By Cllr Peter Craske, Cabinet member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, London Borough of Bexley
In July I took on a challenge – to visit as many of our great cultural sites as possible in one day.
Over eight hours we criss-crossed the Borough and visited 14 places, from public art in Crayford to the history of the Red House, via sports facilities of the highest quality, ending our day at Hall Place.
And we could do the same again and visit completely different places.
It is easy to take for granted all the great things we have here, on our doorstep. Spending a day travelling round seeing it all really reminded me how lucky we are and showed me that we all need to take a moment and look at what we have here to see.
Right here, we have Lesnes Abbey, built in 1187, on land that dates back 65 million years; Danson House, renovated and then re-opened by Her Majesty The Queen right in the middle of one of London’s greatest parks. And if sewage is your thing, and even if it isn’t, right by the river Thames is Crossness Engines, an outstanding piece of Victorian engineering.
It’s not just about buildings, it’s also about people. We have, with Rose Bruford and Bird College, two of the country’s leading theatre and performing arts centres, powerhouses of talent nurturing movie stars and dancers.
And it’s about celebrating our past – just a century ago, the first aeroplane to cross the Atlantic was built in Crayford, at the Vickers factory opposite where our library is now.
That’s why we want to be London Borough of Culture – to celebrate all these great places together, and tell everyone across London, and the country that Bexley is not just one of the greatest place to live in the UK, it is one of the greatest places to visit.