Posted by The Parish

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 23rd 2020
Orange Book Page 178

 Long before the invention of sewers and canals, London already had a problem with fresh drinking water. In 1609 King James 1st sponsored an astonishing (for that time) feat of engineering. Completed in 1613 “The New River” was a boarded waterway originally stretching 40 miles from Chadwell Springs in Hertfordshire to Clerkenwell. Following a circuitous course, it meandered through former royal estates and the Hertfordshire countryside bringing fresh water into the heart of London. Today, as it approaches the outer suburbs, much of it is piped underground but it emerges from time to time through parts of Enfield Town and elsewhere on its way towards the city. The whole course runs with a gentle flow falling less than 5” in each mile. It retains something mysterious from a forgotten past. Frequently it criss-crosses small country streams using iron aqueducts. Surely those streams could have supplied drinking water more conveniently but, being without powerful lifting engines there was no way to elevate the water sufficiently to let it flow towards the city. In the places where I grew up there are long isolated sections, abandoned since Victorian times (as seen in the picture behind my father). Steam driven “Waterworks” could now push water uphill allowing the course to be straightened and reduced. As late as 1868, 250 years later, The New River was still supplying the purest water to central London. Even today it continues as a main tributary to the system bypassing modern reservoirs in the Lee Valley. Now there is one problem getting fresh water into a place but an equal problem getting contaminated water away…! 

I have frequently extolled the memory of Joseph Bazalgette “The Saviour of London”. His wonderful sewer system created in 1858, rescued the city from the evil blight of Cholera. But what about today? When you get off the train at Greenwich, if you look towards the Deptford Creek you will notice an elegant Victorian Waterworks, but have you ever wondered what is inside? This was one of Bazalgette’s original Pump Houses and it still remains in use. Today at that site, there is a new project to drive FOUR colossal sewer tunnels 200’ deep underground. They will underflow central London and supplement Bazalgette’s system. I was very excited to be invited to Bless the project for the safety and success of all those involved, and to install a Statue of St Barbara. I had to be lowered in a cage by a crane deep inside the bowels of Greenwich, far below the leaky bed of old Father Thames. Tunnelers have a real devotion to St Barbara. She is patron Saint of tunnelers, miners, people who work with explosives & Artillery Personnel. They ask for her protection each day as they embark on their work. A great tunnelling machine was lowered into place last Monday 11th (You may have seen it waiting at Blackwall). It is named after Annie Russel Maunder. (She charted the landscapes of the moon in Victorian times using photographic technology from the Observatory). This project is every bit as vital and daring as Bazalgette’s work in 1858. So we pray, not just God speed the plough but God speed Annie and all those who are working on the project. Our future health will depend upon it! For more info search the “Tideway Project”

God Bless
Fr Kevin 

Welcome Home Sr Leela 

Sr Leela finally arrived back from her biannual leave in January – 7 months later while she has been LOCKED DOWN (UP?) in India! Progress of the virus has been quite distressing in certain parts of her home land. Leela is fine but she has to remain in strict quarantine for two weeks and may not be visible for the time being 


I am dealing with a backlog of Baptisms which are governed by Government legislation in lieu of the Virus. Accordingly, I am trying to co-ordinate short individual ceremonies with limited numbers mainly on Weekdays.

There will be a Wedding 

Monday 31st August at 2.00 OLSS  Kerry & Michael 

Funeral of 

June (RiP) “Auntie June” 10.00am St Joseph’s Church Friday 11th September 

(Received to church 4.00pm on Thursday) 

Crooms Hill has been closed to traffic, from the lower end, this week. If you come to OLSS by car you will need to approach from Blackheath. Apparently, this is for everybody’s best interest including the large plastic barriers that now reduce the flow of traffic through Green Witch causing tail backs all the way to St Joseph’s. The LA invite your comments via a designated website NB. That is not available till Sept 3rd! 

Congratulations to vigilant LA staff for their care in all these procedures. Whoever is responsible for this one is sure to be promoted to a manager by now! 

Welcome to Baby Sebastiano 

A little brother to Violetta who looks the image of their mother a second child to Alessio & Victoria safely born during lockdown! 

Cathedral Staff Vacancies 

St George’s cathedral currently have available 2 part-time Administration Posts. Contact: [email protected] Closing date for applications is 1st September 2020. 

Current arrangements for times of Mass and other services at OLSS & St Joseph Churches in Greenwich 


Search Facebook: Our Ladye Star of the Sea

Saturday 22nd 6.00pm at OLSS Int: O’Dea Family (WB) 

On Sunday 23rd 10.00am at St J’s Int: Enda F (RiP) 

11.00am at OLSS Int: Lisa & Bruno (Wed An) 

Tuesday 25th 7.00pm at St Js Int: 

Wednesday 26th 9.30 at OLSS Int: Alice F (RiP) 

Thursday 27th 9.30 at OLSS Int: Sr Loyola O.P. (RiP) 

11.00am at St Js Int: 

Friday 28th 9.30am at OLSS Int: Bobby C (RiP) 

Saturday 29th 6.00pm at OLSS Int: Peter R (RiP) 

On Sunday 30th 10.00am at St J’s Int: 

11.00am at OLSS Int: Sarah & James (Wed An) 

At last toilets for St Joseph Covid Testing

Work is finally underway to construct a toilet suite for St Joseph’s Church. The facility will be accessed via the meeting room at the back of the church and will provide Ladies, Gents, Disabled & Baby changing facilities, as well as a Fire Exit towards Commerell Street. St Joseph’s will be in a precarious financial situation for the foreseeable future. If you are able to Gift Aid your offerings via a direct debit and are not already doing so please ask for a form. Special donations towards this urgent project would be very welcome! Work is being undertaken by [email protected] 

I got myself tested for the virus recently at Greenwich Peninsula. You are supposed to register previously online but you can just drive in. There are so many staff and a vast open space intended for 100s of cars. There were only about 3 when I visited. – That was on Thursday 13th Aug. Happily I am still all clear. If you have any personal anxiety and need the reassurance of knowing, it is a good facility to use right on our own doorstep. You can just drive in but better if you complete the form on line first! 

A Gardener 

Needed immediately for the Church garden for occasional pruning, some landscaping of the bank (almost cleared of brambles) weeding etc. Paid at usual gardeners rates.

God Bless to all our young people who are receiving GCSE & A Level results at this time. This has been the most uncertain event, more so than ever before. We remember all of our young people at OLSS & St Joseph’s as they embark on the next stage of their development. 

Post expires at 8:11pm on Saturday September 26th, 2020