentary duties. The allowance can be used to cover hotel bills, mortgage interest payments, rent and even the cost of electricity, a TV licence or household appliances.

    Many claim close to the top figure of £20,902 a year even though their constituents think nothing of the daily journey into the capital.

    Forty-nine MPs whose constituencies are included in an official list of outer London seats are entitled to claim, or to choose a far lower £1,618 London allowance if they live at their main home. The 26 inner London MPs cannot claim the extra money and are automatically paid the £1,618 allowance.

    The figures show that just 17 outer London MPs do not claim the additional costs allowance. Most of those who do, claim well in excess of £10,000.

    Margaret Hodge, Minister for Children and MP for Barking; Vincent Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman and Twickenham MP; Paul Boateng, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Brent South MP; and Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston and Surbiton, are among those who choose not to claim the additional costs.

    Of those who take advantage of the allowance:
    * Tony Banks, Labour MP for West Ham, claimed £20,333 although his east London seat is only a 25-minute Tube ride away.
    * Andrew Rosindell, Tory MP for Romford, whose Essex constituency is less than 20 miles from central London but who has a pied-à-terre there, claimed £20,333.
    * Jenny Tonge, Lib Dem MP for Richmond Park, claimed £13,554 for her flat 10 minutes from the Commons, even though her main home is in Richmond, around 10 miles away.
    * Derek Conway, Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, on the south-eastern outskirts of London, claimed £20,333.


    The MP who ran up the biggest bill for the taxpayers was Claire Curtis-Thomas, the loyal Blairite MP for Crosby, Merseyside, who collected £168,889 between April 2003 and March 2004.

    Her expenses included the maximum £20,333 for staying away from her constituency, £19,780 for office premises and equipment, £71,773 for staff costs, £27,155 for travel, £19,038 on postage and £2,021 on computers.

    The former minister Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, claimed £164,265, including £18,893 for postage.

    Mohammed Sarwar, MP for Glasgow Govan, received £157,262.

    Peter Pike, who is retiring next year as Labour MP for Burnley after 21 years, picked up £153,989.

    Eric Joyce collected £152,861. He ran up a travel bill of £39,116 - the second highest of any MP - travelling between London and his Falkirk West constituency.


    The Tory MP Michael Trend was officially bottom of the list on £56,657, but only after he repaid £90,000 in accommodation allowances he should not have claimed. Mr Trend was suspended from the Commons for two weeks and will stand down at the next election following a newspaper exposé.

    Sarah Teather claimed £68,689, but has only represented Brent East since her shock by-election win for the Liberal Democrats last September.

    Stephen McCabe, the Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, came in cheapest for the full year at £70,519, after claiming just £12,970 for his London living expenses.

    Dennis Skinner, the veteran left-wing MP for Bolsover, spent just £71,120 representing Bolsover. His London living expenses were £12,128.

    Next cheapest was the Tory grandee, Sir John Stanley, whose Tonbridge and Malling seat is in Kent, on £73,849.


    The husband and wife MPs Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton jointly claim more than £188,000 in expenses and allowances. Sir Nicholas, the Tory MP for Macclesfield, claims £14,749 in additional costs allowance, which pays for MPs' living expenses away from home, while Mrs Winterton, the Conservative MP for Congleton, claims £18,602 for the same allowance.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    Sounds for the rainforest

    South London Press

    Sounds for the rainforest

    Oct 22 2004

    POPULAR quirky party bar South London Pacific is hosting The Jungle Boogie Event in aid of Rainforest Concern next week.

    Guests can enjoy a lively mix of live funk, soul and jazz, with live musicians, DJs and dancers next Thursday at the Kennington Road venue. There's also a cabaret, various prize draws, including the chance to win two tickets to Paris on the Eurostar, a meal at Marco Pierre White's hip Soho restaurant L-Escargot plus designer clothes.

    The aim of the night is to raise funds to help sustain the rainforests in Ecuador, and for every £25 raised Rainforest Concern will be able to buy one acre of land.

    The Jungle Boogie, Thursday, October 28, at South London Pacific, Kennington Road, Kennington. Doors 7pm-1am, ticket £6. For more info or to book advance tickets call 01322 359 556.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 22, 2004.

    Kennington heroes of the Blitz

    Local Online


    Kennington heroes of the Blitz

    Charlie Rapley, an Air Raid Patrol Warden, was killed in 1941. His sacrifice has recently been recognised by the Government after 63 years.

    On the night of 19th April 1941, towards the end of the main Blitz on London two Local community Air Raid wardens were on duty in their Post at the Vestry of St Philips at 214 Kennington Road.

    Charlie Rapley and Issie Kutz were old friends and joined the ARP service at the start of the war in 1939. Charlie was born in 1901 and Issie in 1905. They had survived the worst that the Germans could throw at London since the start of the Blitz in August 1940.

    Air raid wardens have been the butt of jokes and comedy ever since but whilst every one else was comparatively safe in the shelters they were above ground at their posts waiting for bombs to drop in their 'patch'. They would then be the first on the scene and call up the help needed from the emergency services and rescue squads even though the bombs were still falling thick and fast.

    These men were as courageous as any front line serviceman. Often being first on the scene they were the ones who made the initial rescues of trapped people. They also acted as guards until the police arrived to prevent looting of bombed premises, an occurrence all too familiar in the blitz.

    The Kutz family had a shoe repair shop in Lambeth Walk which was still there years after the war. The Rapley family had lived in the warren of streets between Lambeth Walk and Kennington Road for at least two hundred years. Charlie was living in Tracey Street at the time of his death quite literary a stone's throw from his post. He was a very kind man well liked by all who knew him for his generosity to others in the hard times of the thirties. He was a bookies' tic-tac man and travelled all over the country for the various bookmakers who employed him. He ended up working for William Hill's. An all round sportsman, he excelled at Lollard Street school winning three Kings Medals for excellence.

    The bomb landed right on the Vestry and killed the two of them outright, we believe that a 16 year old messenger died from his wounds and also a woman. We know nothing yet about these other two heroes but most posts had a boy messenger who would ride his bike through the bombs and rubble to notify the other services of the situation and what help was needed if the phone lines were down. Women were often on duty at the ARP posts handling all the co-ordinating phone calls and paper work as much on the front line as anyone.

    Last month at the request of his family the Home Secretary awarded Charles Edward Rapley his World War 2 Defence Medal which would have been his due if he had survived but the family did not realise that the deceased were still eligible for medals when they were issued after the war. So it has taken 63 years but a local hero has at last been honoured. What of Israel Kutz? Did he get his medal? Somehow I don't think so, does any one else know? Does anyone know where his family are now? Shall we try to find out? Who were the other two heroes, they are owed their due as well. Does anyone know?

    If you know someone who lived in the area during the war ask them if they know who the others were, who knows perhaps we might even be able to get a little plaque put up at the site or at the school if it is still there.

    You can find out more about wardens and the blitz on the internet. Try looking up our heroes on the Commonwealth War Graves Site.

    Material contributed by George Rapley, brother of Charlie, and Peter Spearink, his nephew, 11 October 2004.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 16, 2004.

    2 for 1 curry and a free Kingfisher beer

    The Sun

    2 for 1 curry and a free Kingfisher beer

    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    DON’T be a vinda-looser - cash in on our fab curry offer.

    The Sun is celebrating Kingfisher World Curry Week by spicing up your life with a two-for-one curry meal deal.

    From Wednesday your red-hot Sun is inviting readers to korma along for a half-price curry.

    We’ve got together with some of Britain’s finest Indian restaurants for this tasty bargain, which lets you and up to five pals eat for half price - plus you all get a free Kingfisher beer!

    Just buy one main meal and/or a starter and get another of equivalent or lesser value free.

    You can then claim a free pint or 330ml bottle of tasty Kingfisher.

    More than 430 restaurants are taking part across the UK so there’s bound to be one not too phaal away.

    To cash-mir in on Britain’s best meal deal, just collect four differently numbered tokens from the six we will be printing in The Sun newspaper.

    To get hold of Token 1 go out and buy Saturday's Sun newspaper. Once you have all your tokens, attach them to the voucher which we will print on Wednesday in The Sun, along with a special four page pullout with full restaurant listings.

    Then poppadom to your local participating Indian restaurant to book a table (offer subject to table availability) or give them a call.

    You can book any Monday to Thursday for lunch or dinner from Wednesday, October 20, until Thursday, November 11, 2004. Terms and conditions apply.

    Terms and conditions

    Cut out the main voucher in Wednesday’s Sun with four differently numbered Sun Curry Tokens attached. This entitles you to one free main dish and/or starter for each one purchased, to a maximum of three. This voucher entitles one booking for up to six people.

    Voucher is valid only at restaurants listed in today’s Sun pullout dated 20 October 2004. Offer valid on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from October 21 until 11 November 2004.

    This promotion does not include VAT and cover charge. No photocopied, damaged or defaced vouchers accepted. No cash alternative given. Offer subject to availability. Voucher valid for one visit only. Any queries please call 0870 1267 509.

    You will also have three small vouchers entitiling up to six people to a pint or 330ml Kingfisher beer when one main course and/or starter is bought in The Sun 2 for 1 Curry meal deal. Please note, only one free Kingfisher beer per person per visit.

    Participating restaurants in Kennington

    Ghandi's Restaurant, 347 Kennington Road, Kennington, London, 020 7735 9015

    Kennington Tandoori, 313 Kennington Road, Kennington, London, 020 7735 9247

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 16, 2004.

    Retrial in case of fatal fight

    Retrial in case of fatal fight

    Oct 15 2004

    South London Press

    A MAN accused of killing the cousin of former Manchester United striker Lou Macari with a single punch faces a retrial.

    Scott Elliott, 21, allegedly floored 28-year-old Joseph Macari during a mass drunken brawl outside a kebab shop in Kennington. Mr Macari cracked his head on the pavement and died in hospital from head injuries on November 3 last year.

    Elliott, of Elworth House, Oval Place, Oval, denies manslaughter. He did not give evidence but denied throwing the fatal punch.

    An Old Bailey jury could not reach a verdict after two days' deliberation. The judge, Sir John Blofeld, discharged them and said there would probably be a retrial on a date yet to be decided.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 16, 2004.

    Lines of thought

    Lines of thought

    Oct 15 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    TRAVEL broadens the mind - especially at the Oval Underground station.

    Commuters who pass through the station are sent on their way with a thought of the day courtesy of staff.

    The thoughts, written on a noticeboard in the station's foyer, have become such a big hit with Tube passengers they could eventually be rolled out across the whole network.

    It was station supervisor Tony Gentles and assistant Desmond Kroma who came up with the idea.

    Tony said: "We decided it would be nice to give customers a thought for the day to give passengers something to inspire them or think pleasant thoughts about as they make their daily commute to work.

    "Now, many customers really look forward to seeing what is on the board.

    "People have even asked us to have our photos taken with them standing by the board and we have had letters from people saying how much they like it."

    The thought of the day noticeboard, placed next to another board which displays vital travel information for passengers, is a constant talking point at the busy Underground station.

    "I think it is a really good," said commuter Natasha McIntosh: "I come through here twice a week and I always look forward to seeing what's on the board."

    The catering manager and South Bank University student added: "You do leave thinking about the thought for the day as you go on your way".

    London Underground group station manager Tony Smith said the reaction to the thought of the day had been so positive he was thinking of doing the same in other Tube stations south of the river.

    Tony told the South London Press: "We're thinking of doing this at Kennington, Borough, Stockwell, Clapham Common and Clapham North and South now.

    "And who knows - one day the thought of the day board could be something commuters see across the whole of the Tube network."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 16, 2004.

    Doctor robbed on bus

    Doctor robbed on bus

    Oct 15 2004

    South London Press

    A DOCTOR was robbed of his "duty" mobile phone while he was travelling on a late-night bus.

    The doctor was travelling towards Oval on a 185 bus when his phone - which his patients called when they needed help - was snatched.

    This week police have released a CCTV image of a teenager they want to speak to in connection with the robbery which took place on Saturday, August 21. Police have released the image after other investigations failed to locate the suspect.

    Detective Constable Chris Collins, of Kennington CID, said, "This was a callous theft. The doctor's phone was his direct link to his patients."

    Information should be passed on to Kennington Priority Crime Unit on 020 8649 2477, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 16, 2004.

    Lambeth: Executive Minutes 11 October 2004


    Executive Minutes 11 October 2004


    Released: 15 October, 2004 09:42
    Filesize: 35kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 15, 2004.

    North Lambeth Area Committee 6th October 2004

    North Lambeth Area Committee 6th October 2004


    Released: 14 October, 2004 10:37
    Filesize: 34kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 14, 2004.

    The Durning Library Older Persons' Afternoon - Wednesday, 20th October 2-3pm

    The Durning Library
    Older Persons' Afternoon


    Thanks to funding from "Health First", Lullyn Tavares leads a gentle exercise class to music for the Over 50s and the less able of all ages. FREE

    Wednesday, 20th October 2-3pm
    at The Durning Library
    167 Kennington Lane SE11 4HF

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 13, 2004.

    The Great Escapes: The harsh reality and true heroism behind the Hollywood prison camp epics

    Independent > News > UK > This Britain

    The Great Escapes: The harsh reality and true heroism behind the Hollywood prison camp epics

    By Cahal Milmo
    13 October 2004

    They used Monopoly boards to conceal maps of Nazi Germany, and rubber stamps for travel permits were fashioned from boot heels. Entire camps dedicated themselves to digging tunnels, tailoring disguises and bribing guards for train timetables with one sole aim: escape.

    It is a vision of the German prisoner-of-war camps during the Second World War immortalised for post-war generations by such films as The Great Escape, Stalag 17 and The Wooden Horse well-spoken British officers and garrulous Americans charming their way to freedom past their dullard captors.

    If the telling of acts of defiance such as the escapes from Colditz Castle were left to Hollywood, history would record that Allied prisoners of war enjoyed one long game of cat and mouse with their Nazi guards, planning and plotting in perfect harmony before scurrying through tunnels and taking a short train ride to freedom in Switzerland or Sweden while their colleagues performed Gilbert and Sullivan songs to distract the guards.

    Yesterday, more than 50 veterans from the camps gathered at the Imperial War Museum in London to present a very different picture of life in captivity and the sacrifices that were made to return just a handful of the tens of thousands of Allied prisoners of war back home.

    The gathering coincided with the launch a new exhibition at the museum, Great Escapes, designed to explode the myths of cinematic portrayals of escape efforts made in camps from Italy to Lithuania and underline the extraordinary ingenuity of the soldiers, sailors and airmen whose primary struggle in captivity was often not the pursuit of freedom but the avoidance of starvation.

    For millions, Hut Four in Stalag Luft III is better known as the wooden shack where some 80 prisoners crawled their way towards freedom on 24 March 1944 through "Harry", a 104-metre tunnel dug over five months with the aid of 650 servicemen held in the camp's north compound. The mass break-out was the basis for Great Escapee 1963 film starring Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson and Donald Pleasance which has become the most iconic of the escape films.

    But for Frank Stone, an 18-year-old Royal Air Force gunner whose Hampden bomber crash-landed in Germany in 1940, Hut Four yesterday represented an austere home whose occupants lived in constant fear of discovery and where boredom as much as duty made escape worth pursuing.

    Mr Stone, 82, a retired civil servant from Derby, said: "We really did not have much to do in the camp. It was a very dull life - Stalag Luft III was a bleak place in a pine forest. In winter it was bitterly cold, you had to scrimp together every bit of clothing.

    "It was only the escape effort that made life interesting. That's why a lot of us were involved. You were always terrified the Germans were going to burst in and find us. I had to try and disguise all the dirt that was coming out of the tunnel and getting on the floor of the hut. We had to scrub the floorboards to wash it off. The Germans could never understand why we were washing all the time and told us to stop. But we explained that our commanding officer was a Royal Navy man who liked to keep his decks clean. They seemed to accept that."

    Located near Sagan, a Polish town incorporated into the Third Reich, Stalag Luft III held 10,000 PoWs at its height and was built to be one of the most escape-proof and well-equipped of the Stammlager Luftwaffe, a network of camps built on the orders of Hermann Goering, the head of the German air force, to house captured airmen.

    It was nearly 400 miles from Switzerland and almost 200 miles from the Baltic ports leading to neutral Sweden. Escape was therefore extremely difficult. Of the 10,000 RAF members taken prisoner during the war, only 30 ever escaped back to Britain.

    Arthur Cole, 84, another RAF serviceman, who was based in Hut Five and on a reserve list to escape on 24 March, said: "This business of it being our duty to escape has been greatly exaggerated. There were 2,500 men in our compound alone. If we had all tried to escape then it would have been absolute chaos.

    "In fact, escaping was banned unless you could come up with a credible plan and it was approved by the X Organisation, the escape committee. So although everybody thought about it, there were only a small number of active plans.

    "We tried to amuse ourselves, mostly by playing cards. The Germans made a big fuss about how they had provided a golf course and clubs in this model camp of theirs. It turned out to be two broken putters and holes made from Red Cross tins sunk in sand. There wasn't a blade of grass in the place."

    Although the Great Escape film recorded the fact that 50 of the 74 prisoners who were recaptured were executed on the orders of Hitler, many of the veterans gathered yesterday remembered a slower war of attrition designed to break their physical and mental resolve, which has gone largely unrecorded.

    From Colditz Castle, the high-security prison where repeat escapees were incarcerated, to the dozens of lesser-known camps dotted around southern Germany and the Baltic countries, German policy was to observe only the most basic standards laid down under the 1929 Geneva Convention, which governed treatment of PoWs.

    Rations in most of the camps were meagre, mainly consisting of thin soup. As a result many prisoners relied on Red Cross parcels to maintain their strength.

    In one camp, the men were made to puncture each tin with a hammer to ensure they could not be strung together as air ducts in tunnels. The measure meant that the food in the tins often rotted before it could be consumed.

    One veteran, incarcerated in Lithuania towards the end of the war, said: "I used to wake up with stomach cramps because of the cold and hunger. I got dysentery because what food we did get was filthy. I'm afraid it wasn't all putting on plays and hiding soil in the vegetable patches. It was a grim existence."

    Then as the Nazi regime began to lose the war, the PoWs became an increased burden. In January 1945, the occupants of Stalag Luft III were forced to walk 60 miles in three days, killing several dozen prisoners.

    John Leakey, 83, an RAF gunner, was in the same Hampden bomber as Mr Stone when it crashed, and pulled his comrade from the burning wreckage of the plane as its ammunition began to explode. Until yesterday, they had not met since that night after being sent to different camps.

    Mr Leakey, originally from Kennington, close to the Imperial War Museum in south London, explained how the two men ended up with very different experiences as prisoners after he escaped by disguising himself as a French enforced labourer.

    He said: "I managed to break away during a route march and when we were recaptured I persuaded the Germans I was a French worker. They took me in and shared their food. To me it was fantastic - cheese, bread, meat, vegetables. It made me realise how pitiful what we were given to eat in the camps had been."

    Despite the often severe conditions, the exhibition, to run from 14 October until 31 July, pays tribute to the creativity of the prisoners in their efforts to burrow, bluff and even fly their way to liberty.

    At the start of the war, British intelligence set up a new branch, MI9, dedicated to teaching servicemen to escape and aiding their efforts once in Nazi custody. Purpose-built aids, such as the famous Monopoly boards or gramophone records stuffed with Reichsmarks, were smuggled into the camps in non-Red Cross parcels. But it was left to the prisoners to produce the tools and disguises necessary to escape, famously turning khaki uniforms into three-piece suits and blankets into Wehrmacht battle dress.

    Others went further. As well as saws and planes fashioned by Colditz prisoners, the exhibition features a replica of the full-size glider built by four men over 10 months in 1944. The plan was to launch the aircraft from the roof of the impregnable castle across the river flowing 200ft below but was not put to the test before the war ended. Tests carried out in 1999 found that it would have worked.

    But while Hollywood has preferred to focus on the derring-do of the escapees, others yesterday pointed to the creativity which went into maintaining sanity during the months of incarceration.

    In Stalag IVB, a camp deep in Germany surrounded by sandy soil which was impossible to tunnel under, a group of prisoners set up the Mulberg Motor Club in 1943. The main activity of the "club" was producing a hand-drawn and hand-written magazine, Flywheel, describing vehicles, both real and imaginary. In all 10 issues of the publication were produced, featuring remarkably detailed ink illustrations of cars, motorbikes and even caravans drawn from memory.

    Thomas Swallow, 86, who was captured near Tobruk in 1942, was the co-editor. He said: "It was virtually impossible to escape from the camp so we made our own entertainment. There was a passion for motorbikes and motorcars so we set up the club We used to get two hundred men at the meetings. It was our way of saying to the Germans, we can beat you. We had classes for everything imaginable - musical appreciation, business methods. We even had German lessons."


    If Aubrey Niner, now 82, had shown an aptitude for gymnastics before the outbreak of the Second World War, it was to become an essential pastime once he arrived through the gates of Stalag Luft III.

    The RAF pilot was one of the team of "gymnasts" whose job it was to disguise one of the most audacious escapes of the war. Prisoners used a wooden vaulting horse to disguise a trapdoor about 30 metres from the outer fence of the camp, billed as the most secure in Germany. While the gymnasts performed their somersaults, a man concealed inside dug the tunnel. The escape was immortalised in the filmThe Wooden Horse.

    But Mr Niner said the reality was hard graft combined with significant risk-taking. He said: "We jumped over that horse day after day for three months. The horse was incredibly heavy but the men carrying it had to make it look like it barely weighed anything.

    "I think the reason it succeeded was precisely because it was so brazenly cheeky."


    Kenneth Lockwood bridles at any attempt to describe the escape efforts of himself and his fellow detainees in Colditz Castle as "glamorous". Now 86, the former stockbroker, a Territorial Army officer in the Queen's Royal Regiment who was captured in Belgium in 1940, helped to co-ordinate multiple escape plans from the German fortress.

    Thirty-two Allied servicemen escaped from Colditz; the highest tally for any PoW camp. But Mr Lockwood believes the greatest challenge they faced was mental rather than physical. He said: "The most important thing you missed was your freedom. Our outside world was a courtyard the size of a tennis court surrounded by tall towers. There were 300 of us around this area. You really had to learn to be tolerant and accept each other.

    "The food was foul. All we were given was a thin soup with turnips and swede. To this day I can eat neither. If it wasn't for the Red Cross parcels, I wouldn't be here today."

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 13, 2004.

    'I saw the killer punch' says PC

    'I saw the killer punch' says PC

    Oct 12 2004

    South London Press

    A POLICEWOMAN told a court how a cousin of former Manchester United striker Lou Macari was standing motionless when he was allegedly killed with a knockout punch.

    PC Vanessa Webster was trying to break up a drunken brawl involving 20 men when she noticed 28-year-old Joseph Macari in the middle of the group, the Old Bailey heard last Wednesday.

    She said: "He was just standing there with his arms by his sides. He was punched in the face by a man standing in front of me wearing a white vest. He fell directly backwards to the floor. There was a thud. I didn't see him move at all."

    Mr Macari, from Swansea, died in St Thomas' Hospital from head injuries that day.

    Scott Elliott, 21, was identified by PC Webster as the attacker in the brawl, outside a takeaway in Kennington Lane, at around 1am last November 3.

    PC Webster arrested him for affray and causing grievous bodily harm, the court heard.

    PC Webster added: "I'm absolutely positive it was the same person."

    Elliott, of Oval Place, Oval, denies manslaughter.

    The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 13, 2004.

    Awards were inspirational

    South London Press

    Awards were inspirational

    Oct 11 2004

    I JUST had to write and thank you for such a wonderful and inspiring evening last night at the Our Heroes awards.

    Thank you so much for allowing me to be a judge of the Community Project, it was a real honour. Working, as I do in my job as audience development co-ordinator for the Young Vic, and working specifically with Southwark and Lambeth residents, it never fails to amaze me the sense of community in these boroughs.

    People often complain about London being isolated and unfriendly, but I really think South London has such a strong sense of community and Our Heroes showed just a few of the amazing people and groups around who make it this way.

    Once again, thank you so much for last night, I went away with a big smile knowing that you had made people's year, by giving them the recognition that they deserve.

    Gabby Vautier The Young Vic Theatre Company Kennington

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 12, 2004.

    RCDT AGM Thursday 4 November, 7pm

    Riverside Community Development Trust

    Thursday 4 November, 7pm
    Alford House Centre, Aveline St, SE11
    Music starts at 7.45pm

    Stan Barker Quartet
    Kennington’s own diva
    Celia Stothard
    in a programme of mainstream
    popular jazz, rock and roll and blues

    All welcome

    Further details from Riverside Community Development Trust, 20 Newburn St, SE11 5PJ. Tel: 020 7926 2775
    Email: info@rcdt.org

    RSVP to: Riverside Community Development Trust, 20 Newburn St, SE11 5PJ

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 10, 2004.

    Community Noticeboard - Planning refused


    Planning Applications Committee Minutes 28.09.04

    See Page 6 regarding the proposed Community Noticeboard at St Anselm's


    Released: 8 October, 2004 11:07
    Filesize: 40kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 08, 2004.

    'I nearly caught the OAP killer'

    'I nearly caught the OAP killer'

    Oct 8 2004

    South London Press

    A PENSIONER has told the Old Bailey how he nearly caught a violent robber who went on to a kill a frail 82-year-old woman and attack 11 more victims.

    Eric Kjaer, 77, said he bravely grabbed 26 year-old Elroy Simmonds despite being punched in the face and wrestled to the ground.

    Simmonds only escaped by wriggling out of his jacket, socks and trainers and fled barefoot, leaving his mountain bike, baseball cap and a mobile phone, it was claimed.

    But eight months later he renewed his violent attacks on the elderly - this time preying on vulnerable women living alone, the jury was told.

    Hilda Ashdown, 82, died 10 days after becoming Simmonds's sixth victim on March 15 last year, it is claimed.

    She was punched twice in the face by her attacker after she tried to fight him off when he barged into her home on Monclar Road, near Denmark Hill, the court heard.

    Simmonds also targeted 11 other pensioners aged between 68 and 95 using the tactic of knocking on their doors in the morning when they may have been expecting the postman.

    Mr Kjaer told the court he was attacked as he swept cigarette butts off the forecourt of a friend's home in Camberwell Park, on June 14, 2002.

    He said: "I felt somebody pull my wallet from my back pocket.

    "I just turned round and saw this person with my wallet in his hand.

    "I grabbed him by his jacket. We were struggling and it came off him."

    Mr Kjaer said he was holding Simmonds to the ground and eventually some passers-by came to help him.

    He said Simmonds managed to get away while they were distracted looking for the wallet which was found in a nearby gutter.

    Simmonds, of Tobey Close, White Hart Street, Kennington, is allegedly linked to the attacks by DNA, a shoeprint, fingerprint and identification by a witness.

    The 26-year-old denies murder, GBH with intent, 11 counts of robbery and two counts of assault with intent to rob between June 14, 2002 and April 19, 2003. The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 08, 2004.

    'Killed by one punch'

    'Killed by one punch'

    Oct 8 2004

    South London Press

    Scott Elliott, 21, allegedly knocked 28-year-old Joseph Macari to the floor in front of a policewoman trying to break up the fight which involved more than 20 people.

    Mr Macari died in hospital from head injuries. On Wednesday, the Old Bailey heard how Mr Macari had taken a taxi to the Kennington takeaway at around 1am on November 3, 2003.

    He was leaning against the counter when a drunken man walked in shouting for a taxi.

    Prosecutor Wendy Joseph QC said: "This man was the sparking point for what was to follow.

    "It seems that Joe must have said something because the man suddenly lunged at him, although no physical contact was made."

    Mr Macari's friends followed the man outside into Kennington Lane, and asked, "What his problem was".

    Other drinkers then ran over from The Thinker pub and began scuffling with the group, it was claimed.

    Miss Joseph said: "By this time there was a general melee going on out in the street involving at least 20 people.

    "Two policewomen by chance passed by and approached a group of about eight men who were punching and pushing each other."

    One PC noticed Mr Macari, who was from Swansea, standing to the side of the street with a glazed expression and his hands by his sides, the court heard.

    Miss Joseph said: "He was clearly drunk. When she looked back she suddenly saw Scott Elliott swing out with a blow that caught Joseph Macari in the face.

    "He fell backwards with nothing to break his fall and he hit the ground with a distinct thud.

    "Many people went down that night but he was the only one who went down and didn't get up again."

    His eyes were partially open and he was breathing but there were gurgling sounds and a pool of blood was spreading beneath his head.

    He was taken to St Thomas' Hospital but died that day.

    Elliott, of Oval Place, Oval, was arrested after his friends tried to move him away from the fight, the court heard.

    He later claimed he had been kicked in the eye while he was sitting on the curb.

    He denies manslaughter. The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 08, 2004.

    Row over gas blast land

    Row over gas blast land

    Oct 8 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    THE site of a tower block demolished after a gas blast should not be redeveloped with housing, say residents.

    Lambeth council wants to build homes at the site of Kennington's Kerrin Point tower, which exploded in 1996.

    But residents have been using the land as a park since the high-rise was razed to the ground four years ago and now don't want to see it concreted over.

    On Monday night, Lambeth council started a consultation on the future of the site, which is at the junction of Black Prince Road and Kennington Lane.

    Founder of community group, Save Ethelred Homes, Ricky Rennalls, said: "People go and play football there. It's like a park - we call it Ethelred Park.

    "Two tower blocks directly face the park. The people who live in them find it absolutely vital. Residents will lose that and be condemned to look at a building site.

    "On Monday night, people walked out because they did not want to be part of a process they disagreed with.

    "Lambeth and their consultants made it clear that regardless of what we think they are going to build there anyway."

    A Lambeth council spokeswoman said: "This is a totally open process - we have no fixed plans for the development and want local people to help decide the best way to replace much-needed housing that will bring real benefits to the whole community.

    "More than 2,000 people in Lambeth have no home and are living in temporary accommodation. Many of the former residents of Kerrin Point want to return home as they were originally promised.

    "The council always proposed to replace the demolished Kerrin Point with a new housing block.

    "A number of meetings have taken place in the past with residents to explore this."

    She pointed out the council had started consulting residents at an earlier stage than it usually would.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 08, 2004.

    Temporary closure of Baylis Road


    Temporary closure of Baylis Road


    Released: 8 October, 2004 09:07
    Filesize: 6kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 08, 2004.

    Man accused of pensioner's murder

    BBC News

    Man accused of pensioner's murder

    A pensioner was murdered by a man who punched and kicked her in the face when she resisted as he burgled her home, the Old Bailey has heard.

    Hilda Ashdown, 82, died from her injuries 10 days after the attack at her home of 47 years in Camberwell.

    The prosecution said she tried to fight off two men with a stick after they forced their way in, in March 2003.

    Elroy Simmons, 26, of Kennington, south London, denies Mrs Ashdown's murder and 12 robberies of people aged 68 to 95.

    Nicholas Atkinson, for the prosecution, said Mrs Ashdown was found with her face "covered in blood" by her son.

    'Demanded money'

    He told the court that finger and shoe prints pointed to Mr Simmons having been at her home.

    Mr Atkinson said the defendant would knock on the doors of elderly people and claim to be from the council.

    Sometimes accompanied by another man, Mr Simmons would force his way in to their homes and demand money, he told the court.

    Mr Simmons also denies attempted robbery and causing grievous bodily harm.

    The case continues.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/10/05 15:39:56 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 06, 2004.

    'Elderly Woman Died after Fighting off Robber'

    PA News

    Tue 5 Oct 2004
    3:33pm (UK)

    'Elderly Woman Died after Fighting off Robber' - Court

    By Shenai Raif

    A brave pensioner was murdered after she fought a robber who preyed on a dozen other elderly victims, the Old Bailey was told today.

    Hilda Ashdown, 82, hit out with her stick as two men held her down and rifled through her bag after pushing their way into her flat.

    But she was kicked and punched in the face as she activated her alarm for help, said Nicholas Atkinson QC, prosecuting.

    Mrs Ashdown, who had lived in her Camberwell, south London, home for 47 years, died 10 days later from bleeding in her brain.

    Elroy Simmonds, 26, of Kennington, south London, denies murder, attempted robbery and causing grievous bodily harm on Mrs Ashdown in March, last year.

    He also denies robbery offences against 12 other pensioners aged 68 – 95 in the same area of London and committed mainly in a three-month period last year.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 06, 2004.

    Angels Over Vauxhall

    Angels Over Vauxhall

    Angels have arrived! We launched the Angels Over Vauxhall festival with a wonderful concert of gypsy music by the Szapora on Saturday evening and a poetry reading last night. The Map of Angels and Book of Angels are in place and already have some fascinating entries.

    We have an excellent programme of events this week:

    Weds 6: Mike Adam (ex Courtauld Institute) giving an illustrated talk about Angels in Art

    Thurs 7: Best-selling author Salley Vincent reading from her popular book "Miss Garnet's Angel"

    Fri 8: A screening of Wim Wender's magical film "Wings of Desire" (Cert 15) (Tickets £7)

    Sat 9: Ed Jones, one of Britain's leading jazz saxophone players, and his quartet, including a new "angel" work by Ed. (Tickets £10)

    All at 7.30pm in St Peter's Church, Vauxhall (310 Kennington Lane - close to Vauxhall stations)

    This first phase of Angels Over Vauxhall concludes with a Festival Choral Evensong on Sunday 10 at 6.00pm, with a large choir and some splendid music, including a specially-devised Angels Over Vauxhall hymn.

    Do come and join us. For more information visit the website: www.angelsovervauxhall.org

    Best wishes
    Wilma Roest & Simon Keyes

    -- Simon (simon@onion.org.uk), October 05, 2004.

    Situation Vacant

    Times : Situation Vacant

    October 05, 2004

    Education (schools)

    Henry Fawcett Primary School, Kennington: deputy headteacher, L9-L13, contact Barbara Churchward on 020- 77352764 or admin@henryfawcett.lambeth.sch.uk for an application pack, ref. ED/TR/761 (by October 11)

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 05, 2004.

    Situation Vacant


    Situation Vacant

    Premises Officer

    For further information please refer to the advert.


    Released: 4 October, 2004 10:15
    Filesize: 9kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 04, 2004.

    Courses in arts


    ArtsWeb - bulletin board - Courses

    Courses in arts


    Released: 1 October, 2004 03:51
    Filesize: 461kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 03, 2004.


    Sad tale of shattered dreams


    By Mike Atherton
    (Filed: 03/10/2004)

    After Wayne Rooney's remarkable debut for Manchester United last week, his surrogate parent for the next few years, Sir Alex Ferguson, said that he wanted to make Rooney "as ordinary as possible". It seemed a strange comment in the circumstances because, on the pitch, Rooney is as extraordinary as it is possible to be. Ferguson, though, is experienced enough to be aware of his responsibilities towards Rooney off the pitch: that is, to get him to lead as ordinary a life as is possible in order that he may truly fulfil his extraordinary talent.

    Many an unfulfilled sportsman knows about the hurdles that confront precocious talent; obstacles that if not successfully overcome almost inevitably result in some rueful head-shaking at the end of it all and that damning question 'what if?' Two such cricketers, albeit neither of them as talented as United's wunderkind, may have nodded knowingly this week when Ferguson made his pitch for normality.

    Alex Tudor and Chris Schofield, both capped by England at 21 amid much ballyhoo, were released by their respective counties, Surrey and Lancashire. The news received little attention, partly because of the tedium that is Zimbabwe and partly because both have slipped so far away from the cricketing limelight. Between them, they played just four championship matches this year.

    Neither is at the end of his career: Tudor is just 26 and Schofield a year younger and both are looking to start afresh at another county. Yet their release by counties who had nurtured them, Tudor after winning 10 Test caps and Schofield just two, is a reminder of just how fickle sport can be. Right now they'll be feeling more Mickey Rooney than Wayne.

    Of the two, Tudor made more of an impact at international level. He gave the Australians such a hurry-up on his debut at Perth on the 1998-99 Ashes tour that it was possible to believe that England had discovered a fast bowler to lead the attack for years to come. He could bat, too, as he demonstrated during the first Test of the following summer against New Zealand when he was left stranded on 99 at the moment of victory.

    His driving through the off side that day off the back foot left no doubt as to the influence of his father's Caribbean roots: definitely more Kensington, Barbados, than Kennington, London.

    If Tudor's selection was justified by talent and promise and by the fact that England have often taken a chance on raw fast bowlers to Australia, Schofield's promotion, after fewer than 20 first-class matches, was harder to understand. Ultimately, it did him no favours at all. Schofield was a recipient of one of the first batch of 11 central contracts handed out by the ECB in 2000: it remains one of the few errors of judgment by Duncan Fletcher.

    Schofield had some ability: he gave the ball a decent rip, had a certain amount of instinctive flair with the bat and was an athletic mover in the field. He was, however, as green as grass. There were fundamental errors in his bowling technique and, at 21, he was one of the most immature cricketers that I have come across. Those Test matches in the cool conditions of May 2000 were asking too much of him, and unsurprisingly his international leg-spinning career lasted just 18 wicketless overs.

    To analyse why they failed to kick on is to see where their stories start to diverge. Tudor's failings seem more bad luck than bad judgment, suffering as he has from a persistent and recurrent hip injury. The whispers that Tudor is a soft slacker may have more to do with racial stereotyping than reality. In my experience Tudor was a committed professional.

    Fast bowling is both hard work and an unnatural process for the body, and some bodies are just not made for bowling fast for long periods. Craig White fitted into the same category. With a year left to run on his contract, Surrey simply lost patience with a player who had taken only 84 championship wickets in the past four years, and who was one of the highest-paid players at the club.

    Schofield's problems are more complex. His premature promotion both increased expectations and added pressure at an unnecessarily early stage. It deluded him into thinking that he had made it and that his game was at the finishing post rather than starting stalls. To watch him bowl this year was to see a cricketer with the same technical flaws of four years ago: an action that is open-chested with little use of the front arm so that spin is imparted from the wrist and fingers alone with no body action to give it impetus.

    Schofield felt that too few people understood the peculiarities of leg-spin. It is true that there is precious little knowledge around the English circuit. But, over time, he had the help of former Australian Test leg-spinners Peter Philpott and Peter Sleep. Ultimately, a professional cricketer must take responsibility for his own career and Schofield's failure thus far highlights the old adage that nothing is achieved in sport without hard work.

    Their shortcomings are especially sad because English cricket stood to gain much from their success. Tudor is from inner-city London and of Caribbean extraction, two areas that English cricket is failing to penetrate. A decade ago there were 33 English-qualified players of Caribbean descent. This year that number was down to 18. Willesden High School, the only state school in recent times to have produced two England cricketers - Chris Lewis and Phillip DeFreitas - no longer even plays the game. Whereas the England football team boasted five Anglo-Caribbean players throughout Euro 2004, the last four non-white players to represent England at cricket are all of Asian background. Tudor would have been a fine role model to halt this decline.

    Schofield's failure means that the search for an English leg-spinner goes on. If you disregard the influence of overseas leg-spinners like Mushtaq Ahmed, Intikhab Alam and Bruce Dooland, the last English wrist-spinner to have a serious impact on our game, and internationally, remains Doug Wright, six decades ago. And yet, with warmer, drier summers, covered pitches filled with hard Surrey and Ongar loams the conditions are now ripe for a leg-spinning revival in English cricket. Like Ian Salisbury before him, it seems Schofield will not be the man in the vanguard of this movement.

    It is to be hoped that both will get a chance with another county. Mark Butcher, Surrey's new captain, said he was sorry to see Tudor go since he was "one of the most talented players at the club". Surely too talented not to be given a chance to let those injuries clear up. If you ignore the expectations raised by Schofield's England call-up and think of him as an inexperienced young cricketer then his career figures - average 29.91 with the bat and 171 wickets at 31.26 with the ball - look worthy of some investment of faith. He should be regarded as a batsman who bowls rather than the other way around.

    It would be deeply ironic, given the numbers of foreign players in the English game, if there were no room for these two home-grown players. Deeply sad, too: there is nothing worse in sport than shattered hopes and unfulfilled dreams.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 03, 2004.

    Interview: Tim Westwood

    Interview: Tim Westwood

    The spin doctor

    He's a white DJ who became the most powerful European voice in hardcore hip-hop. Here, on the 10th anniversary of his Radio 1 show, Tim Westwood tells Simon Garfield about being shot, being a bishop's son and why he won't swear in front of his mum

    Simon Garfield
    Sunday October 3, 2004

    The Observer

    When the moment finally came, I have to say I was touched. It was about 10.50pm, near the end of a Friday show on Radio 1, after the usual aural assault from Ludacris and G-Unit and Kanye West, when Tim Westwood said, 'I want to big up my man Simon at The Observer - we're travelling with a journalist tonight because we're BIG like that!' I felt honoured, but I tried to be cool, like I knew it was coming all along and it was no big thing, concealing my crushing true belief that I would be leaving yet another Westwood show without a mention.

    Up to this moment, it seemed that everyone else in the whole of Britain had been acknowledged. All the crews and clans, 'my Eastbourne crew, Dave and the Big Knob Crew in Scotland, Drash in Bolton I GOT ya! Shout out to my man Trevor Nelson who really showed me mad love in hooking me up with that Fifty show. I want to big up my team Tuan and Dre and Anna. Come on let's GO! To all our freaky LADIES...'

    I was pleased to be included in a show that had included the phrases 'Bow down and kiss the RING', 'underSTAND this!' and 'ZACTLY! Without the E!' - that strange urban lexicon that has brought as much ridicule as respect, dispensed by a white man who speaks like a black kid, standing up aggressively at the microphone, hitting a touch-screen to unleash sound effects of screeching cars and exploding bombs. 'Fall back,' he says. 'Kiss the ring. Damn, that's the way it's going down. We're riding out tonight. Fall back. We're coming to Club M in Luton tonight. Luton come party with Westwood!'

    An hour later, he sits in a van emblazoned with his face and logos and show times, on his way to a club where denim and trainers are permitted but no hoods or caps, guided there by satnav and all manner of toys and gadgets and DVD screens that fall from the roof to show the latest American car shows. Westwood talks about his new satellite television programme, and his plans to attend a memorial for a young black friend. He talks about the possibility of getting a manager now that things are getting so busy.

    'I tell you, man, things are crazy right now,' he says. 'People said that hip-hop was a phase, but this is 2004 and we have the hip-hop generation.

    People used to hate us, but now it's a multi-million-dollar industry. It's always been a struggle, but now I'm ready. I'm built for it.'

    Westwood - mid-forties though he says he's 27, heavy eyelids and tidy black hair - is the foremost hip-hop DJ in Europe, a position he's held for almost 20 years, practically since hip-hop was invented. Meeting him at his Justice Entertainment office in Portland Square, one encounters a tall and powerful man concerned with standard creative business matters: delivery dates, emails, future engagements. Everywhere I go there are framed Sony Radio Awards. He tells me he used to be envious when he saw how frantic things were for his DJ friend Funkmaster Flex in New York, and how hard it is to get work or respect or money in London, but how things have changed.

    'This office is all about making it happen,' he explains. 'My dad would always ask me how it's going, and for about 15 years I would say to him, "I'm just trying to make it happen." Then he would keep on asking, "When is it going to happen?" Truthfully, I think it's happening right now.'

    When he speaks he does not sound like he does on the radio, and he does not wave his arms. 'It's a Wednesday lunchtime,' he observes. 'It's a different vibe with a different energy level. You wouldn't want me sitting here going, "Yeah, man! This is how it's going DOWN!" If I'm with my mother I might do my belt up a little tighter and not have my trousers hanging down and drop the swearing, but I'm still me. I'll just change the tempo. But if I'm hanging out with Dre in a club tonight, sure my trousers will be hanging down, sure we'll be kicking it.'

    On this Wednesday lunchtime, Dre, Westwood's 20-year-old personal assistant, is just on his way to get the cappuccinos. 'You got dough, man?' Westwood asks him. 'This is show business,' he says when Dre has gone. 'People don't want to listen to the show and it be mad fucking straight. It's a hip-hop show, they want some realness in there. That's where a lot of BBC television always fails - they always want that middle-class explanation.' I ask Westwood about his detractors, those who call him a whigger - a white nigger - and he says he rarely meets them. 'The way I speak is the way a lot of kids speak now,' Westwood says. 'All cities are multicultural. The racial issue has never been something I've been very much aware of - I'm so involved with the audience, and they've always known me, and it's never an issue if I'm white or black.' The phone rings. It is his mother, to whom he speaks softly, as if in a secret pact. 'When I started in this game all the other DJs would hate me,' he resumes. 'This is not an easy game to make it in.'

    Personally, I love the way he speaks, and the passion he brings. Rather than ridicule him, hip-hop artists love him, not least because he was the only man who gave them airtime when they were starting out. After a recent appearance on his Radio 1 show, Jay-Z affirmed that 'Westwood has held me down from day one, Westwood is family - we've grown up together.' 50 Cent came to see a Westwood show in New York earlier this year. 'He's in tune with what's going on over here, even though he's all the way over there,' 50 Cent informed Mixmag. 'So when he calls, I'm going to come out especially.'

    Westwood says he'd soon know if they thought he looked foolish. 'If I do a club and I'm on until two, I'm not going to disappear at five past two,' he says.

    'I ain't built for that. I'll be there hanging out. The next day we might go for something to eat in the local hood spot or a little American clothing spot and hang out. Everyone's got a story about meeting me, or their friends meeting me. There's always relentless Westwood stories out there.'

    This is his 10th year at Radio 1, and about 600,000 listen to each show. Matthew Bannister, the station's former controller, told me that when he was constructing a new credible image for the network, all the research said that he would have to recruit Westwood. The DJ was at Capital earning £35 a show, and was originally reluctant to move. 'They sent Pete Tong to offer me the job,' he remembers. 'And I thought, "Anything Pete's offering me I'm going to say no to." And then I spoke to my dad about it, and a friend, and they said I should go and meet Matthew just out of respect.'

    Bannister assured Westwood that the DJ was the epitome of the public service broadcaster. 'He didn't want to be seen to sell out by going to a national radio station. But this was his real home.' As a show of independence, Westwood was told he could make the show with his own production company. When he agreed to move, Biggie Smalls and Puff Daddy held a launch party for him at Hammersmith Palais. Not long afterwards, Bannister took him to have drinks with the then director-general John Birt. 'Westwood and Birt got on like a house on fire,' Bannister recalls. 'Westwood came out saying, "I really love working for him! He's my man!"'

    He probably felt at home with authority. His father was the Right Reverend William John Westwood, Bishop of Peterborough, but Tim believes this title has led to some misunderstanding. 'When my father did so well and lived in the Palace and had a chaplain driving him around in a Rover, I didn't grow up with that. My dad was from very humble means. His mother was one of 16 children and his dad was one of 17 children.'

    His father went to Cambridge before the war, and after that went to Hull as a curate, which is where he met Westwood's mother and where his older sister was born. Tim grew up in Lowestoft, and moved to Norwich at the age of eight when his father became a vicar. He went to church and enjoyed a loving upbringing, but there were problems at his comprehensive. 'I was dyslexic, and people didn't really know what that was. They used to do these weekly spelling tests, and for nearly six years I was always second from bottom, getting one out of 20. Then the kid who was bottom left, and I was bottom. I went for special schooling, but dyslexia was murder for me.' I ask him about his ambitions at that time. 'Nah, I was worthless, man. I was clueless at work and poor at sports. My dad would have been happy had I become a butcher. A kid at school became a butcher and my dad said, "That's a good job, Tim."'

    His father died a few years after he retired, in 1996. The DJ says they were equally proud of each other, especially as they were both self-made. Westwood shielded him from the details of his first forays into the London scene when he was 16. He was a glass collector at Gossips in Soho, and would earn 30-minute warm-up slots on the record decks by bringing in 50 people from Hammersmith and Ladbroke Grove. He was paid £15, and his earnings increased when a regular DJ quit. Initially he played jazz-funk, but occasionally a new rap record arrived from New York: 'Rappers Delight' by the Sugarhill Gang, 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, 'The Show' by Doug E Fresh.

    'I knew that was me as soon as it started,' Westwood says, 'but then dance music came in - house music - and all those guys who jumped on the hip-hop bandwagon just jumped straight off. Like Dave Pearce and Pete Tong ­- they were straight into dance music because that's where the dough was and the big crowds.'

    Westwood also had a Thursday-night slot at People's Club in Praed Street, where Run-DMC would drop in when they were homesick. 'It was the hot crazy ghetto spot, a lot of prostitutes and pimps, you could only buy champagne or brandy by the bottle. It used to start about midnight. Cars would triple-park outside. If you wanted a piss you had to go outside, because the toilets were just for drug dealing.' Westwood was inspired by the club DJ Paul Anderson, and the success of reggae specialist David Rodigan on Capital Radio, and he was keen to join him when Richard Park offered him an early-morning show in the mid-Eighties. It was a token gesture, he says; when he arrived at Radio 1 seven years later he was amazed that people at the station took an interest in what he played.

    Partly this was due to language. Even at the illest end of Saturday night, BBC governors and the Daily Mail didn't take kindly to the casual use of the word 'motherfucker', and the DJ says he understands their concerns. 'I play the game. I can respect that you don't want it too grimy. I can then put out those grimy tapes and CDs for cats who are built for it. It's important for cats to hear me swear so that they know I'm real, that I'm not just some corny radio DJ. Or that I'm not some personality type. Because for me it's all music-based, and people need to know I'm real.'

    One of the ways he keeps it real is through his street teams, scattered around the UK, who promote Westwood live events (his 'parties') and feed back to him the latest trends. 'My whole thing is I haven't got family, I don't want that in my life,' Westwood says. 'But I'm being a father to some of my team. Dre nearly didn't come through - a lot of cats don't survive, they get gassed up or twisted and don't understand how hungry you've got to be. Jay-Z gave me his number and Dre lost it so he's under a bit of pressure from me.'

    Dre lives in Peckham and keeps his employer informed on the content of the latest mix-tapes at the Real McCoy, the local clothes shop.

    Others in the street team blitz areas with flyers advertising Westwood's upcoming live appearances. Westwood says his parties don't make much money - £8 to get in, with 'the ladies' usually admitted free - but often he will print 40,000 leaflets for the show, on the back of which are his radio schedules and details of his latest album.

    The street teams also offer an element of protection. In July 1999, he was with his London team as they pulled away from a show at Brockwell Park when their van got stuck behind a bus in Kennington. A couple on a motorcycle pulled alongside and a man riding pillion shot at them, hitting Westwood in the arm and a friend in the leg. Instantly, the DJ's celebrity widened. Five years later he is still wary of talking about it, and the threat may not have disappeared. The cause of the shooting was extortion, Westwood refusing to meet a gang's demands. Before the incident, both he and his girlfriend were beaten. On the record, he plays it cool: 'To be honest, my attitude towards it is, I got shot, and that's that. Like having a car accident. When you're in this game, these things are out there; never far from you.'

    I wondered whether he thought of lowering his profile, perhaps painting over his name and logos on his transport? 'No. I'm a DJ, man. Radio 1 wouldn't be keen if I got stopped in a car with people carrying guns. I do parties, man. I need everyone to know I'm going to be there or the parties will be empty. Before the shooting, the only people who knew me were the hip-hop crowd. It made me big! I wish I had an album out at that time!'

    The police suggested he might like to get an anonymous black BMW 5-Series, but Westwood went the other way. 'The police were saying "Lo-pro", but I stepped up my game. I worked harder than I ever worked before. I was ready. I ain't scared of nothing.'

    In addition to his customised promotional van, Westwood owns a GMC Yukon, a Suburban Chevrolet, a GMC Suburban with TV screens, and a classic Chevy Impala 1966. The cars are his main expense: until recently he lived in a tiny housing association flat, and he doesn't spend much money on clothes - a fat wristwatch his only concession to bling. Like others in his industry with humble origins and a conscience, he does like to give something back. He is the patron of the radio station at Feltham Young Offenders Institution, where he holds regular high-testosterone parties. He says the next one will take place one morning in the chapel, so he'll probably play the edited radio versions of songs. He will then tour the wings. 'I don't pre-judge, man. I came from a good family that kept my life smooth, but any of us could have made mistakes and ended up in there. One guy I was with at the station, his mother's in prison, his father's in prison, his sister's in prison, and his two older brothers are in prison. The dude was just waiting to go to prison. At 17, he got sentenced to 18 years mandatory. With those guys it's good to be there. I'm no hero to them, but as a radio dude I'm paying them some attention.'

    He finds that the people he meets just want stories about the artists. 'I tell them I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't get high, so I'm pretty focused and I love what I do. I tell them that a lot of artists who are mad grimy don't actually smoke weed - 50 doesn't smoke weed, Jay-Z doesn't smoke weed.'

    I asked Westwood whether he thought hip-hop could change anything. 'Not really. The world made hip-hop, hip-hop didn't make the world. My father's generation came back from the war and believed that everything was possible, but I don't think that's true any more.'

    We are nearing Luton in the van. Westwood is flipping between DVDs and CDs on the complex entertainment system, saying, 'You gotta watch this!' as some rapper or flash car comes up. He is like a 12-year-old boy let loose for the first time; the reason he is such a good DJ is that he is such a good fan. As we pull up at the club, he is swiftly inside to arrange security for his guests. He embraces everyone he meets, one of five white faces out of a thousand, and the only one to climb up to the slim DJ platform at the front of the narrow room. He has a torch in his mouth as he lines up his opening records, and the warm-up DJ slinks away with a defeated look. It is 12.20am. Westwood says, 'Let's fucking ride out to THIS! We got the prime fucking JOINTS! Let's GO! This is WESTWOOD! All you other DJs FALL BACK!' And everyone in the crowd looks delighted and blessed, as if they've just been anointed with holy water.

    · Tim Westwood is on Radio 1, Fridays and Saturdays from 9pm

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 03, 2004.


    The Independent Bangladesh

    Back from the grave

    BY IMTIAZ AHMED (English)
    Sat 2 Oct 2004

    West Indies were dead and buried. The fat lady was humming and about to sing. But something extraordinary happened; West Indies turned it around from an almost impossible situation and clinched the ICC Champions Trophy or Mini World Cup right under England’s nose. The heroes of this superb triumph were the two Barbados Bs- Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw.

    Brian Lara won the toss in a gloomy Kennington Oval and unlike Inzamam he made the sensible decision to bowl first. Bradshaw struck twice early on and reduced England to 43 for 2. Soon England found themselves at 123 for 5 thanks largely to the bowling of the seemingly innocuous Wavell Hinds and Bravo. In the end the hosts could only manage a meagre total of 217. This total was largely due the lone hand played by Trescothick who scored his eight ODI century (104). He was the only English player who got into terms with the pitch and the disciplined Windies attack. Hinds and Bradshaw were the most successful bowlers in the Windies attack taking 3 for 24 and 2 for 54 respectively. West Indies were helped by their fielders enormously notably Lara who bagged three catches and a run-out including perhaps the greatest catch of his illustrious career; a stunning low one-handed catch scooped inches above the ground to remove the ever dangerous Flintoff!

    So, the chase for the title was on! West Indies knew that it wouldn’t be easy chasing down the seemingly low total because the pitch was conducive to pace bowling and England had two of the most in-form bowlers in their ranks - Harmison and Flintoff. England started off on the right note as Flintoff and Harmison duet clicked early on. The fearsome duo was backed up by two stupendous catches from Strauss and Solanki. So, it was game on as West Indies were stifled at 49 for 3. Then Lara and Chanderpaul steadied the ship somewhat when Lara got out slashing for a wide one. It was the umpteenth time that Lara got out to Flintoff. Bravo soon followed his skipper and Windies were crawling at 80 for 5. Chanderpaul was still there and he built partnerships with Ryan Hinds, Powell and Browne before perishing to Collingwood after scoring 47. Chanderpaul’s wicket was huge as it reduced Windies to 147 for 8 and without any recognised batsmen! The English players celebrated Chanderpaul’s wicket as if the trophy had been won and who could blame them. For there were only two West Indian wickets left with none having any batting credentials, the light was quickly fading and Harmison and Flintoff were bowling with their tail up. With such odds stacked against them even the most passionate West Indian supporter wouldn’t have bet for a Windies victory. However, what transpired was sheer magic.

    The two lesser known West Indian players - Bradshaw and Browne dug deep and slowly started building a partnership. They didn’t go for any lofty or risky shots as the equation didn’t require any. They played out the game logically and with little risk. Vaughan threw everything at the pair - Harmison, Flintoff, Gough, Wharf, Trescothick and Collingwood but no one could break the partnership. Although Vaughan missed a trick by not bowling Giles at that moment, he was the variety missing from the one-dimensional pace attack! The West Indian pair was also offered the light but they refused and played on! They brought Windies within striking distance in the last few overs and when the pair needed to accelerate the tempo they did just so. In the end the unbroken 71 run partnership between the two got the Windies home! The partnership was without a doubt the turning point of the match but more than that I found the manner in which the two chased down the target even more fascinating. It was thoroughly professional and it seemed like these two had been in such situations numerous times. The man-of-match award was duly awarded to Bradshaw for his part in the now famous partnership.

