Brockley work space share

Please feel free to post about any local workshop or office space you have to offer or are looking for. We're adding this to the list of hotlinks in the top right of the site.

Crofton Park Young Citizens

Jean Rasczak: All right, let's sum up. We talked about the failure of democracy. How the social scientists of the 21st Century brought our world to the brink of chaos. We talked about the veterans, how they took control and imposed the stability that has lasted for generations since. We talked about the rights and privileges between those who served in the armed forces and those who haven't, therefore called citizens and civilians. You! [points] Why are only citizens allowed to vote?
Student: It's a reward. Something the federation gives you for doing federal service.
Jean Rasczak: No. Something given has no basis in value. When you vote, you are exercising political authority, you're using force. And force my friends is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities are derived.
- Starship Troopers

Prendergast Ladywell Fields College teacher Simon Jones has been in touch to tell us about the work of Young Citizens, a project run by students, the aim of which was to for pupils to become more involved in their local community as a force for positive change.

He says:

The pupils worked very hard last year and now have four active campaigns:
  1. A local litter recycling campaign
  2. Developing and opening up the school's artificial pitch to the local community at weekends
  3. Introduce the City Safe Haven Campaign, together with the Mizen family and London Citizens
  4. Improve the school's road crossing
They also managed to secure £12,000 for local youth events in the Crofton Park Ward.
Working with local councillor Father Bates, an organisation called Jump, the pupils are starting a charity, aiming to breathe new life and energy into the physical spaces of the ward; developing a team of young people and local partners who will work creatively to develop and manage a programme if activities.

The project's called the 'Walk In Space' and we are working to spread the word about the charity and its work. Any young person in the area between the ages of 10 and 16 can be involved. It is run by young people for young people.

If you want to stay in touch or get involved, please follow them on Twitter now, or stay tuned for more information about their work.

Fat Bitch at Try Tapas

BC regular Patrick has alerted us to a new club night at Try Tapas, Honor Oak. We have precious few club nights in the area, so here are the details:


This new chilled, cool and friendly gay/mixed party just seconds away from Honor Oak Park station on the new East London Overground line is calling all ravers, homos, hetties, dragsters, preppies, fatties, skinnies, mishapes, geeks, weirdos, attention seekers, angels, demons, takers, givers, the fabulous, the chic, the dirty, the clean, the wanted, the unwanted, the sane and the sick – everyone is welcome, as long as you have love to give and smiles to share.....party launch 10.10.10 at 6pm!

Find them on their Facebook page for more.


The 2010 London Survey results

BBC London's Marc Ashdown has pointed us towards the Greater London Authority's 2010 London Survey, which asks 1,500 Londoners how they feel about life in the capital.

In summary:
  • Four-fifths of Londoners (83%) are satisfied with London as a city to live – the highest recorded level of satisfaction.
  • Four-fifths (85%) are satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live
  • Three quarters (76%) of Londoners feel safe when walking outside alone in their neighbourhood in the evening
  • Satisfaction with the way their area is policed is at its highest level since 2004 with approaching two-thirds (63%) of Londoners saying they are very or fairly satisfied
  • The proportion of Londoners very or fairly worried about crime has fallen from 59% in 2006 to 43% in 2010
  • Fear of burglary is the main reason Londoners feel unsafe (42%)
  • On transport, Londoners are most likely to think that roads in London need improving (42%) followed by buses (19%) and then the Underground (18%)
  • 43% want to see a reduction in traffic congestion
  • 70% of people feel very or fairly safe using local buses at night compared to just 56% in 2002
  • 66% of Londoners agree that the Olympics will be good for the capital compared to 57% in 2009
There's loads of stuff in there, which we haven't had time to sift, but if you spot anything particularly pertinent, please let us know.

Nollywood Now!

People said, "Uh-uh, Bill, Iraq had the fourth largest army in the world." Yeah, maybe, but you know what? After the first three largest armies, there's a real big drop-off, all right? The Hare Krishnas are the fifth largest army in the world, and they've already got our airports.
- Bill Hicks

Nigeria makes more films than any other country in the world, apart from India, earning its film industry the name Nollywood.

Next month, New Cross will host Nollywood Now! The London festival of Nigerian film. The event will take place from October 6th - 12th at Deptford Town Hall.

The festival will feature six film screenings introduced by talks from industry experts including Nigerian actors, film academics and representatives from Nollywood TV broadcasting.
The film programme takes in five of the best-loved popular Nigerian films, along with the Canadian documentary Nollywood Babylon.

Phoenix Fry, creative director of Nollywood Now! said:

“I hope this festival is just the beginning of a more widespread recognition of Nollywood as a global cinema phenomenon. Ten years ago India’s popular cinema was dismissed by the mainstream, but is now a vital part of our shared culture. The dramatic and exciting films coming out of Nigeria, enjoyed by so many people here in the UK, deserve a similar place in Britain’s cultural life.”

Raoul Moat is a legend!

Nina: Yvonne, can you talk us through the thinking behind this magnificent outfit you're wearing?
Yvonne: It's a sort of a fin de siecle ghost in the machine
Alan Partridge: Is that the distributor cap off a Ford Mondeo?
- Knowing Me, Knowing You

The Deptford X arts festival has punctured the complacent London arts scene with a show of such daring that it makes Piss Christ look like an Athena poster. Londonist reports:

Shock artist Mark McGowan has apologised after staging a play about the recent Raoul Moat incident. McGowan, performing at the Deptford X festival, transformed himself into the killer by placing a box on his head with the likeness of Moat cellotaped to the front.

Up the Line returns to Brockley

Up the Line, the fantastic Armistice Day celebration organised for the first time last year, returns to Brockley this year:


The Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries, who host the event, say:

We're delighted that following on from the massively successful 'Up The Line' event last year, organiser John McKiernan has announced that it will hopefully happen again this year. The event will take place in the Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries on 11th November 2010 – Thursday 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

Renewal say Surrey Canal plans on track despite station setback

Renewal, the London-based property investment company with development plans for Surrey Canal is pressing on with its master plan consultation, despite the government's refusal to fund an East London Line station to serve the site.

They are holding a further public exhibition of their proposals for on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd October 2010 from midday to 4pm. The exhibition will be held at Scotney Hall, 15 Sharratt Street, London, SE15 1NR.

The proposals promise "up to 2,700 new homes, 2,000 new jobs, improved connections, an improved setting for Millwall Football stadium, cafes, shops and new public spaces. Surrey Canal will be a centre for sporting excellence and will include sports such as boxing, basketball, netball, table tennis cricket and a new leisure centre with swimming pool."

Mark Taylor, Development Director, Renewal said:
“It is disappointing that the Government has declined to make the £7m contribution at this time, particularly as the business case for the Surrey Canal Road station is so compelling. We are sure this issue will continue to be reviewed at local, regional and national levels as the regeneration of the North Lewisham area is taken forward. There is already £3m committed from the London Borough of Lewisham and we remain confident that the station will be delivered.”

Crossrail set to survive Comprehensive Spending Review

On October 20th, the government will reveal its spending plans in the Comprehensive Spending Review. Crossrail's future had been in some doubt (although not on this blog) but the BBC now reports that all the stations and branches will be built.


The decision makes absolute sense, not only because Crossrail is vital to London's long-term development, but because a large chunk of the public money has already been spent on several large holes in the capital and once these funds have been spent, they will unlock a lot of private investment in the project.

