Jonathan Coe in Sydenham

Jonathan Jo Has a mouth like an "O,"
But this is what makes him so funny:
If you give him a smile, Only once in a while,
Then he never expects any money!
- AA Milne

The author of The Rotters Club and What a Carve Up is coming to Sydenham. The Kirkdale Bookshop team write:

On Friday 30th June, to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, Spontaneous Productions in association with Kirkdale Bookshop is hosting Jonathan Coe in conversation with Matthew Sweet at 8pm, upstairs at Sydenham Centre, 44a Sydenham Rd SE26 5QX.
Tickets: £8 full price, £6 concessions.

Book online at
Box office at Kirkdale Bookshop, 272, Kirkdale SE26 4RS.

Footloose, July 8

Brockley Social Club's retro stylings might be better suited to a screening of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, but Hatty is giving it a Footloose makeover. She writes:

We are screening the brilliant dance movie, Footloose, followed by an 80's disco featuring all of your favourite 80's pop tunes.

Join us at The Brockley Social Club on Saturday 8th July - please do dress up in 80s gear if you like - as an incentive, we will award prizes to the best dressed!

For early birds who arrive between 7.30 and 8.00 on the night, we will have Pop Up Make Up and Hair Crimping in the snug (for a 'pay what you like' donation). Guaranteed 80's look in minutes. Ellnet, rollers and peach eye shadow included!

After the film, we bring you the very best of the 80's. Enjoy the tunes you can't believe you still know the words to. Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, A-ha, Japan, Yazoo, we aim to play something for (almost) everyone.  Power ballads also available!

Tickets available here.

Coming soon: Another Elephant

I saw a little elephant standing in my garden,
I said 'You don't belong in here', he said 'I beg you pardon?'
- Spike Milligan

Another local store opening to share...

Helen from Brockley children's store (and Brockley Central award winner) Gently Elephant writes: "We have collected the keys for the old Swintons shop in Crofton Park (between Aqua and Rosie's the florist) and we will be opening a new uptown store with an unexpected twist!"

More news soon.

Coming soon: Rad Bikes

Rad Bikes is a new independent bike shop, opening on June 26th at 148 Lewisham Way, between Upper Brockley and Rokeby Roads. Founders Ben and Tom explain:

"Maintenance is key but we will have accessories, locks, pumps and helmets. We also make wheels.

"We also hope to secure genesis bikes. But also will be doing other bikes. We have worked closely with Brother Cycles in the past. But everything can be ordered and we can advise on that."

Longplayer Day, June 21

James Bulley from Goldsmiths writes:

I'm curating a 12 hour event (with Jem Finer and Helen Frosi) next Wednesday 21 June on Summer Solstice called Longplayer Day.

Events will stretch from the Great Hall at Goldsmiths, across New Cross, Deptford, Greenwich, underneath the river, and then along the shoreline of the North bank to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

This will be the inaugural Longplayer Day, and the programming of the event explores time, duration and environmental thinking. This first edition marks a celebration of a recent partnership between Jem Finer's Longplayer and Goldsmiths, University of London.

The whole day is free, and we​'d like to invite everyone in the locality to come along at any point they wish - we're linking together lots of art communities with this and its been a really wonderful process, bringing together people side by side for years that have never actually met!

For up to date listings, please see our website and Facebook page.

Our Air, Your Health - June 19

The Deptford Lounge

Poor air quality is killing many of us and costing those who survive a fortune in EU fines. The government's reticence properly to tax or to replace London's diesel vehicles means we're waiting for the electric vehicle revolution to save us. Fortunately, Liz is on the case. She writes:

I am helping to organise an event in Deptford on 19 June and am just trying to spread the word locally.

I work with a group of scientists at King’s College London and Imperial College London, we belong to the Centre for Environment and Health, which does research into the health effects of environmental pollutants.

We do a lot of research into the health effects of air pollution (as well as other pollutants), and our Centre members at King’s run the London Air Quality Network and the LondonAir website. One of our Centre funders, MRC, organises a week-long festival of public engagement events and as part of that we are organising an evening of interactive activities and short talks based on our research into air quality and related issues – basically a small science fair type event with several short talks throughout the evening.

We have chosen Deptford as we are keen to move away from our university campuses a bit, and as well we have some links with Lewisham Council.

Full details of the event are available here.

Summer Solstice on Telegraph Hill

Virtue signalling

Not only does this new sign, created by Lionel Stanhope as part of the Street Art Festival, brighten this Brockley Road bridge, but it succinctly captures the truth of Greater Brockley: Brockley to the left, Brockley to the right. Whichever way you turn, there you are.

Labour Lewisham landslide

This morning, Vicky Foxcroft was returned as Lewisham Deptford's MP with an incredible vote tally of 42,461, leaving Tory candidate Melanie McLean trailing in second place with 7,562 votes. The turnout was a healthy 70.5%.

In Lewisham East and Lewisham West, the picture was the same. Heidi Alexander and Ellie Reeves each won for Labour, earning huge majorities over second-placed Tory candidates, with desultory showings from the Lib Dems in third.

