Previously, in Brockley: 2010 in review

In 2010, everything changed and nothing did.

The May elections redrew the electoral map of Lewisham and in doing so, reinforced the status quo.In Lewisham, Councillors of every colour were swept away by Labour’s red sea. Those (like BC) who thought it anomaly caused by the local elections coinciding with the general election were proved wrong when an early Ladywell by-election returned a Labour Councillor. We can now have any Councillor we like, so long as they’re red.

In Brockley, the opening of the East London Line (heralded by Oyster’s arrival in January) radically transformed our transport options, blessing us with new routes, a much fuller timetable and less full trains. Everyone loved it and that was the end of that debate.

The ELL helped to accelerate the rejuvenation of Brockley as the crowds disembarking the trains got bigger and younger. The influx of new residents helped to fuel Brockley’s DIY culture, with pop-up restaurants, harvests and living-room gigs joining the calendar of local events and established events like the Brockley MAX and the Christmas markets enjoying their best-ever years.

But what the ELL didn’t do was convince a wave of new small businesses to open in the area this year. Although we heard from a few entrepreneurs planning to give the area a go, the only new business that opened near the station was Bohemia Hair. Instead, Ladywell high street made most of the running, with the opening of En Gedi Designs and El’s Kitchen. Other businesses made incremental changes, like the Brockley Mess’ new gallery, the Broca’s new children’s playroom and the Royal Albert's touch-up.

On Brockley Road, 2010 was a lost year. The revolution never came. The promised renovation of La Lanterna ground to a halt as the parade it sits on rotted. The plans for the holistic centre were iced and a makeshift second-hand furniture shop moved in. Further up the road, we learned of even more ambitious plans to turn St Cyprien’s Church in to a restaurant. Perhaps next year will be different…

We also said goodbye to the Shop on the Hill, Sweney’s Café and Aladdin’s Cave in Crofton Park. Ladywell’s art deco adhesives factory vanished and the last shop in Upper Brockley Road was given permission to be converted in to flats.

Hilly Fields secured a mobile café and plans were announced to create a permanent facility – with Pistachios revealed to be in the running. The Rivoli, whose future has been under threat for the lifetime of this blog, found a new lease of life in 2010 playing host to the Kings of Leon and countless film crews, as well as securing its own chat show.

Most of the positive changes were driven by the public and voluntary sectors, from the new playgrounds in Hilly Fields and Blythe Hill to the improvements in Ladywell Village, the Hill Station in Telegraph Hill and the new community garden in Breakspears Road. The Brockley Common project finally came to fruition, dragged over the finish line this summer by the Brockley Cross Action Group, Transition Brockley and some mosaic makers after the private contractors originally appointed to do the job washed their hands of it.

Local sport got a big boost with the development of a cricket square in Hilly Fields and the tortuous approval of the Telegraph Hill skate park. Up the road, plans were approved to renovate Forest Hill Pool.

When they weren’t burning down, the area’s schools were being redeveloped. Lewisham finally convinced BrocSoc to drop their opposition to the redevelopment of Gordonbrock, but only after the threat of legal action caused significant delays to the project. Prendergast Hilly Fields College and Brockley Primary both unveiled their own public consultations, hoping to avoid the pitfalls that Gordonbrock encountered.

And at last, Lewisham Council began to turn its attention to the state of the public realm in the area. Street trees were planted in large numbers, the front of the Tea Factory was repaved, the railings removed along Brockley Road and Mantle Road’s pavement was widened. Even better, public consultations were launched about plans to remodel Coulgate Street and Brockley Cross and positive noises were made about the Ladywell Village Improvement Group’s masterplan.

While both of the Brockley proposals represent progress, they also represent missed opportunities – neither going far enough to address the problems or to realise potential. Again – these developments represented change or inertia, depending upon your point of view.

In crime, transport and regeneration, the picture was mixed too.

While crime continued to fall overall, Brockley nonetheless experienced waves of burglaries and serious violence including a serious stabbing and shootings in Brockley Cross, culminating in the death of a man on Howson Road.

The DLR expansion opened on time, the Jubilee Line upgrade didn’t. We got funding for Thameslink and the new station at London Bridge and confirmation of funding for Crossrail and a new interchange with the ELL at Whitechapel, but a small delay to the reopening of Blackfriars and a major blow to the hope of securing an ELL station at Surrey Canal.

Two of Lewisham borough’s biggest construction projects - Loampit Vale and The Distillery - shot up, while construction work at Bridge House on Mantle Road fell behind but trundled on. We heard positive noises about Convoys Wharf and Goldsmiths revealed its ideas for New Cross, but plans for Lewisham Gateway got no further than the creation of two taxpayer-funded grass hummocks next to Lewisham shopping centre.

The most unambiguous change this year was to the tone of political debate in Lewisham. Since May, barely a week has gone past without a story about cuts, protests or strikes – from library marches to Goldsmiths sit-ins and Catford demos.

Against this backdrop, it seems unlikely that 2011 will include as many positive, publicly-led developments. Like George Osborne, we have to cross our fingers that the private sector will step-in to fill the void. As the year draws to a close, organisations with deep pockets like Sainsbury’s and MacDonald Egan hinted that they may do that, while social enterprises may offer the best hope of keeping our libraries open.