    So, West Indies have come back from the dead both in this match and in terms of their place in the cricket world. No one (including me) really gave them a chance to win the trophy but they did so fittingly. Before the tournament Windies suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of the English both home and away. There were calls for Lara’s head and moreover, the country was in disarray as hurricanes lashed the Caribbean islands recently killing more than 1500 people. So, amidst such turbulence the West Indian players found strength in adversity and never stopped believing. There was too much clinging on this match for them and in the end the team who wanted it most lifted the trophy.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 02, 2004.

    Update on the Beaufoy Institute

    Update on the Beaufoy Institute


    Released: 1 October, 2004 11:32
    Filesize: 32kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 01, 2004.


    Planning Report: 193 Kennington Lane and 292-294 Kennington Road

    PA Report 12.10.04

    Go to Page 53 of this link to see the relevant report.

    Released: 1 October, 2004 11:04
    Filesize: 3665kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), October 01, 2004.

    Black History Month Talk

    Black History Month Talk


    Imperial War Museum
    Sunday 24 October, 2.30pm
    Admission Free
    Speaker: Stephen Bourne

    Stephen Bourne will give an illustrated talk highlighting the wartime experiences of Britain's black community on the 'front line' including Dr Harold Moody, Snakehips Johnson, Adelaide Hall and his own Aunt Esther.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 29, 2004.


    Telegraph : Sport

    Revived England shut out by B & B

    By Paul Hayward
    (Filed: 27/09/2004)

    The heavy percussion of balls pounding wickets has given way at last to the softer thud of conkers on the lawn. All that's left is to decide how much to read into England's undoing by a couple of late-order batsmen who sounded more Winchester than West Indies. When it really mattered, the country's one-day cricketers had no answer to Bradshaw and Browne.

    Scene: The Oval, shortly after 6pm on Saturday. The event: the ICC Champions Trophy – a chance for England to break their duck in limited-over competitions. The predicament: two West Indian also-there's have hauled the calypso archipelago from 147 for eight to within sight of England's total of 217 all out. Conditions: dark, damp and deadly. Reality: like the bird of summer, the game has flown.

    Just as we were about to slam shut English sport's compendium of near misses (you are excused, Olympic rowers, sailors and cyclists, as well as Kelly Holmes), Michael Vaughan's one-day XI made heroes of a couple of background boys whose highest pre-tournament scores had been 12 (Ian Bradshaw) and 26 (Courtney Browne). Like gladiators, at close of play, this pair of crease-squatters fell under a mound of exultant West Indian bodies, having hit 34 and 35 respectively in a courageous ninth-wicket stand.

    To feel a glow of empathy for those Caribbean islands ransacked by hurricanes was the first and most important response. It was also heartening to see two journeymen step into the breach vacated by more illustrious colleagues. There is a special pleasure attached to the spectacle of sportsmen or women surpassing themselves under such stress. You see them open the door they have been pushing all their lives.

    If Bradshaw and Browne were provincial solicitors, they would get my business every time. They stood up to 90mph-plus deliveries from Steve `Grievous Bodily' Harmison and dealt cleverly with the second wave bowling attack of Paul Collingwood and Alex Wharf. More cruelly, they gave Darren Gough a hefty shove towards the wilderness. Statistically, at least, Gough bowled like a beer barrel. The 58 runs he conceded in his 10 overs were gravestone numbers.

    B & B, as we shall call them, even defied autumn itself. They braved the darkness, the rain, and the disquieting sense that someone was about to get his head knocked off as a consequence of both sides desperately wanting Sunday off. All it needed at the end was for the players' mums to call them in for tea.

    Here's the hard part. Did B & B confound only England's startling revival in one-day cricket, which featured an authoritative victory over the Australians in last week's semi-finals? Or will the damage turn out to be deeper? capable of seizing the Ashes when summer returns to these greying shores.

    No postcards, please, pointing out the difference between one-day and Test cricket. What's under the microscope is not the format of the competition so much as the mindset of the protagonists. Ascending teams reveal their character in stages. The final and most brutal test is whether they can convert chances into trophies. In English football, the fish has been getting away since the 1990 World Cup semi-final. Off he swam again at the Oval on Saturday.

    Intuition says that after a long stay in oblivion, England's competitive instincts are still hardening. Now they have another few months to bake before the baggy green caps bounce down the steps of Edgbaston and Lord's.

    The immobilising shock that stole across Vaughan's face when the West Indies broke out of the headlock told only part of the tale. Granted, England's captain was rendered mute and incapable of even the smallest muscular twitch. But by the time he called the post-match huddle together he was already entitled to remind his men that the five-day brigade had won seven consecutive Tests and 10 of their last 11. The series whitewashes against New Zealand and the West Indies were too valuable to be tossed on the pyre of sudden agony.

    A few autumns ago many of us were starting to suspect that cricket was dying in our culture. The shortened attention span, the sale of school playing fields and the ubiquity of football all seemed to be conspiring against our most complex and civilising game. Cricket was a sport with a blanket across its lap. Its keynote was nostalgia. The football monster was munching the back pages and battering the nation's brain with its endless capacity for hype.

    Cricket's most extreme critics thought it was joining The Kinks in the Village Green Preservation Society (`God save strawberry jam, and all the different varieties'). England seemed to be losing the yeoman obduracy of Botham, Gatting and Gooch and acquiring a neurotic, milky countenance.

    As with rugby union, surely, the renaissance started when the club or county game became subservient to the needs of the national team. The whole point was to create a successful England team – and from that all manner of secondary benefits would flow.

    Saturday's salutary defeat aside, it's more than a cricket team that has been revived this summer. The glint of promise in Test cricket reopens a whole dimension in English life. The football-besotted young have yet to fully embrace Vaughan, Marcus Trescothick, Harmison and Freddie Flintoff as fonts of inspiration. But they will, if English cricket takes advantage of top billing in next year's summer of sport and wins the Ashes for the first time since 1987.

    In fact, it's hard to recall a time when the game was so well placed to reclaim its place in our affections. The same opportunity presented itself to English rugby this time last year, and Sir Clive Woodward's lot grabbed it.

    Before the denouement in Kennington, a rival newspaper called Vaughan's mob "sport's forgotten heroes". Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, observed: "I find it incredibly hard to work out how important cricket is to the English public." The answer is: more than he thinks. The love of cricket here is latent, though generally still dormant. There are enough big personalities now and a sufficiently clear team identity for a full renewal of the vows.

    "Look at the bigger picture and the way we've played over the last few weeks in one-day cricket," Vaughan asked. "The players can also be proud of what they've achieved over the whole season." While south London's Caribbean community rejoiced, there could be no serious challenge to the captain's end-of-term report, even if there was that familiar sense of a chance going to waste (Euro 2004, the 2002 World Cup, France '98 and so on and so on).

    The pity was that Bradshaw and Browne chose this day to step out of the long shadow that has fallen across cricket in their islands, not to mention their own relative anonymity. For England, though, summer takes its bat home at the end of an encouraging year.

    26 September 2004: Browne and Bradshaw leave England in dark

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 27, 2004.



    September 26, 2004

    England let Windies clinch dramatic win

    Simon Wilde, Cricket Correspondent

    Late-order heroics from the West Indies snatch victory away from England in a frantic end to the Champions Trophy

    England have travelled so far in the past 18 months, yet last night they found themselves back where they started: improbably thwarted by the heroic defiance of a ninth-wicket pair.

    When Australia’s Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel knocked off the last 70 runs to beat England at Port Elizabeth and in effect dump them out of the World Cup, it triggered a revolution in English cricket.

    Nasser Hussain resigned as captain and retired from one-day cricket, along with other veterans such as Alec Stewart, Andrew Caddick and Nick Knight, and England began an ambitious rebuilding programme under Michael Vaughan, the fruits of which have been so evident during this longest summer.

    Dismissing predictions that his team might slip up after the epic conquest of Australia earlier in the week, Vaughan said his team would have no difficulty vaulting the final hurdle of an unprecedentedly successful four-month season. And when they reduced West Indies to 147 for eight after 34 overs, he appeared to be right.

    He must have been able to smell the polish on the Champions Trophy and the ink on the $300,000 winners’ cheque. But as the longest cricket season in history went down to the last flickerings of evening light, he and England reckoned without the resolve of the Barbadian pair of Courtney Browne — Lambeth-born — and Ian Bradshaw. Browne, 33, was a controversial selection for the tournament ahead of the talented Carlton Baugh, but his experience proved invaluable.

    A target of 71 off 98 balls when the pair came together was not impossible, provided they played sensible, conventional cricket. That is precisely what they did. Nothing flashy, nothing silly, nothing in fact that West Indies sides of late have routinely done when they fritter away wickets.

    Instead of playing like Chris Gayle, they stirred up a quiet storm simply by stealing singles, putting away the few bad balls that came along and stoutly seeing off a hostile second spell from Steve Harmison that touched a tournament-best top speed of 96.9mph.

    Ever so politely, they mugged England in Kennington’s descending gloom, lightening their wallets and trophy cabinet and denying them their first big one-day trophy. It was West Indies’ first important one-day prize since a more illustrious generation of Caribbean cricketers, led by Clive Lloyd, crushed England at Lord’s in 1979.

    Browne hit only two of the 55 balls he faced for four, Bradshaw only five of the 51 he received, and each cut one in what proved the final over, the penultimate one of the innings bowled by Alex Wharf, who had hitherto shown great discipline on a big stage.

    The over began with 12 needed off 12 balls, but with fielders struggling to detect where the white ball was going, the pair threw the bat with more assurance. They had been offered the light with 35 wanted off seven overs, but admirably opted to stay on.

    England need feel no shame. At various times they had looked destined to come out on the wrong end, but thanks to a century of real character from Marcus Trescothick, they first posted a working score of 217 and then defended it with tigerish bowling supported by sometimes brilliant fielding.

    Trescothick, who passed 1,000 international runs for the season, scored his eighth one-day century, equalling Graham Gooch’s England record. He also took a wicket and a smart catch at midwicket on a day memorable for athletic fielding.

    With England needing wickets if they were to prevail, Harmison and Andrew Flintoff stepped up to the plate for the umpteenth time this year. This pair, close friends whose careers have blossomed as one, scythed through the top half of the innings to leave West Indies tottering at 80 for five. Harmison underlined his class by fighting off what appeared to be a bout of cramp to deliver the wickets of Wavell Hinds and the dangerous Gayle in an opening spell that took his haul for England for the summer to an astonishing 60 scalps.

    Flintoff then struck three times in six overs, the wicket of Ramnaresh Sarwan courtesy of arguably the catch of the tournament by Andrew Strauss at second slip. Flintoff also removed Brian Lara on his last appearance for West Indies in this country, the fourth time he had dismissed him this summer and revenge for Lara dismissing him earlier in the day with a catch low and one-handed to his left almost as good as Strauss’s.

    With the ball wet, Vaughan opted not to bowl Ashley Giles at all, instead turning to the medium-pace of Trescothick and Paul Collingwood, who took three wickets between them, including that of Chanderpaul, who, after battling for 25 overs, chipped a catch to midwicket.

    Conditions for batting were rarely easy and Trescothick was wise to forsake his usual aggression. After a quiet start to his innings, he shaped to go into top gear, but the loss of Vikram Solanki, Vaughan and Strauss — brilliantly run out by Dwayne Bravo — sent him back into his shell. He tried to play conventionally for the rest of the innings and largely succededed. Like Vaughan, Lara found gentle medium-pace the most effective on a wicket deadened by the rain and Hinds finished with career-best figures of three for 24.

    Well though Trescothick played, England would not have had so many to defend but for another gutsy innings from Giles, who helped him post 63 for the eighth wicket. But for tailend heroics, this effort was to be dramatically dwarfed.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 27, 2004.

    Inheritance tax

    Guardian : Your shout

    Saturday September 25, 2004

    A few home truths...

    Shame on the editor of Jobs & Money. In his rant in favour of inheritance tax, he seemed to think only those inheriting "unearned wealth'" are hit by IHT.

    Perhaps across the country only one in 20,000 households are affected by IHT, but I bet that percentage is much higher in the south-east where I live.

    My partner and I worked hard for 10 years and put every penny aside from our middle-class jobs to buy a £300,000 house five years ago - all earned and taxed.

    The house was a wreck (no kitchen, no heating) and we have spent five years making it a home for our four children. Due to the vagaries of the property market it is now worth £800,000.

    Lucky us? Since we are not married, if one of us dies the other will face IHT liability and this will force us to sell the family home.

    Getting married to counter IHT is an option we find distasteful, and since we are not gay we cannot avoid IHT by registering for a civil union (thanks again, Tony Blair!).

    An ever-increasing percentage of responsible parents decide not to get married.

    If you are even marginally middle-class in the south-east, this will bring you up against IHT, threatening the welfare of children in the event of a parent's death.

    I do not suggest scrapping IHT - in fact I support banding (like any good Guardian reader, I think we could do with another band on income tax as well). But I do think we are due for a re-think on IHT.

    My family home is at risk and I feel offended at being roped in with "trustafarians" and the "idle rich".

    Octavia Wiseman
    Kennington, London

    · Write to Jobs and Money, 119 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3ER Or email us at jobsandmoney@guardian.co.uk

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 25, 2004.


    Guardian : Sport

    Notes from the touchline

    Frank Keating
    Friday September 24, 2004

    Season of missed sitters and mellow ruefulness

    This time next week it will be October, which shows how cricket has outstayed its welcome, and even a hooraying hullabaloo at The Oval's ICC Champions Trophy final tomorrow will not reprieve an ill-considered and generally grey and pointless tournament. Wind-racked King Lear autumns provide no setting for the monarchs of world cricket.

    Mind you, whatever the weather, season's end is particularly melancholy for those dragging themselves contemplatively back to the pavilion for the very last time after so many golden summers of bonny boyhood in the sun. Valete Gloucester's neat, impervious Mike Smith, 800 wickets in all cricket but just a solitary cap for England in 1997 at Leeds, when Thorpe at slip missed a dolly which would have had Australia 55 for five. They went on to make 501 and Mike was never asked again.

    Likewise, no more around the county fields will the nickname "Tom" (of course) resound to call up that stalwart batsman Peter Bowler, who might well have played for England or Australia but was given a chance by neither.

    A dozen years ago a magazine hired a few of us to nominate a youngster bound to be a force in Tests. I took a confident punt on Glamorgan's fresh-faced Chepstow all-rounder Adrian Dale - and that summer of '93 this ageing prophet smugly watched the young man not only share a breathtaking unbroken partnership of 425 with Viv Richards against Middlesex (Angus, Tuffers, Embers and all) but, in the next match in Cardiff, skittle Warwickshire with six for 18. It won him an England A tour; he did OK, then vanished from the bigtime radar. He's off it for ever now.

    So is a cocksure colt of that same summer - and Adam Hollioake went on to become a domestic force who might have led England more times than Nasser Hussain. You cannot think of Adam without grieving for brother Ben; where might that kid brother be now in England's new bright prosperity? Such a heavy-hearted question will be posed more than a few times, I fancy, at Kennington tomorrow.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 24, 2004.

    "Angels over Vauxhall" Festival to be launched with FREE concert on Sat 2nd Oct

    "Angels over Vauxhall"

    - a festival celebrating people's experience of God in the Vauxhall area - will be launched on SATURDAY 2 OCTOBER in St. Peter's Church, 310 Kennington Lane (close to Vauxhall Stations).

    In the evening leading gypsy band SZAPORA will be playing live and FREE in St. Peter's at (7.30pm).

    This internationally-acclaimed band has become legendary for brilliant, mesmerising performances of songs and dances from central and eastern Europe, performing with a fiery gypsy vivacity and an occasional swing feel that is infectious and highly entertaining. Refreshments will be available.

    For more information visit www.angelsovervauxhall.org.uk

    Please pass the word on and bring your friends!

    -- Simon Keyes (simon@onion.org.uk), September 23, 2004.

    Speedy Repairs

    I'd like to recommend to you Alec Gabriel of Speedy Repairs who just repaired my microwave, dishwasher and drier for £30 all inclusive! Only works in South East London. Leave a message, letting him know where you live.

    Cooker/ microwave/ washing machine/ dishwasher/ fridge/ repairs

    Speedy Repairs
    020 8692 7959

    "No callout charge. Will always try to repair first rather than sell you new equipment, came quickly and doesn't charge over the odds."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 17, 2004.

    How the Royal Oak rebels hatched Commons plot over a pint


    How the Royal Oak rebels hatched Commons plot over a pint

    By Charlie Methven and Oliver Poole
    (Filed: 17/09/2004)

    To the regulars at the Royal Oak pub they appeared to be just another group of friends having a drink after work on a Tuesday night.

    Excited but nervous, the group sat huddled together in a corner of the pub, near Maidenhead, Berks, chatting in low voices.

    They weren't talking about work, or football, or anything else as mundane. They were discussing how to mount one of the most audacious political stunts in living memory, the invasion of the House of Commons.

    Those assembled included a close friend of Princes William and Harry, a former chef to the Queen and a professional polo player.

    All until that day were law abiding. They had volunteered to take part in the extraordinary plot because they were passionate about one thing: hunting. They were excited, but also terrified.

    "As you can imagine, people were rather excitable at that stage," said a friend. "It just isn't the kind of thing that people like us are used to doing, so they weren't exactly all cool and collected."

    As the group drank their beers, Otis Ferry, 21, the son of Bryan Ferry, the Roxy Music singer, was at home in London after mounting a successful, one-man dry run earlier that day.

    He had managed to gain access to the House of Commons, getting as close to the chamber as necessary. It meant that the plan would go ahead for real the next day.

    "It had worked like a dream," said a friend later of the dry run. "He is ingenious," said another friend.

    "Otis was very much the brains behind it. He contacted the Countryside Action Network, a direction action group, about a week before to say he was planning something naughty.

    "He told them he needed a few more bodies. They didn't ask any questions."

    Among the group in the pub was Nick Wood, 41, a personal chef to Lady Weinstock and former cook to the Queen and the designer Valentino.

    Along with Ferry, he was understood to be the "brains" behind the plot.

    A "solid and reliable guy" according to friends, he was, like many of the group, a fixture in polo and hunting circles, although he had never hunted.

    Earlier that day, he had travelled with others who were taking part in the protest to the homes of two friends near Maidenhead, one of the main meeting points. One was the home of Robert Thame, a professional polo player and a member of the Bicester and Whaddon Chase Hunt.

    The other was the home of Nick Evans, also a professional polo player, and his wife Carina, a former bobsleigh champion.

    "They chose the two houses as places to meet because Maidenhead is much closer to London than where most of them live, and also it is close to the M4," said the friend.

    "Nick and Carina Evans weren't involved but Robert Thame and Nick Wood were ushers at their wedding so they knew they could be trusted."

    Two plans were under discussion in the pub. The first: how to block roads in central London. The second: how to invade the Commons.

    As Nick Wood held court, the others listened. Luke Tomlinson, 27, one of Britain's top polo players and a friend of Princes William and Harry was one of the group. Also there was Robert Thame. Others who were not due to be part of the Commons team were also part of the group.

    "The first thing they wanted to do was try to block the roads using the trucks they had brought with them," said a friend.

    "I think Luke Tomlinson may have been driving one of them, but others were driven by people who weren't part of the Commons team.

    "Obviously, the second part of the plan was to get into the Houses of Parliament."

    After meeting in the pub for "a bit of a hooly", the group returned to the respective homes, where some camped in tents in the gardens for the night.

    David Redvers, 34, a stud owner at Hartpury, near Gloucester, joined them the following morning. Early the next day, the four men dressed in the clothes that would help them gain access to the Commons.

    Workmen's overalls, which would provide them with the disguise to enter the Parliament buildings, were worn over the top of business suits, which would then allow the group to pose as researchers once near the chamber.

    Pro-hunting T-shirts were worn beneath that. "The idea with the dress was to be as flexible as possible, so that they could react to the circumstances as required," said a friend.

    The trucks set off for London at 5am the next day. But the road-blocking plan failed to work.

    The trucks were impounded and taken to Kennington. It meant "all systems" go for the second part of the plan. "The drivers and passengers just walked from Kennington over the river to Westminster," said a friend.

    By this time, it was nearing midday and the protest in Parliament Square was gathering pace.

    The four then met up with the others who would join them in trying to get into the Commons.

    They included Richard Wakeham, 36, a point to point jockey who rides with the Middleton Hunt, Andrew Elliott, 42, an auctioneer at Brightwells, the largest equine auctioneers in Britain, and a loss adjustor from York.

    Elliott and Redvers were friends, linked by the Ledbury Hunt.

    They also knew John Holliday, who stood to lose his job with the Ledbury Hunt kennels once the hunting ban came into force. He was also with the group.

    "They seemed pretty normal," said one who saw some of the plotters at that stage.

    Some hours later, at 3.50pm, a constituent who was discussing matters with his MP spotted a well known pro-hunting campaigner entering the Commons.

    He motioned to the man, who was posing as a contractor and who responded by signalling to him to keep quiet.

    Once outside, the constituent alerted a police officer. The officer appeared to be uninterested.

    The constituent then approached a police inspector who promised he would look into it.

    Half an hour later, the protesters burst into the chamber.

    "I think they were as surprised as everyone else that they managed to get as far as they did," said a friend.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 16, 2004.

    Hot under the dog collar

    Hot under the dog collar

    Sep 14 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    A FUMING vicar has blasted parking bosses for painting double yellow lines outside his church, claiming they did so without warning.

    Father Denis Bradshaw, of St John the Divine Church in Vassall Road, Kennington, says the lines - in force on a 24-hour basis, every day of the year - have made life very difficult for his congregation.

    The restrictions on a section of Vassall Road mean church-goers have to park far down the road or in side streets already filled with residents' cars.

    Father Bradshaw said: "These double yellow lines have been a cause of great concern to a number of our congregation, especially those who bring elderly relatives to church.

    "While I accept some parking restrictions are needed in Vassall Road, I think it's totally ridiculous to have placed these double yellow lines right outside the entrance to the church - without any consultation whatsoever."

    Owen Dignan was one of the first to fall foul of the double yellows, when he dropped off his disabled mother, Megan, who is in her 80s.

    Mr Dignan had a blue disabled badge and did not realise the lines had become operational on August 22.

    In the time it took him to help his mother into the church, a £50 ticket was slapped on his windscreen.

    He said: "I'm angry there has been no consultation because it's inconvenient for me. I now have to drop my mother off then go and find somewhere to park down the road."

    Leader of Lambeth council Peter Truesdale is a member of St John the Divine.

    Father Bradshaw has asked Cllr Truesdale to look into this issue.

    A Lambeth council spokesman said the double yellow lines formed part of a wider scheme aimed at improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

    He said: "This wider scheme was subject to extensive consultation with residents over the last two years and included two exhibitions held locally."

    He said people were allowed to drop their passengers off.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    Father scales Eye

    Father scales Eye

    Sep 14 2004

    South London Press

    A Fathers 4 Justice campaigner who scaled the London Eye has been charged with causing a public nuisance. Engineers were forced to shut the Waterloo attraction when David Chick, 37, climbed the framework on Saturday.

    The fathers' rights campaigner was seen to scale the giant wheel at around 3.50am and was coaxed down by cops at 10.15pm.

    Mr Chick, from Burgess Hill, West Sussex, was given a hospital check-up before being quizzed at Kennington police station.

    He was due to appear at Camberwell Magistrates' Court yesterday.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    Guided walk from Kennington Tube Station

    Guided walk from Kennington Tube Station

    The Original LONDON WALKS
    London, PO Box 1708, London, NW6 4LW
    Telephone 020 7624 3978 (or 020 7794 1764)
    Recorded Information 020 7624 9255 (or 020 7624 WALK)

    Past Preserved: Nooks & Crannies & Flickering Shadows in Charlie Chaplin's London

    Saturday, October 16th
    Kennington Tube Stop

    Going On A London Walk
    To go on a London Walk, meet your guide and fellow walkers on the pavement just outside the designated London Tube Stop (Underground Station) at the time stated.

    Your guide will be holding up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. There is no need to book for any of the London Walks

    A London Walk lasts about two hours.

    And they always take place, rain or shine. Each walk ends at or near a London Tube Stop (Underground station).

    How Much Does It Cost?
    A London Walk costs £5 - or £4 for senior citizens, full-time students, and Discount Walkabout Card holders. The Walkabout Cards are a bargain so do ask your guide for one! Children under 15 go free if accompanied by their parent(s).

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    The Necropolis Railway - tour

    The Necropolis Railway - tour

    Anyone who has read Andrew Martin's thriller "The Necropolis Railway", set just outside Waterloo, may be interested in a tour which includes a visit to the Necropolis railway HQ at 121 Westminster Bridge Road and Brookwood Cemetery, being organised by Anna Robinson, Local History Librarian, Lambeth Archives.

    Anna writes:

    The trip has been arranged for Sunday 14th November. We will meet at 10.30am at 121 Westminster Bridge Road where John M Clarke - author of all history books written on the subject - will show us around. We will then proceed to the station to catch a train to Brookwood. After lunch we will be shown round the cemetery. The tour ends at 3pm and people can either make their way home or take an optional tour of St Edward the Martyr's church. This unusual church houses the remains of Edward the Martyr and is a Russian orthodox church in the English countryside.


    The tour

    Lambeth is not charging for the event but the friends of Brookwood cemetery usually request a donation of at least £2. They are not funded and carry out all the restoration work from their donations.

    The fares

    A cheap day return to Brookwood is £8.90. However, if enough people bring network cards we can keep the costs down - bring one if you have one.


    The pub near the station offers Sunday lunch at £5.95. They need to know numbers in advance so let me know if you want one - otherwise you can bring sandwiches.

    To book e-mail me AKRobinson@lambeth.gov.uk or ring on 020 7926 6076

    Anna Robinson
    Local History Librarian
    Lambeth Archives
    Minet Library
    52 Knatchbull Road
    London SE5 9QT

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    Foxhunting is a remnant of feudal society - and that is why we have to ban it

    Class war on the hoof

    Foxhunting is a remnant of feudal society - and that is why we have to ban it

    George Monbiot
    Tuesday September 14, 2004

    The Guardian

    There is one thing on which both sides agree: hunting is not a class issue. The hunters claim that it's no longer the preserve of the aristocracy. Labour MPs insist that their determination to ban it has nothing to do with the social order: it's about animals. Both sides are wrong. This is class war.

    The Countryside Alliance, the Telegraph, the Field, and Horse and Hound magazine maintain that opposition to foxhunting is the newfangled concern of the dilettantes of Islington, who know nothing of the countryside. The hunters plainly know nothing of history.

    To the Normans, England was one big hunting ground. By the time of Henry II's reign, according to the author Marion Shoard, almost a quarter of the country was royal forest. A forest is not a place where trees grow. It is land set aside for the king's game, in which the nourishment of deer, wild swine and hares took precedence over the nourishment of human beings. Much of the rest of England was classified as "chase": the hunting grounds of the nobility.

    These lands were governed by a brutal set of forest laws. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that William I "set up great protection for deer and legislated to that intent, that whosoever should slay hart or hind should be blinded". In 1293, the historian Andrew McCall tells us, "the English parliament decreed that no proceedings were to be taken against foresters, parkers or warreners if they killed poachers who resisted arrest". A poacher, subsequent laws determined, was anyone who wasn't a nob. In 1390, parliament "passed an act limiting the right to hunt to the 40-shilling freeholder for laymen, and to the cleric with an annual income of over £10".

    These laws, Shoard says, "helped establish two basic principles of land management that ... persist to this day. The first was that facilitating the private pleasure of the privileged few was a legitimate basis for determining the allocation of Britain's land. The second was that the landowner possessed the right to do whatever he liked with his land irrespective of the impact ... on other members of the community."

    Not everyone who hunts today is a member of the aristocracy - far from it. But this is the way in which you aspire to become one. To look posh you buy a Land Rover, green wellies, a tweed hat and a waxed jacket: the livery of field sports. You buy a house in the country. You get yourself a horse and you join the hunt.

    The residual power of the landed class arises from other people's aspirations. The British remain mesmerised by our pre-democratic rulers. Their version of the past is still widely accepted, thanks to costume dramas, the National Trust, and our balmoralised popular histories. It is encapsulated in the justifying myth of landed power we call chivalry.

    Chivalry embodied five romantic virtues, of which perhaps the most important was "franchise". Franchise is defined by the historian Maurice Keen as "the free and frank bearing that is visible testimony to the combination of good birth with virtue". It can also be translated as freedom from democratic restraint.

    "Chivalry" is derived from chevalerie, or horse soldiery. It was designed to instil in young noblemen the qualities required to conquer new lands and subjugate their people on behalf of the king and the church. These men, according to Ramon Lull, author of the 13th-century Libre del Ordre de Cavayleria, should exercise by hunting the hart, the boar and the wolf. This enabled them to refine the art of killing from the saddle with the bow and couched lance.

    In the thunder of the hunt today we hear echoes of the joust, the tourney and the cavalry charge. As if to remind us of its military associations, the hunters wear the uniform of the 18th-century soldier. And though not all redcoats are aristocrats, it is the noblesse and the classes abutting it who still run the show.

    You doubt this? Then read the letter sent to his old school magazine by the financial director of the Countryside Alliance, a man called RS Loodmer. Loodmer is an Old Stoic, which means he attended an expensive public school in Buckinghamshire called Stowe.

    "In the build up to the Countryside March in London last year," he writes, "there were five people present in our operations room at Kennington Road early one morning - I realised that we were ALL Old Stoics! ... I developed my feeling for the countryside at Stowe, and it is great that others share the same commitment and passions."

    I read this because I am also an Old Stoic. I too "developed my feeling for the countryside at Stowe", and for the kind of people who run it. The school, which occupies the magnificent Palladian home of Lord Cobham, was obsessed by bloodsports. It had its own pack of beagles. There were lakes in which many of us fished. Several of the boys owned ferrets, and quite a few had guns hidden in their studies.

    I remember being astonished by the arsenal of shotguns, rifles, pistols and air rifles which appeared one frozen dawn when we gathered by the lakes to flick bottles across the ice and shoot them. One boy used to delight in releasing a squirrel and two ferrets in the squash courts. He later became master of one of Britain's most famous hunts, which is inconvenient for those who claim that hunting has nothing to do with sadism.

    I saw it from both sides: as a member of the chivalric order and as one excluded from it. At home, I used to join the local boys in "running down" the hunt. This is the only traditionally working-class component of foxhunting: the fit young men of the village work out where the horses are going and, taking short cuts, try to get there before them. This way you could enjoy the thrill of the chase without the expense of owning a horse. The hunters tolerated us, but that was all. At the meet they would remain in the saddle, drinking from their stirrup-cups, talking only to each other. If we asked one of them a question, he would ignore us, or address us as if a worm had spoken, or walk his horse straight through us, so that we had to step out of the way.

    The Norman lords' superiority, Shoard writes, was established by two features of feudal society: the castle and their "association ... with the horse, which enabled them literally to look down on the serfs, who walked".

    As an animal welfare issue, foxhunting comes in at about number 155. It probably ranks below the last of the great working-class bloodsports, coarse fishing. It's insignificant beside intensive pig farming, chicken keeping or even the rearing of pheasants for driven shoots. But as a class issue, it ranks behind private schooling at number two. This isn't about animal welfare. It's about human welfare. By taking on the hunt, our MPs are taking on those who ran the country for 800 years, and still run the countryside today. This class war began with the Norman conquest. It still needs to be fought.


    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    U.K. Immigrants, Part-Timers Swell Workforce, Quell Inflation


    U.K. Immigrants, Part-Timers Swell Workforce, Quell Inflation

    Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) --

    Piotr Siciak came to London from Poland in June hoping to find a job. It didn't take the 24-year-old student long: after eight days he was taken on as a bartender in the Prince of Wales, a pub in Kennington, South London.

    "There are a lot of jobs going in London," he said, standing outside the pub operated by brewers Shepherd Neame Ltd. "If you work hard you can survive here."

    Immigrants such as Siciak are among the more than 7 million part-time and temporary workers bolstering Britain's workforce at a time when unemployment has fallen to a 29-year low. The expansion in the pool of labor helped keep wage growth at half the average pace of the past 30 years. That gives the economy scope to accelerate without fueling inflation, said Peter Robinson, senior economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research, a London- based consultancy.

    The government will release wage-growth and unemployment figures at 9:30 a.m. in London tomorrow. Unemployment measured by the number of people claiming benefits was probably 2.7 percent in August, the lowest since 1975, according to the median forecast of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg Sept. 10.

    "One of the surprises after over a decade of fairly steady economic recovery is that wage inflation remains quite quiescent," said Robinson of the policy institute. "If the supply of labor increases and the economy can grow faster, you'd expect any central bank or government worth its salt to let that happen."

    Rising Wages

    The globally accepted measure for U.K. unemployment, reported by the International Labor Organization, showed a 4.8 percent rate, compared with 9 percent in the euro region and 5.4 percent in the U.S.

    U.K. wages, including bonuses, probably rose 4.3 percent in the quarter through July from the year-earlier period, down from 4.4 percent in the quarter through June, a separate survey of 32 economists showed.

    The Bank of England said in its inflation report last month that if immigration continues, "further increases in labor demand may be met without firms having to raise wages."

    The number of immigrants permitted to remain in the U.K. rose 20 percent last year to 139,675, the highest since 1983, when comparable government statistics started. Many joined the ranks of part-time workers. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 23 percent of the 28 million-strong workforce are part-timers, up from 20 percent in 1990. Across the 30 OECD nations, the rate is 15 percent.


    Record employment and stable wage inflation are bolstering the prospects of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who may call an election as soon as next year. In April, Blair said that while he wants to reduce illegal immigration, choking off the flow of foreign workers "would be disastrous for our country and our economy."

    Blair's Labour Party led the opposition Conservatives by 2 percentage points, within the three-point margin of error, in a Sept. 7 opinion poll by Populus of 1,009 adults for the London-based Times. In an August poll by Mori for the Financial Times, 7 percent of those questioned cited unemployment as a concern, compared with 30 percent in 1997, the year Blair took office. Mori questioned 1,923 adults.

    Tope Hassan, a mother of two from Nigeria, arrived in London last August and works at a South London branch of Marks & Spencer Group Plc, the nation's biggest clothing retailer. She plans to begin studying this month at London's South Bank University, when she'll shift to part-time work.

    Nigeria Tougher

    "I had the right documentation to get a job so it wasn't too bad," she said. "It's not so easy in Nigeria; they have no job centers. There isn't really part-time work there -- most jobs there are nine to five, Monday to Friday."

    Employers must be open-minded about where they get staff, said Ruth Hounslow, head of U.K. public affairs at Manpower Inc., the world's second-largest temporary-staffing company. "In Britain, more people than ever are able to access the labor market in the ways they choose," she said. "That flexibility is very healthy."

    Marshall Aerospace, based near Cambridge, north of London, employs 120 workers it recruited from the Philippines. The maker of fuel tanks to extend the range of Boeing Co. 747 aircraft, obtained work permits and gave them accommodation.

    "Ramping up our permanent staff is a no-no," said Kevin Patterson, who runs the manufacturing division. "Most aerospace businesses use a large amount of contract labor."

    Inactive People

    Also swelling the potential workforce are so-called inactive people, who aren't looking for a job or aren't available to work. They form a "large pool of labor that could potentially be tapped to meet increases in labor demand," according to the Bank of England. At 7.85 million, that group is at its highest since government figures began in 1984.

    Average incomes are rising slower than the 4.5 percent rate the Bank of England has said is compatible with stable inflation.

    Wage inflation "is not something we're hugely worried about at the moment," said John Telling, head of corporate affairs at Mitie Group Plc, which provides cleaning and catering services and employs about 28,000 U.K. staff.

    Pay raises are also being suppressed because of limitations on trade union power since the 1980s and a lower number of bargaining agreements.

    While 68 percent of the German workforce and 93 percent of French workers are covered by collective bargaining, in the U.K. the proportion is 33 percent, according to the OECD. In the U.S., it's 14 percent.

    Companies are more willing to tell workers to "take a hike if they make excessive wage demands," said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank in London.

    To contact the reporter on this story:
    Sam Fleming in London at sfleming5@bloomberg.net.

    To contact the editors responsible for this story:
    Chris Kirkham at ckirkham@bloomberg.net.
    Heather Harris at hharris@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: September 13, 2004 19:08 EDT

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 14, 2004.

    Father charged over Eye protest

    BBC News

    Father charged over Eye protest

    A fathers' rights campaigner who spent about 18 hours on top of the London Eye, forcing it to close, has been charged with causing a public nuisance.

    David Chick, 37, of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, who was dressed as Spiderman, voluntarily came down from the wheel about 2215 BST on Saturday.

    He scaled the wheel at 0350 BST, prompting a security review.

    Scotland Yard said Mr Chick was due to appear at Camberwell Magistrates' Court on Monday.

    Mr Chick was given a hospital check-up before being questioned at Kennington Police Station in south London.

    A London Eye spokeswoman said anyone who had bought one of the 5,000 pre-booked tickets for Saturday would be given a full refund.

    A spokesman for Fathers 4 Justice said the group supported Mr Chick.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/09/13 06:14:28 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 13, 2004.


    More open houses

    Alistair Sawday looks at some of London's most distinctive B&Bs, selected from his forthcoming guide

    Saturday September 11, 2004

    The Guardian

    The Bowling Hall, 346 Kennington Road, SE11 (020-7840 0454)

    Once an Irish drinking den, this is now a pristine wonderland of cool lines and soothing colours. The feeling is uncluttered, hugely airy. You get the front of the house to yourself, including a mirrored bathroom and a sitting room that opens on to a gorgeous courtyard garden (bamboo, eucalyptus, pots of lavender). Cleaver Square, Borough market and the South Bank are all close.

    · Double £80, single £45-£50.

    · Alistair Sawday's guide to B&Bs, hotels and apartments in London: published September 30, £9.99.
    specialplacestostay.com. Other useful sites: londonbb.com; uptownres.co.uk.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 11, 2004.



    Speaker: Jon Newman, Head of Lambeth Archives

    Monday 20 September, 7.30pm

    Morden Library
    Morden Civic Centre
    London Rd, Morden


    Price's Candles started in Vauxhall in 1830, making candles from Sri Lankan coconuts and then concentrated its factory in Battersea. In the 1840s it marketed its candles made with raw products from West Africa as a method that helped undermine the slave trade. In the days before homes were lit with gas and then electricity its candles were used all over the world. It also set up factories to make them across the world. By 1914 it was the largest candle manufacturer in the world, with sidelines in motor and engine oil, soap and glycerine. Its Battersea workforce set up a retail co-operative which was successful for over 50 years.

    It would help the organisation of this event if you could indicate by 13 September your intention to attend.
    Please email sean.creighton@btopenworld.com.
    Thank you.

    Part of:

    The next talks in this series are:

    18 October - The representation of Black people in portrait paintings
    Caz Bressey, Secretary, Black & Asian Studies Association

    15 November - Nelson's Black connections
    Di Reynolds, Morden Library Manager

    For more information see Merton Council website:

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 10, 2004.

    Would chew believe it ...

    Would chew believe it ...

    Sep 10 2004

    South London Press

    A PIZZA company had to fork out £3,000 after one of its customers found chewing gum in his meal.

    Pizza Castle Ltd, which traded as Dominos Pizza in Kennington, was taken to court by Lambeth council who investigated the customer's complaint.

    The distraught man had contacted the town hall's food safety team who sent the pizza for analysis.

    They also interviewed the customer and inspected the restaurant, on Newington Butts.

    On Wednesday, August 25, representatives for Pizza Castle Ltd appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court where they pleaded guilty to a food safety offence.

    After hearing from the company's solicitor, the magistrates said they were satisfied a rogue employee had committed a one-off act, but the company was ultimately responsible.

    Pizza Castle Ltd was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs to Lambeth council.

    Lambeth's executive member for the environment, Councillor Clare Whelan, said: "The council's food safety team - as guardians of the public's health and safety - carries out a very important job.

    "They deal with a number of food complaint cases every year, but thankfully cases like this are very rare."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 10, 2004.

    Jeillo Edwards (Clottey),


    September 09, 2004

    Lives in Brief

    Jeillo Edwards (Clottey), actor, was born on September 23, 1942. She died on July 2, 2004, aged 61.

    Jeillo Edwards was one of the first black actresses to appear on British screens, and her durability is due entirely to her patience and good nature throughout the difficult 1960s and 1970s. Arriving in Britain from Sierra Leone in 1960, she survived mainly on her role in BBC Radio’s African Theatre, which, scheduled just once a month, meant a meagre existence for some time. She got her primetime break in 1972, with an appearance on Dixon of Dock Green. She was to become a regular on the BBC World Service, and was the natural choice during African Performance seasons.

    Radiant, booming and always cheerful, Edwards had brilliant enunciation — despite a mouth which, had she cared about it, could have made the reputation of any orthodontist. Able to play West African and West Indian with equal verve, Edwards was much in demand in African theatre, in which she specialised in playing the domineering matriarch; a formidable soldier in the battle of the sexes that rages in both these societies. At the same time she was the protective, home-cooking woman ready to show mercy to the most unprincipled transgressor. Many of the plays in BBC African Theatre were politically powerful and benefited from writers exiled by apartheid, such as: Lionel Ngakane, John Matshikiza, Jabu Mbal and Alton Khumalo. At the farthest possible remove from this, she appeared in some of the most cutting-edge television comedies of recent years, including Spaced, Red Dwarf, Black Books, The League of Gentlemen and Little Britain.

    Edwards’s desire was always to play the romantic lead on either television or radio — something always denied due to her full figure and her full-blooded voice. The closest she came was perhaps her radio role as Cash Madam, a rich sugar-mamma with a legion of pliant young men — a well-known caricature of the Nigerian upper class. Her catchphrase was: “No sweat, only perspiration.”

    She was probably never employed to her full potential. Her best shot at becoming a mainstream comic actress was as Mrs McGregor in the poorly received Jimmy Perry series Room Service (1979). One of her strongest performances was as Rose in A Beautiful Thing, a perfectly realised short film about love on a South London council estate, directed by Hettie MacDonald.

    Edwards was a pillar of Sierra Leone community groups in Kennington, South London, and for several years she held court at her own restaurant, Auntie J — the name by which she was affectionately known among her acting peers.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 09, 2004.

    Cars pulled up in police blitz

    Evening Standard

    08/09/04 - London news section

    Cars pulled up in police blitz

    By Patrick Mcgowan

    In police jargon it is an ANPR check and the chances are it will be coming soon to a busy road near you.

    You may think you have been driving impeccably, but if you have not paid your road tax or your car is logged on computer as having been involved in crime, you will quickly find yourself pulled to the roadside.

    The letters stand for Automatic Number Plate Reader, the same technology used in enforcing the congestion charge. It can read hundreds of car numbers a minute at up to 100mph.

    Once the mobile unit is set up at the roadside it effectively screens the flow of traffic, filtering out those cars which could be of interest to police.

    A short distance down the road a score of police are waiting to check the occupants. If they don't feel like stopping, the Metropolitan Police helicopter is on standby.

    This check was set up for several hours in Kennington Oval and every few minutes another driver was pulled in and closely questioned.

    Main routes into and around London are being targeted almost daily by nearly 100 officers from the Met, British Transport Police and other forces including Hertfordshire and Essex.

    They work on the principle that many major as well as minor criminals drive some distance between their homes and the places where they commit offences. Until the arrival of ANPR technology, the chances of a known suspect's car being spotted en route by an alert traffic patrol were slim.

    The value of number plate screening became apparent in the Nineties when the City Police set up static cameras to monitor all vehicles entering or leaving their area at a time when the IRA was a major threat.

    Lesser criminals quickly learned to avoid the Square Mile as any stolen vehicle was likely to trigger alarms in the police control room.

    The professional burglar is a particular target of the ANPR check. He may not have been caught red-handed but if his car was spotted in suspicious circumstances near a break-in and the number entered on the Police National Computer, the next time he is pulled in he may have your stereo in the boot.

    Even if he does not, the mere fact that he is pulled over and his vehicle thoroughly searched may act as a serious deterrent.

    A test of ANPR in nine police forces outside London last year led to the arrest of 3,000 people in six months, the recovery of 300 stolen vehicles and the seizure of £100,000 drugs.

    Use of ANPR technology across the country is expected to lead to an extra 200,000 arrests a year and the recovery of £ 200 million in unpaid road tax and fines.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 08, 2004.

    Man in dock over parkland shooting

    Man in dock over parkland shooting

    Sep 7 2004

    South London Press

    AN ALLEGED gunman accused of shooting dead a 21-year-old man has appeared in court. Marlon Stubbs, 23, is charged with the murder of Adrian Marriott in Brixton on June 9.

    Mr Marriott was found with bullet wounds to the face in parkland near Barrington Road just after 9am.

    Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

    Stubbs, of Ward Point, Kennington, spoke only to confirm his name at the plea and directions hearing at the Old Bailey, which was adjourned until October 28.

    He did not enter a plea to the charge of murder and was remanded in custody by the Common Serjeant of London, Judge Peter Beaumont.

    A second man has already been charged with the attack and will appear at the Old Bailey for a plea and directions hearing on September 24.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 07, 2004.

    Vauxhall Cross

    Interchange welcomes buses

    Sep 7 2004

    South London Press

    BUS passengers will be the first to benefit from the Vauxhall Cross interchange from this weekend.

    The interchange, which has taken two years to build and will be fully open at the beginning of October, aims to provide easier access between bus, Tube and rail services.

    Every day, 65,000 vehicles - 2,000 buses on 13 routes, 712 Underground trains, 730 overground trains and 45,000 commuters - travel through Vauxhall Cross.

    The bus stops have been moved into the interchange early to keep roads clear for the start of the new school term when traffic levels are higher.

    The 13 bus routes being taken away from the gyratory system into the interchange will make it easier for traffic to flow through one of the capital's busiest junctions.

    The front of the structure housing the bus station is covered in solar panels which enables the interchange to produce one-third of its own electricity.

    Peter Hendy, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London, said: "The Vauxhall Cross interchange has been an ambitious project for TfL.

    "Any excess power is sold back to the National Grid.

    "For passengers at Vauxhall Cross, changing between bus, rail and Tube had been difficult for a long time. We've tackled these issues head-on and passengers and residents will have a transport inter-change that will improve their journeys and make them feel safer," he said.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 07, 2004.

    Dominos Pizza


    Dominos Pizza

    A local take-away got caught up in a sticky mess last year when they sold a pizza that contained a chewed up piece of gum in the topping.


    Released: 6 September, 2004 03:55
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 07, 2004.

    Postal Matters


    September 06, 2004

    Third-class delivery

    Money for nothing

    POSTMEN familiar with specific postal areas might improve postal deliveries in London, but I doubt it. For the past year, our delivery men in the Kennington area have been changed continually. If we’re lucky, we get post in the afternoons three times weekly, and rarely on a Saturday.

    Any attempt to check on what’s happened to deliveries at our local office results in the phone being put down without an answer. A letter of complaint to Royal Mail’s chairman, Allan Leighton, in April this year, received a reply in June ignoring my argument but assuring me that I would receive an immediate improvement in our service. We haven’t.

    In every area of government and public service the UK operates a demented, fudge policy. Who would ever consider that fat cats not achieving their targets should be rewarded financially? Only the apathetic British.

    Jim Kelsey, London SE11

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 06, 2004.

    Angels over Vauxhall

    Angels over Vauxhall

    October – December 2004

    St Peter’s Church
    310 Kennington Lane

    People, whether religious or not, experience God in many ways – the miracle of birth, the beauty of nature, an unexpected kindness.

    Angels over Vauxhall is a festival, centred round St Peter’s Church, designed to recognise and celebrate those moments, using the universal image of ‘angels’ as a simple metaphor.

    During the festival the church will be open for viewing, to take part in Angel Spotting, to take part in a workshop. Please check the website for details.

    Evening Events at 7.30pm

    Sat 2 October
    Free Gala concert and Reception - an evening of mellow music with refreshments

    Sun 3 October
    Songs of experience – poems and songs celebrating angels

    Tues 5 October
    What are angels? – discussion on the psychology of angels

    Wed 6 October
    A history of angels – an illustrated talk in art history by Mike Adam

    Thu 7 Oct
    Miss Garnet’s Angel – Salley Vickers reads from her best-selling book

    Fri 8 Oct
    Wings of Desire – a cinema event

    Sat 9 Oct
    Ed Jones Quartet – jazz concert

    Sun 10 Oct
    Festival Choral Evensong – sung by local singers (6.00pm)

    For a programme, including details of the workshops, contact:
    Angels over Vauxhall
    St Peter’s Church
    310 Kennington Lane
    London SE11 5HY

    Or sign up on the mailing list via the website www.angelsovervauxhall.org

    -- Wilma (wilma.roest@virgin.net), September 05, 2004.

    A yen for Monopoly

    A yen for Monopoly

    Sep 3 2004
    By Domenic Donatantonio

    South London Press

    A MAD-KEEN Monopoly enthusiast is hoping to pass go, collect £5,000 and go directly to Tokyo by winning the British Monopoly Championships today.

    Kamman Janpiam, 28, from Kennington Road, Lambeth North, is joining 64 board-game businessmen on HMS Belfast, moored at Morgans Lane, Tooley Street, London Bridge.

    Kamman, who aptly works as a credit controller, had to answer 34 questions on the rules of the famous game to get through to the knock-out contest.

    If he wins, he will receive £5,000 in prize money and an all-expenses paid trip to the World Monopoly Championships in Tokyo, Japan, from October 7-11.

    He plays with his pals in the local Thai Pavilion restaurant in Kennington Road.

    Kamman said tactics were crucial to beating the opposition.

    He said: "It's best to be friendly to your opponents. It's strange, you have to co-operate with them in order to beat them."

    Kamman admitted that luck plays a part.

    He said: "The most common dice rolls are a seven or a six. So it's good to have the orange properties [Bow Street, Marlborough Street, Vine Street] because people go to 'jail' a lot in the game."

    The contestants will each play three 90 minute knockout rounds.


    The longest Monopoly game ever played was 1,680 hours (70 days)

    Longest game in a bathtub: 99 hours

    Longest game underwater: 45 days

    Longest game played upside-down: 36 hours

    The most expensive Monopoly board ever made was put together by jewellery designer Sidney Mobell, of San Francisco. It was made for a million dollars out of gold and precious stones in 1988.

    The largest outdoor game ever played used a gameboard 938ft wide by 765ft long.

    Over £15million of Monopoly money is printed in the UK.

    The game has been printed in 26 languages, including French, Afrikaans, Spanish, German, Catalan, Hindi, Arabic and Norwegian.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 03, 2004.

    Do you have a room for a paying guest?

    I am trying to find a householder in the area who has a spare room, and would be prepared to take in a Director of a big shipping company on a Monday to Friday basis, as a paying guest. He is in his early 50s, has been relocated back to the UK, and is buying a house in Cheltenham so his children can go to school there, but needs somewhere to live in London while he works at Canary Wharfe. If you can help, do let me know. Many thanks - Alison Munro, 31 Fentiman Road.

    -- Alison (alisonmunro32@yahoo.co.uk), September 02, 2004.

    Trace: Where are they now?

    Sun : Letters

    I'M trying to find my mum, Louis Barton née Willis, who I have not seen for 53 years.

    We lived in Kennington, South London, until she left home to live in Deptford.

    She had a sister, Ivy.

    Tonbridge, Kent

    RECOGNISE yourself or anyone you know? Send details to TRACE at the address below. Where Are They Now letters must be sent by post or email.


    Dear Sun
    The Sun,
    1 Virginia St,
    E98 1SL
    FAX: 020 7782 4170
    EMAIL: letters@the-sun.co.uk
    (please give full postal address and telephone number)

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 01, 2004.


    Times : Property

    August 29, 2004

    Bringing the outdoors inside

    Top florist Stephen Woodhams opened up his south London flat to add more daylight — and more of the garden too, reports Simon Brooke of The Sunday Times

    If the garden really is an outside room, as designers and developers keep telling us, there could be few better examples of how to put this theory into practice than at Stephen Woodhams’ London flat. The floral designer’s skilful blurring of the distinction between house and outside space is apparent as soon as you walk through the front door.

    The hallway, like the kitchen and dining area, is paved with flagstones, which lead out through a sleek modern conservatory into the garden. “I made sure the line of grouting between the flagstones carried straight down the hall into the kitchen to make the flat look bigger,” explains Woodhams. Certainly, when you enter the house this concrete seam appears to carry on for ever as it leads through the hallway and out towards the garden.

    Woodhams, whose clients include the actress Gillian Anderson and the fashion designer Joseph Ettedgui, moved from Portobello Road to this ground-floor, two-bedroom flat in a Victorian terrace in Kennington, south London, five years ago. Immediately he determined to open it up, not only to bring as much light in as possible — but as much garden, too.

    To achieve this, the back wall of his flat was removed to make space for a glass conservatory, which opens onto the garden. Light now pours into the combined kitchen, living room and dining area. The windows are almost permanently open and even during the worst of a miserable British summer, Woodhams appreciates this semi-outdoor space. “There is nothing better than curling up on the settee with a cup of coffee and the papers while the rain beats down on the glass above you,” he says.

    Subtle use of colour has also helped bring the garden into the home, and vice versa. “I’ve enjoyed working with different colour palettes,” says Woodhams. Internally the walls are painted a soft mushroom shade from heritage paint supplier Farrow & Ball; the colour matches the render on the outside walls and has, in turn, been used on the supporting pillars inside the house.

    The conservatory frame was originally white. “It looked tacky, so I had it painted battleship grey to match the colour scheme.”

    The side wall of the flat was removed and the existing kitchen ripped out. The room was then extended sideways into an alleyway along the side of the building, following delicate negotiations over the party wall with the adjoining property. There is now a galley-style kitchen here with dark wood units and pale grey composite stone surfaces.

    “We put frosted glass along the roof so that you get natural light coming in, but there is still a bit of privacy,” explains Woodhams. At the opposite end of the room, a specially commissioned dark wood storage unit hides the boiler.

    Woodhams kept a keen eye on the budget and the whole project cost less than £15,000. Even the ubiquitous flagstones were a bargain at £2 each, he explains triumphantly.

    However, disaster nearly struck when the builders removed the rear wall. “We discovered that there was no proper foundation for a lot of the back of the house, so at 4.30pm on a Friday afternoon I was desperately ringing round trying to get some scaffolding organised to underpin it,” he explains. As a result, the building took nearly a year to complete.

    Woodhams’ garden is simple with strong, clean lines, which echo the interior of the house. A strong industrial element is created mainly by five giant tubs containing copper beeches, which dominate the garden. They represent two particular Woodhams quirks — oversizing and odd numbers.

    “Objects arranged in threes, fives or sevens look more striking and interesting than when they come in even numbers,” he explains. “I also love over- and undersizing. For instance, at One Aldwych (the London boutique hotel), we used huge tubs containing tiny box hedge.”

    The inclusion of the planting tubs in the garden was a happy coincidence. They are made from enormous concrete rings that are usually put together by builders to form drainage pipes. “I saw them stacked up in a storage depot as I was driving around the M25,” says Woodhams. “When I ordered them the delivery guy couldn’t believe they were going to a flat, not a building site — he was convinced he’d got the wrong address.”

    Around the base of these monsters are pink neon lights that are practical at night and provide a colourful contrast with the monolithic grey concrete. The garden table is painted shocking pink and the pink neon theme is picked up in the kitchen lighting inside.

    The garden’s no-nonsense industrial look is softened with shrubs and also with the inclusion of a simple water feature that runs along the back of the house and conservatory and is crossed by stepping-stone flagstones. The water flows gently over mossy pebbles and tiny water boatmen hop about over the surface. This image is repeated in the bathroom, where a stainless-steel industrial bathtub is suspended above a mass of pebbles. Surprisingly, there are few flowers in the garden. The colour scheme is simple with copper-leaved trees and deep-green box hedges. The giant Sorbus tree that overlooks the garden was inherited but fits into the palette with its bright orange berries.

    Like the apocryphal plumber who was too busy working on his clients’ pipes to stop his own tap from dripping, Woodhams gets little time to devote to his garden, and he designed it to take this into account. “It’s not really low-maintenance,” he laughs, surveying it from his sofa in the glass atrium. “It’s more like no-maintenance.”

    Stephen Woodhams’ gardening tips:

    “Grasses are really big at the moment,” he says. They look dramatic but need little attention. “Choose something like Stipa gigantea, which has beautiful bronze seed heads, and Macleaya cordata with its elegant silvery leaves.”

    Gardeners are becoming more “green” these days. “Ecological choices for planting include evergreens and shrubs that are drought-resistant,” he suggests.

    “Tweak your garden every now and then rather than changing the whole thing. Paint the walls or change the odd plant on a regular basis.”

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), September 01, 2004.

    The making of a musical thriller

    The Scotsman

    Sat 28 Aug 2004

    The making of a musical thriller


    THE CALL CAME THROUGH MY AGENT. The producer Sonia Friedman was eager for me to meet Andrew Lloyd Webber to discuss a musical version of Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White. I thought: "Will I really have to read another Penguin Classic?" Since completing my English degree I have had an aversion to anything longer than 400 pages that comes with an introduction. So it was with some trepidation that I came to read the novel two days before I was to meet Andrew.

    I needn’t have worried. An international bestseller at the time of publication in 1860, it still makes a thrilling and breathless read. It works as a murder mystery, a psychological thriller, a detective novel and a domestic love story. I told Andrew: "You know, I’ve no idea how to write the book to a musical." He said not to worry. When he, Don Black and Christopher Hampton were writing Sunset Boulevard he had three houses in the South of France; each collaborator had a house to himself and they would meet up for lunch. I thought, "That doesn’t sound too bad."


