Psychogeography – The ‘Woolwich Hobgoblin’

Woolwich, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, has undergone and is still undergoing a massive amount of regeneration; the new sits alongside the old in the way that London seems to end up with so often. As you ‘Drift’ around there’s a huge amount of hidden ‘Ghosts’ from the areas past

Here’s a guest post from my friend and colleague Lucas Pilgham about one of the strangest and most overlooked ones you can find

Copyright Ronn Thwaites 2018

The Woolwich Hobgoblin

The relentless appetite of Town Planners for anything ‘new’ in the 1960’s and 70’s devastated the architecture of many towns and cities across the Country and Woolwich was no exception

However, if you look carefully, past their grim experiments and bland featureless streets sometimes you can see the remains of a vibrant history long since forgotten

For example, the Woolwich Hobgoglin sits on top of 12 Powis Street just two minutes walk from the DLR  and has silently been watching the people below for at least 126 years

No 12 was once the Shakespeare Public House, first established in 1807 and then rebuilt in 1890. If you look carefully not only will you see the Hobgoblin  you will also see the face of the great Bard himself

The Pub was named in honour of the Shakespeare Theatre which was once situated next door.  One can only imagine what it must have been like as the actors and actresses of the day frequented the bar. What a sight they must have been, bewitching the locals and providing a glimpse of a strange, alluring world so far away from the harsh reality of everyday life

I wonder what the Woolwich  Hobgoblin and his companion the Bard think about their homes new life as a slot machine hall?

Grease paint and glamour replaced by flashing lights and a cacophony of electronic sound effects.  Blank faces lost in a maelstrom of false hope, looking for a break and a chance to turn their luck around

Perhaps Shakespeare would not be that surprised. After all he pretty much summed up the current situation over 400 Years ago in the Merchant of Venice with the famous line.  ‘All that glitters is not gold.’

Copyright Ronn Thwaites 2018

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