If the new spirit of enterprise doesn’t materialise, Brockley Central will have a lot of space to fill in 2011.

What were your highlights and low ebbs this year?

What will you leave children?

This is a sponsored video from the NSPCC.

Bedsit fire on Avignon Road

The London Fire Brigade has issued the following statement about an incident reported by BC readers this morning:

Four fire engines and around 20 firefighters were called to a fire on Avignon Road in Brockley this morning. The fire was in a terraced housed which contains two bedsits. The first floor of the house was badly damaged. Part of the staircase from the ground to first floor was also damaged, as was part of the roof. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued one man from the first floor. Two other men escaped before firefighters arrived at the scene. All were treated for smoke inhalation by London Ambulance Service staff.

The Brigade was called at 0614 and the fire was under control by 0908. Firefighters from Greenwich, Peckham and surrounding fire stations were at the scene. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

New Year's Eve

Please use this thread to recommend local NYE options. If you run a local venue, please tell us what you're up to.

This much we know:

Jam Circus will be staging a Roswell-themed party while The Hill Station will be having a party from 8.30pm and they're asking people to bring their own food, drink, firewood and fireworks.

Adelaide Avenue, 1915.

Thanks to Maradoll for spotting this card on eBay. Apologies for not running it until the card was sold, we're rubbish at posting cards at Christmas.

There's also a card of Wickham Road, 1904 here. Also sold.

Brockley Central on Facebook

Jen: Roy, do you have any attractive, successful looking friends?
Roy: No.
Jen: What, none at all?
Roy: No.

Brockley Central is now on Facebook.

A few people have suggested it in the past, but we've started the page now in part because the 2010 Zeitgeist results showed that Facebook was referring less traffic to us than the Deptford Dame - or even Yahoo! - and partly because we're obsessed with finding out who reads this thing. Where better to invade the collective privacy of Brockley than on Facebook?

We've also heard that there are 500 million of you already using it and we reckon that we only have to get 10% of Facebook users to start reading BC for it to become commercially viable, which ought to be a realistic target for 2011.

Launched this evening, at the time of writing, the page has 15 followers, which means it's safe to mention it to you. Please come and like us on Facebook or better still, come and join us on Twitter, which we're better at.

Brockley Central Zeitgeist 2010

It's time for our annual report - the Brockley Central Zeitgeist. It's a summary of the traffic the site gets, where they come from and what they do while they're here.

There has been a lot of discussion of Brockley Central's scale and reach in recent weeks, so this should give people something to chew on.

The list of key word searches that draw people to the site and the most popular pages is an important reminder that - for all of the news and discussion generated on the site - it is first-and-foremost a local information resource. The majority of the site's users dip in and out, looking for reviews, contact information or to find out more about the area and local services. It's for this reason that we've introduced the hotlinks in the top right section of the home page and it's gratifying to see that two of them already appear in the year's top 10.

The list of search terms has fewer seemingly random entries than last year's (and the year before's). Whereas in previous years, searches which seemed to have little connection with the site could still feature prominently, the growth in traffic this year means that these anomalies no longer feature.

November 2010 was our busiest month ever, followed by May, which was given a boost by a combination the local and general election and the high-profile shootings (like last year, when the Nightstalker case delivered a big uplift in traffic). The busiest day was November 2nd, when 3,766 visitors trawled the site, the spike the result of the tube strike coverage.

The time period measured is December 28th 2009 - December 27th 2010 (and the historic comparisons are with the period December 27th 2008 - December 26th 2009). We use Google Analytics to compile the statistics, and Sitemeter to provide real time reporting.

Vital statistics

837,022 page views (up 55.58% on 2009)
399,381 visits (up 72.25% on 2009)
115,454 absolute unique visitors (up 78.86% on 2009)
Average time on site: 3 minutes, 32 seconds (down 17.86% on 2009)

Top 10 most popular pages (excludes home page)

November tube strike story
Stillness school fire
South East London tradespeople
Suggest a topic
East London Line

Top 10 traffic sources (excludes direct traffic)

Deptford Dame
The Guardian

Top 30 search terms (excludes common searches like Brockley, Brockley news or Brockley Central)

Tube strike November
Browns of Brockley
The Orchard Brockley
Stillness School Fire
Brockley Mess
Who killed Deon?
Joan Ruddock expenses
East London Line
Good dentist Brockley
Brockley shooting
Le Querce
Ladywell Tavern
The Talbot
Journey times Brockley Whitechapel
Brockley Christmas Market
Brockley Kiwi
Aladdin's Cave Lewisham
Mac repairs
Brockley Open Studios 2010
Window cleaner
Brockley world food festival
Sounds Around Brockley
Goldsmiths But Is It Art?
Long Time cafe
Royal Albert

Martin's Yard application submitted

MacDonald Egan have submitted an application for full planning permission for their ambition to create a new street of live / work units on Martin's Yard, Brockley Cross. The application is described as:

The demolition of the existing buildings at Martins Yard, Endwell Road SE4 and the construction of 4 blocks of three and four storeys incorporating balconies, comprising 20 commercial units (3,000 square metres floorspace for Use Class B1) at ground and first floor and 12 one bedroom, 32 two bedroom, 2 three bedroom and 2 four bedroom self contained residential units at second and third floor, together with associated landscaping, provision of an electricity sub-station, amenity areas, bin stores, 47 cycle spaces and 35 car parking spaces.

