Started January 2010 [by Jack Thurgar]

This is a scrapbook dedicated to the study of London's weeds and the wild places where they grow. Wildcornerz also looks at the languages, cultures and mythologies that develop in these cracks.

What is a Wildcorner?

A Wildcorner is a term referring to a gap that has been left to grow wild in the city. The term encompasses every wild piece of land no matter the size, from large disused sports grounds to small patches of commercial wasteland, to a crack in the pavement. As long as this gap in the man made landscape harbours some kind of weed, then it is considered a Wildcorner.

Wildcorners and Wildcorridors* are dotted all over the capital and vary in content, depending on their location and history. One thing most have in common, is that they are normally restricted in someway from public access or boarded off and hidden from public view altogether. In this blog we focus particularly on the Wildcorners of south east London.

* Wildcorridor; a word used to describe a channel or pathway that runs through an urban landscape, which facilities the propagation and growth of weeds. This includes railway sidings, rivers and canals.

Urban and Suburban Weeds

By the term 'weeds' we are of course referring to the cities wild plants and flowers. But their are also two other weeds that grow in the city.

'Graf' like its botanical relation, has many families and strains. Both of these weeds can often be found together, sharing many qualities including their adaptive nature and unregulated status. Both in many cases, originally entered and populated the city using the railway network.

Another 'weed' that historically flourishes in London is invisible and uses the tops of tower blocks to propagate. Pirate radio like its weed relatives, grows away from the public eye and is constantly adapting to exploit these same gaps across the cities FM radio spectrum, fighting and flourishing in-between the commercial stations.

© Copyright of Wildcornerz. All rights reserved. For enquiries please contact:

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Some press and net cuttings on Lewisham's white deer

{The Telegraph}

{Curriculum Enrichment magazine}

(Lib Dem's magazine 'In focus')

Here are a collection of some newspaper cuttings and web articles on The Lewisham Natureman from earlier in the year. The press coverage was sparked from liberal democrat councillor Cllr Chris Maines campaign to save the mural on Cressingham road. This has been already painted on and can be seen in the press pictures. [Notice the black paint over the mouth of the deer and over some of the background.]
In all these articles The Lewisham Natureman is spoken of as the name of the artist and not of the stag spirit itself.  Some have also reported the deer, as different members of a heard rather than the same solo spectre.
Not much is known about the stag or who created it but we do know [by looking at the writing underneath the mural piece on Cressingham road] is that it is some kind of tribute to the Lewisham Natureman and not made by 'him'. 
This is a name already know to us at Wildcornerz through our research and documentation of South East Londons' derelict gaps. The Lewisham Natureman was the name attached to a small carved symbol of a crown [in the same style as the boroughs logo] with a dandy-lion growing through it, though some report it as a Thistle or a Daisy. 
This tiny symbol was found in various wastelands and wild spots around the borough of Lewisham from the late 1970s to the end of the century. Sometimes they would be accompanied by a date and would normally be hidden away.
Due to their mystery, they became the subject of many urban legends amongst local children who would play in these wild corners. The basis of the myth / legend links the symbols directly to the wild places they were found and suggest their maker is some kind of shamon or wild man who lives in or uses them. Other versions describe him more as a 'spirit of wild nature', a 'familiar' to the weeds who helps them to grow and protects the wild corner.
The myth was also know to some in other communities that use these spaces, such as the local graffiti crews, travellers, urban fishers, the homeless and street drinkers. Fences are jumped and bars are bent to access these cracks and corners of the city. These fringe communities of London can still be found using these 'wastelands' spaces no matter how temporary the stay. Some of these would have used what was know as Common land centuries ago and the many bomb sites and edgelands around London in the last century. Now even these gaps; 'commercial wastelands' / 'brownfield sites' are becoming increasingly more transitory, due to the London Assembly's current building strategy for the capital. The core idea being to build on land within the city, rather than expanding further out.   
The deers are not signed and maybe their maker is not what is important.
We at Wildcornerz like to believe the stag is the Lewisham Natureman, in animal form; an embodiment of this same spirit of wild places in Lewisham.   

Monday 4 November 2013

Interview with the great Ken White from 2011

Ken White - A filmed interview at his Forest... by f699457025

 This interview is with writer, local historian and geographer / topographer Ken White.
Ken has cycled all over South London taking notes, collecting samples and sketching the landscape. He is author of the incredible 'The Quaggy and its Catchment Area'; a detailed account of the river and its tributaries. The book has the appearance of some kind of amazing underground fanzine, with photocopied sketches and photographs and the text all scribed and printed in his beautiful hand.
 In one chapter, he maps a small obscure tributary he has named 'The Hither Green Branch'. We at wildcornerz believe this to be the feed to the pond in 'The Swamp'; a legendary wildcorner along the Hithergreen Sidings. The area is the home of the original Lewisham Natureman legend.
 The tributary becomes the part of the Quaggy known as the Chinbrook. White traces it over and underground through Grove park following the train line along the bottom of the valley. The river marked the boundary between the old Parish of Lee and Bromley.
There is copy in Lewisham Local Studies and Archive at Lewisham Library and will possibly be republished by QWAG.. we have been told.
Ken passed the same year this interview was filmed. Part of his ashes were scattered at the located source of the river he loved.

