WALL-EH?



We've been sent this photo of the work the Wickham Arms have done to their back garden. It's not immediately obvious why they've removed a large chunk of the wall but the local resident who sent it was concerned that opening up the back garden like this damages the character of the street.

If anyone knows what the plan is, please let us know.

174 comments:

Headhunter said...

Yeah I noticed that yesterday evening on the way home from work. In the morning the brickies were starting work and when I got back in the evening, this was the result. I can't say it bothers me, I quite like the fact that the garden is opened up to the street a little. The brickwork is very strange though, the red bricks along the top are placed at funny angles in places... Almost looks like the job hasn't quite been finished. I wonder why they didn't just go the whole hog and create a gate there, but I suppose that would entail getting planning permission etc

Anonymous said...

looks alreet to me, like.

tyrwhitt michael said...

I understand the opening will also contain railings and there will be a separate entrance somewhere into the Garden.

The garden itself is to be kitted out as a chldren's play area for the summer family trade.

I don't think the owners realise that because it's in a conservation area this type of alteration needs planning consent.

No1 Tyrwhitt Road has recently installed some huge wrought iron gates and railings also seemingly without permission but as usual there seems to be no reaction forthcoming from the council and/or Brockley Society.

Anonymous said...

Why? Well I would guess it means

* people can see in

* people can see out

Still, conservation police to the rescue no doubt

Anonymous said...

"No1 Tyrwhitt Road has recently installed some huge wrought iron gates and railings also seemingly without permission but as usual there seems to be no reaction forthcoming from the council and/or Brockley Society"Probably because you're the only person who cares!

Brockley Nick said...

Anon 16:53, yes, probably. TM's answer was a little more enlightening, however.

I can't say it especially troubles me, but the wall was nicer than railings are likely to be.

However, for me, the greater significance of this move - if what TM says is correct - is that this signals a change of attitude from the Wickham. Previously, they changed their mind about removing the frosting on the front windows, because regulars said that they didn't want people to see in. Taking down the wall suggests that they are trying to make the place more welcoming to new clientele.

Brockley Jon said...

Anonimi - if a few good people don't take an interest in the conservation guidelines, or at least general planning regs, then god knows what Brockley would look like by now, and chances are you wouldn't like living there so much.

As for the wall, I'll reserve my judgement on what it looks like til its finished - looks to be work in progress!?

Anonymous said...

I think I was the first to post on this, when I expressed shock. But it is starting to have its appeal. Don't like the use of red bricks. It's the railings that may prove the downfall.
The owner needs to divert his remake inside, which is pretty dreadful. And turn those overhead lights off!

Headhunter said...

TM's not the only one who cares about the conservation area! Those who prefer Brockley as a fried chicken swilling, chav town are hopefully in the minority.

On a more positive note, As I walked down Manor Ave yesterday evening I noticed that, unless my eyes deceive me, satellite dishes previously bolted to the front of council owned buildings have been removed to the roof/chimney line as part of the Regenter/upgrade works. There are still lots of ugly satellite dishes bolted all over the front of privately owned homes like so many ticks on the arse of a sheep, but at least this has helped a bit. Good on the council.

tyrwhitt michael said...

My observation on No1 Tyrwhitt Road was exactly that; an observation.

Did I say anywhere that the gates bothered me?

No I didn't think so.

I usually think things should be left to evolve naturally. The only thing that really gets my goat is dereliction which I consider to be wasteful.

Oh and yellow stencils.

I Don't go to the Wickham on Fridays because the Karaoke is rubbish. I can't give you any more info therefore until next week.

Headhunter said...

I must say, I had big hopes for the upgrade of the Wickham Arms a year ago or whenever it was, but apart from a bit of new wallpaper not a lot has changed, the frosting on the windows would have been a major positive change in my eyes, the place needs opening up.

They don't appear to be quite brave enough to let go of the old Brockley clientele and open up and appeal to newer residents, or perhaps it would be possible to do something which would appeal to both? However at the moment, the WA still feels like a pub stuck in a 1970/80s time warp which actually has a certain charm, but it's not likely to have the money spending, gentrifying hordes hurrying to spend their money there.

I was there a couple of Fridays ago and it was pretty dead. I heard one of the barmaids say to a customer that it would be nice to have a few more customers. Obviously the current business strategy needs a bit of a change...

Tom said...

they are *really* friendly to new people, just sometimes in a bit of a scary way.

gf and I were in there once and some trouble started between two of the regulars. Landlord came round and slapped one of them round the face and told him to go home. Cue lots of looks at us in a "we're nice really" kinda way. It is the Queen Vic.

Whatever happens inside, I like the decking outside on a summer's evening.

Hugh said...

Apparently the garden is to be filled with water and a large pane of glass inserted into the wall.

drakefell debaser said...

ticks on the arse of a sheep

Brilliant analogy

Anonymous said...

It was a Victorian wall in a conservation area. It changes the look of the whole street and isn't in keeping. The wall was a decent quality one. The new red bricks don't go with the original bricks. The openness makes the garden
open to the elements (wind and rain) more. It has spoilt the character of both the garden and the street. It is no longer a special secluded walled pub garden but just like any ordinary front garden where people walking past can gawp at you.

Anonymous said...

I like the inside and used to like the garden.

Comment said...

Hmm I wonder what they have done with the removed bricks? The corner of Wickham/Cranfield could do with them to replace that white board.

Anonymous said...

Headhunter - try any evening except Friday.

Paddyom said...

I agree entirely with Anon 20.54. Such ignorant destruction of conservation area ifrastructure should be penalized with a huge fine. What a tasteless idea, completely opposite to what the majority of sucessful garden pubs are doing, i.e. creating secluded spaces for the enjoyment of their custmers not opening gardens up to noisy traffic choked streets. Shame on the WA.

Brockley Kate said...

Looks hideous, and I've never experienced this 'welcoming' atmosphere referred to above. Sulky service and hostile regulars in my experience, very offputting.

max said...

I actually was there last Friday, I thought it was both pleasantly surreal and genuinely retro, and I had fun, and the locals were friendly.

Anonymous said...

Yup- looks like they've ruined a very beautiful Victorian wall. How could they NOT realise this would require planning? They must know they're in a conservation area. They're trying to look like that pub over Telegraph Hill with the thai food in it... that looks crap too!