    Eighteen months later, after various "working" trips to Andrew’s homes in New York, Ireland and Majorca, the script and the score of The Woman in White exist and it is time to hand it over to the actors.

    The principals and creative team meet at the Jerwood Space, near Waterloo. I’m told that musical theatre actors are a different breed. "Twirlies" they call them. On first impression they all just look slightly slimmer, prettier and can sing as well as act. Some things aren’t fair in this life. I have just discovered that I am pregnant. I am suffering much worse nausea than I did with my first child. It’s all very bad timing. I’ve already put on half a stone and suddenly I am living in the land of the sylph.

    The Woman in White is played by an American actress, Angela Christian. She is whippet-thin with freckles and fierce red hair. She moves like a thoroughbred horse who might kick at any point. Perfect for our "is she mad or isn’t she?" heroine. Our "juve lead" Laura (Jill Paice) looks like Meg Ryan, but taller and more attractive. The hero, Walter Hartright, a drawing master, is played by Australian hunk Martin Crewes. He smoulders quietly in a corner of the room.

    There have already been two workshop performances and Trevor Nunn, the director, has delivered a talk on the subject of Wilkie Collins that encompasses the novelist and his relationship with Charles Dickens (friendly), his love life (bigamous) and the differences between our adaptation and the novel (fairly extensive).

    The story begins in a remote railway cutting in Cumbria in 1870. A mysterious woman dressed in white appears "out of the night" and accosts young Hartright, as he is on his way to give lessons to two sisters. She tells him that she has a secret and then runs away.


    WE have the meet-and-greet with hundreds of people in the room. We go around introducing ourselves. Andrew finishes with: "I’m Andrew and I’m the composer." Everyone laughs. He sits on the nearest available chair, which resembles a throne. Bill Dudley reveals his set design. He has used video projections before but never on this scale. In one scene we move from a country house to a formal garden, to wilder countryside, to a waterfall, to a Cumbrian village.


    Everyone said Michael Crawford would be difficult, but he is charming and giggly. He plays the scheming Count Fosco exactly as written by Collins: immensely fat, with a penchant for bonbons and white mice. In the show he will wear a fat suit. But such is his skill as an actor that within a week you see him piling on metaphorical weight, jowls descending, gait slowing.


    We move to Alford House in Kennington as the room at Jerwood is not big enough to accommodate our stage. The show has six stage managers and they are working their socks off. Every night after rehearsals there is a dry technical run at the theatre. By the time we open, the show will have had eight weeks of technical rehearsals, so demanding is the set design.

    I find an ally in our associate director, Daniel Kramer. His incisive comments about The Woman in White’s secret lead to rewrites.

    After rehearsals we have a script meeting to discuss rewrites. It gets a bit edgy. I am reminded that I am working with two of the titans of musical theatre. Andrew has been for the most part a courteous and sweet collaborator and Trevor Nunn is a wonderful dramaturg and diplomacy itself. But as experienced as they are, the heat is getting to them.


    Sonia Friedman is making her presence felt. We call her Sonia Jessica Parker, in homage to her enviable sense of style. She is the most glamorous producer in the West End, and one of the most powerful. She has the requisite Jekyll and Hyde personality of the producer - lovely one moment, tough and uncompromising the next.

    She appears never to eat, or indeed sleep. She tells me that Rigby and Peller are making her a corset for the first night on 15 September. I am jealous. I will be 18 weeks pregnant so at that "is she pregnant or simply fat?" stage. It will be my first real red-carpet event.

    Trevor, who is another workaholic, has broken away from his customary denim uniform today and in the stifling, fan-less heat has resorted to wearing a (denim-coloured) linen shirt. I tell him he looks nice. He laughs for a long time. So long I get nervous.

    In rehearsals, however, he’s extraordinary to watch. He very much shapes the action, doesn’t leave the actors much space while giving them the impression that they are making all their own decisions. Actors, like toddlers, need their boundaries. He knows his stuff.

    We have our final run-through. Michael Crawford uses a rat and a mouse for the first time - he sings, pirouettes and makes the rat travel up and down his outstretched arms. He is a class act.

    The piece really seems to work as both a thriller and a romance. The score is clever and varied: lush, melodic one minute, dark and edgy the next. Two women who work in marketing are in tears by the end. All this before costumes and an orchestra. If I can only find a slimming kaftan for the opening night, things are looking good.

    • The Woman in White previews at Palace Theatre, London (0870 8955579) from today.

    The woman in demand

    THE Woman in White is likely to be "rediscovered" with the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical but the truth is that Wilkie Collins’s story was a success from the publication of the first instalment.

    Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, who published the story in his weekly magazine, All Year Round. The serialisation was so popular that readers queued up for the final instalment, published in August 1860.

    Once the novel was published, shortly after the magazine’s final instalment, it spawned a host of Woman in White paraphernalia - bonnets, perfumes, even a Woman in White waltz. Since then, the book has never been out of print.

    The story was written by Collins after a strange encounter when he and his brother Charles were seeing a guest - the artist John Everett Millais - home along the dark and semi-rural roads near their north London home after a party.

    The men heard a terrifying scream followed by the appearance of a young and beautiful woman in white robes who quickly vanished into the shadows.

    It transpired that she had fallen into the hands of a brute who had held her prisoner in a house in Regent’s Park for several months until she escaped.

    The Victorian "sensation" was suggested to Lloyd Webber as a suitable subject after he admitted on TV that he was without an ongoing project almost two years ago. The Woman in White opens in the newly renovated Palace Theatre, the Victorian theatre Lloyd Webber originally intended for The Phantom of the Opera.

    This article:

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 28, 2004.


    It's back to school

    By Faye Greenslade

    Evening Standard


    Once the art block of a rather elegant Victorian school in Kennington, SE11, this 1,119sq ft apartment is now a home and could be yours for £499,000.

    The conversion makes the most of the two-storey property's original features, which have then been cleverly complemented by the use of quality modern materials.

    A vaulted and beamed ceiling lends light and height to its large open-plan reception/kitchen area, which is overlooked by a mezzanine study.

    A spiral staircase leads to a well-equipped shower room and two double bedrooms, each with full-height glazed doors that open onto the landscaped communal gardens. There is secure parking, and nearby Kennington Tube provides a fast link to the City.

    Contact Daniel Cobb (020 7735 9510).

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 26, 2004.



    August 23, 2004

    Revitalised England now well equipped for stiff tasks ahead

    By Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Chief Cricket Correspondent

    “TO SEE a world in a grain of sand.” The emergence of a matchwinning fast bowler in Steve Harmison and the physical and mental development of Andrew Flintoff into a champion all-rounder, a natural victor ludorum, have been the biggest reasons for England’s happy winning habit; but it is also the small things, the 1 per cent improvements in many areas, that have earned seven wins from seven Tests this season.

    The latest, the tenth in 11 matches this year, was completed by ten wickets a little after half-past four at the Oval on Saturday and it left the 20,000 people who had booked in advance for the fourth day with no option but to apply for a refund and spend more time than they had planned in moral support of Paula Radcliffe.

    The final day at a ground looking less and less like the grubby, open Kennington Oval of old and more and more like the smart, modern “Brit” Oval that will be seating 23,000 in relative comfort from next May, was typical of England’s steady progress under Michael Vaughan. With what looked like a deliberate attempt to fit one more small piece into the jigsaw, he bowled James Anderson from the Vauxhall End all morning and the response, the wickets of Brian Lara and Chris Gayle on the way to figures of four for 52, was the final encouraging individual performance in England’s longest unbroken run of success since 1928-29.

    West Indies had been in the match with an even chance at the end of the first day. They were beaten because they could not match the quality of England’s catching or their tailend revival. For Duncan Fletcher this was especially satisfying: just before he became coach in 1999, he said that the two most obvious areas for improvement were the fielding and the lowerorder batting.

    Matthew Hoggard is proof that he has achieved both. He has turned himself from being a variable fielder into a good one and from a hopeless No 11 into a determined blocker capable of frustrating the opposition bowlers with valuable runs. It was ungracious of him not to acknowledge the applause for his highest Test score last Friday but he had set his heart on making fifty and he has come to epitomise the unyielding character and sheer professionalism of the team.

    Until Harmison got nowhere near a skier to square leg and a couple of hard chances went down late in the West Indies second innings, this had been the best England fielding performance all season. Few things are more important in close Test matches than the taking of the hard chances, such as those held last Friday by Robert Key and Ian Bell. Fletcher calls the rest “nine to five” catches, so he and the other selectors will have to weigh Key’s expertise at short leg and Bell’s all-round excellence when it comes to getting the right mix for the next series starting in South Africa in December.

    Vaughan and Fletcher are trying hard not to mention Australia but the mountain still rising above England next year cannot be avoided. One look at the quality of batsmen such as Brad Hodge, Simon Katich, Martin Love and the Hussey brothers, who cannot make the Australia team, another at the batting strength of the India team that will soon be in England for the one-day internationals, should ensure a sense of perspective. So should the first innings totals scored, even against Harmison and company, on the last five occasions that opponents have won the toss and batted: 751 for seven declared (St John’s); 386, 409 and 384 (New Zealand at Lord’s, Headingley and Trent Bridge) and 395 (West Indies at Old Trafford).

    That all but the first of these games were won by England is proof of a crucial resilience. Five years ago, shortly before Fletcher and Nasser Hussain began their single-minded alliance, they were the talk of the London cabbie for the wrong reason, publicly ridiculed for losing to what was actually a strong New Zealand team. Stephen Fleming’s 1999 side had a better bowling attack than the one beaten 3-0 this season but those three tough, enthralling victories were still more significant than the four that have followed against a naive and exceptionally young West Indies team.

    The bowling at Lara’s disposal does not compare with that of Sri Lanka, the last country to beat England, in Colombo last December. Yet Australia, with Shane Warne outbowling his great rival, Muttiah Muralitharan, went into that climate of sapping heat only a few months after England had succumbed, and won handsomely. Recently Sri Lanka beat South Africa, even without Muralitharan. With him, Sri Lanka would still be more likely than not to beat England given another Test in Colombo this winter.

    If their rapid development continues, however, Vaughan’s team might have hardened into the best of the lot by the time that they return to the subcontinent in 2005-06. They are building steadily towards The Great Challenge next season when the absurdly unbalanced international fixture list will need to be circumvented by Fletcher to ensure that Harmison and Flintoff are brought to the boil for an Ashes series not starting until July 21. Nothing in British sport next year will matter more.


    v New Zealand

    First Test (May 20-24, Lord’s): won by seven wickets.
    Second Test (June 3-7, Headingley): won by nine wickets.
    Third Test (June 10-14, Trent Bridge): won by four wickets.

    v West Indies

    First Test (July 22-26, Lord’s): won by 210 runs.
    Second Test (July 29-Aug 2, Edgbaston): won by 256 runs.
    Third Test (Aug 12-16, Old Trafford): won by seven wickets.
    Fourth Test (Aug 19-23, the Oval): won by ten wickets.

    Copyright 2004 Times Newspapers Ltd.

    -- cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 25, 2004.

    Jail sentence for fraud against Lambeth


    Jail sentence for fraud against Lambeth


    A Lambeth tenant, Ms B, living at Lockwood house on the Kennington Estate has been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 18 months in custody.

    Released: 24 August, 2004 11:24
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 25, 2004.

    Cocaine man gets 5 years

    South London Press

    Cocaine man gets 5 years

    A MAN has been jailed for five years for importing cocaine from Jamaica.

    Thomas Mullings, 30, of Kennington, denied being part of a three-strong gang who smuggled 227g of crack cocaine into Heathrow Airport.

    Mullings had met drug courier Kim Tudor from the airport on September 6 last year and taken her to her west London home where they met Richard Edwards. But officers from Operation Trident and Customs and Excise tailed the group and raided Tudor's home minutes afterwards. The trio had denied the charge but were convicted by a jury at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court. Mullings, of St Agnes Place, Tudor, 39, of Third Avenue, Acton, and Edwards, 41, of Kempton Road, East Ham, were each sentenced to five years on Friday.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 25, 2004.

    Tour of Lambeth Palace - 2pm Thursday 28th October 2004

    Tour of Lambeth Palace
    2pm Thursday 28th October 2004

    Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishops of Canterbury since 1197, has played a key, and sometimes colourful, role in British history. The one-hour guided tour of the historic rooms of the Palace includes the Crypt, Guard Room, Chapel and Great Hall (part of the Library).

    To book, please telephone 7793 0268 and send names of all individuals in your party, a cheque for £7 per person (made payable to the “Kennington Association”), plus SAE to:
    Kennington Association
    c/-235B Kennington Lane SE11 5QU

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), August 21, 2004.

    Kennington Park - Victorian generosity or an enclosure for the purposes of social control?

    Friends of the Durning Library - Evening Event:
    Monday, 20th September 7pm for 7.30pm

    Kennington Park - Victorian generosity or an enclosure for the purposes of social control?

    Dr Stefan Szczelkun, a local amateur historian with an interest in working class history and a committee member of the Friends of Kennington Park, promises a talk to challenge some of the things we may have been taught about Victorian philanthropy. The Park, formerly a Common with its own rich history, was created exactly 150 years ago. Members of the Friends of Kennington Park will also outline their plans for the future.

    Light refreshments
    Everyone welcome
    No admission, but a £2 donation is invited

    Event held at:
    The Durning Library
    167 Kennington Lane SE11 4HF

    -- Cathy (FoDurningLibrary@aol.com), August 21, 2004.


    South London Press

    Club bats for Surrey

    Aug 17 2004
    By David Callam

    A CHANGE of vista at the Vauxhall end will sweep The Oval, one of the world's best-known cricket grounds, into a different league commercially.

    But Surrey County Cricket Club is not loosing sight of the sporting tenets on which its existing national success is based. The club may be spending £25m on a new stand that will provide, among other facilities, a conference and banqueting suite with a capacity of 900, but it will continue to play county and other games at Croydon and Guildford too.

    Out-of-Oval appearances remain a crucial aspect of the club's appeal to large numbers of people who cannot or will not travel to Kennington to support their favourite cricket team.

    Paul Blanchard, the sales and marketing manager, said: "Test match ticket sales and hospitality are still an important element of the club's income, as is the £1.2m contribution we receive from the English Cricket Board.

    "Then there is our share of the advertising rights we have pooled with the other test match grounds across the country.

    "This arrangement allows us to attract advertisers like Malaysian Airlines and Toyota to do lucrative deals for the international games that they might not have done with any one ground on its own."

    Broadcast rights remain a good source of income too, as cricket continues to attract the second largest television sports audience - albeit a long way behind football.

    And then there's the new stand at the Vauxhall end. The old one has already gone, replaced by some permanent new seating and temporary hospitality facilities for England's coming matches against the West Indies and India, and the Champions Trophy fixtures.

    Between the close of this cricket season at the end of September and May 2005 a four-storey building will take shape on the site.

    It will house the conference facilities, a community education area and further hospitality suites.

    The work will be completed in time for the 2005 Ashes Test between England and Australia.

    Mr Blanchard said: "The new stand will make The Oval a truly world-class venue and its proximity to central London will make it popular, we believe, with a wide range of additional customers.

    "It will allow us to make proper use of the stadium throughout the year and give those who choose it a unique backdrop to their event."

    But the club's position in the top flight of international cricket is not causing it to neglect the basics, indeed it believes a stronger commercial base will allow it to do more for the game at county level.

    Mr Blanchard came to the club last year from Southampton, where he did a similar job for the city's Premier League football club.

    He said: "Previously, I was in competition with the more glamorous clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea for the most gifted young players.

    "Now I am in competition with every other sport - particularly football - for the hearts and minds of sporting talent in south London and Surrey.

    "The club needs to maintain a high profile to make sure it attract the best - and one of the most effective ways to do so is to take the game to the people.

    "So venues like Croydon and Guildford are very important to us, whatever we may be doing at The Oval.

    "We can double our daily attendance at a county game simply by taking it out of Kennington.

    "And we can change the topic of young people's conversation --just for a few days, maybe - from football to cricket and encourage them to follow the fortunes - and in the footsteps - of those who excel with a bat as well as a ball."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 18, 2004.

    A new Dacre take on morality

    A new Dacre take on morality

    Michael Coveney in Edinburgh sees a famous name make a controversial directorial debut

    Michael Coveney
    Sunday August 15, 2004

    The Observer

    So many plays, so much degradation. If someone at the Edinburgh Festival fringe presented a revival of Noddy in Toyland it would turn out to be a catalogue of sexual perversity and police brutality.

    So a contemporary drama presented by Cambridge University students which features 'unsparing visions of everyday hell using characters from heaven' in a regular litany of masturbation, swearing, blasphemy and authoritarian violence really is nothing special at all.

    Except that, in this case, it is. For the director of Torben Betts's Five Visions of the Faithful at the C Venue (that might as well be the C-word Venue) is the talented young son of Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, unequivocal spokesman of the moral majority and scourge of the trendy, the debauched and all artistic self-indulgence.

    James Dacre, 19 and tall and strongly built like his dad, welcomed me to the den of iniquity on Chambers Street as though I was a supportive junior fellow in his Cambridge college - Jesus, as it happens - where, wait for it, he is reading theology.

    His parents have not yet visited the show. While I cannot imagine that my former editor (I was Daily Mail theatre critic until being invited to leave last March) would get much out of the Five Visions, I am sure that his wife, Kathy, a drama teacher and staunch admirer of Harold Pinter, one of her husband's bêtes noires, will find a great deal to enjoy.

    For the play, while strongly worded and relentlessly depressing, is an imaginative and ironic series of scenes which have the odd effect of reinforcing the value of religion at the expense of its officers and icons.

    Two angels dressed as prison guards express their disappointment in life. A prisoner dressed in the orange boiler suit of a Guantanamo Bay detainee is ripped apart from his wife and daughter - 'it's a socialist utopia, innit?' - and a decrepit Virgin Mary who has been 'rogered' by the Holy Spirit begs for pity.

    The final scene, a lesson in arbitration, shows Pilate weighing up the popular appeal of Jesus and Barabbas as a contest between the King of the Jews and the king of comedy.

    The play - first seen to critical acclaim at the White Bear in Kennington, south London, four years ago - owes much to such atheist, po-faced and uncompromising visionary playwrights as Edward Bond and Howard Barker. But I think Betts has more humanity and contra diction about him. He is certainly well served by Dacre's production, which is one of the best acted student shows I have seen in a very long time.

    Dacre's play is taking a different path to the moral certainties sometimes evident in his father's newspaper, but in a curious way the destination is much the same. This world is indeed a very ugly place, defined by the sort of hypocrisy and immorality that both newspapers and the theatre delight in exposing and exploiting simultaneously.

    Maybe old Etonian James will bring his father round to seeing the value of theatre that is radical, critical, foul-mouthed and rude. Paul Dacre cannot really see the connection between, for instance, genius and madness. When Spike Milligan died the Mail editor said that there was something sick about him (indeed there was). But that sickness disqualified Milligan, in Dacre's view, from being genuinely funny.

    Meanwhile, I strongly recommend his son's production to him. James is, after all, only continuing a Dacre tradition; Paul's father was a distinguished showbusiness journalist, and his wife - whom he met when they were both at Leeds University and enthusiastically left-wing - is still very much in the theatrical swim of things.

    Whatever happens, the Mail is unlikely to be running an attack on fringe theatre for as long as James is around to show us the virtues of theatrical vice.

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 15, 2004.

    Down Lambeth Way-London's oldest adventure playground celebrates half a century


    13 August 2004

    Down Lambeth Way-London's oldest adventure playground celebrates half a century


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 14, 2004.

    Pub crooners

    South London Press

    Pub crooners

    Aug 13 2004

    THE Rat Pack has made a comeback in a South London pub.

    Brothers Daniel and Joel Ewens have been a hit recreating the likes of Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jnr at the Three Stags, Kennington Road.

    The tuxedo clad boys sing and dance to the songs of the Rat Pack and at the end of the evening impersonate other greats including Tom Jones and Louis Armstrong.

    *** The pair are at the pub tomorrow night.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 13, 2004.

    Inmate found hanging in his cell

    BBC News

    Inmate found hanging in his cell

    A prisoner has died after being found hanging at a prison on Sheppey, Kent.

    Jason Lee Alldis, 33, was found in his cell at about 2015 BST on Sunday. He had been serving two years and three months for actual bodily harm.

    Elmley jail staff tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead by a prison doctor at 2100 BST.

    The Home Office said Alldis, from Kennington, south London, had not been on suicide watch. An investigation is to be launched by the prison ombudsman.

    A Home Office spokesman said: "A death in custody is a tragedy and we offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Alldis."

    He said the police and coroner had been informed.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/08/09 11:50:07 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 10, 2004.

    Prisoner death


    August 10, 2004

    News in Brief

    Prisoner death

    A prisoner died after being found hanged in his cell. Jason Alldis, 33, of Kennington, South London, was found by staff at Elmley prison, Kent, on Sunday. Alldis, who was serving two years and three months for aggravated bodily harm, was not on suicide watch. An inquiry is to be launched.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 10, 2004.

    Photography exhibition in Kennington Park Cafe 4-30 September

    Photography exhibition in Kennington Park Cafe 4-30 September


    A year in the park
    Sixty new photgraphs of Kennington Park by John Hoyland

    4-30 September 2004
    Cafe in the Park
    Kennington Park, London SE11
    020 7793 8886
    Open 1030am - 5.30pm
    Admission free
    Nearest tube stations: Oval, Kennington

    "Startlingly beautiful photographs" - South London Press on John Hoyland's 2003 exhibition

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 08, 2004.

    Recommended Tradespeople

    I found this website of recommended tradespeople that looks interesting:


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), August 07, 2004.

    Recommended leather mender

    Here is the information of the excellent leather mender - shoes/bags -

    Michael's Shoe Repairs

    (and keys cut while you wait), 45 South Lambeth Road, SW8 - near Fentiman Road; Tel 020 7735 2386 Hours: 9-6.00 Mon-Wed and Friday; 9.00-1.00 Thurs; 9.00-4.00 Saturday.

    He made a grand job of some shoes and a briefcase handle that needed stitching, and will also do leather jackets, and even renovate trainers etc. when they come apart.

    -- Anne (info@ovalbooks.com), August 03, 2004.

    Smoke alarm delays Ibiza passengers

    Telegraph : Travel

    Smoke alarm delays Ibiza passengers

    By Jeremy Skidmore (Filed: 31/07/2004)

    Ninety British passengers were delayed for more than 21 hours at Ibiza airport after an EasyJet flight to Stansted was forced to return when smoke was detected in the cabin.

    The problem was caused by burning plastic from a microwaved food container and the Boeing 737, which originally left at 8pm, did not get clearance to fly again until 5pm the following day.

    Passengers were initially kept at the airport while the problem was investigated. Some 40 were allowed, on a "first come, first served" basis, to switch to EasyJet's Ibiza-Gatwick flight which departed before midnight on Saturday, July 17.

    The remaining passengers were told the flight had been rescheduled for midday on Sunday and they should book into a hotel, claim their expenses back from the airline and return to the airport the following day.

    EasyJet guarantees to pay the overnight costs of passengers when it is forced to cancel a flight after 8pm - but it is not obliged to do so. Other no-frills airlines, such as Ryanair, make no such pledges.

    The next morning, the 90 passengers suffered further delays before eventually leaving Ibiza but they received food and drinks vouchers. They have since been offered a free EasyJet flight.

    Simon O'Donnell, 33, from Kennington, south London, said: "I know things can go wrong, but they should have had another aircraft instead of making us wait so long." He added that passengers did not know what was going on.

    "EasyJet offered to pay our overnight accommodation," said Mr O'Donnell, "but there were families with children sleeping on the floor, which is unacceptable. I've been given credit towards another EasyJet flight, but I'll never travel with them again."

    A spokeswoman for EasyJet said its policy of paying for overnight accommodation ensured it had many repeat passengers.

    "When there is an incident involving smoke we have to check the aircraft thoroughly from top to bottom," she said. "We try to get passengers home as quickly as possible but at the height of summer we couldn't have flown another aircraft over until 7 o'clock the following night."

    In peak season, few rooms were available in Ibiza and the airline could not make a block booking for the stranded passengers.

    "We thought the most sensible approach was for people to find their own accommodation and we would reimburse the cost," the spokeswoman added.

    EasyJet, which normally pays £50 a night in compensation, will consider larger claims in extreme circumstances such as these, provided passengers are being reasonable and can provide receipts.

    "We gave people food and drinks vouchers on Sunday and the captain gave people several updates," the spokeswoman said. "A delay of that length is unfortunate, but we did all we could."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 31, 2004.

    Archbishop makes a mark on community


    July 31, 2004

    Archbishop makes a mark on community

    Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, rolled up his sleeves and went to work with a brush and a pot of green paint, putting the finishing touches to a wooden arch at an adventure playground in Kennington, South London, yesterday.

    Rowan Williams joined volunteers who had been working on the inner-city playground all week as part of the Soul in the City scheme, which involves thousands of young Christians from around Britain taking part in community projects across the capital.

    Dr Williams met people taking part in the two-week initiative as well as the youth workers who run the playground.

    Volunteers began renovating the site on Monday by painting, gardening and clearing away rubbish, aiming to make it safer, cleaner, and better-looking. A playground worker, Lorna Johnson said: “It makes the children that aren’t getting that care and attention at home feel that somebody is doing something for them.” Dr Williams also opened a newly landscaped garden and joined in activities at a children’s club in Pimlico, Central London.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 31, 2004.

    ArtsWeb - Visual arts, crafts and photography


    ArtsWeb - Visual arts, crafts and photography


    Visual arts, photography, crafts. Exhibitions and events

    Go to Page 6 for details of John Hoyland's photography exhibition in the Cafe in the Park in September

    Released: 30 July, 2004 02:13
    Filesize: 942kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 30, 2004.

    Sports Newsletter - Summer 2004


    Sports Newsletter - Summer 2004


    Released: 29 July, 2004 10:05
    Filesize: 201kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 30, 2004.


    Telegraph : Sport

    Key's run of good luck ended by his captain

    By Simon Briggs
    (Filed: 26/07/2004)

    If Laurel and Hardy had played cricket, they would probably have specialised in the sort of mid-pitch slapstick which yesterday left Rob Key glaring back at his captain, as if to say: "This is another fine mess…"

    The contrasting figures – Michael Vaughan tall and thinning on top, Key more squarely built – made it easy to imagine the scene being played out in crackly black-and-white. As they hesitated over a tight single, Shivnarine Chanderpaul rushed in and threw down the stumps, putting an end both to Key's innings and to a week where everything – including the traffic on Kennington Road – had been going his way.

    Key owed his opportunity here to outrageous fortune, expressed through Mark Butcher's car crash five minutes from the gates of the Oval. If his selection was an unexpected bonus, he could hardly have made any better use of it than by scoring 221 last week.

    There was no room for complacency, though, as even a double-hundred was not guaranteed to keep him in the side. What would happen if Butcher reported fit for Edgbaston? When the selectors loaded their scales, how many runs would it take to outweigh three years of loyal service?

    If Key was a little traumatised after his own accidental mix-up, relief was soon on its way. Within the hour, news was coming through from Guildford that Butcher would not, after all, be playing in Surrey's Totesport League match against Warwickshire. It was not his neck this time – he seems to have recovered from whiplash – but his earlier thigh injury, which had set the whole saga in motion when his rehab programme required a visit to the Surrey physio last Monday.

    Remarkably, Butcher aggravated the thigh while moving boxes around his Croydon home. Perhaps the law of averages has caught up with him, after those 42 consecutive Tests, and he has suddenly become accident-prone. One gets the sense that if he saw an empty swimming pool at present, he would probably dive into it.

    "I am thoroughly fed up," Butcher said. "I was just pottering around tidying up at home when I lifted a few boxes and felt it go. It felt like a dead leg. The irony is that the neck is a lot better." Butcher may still have a chance of making Surrey's day-night game against Northamptonshire tomorrow, but the selectors are unlikely to want to wait. They are due to announce the second Test squad today, and his latest misfortune has got them out of a terrible bind.

    "What Rob Key has done is come in and play extremely well," Vaughan said last night. "If you're having headaches as a selection unit then it's a sign you've got a few good players to choose from, so I see that as a huge positive."

    Vaughan was himself off the field for much of the final session after Brian Lara caught him at silly point with an off-drive that gashed his toe. But he needed no more than a few running repairs. At the end of the day, he will still have gone back to his room full of satisfaction, after scoring the first pair of matching hundreds in his first-class career.

    In many ways, yesterday's unbeaten 101 was Vaughan's best one-day innings of the season. A week ago he was advised by two knowledgeable pundits, Mike Atherton and Geoff Boycott, to forget about style and score some ugly runs instead. But even they must have been shocked when he jumped outside the line and tickled a steady off-stump ball from Pedro Collins down to fine-leg for four.

    This was a thrillingly irreverent stroke, unorthodox enough to appal the purists, and he followed it with three more thumping boundaries. As Vaughan reached out to pan the ball back past Collins, he briefly abandoned his natural image as the sepia-tinted classicist, stiff upper elbow pointing to the heavens.

    If the assault was designed to pierce West Indian morale, it seemed to succeed. One of those crunching drives raced straight through Chris Gayle's legs, and as Andrew Flintoff joined Vaughan in a freewheeling stand of 92 from 69 balls, the fielders managed to contain them about as effectively as a damp paper bag.

    At least one selectorial issue has been resolved: Vaughan has settled down at No 4. He now has three hundreds in as many innings against the West Indies, and is looking like the man the Australians ranked on a par with Sachin Tendulkar and V V S Laxman.

    The captaincy jinx has clearly left his batting. But his running still has a hint of Nasser Hussain.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 27, 2004.

    Obituary : Jeillo Edwards


    Jeillo Edwards

    African character actor whose range shone on the BBC World Service

    Robin White
    Tuesday July 27, 2004

    The Guardian

    Jeillo Edwards, who has died aged 61, was one of the leading African character actors of her time. Her range was enormous: venomous market women, long-suffering wives, sugar mammies, matriarchs, mothers-in-law, politicians and prostitutes.

    Her opportunities to play African roles - as opposed to the Caribbean ones more generally available in Britain - came through the BBC World Service for Africa. For the past 40 years, its regular African Theatre series has broadcast new work by such writers as Wole Soyinka, Gcina Mhlope, Ola Rotimi, Simon Gitandi, Dr Ochieng Odero and Alem Mezgebe.

    That was where I, as a producer, first met Jeillo, in 1980, and she was one of the most disciplined actors I ever came across. Well-prepared and punctual (often a little early), she was diligent during rehearsals and recordings - and she kept the rest of the cast in order. She was, at once, the peacemaker, the encourager, the enforcer.

    Indeed, we rather exploited her. Because she was so adaptable, she always got the character parts - the hags and the bags. She was never cast as the one thing she craved to be, a juvenile lead. On radio, you do not have to be 16 and beautiful to be convincing as a young woman, but somehow it was always easier to give Jeillo the older parts, because she played them so well. She never quite got the roles and the fame that her talents deserved.

    Auntie Jeillo, as just about everyone called her, was a very distinctive figure: short and on the large side of plump. When she smiled, which was most of the time, her teeth jutted out like a jumbled assortment of broken crockery, and her marvellous giggle would light up any gathering.

    Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, she came from a Krio-speaking family and went to the city's Annie Walsh Memorial school, the oldest girls' school in sub-Saharan African. Her parents were not keen on her performing ambitions, but she was not deterred. She got the acting bug at the age of four from giving a Bible reading, and never looked back.

    She arrived in England in the 1950s, living first with relatives in Leeds, and then moving to London, where she studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Like most black actors, she had difficulty finding work, and what she did get were mostly walk-on caricatures. But she accepted anything that was offered with good grace, doing the best she could with few, often poorly written, lines.

    In the early 1970s, she married a Ghanaian, Edward Clottey, and they had a daughter and two sons. She plunged herself into community life: Sierra Leone cultural groups, her local church in Kennington, south London, and being a school governor. A celebrated cook and ginger wine maker, she opened a restaurant - Auntie J's - in Brixton. Her speciality was the traditional west African Akara dish, based on black-eyed beans.

    Meanwhile, the work began to come. An appearance in Dixon Of Dock Green in 1972 was followed by episodes of The Bill and Casualty. In the BBC2 drama documentary A Skirt Through History (1992), she played the freed slave Mary Prince, and in the Channel 4 drama Exile (1998), the mother of a deposed dictator.

    In television comedy, she had cameo parts in Black Books, Red Dwarf, Little Britain, The League Of Gentlemen and Absolutely Fabulous. Her film credits included Beautiful Thing (1996) and Dirty Pretty Things (2002), as a hospital cleaner.

    All this was achieved against the background of chronic kidney problems and dialysis, though Jeillo never discussed them with me. Instead, she would turn up to rehearse on time, on form, with the same brilliant smile.

    Her husband and children survive her.

    · Jeillo Angela Doris Clottey (Edwards), actor, born September 23 1942; died July 2 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 27, 2004.

    Green garden waste collection for Lambeth residents


    22 July 2004

    Green garden waste collection for Lambeth residents


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 25, 2004.

    Art in the heart of the community


    Art in the heart of the community


    A group of local entrepreneurial graduates are to turn the foyer of a Lambeth council housing estate into a contemporary art gallery.

    Released: 22 July, 2004 03:01
    Filesize: 9kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 24, 2004.

    Lambeth prosecutes two for benefit fraud


    Lambeth prosecutes two for benefit fraud


    Lambeth Council has prosecuted a former benefit officer and a local resident for benefit fraud in two separate cases.

    Released: 23 July, 2004 12:54
    Filesize: 11kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 24, 2004.

    North Lambeth Area Committee Minutes 14.07.04


    North Lambeth Area Committee Minutes 14.07.04


    Released: 23 July, 2004 02:26
    Filesize: 35kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 24, 2004.

    Holland alert

    South London Press

    Holland alert

    Jul 23 2004

    MY FAMILY ancestors lived in Bermondsey from the mid-1800s and Lambeth from 1900 to the 1960s, at least.

    There were many of them and hopefully some of their descendants may read this letter in which case I would be delighted to hear from any of them.

    I am particularly interested in the Hollands who lived in Pownell Terrace, Kennington.

    Patrick Holland.
    Perth, Western Australia

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 23, 2004.

    Passengers terrified in bus ambush

    South London Press

    Passengers terrified in bus ambush

    Jul 20 2004
    By Chris Pragnell

    SCREAMING bus passengers thought they were being shot at when louts hurled a brick and bottles through the wind-screen to "teach the driver a lesson".

    Witnesses dived for cover under the seats as three youths ambushed the N159 night bus near Kennington Park.

    Miraculously, the driver, in his 20s, suffered only minor cuts despite being showered with glass.

    Passengers said the gang tried to sneak onto the double-decker late at night in central London but were caught by the driver.

    It is thought the thugs either hailed a cab or caught a later N3 bus and were able to overtake the N159.

    Brian Reid, 28, was waiting to get off the bus at the Southern end of Kennington Road early yesterday morning.

    "Suddenly there were these massive cracks and the sound of breaking glass," he said. "People thought it was a drive-by shooting at first. "Then I saw the driver crouching in his cabin covered in glass.

    "He was pretty shaken but seemed okay. The brick could have killed him."

    Mr Reid said: "They must have been hiding and waiting to ambush him. They must have been trying to teach the driver a lesson." The attack, at 12.30am, has been condemned by bosses at Arriva buses.

    Dave Jones, commercial support manager for Arriva London, said: "We are working with police to try to apprehend and prosecute those responsible and will be providing CCTV footage to them. "Our driver was unhurt but shocked by the incident."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 21, 2004.




    Jul 19 2004
    By Emma Britton

    A JET packed with British holidaymakers heading home from Ibiza made an emergency return to the airport when passengers smelt smoke from a coffee and tea machine onboard.

    The Stansted-bound easyJet flight was in the air for less than an hour when the pilot announced it would be turning back.

    About 40 passengers were transferred to another flight after the incident on Saturday night, but another 80 were delayed for over 20 hours as checks were carried out on the Boeing 737.

    They were told to find a hotel for the evening, but many were unable to.

    Simon O'Connell, 33, from Kennington, South-East London, said: "There was a smell of fire on the plane and we had to come back to Ibiza. We were stuck for 21 hours which is just shocking.

    "After we took off there was a smell of acrid burning rubber through the cabin. We spent four hours at the terminal before they said we should go and find a hotel for the night.

    "Then when we came back at 11am they kept us waiting for hours again."

    Colin Hill, 61, from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, said his daughter-in-law, with her two-year-old child, searched all night for a place to stay.

    EasyJet spokeswoman Samantha Day said: "There was a smell of smoke from the galley area which is thought to have come from the tea and coffee-making equipment but there was no fire.

    "Passengers were told to come back at 11am Sunday morning but we were still carrying out checks and they flew at 5.20pm.

    "The captain and crew came out every hour with information and vouchers for food and drink."

    EasyJet is refunding the flight cost and hotel bill.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 19, 2004.

    Beckett cashes in on housing allowance loophole


    July 18, 2004

    Beckett cashes in on housing allowance loophole

    Gareth Walsh

    THE environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, is claiming a Commons housing allowance while renting out her London home and living in a grace-and-favour apartment.

    Beckett, who left her Westminster flat for the free government accommodation, is pocketing rent from her former home while claiming expenses for a second house that she owns in her constituency. She is taking advantage of a loophole in the rules that allows ministers who use official accommodation to rent out their London properties while claiming an allowance for homes in their constituencies.

    Beckett declined to say this weekend how much she claimed from the Commons, but the maximum figure permitted is nearly £21,000 a year.

    The payment, called the additional costs allowance (ACA), is intended to cover the expenses of MPs who have homes and constituencies outside London but must live in the capital while the Commons is sitting. It can be used to pay interest on a mortgage — but not to pay back the capital from it — as well as to pay utility bills and essential maintenance costs, to buy furniture and to pay for television licences.

    Beckett bought the leasehold on her one-bedroom Westminster flat in November 1987. The property, which it is believed she has let to a Home Office civil servant, is in a 10-storey pebbledash block behind the Labour party’s former Millbank headquarters. It is thought to be worth at least £220,000 and has access to an underground car park.

    It is described by local estate agents as “situated within the division bell”, meaning it is in easy reach for voting in the Commons. Beckett and her husband Leo also own a detached cottage in her Derby constituency. For this she claims running costs from the taxpayer.

    With no mortgage to pay on her Derby home and almost no living costs in London, Beckett is free to pocket the estimated £12,000-a-year rent from her Westminster flat.

    The Green Book, the official pay and allowances guide for MPs, warns that they can claim only for “those additional costs wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred” when working away from their main home. Ministers’ main homes are always considered to be in London. MPs can lose thousands of pounds in allowances if they claim for a property but then let any part of it to tenants.

    This does not catch Beckett because the house she is renting out is not the same one for which she is claiming expenses. Although by living in grace-and-favour homes ministers lose an annual £1,618 London salary supplement, they can still claim up to the maximum £20,902-a-year in ACA.

    Beckett’s government flat is in Admiralty House, Whitehall, and would be worth an estimated £161,000 a year on the rental market. Other ministers in the building include Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary and John Prescott, the deputy prime minister. Hoon, MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, also owns a house in Kennington, south London, for which he receives rental income.

    Other senior politicians with constituencies outside London and government homes in the capital include Tony Blair (who sold his London home), David Blunkett, the home secretary, and Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker. Blunkett, a Sheffield MP, owns a house in Wimbledon, southwest London, but rents his property out while living in his official residence in Pimlico, central London.

    A spokesman for Beckett said: “Mrs Beckett claims her entitlement under the ACA scheme and has complied strictly with Green Book guidance.”

    MPs’ expenses claims for the past three years are due to be published in October under new freedom of information rules.

    A spokesman for Martin said this weekend: “He is under no obligation to make public whether he does or he does not (claim ACA).”

    Martin states in the current register of members’ interests that a Westminster flat he owns with his wife Mary is “not let for rent”. He is currently the subject of controversy over parliamentary payments to Mary for constituency work. Some Commons officials are reported to have voiced concerns she does too little work for her money.

    A spokesman for Jack Straw said that, although the foreign secretary has an official London residence in Carlton Gardens, off Pall Mall, he does not live there but at his family home in Kennington.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 18, 2004.


    Observer Property

    Make me an offer

    Ben Flanagan
    Sunday July 18, 2004

    1. The Almonry, Stogumber, Somerset

    Six former almshouses believed to have been built in 1666 have been rolled into one here. Outlines of the original front doors - four now bricked up - are visible. Interior walls have been removed to create a double-height reception room with a galleried landing and large fireplace. There's a second reception room, two bedrooms upstairs and a cute terraced garden with thatched gazebo.

    Agent: Jackson-Stops & Staff (01823 325144)

    2. Cottages at The Bury, Astwood, Buckinghamshire

    This row of houses lies derelict but represents a great, if challenging, restoration opportunity. Planning permission is in place to convert the four grade II-listed cottages into two homes (with nine bedrooms in total), and to transform a detached barn into an office or annexe. The buyer will have to spend about £300,000 on restoration, but it may well be worth it given the rural location and 10 acres of gardens and pastureland. A downside is the electricity pylon in the grounds, 40 metres from the cottages - though this is reflected in the guide price.

    Agent: Jackson-Stops & Staff (01604 632991)

    3. The Fire Station, Kennington, London

    This former fire station served the Kennington area until 1929 but has now been converted into 23 apartments. The old watch tower forms an impressive communal roof terrace with panoramic views over the capital. An apartment on the top floor of the former ladder store is currently on the market. It has a vaulted reception room, its own private decked roof terrace and two double bedrooms. Just inside London's congestion charging zone, the area is well-served by Kennington and Elephant and Castle Underground stations.

    Agent: Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (020 7582 7773)

    1 £395,000 2 £375,000-475,000 3 £400,000

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 18, 2004.

    Talking Cricket: Caribbean flavour is missing ingredient from Twenty20

    Telegraph : Sport

    Talking Cricket: Caribbean flavour is missing ingredient from Twenty20

    By Simon Hughes
    (Filed: 17/07/2004)

    Thursday night at Lord's was the ultimate vindication of the Twenty20. Elderly members, cricket anoraks, gaggles of city blokes, women in bias-cut dresses, students, couples and families mingled contendedly in the packed stands, sipping drinks and eating crisps and enjoying the pyrotechnics of the players on a balmy summer evening. They hummed along to the amplified strains of MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This, commemorating an extravagant Mark Ramprakash boundary through the lengthening shadows of the 19th century pavilion – ancient and modern juxtaposed.

    The best thing about the Twenty20 is that no one says anything negative about it. It's a celebration of all that's good about cricket:drama, speed, skill, athleticism, bonhomie – while removing all that's bad about it: time- wasting, boring play, impenetrability, selfishness. Essentially, championship cricket is for the players, Twenty20 is for the public. "What d'you reckon?" said one wag. "After the success of this they could create a Forty40 brand, maybe even a five-day version."

    There was one ingredient missing – Afro-Caribbean players. Middlesex's Paul Weekes and Ramprakash, who is mixed race, were the only players on show of even vaguely West Indian origin. In the equivalent Middlesex v Surrey fixture of the mid- 1980s there would have been eight such players. Surrey had Monte Lynch and two West Indian pace bowlers, and the nucleus of the Middlesex side that I played in through that era was black. Wilf Slack, Roland Butcher, Neil Williams and Norman Cowans were all born in the Caribbean but came to England as youngsters; the Barbadian Wayne Daniel was the county's overseas player. Together they were known affectionately as the Jackson Five, which after Daniel's departure and Slack's tragic death, became the Three Degrees.

    Not only were they the fulcrum of the team but they had a significant and vocal Caribbean following in the crowd. Still-warm West Indian rotis went to the dressing room on a regular basis. All but Daniel went on to play for England, who sometimes had five players of West Indian origin in the team. Thursday night was a stark reminder of how that situation has changed. The last cricketer of Afro-Caribbean stock to play Tests for England was Alex Tudor, in the late 1990s regarded as the great black hope, but instead of strutting his stuff for Surrey at Lord's, now languishing in the county's second team and impressing more as a batsman than a bowler. What's more there is no sign anywhere of a successor to Tudor. He could be the last of the lineage.

    With the Test series against the West Indies imminent, the current issue of Wisden Cricketer examines this development. It first dawned on me during the winter, when in Grenada with an old England XI featuring Devon Malcolm, Phillip DeFreitas and Syd Lawrence. They were part of a veritable battalion of black fast bowlers that England had at their disposal, including Gladstone Small and Chris Lewis, as well as Cowans and Williams. Lawrence, the charging rhino reduced by chronic knee injuries to a lumbering buffalo, laments the change.

    "My father came from Jamaica. Cricket was in the blood. Though I was born here I was brought up with it. In the 1970's the new immigrants from the Caribbean were seeking an identity. When the West Indian team came over here there was an obvious link. Those players were our heroes. I wanted to bowl fast because I saw Michael Holding do it.

    "Now things have moved on. The black fathers of the new generation were born in England. Their kids feel hardly any association with the Caribbean or with cricket. Football is the craze, where the money and prestige is. There were hardly any black footballers in the 1970s, now they're everywhere. They're the role models." A fact underlined by the summer predominance of football and total absence of cricket in the playgrounds of Brixton, Camberwell and Kennington, adjacent to The Oval.

    "The Voice [Britain's Black newspaper, featuring news and views with a Caribbean slant] is really struggling to get British-born readers. Its being overtaken by The Vibe, an American, hip-hop-based music magazine. Britain's black music scene is huge. Sport is getting marginalised. The thing most black kids want to be now is DJs and producers."

    There are other theories for the trend too, such as the Warwickshire keeper Keith Piper's assertion that "cricket still treats you like kids, whereas in football, because you earn millions, you're treated like men".

    The downturn in West Indies' own fortunes could also have something to do with it. Ultimately though, it's a cultural thing, exemplified by DeFreitas' experience. As an 11-year-old, he went to the same school as Chris Lewis, Willesden High School, in a north London suburb with a high black contingent. It is the only state school in modern Britain to have produced two England cricketers.

    "There was a pitch at the back of the classrooms, and that's where Chris and I first learnt to play,'' said DeFreitas.

    Ten years ago, the cricket field was looking unkempt. Now it has gone completely – to be replaced by an synthetic turf football pitch. "Cricket's not on the school's agenda," said the head of PE. "We do athletics, basketball, football but no cricket. We haven't got anywhere to play and there isn't a lot of interest."

    A candid summary of the young Black Briton's attitude to cricket, Twenty20 or no Twenty20.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 17, 2004.

    Brosnan junior in rehab

    The Sun

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Brosnan junior in rehab


    THE son of 007 star Pierce Brosnan checked into rehab on Friday — days after his arrest over mobile phone thefts at a celebrity haunt.

    Christopher Brosnan, 34, was chauffeur driven to the £500-a-day clinic.

    He emerged from a people carrier with sister Charlotte and entered Life Works in Old Woking, Surrey.

    Film boss Christopher can now expect to join yoga and meditation classes with up to 23 other people as they battle their demons.

    He has had a well-known problem with drugs and booze for years and in 2002 nearly died after overdosing on dance drug GHB.

    Christopher was arrested at trendy Chinawhite nightclub in London’s West End on Wednesday on suspicion of handling stolen phones.

    Cops then realised he had not answered bail after he was held over an alleged bag theft at Victoria coach station in April. Christopher, who has given a DNA sample, is due back at Kennington police station in August.

    Pierce, 51, adopted Christopher and Charlotte, 30, after wedding their mum Cassandra Harris. She died of cancer in 1991.

    The actor, who lives in Los Angeles with second wife Keely Shaye Smith, has worked alongside Christopher on Bond movies including The World Is Not Enough.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 17, 2004.

    The grandmother of all beauty pageants

    The grandmother of all beauty pageants

    Jul 16 2004

    By Zara Bishop

    South London Press

    BEAUTIES with stunning looks and a captivating personality have been invited to put themselves forward for a beauty pageant.

    But instead of bikini-clad young girls, organisers are looking for glamorous grannies.

    A group of friends - Felicia Benjamin, Lynette Albert, Lisa Paul and Sharon Abdulla - decided to stage the event.

    They want fun-loving contestants to get dressed up to the nines and strut their stuff on the catwalk.

    There is no age restriction - the only rule is you must have grandchildren.

    Miss Benjamin, 41, from Kennington, who works as a sales assistant, said: "There are a lot of things for young people to do but there is nothing much going on for that age group.

    "Lots of grannies are glamorous, outgoing and have bubbly personalities.

    "Come on ladies, show the world grandmothers can be sexy too."

    The glitzy night will be held at Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton on September 18.

    For the first part of the competition, entrants will be asked to wear traditional dress which represents their nationality.

    The next stage will involve glamming up in evening wear and doing something a little special with their hair and make-up.

    A panel of judges will have the difficult task of choosing a winner.

    To enter, call Miss Benjamin on 020 7793 8633 or 07903 916207.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 16, 2004.

    Pervert drugs woman's drink

    Pervert drugs woman's drink

    Jul 16 2004

    South London Press

    A PERVERT who spiked a woman's glass of liqueur has been jailed for two years.

    The 28-year-old victim from Kennington thought Michael Bennett, 41, was being friendly when he bought her a mini-bottle.

    But the twisted pervert sprinkled the drug into the liquid and waited for the woman to pass out.

    But in the early hours of October 28, 2002, she woke to find Bennett kneeling by her bed and groping her under her pyjamas. She confronted him and he apologised, claiming to be drunk.

    The woman told Inner London Crown Court: "He was kneeling down and touching me between my legs, his hand was moving."

    After throwing him out of the house, the woman then went to her GP where she tested positive for temazepam.

    She called police who tested two glasses and two empty bottles of the liqueur.

    All four tested positive for the drug. Bennett was arrested on January 8 this year during a routine traffic stop in Southwark.

    A jury of six men and six women took three hours to convict Bennett on Wednesday.

    Bennett was found guilty of indecent assault and administering a drug with intent to commit an indictable offence.

    He was cleared of administering a drug with intent to stupefy in order to obtain sexual intercourse.

    Bennett, from Boston Parade, Boston Manor, Hanwell, west London, has also been ordered to register as a sex offender.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 16, 2004.

    Nightclub arrest of 007's son

    Telegraph : News in brief

    (Filed: 15/07/2004)

    Nightclub arrest of 007's son

    The adopted son of the James Bond star Pierce Brosnan has been arrested in connection with the theft of mobile phones from a London nightclub.

    Christopher Brosnan, 32, was held by security staff at Chinawhite.

    Police arrived at the nightclub at 3am yesterday and took the film producer to a central London police station. He was held in custody after it was found he had failed to answer bail following his arrest in April for theft and handling stolen goods at Victoria coach station.

    Yesterday afternoon he was taken to Kennington Road police station in south London and released on bail. He was ordered to return on Aug 12.

    Christopher and his sister Charlotte, 30, were adopted by Brosnan after he married their mother Cassandra Harris, who died of cancer in 1991.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 15, 2004.

    Pretty Boy returns to the White Bear

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website


    Updated 12 July 2004

    Pretty Boy returns to the White Bear

    After its sold-out world premiere in June of this year, Pretty Boy, Sam Hall’s new romantic comedy about face values returns to the White Bear for a three week run. Jake Marmora, Hollywood action hero, wakes up at an exclusive clinic after his ‘accident’. He is captivated by the mysterious ‘Other Patient’, but what dark secret in her background of privilege and excesses has brought her there? In this fantasy world it’s easy to imagine they can be together. But three years later, when the role-playing is over - do they really think they can finish what they started? As is the case with many Hollywood blockbuster movies of the type Jim has starred in, Pretty Boy has two different endings, unusually, the audience gets to see both.

    The play runs Tuesdays to Saturdays: 10–14 / 24-28 August 2004 – 7.30pm, 17-21 August 2004 – 9pm, Sunday matinees: 15 / 29 August 2004 – 4pm, 22 August 2004 – 6pm

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 14, 2004.

    Food & Drink: Reviews

    Independent > Home > Enjoyment > Food & Drink > Reviews

    Deya, London W1

    By Richard Johnson
    10 July 2004

    When are you too fat? When blinking leaves you winded? When you can gain, say, 100lbs without anybody noticing? I've been worrying ever since I ate at Deya, Sir Michael Caine's new Indian restaurant on Portman Square. Not one of London's prettiest squares - in fact, rather a mean little square that's forever choked with traffic. But Deya itself is an airy, elegant sort of place favoured by the beautiful people. And that makes it all the more humiliating - being too fat for my chair.

    So I perched. And read the menu. I wanted to take the back roads, and steer clear of the tired tourist sites. I wanted to visit a different India. But, at first glance, the Deya menu appeared to offer up nothing new. Not that I would have minded a well-executed classic - a rogan josh or a butter chicken. And when I heard that the chef was using his French influence to do away with ghee, heavy oils and cream, I got very excited. Especially with a bum the size of mine.

    The first sign of the Indian lite approach was the bucket of grilled - or baked - poppadoms. They were too dry. No amount of spicy apple chutney could make up for that. But the vegetarian and non-vegetarian tasting menus (£32 and £35, respectively, including wine) still looked good value for money. Until the crab rice arrived, with no discernible crab, and squid that tasted like pork scratchings. My cauliflower pakora was floury and limp, not crisp and clean. And the cauliflower soup, although tempered with fennel seeds, was too creamy.

    Things got better, with an exemplary chicken tikka. The meat was tender, and tasted as if it had been cooked in a wood oven over charcoal rather than in a tandoor. And the red snapper was every bit as succulent, in its marinade of red chillies, ginger and carom seeds. But neither the chicken nor the snapper surprised me on the plate. We're inclined to think of India as poor, but in Madras you can buy three different kinds of radish - and carrots that are yellow. Why didn't Deya reflect any of that diversity?

    The vegetable dumplings sounded exciting - a spinach, pea and green bean mash, enriched with paneer and smoked pine kernels. They should have been anything but bland. But there was no flavour, except of curry powder. The British curry began with the crews who worked the colonial P&O ferries from India. When they set up restaurants in Britain, they used a "one-curry sauce" made from imported paste. The intricacies of Indian cooking didn't really feature. At Deya, I'm afraid to say, it seemed that little had changed.

    In India, a good biryani is served in a clay pot sealed with dough. When you raise the lid, the smell should hit you - all butter and spices, followed by the subtle aroma of basmati rice. But, in Britain, biryanis are too often bland. And Deya's crusted wild mushroom biryani was no exception. Except that it came with a pastry top. A biryani pie, if you will. Which was a shame. And when I cut into the pastry, the aromas simply weren't there. The chef had somehow managed to adulterate wild mushrooms.

    I washed down dinner with a lassi. As it turns out, with good reason. The spices in curry are soluble in fat - not in water. So, after something spicy, water does no good at all. But a full-fat lassi cools the mouth wonderfully. As does a raita, and a buttery naan. My guest stuck with the wine. Indian food and wine make a great match. It's just inhibition that makes people fearful. It's actually more difficult to match wines with Thai or Indonesian cuisine, because of their sweet-sour and creamy base.

    It's an Indian tradition to write Om on the baby's tongue with a finger dipped in honey. Om means "I am" - it's a nice image to illustrate that, in a metaphysical as well as a culinary sense, you are what you eat. There are lots of places that understand the new Indian cuisine - there's Tamarind, The Cinnamon Club, and The Painted Heron. I wouldn't put Deya up there with them. My opinion had nothing to do with the numbness of my bum, perched on the edge of a dining chair for two hours. I'm a bigger man than that. Much, much bigger. E

    Deya Bar And Restaurant, 34 Portman Square, London W1 020-7224 0028


    By Caroline Stacey

    The Painted Heron

    New branch of the Chelsea star with a daily changing menu of outstanding food. Poised for Whitehall overspill; power hungry chaps do love luxury Indian food - just look at The Cinnamon Club.

    205-209 Kennington Lane, London SE11 (020-7793 8313)

    4550 Miles from Delhi

    One of Nottingham's top spots: an eye-catchingly modish venue with as much emphasis on atmos and design as on Punjabi cooking that's rich, meaty and spicy.

    41 Mount Street, Nottingham (0115 947 5111)


    This is a long way from balti country. Sub-continental cooking rises above the rest, especially with original veggie dishes such as green papaya in a lentil purée.

    3-4 Dakota Buildings, Birmingham (0121 212 3664)

    9 Cellars

    As many rooms as a cat has lives, and purring with sophistication. The menu's short, the dishes from all over India. Goan fish curry and pork vindaloo as you've never tasted them.

    1-3 York Place, Edinburgh (0131 557 9899)

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 11, 2004.

    Spoiled by choice

    Telegraph : Money

    Spoiled by choice

    (Filed: 10/07/2004)

    You can have too much of a good thing and many people find the vast array of unit trusts makes it difficult to choose one.

    Belinda Gordon wants her savings to do well but that was not her main criterion when she invested in the Virgin FTSE 100 tracker fund.

    She said: "I would rather have something straightforward and easy to understand even if I do not make as much money as I might elsewhere. My mother invested in the Virgin tracker and also had her pension with Virgin and was very pleased.

