Dogville



More than anything, there are more images in evil. Evil is based far more on the visual, whereas good has no good images at all.

- Lars von Trier

Brockley Danes, this is your moment. BC regular Tamsin found this postcard at a fair and has kindly scanned it for us. The writing is in Danish, so if we have any Danish readers, we'd love a translation please!

46 comments:

TJ(O) said...

Does anyone else think that the middle image of Montague Avenue has been reversed...so the houses seen sloping upwards are not Hilly Fields Crescent - but Montague Avenue itself?

Interesting to see the roads they pick to represent Brockley - probably three of the best roads now.

M (O) said...

Isn't that a view of Montague Avenue from the junction with Adelaide Avenue?

TJ(O) said...

Yes of course! You're right - that's why the bus is trundling along... my map reading skills are just as abysmal

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Just went on Google maps to check which is St Margaret's Road - should know really - only to find that not only is the Brockley Mess identified, but so is Moonbow Jakes!

Some sort of reality shift maybe?

Sepia said...

Could a postcard of Brockley look as good these days,or would it just be 5 pics of chicken shops.

Tressilliana said...

No parked cars. Sigh.

M (O) said...

Let's not get carried away with the whole chicken shop thing - even the most affluent and desirable areas of London have their KFC rip-offs.

I think you could reproduce those postcard shots now and it would look pretty good.
In fact, that's a nice idea for any photographer at a loose end - you can have that.

Sue said...

yep, I'm with Tressilliana on that,it's the parked cars that would make the biggest visual difference between then and now. Great postcard, maybe someone should start a series of them again - Greeetings from Catford etc. Looks like there were iron railings around Hilly Fields, presumably removed during the war.

Matt-Z said...

The cars are a big factor. Breakspears Road seems to be lined with birch trees, what happened to them? Mind you progress isn't all bad, I feel the 122 is much better since the introduction of the roof.

Paddyom said...

Wow the pictures are fantastic... the area has changed THAT much considering the blitzathon of Herr Hitler 70 years ago...

Dumb Paddy said...

hasnt changed even...

Headhunter said...

Great card! I can't work out which bit of Breakspears that is though.... Interesting to see that even back then (whenever "then" was) the roads were paved and tarmacked with curbs etc, I assumed that came later. Also amazing how open and widswept Hilly Fields looks - none of the big trees we have now.

Headhunter said...

Interesting that the card was sent to Denmark yet somehow found its way back to Brockley, at least I assume Tamsin bought it at a fair in Brockley or hereabouts...

Tamsin said...

It's the parked cars that make such a difference. The Telegraph Hill Society has reproduction cards for sale (why I was searching through London Suburbs for several hours in the hope of finding some we didn't already have) and this is the main factor. Endwell Road,for example is really very wide indeed.

Brockley Jon said...

@Tamsin, brilliant find. Can I use that in relation to a forthcoming BC post?

Anyone know anything about the copyright of these old images? Is there some rule that after x years, anyone can use it? Or is that codswallop?

Tamsin said...

No, it was Central London - the Royal Horticultural Halls of which I had (fond) memories from Law Society examinations. Massive three day event that a friend from Bristol came up specially for. The stallholder was quite interested though in that I lived nearby.

Tamsin said...

I don't think there are any copyright issues, certainly not for non-commercial purposes.

And I'll check whether anything arose about the way we used old cards to make new ones for the THS to sell.

Tamsin said...

I don't think there are any copyright issues, certainly not for non-commercial purposes.

And I'll check whether anything arose about the way we used old cards to make new ones for the THS to sell.

Bea said...

I bought a 1930s map of Brockley over the Bank Holiday weekend. I'll scan it and maybe Nick might like to put it on BC.

Interestingly is shows the location of the bandstand on Hilly Fields.

Matt-Z said...

Where roughly was the bandstand?

Monkeyboy said...

I've bought reprints online of maps
From 1820ish 1900ish 1920 and 1945. The expansion between 1820 and 1900 is astonishing, the evening standard property journalists would have gone mental.

Anonymous said...

1 penny stamps

Bea said...

From memory, it was where the flat bit is where football is played - but I'll double check tonight since I haven't looked at it recently.

A round circle is clearly identified on the map and labeled "bandstand".

lb said...

The bandstand was where the outdoor gym thing is today, overlooking the cricket pitch.

Lars von tressillian said...

Nick - is this Dogville purely for the Danish connection; or do you think we are a bunch of kidnapping misogynists?

TheOracle said...

I think I also saw that card at Lewisham Local Studies library. They copyright has well passed.

Moira said...

From my memory of seeing an aerial view of Hilly Fields, the bandstand crop circle was where lb said, on the outdoor gym.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit difficult to read the hand writing but it says something iike: Dear Tanny, thank you for your postcard. I have seen a lot of London and live a bit outside of the city. Then some other things and signed by Vissel

Brockley Nick said...

Thank you Anon - I knew we'd have a kind Danish reader somewhere...

@Lars - it was mainly the Danish angle, with a sprinkling of the dogging angle.

You could make an equally nice montage today, if the Brockley Flickr group is anything to go by, but yes, parked cars and signage clutter make a massive difference.

Anonymous said...

Though parked cars blight the area today. a century ago there was worse to contend with when we relied on horse power to get about.

Horses produce their own effluent that would have lined the streets liberally. The place would have stank and during the summer it would have been swarming with flies.

You will notice that in Brockley the biggest houses are on the top of any hill or incline. Lower down you have simpler, more modest homes.