However, the report suggests that two of the most ambitious stations in the project are likely to undergo value engineering and possible redesign to reduce costs. One of these is the gorgeous Whitechapel station design - Brockley's Crossrail interchange via the East London Line - we hope they don't butcher it too much.

[Full disclosure: the company I work for, Edelman, works for a company with a commercial interest in Crossrail]

Lewisham Greens call for Council pay upper limit

Alluding to The Spirit Level, the Greens have called for a salary cap for senior Council staff in Lewisham, linked to the income of the most poorly paid Council employee.


It's an interesting idea, but one outcome would be to incentivise Council leaders to raise pay for the lowest-paid in the organisation, with potentially wage-inflationary consequences at every level of the organisation. And the 10-to-1 ratio seems to be an arbitrary one, based on the fact that it's a nice round number and sounds fairly generous:

No employee in Lewisham Council should earn more than ten times the salary of the lowest paid employee, demanded Lewisham’s Green Councillor, Darren Johnson. At last night’s full council meeting Darren called on the Council to implement a “fair pay ratio” to limit the gap between the highest and lowest paid.

Lewisham Council’s Chief Executive currently earns £192,387 (1) while a formal question Darren tabled to the council revealed that the lowest paid council employee earns £15,036 (2).
Cllr Johnson commented, “At a time of council cuts the public are rightly questioning why senior officer are paid such high salaries. But the idea of a fair pay ratio goes wider than that. Research shows that pay inequality has a detrimental effect on the whole of society. Countries with a smaller gap between the well and low paid have less crime, fewer health problems and greater social cohesion.”

Ladywell Photography Walk, September 28th

Thanks to Tom for the details.

Greenspaces: Peckham Rye Park



Peckham Rye Park is the bit of Peckham Rye Common hidden behind a row of trees to your left as you travel from Nunhead to East Dulwich. You probably already know this, but it had never occurred to us to ask what lay beyond.

For a narrow sliver of parkland, Peckham Rye Park squeezes a lot in to its 50 acres. As well as the wide open tracts of land, beloved of games-players and dog-walkers, it features a Japanese garden and an old English garden, called The Sexby Garden [above, top], which is hung with vines and covered with sprouting purple blossom. Five ponds and a lake are scattered about the ornamental parts of the park, while the river Peck runs through it.

The park underwent significant restoration work in 2004-05. Waters were cleared, paths resurfaced and the Sexby Gardens returned to their former glory while the bowls pavilion was rebuilt. Today, the park remains beautifully maintained while the bowling green [above, bottom] is open to the public, with complete novices welcome to play for only £3 per hour between 11am and 5pm at the weekends.

Crofton Park library campaign secures 4,600 supporters

The campaign to save Crofton Park Library from possible closure has secured 4,600 petition signatures, more than any of the other threatened libraries in Lewisham.

According to Alan Gibbons' blog, a total of 15,543 signatures of support were collected and presented to Lewisham Council on September 23rd, with the breakdown as follows:

Crofton Park 4600
Blackheath Village 4467
Sydenham 3700
New Cross 1700
Grove Park 1076

Tim Shand departure sparks Ladywell election

Healy: I went out and got him a leash you know, one of those clothes line runners for the backyard. He's got plenty of room out there to dig. The kid's really blossomed. Now I can take him to ball games, movies--you know, happy stuff.
Mary: That sounds like fun.
Healy: Yeah, it's fun for them, but it's heaven for me. (Getting emotional) Those goofy bastards are just about the best thing I have in this crazy old world. Ooh, hey, I gotta run.
- There's Something About Mary

Tim Shand, Labour Councillor for Ladywell ward, has announced that he is to resign from Lewisham Council to work for Sonke Gender Justice Network based in Cape Town, South Africa.

At the time of his election in May, many questioned his commitment to the ward, given his low-profile campaign and the fact that he'd also stood as Labour's Parliamentary candidate for Guildford. Hopefully the election that his departure prompts will produce a Councillor who is fully focused on local issues, which is what Councillors are for. The fact that the only policy matter referenced in the Labour statement is an irrelevant bit of point scoring about the national government picture does not augur well.

A Lewisham Labour statement confirms:

Tim said, “It has been a heart-wrenching decision to stand down but to go and work in some of the poorest communities in the world on big problems like HIV and sexual violence is something that I could not refuse. I’ve got absolute faith that my fellow Councillors and the Mayor have what it takes to stand up to this government’s attack on our borough’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Councillor Alan Hall, Chair, Lewisham Labour said, “We are sad to lose Tim but he has made a hard and honest decision to stand down due to his work commitments in the developing communities of South Africa.

We will fight this by election to win. It is a chance for the people of Ladywell to not only elect a new Councillor but to say no to this Tory-Liberal government’s programme of ideological cuts.”

The statement also says that:

The resignation was tendered on Friday 24th November [presumably, they mean September] to the Chief Executive of Lewisham Council.

Labour will be selecting a candidate for the by-election on 30/09/10.

John Galliano on SE4: Tea dances and curry sauce

An interview in the latest issue of Grazia magazine with Gibraltar-born fashion designer John Galliano reveals him to be a ex-Brockley boy. Whilst in London for 'work projects' he, or rather his driver, had some curious comments about the Brockley scene:

"My accent has become completely South London again. When I was a kid we moved to SE4. Yesterday we were in Brockley and my driver said, 'Oh it's not what it used to be... tea dances and stuff going on. Big gay influence.'"

Galliano later goes on to comment:

"I don't come back here as much as I'd like. But when I do bring the French team, they are so engergised by it"... "I took them out to eat in SE4 yesterday and they couldn't understand why everything came with curry sauce."

We wonder, where might John and his team have been in SE4 to think that everything comes with curry sauce?

Thanks to Brockley Sarah for the story. Proof that Grazia is worth the weekly outlay.

Hither Green Cinema - Starts Tomorrow


It is, of course, a trifle, but there is nothing so important as trifles.

- Sherlock Holmes, The Man with the Twisted Lip

BC regular Max is organising a Sherlock Holmes double bill screening tomorrow in Hither Green. He says:

It's the first date of the Hither Green Cinema, St Swithun's Hall, St Swithun's Road, SE13. We start with a Sherlock Holmes double bill, first Basil Rathbone in the Hound of the Baskervilles (1939) and then Robert Downey Jr in the 2009 version of Sherlock Holmes by Guy Ritchie. It's £3 a film or £6 for the day.

When last year the people of Hither Green came together to fight off the proposal to demolish the Kids Corner building, which was originally built in 1913 as a cinema, what we realized was not just that the area lacked creative spaces, but in a Catch-22 type of situation also the initiatives that theses spaces help to bring. After some pondering we decided that the content is at least as important as the container so Hither Green Cinema started.

Until now we produced a string of pop-up events in various spaces, this is the first time we come with a program so that people can put them in their diaries.

They're lovely community gatherings with tea and cakes and lots of laughter and since in the meantime the old St Swithun's Hall has been brought back into use we also have now a space where these can take place.

For the future we have an ambition to build on this both expanding the cinema program and branching out into other forms of art and entertainment.

Livingstone secures Labour nomination for Mayor

Ken Livingstone will be the official Labour candidate for London Mayor, having beaten Oona King for the nomination. His win sets up another face-off with Boris, who has also declared he will stand again.


