El Syd

Ex-Brockite Lee has alerted Brockley Central to a feverish discussion on the Sydenham Town Forum, about whether Sydenham needs to strike out on its own, breaking away from the tyranny of Lewisham. While El Cid conquered Valencia with an army of Moors and Christians, Lee plans to use a new logo.

Apparently, they covet the Catford Cat and want a symbol which represents all that is good and pure about SE26.

Lee kicked off the debate, explaining:

"I get fed up of seeing the same Lewisham signage, horrible generic plastic Lewisham bins with Borough of Lewisham plastered all over them.

"I live in Sydenham. I want to be reminded of where I live when I walk down the street, I don't want to keep being reminded of 'brand Lewisham', the local authority who take away our rubbish and 'ahem' clean our streets.

"With all this talk about regeneration and roundabouts I think it's high time we got our own identity."

The current front runner is a Green Dragon, way ahead of the alternative "Grey Hound".

This begs two obvious questions:

1. What do outsiders like us think the symbol for Sydenham should be?
2. What would Brockley's symbol be?

97 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brockley's symbol would be a chicken leg bone, or perhaps a small packet of fairtrade mung beans.

Monkeyboy said...

Great, the Balkanization of Lewisham. Who knows we could break free then strike oil on Hilly fields? We'll all be rich....

...or perhaps not.

Symbol? Brocolli obviously, after all we did invent the stuff.

JPM said...

It would have to be the 'sign' of Brockley mentioned in Magna Carta or beyond.

Failing that a big yellow police sign saying, 'THEY WANT YOUR POD!'.

Amanda said...

A stylized version of
this

drakefell debaser said...

It would have to be the badger since that is where I understand Brockley derives its name from. However, as foxes now out number badgers by a long way maybe it should be a fox (with a chicken bone in it's mouth)

Anonymous said...

The symbol for Brockely is reasonably obvious, a nice green vegetable.

For Forest Hill there is another obvious symbol - the Horni-Man. I'll leave that one to your imaginations.

Hugh said...

Sydenham is great for being somewhere you never end up in by accident.

Hugh said...

I was thinking about those iPod warning signs.

If someone nicks your iPod, chances are they won't have a computer or iTunes. Would you want to listen to a stranger's record collection?

Even if you tried to fence said Pod, the buyer would have the same problem unless he could afford a computer but was such a tightfist that he preferred discounted nicked goods to buying a new one like everyone else outside Africa.

Headhunter said...

....Or a green alkanet flower, our local weed

tyrwhitt michael said...

How about a Brockley Beaver?

Or am I cross threading again?

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! Imagine turning off the A2 to find yourself entering Brockley - signified by an enormous, pulsating beaver!

JPM said...

No-No-No-No-No! It brings a whole new meaning to bashing the beaver.

Here's a little ditty from Wiki that should oil the thought engine.

"Brockley market gardens were famous for their enormous Victoria rhubarb which were fertilised by 'night soil' from London. There were orchards too and some ancient pear trees survive in local gardens."

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb. Orchards... Or a fine pear.

Monkeyboy said...

Great! so even then London shat on Brockley.

JPM said...

I did think the 'night soil' a suitably unsuitable image for Brockley.

The Cat Man said...

I think to go with Brockley's recent history of somewhat odd names, why don't we go with a play on an old symbol?

How about a blue coloured piece of Brocolli? (not my best idea, I know)

..or a minature bengal cat.

Tressillian James said...

how about a 'yummy mummy' - it may attract others to the area (like decoys) - regeneration sure to follow...

Anonymous said...

How about a symbol of an affluent professional from the conservation area, holding hands with a sruff from West Brockley with a kebab under one arm and an extremely gay-looking cat under the other...

Paddyom said...

I agree with the man in Sydenham. Lewisham Council has very bad taste when it comes to signage and street utilities and i dont blame him for wanting to distance himself from that. Those horrendous luminous blue bins and pointless 'Lewisham' signs are an absolutely disgrace. Why they couldnt use black metal bins (or even black plastic) sympathetic with the architecture of the area is beyond me. Also i noticed that Forest Hill has blue signage welcoming you to the area - why has Brockley not got anything to signify the start of SE4? I think we should try and get some 'welcome to Brockley' signage from Lewisham Council on the main routes into the area. It makes the place more homely and helps with creating an identity...so long as its not luminous blue, in which case they can forget it ;)

Bea said...

