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The Ragged School Blog Deptford

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Deptford Pink - Dianthus armeria

"there is a wilde creeping Pinke, which groweth in our pastures near about London..... but especially in the great fields next to Deptford, by the path as you go from Redriffe to Greenwich" ...Gerard's Herball of 1633

This plant is an endangered species and is protected, read here about how it is actually misnamed, and probably never actually grew in Deptford. Happily however, Chris Marshall did use the plant in DeptfordX 2001 on the side of Mumford Mill and the Laban building site. I have adopted the plant as the favicon for this blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Benjamin Franklin and Ferranti

If you've done any research on electricity and found Deptford as the site of the seminal electric Power station in Britain, you might then be surprised to find it merely commemorated by the recently named Ferranti Park opposite the Laban. Whilst this gesture is great, why isn't there a significant memorial on the site by the river ? There stands instead a monument to Peter the Greats visit to the Naval Dockyard. And if you visit the site of Sayes Court to investigate that in turn, where is any clue that Sayes Court the house and its grand gardens existed ? The answer is because history is a very expensive commodity to present, or can be. Its one thing to have it documented, another to access the documents and another to fund the capital investment and servicing of an historical or cultural facility. Very rarely an historical building will survive, and even rarer an opportunity to bring it alive again. Benjamin Franklin, the man who used a kite to tap lightning in early research on electricity, lived in a house behind Trafalgar Square, near what is now Charing Cross station. The house has finally opened as a museum this month, for the first time enabling a combined visitor study facility with archive material of Franklins work catalogued by Yale university. Why is Lewisham one of the few boroughs not to have a local history museum yet ?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Architect David Adjaye in Deptford

Similar gold dust boxes from Ghana, inspired David Adjaye to the shape and nature of The Stephen Lawrence Centre, which were just some of the nuggets on display at the Whitechapel Gallery.
The Current show of Adjayes work details one each of a particular object or pattern which is a key to every building. Each key is an African vernacular craft piece. The gold dust boxes, shown in the exhibition like two 'married buildings' mirror the two adjoined spaces Adjaye has linked with a bridge for the Stephen Lawrence Centre. The use of symbolism to denote various textures and nuances around heritage identity are studied and subtle. Is the reference to antique gold a cryptic nod to Deptfords complex naval history or just a coincidence ? Adjaye has also used a floor design which extends outwards from the building like a sunray tractor beam, pulling in students and mentors, based on a picture by Chris Ofili. The new centre, which if built by Brookmill Park, will be a centrepice of Deptfords pathfinding mission to reinvent iteself as a hotspot for creative industry. The building will accomodate the needs of an educational programme by the Stephen Lawrence Trust and provide the forward thinking needed for new and exciting learning scenarios. These will address the complete lifecycle of education, training and mentoring for young creative and business talent.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Deptford.tv launch March

announcement for the launch of Deptford.TV on 03/03/06

Deptford.tv is an audio-visual documentation of the regeneration process of the Deptford area in collaboration with SPC.org media lab, Bitnik.org, the Boundless.coop, Liquid Culture and Goldsmiths College.

Since September 2005 we started assembling AV material around the regeneration process of the Deptford area, asking community members, video artist, film-makers, visual artists and students to contribute statements, feedbacks, critiques of the regeneration process of Deptford.
This rough material as well as edited media content will be made available on the Deptford.TV database and distributed over the boundless.coop wireless network an open content license such as the creative commons and the gnu general public license.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

'learn how to' - Save Ladywell Pool

After learning to swim at Crystal Palace and Forest Hill Baths, I went on to swim at Ladywell with my primary school, and use Ladywell as a leisure pool thereafter. I am not really a keen sportsperson, and I don't like chlorine swimming baths, so I no longer swim - but when I pass Ladywell on the bus towards Catford I recognize what an important social hub Ladywell is.

Like anyone who keenly reads the local paper to follow the latest, I was originally stunned to see that it could be demolished.
I have just taken another look at Save Ladywell Pool and I must congratulate all who have created a showcase of positive community campaigning. I strongly urge all teachers, campaigners, heritage, ecology and community advocates to spend at least 20 minutes exploring the quality and depth of this website. Notice the care that has been taken to create appropriate weblinks to quoted documents and persons. Main topics are grouped with a clear menu. There is a discussion forum.

Whatever the fate of the pool, make sure that this outstanding civic resource can be appraised and modeled - to allow other awareness campaigns to flourish, and the local electorate a new participatory vehicle.