London cycle hire opens today

London's official cycle-hire scheme starts today, completing the capital's cycling 'revolution' and following in the slipstream of the cycle superhighway network.

As Brockley Central is home to so many keen cyclists, we thought we'd ask for your verdict on the superhighways (map here) and whether you've registered to use the cycle-hire scheme.

We regularly cycle from Brockley to Victoria so we're looking forward with interest to route 5, which will open in 2012, connecting Lewisham and Victoria. But most of the existing routes seem to be providing little more than cosmetic change, with many routes fragmented and frequently blocked by parked cars. Have you noticed any substantive improvement in your journey as a result of the ugly blue ribbons?

Planning threat to last shop in Upper Brockley Road parade

The owners of the last shop on Brockley's historic high street, Upper Brockley Road, have applied for planning permission to convert it in to a maisonette.

91 Upper Brockley Road was formerly Moore Grocers, a general store that had fallen in to a state of disrepair. All of the other retail units on the street have already been converted, with this shop the last remaining link to the street's historic role.

We might be sympathetic to the argument that there is no market demand for a shop in this location - Upper Brockley Road is no longer a major thoroughfare - however, we know that isn't true. As we wrote here, it so happens that Brockley Central made an offer for the lease. We offered the asking price and the standard rent free period, we also offered to invest thousands of pounds to repair the retail space and make the basement usable. During the bidding process, we were told by the agents that there were two other parties sniffing around, before the property was withdrawn from the market. We were forced to look elsewhere to create what became Homemade London. As we said here, we have been waiting for this application to appear, ever since.

There is a market for a shop in this location. To allow this shop to be lost would be wrong. We hope the Council will bear this in mind and we will be submitting our account in response to the planning application.

Ladywell wrecking crew get stuck-in

Demolition work has begun on the Ladywell adhesives factory, a rare Art Deco treasure, which is to be replaced by a much lesser building - a mixed-use commercial and residential development.

Originally tipped off to the story by a BC reader, we've had multiple confirmations on Twitter, with one person reporting that the back of the building has been bulldozed.

Pavement widening on Mantle Road

Construction work is currently taking place on Mantle Road, to widen the stretch of pavement between John Stainer Primary School and Foxwell Street. With both a school and a station entrance nearby, widening the pavements makes sense and should make this stretch more civilised, just in time for the completion of Bridge House and the (slightly) improved west side station entrance.

Temporary traffic lights are in place, currently.

Reader Offer: Tall Tales Children's Comedy Workshop

August 17th, 10.30am - 4.00pm at The Honor Oak Pub Function Room, St Germans Road, 7-15 year olds welcome.

Following a successful first term at the Mini Haha Club (which runs comedy classes for kids), the team are organising a new event. They say:

It will be a fun-packed workshop day where we will look in depth at creating sketches that focus on parody. As always, there will be plenty of games and improvisations to do and then we will be looking at different ways that you can take a known form [film, fairy tale, television etc] and do silly, funny and bonkers versions of them!

In the afternoon we will be working in small groups to create well honed pieces to perform to each other - and in fact if you parents fancy coming along for the last fifteen minutes we will be able to show them to you!

The day will cost £40 which includes a lunch of sandwiches, crisps and fruit provided by the pub and all snacks and squash during breaks. However if you quote Brockley Central - you get a 20% discount! You will only need to pay £32!!

New images of Brockley's Crossrail link released

Brockley will be connected with Crossrail via a brand new interchange at Whitechapel, to which we're directly connected by the East London Line.

The new station looks absolutely fantastic and will also improve the interchange with the District Line.

When completed, Crossrail will provide Brockley residents with better routes to destinations like Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Heathrow. It will also support the long-term growth of Canary Wharf and continue to drag London's economic and cultural gravity eastwards, which is why people like Simon Jenkins hate it - they'd rather spend the money improving existing infrastructure for the parts of London already well-served by public transport, rather than creating new capacity to spread London's growth. Fortunately, they seem to have lost the argument.

Brockley Bites

Deptford Station’s redevelopment has taken a step forward

As the Deptford Dame reported in May, a £7m construction contract has been awarded to expand the station and improve access, via a separate structure, next to the railway arches. A key plank of the Council’s plans for the future of Deptford, the project had been stuck in limbo.

The Jubilee Line upgrade has taken a step backwards

As has been widely reported over the last week, the Jubilee Line upgrade, which was meant to have been completed last year, is subject to further delays.

The upgrade is intended to improve signalling and deliver a 33% increase in capacity by running more trains along the route, reducing congestion for Brockley commuters at both Canada Water and London Bridge. There is now no definite completion date, although London Underground have confirmed that this line is the top priority among a mounting list of delayed line upgrades.

The East London Line is now the South London Line

According to Transport Xtra, the East London Line extension to Clapham is being renamed the New South London Line. The name emphasises its role in completing an outer orbital route around London.
Work on the 2.5km extension is expected to start before the end of the year.

Brockley Central is the future of media

Here we are, in our day job, talking about the Creative Industries. Towards the end, after many ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ we declare The Young Turks to be the future of broadcasting. Which it is. TYT is our inspiration. In other words. We’re coming for you.