Crofton Park Ranger said...

Playing devils advocate; it is possible that they have obtained planning permission.

...but those bricks do look a bit rubbish and the hole didn't really need to be that big...

Darren said...

They would certainy have needed conservation area consent from the planning dept to knock the wall down. Potentially one for Lewisham enforcement!

Walls at the end of terraces are a strong feature of the conservation area, one that should be maintained in most cases.

Personally i think in this case there are gains in terms of providing natural surveilance to the street in an area that can at night feel unsafe.

Black painted metal railings are also in keeping with the surroundings and would maintain the sense of enclosure at the end of the terrace (if this is the pubs plan).

In president terms, i do not think that other residential properties in the conservation area would want to do the same thing as most would value the privacy that the walls give and would not want to open a view out onto the street.

Anonymous said...

I am led to believe metal railings are to be put in place

Anonymous said...

Is the Wickhams Arms were the Hole In Wall Gang hang out?

Anonymous said...

In the picture you can see gaps in the red bricks where railings or a advertisong horading or neon sign are to be fixed.

Ed said...

How depressing.

Brockley Jon said...

A few points from me, so that I can have my two penneth:

The Wickham Arms is a great local pub - it is not trendy, it's not a gastropub, it's just a reliable boozer. The locals can be boisterous but I've never had any trouble. They are usually keen to have a chat.

Strangely, Fridays are one of the quietest nights of the week, so not an indication of how popular it is. Try jazz night on a Thursday.

I love the decked front garden, and think it really adds to the street, but like others here can't quite understand why they would do that to the old Viccy wall along the back - as one anon points out, it means the nice walled back garden is no longer secluded and means you might as well just sit out the front.

As for planning issues, BC will get back to you!

eohara said...

Dear Customers, Neighbours & Bloggers

Re: the demolition of part of our garden wall and the installation of open iron railings.

We have been approached by the organisers of the Brockley Festival to see if they could include The Wickham in their festivities from 31st May – 3rd June 2009. We were delighted to be asked to participate and have decided to install a children’s play area to mark the occasion. Numerous customers have suggested that it would be a good idea to create a window into the garden from the road as some locals do not realise that we even have a rear garden.

We have been proprietors here for the past ten years and have endeavoured to run a clean and hospitable establishment discouraging drugs and bad behaviour etc. Last year we were going to refurbish the pub in a more contemporary design but 90% of our customers petitioned for it to remain traditional. There are not many public houses in Brockley where you can take the family, have a pint and relax safe in the knowledge that the children are OK too.

We are proud of the character and history of the pub and would like to retain as much of it as possible whilst welcoming all customers - old and new - to enjoy it with us.

So, to all the dissatisfied bloggers etc; who have nothing better to do than go through life searching for something to complain about I hope the vital matter in your life concerning our garden wall has now been suitably addressed, and trust that our efforts to improve things for all concerned are appreciated.

Kind regards,


Ted & Paul O’Hara.

Hugh said...

So you didn't get planning permission.

Anonymous said...

'discouraging' doesn't seem to onerous a position to take on the drug-dealing and bad behaviour...

Crofton Parker said...

Good grief, I was on the fence about the wall til that last paragraph from the owner. Instantly decided I don't like the sound of this pub.

Concerned said...

Well done to the owners for their response.

I love the Wickham and its atmosphere and it would be a shame to ever lose it.

Tell the "mung beans and a side order of complaint" crowd where to go, I'm sure they'd prefer you were a "trendy bistro" or whatever other balls fits within their current fads.

Welcome to 2009 said...

"I love the Wickham and its atmosphere and it would be a shame to ever lose it."

That's the point though, innit? They have changed the pub - and the character of the street - which is what people are talking about. Doh!

Comment said...

What disappoints me about this, is that the first time I have heard anything from the management of the Wickham on this blog is them effectively telling us off about caring about the appearance of a key public space in our neighbourhood.

Contrast this behaviour to Richard of Jam Circus, who lets us know about events happening at his venue, about offers. Look at how welcoming and enticing his approach.

Houston Control said...

key public space?

It's a pub not a shopping mall.

liz said...

A shopping mall is a private space

Houston Control said...

thank you for pointing that out liz.

liz said...

A pleasure, Houston. I just thought if you're going to try and take the piss out of people you might want to avoid making a tit out of yourself in the process. :)

M said...

Hahaha! Houston control you have a problem!

Anonymous said...

Well, let's hope that when the recession begins to pass, Bourgeois Centralites can continue their economic cleansing of the neighbourhood.

The Wickham Arms has obviously decicided to stay true to the community it serves. That community isn't you - tough... Not everything around here should be forced to be acceptable to ethically-sourced, Guardian Weekend-clutching snobs.

I don't particularly like the Wickham - I've never really been able to hold my own in conversations about prison food - but I'm glad it's holding out against the bog standard middle class banality that's breathing down its neck.

Its increasingly obvious that any celebration of diversity on this blog only really goes as far the range of artisan loaves and olives available near the station. It's a pity.

And its strange that the most culturally diverse places (The Brockley Barge, the Chinese chip shop and the fried chicken places) are the ones that have so much scorn poured upon them.

Anonymous said...

Whilst its hard to get passionate about one of the lowmarket fried chicken chains (KFC are excluded from this criticism), you can't beat Fishy Business for their chips and Wetherspoons are fantastic for a straightforward pint at a straightforward price. Love the little outside area of theirs too.

westsider said...

I think you'll find that smiles (thai), babur (indian), long time (vietnamese), degustation (french), nu spice (caribbean) and the broca (canadian)are just some of the businesses that get praise heaped on them. It has nothing to do with race, it's about quality. Accusations of anything else are pathetic. As for the pub, who's trying to change it?

read before posting said...

Jesus christ do these people even read what people are saying? It's not about trying to turn the pub in to a bistro, it's about protecting the character of the street. I like the wickham. Most of the people here seem to like the wickham.

westsider said...

There seem to be a lot more angry anons at weekends.

Maybe because they're the ones who aren't allowed the internet at work...

Anonymous said...

I am only allowed out from my cell, on licence, at the weekend, and that stuff you hear about dropping the soap in the showers, it's nonsense, it's mostly gell-based these days, but any lubricant is welcome.

Pubs? I got six years for GBH on a pub landlord, so don't get me started on that.

Brockley Kate said...

Dear E O'Hara,
Many thanks for coming onto this site to discuss your business; it's always good to see local businesspeople willing to engage in this way.
Could you possibly clarify whether you've sought planning permission for this change to the wall?
I'd also be interested to hear your response to those who have expressed concern about the impact of the change.
Many thanks in advance for any response you can give,
K
PS. Sorry for being a bit critical of your establishment; your post on here definitely makes me more willing to give it another go!

Anonymous said...

Or in other words, "release the hounds".

Nina said...

I think this is ace. I used to live on UBR and I never walked on that side of the road because I always felt boxed in between the wall and the cars. It was an ordinary brick wall and it's going to be much nicer to walk past and see people having fun in the garden

Anonymous said...

Instead of moaning about a bloody wall,Why not go and support your local pub.

Anonymous said...

And of course, the absence of a wall will allow the (male) drinkers, when in their cups, to issue the usual mating call to any passing female of "oi! Sweet'art!"

and

"cheer up darling, it might never 'appen!"

The Cat Man said...

I think the removal of the wall was a very good idea and I am looking forward to using the garden once it has been completed.

I didn't even know the pub had a garden, so this is most certainly a welcome addition! The area at the front of the pub is excellent in the summer and actually, I love the fact the pub is still pretty traditional.

Why shouldn't it be? There will come a day when the Mung Bean eaters will be no more in Brockley. A passing fad is by no means a better alternative than to tradition...

Hugh said...

Perhaps they didn't remove the wall. They just moved the rest of the world a bit instead.

The Cat Man said...

Yes, exactly. :o)

Anonymous said...

Cat Man, sucking up to the clever cool kids never worked for you at school so I doubt it's going to work now that you're a grown up.

Anonymous said...

...and anyway, one minute you're claiming to be good working class stock, next you're looking disdainfully at those who live in social housing, then you're waxing lyrical about Jam Circus or telling us all how you love the little deli's and The Broca. A confused little man.

Anonymous said...

please don't confuse me with anon 21:49 or 21:45

Houston Control said...

liz, i wasn't taking the piss. I found the tone of the comment I was refering too a little over dramatised - if the Wickham was so key, why have the majority of those commenting not been there?

I used an analogy which was not 100% accurate. However,I don't really care. You knew what I meant.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps catman likes things that he just, well, likes - rather than liking things because he thinks he should (cf. mung bean ethical shops...)

fred vest said...

i'd say shopping centres (although privately owned) are quasi-public spaces so you weren't that far off

Comment said...

It was that Houston Control was wrong per se but that Houston Control overdramatised the point.

Anonymous said...

Nope, sorry- nice wall and they've buggered it up. Probably without permission. FINE to make it a family-friendly garden kinda thing- why not put a big sign up saying- 'Come and see our lovely children's play area in the back garden!'?
I'm afraid knocking the wall down makes it look like a Harvester from this side, rather than a nice ol' boozer.

Anonymous said...

I have lived around these parts for a number of years.

Never liked the Wickam. Went in there the other week and it seems full of cantankerous old fogeys and the place smelt bad. There is the smell of the lavatory about the place and a lot of regulars look as though they are responsible.

Good old traditional boozers, full of regulars of decent working class stock?

Tosh! The place is full of rascals and they make strangers unwelcome. It is their place and if they don't like the look of you, you will be made to feel very uncomfortable with their remarks and their bad manners.

These sort of places are closing down all over London. Turned into flats as the regulars retreat to watch their big screen TV, smoke and drink beer at supermarket prices.

The Wickam will either reinvent itself or go the same way.

Personally I cannot wait. I have never felt welcome in the few pubs in the Brockley area. The community they serve is narrow, resentful and increasingly unrepresentative.

If this were not the case the place would be thriving. The pubs are dying and they need to change, they need to adapt.

The Wickam is a place for old codgers and they won't keep it afloat. No matter how people try to romanticise its working class athenticity it won't change the fact that they are in a declining market.

Anonymous said...

Your Wrong of course,If you go in there Tuesday nights (quiz night0 it is full of people both young and old and its free to enter,On Thursdays and Saturdays they have groups on when it is full of students as well as the older generation,so get get your facts right before making assumptions.

sam said...

The truth is it's both. I've had some great nights at the wickham on quiz nights - friendly bar staff and happy customers.

At other times it can be a completely different place - some surly regulars who make it feel very unwelcoming.

It was a mistake not to change the windows, let some light in and let people see in to the pub. It would have brought in new people.

Also get rid of the jukebox please - it's terrible!

justin said...

i am not surprised alot of these people didn't realise there was a beer garden out the back -
why would you if you don't even go into the pub becasue it is very unwellcoming. i've only been in once and have'nt been back since...

Anonymous said...

What do you people want when you walk into a pub - a red carpet?

Pubs like the Wickham are as welcome as you want it to be - and if you find people there dont want to engage in conversation around where to source the best free range eggs then maybe you need to look internally as to why you're having such trouble fitting in.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I only started drinking regularly in the Wickham regularly last August following the demise of the Talbot.

I had been going in there on Tuesdays for the quiz for some 12 months previously.

Like all relationships this needs a bit of work from both sides.

I have to despair when people come on the blog and roundly denounce the pub on the strength of a single visit.

If like me you persevere, you'll find the place is absolutely fine most of the time, if not 100% perfect. But then where is?

Anonymous said...

Well, I have been going there occasionally over the years. Usually dragged down there by others. I have been in a position to size the place up and I can honestly say I have never liked it.

At best it is an old codgers pub. Favourite seats for regulars who have been there for a generation and are not fond of change...

If it remains the same it will go the way of the Cardinal, the pub that used to exist opposite, and is now flats.

It will be change or die.

The garden is quite an asset. Hopefully the changes to the wall will make it more inviting and accessible.

Richard said...

Having moved the Wickham is now my local. I'd not seen the wall pre-hole but I actually quite like it open to the street, strange as it may be. I can understand concerns if there was no planning permission to remove Victorian brickwork & I don't think railings will be necessary.

