Six of us met up at Dulwich Clock Cafe at our new earlier start time of 9.30am to do this year's Open House ride. It was rather a drizzly day. 10 people had registered on letsride.co.uk, but there were three last minute cancellations. Fortunately, our numbers were augmented by a new person who had come from as far afield as North London to join us. We had hoped we could welcome a resident of the London Borough of Southwark on our ride, but, on this occasion, it was not to be.
When we got to Peckham Rye Station, it was not at all clear exactly where the Waiting Room was going to be. However, after climbing an elegant new staircase, we found the enormous room which spanned the entire station building. When the restoration is complete it may become an arts centre. Even in the Victorian era, it seemed to be too big just to be a waiting room.
Inspired by seeing such a magnificent building, we then made an impromptu visit to the Southwark Asylum. It wasn't supposed to be part of Open House on the Saturday, but they let us in for a quick viewing. The guide said she spent most of her time telling people it wasn't an asylum.
We then cycled to 15 1/2 Consort Road, where the owner explained how the quirky building had come to be as an "invisible" house. We were fascinated by the electric rood, the bath under the bed, not to waste space and the hidden cupboards.
At Deptford were given a detailed explanation of the history of Sayes' Court. Although the garden only had a mulberry tree to show for its auspicious past, it was amazing how many things traced their roots to Deptford and this small park: the National Trust, public parks, woodland management, public ownership, the industrial revolution and last but not least Peter the Great, in a wheelbarrow, being pushed by his friends through 12 feet of holly bush.
We then were able to go inside the historic dockyard to visit the master shipwright's house and its riverside garden. After lunch at the Dog & Bell, we went to the Fan museum and to the Greenwich Yact Club House, which was build in the middle of the Thames where a can used to be. We then cycled back to Dulwich Park.