Comedy nights at Jam Circus

David, the man behind Jam Circus' regular comedy nights, explains what you can look forward to. Next one tomorrow night:

I've always tried to avoid organising events. The idea of watching a movie such as The Wedding Planner fills me with dread – event management (and Jennifer Lopez's acting) is my idea of hell. So I expected to constantly wake up in a cold sweat night after night ("WHERE are the chairs!") after agreeing to organise, compere and publicise a fortnightly comedy night at Jam Circus. The reality proved to be very different. Comedians loved the audiences. The audience loved the comedians.

The atmosphere is key. Having performed in bear pit-style venues I wanted to ensure that comedians weren't heckled and punters were not harangued for cheap laughs – a lot of people (me included) hate this style of comedy. I also wanted the night to be cheap (£3 a ticket) and for comedians to perform untried and untested material. All this has led to very successful nights which I hope continue and for this I would like to thank my fellow Brockley residents for being so supportive of an event organised by an amateur who was lucky to have the support of the Jam Circus management.

So things have gone from strength to strength and at the last gig a man who seemed familiar thanked me for witnessing what he described as a 'brilliant' show. The man in question was Trevor Lock. Trevor Lock used to be part of a double act on 6 Music with the lesser-know Russell Brand and has regularly appeared with Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on TV. He's a consummate performer and he's appearing at the next Jam Circus gig on July 28 with four other comedians. Anyone who is keen to see this show will be glad to know that the entrance is still £3 and tickets can be booked here:

All the best comedy lovers!

Londonist on Joan Ruddock's expenses

Londonist has been investigating London MPs spending during the recent election campaign and reckon that Joan Ruddock may have exploited a loophole in the system to avoid normal standards of transparency in submitting her expenses claim.

She hasn't submitted receipts and Londonist argues:

Without receipts, we have no evidence beyond the campaign's assurance that they stuck to the spending limit, or that they've accurately accounted for costs that were shared across multiple campaigns...

In Ms Ruddock's case, the Lewisham Deptford Labour Party has paid for and supplied everything bought by the campaign - amounting to £8,100 - and this has been counted as a donation, as required under the rules of notional expenditure. But listing the entire cost of a campaign as notional expenditure is pretty unusual.

Lewisham Council launches public consultation on spending

Lewisham Council has launched an online survey, asking residents to tell them which services they value most. The lowest-scoring services will be thrown out of the balloon.

The Mayor says:

Over the last three years, Lewisham Council has saved around £26 million by cutting waste and becoming more efficient. Over the next three years cuts in national Government funding are likely to mean that Lewisham Council will have to reduce its spending by around £60 million [nb. this figure was set by Lewisham Council before the last election].

We will continue to cut waste and do things more efficiently where we can. But if we are to balance our budget in the coming years, we will need to look at providing services differently and providing a different level of service in some areas.

I want you to have your say in how Lewisham Council can best face these challenges. I want to know:

- what council services you value most
- what you think the Council could do less of
- where you think you and your friends, family and neighbours could help each other more to improve your area.

The Council is also hosting an online forum where you can discuss the issues. We've not had a play with it yet, so we don't know how heavily moderated it is.

Food for Thought in Brockley

Scholars, of course, won’t have it so. Policies they say, and the subtly laid schemes of statesmen, are what influences the destinies of nations; the opinions of intellectuals, the writings of philosophers, settle the fate of mankind. Well, they may do their share, but in my experience the course of history is as often settled by someone having a belly-ache, or not sleeping well, or a sailor getting drunk, or some aristocratic harlot waggling her backside.
- Flashman, Royal Flash!

I am familar with the works of Pablo Neruda.
- Bart Simpson

No doubt inspired by the calibre of debate to be found on Brockley Central, a group called Food for Thought, which organises "conversation meetings" is coming to Brockley.

The gatherings are Socratic speed-dating. Organised in bar, people are paired up and a menu of topics is given to them to guide their conversation so they don’t end up talking about the weather or the tube.

Their next meeting is scheduled to take place on August 4th or 5th in a local venue such as The Orchard or Toads Mouth, from 7pm to around 9pm. Attendance is free, but they'd like to hear from you in advance to get an idea of numbers and preferred date.

Organisers Ismenia and Paula explain:

We were inspired by Theodore Zeldin's idea of conversations. He is a fantastic and very important philosopher and Oxford professor. He is the inventor of Oxford Muse where his ideas of conversation are put in practice.

He said: "Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought."

We have held meetings with friends which were fine but the original idea is to hold the conversations with complete strangers so we decided to advertise these meetings and wait for the public response. We're hoping to find a group of around 16 people.

We live in Brockley and were encouraged by the variety of people we have seen and met in the area. The area is developing fast and we think there is room for something like this.

If people are interested, they can email us directly at

We will be holding the meetings throughout the year and in various locations.

Summer Holiday Theatre Courses at Lewisham College

Montage Theatre Arts is running a summer holiday programme for children at Lewisham College, from 9.30am - 4.30pm daily. Week One is already sold out but there are still places left for weeks two and three:

August 2nd - 6th:

Electric Stories: 8 - 14 yrs. Make a film and perform with it live in one week!

