Hilly Fields: The Mark of Cain


"What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
Genesis 4:10–12

This photograph was taken by local artist Leo, who approached the Brockley Society with it, who in turn have asked us to help answer his question:

This photo is taken from the path on the part of Hilly Fields that’s towards the north west (on the Montague Avenue side). It shows the ‘shadow’ in the grass showing the outline of a building or structure that obviously stood there once, and that has now been revealed by the dry weather. What was it? When was it built and when was it pulled down?

The fact that there’s a manhole cover for (?) a drain there means that it couldn’t have been too temporary. My guess is that could have been a WW2 anti-aircraft gun emplacement and/or a searchlight battery or maybe a small Victorian pavilion…but I'm open to other ideas.

We think these markings are left by the Nissen Huts, that a few BC readers have already discussed - but can anyone confirm this please?

29 comments:

Steve O said...

I heard that there was temporary housing along the edge of Hilly Fields following WW2. This might have something to do with it.

Steve O said...

I heard that there was temporary housing along the edge of Hilly Fields following WW2. This might have something to do with it.

lb said...

As I understand it a group of temporary homes were erected for people displaced in the Blitz and they survived until some time after the war.

W.G.Grace said...

Yes I remember playing amongst the prefab houses,They were at the bottom of the hill were the Cricket pitch is going to be.or is it.

TheOracle said...

It is the remains of the old Refreshment House.
A group of local philanthropists are attempting to reinstate the refreshment house at that site.
The later postwar 'Arcon' housing ran to the north of that mark along Hilly Fields crescent, where a brick factory previously stood on the planned cricket ground. The Arcon housing also ran along Montague Avenue, and Adelaide Road where it was known as Hilly Fields Bungalows and the outline can still be seen.

Anonymous said...

Who is Leo?

john said...

"This photograph was taken by local artist Leo"

So I'm guessing he's a local artist.

Tamsin said...

I would guess it's Leo Stephenson - with a website well worth browsing around - can't be that many local artists called Leo.

Other interesting marks in the Telegraph Hill Upper Park next to the Tennis Courts came up in the extreme heat and drought (apart from those left by people being careless with their instant barbeques). Will post a photo when I can.

TheOracle said...

Thanks Tamsin... I guessed that 'local artist Leo' may not have been his FULL name. It is spelt 'Stevenson' though.

Tamsin said...

Yes, of course it is. Silly of me. Website www.leostevenson.com. We bought a giglee print of his "You can never find a plumber when you need one" as part of the leaving present for the Buildings Manager at the Centre recently. (She was a very "hands-on" buildings manager...)

Tamsin said...

Sorry - I think it's "giclee"...

Anonymous said...

that's a fancy name for an inkjet print - makes you think your buying something of value...

Anonymous said...

Beware of using the word giclee in front of French people. I once announced that I had solved my giclee problem and thought I was talking about a stuck injet printer.

It seemed to be lost in translation because they all fell about laughing imagining that I was making an overcandid confession about lack of performance of a very different item of equipment....so to speak.

I think I shall be anonymous today.

Anonymous said...

I think Hillyfields had an anti-aircraft gun emplacement during WW2.

I expect the foundations are still there somewhere.

Tamsin said...

They are still quite swanky ink-jet printers, as I understand it - and the quality is dense and good (although, being ink-jet, not waterproof). If you are buying the thing because you like the picture, so what. I am glad of the opportunity of getting the image comparatively cheaply and totally honestly. If the artist gets a fairly high mark up, again, so what - reasonable recompense for the skill and inspiration that went into producing the original painting, and the time and trouble to make the print to order.

Agree that anyone who falls for it thinking they are getting something that has investment value deserves to be suckered.

Anonymous said...

there was an article on the BBC a few weeks ago about similar markings that appeared in Sutton (Sutton Common possibly - can't remember now). They started to dig and found a disused WW2 air shelter. I just assumed that that's what we have in Hilly Fields too.

Anonymous said...

How has this not grown over by now?

Monkeyboy said...

It does grow over. When things are a little dry underground structures alter the drainage which in turn affects how vegetation grows (or not). The principle has been used to find roman and even earlier sites. Clever chaps these archeologists

baldrick said...

Doesn't anyone watch Time Team ? ?

Brockley Dogging Society said...

We already have a claim on the site as a training hut for our new members. Sorry all.

Anonymous said...

Giclée means to spurt (come).
I know someone who was born in one of the Hilly Fields prefabs.

Headhunter said...

No, gicler means to spurt (out), giclé(e) means spurted (out)

elsiemaud boy said...

1) Some of the back gardens around here have gun emplacments - my old place in Breakspears had the foundations of one

2) HH - please let us know how you know the past tense of gicler? Have you had much use...?

Anonymous said...

Also beware of telling French people that British bread lasts longer because it contains "preservatifes"...

Brockley Nick said...

Also, Bob Dilan means "Bob, says the Donkey"

Anonymous said...

Just off to bed. I anticipate a shout of "Giclée!" from the wife.

Anonymous said...

crass

Headhunter said...

Elsiemaud Boy - I studied French at uni and frequently used "gicler" throughout my formative student years....

elsiemaud boy said...

...avec les beaux mecs? Vive la France!

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