The Guardian on Brockley: Villagey, Neighbourly, Green, Safe, Well Connected

The Guardian's reached its verdict on Brockley. And it has taken the "greater Brockley" concept to its practical limits, definining South East London as basically Brockley, with a bit of Nunhead and East Dulwich chucked in.

It's an odd piece, that repeats Dyckhoff's cut and shunt approach to South East London geography and defies convention by not mentioning the East London Line. On the other hand, it's exceptionally positive and does at least live up to expectations by opening with the customary description of the area as a lost curio. Nice too, to see a couple of BCers representing in the "From the Streets" section. Good work.

Here's the opening:

Amazing things, driving lessons. They take you to hitherto unexplored parts of this planet. Like Nunhead, Honor Oak Park, Brockley and Ladywell. I knew such lands ­existed – they're always in the property ­sections of the papers, goading twentysomethings to move where the air is fresh, prices reasonable, green space ­plentiful and the streets reasonably safe. And they're right. It's a pocket of niceness with decent boozers, villagey bits, parks everywhere and good neighbour­liness. Plus good schools, ideal for young families. And the magni­ficent Rivoli Ballroom at Crofton Park for Saturday night hops when the baby­sitter's round. Truly a lost land: I thought London had squeezed such places till the pips squeaked.

69 comments:

Brockley Jon said...

Ooh, first comment! Yep, that's a massive area to take in - don't see how you can really offer any useful advice when you spread your search that wide.

Stanstead Road is the south circular - phew, glad you told me, would never have known ;)

Shame they didn't big up any of the Brockley pubs. The Herne is nice though.

Anonymous said...

I was first but am a slow typer.

Hither Green is seen as part of Brockley?

Mind you, to me Dulwich (West, The Village) is miles away from East Dulwich.

Tressilliana said...

Let's face it, for many people the map of London might as well say 'here be dragons' over SE London. They are fixated on being on the tube map and having an 0207 dialling code (for those who still have a landline). I've met people who think you will be mugged as you step off the train. Irritating, but articles like this Guardian one are the drip, drip that might gradually erode that view.

Anonymous said...

am I missing something? The article was titled let's move to SE LOndon. Not Let's move to Brockley.As much as I like Brockley, there ARE other parts of SE London out there.

Tressilliana said...

The original request for readers' views did say it would be about Brockley. Clearly someone who had looked at a map read the final article and said 'you can't get away with calling that an article about Brockley'.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see. Thanks for clarifying.

SLS said...

Why do we care about these things? It's not exactly an accurate portrayal of the area.

Tamsin said...

Hey, following links back - I was looking at places like Bridgenorth which I've visited - he's also done Dalston. He must be stalking BC's family!
dalston

M said...

The article in the actual magazine is titled 'Let's Move To... Nunhead, Honor Oak Park, Brockley & Ladywell, south-east London'. The online version is a bit more general for some reason.
Definitely an odd piece that would have benefited from more focus but it is a rave review and all publicity is good IMO.

Anonymous said...

How does the publicity help the area?

Monkeyboy said...

Well it will hopefully reduce questions about why I would want to live in sarf east london...I wouldn't mind but a mate from Acton asked me that. I used to live in Acton, it's better here - honest

M said...

I didn't say it would but I for one am sick of having to explain to people where Brockley is. It's a great area and I'd like it to be better known as such.

Tamsin said...

I'm with anon. We are well off, our children might have a chance of buying a flat in the area, why worry about what others think.

M said...

You may be well off but why not share the love?
A colleague of mine was bemoaning the price of property in London just the other week so I told him about Brockley. He'd never heard of it but checked it out and is now considering buying here.
Presumably I should have kept quiet?

Tamsin said...

Not at all - but let's spread the good news personally to our friends and relatives rather than having journalists inaccurately spread the word and talk up the prices.

Charlie said...

