All this has happened before, and all this will happen again

Tony doesn't live in Brockley, but is nonetheless so beguiled by the place that he has written this article - "Crofton Park and Brockley Green - A Micro-History" - based on his own research. At the end, he has a question, which he hopes BC readers can help with:

Stand on the corner of Sevenoaks Road and Brockley Road, and let me take you back to 1833. You’re now standing near the centre of the original Brockley - a small hamlet on the road into London. It’s described as a hamlet, because it has no church. It does however have a pub, The Castle (originally called ‘The Crooked Billet’ and later renamed the ‘Brockley Jack’), and looking north, you’ll see Brockley Hall, a large private residence. The Hall is just before the modern roundabout - the roundabout itself is on the site of a small village pond, after which the road splits - Brockley Grove to the right, Brockley Road straight on, although confusingly both roads at the time were known as Brockley Lane. Beyond that, it’s just fields until we reach Tanner’s Hill (now part of St John’s) in Lewisham.

To the south, the road curves sharply to left (at another village pond) and curves round Brockley Green, a small collections of houses round Duncan’s Farm. The modern Brockley Rise follows this curve.

Looking to the north, just ahead of you, is a footpath that connects the wells of Camberwell and Ladywell, and Sevenoaks Road now follows this path to the east. To the west, the path winds round the back of the pub, and you can still follow the line of the footpath as the alleyway connects Cypress Gardens to the bridge across the railway.

To the west, a short distance behind the pub, is the Croydon Canal, opened in 1809, but a financial failure. It will close in just a few years, in 1836.

With the closing of the canal comes the railways, and the beginning of considerable change for Brockley. The London and Croydon Railway (L&CR) purchase the canal and drain it, replacing it with train track. The oldest remaining houses in Brockley, on Coulgate Street, were built around this time in the area then known as Brockley Cross. It was here, in 1872, the new Brockley station was opened - and with new property development round the station, the centre of gravity of Brockley moved north, away from the sleepy hamlet of Brockley Green.

Brockley Green didn’t stay sleepy for long. By 1900, Stondon Park carried on the line of Brockley Road straight across the old farms and ponds of the Green, and terraces of Victorian houses were appearing between the road and railway. In 1886 Honor Oak Park station was opened, followed by Crofton Park in 1892 on the new ‘Catford Loop’ line. After this the old hamlet was lost, and the area itself became known as Crofton Park - a name invented by the railway company.

Some things still remained, though. The Castle had been renamed ‘The Brockley Jack’, although its days as a picturesque wooden building were numbered. The pub had long been associated with highway men (although with little evidence). Allegedly there was a staircase that could be removed, so the people hiding in the room upstairs would not be discovered. The pub’s sign was written on a whalebone, which is still exhibited in the pub, above the fireplace. There is also a whalebone, outside, on the high gable. The old building was condemned in 1898 and replaced by the current brick and stone building.

Brockley Hall survived a little longer. Dating from at least 1745, by 1900 the house was in the hands of the Noakes family, local brewers and owners of the Brockley Jack. The 1901 census shows Bertram Noakes living there with his five spinster sisters, Pauline, Elizabeth, Kate, Ada and Maude. Maude was the last survivor, dying in 1931. The property was then sold and demolished and the 1930s houses of Sevenoaks Road, Brockley Hall Road, Otford Crescent and others were built in its grounds.

My question is:

In the 1800s, if you lived in Brockley Green, where did you go to church? There's certainly no church in Brockley at the time, and all the local churches now seem to be Victorian?

Predictions for 2013

Our predictions for 2012 erred deliberately on the side of optimism, given that 2011 had been a very strong year for new arrivals. For the most part, our optimism was rewarded, although the ones we thought were our safest bets turned out to be misplaced. Here's the verdict:

1. The Wickham Arms will finally find an owner with the resources and nous to make a success of this magnificent pub. Away from the area's main thoroughfares, it will have to find a unique recipe to become a destination in its own right. 

Erm, no. The current management soldiers on. While it retains some charm and enormous potential, few would describe it as a destination pub.

2. A developer will come forward with a plan for a significant piece of Brockley's centre. It will be as controversial at it is bold. 

We give you 180 Brockley Road. This prediction was a bit of a cheat, since we'd seen the plans in advance. However, we've heard about lots of plans that failed to materialise, so it was a relief when these were revealed. They weren't as controversial as we expected (we thought the scale would scare more people), but there were enough grumbles about modern architecture to justify BC getting full marks for this prediction.

3. Brockley Market will expand. It's already a fantastic local market that attracts people from nearby neighbourhoods but the the word of mouth it will continue to generate, married with an influx of new residents to Lewisham, will mean that it develops in to a destination for savvy south east Londoners. 

The Market continues to reinvent itself, while its fame spreads and it spawns imitators in places like Forest Hill. However, it hasn't expanded in size, so we don't get any points.

4. Two predictions in one: the obvious opportunities in the area will be seized. Masons will reopen under new owners while someone will do something with the corner unit on Cranfield Road. 

Masons lies empty still but Gently Elephant took over the Cranfield Road site to become BC Newcomer of the Year. Half a point.

5. Aside from Masons' successor, the Hilly Fields Cafe and the Toads Mouth replacement, Brockley will get another place to eat. It will be the brainchild of one of the area's many foodie entrepreneurs, perhaps one who's cut their teeth at Brockley Market. It will be closer to #Meateasy than a formal restaurant.

From pizza revolutionaries to Canadian cuisine pop-ups, Brockley's status as a hotbed of food entrepreneurialism has grown this year. For a while we might have to rely on pop-ups to secure us half a point, but then Arlo & Moe came along (Villa Toscana too, but they're hardly Young Turks). One point.

So two and a half points out of five. Even Stevens, with the added bonus that another long-term prediction we've been making has finally materialised in a significant way. Two child-friendly businesses opened in 2012 (Gently Elephant and Pistachios in the Park) meaning that business is finally responding to the demographic shift taking place, to the relief of parents and non-parents alike. In the long-run, we are all fed.

