Six Nations Under Brockley

Rugby fans who lecture football fans about how marvellously well behaved their boys are; rugby fans who struggle to understand what is going on during a game; rugby fans who watch games five times a year and don't know who half the players are; rugby fans who insist on turning their shirt collars up. These are just some of the rugby fans that Brockley Central moved to Brockley to be able to avoid.

However, we recognise that embracing diversity means loving these unfortunates like brothers and that not all rugby fans are quite so vapid. So we'd like to help BC reader Kate, a rugby fan who wants to know if any local pub will be showing the upcoming Six Nations games. Big screen sport is one of the area's weak spots, so any suggestions welcome.

Pigeon Street

Julia Keil is a Brockley-based photojournalist who has documented some of the characters living and working in the area. She's kindly agreed to let us use some of the photos from the series:

Broca Food Market
Sounds Around
The Geoffrey Road Garage
Click here for the full article.

Cash Tech, Brockley Cross

Number 9 Brockley Cross - the shop on the corner of Brockley Cross and Brockley Road that was formerly a money-wiring office and, before that, a florist - is now a "computer exchange store" called Cash Tech.

They buy electronics off you, repair old stuff or sell new electronics on a "layby" basis (20% cash deposit up front, followed by weekly installments).

Lewisham and Southwark Colleges plan to merge

Lewisham College and Southwark College have begun a public consultation on a plan to merge the two institutions.

Lewisham College says:

Lewisham and Southwark Colleges firmly believe that by working together we will be able to get more local people into work and support the businesses that are transforming our communities.

Lewisham is an outstanding college in good financial health with a national reputation for quality and a strong track record of meeting community and employer needs.

Southwark College has faced a difficult time and its achievements fall some way short of its potential. It has, however, developed some excellent links with major employers in the local area and with the right resources this potential could be realised.

We believe that by combining the resources and strengths of both colleges we can plan for growth. To do this we will work closely with employers, local authorities and schools to ensure that our offer makes a direct contribution to improving job prospects and increasing prosperity for the local community.

We are determined that the new College inherits our passion and commitment to providing local provision for local people. We will continue to operate in both boroughs and our proposals for governance and management set out how we will build on our existing community links and strengthen our involvement at local level.

Lewisham and Southwark are neighbouring London Boroughs where you can find both opportunity and disadvantage. Close at hand lie the City, West End and South Bank.

For more information about the merger and how it will affect you visit our microsite.

The consultation site's FAQs section adds:

A key part of our proposal is to retain a presence in both boroughs. A detailed estates strategy will be developed to support the curriculum. The campuses will continue to provide resources for the local communities including access to meeting space and recreational facilities. There are no current plans for closure of sites.

Lewisham College's plans to relocate the Lewisham Way campus to Deptford fell through due to a national funding crisis in 2009.

Business crime in Lewisham falls

Business crime in Lewisham fell by in 2011, as part of a downward trend across the capital.

There were 2267 burglaries, robberies or cases of theft recorded in 2011, compared with 2611 the year before - a fall of 13.2%. The numbers exclude arson, which is probably just as well. The decline across London in the same period was 3.4%.

Figures provided by the Mayor of London's office.

Olympic Lewisham

The Olympics will come and go without leaving much of a mark on the borough of Lewisham. Nonetheless, our city will not host the biggest thing in the world ever without us snaffling up a few crumbs from the table of Greenwich and all the other Olympic boroughs. It will also require us to employ all kinds of ingenious solutions if we want to get to work on time during the Games.

So from now until the end of the Paralympics, we'll be trying to report any Olympic stories with implications for Lewisham. It'll be a fun new sport.

Firstly, Lewisham Council wants you to know that:

There will be a two day drop-in event hosted by LOCOG and TfL at the Clarendon Hotel, Blackheath on Friday 3 Feb (12 noon-8pm) and Saturday 4 Feb (10am-4pm). They will be sharing info on traffic, car parking and transport measures around Greenwich and Blackheath. Council officers will be on hand too to give info about the Community Live Site.

Crofton Park Library volunteer needed

Crofton Park Library is looking for some one to lead their singing session for pre-schoolers.

Allison Davis, the library manager says:

"Crofton Park Library has hosted an Under 5's half hour of story-time, sing-a-long and colouring for many years. A number of volunteers, including Gwen and Belinda have been leading the group since becoming a Community Library at the end of May 2011.

"The mums/dads and toddlers enjoy the half hour, with some staying on afterward, playing, reading and colouring. Many mums/dads borrow books for themselves and their young ones. Unfortunately, due to changing circumstance, Belinda, our current Under 5's Leader, has decided to move on. Anyone reading this who is interested in taking over from Belinda, please contact or visit the library and talk to me."

Starbuck Upholstery, Brockley Road

Please post your comments and reviews, including for their shutter business, here.

Brocked Up

Mark: At least I didn't have to watch her recoil at my scrotal scar. 
- Peep Show

Men: Brockley women are spoiled for choice in their domestic market, so you have to raise your game: wash your hair, get a better cardigan, or better still, no cardigan at all. And find out who Chris Morris is before you set off.

The Guardian features a date between a PR executive and Brockley politics student Emily Davies. It did not go well. Thanks to MB for the spot.

Guest post: Goldsmiths - stop the high street rot

New Cross resident Isobel Williams writes:

Goldsmiths bestrides New Cross like a colossus.  It must surely be the single largest owner of property in SE14.  Which would be all well and good, if it maintained it properly.  Or at all, in fact.

I live in St Donatts Rd, and right next door to me is a terraced Victorian house, a 4 bedroom family home, like mine, but owned by Goldsmiths.  For the past 4 years or so it's been boarded up and gradually falling to bits.  The front garden has become a rubbish dump and a tramps’ toilet.  Two attempts have been made by squatters to break into it.  Local residents have written, phoned, emailed Goldsmiths about this but the College rarely bother responding.

The other week I was talking to Gill in The Allotment about the old Goodyear tyre shop opposite the New Cross Inn on New Cross Rd.  Gill tells me the property, and the ones next to it, are great retail spaces, but they’re in such bad repair no one in their right mind would take them on.  The whole eyesore of a parade is owned by Goldsmiths.

I contacted Assembly member Darren Johnson, who kindly ooked into it for me.  Turns out the College have no plans to either sell or renovate any of these properties.  All the efforts made by the Council, local businesses like Gill's and community groups to regenerate New Cross are effectively being undermined by this neglect.  Not to mention the scandal of a potential family home such as the one next door to me being left unoccupied.  So I’ve started a petition to put to the Council next month, asking them to pressurise Goldsmiths to do something about its empty properties in SE14.

In the coming days hard copies will hopefully be popping up in shops in the area (notably The Allotment, of course) but if you can’t wait, please sign the e-petition.  http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-lewisham-council-new-cross-properties/   And if you want to contact me, email me on newxpetition@gmail.com.

The Lost Chords at The Talbot

The Talbot's proprietor Felix writes:

On Wednesday evening, 1st Feb you will be able to locate 'The Lost Chords' doing a gig at The Talbot. The Lost Chords are a newly formed 3 piece band with plenty of experience. Should be a fun night and everybody is welcome. Book a table for food if you fancy and make a night of it.

On Feb 14th we will be hosting the 'Great Valentines Day Quiz' downstairs in the main bar, with all the madness of a normal Tuesday night quiz but with some special Valentines day extras. There will be a bumper jackpot and some extra prizes. That's reason enough to get out of the house, even if you are single.

Upstairs, in the dining room, we will be hosting a Valentines day supper with everything you need to make your other halfs night perfect. Roses, champers, fine food and candle light, what more could you possibly want? And don't forget the Upstairs Dining Room is available for hire, with its own bar, for parties.

