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.

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Thursday 24 January 2013

The Lewisham Naturman Spotted Again in SE14

It has been a little while now since any new appearances of the weed spirit have been seen in the blue borough.
 So it was to my excitement that i found him [or at least his echo] in one of his chosen forms; that of the white stag, also known as 'The Wild Walker'. He can be seen emerging from the scrub and graff in this fenced off wildcorner in New Cross.  

In Celtic legend, the white stag was seen as a messenger from the otherworld and always remained elusive.
 According to old legends, King Arthur was forever in pursuit of a white stag but the creature had the  perennial ability to evade capture. This pursuit of the animal represented mankind's spiritual quest.
 It also signalled that it was the right time for the knights of the kingdom to pursue a quest. 

Monday 21 January 2013

Lewisham's Arms and the White Stag

When the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham was created in 1900, a committee was appointed to design a coat of arms. This device [another word for arms], adopted in the following year, included a shield, crest, supporters and motto.
The shield had four quarters. The first quarter had the attributed arms of King Alfred first lord of the manor. The second quarter showed a white on red horse, taken from the former Borough of Deptford’s arms. This is originally taken from Kent's arms. The Lewisham area was part of the County of Kent until 1889. The third quarter showed a buck's head, from the arms of the Earl of Dartmouth lord of the manor of Lewisham in 1901. The fourth quarter featured a bear's head and fesse or horizontal band, from the arms of Lord Northbrook, lord of the manor of Lee in 1901.

The crest was a raven, representing the Ravensbourne River. The supporters were a silver buck sprinkled with red stars and a bear with a gold portcullis on his shoulder. These were also derived from the arms of the Earl of Dartmouth and Lord Northbrook respectively. 
The Latin motto was Salus Populi Suprema Lex, or "the welfare of the people is the highest law" - [a motto common to many English municipalities] is carried on a scroll at the bottom or the arms. 

In 1950, in celebration of the borough’s golden jubilee, a grant was obtained to make a new coat of arms.
The shield was greatly simplified and the supporters [as they are known] were altered to make them unique to the borough. The White stag was kept but the brown bear is replaced with a white horse, which is taken from the second corner of the original shield. Around their necks were placed mural crowns representative of local government, civic dignity and authority. 

The motto at the bottom of the arms was kept on the new coat and continued to be used by the London borough of Lewisham, when borough arms became obsolete. The background colours of green, purple and black allude to Lee Green, Hither (Heather) Green and Blackheath. The two lions' faces each donned with a Saxon crown, as in the old arms of Lewisham, symbolise the royal and Saxon connections both of Lewisham, where King Alfred was the first Lord of the Manor, and Deptford, where the same King fought the Danes. 

The golden ship in the base represents the famous Royal Shipbuilding Yard established in Deptford by King Henry VIII in 1513. 
The reversed pall consisting of wavy bars of blue and silver forms a heraldic map view, representing the meeting point of the rivers Ravensbourne and Quaggy. This was the original settlement point of what is now Lewisham [and Lewisham Rail and Bus Station, and where The Lewisham Natureman was once seen drinking.] The river then flows north toward the River Thames. 

The two green dolphins represent the close association of the Borough with things nautical and refer also to the dolphins, which were the supporters of the unofficial arms formally used by Deptford. The silver wings and golden mullet are from the arms of Lord Northbrook, Lord of the Manor of Lee. 

These arms became obsolete when the metropolitan boroughs were abolished in 1965. Deptford and Lewisham became The London Borough of Lewisham.

This is another version of the arms, featuring a brown stag and a crown with three tall points, later used as Lewisham's logo and developed into the crown we know and love now. The date this was produced  was somewhere between the two above.

Friday 11 January 2013

Growing Towards the Light; survival of the wild.

A great short article explores the question; Will the switch over to digital kill off pirate radio?
Pirate radio was born from adaption, ingenuity and opportunism and continues to innovate and propagate for its own survival.
Long live London's Weeds!