Love to the west side

Being a glass-half-full sort of a blog, Brockley Central decided to make the most of missing our train this morning by venturing over to the west side of Brockley Station, to see what was happening.

We wandered up and down, trying to envisage how Mantle Road will look when all of the planned developments have taken place and then ventured further afield. It looked quite lovely in the autumn light, though the streets were incredibly quiet, as they have always been whenever we've walked around the area.

So we'd like to ask Brockley Central's west-side readers (who we suspect are in the minority) why we should visit the west wide more often?

It's not a rhetorical question and it's certainly not meant to fuel east-v-west debate, but, such "destinations" as Brockley has all seem to be on the east side of the station: Hilly Fields, the Cemetary, the Brockley Jack, Moonbow Jakes, Jam Circus, the Rivoli, the Sunflower Centre and so on.

The west has some nice streets, but is there anything to tempt the east-siders to run the gauntlet across the station bridge?

71 comments:

Nathalie said...

As a west-sider I admit there's little (nothing!) in the way of cafes to entice the east-siders over. But we use Telegraph Hill park a lot and the views are amazing - especially at night - from the top park. It's also just a short walk to Nunhead cemetery which is London's second largest Victorian cemetery. So ok neither of these are Brockley but they are closer than Hilly Fields etc..

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Erm... I live there and you get to see my mini pedigree bengal cats being walked :o)

Also - and i hate to spread more gossip (although my sources are completely reliable) a certain chain has been pursuaded to open on Mantle Road.....

Anonymous said...

So, Andy... are we ever going to find out who is the source of all this gossip youve been getting lately?

Brock Chick.

Brockley Jon said...

WAITROSE!!!? ;)

No, seriously, Portland Bookmakers!??

Okay... really... who is it?

Anonymous said...

I would have thought those new units are too small for a chain store?

Nathalie said...

could it be the first west-side cafe? Starbucks, caffe Nero???

Brockley Sarah said...

Please put us out of our misery WHO'S coming to mantle road?!! ;0)

I noticed last week (when I dared to check out the other side of the tracks!) that there is potential for what could be a really nice parade of shops. There's quite a large unit crying out to be a deli/cafe???

Anonymous said...

My money is on a Londis or Costcutter.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

lets just say its a fairly significant step in the right direction! o)

...and that coffee lovers will most probably be in fits! :o)

I have no idea when exactly this is supposed to be happening, only that this well-known chain has been sniffing around brockley to find somewhere decent. Also, the company will only operate it for 1 year after which a franchisee needs to be sought.

...West side will finally begin to wake up and smell the coffee burning! :o)

Anonymous said...

I really hope it is something decent which might move on the dealers who seem to operate out or the bookies.

Anonymous said...

Being a previous resident of Manor Avenue (small flat, people living on top of other people, never anywhere to park, people shouting in the middle of the night) and now a proud owner of a nice quiet house with a garden on the West side, I am more than content with where I am. As you said it is quiet and residential and not too up its own backside, exactly how It should be and I really hope it stays that way. I am totally gutted about the Maypole as I believe it is an ideal spot for a decent boozer. If we could also get rid of that awful Yiong Yang (probably incorrect spelling) Chinese place where the food is appaling then life would be perfect.

Brockley Jon said...

Is that the takeaway place that really hygienically parks their filthy scooters in the food service area overnight?

Anonymous said...

I have now lived in the 'west-side' for 18 months now. my neighbours are all friendly and happy people - the corner shop man is majorly efficient and there seems to be more happenin on the development front - so I guess we are gonnna see some changes.......... I would like the dirty chinese to disappear too!!!!! I have high hopes!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

The chinease lady in the shop is rather friendly (she gives me an extra chicken ball). Everytime she sees me walking my kittens she runs over with her hands waving in the air, letting out a shriek [and my cats promptly run up trees].

Friendly place, but i wouldn't miss it too much if it disappeared.

If you are worried about the shops/druggies then you should try and set up some sort of neighbourhood watch scheme. I'm trying to organise one on Revelon Rd.

Anonymous said...

