The Vicars Oak is a name I would have associated with a fictional pub sign or Mrs Marples cinematic cycle drift through a forgotten British village, a feature looming into view over her handlebar mounted basket. In this Tremadhevas summoning Matthews the Hairy Man’s fauvist ghost I find Hauntology, Dementia and orchids and Dendrophilia, the branches of the nervous system that each season forget their death, shed leaves, bud and blossom automatically. The semantic sleight of tongue from vicar to priest and from priest to sacred grove honours a suspicion that the old oaks famously growing here in the Great North Woods held their mystic grip on the ten year old William Blake’s innocent experience during his first vision at the foot of these tree filled ridges in Peckham Rye :
Hear the voice of the Bard !
Who present, past, and future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word,
That walked among the ancient trees.
Leaving a trail of crumbs through Penge towards Gypsy Hill, one of many obstructed entrances to the Crystal Palace Park appears to be intended for cars, the spectator’s perspective is so much more appropriate to the broad sweep than the proscenium of the windshield. To my left there are the Didactic Mastic Dinosaurs of Victoriana, ahead lies the patina of camouflaged concrete in the National Sports Centre – a post Soviet Athleticism placed among the folly of palace ruins, historical futures at odds with contemporary body beautiful gym culture. To the right of this vista can be seen some vestiges of the old North Wood coppicing through hewn granite slabs and then up the slope further the hastily erected terraces of the once Crystal Palace and the remnants of the Vicars Wood.
Blake saw trees filled with angels upon the Vicars Oak in Peckham Rye, the Great North Wood was a natural oak forest that covered most of the area of raised ground starting some four miles (6 km) south of central London, covering the Sydenham Ridge and the southern reaches of the River Effra and its tributaries. This part of the wood stretched almost as far as Croydon and as far north as Camberwell. Although walking through these areas now the forgotten nature of trees and their failure to remain static is in the place names: Norwood is a reminder of the former woodland nature of the area, and include South Norwood, Upper Norwood, West Norwood (known as Lower Norwood until 1885). Other local names that reflect its past include Woodside, Gipsy Hill, Forest Hill, Waldram Road (Weald), Sylvain Road, the Beulah Spa Tavern, Whitehorse Lane, and the Thurlow Arms. This is not Franconia, Grafton County, New Hampshire although an empathetic subterranean dendrophony prevails, Two paths diverged in this wood, and I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. No yellow brick road, No ground frost, bread crumbs recalling such a yellow wood.
661 – King Cenwalh of Wessex invades Dumnonia. He is victorious at the Battle of Posbury. Saxon settlers found Somerset in Eastern Dumnonia. Death of the Wessex sub-King, Cenberht. He is probably succeeded by his son, Caedwalla. King Wulfhere of Mercia and his army sack the Berkshire Downs around Ashdown and move south to conquer the Meonware and the Isle of Wight. St. Wilfred is given Ripon Abbey by King Aldfrith of Northumbria. St. Eata is removed and Wilfred becomes Abbot. Death of Bishop Finan of Lindisfarne. He is later revered as a saint and succeeded by St. Colman. Caedwalla visited these parts of Kent again in 686, older, angrier and with a certain amount of unveiled ambition this time.
In 1853 Penge Hill was sold to the Crystal Palace Company for the re-erection of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park in 1851. The Palace was opened by the English monarch Queen Victoria in 1854.
The Crystal Palace Park as it is now known was once Penge Hill Park, Penge lies at the foot of the same ridge on the southern side and is described in the Domesday Book as a wood for 50 hogs which was anciently recorded under the name Penceat in a Saxon deed dating from 957. The name of the town is derived from the Celtic word Penceat which means “edge of wood” and refers to the fact that the surrounding area was once covered in a dense forest. The original Celtic words of which the name was composed referred to pen “head”, as in the Welsh pen, and ceat “wood”, similar to the Welsh coed, as in the name of the town of Pencoed in Wales.
The earliest surviving mention of the wood dates from assize records in 1272, and it was known to be owned by a family called Whitehorse during the reign of King Edward III. When Oliver Cromwell seized it from the Archbishop of Canterbury it was measured to cover 830 acres (3.4 km2), containing but 9,200 oaken pollards. Timber was taken from the woodlands for use in the Royal Dockyard at Deptford as well for charcoal burning and building purposes.