Monday 28 October 2013

Besson St. SE14, Wildcorner Exploration

Besson St. Wildcorner 1Besson St. Wildcorner 4Besson St. Wildcorner 3Besson St. Wildcorner 2Besson St. Wildcorner 5Besson St. Wildcorner 6
Besson St. Wildcorner 7Besson St. Wildcorner 8Besson St. Wildcorner 9Besson St. Wildcorner 11Besson St. Wildcorner 10Besson St. Wildcorner 21
Besson St. Wildcorner 13Besson St. Wildcorner 12Besson St. Wildcorner 14Besson St. Wildcorner 15Besson St. Wildcorner 15Besson St. Wildcorner 16
Besson St. Wildcorner 16Besson St. Wildcorner 17Besson St. Wildcorner 17Besson St. Wildcorner 18Besson St. Wildcorner 22Besson St. Wildcorner 20
These photographs are were taken from several explorations over the Summer, to the wild corner on Briant and Besson Street. A large corner where a former council estate once stood. Years ago the corner was viewable from the top deck of the 171 which used to pass by. Since the redirection of that bus the corner is not viewable from the street at all and is now only overlooked by a small number of flats.

 Specimen samples of flora and fourna from the site have been collected.

Notables things including an old known tag, Kist, 'Goodbye Charlie Bright', Broke, Badcat, Moral, Norf, Elmo, Eek, evidence of a traveller camp, a small temporary shelter with bedding inside, high hills of rubble covered with thick buddhlia bushes and a most special sighting of Lewisham's very own white deer.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Touch DDS - Stories from my life

The London Perambulator (full length documentary)

A fascinating and fondly made portrait of the writer and deep topographer; Nick Papadimitriou. He takes us with him on walks to some of his favourite spots, while describing the landscape he also reflects upon his life and work. The film contains interviews with Will Self, Ian Sinclair and Russell Brand.

Saturday 12 October 2013

The DBC [Dread Broadcasting Corporation] - Great Pirate Radio Docs - part .. whatever 2

This West London station is considered to be the first black owned pirate station in Europe. Transmitting a mixture of political and social debate together with black music from various genres.
It has a little gem of an animation to go with it too!

Great Pirate Radio Docs - part .. whatever

 A great piece in a rig doctor's lab. Also really interesting section on Liverpool's Storeton FM, showing how they use phone boxes to run call-in shows before the days of pay as you go mobiles.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Blue Boro Documentory - Lewisham

Finally found the full length version of this lovingly crafted film documenting Lewisham's urban music scene; Grime, Road Rap, R n'B etc. Youngers and olders talk about the boroughs black musical history and its lineage to the scene today.
 The doc also looks at the connection between 'the blue's' musical movement and the boroughs street gangs. It is interesting that the Woodpecker estate is constantly referred to as a birth place of the scene. Its one remaining tower stands tall on the landscape and is home to the Ghetto Boys, a street gang from New Cross who originally formed back in the mid to late 1970's.
 Theres a lot of talking heads in this doc but some interesting reflections and some solid bars from the likes of Big Cakes, Status, SRG [look for the old faded 'CASE' graffiti before his section, a local punk band active in the 1980's] and of course the mighty P Money among others.
 Shame Kozzie and Dot Rotten didn't feature and it would of been nice to see more of Saxon and the connection to those early days which Skeme touches on in his interview.
 Never the less, its great that this slept on scene has been documented in this way and younger mc's / producers are given a sense of history and context to the music they are making today.
 Blue boro stand up!

My Ends - Rapman Ft King Zion [Blue Borough]
 Why did they close down Yates?

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Queens Road Wildcorner visit and sighting

Here are the photos from the visit to the large wildcorner on Queens Road Peckham where the Wooddene Estate once stood. 
A few weeks ago, I was passing the corner on the top deck of the 171. As we were pulling away, I looked back over the site and my eye caught a small flash of white which in that same moment disappeared from view.

It was a whole week later before I could return on foot to take a closer look. After a while wandering the perimeters of the high steel fence, I saw through the tangled weeds and piles of rubble what had caught my eye the previous week.. 

He was there, right at the back of the corner, walking amongst bushes of Buddleia and Rosebay-Willow Herb, appearing across a large TEAR dub.
The Wild Walker aka The Lewisham Natureman, familiar of the weeds and spirit of South London's wild places. He has wandered beyond the boroughs borders into neighbouring Southwark the 'black borough'.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Lewisham's White Deer - Seen by the Old Catford Dog Track

Here are the photos from the new sighting of the solitary spirit, on the edge of one of the borough's larger wildcornerz. He can be seen from Ladywell Park, stooping to look through a whole in the old fence that boards off the old Catford Stadium. 

The former dog track was opened in 1932 and became a famous landmark, being highly regarded in the sport. It was well known for its buzzing atmosphere and infamous Boxing Day races. In later years, its audience dwindled as betting shops opened and the sport became less popular. The managing operator Wembley closed it down in 2003. 
 In 2005 a huge fire gutted the stadium's buildings and tore around its seating platforms. Its is now fenced off from public access [as well as being cut off at either side by two train lines] and lays quietly for the wild to reclaim. 
Among many other weeds, tall bushes of Pampas Grass [a native of South America], grow from the ground where the track used to be.

  ... and over the fence...

Monday 13 May 2013

The Blue Borough's 'Wild Walker' - New Brox Sighting!

Thank you to the eagle eyed Wallata for her tip off about the LNM stag's appearance in a wildcorner next to the rail line on St. Norbert Road, SE4.