The Brockley Community Gallery Open Day

On Saturday we popped in to the new gallery at the Tea Factory, which was holding an open day, to see how things were shaping up.

Here's what we learned:

  • The space is big and light and is now fully operational, if a bit sparse
  • The plan is to open in late October
  • Already, more than 15 local artists have become members but they are looking for at least 10 more, which was the main purpose of the day
  • Artists from outside the Borough are welcome to join up. We bumped in to an artist we know who lives in Greenwich and was weighing-up the opportunity
  • One of the things they hope to do with the gallery is organise children's workshops - a great idea given how few things there are for kids locally
  • Its neighbours in the development will be a new cafe and the office of the architects who designed the building - which is good news for those of us who believe attracting more jobs and professional companies are vital for the long-term development of the area. The fourth commercial occupant is apparently an estate agent, but given the state of the market, we'd be impressed by any agency opening new offices at this time
  • Throughout negotiations, relationships with the Council and the developer remained positive. The Council did eventually provide a small amount of additional public funding, which will help get the gallery going. The developer eventually agreed to do what was needed to make it usable. Everybody's happy
  • There was cake as promised, though we arrived very early, while it was still under wraps, so cannot vouch for its quality

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Drat! I missed this.

Tamsin said...

And presumably the Telegraph Hill Festival Launch Party as well...

But what do you mean, Nick, so little for children? Good youth provision may be lacking, but the Area 1 Children's Centres timetable is chokka with activities for under fives and there is quite a bit for older ones as well in the various community centres and the ARthouse - with various libraries and the Horniman not too far away.

(On things for children - Oak Hill Fun Day on Sunday from 12 to 5 - working towards recouping uninsured losses after a break-in as well as having a good time for all.)

Brockley Nick said...

Tamsin, re: children

It's all relative, I guess. I'm not suggesting it's completely devoid of options but there is nothing like Eltham's new pool, the Horniman Museum (Forest Hill is quite a long way away, let's be honest), the Waterstones bookshop in Greenwich (great for kids), the wildlife sancuary on Greenwich peninsula, Battersea Park petting farm, the paint-it-yourself pottery shop in East Dulwich, the Idea Store in Tower Hamlets, etc, etc.

Living in London means that wherever you live there is plenty to do within fairly easy reach, but it would be great if there were a few more things on the doorstep.

Tamsin said...

True, the Horniman is a couple of buses away and more than buggy pushing distance from any station. It was just a startling statement to encounter when the week before I had written a whole page of A4 for the Hilly Telegraph on things to do for children in SE14 (and even then forgot to include the Akido in Edmund Waller school).

And I agree about things local - it's nice not to have to make a major expedition (and any journey with two or more children under ten is a major expecition) to something that may be fully booked or unexpectedly closed when you get there.

In this context can I flag up here the Tennis Coaching in the Telegraph Hill Upper Park on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons with Urban Fitness UK. It's just a matter of turning up apparently and racquets can be borrowed if your children don't have them.

Anonymous said...

Petting farm in Battersea Park??

Anonymous said...

Yes?? What's the question?

Hugh said...

Any talent to report?

max said...

Selecting the appropriate backstreets the Horniman is at no more than 20 minutes of pram pushing from Brockley Road.
I regularly prampush from Rushey Green crossing the whole of greater Brockley and it takes me 45 mins.

Headhunter said...

God Hugh, you're like a dog on heat...

nobbly brick said...

we can only hope that talent will be on show in the gallery. I am pessimistic though... but wanting to be proved wrong.

Controversially, I would say that having it child-friendly could well be the kiss of death to any serious ideas of it being an 'art gallery', but maybe that was never the intention.

Tressilliana said...

Max, good on you. I'm strongly tempted to go in for a bit of oneupparentship and mention that I used to walk to the Horniman from Crofton Park with a double pushchair fully loaded, but that would be wrong, so I won't.

max said...

Nobbly Brick, I wouldn't say that involving children compromises artistry but I am skeptical as to how that would help bring in the money needed to pay commercial rent once the two years grace has expired.

max said...

What about a pram pushing competition?

Anonymous said...

Whatever this gallery becomes, it will be a reflection of Brockley.

Pete said...

Pram racing could be an olympic sport in 20 years or so if you put in the hard work now...

Hugh said...

People like dogs.

nobbly brick said...

I am preparing my "24 views of the speedicars shop sign" to be viewed at some future date.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think the location of the tea factory could be a problem? During its refurbishment I somehow thought that it would occupy the corner of the pavement and effectively face the road on two sides, but with Duke's store and the nail salon in front of it on the Brockley Road side, it only faces Endwell road. This makes it feel like it's facing away from Brockley. Not a great location for a cafe or gallery as I don't see much opportunity for people to go there by chance - unlike the businesses by the station. Hope I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

That is one area of brockley I've only passed via car - no incentive to walk up there at all

Anonymous said...

Um, if you build it they will come?

tj said...

Anon @ 11.48 I think you are right - it's not Sunday morning stroll territory, is it? And if they do not attract serious professional artists, then it won;t become a destination.

I also think that this gallery shouldn't try to be all things to all people, and provide for a pseudo childrens' activity group. I know it probably has public funding etc - but children and cash strapped families aren't going to keep the gallery afloat. If it becomes a serious adult gallery space, with good art (not just a replica of Toad's Mouth 2 - medicore art but without the garden and good food) then it might have a chance of surviving.

There's enough for kids to be doing - this is LONDON - it really isn't that difficult to get around.

Tressilliana said...

Max, my pram-pushing days are long over, so you would win by a country mile. My children are now taller than me, so wouldn't fancy my chances at even getting the double pushchair to move from a stationary position nowadays. It has certainly made a difference to my waistline and general levels of fitness - I used to walk for miles with them and any number of bags slung on the handles. Vicar's Hill was a particular challenge.

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