The most notable of these trees was the Vicar’s Oak that marked the boundary of four ancient parishes; Lambeth, Camberwell, Croydon and a detached portion of Battersea parish containing the hamlet of Penge. The site of the tree is now the junction of Westow Hill and Anerley Hill at Crystal Palace Park, and remains the boundary of the modern boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Croydon and Bromley. John Aubrey referred to this “ancient remarkable tree” in the past tense as early as 1718, He set out to compile county histories of both Wiltshire and Surrey, although both projects remained unfinished. His “Interpretation of Villare Anglicanum” (also unfinished) was the first attempt to compile a full-length study of English place-names. He had wider interests in applied mathematics and astronomy, and was friendly with many of the greatest scientists of the day.but according to JB Wilson, the Vicar’s Oak survived until 1825.
Another oak tree that survived the depredations of the shipbuilders was the Question Oak at Westwood, Charles Spurgeon’s Bible College, under which he challenged his students to query theological matters.
In 1722, Daniel Defoe wrote of a “country being more open and more woody than any other part so near London, especially about Norwood, the parishes of Camberwell, Dullege and Luseme”.
By 1745, John Rocque’s map of London and its environs showed the woodland to be only 3 miles (4.8 km) wide, encroached by commons at Croydon, Penge, Streatham, Knight’s Hill, Dulwich and Westwood.
Much of the surviving woodlands were cleared and developed as a result of the 1797 Croydon Inclosure Act and sale of the late Lord Thurlow’s estates in 1806, although some substantial fragments remain, notably the nature reserves at Dulwich Wood and Sydenham Hill Wood
On 11 August 1668, Samuel Pepys wrote of visiting fortune tellers in these woods “This afternoon my wife and Mercer and Deb went with Pelting to see the Gypsies at Lambeth, and have their fortunes told; but what they did, I did not enquire.” An encampment was recorded continuously there until broken up by police during the first enclosures.
As late as 1802, a hermit known as “Matthews the hairyman” lived in the wood in a cave or “excavated residence” within the woods. In 1803, Samuel Matthews – known as the “Dulwich Hermit” – was also murdered in Dulwich Woods; he was buried in Dulwich Old Cemetery.
Other recreational activities, such as the pleasure gardens at Knight’s Hill and the Spa on Beulah Hill, succumbed to the housebuilding boom of the Victorian era, eclipsed by The Crystal Palace.
One of many obstructed entrances around the Crystal Palace Park where forces rage between tree trunk and brick bat, roaming roots and footings, leaf mould and riser, many charming obstacles, spectacles and subverted ways present themselves to the spiralling silveologist, unlike a dérive Tremadhevas is a circular journey through a landscape, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience.
A mode of experimental free-formed passage linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of psychogeography through varied ambiances adrift upon the spiral. The tremadhevas is an experience of sensitised components, responding to circulation, bias and conduction. In such quercy woodland, structured arboretal species are seen and sensed through smell, through hearing and by going about on foot. The wind and the movement of air and breath is a prevailing element, carrying pollen, spores animal scent and insects and smoke from both woodlander and diesel. The sudden stop and go of the squirrel, the wary birds the defacating dogs with their performing owners, the shouts from a parkland game and overhead choir of Pratt and Whitney, turboprop Rolls Royce engines, the high altitude grounching aerolons being prized from their frozen slumber to anticipatory landing position. Up there through the fog punches the dominant BBC Crystal Palace transmitting tower 219 metres (719 ft) wind blows the Eolian arced cables, there are men up there on balconies tapping at the dizzying steel constructed in the mid-1950s among the ruins of the Crystal Palace. We are below them looking up from the ruins of the Aquarium destroyed in 1941 during the demolition of the Palace’s north water tower. John Logie Baird’s earlier transmitter and TV studios were at the other end of the Palace and perished with it in 1936. Inner Voice Radio.
Based on the idea that there are numerous unrealized futures deriving from past points in history, Hauntology makes us nostalgic for a future that never was. Therefore as a conscientious act I choose not to peel potatoes not because such an act would defy the promulgations of Joseph Beuys who stated “every sphere of human activity, Even peeling a potato can be a work of art as long as it is a conscious act.”
But that such an act would be a Tremadhevas Vean, a parallel spiral activity that could deprive the recipient of essential information received via the tuber skin about the earth in which it grew.
