As part of the St Nicholas Community Festival on Saturday 12 June, the McMillan Herb Garden present three hours of postry and music featuring Paul the Poet, Leanne, Provoceteers, Bloco Maluco, Goy, Sons of Phycho Yogi and Ruthi Tooti.
On Wednesday 9 June I attended a Lewisham Council consultation at the 2000 Community Action Centre in Grove Street regarding proposed works in Fordham and Pepys Parks. A local artist Richard somebody or other who carves totem poles is apparently to produce works celebrating Peter The Great, Margaret McMillan and Marie Lloyd. What, I asked has Marie Lloyd got to do with Deptford? I was told that she lived here.
A quick google showed several results claiming that she lived in Lewisham Way from 1887 to 1894, but no references to back the story up.
Marie Lloyd was the stage name of Matilda Alice Victoria Wood who married Peter Charles Courtenay (a bookies runner) in Shoreditch in 1887. Their daughter Marie Matilda Victoria Courtenay was born 19 May 1888. Marie junior was cristened at St Leonards Church, Shoreditch on 1 July 1888 and the family's address is given in the baptism register as 25 Arlington Street. The 1891 census records the family as boarding at 32 Powerscroft Road in Hackney and gives Marie junior's birthplace as Dalston.
It is not until 19 January 1892 that there is any mention of Lewisham High Road. Both The Times and the Daily Graphic report that Marie had summonsed Peter after he had assaulted her. In the event he was bound over to keep the peace towards her. Their address was given as 196, Wickham Terace, Lewisham High Road. Lewisham High Road is now Lewisham Way and Wickham Terrace was the name for the villas behind what are now the Deptford Memorial Gardens.
Then in June 1894 a further court case was reported and it emerged that Marie had formally seperated from Peter in January that year having previously left him. Therefore Marie Lloyd lived in Lewisham Way for, at the most, two and a half years. Given that she toured extensively, both in the UK and abroad, it is unlikely she spent much time here at all. Marie Lloyd was a Hackney woman, quite rightly celebrated in that Borough.
Why not celebrate the pragmatic trade unionist, socialist, and first woman Mayor Beatrice Drapper, or the fiery radical communist Kath Duncan, both women who had a real impact on Deptford.
Doing a routine Google News search for 'Deptford' I was surprised to read an article by somebody called Philippe Naughton from The Times dated 7th June 2010 containing the line:
"A 14-week-old baby boy in Deptford, southeast London, was bitten in 2002 when a fox crept into his house while his mother slept. "
Firstly I do not remember such a thing happening and secondly searching Google's News archive, The Newsshopper's archive and The Times own archive fails to shed any light on the story.
My searches do however reveal a review in The Independent of Blake Morrison's 2007 novel South of the River, which contains the following passage:
Harry the reporter, too, has foxes on the brain. Covering the disappearance and possible murder of a child on a Deptford estate, he wonders if a fox, rather than the boy's estranged father, is to blame.
This leaves me with the intriguing question: Is Philippe Naughton a real journalist or merely a product of Mr Morrison's imagination?