No documents are currently available online, but click here to learn more about the masterplan that was the subject of public consultation.

Two years in the planning, this development promises to bring a significant number of small businesses in to the area and provide better connections between Brockley Cross and west Brockley.

The Green Man comes to Courthill Road

The campaign for a proper pedestrian crossing at the junction of Courthill Road and Lewisham High Street has won approval, subject to local consultation, from TfL for a 'green man' crossing to improve safety at what is currently a hideous junction:

Max Calo reports the Mayor of London's written answer to a question about the status of the road:

TfL is developing a design proposal for Lewisham High Street at its junction with Courthill Road. Part of this proposal is to introduce a “green man” pedestrian crossing facility on Courthill Road. I went out on site with TfL’s Chief Operating Officer London Streets and Heidi Alexander before she became an MP. The traffic modelling is completed and the preliminary design will undergo a road safety audit which is planned to be completed in January 2011. Consultation on the scheme is planned for early in the New Year.

As the proposals include banning some movements at the Courthill Road junction, with displaced traffic being diverted onto other local roads, feedback from the consultation process will potentially affect not only the final outcome but also the timescales for delivery. If a viable scheme can be developed, TfL has provisionally programmed detailed design to commence in the summer of 2011 with works commencing early 2012.

Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen

El's Kitchen, the Ladywell deli, has won the Brockley Central Newcomer of the Year 2010 award, picking up 60 votes from readers in the end-of-year poll, ahead of The Hill Station, Bohemia Hair, U Gosi and Krizz Kutz.

No one ever went broke overestimating greater Brockley's demand for quality products. Like last year's winner, The Orchard, El's Kitchen has attempted to fill a gap in the local market and set itself high-standards. Since the closure of Dandelion Blue in Coulgate Street, the area has been without a real deli. El's Kitchen offers a wide range of foods and has reintroduced fresh produce to the Ladywell high street.

Although it opened this year, El has been keenly researching the market and her offer for a long time, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Months before it opened, her Facebook group acted as a testing-ground for new products and ideas and her catering business helped word of mouth about the quality of the food she specialises in. So when she finally secured her premises, El already had a loyal following, who have given the business their support right from the start.

El said:

We're delighted to have been voted Newcomer of the Year by Brockley Central followers. The team at EK have worked really hard to meet the foody needs and desires of the local community. We have to thank everyone who has shopped with us for their support as we couldn't have got this far without each and every one of you. We hope to continue to provide what our customers want + need from a delicatessen in 2011 and beyond - so please tell us!

The Hill Station Boxing Day Sharing Lunch

Catherine writes:

On Boxing Day the Hill Station will be open for a community lunch from 12 till 4pm.

Everybody is welcome. No food will be for sale so bring something to add to the table and we'll all muck in together. We hope that some people will join us who might be short of a friendly face, so if you can think of anyone in your road who might welcome the distraction please encourage them to come along.

Please feel free to join us and even stay to clear up afterwards if you like!

Happy Christmas 2010

Oh yes, I go on there quite a lot. I like the way you try to be so serious about something and they all make fun of you. Some of them are very quick witted. They do cheer me up.

- BC's mother-in-law

Merry Christmas from the Brockley Central team.

Tube strike called for Boxing Day

Train drivers' union ASLEF has called a Tube strike for Boxing Day, the same day that the East London Line will experience a planned closure.

TfL says:

If the strike goes ahead, there is likely to be significant disruption to Tube services throughout Boxing Day, Sunday 26 December.

Bus, DLR, Tramlink and River services will operate, although some of these will have a reduced service.

Please also note that on Christmas Day, Saturday 25 December, there is no service on the entire network, and on Boxing Day, Sunday 26 December there will be no London Overground service.

For a comprehensive guide to services during the festive period please visit

£50 found on Howson Road - is it yours?

Carys is the spirit of Christmas incarnate. She has found £50 of cash and a cashpoint receipt on Howson Road and she's happy to return it to whichever Tiny Tim it belonged to.

If you can name the last 4 digits of the card, it's yours. There's a 1/9999 chance you could guess lucky!

If it's yours, please email us and we'll reunite you.

God bless us, everyone.

Last minute local Christmas shopping

How much Christmas shopping have BCers done locally and do you have any advice for others looking for presents in the area?

We managed to buy a hairbrush from Geddes (we were under very specific instructions about what type to buy so we're not giving the game away) and we've been given an amazing goodie-box from El's Kitchen. Degustation has some great Christmas treats in-store, but that's as far as we've got, being woefully unprepared as usual.

On Twitter, Sue Luxton and Katrinna have both bigged-up Sunrise Ceramics on Algernon Road and Sue has reminded us that Mr Lawrence is a good place for wine gifts.

Share your recommendations here please.

Huge increase in East London Line passenger numbers

TfL has confirmed that the number of passengers using the East London Line on a daily basis has grown dramatically since the summer, from 40,000 in June to 70,000 in October.

This no-doubt tallies with the daily experiences of anyone who uses the line in the morning rush-hour, when trains are now regularly packed.

Thanks to the Forest Hill Society for drawing our attention to the story.

En Gedi Designs, Ladywell

89 Ladywell Road

SE13 7JA
0208 690 0377

It's time to right a historical wrong. En Gedi Designs is a gift shop and boutique that opened earlier this year, but which has been shamefully (accidentally) omitted by us for the Best Local Newcomer 2010 vote. So even though it's not on the list, it's time to celebrate another of Ladywell's new arrivals.

Run by the lovely Angela and Lola, the shop sells a range of gifts and chocolates hand-made by Lola and clothes, sourced by Angela from France. Angela - who once ran a shop in Lewisham and now lives in Ladywell - explains that the shop will increasingly focus on selling clothes, which are her passion. They specialise in fashions "for mature women" - good quality clothes, made to last.

Having been open since the spring, they say they have enjoyed good support from the local community, with most of their customers living nearby.

Until December 31st, they are offering a free scented candle with every purchase over £30.

Brockley Miniplanets

Photographer David Jackson specialises in creating Miniplanet vistas and, having just moved to Crofton Park, has created a range of images of local landmarks, using the technique. This is Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery, click here to see Hilly Fields, Coulgate Street too.

Scouts seek local Jem

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

Please don't Atticus about the headline, but Carolyn has been in touch because the Peckham Rye Scout Troop has been left leaderless and is looking for help:

Help our Scout leader has moved to Norfolk!

A Peckham Rye Scout Troop (boys & girls aged 10 – 14 years old) needs an energetic (male) leader or trainee leader to work with, and complement the existing leader and other helpers.
Ideally you’ll have been a Scout yourself, but training will be given and the important thing is the enthusiasm to keep the Scouts busy, active and interested.

The group meets 6pm – 8pm on Thursdays in term time on Peckham Rye East, has 2 – 3 weekend camps per year, (usually with other groups,) as well as other occasional events (night hikes, fundraising). Some planning and preparation of meetings and events is also needed. Scout leaders are CRB checked.

This is a hugely rewarding role. If you are interested and want to know more, please email me ( or telephone Carolyn on 020 7732 2075

The Tree of Life

Someday, we'll fall down and weep and we'll understand it all. All things.

BC regular Fintan has photographed a tribute attached to a sapling in Hilly Fields, possibly serving as a remembrance tree. It bears the message:

One who sees God in everything is always in awe.
Their whole life becomes a form of prayer a song of praise.

If you know the story behind the tree and would like to share it, please let us know.

Network Rail says no to more Ladywell trains

The 2010 London and the South East Rail Utilisation Strategy Consultation document is out!

Among the many highlights is a little passage about the possibility of increasing trains from Charing X to Ladywell and beyond. Basically, there isn't one.

They say:

There will be no spare capacity (following the Thameslink Programme) over the Ladywell–London Bridge–Charing Cross route. This option is therefore not operationally viable without additional tracks in this area and additional platforms in Central London... This option [also] misses out the key demand drivers of Haywards Heath, Gatwick Airport and East Croydon, so does not respond to the passenger demand based gap.

Conclusion: This option is not recommended due to high cost, disbenefits created, not solving the capacity problem and not serving the key demand drivers.

Merry Christmas, from everyone at Network Rail!

Jam Circus Christmas

Jam Circus has a new manager, Polly, who's been in touch to tell readers about their Christmas plans. She writes:

We've got a brass band coming in on the 23rd in the evening to play some Christmassy songs by the fire/christmas tree (that sounds like a fire hazard..)

We've also got our fire on daily and got Mulled Wine in the bucket loads, plus lots of mince pies and our usual yummy food. New Years we are having a 1950's Roswell America themed party, it's from 4pm-3am and there's a prize for the best dressed. It's £10 entry (tickets are on sale now at Jam) and that includes a free glass of something fizzy. We're open on NY day from 12-6 for all day hangover brunch. The only day we are closed is Christmas day and open all the rest although for shorter hours.

Transport for London reports fewer car journeys, more cycling, more DLR

TfL has released its 3rd annual travel report today, revealing that in 2009, the capital saw a 7% decline in car use and a 5% increase in bike use, compared with 2008.

Car journeys still represent the greatest proportion of daily travel in the capital, with 36% of all daily travel involving some car use, compared with 21% for the next biggest categories - walking and catching the bus or tram. Car use is nonetheless in long-term decline in the capital, with "private transport" falling from 1993, when it accounted for 50% of all trips, to 41% of all trips last year.

The total number of journeys made on "TfL-operated services" (Bus, Underground, DLR, Tramlink, Overground) in the capital in 2009 fell by 0.4% - a decline which TfL attributes to the effects of recession, with fewer people travelling for both work and leisure. The data predates the impact of the ELL extension.

Of note is the growth of the DLR as a transport option, which was the only TfL service to experience significant growth last year. At the start of the decade, it accounted for 195 million passenger kilometres. Last year, the figure was 365 million. This growth should accelerate thanks to the expansion of the DLR's capacity this year.

JP Morgan confirms Canary Wharf move

Songbird Estates and JP Morgan today confirmed that the bank will move in to the former headquarters of Lehman Brothers at 25 Bank Street in Canary Wharf, bringing the bank’s operations east, but leaving the future of the Riverside South offices unclear.

Reuters reports:

The Canary Wharf Group -- which is majority owned by Songbird Estates -- said construction work would recommence immediately to bring the development to the street level and that it had extended its development agreement with JPM until October 2016.

Riverside South is an enormous development planned to be the next stage of Canary Wharf’s growth. Comprised of two towers and huge trading floors, overlooking the Thames, it is designed to be the new European home for JP Morgan and should bring a number of other developments in its wake, ultimately doubling the size of the Wharf. Canary Wharf, like London Bridge, is one of the employment hubs driving Brockley’s long-term development.

Currently under construction, the building will almost certainly not be built on a speculative basis, so needs an anchor tenant. Whether JP Morgan views the Lehman move as an interim measure or a long-term alternative remains unclear and, despite some bowing and scraping by government to JPM leaders, the bank is hedging its bets. In either case, a major bank is relocating to Canary Wharf.

And as an early Christmas treat for the Anonymous bubble boys:
Bubble Boy: "What are you looking at? Haven't seen a kid in a bubble before?"
George: Of course I have, come on! My cousin's in a bubble. My friend Geoffrey's sister also..."

33 minutes from Brockley to Highbury & Islington

The new East London Line timetable has been released, confirming that the last train home to New Cross Gate from Canada Water will leave at 00.31, offering a genuine after-hours option for the first time since the line opened in May.

The timetable also provides the first official information about travel times to Highbury & Islington when the service opens in May 2011. It will take an extra 2 minutes to reach Canonbury from Dalston Junction and a further 3 minutes from there to Highbury & Islington - meaning that a journey from Brockley to the northern end of the line will take 33 minutes.

With thanks to Monkeyboy.

Christmassy stuff this weekend

Roads, airports and trains are gradually being shut and brought to a halt, so you may as well make the most of it this weekend, with two Christmassy options on your doorstep.

Tea Leaf Arts is organising a weekend of activities (click on the poster for details), while in Telegraph Hill, find out whether Den will divorce Angie in a special screening of the Hilltoppers Christmas Special:

The wait is almost over – catch up with the Hilltoppers as they get ready for Christmas on Telegraph Hill after their life-changing year. Who’s lonely now? And who’s made new friends? It’s busy, busy, busy at the pub and the Church as the festivities approach...

Doors open 5pm house lights down at 5.20pm.

Consultation on the future of Brockley Cross

Rob: You gotta get on with your life. You gotta let go of the past. And Mikey, when you do, I'm telling you: the future is beautiful, alright? Look out the window. It's sunny every day here. It's like manifest destiny. Don't tell me we didn't make it. We made it! We are here. And everything that is past is prologued to this. All of the shit that didn't kill us is only - you know, all that shit. You're gonna get over it.
Mike: How did you get over it? I mean, how long did it take?
- Swingers

This is it. All our hopes and fears. All the struggle and pain. Everything has brought us to this moment. More than a year after the surveyors visited the site, the plans for the long-awaited Brockley Cross makeover are here.

Lewisham Council is holding a public consultation on its proposals for the area between Malpas Road and Endwell Road. The plans are modest - the stupid twin roundabout system remains - but still could be transformative. Lord help us, even a proper pavement would be a major step in the right direction.

If this proposal goes ahead, islands will be widened, trees planted, cobbled surfaces introduced, traffic calmed, ramps added and crossings improved. While it falls far short of the original ideas proposed by the Brockley Cross Action Group, we've known for a while that there would not be a lot of money to spend to improve matters, so this is actually slightly more ambitious a proposal than we expected.

We'll be canvassing opinion from the Brockley Cross Action Group in the coming days.

Deep cover: The East London Line Highbury & Islington extension

Nancy Jason: Oh, David, you've gotta get out of this business. You have a wife and a daughter who love you. I love you. What more do you want?
David Jason [Yes...]: I want my cake and eat it too. I want my cake and eat it too.

Londonist has a photo feature from one of the only underground parts of the Overground, the "Western Curve" tunnel that burrows for 350 metres through Dalston. If you want to see how the ELL extension to Highbury and Islington [2.1km in total] is taking shape, click here.

The ELL extension to Highbury & Islington opens in May 2011.

Best local newcomer 2010

NASA expert: "Gentlemen, you've both worked very hard. And in a way, you're both winners. But in another, more accurate way, Barney's the winner."
- The Simpsons

Time again for the Oscars of the retail world - the Brockley Central Best Local Newcomer award.

Last year, The Orchard was voted best local newcomer by Brockley Central readers, an accolade which has no-doubt proved vital to their ongoing success in 2010, making it the award every business wants to win.

This year, there are five contenders: The Hill Station cafe and community centre in Telegraph Hill, El's Kitchen deli in Ladywell, Bohemia Hair salon near Brockley station and U Gosi Polish shop and Krizz Kutz barbers, both in Crofton Park.

The 2010 winner will be selected via the poll on the right hand side of this page - one reader, one vote. The vote closes on Christmas eve.

So who will it be?

PS - although there have been a number of other great newcomers in areas of BC interest - such as Deptford, New Cross and Nunhead - in order to keep the vote manageable, we are limiting the vote to newcomers from the Brockley, Crofton Park, Ladywell and Telegraph Hill wards.

