Well-informed local friends report that on Monday 3rd April there will be a film crew filming in Herne Hill for a feature film called “We Live in Time”. In the morning they will be filming in Brockwell Park, and then at midday their attention turns to Station Square. Some parking bays will be suspended (but not all), and during takes the public will be prevented from walking / driving around for 3 minutes at a time.
There will be extras waiting nearby, and the two main actors are British / Hollywood stars (see below). Crew trucks will be parking on Dulwich Road. Most of the action takes place in Llewelyn’s and Lulu’s, then over by the Herne Hill sign under the bridge (good job that the Herne Hill Forum had it repainted), then by the station in the evening.
Checking with film industry gossip, it seems that Academy Award nominees Florence Pugh and Andrew Garfield are in negotiations to star in this production, described as a “funny, deeply moving and immersive love story.” John Crowley will direct, with Nick Payne as scriptwriter: StudioCanal developed the script.
Herne Hill’s travel options into and around London are improving this weekend, with the joining up of the Elizabeth Line (formerly known as Crossrail), which we can of course access via Thameslink trains to Farringdon (except when Thameslink’s all too frequent weekend maintenance works rule this out, as on this Sunday).
This latest improvement means that from tomorrow, the lines from Reading, Heathrow, and Shenfield will connect with the central tunnels of the Elizabeth line – opening up new direct journeys across London, without having to change at Paddington.
In addition, customers will be able to use the Elizabeth Line seven days a week: Sunday services through central London will also start from tomorrow, Sunday 6 November.
Train frequency has improved too: between Paddington and Whitechapel, it goes from 12 trains per hour to up to 22 trains per hour in peak times and 16 trains per hour during off-peak. The final timetable, which will see 24 trains per hour during the peak between Paddington and Whitechapel, is on track to be in place by May 2023.
And there’s a new convenient interchange. Bond Street’s Elizabeth line station, which opened on 24 October, connects with the London Underground Bond Street station, accessing the Jubilee and Central lines. The new station is step-free from street to train with two lifts, further enhancing accessibility on the Elizabeth line and across the TfL network.
Caution: There are some future planned engineering works when sections of the Elizabeth line will be closed: Saturday 12 November – no service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street / Whitechapel Saturday 19 November and Sunday 20 November – no service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street / Whitechapel, or between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow
Perhaps it’s not generally known that the Metropolitan Police have a Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) explicitly for Herne Hill Ward.
They have asked if members of the community could please complete a short questionnaire, for which the link is given below.
Herne Hill SNT is formed of a Sergeant, two PCs and one PCSO. The team is responsible for keeping Herne Hill safe as well as dealing with any ongoing Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) issues and concerns raised by the local community. They have regular meetings with a panel of community representatives, and aim to issue monthly reports on their activities locally.
The latest report reads as follows:
“The team this month [March] have focused on several community deployments aimed at targeting what have been identified as key priorities on the ward.
“The first tasking undertaken was a bike marking event at Brockwell Park utilizing smart water. This was following several reports of bike thefts. This was incredibly successful with over thirty bikes marked.
“The team then undertook two days of community speed watches on Herne Hill Road and Milkwood Road. This involved the use of a speed gun and saw many community volunteers participate. This led to several speed warnings being issues and one male being arrested for traffic and drug related offences.
“Finally, the team undertook a weapons sweep on the Thorlands Estate (comment: this lies to the north of Coldharbour Lane) with council community enforcement officers. This again was very successful with four knives recovered.
“The team will take on feedback from the ward panel meeting and will be looking to replicate this again in the coming months.”
There’s plenty of good stuff to read in the latest issue of “Herne Hill” magazine: a beautifully illustrated article about the treasures to be seen in Saint Paul’s Church; an interview with the owners of the new and already popular bubble tea shop, Cuppo Bubbo; a revealing survey of a unique 1935 house on Dorchester Drive; and a snapshot of the very cosmopolitan population of Herne Hill at the end of the 19th century and on the eve of the First World War – with an unexpected preponderance of residents of German origin. Also an affectionate review of the major exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, featuring the work of Helen Frankenthaler – a show that has been widely recognised in the national media as of major significance.
Members of the Herne Hill Society get the magazine automatically, of course. Non-members can buy it at Herne Hill Books, or can get it (along with future issues), by easily joining the Society online.
‘Sunset over Herne Hill’, an absorbing & very readable exploration – by local writers (including one of our Fawnbrake neighbours) and published by the Herne Hill Society – of the great John Ruskin’s South London (indeed, Herne Hill) roots, is featured in the current issue of the bi-weekly South London Press.
“Ruskin was one of the first people to question the self-confident and assured capitalism of the 19th century – what he referred “the Great Goddess of Getting-on” – and to foresee the destructive physical and social consequences of unfettered industrial and urban growth. In the 21st century, with the same concerns, we have much to learn from him. What is more, the destruction and damage that he started to observe around him, became more and more focused on his immediate surroundings in South London. Around Herne Hill he finds confirmation of his antipathy to railway building, uncontrolled suburban growth and the consequent destruction of the landscape. The Crystal Palace, glittering on his skyline, came to exemplify the philistine commercialism of Victorian capitalism for him. …”
A new and deeply interesting book about John Ruskin and Herne Hill has just been published by the Herne Hill Society (as members of the HHS have just been told).