I've not felt any hostility or unwelcome - the staff have been friendly and open to a bit of banter. When the inside of a pub is dark & the bar is dotted with regulars some can find it intimidating at first - I don't think this should be confused with being threatening. I like drinking in the Wickham because it is a good pub with no prentions of being anything else - I can get good beer & play some pool without hurting my wallet. The management clearly listen to and appreciate their regulars, obviously there's a challenge now to convince others it's not a hostile place for newcomers. That they took the time to post on here is encouraging, if a little defensive.

I'm going to have to get down for the quiz sometime.

The Cat Man said...

As west brockley does not have a local boozer of its own, my choice is either the barge or the wickham arms or venture into deepest nunhead.

As a result, I have been to the wickam arms quite a few times before and after the new bit at the front.

As a gay man I have never felt at odds, the people seem to always be friendly and the pictues of old brockely (how it used to be) are fascinating.

They have a reasonable selection of beers/wines/english, yes, english ales.

I think some comments on here are just purely inverted snobbery. The mung bean eaters say they are all in favour of diversity but in actual fact the people they hate the most are those who are most different to them, especially the working class.

Richard said...

TM - exactly right to ask that a pub is not judged on one visit.

Anon 12:17 "Favourite seats for regulars" - nothing new there, in some pubs it would be considered charming. For years pubs didn't change much, it's only since the mini British food revolution of recent years that we've come to expect every pub, cafe, etc to evolve and fast. That the Wickham remains a traditional pub is no bad thing, but you would hope anyone who goes there and finds a seat not claimed by a regular can feel comfortable & enjoy their drink. Easier said than done maybe.

fred vest said...

"At best it is an old codgers pub"

are old codgers not entitled to pubs that they feel comfortable in though? they're highly unlikely to feel comfortable in a shiny new gastro pub where most on here would probably feel more comfortable in, so why this desire to deprive people who are not like you from having outlets to do things that they enjoy and to do that while not harming the enjoyment of anyone else?

old codgers may die, but new ones are always being produced to fill their shoes, so this attitude that all people who live in an area should be forced to indulge only in social activities in social spaces that painfully cool middle class middle aged london hipsters enjoy is rank intolerance and shows little respect for any concept of diversity or tolerance within a community

Tamsin said...

Sounds well worth invetigating. All too many traditional pubs are disappering. I hope they have a traditional attitude to music as well - i.e. none or very, very low. When I go to a pub I want to be able to talk to my companion(s).

On the wall - it is a pity about the original brickwork and the capping with terracotta red looks a bit unfortunate, but I can see that it would be a very good advertising ploy to open up the back area to being visible from the street and, once railings are in place it will, in my view, look OK.

Richard said...

Tamsin, there's a jukebox, which isn't my kind of thing and has been a bit loud for me, but never had a problem holding a conversation.

M said...

Right, so some people like the pub, others don't. What a shocker.
People on here seem to get far too wound up over trivial matters - it worries me slightly that some of you might be my neighbours!
I haven't been in - only because I live quite far away and not because of any codger prejudice - so I don't have an opinion.
Talking of pubs though - any news on the Talbot?

Headhunter said...

Good on the managers of the WA for responding however I have to say it comes across as a bit of a slap in the face. If potential customers are making comments about your business, surely you take note rather than tell them to sod off! Of course some of the comments are not worth reading, but others offer an insight into how the potential customer base in Brockley is changing.

I don't mind the odd night at the Wickham, and I find it friendly on the whole but my fear is that it is failing to change with the neighbourhood and still caters for a disappearing population in Brockley. I'd be sad to see it close down and turned into flats but this may be a distinct possibility if they fail to appeal to the potential new customer base in the area.

Love them or hate them, gastro pubs are what makes money and if it's a choice between the place becoming flats (like the Lord Wolseley which used to be opposite until around 2003) and it becoming a gastro pub whilst maintaining some of the charm it currently has, I would go for the latter.

People here have been asking for a decent pub in Brockers here for ages which I assume they feel the WA currently doesn't fulfill. Although this site doesn't represent the whole of Brockley surely some of the comments are worth considering?

Richard said...

I tried to tempt my company into looking at the Talbot but with no luck (they have their reasons)! If I had more than a penny & a smile to my name I would kill to get my hands on that pub, it's staggering nobody other than Honor Oak has expressed a serious interest (that we know of). I wonder if Punch have put an inflated price on it?

Anonymous said...

English ales eh? whatever next.

Richard said...

HH, I'm not sure every old pub needs to become a gastropub to suit changing tastes - I'm sure many would be happy with brighter, open pubs with a good, clean finish to the decor, toilets, etc. That, plus a good drinks selection and polished service would be enough for many in their local - food doesn't necessarily have to be part of the equation (smaller profits than booze usuaully).

This isn't to say WA doesn't do any of the above, just that Gastropubs aren't always the answer. To me true gastropubs (& I'm not fond of many of them) are ones with restaurant-esque food, table service, etc (and prices to match) - the nearest to us is probably the Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill.

Anonymous said...

do they serve red stripe?

Anonymous said...

All they need to do is stick some olives and grissini on the bar top

The Cat Man said...

I think you maybe able to get some dry-roasted nuts, if not, you will have to make do with the salted variety.

Anonymous said...

Some chinless wonder needs to pop down to do a review

"We sampled the pan fried pork scratchings - no indication on the packaging as to whether these were sourced from freedom farms"

fred vest said...

"If potential customers are making comments about your business, surely you take note rather than tell them to sod off!"

are the trendy gastro pubs & DJ bars likely to take note of comments made about their business from the the likes of the old codgers who socialise at the wickham?

If not, then why the hypocrisy in expecting other establishments to do so, if yes then why aren't gastro pubs making more of an effort to make themselves appealing & welcoming to the potential customer base of old codgerism?

and surely taking note of the comments of your existing clientelle as to attitude to change(as the proprietors of the wickham point out they have done) is more important than taking comments from this group of 'potential customers' who rarely set foot inside the place

if a load of 'potential' posters to this blog started demanding it be changed in various ways and done things diferently and focussed on different things before they actually started reading it/posting on it, would their comments be given priority over the old codgers who have been here for years? what reaction would the old codgers from here have if this change was forced on them from a group of people who had contributed little or nothing to it over the years?