Brockley Bites - Story overflow

Too... much... local news.

Polychromatic Spray

The Coulgate Street murals have been the subject of much debate since plans were revealed to redevelop the MOT centre on Brockley Road. We love them and the role they have played in defining Brockley. We wouldn't stand in front of the bulldozers for them, but there has to be room in Brockley for big colourful splodges of joy. When and if they go, we hope something equally happy will appear somewhere nearby. In the mean time, here's a film of their creation. 


Who's the Mother Flippin?

Constructive feedback for Brockley Market's Mother Flippers on a top burger blog.

Near Dark

The Brockley Society is hosting its annual free party for local seniors on Saturday February 11th from 2-5pm in the Social Club on the corner of Foxberry and Brockley Road.

All local seniors are welcome to come along for free tea and cakes; entertainment, and useful information.

If you would like to help out by making sandwiches or cakes, serving or clearing up on the day, collecting and dropping people off, or just chatting to people, please contact Kate at ktwoodbyrne@hotmail.co.uk

Hardback Mountain

Bring & Buy Book Sale for Crisis & New Cross People's Library, Sat 28 January 2-5pm, Telegraph Hill Centre, SE14 5TY.

Paperbacks generally five for £1 and most hardbacks £1 or £2. Varied selection sorted for
easy browsing

180 Brockley Road - consultation report

It's like the summer riots of 2011 all over again, when one issue dominated BC coverage and debate for days and Brockley Kate provided front line reporting. Ah, great days.

Here's her report from the 180 Brockley Road consultation:

- The murals will go, but there is a plan to photograph them, blow them up really big and put the pics under the railway bridge to brighten it up. I suggested that they could commission Known (the graffiti artist who created them) to re-do them under the bridge instead. There was some muttering about cost, but BXAG are interested in fundraising for it.

- The planning gain will be delivered through public realm works rather than affordable housing. In layman's terms this means that the developer will pay for works to the wider public realm around the site, rather than subsidising some of the housing units. The housing will therefore all be for market sale, I understand.

- There will be 23 residential units, of which 1 4-bed house on the northern edge of the site, 1 3-bed, 11 2-beds and 10 1-beds.

- They did not know about the fact that the southern edge of the site is used as a stage for Brockley Max each year, but said they would take that into account in their public realm planning.

- BXAG are looking at creating some vertical planting on the north and south sides of the site.

- The commercial space will be classed for planning purposes as retail (A1, I think it is) and offices; it won't be classed as suitable for fried chicken shops or bookies.
Not clear whether this rules out restaurant/bar usage too.

- The commercial space will be flexible, so it can be easily subdivided or opened up, making it appealing to a range of sizes of businesses.

The architect and developer seem very keen to hear people's views and very open to discussion, which is really positive. They do appreciate the immense regeneration opportunity which this development offers for the wider community, and therefore the site's key importance. They are very keen to get the council to appreciate that as well (as are BXAG). They would therefore appreciate help from local people in lobbying the council in support of the development.

180 Brockley Road plans revealed

The public consultation for 180 Brockley Road has just got underway at Toads Mouth Too. To coincide with the event, the developers have sent us some images, from the consultation.

From Above, coming from Brockley Cross
From Brockley Station
From Foxberry Road
A few points to make here.

Since the very early days of BC, when we still wrote in the first person, we have been arguing that too much of Brockley's centre is given over to places for cars, rather than for people. This is not by design, it's an accident of bombing and then the area's relative decline in the post-war period. Blitzed sites were cheap and unloved and car lots came in to take advantage. Fair enough, but times have changed, Brockley has got busier and there is new demand for stuff to do locally. If any of us were starting with a blank sheet of paper to design a town centre, we'd probably start by putting shops and places to eat, drink and be merry right in the middle, near the station, to create a lively centre.

We've also argued in favour of the Brockley Cross Action Group's vision of a part-pedestrianised Coulgate Street, which would have many benefits and few costs.

This project would achieve both these goals and create - for the first time in Brockleys recent history - a coherent centre. The idea of redeveloping this site is one that's been discussed and debated on here many times, because it's an obvious and sensible thing to do.

The scale of what is proposed here may surprise some, although it's only 26 residential units, so relatively small compared to many other local developments. In our view, something largeish is not only a necessary evil to make the economics of the development stack up, it is a positive benefit that it is of a scale sufficient to bring a bit of critical mass to our high street. On the other hand, the character of the existing Coulgate Street parade, including Brown's, the Broca and Speedicars is one of the nicest things about Brockley, and we hope that quality can be preserved.

The quality of the architecture is of course partly a subjective question and these visuals do not convey a huge amount of detail, but the massing and the impact it will have on the look and feel of central Brockley is clear.

In sending these visuals, MacDonald Egan have explained:

Our sentiment at this point is that we have worked closely with the community groups, have listened and agree and are trying to help achieve their highest priority for the area being the regeneration of Coulgate Street, together with a design for the building that has their support too. 

With the work of the BXAG driving the landscaping of the station ramp/approach, the council’s recent footpath improvements and the refurbishment of the terrace on Coulgate Street leading to the thriving caf├ęs and shops, we have a unique opportunity to fit nicely into the jigsaw. 

Regarding the building design, we have also taken on board some suggestions/refinements from both Broc Soc & BXAG groups into the design and think we have their broad support for the design at this point. 

We hope to achieve the same level of support from the public consultation. Early in the process we also met the commercial neighbours along Coulgate Street as they will be directly affect by the road works and again seem to have their support for the ideas we have put forward for both road and buildings. The council’s highways department have also had input. Our only point would be that good design and architecture are always subjective to a degree, we won’t be able to please everyone, but we ask people to take a holistic view because ultimately if we cannot achieve a broad consensus and subsequently a viable planning consent the community (and us) are left with the existing Coulgate Street station approach, unfocussed village centre and the fragmented existing buildings on the site.   

If we continue to receive the broad support evident to date and maintain input from BXAG and Broc Soc hopefully people will accept that these organisations are well placed to represent the general community in giving us feedback rather than receive many different ideas from individuals. 

With support we hope to make this regeneration real and be on site toward the end of the year and all users of the village centre and station will see a difference shortly thereafter. 

180 Brockley Road proposals - reaction

The plans for the redevelopment of the MOT garage in Brockley's Neighbourhood Local Centre are presented today at Toads Mouth Too cafe, Coulgate Street, from 3pm-7pm. Since the thread announcing the proposal has already generated a mountain of speculative comment, we thought it would be worth creating a fresh thread for people who've seen the plans to react to them.

The Brockley Society and the Brockley Cross Action Group have both seen the plans and offered them a cautious welcome, although both want to see more detail and a response to their feedback. The Brockley Society says:

Brockley Society welcomes the opportunity to have an imaginative design for something appropriate to the area on this very important development site and that we look forward to fruitful consultation.

The Brockley Cross Action Group says:

The development has great potential to regenerate the heart of Brockley but the overall impact needs careful consideration as it moves through the planning stages. BXAG are very positive about the developer's proposal to redesign Coulgate St as a pedestrian friendly street as part of the development, something we have long campaigned for and work that would greatly improve the station area. So at present we are supportive of the development in principle but there are several details that require further scrutiny.

Our aim is to coordinate our response with that of the Brockley Society - that process has already started.

Tell us what you think.

The Tree of Life

Henry Wu: You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will... breed? 
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way. 
- Jurassic Park

He who believes in BC, though he die, yet will he live!

The Brockley Christmas Tree, paid for with the generous donations of Brockley Central readers, and watered with their tears, has defied scientific understanding by taking root in the good Brockley soil, despite being bought as a cut tree.

