Location: west side of Conduit Road, Plumstead, London SE18
• We are driving through the great expanse of South London, past police vans queued outside The Den, a sea of blue shirts on the pavement outside, past the pub advertising Elvis and Beatles Live Here. It seems we are driving forever, until Vici stops and says “we’re here”. I’m not sure where “here” is exactly, somewhere between Woolwich and Plumstead. Conduit Road suggests water, but we are on a hill, with a prospect over London. This was once the country; Plumstead was the site of the 10th-century Abbey of St Augustine and it’s mentioned in the Doomsday Book. These were fertile plough lands until well into the 18th century. Now it’s a solid mass of pebbledash; there’s an overwhelming stink of dog pee. The street’s deserted. Plumstead was also the home of the Peculiars, evangelical Christians who practiced faith healing. They were teetotal. I notice a pile of empty cans under the discarded mattress in the alley alongside number 63. The light is shining off the hoardings.
• Words Tamar Yoseloff / Photos Vici MacDonald
Below: Elvis and Beatles don’t live here. Bottom: exhibition display of field notes.