The world waits with baited breath to see who the LibDems will put forward.

Skate Park under threat from the Enemies of Reason

Hitler was a Roman Catholic. He was baptized. He never renounced his baptism... I don't believe there are 5 or 6 million British Catholics. There may be 5 or 6 million who have been baptized but if the church wants to claim them as Catholics, then they have to claim Hitler as a Catholic.
- Richard Dawkins

If you claim Telegraph Hill for greater Brockley, as Brockley Central does, then you have to take the bad with the good. So it is great regret that we have to report that opponents of the skate park plans for Telegraph Hill have refused to accept the compromise solution that won the support of local people and are considering trying to take legal action against the plans.

The News Shopper reports:

Now a new group has formed to save the lower park and are threatening legal action to stop the build.

Valerie Hedges, of Kitto Road, New Cross, is against the skate park and says noise will be a problem. The 75-year-old added: “This is a very busy road and people coming out of the park are at their peril. We are going to get a lot of teenagers and I can see a bad accident happening.”


Read on...

Ms Hedges line of argument implies that children should be prevented from using the park completely, since attempting to cross the road to reach the park could cause accidents. But if the road is so busy (it isn't) then surely the traffic would drown out all the noise she's worried about.

None of the arguments put forward against the plans so far make the slightest bit of sense.

The Old Bank - maintaining standards


Brockley Central is pleasantly surprised that it can still walk into a restaurant and actually lower the average age of the clientele. Anyone (well anyone with their own teeth) wanting the same experience should get themselves down the appropriately named Old Bank a few doors down from Honor Oak Park station. If you're after culinary fireworks, though, you might want to eat before you go.

True to its presumably security-conscious roots, getting in to The Old Bank is no easy feat. Don't be fooled by the relatively welcoming glass door on the corner. The one next to the menu display. The one that turns out to be locked. Head instead for the mildly imposing unmarked door down the way. The one that looks like the service entrance. The one that takes you straight into the open kitchen and all its secrets. So far so odd.

Once inside you're treated to a dark but pleasant enough space. All deep red walls, hard surfaces and Italian muzak. Inoffensive, but a little bit tatty around the edges. Same goes for the decor.

The menu is unapologetically standard Italian. Nothing wrong with that. A long list of starters features such perennials as melon and Parma ham, bruschetta and whitebait. Mains include fegato, pork belly and a good range of pasta options that ensures veggies are well catered for.

Olives were good and salty, bread dense and a little dry (no butter or oil proffered). Calamari were accurately, almost greaselessly, fried: a good sign, although given the lack of crowds (just two other tables occupied, mainly by folks who will probably be attending tonight's silver surfer event) it's hard to believe they didn't come out of the freezer. Bruschetta came bedecked with a hearty volume of decent tomatoes but was let down by overenthusiastic quantities of raw garlic.

Mains included a special of commendably seasonal pheasant with savoy cabbage and a "red wine jus". Half a bird came ready-jointed and sitting on top of a pile of cabbage that was weirdly far hotter than the rest of the dish. The sauce turned out not to be the intense liquor suggested by the description but a starchy gravy that infused the dish with a not completely pleasant mild sweetness. The bird itself was patchy: the breast overcooked to dryness, the leg dense, meaty, moist and satisfying. Just a shame the rest of the dish couldn't match it.

Gnocchi (hard to tell if they were made in-house) came in a soupy, strangely orange, tomato and goats cheese sauce. Not unpleasant but not brilliant either: a smaller volume of a more confident sauce would have worked far better.

Other bits and pieces... The staff were friendly but not always fully engaged: over enthusiastic when topping up glasses but neglecting to inform us of missing menu items. The wine list is short and good value: we had a decent Gavi di Gavi for £22.50. Happy to report the obligatory huge pepper mill was very much in attendance. Espressos were not good.

Overall, there was nothing particularly wrong with The Old Bank but when you begin to engage in inevitable comparisons with Le Querce, the other "standard" Italian in the neighbourhood, the cracks really begin to appear. On paper, apart from Le Querce's pizzas, the two places are offering a very similar experience; the reality is very different. Le Querce isn't perfect (specials often seemed to be accompanied by whatever random veg the chef has found at the back of the fridge, and frankly Brockley Central gets enough of that at home) but it exhibits levels of enthusiasm, warmth, passion for ingredients, freshness, home-made ice cream and free limoncello that are all sadly lacking at The Old Bank.

In short, "not unpleasant but not brilliant either" is a fair summary of The Old Bank. A standard Italian dishing up a standard Italian menu really has nowhere to hide. Except perhaps behind an anonymous white door in Honor Oak Park.

Fantastic Forum: Rise of The Silver Surfers

BC favourite Tamsin writes:

Lewisham Pensioners Forum, an organisation which has LBL grant aid to cover two part-time salaries but is run by pensioners for pensioners with a membership in Lewisham of upwards of 1200 individuals and links to over 60 groups and organisations in the Borough.

We are taking part in this annual initiative by Age UK, breaking down the confidence barriers that some of the elderly face when looking at the modern technology with an event in Central Lewisham on Friday 24th September.

If anyone would like to come along, here are the details. If there are any web-savvy volunteers who'd like to come along armed with a laptop to demonstrate the potential of blogging to the group, that would be great.

Please let Tamsin know if you can help by posting here.

Triumph of imagination 2: High Street 2012



Moe: Oh, everybody is going to family restaurants these days, tsk. Seems nobody wants to hang out in a dank pit no more.
Carl: You ain't thinking of getting rid of the dank, are you, Moe?
Moe: Ehh, maybe I am.
Carl: Oh, but Moe: the dank. The dank!
- The Simpsons

Brockley resident Ben is a member of the team that is leading the regeneration of some of Tower Hamlets' grottiest stretches of road. He sent us these before and after shots to illustrate what's been achieved.

The project is called High Street 2012 and is designed to spruce up their neighbourhoods ahead of the Olympics. We wrote admiringly of the scheme a while ago, and it has now begun to bear fruit. The Council website explains:

Tower Hamlets Council's High Street 2012 programme is a major regeneration project along the thoroughfare (A11/A118) that links the City of London to the Olympic Park in Stratford - the buildings are the first of around 100 to benefit from the conservation works.

Nick Smales, Head of 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Tower Hamlets Council said: "High Street 2012 aims to regenerate of some of the most deprived areas in Tower Hamlets against the backdrop of London 2012. This will help lift up the area, with the benefits lasting for years to come.

“The completion of the first phase of the Historic Building Conservation Scheme is an important step towards realising this vision."

The six rejuvenated buildings (64 - 68 Whitechapel High Street) have seen new shop fronts, repairs to the brickwork and pointing, new windows and the reinstatement of lost architectural features and details. Taking six months to complete, the conservation works cost approximately £460,000.

We've called this a triumph of the imagination, but actually, you don't need to be John Lasseter to see similar potential in Brockley Road and Lewisham Way.

Our high streets are the only public facility that we all use. They make a major contribution to our prosperity and quality of life and well maintained public streets can help attract new investment and even reduce crime.

And yet, too often we accept the crappy status quo as though any other reality is impossible and to hope for better is arriviste social engineering.

But you don't have to go far to see that that these criticisms are nonsense. The parades in Honor Oak and Crofton Park work. They blend the aspirational with the practical, the leisure business with the staple-seller, the restaurant with the takeaway. They've attracted good quality busnesses without alienating any part of the community.

Ladywell Village Improvement Group has made a start with its own plans to improve Ladywell. Piecemeal investment is planned for parts of Brockley Road, but progress is slow and there is no sense of a coherent plan from the Council. To hear that people who know how to make change happen live locally but apply their talents to other parts of the capital is particularly depressing.

Triumph of imagination 1: Ladywell Village


The increasingly effective Ladywell Village Improvement Group has launched a petition in support of full implementation of the streetscape improvements recommended by consultants Shape.
The plans are an attempt to rejuvenate the high street by improving the environment and encouraging footfall. It can be done here, it has been done elsewhere, it should be done to parts of Brockley Road too. It would be the most effective single investment the Council could make to improve the local community, expand access to local services and repair some of the damage done to the borough through bad planning decisions in the past.
They say:
The proposals comply with best practice and current guidance on street design and have been developed in discussion with the Council’s highway engineers who are now doing more detailed feasibility work on their implementation.

The road through Ladywell is at present wider than it needs to be and could be reduced without jeopardising traffic flows but resulting in a much improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists.

Skate park wins the popular vote

Last night, the Skate Park Action Group secured a popular mandate in favour of locating a small children's skate area next to the basketball courts in the Lower Park. Their plans were put to a vote at the Telegraph Hill Assembly and they won a 196 t0 72 victory - just reward for their long campaign, which involved both hard work and compromise, to find the right site.

With funding secure and a site approved, it ought to be a formality that the project will go ahead, but during the lengthy consultation process, some opposition clearly became entrenched, with a few people seemingly determined to derail the project, whatever concessions were made.

It must be hoped now that, having tried and failed to win the argument, this group will now graciously concede defeat and let the children have the sports ground that they have worked so hard for and that the community has approved.

Congratulations to SPAG, we look forward to sharing the park with them.

Deptford X Gon' Give it to Ya

The Deptford X Arts Festival kicks off this Friday with a special launch night, when local galleries will be opening their doors late on Friday evening from 6.30-8.30 pm with the infamous 'Dirty Cop Fridays' at the Old Police Station launching their new cocktail bar providing an after party to keep Deptford X alive into the early hours.

Project Director Matthew Couper says:

2010 marks a new direction for Deptford X. This is the first time we have invited a lead artist to develop a theme for the festival and to develop a statement of intent that would permeate throughout Deptford X.

We wanted to invite someone with a connection to the area and someone who would give a clear statement as to our artistic aims. We also wanted someone with an appreciation of art in the public realm … in short we wanted to work with Mark Titchner and were fortunate that he wanted to work with us too.

For full programme details, visit the website.

The Brockley Orchestra: A History of Violins

Polly is searching for talented musiciansm to join Brockley's resident orchestra. She writes:

I'm wondering whether you could plug a local orchestra on Brockley Central to help our recruitment drive for more string players!

It is called Harmony Sinfonia, which rehearses on a Wednesday evening (7.30 - 9.45pm) in the main hall at Prendergast School. It was formed nearly a year ago and this term's rehearsals started last Wednesday. The woodwind section is full but they are still in need of a trumpet player, some French horns and, in particular, string players. The standard is generally high but, having said that, I went along on Wednesday having not played my violin for longer than I dared to admit and was warmly welcomed. Anybody who plays regularly or who is looking to get back into playing after a period of silence should come along to a rehearsal or two - they don't have to commit straight away so they might as well give it a go!

The next concert is on 20 November and the programme is Strauss's Four Last Songs, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade Symphonic Suite and the world premiere of a piece by a local composer called Andrew Bungay.


For more information, please see www.harmonysinfonia.co.uk or email harmonysinfonia@gmail.com

Fire in Tanners Hill block

The BBC reports that 14 people had to be rescued after a fire broke out in Pitman House on Tanners Hill.


Crews wearing breathing equipment brought 13 adults and one child out of the building as fire engulfed flats on the seventh and eighth floor.

The blaze at the 15-storey building was brought under control in about four hours and no-one was injured.

As a result of the fire, 60 people spent the night in Goldsmiths College and an investigation will be carried out in to the cause of the fire.

Lewisham senior salary figures published


The BBC has compiled a list of salaries over £100,000 in the public sector, which includes local authorities.


New research conducted for BBC Panorama found that there were more than 38,000 public employees earning above £100,000 and 1,000 people on more than £200,000…

Across the UK, the NHS has the highest number of high earners, with more than 26,000 people on more than £100,000. Of those, nearly 6,500 earn more than Mr Cameron. The top NHS earner is a GP on at least £475,000 and seven out of the top 10 in the NHS are GPs.

The database, compiled from both public records and freedom of information requests, excludes some major publicly owned corporations, including Royal Mail, Network Rail and Channel 4 because they operate largely as commercial concerns.

Given the size and complexity of many public organisations and the specialist expertise required to deliver huge infrastructure projects or treat cancer, Brockley Central believes high salaries in the public sector are entirely appropriate in many cases.

There’s no such thing as the morally “right” salary, there is only what the market determines you should be paid – the question then becomes whether proper market mechanisms exist to determine executive pay – a problem in both the private and public sectors.

For local authorities at least, there are a large number of roughly comparable organisations against which we can benchmark our Council. In comparison to many of its London peers, Lewisham is pretty restrained.

Lewisham has 14 employees who earn more than £100,000. This compares with 24 and 21 for neighbouring Greenwich and Southwark respectively. Top of the list with 36 is Tory stronghold Wandsworth. Among the most parsimonious are Merton with 9 and the City of London with 7.

46 people at Lewisham PCT and one person at Lewisham Homes earn more than £100,000.

The figures are available here. Thanks again to reader Bill, for sending the link.

Brockley in the 1920s


Friend of BC Bea has sent us this map of 1920s Brockley. She says:


I find it interesting to see how some of the road names have changed i.e. Manor Road / St Peter's instead of Geoffrey Road and Albert, Clifton and Carlton Roads instead of Darling, Avon and Drake Roads (off Tressillian Road). I wonder why they changed?

Also, how little has been developed on the "other side of the tracks". It must have been great to have access to such large playing fields!

It is also possible to see the location of the band stand on Hilly Fields as well as the cricket grounds, but no bowling club, playground or (obviously) stone circle.

How are the mighty balling


White Goodman: Meet Fran Stalinofskivitchdavitovichsky. In her home country of Romanovia, dodgeball is the national sport and her nuclear power plant's team won the championship five years running, which makes her the deadliest woman on earth with a dodgeball. Ball me, Blazer.
- Dodgeball

Brockley's dodgeball team, The Awful Dodgers [pictured], took to the court for the first time last week, scoring a three-for-zero shut-out.

'The Jammie Dodgers', 'The Opium Addicted China Men', 'Can't Dodge This' - none were ready for the hurricane! Click here to read about their heroics.
So successful was the Brockley Central recruitment drive that they have had to turn applicants away and are considering starting a second team.

Lewisham business asked if they value Town Centre Managers

Lewisham Council is asking local businesses to respond to a survey about the value they attach to the role played by Town Centre Managers. Based on the conversations we've had with local businesses over the years, our guess is the answer is not a lot.

We're mindful of the fact that people's jobs are at stake, so we won't say anything other than that over the years, we've tried and failed to get a sense of a proactive strategy to improve Brockley's town centre from the TCMs in place, which is a shame, because our high-streets could really do with one.

The survey begins:

One of the options that has been put forward is for the Council to reduce the level of support available to businesses, including closing the town centre management and tourism services. (At present, the Business Advisory Service will stay open, as long as the Council can continue to access sufficient funding).

This survey is aimed at businesses and individuals using these services. We want to hear from you about how this proposal might affect you.

Click here to complete the survey - you have until September 24th.

With thanks to Bill for the story.

Brockley Central discount - Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays is the regular comedy night at the Amersham Arms, New Cross. We saw Richard Herring perform there a while back and think it makes a great venue - you can read the review here.

Organiser Jon has been in touch to offer BC readers a discount on the upcoming gigs:

Just wanted to let you know that the Happy Mondays comedy night will be starting up again at the Amersham Arms on Monday 4th October, and then every two weeks after that. Here are the headliners for the first 4 shows;

OCTOBER 4th - Alex Zane (Rude Tube, Popworld, Xfm)
OCTOBER 18th - Milton Jones (Michael McIntyre Comedy Roadshow, Mock the Week, Radio 4)
NOVEMBER 1st - Jack Whitehall (Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 out of 10 cats, Big Brother)
NOVEMBER 15th - Richard Herring (BBC 6 Music, Fist of Fun)

All hosted by resident MC Holly Walsh (8 out of 10 cats, Mock the Week, Never Mind the Buzzcocks)

Tickets are £6, but on October 4th if Brockley Central readers say "Brockley Nick Told me I could come for a fiver", then they can come in for £5!

One Tree Hill, Honor Oak

St Augustine's Church, One Tree Hill (photo courtesy of Murray from Original Sonic Truth)

One Tree Hill is a beautiful scrap of woodland a stone's throw from Honor Oak Station. Inspired by the account on the Original Sonic Truth blog, we walked around it this morning for the first time.

On a sunny morning, the kids loved walking between brilliantly lit clearings and through a maze of dark pathways that cover the two-acre nature reserve. We were there for an hour and didn't see another human being there for the entire time.

One Tree Hill also represents yet another amazing local vantage point to look out over London. The hill that still features an octagonal Anti-Zeppelin gun emplacement beautifully frames views of the London Eye, Strata and the Shard.

Manor Avenue Club up for sale

60 Manor Avenue, the former United Services Club is up for sale as a development opportunity, having secured planning permission to convert it to residential use.


On the market with Winkworth, the 10-bedroom property has a price tag of £850,000, which seems like a bargain, although the property will require substantial renovation.

The agents say:

A substantial double fronted end of terrace Working Mans Club [sic] with planning permission for conversion to a 5 storey 5 bedroom house & a 4 bedroom 3 storey house both with large artists studios situated in this lovely road in this excellent Brockley conservation area location. There are 2 massive function rooms at the rear measuring 50' x 25' & 30' x 25'. The property would also suite [sic] reinstatement as a single dwelling.

Brockley Central competition: A pair of tickets to "In the Mirror of Wine"

Courtesy of Lewisham Cllr Mike Harris, Brockley Central has two tickets to "In the Mirror of Wine", a one-off performance on Sunday night between Index on Censorship award winning Mahsa Vahdat (a celebrated Iranian singer) and Norwegian guitarist Knut Reiersrud. The event will be at the new Free Word Centre in Farringdon.

Cllr Harris explains:

Mahsa Vahdat, winner of the Index on Censorship/Freemuse award 2010, is a celebrated singer who is well known throughout Europe. Ironically, in Iran, where Mahsa lives, she is not able to perform because singing by females is banned according to the laws of the Islamic Republic.

In a one-off London performance with Norwegian guitarist Knut Reiersrud, this is a rare opportunity to hear Mahsa present a concert of songs based on the classical poems of Hafez and Rumi. The singer has developed her own style based on the Persian vocal tradition which blends well with blues man Knut Reiersrud. The musicians will be joined by Erik Hillestad who will recite selected verses from the Sufi poems.

If you'd like to be entered in the draw for the tickets, please email us at nick.barron@gmail.com before 5pm on Saturday, September 18th and we'll pick a winner at random.

Lewisham report sets out Bakerloo Line options

Undeterred by the failure of its campaign to secure an ELL station at Surrey Canal, Lewisham Council has commissioned a report in to the options available for extending the Bakerloo line further in to South East London.


London Reconnections has the story in full detail. The options explored could take the line east along the Old Kent Road (and on to places like Canada Water, New Cross, Lewisham, Greenwich, Catford, Hither Green, Blackheath, Honor Oak, Charlton and Canary Wharf) or south towards Peckham and Camberwell. Obviously, the Old Kent Road options would create significant benefits for the borough, potentially turning Canada Water, New Cross and Lewisham in to major transport interchanges.

Interestingly, the report suggests that the ELL is a model for future extensions of London's mass transit systems:

The sooner a tube can surface and use an overground alignment, the better, but this is rarely the case in inner London. One of the main reasons why the East London Line Extensions were authorised and are now happening, is because they make the fullest use of existing
railway infrastructure, and any new alignment is on the surface or on viaduct. There are also different environmental benefits and costs with tube or surface railway, which will need to be assessed and managed.

We're not sure whether to praise Lewisham for its ambition and far-sighted approach to securing public transport infrastructure or damn their eyes for commissioning reports on subjects that are ultimately beyond their control and unlikely to materialise for many, many years, even in the most optimistic scenario. Still, it makes interesting reading.

With thanks to BC's Australia correspondent, Richard, for prodding us about the story.

Greenwich pulls out of Blackheath fireworks

Greenwich.co.uk has confirmed that Greenwich Council has cut its support for the Blackheath bonfire night firework display, which previously it had joint-funded with Lewisham Council.


It quotes a Greenwich Council spokesperson as saying:

The Council has reluctantly taken the decision not to fund the event this year, having been advised to anticipate up to 40% cuts to its grant, representing some £70m when the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is published on 20 October. The Council is committed to maintaining front line services and has a strong track record of identifying efficiency savings, which has enabled us to freeze council tax in six of the last 12 years.

If we'd spent a little less time trying to think of a punning headline when we first reported it, and a little more time reading Lewisham Council's initial release, we might have spotted Greenwich Council's absence and the conditional nature of Lewisham's commitment. Blackheath Village is the focal point for the revellers so if there are commercial benefits for local businesses from staging the event, then Lewisham borough, rather than Greenwich will be the main beneficiary, which may explain the difference of opinion between the two councils.

It's not clear whether the fireworks will be cancelled if the public don't donate enough money or if Lewisham Council's commitment and the private sponsorship already secured will be enough to stage a serviceable event in any case.

Before the Blackheath firework display was established, when Brockley Central was a boy, we used to go to the display at Kidbrooke House, in Westcombe Park, which was organised by that area's equivalent of BrocSoc - the Westcombe Society. A smaller, but more fun event than the Blackheath show, it cost a few quid to get in and was therefore killed off when the free Blackheath show was introduced. If Blackheath can't now survive without public donations, then perhaps we will see the return of events organised by local societies. We'd much rather pay to support a small event on Hilly Fields, even if the bangs were less impressive.