Thanks to BXAG there are some black bins with gold lettering announcing "Brockley" around the station area. Maybe we could encourage the council to use them throughout Brockley?

As for a symbol, maybe we could grow a rhubarb and broccoli vegetable patch with a pear tree in the middle on the new common when it finally opens? But no "night soil", please!

Hugh said...

The 'Love Lewisham' banners give the game away, since they make it clear as day that everyone thinks Lewisham is a sh*thole.

Headhunter said...

Re Lewisham signage, I particularly deplore the nasty plastic sign fastened to the early 20th century library building in Crofton Park. The building itself is not bad on the eye, but then there's the nasty blue sign bolted to the front - why oh why?

Not that other local authorities are much better. I remember Islington had fastened a nasty, luminous green metal tubing support for a clear plastic shelter for the disabled ramp into the old Finsbury town hall building.

It was just an eyesore and totally out of keeping with the rest of the building. I understand the need for disabled access but not the plastic cover. If you're not going to do it right, just don't do it at all....

Sorry, rant over.... Going back to symbols for Brockley. How about a highwayman? A masked man in three cornered hat and black cloak? I read somewhere that the road out of London through Brockley was notorious for highwaymen (before it was all built up in the 19th century). Apparently the Brockley Jack (which was the only building for miles around) was where they hung out.

BTW, changing the subject - have the trees outside the post office survived without there prtiective cages? I haven't been round there recently

Brockley Nick said...

@hh - they're now in steel cages.

Tamsin said...

How symbolic.
"Take all the trees and put 'em in a tree museum...."

Headhunter said...

Oh that's good.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else seen the new planters at the junction of Saint Asaph road and Avignon Road. They've really made a difference - we could do with a few more of them around Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Sorry my mistake- Junct of Saint Asaph and Aspinall road. Technically Southwark Council. Lewisham take note, look and learn.

lb said...

Is it really necessary to have signs announcing when you enter or depart every postcode, area, or sub-area of London? I mean, the postcode's already on a lot of the street signs, I usually know exactly where I am. We might end up living through Passport to Pimlico, or Passport to "Brockley Village" for that matter.

I blame the estate agents, personally.

Headhunter said...

That's a good point LB, There's already so much street clutter as it is, do we need more signs? And these signs all cost money - would prefer a few more trees to replace the ones the council has removed.

Anonymous said...

At times I feel the signs would be useful. As a newcomer to Brockley, as well as London, when people talk about places like 'Telegraph Hill' I'm not always exactly sure what they mean. Is there a clear map somewhere showing the boundaries?

Moira said...

There's a "welcome to Brockley' sign on St Asaph road; its been grafitti'ed.

lb said...

[HH] You're right - they're extra street clutter and probably add to maintenance costs (if they get graffiti-covered anyway).

I also think they can be quite divisive, particularly if (as I've seen happen in a few bits of East London) the areas seem to be created with no logic other than to separate the 'nice' bits of an area from the less desirable ones. Fair enough if there's a historic borough or local authority boundary, but beyond that is there any real reasoning to it other than a desire to differentiate yourself from your near neighbours?

I've just had a look at the Sydenham Forum and if someone really needs to be "reminded" of where they live when they walk out of their door, they probably need to seek the attentions of a neurologist rather than those of Lewisham Council.

Amanda said...

I think Brockley could do with a logo but not a sign, saying "Welcome to Brockley", it is almost like a sign of no confidence in your area so it needs to be clearly demarked. I think Brockley (it's identity) is and will be stronger than that.

Having said that I do want a sign for the Brockley Common, because a sign there now, would be like a statement of intent.

Tressilliana said...

Gordonbrock School used to have a lovely badger logo. When it was expected that the school would be re-built under Lewisham's PFI scheme they ditched the badger and got a new logo. Perhaps the badger could come out of retirement and go head to head with the Catford cat? A giant badger on an arch at the entrance to Hilly Fields - that would bring the tourists in...