The tree stands on Brockley Common and the Brockley Cross Action Group confirms it will now be a permanent fixture. Rupert says:

The Brockley Xmas tree - which needs straightening, one of our tasks! - is curious. Despite being a cut tree it is very much alive and as a result we intend to keep it as a permanent living tree, providing of course it survives. We did have a debate about whether to have a permanent Xmas tree, it looks like the tree may have made the decision for us!

Red in the Face Comedy at the Old Nun's Head

South East Central Award-winning pub, The Old Nun's Head, is hosting a new live comedy night - Red in the Face.

Bill Gates hosts BBC debate from Deptford Green music room

In an endorsement of Lewisham education sure to send local house prices soaring, Microsoft founder Bill Gates visited Deptford Green School today for a BBC World Service programme "World Have Your Say" which held a global debate with children from around the world. The debate focused heavily on health issues in the developing world, but also touched on the future of education.

Gates - whose philanthropic foundation is heavily focused on improving education and heatlh and who was presumably in town before heading to Davos - said that he envied Deptford Green's diversity. A boy from Uganda said he would rather go to school in Deptford Green than in his home country. Let's hope he has pushy parents.

You can listen to the podcast here. Thanks to Gema on the Deptford forum for the heads up.

[Full disclosure: Microsoft is a client of BC's employer].

Cricinfo

Fry: I don't get it. Is blernsball exactly the same as baseball? 
Farnsworth: Baseball?? God forbid! 
Leela: Face it Fry. Baseball was as boring as mom and apple pie. That's why they jazzed it up.
- Futurama

Rachel from the Friends of Hilly Fields confirms that cricket will return to Hilly Fields for the first time since the 1980s this summer, a year later than originally planned when work began on a new cricket square. She says:

Millfield Cricket Club has been awarded the contract to be the resident cricket club for Hilly Fields.

Their Captain Tom Collis has contacted the Friends. They will work with the council to develop the new ground and clubhouse / changing facilities over the coming month and promote cricket in the community. They will start playing in the coming 2012 season. They are on the look out for new players and opponents. They can be contacted by email at: millfields@hotmail.co.uk

180 Brockley Road - Public consultation

The owners of 180 Brockley Road (the MOT garage and ACE van hire centre behind Coulgate Street) will present plans later this week to redevelop the site.

A public consultation will be held on Thursday, at Toads Mouth Too, Coulgate Street, from 3pm - 7pm.

The site has been acquired by MacDonald Egan, the team behind the redevelopment of Martin's Yard. When we interviewed MacDonald Egan's Martin Nash about the Martin's Yard scheme last year, he showed us some initial concept work for the 180 Brockley Road site. No doubt, their thinking has moved on considerably since then and we won't preempt Thursday's presentation, but we will say that it will be a very significant project, something we alluded to in our predictions for 2012.

The plans we saw were for a large mixed-use development, which would create a new row of shop fronts next to the Brockley Barge. It would create a more coherent "town centre" for Brockley and radically change the feel of this stretch of road. 

We'll bring you more details as we get them, but rest assured, this will be a big deal that will prompt a lot of debate over the coming weeks. 

Supermarket plan for HOP replacement

Developers plan to merge the two units at the centre of this parade

Developers are proposing to merge two empty shop units from the Honor Oak Park parade to create a single unit that could accommodate a small supermarket. Formerly, the units were occupied by Indo Bangla and the Honor Oak Tandoori.

The news follows speculation on the Honor Oak forum that the site had been targeted by a supermarket chain.

An application has been submitted for:
The part demolition, alterations and conversion of the ground floor shop units to form one retail unit (Use Class A1) at 57-59 Honor Oak Park SE23, together with the construction of a part single/part two storey extension at the rear, provision of a 1.8 metre high timber fence at first floor level, installation of new windows and doors in the rear elevation, refuse & recycle storage at the rear and the re-configuration of the upper floor flats to provide 1 one bedroom self-contained maisonette, 2 one bedroom self-contained flats and 2 two bedroom self-contained maisonettes.

The developers are the people behind the planned redevelopment of St Cyprian's Church on Brockley Road, which has yet to leave the drawing board.


The SE4 Book Club moves to the Brockley Jack

Yvonne, who runs the SE4 Book Club, writes: Our new location is the Brockley Jack pub and we now meet every 2nd Monday of the month, with the next one on February 13th.

We had 12 people at our first session and 15 at out second. Roughly a third of those attending learned about it via Brockley Central, so BCers will be in good company. Our next book, (as suggested by one of our members) is Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.

Story Jam - Storytelling for grown-ups, in the pub

 Alys (right) with co-performer Jen Pearcy-Edwards at The Miller, London Bridge

Alys Torrance writes:

Lip Thumb & Toe storytelling collective bring you South London's own story night: in the pub, over a pint, for a laugh (and a fiver). The last Sunday of the month until April. Stories. Beer. Or wine if your coming from North London. Whimsy is barred. On 29th January, the uniquely wonderful Sarah Rundle headlines.

Expect wit and idiocy, a bit of music, great guest storytellers and a boot in the arse if they go on for over half an hour.January's guest is the remarkable sharply witty Sarah Rundle. Heckle if you dare.

The Big Birdwatch, Hilly Fields


Brockley, Oregon

The thing BC objects to most about the 'mung' meme, which infects its pages is how unfunny and poorly observed most of the comments are, almost as if the people making the jokes have no idea what they are talking about. This is more like it - even though it's about Portland, Oregon. We need to get twinning:


See also this, this and this. And it works because it's done in a "spirit of benevolence and true affection", rather than seething resentment towards the other.

Miracle on Shardeloes Road

The Old Trawlerman tells us that the road-maintenance fairies have relaid Shardeloes Road today - no fuss, no muss:

They have basically done the whole section between Brockley X and Vesta Rd in a day and a half with minimal disruption - astounding, I know. Looks really good, especially as the old surface was so bad. The speed bumps have also gone for now, but not sure if they are being added later. My house has stopped shaking when buses come past, very pleasant!

Ladywell Playtower to be returned to use

The Ladywell Village Action Group reports:

Council and English Heritage monies have now been earmarked to weatherproof the building and start to bring it back into use. 

The work is scheduled to start in March and will include refurbishment of the 'superintendant’s flat' to allow it to be occupied. A Charitable Trust has been established which will oversee the refurbishment of the building and long-term use as a community hub. The Trust is currently applying for funding to take the project forward.

Needless to say, the fact that one of the area's outstanding buildings will be brought back in to use after being left to rot is great news. The Playtower has enormous potential and there have been many creative ideas for how it could best be used for the benefit of the community.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked to reach this point. LVIG is keen for anyone who would like to be involved in the building's future to contact them at ladywell.info@gmail.com

Datenight and Popcorn

Lewisham Arthouse Exhibition: Datenight and Popcorn 1-12 February 2012, Open Wednesday to Sunday 12-6 pm. Free entry.

The venue will be hosting an exhibition featuring the work of Claire Boyd, Miranda Pissarides, Rose Rowson, Alex Springer and Tom Worsfold, five current students from the Slade School of Fine Art.

Thanks to Clare at BrocSoc for the information.

Vote now for the Brockley Jack Theatre

A message from Darren at the Brockley Jack Theatre:

Thanks to the help of BC readers last year, The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre won the public vote for Best Theatre Foodie Experience in the "Off West End Awards." 