What are our five predictions for 2013? There are some fundamental drivers that we talked about in our review of 2012, which we will extrapolate from:
  1. The last few years have seen an accelerated pace of change in Brockley, thanks to the new local spending power brought by the ELL. So we're doubling down on our predictions for The Wickham Arms and Brockley Market: New owners for the Wickham and more pitches for the Market by the end of the year  In the case of the Wickham, continued decline or redevelopment are both too depressing to contemplate as alternatives. Whatever happens, we predict that Brockley will get another new place to drink booze in 2013. The Gantry has provided more proof that we are a thirsty bunch.
  2. From the shops to the trains, Brockley is filling up. So we expect at least one of these three big mixed developments in Brockley's pipeline to begin construction - 180 Brockley Road, Mantle Road or St Cyprian's. We maintain it's likely that the Royal Mail will decide to sell off the Brockley Road Sorting Office, as it seeks to offload assets ahead of privatisation, and predict some formal news on that in 2013, though we should stress, this remains in the realm of speculation at the moment.
  3. In the short-term, being full-up makes it more likely that incumbents will be pushed out. Brockley's commercial landlords are not necessarily the sharpest bunch, but even they can't have missed the fact that Gently Elephant has turned a dormant site in to a (presumably) rent-paying business. Local landlords will look again at their local properties. We predict that at least one established business will be priced out of Brockley and replaced by something newer and shinier. 
  4. The last couple of years have thrown up developments we never saw coming - the market and the microbrewery. In an effort not to be outflanked like that again in 2013, we're choosing a wild card. A new hotel will be created or proposed in Brockley in 2013. 
  5. Hopefully, this one is less of a punt: Lewisham Hospital A&E will earn some sort of reprieve. It's too good and too important to piss away, no matter what the initial recommendations claimed. Having been a recent beneficiary of its services, perhaps this is just wishful thinking on our part, but we may be able to rely on Tory voters in Bromley, horrified by the prospect of more Lewisham residents hitting their A&E, as unlikely allies. We're less hopeful about any of the locally-funded public services under threat.

New Year's Eve 2012 [UPDATED]

Here are the local New Year's Eve party options we know about - we'll add the details of any others BCers let us know about:

- The Ravensbourne Arms is having a 'Save Lewisham A&E' fundraiser until 3am. DJ from 10pm Doctors and Nurses fancy dress encouraged but not necessary.

- The Royal Albert is hosting a 'Dawning of a New Era' fancy dress party, tickets £5 in advance.

- The Ladywell Tavern is having a bring your own vinyl night. Entry is free until 9pm - £5 on the door after that, or free if you bring 7 records.

- The New Cross Inn has seven live bands playing through the night. Tickets £6 advance, £8 on the door.

- The Orchard is having a party - £12 tickets in advance with first cocktail included.

- The Rivoli Ballroom is hosting a family-friendly party with the resident DJ playing until 1.30am. Tickets £25 for adults, £12 for children under 13.

- The New Cross House is hosting a free party until 2am. DJs start at 9.30am.

- The Catford Bridge Tavern promises free entry to a "good old fashioned party open til late".

- The Gantry has late night opening until 2.30am.

UPDATE

- The Honor Oak is throwing a party from 8pm-2am, £10 on the door, with free jerk chicken and a glass of Champagne.

- The Bunker Club in Deptford hosts the Deptford Army for a party until 4am. Full details and ticket prices on the Deptford Forum here.

- Party from 9pm at The Amersham Arms. Free entry. Details on the New Cross Forum.

Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant

Gently Elephant, the Brockley Road children's shoe and gift shop, has won the Brockley Central 'Best Newcomer 2012 Award' for local businesses. The team collected 39% of the public vote in a field that was at least as competitive as any in the Award's history.

The first retailer in the area to focus on the young-family market, Gently Elephant has also dramatically improved the appearance of the stretch of high street near Brockley Station. By marrying friendly customer service with a high-quality range and store environment, they have created one of the few shops in Brockley that attracts shoppers from further afield, earning a recent recommendation in Time Out's Babies and Children round-up.

Together with nearby electronics retailer Cash Tech, they have ensured that considerably more of BC's discretionary spending stayed local this year, saving us a lot of hassle in the process.

Gently Elephant's Helen Sheward says:

We are delighted to have been named newcomer of the year from a truly magnificent selection of new businesses. Every single one in our view has added a new dimension to our lives as residents and each has been whole-heartedly supported by a very loyal community. It's been an amazing year for us and we've got some exciting plans for the year to come. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and of course to our customers who have made it all possible.

Congratulations to Gently Elephant and to The Gantry and Pistachios in the Park, who came second and third respectively.

Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

2012

Diana: What happens when the numbers run out? 
- Knowing

2012 was the year of the pop-up. From supper clubs, pizza nights and running clubs to cinemasstreet theatre and galleries, local spaces were reimagined. Pop-ups are as on-trend as a skitcher wearing a vintage onesie but they're also a continuation of the area's DIY tradition - in lieu of actual cinemas, restaurants and galleries, people have always had to improvise. Most importantly, the splurge of pop-ups this year reflects the fact that this is also the year when Brockley filled-up.

For the last five years of Brockley Central's life, the story of Brockley has been about filling in the gaps. New businesses haven't had to displace established ones, they've usually done one of three things: Taken over an empty or moribund location (eg: The Talbot, Degustation, The Orchard and Gently Elephant); Replaced departing entrepreneurs (eg: The Gantry, The Brockley Mess, Brown's, Arlo & Moe) or moved-in somewhere entirely new (eg: Pistachios, Brockley Market, Bohemia Hair). Those who complained about gentrification have been fighting a phony war. It hasn't been a zero-sum game.

There have been plenty of departures this year, including U Gosi, Engedi, Tea Dance for Little People, Mr Lawrence's wine shop, the dubious Alby's Place, the risible Come the Revolution and its replacement, Cafe 465, which closed before it began. All had reasons for shutting that had little to do with the competition.

New arrivals have brought new footfall for incumbents and have served demand that was previously unmet. That's about to change. The low-hanging fruit has gone - few empty units remain, although the Tea Factory still struggles. This year, businesses like Gently Elephant and The Gantry have raised the bar again and established businesses have responded. Magi embraced Twitter and Gulen's pulled off the most unlikely coup of the year, reopening as a cocktail bar and luring Jakki Degg to DJ. Even after-hours favourite Duke gave itself a new lick of paint.

Local competition is going to get tougher, at least until the new developments proposed for Brockley Road and Mantle Road this year, appear. Sainsbury's supplanting of Nisa and The Walpole's closure to make way for a new hotel are both a taste of what's to come.

The trade-offs and negotiation will extend beyond the high street. In 2012, our residential streets also experienced infill. As The Standard claimed that the East London Line's effects were most visible in Brockley, residential schemes that have been idling for years got underway, including a high quality scheme on Geoffrey Road, some slightly disappointing pastiches on Tyrwhitt Road and Malpas Road and a great refurbishment of a dilapidated building on Lewisham Way. Best of all, an old garage is being turned into a microbrewery. Construction work on Brockley's biggest mixed-use scheme - Martin's Yard - has crawled along, but this year has seen similarly ambitious schemes unveiled for Crofton Park and, more controversially, one of Brockley's mews.