Lee aka El Syd said...

Thanks to Paddydom for your post.

I lived in Brockley until the beginning of this year and have now flown the nest to live in Sydenham.

The reason for having a symbol was because money is being spent so 'do up' the high street in Sydenham. Therefore I think we should have bespoke signage etc. I totally agree that there is too much street clutter, that's why it needs designing. I think art and design can help improve the streetscape. It's not just about planting trees and hanging baskets, although these are popular. It's about making your environment your own, local, bespoke, personal.

In this day and age where everyone is searching for a little bit of individuality, locals having an input on their environments rather some large corporate steamroller dictating how they should look is important.

There is a great sense of community in Sydenham and a lot of local people are fighting to change it for the better. The council can't do everything and they can't read minds. It's one reason why forums such as Nicks are important and can make a difference.

I think all areas needs their own identity. When I told people I lived in Brockley they didn't have a clue where it was. They still don't.

Finbar Saunders said...

How about a large stuffed dayglow bimble.....

Headhunter said...

Genuinine question - when you tell other people in London that you live in Sydenham do they immediately know where you mean?

Anonymous said...

No one knows where I mean if I say 'Brockley' - so I say "Near/between Lewisham and New Cross" - which is a bit like saying you live between a shithole and a slum.

Tamsin said...

We sometimes say "on the way out to Greenwich". Between Dulwich and Greenwich also sounds a bit snobbier. Most people from North of the river haven't a clue about New Cross or Lewisham either but have some vague concept of Greenwich because of the Park and Observatory and Dulwich because of the schools and Mrs Thatcher.

Tamsin said...

We sometimes say "on the way out to Greenwich". Between Dulwich and Greenwich also sounds a bit snobbier. Most people from North of the river haven't a clue about New Cross or Lewisham either but have some vague concept of Greenwich because of the Park and Observatory and Dulwich because of the schools and Mrs Thatcher.

Bea said...

I say next to Greenwich purely because people can usually locate it on a mental map. Occasionally, I’ll say near Deptford as literary types might know it as the death place of Marlow. If I say Brockley – they haven’t got a clue. And can I blame them? No, as I hadn’t got a clue where it was before I moved here either.

Tressillian James said...

What terrible snobs we can all be -I say West of Greenwich, up from Deptford, or next to Honor Oak and Forest Hill. I usually forget to mention New Cross.

I must admit that the Greenwich reference usually locates it in people's minds - so it isn't complete snobbery.... And I want to at least get some visitors and house guests

Anonymous said...

I say next to Peckham - that way it ensures no house guests.

drakefell debaser said...

I find that in most conversations, mentioning you live in Brockley usually draws a blank face and people tend to assume it is in the depths of zone 6. I use the in between Greenwich and East Dulwich line as well as most people have heard of them and it puts Brockley on a better platform than saying just behind New Cross…oh that was where that Polish girl got shot etc…

Brockley Kate said...

Strange, most people I speak to know where Brockley is ...

Anyway, I use the 'between New Cross and Lewisham' line too. Deters the curious, you see - I'd like Brockley to continue to be a well-kept local secret!

Danja said...

I just say New Cross - and if they look blank say between Peckham and Greenwich, as watching them struggle to resolve the proximity of those two is quite amusing.

The 'Far East Dulwich' tendency is terrible snobbery. If people don't know anyhting about the area yet, that's their problem.

Moira said...

I've had people ask if Brockley's in Kent(usually people from north of the river). When I tell them its Zone 2 you can see them mentally calculating how much more they are paying in train fares.

Headhunter said...

Must admit, I'm finding that more and more people have at least heard of Brockley even if they couldn't place it on a map of London or still think it's in Kent somewhere. Now that it appears on the Tube map I'm guessing it's profile will only increase.

I must admit though, I always tell people it's near Greenwich. I think people know Greenwich far better than they know New Cross, Lewisham or New Cross, which they just associate with gun and knife crime...

drakefell debaser said...

I don’t think mentioning East Dulwich as a neighbour is snobbery; it is about a mile and a half away from Brockley Station just as Lewisham and Greenwich are. The PC term for this could be preferential geographic identity...

