This week 10, 20, 30 years ago

10 years ago

Personal experience of life behind bars as a gay man led a former retail manager to set up the country’s first project to support homosexual men in prison.

Arto Maatta, 34, was jailed for five months in May 2009, for stealing money from the London shop he managed to feed an ecstasy and cocaine habit.

He was held at three prisons, including HMP Brixton.

Afterwards he became a volunteer at the St Giles Trust in Camberwell Church Street, Camberwell, which rehabilitates ex-offenders.

Two years on, it has found funding for him to run a service – InHere&Out – for gay, bi-sexual, transgender and transsexual men in five prisons including Wandsworth and Brixton.

Arto, who will marry his long-term partner in a civil ceremony this month, said: “There’s nothing to support anyone who is thinking of coming out or questioning their sexuality.”

Transport for London (TfL) will replace bendy buses in South London with single and double-decker buses by December.

TfL has estimated that it will save around £7.4million a year from fare evasion on each of the three remaining bendy bus routes in South London.

The affected routes are the number 12 from Dulwich, the 436 from Lewisham and the 453 from Deptford.

They are three of the last five routes in the capital that still have bendy buses.

20 years ago

Crystal Palace boss Steve Bruce warned midfielder Jamie Pollock that his future at the club was in the balance.

The 27-year-old was signed from Manchester City for £750,000 but had fallen out of favour at the club after a bust-up with former manager Alan Smith.

Bruce said: “He came back from the summer break overweight. He then had a hernia operation and didn’t do his rehabilitation.

“Now he has lost a bit of weight, but he has got a lot of work to do to get back into the team. I’ve told him that.”

A flagship regeneration scheme was still short of more than a quarter of its funding just days before a council was due to decide if it would ballot tenants.

Southwark council was yet to find out if it would get a £65million Government grant to demolish and rebuild Walworth’s Aylesbury Estate.

Councillors were due to meet to decide if it would ballot tenants over transferring ownership of the estate to a housing association as part of a £243million, 10-year project.

A Gay couple from South London were the first to sign up to a new “partnership register”, which was a step towards putting same-sex relationships on a par with “straight” ones.

Alexander Cannell, 62, and Ian Burford, 68, who lived together in Clapham, signed The London Partnership Register – an initiative heralded by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

The couple paid an £85 fee for a short ceremony to formally register their relationship at the Greater London Authority.

About 20 invited guests, including Mr Livingstone, watched as the men validated their commitment.

30 years ago

Brave dog Voss proved his bite was as bad as his bark when he sprang into action to thwart a mugger – and almost paid with his life.

The five-year-old security patrol dog was stabbed by a bag snatcher who had targeted a woman in Tyers Street, Kennington.

The dog had emergency surgery at the Ark Clinic in Kennington Lane, Kennington, where vets saved his life.

His handler Peter Scott, 32, said: “He is a bit of a hero I suppose. With what he has been through I think we will retire him gracefully now.”

Bus drivers were to get the power to change traffic lights in their favour, under plans being considered by London Transport bosses.

A report by the Metropolitan Transport Research Unit proposed fitting each driver’s cab with a hi-tech “green light gizmo” to speed up buses.

The proposal followed the report’s findings that bus delays were costing Londoners £200million a year in missed appointments and deals.

The recommendation was based on research carried out in six London boroughs, including Lambeth and Wandsworth.

Image-conscious councillors were urged to smarten up their own act before starting a crusade to smarten up scruffy staff.

A Southwark council committee was to discuss setting up talks with staff to agree ways of making sure council officers wore appropriate dress at work and at meetings.

But self-confessed scruff Councillor Ian Driver said: “I’ve never heard so much nonsense in my life. Southwark should be thinking about services to its residents rather than fashion parades.

“I’m one of the scruffiest members of the council without a doubt and am proud to admit it, because it’s not what you wear – it’s what you do.”

Compiled by [email protected]

Main pic: Ten years ago, TFL scrapped bendy busses in South London to save an estimated £7.5m a year in fare evasion



Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.

So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *