Thanks go to RSPB Andre Farrar for posting this blog
The churchyard of St James Church, Cooling was the setting for the opening scene in Charles Dickens world famous novel ‘Great Expectations’ where Pip met the escaped convict Magwitch
My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.
I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister — Mrs Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father’s, gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From the character and turn of the inscription, `Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,’ I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine — who gave up trying to get a living, exceedingly early in that universal struggle — I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers- pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence.
Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip.
Please help to protect our cultural heritage here on the North Kent Marshes
A flavour of what it’s like to face the obliteration of your local landscape – with all its connections and heritage – not to mention internationally important wildlife. Friends of North Kent Marshes was formed in the heat of battle ten years ago when last the airport planners came calling.
Please click on link below to read
Our thanks go to RSPB Andre Farrar who started the RSPB Saving special places blog.
Read his bio below:
This blog is where you can read about the places we work to protect and the people on the front line. The scope of this blog covers planning, the policies and legal framework that exists to protect the best places for wildlife and of, of course, the individual cases that are the daily work of staff across the UK. We help BirdLife International partners overseas – and you will be able to read contributions from Europe and further afield.
Of course – probably of the best way to save a site is to a acquire it as a nature reserve – this blog will sometimes feature our reserves and the role they play in future of our wildlife, but the full story of the RSPBs network of nature reserves is told elsewhere: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
This blog features the contributions of many individuals – I will have the pleasure of holding the ring and acting as the narrator to this compelling story. So a little about me; I’m Andre Farrar and my first active involvement with the RSPB was in the late 1970s as a volunteer with our Leeds Local Group http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/leeds.
I was one of many who wrote to their MPs as part of the campaign to get the best outcome for what became the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It wasn’t perfect but it was a good start. Thirty years on, I’m still in the thick of it campaigning for our protected areas and special places for wildlife. Are we winning? Read on and find out, and see how you can help.
Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood has launched a No Estuary Airport Petition to make sure the voice of the people of the Hoo Peninsula is heard loud and clear in City Hall and Westminster.
Ours is the marsh country down by the river within as the river winds twenty miles of the sea…
Please add your voice to ours. If we all act together we can save this special place for wildlife for future generations to enjoy, and ensure that this shocking act of vandalism never goes ahead.
How can you help?
PLEASE sign Mark Reckless MP’s petition here
PLEASE Step up for nature and help us get the message across to the Secretary of State for Transport.
RSPB have prepared a template e-mail for you to send to the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP.
A copy will also be sent to your local MP.
NO estuary airport ever!
Once again the nightmare of a Thames estuary airport has reared its ugly head! Communities in the Thames estuary have been here before and every time it has been rejected. There is massive opposition to the construction of an airport anywhere in the Thames Estuary because of the immense damage it would cause to the area’s internationally important wildlife and the wider environment.The whole issue was exhaustively investigated in the run up to the publication of the previous Government’s Aviation White Paper (2003). All the key players, including the aviation industry, contributed, and the idea of an airport in the Thames Estuary was ruled out. In addition to the unprecedented environmental damage and the resulting legal implications, the investigation found that an estuary airport did not make economic sense, would not meet the requirements of the aviation industry and presented a significantly higher (up to 12 times greater) risk of ‘bird strike’ than at any other major airport in the UK. Recent statements and proposals by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, Norman Foster and others in favour of an estuary airport, do nothing to alter these findings. The threats and the risks remain the same. An airport in the Thames Estuary is unrealistic due to the ecological, environmental and economic impacts it would cause. As well as being hugely expensive, an airport in the Thames Estuary would cause massive environmental damage, and there would be a significantly increased risk of birdstrike as the Thames Estuary is a hub for hundreds of thousands of migrant birds. Furthermore, a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary could have a very high carbon cost.
The RSPB fought its largest ever campaign against a proposal to site a new airport on Cliffe Marshes in 2003. These proposals, which were part of a Government review of airport capacity in the South East ahead of the White Paper, were eventually rejected.
To read the RSPB position statement please click here