An incumbent population, which has got used to rattling around in a relatively sleepy part of zone 2, faces a period of adjustment. The successful integration of a skate park in Telegraph Hill and a cricket pitch in Hilly Fields shows that change can be managed.

One way to manage change is to prevent it and this year, Lewisham Council woke up to the risk that more pubs could be lost to developers - many were listed to grant them an extra layer of protection and we all got to play Jimmy Stewart, glimpsing the horror of a possible Christmas future as two of the area's best pubs were temporarily closed in December.

A more muscular policing strategy emptied a few other local units. Raidsarrests and closure orders meant that historic crime and public disorder hotspots like Brockley Cross and Upper Brockley Road played host to fewer businesses in 2012, but correspondingly fewer violent incidents. The summer passed off without its usual spate of incidents, as serious crime occurred later in the year and further south than usual.

And public sector cuts promised to free up some more space. A depressing pattern emerged in 2012, as almost every month another local service was threatened with closure. Worst of all, the solvent A&E department of Lewisham Hospital was recommended for closure to save insolvent (and less well-run) hospitals elsewhere in South East London. The Council's plans to fill a Ladywell site with Travellers and relocate a drug rehab centre to Brockley were undone by their own flaws and cancelled this year.

Which is not to say that the public sector was entirely in retreat in 2012. The East London Line gave us a Clapham link, Forest Hill got a great new swimming pool and Portas Pilot status and local train stations were tinkered with incessantly.

Brockley Cross's normalisation was aided by the improvements granted by the world's slowest roadworks (one junction, two roundabouts, nine months and counting) and the departure of old friends D&M Van Hire. It's never going to be pretty, but it's already infinitely better than it was a year ago.

Ladywell enjoyed a relatively quiet 2012 as Mason's remained resolutely shut. Although some new takeaways and a bike shop have helped to keep the high street full and the Playtower's return to use and planned improvements to the village streetscape promise a busier 2013.

This year marked the end of the beginning of Brockley's post-ELL development. We've done the easy bit - got ourselves a supermarket, some places to drink and a free cash machine or four. We've gained this without losing any of the good things about Brockley. Next year, the difficult stuff begins. We'll address what we think that means in our predictions for 2013, coming shortly.

The Brockley Zeitgeist 2012

Earlier this month, Brockley Central received its two millionth visit (from 570,000 unique visitors). However, the disappointing lack of summer riots and the fact that everyone had something better to do during the Olympics and Paralympics meant that traffic growth was relatively low this year (589,020 visits compared with 573,221 in 2011, an increase of 2.7%). Here are the rest of the year's stats, courtesy of Google Analytics.

Top 30 search terms (excluding 'Brockley', 'Brockley Central' and their various fat-fingered variants). New entries for 2012 in red:

1. The Gantry
2. Tickle Me
3. Brockley Market
4. Mo Pho
5. Brockley Social Club
6. Deptford Market
7. Community garden grants
8. Reyna
9. The Allotment
10. Brockley Mess
11. Arlo and Moe
12. Cleaner
13. Dog show
14. Carpet fitter
15. Crofton Park shooting
16. The Talbot
17. Aladdin's Cave
18. Historical map
19. Cascade window cleaning
20. Catford Bridge Tavern
21. Alby
22. Japanese knotweed
23. Blackheath Olympics
24. Electrician
25. Fresh yeast
26. Crofton Park Library
27. Location
28. Ashby Works
29. Catherine House
30. Deptford Lounge

It's striking how much change there is this year, in comparison with previous years. This reflects the number of recent new arrivals, not only in Brockley, but in Deptford and New Cross. There's also been renewed interest in old stalwarts like the Brockley Social Club, Tickle Me and The Talbot, which don't have their own websites.

Top ten traffic sources:

Google
Facebook
Twitter
Bing
Deptford Dame
Crossfields
Southeastcentral
se23
The Guardian
853blog

Top ten most popular pages:

South East London Tradespeople
Brockley on the Map
Classifieds
Reviews
Lewisham
Flatshare
Photos
Aladdin's Cave
Recommended Places
Childcare

Happy Christmas from Brockley Central

Christmas being an olde Englishe word for 'Badger's Feast'.

2012 Christmas Tree recycling

Lewisham Council writes:

Take your old, real, Christmas tree to one of the following collection points between 28 December and 27 January - we will shred and use them for composting in our parks and green spaces around the borough. Last year residents recycled over 8,000 trees!

Please remove all decorations, lights and any netting wrapping before taking to the collection point. We cannot accept plastic Christmas trees – only real ones.

Hilly Fields - entrance in Hilly Fields Crescent, SE4
Deptford Park - entrance in Scawen Road, SE8
Telegraph Hill - Pepys Road/Kitto Road entrance, SE14

www.lewisham.gov.uk/recycling

New Cross Safer Neighbourhood Team wins gold


The New Cross Safer Neighbourhood Team won SNT of the Year at The Commissioner's Excellence in Total Policing Awards this week. Local officers PCSO Michelle Narciso Police Sergeant Mark Alger also won in a gong-filled night for Lewisham cops, whose beautiful wig work and intricately constructed back-stories helped them go deep cover to get the bad guys.

Barely able to disguise his delight, Alger said:

"We have used a whole rang of policing tactics, overt and covert to catch criminals. The covert tactics we have utilised have seen us take on a number of disguises, such as dressing up as builders, revellers, as well as homeless people. The disguises have allowed us to create a more uncomfortable environment for people in which to commit a crime. It’s a simple idea but it works and has provided us with the three or four seconds advantage over uniformed police officers, or even plain-clothes officers, in catching criminals.”

New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team, based in Lewisham was announced the winner of the Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year after they received the most public votes and their Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), Michelle Narciso was announced as the winner of PCSO of the Year. New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team received nominations in four categories, Safer Neighbourhoods Team of the Year, PCSO of the Year, Leadership of the Year and Police Officer of the Year.

PCSO Michelle Narciso won for developing strong links with the Chinese community - work which is now a national standard. Michelle works with the Chinese community in New cross and Deptford who historically feel excluded from main stream communities.

Villa Toscana - maintaining standards

Back in the days when Brockley Central's occasional restaurant critic used to bestow purple prose on anything and everything he'd have probably found a way to wax lyrical about Villa Toscana. Certainly it was hard to shut him up when he first went to Le Querce three or four years ago. Older, though, and perhaps wiser - certainly lazier - he doesn't propose to dwell at length on Villa Toscana's charms.