The votes in full, via the Lewisham Council website, were:

Lewisham Deptford

John Coughlin, Green Party - 1,640
Bobby Dean, Liberal Democrats - 2,911
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour - 42,461
Jane Lawrence, Realists - 61
Malcolm Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 252
Laura McAnea, Animal Welfare Party - 225
Melanie McLean, Conservative - 7,562
​Total rejected votes - 208

Turnout: 70.5%

Lewisham East

Heidi Alexander, Labour - 32,072
Keith Forster, UKIP - 798
Peter Fortune, Conservative 10,859
Emily Frith, Liberal Democrats - 2,086
Maureen Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 228
Storm Poorun, Green Party - 803
Willow Winston, Independent - 355
Total rejected votes - 111

Turnout: 69.5%

Lewisham West & Penge

Shaun Bailey, Conservative - 12,249
Hoong-Wai Cheah, UKIP - 700
Katherine Hortense, Christian Peoples Alliance 325
Ellie Reeves, Labour - 35,411
John Russell, Lib Dems - 3,317
Karen Wheller, Green Party - 1,144
Russell White, Populist - 50
Total rejected votes: 156

Turnout: 73.19%

Pink House creator passes away

Mr Pink outside his unique house in 2002
Mr Brenton Pink, the creator of the legendary Pink House on Loampit Hill, has reportedly passed away. On Facebook, a family friend reported the news, adding:

"Mr Pink was a very well known man to anyone who grew up in Lewisham, you would often see him outside his house talking and seeing to his plants, he would always talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him. He left behind his wife, children and grandchildren who I know will miss him terribly."

He also leaves behind a unique legacy in the shape of his eccentrically-decorated home, which combines Victorian architecture with Caribbean-rococo styling.

With thanks to CamberwickKid for the news.

Lewisham Elects

It may, in many ways, have been a depressing election campaign, consisting of car crash interviews, uncosted promises, reductionist slogans and unprecedented U-turns, with a long shadow cast by the horror of Islamic terrorism.

But on the other hand, this is the first election in generations where the public has been offered a real battle of ideas. There are stakes beyond which colour rosette you prefer. There is choice.

The Conservatives may have moved to the left economically - with the promise of a new wealth tax, more Keynesian stimulus by pushing back their deadline to achieve a balanced budget, and state aid to reduce regional disparities - but Labour has embraced socialism red in tooth and claw, with nationalisation, a tax take that would be the UK's highest since World War II and £250 billion of further stimulus over ten years. The Tories would end the Pensions Triple Lock. Labour would scrap University tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. Five years ago, it was thought impossible that these kinds of policies could come back on to the electoral table.

The reemergence of choice between the main parties has also reversed a trend that seemed irreversible - the decline of the two-party system and the rise of smaller players. In London, Labour seems likely to wipe the floor with all comers, increasing its support in stronghold areas like Lewisham by peeling off votes from the Greens and LibDems and returning a strong crop of MPs in the form of Alexander, Foxcroft and Reeves.

So nationally, there is a real choice, but locally, it is likely that we will make only one choice. The real question is which parties will emerge as the primary challengers to Labour in Lewisham.

Full details of who to vote for and how to vote can be found here on the Lewisham Council website. How will you cast your vote?

Thunder and Lightning and Beer

Revolt! Art Show: June 9-10

"The sweetness of glory is so great that, join it to what we will, even to death, we love it."
- Blaise Pascal

If you've not had enough of deadly violence motivated by totalitarian ideology recently, then this weekend at 17 Harts Lane (New Cross Gate, SE14 5UP), art event Revolt! will bring you a grab bag of talks about communism, armed struggle and revolution.

The organisers promise a 'celebration of the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the revolutionary women of the women of the world, with beautiful images from the Soviet Union to photos and films of local resistance and current international struggles.'

FRIDAY 09 June 2017 | 6-9pm | Opening night | Free entry

Work on display from all supporting artists (including Chan Maroon, Andrew Cooper, Leah Jai Persad, James Waters and Roisin Anderson.

Short films | Low-price bar (donations) | Banner painting | Books, bags, posters for sale | Raffle

SATURDAY 10 June 2017 | 12-7pm

All day films, talks and exhibition.

1PM | Women’s Defence Units (YPJ): women at the heart of the Kurdish struggle
Film and discussion about Rojava, resistance, self-determination and the women leading the struggle.

2.30PM | Radical self-defence class run by Solstar Sports Association
Led by women trainers. All welcome, no experience necessary. ‘Training together for the struggle’.

4PM | Sylvia Pankhurst: art, working class women and the Hands Off Russia campaigns

5PM | Women in Cuba: the revolution within the revolution. Talk and discussion about the ongoing role women play in building socialism

All talks and films followed by open discussion.

Parlez betting on Scandi chic for Coulgate Street

You've seen the outside, behold the inside. This is how Parlez, the new restaurant coming to Coulgate Street this summer, will look when it opens. The team behind the project describe their influences as Scandi chic and French bistro.
The team they've put in place for opening day will be led by head chef Michal Zajac from the Groucho Club.
Where once, Brockley businesses complained that there were not enough daytime customers to sustain them, Parlez aims to be an all-day experience, with brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

The team are now hoping to be ready to open in late July, though the usual caveats about how long building work can take apply.

Diamonds for Sierra Leone

Roma writes:

I’m a local Brockley resident. Last Sunday I ran the Sierra Leone marathon (a brutally undulating course in 35 degrees with some gastro intestinal challenges!) to raise funds for the charity 'Street Child’ whose core focus is to provide educational facilities and support in some of the most deprived parts of Sierra Leone in order to give young boys and girls the best start in life as is possible.

As part of my fundraising efforts I’m taking over the pub quiz at the Orchard this Sunday - 11th June 2017. All of the proceeds will go to Street Child.

I would love to see you there! The evening starts at 7pm, but do arrive earlier to secure a table and it’s £3 p/p to enter. It’s a great opportunity to get the local community together, I hope you can make it.

Shade, the changing plan

The Key to Brockley, one of SE4's longest-surviving pieces of street art, has been given a 2017 makeover as part of this year's Street Art Festival, enabling the key to cast a long shadow.

