Sunday, June 10, 2007

Plumstead 19 years on

Was reading the other day about the polish gentleman who woke up recently from a coma, 19 years after being hit by a train. He awoke to a completely changed world of democracy, NATO and EU membership for his country. It got me thinking, what if the poor fellow had been knocked down by a 53 bus up by Plumstead Common? and awoke in 2007, what changes would he notice? Would he notice any?

Politically of course there are changes nationally, but locally it's still a Labour council 19 years on. The area is probably a bit richer overall, as is the country. There are mobile phones, the internet (couldn't do this 19 years ago), but these changes are world wide, I am thinking, how has Plumstead changed (if at all!).

The first thing to say is if our fictitious victim was hit by a 53 bus, if it was before the 19th Nov. 1988. he would have been done in by a routemaster, so he would awake to a one person operated bus (though I think you were allowed to call it one man operation back then).
Once on the bus, I expect he would notice the hoards of brats travelling for free, and the inability to see out of the windows due to the amount of vandalism/graffiti.

Outside would be the proliferation of traffic calming measures, including the sleeping policeman, no doubt he would also become aware that the police themselves are actually asleep when it comes to policing the roads. Having left it up to speed cameras, and surrendered the roads to anarchy.

I guess the amount of cameras spying on us generally, in shops, council estates etc. would also come as a bit of a shock.

But what else is different? There is a shiny new Police Station, apparently with fabulous facilities for the officers, now someone more cynical than I might suggest that's why you rarely see them on the streets. The tennis courts have been done up. PCEG would be new to him, they started in 1991, (they get very upset if you don't mention them), but would someone notice them in 2007.

Can't think of any other buildings of note having gone up since 1988 in Plumstead.

I have it, the thing you would notice, is all the Pole's living here! Didn't get that in 1988.

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At 9:13 am, Blogger Hugh said...

Once again you take the words right out of my mouth. I detest having to endure badly behaved, screeching kids on the buses - they travel a couple of stops then get off to be replaced by others. I thought the nannying Government wanted to combat childhood obesity?

One thng that has gone from the Plumstead of 19 years ago is the old Victorian swimming pool behind the library. I remember going there as a kid; the novelty of having an individual changing cubicle right next to the pool side never wore off - in fact I think it was a better arrangement than many modern pools. I miss it, and the ever present smell of Jeyes fluid!

At 9:51 am, Blogger sibonetic said...

good point, used to go there myself, liked the fact that is was quiet, could get on with swimming without hoards of brats getting in your way.

At 10:26 am, Blogger sibonetic said...


Just though of something else, back in 1988, you could still smoke on the bus (on the top deck at the back). It was banned (quite rightly) in 1991, but in one of those 'laws of unintended consequences' It meant that the the rear of the top deck became an adult free zone and nothing more than a playpen for all the undisirable scummy brats, with no one around to put a break on their anti-social behaviour.

In fact the newest buses actually have a playpen, with wipe clean surfaces and everything!

At 10:56 am, Anonymous t said...

Why did they decide to call speed bumps 'sleeping policemen'? Its a dumb name because how many people would bother to slow down for an actual policeman sleeping in the road?

At 10:59 am, Blogger Lil' Poncho said...

I'd also add that there was an air of distinct unease due to the proximity of the BNP headquarters in Welling and all the tension that that caused, so 19 years later that's a definite improvement-the BNP out of Welling

At 3:36 pm, Anonymous The ReV said...

I used to go to nursary in the old Plumstead Swimming baths (well not actually IN the baths but the nursary was the room behind the pool!) in fact some of my earliest memories are of the building, that musta been about 1976/77? Rememebr swallowing chewing gum and thinking I'd die before my Mum turned up.
Can also rememeber that there used to be a orange (?) VW beetle parked in that road in which the whole interior was done out with orange FUR, very impressive when your about 5!
Then i went to Rockcliffe Manor Junior School and got my head kicked in for 2 years...
"Happy days"
Oh what about the old Bus Garage theat used to be in Wickham Lane?
Its funny I just recently started working in Woolwich after nearly 10 years of not even passing through its been a...revelation. Bit like a time machine.
My Grandparents lived in Woolwich and I obviously spent alot of my early life/teens in the area its SORTA the same place but not. Anyway can't think straight due to these damn HEADACHES!

At 3:51 pm, Blogger sibonetic said...


thought about mentioning the Old Bus Garage, but get confused where Plumstead ends and wherever else begins! Is a DIY shed worth mentioning as an asset?
Agree about Woolwich, it's always going to get better, but somehow never quite does, roll on DLR, the next great white hope.

At 12:32 pm, Anonymous mi-mi said...

I was hit by a number 53 bus in Plumstead last week... unfortunately I did not go into a coma and still have to live here.


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