Stag and Bow, Forest Hill

Reader Neil alerted us to the opening of a new shop, Stag and Bow in Forest Hill. The independent retailer says of itself:

Stag & Bow is an emporium like no other. We are a celebration of creativity, originality and history. Whether you are in search of an original piece of furniture, a handcrafted item of jewellery, a unique item of clothing or are looking to develop a skill in one of our creative workshops, we invite you to inspire or be inspired.

If you've been since its opening, please tell us what it's like.

A similarly art-inspired retailer has been threatening to open in Brockley for a while, although we've not heard anything from them recently. We will see if there's any update...

Design consultant appointed to redevelop London Bridge Station

The redevelopment of London Bridge as part of the Thameslink project seems to be secure, following the appointment of a design consultant to lead the project. World Architecture News says:

WSP has been appointed as the lead design consultant for the redevelopment of London Bridge Station, the cornerstone of the Thameslink improvement project. WSP has involved Mace [builders of the Shard], international architects Grimshaw and retail architects Chapman Taylor, to provide the expertise to blend the station operations into the neighbouring environment.

The challenge the team faces is to develop a world class design which incorporates the required increased track capacity, from six to nine through platforms, whilst keeping the station operating safely and with minimum disruption to passengers.

Lewisham at the cutting edge of crime reduction

Lewisham is providing a test case for two areas of crime reduction policy. Firstly, in the value of community sentencing and secondly in one of the government's proposed reforms in its green paper on sentencing.

The ippr - once everyone's go-to think tank if they wanted to ingratiate themselves with the Labour government, now carving out a niche for itself examining the coalition's more progressive policies - has been studying Lewisham borough's offender population to test the case for prison reform. In a paper released last week, they argue that the evidence supports giving more offenders community sentences, rather than prison.

They say:

Using new data on those being released from prison and returning to live in Lewisham, this research shows that there are potentially very significant savings to the public purse if we reform the sentencing framework so that more people are given community sentences and fewer are sent to prison.

A total of 594 offenders were released into Lewisham in 2009/10 having served less than 12 months, at a cost to the state of £8.7 million, or an average of £14,710 per person.

241 people released into Lewisham served less than three months. Not sending those people to prison would have saved £1.3 million, or £5,590 on average per offender, in prison costs. If you still sent those who had committed violent offences from that group to prison, there would still be 194 fewer people going to prison, at a saving in prison costs of £1.1 million, or £5,655 on average per offender.

Reconviction rates from those given community sentences are 14 per cent lower than those released from custody, and a community sentence costs on average 12 times less than a prison sentence.

Also published last week, the Government's green paper on sentencing plans to introduce a "local incentive scheme" pilot roject in Lewisham and Croydon.

The paper says:

This model asks local partners to work together to develop a plan to prevent offending and reduce reoffending. They will then jointly commission innovative services to fill any gaps. They will be free to target their resources on specific groups of offenders in line with their local priorities and crime patterns. If they were able to reduce crime and hence demand for criminal justice services through their joint efforts they would share in any savings made. These could then be reinvested in further crime prevention activity at the local level.

With thanks to Mike.

Broca bags

Until now, Brockley merchandise has been a little shoddy, but the Broca has upped the ante, with these primary-coloured bags, available now for £3.50 a pop. Their new jute bags all come with a Anonymous-baiting "ethically traded" guarantee.

Little Kickers comes to Telegraph Hill

TV Announcer: The Continental Soccer Association is coming to Springfield! It's all here--fast-kicking, low scoring, and ties? You bet!

- The Simpsons, The Cartridge Family

Back in 2008, Brockley Central raved about Little Kickers football classes for kids and lamented their withdrawal (due to lack of interest) from Telegraph Hill. From January, they are coming back, bringing their brand of jolly football coaching for young children to the Sports Hall in Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, Jerningham Road, New Cross, SE14 5NY.
Classes start on Saturday January 8th, 2011. The 10:15-11am class is a Junior Kickers class for children aged 2-3 1/2 years and the 11:15- 12pm Mighty Kickers class is for children aged 3 1/2- 5 years old. They are offering a 7th class free for children who enrol for a course of 6 classes by the 8th January.

If you'd like to enrol your child, contact

In our experience, classes are not as Aryan as the photo suggests.

Sainsbury's confirms Local interest in Brockley

Sainsbury's have confirmed that they have identified Brockley as a possible location for a new Sainsbury's Local store. Sainsbury's Local is the company's convenience store brand and a spokesperson has confirmed that they are considering a number of sites in Brockley, although none is yet confirmed.

For months, BC readers have been speculating that a supermarket chain planned to open in the area. Initially, rumours focused on Tesco being committed to opening at Bridge House on Mantle Road, but this was denied by the landlords. More recently, neighbourhood buzz has focused on Sainsbury's and we have been contacted by readers with rumours about interest in a number of sites around Brockley Cross and Brockley Station.

The news should come as little surprise. Brockley is now on the tube map, its profile has been growing and its demographics changing. It is not only independents like the Broca, The Orchard, Degustation and Brown's of Brockley that have responded, the now-well-stocked wine shelves in Costcutter and the changes in the kinds of brands advertised on local billboards, are proof that big business has recognised the changes afoot.

