Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Parklife (Victorian Style)


Here’s London Walks guide Adam on his Crystal Palace Walk (taking place this Sunday 23rd August at 2.30p.m, Crystal Palace Park, meeting at Crystal Palace Station)…

“This Sunday sees the return of the special Crystal Palace Walk, a London Walk fairly teeming with names that graced the BBC’s list of 100 Greatest Britons. We’ll hear from Churchill, Queen Victoria, David Bowie and John Logie Baird – to name but four.

We’ll also hear of John Markham.

The name of John Markham does not appear anywhere in the aforementioned 100 Great Britons list. It is doubtful that it would even have featured in a list of 500 Greatest Britons. But he remains a local hero in Crystal Palace, and his legend is preserved on a plaque outside the Paxton Arms. For it was here that Mr Markham was enjoying a quiet pint on a summer’s night in 1944 when a V1 rocket gatecrashed the party.

Mr Markham, one of the countless unsung war heroes, helped to dig out survivors. But only, according to local legend, after he’d taken a moment to finish his pint first.

The damage to the pub was, of course, extensive and the refurbished hostelry didn’t re-open its doors until the 28th December 1955 – 11 years, one new monarch and three Prime Ministers later. The brewery took care to ensure that Mr Markham was the recipient of the first pint to be pulled in the new boozer. I like to picture him crooking his arm, holding his ale aloft and murmuring, “Now where was I before I was so rudely interrupted.”

SPECIAL OFFER! PRINT OFF THIS BLOG POST, BRING IT WITH YOU TO THE CRYSTAL PALACE LONDON WALK AND GET TWO POUNDS OFF YOUR WALK!

(Follow these links to earlier LW Blog posts about the Crystal Palace Fire and Crystal Palace and the F.A Cup Final.)

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