diamond geezer

 Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's all happening in Greenwich at the moment...

Discover Greenwich: After an expensive and lengthy revamp, a new "cultural venue" has opened in the heart of Greenwich at the Old Naval College [photo]. Previously a lacklustre hall full of not much, there's now a proper visitor attraction complete with stuff to see, eat, drink and buy. Step through the Georgian portico and you'll be greeted by a major retrospective of local history, from Henry VIII's palace to the day Elizabeth II came to dinner. Centrepiece is a model map bedecked by projected images, although I'd be surprised if you can maintain interest long enough to watch the entire historical cycle from beginning to end. Far better to mull around the surrounding exhibits, which include a reconstructed Tudor window and several well-designed displays. Nextdoor there's a freshly spruced-up tourist information centre (which manages to contain less tourist information than its predecessor) and a badly set-out shop (which tempted me to buy nothing). A far more impressive feature is the arrival of Greenwich's Old Brewery on the western side of the building. Their section functions as a cafe and a bar and a restaurant, but more importantly they also brews their own beer in full view of the patrons and serve it up to customers [photo]. Staff couldn't serve me a Keller Bier on Day 1 yesterday because that's not fully brewed yet, but I did enjoy a right tasty lunch of Galloway beef and mash dolloped into in a cardboard box. With a ginormous chocolate brownie to follow, I departed smiling and satisfied.
» Darryl's report and photoset will give you a good flavour of the place.
» Other early visitors to Discover Greenwich include Londonist and Visit London.

North Greenwich riverside

North Greenwich riverside: If you like your walks to be brutally industrial yet still somehow still charming, then you'd have loved the riverside stroll between the Old Naval College and the Dome. A peculiar mix of heritage wharves, towering silos and maritime berths, this was a last outpost of how London used to be. Alas, not for much longer. Several of the wharves have recently been demolished, and a plain of rubble now awaits the construction of Thames-view apartments. The smelly industrial estate alongside is currently being demolished, ready for the construction of thousands of not-quite-Thames-view apartments. A few millennial leftovers round the back of the Dome are scheduled for removal, this time for a huge hotel. And the landmark concrete silos at Primrose Wharf are also about to be demolished, albeit slowly, allowing the property developers yet another toehold on the peninsula foreshore. This latter demolition has required a recent lengthy diversion of the Thames Path inland, and I'm afraid a stroll along the thundering Blackwall Tunnel Approach Road just isn't the same. I shall miss the opportunity to walk through industrial history - already wrecked in parts, now doomed in others - as North Greenwich's innate character is flattened for flats.
» Urban 75 walked this way a couple of summers ago.
» Ian's been more recently, but also has a gallery of older photos.
» I've taken a few atmospheric photos too. There's a gallery here.

Greenwich Park 2012: Greenwich Council last night held a special planning meeting to confirm whether the equestrian events at the upcoming London Olympics could be held in Greenwich Park. One side of the argument seemed convinced that Satan and his evil pruning shears would descend on SE10, laying waste this World Heritage Site and locking it away from public view for a generation. 2012 bosses, on the other hand, tried to reassure folk that a few horses and specially-selected contractors couldn't do much damage, honest, and that Greenwich would emerge triumphant on a global stage. Councillors overwhelmingly sided with the voices of reason at LOCOG, leaving the pessimist nimbys at NOGOE to scream blue murder from the sidelines for two more years. Come summer 2012, we'll hopefully know how wrong they were.
» Greenwich.co.uk have a (balanced) report from the meeting (although I'd expect Andrew Gilligan to get very angry later)
» Darryl was also at the meeting (and tweeted the whole thing in enormous detail)

And that's just the tip of the Greenwich iceberg.
For more regular updates, check out Greenwich.co.uk, the Greenwich Phantom and 853.

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