If the owners of the wickham are able to continue running their pub in the way that they do and the majority of their clientelle are in favour of this, then what's the problem - there's plenty of other places for the blow in's to colonise/socially cleanse

Tyrwhitt Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fred vest said...

"I think you maybe able to get some dry-roasted nuts, if not, you will have to make do with the salted variety"

so there's a pretty good chance you'll get your nuts either way?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Clearly my comment on the rumours that the Talbot has now been bought by the Prince Regent in Herne Hill passed by most people.

Having said that I also heard that the bid had been refused by Punch because it wasn't enough (rumour said £350K).

From a practical standpoint still no sign of anything happening to the building.

The Cat Man said...

I always get the nuts I want!

Richard said...

Apologies TM, I had noticed the rumour, but I thought we'd have heard more by now if it were true.

£350k to buy?!

M said...

Thanks TM - such a shame. I agree with Richard - that pub could do really well in the right hands.
I hereby pledge to spend AT LEAST a tenner a week in there if it reopens!
There, that should get the ball rolling...

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Rumour was that £350K was offered for the freehold, but Punch were holding out for £400K.

Anonymous said...

Went past this morning and the railings are in - they're currently red and a functional design which isn't particularly sympathetic to area. That said, it's nice to be able to see into the garden and I've always found the Wickham to be a reliable local - never felt intimidated or unwelcome.

The Cat Man said...

Richard, cant you set up a decent bar west-side? We are craving for a decent boozer! My Neighbours all say the same!

Richard said...

Wow, I know very little about the going rate for pubs but £400k doesn't sound like much at all! By the sounds of things any new owner would need to spend a small fortune on a refurb though.

fred vest said...

"I always get the nuts I want!"

well i suppose if you're paying for them....

Brockley Jon said...

In response to some of the WA haters above, it's a pub that suits the market. It's not a trendy pub, never will be - and admirably, they don't want it to be.

Whilst most of us lot on here are twenty or thirtysomethings, well accustomed to gastros and trendy music pubs like those in town, there is still a huge market in Brockers of middle aged and older gents who love pubs like the Wickham. They've already lost most of their locals, so I'm not going to take the Wickham away from them. There are enough 'young' pubs for all of us in Dulwich, Greenwich and New Cross.

At the end of the day, when I go to the Wickham all I want to do is drink beer and socialise - I don't need fancy decor, fancy food, or DJs. It's a place to go for a chat with some friends, to while some time, and to have some unpretentious fun (quiz, jazz night, etc).

If you don't like the style of it, go to Jam Circus or The Royal Albert, but don't slag it off just for being what it is.

As for the jukebox, it's only as good as the music you put on it! Last play (a few months ago), it was full of up to date stuff, and it was free.

Richard said...

Wow, the jukebox is free? Jon,I barely trust my own taste, let alone that of others! Personal taste, no jukeboxes for me.

Everything you said is exactly right - they cater to their chosen customer base and it's inevitable that some won't like it (I've had my fair share of people not approving of Jam Circus, they're looking for something else, not a problem). And no, they don't need fancy food & fancy decor to be a good pub & to keep their customers happy - a pub for a drink and a chat.

I think the main reason why I like WA is because most of the time we're not dealing with the same target market or running the same kind of pub - I don't have to compare every last detail to Jam Circus!

Cat Man, I'd love to have my own pub anywhere, but I'm young & poor still, give it a few years at least. Thank you, though!

Comment said...

I agree with you said there Brockley Jon but the place does unfortunately too often smell of urine. I don't know whether is an individual or the carpet or what but it's an unnecessary unpleasantness.

Wipe yer cock on a beer mat said...

:-(

M said...

I blame the smoking ban! Pubs used to smell of fags and beer but now they (often) smell of piss and/or cleaning fluids.*
Still, I've quit smoking partly because of the ban so it's not all bad.

* I exclude Jam Circus from this generalisation - it's always fragrant!

Richard said...

Fragrant, nice, thank you. I'm not the smell of cigarette smoke was much better than the smells in some places now. I remember the first time I went to a club in York after the ban & it smelt like football changing rooms, horrible.

Headhunter said...

Fred Vest - I'm not saying they should ignore their exisiting customer base (be that old codgers or not), but that they could embrace new Brockley as well, be that by offering food or simply by being a little braver with the refurb. There's surely so much money to be tapped into. I'm just chucking my two penn'th in having heard one of the bar staff their fretting that they don't have enough customers, so I'm guessing that the existing client base they are so loyal to si not actually paying that well.

Headhunter said...

And may I say that my comments are just that - comments, before the vitriol flies. I am not angry with the Wickham, not trying to be aggressive and I don't wish them to alienate their existing client base and I haven't got a hidden agenda.

In short I am not a "WA hater", just offering my point of view which can be read and discarded. I'm not an experienced pub landlord so take what I say in whatever way you like...

The Cat Man said...

Hmm, I could do with being paid more money, but for some I am being paid too much.

...I think the bar staff have a vested interested to complain that they want more customers....

when is brockley getting a gay pub? The Jam Circus is good and theres a particularly cute guy working there...

The Cat Man said...

...but my point is brockley should have one! Its full of them!

Brockley Jon said...

I know, HH, don't worry. It was really the views of one (or more) anonymouses that got me going! ;)

mintness said...

Is the quiz at the Wickham any cop? We've been to the one at the Brockley Jack a few times, but the questions seem to be straight from a quiz book/website and backed up with little in the way of actual savvy - a recent example being when the poor fella didn't realise that Pluto had been declassified as a planet...

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

The standard of the quiz at the Wickham is in the hands of the customers. This is because the contestants take turns in setting it.

I've done it three or four times either as part of a pair or on my own.

So try taking part and if its not hard enough for you set it yourself.

You get a fee paid in beer tokens for undertaking the roll of quizmaster by the way - 5 pints at the last count.

Richard said...

TM, I'd heard the quiz was pretty tough, that might be why! I might try to get down tomorrow night with my housemate.

HH - As for continuing to satisfy the regulars while embracing new Brockley, that's exactly it isn't it. Every landlord would like to make a little more and WA's most likely way is to encourage more new customers, while keeping the character liked by the current crop of regulars. What with the quiz, live music, Brockley Max, commenting on here, that sounds like what they are trying to do. Whether or not everybody agrees with the results is a matter of opinion.