Look Tamsin it's business, I am so grateful to Nick and the others for pumping up this area because I need to move out and the only way I can do that is if people want to buy here. I need to sell my c-area flat for 30-40% more than I paid 5 years ago, so I welcome these pieces, because it means I'm more likely to achieve my asking price.

M said...

Isn't 'spreading the word' partly what this blog is for (although not 'inaccurately', I hasten to add!)?
I'm happy for everyone to know what a lovely place Brockley is and for people to come here and help make it even better, however they heard about it.

Anonymous said...

On a profoundly childish level I just want NORTH LONDONERS to stop looking down their noses at south east london, particularly when it is so much nicer and actually not that difficult to get to.

Headhunter said...

Good to see our are discussed in a major national paper but "south east London" is a massive area to encompass! I very much doubt the Guardian would ever write an article entitled "Let's move to North West London", it would be far more specific, focused on Queen's Park or somewhere around a Tube stop. As we all know, the lack of Tube down here means we are often lumped together in 1 generic mass. Still, as far as I'm concerned, publicity is good.

Tamsin said...

But don't we get an equally childish sense of superiority - that they don't know what they are missing, and that we can get a terrace house and garden for what they would spend on buying a flat?

That's what I want to keep.

SLS said...

North London will always look down on South London and South London will always look back with a bemused insouciant smile.

Sue said...

"the Catford end of Brockley"?! is he referring to Ladywell or Honor Oak here? HARUMPH!

Other than that, not a bad article bigging up the local area, and second mention of Ladywell in the Guardian within the last few months (Fenerbahce Launderette got a mention on Dave Hill's blog a few months back, as one of the few (the only?!) launderettes in London named after a Turkish football team . . .).

Tressillian James said...

Surely the Catford End is Brockley Rise and around Blythe Hill.

I also like to see the glowing words about this area...

Lou Baker said...

Brockley: less crap than some bits of London.

Anonymous said...

Errrrm surely the Catford side of Brockley is well, the Catford side of Brockley?! South east Brockley! Have a gander at googlemaps.

Anonymous said...

Lou, you really should see soemone about this self loathing. It's not healthy.

Blunderbuss said...

@Charlie
'I need to sell my flat for 40% more than I paid for it 5 years ago'

I really really hope you don't get what you want, as gimps like you seem to typify a section of locals that bought cheapish, morgaged up your arse and want to try and cash in any which way, to ship out to a 'better part of town'. I thought the crash had put pay to the property speculating morons.

Thankfully a lot of people are interested in creating a better area for their enjoyment not for how much it adds to their asking price...

Tamsin said...

Those were rather my thoughts - any area wants continuity and commitment. Really sad that a nice couple a few doors down for us needed a bigger place than their one bed flat when having a second child but could only afford to buy in one of the new developments in Deptford/New Cross, so we lost them.

But be charitable, perhaps he needs to move to get closer to his aging parents.

The Cat Man said...

I don't see the point in ladywell, its just basically part of brockley. This article hasn't even mentioned the word 'mung' how weird is that

Anonymous said...

Maybe he thought Mung and Brockley were one and the same.

Anonymous said...

I finally succumbed and looked up mung beans....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mung_bean

It doesn't mention Brockley (perhaps someone could edit this in to the wiki entry) but they are green and might even be good enough to eat.

A metaphor for life in Brockley perhaps?

Tim said...

Blunderbuss - I thought Charlie was being a bit ambitious, but maybe he a genuine reason for leaving, apart from property speculation. Perhaps he has a new job, or wants to move to the country. I think it is a bit harsh to wishm his hopes don't come true. And even if he is just speculating, what is wrong with aspiration, and trying to make the best of life? For you, that might be here in Brockley. For others, their best chance of happiness lies else where. Live and let live.

oryx said...

I thought the article was rubbish, frankly - just lazy journalism.

I agree with Headhunter's point that you'd never get the same broad sweep in an article about NW London. The inclusion of Nunhead was frankly bizarre.

