Saturday, 4 April 2009

Paging Dominic Cooper, paging Dominic Cooper

"History? It’s just one f------ thing after another". This is one of the lines that got the most laughs in Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys. Actor Dominic Cooper, who played the part of Stuart Dakin in the original production of Bennett's play at the Royal National Theatre, is a local boy who made good (he attended the Thomas Tallis School).

There is a lot of ill-informed "history" being promulgated in Greenwich at present. For example it has been suggested at local amenity society meetings - and the error is assiduously cultivated by the Council in its house newspaper - that, as Henry VIII hunted in Greenwich Park, there is nothing wrong with riding horses round it. The truth however, according to an eminent local historian, is that Henry VIII (1491–1547) did not convert it into a hunting park. Rather, it was used as a deer larder. If any hunting took place it would have ranged over the site that extended beyond Blackheath southwards to Kidbrooke and Eltham. The enclosure of the Park by the Duke of Gloucester dates from 1433, and the parkland was bounded by a simple paling fence until 1620 when the wall was first built.

The Evening Standard interviewed Dominic Cooper recently (9.3.2009) and in answer to the question - Do you have a favourite view of London? - Dominic said

"From Greenwich Observatory, in Greenwich Park, at 2am. You can see the whole of London."

We agree - it is a stunning view. But the proposed 23,000-seat Olympic stadium in the Park will spoil that view: it will dwarf the Queen's House. More about that in a later blog post.

What does "history boy" Dominic Cooper think of the Government's proposals to site the 2012 Olympic equestrian events in Greenwich Park? RM

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