The idea being that every decision should be contemplated autonomously in an attempt to make or contribute to a collaborative work of art which one feels positively collaborative in value and comprehension. Social sculpture is a specific example of the extended concept of art, that was advocated by Joseph Beuys. Beuys introduced the term Social Sculpture to illustrate his idea of art’s potential to transform society. As an artwork it includes human activity, that strives to structure and shape society or the environment. The central idea of a social sculptor is an artist, who creates structures in society using language, thought, action, and object.
During the 1960s Beuys formulated his central theoretical concepts concerning the social, cultural and political function and potential of art. Influenced by Romantic writers such as Novalis and Schiller, Beuys was motivated by a belief in the potential for art to bring about revolutionary change.
In 1982 He delivered a pile of basalt stones. From above one could see that the pile of stones formed a large arrow pointing to a single oak tree that he had planted. He announced that the stones should not be moved unless an oak tree was planted in the new location of the stone. 7,000 oak trees were then planted in Kassel, Germany. This project exemplified the idea that a social sculpture was defined as interdisciplinary and participatory.
This translated into Beuys’s formulation of the concept of social sculpture, in which society as a whole was to be regarded as one great work of art (the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk) to which each person can contribute creatively (perhaps Beuys’s most famous phrase, borrowed from Novalis, is ‘Everyone is an artist.
My Inner Voice Radio led me into many portals and ways that would orthodoxically be considered obstructed I wish to reassess the logic of obstruction in the direct conceit of autonomous, assumed will and control.
The Treason of Logic.
The individual. Individuality and well educated decisions are promoted in the person while the government is made of those decisions put into referendums. A forest of decisions, some are copicing, others in bud, some are subsuming others as parasitical entanglement. Dendrophiles and Silvologists are not swayed by the avarice of power, they would not allow the egocentric meanderings of a sixty year old braindead wannabe hellbent on restructuring the history of their own assumed magnificence to impose their threats on the inner voice radio of the Tremadhevas.
Radio Llais Mewnol
Oak* (Quercus robur)
A richly-coloured dark brown wood. Brown oak has a very earthy feel, and is useful for grounding. Oak is considered sacred by various cultures, but it was held in particular esteem by the Norse and Celts because of its size, longevity, and nutritious acorns. The oak is frequently associated with Gods of thunder and lightening such as Zeus, Thor, and the Lithuanian God Perkunas. This association may be due to the oak’s habit of being hit by lightening during storms. Specific oak trees have also been associated with the ‘Wild Hunt’, which is led by Herne in Britain and by Wodin in Germany. In general, oak can be used in spells for protection, strength, success and stability.
Herne Hill is seen distantly from the high banked retaining walls of the bus terminus in Crystal Palace and perhaps from the top deck of the number three.
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.
— William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor
On Wednesday, 18th of April 2012
BBC One, ITV 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 will STOP transmitting on analogue. This marks the END of all analogue television transmissions in the London area. The ruins of a structure dedicated to performance or exhibition seem doubly void of all presence. I have recently been accompanied by an urban fox whilst painting the floor of a theatre stage during the night and I have often painted or worked on theatrical sets during the hours when there is less division between this world and any other, partly in defiance of the provenance in such tales of inexplicable phenomena, partly an attraction to the Hauntological. The soul of a theatre is absence, even the antique Greek theatres are so architecturally advanced that their geometry outweighs any sense of a rogue spirit, a gremlin or an interrupting presence. Such places exist for the performance and so it is with The Exhibition Centre Crystal Palace A special building, nicknamed The Crystal Palace, or “The Great Shalimar” built to house the show.
Designed by Joseph Paxton with support from structural engineer Charles Fox, the committee overseeing its construction including Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and went from its organisation to the grand opening in just nine months. The building was architecturally adventurous, drawing on Paxton’s experience designing greenhouses for the sixth Duke of Devonshire. It took the form of a massive glass house, 1851 feet (about 564 metres) long by 454 feet (about 138 metres) wide and was constructed from cast iron-frame components and glass made almost exclusively in Birmingham and Smethwick. From the interior, the building’s large size was emphasized with trees and statues; this served, not only to add beauty to the spectacle, but also to demonstrate man’s triumph over nature, it is a matter of interest to note contemporary elements of nature breaking up the dressed granite slabs of the footings and foundation blocks, trees growing from statue bases and ivy tendrils prizing apart masonry.
