Ada Salter Day 2016 – report

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A report on last month’s Ada Salter Day events by Graham Taylor:
The Ada Salter Day was a great success – from Friday evening to Saturday evening we’ve calculated there were about 400 people in attendance to celebrate Ada’s 150th birthday .
1) On Friday evening there was a performance of Red Flag over Bermondsey by the Quaker actress and playwright, Lynn Morris;
2) On Saturday morning an exhibition of 71 photos and documents relating to Ada’s life was opened by the Mayors of Southwark and Raunds, with representatives of several Quaker Meetings in attendance, along with a delegation from Raunds, Northamptonshire, Ada’s home town;
3) There was then a tour for guests led by the Rotherhithe and Bermondsey History Society of the Ada Salter Garden and the Ada Salter cottages;
4) At 2 pm came the flower-laying ceremony at Ada’s statue on the riverside near Cherry Garden Pier. About 100 people attended this part of the day. Speakers were Lorna Greene of GMB Sisters (trade unionists); Peter Tatchell (talking about Ada and human rights); Juliet Prager (Quakers in Britain, explaining the Quaker values Ada had); and Peter John (Leader of Southwark Council). Flowers were laid by the Quaker Socialists, by the Raunds Historical Society, by the Raunds Labour Party, and by the Mayors of Rands and Southwark. Sheila Hancock arrived for the ceremony but did not speak. The Quaker actresses, Sheila Hancock and Judi Dench, had been great supporters of the campaign to erect a statue to Ada in 2012-14;
5) At 3 pm there was a second performance of Lynn Morris’s play, again attended by about 80 people and once again receiving a standing ovation. This time there was also a Q & A session at the end, led by David Morris and Graham Taylor;
6) Finally, in St Peter’s church (Catholic) there was a beautiful homage to Ada by the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Choral Society. Devised by Sue Heath-Downey, this concert presented Ada’s favourite music (she was a singer), starting with American Spirituals. Ada used to play them on the piano at Peckham Meeting after the Sunday silence and “bring the house down”. These particular versions were set by Michael Tippett, who had a connection with Ada. The finale was the rousing anthem, Zadok the Priest, by Handel, Ada’s favourite composer.
* Graham Taylor is the author of Ada Salter: Pioneer of Ethical Socialism.

1964 news clip of ships being loaded at Surrey Docks

The caption in the AP Television collection says: “Sacks of dry milk powder are loaded onto ship bound for Bombay as aid to Indian people suffering from famine. The ship is loaded at Surrey Docks.”

75th anniversary of Jamaica Road bombing

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Today is the 75th anniversary of the World War II bombing of Millstream House in Jamaica Road.

By looking at the brickwork, you can see where the building has been patched up.

Curiously, when the building was restored in 1947, a gargoyle recovered from the debris of air raid damage at the Palace of Westminster was included in the works.

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gargoyle

1986: Surrey Docks Farm on the move

Surrey Docks Farm moved to its present site 29 years ago. Here’s how Thames News (the regional ITV news programme) reported the farm’s relocation in June 1986:

1982 – Peter Tatchell occupies Corbett’s Wharf at Bermondsey Wall East

Earlier this week Corbett’s Wharf on Bermondsey Wall East was declared to be part of a conservation area.

By coincidence, the owners of the Thames News (ITV regional news) archive have just published this report from November 1982 of a protest at Corbett’s Wharf by Peter Tatchell – then Bermondsey Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate – against the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC).

Well worth a watch.

1936 newsreel clip of Surrey Docks fire

British Movietone recently published much of its newsreel archive on YouTube.

Among the local gems is this 1936 aerial footage of a large fire at Surrey Docks.

Campaign to protect the former Pumphouse Museum

The Pumphouse Educational Museum, Rotherhithe - London.

Earlier this week Andie Byrnes published a blog post about damage to the former Pumphouse Museum building at Lavender Pond.

Since them, a campaign has sprung up to protect the building and its contents – find out more by visiting the campaign website and Facebook page.

1988: Swan Estate residents protest against LDDC

From the Thames News archive:

Archaeological finds at Chambers Wharf

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A post-medieval sundial – believed to be for maritime navigation – and a token with a boat carving have been found at the Chambers Wharf site during an archaeological investigation in preparation for the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.

The items, thought to be from the 17th or 18th century, were found during an evaluation to gather information on potential archaeological finds at the site.

Brigitte Buss, archaeology advisor to the project, said: “The nautical nature of these delightful chance finds highlights how vital the river has been to London throughout the ages, and how important our work – including our archaeology and heritage investigations – is to reconnect London with the river.”

The preliminary investigations are still at an early stage under the supervision of archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and the Thames Tideway Tunnel in-house archaeology and heritage team, Ken Whittaker and Brigitte Buss.

1980s archive film of Bermondsey Labour HQ, Lower Road

From the Thames News archive: