Previously, in Brockley: 2008 recapped

The time has come to review 2008, just as we did 2007. Before we sat down to write, our recollection of the year was that it was defined by frustrations and setbacks, but while it's true that the tail end of the year brought some bad news, the overall story has been far more positive.

Although it has undoubtedly been a very difficult year for many, Brockley has remained fairly insulated from the extraordinary economic shock waves that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the dramatic scenes that this brought with it, just across the river.

The loss of Moonbow Jakes, James Johnston, Cafe Neu and one or two other businesses has been offset by the arrival of the Broca Food Market, the Deptford Deli, Geddes Salon and others.

None of this 'gentrification' has come at the expense of Brockley's sense of community - the calendar of local events has swelled with the addition of a Fun Run, a Film Club, the Ladywell Christmas Market, the Local Assemblies and even a Ukulele group. The Brockley community gallery did open, although there were many times in the year when it seemed an unlikely prospect - likewise the 2008 MAX.

Several local institutions were restored or saved in 2008, including the Brockley Jack pub and theatre, the Ladywell Tavern and the Rivoli Ballroom.

While much of Brockley Road (and Brockley Cross) remains in wretched (shaming) condition, the gradual improvement of the Crofton Park parade has demonstrated that progress is possible and need not mean the destruction of the area's existing character. It's a model which we hope will one day be applied to the rest of the high street.

The Talbot and the Common were delayed but the East London Line project made steady progress and it cannot come too soon as Brockley's train service is bursting at the seams, just as TfL forecast that it would.

Those overcrowded platforms are a sign of the area's growing vitality and rising profile and they - rather than recession - will be the forces that shape Brockley's future.

January

The Rivoli got protected status, much to the annoyance of its owners, but we said goodbye to Cafe Neu.

February

We learned that Meze Mangal was planning a patisserie for 'the summer' - but by December, the Sea Container would remain defiantly in its usual place. The Brockley Common project officially stalled, but it was confirmed that the station will eventually become fully accessible.

March

Crofton Park got a boost for its rail services. With the Brockley Jack Theatre's future assured, a new Film Club was born. Ladywell residents kicked up a stink over the PFI refurbishment of local council housing stock, which proposed ripping out wooden window frames and putting in plastic ones. It would not be the year's last complaint about this programme...

April

Brockley hosted its first fun run in Hilly Fields - an event set to grow in 2009. Developers unveiled plans for a new street in Brockley where the St Martin's Yard scaffolding yard currently stands, a project that will provide homes for small businesses as well as people if it goes ahead. The "Tesco effect" led to a new (and very good) Vietnamese restaurant on Lewisham Way. Brockley Central readers had to admit that Lewisham Council had a point when it marked some local trees for death, but there was good news for local flora as Pincott Place got a new park. Meanwhile, Brockley Kate got the keys to the blog.

May

Portland Bookmakers won the right to open on Brockley Road, while the Council launched timed refuse collections, which reduced the amount of rubbish stored on our high street.

June

The Deptford Project opened, The Ladywell Tavern reopened and the Summer Fayre, MAX and Open Studios created a full summer season. Although some were underwhelmed by the design, the new bins outside the post office showed small, low-cost actions by the Council can make a huge difference to our area - it just takes a little thought and care.

July

Speedicars took down their notorious sign and the big yellow danger signs proved to be as unnecessary and counter-productive as we thought. Gordon Brown paid us a visit, as did Lewisham's Deputy Mayor. Budgens taught Costcutter a lesson and Oscars opened.

August

An industrial unit in Ashby Mews burned down and the Conservation Area was spared a dubious "healthcare" development, but the United Services Club shut down. Crofton Park was terrorised by one of nature's deadliest predators.

September

The Mayor approved the Brockley Common project and Ladywell got its own Christmas market. The guys behind the Talbot project confirmed its delay.

October

The Council promised to do their best to dispose of Brockley Road's railing blight and the London Assembly asked us whether we were squashed. Brockley's growing number of young families prompted a new PowerPramming class.

November

The Broca shrugged off the credit crunch to open a new food shop in West Brockley but the owners of Dandelion Blue put it up for sale. Trees got another filip.

December

The community gallery finally opened but Moonbow Jakes announced its imminent closure and pledged to drink the bar dry on its final night (tonight). Brockley and Ladywell Christmas Markets made the most of atrocious weather and the news of a new deli in Deptford and optimism about the Talbot and the 2009 MAX helped to finish the year on a positive note.

So here we are. Predictions for 2009 coming up. In the mean time, we'd love to hear your highlights from 2008.

16 comments:

Hugh said...

I must have missed it. Where am I mentioned?

Brockley Nick said...

