Started on 7th January 2010 [00.46]

This is a scrap book dedicated to the study of London's weeds and the wild places where they grow.


What is a Wildcorner?

A Wildcorner is a term referring to a gap that has been left to grow wild in the city. The term encompasses every wild piece of land no matter the size, from large disused sports grounds to small patches of commercial wasteland, to a crack in the pavement. As long as this gap in the man made landscape harbours some kind of weed, then it is considered a Wildcorner.

Wildcorners and Wildcorridors* are dotted all over the capitol and vary in content, depending on their location and history. One thing most have in common is that they are normally restricted in someway from public access or boarded off and hidden from public view altogether. In this blog we focus particularly on the Wildcorners of south east London.

* Wildcorridor; a word used to describe a channel or pathway made inside the metropolis that also facilities the propagation and growth of weeds. This includes railway sidings, wild rivers and canals.


Urban and Suburban Weeds

By the term 'weeds' we are of course referring to the cities wild plants and flowers. But their are also two other weeds that grow in the city.

'Graff' like its botanical relation, has many families and strains. Both of these weeds can often be found together, sharing many qualities including their adaptive nature and unregulated status. Both in many cases, originally entered and populated the city using the railway network.

London's third 'weed' is invisible and uses the tops of tower blocks to propagate. Pirate radio like its weed relatives, grows away from the public eye and is constantly adapting to exploit these same gaps across the cities FM radio spectrum, fighting and flourishing in-between the commercial stations.


This scrapbook also encompasses the languages, cultures, legends and folk tales that grow in and from the wild places of London.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Some press and net cuttings on Lewisham's white deer



{The Telegraph}




{Curriculum Enrichment magazine}

(Lib Dem's magazine 'In focus')

Here are a collection of some newspaper cuttings and web articles on The Lewisham Natureman from earlier in the year. The press coverage was sparked from liberal democrat councillor Cllr Chris Maines campaign to save the mural on Cressingham road. This has been already painted on and can be seen in the press pictures. [Notice the black paint over the mouth of the deer and over some of the background.]
In all these articles The Lewisham Natureman is spoken of as the name of the artist and not of the stag spirit itself.  Some have also reported the deer, as different members of a heard rather than the same solo spectre.
Not much is known about the stag or who created it but we do know [by looking at the writing underneath the mural piece on Cressingham road] is that it is some kind of tribute to the Lewisham Natureman and not made by 'him'. 
This is a name already know to us at Wildcornerz through our research and documentation of South East Londons' derelict gaps. The Lewisham Natureman was the name attached to a small carved symbol of a crown [in the same style as the boroughs logo] with a dandy-lion growing through it, though some report it as a Thistle or a Daisy. 
This tiny symbol was found in various wastelands and wild spots around the borough of Lewisham from the late 1970s to the end of the century. Sometimes they would be accompanied by a date and would normally be hidden away.
Due to their mystery, they became the subject of many urban legends amongst local children who would play in these wild corners. The basis of the myth / legend links the symbols directly to the wild places they were found and suggest their maker is some kind of shamon or wild man who lives in or uses them. Other versions describe him more as a 'spirit of wild nature', a 'familiar' to the weeds who helps them to grow and protects the wild corner.
The myth was also know to some in other communities that use these spaces, such as the local graffiti crews, travellers, urban fishers, the homeless and street drinkers. Fences are jumped and bars are bent to access these cracks and corners of the city. These fringe communities of London can still be found using these 'wastelands' spaces no matter how temporary the stay. Some of these would have used what was know as Common land centuries ago and the many bomb sites and edgelands around London in the last century. Now even these gaps; 'commercial wastelands' / 'brownfield sites' are becoming increasingly more transitory, due to the London Assembly's current building strategy for the capital. The core idea being to build on land within the city, rather than expanding further out.   

The deers are not signed and maybe their maker is not what is important.
We at Wildcornerz like to believe the stag is the Lewisham Natureman, in animal form; an embodiment of this same spirit of wild places in Lewisham.   

Monday, 4 November 2013

Interview with the great Ken White from 2011



Ken White - A filmed interview at his Forest... by f699457025

 This interview is with writer, local historian and geographer / topographer Ken White.
Ken has cycled all over South London taking notes, collecting samples and sketching the landscape. He is author of the incredible 'The Quaggy and its Catchment Area'; a detailed account of the river and its tributaries. The book has the appearance of some kind of amazing underground fanzine, with photocopied sketches and photographs and the text all scribed and printed in his beautiful hand.
 In one chapter, he maps a small obscure tributary he has named 'The Hither Green Branch'. We at wildcornerz believe this to be the feed to the pond in 'The Swamp'; a legendary wildcorner along the Hithergreen Sidings. The area is the home of the original Lewisham Natureman legend.
 The tributary becomes the part of the Quaggy known as the Chinbrook. White traces it over and underground through Grove park following the train line along the bottom of the valley. The river marked the boundary between the old Parish of Lee and Bromley.
There is copy in Lewisham Local Studies and Archive at Lewisham Library and will possibly be republished by QWAG.. we have been told.
Ken passed the same year this interview was filmed. Part of his ashes were scattered at the located source of the river he loved.