A special masterclass week with MTA’s Artistic Director, Judy Gordon and media artist, Hannah Mason. Film and perform live with projected image you made in 5 days to family and friends! This year we’re creating a MONSTER TV station with monster ads, live news and filmed reports, Top of the Pops monster dance and plenty of costume and make-up!

Make a film performing live with projected image you made to family and friends in 5 days! Create a new piece of work from your ideas and skills using digital technology, writing, storyboarding, film video and perform live with projected image. This workshop includes vocal and performance technique, group physical theatre and live digital arts – a challenging and fun week for all!

August 9th - 13th:

Activate!: 5 - 14 yrs. Song and dance from comedy to ballads, street to funk, learn show numbers to perform at the end of the week.

It’s our very own JUNIOR GLEE WEEK! Song and dance from comedy to ballads, street to funk, ballet to tap – learn show numbers to perform what you’ve learnt at the end of the week. Afternoons include DVD’s of film musicals to support numbers being learnt, studying vocal and dance technique of the stars with the teachers, as well as enjoying drama games and exercises.

Call: 020 8692 7007

Crafty Cooks, Honor Oak

Hannah is starting a new a pre-school cookery group in Honor Oak. Called "Crafty Cooks", the classes are aimed at 2-5 year-olds, teaching them how to cook from scratch a variety of healthy recipes over the course of a term.

Crafty Cooks will take place between 10.30am and 11.45am at the Honor Oak pub. Parties and group bookings are also available for children of all ages.

Hannah explains:

The Honor Oak was my first choice of venue as I know what a great function space they have but mainly it's because of how helpful and supportive Tom and his team are there. I also know how popular Babbe Latte is so there must be lots of Mums around just looking for things to do with their kids!

Formerly a Telegraph Hill resident, Hannah now lives in Hither Green, where she will also be running classes. After years working in the catering industry and more recently acting as head of events at the National Theatre, Hannah had a baby in 2009 and (in a story familiar to Brockley's Creative Mums network members) found it an impossible job to do with young children.

She says:

I came across a lady called Anna Oliver who started Crafty Cooks in Marlow, Buckinghamshire several years ago and as it's been going so well for her she decided to license the business out so I have taken it on in Lewisham. I am really excited about it and can't wait for September and my classes to start, just need to get them all booked up!

To find out more, contact or see

Ladywell Fields Family Fun Day, Saturday 24th July

Tom from Living Streets writes:

Lewisham residents are invited to come along to a family fun day at Ladywell Fields as part of the Discovering London weekend. A number of fun activities are available to enjoy on Saturday 24th July between 12pm and 4pm encouraging people of all ages to explore their local area and get walking.

Free activities include a local history walk, river wading, a puppet show and a treasure hunt. The event is presented by National Charity Living Streets’ through their ‘Step out in London’ project, in association with The Lewisham Rivers and People Project and Lewisham Borough Council. The aim of the event is to demonstrate to people how walking can open your eyes to the many hidden gems that are passed unnoticed every day.

East London Line stimulates culture tourism for South East London

Jez: It's like Titanic. You're upstairs in your starched collar while I'm down below stairs, dancing a jig with the Poles and the Africans, having a better time than you could possibly imagine.
Mark: Just make sure you clean up in the changing room toilets. There's a big pool of rusty water by the urinals and it turns my stomach.
- Peep Show

A survey by the Culture Line coalition of culutral attractions linked by the East London Line has found that Londoners are twice as likely to cross the river north for culture as they are to head south.

The BBC reports:

About 80% of south Londoners cross the river at least once a month for cultural pursuits compared with just 41% of people from north London, the survey claims.

Visual arts Even with central London's cultural attractions excluded, 60% of people surveyed felt north London had more to offer in terms of culture. But the survey found that south Londoners may in fact have varied cultural tastes.

More than half of north Londoners rated eating out as one of their top three interests, followed by visual arts and popular music. While these interests also ranked highly for south Londoners, they were also more likely to enjoy the capital's performing arts, heritage, classical music and markets.

The headline figure isn't surprising, not least considering that north London is significantly bigger than south and home to most of central London. However, the survey also found that both north and south Londoners are more likely to cross the river to visit cultural attractions since the East London Line reopened, which is evidence of exactly what we have been arguing for two years - to stimulate cultural and economic growth in South East London, we need to build more cross-river links.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the story.

Forest Hill pool approved

With work on a new pool in central Lewisham well-underway, Lewisham Council has approved plans to renovate Forest Hill pool with the aim of opening in 2012.

The approved plans replaced a previous scheme that would have involved demolition of the existing building - an idea that met with fierce local resistance.

A Lewisham Council press release confirms:

A new 2-pool leisure and fitness centre, to replace Forest Hill Pools on Dartmouth Road, was approved by Lewisham Council Planning Committee on 22 July 2010.

The facility is Lewisham’s fourth new leisure centre development to be approved in recent years. A new leisure complex was opened in Downham in 2007, and an additional 25-metre pool was opened at Wavelengths Leisure Centre in Deptford in 2008. A third leisure centre is currently being built in Lewisham Town Centre to replace the leisure facility at Ladywell.