You do get a plug in the chicken-naming thread. Don't get greedy.

Hugh said...

Fair enough, Nick. Disagree that Brox was largely untouched by the blitzing of the Wharf. Look at - yes, you knew it was coming - HOUSE PRICES ROUND HERE OMG!

Anonymous said...

Predictions for '09

* True regeneration of Brockley Road spearheaded by KFC franchise and elimination of limp-wrist shops

* Brockley tube to open, Brockley residents who don't work in docklands question where to go

* Rivoli for sale: £7m

fabhat said...

anon - I think you might have to wait til 2010 for the tube...

Here are my (tfic)predictions for 2009:

Moonbow Jakes to reopen in peckham (bellingham rd) as they have done catford, new cross and brockley, so Peckham seems a logical next step.

Brockley Central to start a community tv show. Ratings fluctuate wildly depending on the range of mung bean programmes on the other channels.

Brockley to be renamed Broca as Erin's empire expands to take over all the empty shop fronts in se4.

But really I hope everyone has, if not a prosperous as that's unlikely, a not impecunious, 2009.

Publish and be damned (hic) said...

fabhat (you do come across as rather lovely btw...will you be up on some elevated bit of SE(1)4 come midnight?) - I think you mean Bellenden ;-) Opening up a model of Moonbow's in Bellingham would be financial suicide.

*Gentrification alert*

I'd like to think that many of us would be happy if the Brox could at least transform itself into something like Bellend(en) village.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly got a few of those

Tressilliana said...

Before I forget, Happy New Year to one and all.

Now - Geddes salon. Yes, it changed hands, name and decor at the start of 2008. However, the business is basically the same one that had been there for umpteen years under the name of Top To Toe, offering very similar services at considerably lower prices (albeit with shorter opening hours). I think it's interesting that changing the decor seems to have made such an enormous change in people's perceptions of how good it is.

welcome to 2009 said...

tresilliana - what's surprising? A service business, especially one based on pampering, needs to make people feel good when they go in. Decor, staff attitude and yes, even opening at times that suit the customer! All these things matter greatly. As for relative quality of cuts, I can't say and it's very subjective. People like geddes, the old place is gone so please stop going on about it.

organik said...

Tressiliana-it could be argued that a cup of coffee is a cup of coffee whether you get it from the bakery Rumbles or the beautifully decorated Oscars. A basic trim at Geddes is perhaps the same as one at Top to Toe but isn't it nice to sit in a nicer environment and get extras such as a scalp massage?
A pint of lager in a Wetherspoons pub is cheaper than a pint in the Brockley Jack-it's stil a pint of lager!
In your opinion Top to Toe were just as good as Geddes but cheaper-if you are right the market will dictate and they will go bust-a bad thing for Ladywell in my opinion.
You have your choice to go elsewhere as a consumer-why are you so against a new vibrant business?
Good luck to them I say.

Anonymous said...

Every time I walk past Geddes they seem packed and the girl on reception is always smiling.
If we have to pey more for shops looking better then so be it. Viva Geddes!

Tressilliana said...

Wow, that touched a nerve! I'm not against Geddes at all - been there twice and been pleased with the service - I hope they thrive. However, as a longstanding and satisfied customer of the old business, and as someone on what is possibly a tighter budget than some of the other people who comment here, I was very taken aback by the prices. That level of pricing means I can't go there as often as I would like, because I just can't justify spending that sort of money on myself when there are bills to be paid and little prospect of a pay increase any time soon. I can't believe I'm the only person in the area who is as price sensitive as this.

I think there is a broader question here, and it affects the future of businesses that have/might set up in Brockley and Ladywell, which is why I feel it appropriate to mention it on this discussion. Value for money is a subjective thing - it interests me that ambience is so valued that there are people willing to pay so much for it over and above the basic cost of providing the service - but isn't it one of the first things that people will have to give up on if the economy doesn't pick up soon?

Brockley Kate said...

Tressiliana - I haven't looked at Geddes' prices so I don't know how they compare, but I use Aqua in Crofton Park and they are good value for money, in my opinion. The decor isn't bad, either!

Anonymous said...

I use Kam's barbers on East Street off Old Kent Road. Always do a good job, £9.

Anonymous said...

Re the Speedicars sign, a relative in 1927 invested in the patent of a "Optical Apparatus for Projecting Signs into Space".

'The beams of light are subsequently combined together so as to produce an image which may be projected upwardly and will be clearly visible at a definite position in space.'

I think this would truly enhance the area.

fabhat said...

publish and be damned hic - you are indeed right - I did mean bellenden road - my new year's eve excitement (aka fizz) must have got to my spelling - (and thanks for the compliment too!)

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