Fortunately, everything you need to know about Villa Toscana can be summed up in two words: "Italian restaurant". And there's nothing wrong with that.

Sure the light's a bit harsh, some of the meat spent a little too long in the pan and the entryway is just weird, but the flavours were very good, the service totally charming and the portions huge.

In short, it's a solid standard Italian restaurant, very like La Lanterna was before it (although without the pizza). And it's good to have it on the strip.

Rat Race Cycles, Nunhead

Pete Owens is the founder of Rat Race Cycles in Nunhead (118 Evalina Road), which has been generating a lot of excitement on our Nunhead forum. He writes:

I've just opened a bike shop in Nunhead; I've been running a mobile bike workshop for the last nearly-five years after workshop-managing for a couple of big bike shops in town and I noticed we had quite a lot of home customers who lived in the Nunhead - Telegraph Hill - New Cross area.

Although East Dulwich has a good bike shop, many said they didn't often venture over that way, and it started making sense to open a shop in Nunhead. After a lot of delays, we're finally open, selling and servicing bikes on Evelina Road.

We've got plenty of things that would make ideal Christmas presents and stocking-fillers for cyclists, from little multi-tools to bike cleaning kits to Garmin GPS-enabled bike computers - and we're offering 10% off everything (except workshop labour) before Christmas.

We're open from 8am-6pm on weeekdays and 9am-5pm on Saturdays, although my wife's expecting our first baby, due on Christmas Eve, so if the shop is unexpectedly closed that'll be why - we'll put a note in the shop window!

A Christmas Carol in New Cross

There's still a chance to see A Christmas Carol at The London Theatre in New Cross, by "Charles Dickens Performs", who aim to recreate Dickens' original readings on his world tour. Here's a preview. Tickets are £10 (£9 concessions). Last show tomorrow night. Details here.

Vote now for the Newcomer of the Year 2012

So many new businesses have opened in the area this year, that we hesitate to launch this vote - even at such at late stage in December, there's still time for one or two late arrivals.

However, the time has come for BC readers to vote for the high street business that has been the best new addition to the area and their lives this year. The winner will join Brockley Market (2011 winner), El's Kitchen (2010) and The Orchard (2009) in the Hall of Justice.

This year's candidates are:
The list excludes the multitude of pop-ups that have opened this year and the newcomers in nearby areas like  Honor Oak, Deptford or New Cross.

Please vote using the poll on the right-hand side. The winner will be announced on December 27th.

Local pubs win listed status

Deptford Dame found the link to the list of 26 buildings that were listed in the borough this month, to offer them protection against possible redvelopment in the future.

Most on the list are pubs and credit is due to Cllr Liam Curran for pushing the preservation of pubs up the local agenda. Listing doesn't guarantee protection, but it does make life more difficult for developers seeking a change of use and sends a signal that Lewisham cares about its pubs.

Here's the list of buildings pubs and a little of the detail about the local pubs. It's well-worth reading the full descriptions here, if you're into that sort of thing:

Albertines (formerly Clarendon Arms) 237 Lewisham Way
An attractive Victorian corner pub built as the ‘Clarendon Arms’ in 1857 on the site of the former Bricklayers’ Arms of 1803/04. It was renamed the ‘Malt and Hops’ in 1992 before its current sign of ‘Albertines’.

Brockley Jack – 408 Brockley Road
A large and ornate Victorian public house built in 1898 that includes a theatre built out of the former stables. There has been a pub on this site for several hundred years and a former landlord was rumoured to be a highway man. Previous names of the pubs on this site were ‘The Crooked Billet’ in the 1700s and the ‘The Castle’ in the 1800s.

The Brockley Barge, 184 Brockley Road
The Barge is located adjacent to Brockley Station and has an imposing curved elevation which faces towards New Cross. It occupies a narrow wedge site and makes a substantial contribution to the local streetscape. This pub dates from 1868 and takes its name from the barges on the Croydon Canal which is now the railway track. The canal closed in 1836 but the pub retained the canal links by incorporating the look of a canal boat with the ground floor curved elevation and in the name.

The Black Horse, 195 Evelyn Street
A traditional three storey Victorian working pub from the 1870/80s. It is built in stock brick with deep decorative eaves. The original bull nosed timber sash windows remain to the upper floor but the first floor windows have been replaced.

Ravensbourne Arms, 323 Lewisham High Street
The Ravensbourne Arms, was built as the Coach and Horses in 1934. It is a substantial pub which occupies the plot between Legge Street and Romborough Way on Lewisham High Street.

Ladywell Tavern, 80 Ladywell Road
The Ladywell Tavern was built in 1846 on the corner of Ladywell Road and Slagrove Place.

The Haberdashers (formerly The Rosemary Branch/The Hardcastle) 44 Lewisham Way
The Haberdashers is a classically inspired pub built as the Rosemary Branch around 1854. It is a three storey building built from yellow stock brick with stuccoed detailing.

The Cranbrook, 65 Cranbrook Road
The Cranbrook is an unusual and beautiful bullnosed building on the junction of Brookmill Road and Cranbrook Road. It was built in 1854 as part of the creation of Deptford New Town in the mid – late 19th century. It reflects the building style of the surrounding terraces in the Brookmill conservation area which are simply designed with classical influences and unified with a rendered parapet.

The Harp, 2 – 4 New King Street
Built in 1897, this is a large and attractive pub that sits facing down Deptford High St from Evelyn Street. It is astride the two junctions with New King Street and Watergate Street and has been designed to address these streets as well. It makes a handsome contribution to the streetscape.

The White Swan, Deptford High Street
An imposing corner property situated on Deptford High Street on the corner with Edward Street. This was built as a pub and also a hotel in the early 1800s. It is stock brick with classical detailing and retains the original pub frontage.

Other buildings listed include:

- The Dolphin, 121 Sydenham Road
- The Fellowship Inn, Randlesdown Road
- The Dacre Arms, 11 Kingswood Place
- The Perry Hill (formerly the Two Brewers), 78 – 80 Perry Hill
- The Hare and Billet , 1a Hare and Billet Road
- The Crown, 117 Burnt Ash Hill
- The Old Tigers Head, 351 Lee High Road
- Joiners Arms, 66 Lewisham High Street
- 110 Kirkdale, (formerly The Woodman)
- Golden Lion, 116 Sydenham Road
- 180 – 190 Lewisham High Street
- 93 – 95 Lewisham High Street
- 85 – 87 Lewisham High Street
- 65 – 71 Lewisham High Street
- Taymount Grange, Taymount Rise

The Lewisham sports small grants fund is open

Lewisham Council writes:

The Lewisham sports small grant scheme is available to help individuals and sports clubs within Lewisham grow and excel. Established clubs can also be awarded grants to help them focus on their delivery and continue to play a part in training and encouraging sports stars for the future.