For the sake of full disclosure, BC should note that in our day job, Sainsbury's is a client and although we have no inside knowledge on the story [reader Catman must be credited with the initial detective work] we will refrain from making further comment on this issue, other than to point out that in 2007 we argued that local businesses could co-exist with the new Tesco on Lewisham Way and that in 2010, we believe this has been borne out.

The Sainsbury's Local press office has agreed to keep us informed should there be any significant updates to the situation.

Besson Street Book Fair

The Besson Street Book Fair is underway at the Green Shoots community garden project in New Cross. The garden is located on Besson Street, SE14 5AS. 95% of the titles are available for less than £2.

The opening hours vary, but the fair will be open between 11am and 3pm December 13th-16th and December 20th-21st.

Brockley Ward Locality Funding applications sought

Brockley Ward Assembly Locality fund. Applications of up to £1,000 per project can be submitted before noon on Tuesday December 21st.

All bids must be from groups based / delivering services within the ward. If you would like any further information please contact Sam Dias Brockley Ward Coordinator.

The application form itself is relatively straightforward - you need to describe what the project is, who will deliver it, who it will benefit and how much it will cost.

Brockley Christmas Market biggest yet

We were only able to get to make it to the Brockley Christmas Market yesterday, so can't report back on the Deptford Fair and Ladywell Market. But the scene at Coulgate Street was impressive.

Having grown from a small collection of stalls three years ago, the event no longer feels like it's just an excuse for the community to get together, it's now a place you can go to do some Christmas shopping.

With a new layout that stretched the length of the road, it's commercially sustainable, with all 40 stalls occupied and a big public turnout throughout the day. The organisers, the Brockley Cross Action Group, tell us that they now operate a waiting list for stalls.

The newly-lit Christmas tree on Brockley Common looks great too.

If you made it along to any of the three events, please post your reviews here.

Photo courtesy of Simon.

Malpas man found not guilty of Tickle Me attempted murder

The News Shopper reports that a 22-year-old charged with the attempted murder of a man outside the Tickle Me takeaway in Brockley Cross has been found not-guilty.

Cameron D'Aguiar, of Malpas Road, Brockley, denied shooting Stefan Gordon, aged 20, outside the Tickle Me takeaway at around 2.50pm on April 9.

Shelter: 49% of Lewisham homes will still be affordable by 2016

Following the debate about how changes to housing policy will affect affordability in London, Shelter has released a study predicting that Lewisham will remain one of the most affordable boroughs in London by 2016, with 81 of its 166 neighbourhoods still expected to be affordable in five years' time. This will make Lewisham the 8th most affordable borough in London.

Areas considered 'largely unaffordable' are those where 75% of two bedroom homes have rents greater than the maximum housing benefit payable for that size of property. Overall, the study predicts that affordability in the capital will have declined significantly by 2016.

Deptford Christmas Fair, 11th and 12th December

To celebrate the new walking and cycling route between New Cross and Deptford Town Centres, TfL and Design London are helping to fund a Christmas fair this weekend. North Lewisham Links is a Council-led project, intended to provide better connections between communities and local amenities.

Attractions at the fair on Saturday will include:

- a big wheel – get a free bird’s eye view of the improved route and the wider Deptford and New Cross landscape (10am-7pm, Margaret McMillan Park)
- rickshaws offering free rides between New Cross and Deptford market (9am-5pm)
- a 'smoothie bike' (11am-3pm, Douglas Way)
- a brass band and performances by Deptford Churches Together (12noon-1pm, Giffin Square)
- a kids’ Christmas tree decorations workshop by Other World Arts (1.30-3.30pm, Giffin Square)
- fun and games with Bureau Of Silly Ideas, Teatro Vivo and Madcap Coalition (11am-3pm, various locations)
- information stalls on local walking and cycling initiatives and the on-going regeneration of Deptford town centre (11am-3pm, Douglas Way)
- Christmas tree lights switch-on (3-3.30pm, Giffin Square)
- artisan market, Morris dancing, BBQ, mulled wine and music (11am-6pm, Tanners Hill).

Other activities will take place on Sunday around the Deptford Project railway carriage café on the high street.

Thanks to Tabitha for letting us know.

Children's Christmas Decoration Workshops, December 12th and 18th

"I don’t know why anyone would want to go to New Cross"

The further extension of the East London Line to Highbury & Islington is due to open next year and anticipation is building on the Stroud Green Road (Finsbury Park) hyperlocal site, although there is an eerie symmetry to the debate north of the river.

Just as we spent the best part of two years arguing with Lou about why people would ever want to use a service that only went to Hackney, north Londoners are now asking why they'd want to go to his local station of New Cross.

How we envy them the joy of discovery. Ah to be a young man again and see the ELL through fresh eyes!

The Highbury & Islington extension is expected in May 2011.

Three Little Pigs, The Albany

The Albany theatre in Deptford is one of our favourite places, especially thanks to its inventive programming for kids. This Christmas, they are staging a special production of the Three Little Pigs. Here are the details:

3 Little Pigs
Presented by Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company

Building your own home is not as easy as it looks. For instance, what is the best material to use? Will it be wind proof? Will it be Wolf Proof?!! There's only one way to find out... Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company returns to the Albany this Christmas with a madcap show full of puppets, music, comedy and thrills. A real treat for ages 2-7 that will keep the adults on their toes!

