National newspaper gets confused in south-east London (again)

I feel awful for taking a second pop at The Guardian, but this helps illustrate Time Out’s recent piece about south-east London having the best blogs – it’s because the mainstream media is, frankly, too lazy to bother covering south of the river properly.

In yesterday’s Guardian’s property pages… Let’s move to… Greenwich, south-east London. Now, I don’t think writer Tom Dyckhoff moved off his chair to write this, never mind to Greenwich. I could be wrong, but let’s see…

Though just a hop from London Bridge, its tubelessness (plus the Thames, and the dreamy Greenwich Park and Blackheath) makes the place feel far out of the Smoke… “Tubeless?” What’s the thing called “North Greenwich Station”, then? Does this mean Hackney is a distant suburb too? And the Thames makes Greenwich feel distant from London? Buck up, man, what’s the wet thing that passes under Tower Bridge?

Well connected? Rather. No tube – erm… oh, never mind… but suburban rail connects to London Bridge, Charing Cross and Cannon Street (three to five trains an hour, 13-18 minutes) – actually 4-6 trains each hour off-peak – Roads: avoid, though the Blackwall Tunnel and A2 mean escape’s on the doorstep. Although you’ve just told people to avoid roads. Ahem.

Schools Primaries: James Wolfe, St Alfege With St Peter’s CofE and St Joseph’s Catholic all “good”, says Ofsted; Meridian’s “good” with “outstanding personal development”. And Halstow and Millennium Primary clearly don’t count or got edited out. Secondaries more problematic: St Ursula’s Convent School for girls is “outstanding”, but John Roan and Blackheath Bluecoat CofE are just “satisfactory”, though “improving”. Rumour has it a new secondary’s going to be built near the Dome. This is actually Greenwich Council’s dim-witted plan to move John Roan to a spot next to the Blackwall Tunnel approach road, but don’t let facts get in the way, eh?

Hang out at… The Trafalgar on the Thames and Greenwich Park Bar & Grill are unbeatable in summer. I can think of many words to describe those tourist-friendly pubs – “unbeatable” is not, however, among them.

Where to buy Close to the park. Well, durrrr.

Bargain of the week A three-bed flat in an ex-local authority block in a great central location, £199,950, with Foxtons.
Erm, right.

From the streets of Greenwich – “Too many tourist-trap eateries, but some good restaurants like Inside. The only thing we don’t have is a decent supermarket.” As opposed to the large barn with “Sainsbury’s” written on the front, the M&S in central Greenwich, the Co-Op, Somerfield, a Tesco Express, oh, and a big Tesco and Asda within a few hundred yards of SE10’s borders. Definitely no decent supermarket, then. Oh, Waitrose? That’s only up at Canary Wharf.

I suspect this was knocked out with the help of Mr Google’s amazing search engine rather than a trip down here, as well as drinking deep from the well of south-east London cliches. The omission of any mention of the O2 (apart from a passing reference to its cinema) seems a bit odd as well. Maybe he used a vintage version of Google dating from the early 1990s. It doesn’t quite beat the Daily Telegraph’s appalling “my home by the Dome” feature from some years back (it dates back to at least 2001, I’m sure) about living in Charlton Church Lane – “the newsagent now sells the Independent – a sure sign of gentrification”.

But if the mainstream media ever wonder why people around here are sometimes hostile to their work, and why people in general are less willing to fork out to buy newspapers – they only have to look at themselves to find out why.

(Thanks to Adam for the tip-off.)


  1. I did notice too that they illustrated it with a view over some of the posher bits of Park Vista.

  2. I think you’re being a bit quibbly. For large swathes of Greenwich, North Greenwich doesn’t add much to your travel options, and even less most weekends. It would have been better if they’d named it “Blackwall Reach”, or even “Milleniun Village” (dread name). Stand in the market and you’re closer to New Cross Gate (yes, I know). By the standards of contemporary journalism, I thought it was a fair piece. He’s spotted the only decent restaurant and nailed the rubbish retail. (Only up at Canary Wharf? Right, I’ll just pop through the Blackwall tunnel then…). And which bits of the ditsy Telegraph girl’s piece strike you as inaccurate? Her optimism was unwarranted – the tapas bar has effectively gone, the gym’s shut and the newsagent might sell the Independent but he certainly won’t deliver it. Still, the kebab shop’s still here. Brrrr…. Good blog though.

  3. I did think that the writer was just concentrating on Greenwich town centre, but since he mentioned “three cinemas”, it was clear he was referring to all of SE10, not just the central bit. Greenwich town “centre” isn’t the geographic centre of the area anyway, since you’re only about five minutes’ walk from Deptford.

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