Anonymous said...

Snobbery is naff. I am look down on snobs.

tyrwhitt michael said...

I usually use the Catford Deptford Peckham triangle routine.

Bit like the Bermuda triangle without the sunshine.

People are familiar with the names because of "Only Fools and Horses" and it gives the impression that we are all loveable sarf london rogueish geezers....

Whereas of course we are all sarf London arty bohemians.

As a alternative just say near Goldsmiths where Damian and Tracey come from.

Anonymous said...

I tent to triangulate myself between 'where the polish girl got shot', 'where it's a shithole with a nice DLR station' and 'the fibreglass cat'

spincat said...

Most Londoners now seem to have heard of Brockley but I've almost never known anyone to have heard of Crofton Park. I sometimes say I live in Catford if I'm talking to an unbeaarable snob or bore at a party, because it is a good way of getting them to move on. And I am very near to catford geographically and in my heart.

lb said...

Unfortunately Brockley (or at least my bit of it) is in between New Cross and Lewisham no matter how much some residents wish it was "next to Greenwich", or even more laughably "between Greenwich and Dulwich". You might as well say it's between Chelsea and Sevenoaks, or between Iceland and Dubai, come to think of it.

I just usually say "Zone 2", or even "about eight minutes from London Bridge", just for the pleasure of seeing people have flashbacks to the nightmare journey from their bijou one-bedroom airing cupboards in Stoke Newington.

Anonymous said...

Just been down Saint Asaph Road from Nunhead Station and seen the 'Welcome to Brockley' sign (that has been graffittied and mentioned by Brockley Mutha). My point is that I didn't realise quite how far Westside Brockley stretched.

Danja said...

I don’t think mentioning East Dulwich as a neighbour is snobbery; it is about a mile and a half away from Brockley Station just as Lewisham and Greenwich are.

It's more like 2.5 miles. Lewisham is bang next door, and 'it's on the way out to Greenwich' has some mind-map sense for Outsiders. There's no reason to mention Dulwich apart from desperately trying to cling on to some posh bit in South London - East Dulwich itself being a stretch from Dulwich village.

Brockley is much more Nunhead or Peckham than it is far east Dulwich.

max said...

Probably Mrs Bucket is the best person to settle this argument.

drakefell debaser said...

for the sake of pedantics: going by google maps the driving distance between Brockley station and East Dulwich station is 2.1 miles. Brockley to Lewisham DLR = 2.1 miles. Brockley to Greenwich DLR = 1.7 miles. The stations obvioulsy do not signify the start of the town but they serve as a good enough reference point. Lewisham may be 'bang next door' for some yet East Dulwich is also 'bang next door' for others.

Anonymous said...

For a lot of us, Brockley station itself is towards the dirty end of town. I sit in an ivory tower, overlooking hilly fields.

Headhunter said...

DD - I live on Manor Ave and Lewisham centre/DLR etc is certainly not on the way to Greenwich, in fact as you point out, I think Greenwich station is nearer than Lewisham station, so I feel justified (and snobbish?) in saying I live near Greenwich.

In fact I noticed on an old London map, that before they changed all the borough boundaries in London in the 60s and 70s, most of Brockley was actually in Greenwich Borough

Anonymous said...

"I sit in an ivory tower, overlooking hilly fields."

Which translated means - I don't live near any shops,or have decent access to public transport. If I need to get into town I have a 15 minute walk just to get to the station.

lb said...

[Anon@14.50] Or a five minute walk to St Johns station, in my case.

I've just looked at the map and Greenwich is clearly the other side of Deptford and New Cross, so unless we've now annexed Deptford, I can't see how Brockley adjoins Greenwich, except in the fevered mind of an estate agent.

Anonymous said...

St Johns - which is is served by one train every 5 days.

lb said...

Actually I guess it all depends how you regard Deptford Bridge, which would seem to be the Kashmir of the Brockley / Greenwich hinterlands.

No-one seems to be in a hurry to claim they adjoin Ladywell.

lb said...

The St Jonhs trains may be infequent but they have actual seats, as opposed to the Brockley trains, where you're expected to seat yourself in someone's armpit.

