The Wickham Arms - plans for the future

The management of the Wickham Arms have very courteously posted a detailed description of their plans to improve the pub on this thread about changes to their garden wall.

Running a successful pub in a quiet street in the midst of a recession which is contributing to the mass closure of pubs up and down the country is no easy task. It must be a tough balancing act to keep loyal customers happy while appealing to the wider community. The Wickham Arms has - in our view - pulled it off pretty well. It remains an authentic local boozer, with plenty of character and a dedicated clientele. But on many nights, when it hosts music and pub quizzes, the place is heaving, pulling in a broad cross-section of the local community. The staff have always provided a warm welcome and we've had some great nights there - including our first-ever Brockely Central drinks.

However, we've always felt there was room for improvement - some changes that could turn a good pub in to a great one and the Wickham Arms team has been working hard for two years to make improvements.

So we're delighted to learn that incremental changes are planned, which will broaden its appeal and make it a better asset for the community. Here's what they say:

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.

These are the kind of small-scale improvements which should keep everyone happy.

24 comments:

Paddyom said...

Good on you! I have never been but think the pub sounds like a progressive engaging member of the local business community - I for one will be rounding up my mates and giving the WA a try :) PS - only one suggestion which already may be redundant...is that the WA should get involved with the Brockley Max, St Georges Day and other community events... well done!

Anonymous said...

There's always a chance that 'publicity' for local businesses (or other issues) on this blog could do more harm than good, but I think it's safe to say that the level of opinion here comes from a hard(ish) core of perhaps a few dozen, which in no way is a fair cross-section of the population of the area that it strives to cover.

liz said...

Can we stick to talking about the pub and these plans please?

Richard Elliot said...

Does anyone know the latest on the Talbot?

Brockley Jon said...

Richard, I hope that comment was tongue in cheek, following Liz's!?

I'd like to thank the Wickham for taking the time to let us know about their plans.

It's possibly the first place I've ever truly been able to call my local, and I've spent many memorable nights there. The improvements all sound great, and opening it up to more families will be a real positive step.

If I could change one thing, for me, it's the way the pool room (and adjoining garden) is shut off from the main bar via a closed door. This makes it a bit difficult to get out to the garden - perhaps this is something they'd consider whilst making the improvements, or perhaps they've changed it already!

On the Brockley Max subject, I see they are listed for a couple of events on the program, so that's that box checked! Good on 'em. We'll be posting more news on the Max in due course.

spincat said...

Til the wall was removed, I didn't know that they had a garden - I've always used the front part of the pub to sit out. It is a nice place to sit out on this pretty street, and I appreciate the fact that they have made quite a nice area for smokers there. So many pubs haven't bothered to do much, or have even made outdoor areas non-smoking (yes, you Brockley Jack!).

Val said...

Good on the Wickham Arms team. I've found the bullying nature of some posters quite vulgar. Well done though for reacting quite positively to concerns. I will be supporting the 'hole in the secret garden wall'.

Richard Elliot said...

@ Brockley Jon - it was a question meant with the best intent.

Wasn't trying to veer the thread off topic. It was still pub related, although admittedly a different pub, so perhaps not that appropriate really....

Bea said...

Glad there is an emphasis on children in the garden - will definitely be heading that way for a drink with friends when the weather picks up.

Currently there is nowhere in Brockley (that I am aware of) that caters to kids needs whilst the parents are trying to have a drink too!

Brockley Jon said...

It's ok Richard, no worries, just thought it was great timing! ;)

Comment said...

I think the Wickham Arms will be all the better for the discussions in the thread. Which have raised it's profile, more people know about the quiz, rallied it's supporters. Criticism whilst potentially hurtful is often an opportunity for learning.

Anonymous said...

It seems what started as a negative thread has turned into something positive,Well done all concerned.

Ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Headhunter said...

Sorry but I have to say that I hope the WA doesn't become too child friendly. I'm fine with a few kids but went to the Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich a couple of weeks ago and it was like a bloody creche, there were screaming, crying kids running all over the place, toys on the floor etc. Seriously kids must have made up at least half of the people in the pub and a lot of them were incredibly noisy.

Anonymous said...

You right hopefully weather permitting kids will be mostly in the garden.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

For anyone who is new to the Wickham or wants to try it again, I would recommend Saturday or Thursday when Live Music is on as this attracts a lively mixed crowd.

This Saturday "We Ghosts" feature whilst next Thursday is the "Les is Morechestra", who altenate on Thursdays with "Paul Astles and Bobby Valentino."

Its Karaoke tonight but personally I can't claim to be a fan of that.

Anonymous said...

From Headhunter to Childcatcher.

Tamsin said...

Start up a local branch of the Herod Society?

Richard said...

Housemate & I gave up on the quiz, no knowledge of TV or film before 1990 (this week's topic) & played pool instead. Would be good if the speaker in the pool room could be turned off for the quiz so you can choose if you want to hear it or not. Will definitely be down another time though, see if we can't actually answer 1 or 2

The Cat Man said...

The annoying thing that I find is that I only hear about these events (like the Sat night music etc..) via. this blog. However, when the blog articles have been replaced with other blog articles, I often forget when these events take place.

Is there a way we could have a brockley central calender of events? I.e. Wickham Arms - Live Music Thurs and Sat, Open Days, etc...

There is so much I want to do/explore in Brockley but I do not have the mental capacity to remember eveything! It would be great if it was possible to log on here, say a week in advance, and plan what to do in the coming week.

The developments at the Wickham Arms are very positive.

Headhunter said...

I think the WA's events are the same every week, Fri night is karaoke, Tue night is quiz night, Thu (I think) is jazz. They've got a board outside with all the events on.

Anonymous said...

Your right HH,Tuesday quiz,Thursday music ( jazz alternate weeks ) and Music Saturdays,Also Shedload Of Love play the last Sunday of every month.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I would hardly call either of the two Thursday bands "Jazz" in the traditional sense although I suppose Les's band has Jazzy/Bluesy roots.

The Saturday spot varies week by week but is mainly blues orientated. I will try and get Mark the orgainser to post the band programme on here so TCM can update his diary.

Incidentally Shed Load of Love are Les's band with Paul singing and couple of other musicians. They then magically transform on Tuesdays into the Jolly Jelly fish quiz team....

Can't keep some people away.

drakefell debaser said...

Visited the Wickham on Saturday and it was busy with all sorts of people both young and old having a good Saturday night out.

The staff were very pleasant, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and apart from the odd venture into the mens loo, I didn’t smell any piss.

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