Three funding streams are available. The ‘Grow’ stream is available to teams or organisations keen to start a new club or increase membership within a section of an existing club. The ‘Excel’ stream offers bursaries of up to £500 to individuals or teams competing at regional level or higher. The bursary can be used towards costs associated with becoming an elite performer. The third stream is ‘Sustain’ and is available to established clubs who are keen to maintain their sports delivery but may need help with operational costs.

Closing date for applications is 14 January 2013. Full details are available at www.lewisham.gov.uk/getinvolved

A festive update from Brockley Market

Toby from Brockley Market writes:

This Saturday it's your chance to buy freshly picked Kent veg and fruit for your Christmas break, as well as lots of lovely Christmas meat, fish, cheese, charcuterie etc.

We also have some great street food from the likes of Luardos, Mike and Ollie, Cured London, Motherflipper, Spit and Roast, Fishdogs and the Egg Boss.

This is the last market of 2012 - we are back weekly from the first Saturday in January (5th) 2013.

Thanks for all your support in 2012 - have a lovely Christmas and New Year - from all at Brockley Market.

Lewisham vs Seasonal Alcohol Disorder

Drinking to excess can also be cool, if done right

The best advert for temperance is to be found on Platforms 1-6 of London Bridge Station, after 10pm in December, when office Christmas partiers create terrifying Hogarthian tableaux every night. But Lewisham Council is applying a belt and braces approach to getting the safe drinking message across. They say:

The winter holiday season can lead to people partying to excess, which for some means they won’t be as safe or as healthy as they would be if they were sober. Last Friday, Lewisham Council, Lewisham Public Health (NHS South East London) and other local agencies spent the evening in New Cross giving advice to party-goers and Christmas revellers about safe and harmful levels of alcohol consumption.

You can learn more about harmful drinking levels and where you can go for help if you are concerned about drink or drug use. Go to www.lewisham.gov.uk and search on ‘drugs and alcohol’. If you are concerned about drink or drug issues for yourself or someone else you can get free, confidential advice and information about local treatment services - contact CRI New Direction on 020 8314 5566.

For more information about safer drinking go to www.alcoholconcern.org.uk , call Drinkline, free, on 0800 917 8282 or the Lewisham Drug and Alcohol Action Team on 020 8314 8226.

Mick Owens at the Cross

Julia from Green Tea Architects in Brockley Cross writes:

We are have an exhibition on at the moment in room 104 (the space next to our office) by local artist Mick Owens We will be having a private view this Thursday 20th December from 6-8pm. If you'd like to come, RSVP to info@greenteaarchitects.com

Lewisham Council’s art collection online [UPDATED]

Brockley Road, 1838 - the oldest dated picture in Lewisham's collection

Lewisham Council writes:

A hugely ambitious project to put online the United Kingdom’s entire collection of oil paintings that are in public ownership has been completed and includes 162 paintings from Lewisham Council’s collection. Residents are being encouraged to view the full collection and ‘tag’ any paintings they may know or have some background on.

Known as Your Paintings, the site is a partnership between the Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF) and the BBC and was launched with 63,000 paintings in June 2011. The project covers paintings held not only by museums and galleries but also works in local authorities, universities, hospitals, zoos and even a lighthouse. The vast majority had never been photographed but all are being exhibited on the site regardless of their perceived quality or condition.

To view Lewisham’s contribution to the Your Paintings site, go to
www.bbc.co.uk/art/yourpaintings and search under collections and galleries for Lewisham Local History and Archive Centre in the Greater London section.

Crofton Park Tesco plan rejected

On Twitter, Spencer notifies us that the proposal to turn 437-439 Brockley Road in to a mixed use development with a small Tesco at ground level has been refused.

The buildings that once occupied the site, opposite the Brockley Jack in Crofton Park, have been demolished.

Tyrwhitt Road's new corner shop

It's Christmas - a time for gentle stories about pitchfork-wielders on the lam and new shop fronts on Tyrwhitt Road. After her bus-top shot of this new shop taking shape, Pam has sent us an update, showing the new corner shop unwrapped. It's a shop front of a quality rare in Brockley.

Tesco opens at One SE8

Its own online store locator may not want to admit it, but Tesco has opened a new branch at One SE8 next to Deptford Bridge DLR station.

The store, which is in the basement, neighbouring the new Travelodge, is a short walk from their other branch on Deptford High Street or up the hill to their Lewisham Way branch(es).

Ukulele vs Pitchfork [UPDATED]


Yesterday, the mild-mannered world of the Brockley Christmas Market bumped up against the dark underworld occupied by the rail cops. A man (said to be wielding a large fork) was chased by transport police and a police helicopter across the railway line near Brockley Station, causing delays to rail services and livening-up proceedings at the market next-door.

Transpontine has a good summation of the available facts and a three-minute recording of the sound clash between the ukuleles, the sirens and the rotor blades as a scene from Chris Morris' Jam unfolded.

UPDATE: Apparently, yesterday's fork-wielder managed to temporarily evade the police but stuck around in Brockley. At time of writing (2.30pm) he is reported (by reliable BCer Andrea) to be on a roof on Harefield Road. The property is surrounded and the eye in the sky is back. And now, end game.

Hither Green Christmas Ozfest

The great and powerful Max lets us know about this Hither Green Cinema event. Be warned, when you go to Hither Green, you're not in Brockley any more.

Thameslink builders are noisy neighbours for St John's residents

Network Rail is currently reconfiguring the rail and making changes to the bridge around St John’s railway station, in order to include an additional line to increase train capacity on the Thameslink network.

As a result of the construction work, many residents have been affected by noise and vibration.

Lewisham Council reports:

Public meetings were held on 18 October 2012 and 29 November 2012 chaired by Councillor Vicky Foxcroft, where Network Rail and representatives from their contractors, Joan Ruddock MP, Lewisham Council and Lewisham Homes met to listen to and discuss resident concerns. A number of issues were raised by residents, including:

- predicted noise levels over the rest of the works programme (which is taking place up to June 2013),
- removal of plants/trees along the rail banks
- the impact of a new permanent equipment and signalling building not previously detailed
- lack of communication/engagement by Network Rail with residents.

Network Rail undertook to ensure that where enhanced glazing has been offered, to the worse affected properties, that they would facilitate the installation to be in place by Christmas. Some residents that have been affected severely by noise have been offered a temporary relocation package over the Christmas period by Network Rail. Lewisham Homes undertook to carry out a structural survey of the homes it manages in the affected area and this is now underway.