The desire to move through objects or manifestations both impermeable and volatile is cultivated as a primary reaction in the human will, the assumed approval to achieve, to conquer, to colonise and exploit is considered a rational process of survival. A blockage is a disruption unless that blockage can be revoked by way of conversion to become a distraction and a distraction can be interpreted as a way-shower, signage or semiphore. Theatricality often involves masking in order to visually cancel out anything that interferes with composition, masking can render objects and performers invisible, they are as if Schroders cat – no longer existing as long as they remain behind the masking, what form they actually take behind the masking we do not know and in the knowledge that enquiring will alter the narrative of the performance we can decide to informally intervene or to reciprocate with the formality by remaining in perspective – a prefixed vantage point framing the composition.
The Crystal Palace BBC transmitter contributes elements of permeability to the Tremadhevas both in the knowledge that transmissions are almost silently emminating from the dominant steel structure, that a shadow will move with the sun cycle and that a perceptible auditory passage of air will fluctuate according to wind speed and background traffic. There have been many contemporary concerns regarding the effect of radiation levels on residents and visitors in the Crystal Palace Area. The area was in 686 conquered by Caedwalla of Wessex; within a year, Caedwalla’s brother Mul was burned alive in a revolt. The notable mixed cultures of settlers in the fifth and sixth centuries and connections with Frankish culture continued to be reflected in several uniquely Kentish cultural features, although not Franconia, New Grafton perhaps a near Saxonian Weald, the hamlet of free peasant cultivators, not the nucleated village, the inheritance pattern of kindred’s common right called gavelkind, and the dominant landscape pattern of the uniquely Kentish lathes, each with its share in the forested Weald, four lathes of East Kent centred on Wye, Canterbury, Lympne and Eastry, and three in West Kent, administered from Rochester.
Sense-Perception, Knowledge and Tabula Rasa.
Plato believed that we learn in life by remembering knowledge originally acquired in a previous life, and that the soul already has all knowledge, and we learn by recollecting what in fact the soul already knows. The Imperial War Museum Originally housed in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, the museum opened to the public in 1920. In 1924 the museum moved to space in the Imperial Institute in South Kensington, and finally in 1936 the museum acquired a permanent home which was previously the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark. Today the museum gives its mission as “to enable people to have an informed understanding of war and its impact on individuals and society” .
In the 9th century the area was afflicted, along with the rest of north-western Europe, by the attacks of Scandinavian Vikings. An inland position shielded coastal raiding, so that it was not normally troubled except by the largest and most ambitious Scandinavian armies. In 851 an exceptionally large invasion force of Danes arrived in the mouth of the Thames on a fleet of about 350 ships, which would have carried over 15,000 men. Having sacked Canterbury and London and defeated King Beorhtwulf of Mercia in battle, the Danes crossed the Thames and were reputably slaughtered by a West Saxon army led by King Aethelwulf in the Battle of Aclea, bringing the invasion to an end. Caedwalla’s later anger at the destruction of his installed “mule” brother is yet to palpably abate even with the continuous reduction in forestry plantation. Walking through the Grand Central Walk heading towards Penge on a bright spring day, the tall over arching poplar trees with their shrieking population of Green Parakeets yet to be concealed by oncoming leaves conspire to form a cathederal of filigree and light, strongly lit with contrasting shadow I see the archetypical modern father holding his sons hand as they make their way towards Thicket Road, I can sense the father consciously experiencing a moment that will contribute towards a montage of personal recollections, the bright sunshine, the birds calling and flying about, a moment of shared continuity for father and son, except that I am suddenly aware of a disparate situation between child and adult, in part from the childs physical attitude, the adult is reassured by the stereotypical elements which relate to actual or desirable parts of his own childhood. Suddenly my own perception of the bright sunlight, tall trees and the swooping birds reverts to fragmentary recollections of fear of unknown sounds, unfamiliar actions.