Tamsin said...

Now that does sound fun. I've ideas for quizzes and my other half would like to do one with some real science questions...
Worth attending a few to get in on that particular game.

Anonymous said...

There are also quiz nights at the Ladywell Tavern - in fact there's something on there most nights, and there's an art gallery out the back that has good exhibitions.

mintness said...

TM - Great, I like the sound of that already! We used to be part of the quiz-setting customer posse at a place near Charing Cross and it keeps things a lot more interesting when you don't have the same quizmaster week in, week out. Will definitely try it out some time soon then.

Anonymous said...

Yes but there's an entry fee at the ladywell tavern,WA is free to enter with beer prizes for winners and runners up and sandwiches at half time

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Its a shame the Ladywell and Wickham quizes clash as I would like to try the Ladywell one.

What is the entry fee and the prizes down there, does any one know?

patrick1971 said...

Last time I did the quiz at the Ladywell Tavern, the quizmaster was hardly out of short trousers and proudly informed us that Poland had a coastline on the Adriatic Sea. A howl of outrage from almost every table was brushed off with "but that's what the book says", and it took someone with an iPhone and Google Maps to convince him...

Brockley Jon said...

A word of warning for anyone considering being quizmaster at the Wickham, it's no picnic (although yes, there are sandwiches). The standard is pretty high, and the regular quiz teams (there are a few that are there every week, the most prolific being the Jolly Jellyfishes) have come to expect a certain format to the quiz, and certain amount of interllect required to take part! Be prepared for a fair bit of heckling, and some gentle ribbing, but it's all in good fun.

Anonymous said...

If you do the quiz your entitled to do any questions you like,Whether it be 1 + 1 or the cube root of 768 surely.There not gangsters.

Tressilliana said...

I just wanted to say what a good title, Nick! Have you thought of a career move to writing the headlines for The Sun?

justin said...

was it the pub landlord that posted earlier on and referred to drug use in their pub ! nice image for a family boozer. who was it that said the pub was full of rascals? sounds about right to me.

by the way what happens if you fancy a drink on a quiz night - is it compulsory to take park or something? the way you people are going on it sounds like the best thing since sliced bread

mintness said...

Well I doubt they'd force you. Besides, if it's free to enter, you can just take an answer sheet and amuse yourself by filling in comedy answers all night. :-)

Anonymous said...

no justin you dont have to take a park ? theres a garden out the back

patrick1971 said...

There's a garden at the back of the Wickham? I had no idea; maybe they should knock part of the back wall down so people can see that there's a garden there.

Brockley Nick said...

Thank you Tressilliana.

When I was a kid, my dad would always refer to James Bond as James Bindweed and chuckle to himself as his family glared at him for cracking the same lame gag over and over again.

Well, I suppose we all grow in to our parents and so I find myself squeezing puns and quotes uncomfortably in to every article that I can - for no-one's amusement but my own. Still, glad you liked it!

The Oracle said...

I was concerned about the hole in the wall; chiefly due to the precedent of non-compliance with the Brockley Conservatioon Area regualtions, rather than the way it looks.

The supplementary planning document was adopted by the Mayor and Cabinet on 14 December 2005. The Article 4(2) direction was made on 25 January 2006. Residents were informed in writing of the Article 4 direction and each household was sent a publication. Presumably if a resident had any difficulty in complying, the time to object was before the Article 4 Direction was being considered.
Those who do not agree with it can also live outside the BCA.

In addition, LEWISHAM SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING DOCUMENT - BROCKLEY CONSERVATION AREA.
BOUNDARY WALLS is relevant. It states:

"Garden walls to the front and sides of houses form an intrinsic part of the character of the
area and should be maintained accordingly. Walls should be built using traditional methods
and materials to complement the surrounding architecture. Expansion joints and modern bricks
are not acceptable. Original front garden walls are rare in the conservation area and so those
which remain are valuable to the area as a whole. New walls should copy a suitable original style from the same street – yellow stock brick and heavy stone copings are typical."

This does not bode well for the owner of the Wickham, who I'm certain has actually only tried to do that which some posting here have wanted him to do, open it up to family's and in some part 'gentrify'. Like it or loathe it he has not tried to knowingly do the area down.

For my part, if he open those windows up too, then I'll look the other way. [Oh and move that quiz to its own room rather than the whole pub.)

If he did slap an unruly drinker - then he's also got my vote.

The Talbot pub owner's wanted 400k for the freehold, but this figure proved too much for the Honor Oak owners who were interested in it. Although it doesn't sound a lot the building is in huge disrepair.

Anonymous said...

"chiefly due to the precedent of non-compliance with the Brockley Conservatioon Area regualtions, rather than the way it looks."Says it all really.

Isar Lawyers Cohen and Blythe said...

We represent the owner of the van pictured by the hole in the wall.

Our client had absolutley nothing to do with the removal of any brickworks.

Under the Data Protection's Act the taker of this data, and this site's owners, have interfered with and infringed the human rights of our client. Whose previous good character we may not speak of but we will bring to the court's attention that he is (i) an Englishman, and, (ii) working class since magna carta.

Now to our claim, should it succeed, and we believe it will (possibly):

Basher was not visiting the pub for the two hours alleged. He is a tea-totalling bible-basher, hence the name, and a father of six. (To five different women.)

Our client will now commence a legally aidded legal action against every member of this site wot has read the licence plate number. (Oops. Of course we meant 'what'.)

Therefore, and notwithstanding, etc, we would like addresses for the following posters who are jointly and severally liable in this and other actions. The usual suspects are:

Nick
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
Anonymous said
The Cat Man

The latter because our senior partner thinks he's purrrrrfect.

fred vest said...

"Garden walls to the front and sides of houses form an intrinsic part of the character of the
area and should....."

i thought the wickham was a pub?

Anonymous said...

Please Mr Vest, are we really here to split hairs?

;)

Anonymous said...

some strange posts here: maybe it needs a bit more moderating.

The W
is a great pub - it has good ales and has live music both of which are less common than they once were so the pub should be applauded for this.
As to the other stuff if it works it works if it doesn't it doesn't but it will still be a good pub either way.
Jim

Isar Lawyers Cohen and Blythe said... said...

We no longer represent the owner of the van. He sacked us after this site's owners did a Google Street View and covered things up.