Nominations are open again for this years awards, here is where we stand currently: 

MOST WELCOMING THEATRES: 3rd place 
BEST THEATRE BARS: 2nd place 
BEST FOODIE EXPERIENCES: 2nd place 

With your help we could be bringing home one or more awards this year to SE4! Simply click on the link below, scroll to the bottom and enter your email address to receive a voting form. Many thanks. http://www.offwestend.com/index.php/pages/the_offies

Voting closes Sunday.

Portland Bookmakers replaced by Coral

Brockley Road bookies, Portland Bookmakers, who promised to shake up the Brockley betting landscape with a new approach to high street gambling, has fallen to the ever-present Coral. The shop on the corner of Adelaide Avenue is currently being refurbished by the new tenants.

Portland arrived in Brockley in controversial fashion, replacing a former video shop and taking their bid to change the building's use to the courts, in a case that Lewisham Council eventually lost.

During this period, Portland claimed local punters would appreciate the upmarket approach, which would differentiate them from the likes of Coral. Evidently, instant coffee in paper cups wasn't enough of a differentiator to help them take on the gambling goliaths.

Thanks to those on Twitter who confirmed the story.

The Winter Palace

When someone alerts you to a blog about a home-made shed assembled from the flotsam of Brockley, that is a story that needs to be followed up. The writer of "Caught By The River" recently shared her account of a wondrous shed in SE4:


The writer of "Caught By The River" recently shared her account of a wondrous shed in SE4:

[In] Kev’s south London back garden, he and his girlfriend add lovely twists to their lives by, for example, inviting people round for a mini festival instead of a BBQ. Their artist friends turned the bathroom into a neon installation with hanging octopi and dreamy seaweed. They hung a huge roll of paper on the outside wall and pulled and pegged the resulting pictures out around the house, and someone sung a funny song about why his dad was a c-word.


We sat in Kev’s shed, that he had built himself. He had raided skips and de-burdened builders of salvage they’d otherwise have to tip. He uprooted Sold signs outside houses and used the poles for joists. “Estate agents are immoral,” he said, “so it’s fine.” Sitting in Kev’s shed was like sitting in a building imagined by Hammer & Tongs or Roald Dahl, a made-up shed made real by a simple equation: idea + action + a healthy disregard for other people’s rules.

Eventually, we managed to get in touch with Kevin, who gave us this photo of the shed and told us:

We made the winterhouse mostly because I'm always rooting around in skips and it seemed about time to do something useful with the booty. The little arty party just seemed to happen with various people passing through the house. So many talented people lurking around south London I find. I'm moving out end of the month and so we are bequeathing the winter house to the new housemates although I'll be back in spring to have a little mini fest of some sort.

Brockley Road upgraded from junk status


On Twitter, Brockley Kate reports that:
"The junk shop on the corner Cranfield and Brockley Road [which was closed down by the bailiffs] is open again, for short time only to sell off stock. The unit will then be taken over by new tenants."

There is definitely room for a good second-hand shop on Brockley Road, but this was not good junk.

Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly, January 24th

7pm-9pm - Barnes Wallis Community Centre, 74 Wild Goose Drive, SE14 5LL

Key items on the agenda this time (thanks to Tamsin for the info):

1. Transport for London - Kender Triangle Traffic Scheme (with TfL and the Lewisham Transport team to report on the impact on traffic flow and bus journeys and answer questions)
2. Housing Allocations consultation - looking at the new government Bill with major changes in the way the housing list works and how homeless people are helped.
3. Skate area update - how work is progressing.

Deptford and Catford win regeneration funding

BC's woman on the inside at the Mayor's Office points out two of the Lewisham projects that have received funding from the the Mayor's "Outer London Fund", which is designed to help promote economic growth in 18 outer boroughs.

Deptford High Street and Catford Broadway will received a combined total of £4.3 million in investment.

Now it just so happens that the Mayor was elected thanks to support from the outer boroughs, although relatively few of those votes, so it's good news that two important projects got something, even though we're not sure how riverside, zone 2 Deptford can be counted as "outer London". Here are the details:

Over £4.3million is being invested in regeneration projects across Lewisham, boosting local high streets, delivering growth and new jobs and improving lives, as the Mayor of London announces the second round of projects to benefit from his Outer London Fund.

The Mayor is channeling £50 million from his Outer London Fund and an additional £25million in match funding from other private and public sector partners into regeneration projects across London.

Deptford High Street will benefit from an investment of over £2.2 million in order to re-invigorate the area. Specific activities include a market apprenticeship starter initiative and a market stall and forecourt appearance improvement project. The funding will also support the creation of a new public space at the southern end of the High Street. Other activities include a waste initiative, improved parking provisions and a feasibility study for Hamilton Street Car Park, and the Deptford Moving Art Scheme. 

Catford Broadway will benefit from over £2 million to go towards regeneration of the town centre and high street through new shop fronts, forecourts, lighting and street layouts with the aim of increasing footfall and evening activity. The market will also be diversified through the creation of new food stalls – ‘A Taste of things to come’. A market apprentice initiative will also begin in order to help younger people build their employment skills.

Nunhead also won funding for high street improvements. Visit the Nunhead Forum for the full details.

Ladywell adhesives factory site sold

A quick update from friend of BC, Rosie, who reports that the site of what used to be an art deco adhesives factory on Ladywell Road (before it was demolished in 2010) has been sold by estate agents Andrew Purnell.

We're not aware of any new planning applications that have been submitted. The site currently has planning permission for a mixed-use residential and office development.

Italian speakers in Brockley

Polly wants to know if there are any Italian teachers in the hood. We know there's a big Francophone community, how about Italophones?

We are moving to Italy in August and I'd like to give my children a bit of a head start with the lingo by finding a tutor for them before they are well and truly thrown in at the deep end! I am looking for a native Italian speaker who is qualified to teach young children - they are 4 and 6. I know I can find a tutor through one of the central London language schools, but I am hoping to find someone local. My email address is cpu_fox@yahoo.co.uk.

Bakerloo Line extension 'not a priority' for Boris' TfL

Michele Dix, Transport for London's managing director for planning, has confirmed that a Bakerloo Line extension south from Elephant & Castle is “not high up the priority list of TfL projects,” despite the scoping work which confirmed “there was a need” for the project, which TfL also regard as “sensible” and “worthy of further work.”

SE1 has the full story here.

The lack of appetite is due to the fact that there is no obvious source of funding at the moment. And it is clear that Mayor Johnson is not batting for South East London transport, as Dix said she was unaware of any conversation between the Mayor and Government about it, despite Boris’ positive noises about it last year.

The Bakerloo Line extension will happen eventually, but we’ll have to wait until Boris leaves office before it becomes a reality.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the story.

Music of Brockley Origin

Peckham Space is hosting The South London Black Music Archive, an exhibition by artist Barby
Asante, which opens today and runs until March 24th.

The installation "aims to celebrate, preserve and investigate South Londoners’ personal relationships with moments in black music history," and they are asking Brockley Central readers to add their memories to the map so that they can build a comprehensive record of the key places in South London for black music.

As well as this, the exhibition is inviting readers to contribute their black music records, tapes, CDs and memorabilia to add to the archive and build a history. All items are returnable.

To take part, please text the memories or objects you'd like to contribute to 07908 965 553 or email info@peckhamspace.com

Barby Asante says:

“The influence of black music on the development on popular music is often overlooked. Black music has also played a significant role in the development of British culture from the 1950's and this is a great opportunity to provide a platform for people to consider the significance of this cultural activity on their lives.”

Haberdashers' present free school plans

Following the news that Haberdashers' Aske's is proposing to open a free primary school in the area, reader TH Nick has written this report from the public presentation (also posted on the New Cross forum), which they gave last night:

The plan is for the current Hatcham Temple Grove school (HTG) to move back to its original site for September 2013 (i.e. for start of the Free School).

