This is the text of a letter from our neighbour Christina Rogers at no 88. Everyone in the street should have received a copy through their door this week.
19th July 2020
Dear Fellow Fawnbrakers,
Do you want to opt out of council weedkilling?
At the moment, Lambeth Council sprays glyphosate weedkiller to keep our pavements and road gutters weed-free. As you may know, over the last few years there have been health and environmental concerns about the weedkiller glyphosate. A US court has awarded large damages in a case of lymphoma in a man who sprayed it professionally. A WHO committee has said it’s ‘probably carcinogenic’. There is evidence of an effect on the soil, the water table, and bees and other pollinators, and several European countries have already banned it. Although it hasn’t yet been banned here, Lambeth plan to stop using it in October next year, and they are trying out a range of alternative ways of keeping the weeds down.
One option would be for us to weed our own road and pavements. If there were enough of us, it wouldn’t take long – all you need is gloves and a knife. According to the council webpage if roots and accumulated soil are removed in Spring it takes longer for weeds to grow back after hand-weeding than after weedkiller, so three times a year would probably be enough.
We already have 16 Fawnbrakers who are interested in helping. The more of us there are the quicker it would be for each person to do.
Tell us what you think
So, if you would like to HELP WITH WEEDING, or OBJECT to opting out of spraying, please contact me on 07952-956-551, or drop a note through the door of number 88. To join the what’s app group please give me your mobile number.
The council deadline for opting out is coming up soon so please respond before 31st July.
The government recently updated their guidance on work carried out in people’s homes – including cleaners.
The full guidance is here and at Gov.uk here, but the relevant extract reads:
Working in people’s homes as a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny
You are a tradesperson carrying out essential repairs and maintenance in people’s homes, or are carrying out other work in a home such as cleaning or paid-for childcare in a child’s home. You can continue work, providing that you are well and have no symptoms. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or when someone in their own household has symptoms.
Tradespeople should assess whether the visit is essential or if the work can be safely postponed. There may be alternatives to a visit, such as a phone or video call. If the visit cannot be postponed you should agree the procedures in advance.
During a visit
You should notify all clients in advance of your arrival. On entry to the home you should wash your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds. You should wash your hands regularly, particularly after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, and when leaving the property. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used, and you should carry this with you at all times.
If you are a tradesperson or cleaner, you should maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres) from any household occupants at all times, and ensure good ventilation in the area where you are working, including opening the window.
If you are a nanny, you should maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres) from the household occupants you are not providing care for as much as possible.
Lambeth’s tree surgeons were here this morning and swiftly took down the tree outside numbers 58 and 60.
This was expected – see our earlier report Fawnbrake’s Fantastic Trees. The apple tree had reached the end of its normal life and was suffering from disease. In due course the stump will be removed and, we hope, a replacement tree introduced.
In remembering and commemorating the end of World War 2 in Europe, some of us may not want to dwell on the sentimental Vera Lynn-type nostalgia. But in May 1945, the UK’s feeling of reprieve and joy, tempered by grief, was profound and almost universal.
And the devastating event itself, the global war, is surely worth a thought and a pause for relief and gratitude for what we have today, by comparison with then.
50 million dead
As historians of all shades of opinion have written, it was almost certainly the most catastrophic event in world history. The dead have been estimated at 15 million military personnel, of which up to 2 million were Soviet prisoners of war. An estimated 35 million civilians died, with between 4 and 5 million Jews perishing in concentration camps and an estimated 2 million more in mass murders across Eastern Europe. Afterwards, refugees from the German-occupied territories, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe numbered many millions. Then there’s the Far East …
By comparison with Germany and Russia, Britain suffered less material and human damage on the home front.
All the same, many cities were attacked, some severely.
London, as the principal city, was of course the main target for German bombing. At the height of the Blitz, on 10 May 1941, more than 3,000 Londoners died or were seriously injured. During World War II as a whole, 100,000 London homes were destroyed and over one million houses suffered damage. Over 80,000 Londoners were killed or seriously injured. The landscape of the city was changed for ever.
See the collection of other images on the Imperial War Museum’s site.
