Patchy brickwork

Further to the discussion about the Tea Factory's patchy brickwork, BC dropped an email to Lewisham Council's planning department asking their view on the matter and a chatty and helpful bloke called Chris Brodie has been in touch to elaborate.

The building was originally built in the post-War period for a company which had been bombed out of central London and decided to re-locate. Many similar buildings were constructed at the time, but they are becoming increasingly scarce, so, despite the fact that the materials used weren't of the highest standard, the council was keen to preserve the original historic fabric.

This is relevant when it comes to the choice of bricks for the contemporary extension because, unusually, lower quality materials were deliberately chosen in order to be as similar as possible to the existing brickwork.

Mr Brodie further added that, as the structure isn't a listed building, the council is limited in the extent to which it can specify materials and craft standards. Planners saw samples of the bricks before they were used and were satisfied that they would weather into a satisfactory shade over a period of years. This is also the view of the architect involved in the project, to whom Mr Brodie has spoken about our email.

Despite our initial concern, BC is willing to take the council and the architect on trust in their assertion that weathering should be satisfactory - time will tell! But what do our readers think?

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

350K for a shoe box over brox cross? Nah.

Anonymous said...

350K for a shoe box over brox cross? Nah.

Brockley Nick said...

I think LB, TM and I are vindicated! ;)

The Brockley Telegraph said...

Seems reasonable. I quite like the 'rustic' look. Everytime I go by I can't help but look - the front looks good!

Chris is rather jolly. I have spoken to him before too - a very pleasant man.

Do dah said...

To: Brockley Kate I am glad that you at least have received a reply.

I make no bones about it, I don't like what I see there, but at least we have some form of explanation; that they deliberated used substandard bricks "lower quality materials were deliberately chosen".

I'll say no more for now...

Do dah said...

Sorry Nick what do you mean
"vindicated"?

This isn't great for Brockley it looks naff, and it MAY weather down to the same shade.

And B.Kate was ABSOLUTELY justified as I was in questioning what was going on.

Thanks

Do dah said...

Sorry Nick what do you mean
"vindicated"?

This isn't great for Brockley it looks naff, and it MAY weather down to the same shade.

And B.Kate was ABSOLUTELY justified as I was in questioning what was going on.

Thanks

The Brockley Telegraph said...

I'm not an expert at bricks, but why don't we judge this in a couple of years time when the bricks have weathered in?

Brockley Nick said...

In the sense that we said:

a) the bricks would probably weather and therefore there would not be a problem.

b) even if a) was not the case, there was probably not much that could be done about it anyway.

That is essentially what the Council reply says.

Brockley Kate said...

Do dah - Mr Brodie mentioned that if I'm still not happy with the explanation, we might be able to engage with the architect directly. He said he'd be happy to pass on to the architect a photograph of the offending sections and accompanying comments. I told him I'm willing to wait and see how the bricks age, but if you want to write some notes and email them to me I can forward them to Mr Brodie, if you like? (Offer is open to anyone else who wants, too).

Do dah said...

Well if we're to talk in these, "you lose, I win" terms. I think this a victory for Kate as 1) she stuck to her guns despite a lot of opposition/naysayers and 2) she received a substantial reply.

I would imagine that we all want the best for Brockley and part of that is that developers are held to account/questioned about what they place in our town. We have now received the assurance that this was the best in a limited situation. So I'm drawing a line under this one.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the building whilst I go past usually means coming close to crashing the car!

Monkeyboy said...

...by the way does anyone know who owns that little plot between the bridge and the Tea Factory? used to occupied by a shabby 2nd hand furniture place - 'till it burnt down. Are there any plans for it?

(we still need a BC reader posing as a buyer to nose around, whos up for it?)

Monkeyboy said...

...by the way does anyone know who owns that little plot between the bridge and the Tea Factory? used to occupied by a shabby 2nd hand furniture place - 'till it burnt down. Are there any plans for it?

(we still need a BC reader posing as a buyer to nose around, whos up for it?)

MB said...

...nose around the T factory I mean...

Do dah said...

I've just seen your comment after I posted my last one Brockley Kate. So there's more scope to challenge this...interesting one would have thought that, that would be it. It might be worth it to find out how many years the bricks will take to age down, but then what benefit will that be? The developer will have long gone and it can't be used as leverage against him...

Brockley Nick said...

@MB - I've been meaning to post about that for a while.

It's owned by Network Rail (or was when I asked about 6 months ago). There are no plans to tidy it up that I am aware of. As you can imagine, the Tea Factory developer is not too happy about that.

Tressilliana said...

Presumably that little passage is the site of the stairs to get up to the Brockley High Level station, or whatever it was called. If Network Rail were to sell it, that would make it a bit more difficult to get platforms rebuilt up there, if we ever get that station back.

I went past the Tea Factory the other day on the bus and thought it looked fine. However, I agree with anon@12.21, I wouldn't want to have a flat that close to a railway line.

Brockley Kate said...

Do dah - I asked Mr Brodie about timescale with the ageing, I said for example a year? And he said no not that quickly. So it'll be a matter of years I understand.