The first Free School (FS) reception will then use the current (permanent) reception classrooms while new permanent blocks will be built in time for the class to move into.

People asked about amounts of free space: the current HTG pupils (and therefore the FS pupils when they move in) have the same amount of outside space now as they will have when they go back to old HTG site.
The current HTG site (and again, presumably the future FS site) apparently does not encroach on the main Haberdashers Askes part of the site, so there will not be an issue with crowding for secondary children.

Pupils will be taught in English and German using an "immersive method", as currently used in HTG. Example was that currently children have a morning doing numeracy etc in English, then will do the same topics in the afternoon but using German words. The theory being that learning the language should't be hard....

There were questions about what impact this might have on other local primaries/the status of Haberdasher Askes secondary as a local school. The stat quoted by someone in the audience was that last year there were 72 places allocated by distance at HA. Once the 60 FS pupils each year come trhough, this will drop to around 12.

HA suggested that the pupils at the FS will be local and would have been those who otherwise would have got in HA in secondary admission, therefore this wasn't really any issue. In 2020 (when the first reception class moves to secondary) they will look at this and there may be a need for more secondary places but they haven't/can't consider this now.

In my opinion (and I suspect that of the person in the audience who asked the question) this was a bit of a weak answer. It looks clear that if live close to HA but choose to send your children to Edmund Waller/John Stainer etc you will be unlikely to get a place at HA secondary. While HA will remain a "local school" as the pupils that have come through the FS will be local, it does feel like it will end up slightly sealed and seperate from the local area and other local schools.

Finally, I chatted to some other parents after. Broad view (and I'm sure there will be some that don't agree) was that while they might disagree with free schools on principle, they were impressed with the plans and would be willing to compromise those principles for their children. Of course that position might change if their children didn't get a place at the FS.

Not Brockley Central: Working Title

A quick plug for the new Edelman Corporate blog, which is currently populated with a grand total of one article. A quick article by us, with our familiar brand of combative optimism.

Telegraph Hill power cut [UPDATED]

For those of you in Telegraph Hill but not on Twitter (which is virtually everyone in TH, as far as we can tell), you might like to know that the power cut affecting some parts of the neighbourhood is due to a sub station problem, according to BC regular, Debra, who hopes it will be fixed shortly.

UPDATE: The power's back.

Hopscotch nights

Brockley Jon writes:

It's taken me a week to get round to writing about a night out I had in Hopscotch cafe last weekend. Coming back from town we thought we'd pop in for a quick drink, and intrigued by the band setting up, thought we'd stay to see what happened. This wasn't our first evening in Hopscotch, but it was the first time we'd been when they had live music on, so I was keen to see how it worked as a live venue.

Hopscotch has quietly built a decent reputation for itself in Honor Oak, firstly as a cafe, but also increasingly as a place to go for a drink in the evening, with live music every Saturday. Trying to be both daytime child-friendly cafe and an evening destination is tricky though, and decor-wise I think there is some room for improvement. It's still a bit too safe, and could take some styling queues from any Antic pub in the area. The flashing fairy lights in the window don't say grown-up to me, and my biggest grumble would be the TV screen (showing music TV) at the back, which is unnecessary and cheapens the look overall.

While it's far from a pub, they do have a bar, and they have draught lagers (Amstel & Budwar). If ales are your thing, then they have a way to go, as there's a fairly uninspiring selection available by the bottle (think Old Speckled Hen, Bishop's Finger) served at room temperature. They do have Guinness on tap if my memory serves me right.
In the evening the hot food option is soup or a burger. No shame in that - a burger can make a place if they're done well, and I'm please to report they were. I don't think people will be traipsing from far and wide in the same way they did at the MeatEasy, but it was homemade, tasted good and there were enough varieties to keep everyone happy (they also have a happy hour in the early evening when it's 2 for 1).

The band in question were The Hitmen. A group of local musicians, with a clear love of blues & soul and the added bonus of a proper brass section. They belted out hits ranging from Glen Campbell to Stevie Wonder via Bowie and The Stones, all with a twist. They may have been a cover band but it's a long time since I've heard guitar skills like that, with some proper rocking moments even with the fairly mature punters in Hopscotch! Speaking of which, it seemed like the band had brought a lot of their own crowd, which made for a great atmosphere, with the place full to bursting and virtually everyone on their feet by the end of the night. According to Felix from The Hitmen they have a Facebook page, but I'm damned if I can find it, so maybe he'll find this and tell us all where it is

I really hope Hopscotch are doing okay in the evenings, as they're a valuable addition to the small but perfectly formed Honor Oak high street, and the only option for live music in the area. With the empty Old Bank next door being a prime spot for a decent restaurant, Hopscotch could happily become the default after-dinner drinking spot, and could maybe carve a niche for itself in the same way Moonbow Jakes did, many moons ago (ha!) on Brockley Road. I wish them well, and will be back soon.

This review has also been posted to the Honor Oak forum.

Haute Tension at Brockley Station

Jake recorded this at Brockley Station, ratcheting up the tension in a scene reminiscent of the Untouchables or Sleepers, If this doesn't prompt the immediate prioritisation of step free access on the West Side, then nothing will.

The Time Traveler's Wifi

Robot Guard #1: Be you robot or human? 
Leela: Robot, we be. 
Fry: Yep, just two robots out roboting it up. 
Robot Guard #2: Administer the test. 
Robot Guard #1: Which of the following would you prefer? A. a puppy; B. a flower from your sweetie; or C. a large, properly formatted data file? Choose! [Fry and Leela confer] 
Fry: Er... Is the puppy mechanical in any way? 
Robot Guard #1: No. It is the bad kind of puppy. 
- Futurama, Fear of a Bot Planet

BC's Singapore correspondent, b., has discovered a prototype clock designed for robots, which sits in the corner of Brown's. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop. We understand the giant clockwork robot that lives next door to Toads Mouth approves. This is a story that needs no further explanation:

Product sketch: Clocks for Robots from BERG on Vimeo.

Blackheath big screen for the London 2012 Olympics

In the first real sign that this borough is part of an Olympic host city, Lewisham Council has announced plans for a Henman's Heath during the Olympics, showing all the action on a giant screen on Blackheath. They say:

As well as the extensive sports coverage, the Live Site will offer a packed line-up of entertainment and have-a-go sporting activities for all ages plus a few surprises and guest appearances along the way. 

The screen will be right on the doorstep of all of the restaurants, bars and shops that Blackheath Village has to offer making it a great day out for families and friends. 

The increased numbers coming to Blackheath should provide a welcome boost in trade for businesses in the area. As well as being great fun, events taking place at the site will be designed to encourage communities to participate in improving their health and well being, become involved in their local community and celebrate local achievements. 

The Community Live Site will provide a showcase and fundraising opportunities for local voluntary and charitable organisations. In addition to the big screen, another great attraction at the Live Site will be a beautifully decorative and rare Spiegel Tent which will play host to a range of events for all ages including tea dances, cinema, storytelling and live music. This splendid venue is so glamorous it is worth a visit in itself, even if it is to take in the surroundings, have a bite to eat or enjoy a cocktail created especially for the event. 

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: 

'The London 2012 Games are a once-in-a-lifetime event and we want our residents to have a great place to meet and enjoy the spectacle. And lying within the last mile of the Games venue at Greenwich Park, we can welcome the world's visitors to stop, relax and join our celebrations in Blackheath.' 

The Lewisham Community Live Site will run from 27 July to 12 August 2012. Daily opening times will vary but the Council is conscious that this is also a residential area and will make every effort to ensure that the needs of everyone attending and living around the area will be considered.

More of this kind of thing please!

