Looking Back at 2015

It has been a strange year, a year that was nearly cut very short by a dark blue Fiat Punto that hit me at around 35 mph on a pedestrian crossing in mid January; amazingly and thankfully, I came out of it alive and without any life changing injuries, but it defined much of my year as I was initially put back together at Kings College Hospital and then gradually recovered.  It was something that really made me appreciate the NHS, its history and the risks it faces now.

Thank you to those of you who have sent their best wishes, expressed their concern and wishes for recovery here, via Twitter and elsewhere – they helped me stay positive and made the road to recovery a little easier.

One of the indirect impacts of the ‘accident’ was that Running Past changed a bit in that it became more focussed on an area that was closer to home as my running based research became walking based for a while. I did worry that, as a result, some of the things I posted on were about too ‘niche’, who on earth would be interested in a post on pond that was probably filled in during the1820s and its links to tributaries of the Quaggy? Oddly, lots of you did though, and for a while it was my most read post of the year.

Walking instead of running changed my perceptions a lot – I had never noticed the knee level graffiti in St Margaret’s Passage when running.

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The same was true of some of the things I found wandering along the Rivers Pool and Ravensbourne at a third of my previous pace.

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The much more local focus was something I have decided to largely keep for the future – although there will still be forays elsewhere.

So what have you read? The most read post was the same as in 2014, by some margin, on the Zeppelin Attack on Hither Green in 1917. The next five most read posts were all new ones on

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  1. The Russian Anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, and the time he spent in Bromley;
  2. George Wilson, the Blackheath Pedestrian – one of a number of posts I did on late Georgian and early Victorian walkers and runners;
  3. The Hidden Waterways of Greenwich Park;
  4. Will Crooks & the Greenwich Foot Tunnel; and
  5. A post tracking the largely lost Little Quaggy.

I enjoyed the research for all of the posts, I wouldn’t do it otherwise, but there were a couple of posts I particularly enjoyed – one ploughed a familiar furrow – a lost church, St Andrews, Vanbrugh Park, but linked it to the to the East London Group of artists, one of whose number Elwin Hawthorne had painted it in the 1930s. It was something a little outside my comfort zone, but art which adds to the local history of South East London and will be something I plan to return to in 2016.

(c) Elwin J. Hawthorn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

See picture notes below for details re source & copyright

The other was a post I stumbled on when noticing an old street name sign off Baring Road which had links to Lee’s farming past – oddly it provoked little interest until I re-badged it as ‘Cows in Lee’ on Twitter. I will probably return to Lee’s agricultural past in 2016.

I have written a lot less about running this year, partly because it took an age to be able to run any real distance so the only posts tended to be about the real milestones – the first run, running up a mountain, the first race and some longer runs along the Thames at low tide – including one around Cliffe in Kent.

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I think that I have may have shied away a little from writing about running as I am not back to the sort of fitness I really want to be. In 2014, I covered virtually all my races, but my first post-accident 10k in early December 2015, an important milestone, was relegated to a brief mention on Twitter – I suspect because my time was so much slower than in 2014. Hopefully, this is something that will change in 2016.

I have tried one or two things that I would not have done pre-accident – notable amongst these was a piece on the pioneer of the internal monologue – Dorothy Richardson. I did find a slightly tenuous link to the place she died in Beckenham, but it was really a post about her writing. It took me out of my comfort zone, but I really enjoyed it, but it was a type of writing that didn’t fit easily into the confines of Running Past. So I developed another place for the occasional fiction review plus a few other more autobiographical posts based around music that has been important to me.

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Thank you for reading my posts this year, ‘liking’ and commenting on them, re-blogging on your own sites, as well as the large numbers of you who have re-tweeted, and liked on Twitter plus those of you who have put up links on Facebook, various on-line newspapers and elsewhere. It is really appreciated and has helped see a threefold increase in the post hits this year. There was also a doubling of the countries that I have had hits from – according to the statistical analysis of my blogging done by WordPress – I had hits from 82 different countries – I found it slightly surreal that someone in Tonga was interested in the street formerly known as Hocum Pocum Lane in Hither Green.

I have enjoyed lots of excellent writing from fellow bloggers – many of whom are on the blog roll at the side or bottom of the page depending on your device. Please do have a look.

Picture Credits

The painting of St Andrew, Vanbrugh Park can be viewed at Manchester City Art Galleries; it was made available via the BBC’s Your Paintings Project, which in turn allows reproduction in non-commercial research – this includes blogs (page explaining this only works intermittently).

The black and white photograph of Peter Kropotkin is from Wikimedia Commons

All others are mine, feel free to use non- commercially, providing you credit me.

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11 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2015

      1. ollie dus

        Hi Paul,
        Having been resident in Lee/Hither Green for a few years I have taken much interest in the area and this blog is brilliant. Quite how you get all this historic information is beyond me! Keep up the good work!

        I currently reside in Kellerton Road, one of several parallel roads built in the early 20th and ‘filling in’ much of the space once occupied by Manor Farm, near Manor House gardens. I would be fascinated to know more about this farm and also what the remaining open land was used for before the development of c60s built houses (i.e. the area between Kellerton Road and Northbrook Road). If you could point me in the right direction I would be fascinated in the answer!

      2. Paul B Post author

        It’s something I hope to piece together, perhaps during 2016. Much of the area seems to have been used market gardening, the large country houses and homes for the servants and farm workers. I bought a copy of a booklet by Josephine Birchenough written 25-30 years ago on some of the local farms which will help tell the story, as will the History of Lee by FW Hart written in the late C19. The other source are old OS Maps which are available on-line via the National Library of Scotland. There is also quite a lot at the Lewisham Archives – some of which is indexed well enough for my purposes to just look at on-line.

        Thanks for visiting and Happy New Year.

  1. lloydsloops

    Farewell 2015

    Yours P
    Of run
    All in
    Brought and reached
    Wonderfully
    Past and by

    In breath
    Stride of witness
    It could only have been
    Away

    Fare well
    2016

    Reply
  2. Jim Brennan

    Isn’t it the truth, the slower you go the more you see. That’s why the best way to get to know a town and it’s culture is on foot.
    Happy New Year, Paul!

    Reply
    1. Paul B Post author

      You are right, of course – I am probably happier with running and life as I ever have been; the competitor in me wants to be able to run a bit faster in races, but I know that will improve in 2016.

      Have a great New Year Jim and keep writing!

      Reply
  3. Candy Blackham

    Thank you for your local posts which I have greatly enjoyed. Thank you too for supporting my blog. And I am pleased that you have come through the year and recovered. We look forwards to 2016!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: The Sounds of Running | Running Past

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