Or we have Elverson Road too - a superabundance of transport riches there.

Paddyom said...

"Welcome" signs denoting an area and promoting it are used in every village, town and city across the globe. There is no place too big or too small to erect them. It looks nice (except when luminous blue) and gives a place a sense of identity. Given Brockleys obvious issues on this front, I still reckon it would b great if SE4 got some nice ones for the area(village suburb whatever..). I am quite proud of living here and think it would improve the look of the place. Whose with me?!

lb said...

I'd disagree, firstly because more signs = more street clutter; secondly, because it's divisive (clearly there's enough trouble already agreeing where Brockley starts and ends), and thirdly, because the 'welcome' to an area is already implicit, given that the Brockleyites have yet to instigate border controls. Under what circumstances would someone not be 'welcome'?

Tressilliana said...

Really, Hugh? I thought before the 1965 re-organisation the northern half of SE4 was in the Borough of Deptford and the southern half was in the Borough of Lewisham. Then Deptford was swallowed up by Lewisham.

Long ago Brockley was in Kent. The first school to use the buildings on Hilly Fields was the West Kent Grammar School.

Tressillian James said...

Greenwich isn't such a bad locator, LB. St Johns is a part of Brockley ward - which includes all of Friendly street and right down to the Deptford Bridge DLR. Cross New Cross Road at this point and you cross straight into Greenwich. No need to go through Deptford at all. As a way of telling people where Brockley is, it's not a stretch at all. We are North West of Greenwich

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/AFB81D26-41B1-41C0-A92C-ADDC61B25F24/0/BrockleyWardProfile.pdf

Headhunter said...

Headhunter not Hugh, Tressilliana. Yes I definitely saw an old map, I think it was in a shop in Greenwich actually, showing certainly Manor Ave falling within the boundaries of Greenwich. I may be wrong with the dates though - it may be earlier than than the 60s

lb said...

[TJ] Perhaps, if you want to try and impress people. The facts on the ground seem to be that if I walk out of Brockley I end up in Deptford Bridge before I get anywhere near what people regard as Greenwich. Which, let's face it, is the bit around the market and the blackened remnants of the Cutty Sark.

I'd agree that we're in the same general direction as Greenwich, but we're not really next to it, or even on the way out to it. Looking at the Ordnance Survey, anyway, I seem to be in "St Johns", whereas "Brockley" is over to the south-west, between Nunhead and Ladywell. This sort of exactly-what-area-am-I-in discussion is precisely why we shouldn't put up signs, as there'd be a barrage of complaints from people who thought the signs were in the wrong place.

Paddyom said...

My goodness LB, we dont want to get to a stage where we over-analyze something simple, i.e the meaning of a welscome sign!

What do you think of the signage around Dulwich Village... the traditional black wooden signage with engraved white writing - do you consider that to also be street clutter? Its only clutter if its luminous blue and made of plastic...helloe Lewisham council. Welcome signs can actually be presented very well often surrounded by a flower bed...etc... drive through Kent and you'll see what i mean. Brockley is a little piece of England too so why not get something nice like that for here? Surely not all of our council tax goes on bins and bloody streetlights.

drakefell debaser said...

LB, lets be fair - Greenwich is not just the bit around the Cutty Sark. SE10 starts from the North end of Deptford Bridge Station so if you live near St Johns station, 'Greenwich' is a stones throw away even if you refuse to accopt it.

Tressilliana said...

'Under what circumstances would someone not be 'welcome'?'

Lots of villages and cosy suburbs have signs saying 'Little Wittering welcomes careful drivers'. If Brockley only welcomed careful drivers, the streets would suddenly become very empty.

lb said...

Yes, I'm reasonably familiar with the bit of SE10 that pokes down at the back of Deptford Bridge. Anyone going there expecting what they normally associate with the name 'Greenwich' will be sorely disappointed.

drakefell debaser said...

if we had a sign that said 'Brockley welcomes drivers whos sound systems are not worth more than their cars', that would be a start.

Headhunter said...

