Save Marsh Lane Fields – video

I’ve cut together some footage of the demonstration on Marsh Lane Fields in December. The video hopefully explains the issues, but in short the Olympic Destruction/Development Agency are planning re-locate the Manor Gardens Allotments in Hackney to one corner of Marsh Lane Fields.

The issues/objections are:
– the re-location of the allotments onto land that was used as a tip after the war will involve the removal of vast amounts of earth which will cause enormous disruption to this tranquil corner of Leyton (think of the diggers, trucks etc.). It’ll turn this quiet lane into a rat-run.

– it will involve the enclosure of Lammas Land that has been open, common grazing land since it was drained by Alfred the Great in the C9th. This is both a disaster locally but also on a larger scale it represents yet more common land being enclosed.

It’s instructive to note the two historical precedents of the 19th Century when the authorities intervened, both here on the Leyton Lammas Lands and in nearby Epping Forest, to fend of the advances of land grabbers and keep this vital open space in common ownership. But both these landmark rulings were triggered by the actions of a few.


The mystery of the missing chapters of The London Compendium

Bumped into author Ed Glinert at work the other day. I immediately congratulated him on his excellent book, The London Compendium, and told how it was invaluable to have in the bag on a London perambulation. But, I said, why the omission of the outer suburbs? Where’s the Lea Valley, Stonebridge Park, Crystal Palace, Haringey, Wanstead, Twickenham? They wouldn’t let me put them in he said, the publishers didn’t want them, I’ve got a whole book of stuff on those areas waiting to be published, he told me wearing a forlorn expression, his body language re-living the tussles with his editor at Penguin.

Even taking into account the large swathes of London left out of The London Compendium, it’s still far and away the best of the current crop of more literary London guidebooks.
But this blindness to the glories of the London suburbs wasn’t always the trend. Harold P. Clunn’s classic, The Face of London (1970), not only covers the more obvious central districts in fine detail and almost obsessive historical background, but also fits in the likes of Shadwell, Poplar, Canning Town, West Ham, Woolwich, Muswell Hill, Hornsey, Kilburn, Willesden, Cricklewood, and Hendon. The Ward Lock Red Guide (49th edition circa 1950’s) implores you to explore Barnet, Epping Forest, Kew, and Eltham.

Hopefully Glinert’s publishers, Penguin, will feel the spirit of the great London adventurers and have the good sense to publish those rejected chapters.