Thinking back over what was a good year is difficult now as so many of the highlights were thanks to the adored Stephen Humphrey, the eminent Southwark historian who passed away unexpectedly last month.
Silvi and I decided this year’s pub walk would be in Southwark, a nod to Stephen. As usual many Companions helped on the recces. At The Royal Oak landlord Frank produced a South London Press article about the pub written by Stephen. He organised two coach trips this year for Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society on which several Companions have become regulars; the first to Harwich: “a significant place in England’s maritime history… the original home of the Mayflower and of its master, Christopher Jones… represented in Parliament in the 1680s by none other than Samuel Pepys.” We visited the yard where a replica of the Mayflower is being built for sailing to America in 2020, the anniversary of the original journey of 1620, via Rotherhithe where the Captain is buried. In July Frank invited us both to the RAF Club for an evening of music hall songs, such as My Old Man Said Follow the Van, which Stephen explained was about doing a flit when rent went unpaid – as Charlie Chaplin’s family did all around Kennington! I accompanied Stephen on a reconnaissance trip to the 12th-century Prittlewell Priory and Southend-on-Sea – originally known as the ‘south end’ of Prittlewell, for our next SLAS outing in October. We had such a lovely sunny day together, visiting the places he proposed, meeting key people, exploring where we might park the coach – the first suggestion would have been quite impossible even though it looked fine on the map. I hope that on the day I was of some help, gathering up the stragglers, etc. Mostly though, what an honour to have spent such a wonderful day with Stephen, especially now knowing how short of time he was.
Riding the buses gathered momentum when we realised that riding one a month would take us 32 years – I’d be 96! By riding more each month we should be done before I’m 92 by when Marie says she will be with us ‘in spirit’! A fabulous way to explore London for free: out to South Harrow, Waltham Cross, Heathrow and Caterham with some excellent lunches at the end of the line. This year’s highlight was meeting up with ex-neighbours Steve and Meral and daughter Alara at the end of Route 42.
For RSPB’s coach trip to Oare Marshes in Kent Beefeater Distillery donated tickets for a tour of the visitor centre as a raffle prize.
The Ladies Who Lunch met at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street in May; then a couple of Galician restaurants in June: Goya in Pimlico, and Galicia in Portobello Road; and last month Olley’s Fish Restaurant in Herne Hill.
Kennington News continues to be well read, with currently over 21,000 page views a month.
Sales of books and CD/DVDs are booming! We’ve now raised £721.07 for the Friends of the Durning Library, of which over £550 in the past year. Thanks to so many Companions - in particular Marie for schlepping tons of books around Kennington in her little car!
Enjoy the holidays!