    "One of the problems for someone like me with limited knowledge of stocks and shares and investments generally is that there seems almost too much choice."

    Ms Gordon, who is a civil servant, initially invested £1,600 of last year's Isa allowance in the fund and then topped it up with a further £500.

    She said: "The literature from the company was very easy to understand and made it clear that this investment was not for the short term and would only perform in line with the FTSE 100.

    "This was a little money that I found I had left at the end of each month. I am not looking to cash in the investment for at least five or 10 years. Then it might help with the deposit on a house."

    At present, Ms Gordon owns her own flat in Kennington, south London, but sees herself as a country girl and would prefer to live outside London.

    "To be honest I still act a bit as if I am a visitor to London: taking advantage of the theatre and tourist attractions. But my real enjoyment still comes from walks in the countryside."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 10, 2004.

    Sierra Leone star dies

    BBC News

    Sierra Leone star dies

    By Alice Martin
    BBC African Performance

    The Sierra Leonean actress Jeillo Edwards has passed away.

    She will be remembered for her distinctive voice and imperious enunciation.

    For four decades Jeillo performed on British television, radio, stage and films, most recently in the internationally acclaimed Dirty Pretty Things.

    She was a regular on the BBC World Service, especially during the African Performance seasons.

    One of her recent appearances on British TV was for the police drama The Bill, which echoes her very first role on British television in Dixon of Dock Green following her arrival in the UK during the 1960s.

    She was the first African on the programme which was filmed in black and white and which still holds the record (21 years) for the UK's longest running police drama.


    On radio, Jeillo will be remembered as Cash Madam, the cool rich sugar mummy with young lovers, whose pet phrase was "no sweat only perspiration".

    Drama director Fiona Ledger who worked closely with Jeillo remembers that "she was always in demand not only because of her tremendous skills but also because of her good humour and good will which permeated every production."

    Jeillo Edwards was born in Malta Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone in 1942.

    Her earliest memory of performing was as a four-year-old, standing in for a nervous cousin in a church.

    She read from the Bible, Mark chapter 12:17, which begins:
    "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar, and the things that are God's unto God".

    It was a word-perfect performance and she never had any problems learning lines after that.

    She left Freetown in 1960 for Britain, eventually settling in Kennington, south London where the family home remains.

    Jeillo became central to the local community involving herself in women's groups, church, school, family and friends.

    As a teenager Jeillo had been to the Annie-Walsh Memorial school in Sierra Leone, like her mother and grand-mother before her.

    Until her death she was still a vibrant member of the school's old-girl network.

    In 1970 Jeillo married Ghanaian Edmund Clottey and they went on to have children and grand-children.

    Their home became a focal point for the extended family, where she cooked for friends and relatives and she ran a large catering business as well.

    For a few years Jeillo also ran a restaurant in Brixton, south London, known by the name given to her by everyone who knew her: Aunty J.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/07/09 14:22:23 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 10, 2004.

    Traffic wardens in gun terror

    Traffic wardens in gun terror

    Jul 9 2004

    South London Press

    TWO terrified traffic wardens were threatened with a gun and told they would be shot for issuing a parking ticket.

    The wardens were patrolling the streets when a gunman approached them and asked if they had put a ticket on his car.

    He told the petrified wardens he was going to shoot them with his black handgun if they had.

    The armed thug struck in Kennington, as the wardens began their morning shift.

    The gunman approached a female warden in Langley Lane, and showed her a black handgun, tucked in his waistband.

    He asked if the terrified attendant had given him a parking ticket and said he would shoot her if she had.

    The frightened parking attendant told the man she had not issued any tickets in the area and he left to track down other wardens.

    He then came across a male parking attendant and after showing him the long-barrelled handgun, tucked in his trousers, made an identical threat.

    He then warned that the warden would be shot if he returned to the area to issue parking tickets.

    The terrified wardens left the scene and police were called. Armed officers swooped on the area but the gunman had disappeared.

    Lambeth police are investigating the incident which occurred around 8.30am last Friday. The wardens have both been offered counselling.

    Control Plus, Lambeth council's parking contractor, is said to be considering issuing stab vests to all of its wardens to improve their personal security.

    A spokeswoman for Control Plus told the South London Press: "Following the recent serious incident, Control Plus followed protocol and informed the emergency services.

    "We are co-operating with the police on this matter. Violence or threat of violence is a real problem which we take very seriously."

    The gunman is described as black, in his 30s, 5ft 8in tall, with a large Afro hairstyle. Anyone who may have information regarding the incident should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 10, 2004.

    'Yo bro, nice bling, innit'

    'Yo bro, nice bling, innit'

    Jul 9 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    SOUTH London slang hit the headlines this week after it was reported a headteacher had banned it from his classrooms.

    Headteacher of Lilian Baylis School Gary Phillips rubbished reports that pupils were being punished for using popular street talk such as "dat" and "innit" but said instead they were corrected.

    Mr Phillips said staff at the Kennington school have noticed the standard of English used by pupils in exams was not as high as hoped and had held youngsters back from getting good grades.

    He said: "Every child in South London speaks some version of South London slang. In class, if they are explaining work to each other they can explain it as they normally would.

    "But when they are doing a presentation, taking part in a question and answer session, or talking to the whole class, children have to use formal English."

    However, Mr Phillips emphasised pupils were not punished for using slang but rather prompted to use Standard English. The teacher will write the offending word such as "dat" on the board and explain what it should be.

    Mr Phillips added: "You can't punish children for using what, to them, is almost their mother tongue."

    There are 42 languages spoken at Lilian Baylis, including Portuguese, Yoruba and Somalian.

    Some of the street talk has its origins in other languages such as Jamaican patois.

    But Mr Phillips explained: "Most of the kids could not tell you its origin - it is South London youth talk.

    "Children who have recently migrated from the Caribbean have very good formal language - they are taught it at school. Children who have grown up here in South London have never known anything else."

    He also highlighted that children needed to be aware that they should use Standard English while on work placements or at interviews for college or jobs.

    Parent Ricky Rennalls, who has a 14 year-old son at Lilian Baylis, said: "It is, of course, correct that children should communicate appropriately when they are doing exams or writing essays but at the same time we need to recognise an evolving urban language is part of our celebrated cultural diversity."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 10, 2004.

    Young Vic rehoused in TV studio

    BBC News

    Young Vic rehoused in TV studio

    The Young Vic theatre company has found a new temporary home at television studios previously used to film Michael Barrymore's My Kind of Music.

    Artistic director David Lan said ITV London had given it the south London studios "practically for nothing".

    The company will use the studios, in Kennington, as a base while the theatre in nearby Waterloo is restored.

    The studios also hosted the first series of Pop Idol and Bruce Forsyth's Play Your Cards Right.

    The £12.5m restoration of the Young Vic's YV auditorium and the reconstruction of the building - to include a new 140-seat studio theatre - is set to cost £12.5m and take two years.

    During this period, the theatre is planning a "Walkabout" season, taking its productions on tour around the UK, Europe and the US from 19 July.

    The programme will include a new production of acclaimed community opera Tobias and the Angel and Rufus Norris' dark classic, Sleeping Beauty.

    Essential move

    The company will have the use of five rehearsal studios and a suite of offices at the Kennington Park studios, to be used for administration and pre-production work and for the company's collaboration with young directors.

    Mr Lan said the move was essential for the company's survival: "If we don't rebuild, our theatre will disappear."

    The theatre has mounted a star-studded campaign to raise the money needed to pay for the restoration, headed by actor Jude Law.

    So far, the campaign has raised 85% of the money, with £1.5m still to find.

    Other backers include Joseph Fiennes, Prunella Scales and author Gitta Sereny.

    Mr Lan said he said he was "delighted" with the level of support the campaign had attracted.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/07/08 15:01:58 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 09, 2004.

    Roots and Shoots Open Evening, 21st July

    Roots and Shoots Open Evening, 21st July, 6.30pm - 8.30pm
    in aid of the National Garden Scheme (Gardens open for charity)

    Explore our beautiful wildlife garden ‘an oasis in central London’ and enjoy a glass of wine under our new oak Apple Shed.

    - Take a tour of the wildlife garden with our wildlife expert.
    - bedding plants available from our plant nursery.
    - local london honey for sale (we are the headquarters for London Beekeepers association).

    Entrance Fee: £2.50 (including a glass of wine).

    Contact details:
    Roots and Shoots
    Fitzalan Street,
    London, SE11 6DN
    Tel: 020 7587 1131

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 08, 2004.

    ITV gives new home to Young Vic

    ITV gives new home to Young Vic

    Maddy Costa
    Thursday July 8, 2004

    The Guardian

    The Young Vic has found a new home in the television studios that once hosted Michael Barrymore's My Kind of Music, Bruce Forsyth's Play Your Cards Right and the first series of Pop Idol. Yesterday artistic director David Lan announced that ITV London is giving the Young Vic a suite of five large rehearsal studios and office space in Kennington Park, south London, "pretty much for free". The Young Vic will stay here for two years while its home, in nearby Waterloo, undergoes extensive renovation.

    Lan is the first to recognise how lucky the theatre has been in attracting support. Jude Law joined early as patron of the fundraising campaign, and a raft of actors - including Patrick Stewart, Brian Cox, Brenda Blethyn and Prunella Scales - have contributed considerably to the £11.5m raised so far. However, the ITV London partnership is unusually fortuitous. "The rehearsal rooms are much coveted," says Lan. "They've been used in the past by film companies and big shows like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mamma Mia; LWT game shows have also rehearsed there. When Clive Jones - head of news at ITV London, and a member of theYoung Vic board for the past 18 months - heard what we needed, he suggested we might be able to use these rooms. In fact, they've been given to us pretty much for free."

    The Young Vic will use this space to rehearse all its touring productions as part of the two-year "Walkabout" season, including revivals of Lan's own production of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Lennie James, and Rufus Norris's Christmas show Sleeping Beauty, which appears at the Barbican in London before travelling to New York.

    With another £1m to be raised, Lan is hoping that this presence in the States will encourage international donations. But he is also "surprised, thrilled and delighted" by the level of support already received. "There are a lot of people trying to do shows in London," he says. "It's brilliant that people think of us as being particularly valuable."

    Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 08, 2004.

    Scheme to ban slang in classroom

    BBC News

    Scheme to ban slang in classroom

    A school is taking part in a pilot government scheme to ban slang words in the classroom.

    If a pupil at Lilian Baylis School in Kennington, south London, uses slang the teacher corrects it on the board and gives the standard English phrase.

    They then put a tick next to the slang each time it is repeated to show how often students slip into the habit.

    Head Gary Phillips says pupils need to be proficient in both spoken and written forms of English to pass exams.

    He does not mind slang used in the playground but not in the classroom.

    A spokesman from the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) said: "Schools need to respect the integrity of the languages pupils bring with them.

    "They must therefore allow the expression of such languages and use these languages as a tool in their teaching.

    "However, in order to pass their exams, pupils need to be proficient in both the spoken and written forms of Standard English and this must be taught."

    US comedian Bill Cosby, who has been a critic of black people's use of slang, has backed the campaign.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/07/07 05:34:59 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 07, 2004.




    Claire Donnelly And Nick Webster

    From the number of bananas we eat to the heat of our bath water - the government influences almost every moment of our lives.

    Just yesterday the House of Lords debated a change in the law on smacking children, and doctors lobbied Blair for a ban on smoking in public places. Some of the legislation is vital, but much is simply common sense.

    So are we living in a nanny state?

    To find out, CLAIRE DONNELLY and NICK WEBSTER chronicle a day in the life of a fictional British family - a married thirty-something couple with a teenage daughter and schoolboy son - who follow the government's very real advice to the letter.

    AT their home in Kennington, South London, mum Jane, 38, is preparing breakfast for husband, Mark, 39, and their children, Amy, 13 and Robert, six.

    She is busy knocking up a fresh fruit salad and freshly squeezed orange juice to give the family two of the five daily portions of fruit and veg the government recommends to prevent cancers and heart disease.

    DAD Mark, a lawyer, has a quick shower. No chance of him being scalded thanks to a thermostat control they had fitted - recommended by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

    JANE is getting ready for work as a secretary in the City. She went back to work when Robert started school, encouraged by the Government's Tax Credit system for working mums.

    MARK is chewing nicotine gum as he sets off for the Tube - he's used public transport since London's congestion charge was introduced - after taking Health Secretary John Reid's advice and quitting smoking. Since 1997, the government has spent £31million on anti-smoking campaigns.

    AMY insists on walking Robert to his primary school, before she heads for her own classroom at the nearby comprehensive. She knows the government wants 70 per cent of Britons participating in regular physical activity by 2020.

    JANE picks up a work colleague. They are part of Liftshare, a car pool initiative set up in response to government aims to cut congestion and reduce emissions. Encouraged by the Department of Transport's THINK! campaign she also switches off her mobile phone before getting into the vehicle.

    LIKE all four to six-year-olds in his area, Robert is given another piece of fruit, free, at school. With 15 per cent of all 15-year-olds and 8.5 per cent of six-year-olds now obese, the government promotes healthy eating.

    AFTER a morning of meetings, Mark heads to the company gym for a 30-minute workout, then nips to a nearby deli for a healthy green salad and fruit juice.

    He is aware of the government's warnings that 24 million adults are clinically obese and that the problem will cost the NHS an extra £30billion a year by 2022 if nothing is done.

    JANE runs to the shops at lunchtime to buy sun tan lotion for the family holiday. Usually they use factor eight cream but Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson has advised using only factor 15 and above - as well as remaining in the shade between 11am and 3pm.

    MARK makes a note to check the children haven't been pilfering from the family's stockpile of food kept for any terrorist attack.

    Following the advice in a Home Office leaflet sent out to 24 million households earlier this year, they have stored three days' supply of baked beans, tuna, chocolate bars and bottled water.

    JANE heads home to collect Robert and then drops by Amy's school to see if she needs a lift.

    She is keen to make sure Amy attends all her classes, especially since the government introduced fines and, in some extreme cases, jail sentences, for the parents of truants.

    Tomorrow is Sports Day - or Fun Day - where the kids are encouraged NOT to compete but have a lovely time around a May pole.

    The school outing has been cancelled for fear of losing or injuring any of the children.

    AMY tells her mum she wants to buy a guinea pig. But with government plans to ban youngsters under 16 from buying pets Jane says "No."

    She knows the proposed Animal Welfare Bill will also upset young Robert.

    Although they only seem to live a few weeks, Robert loves winning goldfish whenever the annual funfair visits.

    But the bill also includes a ban on live prizes.

    Amy goes off in a sulk and Jane recalls a piece of advice she was given by her cousin, who saw a £300,000 TV advert by NHS Health Scotland which reminds parents that adolescent tantrums are a typical part of family life.

    JANE doesn't like Robert watching TV because of all the junk-food adverts.

    She can't wait for Health Secretary John Reid to fulfil his promise and ban ads for burgers, crisps, fizzy drinks and sweets from children's TV shows.

    She spends an hour trying to get through Robert's school report which, in line with government regulations is now longer than a Russian novel.

    AMY rings her gran to moan about her pet problem. While on the line, she reminds her grandmother of the dangers of wearing ill-fitting slippers.

    She's heard the government is spending £225,000 teaching the over-55s to wear slippers to prevent them tripping, possibly costing the NHS a fortune.

    WHILE Mark and the kids wash up after dinner Jane goes out for a half-hour walk. She knows the government has said adults should undertake at least 30 minutes a day of exercise five days a week.

    On her return she takes a long drink of water. The government recommends eight glasses of water a day.

    PAUL and Jo, friends of Mark and Jane, pop round for a drink.

    They are careful not to drink more than the Chief Medical Officer's recommended alcohol limit of no more than three or four units for men or two to three units for women.

    TO Jane's surprise Paul lights up a cannabis joint. She doesn't mind smoking in the house, but is confused over the legal position of the drug.

    Paul says the recent legal reclassification of cannabis means possession of small amounts is no longer an arrestable offence.

    But Jane remembers Home Secretary David Blunkett saying the police could arrest marijuana users in certain "aggravated" cases, such as when the drug is smoked near children.

    And young Robert is asleep upstairs.

    NOW a little more relaxed the two couples discuss a mutual friend who is delighted the government is considering introducing licensed brothels and "tolerance zones", where street prostitutes are allowed to operate.

    Of course he will follow another government recommendation - and wear a condom.

    But they are unlikely to be allowed to smoke after sex since the brothel will be a public place.

    AFTER settling down to watch Question Time - to keep abreast of any new government initiatives - it's off to bed.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 06, 2004.

    Officials do the North Lambeth Walk


    Officials do the North Lambeth Walk


    There was a festive atmosphere in Waterloo and Kennington last Monday June 21 when Lambeth officials and councillors joined tenants and residents at the launch of their new Area Housing Office.

    Released: July 5, 2004 3:58 PM
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 05, 2004.

    Finance & Administration Officer


    Situation Vacant

    Finance & Administration Officer

    For further information, please refer to advert.
    Released: July 5, 2004 10:34 AM
    Filesize: 13kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 05, 2004.


    Independent Home > Sport > Cricket

    Ramprakash plays the Lions' king

    Surrey's technician leads the carnage as party-time comes to The Oval. Stephen Fay reports

    04 July 2004

    The good news was lit up in red outside the Hobbs Gate at The Oval. "Sold Out" it said. That meant there would be a crowd of 6,000 at the building site in Kennington for the Surrey Lions' Twenty20 game against the Hampshire Hawks, and they got what they came for. Mark Ramprakash's 50 came up with the fifth six of his innings. Mark Butcher's 50 was rather more circumspect, taking 36 balls compared to Ramps' 32, and then Adam Hollioake lit into the Hampshire attack, falling only six short of his own 50.

    Surrey reached 198 ­ well above the par score of 150 ­ because they scored 71 in the last five overs of the innings. The jewel in this crown was the controlled hitting of Ramprakash, demonstrating a simple truth about the 20-over slog: the better the technique, the harder the hitting.

    The slaughter of the innocents began later in the day than the textbook suggests it should in Twenty20 cricket. The crowd in the public stands sat back expecting a heroic attack from Ali Brown, but he was out for three in the third over. Scott Newman was bowled in the first over having scored only four.

    Greg Blewett, the elegant Aussie who has flown over to London to play for three weeks, should have reassured The Oval's loyalists, but he blew it ­ again. On his debut on Friday evening he was out for a single. He improved that score fourfold yesterday before getting bowled by James Bruce, an Old Etonian whose figures of 3 for 21 in four overs explain Surrey's somewhat hesitant start.

    But the crowd was well pleased, and so would the Surrey management be. There were plenty of children and some babies. There were pints in the fists of young men but the atmosphere was relatively demure. Another sell-out crowd is expected next Friday to watch the Lions, who won the competition in its first year and made a convincing start this season with a 10-run win against Sussex at Hove on Friday night. That was the first Twenty20 game for Steve Rixon, Surrey's new Australian coach, but he has already identified the secret of the format. "The biggest key to success is the enjoyment factor. Go and have a good time and the performance will look after itself," he says.

    A wicket was cut close to the boundary, promising an unusually high quota of sixes, more surely than the five Surrey managed in scoring 221 on Friday, which equals the record score so far.

    Hampshire had something to prove to themselves before anyone else. Out for 95 at Chelmsford on Friday, their fifth straight defeat in Twenty20 cricket.

    The England and Wales Cricket Board are cocky enough about another success to have released ticket sales figures: before the tournament began, 110,000 tickets had been sold for 45 group matches. That includes 15,000 tickets for Middlesex v Surrey at Lord's on 15 July, beating the previous record of 14,862 at Old Trafford last year for Lancashire v Yorkshire.

    Last summer's sun, which gave the first year of Twenty20 cricket such a great send-off, is reflected in the marketing ploys introduced this year. Essex, Glamorgan, Hampshire and Worcestershire are creating beaches on the boundary, the latter featuring "Sand, two hot tubs with waitress service, palm trees and fairy lights, fridge with alcopops/Bud, cocktail beach bar, drinks serviced in coconuts with umbrellas and straws, and an npower lifeguard." It is easy to make fun when counties try to compete with the fun fair, but they seem to have pulled it off. Perhaps it is because of Twenty20's limited duration. Rixon prefers it to the protracted jollity of one-day cricket in Australia.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 04, 2004.

    Activities for the school holidays

    South London Press

    Activities for the school holidays

    Jul 2 2004

    YOUR readers should know about the Lollard Street Adventure Playground Project, which is happening from July 26 to 30 at Lollard Street, Kennington, and the Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Holiday Club (August 1-6) at St Mark's Church, Kennington, as part of Soul in the City.

    From July 26 to August 5, Soul in the City plans to mobilise 15,000 young people from around the UK and other nations in community projects, sports and music initiatives, children's clubs, and other schemes across Greater London.

    These have been developed in conjunction with more than 490 local churches, and other partnership organisations such as the Metropolitan Police and local government, to ensure that they are tailored to meet areas of real local need, and effect lasting social change.

    Soul in the City is a Christian initiative which seeks to emphasise that "actions speak louder than words". From July 26 to 30, 40-50 young people will be engaged each afternoon in renovating the Lollard Street Adventure Playground.

    The playground is situated in Lambeth and sees up to 200 children and young people making use of it each day during the school holidays. The young people involved will be painting, weeding and clearing the site.

    From August 1 to 6, St Mark's Church will be running a holiday club for eight to 12-year-olds each afternoon, based on Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. During the week, the young people will get a chance to sing, dance, act and be involved in art and craft activities, as they prepare to perform the musical on August 6 at 7pm.

    Anyone wishing to find out more about Soul in the City, including how they can take part, can either ring 01923 333331 or visit: www.soulinthecity.co.uk

    Richard Kirby
    St Mark's Church,

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 03, 2004.

    'Vindictive and divisive'

    South London Press

    'Vindictive and divisive'

    Jul 2 2004

    I BELIEVE neither Douglas Batchelor (Letters, June 25), nor anyone else, has been able to make a logical case for banning hunting - but that does not stop them demanding more time to pursue their petty obsession.

    However long a Hunting Bill would spend in the Commons - and his suggestion that it could be dealt with in the same way as emergency terrorism legislation is, to me, clearly absurd - the Government would be prioritising hunting above other far more important issues.

    Mr Batchelor knows well that in a recent poll which asked people whether the Government should concentrate on health, immigration, Iraq, hunting or education only one per cent of Labour voters chose hunting.

    A Government which wants to reinforce its commitment to public services and re-engage with the electorate would be insane to return to what I say is such vindictive and divisive legislation.

    Tim Bonner,
    Head of Media
    Countryside Alliance

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 03, 2004.

    Men are jailed in card clone scam

    BBC News

    Men are jailed in card clone scam

    Two Romanian men have been jailed for a credit card cloning scheme that could have netted £2m in Cornwall.

    Iaon Buda, 33, received three years, and Alexandru Zanharie, 23, was given a 12-month sentence.

    They had earlier admitted conspiring to steal money by copying cards put into a cash machine at the Asda supermarket in St Austell.

    At Truro Crown Court, Judge Philip Wassall recommended the men should be deported after serving their sentences.

    Computer transmission

    The two men, who were recruited by an international gang, were arrested after Buda, of Buckingham Place, Brighton, was spotted by a supermarket customer acting suspiciously.

    He was tampering with a cash machine and going to a red sports car parked in a nearby disabled bay, the court heard.

    A tiny camera used to record PIN numbers and a false card reader, capable of recording the details of 2,000 cards, transmitted information to a computer in the boot of the car.

    The potential financial loss, at £1,000 a card, was £2m, the court was told.

    Paul Rowsell, defending Buda, said he was a decent, hard-working family man who earned only £80 a month as a primary school teacher in Romania.

    He came to England expecting to get legitimate work to provide a better life for his wife and three children, but had managed to send back only £100.

    Rawdon Crozier, representing Zanharie, from Kennington Road, south London, claimed he had been exploited by cynical and evil people.

    He was only "a minnow" in the operation with no real prospects of benefiting from it, Mr Crozier said.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/07/01 15:28:59 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), July 02, 2004.

    Unitary Development Plan


    Unitary Development Plan

    Revised Deposit Unitary Development Plan

    Released: June 28, 2004 10:39 AM
    Filesize: 1609kb

    Summary of UDP Representations and Council Responses

    Released: June 30, 2004 11:57 AM
    Filesize: 1373kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 30, 2004.

    Terror suspect may be extradited

    BBC News

    Terror suspect may be extradited

    A Moroccan terror suspect wanted by Spanish authorities is being held in London, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

    Farid Hilali, 35, is being held under a European arrest warrant from Spain and has been linked with the Madrid train bombings and 11 September attacks.

    On Monday he appeared before Bow Street magistrates for the first part of the extradition process, and was remanded in custody until 5 July.

    He has been held at Belmarsh prison on immigration charges since September.

    A spokesman for Bow Street magistrates court confirmed the extradition charge related to Mr Hilali's alleged "participation in a terrorist organisation contrary to the laws of the government in Spain".

    Terror suspect

    Mr Hilali was originally arrested in September 2003 in Kennington, south London, under the Terrorism Act 2000.

    He was not charged but was discovered to have entered the country illegally and was detained at London's Belmarsh prison.

    The Moroccan is suspected of helping to plot the 11 September attacks and was an alleged accomplice in the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in March, the Times reported.

    He is also thought to be known by the alias "Shakur" and was named on an indictment in Spain last year for allegedly using the country as a base to plot the 11 September attacks, the newspaper reported.

    The indictment also included al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

    Fast-track process

    European arrest warrants were created to improve cross-border cooperation.

    The warrants, which came into force in Britain on 1 January, are part of a new fast-track extradition process.

    Under the procedure, extradition could now take three months, compared to six months under the previous system.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/06/30 13:02:04 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 30, 2004.

    Manor from heaven

    Guardian: Society

    Manor from heaven

    Even on a reasonable wage, many people struggle to afford high rents. But an innovative new concept enables nurses, teachers and social workers to live in short-lease 'des res' accommodation - without paying through the nose. Mark Espiner reports

    Mark Espiner
    Wednesday June 30, 2004

    It is in one of the poshest areas of Hartlepool and was built to a grand design early last century by a Tyneside shipyard owner. Its palatial interior includes a ballroom and swimming pool. Light wells break through from the first floor to illuminate the large hallway below. The east and west wings contain more than 30 rooms.

    But it is not the heirs of this industrialist's fortune who have inherited Tunstall Court, nor has it been snapped up by a popstar or City trader. The people who have the run of this mansion are not exactly what you would call to the manor born.

    Emma Hunt, 25, is a D-grade staff nurse working on ward 10 of the University Hospital of North Tees. As she herself confesses, living in such a place would normally be "way beyond my means". When she was a student on only £440 a month, she had to live at home with her parents and, even after she qualified, might still have not flown the nest had not Tunstall Court opened its grand doors to her. At £25 a week rent - about a quarter the going rate - and with all bills and council tax included, it is the most affordable accommodation she has ever had, with no parental strings attached.

    One of Hunt's house (or, rather, mansion) mates is PC Anthony Jewson. He too was living at home with his parents. "The going rental rate here is one of the highest in Britain," he says, "That's why I was living at home."

    Jewson, 29, has been with the Northumbria police at Houghton-le-Spring for two years and earns £21,500 a year. In the six months or so that he has been at Tunstall Court, he says he has managed to save around £4,000 for a deposit on a new house.

    It sounds like key worker heaven. So how on earth can it be true?

    The answer is that the country that gave us Big Brother - the ultimate in alternative housing - has come up with an ingenious, but much less inane, accommodation solution. Dutch company Camelot has identified a gap in the property market and is commercially exploiting it so that key workers are the winners. And its cleverly contrived short-term use for thousands of empty buildings across the country benefits everyone.

    Whether it's a mansion such as Tunstall Court or a disused care home, a huge warehouse awaiting development or a residential property sitting empty, Camelot liaises with the owner to broker a mutually convenient deal. The company calls it the "Camelot Way" and it goes like this.

    Property owners worried about their empty buildings falling into disrepair, being vandalised or becoming a target for squatters approach - or are approached by - Camelot. The company assesses the building and tells the owner what it needs to do to make it safe and habitable. It then recruits, selects, interviews and thoroughly vets - according to National Security Inspectorate standards - people it calls "guardians" to live in the building. Camelot likes the guardians to be key workers or professionals who will make the building their short-term home.

    In effect, they act as passive security guards, and pay Camelot cheap rent, with all bills included, while the buildings owners pay anything between £50 and £500 a week, which works out about 10 times less expensive than installing 24-hour security guards and cameras.

    The one drawback for the guardians is that they are not tenants, but are simply licensed to live in the building and can be moved at any time. Camelot says, however, that it undertakes to give a minimum of four months in any one property - which includes a month's notice - and endeavours to move guardians from one property to another.

    In London, those moves could be from a loft-style apartment with panoramic views of the city to huge rooms in a disused library in the East End for £50 a week.

    For James Whiting, the Grade II listed Consulata Missionary College at the southern end of the Northern Line, with its own orchard, is a welcome and magnificent contrast with his workplace. He has a £300-a-week night job fixing track for London Underground. The rent savings he has made have been invaluable, he says.

    Admittedly, Braganza old people's home in Kennington, south London, isn't quite the address you like to brag about. Indeed, it has the whiff of something far less glamorous than the grand ballrooms and bowling greens of Tunstall Court. But it still provides a spacious home that would normally be way beyond the means of many, such as Mark Traboulsi, who works in the Transport Police's command and control centre.

    Traboulsi, 30, was living in Brighton with his brother and jumped at the chance of cheap rent and three rooms. He admits that it might be a bit strange having a bathroom that still has equipment to help old people in and out of the tub, but the guardians living there have created a little community for themselves. In the outsize communal kitchen, he has quickly made friends with the other guardians, who joke that he's their in-built security. And while the scheme is not the answer to the nation's key worker housing crisis, it has changed these people's lives.

    The man responsible is 39-year-old Joost van Gestel, a friendly Dutchman, who brought Camelot to the UK two years ago. "We have 8,500 people in Holland living in schools, churches, offices, warehouses, monasteries, cinemas and flats," he says. "The phenomenon is called 'anti-kraak', which in Dutch means anti-squatting, but to be honest only 10% of owners are worried about squatting. The other 90% want to prevent vandalism, water leaks and fire risks."

    He seems completely at home in his central London office. And so he should be; it is a property that he and his workers - most of whom, including Van Gestel, also live in Camelot properties - are putting through its anti-kraak paces.

    Van Gestel explain why key workers are central to his strategy. "It's a trust thing," he says. "We explain to the owner that it's key workers, people who are working, who are quite happy to live in a place for a few months to save some money and live near their working place. Key workers are our target group."

    In 10 years, Van Gestel has sufficiently built up trust in Holland to look after some 3,000 properties. "We work a lot with housing associations in Holland, where they give us streets or part of a town to manage," he says.

    It is starting to happen here, too. The London boroughs of Southwark and Camden have both used Camelot, and Tunstall Court is actually owned by Hartlepool council after it became a state-run school.

    Alongside the key workers are the professionals unwilling, or unable, to pay ridiculous rents, and the artists who don't make enough from their craft to pay £150-plus a week.

    There are people such as physics graduate Bas Vellekoop, who has used his knowledge and skill to revive the full broadband network that was in the building - a Hoxton warehouse, in east London, overlooking the canal, and formerly used as offices. His home, which he has transformed into a loft-like space, has separate rooms that are occupied by five others. They all share the kitchen and bathroom facilities. Bas is a composer, and the cheap rent is giving him time to develop his skills.

    On the floor below it's the same story. Emily Stein and her record producer friend, Tom Giles, love the cheap rent as they attempt to make their career breakthroughs. They are also putting considerable work into making their living quarters look magnificent. With its red painted floors, open plan kitchen and huge living room, it looks like a styled set for a lifestyle magazine.

    When Van Gestel is asked about how he hopes to expand his business - there are only 200 guardians in Britain - he immediately switches to outlining the exciting properties that are just coming on to his books, such as a lighthouse located on the Wirral.

    A castle in Northampton could be next. That makes sense. Where else would you get to rent a castle, if not from a company called Camelot?

    Details: www.camelotproperties.com

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 30, 2004.

    Just like the old times as IDS takes centre stage



    By Benedict Brogan
    (Filed: 29/06/2004)

    Just like the old times as IDS takes centre stage

    Iain Duncan Smith popped up yesterday to unveil a memorial to his brief leadership of the Conservative party. Seven months on from his forced removal, his followers gathered for a ceremony to open what they hope will be a monument to his legacy. It's a south London thinktank.

    Former American presidents get lavishly endowed libraries charting every minute of their administration; French presidents build themselves glass pyramids, wonky opera houses and national libraries that leak; in the heart of the African jungle there is an empty cathedral bigger than St Peter's built by a now-dead dictator.

    On that basis Mr Duncan Smith might have hoped for a bit more than an office next to Lambeth Tube station. A cricket pavilion, perhaps, with some repro Corinthian columns stuck on the front. Or a Heathrow departure lounge, named after him, with reclining seats and free cough sweets.

    He has struggled to be noticed since being so unceremoniously bundled out of the back door by his Parliamentary colleagues.

    The Commons committee responsible for works of art abandoned plans to commission an official £10,000 portrait, the first time a former Opposition leader has been so snubbed. Obscurity seemed to be beckoning a touch too enthusiastically.

    But not yesterday. It was just like old times.

    He was among friends, the star attraction for more than 100 people who, like him, are little noticed and get no gratitude for their work on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.

    Indeed, very few of those present were MPs.

    The location, for true believers in IDS, was more than appropriate. Christ Church in Kennington has been a centre for non-conformist worship for more than two centuries. Wilberforce spoke there, and the spire was donated by Abraham Lincoln's family to acknowledge its support for abolition.

    For an hour, in this modern church hall rebuilt after the Blitz, we were able to relive the highlights of the IDS years, a sort of "This was your Life" called for the opening of the Centre for Social Justice.

    The old gang was there to cheer him on and the pews were packed with the community workers and activists he met on his visits to drug centres and youth homes up and down the country.

    Nick Wood and Mike Penning, his press officers, were there to handle the media.

    The two Annabels from his private office were on hand, as were Owen Patterson, his parliamentary aide, and Tim Montgomerie, once his private secretary and now the brains behind the CSJ, which as a mission will press the Tories to remember the less fortunate.

    Betsy joined us as well, looking restored after the ordeal of a Commons inquiry into her affairs.

    William Hague is on the board. Oliver Letwin spoke and is also on the board despite his close involvement in the events that led to Mr Duncan Smith's ejection. David Willetts, who clocked up nearly as many miles as IDS touring sink estates, turned up.

    Even the rastafarians with the multi-coloured bonnets who livened up Mr Duncan Smith's last conference speech were there alongside community workers from Glasgow council estates.

    Standing before a stained glass window commemorating prophets and preachers through the ages, IDS did not disappoint them.

    His speech was full of the IDS trademarks Westminster has come to love: passion for his cause, enthusiasm for his party, words substituted at random, sentences that run on beyond their usefulness.

    But it was his message - that politicians can no longer afford to ignore communities racked by alcohol and drug abuse - that mattered to his audience.

    They know, as Westminster may be about to discover, that a strong idea coupled with dogged enthusiasm will achieve more than a plaque, a portrait, or a glistening library.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 29, 2004.

    How I carried a torch for the Olympics (and passed it to Beefy)

    Independent Home > News > UK > This Britain

    How I carried a torch for the Olympics (and passed it to Beefy)

    The rain came down but nothing could dampen the elation of sports writer Alan Hubbard who took part in the London leg of the Athens 2004 relay yesterday

    27 June 2004

    As someone who has always carried a torch for the Olympics I never dreamed that one day I would be doing that very thing. But there I was around lunchtime yesterday, the Eternal Flame held aloft, trotting along towards Ian Botham, waiting to bat next at the Oval.

    The surprise invitation had come from the International Olympic Committee three months ago. Would I like to be one of the torchbearers for the London leg of the Athens 2004 relay? It would be the first time the flame would pass through London since 1948.

    Apparently they had decided I was something of an elder statesman among Olympic scribes. Athens will be the 10th summer Games I have covered.

    Even for an allegedly hardened hack it proved a highly charged emotional experience. My Olympic odyssey began in Tokyo in 1964. The only Games I have missed since then were those in held in Atlanta 1996, when I was sports editing for another newspaper.

    Flaming June! The Greek gods weren't smiling on south London yesterday and inevitably it rained on our parade. But spirits, like the flame itself, refused to be doused. The 31-mile journey had begun on Wimbledon's Centre Court after the flame's arrival by chartered 747 from Paris - a city, like London, that is bidding for the right to stage the Olympic Games in 2012. Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, lit his torch from the silver lantern in which it had been transported.

    But the Wimbledon weather continued to do its worst and Sir Roger, 75, had to carry the torch through the Wimbledon clubhouse rather than parade it around Centre Court.

    He then handed it on to a track-suited Tim Henman and the flame was off on its eight-hour journey, by foot, taxi, bus and wheelchair through south and east London, the West End and finally to Buckingham Palace in the hands of five times gold medallist Sir Steve Redgrave.

    The celebrations were topped off with a free concert in the Mall with rock and soul legends Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne and James Brown as the star performers. They were joined by others, including Will Young, Ronnie Wood, and Emma Bunton, performing her new single.

    But the real star of the day had to be the flame itself. I had watched it lit in a moving ceremony at ancient Olympia on a sweltering April noon. Since then it has been making an unprecedented global journey, embracing, for the first time, all five continents.

    London is the 21st of 33 cities on the 4,800-mile route before the Athens Olympics begin on 13 August. In all, some 11,000 torchbearers will have helped it along its way. All previous Olympic host cities will have been visited as well as those that hope to stage the Games in the future. Today it is in Barcelona and tomorrow Rome.

    My own run-on part in this epic happened, by sheer coincidence, in Harleyford Road, Kennington, where I was born 66 years ago, then bombed out during the Blitz.

    Nostalgic yes, and personally moving, too, although I suspect I did not move as fast as some of the fit and famous, such as Audley Harrison, Matthew Pinsent, Colin Jackson and Sir Richard Branson.

    It probably took me more time to complete my allotted 400 metres than it still takes Sir Roger Bannister to run a mile. I shuffled my portly frame towards Botham, doing my best to hum the opening bars of Chariots of Fire while glancing at the flame to ensure it wasn't singeing what is left of my hair. "From Bulky to Beefy," I smiled as I stopped in front of the former England captain, but he didn't see the joke. He was too busy wondering how to light his torch from my flame. "What do I do now?" he asked anxiously.

    One of the dozens of escort runners accompanying the huge convoy of cars and outriders moved forward to remind us that we had to touch torches, rather like boxers touching gloves for the final round. These are fuelled by gas, and the flame has to be extinguished as soon as your run is over.

    Astonishingly, I found myself besieged by spectators wanting to shake my hand and pose with them for photographs, even though they did not know me from Adam Ant (though someone did ask if I was Jimmy Greaves). One young mother even asked me to kiss her baby while holding the torch.

    The flame had been passed to me by Parvez Ahmed, 18, one of 17 youngsters nominated by the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, because of their community youth work. They get to keep the torch, unlike the rest of us who have to fork out £240 if we'd like it as a souvenir.

    You have to have it, of course, as a reminder of something really special in your life, something that for me had begun with a humbling experience the evening before, when I stood in line at City Hall to collect the uniformed running gear alongside the likes of Sir Roger, the former boxer Michael Watson, now bravely recovering from brain damage, and Dame Mary Peters, who I saw win her pentathlon gold medal at Munich 32 years ago. "I don't know if I can even run 400 metres these days," she laughed.

    But of course she did, as did Jonathan Edwards, Floella Benjamin, Davina McCall from Big Brother, a host of unsung heroes, and Bernie Ecclestone's missus. The Formula 1 magnate was waiting, movie camera in hand, at her starting point.

    We had all been asked to nominate someone to act as a marker, a recognisable face to send you on your way. I chose my son. It happened to be his birthday, but actually it felt more like mine.

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 27, 2004.


    Vauxhall Festival 2004

    Saturday 26th June/2pm


    Starting point at the Café, Bonnington Square, SW8

    A Walk through Vauxhall looking at 300 years of black history in the area led by Steve Martin, writer and researcher in London’s black history.

    020 7793 1110


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 26, 2004.

    Bombs or bollards: arrested for sketching on the South Bank

    Independent Home > Argument > Letters

    E-mail responses to letters@independent.co.uk, giving postal address and telephone number (no attachments).

    26 June 2004

    Bombs or bollards: arrested for sketching on the South Bank

    Sir: Ron Dare (Letters, 25 June) says the majority in this country wants a Home Secretary who "will take whatever legal measures are required to protect them"; but the evidence which would legitimate the detention of those imprisoned in Belmarsh (and therefore the proof that acts of terror have been averted) has not been made public. Mr Dare may suppose that there is no smoke without fire and that if so far no bombings have occurred in the UK since 9/11, it is thanks to Mr Blunkett's detentions.

    On Easter Monday I was in central London sketching locations of South Bank entertainment sites on the Waterloo South Bank footbridge in preparation for a meeting with a client to whom I hope to sell a signage system. The two police officers who approached and asked what I was doing did not believe me in spite of the product brochures and client contact lists I said I had in my bag. They did not ask to see them but called another half dozen constables, then helped themselves to a bag search. On finding philosophy texts in my bag (a subject I happen to write on) whose authors were Iranian-Islamic (12th and 16th century!) they then marched me to Waterloo police HQ.

    Following an hour-long conflab over the contents of my bag (which included a foreign language newspaper of all things) the officers emerged to announce my arrest under the terms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act "on reasonable suspicion that I was engaged in activities constituting a risk to public security". Small circles in my sketch indicating bollards along a footpath were taken to be intended bomb placements.

    I spent four hours (having already been detained for three and a half) in a cell in Kennington police station wondering whether I might not be joining those in Belmarsh where Mr Blunkett could detain me without explanation and, in the interest of public security, refuse to divulge the alleged evidence. If the majority in this country need protecting, they had better ask who the enemies of democracy currently are.

    London N4

    © 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 26, 2004.

    Torch heads to London

    BBC News

    Sat 26 Jun 2004

    Torch heads to London

    The Olympic flame begins a 31-mile trip across London at 1100 BST on Saturday, starting on Centre Court at Wimbledon. | MAP KEY 1. Wimbledon. 1100 BST 2. Wandsworth. 1120 3. Brixton. 1200 4. Kennington... BBC News

    Go to this link for full details

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 26, 2004.

    OAP's bravery snares robber

    South London Press

    OAP's bravery snares robber

    Jun 25 2004
    By Court Reporter

    A THUG who beat up a disabled pensioner in a lift for £20 is likely to escape jail.

    Patrick Carney, 40, followed 68-year-old Foster Limerick into a lift with two accomplices and pinned him against the wall before ripping open his pockets.

    But the pensioner whacked Carney over the head with his walking stick, drawing blood.

    His bravery left a DNA clue which helped police to identify and arrest the defendant.

    Carney, who has a string of previous convictions, admitted one count of robbery at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday.

    But Judge Quentin Campbell said he would take a "lenient" approach and send him to be tested for a place on a drugs rehabilitation course.

    The judge said: "This was a terrible thing to do, your victim was weak and needed a walking stick when you and two other thugs robbed him.

    "For the rest of his life, whenever he goes out, he will now be scared stiff of other cruel thugs like you doing this to him.

    "You deserve a substantial sentence but I am going to consider the possibility of an alternative sentence as you say you wish to break your drug addiction."

    The court had heard that Mr Limerick was in the Vauxhall Walk Estate in Kennington on August 4 last year when he noticed a man following him.

    As he opened the door to his block, Carney and two other men ran in behind him. Once in the lift they turned on their frail victim and stole £20.

    Cops viewed CCTV footage from the lift and arrested Carney three months later after finding his blood on Mr Limerick's jacket.

    Nick Wrack, defending, said Carney, of Tyres Street, Kennington, had a long-term addiction to crack.

    Carney, had admitted one count of robbery. He was remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on July 26.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 25, 2004.

    Mum pleads for decent school

    South London Press

    Mum pleads for decent school

    Jun 25 2004

    A MUM made an appeal to council bosses for a decent school for 70 vulnerable children.

    Gill Manvell told Lambeth's executive committee about The Michael Tippett School which has pupils with severe learning difficulties and in some cases physical disabilities.

    She described how the school's building is too small and was branded unfit by Ofsted inspectors.

    Michael Tippett opened in Oakden Street, Kennington, in 2001 after a shake-up of special schools. Parents were told the school would get a new building in West Norwood but plans were shelved because of lack of funds. That site is earmarked for a new secondary.

    When the school building became overcrowded, older students were moved four miles away.

    It has been proposed to move the school to a building in North Lambeth. Another suggestion has been to move older pupils to Kennington.

    Ms Manvell said: "They can't disappear - they are straightforward and very loving human beings who are an example to us all.

    "Don't find a box to hide them in."

    A council spokeswoman said: "The pupils represent one of the most vulnerable groups within the borough and the council is acutely aware of its duty to them."

    She said two bids for Government cash had been declined but the council was awaiting the outcome of a third.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 25, 2004.


    Evening Standard

    24/06/04 - Free Guide section

    Go for the burn

    By Libby Norman, Metro Life


    London carries the flame for the first time since 1948 and the 140 torchbearers represent a who's who of UK sporting heroes.

    Faces to look out for include Sir Roger Bannister, Dame Mary Peters, Sally Gunnell, Tim Henman, Ian Botham, Frank Bruno and Jonathan Edwards.

    The flame has arrived from Paris (en route to Barcelona) but for the day it's here it's being carried through parts of London Olympic flames don't usually reach.

    It starts at Wimbledon at around 11am and continues east, via Kennington and Camberwell to Greenwich before heading over the Thames.

    The final leg of the route along the Mall is followed by a free concert for lucky ballot-winning Londoners.

    The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Church Road, SW19 (020-7983 4100). Sat 26 Jun, 11am, free.

    Top 5 places to watch the relay:


    A good opportunity to see two sporting highlights, as you can capture the atmosphere of Wimbledon fortnight (see listings) and watch the torch begin its 48km route through 11 London boroughs. The official start time is 11am.


    Crossing the Meridian around 1.30pm, the torch will then be carried across the river to Canary Wharf. If the crowds are too dense in Greenwich, cross to Docklands via the foot tunnel and you can see the torch arrive by boat at Island Gardens.


    Bankside is an excellent vantage spot as you can take a trip to tate Modern while you're waiting for the torch to crisscross the river. The torch heads over Tower Bridge around 4pm, passes City Hall and then crosses the Millennium Bridge around 15 minutes later to head north to Oxford Street, accompanied by school children from across the capital.


    The flame is due to arrive by bus in front of the V&A on Cromwell Road, SW7, at around 6pm. To do that, it has crossed through Hyde Park, which makes a leafy picnic spot-cum-vantage point.


    The crowds should be thickest here as the procession reaches its finale, but the run down The Mall to Buckingham Palace at around 7.15pm offers the best atmosphere. At journey's end, there's an official lighting at the cauldron ceremony.


    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/insiders/guides/articles/11559262?version=2
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 25, 2004.



    Saturday, 3rd July 2004



    *Horticultural * domestic * handicraft * flower arranging * senior citizen and children's classes open to non-members *

    10p per entry
    Prize giving at 3.30pm



    ALL ENQUIRIES TO 020 7582 2327

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 23, 2004.

    Rider stable following collision

    BBC News

    Rider stable following collision

    A motorcyclist is in a stable condition after he was in a collision with an unmarked police car outside a Tube station in south London.

    The man was taken to hospital after the incident at about 0150 BST on Monday outside Oval station on Kennington Park Road and Harleyford Road.
    Road closures were in place around the area while police investigated but all roads have now reopened.

    Scotland Yard said the motorcyclist's condition is not life-threatening.
    He is receiving treatment at a south London hospital.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/06/21 08:16:13 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 22, 2004.

    Camera Club Exhibition

    ‘Children of the Achachilas’

    A Photographic Exhibition By

    Marj Clayton

    June 26 – July 2nd 2004

    The Camera Club 16 Bowden Street SE11

    Gallery Hours 11:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m

    Tube Station – Kennington (Northern Line)

    Private View July 1, 2004 7:00p.m


    Tel: 020 8503 5171

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 21, 2004.

    Vauxhall Festival 2004

    Vauxhall Festival 2004

    Go to this link for details of the Vauxhall Festival which runs until 10th July.


    Programme includes theatre, one-man show, play reading, lunchtime and evening concerts including classical, choral, flamenco, jazz, ballads, swing, highlands & islands, Latin-American and salon music, a 4th July musical celebration, an Italian evening, historical walks, studio open days, art, photographic and garden exhibitions, lectures, walks, open gardens, parish fete, a City Farm open day, an event in a Grade II listed loo, children’s workshop, family picnics and family music day.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 21, 2004.

    Ejected 'fans' fly home in disgrace


    June 18, 2004

    Euro 2004

    Ejected 'fans' fly home in disgrace

    From David Lister in the Algarve and Sam Coates

    TEN England football fans arrived back at Heathrow in disgrace last night after being voluntarily deported from Portugal following violent clashes in Albufeira.

    The ten, who appeared in court in Albufeira on Wednesday, arrived shortly after 9pm and were greeted by scores of police officers. Seven received suspended sentences and could be forced to surrender their passports to prevent them attending future overseas football games. Three were acquitted, on condition that they agreed to leave the country and do not return within a year.

    Garry Mann, 47, a firefighter from Faversham, Kent, who was given a two-year jail term on Wednesday after being singled out in a Portuguese court as a ringleader, was not among the group.

    The fans, dressed casually in T-shirts, shorts and jeans, were kept on board the jet until the rest of the passengers had disembarked.

    While all ten faced police questioning at the airport, the seven who received suspended sentences could be forced to surrender their passports.

    About 30 police officers, some of them from the Football Intelligence Unit, were waiting inside the arrivals gate at Terminal 2 as the plane touched down.

    Another 30 England fans are to fly home today after agreeing to be deported for allegedly fighting with police.

    The group, who looked bruised and bloodied as they appeared before Albufeira Criminal Court, spent the night in a detention centre in the Algarve after being accused of rioting early on Wednesday morning.

    The group, all handcuffed, were escorted by military police from a theatre next to the court, where they were taken just before the hearing because there were too many of them to hold at the courthouse. Several had black eyes and cuts on their faces, and bloodstains on their clothing. One wore a T-shirt ripped almost from top to bottom.

    British police sources said ten of the accused were known to police, but did not have convictions. They were arrested in a second night of violence on “the strip”, a mile-long street of bars and tattoo shops in Albufeira, the most popular resort with British holidaymakers on the Algarve. Five had minor criminal convictions.

    Those named in court included Richard Freeman, 25, from Reading; Denis Gallagher, 34, from Newquay, Cornwall; Stephen Weston, from Carlisle; Brian Ward, from Louth, Lincolnshire; Andrew Mountford, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire; Michael Kelly, from West Dulwich, South London; Christopher Bony, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear; Nicholas Rogers, from Kennington, South London; and Christopher Hodgkinson, from Warrington.

    They will have a trial in Portugal towards the end of this year but do not have to attend. It was unclear whether any jail sentences handed down could be served in Britain. Before leaving Portugal, they will have been allowed to give statements to police to be used at the trial but they did not have to do so.

    Last night thousands of England fans danced and sang after watching the Switzerland match in bars on the strip in Albufeira. Sunburnt men pulled off their tops and hoisted their friends on their shoulders, chanting “Rule Britannia” and “If it wasn’t for the English, you’d be Krauts”.

    Outside the La Bamba bar, where fighting has erupted twice over the past few days, two units of armed riot police kept a watchful eye on the fans and occasionally passed up the street between them. The atmosphere was good-natured, although several local bar-owners said they were expecting a repeat of the earlier violence.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 19, 2004.

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website


    Updated 14 June 2004

    The Olympic Torch

    will be carried through our area by "a celebrity" on Saturday 26 June. It leaves Brixton at 12.00 and travels via Stockwell, the South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall and the Oval to arrive at Kennington Open Space at 1230. The Open Space is just behind Kennington Park - on the left as you go down Camberwell New Road from the Oval, opposite S.J. Carter tool hire.

    There is a rare opportunity to visit the

    Lambeth Palace Gardens

    if you visit the Lambeth Parish Fete from 2-5pm also on Saturday 26 June. You can enjoy the beautiful gardens, listen to the Southwark Concert Band and the Archbishop Sumner School Steel Band, and enjoy raffles, sideshows, games, home and country produce, plants and flowers, bric-a-brac, china and glass, books. There will also be a tea tent, spicy food, hot dogs, and ice cream. Admission £3 (or concessions) includes a guide to the garden.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 18, 2004.

    Black eyes and cuts on display as louts face court

    Black eyes and cuts on display as louts face court

    By Richard Alleyne in Albufeira


    (Filed: 18/06/2004)

    Dozens more English hooligans appeared in Portuguese courts yesterday after being arrested during a second night of violence in Albufeira.

    While thousands travelled to the northern city of Coimbra for England's second match of Euro 2004, the 35 were herded into a tiny, hot courtroom and told their championship was over. They would be deported at the earliest opportunity.

    During a hearing that lasted more than six hours, the men, some sporting black eyes, ripped clothes and cut faces, thought they had escaped justice by agreeing to go home.

    It later emerged that they would still face trial at a later date and, if convicted, face prison, probably in Britain.

    Of the 35, all but two had been arrested in the early hours of Wednesday as a hard-core group of about 50 hooligans rampaged through an area of the resort densely populated with bars.

    The other two had been picked up later after being caught on police videos.

    The night of violence, the second in the area known locally as "the strip", appeared to be organised and police were convinced that "hooligan generals" had masterminded the trouble.

    Yesterday they were brought from holding cells in Faro, the capital of the Algarve, and marched, handcuffed, into the Tribunal da Comarca de Albufeira.

    Most tried to hide their faces, only looking up to acknowledge friends and family, who shouted words of encouragement.

    A boy of 12 shouted to his father to look up and then took a picture of him on his mobile phone as he was escorted by a military policeman into the court.

    Few of the 35 suspects were identified in open court and the authorities refused to give out a full list of the names of those accused.

    Only Michael Kelly, 39, from West Dulwich, south London, and James Everett, 46, were clearly identified. Michael Rogers, of Kennington, south London, stood out because his hair was dyed pink.

    The judge, who also refused to be identified, asked whether they would object to being deported. None did.

    They were then told that they would have to fill out an affidavit of evidence which would be used in any subsequent court hearing.

    If after 30 days the authorities felt there was a case for prosecution, each man would stand trial. They did not need to return to Portugal for trial but, if they were convicted, they would be fined or imprisoned, probably in England.

    David Swift, who heads the British police contingent in Portugal, said 18 of those in court were not known to the authorities. Of the others, 10 had a variety of criminal offences against them, for dishonesty, drugs or disorderly behaviour. Another five had received cautions or reprimands. Mr Swift said his officers would seek football banning orders where appropriate on the deported fans.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 18, 2004.

    Mourners in crash

    Mourners in crash

    Jun 15 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    TWO sisters and their young children were in a smash with a van and a lorry as they drove to their dad's funeral.

    The women, who had a 12-year-old and a baby in their car, were heading to Streatham Cemetery when the crash happened on Friday morning June 11.

    Their navy blue Ford Fusion was in collision with the small lorry but the family escaped without serious injury.

    A white Mercedes Benz van with a Belgian registration plate was caught up in the melee. It ended up on its side yards from the junction of King's Avenue and Atkins Road in Clapham.

    The elder of the sisters, from Kennington, had driven to Brixton Hill to pick up her younger sister and baby to take them to the cemetery off Garratt Lane in Tooting.

    Their 84-year-old father had passed away the previous day and as the family are Kurdish Iraqis, their custom is to bury the deceased the following day. The sisters' brother, Hogar Marof, was on his way to the funeral from his home in Chislehurst when he heard the news and rushed to the scene.

    As police helped his shocked sisters, he told the South London Press: "We should be following the coffin. We are supposed to go now."

    The crash happened just before 11am and the family funeral was due to start at 2.30pm.

    Mr Marof added: "My sisters phoned me and told me to make a U-turn quickly and come back here. I was shocked - especially as it happened today.

    "Now I just want to get to the funeral and finish it."

    The area around the smash was cordoned off by police and King's Avenue and Atkins Road were closed for three hours.

    A 30-year-old man who was in the van was taken to St George's Hospital, Tooting, with a cut elbow.

    The lorry was being driven by a 42-year-old man. He was taken to the same hospital complaining of pains in his knee.

    The sisters and their children did not require hospital treatment. No arrests have been made, but cops are investigating the cause of the smash.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 15, 2004.

    Queen's Birthday Honours


    Queen's Birthday Honours

    (Filed: 12/06/2004)

    Go to this link for a full list:


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 12, 2004.

    Queen's Honours


    June 12, 2004

    Queen's Honours

    Queen's Birthday Honours List - MBE

    Ian Day Adams. Chair, Manor of Kennington Residents Association. For services to Social Housing and to the community in Kennington, London. (London, SE11)

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 12, 2004.

    Luxury homes don't sell, says housebuilder

    Telegraph : Money

    Luxury homes don't sell, says housebuilder

    By Philip Aldrick (Filed: 10/06/2004)

    One of the south-east's luxury housebuilders has ditched the premium end of the market in favour of low-cost homes because of flagging demand.

