“Calling all dedicated and hard-working volunteers in Lewisham’s so-called community libraries. Want to know how you’re doing? How many books you’re managing to lend? How visitor numbers are holding up?
Well, tough. As of October 2012, Lewisham council has decided to stop allowing access to the statistics which it used to publish on a quarterly basis, often before anyone even asked.
Now Lewisham tell us we can wait until the official government statistics agency, CIPFA, produces its report in December 2013 for the year ended last April. What they don’t tell us is that CIPFA only provides figures for the borough as a whole, not for individual libraries. So there will be no way of knowing – to give but one example – how many times Blackheath community library’s total of 13 books for teenagers made it off the shelves. Lewisham also fail to mention that CIPFA make a hefty charge for access to their publications.
Surely the council can have nothing to hide! Like, how are “community” libraries faring compared with the ones still being run by the local authority? Come on, Lewisham. You’ve handed over almost half your libraries to volunteers. Now let the people who are doing your work for you see how they’re doing.”
Neil Rhind (author of many books about Blackheath) writes:
I am hoping that the Blackheath Buglers can help the Blackheath Society on a small point of location. The Society is moving close (November) to the publication of a Walkers’ Guide to the Heath – three long walks, all plotted out drawing the ramblers attention to features, facts and history. There is also a timeline from the Romans to the present day. This is all being compiled by the undersigned and Dr Roger Marshall, a member of the Blackheath Society committee. as part of the Digital scheme to make the Society’s collection of about 15,000 images available on a web site with full public access.
One feature noted is a concrete “horse trough” at the south end of Montpelier Row. No animals drink there but it is used for floral displays. We believe that it was once elsewhere in the Village. Can anyone tell us where?
Free copy of the Blackheath walkers’ guide to the first person to get it right.
Their email address is:
Massively sad to hear that yet another independent shop in the village is selling up. The Bookshop on the Heath is a fantastic place. I really hope they find a buyer to continue the shop as a going concern.
Their press release is below. If anyone has any good examples of how local communities have managed to stem the exit of local businesses from their high streets, please place them in the comments.
Richard and Jasmine Platt, founding owners of the Bookshop on the Heath Ltd in Blackheath, South East London, have announced that they are selling the business in order to pursue other interests in the leisure industry.
During the past ten years, the business has won awards for excellent customer service and it has been independently rated as one of the country’s finest bookshops. From day one, it has posted excellent year-on-year profits.
There has been a bookshop in this location since 1949, making it one of the longest continually running bookshops in South London. The bookshop has become a real fixture in Blackheath Village and it has generated a tremendous local goodwill. More recently it was the setting for part of an episode of the BBC1 drama “Spooks”.
Richard says, “After a very happy and successful ten years here, we feel that the time has come for us to step back and pass on the legacy and reputation of the business to someone else. We hope that they can now also realise their dream like I did ten years ago by taking over and further developing a super little shop in a marvellous trading position. It would be lovely to think that the long tradition of bookselling could be continued by someone who shares our passion for offering fine books, maps & posters with friendly, personal service. Trade has been exceptionally good and there is also the opportunity for the new owner to develop web sales and sales of new books (children’s in particular) – areas which we have barely touched upon.”
The bookshop continues to open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and by appointment at all other times. If you are searching for a quantity of specific quality stock or you are interested in buying the whole of this successful and profitable turn-key business, please contact Richard Platt for more details on 01526 352267 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As spotted by Neil Short on Twitter, Blackheath is mentioned in Dan Brown’s new novel Inferno (he who wrote The Da Vinci Code, and other cheesy thrillers)
Here’s the passage:
“The bio was a gushing account of a child theater prodigy—Sienna Brooks—with an off- the-chart IQ, who had, in a single night, memorized every character’s lines and, during initial rehearsals, often cued her fellow cast members. Among this five-year-old’s hobbies were viol- in, chess, biology, and chemistry. The child of a wealthy couple in the London suburb of Blackheath, the girl was already a celebrity in scientific circles; at the age of four, she had beat a chess grand master at his own game and was reading in three languages.
My God, Langdon thought. Sienna. That explains a few things.”
Gripping eh? Who would have thought such an accomplished author would resort to using Blackheath as shorthand for wealth and privilege…
The Bookshop on the Heath has interesting books about Turkey in its windows. Never read The Eunuch of Stamboul, but according to this blog post, looks like an entertaining read. Apparently it was also made into a film in 1936, which can be viewed for free at the BFI’s Mediatheque.
Speaking of Turkey, Blackheath’s dabbling with Turkish food has come to a close. Not a huge surprise given some of the competition nearby. It was never a great place, as many of the reviews here have mentioned. Will Cote be any better?
The Blackheath and Greenwich Group of Amnesty International is holding its annual fund-raising book sale on Saturday 16th June at the Church of the Ascension, Dartmouth Row, London SE10 (10 minutes walk up Lewisham Hill from Lewisham BR, DLR & Bus Station). Doors open at 9am. (facebook link)
9am-5pm Saturday 16th June
Church of the Ascension,Dartmouth Row,London, SE10 8BF