One reason to visit the west side is definitely the two Telegraph Hill Parks they're fantastic, better views of London than Hilly fields, but beyond that it's just residential streets. I feel that there are no drawbacks living on the west side actually because we're close enough to the east side for all the nice things, ie. Broca, new delis, etc, (closer in fact than most people who live on the east side) but still able to afford bigger houses in quiet, friendly streets, than we would if we lived on the other side.

Simon J.

Monkeyboy said...

Why not let the drug dealers have their own stall at the Farmers Market. So long as it's organically grown and all that.

Anonymous said...

Andy Pandy, why can't you tell us which coffee shop it is? Does it sound like Hero? Barducks? Don't hold back on the info if you know it, also where? Mantle Rd development???

Anonymous said...

Is it too late to stop the Maypole from being turned into flats. Agree that we need a decent, nicely done boozer!

Anonymous said...

No! Let the other side have the pubs. We can visit them and return to our boozer free streets. This is the genius of the west side.
SJ

Brockley Nick said...

Simon, I wasn't really counting Telegraph Hill, which has obvious attractions, I was thinking of the area south of Endwell.

Anonymous said...

This east/west issue is an interesting one but I believe it's a red herring.

I tend not to think of Brockley even as an east or west side. I think of it in terms of distance. How far away am I from the parts of the community I like going to? Am I really part of that community? I live on the 'west side' of the tracks but within 3 minutes walk of Brockley train station, the broca, the new delis, etc, so as far as I'm concerned that's what is important. It's irrelevant whether they are physically on the same side of the tracks as my house because I'm actually closer to them than say, anyone on Manor Avenue, Breakspears or Tressilian Road, (all popular Brockley roads). I get the impression (correct me if I'm wrong) there is an element of smugness about what side of the tracks certain things are on. But for instance, if 'one' was to live on the north end of Tressilian Road, or Hilly Fields crescent, etc then 'one' can't be smug about these places being on 'their side' because they're miles away from them. Ashby Road to the Rivoli Ballroom? You're closer to Deptford.

The Broca, Touds Mouth and anything along that stretch of the Brockley road feels like my neighbourhood because I can walk to in such a quick time. The tracks are no more an issue than crossing a road. Therefore I think the debate should be readjusted to 'Where is Brockley?' because I feel like I live almost in the centre of what I consider to be Brockley, and that (for me) is the most important thing. My advice is to ignore the tracks, and look at a map!

Simon J

Brockley Nick said...

I hear what you're saying but the question wasn't about where's nice to live, I was asking if there was anything in the west for the casual visitor to enjoy - was I missing something? So far, the answer seems to be no.

Anonymous said...

As a little addition to ponder on. We tend not to think of the other railway line (the high level line) dividing the landscape in the same way. Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Nick, the answer is no if you think of Brockley in that way.
But my point is that you are thinking of brockley as being divided by the track, when you should be thinking of it as a whole. You could equally ask is there anything worth visiting north of Cranfield Road? maybe, maybe not, I don't know but it feels like a redundant question. My problem with it implies that the west side is some far way land, when it's simply a part of Brockley. No more or less a part than anywhere else. Crossing the tracks is no more an issue thasn crossing the brockley road, it's easier in fact. My point about the distances to the station, and broca, etc is to highlight that the roads like Saint Asaph, Revelon, Dundalk all on the west, yet are all are as closer or closer to the heart of Brockley than Brerakspears, tressilian, etc.

My answer therefore is this. If you want visit my side to see if there is anything for the casual visitor to enjoy then I'll happily show you everything we have on offer. We have a cafe called the Broca, a restuarant called the Longtime cafe, a new deli.........
SJ

Dan said...

I totally agree with SJ, although I maybe biased as I too live to the west.
Nick why do you discount Telegraph Hill which is closer the perceived centre of Brockley than Hilly Fields?

Brockley Nick said...

Because I know telegraph hill is there! I thought it was a very simple question - if a martian landed at brockley station, the centre of brockley and wanted to see the sights, you could tell it to head north west to telegraph hill, north east to the wickham arms or the talbot, south east to hilly fields or south west to... what? I was asking if there were any nice pubs, shops, parks, etc I should be aware of, writing about.