A building contractor for the development is expected to be appointed before the end of the year and the Council aims to have the new leisure centre in public use by late-2012.

This new planning application for Forest Hill allows for the alteration, part demolition and refurbishment of the existing Forest Hill Pools building to provide a new pool and leisure centre behind the existing Victorian frontage which will be retained. The existing frontage will be refurbished to form the main entrance and reception to the building as well as providing a changing area on the first floor.

The majority of the facilities will be provided in the proposed modern additions. Facilities in the new building will include a 25-metre pool, a 16.7-metre learner pool, fitness gym, 2 studios, community room and a café. The new development will include facilities and access for those people with disabilities.

There will be disabled parking, bicycle and motorcycle parking and a drop-off area for vehicles. A new “pocket park” is also to be landscaped around the new building and extended along Dartmouth Road to provide a public open space.

Six new Streetcars for Brockley

Streetcar has got its wish and been allowed to expand in Lewisham, with six new bays in Brockley and St Johns.

The new Streetcar bays are in:

Arthurdon Road
Braxfield Road
Harefield Road
Vulcan Road
Darling Road
Admiral Street

Car clubs reduce parking problems, widen access to cars and generate revenue for the Council, so an expansion is welcome and should dramatically increase takeup locally (membership has already expanded nearly five-fold in the last two years).

With thanks to Fabhat and Alison.

Ironic picture of the day

Super Hans: You should get a van, Jez. With a van, it's like you've got an MBA, but you've also got a fucking van. You're not just a man anymore - you're a man with a van. You get a van, Jez, and we could be men with ven.
- Peep Show

Brockley Cross is afflicted by a plague of removal vans, so it was only a matter of time before its natural defences should kick in. This morning, BCer Bill has photographed the Mantle Road bridge swallowing a hapless van, like the white blood cells swamping the submarine in The Fantastic Voyage.
D&M Van Hire be warned.

Progress at Loampit Vale

The first tower crane has arrived at the Loampit Vale site, marking the next stage in the project's construction and signalling that the commitment to deliver the development remains.

The first phase completed will be a new swimming pool and leisure centre in 2013.

The day the laughter died

Every man has to settle down eventually. You know why you gotta settle down eventually? Because you don't want to be the old guy in the club. You know what I'm talking about. Every club you go into, there's always some old guy. He ain't really old, just a little too old to be in the club.
- Chris Rock

The Good Times are over for Brockley. La Lanterna's ground to a halt, The Tea Factory's tea shop still lies vacant and now, JLC's show on Five, recorded at the Rivoli Ballroom, has been cancelled.

On the plus side, it means we no longer have any obligation to be polite about him, on the minus side, the show was a genuine boon for local businesses like Jam Circus and of course, the Rivoli itself.

Cook off on Tyrwhitt Road

Not to be outdone by Rokeby and Kitto Roads, Karl has sent us the link to these shots of the Tyrwhitt Road Big Lunch.

Chow down on Rokeby Road

Lawrence has sent us his Flickr page from the recent Big Lunch on Rokeby Road, a nice riposte to the occasional curmudgeon who dismisses any talk of community cohesion as mere bourgeois fantasy. Click here to see Brockley at its best.

Public meetings about Lewisham libraries

The dates have been announced for the public consultation meetings about the future of five of Lewisham's libraries, including New Cross and Crofton Park. All the meetings start at 7pm:

Wed 28 July - Blackheath library - venue - Leemore Centre
Wed 18 August - New Cross Library - venue - Moonshot Centre
Thurs 19 August - Sydenham Library - venue - Grove Centre, Jews Walk
Mon 23 August - Crofton Park Library - venue - St Saviours, Brockley Rise
Wed 25 August - Grove Park Library - venue - TA Centre, Baring Road

Not sure why they can't hold them at the libraries themselves, but please go along if you care about the future of your library.

With thanks to Fabhat and Sara.

Ladywell Village Improvement Group AGM

Weds 21 July, 7.30pm at the St.Mary's Centre, Ladywell Road

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group is holding its annual general meeting tomorrow night, with a key item on the agenda their plans for a more pedestrian and business friendly centre.

LVIG has been a dynamic force for positive change in the area since it was established and is working with landscape architects Shape and Lewisham Council to look at making Ladywell Village a better place for local people by improving the roads and pavements - the ‘streetscape’.

They say:

The areas is currently designed to outdated standards that prioritise the needs of traffic moving through the village over the needs of the people who live and run businesses there.

LVIG want these priorities to change.

The centre should be an attractive place that works well for local people using the shops, catching a bus, going to the park or the station, sitting out to have a coffee or pint, or simply reaching their homes.

There is currently far greater road space than is needed for this type of road (according to national highways design standards) and pavements could be significantly widened without creating more traffic congestion. Corner sweeps of the road are designed to allow traffic to move around the corner fast, which is dangerous for people walking, and not appropriate in a village shopping street.