The Festival currently only has 760 followers on Instagram, which is a travesty, given how many great images they post. Follow them here.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017

The Brockley Street Art Festival is underway. Works are taking shape across the area.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on
A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

Healthy eating on a budget - free classes

Naomi from Pulse writes:

We are running a course of Free Cookery classes for Brockley residents on Wednesdays in June, funded by Lewisham NHS Trust. The course aims to teach people about healthy eating on a budget, and they culminate in a shared meal.

We have a few places left on 7, 14 , 21 and 28 June at 11.00 to 1.30pm. The sessions take place at St Andrews Church Hall, (285 Brockley Road). In these sessions we:

· explore ideas as to what makes a healthy diet
· learn to source good value food locally  and prepare a series of simple enjoyable dishes and meals
· compile a folder of peoples favourite recipes from their past
· all sit down together to share a meal.

Booking is essential. For further info please contact Naomi on 07714770522 or call in at the Pinnacle Housing Office at Ground Floor, 111 Endwell Road.

The Laugh Train Home from Honor Oak

Tiff Stevenson will perform on the opening night
Another new local comedy night is coming to Greater Brockley. Local comic Robyn Perkins writes:

After running a successful comedy night (Laugh Train Home) in SW11 for over 3 years, I am starting a new weekly night at The Honor Oak Pub on June 13th.

The Laugh Train Home host will welcome Edinburgh preview shows from TV credited acts including John Robins (Mock the Week, Radio X), Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo), Dane Baptiste (Hither Green superstar, writer of BBC sitcom Sunny D, Live at the Apollo & more), Sarah Kendall (two time Edinburgh Award nominee), Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show host), and Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo).

Previews will be running until the Fringe starts from 8-10PM at the pub; tickets are £5 in advance / £7 at the door.  Starting September 5th, Laugh Train Home's pro comedy nights will commence and will run weekly; tickets will be £6 in advance / £8 at the door.

Time: 8:00-10:00PM


June 13th: Tiff Stevenson (Mock The Week, Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Drunk History, People Just Do Nothing) with Darius Davies and MC Robyn Perkins

June 20th: Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, The John Bishop Show, The Now Show) with Anna Morris and MC Robyn Perkins

June 27th: John Robins (Russell Howard's Good News, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Radio X, Stand Up Central, Live at the Comedy Store, Drunk History) with Alastair Williams and MC Jason Patterson

July 4th: Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Comedy Central at the Comedy Store, Live From the BBC),  John Hastings (Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy on BBC) and MC Jason Patterson

July 11th: Sarah Kendall (2-time Best Show in Edinburgh nominee, Russell Howard's Good News) and Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show Host, Dave's One Night Stand, The Rob Brydon Show, Fake Reaction, Comic Releif) and MC Jason Patterson

July 18th: Dane Baptiste (Live at the Apollo, Tonight at the London Palladium, Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, 8 out of 10 Cats, and his own BBC sitcom Sunny D) with Tez Ilyaz and MC Robyn Perkins

July 25th: Ed Gamble (Mock the Week, Russell Howard’s Good News, Dave’s One Night Stand, Drunk History, Virtually Famous, Sweat the Small Stuff) and Robyn Perkins preview their Edinburgh shows

Hustings tonight

People Before Profit may not be a party political force anymore, but their activists are still involved in local politics and have organised this hustings event tonight. The confirmed list of participating candidates is currently a little thin:

Green - John Coughlin
Lib-Dem - Bobby Dean
Christian Peoples Alliance - Malcolm Martin

Sparrow hawked

Sexy Sparrow eggs
Sparrow is the pretty little restaurant, sitting in an unprepossessing spot on the emergent new traffic system that will one-day define Lewisham's future. When that future arrives, SE13 won't have to endure condescension from restaurant reviewers. Until then, it will have to take the rough with the smooth. BCer Kraig writes:

"Glowing review for the food at Sparrow in The Sunday Times this weekend, even if the reviewer acted as if Zone 2 was an arduous pilgrimage not to be repeated. Unbelievably, he waited 25 minutes for a cab to pick him up rather than walk across to the station."

Here is a link to the review in question. Critic John Walsh likens the ride to Lewisham to a trek to Santiago de Compostela and opens:

"I’ve got nothing against Lewisham. I know it’s home to 95,000 charming and brilliant Londoners, and Sid Vicious was born there, as was Alexander McQueen, the Cream drummer Ginger Baker and Elsa Lanchester, who played the Bride of Frankenstein. But, like Croydon, it’s never featured on my list of places to visit. For years, its claim to fame was that it had the largest supermarket and police station in Europe [Ed: Police station, yes. Supermarket - can that ever have been true?]. We spent half an hour circling what remains of a vast shopping centre and a roundabout. Suddenly I saw “Sparrow” on a battered sign and yelled: “Stop!”

Upon completion of his quest, Walsh finds that the chef is infinitely inventive, that the salmon is to die for, the eggs with pork and anchovy relish is sexy and the flourless chocolate cake is "ten times better than Ottolenghi's."

Click here for Sparrow's website.

A brief history of the Brockley Jack

"The taproom and the whole architecture of the whole [Brockley Jack] are curious, and the sign nailed to the stump of an old elm in yard is painted on a mammoth’s bone which was dug up in the railway cutting behind the house."
— Walter Besant, London South of the Thames

The South London Club has published a neat history of the Brockley Jack pub and theatre. Click here to read it.

Lewisham Food Bank needs help

The Lewisham Food Bank is running low on some essentials and has released a list of urgently-needed items, including noodles, tinned fruit and toothpaste.

For a full list of donation spots, please click here. Thanks to Holly for the heads-up.

Brockley Max 2017, June 2-9

The Brockley Max community arts festival returns on June 2nd for nine days of music, performance, art and parties.