Torres said...

I think this is a good example of how 'set' people become once they get an idea about somewhere. I have never once thought twice about crossing over the other (high level) railway line but it poses the same (false) geographical boundary.

Perhaps if there were more bridges over to the west side people would use them more. It's my only explanation for this 'light and dark' side thing, which while only a bit of fun, reinforces the stereotype of it being a distant, dark place. The problem with setting up a discussion with binary opposites it that it instantly creates the false assumption of positive and negative. The west side has always played the part of the 'darkside' in these debates whereas it is nothing of the sort. As people have said it is full of lovely quiet terraced streets. Nick question, while entirely inoccent, reinforces the negative assumptions by asking 'why should us lightsiders come to visit the darkside'. The answer is, you shouldn't, anymore than why anyone would visit, say manor avenue, unless you live there. Whether the shops, or 'destinations' are on the east or west side of a railway line is as irrelevant as them being on one side of the road or the other. It represents no significance unless it in someway prevents you from getting to them, which it obviously doesn't.

SJ is correct to say that the residential streets on the west side of the tracks are closer to the 'centre of brockley' (the brockley road - as identified by the pavillion person a few threads ago), than many of the more popular roads on the East side, (who are as close or closer to St Johns or Ladywell).

The discussion is unfortunately inherently loaded with negative connotations about the west side so I suspect only west siders ( I cringe even having to talk in these terms) will agree. It would be really interesting to see how people would react if TFL suddently decided to shift the track less than 100 yards to the east and stuck it on the other side of the Brockley Road.
My question is 'What would there be (apart from Hilly Fields 'which has obvious attractions' - (sounds familiar nick?) ) to make us west siders come to visit the east side?

Brockley Nick said...

Everyone keeps on approaching the question as though I was asking why one should live there. That wasn't the question. I was trying to discover whether there are any hidden gems which only west-siders know about.

I don't think there are only two Brockleys - east and west. I think there are basically four areas that most of us consider Brockley - Telegraph Hill, the Brockley Conservation Area, Crofton Park, West Brockley - you could add to that St John's, Ladywell and Brockley Rise. Each of them offers something to the tourist, except possibly the west side. That's not a criticism, simply an observation, that I was wondering whether I would be corrected on.

On the subject of the railway line, it's not simply a psychological barrier, it's a big physical one, with very few crossing points. It's precisely because of this that east and west can feel disconnected.

Torres said...

I think the south west is taken up mostly with residential streets althought there is a nice little secret green space just of Pincott Place, and there are plenty of decent little convenience stores. It's not a great question. What is there due north? Or due south? Unless you stretch the boundaries not alot. Rivoli Ball room? It's surely Croften park. To go south east to Hilly Fields? Hilly fields is really Ladywell isn't it? Brockley has places with a high concentration of shops, (brockley road) and high concentration of resdiential streets, west of the tracks. It's not very important but the question implies that if the answer is NOT MUCH, then that is somehow a bad thing. I suggest that if you visit the SOUTH west you'll find quite a few council properties, quieter roads, and less litter.

Torres said...

There are few crossing points but there is a perfectly good one situated in exactly the place you would want there to be one, bang in the middle of Brockley.

Brockley Nick said...

Torres, sorry you don't like the question very much. Nonetheless, you seem to have come up with the best answer in the form of that park space I'd never heard of. The question didn't imply that there was anything wrong with a lack of visitor attractions. Brockley as a whole offers less to the visitor than Lewisham town centre, but that doesn't make it a worse place to live does it?

Everyone understands what you mean when you say west Brockley - I wasn't talking in compass points, it's a descriptor, rather than a geographical absolute, like South Kensington or East Croydon.

Anonymous said...

