The future of Goldsmiths in New Cross


During a recent discussion about Goldsmiths, University of London, the Director of Estates, Michael Dick made this contribution, which deserves its own thread as it addresses an issue that's been raised many times by readers:

Just picking up on the various comments about the New Cross Road Shops on behalf of Goldsmiths College Estates Department.

These buildings adjacent to the Old Deptford Town Hall are in the ownership of Goldsmiths College. The sad state of the buildings has come about through the occupation of the buildings by illegal squatters for a number of years- we have been unable to obtain access to many areas (exceptions here are Cafe Creme and Pranksters who are legal tenants).

The College has been using legal means to gain occupancy throughout this period and in the past few has months finally gained full possession of the buildings. There is a lot of damage to rectify and the buildings have to be made safe and fire regulation compliant to allow for future use. The buildings are in a conservation area so it is likely that the buildings will need be retained in their present form. We are just now very keen to explore and develop future uses for the shops and spaces above for the College and the wider community.

Anyone who has an interest or views on future use is welcome to contact the College through my e-mail address m.dick@gold.ac.uk. Our current draft masterplan can be accessed through this link.

The masterplan covers the period until 2019 and is the main drivers are to improve the public realm, enhance the connections between the different sites it owns and to expand the academic and residential facilities.

Specific ideas include restoring the shops along New Cross Road (the ambition is to include an academic bookshop, gallery and restaurant), doing a Somerset House on the Richard Hoggart fourcourt by replacing a carpark with a lawn and creating a 'Cultural Mile' between New Cross and Deptford (this is more of an aspiration than a concrete plan).

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is already a 'cultural mile' between NC + Deptford, unfortunately academics only consider high culture to fit into this category, forgetting that a whole community (culture) uses it.

Great to hear those buildings will stay in place, it would be wonderful if they performed a role alongside the univerity.
For example providing an incubation space for start-up student businesses...

Grass instead of concrete- yes please.

@nyloncube

I heart cupcakes said...

I have lived in New Cross for many years now and we REALLY need some shops, cafes, restaurants for local people so I really hope this happens. I think providing space for start up businesses, preferably that aren't religion based (as most new stores round here seem to be), is a fantastic idea and is just what New Cross needs.

dott said...

Oh wow. IF, IF the Waterstones in the College could be positioned in the high street. That would be divine.
It would get more sales from passing trade for a start. It would give me more reason to go up that area.

Anonymous said...

I never knew there was a waterstones in the Uni. What a great idea to have it front facing on the street.

Tho' I do love Rubbish and Nasty, never been in mind, but I like the fact that a creative 'collective' is churning out clothes for the 'skins' generation.

Gawd help us if they sell out to corporate *ankers and there's another Starbucks or mobile phone company opening up

NXG_Resident said...

At this point in time I would rather have a Starbucks on New Cross Road than yet another Western Union money shop, fried chicken emporium or internet 'cafe'.

Seriously it's got that bad...

New Cross has so much untapped potential, but it needs investment from both the council and its residents.

NXG_Resident said...

PS: Thanks Nick for widening the scope of this blog to include more New Cross posts. Appreciate the effort!

Anonymous said...

hurrah! the ugly Goldsmiths buildings which are holding back New Cross are finally going to be resurrected. the burlesque/vintage shop is pretty cool though. i have never been to the cafe creme or rubbish and nasty but they seem to be busy when i swing by. The grand town hall facade is hidden amongst wire and the squatters are going. So good luck and I look forward to seeing the changes.

When I lived in New Cross I travelled to buy gifts (usually to brockley, east dulwich or greenwich so A gift shop like Magi or Oliver Bonas would be nice. The waterstones idea is excellent too (starbucks inside)

Anonymous said...

NXG. Ok fair point when you put it like that maybe Starbucks might be preferable but I can't see it having a ripple effect. NX road is never going to be clapham common or blackheath. The demographics nor the location will never support it.

I must admit, in the 8 years I've lived here the only shop I ever go in apart from Sainsburys is the DVD shop which has a wide and varied selection.