Glam rock murder mystery at the Amersham Arms

Brockley-based theatre empresario Gareth is helping to put on a show. He says:

We are bringing the murder mystery genre bang up to date for a new audience by injecting it with explosive immersive performance and rocking live music.

Do you want to glam up, get on down and play detective? With the lead singer of Glittermoon dead and a killer on the loose, this gig is doomed to chaos…but maybe you can help by attempting to bring the monster to justice. Will you interrogate the suspects with steely determination, or will you win their trust and seduce them into telling you the truth? It is your choice how to proceed as events unfold in real time as the evening progresses.

Unlike traditional whodunits which are strictly structured, Glam Rock Murder Mystery gives you freedom to roam the venue and mingle with the colourful cast of potential killers, conducting your investigation as you see fit. Hone your detection skills, listen well, observe everything and get stuck in. Good luck, watch out and rock on!

P.S. Dress up and you might win a prize.

This brand new, unique murder mystery format is a brilliant evening of entertainment by a professional cast of actors with vast experience in up-close immersive theatre, under the direction of Andrew Dawson (director of Secret Cinema’s Lawrence of Arabia and co-director of their acclaimed adaptations of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Blade Runner).

Join the Glam Rock Murder Mystery event page for updates, clues and more.

Live music from Flamingo Drive (www.facebook.com/FlamingoDrive), Glittermoon and DJ Stardex Hanford.

25th January 2012, Doors: 7.30pm for 8pm start. £7/£5 students.

www.outsiderstheatre.co.uk

American spender

Brockley Central's US correspondent Maradoll has spotted two more historical postcards of Brockley for sale on eBay.


Here's Wickham Road:

And here's Breakspears Road:

Team London looks for the best Brockley volunteers

The Mayor of London's Office says:

Boris Johnson is calling on Londoners to nominate their top volunteers for the first annual Team London Achievement Awards. The awards will celebrate the positive effect volunteering can have in our communities and recognise the unsung heroes who give up their time to help others.

Team London is the Mayor’s ambitious programme to mobilise an army of volunteers across the capital to improve life in London through programmes aimed at reducing crime, increasing youth opportunities and improving quality of life by cleaning, greening and building stronger neighbourhoods.

Individual volunteers, teams or volunteering organisations can all be nominated, although applicants must be based in London and efforts or contributions must benefit London or Londoners.

Team London will give out four awards under each of the following categories:

Improving Community Safety
Increasing Youth Opportunities
Building Stronger Neighbourhoods
Cleaning & Greening London

In addition, one person will be selected from all of the candidates for a special Mayor's Award.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “The Team London Achievement Awards are our chance to celebrate not only the excellence of volunteers but the amazing things we can accomplish when we work together to make London the best city it can be. We want to ensure that the volunteering heroes of our capital don’t go unrecognised for the huge contribution their efforts make to the lives of others.”

The Team London Achievement Awards will be managed in partnership with Greater London Volunteering (GLV) and the deadline for all nominations is the 1st February 2012. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in March 2012.

Click here for more information on Team London and to find and post volunteering opportunities please visit www.london.gov.uk/teamlondon

Masons makeover?

Speculation is mounting on the Ladywell Forum that Masons, the Ladywell Village bar-restaurant which closed last year, is due to reopen in a new guise, under new ownership.

The planned replacement is rumoured to be a gastropub and BC reader 'Lady in the Well' says that decoration work appears to have begun. We hope to bring you more on this story soon.

QQ Chinese Restaurant, Lewisham Way

"Q... Q...What begins with Q? Quintuplets! So I'll ask a few."
- Hooper Humperdink? Not Him!

QQ is a new Chinese restaurant and takeaway, which has replaced Saigon Blues at 209 Lewisham Way. This is not an area over blessed with good Chinese food, so your comments and reviews will be very welcome.

Antic take on the Copperfield

More good news for South East London's pub scene.

Reported by Betamatt on the Catford forum, Antic (the owners of local pubs Jam Circus, the Ravensbourne Arms and the Royal Albert, among others in South East London) have taken over the Copperfield pub in Catford.

The story is confirmed by Antic, who will rename it the Catford Bridge Tavern when they reopen it.

In December 2011, The News Shopper reported that:

Drug allegations, two stabbings and concerns over sexual exploitation could put a pub’s future at risk.

Neighbours have also complained to police about customers of the Copperfield noisily staggering out of the pub in the early hours, using their walls as urinals and even women being driven about on the bonnets of cars. 

The Catford Bridge boozer, recently hit with a noise abatement notice, is currently shut while its licence is reviewed on the recommendation of police.

We await the protests that this is more unwelcome gentrification of a wonderful, old-fashioned community pub.

Tribute to Icarus Club founder at Blackheath Halls, Feb 4th 2012

Dozens of South Londo’s finest acts, including The Portraits, Bruise, Kristy Gallacher and Mishaped Pearls, are set to play a tribute concert in memory of local music promoter Andy Ropek, who died of cancer in December 2011.

Andy, 52, was the frontman for the Icarus Club, which has been running regular live music nights at venues around the area, including Blackheath Halls, since 2004.

A Concert for Andy is in the Great Hall, Blackheath Halls, 23, Lee Rd, London SE3 9RP ( 020 8493 0100 www.trinitylaban.ac.uk ) on Sat Feb 4th at 8pm . Doors open 7pm. Tickets £8.

Other acts on Feb 4th will include The Carl Picton Cartel, Still, Jespa, The Intrepid Spaniels, Ben Butler,Jack O’Brien, Teddy Bazz, Maria Day, Beaj Johnson, Jason James Melville and Dapper Dan.

The Icarus Club will continue running local events including a new regular monthly night at the Pelton Arms, 23-25 Pelton Rd, Greenwich, SE10 9PQ starting on Weds Feb 8th (www.icarusclub.blogspot.com )

Life Drawing at Tea Dance (hopefully not for little people)

Claire writes:

We are a group of qualified and expressive artists running a friendly and informal life drawing class with a different theme each week, developing creative potential in visual art.

We will focus on an experienced model in short various postures for the first hour and a longer pose exploring a variety of medium and 'mise en scene". Materials and music provided, soft drinks available.

Takes place on Tuesdays at 8pm - 9.30pm starting on Jan 17th 2012. Tea Dance, 106 Endwell Road, Brockley SE4 2LX £8 per session. Please email kastruc@hotmail.com for more information, or pop in on a Tuesday!

The New Cross Film Festival

The 2010 Free Film Festival at Nunhead Cemetery - Photo copyright: Helen Jermyn

Free Film Festivals, the people behind the Peckham and Nunhead Film Festivals, are bringing the show to New Cross and Deptford this year. They say:

The 2012 New Cross Free Film Festival will take place between Friday 27 April and Sunday 6 May. A list of venues and events will be announced in January 2012. We're teaming up with our friends at Goldsmiths College, the Cafe in Telegraph Hill Park, Deptford Film Club, Cinetopia, Sanford Housing Cooperative and others to create a series of FREE events at community venues. 

We'll bring you the programme when its's announced, but click here to visit their website.

Brockley witnesses provide important leads in Stephen Lawrence case

Two people in Brockley have passed information to the police that could prove vital in the effort to convict more people for the murder of Stephen Lawrence in Eltham in 1993. The Sun reports that:

Mr Lawrence said: "After the verdict, I met two people in Brockley, London, on Saturday who knew one of the guys that was part of the gang. They mentioned the boy confessed that he was there on the night. They gave me their names and addresses and I passed them on to the police."