Noise and Vibration monitoring on and off-site is being increased and improved. The vibration monitoring report based on the Contractors recordings taken on the night of 16/17 August 2012 is also in the documents section below.

For more details about the issue, including how to submit feedback if you have been affected, please visit the relevant section of the Lewisham Council website.

Telegraph Hill's Night of the Beasts


Euripides speaks of the Maenads: head thrown back, throat to the stars, "more like deer than human being." To be absolutely free! To sing, to scream, to dance barefoot in the woods in the dead of night, with no more awareness of mortality than an animal! These are powerful mysteries. The bellowing of bulls. Springs of honey bubbling from the ground. If we are strong enough in our souls we can rip away the veil and look that naked, terrible beauty right in the face; let God consume us, devour us, unstring our bones. Then spit us out reborn.
- The Secret History, Donna Tartt

Deptford High Street in December


Mel Taylor writes:

I work for a local voluntary organisation and we have been contracted by Lewisham as Deptford Renewal Managers, which have a role supporting existing market traders and shops, community consultation and events on Deptford High Street. The project is about supporting the commercial vibrancy of the High Street – regeneration without gentrification [BC says: it's an interesting question whether it is possible to make a place nicer and more successful without attracting new people in to the area - both as a catalyst for and a result of the regeneration - and even whether "gentrification" (aka an increase in the proportion of middle class people in a given area) is a thing to be discouraged, but anyway...].

This December we are holding some events each Saturday including showcasing the Deptford Community Cookbook – an idea conceived and put together by Niaomh Convery – a Crossfields resident. We have funded the printing of this book and will be selling the book at live cooking demos outside the Cod Father.  On the various Saturdays there will also be a ‘sewing surgery’, present wrapping service, arts and street dance workshop, poetry and live singing stalls, and on the 22nd a giant Christmas tree procession. We have also been training up 7 new young traders who will be trading on Douglas Square.

Many apologies for not having sent this through to you earlier, I was not aware of the blog as I am very new to this area, but my manager Claire Pritchard told me about you this morning.  I don’t really know how blogs works, but would you consider featuring the flyer or info about the events on the blog? That would be great.

Actors reading Writers

A message from Mr Lawrence

Following Brockley Ben's report earlier in the week, the Mr Lawrence team has provided the following statement:

The decision to close Mr Lawrence Wine Merchant involves several factors.  Please note the Wine Bar is not closing.

We have been unable to resolve the issue regarding parking in Crofton Park.  The limits which allow for about 8 spaces to serve all of the shops make it very difficult to move goods in and out of the premises.  Lack of parking may also be a contributory factor to people’s propensity to purchase everyday wines from a supermarket with the perception that it is more convenient.

Despite our extremely loyal and supportive customers we have not been able to build the business sufficiently over the years to enable us to take on the staff required that would allow us to take life slightly easier.  The decision to close was not taken lightly.

We are opening a shop on-line which we hope will be operational within the next few days.  Initially our site will have a limited range of wines but this will gradually increase.  Customers will be able to collect their on-line purchases from the Wine Bar, with no delivery costs, however we will also offer a normal on-line delivery service.  Off-sales are, and will continue to be, available in the Wine Bar at shop prices.

Our last day will be 31st December but we are continuing to take delivery of wines and beers so we still have plenty of stock for your Christmas requirements.

We already have possible new tenants for the premises.

A heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported us.

Lewisham pre-school seeks donations to survive

Meredith Pearce writes:

The Lewisham Opportunity Pre-School (LOPS) is threatened with closure as a result of Lewisham Council cutting the grants on which it relies. We're asking for help from BC readers.

LOPS is an inclusive pre-school with up to half of its places offered to children with additional needs (all sorts, some very complex, at the moment there are children with Downs, cerebal palsy, Autism Spectrum and hearing impairments for example). LOPS is the only inclusive preschool of this nature in Lewisham borough, and transport is provided for disabled children that would otherwise be unable to attend. The pre-school is located at the rear of the Ladywell Leisure Centre car park.


In addition, LOPS has a drop in session every week for children with additional needs. Often parents of children that have just been diagnosed attend and gain much support, or parents turn up to the drop in who have not attended other baby/toddler groups before and have been socially isolated due to their children's needs. There are very few groups like this around. I am not sure where the next nearest one is.

The pre-school is a registered charity and its grants have been cut, to the extent that the pre-school will have to close at the end of March if we can't raise £15,000 (bearing in mind there is only a small number of parents, half of whom are looking after disabled children, so this is a big sum for a small number of people to raise). Parents were only informed about this approximately 3 weeks ago, however we have already managed to raise close to £5,0000.

If the pre-school is to survive long term a lot more money will need to be raised as the projected council grant cuts are going to be deeper. 

This place is so important, people in our community will continue to need this resource, the people that will need it in the future probably don't know about it yet.

The website of the pre-school is www.lops.org.uk
We have created a campaign website www.savelops.com
Donations can be made at http://www.charitygiving.co.uk/savelops

Paellaria returns

Paella pop-up Paelleria is back. They write:

The Paellaria crew are delighted to announce that we have been awarded “Best Concession” at the 2012 UK Festival Awards!!! To celebrate bringing this very special award home to New Cross we will be holding a Paellaria Christmas Celebration at The New Cross Inn on Sunday December 16th from 12-6pm. Think loads of lip-smacking tapas, hand carved Jamón Ibérico Guijuelo and our delicious ‘award winning’ paellas all washed down with a glass of sherry or two!

 We are very proud of our little paella kitchen and are looking forward to an old fashion Spanish knees-up with all our friends and neighbours! Festival friendly prices, cupcakes for the kiddies (supplied by the lovely Lorna at Buttercupcakes in Brockley) and loads of Paellaria love!

Jam Circus to remain closed this week

Lucy from Jam Circus updates us:

Unfortunately we had a large fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, everything is OK and no-one was hurt. We will be open as soon as possible but we will closed for the rest of this week.

If you have a booking with us we will be in touch as soon as possible. 

We would like to thank everyone for their huge show of support and we will keep you updated via twitter and Brockley Central.

The BC Drinks planned for tonight will now take place at The Orchard.

Brockley Central drinks tonight - at The Orchard

Due to "circumstances beyond our control", we have had to find a new venue for tonight's Brockley Central Drinks, which had been scheduled to take place at Jam Circus at 8pm.

Happily, The Orchard team have stepped up and we will be holding BC Drinks in their bar area from 8pm tonight. Thanks to Ed and the team for moving things around at short notice. We hope to see as many of you there tonight as possible.