This year's festival includes a wide range of new artists and venues and highlights (other than the front cover of their programme, which is a masterpiece) include:
The Max will also coincide with the Brockley Street Art Festival and this year, the London Beer Dispensary will be pouring a limited edition Brockley Max beer.

For the full programme, click here.

Power serve problem delays Ladywell tennis plan

A plan to create a major floodlit tennis facility in Ladywell Fields is being held up by UK Power Networks, who haven't hooked up the site yet. Lewisham Council's Andy Thomas explains:

"We are still waiting on the power supply to be installed by UK Power Networks but in the meantime we don’t want to keep the courts locked up and unavailable for use.

"The plan is that the courts will be kept locked with combination padlocks but when people book they will be sent the number that will give them access. They will then be asked to lock up the courts again when they finish.  For this period of time, courts will be free.

"To make a booking people simply need to sign up at and go to the courts page where they will see what times are available.  People can make bookings from this Saturday.

"It’s vital that people work with us to look after the courts. In other parks there have been reports of people going on the courts with bikes, skateboards, footballs etc and there is already evidence of damage.  We can’t let this happen because we have to think about the long term and so if this system doesn’t work we may have to go back to locking them up until we have the power supply."

Dine in Deptford in June

Deptford Market Yard writes:

As part of the London Food Month festival, we're giving you the chance to sample the diverse food and drink offerings at Deptford Market Yard, each Wednesday in June between 12pm-10pm.

Come and discover the unique, independent businesses and exciting flavours on offer, including drink options, for just £15 (plus booking fee).

Your ticket entitles you to one sample dish and/or drink from each of the amazing food & drinks arches:

Lomond Coffee, Dirty Apron, Mama’s Jerk, Frankie Goes to Bollywood, Archie’s and Little Nan’s Bar.

For the full menu and tickets head to:

Brockley Cross block approved

With a sense of grim inevitability, it is my duty to report that the plans for 1-1a Brockley Cross have been approved.

After many attempts, the developers of the kitsch car dealership have finally worn down the Council and have gained permission to build:

The demolition of buildings on the site of 1-1a Brockley Cross SE4 and the construction of a part two/part three storey building comprising a Class B1 office unit, 3, one bedroom and 2, two bedroom self contained flats together with the provision of bin and bicycle stores.

The specs are less of a problem than the design, which, despite multiple revisions, is inept.

With "thanks" to Ed for the heads-up.

The Festival of Flowers

Another gong for Brockley's Rock

Brockley's Rock writes:

We are delighted to have been recognised with the prestigious National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Fish & Chip Quality Award.

The award identifies fish and chip outlets that serve the highest quality fish and chips following a thorough assessment of the premises, equipment, working practices, hygiene standards and management controls, along with the quality and taste of cooked fish and chips.

Innovation and Conservation, June 10

Keynote speakers are:
  • Laura Sandys, daughter of Duncan Sandys MP, who instigated the 1967 Civic Amenities Act
  • Duncan  McCallum of Historic England
  • Nicholas Boys-Smith of Create Streets. 
Case studies of local schemes will include:
  • Rhys Cannon of Gruff
  • Jon Broome, a specialist in self-build
  • Charles Coull on a live-work studio featured on Channel 4
  • Murray Groves on timber-framed Cedar Mews
  • Paul Russell on the children’s nursery in the former Welsh Chapel
  • An alumnus from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust will talk about their work supporting young architecture students

Brockley's dark territory brightened

During the last decade that this site has been running, many of the ugliest parts of Brockley have been, if not beautified, then at the very least significantly improved. But the railway bridges crossing Brockley and Mantle Roads represent grot's last stand in SE4.

However, hidden in the small print of the announcement about the 2017 Street Art Festival was the news that this spot will be transformed by a brand-new, epic-sized mural. Artist Lionel Stanhope confirms:
So that the West Side doesn't feel left out, Frendsbury and St Norbert will be joining the party with commissioned work.

Housing Associations: The Bell Tolls For Thee

The Bell Curve: A bent lamppost was the final straw for Cllr Paul Bell
Telegraph Hill Councillor Paul Bell has launched a campaign to improve the service provided by local housing associations. He writes:

This is a picture of my building, managed by Gallions/Peabody Housing Association. Last week a delivery driver to the Cooper's Bakery, stupidly reversed into the lamp post. I won't bore you with the details, but this is just one of many issues Gallions/Peabody have failed to sort out in a timely and in this case, health and safety way. Others include failing to sort or communicate about fire prevention measures to failing to give us a recycling store key for 8 months.

My building is not alone. Through my casework as a councillor, I know that many others are fighting to get services that as a tenant, shared owner or leaseholder we all pay for. Housing associations fail to keep residents informed. They lie. They make up stories and finally, when things do get done, they've had to be shamed and contacted many, many times before hand. We should not put up with this.

I am intending to write a report to the Chair of the Housing Select Committee, Cabinet Member for Housing and the Mayor of Lewisham demanding that action is taken to sort out this general housing association incompetence. Will your help? You can do so by filling out the online form HERE, telling me about your experiences and problems. I will also accept best practice too, as there are some - smaller housing associations - that do good work. The survey can be done anonymously. Please note, as Lewisham Homes is not a housing association, I've not included them in this survey.

The Quaggy Community Choir

The Quaggy Community Choir meets at the new Parkside Centre
Priya and Jake write:

The Quaggy Community Choir is a new group based at the brand new Parkside SE10 Commity Centre, on the border between Greenwich and Lewisham.

We’ll be singing an eclectic mix of songs of different styles – to well known hits to some tunes which are a bit more unusual. Once we are more established, we look forward to inviting people’s song suggestions and will eventually head out into the community to do some shows.