For road users, there is no clear indication that they are entering a village centre, which might encourage more considerate driving and improve trade, and there are few if any places to stop a car, should someone wish to 'impulse buy'. Guardrails prevent pedestrians from crossing of the road where they might like to take the shortest route, for example to the train station.

In places pavements are so narrow and cluttered that it is difficult to pass others. There are few street trees, and little space or incentive to sit outside. In other shopping streets pavements are wider, and more pleasant, and people can enjoy sitting at a pavement cafe - and in these areas shops tend to do better too!

LVIG hope to transform Ladywell Village using a range of measures tried successfully elsewhere in London, like those on Walworth Road, in Waterloo, or in Camden Town:

  • increasing pavement widths and narrowing carriageways
  • introducing raised pedestrian crossings at side road intersections, and a crossing on the pedestrian ‘desire line’ to the station
  • incorporating loading/short stay parking bays
  • planting new street trees in suitable locations
  • seating and cycle parking
  • a safer cycle connection to Ladywell Fields
Initial consultations show wide support for this approach, so now more detailed ideas are being discussed with the Council. Consultation is going on now with local residents, local businesses, and interested groups like those representing the views of cyclists, bus operators, people with disabilities, and others.

Crofton Park Transport Users' Group Inaugural AGM

19:30 Tuesday 20 July 2010
Ackroyd Centre, Ackroyd Road, London SE23 1DL
(off Brockley Rise near Honor Oak Park)

The CPTUG is a new group open to anyone living or working in Crofton Park, with an interest in public transport provision in the ward. The specific issues they will be discussing at the first meeting include:

  • Train services from Crofton Park Station
  • Train and London Overground services from Honor Oak Park Station
  • Bus routes 171, N171, 172, 122, P4


When you post a comment, please give yourself a name, out of courtesy to the Brockley Central team and your fellow readers. It takes a couple of seconds to do, but makes conversations much easier to follow. There are people who've been posting here daily for years under pseudonyms, but we still don't know anything about their identity - so choosing a name doesn't compromise your privacy, it just a demonstration of good manners, which makes conversations easier to follow.


Lewisham schools seek academy status

The Guardian has published a useful list of all the schools around the country which are currently seeking to become academies. Specifically, these are schools which have registered an official interest with the Department for Education.

In Lewisham, the following schools appear on the list:

Brindishe Primary School, Lee
Fairlawn Primary School, Forest Hill
Grinling Gibbons Primary School, Deptford
Tidemill Primary School, Deptford

All four schools are classed as 'outstanding' by OFSTED, meaning that their applications would be fast-tracked under the education reform proposals currently being put forward by the government.

Academy schools are directly funded by the Department for Education and are independent of local government control. They may also receive support from individual and/or corporate sponsors.

For more information, see Wikipedia.

Brockley Central reader offer: half-price tickets for "You Don't Kiss" at the Brockley Jack

Director Darren Batten has been in touch to offer Brockley Central readers half-price tickets to his new play. He says:

I have a show opening at The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre this week and would like to offer readers of Brockley Central half price tickets.

The show is a new award winning play called 'You Don't Kiss' and runs July 21st to 31st at 8pm. If readers quote 'Brockley Central' on the night they would like to come at the theatre box office they will pay £6 instead of £12.

Here's the plot:

Three guys, a park bench and a book of fairytales. Meet Hartley, sat waiting for his knight in shining armour to arrive. Enter Justin, who longs for sex in the city. Then there's Ian, who doesn't quite get what he bargained for.Is a dream really a wish your heart makes? Set in a park in a town somewhere outside the sprawling metropolis of London, this evocative new comedy tells the story of three black gay men and their search for love, sex and a Disney ending!

Click here for details.

(This offer subject to availability and excluding Saturday July 31st)

The Hill Station - Inception

Jebediah Springfield: People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.
Shelbyville Manhattan: Yes! And marry our cousins.
JS: I was- wha... what are you talking about, Shelbyville? Why would we want to marry our cousins?
SM: Because they're so attractive. I... I thought that was the whole point of this journey.
JS: Absolutely not!
SM: I tell you, I won't live in a town that robs men of the right to marry their cousins!
- The Simpsons , Lemon of Troy

We once went skiing in Livigno, a duty-free resort in the Italian Alps. During the transfer, the guide told us that its remoteness and inaccessibility during the winter meant that the town’s population enjoyed a disproportionately high number of genetic mutations, due to inbreeding.

We’re not suggesting for one moment that everyone in Telegraph Hill is related, but a trek up to the top can feel like a visit to The Lost World. An idyll untouched by the concerns of outsiders and a place so altitudinous, that even the TV signal struggles with the climb, forcing people to make their own programmes. Residents of The Hill are fiercely tribal, quicker to slap us down if we suggest it’s basically Brockley than RMT members are when we call the ELL a tube line.

If you lived in one of the streets surrounding the Telegraph Hill parks, there are very few reasons why you’d need to come down. Green space, great views, excellent schools, a decent pub, your own festivals - The Hill has it all. One of the few remaining ties they had to the wider world was the need to climb down the hill to go to a cafe. But no more.