    Country & Metropolitan, which until 2002 was selling £2m homes, yesterday offloaded its final property at Gerrards Cross for £830,000. It now plans to sell £100,000 "micro-living" flats.

    Stephen Wicks, chief executive, said: "We made the decision to withdraw from the premium sector about two years ago because we were concerned about the levels prices were reaching.

    "The way the market has gone, it's all about affordability. Those people at the top end are staying put but there is still demand at the bottom of the market."

    Although a number of builders have pulled out of the premium market to focus on homes of between £200,000 and £500,000, Country & Met's move is the most extreme. The company is targeting "first-time buyers and key workers, with prices ranging from £100,000 to £300,000".

    It already has a site in Kennington, London, which it hopes to develop into 60 "very designer" 350sq ft one-bedroom flats that it expects to market at £100,000. Mr Wicks said: "There will be sliding wall partitions to incorporate the bedroom into the living room, stripped floors, balconies and decking."

    By specialising in low-cost homes and urban regeneration, the company hopes to avoid "planning gain" - a development tax whereby housebuilders have to build council flats on up to 50pc of the site as a condition of planning approval.

    Country & Met wants to draw up leases that limit ownership of the flats to Government-defined "key workers", such as police and nurses, even on resale. In return, it hopes to be excused from "planning gain". That way, Mr Wicks says, the company will be able to maintain its margin. He added: "The Government has created such a vast list of key workers that I don't think it will really hit the resale value."

    Country & Met, which builds around 900 homes a year, has bought 10 sites in London and the home counties that it hopes will produce around 273 homes under its current plan.

    The company's decision follows a profit warning by rival Countryside Properties, partly blaming difficulty selling homes over £400,000. Country & Met shares rose 7 to 188.5p.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 10, 2004.

    £700 goes up in smoke

    £700 goes up in smoke

    Jun 8 2004

    South London Press

    ABOUT 5,000 people turned up at the annual cannabis march and festival on Saturday.

    The march started at Kennington Park, and was followed by a festival in Brockwell Park.

    The event was due to be held on May 8 but was postponed because Brockwell Park was waterlogged after torrential rainfall.

    Event organiser Shane Collins said: "Thank you to the thousands of people who took part in the march.

    "The sixth annual legalisation of cannabis march and festival is probably the best we have ever had.

    "It was definitely worth all the effort but we are still about £700 short of making the books balance."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 08, 2004.

    A house party

    South London Press

    A house party

    Jun 4 2004

    NEIL Pierce of House FM and Soul Heaven fame is special guest at House Huntin' tonight.

    He joins Paul "Trouble" Anderson and Ras T at the Telegraph, Brixton Hill, tonight 9pm to 4am. £7.

    Batacumba's DJ Cliffy and Spiritual South - whose single in 2003 was Gilles Peterson's tune of the year - ensure the weekly Good Friday gets off to a memorable start at South London Pacific, Kennington Road, tonight. Free before 9pm, £3 before 10pm, then £5.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 04, 2004.

    Conman prowls estate

    Conman prowls estate

    Jun 1 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    A CONMAN posing as a waterboard official tricked his way into the home of an elderly couple and stole their savings.

    Detectives are hunting the bogus caller who left the pensioners with no cash to buy food or pay their utility bills for the rest of the month.

    The thief wore a yellow workman's jacket when he called at the couple's Kennington home.

    He produced a fake ID card with "Waterboard" printed on it and asked the pensioners to turn on their taps and flush the toilets.

    But as the couple did so, he ransacked their home and stole their life savings.

    Detective Sergeant Charlie Fleury warned people not to allow strangers into their homes - even if they appeared genuine - without an appointment.

    The DS said: "The victims are still extremely distressed by this burglary.

    "Not only have they been conned out of their savings they have also been left with the emotional fear of callers to their front door."

    The distraction burglary took place between 4pm and 8pm on Friday, May 21, at Sangate House in Royal Street, North Lambeth.

    Police believe the same conman - described as white, aged 40-55, with grey hair - is responsible for a string of burglaries on the estate on the same day.

    Anybody with information should call Kennington police station on 020 8649 2436 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    What do you think should be the punishment for criminals who target the infirm and elderly?
    Text: 86633 with SLPTALK at the start, followed by a space and then your comment
    Each message costs 25p (Virgin network phones not compatible)

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 03, 2004.

    Open Garden Squares Weekend: Harleyford Road Community Garden

    Open Garden Squares Weekend

    12th & 13th June 2004

    Harleyford Road Community Garden

    Opposite Durham Street (5 mins from Oval tube)
    Garden Open Day: Sunday 13th June 2-5pm
    Live music - tea + cakes
    Find your local secret garden!
    Details: Amanda 020 7582 5282

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), June 01, 2004.

    Forecourt maintenance

    Forecourt maintenance

    We are looking for someone to sweep up the forecourt area of our communal block of flats on a weekly basis. The area includes 3 parking spaces as well as basement entrance area. This should take less than two hours.

    If you think you could help us, we'd be pleased to hear from you. Please telephone Cathy on 020 7793 0268 or email cathyvpreece@aol.com

    Nils Battye & George Costa
    9 Brawdale Road SE22
    020 8299 1545
    (m) 07958 250191

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 29, 2004.

    The hidden history of Kennington Park

    The hidden history of Kennington Park

    As part of the Vauxhall Festival, Stefan Szczelkun is again giving a walking talk around Kennington Park. The hidden histories of Kennington Park reveal its importance to London and our notions of democracy.

    The tour will take about 50 minutes and is free.

    1.55pm July 4th 2004

    Meet outside Oval Underground Station

    -- Cathy (FoKenningtonPark@aol.com), May 29, 2004.

    Jumble Sale


    Saturday, 10th July
    11am until 2pm
    St Anselm’s Church
    Kennington Cross SE11

    (at the junction of Kennington Lane and Kennington Road)

    If you have items you would be willing to donate – they can all be delivered to the church hall on the Friday evening (9th July) between 5.30-8pm – or on the Saturday morning between 9-10am.

    Friends of Kennington Park
    155 Kennington Park Rd, SE11 4JJ
    t: 7582 2849
    e: FoKenningtonPark@aol.com

    -- Cathy (FoKenningtonPark@aol.com), May 29, 2004.




    Chansons and classic Jazz ballads
    in French and English:

    Saturday 17th July at 7pm
    St Anselm’s Church Hall
    Kennington Cross SE11

    (at the junction of Kennington Lane and Kennington Road)

    Tickets: £15 (includes food and a drink)

    To book, telephone 020 7793 0268

    The evening includes an Auction and a Raffle that include the following items:
    lTwo gastronomique menus with a bottle of Muscadet at the Lobster Pot
    l Meal for two plus a bottle of wine at The Amici Restaurant, Kennington
    l Tea for two with Kate Hoey MP on the terrace of the House of Commons
    l Meal for two and drinks at the Kennington Tandoori
    l Lithograph of Kennington tube station by Peter Snow
    l Signed photograph taken in Kennington Park by local photographer John Hoyland
    l Signed copy of her novel The Art of Treason by Anne Widdecombe
    l Bottle of House of Commons Whisky signed by Tony Blair
    l Pedicure shampoo and set for a dog – Goddard’s Vet
    l Free health check including flea and worm treatment for a dog Goddard’s Vet
    l A lady's hairstyle from Exstatic of Kennington
    l A head of dreads or hairstyle of your choice from Don Abaka of Windmill Row
    l Tickets for two, and complimentary cocktails at the South London Pacific
    l A meal for two and a bottle of wine at Pizza Express, Kennington
    l A pedicure for a cat or a dog – Goddard’s Vet
    l Free health check including flea and worm treatment for a cat – Goddard’s Vet
    l Chocolates from Yogi News
    l “Lambeth, Kennington & Clapham” by Jill Dudman, Britain in Old Photographs series

    Kennington Association
    C/- 235B Kennington Lane SE11 5QU
    E: KenningtonAssn@aol.com W: www.kenningtonassociation.org.uk

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), May 29, 2004.

    “The Tradescant Story”

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    http://www.vauxhallandkennington.org.uk/ Updated 18 May 2004

    “The Tradescant Story”

    is the next (7pm Monday 21 June) in the series of talks held on Monday evenings at the Durning Library, 167 Kennington Lane, SE11. Mary Searls will talk on the Museum of Garden History, and on creating the garden there from plants known to the great garden explorers, John Tradescant father and son.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 22, 2004.

    And so it came to underpass...

    South London Press

    And so it came to underpass...

    May 21 2004

    AS I am employed by a company based near Kennington Road, I (reluctantly) need to use the pedestrian subway to complete my journey to work.

    Since the recent rains, this has been made somewhat more difficult by the closure of the route over to the Tabernacle side of the area.

    While acknowledging that the heavy rain had caused some problems for the local council, is it really acceptable for them to have been gripped by total inaction regarding the dispersal of the water in this subway?

    The sum of their efforts has been to seal it off with cones and tape, emergency measures certainly; but still in place nearly two weeks after is, I feel, not an acceptable solution to the problem.

    It should not be too difficult to get the appropriate equipment down to this site to pump out the residual water and return this subway to normal use.

    The more acute problem of inadequate drainage should be dealt with as soon as possible, regardless of any long-term proposals for the redevelopment of the area, as none of us should have to tolerate this example of local council inefficiency.

    Perhaps Southwark council might give all of us an explanation of its lack of a solution to this matter?

    Brendan Murphy
    East London

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 21, 2004.

    Bravery rewarded

    Bravery rewarded

    May 20 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    Streatham Post

    A SPECIAL commendation ceremony has honoured the heroism and professionalism of Lambeth's police officers and exceptional work by members of the public.

    Relatives looked on in pride as 39 officers were presented by Borough Commander Dick Quinn with citations for professionalism above and beyond the call of duty.

    They included PCs Mark Duncan and Martin Wells who saved the life of a two-week-old baby who had stopped breathing.

    Also honoured were Detectives Kwesku Graves and Kirsty Shaw, who tackled an armed gang during a robbery and recovered £25,000 in stolen cash.

    The ceremony at the Brit Oval cricket ground last week also heard how nurse Claire Ruscoe came to the aid of an elderly man who had collapsed from a heart attack in a busy Kennington street, and saved his life with the help of PC Robert Ellison.

    And special recognition was given to Lloyd Leon, former Mayor of Lambeth, for his work as a lay visitor in the borough's police stations and his commitment to improving police and community relations.

    Cmdr Quinn said he was inspired by the professionalism of his officers and the selfless actions of the people who live and work in Lambeth.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 21, 2004.

    Canon Sir Nicholas Rivett-Carnac, Bt


    Canon Sir Nicholas Rivett-Carnac, Bt

    (Filed: 20/05/2004)

    Canon Sir Nicholas Rivett-Carnac, 8th Bt, who died on May 4 aged 76, exercised a remarkable ministry as Vicar of St Mark's, Kennington Oval, in multi-racial south London, from 1972 to 1989; having undergone an evangelical conversion after ordination, he became a leading figure in the charismatic movement.

    Home Office statistics indicated that this was one of the most socially deprived parishes in the country. But the services at St Mark's were characterised by a high degree of spontaneity and informality. The large congregations were made up of local residents, many of them with acute personal and social problems, and a high proportion of young single people from further afield - all of whom were attracted by the dynamic quality of the church's life and the warmth of its fellowship.

    Care groups undertook a great deal of pastoral work in the parish; a coffee bar and counselling service at the church was never without customers; reports of the apparently miraculous healing of sick people were not uncommon, and the annual income rose to £150,000. When £75,000 was needed for the refurbishment of the church in 1979, the congregation produced the money in eight weeks.

    Rivett-Carnac was not, however, an extrovert character skilled in beating the evangelical big drum. On the contrary, he was a man of gentle manner and one who was happy for others to occupy the limelight; but he had a deep concern and compassion for the underdog and the dropout, and he exerted considerable influence over individuals and groups by means of a powerful mixture of psychology and piety.

    Thomas Nicholas Rivett-Carnac was born on June 3 1927. His father, the younger son of the sixth baronet (also an Anglican clergyman), ended his naval career as a vice-admiral, commanded the battleship Rodney from 1941 to 1943 and was rear-admiral in charge of the Normandy beaches during the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944.

    The baronetcy was created in 1836 for James Rivett-Carnac, who was chairman of the East India Company for two years in succession, MP for Sandwich for many years, and Governor of Bombay from 1838 to 1841.

    Nicholas Rivett-Carnac went to Marlborough, after which he joined the Scots Guards. He spent 10 years with the regiment, serving as a platoon commander during the fighting in Malaya, when he was mentioned in dispatches, and returning home in time to take part in the Coronation procession in 1953.

    Two years later, he left the Army and took a job in the City, but this did not suit him. He then spent some months in Spain, seeking inspiration for the thriller novels he hoped to write. When the inspiration was not forthcoming he returned to London, where a chance encounter led him to social work in Bermondsey.

    He was greatly influenced by the preaching of Dr Leslie Weatherhead at the City Temple, and, after training and serving as a probation officer from 1957 to 1959, Rivett-Carnac went to Westcott House, Cambridge, to prepare for Holy Orders. He was ordained in 1963.

    His first curacy was in the tough parish of Holy Trinity, Rotherhithe, where he stayed for five years and, in addition to his parochial duties, worked among drug addicts in the West End of London. It was in the course of this work that he underwent the conversion experience that shaped his future ministry.

    Next, he spent four years as a curate at the fashionable Holy Trinity Church, Brompton, where he opened the crypt on Saturday evenings for homeless people and dropouts and, for a time during an interregnum, found himself in charge of the parish.

    Rivett-Carnac's gifts were now becoming widely known in London, and in 1972 the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, invited him to cross the Thames to begin what turned out to be a ministry of extraordinary influence at Kennington Oval. In the same year, on the death of his uncle, he succeeded in the baronetcy.

    From 1978 to 1982, Rivett-Carnac was Rural Dean of Lambeth; he was an honorary Canon of Southwark Cathedral from 1980 to 1996, then Canon Emeritus. Following his retirement in 1989 he became an honorary curate at Little Common and shared in a marriage renewal project, a special ministry for single people and the establishing of a prayer centre in the stable block at Ashburnham Place, near Battle.

    He was Pastor, the Kingdom Faith Ministries, at Roffey Place, Horsham, in Sussex, from 1989 to 1993, and Pastor, Ashburnham Place, Battle, from 1993 to 1996.

    He married, in 1977, Susan Marigold MacTier Copeland, who shared fully in his work. There were no children. The heir to the baronetcy is Sir Nicholas's brother, Miles James Rivett-Carnac, who was born in 1933.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 20, 2004.

    Situation vacant


    Situation Vacant

    Finance and Admin Officer

    For further information, please refer to the advert
    Released: May 18, 2004 5:49 PM
    Filesize: 13kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 19, 2004.

    The drugs don't wok

    The drugs don't wok

    May 18 2004

    South London Press

    A GANG that supplied drugs from a Chinese takeaway has been caged for a total of 16 years.

    Two men and a woman were sentenced at Inner London Crown Court yesterday for using the Royal China restaurant in Streatham High Road as a drugs den.

    From the front counter the gang of three served up food.

    But from the back door they supplied ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis and even offered a drugs delivery service to their customers.

    Following a tip-off, police officers found more than £66,000 of drugs hidden among rice and noodles in the kitchen and in their warehouse outlet in a nearby flat owned by the lynchpin of the drugs gang, Ci Kwan.

    Royal China owner Kwan, 43, of Lambeth Walk, Kennington, was caged for six years after pleading guilty at a previous hearing to conspiracy to supply ecstasy, conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of ketamine with intent to supply.

    Accountant Rena Wong, 28, and Cheng Huang, 35, denied any part in the crime but were convicted at their trial in February.

    Wong, of Lambeth Walk, Kennington, was caged for three years and 10 months for conspiracy to supply ecstasy, conspiracy to supply cannabis and possession of ketamine with intent to supply.

    Huang, of Streatham High Road, Streatham, was jailed for six years after being convicted of conspiracy to supply ecstasy and conspiracy to supply cannabis.

    Jailing the trio, judge Peter Grobel said: "You Kwan were right at the centre of this conspiracy. I accept there may have been some intimidation but that goes with the territory.

    "You were happy to keep this poison in your flat and sell it in your Chinese takeaway.

    "Huang, you minded the shop and stored drugs in your bedroom. You were not just an employee of Kwan's, you were a colleague and seriously involved.

    "Wong, this is likely to put an end to your career as an accountant."

    The gang will be brought back to court for a confiscation hearing on August 2 when they will be stripped of the thousands of pounds they made through selling drugs.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 18, 2004.

    Unearthed: story of the WW2 pilot who saved the Palace


    Unearthed: story of the WW2 pilot who saved the Palace

    Veteran relives moment he flew into Nazi bomber as dig begins to excavate his Hurricane

    By Anthony Barnes, Arts and Media Correspondent
    09 May 2004

    It was an astonishing act of bravery which many believe saved Buckingham Palace from a direct hit by a German bomber. Fighter pilot Ray Holmes, out of ammunition after downing another plane from the skies, took the decision to fly his Hurricane directly into an enemy aircraft over central London at the tail end of the Battle of Britain.

    Disabled by the impact, the German Dornier bomber ploughed into Victoria Station while Mr Holmes's plane crashed into a nearby street, burrowing into the ground. Mr Holmes bailed out shortly after impact and is still alive today. Now the shell of the Hurricane, buried beneath the road ever since, may be hauled from its tomb during a live excavation for Channel Five later this month.

    Mr Holmes's extraordinary act of courage occurred on 15 September 1940 as Britain was besieged by German aircraft and his 504 Squadron was scrambled from Hendon to intercept 17 Dorniers on a bombing run over London.

    In an interview accompanying the dig, Mr Holmes, aged 89, said: "I saw three Dorniers on their own. I shot one of them down. The other two turned round and I gave chase after them.

    "All the other aircraft had disappeared. I discovered that I was heading for this Dornier. When I fired, my guns didn't operate; my ammunition was used. So I carried on and took his tailplane off with my wing. His tail came off and he went nose down. But I found out that it had damaged my aerodynamics. I had to get out."

    As the Dornier plummeted to the forecourt of Victoria Station, Mr Holmes bailed out with his plane landing in Buckingham Palace Road.

    "My boots had fallen off with the jerk of the parachute. I was heading for the electric rails of Victoria Station. Luckily I missed those and headed towards the roof of a three-storey house. I ended up dangling just off the ground with my feet in a dustbin."

    It has long been assumed the Dornier was heading for the palace, as the building had come under fire just days earlier. Chris Bennett, who is leading the excavation team, said: "We don't know for sure that the palace was the target but that was one obvious target."

    The project to find the Hurricane has been a 12-year labour of love for Mr Bennett, an aviation archaeologist, whose dig will partially paralyse a busy area of the city.

    Mr Bennett said: "There is that thrill of being the first to hold the control column after all this time. It sounds a bit of a cliché, but it is like shaking hands with history."

    Jimmy Earley, 80, witnessed the incident as he played football nearby. He told The Independent on Sunday: "All of sudden there was a terrific ratatatat. We looked up and saw these planes, a small one chasing a larger one. It crashed into the bigger plane and fell from the sky and landed just 20 yards from us. It frightened us a bit, you know."

    He ran to see the spot where Mr Holmes had landed. "He was still smiling. What a bloody hero - to smash into a plane all that way up. We shook his hand and there were crowds of women all holding him and kissing him."

    The same rapturous reception did not greet the German pilot who was beaten by a mob when he landed in Kennington and died the following day.

    The dig team hopes to unearth the Hurricane during Fighter Plane Dig ... Live on 30 May. Normally metal detectors and ground-penetrating radar would be used to find the exact spot, but the amount of debris in London's streets and the depth have made that impossible. "We're 80 per cent sure we're right but we really won't know until we dig," Mr Bennett said. "When we find it, it won't look much like an aircraft. It hit the ground at something like 350 miles an hour."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 09, 2004.

    Machete gang is caged

    Machete gang is caged

    May 7 2004

    South London Press

    A GANG of ruthless machetewielding robbers who terrorised their victims - including pensioners and a young child - have been jailed.

    The vicious thugs, jailed for a total of 35 years, committed a string of violent raids on businesses and homes in April and May last year and in one robbery threatened to kill a young mum and her four-year-old son if she went to police.

    Just days earlier during another house raid, brave victim David King, 64, was left with deep gashes to his arms and legs when he was slashed as he tried to protect his partner after the gang burst in during the middle of the night.

    Kingston Crown Court heard how the gang led by sadistic thug Lee Sheehan, 34, burst into the young mum's Norwood house and beat her with a police baton and threw her four-year-old son to the ground before threatening him with a machete.

    The gang fled with thousands of pounds worth of jewellery, a DVD player and other electrical goods.

    A few days earlier Sheehan raided the Norwood home of Annette Philips and David King, again wielding a 24-inch machete.

    Kingston Crown Court heard how Sheehan forced his way into a computer warehouse in Kennington before brutally laying into the slightly-built nightwatchman.

    Sheehan repeatedly punched his victim as he lay on the ground covered in blood before sneering: "Next time you'll remember to lock the main gate."

    The men jumped into their van before driving at police officers who had walked in on the raid.

    The gang managed to make their escape by smashing their way through the gates of the warehouse.

    The night-time raid took place on May 9 last year.

    Sheehan, of Mitcham, admitted four counts of robbery, one charge of conspiracy to rob and three counts of handling stolen goods. He was sentenced to 13 years on Tuesday.

    Walker, of Streatham, admitted one count of robbery and was sentenced to seven years.

    Paul Gray, 33, of West Norwood, admitted one count of conspiracy to rob and one of handling stolen goods. He was jailed for nine years.

    Joanne Job, 37, of Clapham, admitted conspiracy to rob and handling stolen goods and was given five years.

    Nadia Biressi, 37, of Norwood, admitted one count of handling stolen goods and was sentenced to 12 months.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 07, 2004.

    Knifed in the chest

    Knifed in the chest

    May 7 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    A DOORMAN was lucky to escape with his life when he was stabbed in the chest by a punter he had ejected.

    The knife narrowly missed the heart of the doorman, puncturing his lung.

    He was rushed to hospital after the attack at the Queen Anne pub in Vauxhall Walk, Vauxhall, on Saturday, April 17.

    The bouncer had ejected a man of "oriental appearance" between 7pm and 8pm on the day of the attack for being loud and abusive.

    The man left the premises after an altercation only to return an hour later with three other men, one of whom was brandishing a hammer.

    It was used to smash a window while the main suspect walked into the pub and stabbed the doorman.

    Police want to speak to anyone who was in the pub in the afternoon or later in the evening.

    Detectives believe there were 20 to 30 customers inside when the stabbing took place.

    The knifeman is described as oriental, of thin build and aged in his late 20s to early 40s.

    He is around 5ft 2in tall with short dark hair and was wearing a dark shirt with a black waistcoat and dark trousers.

    Information to Detective Constable Gary Moncrieff at Kennington CID on 0208 649 2440 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    All calls will be dealt with in strict confidence.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 07, 2004.

    Sell-off shock

    Sell-off shock

    May 7 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    A BUMPER sell-off of around 80 properties could raise £20million for a cash-strapped council.

    Lambeth council has drawn up a list of properties deemed "surplus to requirements", including two schools, an old fire station and an empty hospital.

    Kennington's Lilian Baylis School is up for sale - the secondary is due to move to a new building in Kennington Lane in January.

    So is Norwood Park Primary School on Gipsy Road, which is due to move to new premises.

    The Old Fire Station in Clapham, the former Annie McCall Hospital in Stockwell, Raleigh Hall in Brixton and the South London Theatre in Norwood are also on the list.

    A report on the sales states most of the properties will be offered for sale by public auction or tender, although in 13 cases, existing tenants will be given first refusal.

    If the sales get the green light from councillors at Monday's executive meeting and fetch their prices, they should raise £20million.

    Deputy leader of Lambeth Labour group, Councillor Jackie Meldrum, accused the council of not consulting on the sales.

    She said: "Without this information local people and their representatives have been unable to suggest possible alternative uses for these buildings.

    "We need new schools, buildings for community hubs and GPs need surgeries - where are they all going to go if these are sold off?"

    Lambeth's executive member for finance, Cllr Ashley Lumsden, said the sales were discussed at a full council meeting in February. The public have know since March and the council has consulted with tenants on individual properties.

    He claimed the sales will not always be to the highest bidder as some are designed to help the community.

    He gave the example of the South London Theatre, which will have the chance to buy its freehold off the council at a reduced rate, and The Rising Sun pub, in Larkhall Lane, which the council wants to be used for community benefit.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 07, 2004.

    Sublet or B & B

    Sublet or B & B

    My mother and godmother are coming to visit for a week, commencing 18 May.

    Is there anyone going away who might be interested in subletting for a week, or perhaps interested in offering B & B? I live in Kennington Cross and would love to have them stay locally - sadly our place is too small.

    Any response would be gratefully appreciated! I can be reached via email or on 07970 506 983. THANK YOU!!

    -- Kaethe (kaethe@kpc.demon.co.uk), May 06, 2004.

    Trail of blood leads to seriously hurt woman

    Trail of blood leads to seriously hurt woman

    May 4 2004

    South London Press

    POLICE followed a trail of blood to a woman who had been beaten about the head with a copper pipe and robbed of her purse.

    The 43-year-old victim suffered two large cuts to her head - one three inches long - when she was attacked from behind by two men.

    Police received reports of a woman screaming. They found her by following the blood on the pavement.

    She was given first aid and taken to hospital where she was treated for her injuries.

    The robbers escaped with the woman's purse, which contained small change, after beating her to the floor with the weapon.

    The attack took place as the woman turned into Rita Street from Fentiman Street in Clapham, at around 9.50pm on Wednesday last week. Detective Constable Simon Biscoe has appealed for witnesses and information.

    He said: "This vicious attack has left a woman seriously injured - and all for the sake of some loose change.

    "The violence used was shocking and an exception to the trend, where robbery in Lambeth has been reduced by nearly 18 per cent in the last year.

    "Their cowardly actions must be brought to justice and we need the public's assistance in providing information."

    The only descriptions of the attackers available are of two men, one wearing a white T-shirt, the other a dark shirt.

    Information to Kennington Priority Crime Unit on 020 8649 2484, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 05, 2004.

    Alexander Macintosh

    Alexander Macintosh

    It is with the greatest sadness that I write to tell you that Alexander Macintosh died at home this morning ( Monday May 3rd). His ex-wife Jane rang to tell me the news and to say that he died peacefully and,once he knew there was no hope, he wanted to go quickly.

    The funeral will be for family only but there will be a service later for everyone. Jane asked me to pass on the news to as many people as I could and I would be grateful if you could inform those for whom I have no addresses.

    As some of us have discussed, we would like to organise a permanent memorial for Alexander in Vauxhall Park in recognition of all he did for all of us who live in this community. Vauxhall Park looks beautiful at the moment- a fitting memorial to him for all the work he did there.


    -- Philippa (owens@dco.demon.co.uk), May 04, 2004.

    The Camera Club

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Updated 3 May 2004

    The Camera Club

    invites all local residents to join them for a glass of wine at the Friday 7 May opening night of an exhibition of photos taken by Lambeth residents. The exhibition is open from 6-8pm at the club's premises at 16 Bowden Street, SE11, just behind Kennington Cross. Local residents interested in photography might well like to join the club which offers a superb range of facilities, including a digital suite for manipulating and printing digital images, as well as a studio and darkroom for more traditional photo technology. Lambeth residents get a one-third discount on the normal annual fee.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 04, 2004.

    vincent - the full story

    Channel4.com > Culture

    vincent - the full story

    As a man with a religious background, he would have undoubtedly noted St Mark's Church in Kennington, started in 1822 to a design by architect DR Roper.


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), May 02, 2004.

    Sort out these parking spaces

    Sort out these parking spaces

    Apr 30 2004

    WITH all the concerns about the effect of the congestion charge zone on local shops inside the zone, it was good to see both London Assembly member Val Shawcross and Kate Hoey MP visiting shops in Jonathan Street and Vauxhall Street just inside the zone in Kennington, Vauxhall.

    One of the main concerns of shopkeepers is the lack of free short-term parking spaces for passing trade. All local parking spaces are for residents only or for use of shopkeepers only (loading/unloading only) and these are never full.

    Shopkeepers need a change in the designation of these parking spaces to allow passing customers to park for free and shop.

    The Lib Dems who run Lambeth council complained bitterly about the imposition of the boundary through Kennington, claiming that it would hurt businesses on the boundary.

    But when they have a chance to help, it seems they do nothing.

    Shopkeepers are facing a variety of problems at the moment and some may go under. Lambeth Lib Dems should stop shedding crocodile tears and change the designation of these parking spaces now.

    Sam Townend (writing in a personal capacity),
    Committee member
    Friends of Kennington Cross

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 30, 2004.

    Roots and Shoots plant sales days and June Open Weekend

    Roots and Shoots plant sales days and June Open Weekend

    As Summer approaches, so does our our Annual Open Weekend!!

    We will be open On June 12th and June 13th from 11am - 4pm.

    There will be tours around the Wildlife Garden with our insect expert!!
    Beehive demonstrations – see our famous bees, last seen on BBC news!
    Story telling in the Lambeth’s Dragons Lair
    Plant sales and plant advice from our garden experts
    Sales of local London honey

    Come and experience a bit an inner London oasis!!

    Plants for Sale


    Tel: 020 7587 1131
    (entrance in Fitzalan Street)

    for May and June
    10am- 4pm Monday– Friday
    (closed Bank Holidays)
    10am- 2pm Saturdays only

    Sat 12th and Sun 13th June
    11am- 4pm

    Roots and Shoots Reg. Charity No. 1064070/0

    Training young people to reach their potential

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 30, 2004.

    ID Cards

    Southwark Council is seeking your views on ID cards at http://www.southwark.gov.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 29, 2004.

    Knifeman threatens mother and baby

    Knifeman threatens mother and baby

    Apr 27 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    POLICE hunting a gold-toothed robber who threatened a shop customer with a knife as she cradled her baby want to speak to this man.

    A knife-wielding robber with two gold incisors threatened to stab a shop assistant and the terrified woman when he held up a video rental store in Clapham Road, Kennington.

    The assistant, the woman and her child were ordered into the storeroom as the knifeman and an accomplice ransacked the shop for cash, DVDs and computer games. The two men then left, locking their victims in the shop. A passer-by released them and police were called.

    Police are now anxious to trace the woman with the baby who left the scene before officers arrived.

    Detective Constable Paul Donoghue said: "These callous robbers need to be caught. They were determined to steal property and unusually threatened a member of the public to achieve their goal.

    "We need to speak to the lady who was threatened and is a key witness."

    The robbery took place on April 8 just before 10pm. The robber armed with a knife is described as 5ft 7in tall, black and aged about 30. He was wearing a green woolly hat with white stripes, a waist-length dark jacket and blue jeans.

    The second suspect is described as 6ft 2in tall, black and about 25 years old. He was wearing a black, hooded jacket with a furry hood and a Burberry check bandanna over the lower part of his face. Both men were last seen walking towards Hanover Gardens.

    Call Kennington Crime Unit on 020 8649 2434 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

    020 8710 6435 email: crime@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 28, 2004.

    Situation Vacant: Teacher


    EMA Teacher

    For further information, please refer to advert.
    Released: 27 April, 2004 03:35
    Filesize: 985kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 28, 2004.

    Archbishop's intervention in politics

    Times: Letters

    April 27, 2004

    Archbishop's intervention in politics

    From Mr David Grayson

    Sir, I think it is legitimate for Rowan Williams to ask questions about our declining engagement with elected politics and respect for politicians and the political process. Iraq may be part of this, but I suspect that there are deeper factors.

    For more than 20 years, we have been moving to a more professional political class; intellectually bright people, but perhaps with less of what Lord Healey used to call “hinterland” — a range of other life experiences to bring into politics.

    This is compounded with more layers of elected offices; for example, devolution has yet to produce reductions in the size of the House of Commons. Nor should we fall into the trap of equating interest in politics in general, for example the environment or global poverty, with elected politics. There are a variety of ways that citizens concerned with political issues can contribute positively.

    Yours faithfully,
    19 Gilbert Road,
    Kennington, SE11 4NZ.
    April 26.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 27, 2004.

    Dukes of Burgundy

    Telegraph: Wine

    Dukes of Burgundy

    (Filed: 24/04/2004)

    Tasting the vintage is a test of stamina – and jabbing elbows – in the search for the ultimate bottle of the world’s most seductive wine, writes Andrew Catchpole

    Last month, hundreds of writers, wine merchants, restaurateurs and wine-makers descended on the pretty stone villages of Burgundy for an annual homage to the world’s most seductive, complex and infuriating wine region. Known as Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne, it’s a week-long marathon of wine-tasting, in which red-faced Burgundy fanatics come together in rambling, subterranean cellars to search for the ultimate bottle.

    The event requires immense stamina, a well-trained palate and very un-British elbow work to fight through the crowds. The tasting frenzy is greatest along the much-eulogised slopes of the Côte d’Or. Here, between Dijon and Chalon, the steeply tiled Burgundian church spires are like giant pins in a lifesize patchwork map flagging up world-famous wine villages as you skirt the vineyards.

    The evocative names of Vosne-Romanée, Nuits-St-Georges, Volnay and Meursault are enough to lure even a hardened teetotaller from the main road. As a Burgundian once told me, the size of the congregation in the village churches ebbs and flows according to the quality of the communion wines.

    The reason Burgundy has such a following is easy to understand. At best, the reds are infused with supple red and black fruits and an earthy complexity, which makes for the greatest Pinot Noir experience in the world. The whites combine poise and concentration with a mineral intensity. It’s a sublimely elegant style of Chardonnay that is copied, but rarely equalled, elsewhere.

    “The essence of Burgundy is all about the individual character of the soil,” says Nicolas Potel, a young wine-maker at Nuits-St-Georges. Traditionally, wine-making here is divided between large négociants, or companies, which buy in and blend their wines, and smaller growers who produce wine from their own vines. Potel is a maverick who makes small batches of wine with other growers’ grapes. Each of his wines is different, reflecting the spirit, or terroir, of a small patch of vines.

    It’s a complicated business. “There are 100-odd appellations [or ACs] from which the wine can take its name,” says Potel. Towards the top of the pile are Premiers Crus, with the village name often affixed to that of a vineyard, and Grands Crus, which may only have a single vineyard name.

    Following an excellent tasting of Premier and Grand Cru wines in the maze-like cellars of Beaune négociant house Bouchard Père et Fils, Bernard Hervet offers to show me around.

    “The legacy of the Napoleonic inheritance laws dividing land between siblings means growers often own as little as one or two rows of vines in one of the great Crus,” says Hervet. The golden rule is to look for the name of the producer on the bottle. Without this knowledge, Burgundy can be damagingly expensive and disappointingly hit and miss.

    You get the picture standing among the gnarled low vines of the Montrachet Grands Crus. A price tag of £2.2 million an acre makes these poor-looking, stone- strewn soils the most expensive agricultural land in the world.

    The golden hillside arcs downwards, from the slopes of Chevalier Montrachet, via Le Montrachet, to Bâtard-Montrachet. Each has a patchwork of differently aged, differently tended strips of vines. “Each strip belongs to a different grower,” says Hervet. “And each produces a subtly different wine.”

    Les Grands Jours de Bourgogne perfectly captures the contrast between this region and its great French rival, Bordeaux. Part of the charm of Burgundy is its relaxed, rural air. This is not a region of immense bourgeois châteaux and conspicuous wealth. The wine-makers are often old farmers and their ruddy-faced offspring who happen to own vines.

    The 2002 vintage is looking good for both red and white, although, as ever, there are plenty of rustic shockers and badly made wines. It is incredible how much difference there often is between wines from neighbouring vineyards.

    Stepping back and watching the semi-organised chaos of the tasting frenzy, I realise why the intricate charms of Burgundy will never be reproduced anywhere else in the world. This is the most French of French wine regions. Long may it remain unchanged.

    Tasting tips

    Do not miss René et Vincent Dauvissat for finely honed Chablis with an incredible mineral intensity.
    Try Dujac for superb quality Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-St-Denis and Chambolle-Musigny.
    The phenomenally expensive, legendary wines of Domaine de la Romanée Conti are, for many enthusiasts, the greatest expressions of Burgundy.
    Vosne-Romanée domaine Anne Gros makes several outstanding wines, with great concentration and classy complexity.
    The charismatic Nicolas Potel represents a new generation of micro-négociants, making smallish quantities of superb wine from very carefully sourced grapes.

    Wines of the week

    Domaine des Malandes 2002 Chablis 1er Cru Vau de Vey (£11.99; Edward Sheldon, 01608 661409; Wine Service, 01342 837333; Wicked Wines, 01377 255725). This is everything a good Chablis should be, with elegant, concentrated fruit. Roll out the finest oysters and langoustines for a heavenly marriage.

    Domaine Borgeot 2001 Rully-Villages (£11.99; Oddbins). The rambling Côte Chalonnaise may lack the reputation of the Côte d’Or, but this charmingly fresh, mineral-edged wine, with its buttery hints, is excellent value for money. A sure hit with lighter fish dishes, moules marinière or warm chicken salads.

    Saint-Romain 2000 Alain Gras (£11.80; Tanners, 01743 234455). An excellent find that shows what the often underrated appellation of Saint Romain can achieve. The Burgundian hallmarks of smooth fruit over earthier depths make this a fine choice for boeuf bourguignon or a poulet de Bresse.

    Volnay 2000 Vieilles Vignes, Nicolas Potel (£18.45; Berry Bros. & Rudd, 020 7396 9600). Nicolas Potel, despite having no vines of his own, crafts excellent wines, such as this rich, smooth and complex Volnay, with consummate care. This would be a superb match for beef, duck or almost any type of game.

    Wine merchants

    • Haynes Hanson & Clark, 25 Ecclestone Street, London SW1 (020 7259 0102; also in Stow-on-the-Wold, 01451 870808). Superb source of small parcels from top growers in Burgundy’s most renowned villages.
    • Montrachet Fine Wines, 59 Kennington Road, London SE1 (020 7928 1990; www.montrachetwine.com). Serious wines from Master of Wine Charles Taylor for those seeking to invest in or drink the finest Burgundy.
    • Morris & Verdin (020 7921 5300; www.morris-verdin.co.uk). Burgundy-phile Jasper Morris has assembled an impeccable list of top Burgundies from small growers.
    • Domaine Direct, 6-9 Cynthia Street, London N1 (020 7837 1142; www.domainedirect.co.uk). An extensive list specialising in smaller houses selected with an uncompromising eye for quality over volume.
    • Bibendum Fine Wines, 113 Regent’s Park Road, London NW1 (020 7449 4120; www.bibendum-wine.co.uk). This slick Primrose Hill merchant provides fertile hunting ground for several of the most sought-after names in Burgundy.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 24, 2004.

    Cannabis festival to go ahead

    Cannabis festival to go ahead

    Apr 23 2004

    South London Press

    A CANNABIS festival is set to go ahead after an agreement was reached on the cost of staging it.

    Event organiser Shane Collins, who is Green Party London Assembly candidate for Lambeth and Southwark, met Lambeth council on Monday.

    The authority will charge Mr Collins a £7,000 letting fee plus a £5,000 deposit to hold the festival in Brockwell Park.

    The event on May 8 will begin with a march from Kennington Park - about 5,000 people are expected to attend.

    The council's licensing committee granted a music and dance licence for the festival at its meeting on Tuesday.

    Speaking at the meeting, Mr Collins said: "Financially the event is on a knife edge. If it rains we are stuffed.

    "The cost has shot up. Last year it cost 52p per person. Now it is £1.40 per person. For a free event that is a huge increase.

    "This year we have scaled down the event considerably and we have cut back on the sound systems. We always leave the park cleaner than we find it."

    A council spokeswoman said: "The usual commercial rate is £7,000. The £5,000 deposit on top of that, in case there is any damage to the park, is recoverable.

    "We are assuming there will be a turnout of 5,000 people at £1.40 per head but there will probably be more people than that.

    "We can't give Mr Collins a reduced rate for community groups and charities because he does not meet the criteria.

    "We are anxious to stress it is nothing to do with the nature of the event.

    "Cannabis is illegal but campaigning for it to be made legal is a person's democratic right and we have no problem with people exercising that right."

    What do you think about the cannabis festival going ahead?

    Write to South London Press, 2-4 Leigham Court Road, Streatham, SW16 2PD or email letters@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 24, 2004.

    Asylum boss uses football to teach kids

    Asylum boss uses football to teach kids

    Apr 23 2004
    By Vicky Wilks

    South London Press

    TWO years ago, June Thomas-Crandon knew nothing about football - now she has been voted team manager of the year.

    June became drawn into the beautiful game through her job working for the asylum seekers' team at Lambeth council.

    Her role is to support young people aged 16 to 18 who have arrived in Britain alone and are seeking asylum.

    Clapham Common

    After deciding to set up a football team, June wasted no time in getting some of the boys down to Clapham Common for a kickabout.

    Despite her lack of football knowhow, June took on the role of coach to the boys, who hail from countries including Eritrea, Uganda, Congo, Vietnam, Somalia and Kosovo.

    As the team improved, June took on a trained coach and the boys played their first competitive game.

    They were noticed by Street League, a football league for people who are in some way disadvantaged.

    The Lambeth boys started in the third league but were quickly promoted to the first and, with up to 40 keen to play, June had to create two teams - Lambeth All Nations and Lambeth Stars. Between them, they have won five cups, one plate and seven individual team prizes.

    One player, 19-year- old Izedin Harusha, from Kosovo, is on trial playing for Woking FC. The boys train with a coach from Street League every Friday in Kennington Park and play a match once a month.

    Player Hamed Ghariib, 16, from Somalia, has been in the team for a year.

    He said: "I have made many friends. When I started to play, I couldn't speak English. Other players have helped me to learn." June, who is now setting up a girls' team, said: "I want to try to help them develop certain skills. Even if they can't speak the language, they learn to communicate through the football."

    Street League has just named June its team manager of the year.

    When they are not playing football, the lads are all in full-time education and live in supported housing provided by Lambeth council.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 23, 2004.


    Daily Record


    Apr 23 2004

    HOLLYWOOD star Kevin Spacey yesterday jokingly brushed off rumours about why he was walking his dog in a London park at 4.30am.

    The theatre director, who refuses to discuss his sexuality, claimed he chased a thief who stole his mobile phone as he strolled in the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park in Kennington last Saturday.

    Spacey, 44, said: 'I would like to put to rest a rumour that has been spreading about town ... that David Beckham would donate £100,000 to the Old Vic if I took him off the front pages for a few days!'

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 23, 2004.

    Spacey makes light of 'mugging' and pledges future to the Old Vic


    Spacey makes light of 'mugging' and pledges future to the Old Vic

    By Louise Jury
    Arts Correspondent
    23 April 2004

    Kevin Spacey was forced to fend off questions about his private life yesterday as he announced the new line-up for his first season as artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.

    As part of a glamorous new future for the London venue, Sir Ian McKellen is to star as a panto dame at Christmas, while Spacey and Neil Pearson will perform in other shows.

    But the news conference to announce the programme was overshadowed by persistent questions about why the Hollywood actor had wrongly reported being mugged in a Kennington park on Saturday. Gazing at a sea of journalists swelled beyond the ranks of the normal arts correspondents yesterday, Spacey said that he was pleased editors had finally decided theatre was worth writing about.

    Aware of there being greater curiosity among those present over how he was mugged - or conned - of his mobile telephone while walking his dog in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park at 4.30am on Saturday, Spacey made light of the incident. He said: "I would like to put to rest a rumour that has spread about town in the last few days, that David Beckham offered to pay £100,000 to the Old Vic if I took him off the front pages for a few days."

    Smiling at all other questions about dog walking, Spacey announced that, in the tradition of actor-managers epitomised by Laurence Olivier in the 1960s, he would star in two plays at the theatre and direct another starring Pearson and Hugh Bonneville. At Christmas, Sir Ian will make his first appearance at the Old Vic for 40 years.

    Spacey, the star of American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, made clear his commitment to living in London and running the new Old Vic Theatre Company in the 186-year-old venue. "I'm not going to be giving up my film career entirely, but my primary focus is going to be this theatre," he said. "It won't be easy. But it will be worth the risk."

    Until nine years ago, his experience had been almost exclusively in the theatre, "the most satisfying place to be as an actor", he said.

    He said the first production this September would be a Dutch hit unknown in UK, Cloaca, by Maria Goos, which will star Stephen Tompkinson as well as Pearson and Bonneville, with Spacey directing. The second will be Aladdin with McKellen as Widow Twankey, followed by the European premiere of National Anthems, by the American writer Dennis McIntyre, in which Spacey will star. He first performed it 15 years ago and "felt so strongly" that he acquired the rights and has held them ever since.

    The final production of the first season will be The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry, a stage play better known in its film version, which starred Cary Grant, James Stewart and Katharine Hepburn. Spacey will star as CK Dexter Haven.

    The Old Vic is being run as a commercial venture, but there will be 100 seats at £12 for under-25s at every performance to attract new audiences.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 23, 2004.

    I will stay in Britain, says Spacey


    I will stay in Britain, says Spacey

    By Chris Boffey
    (Filed: 21/04/2004)

    Kevin Spacey, the Oscar-winning actor, has pledged to stay in Britain despite being the victim of theft in a park and then facing ordeal by innuendo about his sexuality in tabloid newspapers.

    Spacey, 44, the artistic director of the Old Vic, said: "For all this to happen at such an exciting moment for me as we are poised to announce our first season at the Old Vic on Thursday is unfortunate. I do not love London any less."

    Yesterday, Scotland Yard took the unusual step of authorising officials to back Spacey's version of the events that occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning when he was conned out of his mobile phone and arrived at Kennington police station bleeding from a head wound.

    A spokesman said Spacey had initially told police that he had been mugged. "This was a misunderstanding of the use of the term that is common among victims of crime and members of the public," said the spokesman.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 21, 2004.

    Fears for dope fest

    Fears for dope fest

    Apr 20 2004

    South London Press

    A CANNABIS festival could be cancelled if a deal is not reached over the cost.

    Due to be held in Brockwell Park on May 8, the festival would involve a march from Kennington Park which is expected to attract about 5,000 people.

    However, organisers say they cannot afford the commercial rates for hiring Brockwell Park, which are higher than rates paid by community groups.

    Event organiser Shane Collins, who is Green Party London Assembly candidate for Lambeth and Southwark, said: "If we can't get recognised as a community group we will have to call it all off."

    Mr Collins claims the commercial rates would be £9,000.

    Lambeth council was not able to confirm the figure yesterday.

    A spokeswoman said: "There is a meeting this morning.

    "Last year they got a discount but there was a special reason for it - a new policy was being introduced."

    An application for a music and dancing licence will be put before the council's licensing committee at Lambeth Town Hall at 7pm tonight.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 21, 2004.

    Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Ask Kevin Spacey


    April 20, 2004

    People with Andrew Pierce

    Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Ask Kevin Spacey

    Kevin Spacey, like the former Cabinet minister Ron Davies, has discovered the perils of walking in a South London park after dark.

    The Hollywood actor was duped by a young man into handing over his telephone in the park near his Kennington flat at, erm, 4am as he was walking his dog.

    Spacey, the artistic director of the Old Vic Theatre, gave chase, tripped over his dog lead and cut his head. He went into a police station and reported that he had been mugged, but after hospital treatment returned to withdraw the complaint.

    He went on the Today programme yesterday to talk about the Old Vic but preferred instead to talk about the mugging in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, Lambeth, that never was.

    In a bravura performance worthy of his two Oscars, Spacey, a friend of Peter Mandelson, said: “Walking your dog in the park is a perfectly normal thing to do, but . . . they are always trying to, you know, (say) ‘What was he doing in that park at 4.30am? ’ My doggy had to go!”

    Spacey, who denies scurrilous gossip that he is gay, said: “I fell for a con. Some sob story about somebody needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. It was such a good con, that I dialled the number myself, when somebody answered I finally handed my phone. I feel like the biggest fool that has ever lived.”

    He decided not to press charges: “There is a difference between assault and theft and it wasn’t on for me not to not come clean about my own embarrassment.”

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 20, 2004.




    Apr 20 2004
    By Alexandra Williams

    HOLLYWOOD star Kevin Spacey yesterday admitted he had lied to police about being mugged in a park on a 4.30am dog walk.

    The double Oscar winner reported an attack to police but withdrew the complaint hours later.

    Yesterday he revealed he was actually tricked into handing over his mobile phone and hurt his head tripping over his dog chasing the thief.

    He said: "I fell for a con. Some sob story about somebody needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. It was such a good con, that I actually dialled the number myself and when somebody answered I handed over my phone.

    "And this kid took off and I was so upset I ran after him. It was late in the morning and I was walking my dog. It was about 4am, and I tripped up over my dog, and I ended up falling on to the street and hitting my head.

    "And now I'm bleeding relatively profusely, I'm extremely upset, I feel like the biggest fool that has ever lived. I march over to the police station and I say I got mugged."

    The 44-year-old claimed he had fudged the facts due to embarrassment - and in the hope police would "run out and find this kid a block later". The actor, who has fought rumours he is gay, also said the early-hours dog walk was "a perfectly normal thing".

    Yesterday a police source said: "He's lucky the police are not pursuing him for wasting time."

    Spacey "came clean" about the Mirror's exclusive on Saturday's incident at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park near his home in Kennington, South London, on BBC Radio 4. The American Beauty star explained why he withdrew the claim, saying: "I thought there is a difference between assault and theft."

    He went on: "I just want to apologise to the police and any readers and anyone who picks up this story thinking it is actually true."

    Asked about his early-hours walk he said: "You know walking your dog in the park is a perfectly normal thing to do... My doggy had to go!"

    He later looked uncomfortable when the Mirror tried to ask him about the theft as he dined in the Old Vic's Pit Bar. An aide said: "We are going to make a statement but not yet."

    Police are not investigating.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 20, 2004.

    Spacey's walk in the park turns into the mystery of the mugging that never was


    Spacey's walk in the park turns into the mystery of the mugging that never was

    By Ian Burrell, Media Editor
    20 April 2004

    As the Oscar-winning star of The Usual Suspects, Kevin Spacey has been acknowledged at the highest level for his ability to convey a complex tale of criminal behaviour.

    But try convincing the officers at Kennington police station in south London, who were amazed to see the Hollywood actor walk into their nick at 5am on Saturday morning bloodied and claiming that he had been the victim of a violent attack.

    Mr Spacey said he had left his home nearby to take his dog for a walk at 4.30am in the Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, off St George's Road. He claimed to have been assaulted and robbed of his mobile phone.

    The officers took details from the actor and drove him to the accident and emergency department at St Thomas' Hospital, south London, where his wound was treated. A couple of hours later, Mr Spacey returned to the station and withdrew his earlier allegations, leaving the officers in a state of some bewilderment.

    Kennington, an inner London neighbourhood that includes the Oval cricket ground and the Imperial War Museum, has its share of social problems but is home to many famous figures in business, entertainment and politics, including Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary.

    But it is not every day that a Hollywood actor reports being a crime victim in these parts and despite the star's attempts to draw a veil over the incident, it was only a matter of time before the news reached a wider public.

    Reports emerged yesterday morning that Mr Spacey had been "brutally mugged" and "beaten" in a violent attack.

    The actor was so stung by reading what he knew to be a false version of what happened that within hours he was addressing national radio, apologising profusely and asking to "set the record straight".

    Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said: "What actually happened is, I fell for a con and I was incredibly embarrassed by it. Some sob story about somebody needing to call their mother and could they use my phone. It was such a good con I dialled the number myself and when somebody answered I handed [over] my phone. This kid took off and I was so upset I ran after him. I tripped up over my dog and ended up falling on to the street and hitting my head.

    "And now I'm bleeding relatively profusely. I'm extremely upset. I feel like the biggest fool that has ever lived. I march over to the police station and say I got mugged. And I'm thinking they are going to run over and find this kid a block later. They take me to the hospital and they were very kind.

    "That is one of the reasons I went back on Saturday morning to the police station. I woke up after a couple of hours' sleep and I thought, 'There is a difference between assault and theft' and it just wasn't on for me to not come clean about my own level of embarrassment and being humble at the fact that I got taken by the oldest con going."

    He said he wanted to apologise to the police and to members of the public who had been misled by the reports that he had been beaten up.

    Scotland Yard, which had earlier taken the view that because the allegation had been withdrawn there was nothing to investigate, said yesterday afternoon that it was looking into the matter but treating it as a theft and not as the robbery that had originally been reported.

    The episode is embarrassing to the actor, who has become a popular figure on the London social circuit since he agreed to become the artistic director of the Old Vic theatre.

    Mr Spacey is good friends with the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson, who is a trustee of the Old Vic, which opened in 1818 and is one of London's oldest theatres. When he was appointed, the Hollywood star staged a glittering fund-raising event featuring Sir Elton John and Courtney Love. Tickets for the event cost £1,000. The actor has promised to appear in at least two plays a year and to direct other productions. His love affair with the Old Vic goes back at least six years, to when he appeared there in The Ice Man Cometh and won a Laurence Olivier award for his performance. He has bought a home close to the theatre, which is near where the phone incident is alleged to have taken place. Mr Spacey grew up in New Jersey as the youngest of three children. He was expelled from Northbridge Military Academy after only a few months and was sent to a high school in California where he developed his love for drama, playing Captain Von Trapp in a school production of The Sound of Music.

    His film career includes roles in such movies as LA Confidential, A Time to Kill and The Negotiator. Spacey, who is close friends with former American president Bill Clinton, won a second Oscar for his starring role in the drama American Beauty.

    Questions are also being asked as to why a super-wealthy Hollywood star would risk his safety by venturing into an inner city park at 4.30am.

    But Mr Spacey, who denies rumours that he is gay, explained that his early morning perambulation of Kennington was inspired by nothing more than his pet's need of a little relief. "My doggy had to go," he said.

    Somewhat ironically, Spacey's film career began with a role as a petty thief in the 1986 film Heartburn.

    His big break came with the part of Roger "Verbal" Kint, a creepy, smooth-talking eye-witness in 1995's The Usual Suspects, for which he won an Academy Award for best supporting actor. The same year, he produced a chilling performance as a serial killer in the thriller Seven. Spacey has played almost every type of character in the crime genre. A role as the cocky detective Jack Vincennes in LA Confidential in 1997 was followed by a part as a murder suspect in Midnight in the Garden of Good Evil.

    But his best known part has probably been that of Lester Burnham, a middle-aged man on the verge of a mid-life crisis in the dark, suburban satire American Beauty. Within four days of the film opening, Spacey was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 20, 2004.

    Loos: Fling might be good for Beckham marriage

    Online Ireland

    Loos: Fling might be good for Beckham marriage

    2004-04-19 19:40

    Rebecca Loos claimed today that her alleged fling with David Beckham might actually be good for his marriage.

    The former PA said news of the England captain's alleged infidelity could strengthen the star's relationship with wife Victoria.

    And she blamed the former Spice Girl for letting the affair happen, saying: "If there hadn't been a gap in that bed I wouldn't have been in it."

    Loos gave her second TV interview in the space of a week to Channel 4's Richard and Judy show.

    Describing the alleged fling with the footballer as a mere "hiccup" for the Beckhams, she said she hoped the marriage would survive.

    "Every relationship goes through hiccups. That's what keeps a relationship strong and keeps it going in many ways." she said.

    Co-presenter Judy Finnigan asked her: "It's been speculated that the affair happened because he was lonely, because Victoria was not in Spain. Do you agree with that?"

    Loos replied: "To a great extent I would, yes. I feel that if there hadn't been a gap in that bed I wouldn't have been in it."

    Beckham has dismissed her claims as "ludicrous" and his lawyers are said to be considering legal action over fresh revelations.

    Asked if she felt guilty about the alleged affair, Loos replied: "I did play a part in it."

    Presenter Richard Madeley spluttered: "50% of it, love."

    She shot back: "Well, so did he. And we know now I wasn't the only one," referring to claims made by Malaysian-born escort girl Sarah Marbeck.

    Loos claimed Beckham had insisted to her she was the only "other woman" in his life.

    "We were in bed and I said 'you must have had so many lovers'," she said.

    "He said 'no, of course not, I'm far too much of a public figure'."

    Loos said she had "stupidly" believed his claims.

    And she complained about opinion polls which show the public blame either her or Victoria for any affair, but not David.

    "It's often that, isn't it, that the guys get a pat on the back," she said.

    The privately-educated PA said she had never set out to do a kiss-and-tell.

    "I didn't fall for the England captain, I didn't fall for the image, I fell for the man behind that," she insisted. "That was where my feelings came from."

    She laughed off suggestions that she was to make £1m (€1.5m) for her story, claiming the real figure was "nowhere near" that sum.

    But her publicist Max Clifford claimed today she had made £800,000 (€1.2m) so far and is relishing her new-found fame.

    "I can see it in her eyes," he told the Evening Standard. I can tell she loves the money and the attention."

    He said that when Loos came to him she "was worried that she wouldn't be able to work again as a PA. I explained that the money I could generate from this would mean she wouldn't have to work again."

    And she may have two more bombshell kiss-and-tell stories up her sleeve.