You describe these place like they're miles apart! Dividing Brockley into four areas? Nick, Brockley doesn't needed to be divided up like that. It's one place that can be walked from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes. Why you want to ask 'what is there to visit up your end?' is ridiculous, it's very specific. Why stop breaking it down there and lets find out what "Tourist Attractions' there are on individual streets? i know your intentions are pure but these discussions go nowhere. If you want to know what is down South West Brockely go and have mooch around. You'll be back home within 5 minutes. Brockley aint that big...
SJ

Torres said...

I think the thing is that people get twitchy because we all like to feel part of a community. The moment you start dividing it up in to areas, people feel that their area is being dismissed in some way. Brockley isn't very big so dividing isn't that productive but I know why you have done it. The 'west side' has less for the 'tourist' - unless you count Telegraph Hill which I would describe as west, but then it's houses. I don't really go down residential streets unless I need to so I don't fully know what's down there, equally I'be never been down some of the residential streets on the 'east side', and have no idea what is down there. As far as I can tell east of the brockley road has nothing worth looking at until you get to Hilly fields, and to me that is pushing on the boundaries.

Anonymous said...

God, some westsiders have got a chip on their shoulders.

Get over it boys, the man was just asking if there was anything nice to visit in our neck of the woods.

Rob, proud westsider.

PS - the answer is basically no, but that's OK, I like living in a residential area.

Kate said...

Wow, this provokes some passions!

My view:

1) I too don't like the thought of dividing Brockley up into different areas;
2) However, it is definitely true (as an 'east'-sider) that the 'west' side FEELS inaccessible to me, because the railway line breaks Brockley up. Yes there are crossing points - if I wanted to go walk around the 'west' side there's nothing stopping me. But I don't know anything about it (just as I don't know anything about St John's), because as far as I know there are no cafes/galleries/shops to visit, and my random weekend meandering don't happen to have taken me over there yet (that may have to change this weekend, just to see what it's like!).
I've walked down most of the roads in the conservation area, because that's where I live. I'm curious about other parts of Brockley, and I'd interpret Nick's original question as meaning that he is too.
But the last thing I would want to do is make people who live in Brockley feel like they're somehow in a different area to me. Does that make any sense?!

Brockley Nick said...

I'm not dividing up areas - these are all terms we use. I didn't invent Crofton Park or west Brockley.

I take the widest possible view of Brockley and often get accused of appropriating areas that aren't Brockley, eg: some people think Telegraph Hill is New Cross.

Torres said...

Yep all makes sense.
Anon, I'll ignore the chip comment.
There is a great pub on stuart road. Now technically this is in Nunhead - but that's what happens if you attach boundaries, so I wasn't sure if i should mention it. Geographicallly it's about the same distance from Brockley station as is the Rivoli. It's one of the few pubs in London with a stage, (a cool golden curtained one) and they still play live music there - not sure which nights. In it's early days Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and many more all played there so if you don't know it then check it out. The Ivy House, 40 stuart road. Not reallly Brockley, but then again is most of Hilly Fields?

Hugh said...

The centre of Brockley is Tyrwhitt Road, as is widely acknowledged, and quite rightly.

Anonymous said...

Forest Hill has a similar situation. where there's 'Upper Dulwich Bottom' which has the shops and Horniman's Gardens & Museum. While the other side of the station has.....

At Hither Green on one side there's the Station pub, shops and people associate with Manor House Gardens. The other side is currently an industrial site.

Although these locations have focal points...Christ Church at Forest Hill, Water Tower at Hither Green, Telegraph Hill Park at Brockley. There is a lack of stepping stones between the stations and those focal points.

Not long ago the BBC produced a documentary based on 2 families living on the East side of Brockley. One family where well off living in a detached house, the other family were on benefits.
The poor family said there was nothing to do, nowhere to go. The rich family said there was lots to do Hilly Fields etc.

Re the west side it has a school that was recently said by OFSTED to be among the top 100 schools in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Haberdashers is great but it's the most oversubscribed state school in the country based on it's excellent results, BBC's Fiona Bruce went there as did footballer Shaun Right Phillips (must be good for sports too). To get a chance of getting you're child in there you have to live nearby, the closer the better, so west side basically.

Just looked at where Trywitt road is the map........I think Hugh ought to start St John's central blog.