The Hill Station cafe formally opened on Sunday as part of the Big Lunch street party on Kitto Road. It’s the result of hard work by local people, who’ve taken over an unpromising site, underneath the former Cafe Orange and turned it in to something wonderful.More communal living room than cafe, it feels like a lighter, roomier version of former Brockley favourite Moonbow Jakes.

Food and drink were served from a barbecue and tables outside, so it’s too early to comment on what it will be like to order on a normal day. What we can say is that it’s very jolly – sliding wooden doors which open out towards the park, touches of humour in the furnishing and decoration and lots of light and space, which will lend itself to community activities, rather than just eating and drinking.

The event drew hundreds of people and the sense of pride in what the community had achieved was palpable.

As we walked around the dream world populated by 1950s bunting, mass participation clay sculptures and bring-and-buy stalls run by young children, we felt like Leonardo DiCaprio wrestling with the unreal in Inception. Like him, and like the people of Telegraph Hill, we had to ask ourselves; does it matter if the top stops spinning?

Mobile cafe in Hilly Fields for next six weeks [UPDATED]

Plans are being developed for a permanent cafe in Hilly Fields, but for the next six weeks, a mobile cafe, will be open daily on top of the hill, near the open gym.

Serving a mix of hot and cold food and drinks, it's closer to the kind of place you'd find at the summer fair than the Pistachios model.

Called Cafe M in honour of its owner Marina, she explains:
We have a menu of breakfast cumberland sausages, two kinds of German sausages, bacon rolls, and 100% beef burgers. We only use organic free range eggs. We also do veggie options.We have sandwiches (on white or brown) and panini's which are all made to order with a selection of fillings.
We have pastries, muffins and cupcakes (which the latter is made by Fiona Cairns, who also supplies them to Waitrose). we have the delicious Byron Cookies, in a selection of flavours. We do stock crisps, but them are top quality Pipers crisps and Pom-bears, which are baked and free from additives.
We are also going to be doing Winstone's soft scoop, hand-made ice cream, which you will find on offer, in Pistachios In The Park and The Stainton Tearooms (Mountsfield Park).
We have a bean to cup coffee machine and we use exactly the same fairtrade coffee bean as Pistachios, both getting our supplies of John Street Beverages. We also have filter coffee. We also have a range of Twinings herbal teas, and fairtrade hot chocolate, which comes with the option of cream and marshmellows.

If you've had the chance to try it, please let us know what you think.

Mass Observation Brockley

Larry Gopnik: The Uncertainty Principle. It proves we can't ever really know... what's going on. So it shouldn't bother you. Not being able to figure anything out. Although you will be responsible for this on the mid-term.
- A Serious Man

Brockley Central readers have been asked to participate in a Mass Observation project led by an organisation called MOCO. They'd like us all to take part in a project which records a moment in time in Brockley life in as much detail as possible.

They've suggested four ways we could take part - completing a questionnaire, photograph a street, keep a diary for a day or observe life in a cafe. The last of these would certainly be conforming to type, but we reckon the photography project would be the most interesting and we could hopefully rely on the support of the local Flickr group, if nothing else. We can choose which of these we'd like to do or suggest our own variant.

We'd like to ask you whether you're interested in being involved and - if so - which form of mass observation you think would be most interesting. If we can arrive at some form of consensus, Brockley Central will ask MOCO to set us up as one of the participating communities and off we go.

The Catteman Cometh [UPDATED]

Brockley's brushes with the uncanny pre-date Catman, vengeful snakes or UFOs.

Reader JPM kindly passed on this tale of the unexpected: A ghost spotted on the "lonely lane" between Ladywell and Brockley Rise and recorded in The Evening Post in 1894.

[Update: Transpontine has another good Brockley ghost story here]

Ruddock meets with Southern

Joan Ruddock, MP for Lewisham Deptford, is meeting with Southern and Southeastern rail services on July 20th and has asked for resident feedback about services since the May timetable change, which reduced off-peak service frequency on the Brockley line.

BC regular Monkeyboy forwarded a letter he received from the MP, following his exchanges with her about this issue, earlier this year. She asks that comments be sent to with the words Rail Service Response in the subject line.

If you want to comment, you have three days.

Crofton Park Library breaks Labour's big tent

Yesterday, Brockley Central was tweeted by the Crofton Park Labour Party asking us to help promote their petition to save Crofton Park Library. We duly re-tweeted but asked why they couldn't simply have a word with their Labour Councillors, their Labour-led cabinet and their Labour mayor, whose decision it would be. They said:

"Councillors already on the case, want to show support from the community."

Shortly after that exchange, community supporters of Lewisham's libraries turned up at the Council cabinet meeting and called on Mayor Bullock to save them from closure. This resulted in the Mayor doing a "bigoted woman" as he was caught on microphone calling them “Fucking idiots”.

The News Shopper has the full story here.

Not Brockley Central: Homemade London

Brockley Nick here...

Homemade London is the place that was at one point going to be located in Brockley, but is instead up near Marble Arch on a wonderful little street called Seymour Place.

