The Knowhere Guide

The Worst Things in Eltham, Greater London*

The entirely missable and worth mentioning because of it

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The Worst Things
  • Traffic management and policing. Greenwich council and the police turn a blind eye to speeding drivers, rat races through recidential streets, yobs riding motorbikes in parks etc. No wonder someone has died in an accident in almost every corner and everybody knows someone who has been ran over.
  • they are moving all the scum from kidbrook in, i think we are now twined with abbey wood or so you would think when you are walking up the high street, I thought they were trying to improve the south east so much for that, put all the scum and the pikies on a boat and send them out to sea,
  • It is a redneck coven. Unless you are an uneducated useless racist who still wears a baseball cap in his thirties you will be persecuted by the town and the police will egg them on. When people say the Eltham police are racist they dont mind they actually just laugh. If you are anything but a bigoted thick sheep who looks like Phil Mitchell or you have any artistic, creative or differences to your look you will be persecuted by the coven. And if you ever wear a t-shirt that says "Sisters of Mercy" you can expect a brutal death. This is a place where either you are in the coven or you are wise to sell up and get the hell out. When people say it isn't what it used to be they are probably talking about what it was like in queen Victoria's reign.
  • The High Street itself. It's just a complete dump. I could poo, build a terrace of shops on it, and have more people come to that!
  • people who keep harping on how bad it is.
  • Inbed People who frequent the High Street Idiot's in Burberry cloth caps,T-shirts,tops The utter desperation you feel while there. Eltham Station: designed so you get run over by a bus. The idiots who all look the same in their Nike Trainers, tracksuits and hats.
  • Pizza Hut in the High Street, Phone them up for a delivery and be told that they don't have any dough to make Pizza's. Yeah right, more like the fat bloke on the bike is too lazy to get up.
  • The shopping centre has gone down since the good old days of Caters supermarket & the Roy Hayes Bookshop.
  • The above submission displays remarkable ignorance of the true issues underlying social tensions. If we define racism as prejudcie towards those of a different colur/race/creed from ourselves then we must examine every sub-culture in Brirish society. It is unrealistic to expect every memeber of society to accept, understand, appreciate and tolerate every facet of every culture that exists. Everyone has prejudices, mainly stemming from ignorance of cultural values. Hindu's and Muslims are ancient rivals, Africans and Carribeans don't tend to mix and the Scots woudl never cheer the English at football. It is very easy to look at the Stephen Lawrence case as proof of Eltham as a racist area. However, what has never been examined are the circumstances that gave rise to the killing. I do not condone such acts of seneless violence, whatever their cause, but I would like to know exactly what prompted the killers to attack. After all, simply because the accused were white and the victim black, does NOT automatically make it a racist attack. Is every violent attack against those from a different culture rcaially motivated? Or does this only apply when the victim is from a minority? We need to be more sophisticated in our thinking and accept the differences between each other instead of trying to pretend they don't exist. The commission for racial equality continually highlights the problems of a mixed society without ever providing a solution. It is sufficient to say that whatever the truth about Stephen Lawrence, he didn't derserve to die in that way. But the political mileage gained from this case has meant the truth will never be exposed, even if known, for fear of reprisal and taunts of racism.
  • Young fat girls , get drunk and love you long time
  • I wish people would stop being horrible about Eltham. I grew up there, in quite a nice part (the grove park-ish bit) and it's all v. nice, fox's field nearby, chinbrook meadows and all that (although you could argue that bit is Lee, I had an SE9 adress, so ner). You get racism all over London, to single Eltham out for one horrible mistake is wrong. There're a lot worse places to be in that this actually pretty quiet little suburb.
  • The increase in far-right sentimentality in the area.
  • The absence of quiet backstreet local pubs, instead we only have the high street pubs that seem to be frequented by yobs, and the that Eltham is seen as a racist area. According to the press items those accused of murdering Stephen Lawrence were not even from Eltham.
  • a liddl openening soon. do we really need loaves of bread for 3p??? allders added some prestige to the high street
  • When the train station is closed. And yep....insomnia!
  • Eltham has slowly turned into Woolwich before my eyes. I now feel embarassed to walk down the high st during the day. "Kennys Pop in" the original pound shop will soon become the posh shop of Eltham if things don't improve.
  • The way so called smug guardian reading trendies in their poncy little flat in Islington sipping boiled yaks milk and stinging neetle tea seek to deride Eltham as a white trash racist hell hole while qouting obscure passages of their failed sociology degree they never got from the shitty polytechnic that they went to, because mummy and Daddy (who live in the country in a big house) funded thier dope smoking habits. Anyone who reads the papers especially that *~#!! Brian Reade from The Mirror would think that all inhabitants of eltham would walk around with KKK outfits seeking out any one who isnt white, whilst drinking alcopops and chanting Millwall songs. How a whole community can be singled out by the actions of a bunch of 16 year old council estate losers is beyond me! To be honest the whole subject is, I hate to say boring and tedious! I went to Crown Woods in the 80's-early 90's and a large population of the school was ethnic, as well as the lodge. To my knowledge I never saw any blatant acts of racicst behaviour.
  • TRAFFIC WARDENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • the whole racist culture thats endemic throught the area.
  • Well the murder of Stephen Lawrence may have been one of the worst things but does that make Eltham a racist area? Anyway what is a racist area? People who talk like this generally know nothing about what they are saying. Can you really class an area as racist based on the odd comment from young idiots in snookerhalls and pubs? (you get these young idiots the country over).The fact is the whole country is fall of all this racial division. We are all racist in some way, we all judge people in some way so don't fall into the trap of labelling an area just beacause of this one over-exposed issue. Many people have been killed, black and white over apparently racial issues, why are we not constantly fed this information?
  • Again, too many to mention. Although Eltham is still a very racist area, and looks to remain that way.