Having said that I still enjoy living here, both Blackheath, Greenwich and Honor a short walk away

But NX road is never going to be like clapham common or blackheath.
If starbucks was to help turn it My dog is forever picking up chicken bones, and having to cajole the lil bugger to drop but I'd hate new cross to end up like any other chi chi london outposting like .

Anonymous said...

ignore the last para, got sidetracked watching party leaders lying out there ...

Anonymous said...

because NX road is a busy red route, it is difficult for drivers to come to shop (unless they park in sainsburys). The students and local people are the main market to please. Nandos would be popular or dare i say it, a mcdonalds!

Brockley Nick said...

@NXG - thanks, glad you like it. Will try and do more.

Matt-Z said...

Goldsmiths threw up some horrible looking Halls of Residence around New Cross in the late 90s / early 00s which did nothing for the look of the area. One on New Cross Road is 'finished' in bare breeze blocks. Their other new buildings are pretty dull too. Hopefully whatever they build next will be more exciting and innovative, and enhance the old Victorian stuff.

Brockley Nick said...

They're also responsible for the best Alsop building in the country. The more I see it, the more I love it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Nick for extending the Brockley Central to New Cross.

Tamsin said...

I thought the Waterstones in the College had closed because - surprise, surprise - it got no passing trade. Virtually impossible to find even if you knew it was there!

There used to be a good health food shop on New Cross Road until Sainsbury's killed it. The chap who ran it has returned to the area after a few years away. Could Goldsmiths persuade him to open up again with a reasonable offer on the rent...

Anonymous said...

A cultural mile between New Cross and Deptford.

That would take major social and civil engineering.

We are talking about the A2 here - heavy traffic and fragmented shopping parades.

Still, maybe that means that neighbours will be far less likely to complain about noise from nighttime entertainment.

Speaking of which, what is the plan for The Venue? This place has a rather chequered history but it has potential if it passed into good hands.

Anonymous said...

Yes please to a cafe/restaurant and book shop on New Cross Road! I too remember the health food shop - would be great to see a cafe and health food shop combined.

Anonymous said...

I dont really see a Cafe and Health Food Shop going together.

NXG_Resident said...

@ Anon Re: The Venue

The simple truth is the owners of that place are currently making a killing! It's by far and away the most profitable business in New Cross.

Weirdly its clientele are mostly from the borough of Bexley...there are good rail links to NX from there apparently.

Now it's an amazing building and I would love for it to be transformed into a cinema or something, but that probably doesnt make much business sense.

So as much as I hate The Venue in its current incarnation, it is one of the main arteries of New Cross' night trade as its punters spend money in the satellite pubs around it.

Anonymous said...

I met a student who lived in the student flats opposite the bus stop next to The Venue. He was making a documentary on British culture from the videos of the drunken brawls that erupt of a regular basis as the revellers make their way home to the suburbs.

How anyone who lives around there is not utterly depressed by the chaos or asphixiated by traffic fumes is beyond me.

Can't see much scope for high culture, but sub cultures seem to be thriving, full of rude vigour.

Kevin said...

Pretty sure it's a Blackwells academic bookshop inside the main Richard Hoggart building at Goldsmiths, and it's still open, or at least it was last month! To be honest what it stocks is not aimed at passing trade.

As for the first comment about academics being only interested in 'high culture', Goldsmiths has largely built its fine reputation by promoting the exact opposite!

Anonymous said...

I reckon the Waterstones currently in the college would be excellent on the parade of shops near the Deptford Town Hall. A decent sized bookshop could even take up 2 of the shops on this row put together. A big name like Waterstones would attract shoppers to New Cross. It would make money from the students from Goldsmiths but moving onto New Cross would probably double its sales by selling top sellers to the public. One or two shops could be used as galleries too (possibly run by students). A deli would be fantastic.

Anonymous said...

If Goldsmiths had a theatre open to the public somewhere on New Cross Road - maybe opposite the Iceland supermarket, it would be excellent for the area. I know they have theatre spaces within the college but are these open to the public? Even if they are I know as a former student they are at the back of the building and not likely to attract the public. A goldsmiths theatre/art gallery on the main road would be the way forward.

Anonymous said...

not a mcdonalds, not a starbucks. DESMOND is the mans name; the man who ran the veg/vegan caff and health food shop..it was always busy, the food was delicious and affordable.

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