---
We've refrained from writing anything about this case until the Brockley connection emerged, because enough has been said elsewhere, but we would like to take this opportunity to put something on the record, for what it's worth. For years, since Stephen's death, far right groups like the BNP and the EDL have been peddling the disgusting suggestion that, contrary to what has been said about him in the mainstream media, he was actually a drug dealer (the implication being that he had it coming).

We went to school with him, albeit too briefly before his murder, and from what we knew of him and what people who knew him better said of him, he was entirely the warm, mild-mannered, bright and promising young man that the tributes following his death described.

Haberdashers' Aske's plans Free Primary school

As posted by TH Nick on the New Cross forum, Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College hopes to open a new Primary 'Free' School on the school estate, serving children aged 4-11. Called Hatcham Temple Grove Free School, the aspiration is to open the school in September 2013 and to reach a capacity of 420 pupils by 2020.

The area already has some excellent primary schools, but places are in short supply.

If the plan proceeds, it would serve as a feeder for the secondary school, for which places are already highly coveted. In a leaflet which describes their plans, they say:

As in our existing very successful primary phase (Hatcham Temple Grove), an emphasis on phonics, reading and numeracy will underpin the curriculum. HTG Free School will share curriculum resources with HTG and Hatcham College. The curriculum will be based on the International Primary Curriculum and will be taught in two languages. Children will learn to be proficient in a second language.

There will be a consultation meeting on Monday, 16 January. Presentations will be held at: 5:30pm and 7pm at  Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, Pepys Road, New Cross, SE14 5SF.

New parking restrictions planned across the area

Lewisham Council is planning to introduce a number of new parking restrictions in the area, seemingly to improve sight lines and access for pedestrians and cyclists. We were sent the list by Alison, who lives on Ewhurst Road and is a little puzzled by the plans to restrict parking near Ladywell Fields, which she says will cost a few spaces for seemingly little benefit.

If the plans go ahead, there will be no waiting at any time at:

- Bovill Rd both sides within 1m of Gabriel Street south kerb line
- Brockley Rise east side within 10m of junction Lowther Hill
- Brockley View east side 5m length at Blythe Hill Fields path access point opposite junction Duncombe Hill
- Courthill Road southwest side adjacent to either side of traffic island outside 128 and 156 Courthill Road
- Crofton Park Rd west side 41m length spanning Sevenoaks Road access point opposite junction Ewhurst Road
- Crofton Prak Road east side within 21m north and 16,m south of junction Ewhurst Road
- Ewhurst Road both sides within 5m of junction Crofton Park Road
- Ewhurst Road east side 7.5m length at Ladywell Fields path access point adjacent 115 Ewhurst Road
- Gabriel St south side within 5m junction Bovill Road
- Gabriel St south side within 5m east of junction Garthorne Road
- Garthorne Road southeast side within 4.5m southwest of junction Gabriel St
- Grierson Road northwest side 3.3 length and 6.6m from junction Honor Oak Park
- Grierson Road southeast side 1.8m length 6.6m from junction Honor Oak Park
- Lowther Hill both sides within 10m of junction Brockley Rise
- Manor Lane west side 10m length at network rail site access point between the two rail-over-the-road bridges between junctions with Fernbrook Road and Milbrough Crescent
-Montacute Road northwest side 3.2m length at Blythe Hill Fields path access point between 40 and 42 Montacute Road

The plans, which were advertised in the Mercury(!), can be commented on by:

"Writing to Lewisham Transport Policy & Development, Wearside Service Centre, Wearside Road, SE13 7EZ, to arrive not later than 21 days from the date of publication of this notice (Jan 4th 2012)."

All the single entrepreneurs - put your hands up

Sian writes:

Calling all single parents who have ever considered working for themselves!

I am conducting PhD research into the opportunities and obstacles around self-employment or microenterprise for single parents. Single parents are statistically more likely than partnered parents or those without children to be unemployed or on very low pay and tackling this is essential for reducing child poverty. Understanding what supports or hinders a single parent to run their own micro business is the key to creating policies and infrastructure that will help more people become independent.

I am looking for any single parent who might be interested in or already is selling their time/goods/services in any way and would be happy to talk about it in one of three ways:

- be interviewed ( 2 x 1.5 hours over a year)
- take part in a group discussion (2 hours)
- keep a diary of their experience (weekly diary keeping for between 6 - 12 months).

All the research will be anonymised and all names etc will be kept confidential. People might be:

- already running their own small business - which could be anything from childminding to dog-walking to being an accountant;
- trying it out as an idea alongside working/not working;
- like the idea but not have done anything about it yet;
- have tried but found it didn't work - those stories will have real impact.

If you think you know anyone who might be interested in taking part I would be really grateful if you could either share this request with them or ask them to contact me at sianwilliams41@hotmail.co.uk. I can also contact them if they would be happy for you to pass their details on.

Free health checks for Lewisham residents

Lewisham Council writes:

Did you know that if you are aged between 40 and 74 you can get a free NHS Health Check?

And if after the check you decide you want to make some changes to improve your health, Lewisham Council has two programmes to help.

Shape Up is an eight week free course that aims to help people lose weight and stay healthy. Courses start on 23 January in Downham, 28 January in Bellingham and 29 January in Sydenham.

Get moving is a great range of different activities from Zumba to swimming lessons to help you get moving and be more active. Activities run throughout the borough, are for ten weeks and start from 23 January. The first five weeks are free, then it’s £2 per class.

To find out about NHS Health Checks and where you can get one, visit www.lewishampct.nhs.uk or call 0808 1410 118.

For more information on the programmes or to register for classes visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/sport and click on 'check and change'. 

Brockley Market returns for 2012

A quick reminder that after its brief hiatus, Brockley Market returns this weekend, with a line-up of stalls that includes:

Aston Bakers, Brockley Blooms, Brockley Logs, Brookland White Poultry, Browns of Brockley, Dark Fluid Coffee, Hand Picked Shellfish Company, Independent Trotters, Jacob's Ladder, Tea Dance For Little People, Luardos, Marsh Farm, Moons Farm Charcuterie, Mersham Game, Mike and Ollie, Mother Flipper, Norbiton cheese, Perry Court Organic (A G Brookman), Perry Court Farm, Red Herring Smoke House, The Honest Carrot and Wild Country Organics.

On January 14th, Flavours Of Spain and London Particular will pitch up. On January 21st, Made In Brockley and Sugar-grain will be there. On January 28th, Aggy's Sauces and Blintz Boy (featured in this Evening Standard article, sent to us by Ian) arrive.

Not Brockley Central: Secret Cinema

Dearest Edna, I must leave you.  Why I cannot say.  Where I am going you cannot know.  How I will get there... I haven't decided yet.
- The Simpsons, Bart the Lover

Last night, Brockley Central went to Secret Cinema, an event which combines the cinema experience with immersive theatre: Think Punch Drunk meets the Electric Cinema.

The first rule of Secret Cinema is that you do not talk about Secret Cinema and both the movie and its location are off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush. But we will say that it is excellent. It's the sort of experience that makes a part of London you'd barely pay any attention to feel like a strange and exotic landscape, that makes you feel like a more interesting person than you actually are and makes watching a film you've always meant to see feel like catching up with an old friend. There were so many hints and visual clues planted, from the moment we bought our tickets, that it was less like going to the movies than it was like being the subject of a Derren Brown experiment.

Suffice it to say, if you are the sort of person who is personally affronted by the thought of paying £10 for a cinema experience in Telegraph Hill you will probably have an aneurysm at the very idea of paying so much for seats that don't even have cup holders. Everyone else will love it. 

Is Hither Green more suburban than Brockley?

Hither Greenies have reacted with indignation on Twitter to the suggestion on last night's Location, Location, Location that their area is more suburban than Brockley.