After the Great Exhibition of 185 the unique prefabricated glass building housing it was re-erected near Penge in south London and became known as the Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace & South London Junction Railway (CP&SLJR) was backed by the LC&DR and was absorbed by that company when it opened in 1865. The established LB&SCR route to the Low Level station (opened in 1854), however, also provided direct access to the Palace and it is existing stations were relatively close to those on this branch so traffic was sparse. In 1910 trains ran every half hour from either Victoria or Moorgate with 30 minutes allowed to cover the 9_ miles from Victoria. The branch was closed between January 1917 and March 1919 and again between May 1944 and March 1946. The Palace itself burnt down in 1936 and the line closed to all traffic in 1954.
Herne is temporarily represented on a stone piller in the park.
Inspired by Joseph Paxton’s design of Crystal Palace, Brunel hired the same contractors, Fox, Henderson, to build a three-span iron and glass structure for Paddington, which would be 700 feet long and 240 feet wide, with a 102 feet wide centre span, a 68 feet south span and 70 feet north span. It consisted of 189 wrought-iron arched ribs with 12 diagonals supporting the transept roofs and 69 identical cast iron columns erected in three rows. Blurring boundaries The ridge and the historic oak tree known as The Vicars Oak (located at the present-day crossroads of the A212 Church Road and A214 Westow Hill) were used to mark parish boundaries. This has led to the Crystal Palace area straddling the boundaries of five London Boroughs; Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. The area also straddles at least three postcode districts SE19 , SE20 , and SE26 . The ancient boundary between Surrey and Kent passes through the area and from 1889 to 1965 the area lay on the south eastern boundary of the County of London. It included parts of Kent and Surrey until 1889 and then parts of Kent, London and Surrey between 1889-1965.
Being “Lost”within a Tremadhevas, is the ultimate point of departure between and through layers of recognizable corporeal way showing features such as blocked up doorways, obscured signage and obstructed gates. The Tremadhevas Dancer is all the more positive in discovering directive signage, non hostile iconography among the haunted channels of fictional characters who lost their way, wandered blindly from myth, fairytale or novel. Some have migrated from history to non-fiction, from non fiction to fiction and from history to mythology. Authors and dream weavers have wandered far into the forest and kept on walking in circles until they arrive at the unlost, the place where they started. The place we they started has gone forever, thus the wanderer walks through it in search of the authentic, ever spiralling and passing nearby like a meteor in the twighlit sky, concentric discoveries seem familiar less familiar more familiar compared to this and compared to that. Disorientation with Hans Christian Anderson, Caedwaleder, Daniel Defoe, Robert Frost, Brunel, Logie Baird, Dickens and Twain.
Camille Pissarro was born on the island of St.Thomas on the 10th of July 1830 , at age 40 in 1870 he moved to the Great North Woods (Norwood) where he challenged the British art scene with his Impressionism, he writes that; “my painting doesn’t catch on, not at all..” to Parisien art dealer and confidant Theodore Duret. Monet lived in London at that time and the two made contact through Paul Durand-Ruel, Monet and Pissarro critically engaged with the work of John Constable and J.M.W.Turner. Painting landscapes of Sydenham and Norwoods.
Sincerity is a Non-Value in Art. Form is limitless. Are these the sort of things a Lost Person thinks about in the Woods ?
Being lost in Space, being Lost at Sea or Being Lost in the Woods, each category carries a unique characteristic and some would class or rate each situation in terms of risk. The lost person, (an infant ) who wanders alone into the edge of a suburban wood is then susceptible to the contrast of the Exterior/ Interior experience, the Ulterior context of nature as provider and exterminator, The Unknown in the Familiar. A motorist is lost in the city but this is a much more managed condition, there are hazards but they are less mythological in their potency, motorists are a major source of Government Revenue and commercial accumen from satnav instrumentation, bus lane fines, emergency service providers, as yet the mythical woods are less likely to be harbingers of Starbucks Coffee services. The same could be said about the Sea but this is a far more risky undertaking and relies upon local and specialist knowledge for anything other than a desperate interlude. The “Idea” of being lost in the woods is a situation with a focused set of mostly literary parameters, going about on foot widens the spectrum of behaviour and emotional reactions in such terrain. Long Distance walkers may pride themselves on making good time with their lightweight walking shoes and pedometers but even with the most detailed ordnance survey maps it is possible to be disorientated for long enough to be “turned about”. In actual fact it is quite difficult for anyone to seriously consider themselves as lost but the definition of lost refers to the situation of the afflicted person not knowing where they are – but also having no effective means of finding out where they are, these people are both Lost and possibly Missing.