One day cultural challenge around #brilliantbexley

Cllr Peter Craske, Bexley’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure had a challenge to visit as many of the borough’s cultural sites as possible in one day last week (7 July).

The day started at the Civic Offices, the iconic landmark so long known as the Woolwich Building but home to Council staff since 2014.

From there Cllr Craske made his way to Crayford Library, stopping to admire the nearby public art and then on to Barnehurst Golf Course, where he tried out the driving range.

Moving on to Mayplace Playing Fields, Cllr Craske joined the Mayor of Bexley, Cllr Peter Reader and former Charlton Athletic player Scott Minto and David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Danson Sports FC members at the official opening ceremony of its new FIFA-standard 3G all weather pitch, with new energy efficient floodlighting and improved spectator viewing area.

The new all-weather playing surface was made by possible by a capital grant of £460,000 awarded to Danson Sports FC and the London Borough of Bexley by the Football Foundation (PL & FA Facilities Fund). The project was also been supported by a £20,000 grant from the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Hot footing it over to Erith Leisure Centre, Cllr Craske talked to staff and customers about the great facilities before setting off again, driving past the impressive Cob statue in Belvedere, and heading over to the historic Crossness Pumping Station, stopping to chat with a coach of American tourists.

Staying firmly in the past, Cllr Craske’s next visit was to Lesnes Abbey Woods. The new lodge and facilities were so impressive and interesting that it was difficult to move on to the next destination, Danson Park.

A stroll from the busy Splash Park to the beautiful Old English Gardens took Cllr Craske back to Danson House, where he was treated to a much needed cuppa.

After Danson House it was a dash to Red House, the former home of arts and crafts founder William Morris. The unique property now belongs to the National Trust and offered up a cool calm break from the rushing and a chance to savour the peace of the quiet of the tranquil garden.

From Red House Cllr Craske moved onto Rose Bruford College, who have trained some of the country's best loved actors. Officials took Cllr Craske on a swift tour of their theatres and grounds.

It was from one fantastic drama setting to another when Cllr Craske arrived at Bird College, where students were in the final stages of preparing for their annual showcase Retro.

The final stop of the day was at Hall Place and Gardens. A tour the house and grounds highlighted just why they are so very popular and deserve the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ recently awarded by Trip Advisor.

Cllr Craske said; “That was one fantastic day around our amazing Borough. We have an abundance of great cultural sites in Bexley that we should all be proud of. I have gone from the very new at Mayplace to the old at Red House, Hall Place. Crossness and Danson and a mixture of both at Lesnes. I have seen the amazing work volunteers put in at Crossness Pumping Station and have driven and walked by some of our impressive public art. I’ve spoken to volunteers, leisure centre users and college students and park visitors and each gave me the real sense of community and pride in our borough.

“I can’t wait to pack another day with all the other great places in the borough: Erith Yacht Club, the Europa Gym, inside the Carnegie Building, the Five Arches and many more. We are truly lucky to live in such a diverse and interesting borough. I am delighted to have seen so much of #brilliantbexley in one day.”

See how the day went in this short video.

Later this year Bexley will be preparing its bid to be named London Borough of Culture. The two winning boroughs, one in 2019 and one in 2020, will receive over £1.1m support to deliver a year-long programme of cultural projects and programmes – combining an exciting mix of local community projects and large scale, iconic programmes and events – firmly putting the winning boroughs on the cultural map in London.

More information about how you can back Bexley’s bid will be available soon in our news section