The first session is free and no experience is necessary.

DAY: Every Tuesday evening
TIME:   7:00 – 8:30pm
PLACE: Parkside SE10 Community Centre 1 Copperwood Place SE10 8GF

Brockleywood Nights – Thurs 8th June

Declan writes:

Enjoy the filmmaking talent and cinematic treasures from Brockley and beyond at Brockleywood Nights, a showcase for local short film.

The event is free and scheduled for the evening of Thursday 8 June, starting at 8.30pm (offering respite from the General Election mayhem) and will be in the fantastic sprawling garden of the Fox & Firkin down the road on Lewisham High St in SE13. Pushing the Brockley boundaries a wee bit, but the venue is great and there will be live music afterwards with Ron’s Speakeasy, so it’s going to be a top night!

Submissions are still open and so please get in touch. All genres are welcome and while the focus is on showcasing local filmmakers (or films linked to the local area), films from Lewisham, South London and beyond will also be considered. Please get in touch or forward to any filmmaking friends you know.

For further details or submissions contact Declan at

The event is part of Brockley Max (2 - 10 June 2017) and as ever there will be loads of (mostly free) gems to discover. Check out for more info or like/follow @BrockleyMax on social media.

The Brockley Art House

David has issued a call out for artists:

"The deadline for submitting art work to be exhibited at this year's big Brockley Max Open Art Show at Brockley Art House is 20th May. Artists can enter two pictures. Our biggest ever open submission art show alongside a gallery of vintage art, clothes and collectables. Pop-Up Attic Tearoom serving cakes and speciality teas."

Submission guidelines are on our Facebook page.

Lewisham GP to stand against Hunt

The Lewisham medic who played a prominent role in the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital from being downgraded will stand for election in South West Surrey in a bid to unseat Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Independent reports:

"The Green Party has withdrawn their candidate from the race completely, while Liberal Democrat and Labour members agreed not to campaign in order to boost Dr Irvine’s chances, despite their national parties standing candidates in the constituency.

"The decision by left-wing activists to unite behind the GP — which marked a major step in the drive for progressive alliances across the country — was met with a stark response from the national Labour party, which on Monday expelled three executive members in South West Surrey who had been leading the movement.

"But despite the opposition at a national level, local cross-party support for the National Health Action party candidate remains strong, with many Labour and Lib Dem activists in the constituency still said to be planning to vote for Dr Irvine and refusing to campaign for their own party candidates in the lead-up to the election."

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017, June 2-10

Ten new works will be created across Greater Brockley as part of this year's Festival, which returns for its third year next month.

The organisers have recruited national and international artists, including locals Pangea Arts (above) and Doodle Man Colour (below).
Director Phillipa writes:

"This  year's addition  of  street  art  tours  will  offer  the  opportunity  for visitors and local residents to get more involved with the festival than ever before, exploring the tales and techniques of a selection of work which has been produced by previous festi-vals, including Dale Grimshaw’s landmark Bob Marley mural and Artista’s Flying Toast.

"The festival has also been working with local schools to offer tours of the existing murals for school children, and as well as devising a free self-guided family trail, will be hosting a dedicated walking tour for children and families, led by museum, gallery and arts educator Neysela da SilvaReed.

"Other events and activities include live painting jam Merging Inks, an exclusive screening of cult  graffiti  film Bomb  It at the pop up Courtroom  Cinema and a talk  about  the  2015  mural Supernova in our Hearts, created by south London arts collective Artmongers, in collaboration with STEAM:ED and supernova discoverer and astronomer Dr. Steve Fossey.

"Bristol-based artist Aspire will also create his trademark pixelated birds close to a local community garden and  self-taught  street  artist  Koeone  will bring his photo-realist female portraits to another. Popular local artist Lionel Stanhope will also be continuing south London’s trend  towards traditional signpost murals, following in the footsteps of Herne Hill and Hither Green, with a mural planned for under the nearby railway bridge."

The voice of degeneration

"This is Harry Allen, hip-hop activist and media assassin, with Flavor Flav. What's the flavor, Flavor?"
- More News at 11, Public Enemy

Brockley's mockney performance poet Kate Tempest has triggered a Daily Mail hit job thanks to her performance of "Tunnel Vision" on BBC Newsnight last night. The headline rants:

'What an embarrassment!': BBC Newsnight is slammed by viewers for airing performance poet's ranting 'left wing victimhood politics'.

Complaining about a performance poet's left wing politics is a little like complaining about the noise at a Sepultura gig, but it gives them something to do.

Thanks to Patrick for trawling the Sidebar of Shame.

The Myatt Table Top Sale, May 7th

Turners to close

Turners, the Brockley Road hardware store, is to close later this month. The shop has been providing a valuable service to the local community for decades and built a loyal customer base, who've come to rely on the fact that Turners will always have what they need, however obscure.

Recently, the owner of Turners was a victim of a violent assault in the course of a robbery, but the decision to close the store is due to retirement.

Thank you to BertofBrockley for the heads-up.

Stephen Kovacevich at St Mary the Virgin in Ladywell

The acclaimed pianist will play at Ladywell's ancient church on May 19th
Ros writes:

I’m a member of Lewisham Park (Crescent) Residents’ Association and we are organising a charity concert in Lewisham in aid of St Mungo’s the homelessness charity, and also to fund improvements to the park. Proceeds will be spilt equally between these two.

Somewhat miraculously one of us has managed to get the world-renowned pianist Stephen Kovacevich to agree to play, and also local musicians and singers will be involved. The concert is at St. Mary’s church in Ladywell (just opposite the park) on May 19th.