By the end, Britain itself had accumulated debts of $20 billion. Germany and much else of Western and Central Europe was in ruins, industry wiped out or exhausted. Much of Eastern Europe fell under the cruel dominance of the Soviet Union and its organs of state security. The human, economic and political aftermath extended over decades.
The Bombsightsite shows where bombs dropped in and around Fawnbrake Avenue during the 1940/41 Blitz. Aerial attacks peaked again nearer the end of the war, especially with the deployment of V1 and V2 rockets, which struck several local sites in summer 1944. The Flying Bombs & Rocketswebsite has useful images and details of severe V1 damage in Carver Road, Guernsey Grove, Stradella Road and other streets.
Like all older streets, all over the world, Fawnbrake Avenue has seen many generations coming and going, mostly now forgotten except possibly by their descendants, if they bother to look.
Turning to the 1911 Census for my own house, I discover that it was lived in then by a family of three along with a young domestic servant.
The 42-year-old head of the family was Mr Frederick Reader, who gave his profession as Wholesale Provision Salesman. His wife Mrs Grace Reader was also 42.
She was previously Mrs Grace Hunter(née Wilmott) from Chatham in Kent, and had been widowed, with a young daughter, Sybil Grace Hunter, by now 13: Sybil Grace also lived in the house.
10 years earlier, Frederick and Grace had married in St Paul’s Church, Herne Hill, in October 1901; at that time Frederick Reader was shown as living at 37 Kestrel Avenue.
The domestic servant living with them in 1911 was a 17-year-old girl, Rose Moulton. A quick glance through a selection of the other houses on Fawnbrake Avenue shows quite a number with domestic servants living in at that time.
After the First World War, Sybil Grace went on to marry a Mr Edwin Everett in 1925 and ended up in Esher in Surrey. Sybil Grace died in 1997.
Thus do the lives of residents in our houses overlap, even though they never meet.
Fawnbrake Avenue is blessed with a glorious variety of trees – we enjoy one of the most varied and well-curated street avenues in our fortunate corner of Lambeth.
We often take them for granted but they need regular human care, including planting, support in their early years, pruning, and in due course removal and replacement when a tree becomes unsafe or when its days are done. And when newly-introduced trees are in their very junior years, we’ve all been called upon to make sure they have enough water to survive in their new habitats until their roots go deep enough.
This work is carried out, unnoticed by many of us, by Lambeth’s tree department. But they are supported, and sometimes reminded, by David and Laurence, our two conscientious street guardian neighbours.
Just this week, another neighbour noticed that some of the posts and supporting ties of a young tree near his house were in need of repair, and wondered what to do about it.
Regular tree inspections
We believe it is all – hopefully – in hand. On this and wider arboreal issues David has been in frequent touch with Lambeth’s tree department, where they have a keen and knowledgeable new man on the job.
After emailing him about the posts and other issues, David met him in Fawnbrake last week – while he was carrying out the street’s four-year tree inspection – and he says that the loose and redundant stakes will, hopefully, be dealt with in about three months. The tree department at Lambeth is currently light on manpower for obvious reasons.
Laurence and David also report that just before lock-down they walked the entire length of Fawnbrake, cutting away basal shoots from all the trees and picking litter from the tree pits. In a few cases – where the stakes were evidently useless, or leaning into the road/pavement – they removed the rubber ties as well as the stakes, several of which had simply rotted through at the base. Many, in fact, have been loose since being disturbed when the pavements were replaced. They didn’t have time to sort out several other stakes that needed attention, but that is in hand. Of course, as young trees become more firmly established they no longer need the stakes that supported them in their early years.
In addition to the imminent removal of the stakes by council contractors, additional work will be carried out on a few trees, to remove low-hanging branches, Lambeth’s man tells us.
Tree removal imminent
Cllr Jim Dickson also passed on a note, from the Tree Department this week, stating the following:
Dear Ward Councillors of Herne Hill, This email is to inform you of 2 trees that are to be removed from Fawnbrake avenue within the next 28 days, the trees will have notices attached to them by Lambeth Council’s Tree Contract manager by Monday 20/4/20, informing residents of the reasons they are to be removed.