I think the architect would be willing to engage in 'constructive dialogue' about the brickwork, so do let me know if you want to pursue it.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am still very pleased about the Tea Factory being built at Brockley Cross. It is a tremendous improvement on what was there before. OK, it's not perfect, but would people really prefer a boarded up, eyesore, derelict building as a welcome to Brockley, than this? It's all movement in the right direction, I hope the McDonald Egan development goes ahead too. Improvement and regeneration have to start somewhere and if this is it then I am all for it.

patrick1971 said...

"Many similar buildings were constructed at the time [i.e. immediately post-WW2], but they are becoming increasingly scarce, so, despite the fact that the materials used weren't of the highest standard, the council was keen to preserve the original historic fabric."

If the council really is keen to preserve the original historic fabric of buildings from the immediate post-WW2 period, then why on earth are they desperate to demolish Europe's largest pre-fab estate? See the Lewisham Heritage thread on this site and also this article:

http://www.southlondonpress.co.uk/tn/News.cfm?id=10525

(if the link doesn't work, go to the South London Press website, click on "News", and it's the story headlined "Excalibur Blunted But Residents Fight On")

The Brockley Telegraph said...

We have the barbican, isnt that a better example? Admittedly, just stumbling in the dark here.

By the way, Glendale have re-rendered the walls/improved the mantle road flowerbeds following my complaint to the council.

Still not the best looking flowerbed in the area, but looks alot better than how Glendale initially left it!!!

drakefell debaser said...

The problem with the Excalibur Estate is the high levels of asbestos that was used in their construction. They are unique and historic but I wouldn’t want to live in one.

Mara said...

I don't have a problem with the tea factory and I agree - it's a lot nicer than what was there prior.

What I strongly like about the tea factory is that there is someone who has bought there who has posted on Brockley Central in the past - and from his comments he seems like a good addition to the neighborhood and interested in contributing. That's more important to me than brickwork.

Anonymous said...

Mara - I agree with you!

Anonymous said...

I noticed today that the trees and shrubbery had been cut down next to the west side entrance to the station. Now the area has been cleared it seems the obvious choice to put a pathway down to platform one (without too much hassle). Does anyone know if that why it has been cleared or is it just a clean up?

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd go and examine the exterior of the Tea Factory and I have to say I think it's utterly monstrous and a prime example of a developer getting away with absolute murder.

If the planning department let this kind of thing through there's no hope for Lewisham, none at all. I can even here the developers cackling as they say 'give it a nice name and put a bit of vertical wording on the outside, that'll please the picky Brockleyites'

What a disaster!

Monkeyboy said...

I like it.

Headhunter said...

Have to say, having seen the patchy brickwork, I think there are far better things to worry about in Brockers. Overall the re-use of what otherwise would be a derelict blot is a good thing. Personally I think a far better battle to fight would be the whole road lay out and general retail outlet dereliction around Brock X.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering what the scaffolding on the building opposite the Tea Factory was for. Improvements to the rather grim facade of the nursery I hope. Ever since blocking up the large windows, it looks a bit less day care and a bit more remand centre.

Anonymous said...

If you set low standards for yourself or your town you will achieve low standards.

Brockley has some issues, but it is a zone 2, leafy area, with a great housing stock, improving shops, in short an area on the up.

The Tea Factory building was a derelict building, yes, but the developer is not here out of the sense of urban responsibility you only have to look at the hardball deal struck regarding the gallery, which we are waiting for.

The developer is likely to make a shed load of money from those flats, so lets not be so yielding in our attitudes.

Anonymous said...

good comment anon 15:32


why does that green thing stick out the sides?

more floor area

more profit

why is it green?

to make it ugly...

Monkeyboy said...

Green 'cos it's copper cladding - as used by architects for hundreds of years. I do like it actually but then again I painted the interior of my first flat 'burnt orange' don't put much store in my opinion.

and fancy trying to make money out of a development! Evil bastards.

Tressillian James said...

looking at it from Brockley Road - outside costcutters - wow what an improvement. I like it and think it is a plus to the area. Brockley Cross was not nice at all - now to get Network Rail to allow us to 'green' the old entrance to the overhead station...

Anonymous said...

the question wasn't why was it green, but why it stuck out the sides

and yes, developers make money, well, do they? Just remind me of the joint debt of Taylor Wimpey and Barratts...

Anonymous said...

"The developer is likely to make a shed load of money from those flats, so lets not be so yielding in our attitudes."

This made me snort on my coffee. So, if the developer was working for free or minimum wage on this project you would have no complaint? I don't understand why how much money the developer is making has anything to do with anything?

FWIW: I have no problem with the tea factory and see it as a welcome addition.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

I think Monkeybaby and alot of other people are right. So what if the developer aims to make money. Isn't that the point? I wonder how many of us work for charities and not for big corporates?

Besides that, actually the big developers make much more money from taking on the freehold and leasing out flats. Getting a service charge for the pleasure. Often agreements state a mandatory increase each year.

Anonymous said...

One person misses the point and the rest follow.

Anonymous said...

No, of course, developers make money (well, used to, and possibly will again)

But the point it, they don't give a toss about what they do or where they do it. Brockley one day, Swindon the next - it doesn't matter. And they leave behind something that will deteriorate rapidly - time will tell.

Peckham library no exception, David Adjaye building no exception.

Citibank building in Lewisham? What a magnificent monument to what is being built today!

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