When there is a small but fantastic choice of bars in SE4 which didn't get a mention, the writer went somewhere essentially in East Dulwich (or Forest Hill at a considerable pinch)in the 'hang out at....' section!

Despite living here, I actually found last week's article about Burnham-on-Crouch (where I've never been and where I'm not really bothered about ever going) more interesting.

The Oracle said...

"Amazing things, driving lessons. They take you to hitherto unexplored parts of this planet."

It's not difficult to understand how the author may have confused many gems; on a driving lesson that started... at Blackheath? (Another unexplored part of the planet no doubt.)

Hugh said...

A cafe would be far more exciting.

Hugh said...

Oops, wrong thread.

Anonymous said...

Tressilliana - those of us on the west side of "brockley", do have 0207 postcodes and are on the tube map. Our problem is deciding if we're in the expensive "west, near East Dulwich" part or "cheap near New Cross and Peckham" part.

Brockley Kate said...

I agree with Oryx, there is a decided air of poorly-researched, slapdash copy about this article. If you're going to write about Brockley, you've got an entire postcode to go at, there's no excuse for lumping half of SE London into the article. It's not even that long, ffs!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Kate - and with Headhunter's comment earlier - if it was about somewhere north of the river it would focus on a much smaller area.

I'm not convinced all publicity is good publicity - anyone reading it who was interested in this area would get a confused impression from the random references to disparate areas.

Headhunter said...

Yes, it's clearly an article about an area completely unknown to a journalist who lives in north London with avery broad brush approach...

Anonymous said...

agreed,but it's not even just north London ,would he write an article about SW London?I very much doubt it!Very poor article in my opinion

Anonymous said...

As stated above the article in the actual magazine is titled 'Let's Move To Nunhead, Honor Oak Park, Brockley & Ladywell' - it's just the online version that has the more general 'SE London' title.
Mind you, that's still an unnecessarily large area to try to cover in one go.

Anonymous said...

Well yes, exactly, and why did they also have to include a pub in East Dulwich?

The Oracle said...

The reporter lives in Blackheath.

Headhunter said...

Really? That's a surprise. The way it's written you'd assume it was the 1st time he'd come across Brockley, Nunhead etc etc

Brockley Nick said...

One of the great mysteries of SE London's media representation is that journalists regularly talk about it as a lost world and yet loads of them live here on account of its relative affordability. I know one Guardian journalist who lives in Nunhead and another who lives in Forest Hill. Half of Brockley Central's readership seems to work in the media in one way, shape or form.

patrick1971 said...

Aaarrggghhh there is NO SUCH THING as an "0207" dialling code! It's been TEN YEARS since this was introduced and people are STILL getting it wrong!!

Just out of interest, how do you 0207 and 0208 types cope with the new 020 3xxx xxxx numbers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/020

Headhunter said...

That was my pet peeve/reason to be anal too Patrick, but I've kinda given up on it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

When I give phone numbers in London I just say 8xxx xxxx or 7xxx xxxx and most people just can't get their brains around it. You get a pause then they say something like "sorry, what's that 0207?", with a rising tone waiting for you to fill in the rest of the number.

IME, Most of London still hasn't grasped that you just dial 7, 8 or 3 then the number and the code (which you don't need to dial) is 020...

As someone has pointed out though, a chunk of Brockley (west of the tracks and north of the Lewisham to Victoria line approximately?) have numbers which begin with 7.

The Oracle said...

"Amazing things, driving lessons. They take you to hitherto unexplored parts of this planet."

The clue was in the driving lessons. (I don't know of many journalists who live north but take driving lessons south.) The 'dyck' at Blackheath does seem to contradict the 'hitherto unexplored parts'. Perhaps he doesnt get out much, or it's a different person.

Tamsin said...

