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Beggars Waterloo/Borough

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Wednesday 22 October 2008 12.22pm
My impression is that some homeless people, quite understandably, use public toilets for more than just going to the loo. They'll have a wash there, get warm and sort out their belongings in what is after all a fairly safe and sanitary place.

It is indeed 30p to use the facilities at Waterloo, as at most other London mainline stations. Not a trivial amount, which perhaps explains why I so often see people relieving themselves in the street. I recently saw a mother on one of the sideroads off BHS supervising her child having a poo on the pavement.
Wednesday 22 October 2008 12.52pm
A bit from my memoirs..

THE SWING GARDENS

These gardens were at the end of Roupell Street on Waterloo Road. As with Paris Gardens they were probably previously burial grounds designated as both adjoined old Churches. Both were really only thoroughfares with a patch of grass and a couple of flower beds. The Swing Gardens also had asphalt paths with benches, straggly shrubbery and no trees but evidence of once magnificent specimens if the rotting trunks were anything to go by. They also had all the signs 'DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS' etc. The Swing Gardens always had tramps. They draped themselves over the benches clasping their metholated spirit bottles 'hidden' by a brown paper bag As they often spat and were probably lousy, it stopped local mothers with babies or toddlers from using the gardens. The keeper was very strict but must have been powerless due to the number of tramps and itinerants. Waterloo Road was a veritable haven for the dispossed and up near the Cut the tramps would often sit with their backs to any wall, their places quickly taken by others when vacated. As I've mentioned before, they didn't beg openly and if they did get anything it wouldn't have been more than a copper or two. I think it was just where all the London tramps seemed to end up.
Thursday 23 October 2008 4.39am
All i do when i see a tramp/beggar/homeless person etc etc asking for money is to normally (especially during the winter) buy them something to eat like a sandwich . Least that way you know they won't be able to shoot off and spend any money you give them on anything dubious .....if i remember rightly , its around 90% of beggars in the Waterloo area that are using the money you give them to fund a drug habit. Although some of the placement of housing for those with an alcohol problem is a bit daft. for example there is a small block of flats above a 24 hour costcutter on the cut , which is also a 24 hour off licence with another 24 hour off licence across the road. hardly the best place to house people with severe alcohol problems !!
Thursday 23 October 2008 2.30pm
And,what's more,the Council have very thoughtfully put rather nice new seats on the pavements outside these shops so that they can drink ,whilst occasionally swearing and jeering at innocent passers-by from the comfort of these seats.There's one gentleman in particular who likes to emerge on quiet weekends effing and blinding at 100 db all along The Cut with his can of drink in his hand.Suddenly he'll stop and bid someone such a pleasant "good morning" that you can't believe it's still him,and then he continues his ranting.I guess that he's lonely and that's one way to get attention?
Tuesday 28 October 2008 3.22pm
I live right next to the Waterloo Mission and wake up to the sounds of the queue forming on weekday mornings. To be honest, I find all these gentlemen(and very occasionally ladies) extremely polite and friendly. Only once have I had to literally step over somebody lying (comatose) on my doorstep. I wasn't outraged and just shugged my shoulders. Yes, the occasional smell of wee and a bit of swearing, but I reckon it is all part of living in central London. The most interesting thing that I have noticed (over nearly 15 years living in the area) is the change in the nationalities of these gentlemen - they used to be mostly Irish and Scots - now they are mostly (I think) Eastern European. A favourite meeting place has long been Ufford Street park. This has now been completely redeveloped (looks great!) - I hope everybody (including the Waterloo Mission clientele) respect the new park.
Tuesday 28 October 2008 7.45pm
Auntie Pat wrote:
One of the best lines I heard from a beggar was "excuse me, would you like to sponsor a tramp?"

That's a fantastic line!
Tuesday 28 October 2008 8.26pm
EuanT wrote:
Yes, the occasional smell of wee and a bit of swearing, but I reckon it is all part of living in central London.

I really don't understand why people think that because they live in a large city they have to put up with people urinating on their doorsteps. Yes, dense population, some noise can't be helped, the pubs were there before you, etc., but urinating? People shooting up? Why does living in a city require that you be subjected to that?
Tuesday 28 October 2008 9.44pm
Once upon a time, a lot of people with mental health problems were kept in hospitals. Now we have ‘care in the community'. No one wants to fund the services that would be necessary to take a significant number of people of the streets.
I see lots of people urinating in the streets around Bankside and Southbank and they do not seem to be of the homeless variety.
I don't find anti social behaviour by the homeless (or anyone else) acceptable. What I find even more unacceptable, are people, who move here and then try and turn it into the part of London they could not afford to live in by picking on a vulnerable group.
It is also a bit boring to see Homeless= drug addict, alcoholic etc.
I think buying a sandwich is a positive gesture. I also think that if I was homeless a drink might help to take the edge of it.
Wednesday 29 October 2008 7.33am
If I was the poor homeless lad sleeping at the back of The Rose bushes in Paragon park two nights ago, a bottle of rum would not have been enough! He obviously has a 'spot' there as he was on either a flattish mattress or sleeping bag, and huddled inside another bag. After last nights freezing temperature God knows how he is.
No one chooses to be homeless and there are many reasons why people end up on the streets.
Westofbank I agree with you, and even after all these years I still find it upsetting that they closed Rowton House down at the Elephant and evicted almost 600 men...so they could create the London Park Hotel! and no doubt someone will look at the records now and say they were all found accommodation and it was not used etc.!
Wednesday 29 October 2008 7.51am
i dont care whether somewone is "homeless" or just plain anti social. people who break the law by peeing in public or behaving in a way that causes offence should suffer the consequences whatever their circumstances. i am still not convinced that there is any excuse for the gatherings of beggars around parts of SE1. we pay tax to support social welfare and a hellova lot of it. whats the point if those who need it dont take it up?
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