It's run by by my wife and would not have happened without the support and inspiration we've had from many people we've met through Brockley Central - from the local entrepreneur group we spoke with to the Creative Mums Network that Nicola started, from Ross at Browns of Brockley and Richard at The Royal Albert to Ed at The Orchard and many more people who've given us their advice along the way. There are also some local designers and craftspeople who are going to be teaching there.

The shop opens soon and the site (designed by Deptford production house Raw Nerve) is now live, so you can register for more details when it launches.

Let's hope people like it or I'm doing a Murdoch and putting up paywalls on Brockley Central.

You will see more shameless plugs of it in due course.

DLR capacity boosted by 11%

On Monday, the Docklands Light Railway began operating a new timetable, which increased the number of trains serving Lewisham from 13.3 trains per hour to 15 trains per hour during the morning peak time, enabling the service to carry 1,100 more passengers per hour - a capacity boost of 11%.

Earlier this year, the Bank to Lewisham route saw the introduction of three carriage trains, giving an additional 50 per cent capacity.

Director of the DLR, Jonathan Fox, said:

'We are pleased to be able to deliver this service improvement to our passengers.

'This is the second network capacity improvement step following on from our upgrade programme and there will be more to come as our passenger numbers continue to increase. 'Passengers will see increasing benefits delivered by our upgrade and new carriages."

The expansion of the DLR is a key component of Lewisham Council's plans to redevelop Central Lewisham, with work underway at last on the Loampit Vale project.

The Hill Station Community Cafe - Opens Sunday

This Sunday is the official opening of the new community cafe and meeting space for Telegraph Hill. Called The Hill Station, it occupies the space underneath what used to be Cafe Orange

Delivered by community group "Bold Vision", it's the culmination of months of hard work, fund raising and planning.

The event coincides with the The Telegraph Hill Big Lunch, which will close the top of Kitto Road for a street party to celebrate the completion and opening of Phase 1. The party starts at 12pm, bring a picnic and food to share. There’ll be children’s art activities, live music from Kat Drake, the Little Devils and others.

Meanwhile, the Rokeby Road Big Lunch party is taking shape too. Organiser Andy says:

We’ve got sound system, lovely northern soul, motown and latin djs lined up, as well as a live ska band (fingers crossed) plus lots of activities for kids (and big kids). Hope to see you there, bring something to sit on and some food to share.

Unions mount Lewisham Hospital and Deptford Job Centre campaigns

Tonight a group campaigning to prevent University Lewisham Hospital from becoming a foundation hospital is holding a "lively debate" about the question: "Is Foundation Status right for ULH?" although all the speakers appear to fall on the "no" side of the argument, which suggests the liveliness will be the polemical sort.

Backed by UNISON, the meeting takes place at the Saville Centre, 436 Lewisham High Street, tonight, from 7pm.

A rainbow coalition of unionists and socialists will gather in the Red Room at the Deptford Albany at 7pm on July 27th, to campaign to defend Lewisham against cuts - in particular, the planned closure of the Deptford Job Centre in November.

The "Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance" warn of a generalised cut of 25% across all services in the borough and are fighting to protect them against the fat cats in the primary school sector... oh no hang on, that's not right.

With thanks to Tamsin.

Surrey Canal masterplan

The masterplan for a major new development surrounding Millwall Stadium has been released. The vision is to build 2,700 new homes and a "sporting destination for Lewisham and the South East" on the 30 acre site, which we hope relies on more than just the appeal of Millwall FC.

Details are scant at this stage, but hopefully the release will jog Boris' memory about asking for the cash to build Surrey Canal station.

Friends and Users of Crofton Park Library united?

Kate Veatch: Are you reading the dictionary?
White Goodman: Oh, you caught me. I like to break a mental sweat too.
- Dodgeball

Since the announcement that Crofton Park Library is threatened with closure, we’ve been thinking about the following:

• Local businesses told us that there is a lack of flexible work space for micro businesses and sole traders in Brockley
• A number of events and discussion groups have contacted us because they haven’t been able to find suitable meeting space in the area
• Many times over the years, BC readers have suggested starting a book-swapping club in Brockley
• Sue Luxton explained that the top floor of Crofton Park library is currently unused
• Lewisham Council have indicated that they’d be willing to give the library to a community group
• Lots of big companies (some of which we work for in our day job) are keen to show their commitment to support local enterprise, re-training and local community development by providing sponsorship and donations.

Given all this, there seems to be the potential to find a new role for the library as a more versatile community centre, which provides a broader range of services and support for local people and companies, generating new revenue streams and making the case against closure even stronger.

Sue Luxton is proposing to set up a Crofton Park Library Users Group to explore the options to save it. She writes:

I've had a chat with one or two people about setting up a Crofton Park Library Users Group and wondered if you could test the water on Brockley Central to see if there would be interest?
If there is perhaps we can arrange an initial meeting fairly swiftly to establish such a group.

In both cases, the groups were formed when there were previous threats to close the facilities.

While I don't want to get divisive and argue in favour of closing other libraries rather than Crofton Park, I do think it's crucial that the voice of Crofton Park library users is also heard over the next few months.

