This week 10, 20, 30 years ago

10 years ago

Disgruntled estate residents are calling on a council to return a valuable sculpture that has been in storage for a decade.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin abstract wall-sized piece was created by artist Willi Soukop in 1959. But it was taken down from the outside of the Caspian Community Hall on the Elmington Estate in Camberwell in 2001 by Southwark council.

The council put the sculpture in storage when the centre and nearby tower blocks were torn down as part of a regeneration scheme.

Residents claim the council promised the artwork would later be returned to the community.

Val Fenn, Elmington Estate Tenants’ and Residents’ Association chairwoman, said: “We want to know, where is our sculpture and when are we going to get it back?

“It was a fantastic piece of artwork. “We would love to see it again.”

A Photographer with the London Ambulance Service has set off on an epic journey across Europe.

Tim Saunders, of Queens Road, New Cross, is helping to take one of six decommissioned ambulances to Mongolia.

Mr Saunders has joined a team of 20 volunteers driving the Leyland DAF vehicles on a 10,000-mile trip that will take them through Europe, including Russia and Kazakhstan.

The 32-year-old said: “I’ve never done anything like this and I’ve never been to Mongolia, so it’s all very exciting.

“We are all really looking forward to it and hoping the road conditions won’t be too bad.”

The group is undertaking the five-week drive to support international aid charity Go Help.

When they get to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar the team will hand over the vehicles to be used by doctors and hospitals throughout the country.

20 years ago

Transport for London had to dig up dying redwood trees next to Lewisham Town Hall because they had chosen the wrong species for the spot.

Gardener and redwood expert Derrick Hunt had noticed the soil where they had been planted was too thin for the moisture-loving variety.

The grove of eight trees, which cost between £300 and £800 each, had been planted a year earlier.

People living on church-owned estates held a vigil outside Lambeth Palace to protest about high rents.

But the Church Commission said a decision on the future of the Octavia Hill estates in Walworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Vauxhall had yet to be made.

The estates were founded by housing reformer Octavia Hill in the late 1880s to provide housing for people on low incomes.

A Church Commissioners spokesman said it was required to manage its assets in order to support Church of England clergy.

30 years ago

A South London MP was launching a campaign calling for the Queen to be required to pay taxes on her private income.

Lib Dem Southwark and Bermondsey MP Simon Hughes wanted Parliament’s permission to introduce a Private Members’ Bill to tax the monarchy.

He said: “In the days before there was a parliament we had to pay taxes to the Crown.

“In those days it would have been illogical for the queen to be taxed herself.

“[Now] there’s no justification for the richest person in the country not to pay her share.”

Buckingham Palace refused to comment on Mr Hughes’s plan.

Two gay men were fostering a 15-year-old boy in the first placement under a new Labour run council’s policy.

Southwark council, which made it policy to foster children with gay couples as well as heterosexuals a year earlier, believed the placement had been successful.

Councillor Les Alden said: “The council is satisfied it’s a good placement and the boy is getting the care he needs.”

It was the first time Southwark had placed a child with a gay couple.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher faced becoming the victim of a “Torymade” housing slump after putting her Dulwich mansion on the market.

Mrs Thatcher had put her detached Barratt home on the Dulwich Grove Estate, Dulwich Common, up for sale for £675,000.

But Ian Rutter, managing director of Bartley estate agents in Dulwich Village, said the asking price was too high.

Dulwich Labour prospective parliamentary candidate Tessa Jowell said: “The property slump is undoubtedly caused by Tory policies and it’s ironic she may now become of victim of them.”

Compiled by Alexandra Warren – email [email protected]

Main Pic: The Pied Piper of Hamelin abstract art piece was created by artist Willi Soukop in 1959



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