    Bisexual Loos has had sex with two other "major stars, one male and one female", Clifford claims.

    She certainly looked every inch the celebrity as she arrived at the Richard and Judy studios in Kennington, south London, for the interview.

    Wearing Posh-style oversized shades and swathed in a pale green pashmina, she smiled for waiting photographers before sweeping into the building with her new agent Cheryl Barrymore, ex-wife of shamed TV star Michael Barrymore.

    Meanwhile, Victoria will be hoping to win the PR war when she makes her first official public appearance tonight.

    The former Spice Girl is due to sing at the Royal Albert Hall, at a party thrown by her management company 19.

    The company is celebrating its 19th birthday and Victoria is due to take the stage in her first official public engagement since the Beckham story broke.

    Her former Spice Girl pal Emma Bunton is also on the guest list, along with 19 artists Will Young, Gareth Gates, Rachel Stevens and American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 20, 2004.

    Domestic cleaner

    Could anybody recommend a cleaner for a couple of hrs a week ? Much appreciated,


    -- Mark Thompson (mark_j_thompson@ml.com), April 19, 2004.

    Spacey's mugging mystery

    19/04/04 - Showbiz news section

    Spacey's mugging mystery

    By Ed Harris

    Evening Standard

    Kevin Spacey was today at the centre of a mystery after telling police he had been mugged - and then withdrawing the allegation.

    The Oscar-winning actor told officers he was attacked and robbed of his mobile phone while walking his dog in a London park at 4.30am on Saturday.

    He is said to have reported the assault to police within 30 minutes and was given hospital treatment for a minor head injury.

    However, hours later, Spacey, 44, is believed to have gone back to the police station where he made the complaint and withdrawn the robbery claims.

    Scotland Yard confirmed that a man in his forties had been mugged in a park in Kennington.

    A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "He reported the robbery of his mobile phone while walking his dog in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park.

    "He later contacted police that day and withdrew the allegation. That is the end of it from our point of view."

    The spokesman could not confirm whether the man needed hospital treatment for his injuries.

    The park is close to the Old Vic theatre, where the Hollywood star, who won Oscars for his roles in The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, was made artistic director last year. He also lives nearby.

    Spacey is believed to have been treated in the accident and emergency department of St Thomas' Hospital, and waited several hours before telling police he did not wish to pursue the matter, according to today's Daily Mirror.

    The park is not known as a haunt for muggers.

    In the past the actor has denied rumours that he is gay.

    During an interview with the American magazine She four years ago, he said: "It's not that I want to create some mystique by maintaining a silence about my personal life.

    "It's just that the less you know about me, the easier it is to convince you that I'm the character on the screen."

    The American-born actor invested at least £ 100,000 of his own money in the Old Vic, pledging to revive the glory days of the 1,000-seat theatre, opened in 1818 and one of the oldest in London. He said at the time: "It's something I feel strongly about."

    Spacey marked his appointment as artistic director by hosting a moneyraising concert with Sir Elton John, for which tickets cost up to £ 1,000. American singer and actress Courtney Love was the undoubted star of the show, wearing a Daffy Duck outfitto sing a duet with Sir Elton before stripping to her underwear.

    In addition to his Oscars, Spacey received a Bafta award for American Beauty four years ago and has been nominated for three Golden Globes.

    He has also won awards in the West End: his electrifying performance in The Ice Man Cometh - at the Old Vic - won him the Laurence Olivier Award.

    Spacey has pledged to appear in at least two Old Vic plays a year, in addition to directing productions.

    Last month he was reported to be hoping to entice one of Hollywood's leading actresses to star with him on the stage of the Old Vic in the comedy The Philadelphia Story.

    People connected with the play were understood to have been sounding out the possibility of perhaps Cameron Diaz or Gwyneth Paltrow sharing top billing with him next spring.

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 19, 2004.

    FoLWOS website

    Breaking News from the Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website http://www.vauxhallandkennington.org.uk/
    Updated 18 April 2004

    You might like to look at the new webpage of the Friends of Lambeth Walk Open Space:- http://folwos.blogspot.com/ an energetic group who have already done much to improve the green space between Lambeth Walk and Kennington Road.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 19, 2004.

    Spacey withdraws mugging allegation


    Spacey withdraws mugging allegation

    Kevin Spacey told police he was mugged while walking his dog in a London park at 4.30 in the morning, but then withdrew the allegation....

    story date: 19/04/2004

    Kevin Spacey told police he was mugged while walking his dog in a London park at 4.30 in the morning, but then withdrew the allegation.

    The Hollywood star suffered a minor head injury during the incident and was later treated in hospital.

    Spacey went to a police station near where the mugging took place in Kennington, South London, and told officers his mobile phone had been stolen.

    The Sun says he later he withdrew the allegation.

    A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A man attended a police station at 5am on April 17 suffering a minor head injury to report the theft of a mobile. He later contacted police to withdraw the allegation."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 19, 2004.

    Spacey hit by mugger

    The Sun

    Monday, April 19, 2004

    Spacey hit by mugger


    KEVIN Spacey was attacked by a mugger in a London park, it was revealed yesterday.

    The Hollywood star suffered a minor head injury.

    Spacey, 44, walked into a nearby police station at 5am and told how the thief stole his mobile phone as he was walking his dog half an hour earlier.

    But hours later he withdrew the allegation. The actor, who won Oscars for The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, said he was assaulted near his home in Kennington, South London.

    He was later treated in hospital. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “A man attended a police station at 5am on April 17 suffering a minor head injury to report the theft of a mobile.

    “He later contacted police to withdraw the allegation.”

    The park is close to the Old Vic theatre where Spacey — dogged by rumours about his sexuality — became artistic director a year ago.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 19, 2004.

    Museum of Garden History - Annual Spring Plants and Gardens Fair

    Lambeth Local News

    5th April - 18th April 2004

    Museum of Garden History

    Annual Spring Plants and Gardens Fair

    The Annual Spring Plants and Gardens Fair transforms the Museum again into a 'plantaholic's' dreamland, filled with plants displayed and sold by leading specialist nurseries, many offering rare and unusual plants.

    Nurseries taking part this year include:

    Priorswood Clematis - one of the leading clematis nurseries with a range of both popular and unusual clematis, many displayed in flower so you can see what you're buying. New to this year will be climbing Clematis on frames for the instant gardener;

    River Gardens, specialist box hedge and topiary growers;

    Pioneer Nursery - Hertfordshire's well-known growers of hardy, half hardy and tender perennials who always have something new to tempt even the most experienced gardener;

    Nutlins Nursery - unusual shrubs and climbers for the connoisseur;

    W&S Lockyer - specialist auricula nursery, who have the National Collection of double auriculas;

    Usual & Unusual Plants - specialist perennials;

    Southview Nurseries - specialist perennials, period plants including dianthus.

    In addition, Michael Rustic will be selling restored historic garden and kitchen implements.

    Entrance to the Fair includes access to the Museum's cafe, shop and garden, which are open all day.

    Sunday 25th April 2004
    10.30am - 5.00pm
    £ 3 (£ 2.50 concessions, Children free)

    Museum of Garden History
    Lambeth Palace Road
    London SE1 7LB
    020 7401 8865

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 14, 2004.

    The Courtyard Cafe has now re-appeared in the Museum of Garden History (right next to lambeth palace) serving much the same style and quality of food as before in a more spectacular yet equally peaceful environment, the ex-Palace Church (is it called St Mary's?). Lots of buses past the door, Houses of Parliament etc on the doorstep ( . . .splash) and plenty of space to stretch out, see the exhibits or wander the garden.

    -- ian nicolson (ian.nicolson@which.net), April 14, 2004.



    For handyman jobs, contact Levi Roberts on 07971 292321 or 020 8769 0313. He does carpentry, gardening, handyman, decorating... He has done some decorating and carpentry work for a neighbour, and some carpentry for me. He lives in Streatham. Nice chap, thorough and reasonable rates.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 14, 2004.

    Telegraph: Announcements: Deaths: SEVERN.—Kenneth MC.

    Telegraph: Announcements


    SEVERN.—Kenneth MC., suddenly on Tuesday, April 6th in London. Beloved husband of Betty, devoted father of Jane, Jillian and John and much loved grandfather of Martin, Anna, Emily, Michael and Chloe. Private cremation, no flowers. Donations, if desired to the Haemochromatosis Society at Hollybush House, Hadley Green Road, Barnet, Herts., EN5 5PR. Telephone. 020 8449 1363.

    10 Apr 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 11, 2004.

    War anniversary wins £7m party money from the lottery


    April 07, 2004

    War anniversary wins £7m party money from the lottery

    By Robin Young

    BEVIN BOYS, Bletchley Park codebreakers and Land Girls were celebrating yesterday after news of a £7.3 million fund to pay for events to celebrate their contribution to the British effort during the Second World War.

    The cash will be used for reunions, street parties, dramas and musical events between now and November 2005 as part of the Home Front Recall scheme, which is being jointly funded by the New Opportunities Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Communities Fund.

    The scheme will also help to pay for larger projects, including the development of an education centre at Bletchley Park, the wartime intelligence centre where the German Enigma code was cracked.

    Separate funding was announced in February to pay for the British soldiers, sailors and airmen who defended their country.

    Yesterday’s announcement is to honour the former codebreakers, firefighters, nurses, seamen, miners and others who served on the Home Front. “We all played our part,” Hilaire Benbow, a former sub-lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), said. “That should be remembered by present and future generations.”

    Bids for Home Front Recall funding will be invited from organisers at a local, regional and national level.

    Liz Forgan, the chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said that particular attention would be paid to bids that helped to perpetuate the memory of the sacrifices made by the British people during the Second World War, by schemes that involved several generations.

    Warwick Taylor, vice-president of the Bevin Boys Association, whose members were called up as young boys to work alongside regular miners during the war, said the Home Front Recall programme would fund a host of events and exhibitions. “This is what it’s all about, letting the younger generation know. We’ve got to keep it alive,” Mr Taylor said.

    The Arctic Convoy veterans’ group will be applying for Home Front Recall funding to stage a final reunion in Portsmouth this year for British and German survivors.

    Mr Benbow and seven other survivors were at the Imperial War Museum in Kennington, South London, yesterday for the opening of an exhibition devoted to the Normandy landings in May 1944.

    They have all provided personal mementoes for display in the exhibition, which celebrates the biggest combined forces’ operation in history. Among the exhibits are secret briefing documents and papers written by General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery.

    Mr Benbow, whose Distinguished Service Cross “for gallantry, skill, determination and undaunted devotion to duty” on D-Day is displayed alongside seven other medals he won, said that the exhibition revived poignant memories of June 6, 1944. At the time Mr Benbow, of Datchet, Berkshire, was a boat officer in a flotilla taking US Rangers to Omaha Beach. But his craft grounded on a sandbar and was swamped almost as soon as its ramp went down, leaving him and his crew to make their way under mortar fire until they found another vessel to take them back to Tilbury.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Terence Otway, DSO, was also keenly interested in the exhibition. On the night of June 5, 1944, he was commander of the 9th Parachute Battalion of the 6th Airborne Division, dropped in Normandy to put the Merville Battery out of action before the seaborne troops arrived.

    In the attack, Colonel Otway remembered, he was left with only 150 men out of the 750 troops who had taken off from Britain. “And, after the attack,” he added, “there were only 65.” He led his men to overrun the German battery, taking 23 prisoners. He said: “I think this exhibition is absolutely first class.”

    The exhibition opens to the public today and runs until May next year. It is accompanied by a drama-documentary to be shown on BBC One.


    Operation Overlord was the largest seaborne invasion in history

    15,000 American and 7,000 British troops were parachuted behind enemy lines by 2,395 planes and 867 gliders

    132,715 troops and 10,000 vehicles landed

    The invasion fleet comprised five forces, one for each landing beach

    There were also French, Polish, Norwegian, Greek and Dutch ships

    The Allies suffered 11,000 casualties on D-Day, of whom 2,500 were killed

    There were 10,536 sorties by bombers and fighters, and 3,262 by transport aircraft, about one a minute for the 24 hours of the “Longest Day”

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 09, 2004.

    'Can I give my mum a cuddle?'

    'Can I give my mum a cuddle?'

    Apr 9 2004

    South London Press

    A GUNMAN begged a judge for one last cuddle from his mum as he was sent down.

    Danny Doyle, 19, and Daniel McLean, 20, were jailed for a total of 14 years for rob-bing a convnience store.

    Doyle, of Limes Walk, Nunhead, had been with a gang collecting a drugs debt from Winnall, Hampshire.

    But he told a jury he had only acted as a lookout when his three accomplices went on to rob a shop in the town.

    Jurors at Winchester Crown Court rejected his account and found him guilty of robbery and possession of a firearm.

    As he was sent down for six years on Thursday last week, Doyle cried out: "Can I give my mum a cuddle please?"

    He was then heard calling "I love you, Mum", as he was led to the cells.

    McLean, of Kennington Park Road, Kennington, admitted all three charges relating to the robbery in September last year, and received eight years.

    Sentencing, Judge Patrick Hooton said: "We are living in a society where gun crime is becoming a very serious and deadly problem.

    "Those people in the shop might have thought they were going to be killed.

    "It is difficult to imagine the fear of someone with a gun in their face."

    A third man, Omar Brown, 25, from Limes Walk, Nunhead, was cleared of all charges.

    He punched the air when acquitted, saying: "Thank you God."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 09, 2004.

    St Agnes Place

    South London Press

    Move out call hits 30-year occupiers

    Apr 9 2004
    By Zara Bishop

    SQUATTERS who have lived in a street for three decades are facing eviction to make way for homeless people on a South London council's housing waiting list.

    Residents moved into empty houses in St Agnes Place, Kennington, in 1974 and the road is now home to about 70 families.

    One of the three-storey houses is a community centre where hot meals are served and there are yoga classes, a studio with music equipment and computers.

    Former resident George James, 49, said: "There is not any place like it. We understand the needs of our community."

    Community centre user Marilyn Ellis said: "Groups like ours have been cleaning up the community. Without us the community is going to go down.

    "We are the only people emphasising problems such as rats and weeds and Lambeth council wants to take away our properties."

    Fellow centre user Riki Loy said: "I used to go to Kennington School and come here after school or in lunch breaks.

    "To evict us would mean a lot of people losing out."

    South London record producer Charles Bailey visited St Agnes Place on Monday with London mayoral Green Party candidate Darren Johnson.

    Mr Bailey said: "There are a lot of people who need this place.

    "It seems quite basic but people need it.

    "I would like to see this project get proper funding."

    A council spokesman said: "Lambeth successfully defended a legal challenge in respect of these 12 properties and the Central London County Court ordered the current occupiers to vacate the properties.

    "Due to the high level of demand for quality affordable housing in the borough we are actively seeking to provide alternative forms of social housing in Lambeth.

    "Lambeth council has a duty to homeless people and to existing tenants in overcrowded and unsuitable property.

    "Supplying affordable housing in St Agnes Place and elsewhere is essential to meeting our obligations."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 09, 2004.

    WPC lied about rape to keep boyfriend


    April 03, 2004

    WPC lied about rape to keep boyfriend

    By Sam Coates

    A POLICE officer who pretended she had been raped in an attempt to prevent the break-up of her relationship was yesterday spared jail.

    Sarah Hunter, 22, claimed a gang of black youths assaulted her and then watched as one of them raped her in Kennington Park, South London.

    The allegation, made last July, prompted a “painstaking” investigation. The park was sealed off, dustbins emptied and grass combed for clues. Police were told that any black youths on the streets should be questioned. Hunter’s ex-boyfriend, still a serving officer, came under suspicion.

    Despite repeated opportunities to withdraw the allegations, she stuck with her story.The investigation was only halted when another policeman said she had spent the night of the alleged rape with him. Hunter subsequently resigned from the police force.

    Justice Jonathan van der Werff sentenced Ms Hunter to a two-year community rehabilitation order.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 07, 2004.



    April 02, 2004


    Follow your own council

    Our correspondent meets an investor who buys ex-local authority properties on her doorstep

    BUY-TO-LET investors often have a favourite type of tenant. Some target top executives whose corporate employers foot the bill. Others perceive young professionals as the most reliable and profitable. For Haydee Softley, it’s the lower end of the market that provides the richest pickings. And for her purpose, former local authority homes are ideal.

    Over the past four years, since she became a full-time property investor and landlady, Haydee has bought and sold 45 properties, most of them ex-council homes in South London. Her hunting ground stretches from Borough to Kennington via Elephant & Castle. It’s an up-and-coming part of London where prices are still rising and big council estates dominate the skyline. But most importantly it’s on her doorstep and she knows it very well.

    “I have been living around the area for years and you get to know the streets. I like areas that are a bit quirky but also have a lot of oomph,” she says. “Even if the market falls, prices would still keep on rising down here because there is so much improving going on.”

    Former council housing often conjures up images of poor-quality buildings, difficult neighbours and crime. As Haydee puts it: “A lot of people are scared of buying ex-local authority homes because they are not pretty to look at.”

    But research from Residential Property Investment Management (RPIM) suggests she is on to a good thing. Figures from the property investment company show that the average “yield” (the rental income expressed as a percentage of the property’s value) on an ex-local authority let is just over 6.5 per cent while the yield on Victorian lets is 6 per cent. Graham Gould, of RPIM, says: “As property prices have risen, ex-local authority has become more attractive — it is often the only property a first-time buyer can afford in London.

    “Although it has not yet happened, ex-local authority property could experience more capital growth than traditional Victorian property as first-time buyers compete to get on to the property ladder.” That said, the study also shows that the location of the property is as important, if not more so, than the type of home. “The secret of property investment is the specific property that is purchased. A good-quality ex-local authority property will perform better than a poor Victorian property.” The best-performing Victorian property in the company’s portfolio provided a yield of 33.6 per cent, the worst 13.3 per cent. The best ex-council home brought in 27.1 per cent, the worst 17.7 per cent.

    Haydee has ten properties in her portfolio. She buys mostly at auction and, for every purchase, views between 30 and 40 different homes. She targets ex-local authority homes because they are cheaper and often more spacious than the equivalent period property.

    Her ideal buy-to-let is on the edge of an estate and in a brick building fewer than seven storeys high. Flats on the top floors of tower blocks are often difficult, if not impossible, to mortgage. Her research involves walking around the estate early in the morning “to check whether there is any loud music playing” and late at night “to see if I feel safe. I wouldn’t buy anywhere I wasn’t prepared to live”.

    Although Haydee does not shy away from buying crumbling homes, she views these as “turnaround” properties to do up and sell on fast. A rental home must require no more than a paint job. “The idea with buy-to-let is that you spend the minimum amount of money from start to finish in order to achieve the best possible yield,” she says. “It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense and a lot of legwork.”

    THIS former local authority flat offers easy access to the City for just £175,000. It has two double bedrooms and a 12ft 10in by 11ft 10in living room. Both Borough and London Bridge Tube stations are about a 15-minute walk away. You can expect about £1,000 a month in rent and the annual service charge is £400. Movingspace.com: 020-7793 1999, www.movingspace.com

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 07, 2004.

    Cop's 'rape' was made up

    Cop's 'rape' was made up

    Apr 6 2004

    South London Press

    A POLICE officer falsely claimed she was raped by a black youth because she was upset over the end of a relationship.

    Sarah Hunter, 22, said she was attacked by a gang after a night out with friends. Colleagues launched a "painstaking" investigation to track down the alleged rapist, Inner London Crown Court heard on Friday.

    Hunter's ex-boyfriend was even treated as a suspect.

    But her story fell apart four days after she made the allegations - when another police officer said he had been with her at the time of the rape claim.

    Tudor Owen, prosecuting, said: "The alleged incident happened on the weekend of July 26 and 27 last year.

    "She spoke with a fellow police officer and told him that she had been assaulted while walking home alone at night. She had had a relationship with a police officer which at that time he wanted to end.

    But she did not want it to end. He asked her if she wanted to report the assault and she said no.

    "But as the conversation went on, she said that more had happened than simply the assault. She said she was approached by a group of four black males.

    "One said he knew she was a copper and hit her.

    "But then she began crying and said she had also been raped by one in the presence of the others."

    The officer persuaded her to make a complaint.

    CID officers sealed off the alleged crime scene in Kennington and appealed for witnesses to come forward.

    Hunter even took officers to the park where she claimed the rape had taken place. Her former boyfriend then told detectives she had threatened to accuse him of rape if he ended their relationship.

    "Even at this stage there was no recognition that the allegations she had made against the black youths were false," added Mr Owen.

    Hunter later admitted she had made up the story. She has since left the police.

    Judge Jonathan Van der Werff told her: "This false allegation was extremely foolish and seriously criminal.

    "It is a terrible and dreadfully irresponsible thing for a woman to make a false allegation she has been raped."

    Hunter, of Meadow Field Drive, Eaglescliff, Stockton-on-Tees, near Middlesbrough, was given a two-year community rehabilitation order after admitting perverting the course of justice.

    Speaking after the sentence, Lambeth police borough commander Dick Quinn said: "It is clearly unacceptable for anyone to make a false allegation under any circumstances.

    "As with all rape allegations, Lambeth police investigated with the utmost professionalism and care. Once it was established the allegation was false, the decision to prosecute was made without hesitation."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 06, 2004.

    Youth locked up after OAP dies

    Youth locked up after OAP dies

    Apr 6 2004

    South London Press

    A KINDLY 83-year-old great-grandfather died after being attacked and robbed by a teenage boy, a court heard.

    The youth, 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, demanded money from elderly widower James Brown as he walked home. After telling the youth to leave him alone, Mr Brown was forced into a headlock and pulled to the ground. He was then dragged into a nearby alleyway while the teenager and an accomplice stole £120 from the pensioner's pockets, and his watch and wallet.

    Mr Brown, of Minerva Close, Kennington, died four days after the attack, Inner London Crown Court heard on Friday. The youth was originally charged with murder - which was reduced to manslaughter and then to robbery, which he admitted.

    Sally Howes, prosecuting, said: "The defendant, together with his friend, approached Mr Brown as he was making his way to his home. They grabbed him around the neck and a struggle followed.

    "Mr Brown was put on to the ground after being put into a headlock. The pensioner was then pulled into a nearby alleyway close to his home, where they left him on the floor with his pockets turned inside out."

    A post-mortem revealed Mr Brown died from a preexisting neurological problem which may or may have not been aggravated by the attack.

    Scientists tested a Nike top found in the teenager's home and discovered fibres on it from Mr Brown's blazer, the court heard. The teenager was arrested two days later, on September 3 last year, after a witness named him.

    Amanda Cotcher, defending, said there "could be no excuse for the teenager's actions", but added he had a troubled childhood. He had witnessed the murder of his father, and been brought up by a physically abusive crack cocaine addict.

    Sentencing the youth to three-and-a-half years in a young offenders' institution, Judge Jonathan van der Werff said: "This was a nasty robbery carried out by fit young men on a vulnerable old man.

    "He died days later in hospital.

    "The pathologist cannot say that what you did to him caused his death. But I do not forget the extreme violence that you quite unnecessarily used."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 06, 2004.

    From Brixton Market to haute cuisine

    Evening Standard

    05/04/04 - Career news section

    From Brixton Market to haute cuisine

    By Elisha Carter

    It was my mother who taught me to love food. Some of my earliest memories are of watching her working in the kitchen, although I never dared get involved. That was definitely women's territory. My father comes from the West Indies, and my mother from Zimbabwe. The food we ate at home was typically Afro-Caribbean - curried chicken, rice and peas, yam puree and fried plantain.

    It never failed to impress me that with a full-time job as a midwife and eight children of her own to look after, my mother always managed to provide a home-cooked meal in the evening.

    With my six older sisters, my older brother, parents, and assorted family friends crammed round the table, mealtime at our home in Kennington, south London, was always a great social event.

    We did all our food shopping at Brixton Market and as a boy I would go with my mother every Saturday.

    There, you would see trays of pigs' trotters, halal chicken hung in rows by their feet, Caribbean fish and vegetables and tubs of colourful Indian spices all jostling for space in the never-ending maze of market stalls. As you can imagine, my mother bought in bulk and was an expert at working on a tight budget.

    Nowadays, as head chef at Lola's restaurant in Islington, I buy ingredients from the best independent suppliers in the country, but I'd like to think I have learned a thing or two about haggling from watching my mother shopping at Brixton Market.

    At Pimlico School, I was one of three boys - along with 22 girls - who took home economics at GCE O-Level. The boys would usually make a few comments at football practice but it didn't bother me. I enjoyed the practical nature of cooking. And of course, I liked to eat.

    In the sixth form I took a CPVE - a forerunner to the NVQ - in hospitality, which included an industry work placement. I was sent to Shell House to help out in the directors' private dining room.

    We prepared canapés, prawn cocktails, beef bourguignon and trifle, among other things. These dishes seem quite provincial now, but at the time I'd never seen such ornate and exotic food.

    I was amazed at how fast the chef moved around, chopping, arranging and tasting food. There was so much to do, but she appeared to be so calm and organised. At the end of the two-week placement I had decided that I wanted to be a chef.

    When I told my mother, she laughed and told me that if I was serious, I should go and get a job at The Ritz Hotel. Looking back, I think she was joking, but the next day, off I went to Green Park, knocked on the kitchen door and asked if I could have a job.

    They told me to come in for a trial, and after a while I was offered an apprenticeship. I couldn't believe my luck.

    After two years at The Ritz, it was time to move on. I heard about a position at Gleneagles Hotel, in Scotland. I called them up and they offered me the job.

    I was 21, and still living at home. I felt I needed to break away. Scotland seemed like the perfect opportunity to leave the distractions of London behind, get my head down, and concentrate on learning to cook.

    My friends were shocked when I told them, and said I'd be back in a month. In fact, I stayed for more than a year.

    At the hotel, I was a commis chef - basically an assistant who prepares the food and makes pastry.

    In that year I learned a lot about cooking and a huge amount about myself.

    I had lived in London all my life. I didn't know anyone in Scotland, and at first it was quite lonely. Things were made even harder by the fact that I could barely understand the Scottish accent. I had to start from scratch, but after a while I got into the swing of things.

    In 1992, I heard that there were jobs going with chef John Burton Race, at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Reading. Once again, I packed my bags and literally turned up on their doorstep.

    Getting a Michelin star is no mean feat, and two is something very special. John's kitchen was run with military precision and there was no room for error.

    If you did something incorrectly, he would make you throw it away and start again. If you were slow, he would tear a strip off you in front of everyone. I learned very quickly to never make mistakes.

    If I hadn't been determined to make a success of my career I think it would have been then that I threw in the towel. Instead, as always, I kept my head down, and worked hard.

    Eventually, John sent me to train with Raymond Blanc at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Oxfordshire, and then to Ledoyen in Paris. With that sort of experience under my belt, the world was my oyster.

    After working with such elaborate French recipes, I decided to go back to London and work for Richard Corrigan at Lindsay House in Soho.

    His was a more natural, rustic way of cooking, using offal, pigs' trotters, and marrow - ingredients seen by many as " secondclass" foods.

    His no-waste approach to food reminded me of my mother's cooking and I would say that it was Richard who has most influenced my own style.

    Having worked in some of the top kitchens in the country - and under some of the top chefs - in 2003, I felt I was ready to take the reins and become a head chef in my own right.

    At Lola's, I'm in at 8 o'clock every morning to start the stocks and sauces, and I don't leave until past midnight. I never take my eye off the ball - whether that be refining the menu, or making sure the staff and décor are up to scratch.

    We get quite a few celebrities through the doors. People tell me "so-and-so's in tonight" but the names mean nothing to me. I'm generally too busy to worry about such things.

    At the moment, I don't have much of a life outside of work, but my fiancée Tracy is very supportive. We met six years ago, and have two daughters, Allyiah, who is three, and Analise who was born last year.

    Over the years, my enthusiasm for food has rubbed off on Tracy. She now does virtually all the cooking at home. I still go home for family meals whenever I get the chance and my mother still doesn't let me in the kitchen.

    I've eaten the finest foods, in the most expensive restaurants in the world, but nothing can beat a home-cooked meal with my family.

    My parents came to sample my cooking a few years ago. They rarely go out to eat, and I think they were slightly overwhelmed by all the pampering. They were also incredibly proud of what I'd achieved.

    If you ask me the secret of my success, I would have to say that it's down to just very hard work.

    Interview by Barney Calman

    Find this story at
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 05, 2004.

    Breaking News from the Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Breaking News from the Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Updated 4 April 2004


    offers the following EASTER HOLIDAY PROGRAMME 2004 from 1000 to 1800 on the following days:-

    MONDAY 5TH APRIL - Plastercast mask painting
    TUESDAY 6TH APRIL - Sewing and Embroidery Bunnys
    WEDNESDAY 7TH APRIL - Clay Egg Decorations
    THURSDAY 8TH APRIL - The Great Golden Egg Hunt
    TUESDAY 13TH APRIL - Cinema trip 12-3pm, Flower-making
    WEDNESDAY 14TH APRIL - Pool and tabletennis competition
    THURSDAY 15TH APRIL - Cooking and bead-jewellery
    FRIDAY 16TH APRIL - Bar-B-Q, face-paints and wacky-races

    The project is located at the corner of Bolton Crescent and St Agnes Place. (7735 7186).


    featuring the West End's best comics is now every Wedneday at 8pm at The Fentiman Arms, 64 Fentiman Road, SW8. Admission £5, OR £4 NUS (must show ID). Food (and no doubt drink!) available. 7735 3308.

    The Friends of Kennington Park Annual General Meeting

    is to be held at 7pm on Monday 26th April 2004 at St Agnes Church Hall, Kennington Park Gardens/St Agnes Place SE11. Please come along and find out the latest news about what's happening in the Park. If you've ideas and want to get more involved, why not stand for election to the committee? This is your chance to influence what happens in your local Park so we hope to see you there. It's your park - come and have your say!

    The Friends of the Durning Library

    are organising further evening events at 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the Durning Library, 167 Kennington Lane, SE11 (£2 suggested donation Nibbles and drinks available).

    Monday 10 May: "Murder in the Library"

    Local authors John Fullerton, Sarah Diamond and Edwin Thomas are members of Criminal Minds, home to nine successful writers from different backgrounds and generations. Find out more about crime writing and what makes it so popular. Whether you like psychological, historical, action-adventure or political thrillers, they promise to amuse, surprise and inform.

    Monday 17 May: "Kennington Revealed"

    Local resident and official London tour guide Mary Frost will give an amusingly different view of Kennington's history.

    The Kennington Association (7793 0268) are organising a


    on Saturday, 22nd May from 11am until 3pm at St Anselm's Church Hall, Kennington Cross SE11 (at the junction of Kennington Lane and Kennington Road). It will feature new and nearly new items, books, tombola, bric-a-brac, cakes, jumble, etc: If you have items you would be willing to donate - they can all be delivered to the church hall on the Friday evening (21st May) between 5.30-8pm - or on the Saturday morning between 9-10am.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), April 04, 2004.

    Union anger at job cuts

    Union anger at job cuts

    Mar 30 2004
    By Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    THE union representing 52 gardeners whose jobs are under threat is to take legal action against a council contractor.

    Cleanaway - which was awarded the ground maintenance contract for Lambeth's 64 parks and green spaces - intends to make 52 of the 105 staff employed at the borough's beauty spots redundant.

    Gardeners and ground maintenance workers say parks like Clapham Common, Brockwell and Kennington Park will fall into disrepair if jobs are axed.

    But Cleanaway claims it will be able to provide the same level of service with just half the workforce.

    Representatives from the GMB union, which is acting on behalf of the gardeners, claim there has been inadequate formal consultation with the union regarding the job cuts, which Cleanaway intends to push through by April 1.

    Legislation states employers must tell the Secretary of State for Employment and the union how many redundancies are to be made in a formal document called an HR1.

    This document was sent to the Secretary of State in February but was not received by the union until one month later, preventing formal redundancy consultation from beginning.

    GMB union representative Richard Ascough said: "The GMB will vigorously defend its members' interests at tribunal to ensure that our members are compensated for the lamentable lack of consultation."

    A spokeswoman for Cleanaway said: "The HR1 form has been lodged with the Secretary of State and Cleanaway has met with the union, which has been aware of this situation since August 2003.

    "Cleanaway is happy that it is meeting all the requirements of the process."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 31, 2004.


    Independent - Money > Property > Homes

    Bowled over

    Patricia Wynn Davies meets a couple who turned a skittles club into a knock-out home

    31 March 2004

    Architect Peter Camp lives with his wife Katherine Virgils, an artist, and their two sons in Kennington, London

    For about three years, we'd been searching for a bigger home in Kennington. We loved its central London position and the mix of Georgian terraces and semi-industrial. We look out to some of the most graceful architecture devised by man, but gasometers are visible above the rooftops, Tony's Café is next door, and on a fine day roars from the Oval cricket ground and the chimes of Big Ben ring around our courtyard.

    When I first saw what we later named Bowling Hall, my first instinct was to say to my wife: "You'd better come and see this." The space covered the lower ground floors of two grand Georgian houses set back from the road opposite Kennington Green, plus a big extension running the length of the back garden of one of the buildings. The idea of "courtyard living" flashed across my brain.

    The houses were laterally converted in the Sixties before planning became more restrictive, with flats on the upper floors and the Irish Bowling Club below. Skittles enthusiasts enjoyed many an after-hours drink here, I'm told, but by the early Eighties the club's heyday was over.

    The bowling hall became an office space, sub-divided into little rooms, and was then left empty for five years. This was how I first saw it - it was advertised as a commercial property - decaying, dingily lit by old strip lights, and full of old furniture and rubbish. Down one side of the extension were the signs of its past life, the high, narrow windows of the defunct skittles alley.

    It looked a complete mess, but it offered enormous possibilities and with our two growing sons, we needed much more space, ideally at ground-floor level, than we had at the time. We felt confident about the task ahead - our previous home had involved designing and building a residence from scratch on the flat roof of an apartment block in Chelsea.

    Size was an important factor for us - 2850sq ft of building surrounding 2000sq ft of overgrown and neglected garden. But it was the courtyard aspect that clinched it , the possibilities of the garden and the fact that all the living space was adjoined by it. We imagined being able to walk out into the garden from any part of the building, or criss-crossing the garden to get access to different parts of the house -- and all this within a listed Georgian setting.

    The exterior still retains a kind of anonymous, semi-neglected feel at street level, which is a foil for what we've created beyond. The dimensions - from the front door to the back wall is 125ft - offered us tremendous scope. The design I decided to use is based on the "Elizabethan procession" concept found in hall houses of that period. You proceed through a series of public spaces, each becoming more intimate, until you reach an inner sanctum.

    The delineations, or "thresholds", between the public spaces - reception hall, kitchen and dining area, main reception hall - are informal, employing mahogany and opaque-glass sliding panels rather than using conventional walls. The layout of the building also enabled me to create separate activity and/or sleep zones for us and the children or visiting friends at opposite ends of the courtyard, linked by a communal living area.

    Lowering the level of the garden by three feet was a critical feature in creating a sense of continuity between the inside and the outside of the building. Most of the rooms, including the main bedroom, now open on to the terrace and lawn via large, sliding glass doors. A eucalyptus and a palm tree add a touch of the exotic. The project is naturally a reflection of my professional life, but Katherine also saw the chance to transform a decrepit space into a modern showplace for her work.

    What we made into the main hall has skylights and four big, sliding doors into the garden and it's better than a gallery. We hold an annual Open House in the autumn where Katherine and other artists use it to display up to 70 paintings. It's at times like this that the flexibility of the house really comes into its own, with people spilling out on to the lawn and re-entering from various vantage points. Katherine uses the house as a workspace, too, and with so much light and greenery she can work here for days at a time without getting cabin fever.

    I wanted to use the best of modern techniques and materials; the many metres of hosing carrying the under-floor gas heating mean that no unsightly radiators spoil the lines of the interior and low-emission, argon-filled glass in the doors to the courtyard ensures that heat generated inside gets reflected back.

    We spent £200,000 on the changes we made, but property values have risen and because we converted commercial premises into residential, we got the VAT back. Most importantly, the house has turned out to be everything we dreamed of, as I remind myself in the summer when short-cutting across the lawn from the kitchen to the bedroom with the morning coffee. The one-time skittles club is now a fully-functioning exercise in inside/outside single-storey living in an urban setting.

    Peter Camp can be contacted at peter@peterbellarchitects.co.uk, 0207 387 8483; Katherine Virgils at pckv@freenet.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 31, 2004.

    ART NIGHT: Oval Bookshop

    Wednesday 28 April

    Meet two of our great local authors and artists
    at the Oval Bookshop

    28B Clapham Road London SW9 0JQ
    (On the corner of Claylands Road
    100m from the Oval Station)

    * Giles Waterfield, celebrated local novelist, will be reading from his two great novels and answering questions
    * Paul Ryan, local artist, will be launching an exhibition of his work including some sketches of local sights. He has exhibited internationally and his work is included in such major collections as the British Museum and Royal Mint.

    For further information telephone 0800 389 0463
    Admission: £ 3 including one glass of wine and refreshments
    Doors open at 6:30pm

    (The next OVAL BOOKSHOP authors' event will be in May featuring another famous local author Rupert Christiansen. For further details please telephone the shop.)


    Oval Bookshop

    The Oval Bookshop is an independent bookseller serving the local community. Our stock includes some 7000 new books and hundreds of films (including classic British and foreign language). What we don't have in stock can usually be supplied within a few days.

    We also have some of the best art cards around and a wide range of opular games including Monopoly, Cluedo, Risk, quality chess sets, Mancala, Jenga, Connect 4, Scrabble, etc.

    Seating, fresh coffee and other hot drinks are available and there's a play area for children. We also have regular evening events. We are ready and waiting so the only thing that's missing is you!

    28B Clapham Road London SW9 0JQ
    (At the corner of Claylands Road
    100m from the Oval Station)

    Open 10am-5:30pm Monday to Saturday

    Tel 0800 389 0463

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 30, 2004.




    MONDAY 5TH APRIL - Plastercast mask painting
    TUESDAY 6TH APRIL - Sewing and Embroidery Bunnys
    WEDNESDAY 7TH APRIL - Clay Egg Decorations
    THURSDAY 8TH APRIL - The Great Golden Egg Hunt
    TUESDAY 13TH APRIL - Cinema trip 12-3pm, Flower-making
    WEDNESDAY 14TH APRIL - Pool and tabletennis competition
    THURSDAY 15TH APRIL - Cooking and bead-jewellery
    FRIDAY 16TH APRIL - Bar-B-Q, face-paints and wacky-races


    CONTACT NUMBER 020 7735 7186

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 30, 2004.

    night caller

    night caller

    by Joshua Levine

    White Bear Theatre, Kennington
    30th March - 19th April

    Friesian Theatre Company in association with Brown Cow Films Ltd

    Friesian Theatre Company presents the London premiere of this darkly comic drama.

    Outrageous late-night DJ Steve Emmin shocks his audience and humiliates his callers in a bid to exorcise his demons.

    But when one listener confronts him in person we find that she too has a secret that has led her to his door...

    This new production follows a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Festival.

    "near perfect dialogue... a compelling portrait of three burnouts on the hard shoulder of life" The Stage

    Steve Emmin... "the bastard son of Howard Stern and Bill Hicks" The Scotsman

    Directed by Sophia Reed
    Produced by Brown Cow Films Ltd
    With Charlie Daish, Sonia Forbes Adam and Catherine Greenwood
    Designed by Libby Watson

    30th March - 19th April
    Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm, Sunday 4pm
    £ 10 (£ 6 concessions)

    The White Bear Theatre Club

    138 Kennington Park Road
    London SE11 4DJ

    2 mins from Kennington Tube, Buses 133, 159

    Box Office: 020 7793 9193

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 29, 2004.

    London: On guard and in pocket


    March 28, 2004

    London: On guard and in pocket

    A London home for £150 a month? It’s possible — if you become a property guardian and don’t mind living in a library or a warehouse, says Julie Sinclair

    Spending half your salary on rent for the sake of a London postcode is not everybody’s idea of living. From Wimbledon to Walthamstow, an 8ft x 9ft shoe box in a house full of strangers will rarely cost less than £350 a month. Add bills and upgrade to a double and you could be spending £650 a month, leaving anybody earning less than £20,000 a year stuck indoors with the heating off.

    So when Francis Ives, a 35-year-old art graduate, was offered a 1,500sq ft room in Hackney for £150 a month, it sounded too good to be true.

    The catch was that the room was in an abandoned library, where he would be living as an anti-squatting guardian for a Dutch company, Camelot Property Management.

    All Ives had to do, in exchange for the keys, was keep an eye on the place, report any leaks and go about his daily business. Camelot provides water, electricity and a secure building; the rest is left to the guardian’s imagination.

    The first thing Ives did was convert his room into a live-work unit, giving him the studio space he needed to create his abstract art. “I had to do a lot of work when I moved in, but it’s fantastic once you realise the potential,” he says.

    Ironically, an old polling-station sign still glued to the front door, the bars on the windows and the bed linen hanging behind them, all give the place the feel of a squat.

    “It’s a bit prison-like,” Ives admits, “especially with the reflections you get from the bars on the windows. But it’s a great solution for anybody who hasn’t got any money.”

    Greg Quixley, 31, a PE teacher from Cape Town, is guarding a Grade II-listed missionary college in Totteridge, north London.

    “I used to live in a tiny box room in Wimbledon for £400 a month,” says Quixley, “but now I live here for £150 a month. There are about 40 rooms, and three of us living here. The money I’ve saved has helped me to buy a house back in Cape Town.”

    Camelot’s guardians could find themselves in anything from a factory to a lighthouse, sharing with up to 50 others. To ensure they don’t end up squatting in the flats they are there to protect, they are bound by a licence, rather than a tenancy agreement. This guarantees them a minimum three months at a property, but gives them no residency rights, meaning they can be evicted at a month’s notice.

    Camelot vets guardians, who must provide passports, a £300 deposit and an education and employment history.

    Another option for footloose Londoners is to sign up as a property caretaker with Ambika Security, which entered the market as guardians of the Crown Estate. Bagshot Park, now home to Edward and Sophie, and a £15m property in Regent’s Park were among the company’s portfolio of properties to watch over.

    Caretakers can be asked to provide security 24 hours a day — and asked to leave at 24 hours’ notice.

    Ambika’s caretakers pay nothing, and could be living like kings for free. But as Ambika’s clients also include local councils, caretakers could also find themselves in a rescued squat on a troubled council estate.

    For it is not only tenants who benefit from these novel security arrangements. Property owners can save up to 90% of the £5,000 a month it costs for traditional security guards. “When squatters move into a derelict building, the cost of repairing the damage can be endless,” says Joost van Gestel, Camelot’s owner.

    The guardians, at least, know a good deal when they see one. For Chris Harper, 27, a music teacher from Reading, the embarrassment of having “Braganza Old People’s Home” as an address is outweighed by the fact that he’s two minutes’ walk from Kennington tube and has several of the building’s 100 rooms to himself.

    “I’ve got two toilets!” he says. “It’s crazy.”

    Ambika, 020 7376 9740, www.ambikaproperty.com; Camelot, 0700 226 3568, www.camelotproperty.com/uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 28, 2004.

    City of Cultures

    City of Cultures

    By Rahul Jacob

    Financial Times

    Mar 26, 2004

    The few credible moments in the British film Love Actually, last year’s cynically commercial Christmas blockbuster, mostly take place at Heathrow airport.

    The arrivals area teems with people from every part of the world, hugging and kissing relatives and friends as they clear immigration.

    It is a microcosm of London at its multicultural best and an image I have often wished were replayed again and again on the giant screens that loom over Leicester Square in the capital’s West End.

    Corny? Perhaps, but like many recent converts, I tend to overdo it. I arrived in London about a year ago from Hong Kong, carrying, along with the warm clothing I hadn’t worn for years, outmoded preconceptions about the city.

    I liked London from the time I first visited in 1988 from New York, but regarded it as less multicultural than the American metropolis.

    I was wrong on several counts. To my amazement, my work permit for five years was processed in three days, even though there can be few professions in London where there is less of a labour shortage than journalism.

    The immigration lawyer who helped so efficiently happened to be South African and the movers, when my furniture arrived a few months later, were Albanian.

    Unwrapping some family photographs, including several of my mother wearing a saree, they seemed delighted to find that I had grown up in India. It has been that kind of year. Everywhere I go, I bump into people from somewhere else.

    In London now for a year, I have come to believe it is the most happily mongrelised metropolis in the world. The foreign-born proportion of the population may be higher in New York and Los Angeles, but the ease with which people from elsewhere in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world are able to live and work in the UK is striking.

    While interracial marriage is rising in the US, in London it is already a fact of life. In New York, the ghettos I inhabited were professional or national; my friends were either other Indians who had come out to the US on scholarships as I did, or other journalists, who were American.

    In London, my closest friends include an American, a British-born Indian married to an Italian, an Italian married to a Scotsman, an Indian schoolmate and his wife – whose sister and brother are married respectively to a half Sri Lankan, half English civil servant and an Englishwoman – and two women who are English but who have spent most of their working lives in Asia.

    A few weeks ago, I met Petrit Luci on a Monday evening when a friend and I wandered into the Cinnamon Club, an upscale Indian restaurant within walking distance of the Houses of Parliament that is frequented by the British political establishment.

    Luci served us drinks at the restaurant’s downstairs bar and as we left, I asked him where he was from. His reply floored both the English friend I was with and me. Luci arrived in the UK from war-torn Kosovo four years ago.

    He was pleasantly surprised, he told me when I interviewed him a week later, by the courtesy of government officials he encountered at the camp for asylum-seekers in Oxford where he spent his first three months. "The first thing that impressed me was that the police officer said, ‘It doesn’t matter where you are from, you should feel safe here.’"

    Luci also appreciated other acts of thoughtfulness; one of the employees at the camp routinely gave him cigarettes and the staff took pains to inform him that there was a separate area for Muslims to pray. (Luci was born Muslim, but is not religious.) "I don’t know if I have been lucky. I have no bad memories," he says.

    Inspired by the meeting to write this article, over the next fortnight or so I kept a mental log of the "foreign" population in London I met by chance.

    The list turned out to be long – very long in fact – and included an Italian academic married to a medical researcher whose parents emigrated from Sri Lanka in the seventies, a Palestinian dry cleaner in my neighbourhood, a parking attendant from Ghana who moonlighted as an office cleaner while he also studied accounting, a school teacher from Hong Kong and a New Zealander who trades forward contracts in electricity for Shell.

    Diaspora derives from the Greek, "to scatter," and just about every diaspora has been liberally strewn over London. Walking out of a restaurant called, as it happens, The Real Greek Souvlaki Bar, I asked the waitress where two assistant chefs were from. The chef was Greek, she said, his assistants were from Angola. Angola!

    The phenomenon extends well beyond the restaurant industry. A recent article in the Independent, a UK newspaper, billboarded the foreign-born staff at a hospital in north London; its nurses came from the Philippines and Kenya, its doctors from Spain and Nigeria and its medical director from Pakistan.

    The UK is often seen as the least "European" government in its foreign and economic policies, but because of London’s relaxed labour laws, thriving service industry and its role as the region’s financial capital, at street level the cosmopolis represents the European ideal at its best.

    It is in London not in Paris nor in Frankfurt where there is the greatest concentration of a pan-European workforce.

    Brussels may be where the bureaucracy sits, but London is where the heart of the European Union beats most vibrantly.

    The Cinnamon Club, hospitals, and trading floors of brokerage houses across the city reflect that diversity. "We have 22 nationalities working here.

    The English are teased for being the only ethnic minority," jokes the Cinamon Club’s owner Iqbal Wahhab. Wahhab himself was norn in Bangladesh. The woman at the cloakroom turned out to be from Kazakhstan.

    Despite such globe-spanning variety in so many of London’s workplaces, immigrants are making something of a comeback as a favourite whipping boy of politicians and the press. It is a refrain that goes back centuries: Elizabeth I worried about London being overrun by Africans, saying, "There are of late diverse blackamoores brought into these realms of which kind there are already here too manie."

    The prospect of additional countries from Eastern Europe being included in the European Union in May has stirred up a similar cacophony of criticism – headlines such as "500 immigrants EVERY day to swamp Britain" and "Gypsies’ Guide to NHS Scrounging’ – in the country’s reactionary tabloid press.

    The danger is that this fantasy world imagery of grasping, scrounging immigrants swamping Little England will slow the steady march of integration and assimilation being played out on London’s streets every day.

    Sanjeeva Dissanayake, who spent part of his childhood in Sri Lanka and is a doctor who works in pharmaceutical research, says he cannot remember immigration being such a hot topic 10 years ago. "My ex-secretary said, ‘It’s the immigrants who cause the problems.’ I felt quite sad. (This started with) the media and the politicians, but people are being affected."

    I had been invited to dinner at his mother’s home by Dissanayake’s sister and after we had finished a Sri Lankan feast, his Italian wife, Donatella Maraschin, returned to the theme. During a recent visit to the hospital for pre-natal tests, she said she had been treated rudely at St Mary’s in Paddington in central London, because she speaks English with an Italian accent.

    "I don’t think this is England per se. It’s a human reaction to foreigners," says Maraschin, who has a PhD from Reading University and teaches there.

    Maraschin then defused her criticism by saying that the attitude to outsiders was much more welcoming in the UK than in her native country. "In Italy, even if people are Albanian, they call them all Moroccans. Even if you are a legal alien, it is difficult to rent because people don’t want you around," she says.

    That faith in Britain’s openness is what brought Petrit Luci to London. "My friends said, ’If you go to London, they treat you the same as others.’ I had friends from Kosovo who were educated but they had to work in the building industry in Germany," he says. "Here some of my friends from Kosovo are in management."

    This is the same abacus Jotham Annan, a British student at the Royal Academy of Drama and Art (Rada) whose parents moved to the UK from Ghana, refers to when I ask him about whether he feels British or Ghanaian.

    "If you do things by the book, you can get somewhere here. I love England - anything I’ve wanted to do, I’ve been able to do. I went to arguably the best drama school in the world and now I’m working with Trevor Nunn (the acclaimed British theatre director)," said Annan. I saw Annan in a staging at Rada of Kafka’s The Trial but by the time I interviewed him, he had landed the part of Horatio in Hamlet directed by Nunn at the prestigious Old Vic theatre.

    Despite its recent political rhetoric on East European immigrants and asylum-seekers, the British government has over the past few years become more liberal – not less – in allowing employers access to people from all over the world who have skills that are in short supply. David Thompson, the celebrated chef at the Thai restaurant of the Halkin Hotel, says obtaining work visas is very easy for his restaurant’s cooks, usually taking just six to eight weeks.

    UK Home Office figures show that 44,443 healthcare staff from countries outside the EU were issued work permits last year, a 27-fold increase on the number issued 10 years ago.

    This carefully calibrated confusion by the British government, between its strident public pronouncements on immigration to pacify the right-wing press in the UK and its pragmatic public policies designed to attract a workforce from all over the world to keep businesses ticking, may now be veering in the wrong direction. "The debate about immigration is silly," said a Palestinian dry cleaner in my neighbourhood. "We do the work that the English are no longer willing to do."

    The irony is that as London becomes more multinational by the day, its cosmopolitanism as well as its economic opportunity is becoming a draw for people from all over the world. Tim Naylor lived much of his life in a village called Turangi in New Zealand before he moved to the UK aged 27 "I feel at home here. It’s not where I was born that’s for sure.

    There are times when you feel there’s the whole world in this city," the now 41-year-old commodities trader for Shell said. "London seems more of a melting pot than New York. In New York, you have a Greek neighbourhood and an Italian neighbourhood. In London, you go from one neighbourhood to another and everything is completely mixed up."

    I asked Lucy Chan, a teacher in a south London school in Catford whose students are mostly from Africa and the Caribbean, what she might miss about London when she and her husband, Tim, who works for the UK foreign service, move to northern China this summer. "I will miss the kind of life we have here. I see London as my home," she replied. "Going back (to Hong Kong) would be very comfortable, but it is easier for me to integrate here than for Tim (there) because London is so diverse."

    The very foreignness of her surroundings in a south London school where 40 languages are spoken by a student body from places as far-flung as Somalia, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean had made her feel at home."I feel privileged because I understand them; they have very little English and I know how difficult it is to speak a foreign language," she said.

    Perhaps the secret of London’s success as a home to so many different nationalities is that is almost impossible to feel foreign in a city where you are likely to hear Cantonese at one street corner and Italian at the next, where your corner shop is run by Sri Lankans and where your minicab late at night is driven by a Nigerian. At one of the meetings of the FT Weekend soon after I arrived, I was surprised to find that nearly half the staff at the meeting were foreign-born. London seems to me more of a mosaic than its US counterparts: Assimilation is much more of a two-way street.

    For me, London is now primarily coloured not by its magnificent parks and monuments but by the different faces of its cosmopolitanism.

    Last summer, just a few months after I arrived, I was jogging along the south bank of the river Thames when I chanced upon a performance by a young Greek band. Swept along by the music, a grandmother, with the easy self-assurance of women her age, jumped up and did a solo rendition of what I guessed was a Greek folk dance.

    She then tried to draw several men into the dance but had no takers until a young Chinese woman gallantly joined her. I watched this bit of uniquely London street theatre with elation. I had just arrived that afternoon from a short trip to Copenhagen, which suddenly seemed monochromatic. It felt good to be home again.

    Rahul Jacob is the FT’s leisure editor

    Places you should go


    The White House kosher restaurant, 10-12 Bell Lane NW4. For a traditional Jewish meal, snack or takeaway. Nearest Tube: Hendon Central
    Hummingbird, 84 Stroud Green Road N4. One of the capital's first Caribbean restaurants. Nearest Tube: Finsbury Park
    Ringcross community centre, Lough Road, N7. Colombian cooking demonstrations and recipes. Nearest Tubes: Holloway Road/ Caledonian Road
    Kolos Super Market, 230 Stoke Newington High Street N16. Newly opened East European grocery store. Nearest Tube: Manor House


    Columbia Road open-air flower market for plants from all over the world. Sunday 8am- 1pm. Nearest Tube station: Bethnal Green
    Whitechapel market has a number of stalls catering for the Bengali and Somali communities. Open Mon-Wed, Fri and Sat, from 8.30am-5.30pm, Thurs 8.30am – 1pm. Nearest Tubes: Aldgate East/Whitechapel
    Latinos No.1, 510 Kingsland Road, London E8. Colombian art, crafts, coffee, fast food, music and fashion. Nearest Tubes: Bethnal Green/Old Street
    Pellicci's, 332 Bethnal Green Road E2. One of the East End’s oldest and most famous Italian restaurants. Nearest Tube: Bethnal Green


    The White Eagle Club, 211 Balham High Road SW17. Traditional Polish food and drink and Zabawa dancing. Nearest Tubes: Balham/Tooting
    Hoa Noam, 126 New Cross Road SE14. Traditional Vietnamese cuisine at reasonable prices. Nearest Tube: New Cross Gate
    Bhangra Mix, Dukes, 349 Kennington Lane, London SE11. Second and last Saturday of every month, 10pm-3am. Unique club where Bhangra & Bollywood take control with a twist of Arabic House Soul and international tunes. Nearest Tube: Vauxhall
    O Cantinho de Portugal, 135 Stockwell Road SW9. No-frills Portuguese home cooking on the seafood-dominated menu. Nearest Tube: Brixton


    Bar Salsa, 96 Charing Cross Road. Spanish music and dancing. Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road
    Adam I Agusla, 258 King Street W6. Polish delicatessen, sandwich bar and restaurant. Nearest Tube: Hammersmith
    Brazilian Touch Café, 40-42 Oxford Street W1. Traditional Brazilian meals and snacks. Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
    Misato, 11 Wardour Street. W1. New budget Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. Nearest Tubes: Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square.

    Nearest Tubes given as a guide only. In some cases overground rail services or buses may run nearer

    Compiled by Katie Boulton

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 28, 2004.

    'I'll blow your face off' says gunman

    'I'll blow your face off' says gunman

    By Greg Truscott,

    South London Press

    A MAN was threatened with a handgun and told his face would be blown off if he refused to hand over his mobile phone.

    The terrified 43-year-old was punched to the floor and kicked after handing his phone and wallet to an armed gang who had followed him into a quiet residential street.

    He suffered a black eye and injuries to his shoulder in the frightening street robbery.

    The man had come out of Stockwell Tube station and was walking along Clapham Road, Stockwell, when he passed a group of youths.

    The youths followed him into Durand Gardens where one of them tried to grab his mobile phone. The victim was struggling with the youth when another pulled a black handgun and pointed it at him.

    The gunman told the terrified victim he would "blow his face off" if he did not surrender the phone.

    The robbery happened at around 10pm on Thursday, March 18. The suspects are described as black youths.

    The victim believes there were between four and six in the gang.

    The gunman was 6ft tall, of slim build and aged around 20, with a South London accent and wearing dark clothing, including a dark baseball cap. A second suspect was shorter with a "squeaky" South London accent. Anybody with information should call Kennington Priority Crime Unit on 020 8649 2434 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    020 8710 6435 email: crime@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 27, 2004.

    Readers and writers festival programme


    Readers and writers festival programme

    Released: March 25, 2004 4:06 PM
    Filesize: 410kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 25, 2004.