You can buy tickets for £10 or even sponsor one of his keys to pay for the piano hire. Full details here. You get a free glass of wine with your admission ticket too.

Flat Fields

It's been a while since we've had an historical postcard of Brockley to look at. Here's one of Hilly Fields, which somehow contrives to make the park look flat.

Coming soon: Suttons' Radio

Mark: There's no pocket to this zip. That's the way things are these days: 'Let's just put a zip here, a swastika there, why not? Who knows what these things were once used for. Who the hell even cares?'
- Peep Show

Pub group Antic London have renamed the Market Tavern on Lewisham High Street "Suttons' Radio" in honour of the shop, whose signage they uncovered while renovating the building.

The pub is due to reopen later this month and you can sign-up for more news here.

Crofton Park Pictures at The Rivoli

The Shining is playing on October 25th
Smile, you son of a bitch! Crofton Park Pictures is screening classic movies, including Jaws and A Nightmare on Elm Street at the Rivoli Ballroom (the perfect setting for a pop-up cinema experience) later this year.

The season starts on June 22nd with Jaws and ends on October 27th with The Exorcist. Tickets start at £12 and are available here.

This is a Low: Blur drummer rumoured for Lewisham West

There's no other way for Labour candidates to get elected than to stand in Lewisham.

Rumours continue to swirl about the list of candidates to replace Jim Dowd as Labour candidate for Lewisham West. The latest gossip comes from Guardian journalist Heather Stewart who reckons Labour campaigner Dave Rowntree, also known as one quarter of Blur, is in the frame.

The Deptford Market Yard Street Food Party, April 29

On Saturday, I wandered round Deptford Market Yard. A month ago, the street would have been empty, but this time, there were a healthy number of people.

With a beautiful courtyard setting and some genuinely interesting venues, including the new additions underneath the Deptford Station arches (a trainer shop, a plant shop (below) and a cafe), this place is shaping up nicely. So this is the perfect excuse to check it out if you haven't yet been.

Lewisham West attracts Labour's best

Lewisham is one of a dwindling number of Labour strongholds and thus Lewisham West and Penge MP Jim Dowd's decision to step down means there are some big names being bandied around to replace him. Labour List reports:

The deadline for applications passed yesterday. Candidates will be appointed by a panel of NEC and regional board representatives. The early frontrunners are thought to include:

Ibrahim Dogus

The entrepreneur and co-chair of SME4Labour is perhaps best-known for his role in the popular British Kebab Awards, which is attended by activists from across the party. He is also the founder director of the Centre for Turkey Studies.

Ellie Reeves

The employment law barrister narrowly lost her place on the NEC last year, when a series of pro-Corbyn candidates won through, but is well-known in the capital due to her role as vice-chair of London Labour Party. She is married to John Cryer, chair of the parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), and has said little publicly about a possible candidacy.

Christian Wolmar

The transport expert and author who contested the Richmond Park by-election for Labour last year has thrown his hat in the ring. He has frequently spoken out over his belief that Brexit will be a “disaster” for the country.

Thanks to Joe for the link.

Don't rig Lewisham West

A party that sets out its stall as a champion of social mobility and scourge of rigged, elitist systems should probably avoid cosy, nepotistic stitch-ups. As local Labour MP Jim Dowd stands down, the Evening Standard writes:

"It’s a family affair for Labour. Lewisham West and Penge MP Jim Dowd has decided to take his pension after 25 years, and the race to replace him as Labour candidate looks set to feature two modern party dynasties.

"In one red corner is Ellie Reeves, vice-chair of the London Labour Party — and sister of chess champ and Labour MP Rachel. Ellie’s husband John Cryer is an east London MP and chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party. Both of John’s parents were Labour MPs too.

"But Reeves won’t be in for an easy ride. Whisperings are that Joe Dromey, who has wowed locals as an independent-minded Lewisham councillor, would also like to run. Dromey may struggle to escape the shadow of his own parents, though — dad Jack is MP for Birmingham Erdington while his mother is Labour heavyweight Harriet Harman.

"With rumours that Jeremy Corbyn’s son Seb might throw his hat in the ring, are these the new red princes and princesses?"

However, Dromey has denied he will be standing:

Ladywell restaurant space comes on the market

Hilly Fields Evening Walks

Michael writes:

Hilly Fields early evening walks have started again.

Come and enjoy the views, the setting sun, the company and some gentle exercise!

We meet on Mondays 6.30pm at the benches outside Frances Drake Bowls club, near 484 bus stop (24 April – late October). The walk group is led by volunteer walk leaders and we walk for 30 -45 minutes.

For more information: Jenny Budd:

... Or you can just turn up or register on

Model Market IV - Begins April 28

Model Market [196 Lewisham High Street] is back for more. It's hard to conceive a South East London summer without it. London Union says:

Model Market, our late and local Lewisham feast, is returning to it’s SE13 home on Friday 28 April for the fourth year running. We’ll be launching with a three-day-strong Bank Holiday Weekender across Fri/Sat/Sun and running ALL summer long with ten street food heroes and five brilliant bars.

Our two newest additions are Nanban and Tacos del Rey (a brand new taco concept from the team behind Killa Dilla).

Every Friday and Saturday, 5pm - 1am. Also open on Sunday during opening weekend. Entry is free before 7pm, £3 thereafter.

New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival 2017: Opening Night

This year's festival kicks off on Friday, April 21, with an opening night party at the White Hart pub in New Cross, featuring a screening of John Favreau's gastro-comedy Chef. Entrance is free. There will be food and music.

Details of the opening night and the rest of the festival here.