However...

We now represent the owner of the house represented in that picture of the missing wall. (The white one at left.) Our client is unhappy because this photograph clearly shows his bedroom window, and him standing naked in it.

Legal action may be prevented by the following:

i) remove this image from the shot and/or:
ii) immediately replace the wall, or.
iii)don't let his wife see it.

The Cat Man said...

I happen to know the owners of that said house, very nice people indeed.

The house used to have a plastering shop at the ground floor - the front room still has a completely over the top onate hand plastered ceiling, as the trade man would of then wanted to show off his trade to new customers!

justin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fred vest said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You should know the answer to that one.

M said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Cat Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
justin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Cat Man said...

*sigh*

A friend disunited said...

Never mind all that tut, its the quiz tonight and I'm looking for some decent competition.

My team has won for the past three weeks in row and we need someone to challenge us!

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the quiz. it's too dominant!

fred vest said...

"Justin, I find that remark homophobic, not to mention disgusting and it is a shame you chosen to say such a thing"

he probably thinks all gays are paedophiles as well

Brockley Nick said...

Perhaps we can draw a line under the non-Wickham discussion at this point?

Comment said...

The planning permission to demolish a Victorian wall is the question here.
Has it been sought and has it been given?

If those red bricks have been approved by the planning dept, well I will at least will have confirmation about what I suspected about that department.

Anonymous said...

Local councillors - please raise this appalling eyesore at the next relevant meeting.

Pubowners/landlords - please have a think about how you present yourselves to the public when writing on eg blogs like this. Your post comes across as arrogant and with absolutely no respect whatsoever for the neighbourhood you seek to serve. It also gives the impression you have no interest in meeting customer needs. All of this may be inaccurate and not at all what you want to convery but it is what your post "said" to me.

As I say, maybe worth a moment's reflection?

LEWISHAM PANNING said...

Thought we should just piggyback on this one.

We have had a several reports in relation to the wall.

The Highways Department reported that the loss of a few bricks 'is unlikely to impact on traffic and is unobjectionable in principle'.

The Early Years Team does not see any problem with children being 'in line of sight of virtual or sitting drinkers' and welcomes them joining in. 'Responsible drinking and families go hand in hand.'

The Head of Regeneration stated, over a bottle of wine, 'Planning regulations are not enforceable. Unless it's in Telegraph Hill.'

Anonymous said...

Are you not allowed to have satellite dishes in view in the conservation area? When sitting outside the front of the WA i could count 10 of them.A bit more unsightly than a wall with railings in the middle dont you think.

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, my good friend anonymous, but it's a wall today and the whole of Lewisham tomorrow. We have to stop this defiance of the will of the many by the overdominant will of the few. If I know that Ted O'Hara, he's already putting plans in place to display that summer barbecue of his. He'll soon have you leaping over those railings. That and the gorgeous new barstaff he's also got planned. He's a crafty old goat is Teddy.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Comment - I think you are on the wrong thread...........

See you all for tonight's quiz. You can ask the Landlord(s) in person what other exciting plans they have for the Wickham Arms.

Heinekinstein said...

Hopefully one of those 'exciting plans' is to get rid of the quiz. As a nervous person I find it hard to walks in there with all those drinkers staring... at quiz sheets. VERY UNNERVING. Then there's all that shouting: What's the speed of light in a vacuum.
Me: fast, innit?

Richard said...

Definitely doing the quiz tonight, pretty excited having not done one for about 2 years. Should get a thorough trouncing

Anonymous said...

Stop! Think! What about the Brockley Builder!

Every homeowner knows that the Brockley builder does two things in his day (besides fart and drink tea that is), turns up late, then leaves early. (Usually for materials which can only be sourced strangely - at the Wickham Arms.) In the past a hard-working builder could hide inside the pub. But then comes the smoke ban an' it's out back in the walled garden for one or two or three hundred fags.

NOW - STREWTH - Who's that I can see through those railings?

Anonymous said...

The Wickham is a great pub - good music, great beer. But such speculation over something trivial is not approptiate so I reckon this story should be deleted. The Wickham is my favourite pub in the neighbourhood - a positive news story for the community is fine and more to the ethos of this site.
J

A friend disunited said...

Should have kept my mouth shut we only came third!

Well played to the winners and hope you enjoyed it Richard

See you all again next week.

The Oracle said...

I've taken a quick straw poll on this with school parents - surpisingly ALL were in support of seeing inside the garden. Many said that they were looking forward to using it in summer, but had not done so before.

A balanced view said...

The majority of gardens had railings, which were taken out at the outbreak of the 2nd World War to be used in munitions. They were later found to be inferior material and dumped in the English Channel.

The whole of Manor Avenue, presumably Upper Brockley Road, and Ashby Road, were left with empty spaces leading onto their gardens.

After the end of the War, due to a shortage of materials, bricks or wood were used in place of metal railings. The railings predate brick.

My advice to the owner is to make a retrospective planning application pointing out a part return to that which was there in the first place, the improved family usage, and the display of flowers and greenery.

There are far more important issues in the immediate vicinity, the planned mental health unit, the planned nursery, the increased littering of front gardens of Manor Avenue by some housing association tenants, and bins which are left out 24/7.

fabhat said...

A balanced view - It's true there were railings taken out during the war - however these were generally in front gardens, and wouldn't have been used on the side walls. From the look of the bricks, the wall is the same age as similar walls in the area, and probably original. If original bricks had been used to edge the hole, rather than new bright red bricks it would look a lot better and fit with the existing area. What i don't understand is that there is a massive solid metal gate at the back of the garden of the Wickham that leads onto the corner of Ashby Road and Mews. Why not turn that into a gate with railings, so the garden is clearly visible from the street and allowing families to go straight into the back garden without going through the pub?

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I have to disagree with your conclusion fab-hat. If you look at the bricks some are yellow faced, some are white, some are black. This is typical of "second hand" stocks which have been used in a wall before:
Black - facing out get covered in Victorian Soot
Yellow - built in they retain their natural colour
White - facing in and either painted or plastered with remnants of the finish remaining.

Most Victrian Garden walls have by now fallen over. Because they are exposed both sides to the weather they fail much more prematurely than walls that enclose buildings.