    Victory for major in sex case

    Victory for major in sex case

    By Patrick Sawer

    Evening Standard

    24 March 2004

    An army warrant officer who claimed she was "pestered" into having an affair with a cavalry major today lost her case of sex discrimination against the Ministry of Defence.

    Mother- of- two Angela McConnell, who admitted to a tribunal she had liaisons with three other officers, including a lesbian affair, said her reputation had been ruined and the verdict had shattered her faith in British justice.

    She had accused the Army of treating her differently from the major once their affair - banned under strict rules - was exposed.

    The warrant officer claimed she was recommended for demotion to corporal or dismissal while Major Alastair Ross was allowed to retire on a full pension.

    She also told the 17-day employment tribunal in Southampton she believed her career in the King's Royal Hussars would be jeopardised if she rejected the advances of the major, who had been granted anonymity.

    Her third claim was that she believed a letter from Major Ross's solicitor was a bid to blackmail her into dropping the sexual discrimination case by threatening to expose one of her other affairs.

    Today, as the tribunal threw out all three claims, she said: "I'm bitterly disappointed. The way the Army was allowed to rake up my past was disgusting. It destroyed my faith in British justice."

    She added: "The hearing was the most depressing episode in my life, yet I've come out stronger. My marriage is over but I have a new job, a new home and a new life.

    "Within the first week of the hearing I knew we were going to lose. Everything was stacked against me. The court allowed the MoD to expose my sex life but refused to let Ross be questioned about his string of affairs."

    Mrs McConnell, 41, from West Lulworth, said she had tried to kill herself when her husband George discovered her relationship. Only the thought of her two children stopped her. Major Ross, who lives in Kennington, had strongly denied Mrs McConnell's accusations. He told the tribunal: "I am certainly not a sexual predator. I think womaniser is the expression."

    Mrs McConnell repeatedly denied claims by Wendy Outhwaite, counsel for the MoD, that she was " flirtatious and promiscuous".

    John Mackenzie, representing Mrs McConnell, said today: "The message that comes out loud and clear from this tribunal is that any woman in the Army who institutes proceedings under the Sex Discrimination Act risks having their sexual reputation comprehensively trashed."

    The Army strictly forbids sexual relationships between commissioned officers, such as the major, and other ranks, ranging from private to warrant officer.

    The MoD today said: "We've received formal confirmation of the decision and we are considering it and respond in due course."

    Mrs McConnell's estranged husband criticised the verdict. The 43-year-old fireman said: "It's a travesty. The Army set out to portray her as some sort of slapper and protected Major Ross.

    "They went to incredible lengths to dredge up incidents from her past. She has been treated most unfairly."

    ... but his career is now in ruins

    By Nigel Rosser

    Evening Standard

    24 March 2004

    The ease with which he let his "brain be overruled" by sexually available women has today cost Major Ross his job, his livelihood and his wife.

    His admission of affairs with two female soldiers forced him to resign his commission in the King's Royal Hussars and caused his wife Francesca to leave Britain for a new life in Brussels. And he has swapped his pretty cottage in the Wiltshire countryside for a flat in Kennington where soon all he will have left of a once glittering army career will be a £85,000 pay-off and a modest pension.

    The major says leaving the Hussars was one of the worst things that has ever happened to him. "Removal meant I would be ostracised from the people with whom I had grown up and spent the majority of my adult life. All this has been humiliating."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 24, 2004.

    Sport: Questions & answers


    March 21, 2004

    Questions & answers

    Your sporting conundrums solved

    Q When was the first football fixture between Wales and England, and where was it played?

    Derek Griffiths, Wrexham

    A Wales played their first international match in 1876, with Scotland providing the opposition. The Welsh played one international in each of the next two years, both against Scotland. Then on January 18, 1879 — four days before the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in the Zulu War — Wales played England for the first time, losing 2-1 at Kennington Oval, London. The next year, England played Wales at The Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, winning 3-2. In 1881 Wales scored their first international victory, and their first over England, when they won 1-0 at Blackburn with a goal from John Vaughan of Oswestry. The two countries then met annually up to and including 1914, when the first world war brought a temporary halt to the fixture.

    Alan Hughes, St Asaph

    Send questions or answers to Peter Boyle, Q & A, The Sunday Times sport, 1 Pennington Street, London E98 1ST, or e-mail peter.boyle@sunday-times.co.uk  

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 21, 2004.

    Child robbed


    March 20, 2004

    News in brief

    Child robbed

    Three armed robbers who snatched a £10 note from the hand of a four-year-old girl were each jailed for 15 years at Inner London Crown Court. Dane Grant, 26, David Noel, 18, and Leon Dixon, 24, stole £7,500 from Wazobia Travel in Kennington, southeast London.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 20, 2004.

    What lies beneath?


    March 19, 2004

    What lies beneath?

    By Stephen Smith

    As terror alerts make the rest of us scared to take the Underground, our correspondent describes how he overcame his phobia by walking through the capital's subterranean labrynth at night

    DEEP below London, I stumbled through a dark tunnel, trying not to think about the rats eyeing me from the gloom. It was impossible to orient myself in the unvarying brick passage, even though I must have been through it a hundred times before. I was on the Northern Line, but I was making the journey in a way that few commuters would care to experience it: on foot. Thankfully, I was not being led to safety from a broken-down Tube. Nor was this a horror conjured by terror alerts, in which I staggered from a train-wreck after an attack. No: I was pursuing a fascination I had developed with the subterranean city though, ironically enough, this itself had begun in fear.

    Long before the threat of terrorism was making most people think twice about taking the Tube, my own aversion was already well developed. After years of living in the country, the Underground made me short of breath with anxiety. Where possible, I avoided it altogether. If there was no way around it, I would attempt the trip only once I was kitted out with a portable juju of smelling salts, battered rosary, a ring that my girlfriend had given me and a phial of tonic made to a fortifying homoeopathic recipe, ie, practically neat alcohol. I suffered from a kind of claustrophobia. It didn’t only apply to being in a confined space such as a compartment on the Underground, but it was there that it made most sense. It was really a city-phobia.

    In time, I made the paradoxical discovery that there was a relief to be had from this in the lonelier stretches of the Tube, down where few people went and no mobile phones rang. Marc Augé, a French author who wrote a book about the Paris Métro, said: “Solitude: this would probably be the keyword of the description an impartial observer might be tempted to make of the social phenomenon of the Métro.” As is well known, though, the London Underground often makes solitude impossible. I came to wonder if it wasn’t the press of my fellow travellers that bothered me, more than the subterranean experience itself. Exploring the Tube by footslogging the track seemed a good way of putting this idea to the test.

    To enter the Underground at night is to be a witness to the occult habits of the inverted city. In the early hours of the morning, the current is turned off and the Tube network, like a giant octopus uncoiled on a seabed, goes through its intimate routines of preening. Platforms are swept, lifts fixed. Chipped and distressed concrete sleepers are effortfully levered up and swapped for fresh slabs. The night shift is also the time when Tube workers tell tales about their strange, upside-down domain. “Do you know the main thing that we have to get rid of?” asked Mick Murphy, of London Underground, as he led the way along the tracks from London Bridge station to Bank. “Human hair.”

    With thousands of people circulating through the network every day, there was hair loss of alopecian proportions, as well as a massive sloughing off of skin. The Tube was a wind tunnel of psoriasis. The other detritus in the tunnels was wallets, said Mick. I was baffled until he explained that it was a by-product of pick-pocketing: thieves snaffled purses and pocketbooks, filleting them and dropping what was left through the windows at the end of the carriages.

    Mick and I were on our way to meet a man named Billy. Billy does an extraordinary job: he walks the Northern Line for a living. He’s a patrolman, pacing out the deserted tunnels with his lamp and his walkie-talkie and his large box-spanner. As he makes his solitary rounds, Billy keeps a lookout for cracks in the rails and checks the bolts that hold them on to the sleepers. He was only a conversation away by walkie-talkie, but he was lost to the eye in a maze of tunnels. At last, his lamp winked like a glow-worm in the gloaming. In his Ulster brogue, Billy explained that he had started his shift by getting on the line at Kennington as soon after midnight as it was safe to do so, and it was his intention to reach Old Street before sun-up — or, more pertinently, before the power came back on again.

    Billy was an uncompromising ploughman of his own furrow. So, although the hour and the place were congenial to supernatural cogitations, I expected only the shortest of shrifts from him when I asked him who or what might occupy the tunnels at night — other than himself, of course. I was duly surprised when he replied: “I didn’t necessarily see a ghost but I had a very strange experience once.”

    It was about ten years ago, he said. He was walking the Jubilee Line in those days. It was 2.30am and he was patrolling between Baker Street and St John’s Wood. He was taking a breather on a stretch of the line that was quite well lit. “I was sitting there, having a drink, and suddenly I felt this wee draught. You know how warm it can get down in these tunnels? Well, it was very surprising to go cold all over like that.” Billy had been staring directly ahead of him, his gaze fixed on the line. There was a powdery ballast between the rails, he said.

    “As I was looking, I saw footprints appearing in the ballast. It was going right past me, whatever it was. I was frozen.”

    As Billy watched, the ballast continued to be disturbed in the same way, with what appeared to be footprints heading deeper into the tunnel, as if an invisible figure were walking away from him. “After it got about ten metres away from me, it stopped,” said Billy. “The worst part of it was that I had to go in the same direction. I felt incredibly cold, like I was in a freezer. But after I got past those first ten metres, I started to feel OK again.”

    Risking ridicule, Billy described what had happened to his fellow patrolman, called Wilson. “I thought Wilson was going to laugh at me. But not a bit of it. He said that at one time, a long time ago, there was a patrolman killed on that stretch of the railway. He was knocked down by a runaway train.” Billy smiled apologetically. “They say that the driver got out at Finchley to go to the loo and never put the brakes on.”

    For the most part, the phantoms of the Underground favour its ghostly, disused stations, of which there are now more than 40. The abandoned stop of Aldwych once served the theatres of the Strand. It is said that an old palace of varieties was demolished to make way for the railway. A grande dame who once trod the theatre’s boards was so indignant that she haunts the old station.

    Perhaps the most exotic shade inhabits British Museum, a lost halt on the Central Line. The station opened in 1900, but within half a dozen years faced competition a short distance away from Holborn station on the Piccadilly Line. Eventually, Holborn was expanded and Central Line trains no longer called at British Museum, though its tiled walls can still be glimpsed from trains heading west out of Holborn. Before it closed in 1933, there were reports that the station was frequented by the ghost of an Ancient Egyptian, a mummy who had fled from the nearby galleries, and newspapers offered rewards to readers who were brave or foolhardy enough to spend the night on the platform. This legend, one of many arising from the buried city, is echoed in a sarcophagus motif that decorates the walls of Holborn platforms to this day.

    For many Londoners it's the future that haunts them now, not the past: the accident of timing that might place them on the wrong train at the wrong time. Some friends of mine have avoided the Tube since the anthrax scare of a couple of years ago, and today others are joining them. It is as if they have caught my former fears just as I have overcome them. Curiously, though the threat is real, the strange solitude of the Tube is not an experience I would now willingly give up.

    Underground London: Travels Beneath the City Streets by Stephen Smith is published by Little, Brown, £17.99.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 19, 2004.

    The boys are back ...

    South London Press

    The boys are back ...

    Mar 19 2004

    SOUTH London comedy duo Adam and Joe may have packed up the toy box but they're still treating fans to their daft humour with a slot on XFM. Joe tells KELLIE REDMOND about Laurence Llewelyn Bowen's bum...

    IF ADAM and Joe were to do a remake of current hit movie Lost In Translation they'd like to "dress Bill Murray up as a teddy bear and put Scarlett Johansson in a sexy duck outfit".

    It's good to see the pair haven't lost their touch when it comes to their much-loved technique of recreating famous films using toys (the Star Wars re-enactment with plastic figures being a favourite). But while their award-winning cult Adam and Joe Show, filmed above The Body Shop in Brixton, may now be long gone, the pair are still treating fans to their own brand of daft humour as presenters on alternative music station Xfm on Saturday afternoons.

    The South London duo are keeping the seats warm for latest national treasures Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who are away for six months following the phenomenal success of The Office and are working on a follow-up.

    It's the second time they've sat in for them, says Brixton-based Joe: "We wanted to get into radio, Adam used to DJ in Cheltenham when he was at college so we went to Xfm saying we'd like to do something."

    He adds: "Then when Ricky and Steph had to go off and collect awards seven days a week, we were approached."

    Has it been huge pressure stepping into the shoes of Gervais and Merchant?

    "I guess it's a little bit of pressure, because we knew their show was very popular, but we are just trying to do something that's us."

    Hence, regular features such as reviewing films they've never seen.

    "It's quite easy as you have an idea of what the film's going to be like," he laughs.

    "And not seeing a film never stopped some critics writing about them."

    And because he and Adam have very different music tastes ("I'm into R'n'B and hip-hop and Adam's very much into indie music") each week they get listeners to decide between a track they've each picked.

    But, be warned: if Joe suddenly adopts a husky voice mid-voting he's cannily pretending "the mic's a cat" to gain an unfair advantage over his co-presenter.

    "I presented Front Row [arts show] on Radio 4 for a while last year," he explains.

    "They train your voice to sound Radio 4 - the trainer told me to talk as if I was whispering in the ear of a lover in bed or talking to a cat.

    He laughs: "She then cut two small triangles out of a piece of paper, and then stuck them on the mic to look like cats ears.

    "It's so soothing, that sometimes I employ my Radio 4 voice to seduce the listener - so they pick my track over Adam's."

    So what's been your Xfm radio highlight so far?

    "When we get an email, as we know someone must be listening the show," he says dryly. The pair first met as 13-year-olds at the "very poe-sh" Westminster School in central London, and now live a short distance from each other in South London.

    "Adam lives in Stockwell, one side of the Brixton Road, and I live the other, in Brixton/Herne Hill."

    Joe continues: "I grew up in Stockwell for the first 25 years of my life. Then I moved to Kennington, Vauxhall, then briefly to the East End for two-and-a-half years. But just had to come back."

    When they were making The Adam and Joe Show in the mid-90s they could often be seen hanging out at The Dogstar, but now married (Adam has a baby girl), they've swapped clubbing for live music: "We both go to gigs at Brixton Academy and last saw Beck there."

    On the music front, not many people may know that while making their show in the late 90s, the pair also experimented in making pop promos - including one for Pixies frontman Frank Black, no less. In terms of being in front of the camera, last year they made Adam and Joe Go Tokyo! for BBC Three.

    "It was amazing. I don't know how many people watched it, but in terms of a free holiday for Adam and Joe it was great!"

    But did they fulfil the challenge and "make it big" in the land of the Rising Sun?

    "Not really. The most exciting was when we had this group of girls follow us around. People thought we were Western pop stars, so eventually we had several hundred people following us around."

    He adds: "We'd definitely like to do another series and have a go in a different country."

    And there's those Surf adverts with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Keith Harris and Orville.

    "They are great fun. Adam and I started making our own TV shows and it was just the two of us doing everything, the lights, filming...so doing an advert where someone does your make-up and someone else does the lights, it's great."

    He adds: "Laurence was very, very nice. He's got a lovely woman's bum and lovely hair. He told dirty jokes all day."

    Meanwhile, in terms of the future, there's good news for fans of their 90s TV show: "We are working really hard on a DVD of all four series of The Adam and Joe Show," reveals Joe.

    "We are hoping to release that in August."

    He says they are also working on "something dramatic" for TV, but can't reveal too much at the moment.

    "We also really want to do a low budget film, quite a stupid comedy, with elements of animation like Monty Python."

    And, fingers crossed, starring lots of toys.

    ***Adam and Joe, Saturdays, 1-3pm, on Xfm 104.9fm.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 19, 2004.

    Howard's harem

    Evening Standard

    18/03/04 - News and city section

    Howard's harem

    By Joe Murphy, Evening Standard Whitehall Editor

    They are young, chic and professional - and a far cry from the Blue Rinse Brigade.

    These are the women who will be standing for the Conservatives at the next general election.

    And party officials hope that "Howard's Harem" - as they have been nicknamed by certain non-PC officials at party headquarters - will boost Michael Howard's image in the same way that the "Blair Babes" did for Tony Blair in 1997.

    In recent weeks, a series of successful young women have been chosen to stand for the party in a string of constituencies - including crucial targets where Labour MPs have slim majorities.

    The selections are being hailed by Tory officials as a sign that the party is finally shedding its male, middle-aged image.

    Penny Mordaunt, 31, a communications consultant who lives in Kennington, was selected to fight Portsmouth North - where Labour's Syd Rapson has a 5,134 majority.

    She said: "I got interested in politics after doing aid work in Romanian orphanages and saw how problems were caused by bad political decisions."

    She said of the recent spring conference in Harrogate: "It used to be a dull affair but there was a young buzz this year."

    Sarah Richardson, 30, a freelance journalist living in Pimlico has been selected to stand in the East Midlands for a Euro MP seat.

    She said: "My role is to give a voice to people who would struggle to be heard."

    Ms Richardson, who is engaged to another Tory candidate, Damian Collins, added: "A lot of my social circle is people involved in the Conservative Party, and they tend to be young women working in the City or the media.

    "It sounds a bit of a cliché to say it is glamorous - mostly it is hard work."

    And finance manager Justine Greening, 34, was picked to stand in Putney, one of the key London target for the Tories once held by ex-Cabinet minister David Mellor.

    She will take on Labour's Tony Colman, who won a slim 2,771 majority in 2001.

    She said: "We are seeing a whole new generation coming through but glamour doesn't matter - what matters is that you talk to people about the things that matter to them.

    "The bottom line on the doorstep is whether you have the ideas and commitment to make a difference. The average age of Tory candidates is coming down and there are more professional people with experience of the real world coming through."

    The Conservatives have also chosen their first openly lesbian candidate. Margot James, 46, a millionaire businesswoman, will fight Holborn and St Pancras against sitting Labour MP Frank Dobson.

    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/articles/9713092?version=1
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 18, 2004.

    Estate ban for teenager after reign of terror

    Estate ban for teenager after reign of terror

    Mar 16 2004

    South London Press

    A TEENAGE troublemaker who abused neighbours and set off fireworks outside their homes has been banned from the Kennington Park Estate.

    The 15-year-old, who was alleged to have been involved in a one-man reign of terror on the estate, has been made the subject of an interim Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) banning him from coming within a mile of his former home.

    Lambeth council also obtained a Possession Order on the premises occupied by the boy in response to complains from other residents.

    North Lambeth area committee chairman Councillor Charles Anglin, who is Lambeth's executive member for community safety, said: "Troublemakers should get the message: "They will not get away with this sort of behaviour."

    As well as the ASBO, two families have already been evicted in north Lambeth for antisocial behaviour, and action is under way against a resident in Vassall ward.

    As part of a new borough wide antisocial behaviour strategy the council, the police and other agencies are now getting together in each town centre in Lambeth to discuss problem cases and agree action. Residents have been asked to report any antisocial behaviour to the police.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 17, 2004.

    Banning order tackles persistent anti-social behaviour


    Banning order tackles persistent anti-social behaviour

    A persistent troublemaker in North Lambeth has been banned from coming within a mile of his former home on Kennington Park Estate.

    Released: March 15, 2004 2:13 PM
    Filesize: 8kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 16, 2004.

    MONDAY EVENINGS at the DURNING LIBRARY with the Friends of Durning Library

    MONDAY EVENINGS at the DURNING LIBRARY with the Friends of Durning Library

    Dear Friends

    A reminder about this Monday evening's event at the Durning Library.

    Best wishes


    Evening events at 7.0 for 7.30  --  all welcome
    (come early - space limited)
    Held at the Durning Library,  167 Kennington Lane,  SE11
    £2 suggested donation
    Nibbles and drinks
    Kennington and Oval stations.  3, 59, 159, 322, 360 buses

    Monday 15 March:  "Can We Avert Climate Catastrophe?"

    Where can we find the real facts about climate change?  Are the relevant scientists in disagreement about the facts?  How real and imminent is the threat of climate catastrophe?  Can we avert it, and if so how much time have we got?  These are some of the questions that John Mead, member of the UNED-UK Energy & Climate Change Panel and of the Christian Ecology Link, will try to answer.  (This when the government's chief scientist is quoted as seeing climate change as a greater threat than terrorism - and as being advised not to go on about it.)

    Monday 19 April:  Councillor Anthony Bottrall, followed by our AGM

    Councillor Bottrall, Lambeth's Executive member for Education, was one of the people who saved the Durning Library from closure.  Now he is responsible for Lambeth libraries and much else.  After his talk, our AGM is your chance to decide the future of the Friends.

    Monday 10 May:  "Murder in the Library"

    Local authors John Fullerton, Sarah Diamond and Edwin Thomas are members of Criminal Minds, home to nine successful writers from different backgrounds and generations.  Find out more about crime writing and what makes it so popular.  Whether you like psychological, historical, action-adventure or political thrillers, they promise to amuse, surprise and inform.

    Monday 17 May:  "Kennington Revealed"

    Local resident and official London tour guide Mary Frost will give an amusingly different view of Kennington's history.

    -- Cathy (FoDurningLibrary@aol.com), March 14, 2004.

    The Andrew Davidson Interview: Brown’s totally opposite number


    March 14, 2004

    The Andrew Davidson Interview: Brown’s totally opposite number

    Budget day will see the dour anorak pitted against the genial boffin in the Commons — and Oliver Letwin is looking forward to it immensely

    YOU can expect many things with Oliver Letwin, shadow chancellor of the exchequer, but short answers are not an option. I blame his parents. Both academics — what hope did he have? “I guess,” he agrees, “the fact of them being interested in political and economic ideas did have an influence on me being interested in them, and I did spend quite a lot of time as a child and as a teenager with people who thought about these kinds of things, and talking and arguing with people who were philosophers and economists and historians probably made me more interested in arguments rather than artisan politics...” At least, I think he said “artisan” but sometimes Letwin, 47, speaks with such flow, popping in the unexpected just to keep you on your toes, that neither tape nor human can quite make it out. Then, just when you’re floundering, he’ll let loose a high-pitched giggle and throw you a lifeline, before rushing on.

    On Wednesday he will be using his very singular style of egg-headed, wordy reasonableness to provide the opposition’s response to Gordon Brown’s budget. Don’t expect him to be brief. Sitting in his cramped office in Speaker’s Court at the House of Commons, clearing a space for me at a little table on which mounds of books are piled, you get the impression that he is rather looking forward to this one.

    Is he expecting any surprises? “Well, I doubt if Gordon will either change significantly the path of spending compared with the pre-budget reports, or announce huge tax rises to meet the black hole he has got. What he will do instead is fiddle around at the edges. Most of the changes we will notice 24 to 48 hours later — that’s his normal form — and there will be some sweet and cuddly things in it, and when you look through the detail you will notice that there are all sorts of other things that he hasn’t done, indexations he hasn’t performed, or, I quote, “loopholes” he has closed, trying to scrabble round and collect some pennies to try to minimise the extent of the black hole without admitting its existence and without therefore admitting Labour’s third-term tax rises...”

    Right. Those “third-term” rises being the ones which Letwin and others are conjecturing that Brown, a “tax junkie”, will have to impose to pay for the increasing amount of money flowing into public services. Keep up. The poshly amiable Letwin, before he won his Dorset parliamentary seat in 1997, worked as an academic, a policy wonk and a banker for NM Rothschild, selling privatisation overseas, and it all shows.

    But he’s good company.

    Of medium height, slightly paunchy — he’s recently been “Atkins-ed” — with a halo of black curls framing a chubby face, he acts more like a jolly public-school teacher, shirt-sleeved and bubbly, than an earnest politician.

    Behind the amiability, there’s a degree of complexity, too. Letwin boasts Russian-Jewish grandparents who settled in America, and American academic parents who settled here and then overlaid him with British Establishment values, so he’s rarely short of surprises. He is, for instance, already admired by many for his refusal to conduct political business in the time-honoured combative style. If he likes someone else’s idea, he says so.

    “I just don’t think what is interesting about politics is sitting behind a brick wall and lobbing grenades at other people,” he says. He prefers “to shift the centre ground” of an argument. The jury is still out on how effective that is proving. His performance next week, tackling the first budget since he was appointed shadow chancellor in November 2003, will give a good indication.

    In the longer term, Letwin has to win over the business vote before the next election. That used to be something the Conservative party could rely on. Not any more. Many in business still seem to gravitate towards Labour simply because the alternative, for the best part of a decade, has not looked that great.

    But things could change. With a new leader in Michael Howard, growing resentment about the amount of red tape choking firms, and anger over the government’s U-turn on promises to encourage enterprise, there is fertile soil to be tilled. You just wonder how well Old Etonian Letwin, with his garrulous swot style, will play among the self-made men who fled the Conservative party for New Labour.

    Has he won Sir Alan Sugar’s vote yet? Letwin purses his lips. “I think it would be invidious to talk about individuals,” he says, before explaining why many are starting to come round. Blame Gordon Brown. “Fifteen regulations per working day, £54 billion of additional business taxation” — managers now spend too much time worrying how to get through the tax and regulation thicket, and not enough time attending to output.

    In addition, he says, Labour has pumped cash into the public sector, but to little tangible benefit. He rattles out statistics: some 600,000 extra public- sector employees, the cost of running the civil service has doubled, the NHS has received 37% more funding but only 5% more treatments, public services have got 54% more.

    “What Gordon has achieved is a machine that keeps on enlarging and taxing and regulating and keeps producing extremely low output in comparison to input.” That, in turn, effects productivity growth as a whole across the economy.

    Letwin’s alternative? Well, he has yet to reveal his own detailed fiscal plans for the economy, but he has pledged that he will maintain the growth in spending on schools and the NHS while keeping taxes at current levels and, possibly, if conditions allow, reduce them.

    How will he do that? First, by taking 100,000 jobs out of the civil service over six years — all by natural wastage — then by eliminating inefficiencies.

    Will voters buy it? That’s a tough question. Letwin argues that there is an alternative to an ever-larger state, that more control must be passed to the individual, that we must be able to choose our schools and hospitals, and makes a good case for it, but sometimes the blizzard of words leaves you snowblind for detail. And on a personal level, there’s a side to Letwin — the one he sells as his erudite Honest Joe approach to politics — that actually can make him seem rather divorced from reality and, occasionally, a bit of a twit.

    Hence those stories that he was, allegedly, sent into hiding at the last election after inadvertently admitting that the Tories would cut public spending by £20 billion. Then last year he told the press he would rather be a beggar than send his children to state school. Some rather admire him for his candour, but it’s not exactly going to mop up the less-well-off vote.

    Likewise, when I ask him how much he earns as shadow chancellor, or even as an MP, he lets out a high-pitched giggle and says he has no idea (MPs are paid £56,358). And recounting his hobbies, he goes: “Oh I ride, I walk, I read and, most of all, I talk, hahaha.” At times like this, when the foppish laugh takes over, Honest Joe seems to mutate into Mad King George. No wonder critics say he lacks political bite.

    But colleagues at Rothschild, where he worked with John Redwood advising foreign governments on privatisation, say he is tougher than many think, and a good business-getter.

    “Oliver is hugely intelligent and highly numerate,” says Nigel Higgins, head of investment banking at Rothschild, “but most importantly he has the ability to simplify and explain things, without it seeming glib.”

    His 17-year stint at Rothschild — he resigned as a director only in December — was certainly lucrative. Letwin and his wife, Isabel, who works as a lawyer, have a nice home in his west Dorset constituency, where he plays tennis, and another in London’s Kennington. He drives not one, but two Land Rover Discoveries (one blue, one green). “I use one in Dorset and the other for running up and down,” he explains, not thinking it the slightest bit odd.

    So what motivates him? “Oh I adore this,” he says, waving his hands around. Others suggest that he was strongly influenced by his mother, Shirley Letwin, who was a formidable right-wing academic and fascinated by politics. They note that since his mother died, Letwin, who once mirrored her adherence to free-market policies, has actually got rather more liberal.

    Now he’s addicted to the public forum and it makes his coming confrontation with Gordon Brown all the more eagerly anticipated. Both share a mastery of the brief but the contrast in styles — the dour anorak versus the genial boffin — couldn’t be greater. “Oliver is my favourite person in British politics,” says Redwood. “So nice, so decent and so friendly.”

    So nice that it’s hard to believe Letwin will be able to land any punches on the chancellor. When I notice a fat tome about Gordon Brown, on top of the book pile on his table, and joke “know thine enemy”, he looks positively affronted.

    “Enemy?” says Letwin, “No, not enemy. ‘Opponent’, I think, might be a better word.” Then he beams a vicar-ish smile. No doubt he will take great pleasure in surprising us all in the coming months.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 14, 2004.

    Oliver Letwin's Working Day


    March 14, 2004

    Oliver Letwin's Working Day

    THE shadow chancellor wakes every day at 6am, except Friday, at his house in Kennington, southeast London. Oliver Letwin catches a bus to the Houses of Parliament and is in his office by 7am, dealing with his e-mails. Later he breakfasts on bacon and eggs in the Lords canteen. On Fridays he is up even earlier, at 4.30am, so he can drive to his Dorset constituency before the rush hour.

    His days at the Commons are spent mainly in meetings with the press and with colleagues. “This job is not so much a department as concerned with everything. I spend a lot of time trying to absorb all the detail that goes with it. Sounds dull doesn’t it?” Letwin will also spend at least two hours a day dealing with constituency business. It’s a marginal seat, so he has to be hands-on. He will often work until 10pm. “Some days I get home at 8.30 for supper, which is lovely.”

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 14, 2004.

    Court circular


    March 12, 2004

    Court circular


    March 11: The Duchess of Gloucester, Patron, Medical Women’s Federation, this morning visited the Belgrave Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5.

    Her Royal Highness afterwards visited the Breast Screening Unit at King’s College Hospital NHS Trust.

    The Duchess of Gloucester later visited Eaves Housing for Women, Lincoln House, Kennington Park, 1-3 Brixton Road, London SW9.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 12, 2004.

    Ladies Who Lunch: The Dog House Wed 14th April

    Hi All

    I have made a booking at The Dog House pub for 1pm, Wednesday, 14th April.

    The Dog House
    293 Kennington Road
    Kennington Cross SE11 6BY
    7820 9310

    All ingredients are sourced from organic and free range suppliers at Borough Market and all meats and fish sourced from organic local butchers.

    The Dog House pub offers Nibbles and Side Orders, Starters and Snacks, Baguettes, Ciabattas and Burgers. Main dishes include Goats Cheese Parcel (£6.45), Organic Scotch Steaks (£7.95), Creamy Fish Pie (£6.95), Honey Glazed Pork Chops (£6.25) and Sausages of the Day, plus the Specials Boards. They also do Salads, Pasta and Tarts and Home Made Desserts ('full of fat, cream and sugar').

    Go to this link for a map:
    http://www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?pc=SE11 6BY

    Can you please let me know if you can join us?

    Many thanks
    Best wishes
    7793 0268

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 11, 2004.

    Kennington Gardens Society: SPRING SHOW



    Saturday 27th March 2004

    St Anselm's Church Hall
    Kennington Cross


    * Horticultural * domestic * handicraft *
    * flower arranging *
    *senior citizen and children's classes open to non-members *

    10p per entry - Prize giving at 3.30pm



    ALL ENQUIRIES TO: 020 7582 2327

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 10, 2004.



    The Fentiman Arms

    64 Fentiman Road
    London SW8

    Nearest tube: Oval/Vauxhall


    ADMISSION £5, OR £4 NUS (must show ID)



    The shows will run until July at least and take place in the function room above the pub.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 10, 2004.

    Congestion Charging

    South London Press

    Jury is still out on congestion charge effect

    Mar 1 2004

    One year on and the congestion charge seems to be working - but at what cost? While we're told town traffic levels are down, it is the independent traders who are hit hardest.

    OSCAR MORTALI looks at the charge one year on and asks: 'Is it really a success?'

    THEY said it was a disaster waiting to happen. Just over a year ago, London ushered in a new era in the form of the congestion charge. All the talk in the days, weeks and months leading up to the big day was of impending doom.

    Traffic would pile up on perimeter roads, cameras would fail and an already creaking public transport system would not cope, they said.

    And above all, people just wouldn't pay.

    At 7am on February 17, 2003, journalists and film crews gathered on the freshly drawn-up boundary lines, where outer London meets inner London, ready to chronicle the widely predicted chaos.

    It never happened. Now the congestion charge is being heralded as a roaring success.

    The number of cars entering the zone has dropped by 50,000 a day - a fall of 38 per cent - as drivers abandon them in favour of public transport. The London bus in particular has seen an unprecedented rise in passenger numbers.

    A quick glance at the figures back this up.

    Initially the scheme was expected to raise £180 million to rein-vest in public transport in its first year, Transport for London then lowered this estimate to £130 million.

    Today, it is suggested the first 12 months will reap around £70 million in hard cash.

    Journey times are down, the predicted chaos has failed to materialise and, despite a few early glitches, Capita, the private firm charged with running the congestion charge, recently met its second performance milestone.

    Inside Zone 1, everything is coming up roses.

    De Polla didn't vote in the last mayoral election.

    But he sure is going to in the next one. Rolf is co-owner of Wot On Earth - an independent organic food firm based on an industrial estate just outside the congestion zone in Vauxhall.

    Ask Rolf whether he thinks the charge has been a success and he'll give you a very straight answer. "It's killing us," he says.

    Walk up the stairs to his office and directly to the right, there is a sign plastered which reads: "CONGESTION CHARGE --HAS IT BEEN PAID?"

    Wot On Earth has forked out nearly £5,000 in levies and fines over the first 12 months.

    A small but well-established operation, the company has two vans which between them, make around 20 drops a day in and around London.

    They do not qualify for a fleet discount because their fleet is not big enough.

    And they can't deliver at night because the work involves dropping off perishable goods which can't be left outside premises.

    They employ one driver who, at times, inadvertently enters the zone. But, like many London drivers, he is not always sure.

    The bosses only know when a £40 demand lands on their doorstep.

    "It's been a complete and utter disaster for us," says co-owner Jeremy Jaffe. "It is designed to catch people out. There are no barriers to stop people entering, there is no safety net.

    "If you take a wrong turn, you pay." Rolf says: "I thought the mayor was meant to be on our side. All he's done is made it harder and harder for us to survive."

    Wot On Earth has been hit hard. Bosses have taken out a hefty business loan to keep the company afloat.

    Last month, Ken Livingstone launched a new congestion charge consultation, inviting Londoners to come forward with their comments.

    Rolf and Jeremy are realistic enough to know the chances of it being scrapped are slim, but they have a few suggestions.

    "For every other part of our business we are invoiced on a monthly basis," said Rolf. "Why can't they set up a similar account for the congestion charge?

    "If these cameras can tell you how many times you've entered every day, surely they can just send us a bill at the end of the month telling us how many fivers we owe them."

    Jeremy added: "If they're really serious about lowering pollution, why don't they use the money to give small businesses like us a grant to convert our vehicles to LPG fuel? "It's common sense isn't it?"

    In Kennington, traders have also been badly hit. Some have already shut up shop and chosen not to renew leases after seeing profits plummet by up to 30 per cent.

    For them the problem is not so much paying the charge, as many traders qualify for the 90 per cent discount, but the knock-on effect of the fall in customers driving into the zone.

    Mark Rogers, of the Kennington Association, said: "The businesses just inside the zone are missing out on passing trade. "Very often that is the difference between making the rent and not making the rent.

    "This is not the West End, this is a largely residential area and apart from more heavy traffic on boundary roads, they are losing their amenities as shops shut down.

    "It's a quality-of-life issue." Twelve months on, the congestion may be hailed a success up at City Hall, but closer to home the jury is still out."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 09, 2004.


    SE1 Direct 175: what's on this week


    Monday 8 March 7pm in St Anselm's Church Hall, Kennington Cross SE11
    (286 Kennington Road, at the junction of Kennington Road and Kennington Lane)

    In response to complaints about the bus services in North Lambeth and Southwark the Kennington Association is getting together with the Kennington, Oval and Vauxhall town centre forum to organise a public meeting about buses. London Buses will be represented by Andrew Boag and Belinda Danino. The area's councils will be represented by John Stewart of Lambeth Council and Trevor Wilding of Southwark Council. The meeting will be joined by local politicians Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, Cllr Caroline Pidgeon, deputy leader of Southwark Council, Cllr Andrew Sawdon, executive member for transport, Lambeth Council and Valerie Shawcross,London Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 08, 2004.


    The special costs of high-rise life

    Jo Thornhill

    Mail on Sunday

    8 March 2004

    HIGH-rise flats offer great views, but they also attract sky-high mortgage rates. Buyers might have to pay more than three times the average rate for a home loan - as much as 14%.

    And that is if they can find a lender to give them a mortgage. Many will not consider loans for flats above the fourth or fifth floor.

    This is because high-rise properties are considered to be a greater fire risk. They might also have higher maintenance costs, which has a bearing on the borrower's ability to repay a loan.

    Flats in high-rise blocks suffered most in the house price slump of the early Nineties, making lenders even more wary.

    But a mortgage for a high-rise home is not impossible, as parole officer Chieme Ekwem discovered. Chieme, 44, struggled for two years to find a mortgage on his £88,500 council flat on the 16th floor of a 17-storey block in Kennington, south London.

    'When I started looking for a mortgage, I had no idea that it would be so difficult,' says Chieme, 44. 'I already had a deposit from Lambeth Council under the Right to Buy scheme and I only needed to borrow £50,000, but lenders turned me down many times.'

    Alliance & Leicester told Chieme it could lend on a high-rise block, but it must be brick-built. Chieme's property is concrete.

    Then he managed to find a smaller, specialist lender that agreed to a loan, but it wanted to charge interest at 14% - three times the best residential mortgage rates on the market.

    'I had just about given up,' says Chieme, 'but then I saw an advert saying HSBC would lend on high-rise properties. I tried there and the bank approved the loan. It was such a relief.' He now pays mortgage interest of 4.74%.

    Sian Lehrter, head of mortgages at HSBC, says the bank looks at applications case-bycase and it would not refuse to consider a property just because it was on the 16th floor.

    But, she says, borrowers must be wary. 'We may ask for a more detailed survey or valuation for high-rise flats,' says Lehrter. 'We look at issues such as whether the lift works; the condition of shared staircases and hallway; and what sort of maintenance fees are charged.

    'We are flexible and will make an independent assessment. But borrowers should also be careful. If lenders won't grant a mortgage, you have to think it might not be the right property to buy.'

    As well as A&L and HSBC, Bank of Scotland, Leeds & Holbeck and Portman will consider lending on highrise flats, depending on structural quality and the valuer's comments.

    Cheltenham & Gloucester, part of Lloyds TSB, and Northern Rock will lend up to the fourth floor and NatWest will lend up to the eighth.

    Sally Laker, an adviser at Mortgage Intelligence in Bournemouth, says: 'Lenders will often look for a property with standard construction and market appeal. It will have to be in good condition and be in a popular location.

    'New high-rise developments in central London are always looked at differently, so buyers with this type of property should not have too many problems.'

    The final part of Financial Mail's authoritative guide to making the most of your money points the way to the best starter funds

    Going up in the world

    • GO to a specialist estate agent accustomed to dealing with high-rise property and ask which lenders are best to approach. Alternatively, use an independent mortgage broker.
    • ASK other owner-occupier residents in the block which lenders provided their mortgage.
    • LENDERS will want to know that the building is structurally sound. Also, check out how much the maintenance costs will be for the shared areas of the flat.
    • MORTGAGE providers will want to be sure that any communal areas and lifts are well maintained as this affects the saleability of the flat.

    ©2004 Associated Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 08, 2004.

    The Friends of Kennington Park: Annual General Meeting

    The Friends of Kennington Park

    The Friends of Kennington Park
    Annual General Meeting
    7pm Monday 26th April 2004

    St Agnes Church Hall, Kennington Park Gardens/St Agnes Place SE11

    Come along and find out the latest news about what's happening in the Park. If you've ideas and want to get more involved, why not stand for election to the committee? This is your chance to influence what happens in your local Park so we hope to see you there.

    Everyone is welcome to come along and share their views but please note that only paid up members of FOKP are eligible to vote. Join the FOKP by picking up a membership form from Kennington Park café or the Durning or Brandon libraries.

    It's your park - come and have your say

    -- Cathy (FoKenningtonPark@aol.com), March 06, 2004.

    Burglary in Kennington

    Burglary in Kennington

    We were burgled last night, while we were at home. The Thief/Thieves used a piece of wood through the letterbox to flick open the Banham lock. Please warn all your members to LOCK THEMSELVES IN when they are at home. It seems so improbable that we all forget to do it.

    I would appreciate if you would circulate the attached too-as Charlotte is totally distraught at losing her diary, business diary, Palm Pilot and business contacts. The diary and handbag are both by Hermes- the bag is Brown, the diary roughly 3" by 7" is red leather-bound.

    Thank you
    Richard Strange


    A number of items were stolen from us recently, including a SONY digital video camera, SONY digital still camera, two Palm Pilots and some credit cards.

    Also stolen was a large brown ladies handbag containing a number of personal, irreplaceable effects.

    If by any chance you know anything about the theft, or happen to find the bag, or the red leather diary and business card case it contained, please call

    0771 049 0658.

    If you require a reward, one will be given, no questions asked.

    Thank you

    -- Richard Strange (Strangetti@aol.com), March 04, 2004.

    Kennington interest on eBay

    Kennington interest on eBay 

    I'm not sure if anybody in the Association might be interested in a bit of Kennington's history but there is an item on eBay (www.ebay.com) ...item No 3708137127... 1771 Rare Document from Kennington Manor. The bidding finishes 8.3.04. 18.49 GMT. The item is in America.

    Highest regards

    -- Frank Manning (frankmanning@rdplus.net), March 02, 2004.

    Spicing up the political menu

    South London Press


    Spicing up the political menu

    Feb 27 2004

    YOUR columnist evokes the spirit of "Tandoori Nights" in the jotting about the Kennington eatery (South London Press Diary, February 20) with the snaps of politicians ranging from Geoff Hoon to Charles Kennedy, plus Ann Widdecombe with various colours of hair.

    There is another rival establishment, also with pictures of politicos, just a few metres walk away, which in the Major years was a regular supplier of the hot stuff to 10 Downing Street. So let's be fair to everyone. Not only is the food excellent at both these establishments, it is perfectly true that you can have strange dining companions.

    One night just gone, the leader of Lambeth council, Peter Truesdale, arrived to meet me, only to find that the woman at the next table was the leader of West Oxfordshire council - not a good omen as they [her council] are putting up taxes by 33 per cent.

    Don't worry: we aren't.

    Some of your readers may be interested to know a new meaning of "to tandoori" since the said curry house was where the leader of Lambeth council and I agreed the terms and conditions for the current Lib Dem Conservative administration in Lambeth.

    That was about two months before the election in 2002 when we already knew Labour was heading for the political trots. Clearly, we need to publish that evening's menu, but it certainly included a bottle or so of Kingfisher lager and gave us plenty to chew on ...

    The real interest, though, is around the tandoori, which kept us tikka-ing along for several weeks and stopped Labour bhaji-ing us. This is a tasty dish that usually comes orange-coloured - and you certainly wouldn't consume it if it was blue.

    However, to "tandoori" in town hall jargon means to spice up a deal to keep Labour out of office, if they lose majority control and are booted out of office. I wonder if Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy are going to follow our example and start paratha-ing [partying] there.

    Councillor John Whelan
    Deputy leader and Conservative group leader,
    Lambeth council

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), March 01, 2004.

    Death-crash scooter man fined

    South London Press


    Death-crash scooter man fined

    Feb 27 2004

    A NOVICE scooter rider who fled after hitting a cyclist and leaving him fatally injured in the road has been fined for careless driving.

    Barry Lee, 18, struck 61-year-old cyclist Kim Vinh Thi shortly after 6am on Blackfriars Bridge on a damp and cold winter morning. Southwark Crown Court had heard he picked his scooter up from the road, dusted himself off and rode to work without stopping to help the injured cyclist.

    Mr Thi, who was wearing a bike helmet and had flashing red lights on the rear of his cycle, died two weeks after being struck by Lee.

    Lee, of Fitzalan Street, Kennington, was cleared by a jury of causing death by dangerous driving on February 21, 2003.

    He was convicted of a lesser charge of careless driving by the jury this week.

    Judge George Bathurst-Norman told Lee: "I give you credit for the fact that you did go to the police at the end of the day."

    The judge fined Lee £1,000 and ordered him to pay it at a rate of £100 per week.

    He was also disqualified from holding a driving licence for two years, when he must pass a test. Lee had denied causing death by dangerous driving.

    He pleaded not guilty to two further matters, a charge of failing to stop and a charge of failing to report an accident.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 27, 2004.

    Classic painting is stolen from hospital

    South London Press


    Classic painting is stolen from hospital

    Feb 27 2004

     A classic painting valued at around £18,000 has been stolen from the chapel of St Thomas' Hospital.

    The painting, measuring 2ft by 3ft depicts the Holy Family, St Anne, St John and two angels.

    It was last seen on the previous Friday at around 5pm and staff realised it was missing on Sunday evening.

    The painting was donated to the hospital and is said to be greatly valued by both staff and patients.

    Anyone with information should contact Sergeant Scott McDonald of the Kennington Beat Crimes Unit on 020 8649 2467 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 27, 2004.



    A quick note to any wildlife watchers. For the past 2 days there has been a flock of Fieldfares in Kennington Park. I counted about 30 this morning and although common in the countryside at this time of the year, they are winter visitors, I have never seen any in Kennington Park before. To those who are interested they look very like Thrushes, slightly smaller, they feed on the grass and roost together at night in the trees.

    For more information about the breed, go to http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/bird-guide/fieldfare.htm

    -- Frances McKay (frances@francesmckay.com), February 26, 2004.

    Congestion Charging

    Telegraph: Motoring

    The true cost of a fiver

    (Filed: 21/02/2004)

    A year on since the congestion charge was introduced in London, James Foxall looks at its effects on the capital, and considers its proposed expansion

    Five pounds doesn't amount to much nowadays. It'll buy you little more than a gallon of petrol and in many pubs it won't even buy you two pints of lager and a packet of crisps. But for many car drivers, residents and businesses in Britain, the humble fiver has taken on a far greater significance than its monetary value.

    It was thanks to £5 that Monday February 17, 2003, became a momentous day in British motoring history. An otherwise unremarkable, grey winter's morning heralded London's moment in the world spotlight as it became the first European capital city to tackle its road transport problems head-on. In an unprecedented move, it forced drivers to pay for road space between 7am and 6.30pm from Monday to Friday.

    Ken Livingstone, London's mayor and the instigator of the congestion charge, warned it was going to be a "bloody day" for the capital. Many watched out of morbid fascination, as if expecting the streets to fill with burning cars and rioting motorists seeking retribution on authorities apparently hell-bent on bleeding them dry of cash. The expectations of others were less dramatic. They simply wanted to see if the congestion charge worked, and if it would be coming to a road near them.

    Drivers carped but there were certainly no riots and now, like buses that turn up three at a time and overcrowded train carriages, the £5 fee has become just a daily irritant to many of the capital's commuters. For others it has led to a complete change in routine; for businesses, it has cost millions of pounds.

    For Michael Goldfarb the congestion charge prompted probably the most expensive 14 seconds of his life. The journalist had timed his journey to perfection, entering London's central zone at 6.30pm on the dot and thereby avoiding the charge - or so he thought. But while his VW Golf's clock said it was 6.30pm, the atomic clock at Rugby didn't agree. Employed by the cameras that take pictures of vehicles entering and driving within the central zone's eight square miles, Rugby's clock showed that he entered at 18.29 and 46 seconds. As Michael thought he was outside the charging times, he didn't bother paying. That'll be an £80 fine, thank you very much.

    Others have also been tripped up by a payment system that critics say is quirky and designed to catch drivers out. Mike Wiltshire from Bristol came to London for a long weekend. Aware that he had to pay the congestion charge for the Friday and Monday he spent in the capital, he was shocked to discover that he couldn't pay both together on the Monday. That's another £80 fine, discounted to £40 for prompt payment.

    Paul Watters, head of roads and transport at the AA, believes examples such as these have done the system no favours: "We are concerned that there isn't more information for people coming from out of town. And if Transport for London (TfL) is going to be so rigorous about its timings it should have lights on the border of the zone to tell people when it's in operation."

    TfL is unsympathetic. "Drivers have a duty to find out how the system operates and to obey its rules," a spokesman said. However, the AA argues that it suits TfL to have a degree of woolliness about the rules. When the motoring organisation surveyed drivers who regularly travelled into London, 57 per cent said they were put off driving into the capital by the difficulty of paying the charge, while the £5 itself deterred only 45 per cent.

    The congestion charge has also failed to raise the money Livingstone promised to bolster London's creaking transport system. The start-up and operating costs are estimated at £361 million, but when TfL finally releases figures for the congestion charge's first year, it will show that rather than the anticipated £200m (revised down to £120m by the time the scheme was launched), the charge will have accrued only £68m. The figure is apparently so low because the original £5 calculation was made without taking into account special discounts and exemptions for residents and workers in the zone. But of more concern is that £50m of the revenue raised is expected to be from fines. "That says there is something wrong with the system," said Watters. "Penalties shouldn't be a revenue stream. That just shows desperation. They don't want people to comply, which is terrifying." Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, added: "People who have incurred penalties wrongly have had to work too hard to prove their innocence. But the way Capita, which administers the system, is paid means it's not in its interest to be lenient or flexible."

    And that isn't the only area of concern. Of the 35,000-40,000 penalties issued each week, TfL estimates that it drops about 60 per cent when drivers appeal. Of those that aren't discarded, between one and two per cent go to independent arbitration, which finds in favour of the motorist in 50 per cent of cases. That's more than half a million motorists who have had to waste time proving their innocence. Meanwhile, more than 20 per cent of fines are being ignored altogether.

    As if aggrieved car drivers weren't enough of a bureaucrat's bad dream, the system for dishing out penalties is highly labour-intensive. Although cameras using automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) software photograph cars in the zone and computers match these to a database of drivers who have paid the charge, the snaps of cars that are identified as non-payers have to be checked manually. And still a 51-year-old farmer from Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire received a penalty because his 8mph combine harvester had allegedly been caught in the zone. A system this unwieldy, as well as a call centre to answer questions and protests, not to mention camera maintenance, will have cost TfL between £90m and £100m for the year.

    Then there's the cost to business. The John Lewis Partnership, whose flagship store on Oxford Street is within the zone, has been particularly outspoken. And it's easy to see why: turnover in that one shop is down by between 12 and 15 per cent. Communications director Paul Burden said: "We can make comparisons with other stores and see Oxford Street is lagging. In the current economic climate, two or three per cent can be a pretty important contribution to profit."

    If business has borne the brunt of the cost, there's no doubt that individuals have been in the front line when it comes to having their lives changed. The number of cars entering the zone has gone down by 38 per cent. But despite this remarkable figure, the charge has only hit its target of a 15 per cent vehicle reduction.

    The explanation for this apparent contradiction lies in the deterrent effect of the charge to individuals. There are one million more bus journeys a day than before the charge, cycling is up by 30 per cent, motorcycling is up by 20 per cent and taxi trips have increased by 20 per cent. This is countered by an unaffected number of lorries and vans delivering goods and more journeys by drivers who live within the zone and pay a heavily discounted charge.

    This is reflected in the business world too, where larger operations that rely on vehicles to go about their daily business haven't been hit as badly as small companies. Pimlico Plumbers is a case in point. Based at Waterloo, it is well inside the central zone and has benefited greatly from the congestion charge. Owner Charles Mullins explained: "We're picking up a lot of work from one-man bands who are less inclined to come into the zone. For smaller outfits the administration makes coming into the zone a real headache."

    Pimlico Plumbers has also benefited from the charge's success in reducing traffic volume. "There's less congestion so our engineers can get around quicker. We spend about £2,500 a week on the charge [businesses pay £5·50 per vehicle per day] but we make more than that back because on average an engineer has time to fit another job into his working day," Mullins said.

    So, love it or hate it, the charge has at least done what it set out to do and reduced traffic within the central zone, although the early average speed increase of 3mph has now dwindled to 2mph as road and traffic engineering works have made a comeback; nearly eight miles of new bus lanes have been installed in the past 12 months, for example. Three quarters of delivery firms say their journey times are no better now than they were a year ago.

    And outside the zone? Doom mongers were predicting hordes of motorists clogging up roads on the zone's perimeter waiting for the clock to tick past 6.30pm. That hasn't happened, just as in residential areas such as Kennington, bisected by the zone's south-eastern boundary, property prices appear to have been unaffected. However, according to the road-monitoring service Trafficmaster, journey times outside the zone increased as drivers who formerly passed through or into the zone found alternative routes.

    Apart from the system's bureaucracy, there are still some glitches. Bus management has been poor, as King observes: "Now we have gridlocks caused by too many buses. And there are still problems with some traffic lights inside the zone - but the people affected have paid good money to be on London's roads."

    There are more clouds on the horizon. TfL's next project is to extend the zone westward to take in more of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. This would add about 100,000 motorists to the 40,000 already inside the zone; to make the economics of the system work, the 90 per cent residents' discount might have to be abandoned.

    About 700 local residents turned up at a public meeting this week to voice their opposition, but they aren't the only ones anxiously awaiting consultation over the extension. Paul Burden, who also acts as a spokesman on behalf of the Oxford Street Association, said: "We know restaurants and theatres are worried. We don't think there is a single retailer who doesn't have some concerns." Even the pro-toll Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors found that 90 per cent of central London retailers and 75 per cent of leisure businesses believed the charge had reduced custom, and suggested that there had been a fall in commercial rents.

    If you get the impression there's been quite a lot of "suck it and see" surrounding congestion charging, you're right. Of course TfL experts spent hours poring over their projections but there were some things that were impossible to predict: the high cost of running the system and the number of discounted charges that would be given, to name two vital ones. And both have had an effect on the disappointing figures. "If you were to do a cost-benefit analysis of the whole scheme, we believe it would be marginal," said Paul Watters.

    The Road Users' Alliance has warned other local authorities to think carefully before introducing similar schemes. RUA director Tim Green said: "London has always been much less dependent on the car to deliver its customers and workforce than other conurbations, which are therefore at higher risk."

    But some cities seem undeterred. Edinburgh is forging ahead with a scheme that will roll out in 2006. Unlike London's method, drivers will be charged £2 for crossing a cordon around the city's central zone. Also unlike London, it hopes to benefit from the capital's experience and avoid the cumbersome backroom bureaucracy. But despite the dissimilarities it does rely on London as an example. The executive member for transport from the City of Edinburgh Council, Andrew Burns, said: "If London had failed dismally there's very little chance we would have followed, and I think it's the same for other cities such as Leeds and Bristol which are considering charging drivers."

    So because it's achieved its primary purpose of reducing traffic in a central zone, there's every chance that congestion charging could be coming to a city near you soon. But is it just charging for the sake of it? Several experts we spoke to suggested that TfL could have achieved its 15 per cent traffic reduction target by some judicious road narrowing, further manipulation of the traffic light phasing and one way systems, not dissimilar to the "ring of steel" implemented in the City of London after the 1993 terrorist bomb in Bishopsgate.

    But if you're a car hater like Ken Livingstone and you're going to make yourself unpopular with drivers, you might as well go the whole hog. And if it's proved one thing, congestion charging has shown the power of the humble fiver.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 21, 2004.

    Congestion Charging

    Congestion charge - what the mayor saw

    Feb 20 2004
    By Transport Reporter Oscar Mortali

    South London Press

    THE congestion charge is NOT harming trade, according to Transport for London's (TfL) own report one year into the scheme.

    Speaking on the first anniversary of the scheme on Tuesday, congestion charge director Malcolm Murray-Clark insisted concerns over the effect on business were "misguided".

    The TfL report also points to its own survey of 700 businesses which found that factors other than the charge were a bigger influence on profit margins.

    The claim directly contradicts concerns expressed by many independent traders who over the past year have told the South London Press that businesses were being crippled as a result of the £5-a-day scheme.

    Mr Murray-Clark said: "The report shows that concerns over the effects on business are misguided and that negative perceptions are unsubstantiated."

    Traffic-busting London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: "Before the introduction of the charge, London's roads were clogged with slow-moving traffic and congestion was costing business £2million a week.

    "The scheme has made a real difference in getting London moving again."

    The figures, on traffic levels at least, back up Mr Livingstone's claim.

    One year on and central London has seen traffic delays slashed by 30 per cent and an 18 per cent reduction in cars entering the zone.

    However, while an undoubted success in cutting traffic in Zone 1, concerns remain about the effect on business.

    The report states the charge was introduced during a time when the economy was being affected by the knock-on effect of war in Iraq and the prolonged closure of the Central Line.

    TfL concludes the charge was responsible for less than six per cent of the reduction in trips to central London.

    A survey of 700 business, inside and within 500m of the zone, found that economic factors, tourism, company factors and seasonal changes were all placed above the charge as influences on business performance.

    However, TfL's claims that business has not been harmed are not likely to cut any ice with traders in and around the zone in Kennington and Vauxhall where shopkeepers are shutting up shop.

    They claim they are losing out on casual trade because fewer people are driving in and around the zone.

    Many also claim the scheme is designed to catch out drivers and say the rule of 25 vehicles in a fleet to qualify for a discount is far too high to help small business with less than five delivery vans.

