Elizabeth Watkins, Waterloo veteran

With the 200th anniversary of Waterloo it is time to celebrate the incredible life of Elizabeth Watkins, the last survivor of the battle who died aged 94 and is buried in the Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries.Elizabeth Watkins, photo taken 1904, 89 after the Battle of WaterlooElizabeth was only 5 years old when she accompanied her ...

South London marches on Westminster – John Henry Mackay on the World Metropolis in 1880s

John Henry Mackay (1864-1933) was a Scottish-born, German-raised individualist anarchist. His novel, 'The Anarchists: A Picture of Civilization at the Close of the Nineteenth Century' was written in German and published in English translation by Benjamin Tucker in Boston in 1891.The novel draws on the author's time in London in 1887, and includes some great ...

Knocked ‘Em in the Old Kent Road

Former Hollywood child star Shirley Temple (1928-2014) died this week. Once upon a long time ago she sang a South London song in 'The Little Princess' (1939), loosely based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Fallen on hard times as a servant girl, she searches the Veterans Hospital for her missing father, entertaining the ...

Transpontine Christmas Trees

'It's coming on Christmas, They're cutting down trees,They're putting up reindeer, And singing songs of joy and peace'Peckham SquareWaterloo stationMy favourite so far - a 'tree' made of books made of trees in Goldsmiths library- the sharp eyedmay  spot Derrida's Of Grammatology, Jameson's  Postmodernism and Fanon's Black Skin, White Maskscontributing to the festive cheer!

Music Monday: Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet

The singing voice of an anonymous South London homeless man has moved people around the world long after his death. The composer Gavin Bryars built his piece Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet around a recording made in 1971. As he recalls:'In 1971, when I lived in London, I was working with a friend, Alan ...

Jay-Z on the Jubilee Line

When playing at the O2 in Greenwich there's really only one quick way to and from central London - on the tube. Hence Jay-Z being spotted on tube at Waterloo last night on his way to gig (photo by GoodguyGoodguy). And yes that's Chris Martin from Coldplay standing behind him.Rihanna also took the Jubilee line ...

‘Mad Tracey from Croydon’

I used to love Tracey Emin. Her breakthrough exhibition at the South London Gallery in Camberwell 'I need Art like I need God' (way back in 1997) really blew me away, and I still think that she has brought some material into the art world boys club that has rarely found expression there before - young ...

Revolving Torsion at St Thomas Hospital

I think my favourite piece of transpontine sculpture is this work on the South side of Waterloo Bridge, in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital.  'Revolving Torsion' by Naum Gabo was manufactured in steel to the artist's design by Stainless Metalcraft Ltd of London in 1972-3, and installed at the hospital with fountain in 1975. ...