Brockley Road: Heroes and Villains

Two neighbouring venues on Brockley Road have recently made an effort to pretty themselves up for summer, to vastly different effect.

Firstly, we have Central Cafe, who have taken a look around and noticed that people seem to like spending time in places that look nice. Their minimalist makeover is a soothing addition to the high street.

Secondly, we have the post office next door, which has sold every square inch of real estate to Moneygram and consequently looks like a nightmarish version of Rymans, with its employees and customers forbidden from ever seeing the light of day. If junk mail were a shop, it would be this place.

Brockley Max 2017 - get involved

Emma writes:

Brockley Max is a nine-day, not-for-profit festival put on by local people for local people. So it can’t happen without your help!

We’re looking for volunteers keen to be involved in Brockley Max 2017, to see a different side of the festival - use your skills in a creative capacity, try something new and be involved in your local community! It’s a great opportunity to develop your skills, add experience to your CV and use your interest in music or art in a professional capacity – references can be provided on request after volunteering.  Travel expense can be covered, and food is often provided.

You’ll be contributing your time to help make the festival run smoothly, for example, by handing out programmes, setting up events, being a festival ambassador or raising funds. You’ll be an essential part of Brockley Max, helping create a special atmosphere, perfect for those looking for work experience or to meet new people.

You can volunteer as much or as little of your time as you like, there is plenty of variety and flexibility.

Please visit our website to find out more about all our exciting opportunities and how to apply.

You can also email Emma, our Volunteer Coordinator on if you have any further query.

Good Hope for New Jokes

Eleanor Tiernan is among the performers
Mikey writes:

I just wanted to let you know about some great new local comedy happening over the next few weeks at the Good Hope Cafe in PLACE/Ladywell.

Good Hope for New Jokes is an Edinburgh preview season, meaning now's the time to see established comedy names in intimate venues for bargain prices.

Most Thursdays, from 20th April, there is the chance to see double-header preview shows from the likes of Dane Baptiste, Tom Allen, Jessica Fostekew, Angela Barnes, Luke McQueen, Suzi Ruffell and Rachel Parris, down the road for just £3 (£5 on the door).

Tickets are available here.

Brockley 4 Turners

The owner of Turners, the hardware store at 309 Brockley Road, was beaten up during a robbery of his store today.

A Justgiving page has been launched to raise £250 to help him get back on his feet. The creators say:

"We are shocked by the events at our local hardware store and this is a donation for the owner, who has been hospitalised after an attack during a robbery at his premises today."

To donate, click here.

The Peckham Pheasant upgrades

“This is a very hinterestin’ haccusation, very hinterestin’ indeed, because I hain’t never ’eard of nobody hen-ticin’ a pheasant across six miles of fields and open countryside. ’Ow do you think this hen-ticin’ was performed, if I may hask?”
- Danny Champion of the World

Life finds a way. The pheasant that Peckham residents have claimed as their own has now decamped to Brockley. Or it's another pheasant.

Marnock Road development proposed

As part of its strategy to increase the number of council homes by developing infill sites, Lewisham Council is working with Lewisham Homes to develop the site of a former garage on Marnock Road in Crofton Park.

The proposal is for six four-bedroom houses and bears a passing resemblance to a previous development on Manwood Road. Thanks to Paul for the heads-up.

Crofton Park colour swap

The old version above, the new version below
The planned mixed-use development at 437-439 Brockley Road in Crofton Park has had a colour change. The grey-and-green scheme has been replaced by a more standard yellow-and-grey palette.

BCer Jed, who flagged the switcheroo, comments:

"Maybe it's because the ownership has changed since those original plans, maybe they are considered better bricks for the area, or maybe they are just doing things on the cheap..."

Bikes for refugees

This is a good idea. Donate any unwanted old bikes to help refugees.

Coming soon: Oliver's

Replacing the defunct Brockley Cross takeaway Nat's Bake n Juice will be Oliver's, a new Caribbean takeaway that has already tidied up the exterior of the shop and has a holding site, which promises more details soon.

Thanks to Ben for the heads-up.

Cinderella Line meeting this saturday

The Cinderella Line group, which lobbies for better Crofton Park train services, writes:

We had amazing local support during Phase 1 of the Thameslink consultation where 2875 people from this area had their say.

But there’s more to come. Timetables are on the menu for Phase 2 of the consultation so this is your chance to ask questions.

What will we be getting? Where will it stop? When will it run? Want more Victoria services? This is our time to ask.

What we’ve achieved so far:

  • New Class 700 trains being rolled out, with 30% more capacity
  • 4 extra services to Victoria in the mornings, courtesy of Southeastern
  • 20% of the response to the whole of Phase 1 of the Thameslink consultation coming from Crofton Park

So come to the Rivoli Ballroom at 2pm on Saturday - let Thameslink hear our voices!

Details here.

Brockley Cross Audi showroom closes

Deptford X seeks Trustees

Johann Arens' SelfCalibration. Deptford X 2016
Long-running arts festival Deptford X has launched a search for new trustees. The organisers say:

Deptford X continues to innovate and reinvent itself, and is currently building upon its core festival remit with other programming activities throughout the year, running the DX Gallery, as well as providing studio space for local artists.

It is an exciting time for Deptford X. The curated programmes are stronger than ever, providing a range of art engagement points for local residents, and the wider art world is taking notice.
Deptford X is a charity that is run day to day by a small executive team and governed by a board of trustees. We are actively seeking to develop our board capability specifically in the areas of PR & communications, finance, programme development and fundraising.

If you have a background in one or more of these areas and are passionate about helping build upon the successes of Deptford X, then please contact us with a CV and a covering letter describing how you believe you might be able to contribute, by the end of April.

