Monday, 17 December 2007

Granny Dripping's Stairs - West Hampstead

There is small footbridge in West Hampstead from where Priory Road meets Broadhurst Gardens. It's just an old railway bridge, but there is something of a story hidden behind it all - the reason why this arouses such comment at all is that it has as a route, gained a lot of traffic since the growth of the O2 Centre on Finchley Road and yet it has lain uncared for and increasingly unpleasant.


Locally the steps are known as Granny Dripping Steps [Granny's Stairs and also Granny Drippen's Stairs/Steps - apparently named from her bread and dripping sandwhiches] - named after the crossing sweeper who at the turn of the 19th/20th Century swept the stairs. The historical suggestion is that she was old ["looking for all the world like the witch in Hansel and Gretel"] and relatively ineffective at clearing the mud and muck that accumulated.


Now we have a need for Granny Dripping to return - in short the stairs are neglected and are a really unpleasant mess - graffiti, overhead wire meshing, broken bottles, litter under the steps and often dog mess... But of course no-one is clear who owns or maintains the steps. The network of rail companies makes for a labrynth of avenues.


So it's a cause that we have agreed to take up - working with Cllr David Abrahams we have started the task of unpicking the various responsibilities and seeing if we can allocate some direct and sustained improvements...


Local resident Jean Austin joined David and I when we looked at the steps and the need for a serious clean-up is pretty self evident - we'll keep you informed.

1 comment:

Julian H said...

Good call, and an interesting bit of history that I was ignorant of. David mentioned this in passing to me in fact. I feel the bridge desperately needs some lighting - crossing it at night time is impossible as one cannot see if one is about to step in the aforementioned dog turds. Would be interesting to know who does own / have responsibility for it.