John Ruskin spent his childhood and most of his working life here in Herne Hill. When he died in 1900 just a year before Queen Victoria – about the same time as many of the houses here on Fawnbrake Avenue were built – he had become one of the most original, controversial and globally influential thinkers and writers of the 19th century.
Despite the cascade of studies and biographies of Ruskin over the last hundred years, this is the first book to look with authority and in depth at the importance of South London in shaping Ruskin’s thinking.
Despite all his foreign travels, public lecturing, the academic posts at Oxford, his work for London’s museums, and those messianic forays into the new industrial regions of England, Herne Hill was the place where Ruskin spent his childhood and most productive years. Here he wrote the increasingly passionate books, articles and speeches that made him nationally and indeed globally celebrated.
It was also from here, and well into his old age, that he studied and pronounced upon his shifting world.
A witness to a degrading environment
Even from his early age a precocious and acute observer of nature, Ruskin loved the then unspoilt hills, skies, rivers and fields of Herne Hill, Dulwich, and Norwood .
But his affectionate memories of this unblemished (but as he discovered, all too fragile) environment also turned out to be a painful benchmark for what developed in later decades. So it was also in Herne Hill, as the years passed, that Ruskin witnessed and described, with increasing horror, the destruction of the natural environment through railway building and uncontrolled suburban growth.
A prophet of climate change?
As early as 1860, he had written “Whenever I look or travel in England or abroad, I see that men, wherever they can reach, destroy all beauty.” (Modern Painters V). His vivid 1876 watercolour “Sunset at Herne Hill through the Smoke of London”, featuring on the front cover of the new book, is a melancholy and prophetic attempt to illustrate this change
Published by the Herne Hill Society, this important new book by local historians Jon Newman and Laurence Marsh, based on meticulous research, brings sensitive and original insights into the development of Ruskin’s distress about the world and the environment, as he prophesied how manufacturing and hasty urbanisation was damaging society and the climate across England, and especially, from his own bedroom window, in the world metropolis that his native city had become.
“Sunset over Herne Hill” concludes with a rewarding examination of the social and historical context of Herne Hill and Denmark Hill during Ruskin’s lifetime and his family’s place within South London as the 19th century progressed, when London was becoming the most prosperous and populous city in the world, as well as probably the most polluted.
“This illuminating and touching book restores John Ruskin to South London… the authors of ‘Sunset over Herne Hill’ take us back to the neglected roots of the great Victorian romantic’s creativity” – Andrew Saint, Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, general editor of the Survey of London, and author of the newly-published “London 1870-1914: a City at its Zenith”
The book has 160 pages with 80 colour & b/w illustrations, with a map by David Western.
£17.00 (including delivery) by mail order from the Herne Hill Society
or from Herne Hill Books.
The Elizabeth Line, its official name, now seems almost within reach.
Although the full stretch of the route from Reading or Heathrow all the way to Brentwood and Shenfield in Essex may not be ready next year, we are now being assured that the busiest, central section, from Paddington to Abbey Wood, is on course (fingers crossed) to open to passengers in the first half of 2022.
It’s a fiendishly complicated project with many features that need to be severely tested before passengers are allowed on. The ‘Trial Running’ phase (operating timetabled train movements in the central operating section) is almost complete now, and the more real-life ‘Trial Operations’ testing phase is scheduled to open later this year.
At the moment, Crossrail is running 12 trains per hour (tph) in the 42km of tunnels that have been built below London, increasing train mileage, building reliability and flushing out issues with the systems and signalling software. Already seven of the new stations have been commissioned and handed over to TfL following successful completion of testing and integration work. Canary Wharf and Bond Street will follow.
12 tph is the initial level of service on the Elizabeth line, but they will also be testing 24 tph train movements on the railway later this year – this will be the service frequency in the central section when the full Elizabeth line is operational. Which is pretty fast.
But we aren’t on Crossrail
No indeed, so why does this matter to us?
Well, because Herne Hill Station is in the fortunate position of offering not only a swift direct line to Victoria but also the Thameslink route which takes us to Farringdon, where there is a major interchange with the Elizabeth Line. From Farringdon it’s only a few stops west to Paddington or east to Canary Wharf, cutting out some of the tiresome interchanges on the tube network.
A couple of years ago, we asked some local estate agents if they thought Crossrail would make an impact on property values in Herne Hill. We got some blank looks, and the impression that they hadn’t even thought about this.
It’s often true that people buy flats or houses here without first carrying out a deep study of transport options. But those potential incomers who do take such things into account must see these improved travel options as being another positive feature about SE24 – as might many of us who already live here.
Except, of course, for people who are permanently WFH? Nice if you can get it, and many observers think that it is now embedded in work culture; but as a total replacement for commuting to the office as well? Maybe not: we’ll still need to get around.
News about Fawnbrake Avenue & neighbouring streets in Herne Hill, London