This is a voluntary role, and therefore has no remuneration.

The document below provides more information about Deptford X and the expectations of the roles available.

Please send all correspondence to with 'BOARD APPLICATION' in the subject.

Brockley Cross developers back again

As an accompaniment to the Audi art installation currently gracing the pavement of Brockley Cross comes the latest effort by the developers trying to build at 1-1a Brockley Cross (currently a car dealership).

With this iteration they have inched closer towards acceptability, but it's still far short of what one might call good. Cluttered and cramped, it features a cylindrical front, which the architects say will "announce" itself to Brockley Cross as the gateway to Brockley. They include one office in their proposals, with the rest of the space given over to flats.

Full details of the proposal here. Thanks to Ed for keeping a beady eye out.

Surface-to-air rocket launcher case found in Brockley

Brockley expansionism just got real. The Mail reports:

[Brockley woman] Kelly Watson posted a photo of the case, designed to hold the Javelin S-15 missile - used by British troops in the Gulf War - after finding it on the pavement.

She said she found the case for the laser-guided warhead - also known as a Starburst Missile and which can be fired from the shoulder like a bazooka - next to other dumped items, including a stereo speaker - and admitted it was a 'pretty random' find.

There were just over 13,000 of the missiles - which have a range of more than four miles and carries a 'high explosive fragmentation' warhead - built between 1989 and 2005 by Thales Air Defence Limited, which is based in Belfast.

Tube Mapper

This photo of a cat waiting for an East London Line train recently broke the Brockley internet when I shared it on Twitter. The image was captured by local photographer Luke Agbaimoni, who has started a London photography project called Tube Mapper. Its aim is to capture landmarks and locations near and around all tube and DLR stations. Here are some more of his shots - from Brockley, Deptford Bridge and New Cross Gate.

Luke says:

"It's a ridiculously ambitious project, but very fun. I enjoying taking shots that I know nobody else will. It's actually quite hard capturing some stations. Locally, I've already taken shots of Brockley, Deptford Bridge, New Cross and Lewisham, but will capture the more obscure St Johns and Elverson Road Stations, plus more of the others soon."

The Brockley Street Art Festival fundraiser

Ian writes:

The Brockley Street Art Festival is entering a third year, with more events and painting planned around the Brockley area the first week of June - coinciding with the fantastic Brockley Max Festival.

This year is our third year, and not only do we wish to continue to create amazing art on the street, but we are keen to extend the festival further and offer a greater range of events and activities that the public can get involved in. These include (but aren't limited to):

  • A live painting event for our opening night, as well as supporting Brockley Max Art in the Park
  • Guided street art tours of work produced by past festivals as well as a chance to see live painting
  • A free self-guided family trail as well as a bespoke guided street art tour for families
  • A range of talks and participatory workshops
  • Plus we will continue to work with the best artists to create around 10 stunning new murals

All funds raised go to the running costs and to the artists themselves. Me and my fellow organisers are unpaid. So, if you've got, say 5 or 10 pounds to spare, It'll really help us make it happen this year.

Details here.

Orange ordered for Tressillian Road

Sue writes:

A front wall on Tressillian Road is currently being built by a subcontractor under Rydon [BC: Rydon is part of a PFI consortium that maintains 1838 homes in Brockley].

The old wall was being pushed out by the tree. On Wednesday this wall was demolished and yesterday a load of orange bricks arrived. I was genuinely shocked to see they were being laid this morning - I thought the orange was a mistake.

Spoke to the bricklayer who seemed very uncomfortable in the job - he said was a matter of what was cheapest option, £1 for this per brick, £2.80 for the proper London brick as seen in the neighbouring wall. He said the orange was the cheapest sort-of-match to the remaining bit of wall.

Firstly, it is a very poor match and secondly, the remaining bit is also not very attractive and surely the job should have been to take down the whole lot and start again with bricks sympathetic to the area and surrounding walls.

I find it gobsmacking that the council can do this - replacing windows in the area is a total headache with numerous planning steps - all worthwhile and understandable - and then the council can come and do this.

The Catford Bridge Tavern reopens

After being ravaged by fire in 2015, the Catford Bridge Tavern has reopened. The pub is a local institution that endured a turbulent few years and many feared it would never reopen, so this is very welcome news.

Free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - show your support on April 2nd

On April 2nd, in Hilly Fields, a special rally will be held to protest the imprisonment of former Brockley resident Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the hands of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Clare Cowan of the Brockley Society writes:

3rd April 2016: My friend, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guardsat Tehran airport on herway home to the UK after visiting her parents. She has been sentenced to five years in jail on unstated‘national security’ charges. Her two-year-old daughter, Gabriella is stranded in Iran with her grandparents. Her husband Richard is in London, campaigning for her release. Neither can witness their daughter growing up.

The beginning of spring is marked in Iran with New Year celebrations, called Nowruz. It has been sombre for this family. Nazanin is allowed to see her daughter only occasionally.

Richard writes: ‘One day it will be time to heal, to rediscover being normal. If you had one day of freedom –what would you do to enjoy and catch up with living again? What adventures can your children suggest? Not grand ideas, but ordinary ones.’

On Sunday 2 April at 10am or 12 noon or 3pm —or any time you can manage –come to Hilly Fields, Brockley, to the tennis court fence opposite Pistachio’s café. Bring colourful ribbons or labels, or use some of ours to tie messages on the tennis court.

Through the messages and photos, one day Nazanin, Gabriella and Richard will know about the love and support so many people feel for them. Nazanin lived in Tyrwhitt Road with us from 2006 to 2009. Some of you knew her and neighbours frequently ask me about her. You can read more information and Richard’s updates here.

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