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Reweirding: Lost Landscape and Found Lore

Discover what remains of south London’s Great North Wood and revel in the revivial of the Deptford Jack in the Green mayday celebration. Complementary verdant short films from Video Strolls.

Discover what remains of south London’s Great North Wood and revel in the revival of the Deptford Jack in the Green mayday celebration. Complementary verdant short films from Video Strolls.

28 April 2022 7pm – 10 pm
The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY
£5 / £3 concessions – Tickets are available on the door.

Lost Landscape: The Great North Wood

It is hard to imagine that the busy townscape of South London was once a great wood, stretching almost seven miles from Croydon to Deptford or that, scattered through the suburbs, from Dulwich to Norwood, a number of oak woodlands have survived since before the Norman Conquest.
These woods were intensively managed for a thousand years, providing timber for construction, furniture and shipbuilding, and charcoal for London’s blacksmiths, kilns and bakeries. Now they afford important green space, a vital habitat for small mammals, birds and insects.

Drawing on a wealth of documents, historic maps and environmental evidence C.J. Schüler, author of The Wood That Built London, charts the fortunes of the North Wood from its earliest times: its ecology, ownership, management, and the gradual encroachment of the metropolis. His book will be available on the night from The Word Bookshop.

Found Lore: The Deptford Jack in the Green

‘It is not more than 3 or 4 years since such a band were seen in the streets of Deptford. Jack in his greenery, twirling, and the male and female dancers with him pirouetting something after the traditional style.

The Kentish Mercury 18th May 1906

A photograph survived of the Deptford Jack in the Green on the back of which is a note from the photographer Thankful Sturdee, believed to have been written in about 1934, which reads: ‘Jack in the Green. Fowlers troop of Mayday revellers. ‘Jack in the Green’ was an old institution in Deptford and regularly kept up until about twenty years ago, when the police stopped all such customs’.

Deptford Jack in the Green. Thanks to The Folklore Society.

The Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green was revived by members of Blackheath Morris Men and friends in the early 1980s. It is a revival of a Jack in the Green from the late 19th/early 20th century which was taken out around Deptford, South East London on May Day by the original Fowlers Troop.
Sarah Crofts tells the tale of the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green and presents David Alyward’s film of the 2006 procession.

The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY
£5 / £3 concessions (tickets on the door)

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