SJ
(only joking Hugh)

Hugh said...

Envy is an ignoble thing.

Anonymous said...

I don't envy your walk to the station everyday....

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Actually John Stainer school has a very good reputation (and thats also west side).

but besides that, if you come to vist the west side you get to see a lovely pair of bengal kittens being walked, what more could one possibly need?

Seriously though, I think this has highlighted a very important point - why are we worried about flowerbeds on wickham rd when actually there is a massive need to do something 'nice' just west of the station?

I suggested earlier that the 10k that brockley recieved from lewisham could be used to create something both east and west to unite the otherwise divided centre of brockley!

And yes to Anon, the brand outlet sounds abit like Hero although this is still in the planning stage.

Torres said...

Good because out of hero and the other one hero makes the better coffee.

John Stainer school apparently has a very good head mistress who turned things around a few years ago. It was featured in a documentary on teachers tv.

Ed said...

Hero is my favorite of the commercials; soon the westsiders will be asking what there is to do and see behind the iron curtain to the east...

P.S. Torres is right about the Ivy House, a little gem with good live music and still rough around the edges.

P.P.S. I have bought in the teafactory, does that make me a northsider?

Headhunter said...

Someone mentioned the Ivy House. I've heard about that place and wanted to nip down there for a while. It's actually only about a mile from Manor Ave I think so pretty local really.

Personally I chose to live on Manor Ave at the north eastern point of "Brockley" because of ease of access to Brockley, St Johns, New Cross and possibly even Nunhead stations. Plenty of possibly routes home from central London after a late night! The problem with the lovely streets down towards Hilly Fields is that they lack much in the way of transport.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Yes it does, it means you are the first of the new 'darkside' that is brockley :o)

There is a new csfe/sandwich shop opening up northside too so dont worry.

Torres said...

Where do you get this info from Andy. You seem to have a finger in every (pudding and) pie.

Pete said...

I reckon he is the local Blofeld type character and secretly owns all of the comercial properties.

Further evidence for this is his collection of mini bengal cats....

creepylesbo said...

To actually answer the question... :-)
Brockley Nature Reserve on Vesta Road is nice when they spontaneously open it for the public. It's a short stroll around in a circle but at least they are trying...
There's a wonderful little fancy dress shop on Malpas Road. Not sure if you consider that 'east' side though. There are a few shops on Frendsbury Road - a chip shop, a street clothes shop, a newsagent etc but it does have large gangs of kids hanging about outside most of the time, which can be intimidating. Most of that side of the tracks does appear to be more residental though.

Anonymous said...

Frendsbury Road is divided again by yet another railway track. I reckon that area is South West Brockley. The area above it like revelon, dundalk roads, West brockely, and then further north the other railway track pushes telegraph hill, drakefell road into North West Brockley. Ridiculous.

Mr. Brightside said...

Andy Pandy, I am intregued about the new 'chain' checking out Mantle Road...so it potentially sounds like Hero but doesnt sound like Barducks...hmmmm...however I dont believe Hero operates franchise outlets so it mustnt be one of those right?....Perhaps if you put it before 'Rica' it would give a Central American country; as they franchise...?

Bet it ends up being flippin' KFC or something...their coffee is an experience believe me!

spincat said...

Re The Ivy House
The music night is normally on a Thursday and is highly recommended. Is a tiny bar with a huge glittery stage!

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Hero does operate franchises - you can tell this becuase some will give you two shots in a regular coffee whilst others will give you one for the same size (it tends to be the franchises who give you one). As part of the franchise agreement they have to disclose this fact.

Maybe contact Hero head office to confirm?

Anonymous said...

Andy Pandy, virtually everything you post is based on assumption. You know that Cafe Nero is a franchise because you've deduced it from watching their portions?

You know the garage on Geoffry road is for sale because you've seen less cars on the forecourt and clearly it must be for sale?

Broca protesting about Dandelion Blue because...?