Patrick, HH - you are so right - it drives me dotty when people don't get it right. The receptionist/telephonist at the Bromley solicitors where I used to work always read over the numbers in the wrong grouping, so I would regularly tease her by reading them back as they should be - but then we both got confused!
All the fault of BT at the outset for setting them out illogically themselves for the first six months or so.
Fun game is looking at facia boards and dating the last re-paint by how the numbers are stated. 0171 0181 etc. are rare now and 01 nearly extinct. There is, though, or was until relatively recently, down Eltham Road a "Lee xxxx" - but that may be a cheat because it is a very old placard emerging from underneath a broken bit of boarding. The football club that meet behind Riverston School.

BT said...

Whitehall 1212

Tamsin said...

Indeedy, and until recently (if not still) police station numbers were/are 212 etc. Presumably on the basis that they could be dialled quickly on the old "dial" phones. But then that begs the question of why 999 when the nines took long seconds to get back to place.

brockleybiker said...

@ Tamsin. 999 is that precisely because of the reason you stated. Bloody hard to dial by accident.

Headhunter said...

I think one of the many MOT garages in Brockley, possibly the one on Geoffrey Rd, you know the one that mysteriously stays in business yet never seems to be open/have customers, still has a board with an "01" number on it...

Anonymous said...

Dyckhoff's pieces are necessarily broad-brush, but then you have to live here to recognise its pluses and minuses

muzz

love detective said...

i don't get what the fuss is all about

you're all getting upset because a journalist didn't write an article specifically about brockley?

think of the house prices

Anonymous said...

Headhunter I just checked Geoff Rd MOT is open and has an 0208 number. i am peeved that Myatt Garden PS was not mentionned in the article as a jewel of Brockley

Moira said...

The old shoe shop on Malpas Road used to have its number as TID then 4 digits. TID was short for Tideway relating to the Thames tideway at Deptford. This in turn became the code 843 ie TID, but which later became 692. Peckham was (and still is) 732 ie PEC, and New Cross was (and is) 639 ie NEW.
(I've just realised I might be quite sad knowing this.)

Headhunter said...

Actually that's quite interesting Moira. I like snippets of irrelevant local history like that. I have seen old phone numbers before with letters as the code...

Tamsin said...

@Moira - not as sad as knowing that the SE postcodes are, after the innermost one, SE1, alphabetical (inner, then outer)- Blackheath, SE3 - Brockley, SE4...Lewisham, SE13 - New Cross SE14 etc. They start again in the outer suburbs, why Abbey Wood is SE twenty-something.

Or that the old green weekly cardboard rail tickets overprinted with large random numbers were not actually random - there were no double numbers. Something we did not realise until we had a good long look at our collection of about three years worth which had been arranged in numerical order

Anonymous said...

The letters O, C and D come to mind :-)

Moira said...

Here's an interesting article on London postcodes:
http://map-logic.co.uk/postcode-history.html

drakefell debaser said...

Tamsin, any idea what happened to SE2 then?

drakefell debaser said...

oh hang on, apparently Belvedere is SE2.

I should use google more often...

Tamsin said...

An admirally succinct vignette, Moira, thanks. Ironically the one post-code other than somewhere I have lived that is deeply engraved on my psyche is that of a school-friend - NPT 3RH - and her parents still live there. But that was in Newport, one of the three cities that have been "re-coded".

matrowan said...

Not really that much use mentioning that wonderful primary school as these days you can't get in unless you live within spitting distance. Lets face it you are more likely to end up in the one soon to be decanted to other side of south circular. Maybe Lewisham education think that counts as Brockley too. I don't see why so many of you are worried about what other people think of Brockley...or environs. Just be happy you like living here.

The Oracle said...

with articles due to appear in the Telegraph and Evening Standard, Brockley is most certainly on the up and up; or so I'm told. An estate agent just phoned and asked if I 'would consider selling'.

Anonymous said...

@TheOracle. When is Brockley in those newspapers?!!!

Anonymous said...

привет, меня зовут дима и ссылку[url=http://checrehandlo.chez.com]. [/url]

Latest Tweets

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!