Carry on inside of your heart
Under the brine you won't notice the dark
Can stone and steel and horses heels
Ever explain the way you feel?
From Scapa Flow to Rotherhithe,
I felt the lapping of an ebbing tide
South East London blogzine - things that are happening, things that happened, things that should never have happened. New Cross, Brockley, Deptford and other beauty spots. EMAIL US: transpontineblog at gmail.com Transpontine: 'on the other (i.e. the south) side of the bridges over the Thames; pertaining to or like the lurid melodrama played in theatres there in the 19th century'.
But was the story true? A couple of weeks later The Times reported that police 'have been inquiring into the matter at Brockley and Peckham, but it is understood that they have been unable to trace the death of Bethell'. Furthermore 'Bethell's father, who lives at Coldbath-street, Brockley, states that his son William Edward went to Canada last year, and so far as he knows is still there'. The Times confirms that the North Camberwell meeting did take place, but reports Dr Macnamara's denial that there had been any violence (Times Dec 1 1913).
What's more a Bethell family history site shows that William Edward Bethell did indeed go to Canada, where he lived until his death in 1951 after an active life including being injured at the Battle of the Somme. It does confirm that he was a bricklayer when he arrived in Canada, and that his parents lived at 58 Cold Bath Street (now Coldbath Street, SE13).
As for the brother, Walter the source of the seemingly untrue story, the family history site states that he was born at 98 Foxberry Road, Brockley, and that in 1905 he was convicted of fraud. Was the suffragist death story an attempted fraud for financial gain? A mischievous or malicious prank at his brother's expense? Who knows...
My favourite is this one by More London (Tooley Street, SE1), decorated with a map of parts of London.
It is surely the only Elephant in the world - indeed the only statue of any kind in the world - with the words 'New Cross Gate' written above its mouth.
Outside Southwark Cathedral (and elsewhere in the area too), the Lion's Part theatre performed a George and Dragon folk play.
Around the pubs there were also quite a few drinkers dressed up in various George and Dragon outfits. I started off the evening pondering whether, as Billy Bragg would have it, these stories and symbols should be actively wrestled from the BNP, English Defence League and co. who lay claim to them (on the same day the BNP launched its unsuccessful election campaign with a press conference where Nick Griffin was flanked by some bruiser dressed up as St George). By the time I'd moved from Brindisa, to the Market Porter and on to the Miller in Snowsfields I'd stopped pondering as my critical faculties dissolved in the drunken bonhomie.