I'm happy for you to spread news but not if it isn't true - there's nothing worse than bullsh!* on a blog that people log on to to find out about local issues. If what you are saying can be substatiated then please do it to avoid any pointless nonsence.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Ok, I'll try. I'm just simply passing on information that it told to me, nothing more nothing less. I dont get told alot of detailed info so things i'm posting could be from discussions made about the long term goals or short terms (unless i specifically say so) for the area.

I beleive the information told to me to be 100% factually correct. What i cant do is determine how people interpret this by reading it? And i guess its up to the individual to assess it themselves (by cross-referencing it with other info). The danger comes when people try to cross-reference but actually dont look at the facts and more the blurb around it (it can be easy to get blinded by things when people are emoted).

All parties have interests in any debate. (mine is trying to promote Brockley as a place to live, as i live here too)....

Anonymous said...

Andy,

that's fine but I think some reference to who is giving you this info wouldn't go a miss. You don't have to name anyone but just by saying 'someone at the council who I know' would be enough. Otherwise it could just be chinese whispers. The tone of your previous postings have suggested that you have been telling us information from the position of fact.

Anonymous said...

Must be a Chinese restraunt is about to open in Brockley? As someone heard someone else whispering in Chinese.

Bea said...

OK Andy Pandy

This is from the Hero / Cafe Nero website:

"All our stores are company owned and we do not currently franchise."

This is from Costa Coffee:

"We are looking for Franchisees who have the energy and resources to open and develop a "cluster" of a minimum of five stores in a geographical region." So if you can think of 5 locations that would want Costa Coffee in our area then this may be a contender!?

This from Starbucks:

"Starbucks does not franchise to individuals. However, in situations in which a master concessionaire or other company controls or can provide improved access to desirable retail space (such as an airport), the Company may consider licensing its operations to such a company" Obviously SE4 isn't an airport!

So it's more bulls*1t ... I'm afraid.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Up to you to decide that Bea.

I stand by what I said.

Bea said...

OK - I'll stand corrected and eat my words when this certain chain opens on Mantel Road. Untill then ... as you say it's all hearsay ...

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Fancy placing a bet? i'll buy you chips if you win!

Bea said...

OK - so long as I get to meet the cats too ;-)

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised if these 'kittens' yurn out to be tigers.

Ade said...

Although west side is weak in cafes and delis - there is a FANTASTIC Thai restaurant on Kitto road - chai garden - the best restaurant in Brockley in my opinion:)

Anonymous said...

NICK, Looking at the A to Z it is strange and a bit inconvenient that the east and west side of Brockley are so cut off from one another because off the rrailway line. For cars there is only the single crossing point of Endwell road and not much more for pedestrians. This probably results in much of the congestion on the Brockley cross roundabout and surely could be alleviated if another bridge further down near Avignon road was built. Do you know if any such scheme has ever been suggested ? (i'm sure it would be controversial). Everyone knows that Brockley cross is a bottle neck and much of that comes from the south of brockley heading towards town via drakefell road. Surely one more crossing point would help this problem??
Mike C.

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION - i said avignon road, I meant adelaide avenue - (might make more sense now)
Mike. C

Brockley Nick said...

Mike, I totally agree about how cut off the two areas are. I don't know whether there is a workable solution (or even if it should be a priority for local planning) but the division of east and west isn't just a matter of perception, it's a practical issue.

Anonymous said...

I have seen some proposed plans to help the traffic problem at Brockley cross but they involve redirecting the traffic once it's already there, which to my mind just creates a new problem. Certainly one more crossing point for cars further down the line would help reduce the traffic actually going into brockley cross.

Zoe said...

in response to creepylesbo's comment:
"There's a wonderful little fancy dress shop on Malpas Road," and in full recognition of the civility policy now in place on this site, I have repeatedly experienced first-hand that the proprietor of Bird's Dress Agency is rude to and mistrustful of black customers. I have written her a very civil letter to say so and asking her to reconsider her behaviour. For those of you who do choose to shop there, it is important that you know this.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

mis-trustul of black customers? wow, thats one hell of a statement, and a sweeping generalisation if i say so myself. Can you really be the voice of all black people??? Surely its better just to speak of you're own personal experience....

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