Gravity has a lot to do with this and property values would have corresponded with the preponderance of horse manure accumulating outside the front door. Posh houses rise above the miasma.

Now there would have been street cleaners who specialised in supplying manure to the marker gardens and farms around London. But they may have taken their time to get around the side streets, finding the accumulations around the major thoroughfares more profitable.

If you look at the entrances to houses and gardens, you often see a hole and a metal bar. It was for scaping your boots before you entered the house.

People complain about cars today, but they do not smell, pass on TB or attract bluebottles.

Brockley was built in the days of horse and buggy technology and it best not to imagine it was quite so rosy....though, come to think of it, rose gardens probably thrived on the abundance of fertilizer.

Steve O said...

This is a great find. I think the view of Breakspears is from the Wickham Road end - before a V2 destroyed much of what's shown.

Gag said...

@Brockley Jon: regarding copyright, the postcard would fall into public domain 70 years after the author's death. So who knows when W.B. Gould died?!

Ms Mouse said...

How exciting - I can see my house! (St Margarets Road). Those plane trees have grown a bit since that photo was taken...

I agree about the parked cars. Sigh.

Ms Mouse said...

PS is that postmark 1920?

Bea said...

Dug the map out and had a look - sorry got it wrong - as others have said in fact the bandstand is where the outdoor gym area is. But I think I made the mistake because the school looks in the wrong location which probably threw me (and that's assuming the paths are still where they were in the 1920s).

I've also seen photos with sheep on Hilly Fields so maybe that's why they had the railings?

BrockleyBiker said...

"If you look at the entrances to houses and gardens, you often see a hole and a metal bar. It was for scaping your boots before you entered the house"

The hole was your coal hole.

Anonymous said...

Different hole... think he means the hole in a wall by the door with a boot-scraping doo dah. They do exist.

TheOracle said...

The bandstand location can still be seen on a hot day. Walk north past the children's play area at left, and the tennis courts at right. Approximately 100 feet in front of you are the gym bars area, with the bandstand markings just in front.

Headhunter said...

I think the reason the larger, more expensive dwellings in places like Brockley were on high ground was to escape the industrial pea soup smog and pollution which particularly gathered in lower spots, by the river and the docks. It was not to escape the smell of decaying horse manure which would have been largely unnoticeable in comparison to pollution from factories. Areas like Deptford were never desirable spots to live largely because of the heavy pollution. In any case, as anyone who was raised anywhere near the country would know, horse manure is relatively odourless in comparison to cow pats, dog poo etc.

Also I think manure was fairly valuable as fertiliser and would have been pretty quickly and efficiently cleaned up on most quieter streets, it may have gathered a bit on busy streets in central London with higher levels of traffic.

Tamsin said...

The postmark is definitely 1920 - the 7.45pm collection (those were the days!) on 14 April.

I think most kinds of manure were collected fairly promptly - there was even a special name for those who specialised in dog-poo - but the smell issue was the horse piss - all that amonia. Unlike humans they did not use the special buckets, again set aside to be collected for industrial use. There is a Hornblower story that mentions coming into London and being assailed by the smell of it.

Tamsin said...

The postmark is definitely 1920 - the 7.45pm collection (those were the days!) on 14 April.

I think most kinds of manure were collected fairly promptly - there was even a special name for those who specialised in dog-poo - but the smell issue was the horse piss - all that amonia. Unlike humans they did not use the special buckets, again set aside to be collected for industrial use. There is a Hornblower story that mentions coming into London and being assailed by the smell of it.

Anonymous said...

You are clearly unfamiliar with

"The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894"

London had a lot of horses, once manure was valuable, now people had to be paid to take it away. The place was in a crisis caused by the urban horse and the pollution they caused.

During the summer it caused outbreaks of illness caused by all the flies it attracted.

I was a serious problem that affect many big cities around the world.

How much of a stink this caused is open to debate, maybe it depends on the food they get, which is unlikley to be the same quality as that available in the countryside.

Manure runs down hill. Live at the bottom of a hill with a busy road and you will be seriously wishing you could move house. That combined with the smokey outpourings of all the coal fires would have created pretty horrible environment.

Horses did not last long, they died in the streets and cruelty was commonplace and much in evidence. Cars, though ubiquitous, don't take quite so much looking after and it is not quite as distressing when they conk out.

At the time of these postcards, there would have a been much that offended the sensibilites of Brockley residents.

It doesn't do to be too sentimental.

I've seen that postcard before. There is a chap in Greenwich market who sells them.

Tamsin said...

Remember Black Beauty - when he encounters Ginger again in truly awful circumstances and a few days later sees a horse dead between the shafts of a cab and hopes it is her for then at least the suffering would be over.

Anonymous said...

The dog poo finders were known as 'pure finders'. It was valuable because it was used in the tanning process to tan leather.

Deptford had a huge slaughterhouse and the tanning industry required huge quantities of extremely smelly material along Deptford Creek which must have assaulted the nostrils of many a mariner.

Victorian London was an extremely smelly place.

Here is Tony Robinson on Channel 4 in his series on the worst jobs in histoty.

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-worst-jobs-in-history/4od#2923108

Headhunter said...

"The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894". I thought you were joking but a quick Google and there it is... Fascinating!

Ingrid said...

Dear Tommy!
Thank you for the card which I have received indirectly - poor you who has been ill for so long, I hope you are all right again. It is wonderful here. I will have soon seen a lot of London. We live a bit outside the city, it was unbearable to be in that noise. Well, your lace doily is proving very popular over here, it is also adorable.
Best wishes, Visse
Will you give your [Ritsche] my wishes when you see her.

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