The other thing we missed out last time was the link for anyone interested in donating to the display.

Standard: Lewisham faces budget cuts of £60m over three years

The Evening Standard has predicted that London councils will face combined cuts of £2 billion from their central government funding over the next three years, with Lewisham expected to lose £60 million of central funding between now and 2014.

Lewisham is currently consulting over how to cut its budget by £60 million, a figure that has been the target since before the election. The Standard says that across the capital, Councils could shed as many as 30,000 jobs as core services are cut.

The results of the Government's comprehensive spending review are announced on October 20th, at which point we'll know the nature and scale of central government spending cuts.

East London Line vs London Bridge service

Paedophiles have more genes in common with crabs than they do with you and me. Now that is scientific fact — there's no real evidence for it — but it is scientific fact.

The dysfunctional family life of Brockley Central has created a happy scientific accident to match the discovery of microwave ovens, Post-it notes or Viagra. We had the day off today so accompanied our wife from Brockley to help out at Homemade London. At Brockley Station, we were offered a choice of whether to catch a London Bridge train or wait for the East London Line train.

Our wife refused to be a minute later than she needed to be, we refused to pay the extra money for a train ticket on top of a tube ticket. Neither of us would budge. As a result, she got on a train to London Bridge, leaving six minutes before the East London Line train that we hopped on. Both journeys proceeded without delay and we ended up on the same Jubilee Line train, bumping in to each other at Bond Street, as we got off. We were so happy to have "won" that we forgave her her choice.

So, allowing for her ponderous walking pace, we can definitively state that the East London Line is the faster option if you want to get anywhere on a journey involving the Jubilee Line.

Open House weekend

It's Open House weekend this weekend and local venues including Lewisham Art House, de Monchaux Studio in Manor Avenue and Crossways Academy will be opening their doors to people who'd like to poke around.


Casadanza in Crofton Park sounds particularly interesting:

New contemporary house and three flats - its name relates to the nearby Crofton Park's famous Rivoli Ballroom. Tango is most popular, outside of Argentina, in Finland and while the complex relates to its neighbour in white-painted brick and (rakishly) pitched roof (of blue-grey zinc) there is also a nod to Finland's famous son in the Aalto-esque brickwork.


Thanks to Brockley Kate for spotting it.

Le bonheur est dans les pres vallonné

We have a French woman staying with us at the moment, who's noted what also strikes us about Brockley - that there are a lot of French speakers around.


Judging by the amount of French we hear on the train, when we drop our son at school or go to Hilly Fields, France and the Francophone nations have contributed a large chunk of the local population.

And yet, with the honourable exception of Degustation, there's relatively little evidence of their influence over the area. So, are you French? If so, why did you end up in Brockley and when can we expect bistros and cafe culture?

Comerford Road circa 1900

You have four hours to acquire this lovely 1900s postcard of Comerford Road currently on sale on eBay for a bargain £3.95. It's very nice, but we can surely all agree that it would be vastly improved by photoshopping a dozen transit vans on to the kerbside.


With thanks to Brockley Central's California correspondent, Maradoll.


New Cross Gate finds itself at the centre of the Big Society

New Cross Gate is one of two areas that was studied as part of a report by the RSA on social networks and their role in "The Big Society". The Guardian says the report's most important conclusion is that areas like this have "community linchpins":

Phil Nice runs a popular Monday night quiz at a pub in south London that is famed locally for its speed cake-eating contest, audience participation (in return for chocolates), and anti-north London jokes.

The 56-year-old father-of-three, and actor who has had bit parts in Holby City, The Bill, and EastEnders, is heavily involved in an annual community festival, where he hosts a comedy night and plays roles in an interactive murder mystery.

Nice has also been named by a respected thinktank as a potential key player in building David Cameron's much-discussed "big society".

It is all down to his well-connectedness. And he is not alone in earning linchpin status for this reason. Postal workers, refuse collectors, crossing patrol attendants and the local branch of Sainsbury's could also play pivotal roles, according to Connected Communities, a hefty new piece of research published today by the RSA.

This is social networking of the analogue variety - digital networks were deliberately excluded from the study, which seems methodologically perverse, particularly in South East London, which has the richest hyperlocal scene in the country, including Deptford Dame, Transpontine, TheHill, Crosswhatfields and many others. They say:

‘Social network’ makes people think of Facebook and similar forms of social media, but we believe there is still much to learn about offline, face-to-face connections, and these are the focus of this report.

The New Cross Gate NDC programme employed mainly offline methods; whereas the Knowle West Media Centre employs digital methods to a large extent. We have therefore concentrated on our findings from New Cross Gate and offer a fuller account of our methods in this location.

The report's main findings included:
  • ‘Familiar strangers’ like postmen and dustmen appear to be under-utilised community resources; in our case study more people recognise and find value in their postman than their
    local councillor
  • People who are relatively isolated are not making use of the connections they have
  • Our geographic sense of what is central to a community
    is highly misleading, and often conflicts with measures of network centrality.
  • Community hubs, including pubs and sports clubs, are an important aspect of community resilience and empowerment.
  • People who value neighbourliness are more likely to have large social networks.
None of which his hugely surprising, but it suggests that if the Council wants to find community-led solutions to problems then it should avoid closing libraries or cutting core services such as street cleaning and refuse collection. It also suggests that there is a need for something that does what Local Assemblies are attempting to do, but perhaps they aren't yet reaching a wide-enough range of people.

With regards to New Cross Gate, it also concluded that that:

In addition to having their influence weakened through lack of informal social connections, many people are cut off from direct access to formal sources of influence. For instance, two thirds of people in New Cross Gate do not know anyone who works at the local council, and
a third do not know anyone who is in a position to employ people even on a temporary basis. Influencing the media is also a remote possibility for many, with 40% of people not knowing anyone who knows someone at a local newspaper, website, TV or radio station.

Thanks to BC-linchpin Monkeyboy for the story.

Doormant


We're sad to report that the Hilly Fields door has come off its hinges. A playful piece of public art commissioned for the Brockley MAX, it was never intended to be a permanent addition to the park, its lifespan was expected to be proportionate to the civility of the area. It lasted nearly five months - we hope that natural causes did for it.

With thanks to Bill for the story and the photo.

Blackheath fireworks survive bonfire of the amenities

With every area of Council spending under pressure and public goods like libraries being threatened with closure, the Council is attempting to secure the annual Blackheath firework display's future, asking for the public to donate. Here's the release:

Blackheath Fireworks has established itself as one of the biggest, best, and most popular free fireworks displays in the capital. But no public activity can be immune to the effects of cuts in public spending so the Mayor of Lewisham is asking pyrotechnophiles all over London to join him by digging into their pockets to ensure that the Blackheath fireworks don’t end up as damp squibs this year and to keep the event going.

Last year some 80,000 people flocked to the historic heath to see a stunning display. The whole event costs less than £1.50 a head – about the cost of a packet of sparklers. This year the event will again be generously backed by independent fund management company GLC Ltd, who have been involved with the Blackheath Fireworks display since 1994.

Council funding for events like this has come under intense pressure as Government cuts begin to bite. But Lewisham Council is keen to give those who value the event the chance to play their part in keeping it going and has agreed with the sponsor to launch a public appeal to allow people to support the event by making a donation – large or small.

Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, said: “We know that many people come back year after year to enjoy the spectacle of the Blackheath Fireworks display and it continues to attract new devotees all the time. Money is tight at the moment as we all know. But I don’t want to see this event cancelled without giving people the chance to show their support. Just £1 each from every one who attends would ensure that the skies sparkle as usual over the heath this year.”

Lawrence Staden, managing director of GLC Ltd, and sponsor of the event, said: “We feel that the existence of a free, safe display for residents around the wider Blackheath area is very important and remain committed to supporting the event.”

Lewisham Fire Service is backing the appeal. Matt Herrington, Lewisham station manager, said: "There is no doubt that well organised public displays are the safest way to enjoy fireworks. On Bonfire Night firefighters already receive and attend twice as many calls than on an average day. Pubic displays help to prevent this figure from rising even further."

Brockley Cross development plans revealed


Detailed plans for the mixed use development at the corner of Geoffrey Road and Brockley Cross have been revealed.

The architecture is poor - looking regrettably close to the designs churned out by Gary Cole in The Brady Bunch Movie. It features the usual pointless balconies and is not in keeping with the local architecture. We dislike the roof line and the proportions look mean - they have attempted to squeeze in too much, squashing the building right up against the pavement.

On the other hand, we quite like the way it steps up as it moves away from the neighbouring house. The commercial floor space is small, but perhaps all that's required at this location. Timber and aluminium is not a bad mix of materials.

We hope they get sent back to the drawing board in terms of design, tell them to drop the fiddly bits and create something more minimalist with more generous rooms. Above all, it would be nice to see something happen on this site soon after years of procrastination.

Ben Elton tours Stillness

Catford-born comedian Ben Elton toured the fire-damaged Stillness School on Brockley Rise as part of a documentary being filmed about his life.

The South London Press reports:

The TV star, author and scriptwriter for Blackadder and The Young Ones toured Stillness Junior School in Brockley Rise, Honor Oak, on Monday September 6.

His visit was ahead of a one-off stand-up show by the comedian at The Broadway Theatre in Catford Broadway, Catford – close to where he was born.

Homicide: life on the tweet - the murder map of London

There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

- Patrick Bateman, American Psycho

This is not an exercise designed to enlighten.

We've been contacted by a few readers about the online London murder map, which promises to be the definitive guide to homicide in the capital.

It comes with this nauseating cod-sociological blurb:

We hope to provide greater insight into this most destructive of human acts.

Free from Government bureaucracy or political agendas, the site goes beyond bare statistics to provide the stories behind crime figures.

Murder Map is an ever evolving project, whose scope stretches into the future as well as the past, and the database will constantly be updated with new cases, so the picture it creates is as complete as possible.

What truths this picture will reveal, or what conclusions can be drawn from it, is up to the users of the site.

Murder Map is intended to be a forum for ideas about criminal justice and social policy as well as a valuable resource for anyone interested in tackling the dangers faced by Londoners today.

Basically, it seems mainly to have been built for the sort of person who buys part work magazines that build week-by-week to give you unparalleled insight in to the mind of a serial killer. But still, it exists. And the level of interest it's produced on Twitter is strong. And we are weak.

Not sure what, if anything, it tells us about our patch, except that it's not as bad as some, but worse than others.

Sewing classes in London



We've had our first "action" shots taken of Homemade London and we're happy to say that the model in polka dots is a Brockley native, giving us another opportunity to tell you how great it is - but don't take our word for it, see what Visit London had to say about the sewing workshop they tried.


Homemade London is on Facebook here or Twitter here.

Hilly Fields update

From a new playground and orchard to the London Bubble tour, a new cricket square and a proposed cafe to a new orchard, Hilly Fields has been the focal point for many of the most interesting projects in Brockley over the last year.


The Friends and Users of Hilly Fields are custodians of the park and will meet tomorrow, 7.30pm in the park keepers room at the top of Eastern Road, if anyone would like to attend and get involved.

The minutes from the last meeting note that funding for new bins and notice boards has been frozen and funding for improvements to the paths has not yet been secured. However, the grass in the new playground (which now looks like a moonscape, so well used has it been) will be repaired over the autumn.

They also confirm what we suspected, which is that plans for the cafe are not reliant on any public funding - the building would be constructed and maintained with private money.

The Ivy House - Ballroom Boot Fair

The organisers of the Ballroom Boot Fair at The Ivy House pub in Peckham have asked us to plug it for them, which we're happy to do. But please feel free to use this thread to tell us what the pub's like too. Here are the details:

Ballroom Boot Fair at The Ivy House, Peckham SE15 3BE, Sunday 3rd October from 12-4pm

Come sell your art, wares, bric-a-brac, records, vintage clothes & cool junk! Or rummage away the afternoon in the Ivy House pub's wonderful ballroom...

Tables are available, but pitches must be reserved as space is limited.

Please call 07904 192 497 or email info@ballroombootfair.co.uk for more details.

Join the Facebook group here.

Boris Johnson confirms bid for second term

Mayor Boris has confirmed that he will stand for re-election as London Mayor, after months of speculation.


The do-nothing Mayor? London's best hope against central spending cuts?

What do you think?

Brockley and Brockley: Is life naturally comic or tragic?

Springfield Abe: And with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Springfield. They had brought the sacred tree back to its native soil, and though Flanders was stuck with the impound fee, he could easily afford it.
Shelbyville Abe: And with that, a mighty cheer went up from the heroes of Shelbyville. They had banished the awful lemon tree forever, because it was haunted. Now let's all celebrate with a cool glass of turnip juice.
- The Simpsons, Lemon of Troy

Yesterday, someone other than us said something very insightful on Brockley Central. In the discussion that followed Brockley Ben's chicken shop exclusive, reader Hmmm suggested:

I think you have to be 'a-look-on-the- brightside, happy, sociable, non jugdemental person to appreciate Brockley.

We think that's probably true, since it is possible to walk through Brockley and see both beauty and squalor at the same time. You can look at Brockley station and dwell on the ugly hut or focus on the rows of flowers planted by Brockley residents. You can complain that there are too few places to go out locally or you can take advantage of the huge range of local events organised throughout the year.

And because Brockley can divide opinion in this way, perhaps it attracts more optimists than pessimists. And perhaps that's one of the reasons why it's such a nice place to live. So, which are you - an optimist or a pessimist? We've started a poll - please cast your vote.

Paranoid Park


I just feel like there's something outside of normal life. Outside of teachers, breakups, girlfriends. Like, right out there, like outside - there's like different levels of... stuff.

Gleaming new renders of the proposed skate area for Telegraph Hill have been released ahead of the local Assembly meeting on September 21st, which will see residents Thrashin' the issue out before putting it to a vote.

The details for the meeting are:

Date: Tuesday 21st September 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Location: Haberdashers’ Askes’ Hatcham Road College (Jerningham Road site)

So what do you think, Dishdogz?

Pub quiz, hotshot

Brockley Central regular TM does not let any detail of local pub culture escape him. He reports that The Talbot has entered the fiercely competitive Tuesday pub quiz market:

From next Tuesday (14th Sept) the Talbot is running a quiz which will be in direct competition to both the Wickham Arms and the Ladywell Tavern who also run quizzes on Tuesdays.
Not sure who will come out best, but a battle of the pub quiz nights is sure to ensue.

