Posts Tagged ‘Charlton’

What does ‘The Information Capital’ have to do with South London?

January 3, 2015


This book presents 100 maps and graphics that will change the way you view the city.  Leaving aside Oliver Uberti’s…sketches…of some of the animals to be found in London Zoo, let’s have a look at some data and see what it means for South London.

South London--City Of Dreadful Night

South London–City Of Dreadful Night

The illustration above shows the locations where pictures posted on Flickr were taken.  Not South London it seems, apart from the Elephant, Walworth Road and Greenwich Park.  South Londoners are condemned to perpetual darkness, starved of the light of exposure on Flickr…

Concentrations of crime

Concentrations of violent crime

Here we see violent crime hotspots, which seem to pick out railway/Underground stations with unerring accuracy.  3 is Brixton, 8 the Elephant, 9 Peckham, 10 Croydon, 18 Woolwich.



Above we see deprivation, coloured according to the scheme below:


So, Lewisham varies between ‘Most deprived’ red and a yellow which has no label but probably means something neutral. If the green was instead blue on this map, one might begin to suspect some hidden agenda…


How we get to work...

How we get to work…

Here we have the most popular modes of transport for getting to work by home location, coded according to the scheme below.


Cor, that’s found me out–when I lived in Peckham I used to get the bus to work, but now I get the train. Are those light blue types really driving to work or to the station say?

Occupational tree (or graph)

Occupational tree (or graph)

Now this would be really interesting if it was explained properly.  The idea is that wards are grouped together according to their concentrations of different job types; but we don’t learn what the distances or branching or angles mean.  My earliest memories are of Charlton 50 years ago and I’ve made it as far as Crofton Park, or travelled 3 nodes on this map.  Clearly I’ve not made very much progress at all, but it would be nice to know the details of my lack of achievement.

Cohabiting in Peckham

Cohabiting in Peckham

As for that love and romance thing, it is suggested that cohabiting is prevalent in Peckham (above) separation is noteworthy in New Cross (below).

Separated in New Cross

Separated in New Cross

Finally, we return to dodgy statistics on obesity.  The figure below shows obesity…



or rather, the boroughs expanded or contracted to reflect the percentage of 10-11 year olds there classified obese in 2012-13.  Which is a slightly strange measure to use–presumably those were the figures closest to hand.

So, Sarf London: a land of obesity and irregular liaisons, subsisting in obscurity (apart from Greenwich Park during the Olympics), lit only by the odd flare of crime…And no Tube either…


A Sentimental Journey To Charlton SE7 With Ettore Schmitz

July 25, 2012

Ettore Schmitz/Italo Svevo

The Italian writer Italo Svevo (Ettore Schmitz) lived in England, in particular in Charlton, in the early part of the twentieth century in connection with the family marine paint business he had married into–in doing so, he combined the biographies of Primo Levi and Sherwood Anderson (who each had paint factories) with that of Evgeny Zamyatin (who lived in Newcastle for a time making ships).

There is a book of Svevo’s London writings, which has also been translated into English by the Svevo Museum in Trieste, as below.

Though he had some (many) reservations about English life, Svevo expressed the hope that his daughter could be brought up here:

Se tu sapessi come io vedo nella faccia di ogni miss che passa la felicità di vivere e di essere libera.  (page 32)

É certo che una ragazza che abbandona l’Italia per l’Inghilterra fa buon affare: Conosco abbastanza questo paese per sapere che le donne vi sono molto più felici che non da noi.  (page 156)

I was also interested in things like the description of the ways of commercial travellers, who stayed away from home for months at a time and had their own elaborate rituals for eating in company with strangers.  I also wondered whether society had in fact grown simpler since the time Svevo was writing about, since I don’t think these particular groups and subgroups exist now, at least not in the same multiplicity.  What you do have of course is communities from many different national/ethnic/linguistic backgrounds, which is something completely different from Svevo’s time.

The interest in Charlton for Svevo seems to have been that it was somewhere everyday, not fashionable like Blackheath or industrial/working-class like Woolwich.  So from that point of view it was somewhere resolutely unliterary, and probably a good thing too in view of his unsuccess with literary circles at home in Trieste.  As a man in a foreign country whose language he knew imperfectly, he also had what must have been the welcome opportunity to go and watch the local football tea, a leisure activity that didn’t require any linguistic skills.

Così quando vado ad una comedia inglese sono sempre dolorosamente sorpreso che anche il secondo atto—con un’ ostinazione incredibile—sia detto in inglese, perché la fatica d’intendere il primo m’esaurì.  (page 222)

However, he displayed a properly matter-of-fact attitude to the 1908 Olympics:  Ieri sono stato con Nicoletto al grande concorso atletico internazionale. (page 123)

Here’s a picture of the blue plaque on the house where he lived at 67 Charlton Church Lane:

and here’s the house itself:

together with the view down Charlton Church lane–his factory was in Anchor and Hope Lane, on the other side of Woolwich Road:

Of Charlton Church Lane he said:

Church Lane è una strada linda in erta contornata dalle piccole brune case inglesi. Qui le casette sono tutte botteghe: latterie, macellai, tabaccai, venditori di giornali e anche di telerie. In genere vi si trova di tutto. La bottega occupa tre quarti della casa. Entrando in una di cotali case si resta stupiti come si posso avere una cucina, due camere da letto, una stanza di ricevere coll’inevitabile pianino in uno spazio dove noi metteremmo un porta ombrelli. Ma le povere padrone di casa sono alpiniste; hanno la cucina e una stanza sotto terra, una stanzuccia a pianterra, due al primo piano ed una al secondo. Church Lane diventa volgare più che si scende. Le case hanno il giardino di dietro; davanti c’è la bottega. Salendo invece Church Lane l’aspetto delle case va affinandosi; ognuna ha il suo giardino anche davanti….Così avvenne a Charlton la mia capitale ove la vicinanza delle enormi fabbriche di Woolwich ammorbò l’ambiente e fece fuggire i signori.  (page 168)

Meanwhile–in fact a number of decades later–my earliest memories are of living in Elliscombe Road, which branches off Charlton Church Lane.  We shared the first floor of number 55 (on the right in the picture below), and that pebbledash looks horribly and frighteningly familiar too.