Not so merry Christmas: Mr Lawrence shop to close

Confirmation of the news, reported in a comment on last week's Catford Bridge Tavern post, that a Brockley institution – Mr Lawrence's shop – is to close at the end of the year.

The decision has been prompted by a number of factors. A major issue has been the reduction in parking immediately outside the shop because of a relocated bus stop. This, in turn, has caused problems receiving deliveries (vans are regularly ticketed and some suppliers are now refusing to deliver at all) and has hampered passing trade. It has also proved hard to recruit staff willing to put in the long hours and to commit to the business in the long term.

The good news is that the wine bar is staying and booze sales will continue online. It sounds like it will be possible to avoid delivery charges by picking up online orders in the bar, where there will also a modest list available at off-sale prices. So we're not losing the shop altogether.

No word yet on who is taking over the store premises. There is a very interested tenant lined up (all Brockley Central was able to glean was that "it's not a chicken shop") but the deal is not yet signed.

For all that there will be a new business coming to Brockley Road – and we're not losing an old favourite altogether – it will be a sad day for Brockley when the shutters finally come down at Mr Lawrence on New Year's Eve.

Jam Circus damaged by fire

Jam Circus was closed today as a result of a fire that took place early on Sunday morning. Staff confirm that although there was "quite a bit of damage," no-one was hurt.

Jam Circus was due to be the venue for tomorrow night's BC Drinks. We'll update you shortly about those plans.

ELL Clapham Link Opens


ELL2, the new 6.76 mile East London Line link from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction, is now open.

Four trains an hour will stop at Queens Road Peckham, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Clapham High Street, Wandsworth Road and Clapham Junction, carrying up to 12.3 million people a year and completing a circuit around inner London.

The former South London Line service between London Bridge and Victoria via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye has been withdrawn due to Thameslink work.

The service is experiencing minor delays this morning, due to an overrun on the engineering work last night.

This link represents the last of the East London Line works, until we get longer trains and a more frequent service in 2015.

John Stainer earns Outstanding rating

John Stainer Primary School, St Asaph Road, has been awarded Outstanding status by Ofsted, having previously been rated Good. The latest report says:

The school has improved significantly over time. This has come about largely through the skilful leadership of the headteacher, ably supported by a talented staff and highly capable governing body. They share an ambitious vision for continuous improvement, and the result of their work is a harmonious school community which benefits from strong parental relationships.

Parents at John Stainer are currently being consulted about a planned expansion.

Wiggins and Miller Christmas Sale

In the summer, BC got very excited when we found Brockley design in Paris. In November, we stumbled across Brockley craftsmanship in the ABC store in New York, which sells Barbara Wiggins diaries. Well now you can cancel your New York Christmas shopping trip, because Wiggins originals are available from Sunday.

St Hilda's Christmas

BXAG behind the bike shed

Been wondering what the diggers have been up to at Brockley Station? Rupert from the Brockley Cross Action Group explains:

TfL's contractor are installing a new bike shelter for 20 bikes. After the construction of the new ticket barriers at the start of the year and the loss of the old bike shelter I have been banging on at TfL about installing a replacement shelter as they hadn't actually thought about this when they first arrived on site to build the new ticket barrier structure. So you can thank or blame me for this! 

It is the only place left around the Station where a bike shelter can go - it is certainly not the cheap option so we should be thankful they committed themselves to sorting out the replacement. Hopefully it will bring an end to having bikes locked up everywhere else and should improve security for bike owners.

The work has been going on for weeks, which must make this the most elaborate bike shed construction in history.

The Electric Landladies at The Rivoli this weekend

Alison writes:

The Electric Landladies are rocking again this Christmas with a wonderful selection of classic dance hits from the past 50 years. Soul, disco, rock, reggae and funk. It's a sing-a-long dance-a-thon experience.

Laka Daisical vocals/kbd, Sarah Pritchard vocals/perc,
Deirdre Cartwright guitar Diane McLoughlin kbd/sax,
Alison Rayner bass/voc, Ann Day drums

Come to this fantastic Grade II listed ballroom. Made for the jive, the jig, the hitchhiker, the boogaloo, the pogo and the old and tired - there are also seats!
We have the band, we have the venue, don't miss out, book your tickets in advance.

Doors 8pm
£14 advance £16 on the door
Online booking:  http://www.wegottickets.com/event/184576
http://www.facebook.com/electriclandladies

The Catford Bridge Tavern Reopens on Friday

After a brief forced-closure, the CBT team tweet:

Re-opening party Friday! We get the keys friday morning and there's lots to do, but we're aiming for doors open at 6pm. Our future is not yet permanently secure, but hopefully v soon!

East London Line to get major capacity boost

The TfL Draft Business Plan, launched yesterday, proposes to lengthen the East London Line trains to five carriages and add another two trains per hour to the service by 2015. The plan is TfL's wishlist for the next 10 years of infrastructure investment.

It says:

Demand for London Overground services has grown by 160 per cent in the last five years on the original network. With the East London line included the overall demand has trebled. This growth is outstripping capacity and causing severe peak-time congestion. 

Therefore TfL plans to lengthen trains and increase frequency (an additional two trains per hour) on the East London line to boost capacity and ease overcrowding. In addition, trains will be lengthened on the West London, North London, Euston to Watford and the Gospel Oak to Barking lines. These projects will provide 25 per cent more peak capacity, supporting the growth of the 10 Mayoral Opportunity Areas served by London Overground.

The East London Line will be the first part of the Overground network to benefit from a capacity increase. Other increases should be delivered by 2016.

The Evening Standard notes:

Transport chiefs admit the plan is reliant on chancellor George Osborne approving up to £2 billion per year in capital funding starting from 2014/15.

Even if those negotiations are relatively unfruitful, we can be reasonably confident that the ELL upgrades will go ahead, since they are comparatively cheap and urgently needed.

BC Drinks, December 10th

Just a quick reminder, Brockley Central is arranging one of our occasional drink-ups next Monday evening at Jam Circus, Crofton Park. Details here. Hope to see you then.

Hither Green Forum closes

The Hither Green Forum, a site which BC regularly plundered for local news, has been closed. The owner's message says: "After over 7 years running the forum I no longer enjoy the task... Many thanks to many of you for the contributions you made over the years. Goodbye."

Our South East Central forum had a section for Hither Green for a while, but we closed it due to the popularity of the dedicated site. If our Hither Green readers (we think we have some) want us to re-create the Hither Green section, please let us know.