Dogville



More than anything, there are more images in evil. Evil is based far more on the visual, whereas good has no good images at all.

- Lars von Trier

Brockley Danes, this is your moment. BC regular Tamsin found this postcard at a fair and has kindly scanned it for us. The writing is in Danish, so if we have any Danish readers, we'd love a translation please!

The Brockley Assembly, September 16th

Thursday 16 September, 7pm-9pm
Leander Community Centre, Ship Street
SE8 4DH

The Brockley Ward Assembly takes place next week.

The emphasis of this Assembly will be very different from previous events, with the main focus being to consult with the community over which areas of spending should be the Council's highest priority - in other words, where should the cuts fall?

Its location has also moved down in to Deptford, an acknowledgement that Brockley Ward straddles two quite different areas, as Cllr Foxcroft recently told us.


M theory: is Morley the new McDonalds?


All change on Endwell Road: Lithu's Chicken & Pizza, having been displaying a tantalising 'under new management' sign for the past couple of weeks, now appears to be the latest outpost of the Morley empire. With the addition of ribs and burgers, it also has effectively doubled its menu. Fantastic.

Jam Circus comedy

Jam Circus' experimental comedy nights are turning in to a semi-regular fixture. Organiser David explains what tomorrow night holds in store:


Wednesday's comedy night (Sep 8) is offering more acts than ever before. There will be five standup acts as well as headline act improv comedy troupe improbabble. Improbabble are a highly rated fourpiece who have a residency at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Other acts include Jessica Fostekew (Comedy Cafe new act winner 2009); Katie Hearsey ("Mad, cute and dirty" Harry Denford, comedian); Rob Callaghan (“Clever and funny . . . a tight set” – (West Midlands Comedy Forum); Danny Hurst ("...enough funny stories to fill a warehouse." Metro) and Thomas Mayhew (who will be making his debut). Compered by me David Jesudason all for £3 tickets are available here.

The Peckham and Nunhead Film Festival 2010

The inaugural Peckham and Nunhead Film Festival is running all this week.

Among the films showing are The Blues Brothers and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, but it is their first go, so they're forgiven.

The future of Brockley Station

As our son contributed a few tiles to the Brockley Common "treasure cross mosaic" during Saturday's party on Brockley Common, we learned a few things about the station's future, which we share with you now:


- The low wall along the ramp will eventually be covered in more mosaic
- The high concrete wall will be painted in a sympathetic colour scheme
- New trees will be planted between platform 2 and the common, near the lower entrance
- The ugly concrete shed that is the station will not have anything done to it unless TfL lets them plant a few creepers to cover it
- A few of the plants have died and will be replaced

Not going out in Brockley



The Brockley Fox has taken these shots of Lee Mack filming outside Dominic's Pizza on Brockley Road today. He reckons that it's for the new series of Not Going Out, with Tim Vine the man in leathers.


At least one rung up the comedy ladder from JLC Good Times, it prompts the Fox to ask: "Is it just me or is Brockley attracting more media these days?"

Bat and wildflower walk

The Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries are organising a free walk. They say:

On Wednesday 8th September from 6 to 8pm, in conjunction with the Rivers and People Project, there will be a Brockley Cemetery Wildlife Wander. Led by the inimitable Nick Bertrand, this is free and open to all and will be a walk around the different habitats in search of wildflowers, bats and tigers.

Click here for details.

Gordonbrock School redevelopment plans approved

Following last night's Council hearing, at which revised plans to redevelop Gordonbrock School were opposed by the Brockley Society, the Ladywell Village Improvement Group reports that:

Lewisham’s planning committee has given the go-ahead for the rebuilding of Gordonbrock School and the redevelopment of Prendergast School’s Adelaide Ave site. Work on rebuilding the 109-year-old Gordonbrock primary will now start early next year with the school decanting to another site, Greenvale, in January.

Who Killed Deon?



This is a sponsored video from the Metropolitan Police.

The Greenwich Comedy Festival, September 6th -12th



"The kindest thing you could say about Jim Davidson as a fellow comic is that he's not a performer who is troubled by the possibility of duality of meaning."
- Stewart Lee

The Greenwich Comedy Festival is helping to cement South East London's position as a major centre for stand-up. Returning for its second year and taking place every day from September 6th to the 12th in a specially constructed venue at the old Royal Naval College and at Up The Creek, the line-up includes Stewart Lee, Adam Buxton, Richard Herring and Arthur Smith, but sadly no Joe Pasquale or Blackheath boy Jim Davidson.

Tickets are still available for many of the performances.

Brockley Cross car dealership to be redeveloped

Following its acquisition earlier this year, the new owners of the B&M car dealership have applied to demolish it and replace it with:


A part single/part two/part three storey building comprising commercial unit and 1 two bedroom self contained flat on the ground floor and 4 one bedroom and 1 two bedroom self-contained flats on the upper floors with provision of bin and bicycle stores.

No documents are available yet, but the principle of replacing that spot with something useful must be welcome, so long as the plans are of sufficient quality.

No central funding for Surrey Canal station

"Hammer blow" is a term that only ever gets written, never said, but this is a hammer blow for the prospects of a station at Surrey Canal on the new East London Line extension to Clapham Junction. And without a new station, the regeneration plans for the land around Millwall's stadium would be much harder to pull off.

Regeneration and Renewal reports that:

The Department for Transport has ruled out providing a £7 million contribution towards the costs of building a new London Overground station in south London considered key to a proposed 2,000 home development around Millwall's New Den football ground.

This is the funding that Boris forgot to ask about in his meeting with the DfT.

Gordonbrock planning hearing tonight

The Brockley Society writes:


Brockley Society took action to halt the demolition and rebuild of Gordonbrock School earlier this year. We submitted alternative proposals that would retain one more of the Edwardian buildings, but these were not accepted by the council. Now plans that are only very slightly different to the original proposal go before the planning committee on Thursday. We would encourage everyone to attend the meeting if you can.

Lewisham's revised application for the redevelopment at Gordonbrock School will be reviewed by the Planning Committee this Thursday, 2nd September 2010, 7.30pm. Any member of the public may attend this meeting, and we would urge you to do so, if you are interested in witnessing Lewisham's democratic planning process at work. The point of the meeting will be for the representative councillors to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for the proposed works.

An agenda for the meeting can be download from here.

The Brockley Society have volunteered to represent the views against granting permission at the meeting. They will have just five minutes to put forward the case.

It really would be great to see as many people there as possible. A petition with approximately 500 unique names was submitted in opposition. A total of 22 letters were received by the council relating to this application. 8 were in favour, 14 were against.

Ladywell Fields Forever

Robert Sheppard, Secretary, Ladywell Fields User Group has provided this update on the project to redevelop Ladywell Fields:

Work on the the Parklands project, which will bring about major improvements to the middle and southern parts of Ladywell Fields (from the end of Malyons Road right down to Catford), started in July. The project, funded by LDA/Thames Gateway will involve river renaturalisation, landscaping works and extensive tree planting and will provide new riverside features, play facilities, an event space, some new pathways and bridges, tennis court refurbishment and better signage.

At the same time - though not part of the Parklands project - construction of the new adventure playground continues. The facility should be fully up-and-running by the Autumn.

For photos of the latest progress, as at August BH Weekend, check out our
Facebook page.

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