    Conservative mayoral candidate Steve Norris, who has always said he would scrap the scheme if elected mayor in June's election, bemoaned the detrimental effect on businesses and said: "If this is Livingstone's idea of a better city, it certainly is not mine."

    020 8710 6437 email: transport@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 20, 2004.

    Postcards of Kennington Park

    Postcards of Kennington Park
    branches against the sky
    The seasons in Kennington Park

    John Hoyland’s Photography is now available as postcards, on sale for 50p each from the Café in Kennington Park


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 20, 2004.

    Another local website: Events in Kennington

    For a list of upcoming events in Kennington, go to:


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 20, 2004.

    B&B accommodation in Kennington

    Contact Richard Bartlett or Jeff at 57 Walnut Tree Walk, Kennington SE11 on 020 7735 5375, minimum stay 2 nights. Alternatively, cheaper accommodation is offered in Jamyang Buddhist Centre which is in what was once a court house and what were prisoners' cells are now B&B accommodation. Call 020 7582 1002 between 2pm and 6pm Monday to Thursday.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 19, 2004.

    Dear Sun

    The Sun - LettersWednesday, February 18, 2004

    Dear Sun

    I SEE Abu Hamza is exploiting the UK’s hospitality and attacking ethnic groups in an abuse of his right to free speech.

    Just what difference is there between this and the words of Robert Kilroy-Silk?

    The Commission For Racial Equality hit out at Kilroy but are silent on the opinions of Hamza.

    Bias prevails, not the equality their name suggests.

    Kennington, SE London

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 18, 2004.

    Another local website

    There is another local website that may be of interest at:

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 17, 2004.

    Past Preserved - Nooks & Crannies in Charlie Chaplin's London

    Just to let you all know that the Kennington Walk will be repeated at 2.30pm on July 10th from Kennington Tube.  Should be slightly warmer!

    Best wishes

    Guided walks from Kennington Tube Station

    The Original LONDON WALKS

    London, PO Box 1708, London, NW6 4LW
    Telephone 020 7624 3978 (or 020 7794 1764)
    Recorded Information 020 7624 9255 (or 020 7624 WALK)

    Past Preserved - Nooks & Crannies in Charlie Chaplin's London 

    Saturday, July 10th  2:30pm Kennington Tube Stop

    Going On A London Walk
    To go on a London Walk, meet your guide and fellow walkers on the pavement just outside the designated LondonTube Stop (Underground Station) at the time stated.

    Your guide will be holding up copies of the distinctive white London Walks leaflet. There is no need to book for any of the London Walks

    A London Walk lasts about two hours.

    And they always take place, rain or shine. Each walk ends at or near a LondonTube Stop (Underground station). 

    How Much Does It Cost?
    A London Walk costs £5 - or £4 for senior citizens, full-time students, and Discount Walkabout Card holders. The Walkabout Cards are a bargain so do ask your guide for one! Children under 15 go free if accompanied by their parent(s).

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 15, 2004.

    MONDAY EVENINGS at the DURNING LIBRARY with the Friends of Durning Library

    MONDAY EVENINGS at the DURNING LIBRARY with the Friends of Durning Library

    Dear Friends

    A reminder about this Monday evening's event at the Durning Library.

    Best wishes


    Evening events at 7.0 for 7.30  --  all welcome
    (come early - space limited)
    Held at the Durning Library,  167 Kennington Lane,  SE11
    £2 suggested donation
    Nibbles and drinks

    Monday 16 February:  "Mr Guy's Hospital and the Caribbees"

    Medical historian Jane Bowden-Dan will be discussing the medical care of Caribbean slaves sent "home" from the West Indies by London merchants and treated at Guy's Hospital.  Was it humanitarian concern or enlightened self-interest which led to the slave Samson being treated by premier surgeon Samuel Sharpe?

    Monday 15 March:  "Can We Avert Climate Catastrophe?"

    Where can we find the real facts about climate change?  Are the relevant scientists in disagreement about the facts?  How real and imminent is the threat of climate catastrophe?  Can we avert it, and if so how much time have we got?  These are some of the questions that John Mead, of the UNED-UK Energy & Climate Panel, will try to answer.

    -- Cathy (FoDurningLibrary@aol.com), February 14, 2004.

    Gasworks Gallery

    Call for Participants!!!

    Gasworks Gallery

    155 Vauxhall Street, The Oval, London SE11 5RH
    Tel: 020 7582 6848 Fax: 020 7582 0159
    www.gasworks.org.uk gallery@gasbag.org

    The Gas Board

    Gasworks Gallery's Billboard Project:

    Have Your Portrait Taken by Photographer Eileen Perrier

    Gasworks Gallery in Vauxhall Street SE11 is looking for local residents to take part in a new project - having their portrait taken by up and coming local artist/photographer, Eileen Perrier.

    The Gallery is currently closed for refurbishment and will re-open again in summer 2004.  When we re-open we will have a street level display area called The Gas Board which will be used to exhibit four artists' projects a year.

    Eileen Perrier is the first artist to be selected for The Gas Board.  We would like to invite local residents into the building during the refurbishment to have their portraits taken.  The resulting images will be printed by Eileen and displayed as a series of changing posters on The Gas Board throughout the summer months.

    Participants will be presented with their portrait at the end of the project as a thank you for taking part!

    If you are interested and free on either of the following days [see below] to come down to Gasworks please give Fiona or Matthew a call on 020 7582 6848 to book a place.

    The photo sessions will take place on Sat/Sun 3rd and 4th April 2004.

    Everyone is welcome to participate and Eileen is happy to take group portraits of family or friends.  Pets are also welcome.  Each session will last approximately 15 mins for individuals and 30 mins for groups, and refreshments will be served.

    This project has been support for Arts Council England - Grants for the Arts, Metro Imaging and Space Studios.

    For images or further information about this project and the exhibition and events programme for 2004 please contact Fiona Boundy or Matthew Poole on 020 7582 6848 or email: press@gasbag.org

    Gasworks Gallery Offices will be open Monday - Friday 9.30 - 6pm during the refurbishment

    Gasworks Gallery is part of Triangle Arts Trust Registered Charity No. 326411

    Gasworks Gallery is financially supported by Arts Council England, London

    More details at: http://www.gasworks.org.uk/shows/eil_per/index.htm

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 14, 2004.

    The Camera Club

    The Camera Club is planning an exhibition of photographs by residents of Lambeth. Please submit up to 5 10x8" photographs with your name, address and phone number to: The Lambeth Residents' Photography Exhibition at the address below by 31 March 2004. The photos will be selected by a panel nominated by Lambeth Council and the Club. The exhibition will start on Monday 3 May and will be opened by the Mayor of Lambeth during that week.

    The Camera Club
    16 Bowden Street
    London SE11
    020 7587 1809

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 14, 2004.


    Robbery thug holds knife to OAP's throat

    Feb 13 2004
    By Crime Reporter Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    A CALLOUS robber put a four-inch knife to the throat of 70-year-old man in a bid to force shop assistants to hand over cash.

    The pensioner was shopping for groceries at the Costcutter store in Baylis Road, Waterloo, when the raider burst in and grabbed him.

    He put a knife to the throat of the elderly customer and told shop staff to hand over takings.

    But staff hit a panic button and the robber was forced to flee empty-handed into Millennium Park and onto the Tansworth Estate.

    The brave pensioner, who was not injured in the attack, attempted to chase the robber despite requiring a walking stick to get around.

    Detective Constable Paul Donoghue has appealed for witnesses and information regarding the attempted robbery which took place around 5.40am on Friday, January 30.

    He said: "This was a particularly hideous and unprovoked attack on a senior citizen going about his daily business. Thankfully he was not injured.

    "This type of violence towards a member of the public is rare and we need to catch this dangerous man."

    The suspect is described as a light-skinned black male, 19 to 20 years old, 5ft 10in tall and of stocky build. He was wearing a bright blue top and a light blue scarf to cover the lower part of his face.

    Information to the Kennington Priority Crime Unit on 020 8649 2434 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

    020 8710 6435 email: crime@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 14, 2004.


    Evening Standard

    11/02/04 - Property news section

    Going, going, gone

    By David Spittles

    The auction year begins this week with an exciting mixed bag to suit all budgets.

    Perhaps auctions are the way forward for first-time buyers keen to employ a bit of lateral thinking: clubbing together to buy with friends; or for making a shared investment with relatives, who want to renovate and sell once their youngster has made enough money to put down an independent deposit. Auctions can help you to get on the ladder at a realistic price.

    You cannot get a guaranteed bargain at auction - rival bidding can ratchet up prices. But it is possible to pick up property that cannot normally be bought through estate agents.

    Unmodernised period houses, for example, are usually sold direct to small developers for conversion. Dozens of such properties are due to go under the hammer this month.

    Some are wrecks, others require cosmetic improvements, a few are split into bedsits but could be returned to single residence. Some have desirable addresses, others are in up-and-coming pockets of the inner city.

    Increasingly, properties are being offloaded by councils and housing charities that are merely looking for the best price on the day. Executor sales can also throw up attractively priced homes.

    One such property is a handsome, doublefronted house in Brixton being sold by FPDSavills (lot 61, 16 February), with a guide price of £ 500,000.

    The firm's Paul Mooney says auction buyers became more price sensitive last year, and he expects this to continue in 2004.

    However, there is 'unlimited appetite' for the right sort of property such as Victorian or Georgian town houses. 'A lot are in bad condition and so not for the faint-hearted. But it's a fantastic chance for someone who wants to design a house from top to bottom.'

    When buying an unmodernised house you must do your detective work before the sale. 'We recommend getting a survey, whatever property you intend buying,' says Gary Murphy of estate agent Allsop.

    When instructing a surveyor, request a breakdown of likely repair costs. A full structural survey could easily cost £ 800. Have your finance lined up and be aware of the maximum loan a mortgage lender will grant.

    The valuation put on the property by a lender may be considerably below the hammer price, leaving you with a shortfall to find.

    Auction firms are trying to make the process easier for buyers by arranging pre-sale viewings and offering mortgage and legal advice. It is also possible to bid via the internet.

    Auctionwatch is a personalised search service that identifies properties according to your requirements - type of house or flat, price, location and so on.

    'It keeps you one step ahead of the pack,' says David Sandeman, managing director of Essential Information Group, which provides the service.

    'Time is of the essence when you buy at auction. Usually there is only a two- or three-week gap between the catalogue being sent out and the auction taking place, which isn't long.'

    At any one time EIG has a database of about 28,000 properties supplied by 180 auction firms. The service costs £ 95 plus VAT for three months.

    You state your requirements - say, an unmodernised house in Clapham - and EIG emails details as soon as it gets them from auction firms.

    The list is updated twice a week. You can then visit the company's website (www.eigroup.co.uk) and get a picture of the property, description and location map.

    Historic information on 280,000 properties is also available, so you can check past and present values.

    'This is useful because a lot of buyers get excited by the guide price, only to be disappointed on the day of the auction when bidding is much higher,' adds Sandeman.

    Andrews & Robertson, which covers mainly south-east and south-west London, says there is a trend of young families buying part-vacant homes. Houses with a sitting tenant are about 30 per cent cheaper.

    Some young couples with small children do not mind sharing a large house with a tenant occupying a couple of rooms or a self-contained flat at the top, because it can be a way of getting a house in a desirable street for the price of a flat.

    When the owners are better off, they may be able to buy out the sitting tenant. But it is a bit of a gamble in terms of the tenant leaving. It could be two years or 20 years. Or perhaps never.

    Andrews & Robertson has a three-storey house in Thrale Road, Streatham, SW16, that is part-occupied by a regulated tenant and has a guide price of £210,000 (lot 33, 17 February).

    Houses sold by London boroughs including Wandsworth, Southwark, Lambeth, Merton and Enfield are also on offer in the Andrews & Robertson auction, with guide prices starting at less than £ 200,000.

    Lewisham and Hither Green are improving on the back of the success of Canary Wharf. Also at the Andrews & Robertson auction in Wellmeadow Road, SE13, a doubled-fronted terrace has a guide price of £ 220,000 (lot 56). In Somerset Gardens an elegant early Victorian house overlooking a green has a guide price of £ 350,000 (lot 43).

    The company is also offering three adjoining terraced houses in a conservation area in Kennington (lot 29) - guide price, £ 975,000 - perhaps for a buyer to keep one, rent one and sell one.

    Close to the Olympic regeneration site in Hackney is a four-storey semi with planning permission for conversion into four flats (lot 28, FPDSavills). The guide price is £ 470,000.

    A terraced house (lot 5, FPDSavills) on the Jesus Green estate in Bethnal Green, close to Colombia Road flower market, has a guide of £ 280,000.

    London commuters may be tempted by a listed house overlooking the village green in Finchingfield, Essex.

    It comes with a timber barn suitable for conversion and has a guide price of £ 280,000 (lot 69, FPDSavills). Meanwhile, a detached 1930s house in Purley - guide price of £ 390,000 - is also expected to attract strong bidding (lot 33, FPDSavills).

    Auction dates

    Allsop: tomorrow (020 7494 3686)
    FPDSavills: 16 February (020 7824 9091)
    Andrews & Robertson: 17 February (020 7703 2662)
    Clive Emson: 19 February (01622 630033)

    Find this story at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/homes/news/articles/9097596?version=1
    ©2004 Associated New Media

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 13, 2004.

    PUBLIC MEETING - Buses in Kennington

    Buses in Kennington

    7pm on Monday, 8th March
    St Anselm's Church Hall
    Kennington Cross SE11

    (286 Kennington Road, at the junction of Kennington Road and Kennington Lane)

    · Is crime a problem on your bus route?
    · Are buses safe?
    · Do driving standards concern you?
    · Is a new bus route needed?
    · Is a new bus stop needed?
    · Should buses be more frequent?
    · Does the wrong type of bus serve your area?
    · Are there any other issues you want to raise?

    Guest panellists include:
    · Andrew Boag, Service Change Advocate, London Buses, TfL
    · Belinda Danino, London Buses, TfL, Borough Liaison - Lambeth
    · John Stewart, Transport Users Group, Lambeth Council
    · Trevor Wilding, Transport Group Manager, Southwark Council

    And we will be joined by:
    · Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall
    · Cllr Caroline Pidgeon, Deputy Leader, Southwark Council
    · Cllr Andrew Sawdon, Executive Member for Transport, Lambeth Council
    · Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth & Southwark

    Come along and have your say!

    Northern line tube: nearest stations - Kennington or Oval
    Buses: 3, 59, 159, 322, 360
    Walking (or 1 to 2 bus stops) distance from:
    Tube stations: North Lambeth, Vauxhall, Elephant & Castle
    Buses: 36, 436, 133, 185, 155, 333

    Organised by Kennington Association in conjunction with Kennington, Oval & Vauxhall (KOV) Forum

    For further information contact Kennington Association at KenningtonAssn@aol.com

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 12, 2004.

    Congestion charging

    Evening Standard

    'Cost to companies could top £250m'

    By Jonathan Prynn, Consumer Affairs Editor
    9 February 2004

    The first year of the congestion charge has hit business hard in central London, traders claim.

    Shops and restaurants on Oxford Street alone believe they are £100 million worse off as a direct result of customers staying away. Across the West End as a whole, the total could be at least £250 million, it is feared.

    The campaign against the charge has been led by department store chain John Lewis, which pointed to the stark contrast in the financial performance of its shops inside and outside the zone.

    Sales at its flagship Oxford Street store were down two per cent in the first six months of the charge, compared with a 10 per cent surge in takings at its shop in Kent's Bluewater centre.

    Director Paul Burden said: "We were concerned before the charge came in that not enough research had been done to establish what impact there would be on the flow of customers into the West End.

    "It remains our feeling that the underperformance at Oxford Street cannot be explained by other factors. The strength of other shops outside central London... suggests there is a special negative factor at work."

    The chain has commissioned Professor Michael Bell of Imperial College London to research how badly Oxford Street has been hit.

    An Evening Standard analysis of the impact across the zone reveals that: A third of retailers are thinking about quitting central London. A quarter said they have cut staff, with sales in the area down by between five per cent and 20 per cent.

    The number of central London shoppers was down by an average 11.6 per cent over the first 50 weeks of the charge, said retail analysts Footfall. For Greater London outside the zone, the fall was 2.1 per cent. At Bluewater, shopper numbers rose two per cent and sales were up four per cent.

    Restaurant takings in central London are down between five and seven per cent said Mike Gottlieb, Restaurant Association president. Some areas have been hit far harder. Augustinho Vivairos said his tapas bar on Kennington Lane has seen a 50 per cent fall in trade since last February. "We're ruined," he said. "At lunchtime it's dead."

    Smithfield meat market trade fell an estimated 20 per cent over the past year. Gary Lawrence of the Smithfield Tenants Association said: "Our customers are businesses and restaurants from all over the South-East but quite a few don't come here any more." Business organisations said the situation is desperate for hundreds of firms, with the lost trade often making the difference between profit and loss, or even survival and bankruptcy.

    Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce, said: "We take no pleasure in pointing out that our research has shown there is a real and pressing downside to the congestion-charge experiment."

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 09, 2004.

    Ladies Who Lunch The Beehive Wed 10th March

    Ladies Who Lunch
    The Beehive
    Wed 10th March

    Hi All

    I have made a booking at The Beehive pub for 1pm, Wednesday, 10th March.

    The Beehive
    60-62 Carter Street, London SE17 3EW
    7703 4992

    Staff are dressed in black bow ties and white aprons, and the meat is supplied by Hester's of Kennington!

    The Beehive pub offers an extensive menu including snacks, sandwiches, various beef and chicken burgers, seafood, vegetarian dishes, and steaks plus a board of daily specials and desserts.  The additional lunch menu includes soup, potato skins, brie wedges, calamares, prawns in filo, nachos and ribs.

    Go to this link for a map:

    Can you please let me know if you can join us?

    Many thanks
    Best wishes
    7793 0268

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 07, 2004.

    New BBC3 comedy set on the Brandon Estate

    February 07, 2004

    The Times

    One to watch

    Sean Lock's future is built on solid foundations, says Michael Odell

    Take a good look at Sean Lock and decide if you are happy with your home. Having rendered, pointed, lagged and extended houses from London to Peterborough, the 40-year-old former builder who is now a stand-up comedian and the writer and star of the BBC comedy 15 Storeys High, may have laid your floor or put up your walls.

    Born in Woking, Surrey, Lock left college in the grim early 1980s and spent his time drinking, travelling and labouring on building sites. It was the latter which inspired Fifteen Minutes of Misery, a Radio 4 prototype of 15 Storeys High. Lock was an established face on the stand-up circuit, but the cult success of that show, co-written with Mark Lamarr and now beginning its second series, seems set to launch him into the mainstream.

    Lock plays Vince, whose tower-block existence is the launchpad for some extraordinarily well-written comedy with plot strands and incidental characters worthy of vintage Seinfeld.

    “Any comparison with basically the greatest sitcom ever written is, of course, very flattering,” says Lock, who coolly combs our chat for gag openings. “I’d probably be less disciplined about tying up all the plot strands if I didn’t have Mark Lamarr using his microwave writing technique. I write five days a week but he’ll process a script in four hours and start yelling:

    ‘You’re not sending out the script until we’ve thought of a better ending for that!’ ” Lock is currently thinking of a better beginning, middle and end for a script for Slings & Arrows, a feature film project about a fading darts player, to star Johnny Vegas and Lee Evans.

    It’s a far cry from his first stand-up gig in 1989. Lock had tried drama school but dropped out and began laying floors in East London. When he saw an ad for new comedy talent at a pub he took the plunge. His first joke was a skit on the Specials’ anti-apartheid anthem Free Nelson Mandela, in which Lock sang for the liberation of Myra Hindley. Unsurprisingly, his debut performance played to glowering silence. “But you got 15 quid for staying on stage, and I stood my ground,” he remembers.

    15 Storeys High draws on the lows in Lock’s life, the nadir coming when he was working at a mental hospital. On Fridays the steel bins carrying waste food from the kitchens would be full. It was Lock’s job to stop patients from climbing up to eat the rancid leftovers. But, though 15 Storeys High may share the grim urban settings of a Ken Loach film, it is both warm and funny. It was filmed on an estate in Kennington also used as a location for The Bill. Locals had got used to seeing fictional crack dealers running down the walkways. They expected a similar portrayal of estate life from 15 Storeys High, but since the first series he has been delighted by the local response.

    “A couple of people on the estate told me they thought it showed the sense of community that exists there. A tower block is basically a honeycomb where all types of life thrive, good and bad.” But it’s also a strikingly male world, something which he feels lucky to have got away with as a writer.

    “I do feel more and more that TV is being written for women. Writers are asked: ‘Who is this show for?’ And unless you say: ‘22-year-old women working in the media who eat a lot of salads,’ commissioning editors aren’t interested. I didn’t create the show to answer a brief. I’m the last guy to answer that commissioning editor question by saying: ‘Me. It’s aimed at me. ’Cos I like it.’ ”

    15 Storeys High, Thursday, BBC Three, 11pm

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 07, 2004.

    Cops sorry for bungle over drugs

    South London Press


    Cops sorry for bungle over drugs

    Feb 6 2004
    By Crime Reporter Greg Truscott

    POLICE have apologised after names and addresses of residents who took a stance against drug dealing in their neighbourhood were handed to a suspected dealer.

    Special policing arrangements were put in place when officers realised confidential personal information about the residents had been given to the alleged dealer in error.

    The "indefensible mistake" occurred when officers served a court summons on the suspected cannabis dealer.

    Attached to the summons were the names and addresses of nine residents of Landor Road, Brixton, who had supported police action to rid the street of dealers.

    The residents had given comments to the police about widespread intimidation and fear the drug problem caused their neighbourhood.

    The statements, together with police evidence, will be put before magistrates to seek Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) against four suspected cannabis dealers that would ban them from the area.

    But when police served the first summons on one of the four alleged dealers telling him to attend court for the the special hearing, it named and gave addresses of the residents who supported the action.

    Superintendent Stuart Lowe, of Kennington police, said the error was an "indefensible mistake".

    Supt Lowe said: "I regret unfortunate mistakes were made and apologise to the people concerned.

    "We failed in this case. I have undertaken a full review of police action.

    "We will learn from this. I am committed to working with the community of Landor Road to ensure antisocial drug dealing does not take place in the area.

    "The partnership of Kennington Police and the residents of Landor Road is crucial to the success of driving drug dealing away."

    He added special steps were taken as soon as the error had been realised.

    Supt Lowe said: "This should not have happened.

    "I initiated some immediate action following the disclosure which included contacting those persons immediately whose personal details had been disclosed and providing an array of reassurance measures suitable for their concerns.

    "There have been no incidents that I have been aware of due to that unfortunate disclosure."

    In December, police carried out a massive raid on drug dealers in Landor Road with the full backing of local residents.

    020 8710 6435 email: crime@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 06, 2004.

    Woman slashed by robber

    South London Press


    Woman slashed by robber

    Feb 6 2004

    A 28-YEAR-OLD woman was slashed across the cheek and sustained injuries to her teeth and ear when she was robbed.

    The woman had to be taken to hospital for treatment after the violent mugging in Crimsworth Road, off Thorparch Road, South Lambeth, at around 7.15pm on Monday, January 26. Her handbag was stolen in the attack.

    Detective Constable Tracy Kenward, of Kennington Police, said: "This was a completely unnecessary attack on a defenceless woman.

    "Her cheek was slashed and she sustained other injuries to one of her teeth and her right ear.

    "If anyone saw the incident or has any information about the person who carried it out, we urge them to contact police."

    The attacker is described as a 5ft 4in to 5ft 11in-tall black male with a shaved head. He had a London accent and was wearing a multicoloured, pastel, rugby-style shirt. Information to Detective Sergeant Ed Facer at Kennington Robbery Squad on 020 8649 2484 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 06, 2004.

    Debut gig for MPs' new boy band

    BBC News

    Debut gig for MPs' new boy band

    By Ben Davies
    BBC News Online politics staff

    A band with a difference made its debut on Thursday night as four MPs put aside all political differences and play their first public gig.

    The idea of being locked in a church with only politicians for entertainment might see a lot of people losing their religion.

    But this Iron Maiden speech is proof that even in British politics, harmony can be found amongst the discord.

    And who knows, these Parliamentary Idols may even strike the right note.

    Good chords?

    But whatever happens when MP4 - that's the name of the band by the way - takes it away, the audience know that it is in a good cause, Macmillan Cancer Relief.

    And having heard them strum, it's fairly safe to say that they are going to be something of a highlight in a night of recitations and sketches starring the likes of Michael Mates, Michael Ancram and Lord Falconer. In fact, it is possible they will quickly become a fond memory as they are due to be followed on to the stage by Nigel Evans, Lembit Opik and Stephen Pound. A case of send in the clowns.

    They star in a sketch called 'The Jerry Springer Show - I've got a secret'. Laugh? I nearly did after catching them in rehearsal.

    MP4 have a bit of a pedigree. Keyboard player and SNP member Pete Wishart is the only MP to have performed on Top of the Pops when he was in a band called Runrig.

    Sixties legend?

    "I've got a little bit of musical experience, shall we say," he remarked to BBC News Online.

    And he is not the only one to have slid the boards.

    Labour's Ian Cawsey - lead singer and bassist - used to be in a Sixties band called the Moggies and an Eighties band called Chinese Whispers.

    And he still plays.

    "Occasionally I get together with colleagues back home and just do the odd booking and it's kind of the thing you don't really miss when your not doing it but when you get back on stage and do it again it's a really important thing in my life so we're really looking forward to tonight.

    "We've been rehearsing in Kennington for about a month and we're helped ironically by the House sitting hours being different now because on a Tuesday, business finishes at 7pm so that means that we can go for a couple of hours then.

    "When the hours changed we all said that MPs would find something to get up to in their spare time and it was either sex, drugs or rock and roll and the whips thought rock and roll was the best option."

    No premier performance

    Another member, Labour MP Kevin Brennan joined the band when he heard they were looking for a guitarist.

    "Tony Blair wasn't available so I agreed to do it," he joked.

    Their drummer, meanwhile, is Conservative Greg Knight.

    "Today St Johns, tomorrow Wembley stadium," said Greg Knight in a reference to the church they are playing in and a well known north London building site.

    "I started playing drums at school but I haven't played for 12 and a half years," he continued.

    "I'll be dusting off the drum kit tonight. Hopefully it won't be too painful - I think I've got the edge on the home secretary on the drums having heard him play recently."

    Recording ambition

    That was a reference to one of the more tooth-grinding moments of recent political history when the prime minister and David Blunkett delighted a group of teenagers by joining them in an entirely impromptu jamming session at their school.

    But the question anyone who follows events in politics must want to ask is just how a bunch of people of widely different political perspectives can stand to spend time with each other voluntarily? "The things that unite us are our love of music and our concern for the future of the British music industry which is facing a number of threats at the minute not least from pirated music," says Mr Knight.

    "It's for the Macmillan charity so we've actually had no disagreements whatsoever on any aspect of this project."

    But had there been no shouting, screaming or emotion? "No there's been none of that so far but it's early days," said Mr Wishart.

    "Give us a chance. I'm sure the famous musical differences will emerge."

    Two tune gig

    As for their next step, the MPs are planning to record a CD with some financial sponsorship from the British Phonographic Industry.

    They may even write some of their own songs.

    But for their first gig they are confining themselves to just a couple of numbers.

    "We're doing 'Can't buy me love' the old Beatles number and a Travis number 'Why does it always rain on me?' So old and new - a bit like the Labour Party," said Mr Cawsey.

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2004/02/05 19:26:30 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 06, 2004.

    Vauxhall Street


    Temporary closure of Vauxhall Street

    Released: February 2, 2004 9:50 AM
    Filesize: 7kb

    Humps in Vauxhall Street

    Released: February 2, 2004 9:49 AM
    Filesize: 6kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), February 02, 2004.

    Monday Evening events coming up at the Durning Library

    Breaking News from the Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website


    Updated 31 January 2004

    There are some interesting

    Monday Evening events

    coming up at the Durning Library at 167 Kennington Lane, just by Kennington Cross SE11. They run from 1930 but it is best to get there as soon as possible after 1900 as space is limited. The first, on Monday 16 February, is entitled

    "Mr Guy's Hospital and the Caribbees"

    Medical historian Jane Bowden-Dan will be discussing the medical care of Caribbean slaves sent "home" from the West Indies by London merchants and treated at Guy's Hospital. Was it humanitarian concern or enlightened self-interest which led to the slave Samson being treated by premier surgeon Samuel Sharpe?

    And the second, on Monday 15 March, is entitled

    "Can We Avert Climate Catastrophe?"

    Where can we find the real facts about climate change? Are the relevant scientists in disagreement about the facts? How real and imminent is the threat of climate catastrophe? Can we avert it, and if so how much time have we got? These are some of the questions that John Mead, of the UNED-UK Energy & Climate Panel, will try to answer.

    -- Cathy (FoDurningLibrary@aol.com), February 01, 2004.

    Karate classes

    Renshinkai Southern Academy

    Have a look at the British Institute of Karate Organisation's site at http://www.bik.org.uk/

    Sessions are held at:
    Effra Community Club, Lollard Street, Kennington - training for beginners and juniors. Every Wednesday, 6.30pm - 7.45pm).

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 29, 2004.

    Monty off duty – forgotten photos reveal the private man


    January 29, 2004

    Monty off duty – forgotten photos reveal the private man

    By Robin Young

    A FORGOTTEN cache of photographs of one of Britain’s most famous war heroes is to be auctioned in Scotland. Pictures of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein normally show him in battledress and jaunty beret, but the new set show him in private, with royalty, politicians and stars.

    They include the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Winston Churchill, President Eisenhower and the comedian Bob Hope, along with one of him smiling in a hospital bed with nurses standing to attention.

    Dave Smith is auctioning the 38 pictures next month. He said yesterday: “No one really knew these existed. So for them to turn up out of the blue like this is truly astonishing. They were given to me by the owners of a book shop in Stonehaven who have had them in their posession for some time.”

    The only clue to the original owner is a message in the album, “For Mrs Hunt from her friend Ed Murrow”. An Ed Murrow was a US broadcaster of the 1940s and 50s.

    Mr Smith said: “The pictures must either have been taken by or belonged to someone who knew Montgomery well. The pictures are really informal and I just wonder who took them. Six are signed, and even Montgomery signatures alone can reach over £100.” Montgomery commanded the Eighth Army in 1942 and led a successful campaign through North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

    In 1944 he spearheaded the invasion of Europe, which led to the defeat of Germany.

    Off the battlefield, he went on to play an important part in the formation of Nato before his death in 1976. A room is dedicated to his memory and to memorabilia of his life at the Imperial War Museum, near his birthplace in Kennington, South London. Mr Smith, who runs an auction house in Inverbervie, Kincardineshire, where they will be sold on March 27, added: “I think there will be a lot of interest in these pictures.

    “Many of them are signed and give a real insight into what the man’s personal life was like. They are certain to appeal to people interested in Montgomery. He was a fascinating character.”

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 29, 2004.


    The Brit Oval

    Jan 27 2004

    South London Press

    SURREY County Cricket Club's world famous Kennington ground will be renamed The Brit Oval after a new sponsorship deal.

    The agreement with Brit Insurance Holdings plc comes into force in the upcoming 2004 season. It will provide revenue of £500,000 per season for Surrey - including branding for the the club's white and coloured shirts.

    Surrey chief executive Paul Sheldon said: "This new partnership couldn't have come at a better time as next week work starts on our ambitious redevelopment of the Vauxhall End of the ground."

    * SURREY CCC will also merge the recreational and professional game under the brand name, Surrey Cricket.

    This will increase the potential for young Surrey cricketers to rise through the ranks as well as fully integrate club cricket into Surrey Cricket's base, at the Brit Oval in South London.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 27, 2004.

    Kennington Walk

    Go to this link for details of a walk around Kennington that takes in some attractive Duchy of Cornwall premises as well as the Prince Consort's Model Lodge. The site of the pleasure gardens is used by the Vauxhall City Farm situated opposite.


    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 27, 2004.

    Good Dentist

    I can recommend G K Ooi & Associates, Dental Surgeons, at 302 Kennington Road, SE11 4LD Tel 020 7582 1668. They do NHS work too.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 26, 2004.

    Good Dentist

    Having moved into the area recently, could anybody recommend a good dentyist in the area. Much appreciated

    -- Mark Thompson (tommo_98@hotmail.com), January 26, 2004.

    Cycling Training UK

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Updated 24 January 2004

    Cycling Training UK

    There are now large numbers of cyclists on our roads, encouraged by the congestion charge and the opportunity to avoid the stress of driving/public transport. Those living in Lambeth can be taught cycle safely - which means to be aware, and to ride assertively - in free 2 hour training sessions with Cycling Training UK, based in Lambeth Walk. Their number is 7582 3535.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 25, 2004.

    Squatters fight for homes

    BBC News

    News in brief

    Squatters fight for homes

    Squatters who have been living in south London for nearly 30 years are fighting to keep their homes.

    Up to 150 people live in properties on St Agnes Place, Kennington, which includes the headquarters of the Rastafarian community.

    But Lambeth Council now wants to reclaim the properties to turn them into social housing.

    The squatters have been threatened with legal action but say they are prepared to use "direct action" to defend their homes.

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/01/23 06:55:14 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 23, 2004.

    'Nothing left to do but strike'

    BBC News

    'Nothing left to do but strike'

    Tens of thousands of civil servants will stage a two-day strike next week after voting for industrial action over pay.

    Audrey Di Rizzio, who works as an admin officer at a Job Centre Plus in Kennington Park, London, will be striking on Thursday and Friday.

    She has worked for the department for nearly 15 years and earns £12,000 a year for a 25 hour week.

    She told BBC Radio Five Live she was fully behind the decision to strike.

    "Only because I feel that it's the only thing left to do at this stage", she said.

    "I can't afford to lose two days' wages but I'm prepared to do that if it's going to make my employers listen and make a difference and realise that we can't manage on what we are earning now.

    "The pay offer they have given is not sufficient."

    'Violent clients'

    Ms Di Rizzio is a single mother with three children.

    She supplements her wages with Child Tax Credit - £134 a week - which she says does not make much difference.

    "It's not enough to raise my children," Ms Di Rizzio said.

    She said her job could be very stressful. "Some of the clients that we see can be violent and threatening. I have dealt with situations myself where I have had to call for assistance from security guards. It's a very stressful job."

    Ms Di Rizzio said she thought a reasonable wage for the job she did would be £20,000 a year.

    "For the hours that I do and the stress that I take on board, I'd say no less than £20,000."

    She said she realised the strike would affect people using the job centre.

    "But in the long term if we are paid the money we deserve for the hours that we do and the work that we do and the stress that we are put through, then they will get a much better service."

    She said strike action was the last straw.

    "They have negotiated and negotiated and negotiated and there's nothing left to do but strike."

    Story from BBC NEWS:
    Published: 2004/01/21 16:39:36 GMT
    © BBC MMIV

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 22, 2004.

    Situation Vacant


    Situation Vacant

    Temporary KS2 Teacher - Archbishop Sumner C of E School

    For futher information, please refer to the advert.
    Released: January 20, 2004 11:22 AM
    Filesize: 14kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 20, 2004.

    Kennington is coming back to life following the Christmas/New Year break.

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval, London website

    Updated 18 January 2004

    Kennington is coming back to life following the Christmas/New Year break.

    The first event is a public meeting of the

    Friends of Kennington Park

    on Monday, January 26th at 7pm in the Kennington Park Estate Community Centre, 8 Harleyford St, SE11. It is your opportunity to influence plans to make the park a greener space.


    the Camera Club

    based just off Kennington Cross, is opening its doors to the people of Lambeth on Saturday 31 January from 10am until 8pm. They offer free portraits for you and your family; but you need to book first so give them a call. Also visit their darkrooms and see work in progress. Listen to a lecture on the history of this famous club. Witness your portrait being printed out in the digital suite, and then have a cup of tea or coffee in the gallery. Their address is 16 Bowden Street, SE11. http://www.thecameraclub.co.uk/

    And before or after your visist to the Camera Club, you can go to a grand


    from 11am until 3pm also on Saturday, 31st January. The venue is St Anselm's Church Hall, Kennington Cross SE11 (Junction of Kennington Road and Kennington Lane). The bazaar will feature new and nearly new items, books, tombola, bric-a-brac, cakes, jumble, etc. And if you have items you would be willing to donate - they can all be delivered to the church hall on the Friday evening (30th January) between 5.30-8pm - or on the Saturday morning between 9-10am. For further details contact: the Kennington Association (7793 0268) or KenningtonAssn@aol.com.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 19, 2004.

    Friends of Kennington Park - Public Meeting - Monday, January 26th at 7pm - Kennington Park Estate Community Center, 8 Harleyford St, SE11

    Friends of Kennington Park
    Public Meeting

    Monday, January 26th at 7pm

    Kennington Park Estate Community Center
    8 Harleyford St, SE11

    A greener park

    More trees, more plants, a link between the two parts of the park.

    Find out more about plans to make the park a greener space and the money to pay for it.

    It's your park - come and have your say

    -- Cathy (FoKenningtonPark@aol.com), January 18, 2004.

    BAZAAR: Saturday, 31st January, 11am until 3pm, St Anselm's Church Hall, Kennington Cross SE11


    Saturday, 31st January
    11am until 3pm

    St Anselm's Church Hall
    Kennington Cross SE11

    New and nearly new items, books, tombola, bric-a-brac, cakes, jumble, etc: If you have items you would be willing to donate - they can all be delivered to the church hall on the Friday evening (30th January) between 5.30-8pm - or on the Saturday morning between 9-10am.

    For further details contact: Kennington Association, C/- 235B Kennington Lane, SE11 5QU, t: 7793 0268, e: KenningtonAssn@aol.com, w: www.kenningtonassociation.org.uk

    -- Cathy (KenningtonAssn@aol.com), January 18, 2004.

    Captain Cook discovered Hawaii on this day


    Captain Cook discovered Hawaii on this day

    Events which happened on this day in history include:

    1778 Captain Cook discovered Hawaii.

    1788 A penal settlement was established in Botany Bay, Australia.

    1879 The first England-Wales football international was played at Kennington Oval in London, England winning 2-1.

    1882 AA Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh, was born in St John's Wood, London.

    1911 US pilot Eugene Ely, in a Curtiss aircraft, made the first landing on the deck of a ship - the cruiser Pennsylvania moored in San Francisco Bay.

    1912 British explorer Captain Scott reached the South Pole - only to find the Norwegian Amundsen had arrived 35 days earlier.

    1933 The "bodyline bowling" row flared up in an Australian v England Test match in Adelaide.

    1944 The 900-day siege of Leningrad ended.

    1977 In the worst rail disaster in Australian history, 82 people died when a Sydney-bound train was derailed.

    Story filed: 08:06 Sunday 18th January 2004

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 18, 2004.

    The Camera Club is opening its doors to the people of Lambeth

    The Camera Club is opening its doors to the people of Lambeth

    Saturday 31 January, 10am until 8pm

    Free portraits for you and your family; but you need to book first so give them a call. Visit their darkrooms and see work in progress. Listen to a lecture on the history of this famous club. Witness your portrait being printed out in the digital suite, and then have a cup of tea or coffee in the gallery.

    The Camera Club
    16 Bowden Street
    Kennington SE11
    Tel: 020 7587 1809

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 17, 2004.

    Bringing squats back to tenants

    Bringing squats back to tenants

    Jan 16 2004
    By Robert Dex

    South London Press

    SIX family homes worth about £3million have been reclaimed from squatters.

    And the first families have just moved in to the three storey, five-bedroom houses in Southwark.

    The homes in Brook Drive, Kennington, were first occupied by squatters in April 2002.

    But they were evicted only for another gang to take over and stay for more than four months.

    Last year the South London Press revealed how the homes were being lived in rent-free.

    Work to convert the houses from flats back to family homes began the day after the final eviction in June last year. And the council's head of housing, Councillor Beverley Bassom, handed over the first sets of keys to the families moving in to their new homes.

    Cllr Bassom said: "These refurbished properties have come a long way since the squatters were evicted last summer and I am delighted to be handing over the keys.

    "There is a shortage of large, family homes in Southwark, so I'm glad to see genuine tenants moving in.

    "The other four remaining properties are still undergoing work and we hope to hand them over at the end of the month."

    Angry neighbours were left frustrated as the squatters reconnected gas, electricity and water supplies to the homes and posted up notices warning people not to interfere.

    Adrian Taylor, who lives nearby, said: "We had screaming matches in the middle of the road and there were people brought home by the police some nights."

    * In 1999, squatter Timothy Ellis won the right to keep a Brixton house worth £200,000 after living there for 12 years.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 16, 2004.

    Running for Ella

    Breaking News from Vauxhall, Kennington & the Oval website

    http://www.vauxhallandkennington.org.uk/ Updated 13 January 2004

    Running for Ella

    This little girl is Ella Owen with her father Ed Owen, who works for Jack Straw, a local resident. Ella has cystic fibrosis - a disease for which a cure may be found within the next few years. A number of Kennington residents, politicians and others are therefore working together to raise £100,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust by running in the 2004 London Marathon. Please click on http://www.runningforella.info/ to support this excellent cause.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 16, 2004.

    Ladies Who Lunch - Mansion House - Wed 4th February 1pm

    Ladies Who Lunch
    Mansion House
    Wed 4th February

    Hi All

    I have made a booking at The Mansion House pub for 1pm, Wednesday, 4th February.

    Mansion House
    46-48 Kennington Park Road SE11 4RS (opposite St Mary Newington church)
    7735 2291

    Mansion House offers an extensive menu including pizzas, plus a board of daily specials and desserts. 


    Nine starters ranging from Soup of the Day at £ 1.95 to Giant mussels cooked in a choice of white wine and tomato or a cream and herb sauce for £ 3.95. 

    Main Courses

    Seven dishes ranging from Bangers & Mash (Cumberland sausages with creamy mashed potatoes, red wine and onion gravy) at £ 4.95 to Braised Shoulder of Lamb (Slow baked until it falls off the bone, served with salad and potatoes) at £ 7.50.

    Homemade Hamburgers

    A choice of beef, flame-grilled chicken breast, vegetable or lamb, served in a floured bap, garnished with salad and served with chips at £ 5.95.


    Choice of Aberdeen Angus chargrilled T-Bone (16oz+), Sirloin (10oz+) or Fillet (8oz+) from £ 10.95 to £ 14.95, all served with a choice of new potatoes or chips, fresh vegetables or salad and French onions, and a peppered, chasseur, red wine and onion, or Madeira sauce.


    Can you please let me know if you can join us?

    Many thanks
    Best wishes
    7793 0268

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 15, 2004.

    Situation vacant


    Administrator EDU/51a

    Released: January 12, 2004 2:42 PM
    Filesize: 28kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 14, 2004.

    Mum lays wreath at murder scene

    Mum lays wreath at murder scene

    Jan 13 2004
    By Crime Reporter Greg Truscott

    South London Press

    THE mother of a 24-year-old woman whose battered body was found dumped on an estate will today lay flowers at the scene to mark the second anniversary of her daughter's unsolved murder.

    On Sunday, January 13, 2002, the body of Jacqueline Nyeko was found in a storage area on the Ethelred Estate, Black Prince Road, Kennington.

    A post-mortem revealed she had died from head injuries.

    Jacqueline was last seen alive in St John's Crescent, off Brixton Road, Stockwell, late in the evening on Thursday, January 10, three days before her battered body was discovered.

    Detectives believe Jacqueline was in the McDonald's restaurant in Brixton Road at around 4pm on the same day, but do not know where she went between leaving there and being seen in St John's Crescent at around 10pm.

    To mark the anniversary of her daughter's murder, Jacqueline's mother, Grace Nyeko, will today lay flowers at the spot where her daughter was found.

    A £5,000 reward is still on offer to anyone with any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Jacqueline's killer.

    Police are still appealing for sightings of her. She was believed to have been wearing a two-tone beige, woolly hat, a long, beige puffa jacket, a black zip-up jumper, beige trousers and black boots.

    Detective Chief Inspector Keith Eldridge, of the Serious Crime Group, said: "Two years have passed since the tragic death of this young woman, and we are constantly reviewing the investigation and re-appealing for information relating to this murder.

    "Work on this case has intensified over time and we have not given up hope.

    "As time goes on we move ever closer to a breakthrough on this case.

    "In the mean time it is important that people come forward to assist us in our investigation.

    "Jacqueline's family have been devastated by her death and they just wish to find out what happened to her."

    Anyone with information or who may have known Jacqueline is asked to phone the Serious Crime Group Incident Room on 020 8217 6453.

    Alternatively information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

    020 8710 6435 email: crime@slp.co.uk

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 14, 2004.

    Eye don't believe it

    Eye don't believe it

    South London Press

    Jan 13 2004
    By Ben Clover

    EYE, eye, eye, eye ... what have we here then?

    No, you don't have to book yourself in for an eye test - it's the striking work of Lambeth-based visual artist Martin Jay Thompson.

    And while it may look like a theme park attraction, this image is one of the pieces in his latest exhibition, London Exposed, in which he depicts sights familiar to Londoners in unfamiliar ways.

    Using tricks and techniques of digital photography, as well as his own eye for re-interpretation, Martin, has created his own vision of the capital.

    Other examples of his work include Kennington's Imperial War Museum rendered as a battleship ploughing through the rough seas of London.

    Another shows Walworth Road bathed in a riot of colours.

    London Exposed is at the Betty Morton Gallery, Brixton, from Friday until February 15.

    The gallery will be open from 10.30am to 6.30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and from 2pm to 5pm on Sundays. Call 020-7733 5874 for gallery information.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 14, 2004.

    MONDAY EVENINGS at the DURNING LIBRARY with the Friends of Durning Library


    Evening events at 7.0 for 7.30  --  all welcome

    (come early - space limited)

    Held at the Durning Library,  167 Kennington Lane,  SE11

    £2 suggested donation

    Nibbles and drinks

    Monday 19 January:  "From a Place of Conflict to a Place of Peace - the story of The Old Courthouse, Kennington"

    In 1995 The Old Courthouse, situated in Renfrew Road just off Kennington Lane, made a dramatic transformation from high-security court hosting figures such as the Krays to peaceful Buddhist Centre.  Alison Murdoch will tell the story of how a group of volunteers rescued this Lambeth landmark from the Buildings at Risk register and describe the Buddhist and community activities that it now provides.

    Monday 16 February:  "Mr Guy's Hospital and the Caribbees"

    Medical historian Jane Bowden-Dan will be discussing the medical care of Caribbean slaves sent "home" from the West Indies by London merchants and treated at Guy's Hospital.  Was it humanitarian concern or enlightened self-interest which led to the slave Samson being treated by premier surgeon Samuel Sharpe?

    Monday 15 March:  "Can We Avert Climate Catastrophe?"

    Where can we find the real facts about climate change?  Are the relevant scientists in disagreement about the facts?  How real and imminent is the threat of climate catastrophe?  Can we avert it, and if so how much time have we got?  These are some of the questions that John Mead, of the UNED-UK Energy & Climate Panel, will try to answer.

    Friends of Durning Library
    167 Kennington Lane, London SE11 4HF
    t: 020 7926 8682
    e: FoDurningLibrary@aol.com

    -- Cathy (FoDurningLibrary@aol.com), January 13, 2004.

    Lib Dem attack was unjust

    Lib Dem attack was unjust

    Jan 9 2004

    AS A former member and party activist for the Liberal Democrats, I would just like to speak out in defence of Ray Woolford, who was attacked totally unjustly, I feel, by the Lib Dems (Letters, January 2).

    As a former Liberal Democrat in Brixton, he was seen to have - and still has - an excellent reputation as a hardworking dedicated community activist, as a school governor, chairman of the residents' association, and involved in dozens of community projects over 20 years in South London.

    His work led to him last year being voted by the national gay newspaper, The Pink Paper, a runner-up Hero of the Year for his community work - a readership you would think would not easily vote for a Conservative. Whilst the Lib Dems promise all things to all men, the Conservatives get on and get things done.

    Even on education, I say the Liberal Democrats mis-lead. In Scotland, student loans are deferred, not abolished as they would have people believe. I would say it is their way of misleading people at any cost that has seen many former party activists, such as myself, resign from the party, while the Conservatives are the only major party opposing top-up fees.

    Anne Boyle
    Kennington (formerly an Angel ward resident)

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 12, 2004.

    Rescuer denies raping runaway

    South London Press

    Rescuer denies raping runaway

    Jan 9 2004

    A SEX attacker posed as a Good Samaritan to rape a teenage runaway minutes after rescuing her from a mugger, a court was told this week.

    The girl believed Neil Kinch, 18, from Wal-worth, was trying to protect her when he retrieved her bag from a thug, the court heard.

    But it is alleged he later lifted up her skirt in a stairwell and forced himself on her.

    A jury at Southwark Crown Court heard on Wednesday how the girl had run away from her South London home a few days before the alleged attack.

    She was out with friends on May 4 last year when she was approached by Kinch and his pals, the court was told.

    One of Kinch's group made an obscene comment before running off with the girl's bag. Six-foot Kinch chased the boy and retrieved the bag before inviting the girl to flats in the Kennington area.

    Prosecutor Tyrone Belger said: "She thought he was trying to protect her from what had happened and avoid the other boys hitting her. In other words she was quite content to go the flats.

    "When they got to those flats things turned plainly nasty within a short space of time.

    "She tried to stop him. He said 'Don't struggle or I will blow you', meaning hit you or hurt you, but she thought it meant violence caused with a gun. She became very frightened and no longer struggled."

    Mr Belger said Kinch forced the girl on to the stairwell and raped her.

    Jurors heard how after the attack, Kinch told his victim to stay where she was while he went to get his car. But she immediately ran and told a passer-by what had happened.

    Kinch was arrested hours later but claimed sex with the girl was consensual.

    Kinch, of Wesley Close, Walworth, denies rape on May 4 last year.

    The trial continues.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 12, 2004.

    405 Kennington Road

    Dear Neighbours

    405 Kennington Road

    is to come before the Planning Committee on Tuesday 13th January. The recommendation is to Grant Permission subject to S106 agreement. There is one objection from the Manor of Kennington RA so it may be worth attending the meeting to support this application, No. 03/02562/FUL/DC_OP/12893 The full report can be found on Page 161 of the below link.

    Planning Applications Committee - 13 January 2004

    Released: January 8, 2004 4:36 PM
    Filesize: 8976kb

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 09, 2004.

    Free fruit for schoolchildren

    South London Press

    Free fruit for schoolchildren

    Jan 8 2004

    Schoolchildren across England are to get free fruit every day as part of a £77 million investment announced by Health Secretary John Reid.

    The money will mean that all youngsters aged four to six will get a piece of fruit each day at school as part of Government efforts to promote healthy eating and tackle child obesity.

    The pilot National School Fruit Scheme, run by the New Opportunities Fund, has meant that one million children are already receiving free fruit in the classroom.

    Dr Reid, who was visiting Walnut Tree Walk School in Kennington in south London, which is already taking part in the scheme, said encouraging children to eat more healthily was vital if rising obesity rates were to be tackled.

    "We said that every child aged four to six would be entitled to a free piece of fruit each school day, and this new funding will deliver on this commitment.

    "The scheme is a key element of our efforts to combat obesity and encourage a healthier population.

    "We're developing action plans on food, healthy eating and physical activity and we've set the food industry a deadline to outline their commitments to reducing salt levels in their products."

    Obesity is said to be responsible for 31,000 premature deaths each year in the UK, and increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

    Recent figures from the Health Development Agency showed that 15% of 15-year-olds and 8.5% of six-year-olds were now classed as obese.

    A survey published by the Department of Health today showed that more than a quarter of children and their families ate more fruit at home after their school joined the fruit scheme.

    -- Cathy (cathyvpreece@aol.com), January 08, 2004.

    This was 2003

    South London Press

    From dancing priests to albino squirrels ...

    Jan 2 2004

    THE year began with heavy snowfalls and by August we had record-breaking temperatures. It was the year we helped save Battersea Zoo and also the year an albino squirrel fell out of a Peckham tree. And it was the year that both Tony Benn and Jimmy White had a crack at the pop charts.

    This was 2003


    THE new year begins with London's heaviest snowfall for a decade, pictured far right. Snowmen are built, snowballs are thrown and traffic grinds to a halt as the capital is covered in a blanket of snow more akin to Siberia than South London. More than 5cm falls on Tuesday, January 7, transforming the capital into a winter wonderland.

    The man dubbed Britain's oldest football hooligan is caged for five years for attacking a police horse during the Millwall riot. Grey-haired Raymond Everest was caught on CCTV after launching a kung fu kick on the animal. The 56-year-old, from Sydenham, becomes the first person to be convicted by a jury of rioting at a football match.


    The dawn of a new era for the capital is ushered in - in the form of Ken Livingstone's congestion charge. London's roads are eerily quiet on the morning of Monday, February 17, apart from protesters who gather in Kennington and Tower Bridge shouting: "Kenny, Kenny, Kenny - Out, Out, Out!"

    The South London Press launches a campaign to help our pensioners safeguard the free travel they call their lifeline. Hundreds put their name to our petition after a report recommends the travel perk should be slashed. The campaign would culminate next month with hundreds of bannerwielding pensioners descending on Westminster and demanding "Keep Travel Free for OAPs".


    As Britain and the US stand on the verge of war in Iraq, war protest walkouts by thousands of South London schoolkids end with youngsters being arrested and led away in handcuffs. A day of chaos sees students take to the streets demanding peace. Protesters also gather outside Jack Straw's Lambeth home to stage a "die-in".

    Brixton's very own black Elvis, Colbert Hamilton, continues to wow audiences across the capital. The 39-year-old pretender to the throne has performed classics such as Heartbreak Hotel and Return to Sender in front of the likes of Madonna and Rod Stewart, and revealed he was once turned away from TV show Stars In Their Eyes after being told all applicants had to be the same race and sex as those they were impersonating.


    Tot Tommy North is left with horrific injuries after being savaged by a bull terrier. Tommy, just two years old, climbed over a fence into next-door's garden before being mauled by the Staffordshire cross. The Tooting youngster undergoes six hours of surgery after the terrifying attack.

    A staggering 7,000 people say NO to the proposed closure of Battersea Zoo after the South London Press launches a campaign to save the popular children's attraction, pictured above right. Among the supporters are Bob Geldof who tells us: "To see it go would be a terrible shame." September sees Wandsworth council eventually buckle under the pressure of our campaign and agree to keep the zoo open.


    Dog owner George Dinham is found dead by his brother, savaged by the prized terrier he adored.

    The Wandsworth dad-of-four is found slumped in his front room. Ben, his four-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, comes to the front door, his fur caked with his master's blood. The dog is destroyed. An inquest later finds it was likely that Mr Dinham had a fit before Ben attacked him.

    A rare albino squirrel, dubbed Persil, pictured above, is taken to a wildlife hospital suffering from shock and a bloody nose after falling from a tree in Peckham. The miraculous mite, just 6in long, recovers from her injuries after being hand-fed milk in an incubator.

    An 89-year-old is sipping tea with her daughter when a double-decker bus ploughs into her living room. Amazingly, no one is hurt in the Streatham Hill smash.


    Veteran politician Tony Benn puts his legendary speeches to rap music. The outspoken MP teams up with South London producer Charles Bailey and turns MC in a bid to inspire youngsters to vote.

    Two men are sprung from a prison van outside Inner London Crown Court in an armed ambush. Clifford Hobbs and Noel Cunningham, from Rotherhithe, escape from the van when its driver is shot in the leg and a guard pistol-whipped in a planned attack. Six months later, the duo are still on the run.


    Snooker legend Jimmy White follows in Tony Benn's footsteps and swaps the green baize for the pop charts with his new single "Minted". The track features Jimmy's unmistakable South London drawl laid over a hip dance beat.

    South London priest Father Neil Horan, pictured above left, stuns the world when he does an Irish jig on a Formula One track, as cars hurtle by at 200mph. Race fans gasp in horror as the drama is played out live on television to a world audience of millions. Father Horan is later released after serving six weeks on remand.


    South London literally sizzles in recordbreaking temperatures. Brixton beach is filled to capacity as Met Office thermometers record a high of 35.7C - the hottest temperatures in London since records began.

    Desperate asylum-seekers set up a makeshift refugee camp on the streets of Brixton after being refused Government aid. The 28-strong group pitch up at the Refugee Council's premises. Sympathetic locals donate, water, food, blankets and cash.


    South Bank residents vent their fury after US illusionist David Blaine begins his bid to survive 44 days in a glass box without food. Locals are furious about noise emanating from the Tower Bridge area - including bangs from a drummer. Noise pollution squads are sent in to investigate. Our mascot, Pressley Bear, pictured below right, made a valiant attempt to contact him.

    Thousands of South Londoners are left without water for FOUR days after a mains pipe ruptures. Businesses ground to a halt and hospitals switch to emergency supplies as engineers struggle to stem the flow. Thousands of East Dulwich, Peckham, Nunhead and Camberwell residents have to rely on limited water supplies from 17 plastic tanks in the street.


    Millwall FC and Mark McGhee, pictured above inset right, part company "by mutual consent" in a shock decision. McGhee stepped into the Den in 3September 2000. Fans express surprise at the decision taken so early in the season. The team are 12th in Division 1.

    * The South Lond