It's been 10 years since I started this section of my website! My part of London has changed so much since 2002. We have the Olympics this year in London and it has been just as controversial as the building of the Dome in Greenwich in 1999, which is now home of the O2 Arena and holds concerts and events bringing people from all over the world. Today in February 2012 we are about to hold equestrian events in Greenwich Park and other events around the Borough of Greenwich such as Woolwich Common. Why is it causing such debate? The reason for this is that most people from outside of Greenwich think it's great. Those of us who were born here and remember how it used to be. I particularly hate what it has done to the original habitants of Greenwich, particularly as my family have lived here in London since the 1700's and during my search for ancestry I have researched the various parts of London and the historical times they would have lived in extensively. Here is my opinion.
I was born in Greenwich in 1960 and I still live here. I remember things such as small shops that were family owned plus I have family stories and their memories deeply inbedded in my mind. Some shops didn't open everyday but they did have loyal customers and they usually lived above the shops. My Grandmothers cousin John lived in a shop in Trafalgar Road and we took care of him until he died in 2010. During that time he told me everything he knew and together we researched our ancestry.
Most shops in Trafalgar Road were inherited from their forefathers and came complete with a family business. As far as I know, it appeared people were surviving and contented with what they had achieved but didn't aquire massive profits that are expected from young ruthless business people of today. Then came the year 2000 and the youth of the 80's Thatcher years. Wealthy business people swamped Greenwich buying up premises ready to grow their fortune even more when tourists were expected to come to the home of Greenwich Meantime. They planned to build new hotels, new unaffordable homes and all sorts of other crazy ideas without any consideration for local people and residents. Even though the small shops were inherited they still had to pay the usual business tax, council tax and other costs some still paid rent to landlords who had also inherited the properties. All of the costs were hiked up to create profit to pay for the new revamp of the area by the local council who's staff don't always live in the area and by the new business people. Parking meters and parking permits were also introduced. The council said it was to prevent parking problems when everyone comes here to see the amazing events happening in the area. Some areas of Greenwich might have had problems parking near their own homes before that but it was mostly around the Cutty Sark area. Now we all have problems of another kind - expensive permits, traffic wardens everywhere and no where to park because of restrictions everywhere people want or need to go. Often we can't park outside our home because someone living three streets away has parked here after finding someone else has used the spot they had always used. There are not enough car parks so even tourists are restricted to catching buses to the main areas only when they used to park further away before walking to their destinations. That meant small local businesses had fewer customers from passing trade and no where for regular customers to park either. People started to go to the large shopping areas to take their cars and buy everything at once.
Change is a good thing right?
Where are those local traders now? Many people suddenly could not afford the hiked up rents and taxes and had to reconcider their own survival in the future. Suddenly signs went up in windows saying 'Closing down sale.' Most said they had a new landlord who doubled their rent and no customers from passing trade. Most of the population in Greenwich were from working class backgrounds. Ancestry proves most of us are the later generations of Navy, river and other industrial workers who settled hundreds of years ago after arriving here to find work. Now they are gone, considering leaving or, like me, staying out of spite and refusing to be pushed out into a cheaper area to make way for the rich!
Here you can find some of the changes in pictures and discover what really happens in London for yourself. Perhaps you will realise why we love London and what really needs to be invested in and what should be left alone for others to enjoy too. As I go through each page to put them into my new format I will add an update and new pictures at the end so you can tell if anything has changed between 2002 to 2012. Then you can judge for yourself.
London at night is a fascinating place. Weird is a word that could be used, perhaps a little strange is a bit mild. The truth is that London is dynamic and diverse with people of all nationalities and cultures, living side-by-side.
When my husband started driving a freezer van for a living to London food shops I couldn?t wait to tag along. This part of Lynda?s esoteric web is all about London. Part 1 is a journal of London and the South East of England at night, it was updated daily with what we saw and heared as we drove through the City of London between 2am and 7am each morning while delivering sandwiches. Part 2 is London by day, including pictures of football fans crowded into Trafalgar Square after England beat Denmark 3-0 on June 15th 2002. Pictures were added as I took them, some good, some strange, all for you to get a glimpse of what we observed. I also hope that 'Lynda's London' might assist writers and novelists as a form of research for articles, novels and books. After all the best research is taken from those who know or has observed the situations. This is also good for me to collect my observations and learn more about things I might write about in the future.
My knowledge of London at the time was limited to daytime. It is always busy around London but at night the traffic is lighter and the traffic is moving. I therefore observed more about the nightlife here. Unlike the day time, we can get from Greenwich, South East London, across to North West London in around 30 minutes. The same journey during the day will take around three hours, sitting in one constant traffic jam moving close to 3 miles per hour if we were lucky.
People are everywhere at any time. Not nearly as many as during the day but I am constantly amazed at the number of people out on their own in the early hours. I am sure that most are on their way to work. Offices need to be cleaned early ready for the people in suits to do their daily duties from 7am, deliveries are made, bakers and breakfast cooks are starting their day and some are still on their way home from work or clubbing.
Shift workers, cleaners, shop assistants for the many 24 hour establishments, clubbers and prostitutes are all out at any time of the day or night. Some of London's homeless are walking around, while others are asleep wrapped in their sleeping bags, some inside cardboard houses.
Gary thinks I need to get a life because I point out that the car in front or the man walking his dog is at the same place at the same time each morning. He had not noticed that before and although London is said to be a lonely place, if you went missing someone would notice even though they don't know your name or where you live.
While I wait for Gary to deliver sandwiches to various shops and train stations I sit and watch. As well as all kinds of people there is a big animal and bird community here too. I see foxes each night and introduced 'Fox watch' in June 2002 as a regular feature. There are also squirrels and many types of birds, which I kept you up-to-date on as I saw around London at the time. If I saw wild flowers then that will be here too.
Liverpool Street Station was my favourite place because I sat there longer than at other drops. At the same time each morning a lady carrying her shopping bag walked up to buy her paper, which had usually been delivered only minutes before. Then another woman walked from the underground passed the van and I wondered if they have ever seen each other or said hello.
London is my home town and I love it. If you live close to it and can't sleep one night then take a drive around to see the real world of city life. For the rest of you I present 'Lynda's London' in diary form.
Watch out for ?Prozzy watch? at the end of each article. This was a daily update of how many prostitutes we saw that are out and about in London, and the weather for that night was often very cold.
Please note: This section was not written to insult or annoy anyone. The conditions and weather that the girls work in is like the rest of 'Lynda's London' - pure observation - and was not meant to justify, enhance or put down any of the girls working in the oldest of Londons professions. Please read about some facts on prostitution and read the complaint I received plus my reply and my opinion and then come please come back and read the letter of support from someone who works with street people and get a balanced opinion.
If you know someone who might be interested in Lynda's London then please pass the URL to a friend. Thank you for taking time to read my introduction. Now for the articles:
If you want to listen to the same radio station that we listen to from 2am until 7am while you surf then click here for BBC Radio 2 then click the 'listen' button. It also gives you the up-to-the-minute London traffic and weather reports in the UK.
All kinds of help for people stranded in London, organisations for the homeless, prostitutes and those in need of advice, plus history of Jack the Ripper, prostitution and various other things related to London.