"I'd agree that we're in the same general direction as Greenwich, but we're not really next to it, or even on the way out to it"

I don't think we're saying that Brockley is next to Greenwich, just nearby. Less than a couple of miles to the Cutty Sark bit and less than 1 mile to the border of Greenwich Borough. Pretty near if you ask me, and I think anyone in Brockers is vindicated in saying they live near Greenwich

drakefell debaser said...

The southern end of Greenwich High Rd may look a bit shoddy but it is still Greenwich. True, if you are a tourist looking to discover the naval heritage of the place you are the wrong end but we are not discussing that.

lb said...

Perhaps, but I think if people were prepared to swallow their geographic pride they could be more accurate. I don't see why it matters so much - I live near New Cross and Lewisham and while they're not the most picturesque or safest areas on the planet, I do like where I live. Do people really feel better if they think they're within spitting distance of, say, East Dulwich?

Headhunter said...

Nah, I don't swallow. I live near Greenwich and that's that.

Tressilliana said...

'Nah, I don't swallow.'

That's good to know, HH. (Sorry for getting your name wrong earlier.)

I reckon I live near Greenwich. We sometimes walk over to the park and anything in easy walking distance is 'near' in my book.

drakefell debaser said...

LB,I love where I live as well but if I have to describe its location to someone not familiar with SE London I personally prefer to use Greenwich and or East Dulwich as reference points, it may not be geographically down to the finest detail but I find it gives people a fair idea. That’s just me and it is not said to offend those in that live in Peckham, Deptford or Lewisham nor is it trying to ride the cuff tails of say Dulwich village. You may live near Lewisham and New Cross I don’t just as you don’t live near East Dulwich, I do. I do live near New Cross but hey.

Tressillian James said...

LB - by your argument I am just as far from the centre of Lewisham - the bits that people recognise - say the high street - as I am to the Cutty Sark.

Greenwich is Greenwich - if it's the grotty bit or the tourist bit. I can walk there in 10 mins - and I think as a way to locate Brockley, to friends who may not know the area, which is where this discussion started, it is viable. Whether you think it is geographic pride or not - it IS geographic reality.

No one is trying to feel better about anything - I like Brockley. However it is a correct to say we are North west of Greenwich (as it is correct to say east of New Cross, or West of Lewisham) - but as most know Greenwich, and its position on the river, they can usually work out where we are.

The Cat Man said...

Well....

The 'St Catherines' area of Brockley is part of 'east dulwich' according to estate agents!

Anonymous said...

this is where things start to get really silly because, 'East Dulwich' is Peckham Rye and if you say you live in St. Catherine's the response is going to be where's that you'll have to say a West of Brockley (Station).

What this thread tells me is the sooner my beloved Brockley gets on the tube map the better.

Anonymous said...

Genuine question: Where is St Catherines? - never heard of it.

annnon said...

I'm not sure but according to the posts above, I think it's in Peckham.

spincat said...

Most people have heard of Catford, so just say you live near there.

The Cat Man said...

St Catherines is West Brockley. I.e. the triangular area of housing immediately west of brockley station.

It gets its name from being in the parish of 'st catherines' on telegraph hill.

Danja said...

Which estate agent is that then - it sounds like a blatant offence under the Property Misdescriptions act (or whatever it's called) to me.

Annnon said...

This is so confusing someone is now saying this place St. Catherine's is Telegraph Hill, but isn't that in New Cross.

Once and for all is St Catherine's in New Cross or Peckham or is it Brockley?

Hugh said...

St Catherine's is an Oxford college. I don't think it has any connection with SE4.

Interesting how no one here is meant to be interested in house price wealth yet there's an immediate bunfight whenever anyone mentions whether people have heard of the area or whether one should admit to living near New Cross or Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

SE4 goes all the way up to the railway bridge at the top end of Saint Asaph Road.

Anonymous said...

No one interested in house prices? I think you need to get your eyes checked. People on here are always banging on about the price of their houses.

Hugh said...

Anon, I see irony isn't listed among your interests.

Anonymous said...

Get real big boy. Don't attempt to rewrite history.

Hugh said...

Will try once I've fathomed what you're on about.

Anonymous said...

I've clearly given you more credit than you're due.

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