Pan Yan pickle memories

News that Chris Evans has had a huge response to his call on BBC Radio 2 for Pan Yan pickle to be brought back will be of interest to those who walk the Thames Path.

The pickle was invented in 1907 by the Maconochie Brothers who built a huge pickle factory on the Isle of Dogs. The name Yan Pan was the result of a competition among the workers at Maconochie’s Wharf.

Pan Yan was last made in 2002 by Branston Pickle who lost the secret recipe in a fire at its Suffolk factory.

The old Maconochie’s Wharf buildings have been demolished to make way for the Great Eastern Self-Build Housing Association and a handy stretch of the northern bank Thames Path.

Walkers on the main south bank route can see Maconochie’s Wharf across the Thames from the new riverside path in front of the Peter the Great statue at Deptford Creek.
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See pages 18 and 19.

A new Rose opens

Walkers passing along Bankside in central London must turn up Bear Gardens and go left again to find the remains of the 1587 Rose Theatre. Now, twenty miles further on at Kingston-upon Thames, there is a modern version also called The Rose.

It stands at the back of the new Charter Quay with its front door on the high street. Indeed Tudor travellers from Bankside would have known the street for Kingston was a day’s journey from London and the trip was often undertaken by the Bishop of Winchester in whose Bankside garden that first Rose was built.

The new £11m covered Rose has been built thanks to an extraordinary redevelopment planning deal. Sir Peter Hall has supported the vision since the early 1990s and now he has directed the opening play Uncle Vanya.

This week’s first night attracted big names to join the audience including film-maker Mike Leigh. They were rewarded with performances by Nicholas Le Prevost as Vanya, Ronald Pickup as Serebryakov, a bearded Neil Pearson as Astrov, Michelle Dockery as the beautiful Yelena and Loo Brealey as Sonya.

The season includes two Shakespeare plays. Upper circle seats are £5 and the pit (bring your own cushion) is £7. Uncle Vanya is at the Rose Theatre Kingston until 9 February.

The Thames Path crosses Kingston Bridge so to see the Rose you must stay by the river to pass The Bishop Out of Residence pub. After crossing the tiny Hogsmill River go left up Emm’s Passage to reach the theatre on the left at the High Street.

See pages 33 and 65.

Thames flooding

The Thames Barrier was closed on Thursday afternoon at 2pm due to spring tides and high river levels.

High tide at 3.15pm in central London saw ferry passengers walk up rather than down Bankside Pier. Only five of the steps outside nearby Tate Modern remained dry.

These scenes are interesting considering that in the last few days the river has been high upstream with the towpath flooded in several places in Oxfordshire following the heavy West Country rain. Earlier this week a cyclist was stranded on the towpath west of Reading.

Walkers should certainly expect closures and diversions. The unusually warm weather is bringing out people who might not normally experience the winter flooding.

Nineteen flood watches are in force across London.

The Barrier was due to be reopened within three hours. Thames tidal flood risk manager Andrew Batchelor says: “This is a standard procedure for us when we have high spring tides combined with high flows in the river from heavy rain.

Objection to Henley towpath closure

The Henley-based Open Spaces Society has called on Wokingham Borough Council to reject an application from Henley Festival to close the Thames Path for an unprecedented 145 hours during this year’s festival.

Says Kate Ashbrook, the Open Spaces Society’s general secretary: “The Thames Path National Trail is of international importance and, to many, the Henley stretch is the jewel in its crown.”

The request to refuse the closure follows a meeting held by Wokingham Borough Council on 10 January between the objectors (the Open Spaces Society and Remenham Parish Council) and the Festival. It was held following objections from the Open Spaces Society that there had never been consultation about the festival’s annual bid to close the path but the issues remained unresolved and now the council’s executive will consider the application for closure at its meeting on Thursday 31 January.

Kate Ashbrook continues: “The Festival claimed that it was impossible to hold the Festival without closing the path, but of course the path was there long before the Festival. If it had to proceed without moving the path, it would find a way. 

“Even if the council feels it is too late to avoid closing the path this year, it should give a clear message that it requires the Festival to make its application much earlier for next year’s event; and the council must carry out a full, independent examination of how the path could remain open, by realigning the Festival activities or altering the scale of the event.

‘It should not just accept the Festival’s word that this vital route should be closed for many days” says Kate.

The proposed closure is for nine days although the festival only lasts for five and because the closure sought is for more than three days, the Secretary of State for Transport’s consent is also required.  Last year, the closure was sought for only 37½ hours.

The Festival takes place from Wednesday 9 to Sunday 13 July and follows the annual Henley Royal Regatta week.