Dear folks,recently I entered the Crossbones Graveyard site in Southwark Street.The side door is open with no lock.I was surprised to find the gate open,and as I was giving an overseas guest a walking tour of the area we entered the site for a quick look around.
Firstly,several diseased-looking dogs ran at us,barking loudly and frightening my guest.(The yard is scattered with hundreds of piles of dog excrement).
Then two men emerged from the old industrial building in the North East part of the yard,both wearing dirty clothes and looking worryingly aggressive.One held in his hand a syringe of the type used for doctors` injections.The other held,or rather`brandished`, ametal pipe or bar,and this man begantelling us to "F**** ***** out of our *******ing yard" etc,I cannot do justice to his language,suffice to say,with the dogs barking out of control,we feared for our physical safety.Then the man with the syringe started shouting at his companion who retreated muttering what sounded like death threats over his shoulder.
The man with the syringe(whose clothes appeared to be smeared with excrement)apologised for his friend who he said was "sick".He said that he and four or five friends were living in the "sheds" and a couple of them had mental health problems and all had at least one drug "habit".Then he asked us for some money.I said maybe,but could we see where they lived?
He led us to the door of the large shedsand we popped our heads in--then after a few seconds we withdrew,for the smell of excrement was indescribable.In the room I had seen were two women,one middle-aged and one younger,and they were lying on what appeared to be piles of decomposing rubbish on the concrete floor which again was smeared with excrement whether animal or human I don`t know.
Our host explained that the older woman lived there and the younger one was "waiting for gear" which I took to mean her drug of addiction. He then asked us if we wanted to score as we were in the right place and there was some "wicked brown"availible.
He then demanded money from us again.
I thought it wise to give him a pound,and as he accompanied us to the side gate by which we had entered,I asked what sort of facilities these women had.He explained that there is no plumbing of any sort and they have to use the ground as a combined toilet,bathroom and kitchen. Then we left.
I would like to beg someone in authority to sort out this terrible situation.
My guest has gone back to America to report that medieval conditions exist in 2004 a stone`s throw away from London Bridge.
There is clearly a serious hazard to public health.
These people need health and treatment.
There is heroin abuse and trafficking occurring.
A permanent resting place of thousands of human remains is being defiled and desecrated.
I have informed the police and the council about this visit in the hope that something may be done.
Any suggestions,on a brighter note, for POSITIVE,beneficial uses (even temporary until developmenet) of this sacred and historic site?
I found your post to be pompous in the extreme. Obviously it is a horrible situation. However, who are you to go poking into someone else's 'home' (albeit unofficial)? For a start, it's a dangerous and stupid thing to do, as you were arguably putting yourself at risk.
I take umbrage with the way in which you say your host demanded money and you thought it wise to give him a £1. I repeat, you were in his home; it seems somewhat natural he will ask for something in return, particularly given that, from what you say above, you gave him the impression you would pay him if he let you look at where he lived! And he's a drug addict - of course he's going to ask for money!!
Yes he did. Asked, and not demanded as PP said he did ("again" - see later in the post). That would be the point for saying "no" and leaving, or "no, but can I see where you live?". Peter's "Maybe" combined with "can I see where you live" gives the impression you will pay if your request is complied with. Which is taking advantage of the pathetic junkie who is going to agree in order for the hope of cash. It's therefore not surprising that after PP visited the junkie's home, the junkie demanded money.
I am a tad surprised that the only reaction to PP's disturbing account of his almost surreal encounter, is an analysis of the details of his report. Surely, if this story is accurate, we should be alarmed and make sure the authorities look into this - if the circumstances these people live under are as squalid as PP describes, these people need help. And if the drug thing is going on, well, that's really screams for action to be taken. I frequently walk past the graveyard with my kids, and I find the image of disturbed people with syringes and wild dogs a bit menacing and unsettling to say the least.
Can these poor sods been seen from the road/pavement?
If the authorities had the resources/inclination to look into every sad squalid conditions that exist in any big town in the u.k. they still could not handle the problem.
The advertisements that you may see concerning the help that various agencies give - imply that any addict, or more likely a family member can obtain help is misleading. These people have to wait ages before being accepted into any rehab program.
In the years following the war rough sleepers were every where in the bombed out ruins of London, and when us nosy kids wandered over to the fires made by them we would be greeted with ' ere kid you wanna a drink? and a bottle would be offered by a filthy hand.. first time I ever had beer! But...if we went to go into the part they considered their home ( even a cellar with only two walls standing ) and old rags for bedding - the nice kind rough sleepers would throw the empty bottles/ bricks at us with a roar....
F*** Off you little bleeders.
In essence we all need somewhere we can call our home.....
Makes you think.... Nothing has changed since the 18th/19th century when tourists would flock to the IWM (or bedlam as it was known then) to pay their shilling to see the lunatics.... Or when the more to do would go up the East End to see Gin Lane.
I believe they even used to go touring in 1917 to see the bomb sites from Zeppelin raids....
I think a smart about turn and get the hell away from anyone brandishing a needle might have been the safest bet. However, I also agree that it's ironic to have such poverty existing hand in hand with the wealth and excesses of the City/London Bridge....