The evidence is that the wall was probably rebuilt post WW2 when there were lots of second hand stocks about.

Surveying lesson over.

fabhat said...

TM - I bow to your surveying knowledge re the second hand bricks etc. But if you are saying all the garden walls have been replaced at various times, then the Wickham's wall is still similar in appearance to the surrounding area - but with the addition of the red bricks it now stands out as non original. I also think that a side wall would never have been railings as "a balanced view" suggested as railings were mostly used for front gardens.

Headhunter said...

If you wander along Manor Ave you can see that some of the original railings are still in place and in front of many other houses you can see the original holes where the Victorian railings would have been. Not all buildings were fronted by railings though and it's highly doubtful that there would ever have been railings alongside the Wickham garden

Anonymous said...

There is now

A balanced view said...

Manor Avenue had railing in 1937. (I have seen a photograph of it.) Even the sides of gardens (at the front)had railings, though I'm sure some owners may have either built walls or put up railings since.
I also a recall an early drawing of the Wickham held at the publicly library showing railings at its side but I may be wrong.
But my point is that even if the houses had walls, a public house need not have them.

Ed said...

Isn't is a shame the covenants don't exist to ensure uniformity of front gardens and shop frontages? Look at old photos of most London streets and you will see the benefits. A Sarah Beeney (?) TV show a few years back did whole streets and uniformity was one of the key ingredients in improving the street aesthetically (and of course most importantly to many BC readers improving value).

Headhunter said...

Balanced View - I know, I was agreeing that there were railings along Manor Ave, I doubt there were along the side of the Wickham Arms though. Where did you see the 1937 photos of Manor Ave? I have seen old photos of Breakspears, Tressillian, Wickham and I think Tyrwhitt but never Manor Ave

A balanced view said...

It was in the possession of a neighbour. It was then called 'Manor Road', and had just two cars in it. It was quite stunning.I'm sure though that there were also railings around the pub, which predates many of the houses.

The Wickham said...

We feel that we should respond to some of the criticisms received following our last post.

At no point have we meant to offend or upset residents, or any of our present and (hopefully) future patrons. However, we have found some of the claims posted here to be offensive and rather hurtful, so please understand that when criticism is aired in this manner then a response, often reacted to on the spur of the moment, may in its nature be equally as strong. But it also hides the concerns we have for the reputation of our pub. We know that some of you may not share in our opinion on this but we ask that you respect that we are undertaking these changes during financially difficult times for many.

We would also like to correct some misconceptions about our actions in undertaking what we believed were necessary improvements.

Some time back we did lay down a series of plans for changing the pub, and which the authors of this site gave us the opportunity to present to you. Sadly, due to the unexpected financial crisis, we could not undertake such a costly conversion - one which many of you posting here no doubt would have loved to have seen. But, much as we would have wished to have carried out these 'improvements', some of our regular customers also had views that needed to be taken into consideration.

This, added with financial constraints, proved quite a challenge. In fact we set about finding unique ways to make the experience at the Wickham more enjoyable. (Yes, we do think of such concerns as your successful enjoyment is our success too.) However, we would like to assure you that the change was only undertaken in order to open up the garden area to families and other patrons who may wish to use it, and yet did not know of its existence as signage is often ignored.

Also, please be reassured, planning considerations are in hand to resolve this issue.

Beside the above, there are more changes to follow and we hope that you will agree that these will enhance the garden area and the pub itself.

These are:

1) the children's sandpit & playground area will be completed by Monday 18 May, weather permitting.
2) Play bark chipping will be laid down in certain areas.
3) New bedding plants will be laid and viewed from the roadside.
4) The smoking area will be decked with new plants to make this a happier outdoor experience for smokers.

One poster has asked why we could not allow families in from a back 'gated' area. This would have meant children entering and exiting the pub grounds onto a busy industrial mews, added to which security was also an issue.

We hope that this answers many of your queries and addresses your concerns with regards to any changes we have made and intend making. We also trust that if you have any complaints about the services we offer (or any suggestions for improvements) that you visit the pub and share some ideas over a friendly pint. Certainly we would like to see you at the Brockley Max festivities when we will have the old barbecue going and a few acts performing too.

All best wishes,

Ted & Paul O'Hara

Anonymous said...

"few acts performing too"

a bit of White Hart action then?

Anonymous said...

Landlords, Thank you for your courteous reply to ym ealier post. Certainly, we ALL want to see a thriving fun pub with good events going on, which we can enjoy and you can make a bit of money from. Equally we all know the disastrous mess the country's in and how many small businesses are hurting, not to mention the stress you are probably under.

(A propos this, I am making a big effort to get down to Magi and support them more. It's a beautiful shop with many things you cannot get elsewhere.)

HOWEVER, this wall is an utter mess and needs to be rebuilt asap. It should never have been removed and, given that you know you are based in a CA, I have no idea what you were thinking of. Apart from the legal and aesthetic positions, it is deserately dangerous for these children you purport to be trying to accommodate. No parent will be able to relax for a minute with a low wall that children can view as challenge and jump over.

Tamsin said...

But there are - or are going to be - railings there.
It's just the red bricks that are aesthetically distressing.

Brockley Kate said...

Fair play to the O'Haras for their calm and reasonable response!

It doesn't change my view of the wall situation, I'm afraid, but it does make me think very favourably of the pub and its staff. I hope the wall situation can be resolved in a positive way, as I'm sure we're all interested in maintaining the lovely look of Brockley.

Anonymous said...

I have taken my kids to this pub garden before over the last few years and have found the reception in the pub nothing but welcoming. I personally think it is a positive addition to the area. The pub is making an effort to remain loyal to it's current customers but also attract new ones and I don't think they will please everyone. They are in a no-win situation and basically have to go by their own judgement what people ask for.
They have responded personally on this blog explaining why they are doing it - that is alot more than most pub landlords would do!
They have the opportunity to get the pub on the map (and the area) and are doing what they think is right.

justmyopinion said...

Good for Wickham arms! with traditional pubs closing at a rate of seven a day on average, anything to preserve the local boozer should be commended within reason. Noted conservation area and they should've of applied for planning permission before hand and the red bricks a bit dodgy but had they not no doubt they'd of been stopped in their tracks and live a long drawn out death before being converted into yet another block of uninspiring flat conversions.

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