The trees are: – A mature apple tree outside 58 Fawnbrake, due to fungal fruiting bodies that compromise the integrity of both of the trees’ 2 limbs, meaning that simply removing the infected limbs is not a viable option. – A young cherry outside 6 Fawnbrake, which has complete crown failure.
These two trees are also scheduled for the stumps to be removed, and will hopefully be replanted in the coming winter planting season.
More trees on the way
Other good news, reports David, is that we should be getting eight additional trees in Fawnbrake, this autumn, four paid for by residents (additional funds were raised after the initial donations of £8,500 were gift-aided) and four paid for by Lambeth. Lambeth has already written to properties adjacent to proposed tree pit sites to canvas opinion, receiving largely favourable replies.
So it seems we’re getting plenty of attention at the moment and everything is moving in the right direction.
London’s urban forest
London itself can be described as an “urban forest”. It is home to over 8 million trees – roughly one for every person. In fact 20% of the capital is covered by tree canopy.
The “forest” is a patchwork of natural havens “from the gardens of suburbia to ancient woodlands… and to parks and open spaces.”
(Quoting from the excellent book by Paul Wood, “London is a Forest”, 2019”)
“… Businesses providing holiday accommodation (including hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, caravan parks, boarding houses and short term lets) should now take steps to close for commercial use as quickly as is safely possible. …”
What have Airbnb said?
‘Airbnb says it will follow government guidance ordering accommodation providers to close except to key workers.’
Thought this might be useful/reassuring for neighbours.
The latest government guidelines for coping with Covid-19, updated early this morning (25 March), states that “work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.”
“Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
“No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.
“No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.”
A recently-arrived neighbour on Fawnbrake Avenue, Maxine Latinis, is a Barre fitness instructor, and would be happy to welcome local residents to her classes at the South London Dance School in the centre of Herne Hill.
After noticing that several gyms in the area offer oversubscribed Barre classes, Maxine decided to team up with The South London Dance School and bring Drop In classes to South London. She hopes to save Barre converts the long trip into central London, or the commitment of a gym membership.
Barre, she explains, is a fitness class, open to all abilities, that utilises the strengthening elements of Ballet, the stabilising focus of Pilates and the stretching techniques of Yoga. Each class is to music, and runs for 55 minutes. As she puts it … “imagine the repetitions of Pilates with a little more diversity & excitement!”
Maxine can be found at The South London Dance School, Wednesday mornings, between 7-7.55am & 8-8.55am
Maxine also teaches for Virgin Active, around London, including Virgin Active in Streatham.
This site does not generally canvass for charitable giving, but this excellent cause is brought to us by one of our neighbours on Fawnbrake Avenue, so please read on.
Although most of us on this street haven’t had any reason to use it – and with luck may never need to – the Citizens Advice Bureau in Brixton, or more accurately the Brixton Advice Centre, is a vital and unique port of call for people who often have nowhere else to turn for advice and help. But it is desperately short of money, and our Fawnbrake neighbour, Fred Taggart, who is the Honorary Secretary and a Herne Hill resident for 39 years, has launched a local appeal for critically needed funds. Trustees and staff are looking for sponsorship when they join in the 2019 Legal Walk in two weeks’ time.
Fred Taggart writes:
“Herne Hill is generally an affluent and socially-aware community. But not everyone has a million-pound home, and many neighbours and friends struggle to get by on tight budgets, or have employment, debt or bad housing problems. For 50 years the Brixton Advice Centre on Railton Road has helped, advised and acted for local people with legal or administrative problems who would otherwise be unable to afford legal services. It averages getting on for 5000 cases each year. It is a vital part of life in Herne Hill and Brixton. Unless you have used its services you probably don’t know it exists.
“Austerity has savaged the Centre’s budget, so to generate income, trustees and staff will be taking part in the 2019 Legal Walk on17th June when the Lord Chief Justice and thousands of lawyers raise funds for good causes.
“Just as sponsored walkers want to be first, everyone in Herne Hill wants to ensure that no-one in our community gets left behind. So, support your community Advice Centre. By making life better for some, the Centre makes the community better for everyone.”
News about Fawnbrake Avenue & neighbouring streets in Herne Hill, London