Late night Emporia

The Emporia team write:

Emporia (2 Ewhurst Road, Brockley, SE4 1AQ) will be open for late night shopping Thursday, 6th December, 12:00 until 9:00pm. Pop along and receive 20% off items in-store on the day.

We hope to see you then.

The New Cross to Victoria Cycle Superhighway


TfL has launched a public consultation about the proposed cycling "superhighway" that will run from New Cross to Victoria from 2013. They say:

We’re proposing to introduce a new cycle route between New Cross Gate and Victoria. Barclays Cycle Superhighway Route 5 (CS5) would run via Peckham, Camberwell, Kennington and Vauxhall. The new route would bring substantial changes to the road layout to improve safety for cyclists, including:

- More space for cyclists and buses, through reallocation of road space
- New mandatory cycle lanes, all at least 1.5 metres wide Improvements for cyclists at 52 junctions, including new
- Advanced Stop Lines, cycle feeder lanes, and speed reduction measures
- An innovative cycle ‘early-start’ facility at Vauxhall Bridge Road/Millbank to help cyclists get ahead of traffic
- Banning some turns for cars and lorries to reduce conflict with cyclists
- Extended 20mph speed limit in New Cross

The original plan was to extend this route as far as Lewisham but TfL said "constraints on Lewisham Way and the New Cross one-way system" forced its truncation. Instead, nearly 1km of new cycle lanes will be painted along the route.

Brockley Christmas Market, December 15th

Sainsbury's opening in Brockley in 2013

Brockley Nick here:

Sainsbury's will be opening a branch of its Local format stores on Mantle Road early next year.

The lease is expiring on the Nisa store next to the Broca Food Market and Sainsbury's will be moving in shortly. It has made an application to sell alcohol between 6am and midnight.

As disclosed many times before, the agency I work for has Sainsbury's as a client, so I won't comment on the desirability of this development, I'll simply offer the following observations:

1. We knew this was coming, one way or another. Supermarkets are moving back to the high street as the "out of town" model is over. Sainsbury's told us they were looking at Brockley two years ago.

2. This would have been more dramatic news before the arrival of the new Nisa, next to the station. That shop has helped to bring a little light and life to what used to be a very dark station exit on the west side and has provided some much-needed competition to Costcutter, about which the best that can be said is that it's a little patchy. Neither offers very much in the way of fresh food and although the Broca Food Market has filled that gap, it doesn't offer the scale or opening hours that a new supermarket chain will. All three businesses could have their trade affected, though the Broca Food Market is nicely differentiated and there could be an upside for it in terms of passing trade. Costcutter's a convenience supermarket and is probably insulated by the railway line. Nisa is the one that will probably face the toughest competition, which is ironic, since it set itself up in opposition to the branch of Nisa which is about to close.

3. When I went to have a look at Sainsbury's licensing application, at 9pm last night, it was eerily quiet. I popped in to Nisa to get some cash but the machine was out of money, so I headed over to Brockley Road. Costcutter was just shutting up. A late night food retailer in the centre of Brockley (other than Duke) will change the dynamics of the area considerably.

With thanks to 'Cool for Cats' for the heads-up.

Break-ins: The Waves

Burglaries in Brockley seem to come in waves. Certainly, the emails we get about burglaries do. And from this limited data, it appears we may be in the middle of another one at the moment.

On the Brockley forum, Drew writes:

We've just been burgled and there's been a bunch of others similar around here in the last few weeks.

We've also had an email from BCer BrockersBlue, who says:

Thought I'd get in touch to highlight a recent increase in burglaries in the area. Friends of ours from Tressilian Rd told us about their neighbours being burgled. Then, a house near us on Tyrwhitt Rd was burgled the following day. Both of these were during the day. 

I spoke to the police dealing with the burglary on Tyrwhitt Rd, and they said that for the last few years, Brockley has been a huge target in the lead up to Christmas. They said (and I quote) "without trying to cause panic, Brockley is being targeted at the moment, so please be extra vigilant and step up security where possible."

BC reports this because it would seem remiss of us to do otherwise. Keep em peeled, etc.

The Ghost Train at The Brockley Jack Theatre

The Brockley Jack Theatre team write:

The Christmas show at The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre has become a bit of a tradition and a favourite alternative to the usual panto offering. This year is no exception with the presentation of The Ghost Train by Arnold Ridley, and directed by the Jack's artistic director Kate Bannister.

Ridley was an actor and a playwright, best known for playing Private Godfrey in 'Dad's Army'. He wrote The Ghost Train in 1923 and it became a West End hit in 1925.

When the emergency cord is pulled, six travellers become stranded overnight in the waiting room of a lonely railway junction. The stationmaster tells a tale of a ghost train that haunts the line and brings death to those that look upon it. Unable to leave, the passengers must confront their fears whilst they await the arrival of the phantom midnight express.

Some performances are close to selling out, so we advise early booking for this Christmas treat!

Tickets can be booked via the website: www.brockleyjack.co.uk

Wash Walk Work at The Ark Gallery

Canada Water to Clapham Junction on the ELL


TfL has released this video showing the full route of the new East London Line extension from Canada Water to Clapham Junction, which becomes fully operational from December 9th.

Brockley residents will be able to change at Surrey Quays to use the new line - with a journey to Clapham Junction taking 28 minutes.

With thanks to Monkeyboy.

Proposal to expand John Stainer Primary

Consultation has begun about plans to enlarge John Stainer Primary School, St Asaph Road, from one to two forms of entry.

Cllr Darren Johnson asked the Council about the consultation on behalf of some parents who were concerned about the way these plans were being communicated and received this response:

The consultation is being taken forward in line with DfE requirements which include consultation with all stakeholders. 

The proposal is currently at Stage 1 - Consultation on the proposal to enlarge the school from 1 to 2 forms of entry, on the basis of the need to provide additional spaces. A full consultation has been carried out which has allowed parents and other stakeholders to consider and express their views. The consultation included a meeting for parents at which views were recorded. Subsequently the enlargement proposal was discussed at two PTA meetings, and some parents also convened their own meeting. 

The range of views expressed in these meetings, and the written responses to the consultation, are set out in the report which will be considered by the Mayor at a Mayor and Cabinet meeting and will then be subject to scrutiny.

If the Mayor approves the proposal, work to develop the design and building aspect of the proposal will be subject to separate consultation through the planning process. The first informal stages of this process have been undertaken in partnership with a group of governors, including parent governors, and the issues raised by parents have been reported to governors. 

At the formal stage of a planning application, the Lewisham Planning Department will consider whether a public meeting is required to allow further views to be considered following the statutory 8 week period for responses to the planning application.

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