  • The Lawrence killing, 22 April 1993. Britain saw, yesterday, the publication of a report into the Metropolitan Police's failure to successfully prosecute five white teenagers accused of the racial murder of Steven Lawrence, a black teenager, in Eltham/Well Hall, SE London, in 1993. An accusation in the report of 'institutionalised racism' within the Police has hit the media, and the report is being heralded as the sparking point for a complete overhaul of race relations and policing methods in Britain for the 2000s. Emotions are running extremely high - Lawrence's memorial stone was desecrated today, and names and addresses of police informers were inadvertently published in the report. Chaos reigns. Simon Batterbury, 25th Jan 1999 A comment on the Lawrence case. I have never studied race issues in Britain, or read much about them. But I was born in SE London and lived for 30 years, off and on, in Eltham, within a mile and a half of all the events described in the Lawrence Inquiry. I'm part of the white majority. The accused killers attended school about 200 yards from our family home. By no small coincidence, perhaps, the British National Party headquarters were situated in Welling, some three miles away. Intense British interest in the Lawrence case since 1993 has focussed primarily on whether, due to a culture of racial intolerance and incompetence, the Metropolitan Police are responsible for a total failure to bring the accused killers (five white youths from the Eltham area with a known history of racial taunts and violence) to justice. A subtext has been the history of white-majority racism in this region of London, with the anti-racist publication 'Searchlight' suggesting this week that the area is 'still not safe' for non-whites to live there, and that racism is still endemic among the local population. I would like to venture that that it is this subtext that requires opening out and should form the basis for action. The report itself, and it's dozens of recommendations, will undoubtedly precipitate a series of reforms in the police force but - as was the case with the Scarman report (1982) into the urban riots of the early 1980s - little concrete improvement will be achieved without society-wide changes in attitudes and behaviour. A close look at Eltham might, therefore, shed some light on what needs to be done, and what needs to change. Eltham is a mixed suburban area of about 60,000 people. 'Off the map' for most non-Londoners, it has nothing special to recommend it to visitors except Henry VIII's fine summer palace, and the historical accident that the 'entertainers' Bob Hope and Boy George were born there (!). The majority of housing is middle-income detached/semis and less affluent council estates. Eltham saw a migration of inner city London residents to it's new suburban, public housing from the 1930s to the 1960s - the Progress Estate, near to the site of the killing, being the most pleasant and praised for its design and layout, while the Brooke Estate, former home of some of the accused, suffers high crime rates and a bad reputation. The population is overwhelmingly white, although less so in some council-run housing areas and estates. Areas of high non-white population are five miles away in any direction - Lewisham, Woolwich, Plumstead. On an average day in the main shopping street, non-white individuals are very few, although numbers have risen of late with job-market changes and the expansion of Greenwich University in the area. Why Eltham? There are many edge-suburbs like this. Why should a culture of 'whiteness' spill over into violence (on more than one occasion - the Lawrence killing was not the first). I think there are reasons, that go beyond the misplaced bravado and hatred felt by a few teenagers. Growing up in the area, I found a casual acceptance of racial slurs and statements. These did not appear to be 'generational' as apologists for the elderly suggest. Racial taunts were as common among the youth of the terraces of Millwall and Charlton football Clubs as they were in the older generation in the corner shops, pubs and the markets. One might dismiss the common remarks that 'they should all be sent back where they come from' or the taunting of black classmates in school as merely unfortunate - but it is hard, in the cold light of day, to condone such statements. Eltham is not an area where a wide range of formal and informal institutions bring people together, enabling such views to be challenged, cultures to mix, and views to be made public. Putnam's index of the health of 'civil society' would produce a low score. The most vibrant institutions in Eltham High Street of an evening are its seven pubs, Macdonalds, and the Snooker Club (itself the location for the most obnoxious and violent racist sentiments I have ever heard). This is a divided community - betwen poor/jobless and moderately well off, between the public and the privately schooled, between the council estate families and the owner-occupiers. Yet the feeling that 'Britishness' and national pride equates with whiteness, seems to fit into everyday acceptance with extraordinary ease. It is not surprising to me that a culture of racial intolerance, among young and old, has cultivated (or condoned) the extreme violence of 1993 (and previous incidents). The schools, churches, and other institutions I attended did nothing to educate or to dispel racist views, even if they did not support them. Many individuals of my parent's generation still cultivate these views, openly. Shrugging off their attitudes ("he's a good bloke, even though he hates blacks") , or keeping quiet, seems a common reponse. There are questions here. Why should overtly racist views have become passively accepted over generations, and persisted despite in-and out-migration from the area? Is it 'fear of difference', 'economic racism' and the struggle for scarce jobs and housing that drives it, or learned behaviour? Is my feeling that civil society is stunted in such areas backed up with evidence? Is SE London worse than other London regions (I believe so)? Can a concerted campaign by school, church, local government, youth groups, and other bodies effect more of an attitudinal shift than has already been the case? Or will this 'ordinary place' forever be tainted with the blood of it's past and the errors of our local police to pursue the killers?

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All the information in the Knowhere Guide has been contributed by users over the years. No one person is responsible for it all and not all contributors will agree with all the opinions included.

Parts of this information have been supplied by: julie macleod, Elizabeth Davidson, Mike Clarke, Jim, Wendy Howell, Danny Baldwin, Douglas Ellison, withheld if you are printing this, i nolan, Francis Eastwood, kiera, Neil Scott, Boety, paul smith, generic, John England, carly upson, Nat, Suzie Bailey, beckie, charlie, Ben Anderson, Sue Hennessey, jig, Borak Klimos, Alison Benson, TM, betty, david webb, Liam Mothcoat, kathrine, Andy

Last updated: 2008-10-14

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