We'd argue that it is - although whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion. Hither Green is further out, zone 3 rather than zone 2, without an ELL connection. Hither Green feels sleepier and cosier than Brockley, with fewer local venues, more houses and fewer flats. While we share Catford and Lewisham as neighbours, Hither Green is bounded by quiet Lee and genteel Blackheath, whereas we border New Cross and Deptford, which are neither quiet nor genteel. While Brockley has its fair share of young families, Hither Green seems to be exclusively populated by them.

Seems like an open and shut case to us, but if anyone wants to put an alternate view, let's hear it.

Location, Location, Location

Approximately a decade after its first visit, Location, Location, Location returned to Brockley last night, during an episode devoted to house hunting in South East London, which, as the presenters helpfully explained, is the area between the city and the Kent countryside.

It was interesting to compare and contrast the two shows.  Whereas the first visit portrayed Brockley as a sleepy, speakeasy bolthole that came as a complete surprise to the prospective buyer, last night's show featured a couple of "cool" and "stylish" designers living in Brockley whose list of criteria for their next purchase included remaining in the "Brockley area" loved the community and were freaked out by a house in relatively suburban Hither Green, which lacked the city-centre buzz they were used to.

Ultimately, they bought a large property in Camberwell, where they will try to recreate the Brockley magic, having been disappointed by a property in Crofton Park, but not before they were shown standing looking longingly through the window of an estate agent with El's Kitchen in the background several times. Farewell, Nadine and Toby, you have served Brockley admirably.

The Deptford Lounge opens

Odd that the brain could function on its own, without acquainting him with its purposes, its reasons. But the brain was an organ, like the spleen, heart, kidneys. And they went about their private activities. So why not the brain?
- Philip K Dick, The Man Who Japed

Deptford's dramatic new public library, the Deptford Lounge, is open. It will be formally opened to the public next month, but for now, the ground floor library is open from 7am-10pm weekdays and 7am-7pm on weekends.

We took a look around this morning. Even at 9.30am, with very little publicity, it was being well-used. The layout of the library provides nicely for quiet reading, internet research and informal meetings. While calm, it is also flooded with life and light, so that we could easily imagine ourselves spending hours there, in the way we don't with many other local libraries. A small cafe area at the front will add extra incentive to stick around.


It doesn't house a huge number of books, but the range on offer was decent and the racks allow the librarians to do a bit of curation - there were lots of self-help guides prominently displayed and at least one librarian is very keen for us all to try Philip K Dick. The children's section was great and furnished with some reading pods and they have an impressive collection of graphic novels.


It's accessible via the handsome new Giffin Square, which is nearing completion and which will become a new focal point for Deptford, drawing more people towards the glittering library. When fully operational, it will offer, according to the Crossfields blog: A hall, studio space, meeting rooms, a ball court, a jamming suite, a food technology suite, and a dining hall and kitchen that lead out onto a generous roof terrace.

The facilities are shared with Tidemill School and will be available for hire at times when the school is not using them. 

Bigger, better buildings, properly equipped, open at convenient times and shared with a local school to make sure they are fully used - this is how public services should be designed. Inspirational, aspirational and striving to surpass our Victorian heritage, rather than allow public facilities to ossify. Deptford's renaissance continues.

Click here to read the Crossfields report or here to join their Facebook group.

Happy Mondays returns

Happy Mondays, the stand-up comedy nights at The Amersham Arms, start again next week with Rich Fulcher from The Mighty Boosh Headlining on January 9th.

23rd Jan - Andrew Maxwell
6th Feb - Milton Jones
20th Feb - Brendon Burns
5th Mar - "MYSTERY TV GUEST"
19th Mar - Andy Parsons

The gigs start at 8pm and tickets are £4 when you pre-order (they are more expensive on the door). You can pre-order for Rich Fulcher here or click here for the full list of shows.

Take Flight spreads its wings

Since they opened in September last year, the Take Flight theatre school has been so successful, that they are expanding and relocating to the Honor Oak pub in order for them to run more classes. The Honor Oak has a history of hosting children's workshops and will host Take Flight when its new term begins on January 11th.

Our son went last term and enjoyed himself, despite not being entirely convinced that it was his sort of thing, at first. Click here to visit their website and book a place.

The Lewisham Business Awards 2012 - Nominations

Time for local businesses to nominate themselves for the 2012 Lewisham Business Awards, the second most important business awards in the area. There are eight categories, explained in more detail here:

  • Fairtrade business​
  • Creative digital entrepreneur
  • ​Corporate and social responsibility
  • New business
  • ​​Young entrepreneur (16-24 years old)
  • ​Customer care
  • ​​Social enterprise
  • ​Environmental practice
The closing date for nominations is January 16th. Click here to enter.

Sunrise Cafe, Lewisham Way

Sunrise Cafe, 145 Lewisham Way, SE14 6QP, 020 8692 7267

Please post your comments and reviews here. Crucially, please help us answer the vital question - how does it compare to Top Chef cafe?

Sylvan Post to open in January

Antic, the pub and bar chain which owns Jam Circus (Crofton Park), the Ravensbourne Arms (Ladywell) and the Royal Albert (Deptford / New Cross), is to open another new venue, this time in Forest Hill.

The Sylvan Post will open later this month, according to Fi from Antic. Located at 24-28 Dartmouth Road, close to the swimming pool, which is currently being refurbished, it will join a clutch of good pubs in Forest Hill.

With thanks to Brockley Sarah, who posted the news on our forum.

All your base are belong to us

Brockley Central's mind-controlling lizard-army has been busy placing subliminal messages in popular culture. Firstly, on Rokeby Road, Olly Murs planted the idea that racial harmony is synonymous with the Big Yellow storage company (1.04).

Then (spotted by Transpontine) French singer June Caravel suggested that Sarkozy's aspirations for the city of London are entirely benign by whimsically singing about quirky street names in London, including Darling Road, SE4 (1.36).

The final piece of the jigsaw fell into place today, when Laura Westcott, our woman on the inside at The Times wrote that the way to 'Look and Feel Your Best for 2012' was to get your wonky teeth fixed with Invisalign by Brockley dentists L. Ziman & Associates.

Happy new year *eat Soylent Green* to you all.

St Johns Station car park closures

Thanks to Cllr Foxcroft, for sharing this news from Southeastern Trains with us. The closures should have some knock-on effects on parking in surrounding streets:


As part of the Thameslink Programme, Network Rail is carrying out essential engineering work in the vicinity of St Johns Station between March 2012 and June 2013. At certain times it will be necessary to close this car park to allow works to be undertaken.

Closure of the car park will take place between the following dates

-  00:01hrs on 13th January 2012 to 11:59hrs on 29th January 2012
-  00:01hrs on 9th March 2012 to 11:59hrs on 11th March 2012
-  00:01hrs on 30th March 2012 to 11:59hrs on 6th July 2012

Southeastern and Network Rail apologises to local residents and rail users for the inconvenience this may cause and would appreciate their assistance by ensuring their vehicles are not parked in this car park during above dates. Should it become necessary to remove your vehicle, this will be carried out at the owners risk and cost.

If you would like to know more about our work and how you might be affected we will be holding a residents’information drop in session.  The team of experts who are working in this area will be available to answer any questions you may have.

The event will take place on Thursday 5 January from 3pm to 7pm, at St Johns Church, St Johns Vale, London SE8 4EA on the corner of St. John's Vale and Lewisham Way– see map below).

In the meantime if you have any queries about the Thameslink programme, please don't hesitate to contact the Network Rail 24 hour National Helpline on 08457 11 41 41.  Alternatively please email us at thameslink@networkrail.co.uk.


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