The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, London SE8 4AG


For Ages
2-7 years

Date & Time
Tuesdays – Sundays 7 - 24 December.
7-10 & 14-16 Dec, 10.30am & 1pm. All other dates 11.30am & 2pm
Plus extra shows at 4pm on 21 & 22 Dec

Tickets £9 adults, £7.50 children, £30 family ticket (4 tickets)
Box Office 020 8692 4446 /

Possible Southeastern train strike in New Year

As a former resident of Greenwich, BC can't tell you how lucky we are to live in a place that it not at the mercy of Southeastern trains. Of course, they serve St Johns, New Cross and Lewisham, but in Brockley we have plenty of alternatives, whether it's Southern, the DLR or the ELL.

After a dismal performance during the snowy weather, Southeastern trains may be further disrupted by industrial action. Staff are now being balloted on possible strikes by the RMU, over plans to cut the post of Team Leader.

Always putting the passenger first, Bob Crow wants strikes in the new year, on the grounds that cuts could compromise safety.

PA has the full story.

The Lewisham Arthouse Winter Fair, December 10th / 11th

Lewisham invites bidders for Crofton Park library

A statement from the Council suggests that finding independent providers for Lewisham's threatened libraries will be the best hope for retaining library services:

Lewisham Council is seeking organisations and community groups that may be interested in taking over one or more of the five library buildings being considered for closure.

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock deferred a decision on the proposed closure of five of the borough’s 12 libraries last month to allow time for community solutions to be explored. The libraries affected are Blackheath, Crofton Park, Grove Park, New Cross and Sydenham.

“We would like to explore ways in which community library services could continue to be provided from these or other buildings,” said Councillor Chris Best, Cabinet Member for Community Services.

“The Council would continue to provide books as well as providing visiting library services, such as storytelling, homework sessions and reading groups. If we were to agree to these closures we would prefer to retain most of the buildings in community use. We are looking for vibrant organisations to take over the management of the buildings and ensure that they continue to stand at the heart of the community.”

The Council is prepared to transfer buildings to organisations on a lease or, exceptionally, freehold where possible. Anyone interested would need to prepare a business case setting out how the ongoing running costs would be funded. Continued community use will be a requirement, but the buildings could also be used for other purposes that could generate revenue.

Information packs will be available from 10 December 2010. To register to receive a pack please email The deadline for expressions of interest is Thursday 20 January 2011.

Glynde House Open Studio and Christmas Fair

Sunday 12 December
Glynde House, 2A Glynde Street, SE4 1RU
Tel: 020 8690 8427

Penelope is organising this Christmas event in Crofton Park. She says:

Come visit our studios, join us for a glass of mulled wine and enjoy a spot of Christmas shopping. We have a variety of gorgeous gifts, including:

Brazilian raw stone jewellery
Hand-tooled leather bags and accessories
Alpaca hats, wraps and mittens
Felt fedoras and cloche hats
Party dresses
Hand-crafted tree decorations
Fair Trade stocking fillers...

Goldsmiths occupied [UPDATED]

Students from Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Art have occupied their buildings this evening. The Goldsmiths team are tweeting their adventures in library-sitting here.


Dave Hill's London Blog has a comprehensive round-up of the story, with a video from the protestors, with a very calm sit-in, led by Angelo, from the Anthropology department... the Anthroplogy department... department that... that produced this video... produced this film... this short... this short that tries... tries to set out... set out their arguments... their arguments... in the most long-winded... long-winded way possible. [With added Avatar-soundtrack!]

UPDATE (8/12/10)

The library sit-inners will not rest until they have ushered in a general strike. They have issued a "Revision for the Occupation Statement", which says:

We believe that we are a progressive society. In order to qualify as one, we must admit when we are wrong. In the heat and excitement of our achievement of occupation, the decision to block library staff out was a wrong one.

Eventually, workers should unite with students and have a general strike. Be [sic] we should not be imposing one upon them. Since our alignment is with students and workers, we must revise our statement in the light of the voting from the general meeting last night.

The library will be open to all students and staff, as it is to the members of the public, regardless of their stand to our cause. The management [who are not workers, obv], or its designated inspectors will still be barred from the premises until our demands are met.

So a general strike is the ultimate aim, but not if it means, you know, twisting any arms or inconveniencing anyone. Gently to the barricades! And make sure to let people through if they really need to get somewhere.

Here is the actual list of demands in the original statement.

The Quill's approval marks next phase of London Bridge development

The Quill, a planned 31-storey building adjacent to London Bridge, has been given planning approval by Southwark Council.

The decision means that, with More London already well-established as a business hub and the construction of the Shard at an advanced stage, the next phase of development at London Bridge is beginning to take shape.

The growth of London Bridge as a southern companion to the City is one of the main drivers of Brockley's long-term development. While the Quill will be built to provide new accommodation for Kings College London's international students rather than house office workers, it will bring more life to the forlorn southern side of the station and its approval in-spite of strong criticism from CABE clears the way for a much bigger project on the south side of the station - Three Spires.

Three Spires is another development from Sellar Group, which also led the development of the Shard. It is reportedly going through a redesign process, which could see significant height reductions (the tallest of the three towers was mooted to be 250m).