Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Walking Eltham High Street in the company of Frankie Howerd, Kate Bush, Bob Hope, and thirty more

Now if you walk up the High Street you will have spotted and even used the collection of wooden benches that run from Westmount Road down past the parish church to Wythfield Road.

There are 33 of them and each is engraved with the names of people who were in one way or another associated with Eltham.

Some like Frankie Howerd and Bob Hope are well known while others like Sir Stephen Coutauld and R.R.C. Gregory have slipped into the shadows.

The full thirty three names include politicians, artists, writers, and musicians, along with actors, engineers and sports personalties.

Some just briefly passed through Eltham, others made their home here and some are intricately bound up with our history.

And it was the Eltham Society which set about exploring how each of the 33 were connected to Eltham and that became the subject of their 2018 exhibition, entitled "Sitting Pretty in Eltham which sought to explain the stories behind the names on the seats and their local relevance.

The exhibition was held at the St Mary’s Community Centre in Eltham High Street on 24 February 2018 and was opened by Andy Barrow, one of those whose achievements are celebrated by having a bench named in their honour”.*

And having staged the exhibition the Society turned into a book, which is also called Sitting Pretty in Eltham.

It is available from the Eltham Society price £2.50 plus 75p postage.

Mine arrived today and it is fascinating.

And that is all I want to say, other than you can read it in front of the fire, or take it with you, starting with Frankie Howard and finishing outside the Draughts with Steve Peregrin Took.

Location; Eltham High Street

Picture; looking up the High Street, 2015, from the collection of  Elizabeth and Colin Fitzpatrick,

*Sitting Pretty in Eltham, The stories behind the names on the High Street benches, 2018, The Eltham Society, http://theelthamsociety.org.uk/

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