13th February 2019
This walk uses two old mulberry trees to help reveal Lewisham's fascinating history. We start at the site of Lewisham's Silk Mills which once stood on the banks of the Ravensbourne River. Silkworms will only feed on the leaves of the mulberry tree, but this silk mill used imported yarn. Once a major employer in the area - Girls as young as 11-13 worked long hours - the Silk Mills produced silk for buttons and ribbons. All that is left today are evocative street names, like Silk Mills Path, but the presence of the mill can be seen in local topgraphy.
We then cross the Ravensbourne to the site of other long-lost mills near to Elmira Street. The recent housing development around Prendergast Vale School replaced a previous 1960s development which in turn grew up on the site of mill works and Victorian housing. All that remains is a wonderful 150-year-old black mulberry tree, that once stood in the playground of a Victorian boys’ school.
The walk continues through Victorian streets parallel to the Ravensbourne River, ending at the former Ladywell Vicarage (now an NHS facility). Built in the late 17th century by Rev. Stanhope,, the building has been developed and extended twice. But hidden from view at the rear is a rare, sprawling black mulberry tree that is anywhere between 150 and 300 years old. Possibly one of the oldest in South London. We will have privileged access to the tree, which is usually closed to the public. Nearby we can see some imposing and eccentric Victorian architecture.
Meet at Elverson Road DLR, footbridge on Platform 1 side at 12.00 noon.
The walk finishes within easy reach of Ladywell train station and major bus routes, or a 10-minute walk to Lewisham railstation.
For booking and further details click here
"Midweek Mulberries" is a series of lunchtime walks led by Dr Peter Coles, co-founder and chief researcher of the Morus Londinium project. Peter is Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths University of London and the author of "Mulberry", a global cultural history, to be published by Reaktion Books this autumn.
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