The catchment area is pretty big, stretching from perhaps Stanstead Road in the south, including the Honor Oak estate and a fair chunk of Brockley and Ladywell wards, as well as Crofton Park.

In addition to arguing the case for keeping the library open, a Friends and Users Group could apply for grants/funding (what little there may be around), which Councils aren't. One of the arguments that I suspect will be used to justify closing Crofton Park Library will be the poor physical state of the building - the roof needs replacing/repairing and as I posted a few days back, there is potential to bring the upper floor into some kind of use. Bringing in outside funding to help with that might just help to secure the future of the library (I may of course be wildly optimistic here, but worth a try).

If someone else is already on the case and getting a group together, then that's great, please let' us have the details and we can join forces.

Incidentally, I was wrong about Gwen, the librarian - she's worked for Lewisham Libraries for 40 years, not 30, and is retiring in a few weeks so if the worst comes to the worst, she won't be made redundant after all her years of service.

By the way, I'm proposing this in an individual, rather than party political capacity.

Deptford primary school teacher slated over (inaccurate) '£200k' pay packet

Mark Elms, head teacher of Tidemill Primary School in Deptford, is currently getting a pasting in the national media for earning '£200k a year' ('more than the prime minister!' etc).

Let's get the facts straight first: Mr Elms was paid over £200,000 in 2009/10, including a £51,000 previous-year payment. That takes us to £149,000 which actually relates to 2009/10.
The prime minister is paid £142,500.

Mr Elms' basic salary was £82,714. He was paid around £10k overtime (in the private and third sectors, senior staff aren't usually entitled to receive overtime; I don't know whether this is the case across the public sector too).

Mr Elms was also paid approx. £50k a year for two years' work on a programme introduced by the Labour government to tackle underachievement in disadvantaged areas. From media reports, it's not clear whether this was in addition to his duties as head teacher, or part of them.
According to the school's website: 'Our 2008 results placed us top in Lewisham and 16th in the country for 'value-added' - the measure of the progress children have made since they entered the school. We have been ranked in the top 5 per cent most-improving schools for the last 4 years.'

So, the hysteria over the headline '£200k' figure doesn't appear to be warranted. The wider issue of senior staff pay remains. Schools' governing bodies are free to set senior staff pay levels. Lewisham Council said it had given 'formal advice' to Tidemill's governors; its role in the decision does not extend any further.

However, this does highlight the fact that 'academy' schools - which have opted out of local authority control - are free to act in a more commercially-minded way. Tidemill is considering applying for academy status, according to the GMB union.

Ted Purcell, the GMB union's public services officer, said: 'There is a complete lack of accountability when schools are opted out of local authority control. This demonstrates that opposition to academy status is well-founded, as these new schools will be a law unto themselves.'

Edit: BBC education reporter Hannah Richardson weighs into the debate with some actual facts and background. The two £50k payments were for work on the 'London Challenge and City Challenge project'. This seems to involve helping struggling schools, even going so far as to take a management role if necessary - so yes, he could quite possibly have been doing two jobs at once. The maximum head teacher pay rate for large inner London state schools is £109,000 - well above Mr Elms' £83k basic pay.

Ernest Dowson tribute

The Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery are working to restore the grave of the poet Ernest Dowson, who lies buried in Brockley.

On August 2nd at 2pm, there will be an unveiling ceremony by his graveside, featuring a reading by Jad Adams, Author of the biography 'Madder Music, Stronger wine: The Life of Ernest Dowson, Poet and Decadent' followed by a memorial in the cemetery chapel, ending with a toast to celebrate the life of Dowson in the Brockley Jack Theatre.

The Door to Hilly Fields

Louis: I am The Keymaster!
Dana Barrett: [possessed by Zuul] I am The Gatekeeper!
- Ghostbusters

We've sung the praises of Brockley MAX quite enough for one year, but before we finish, we just want to pay tribute to one of the 2010 festival's lasting legacies. The sculpture of a door ajar on top of a tree stump in Hilly Fields is a delight, continuing a fine Brockley tradition of playful public art, that kids and adults can enjoy.

We figured it was temporary but MAX organiser Moira says it's there to stay, so long as it doesn't get vandalised.

We hope people treat it well, it makes the perfect partner to Brockley's giant key.

Lewisham borough anti-cuts campaign on Wednesday

Lewisham Council is planning to make substantial cuts to public services in the borough. It is being pushed into taking these steps by the national government's excessive cut-backs. A demonstration has been planned to protest against the cuts planned by the council, and the impact they will have on vulnerable local people's lives.

The demo has been called by Lewisham NUT. There are two stages in the cuts; the first stage is worth £21m. According to the organisers it means that:
- half of council buildings could close;
- 5 of 12 libraries could be shut (as previously covered on BC );
- over 30 children & young people's posts will be cut by November;
- there will be nearly £1m cuts in community safety, wardens services & police community support;
- over £1m will be cut from adult social care;
- day care support for users with learning disabilities will be cut by nearly £500k;
- £500k savings will be made in adult social care by "requiring clients to purchase care privately";
- over £1m will be cut from property services (24 posts - nearly a third of staff);
- road cleaning, street sweeping and night-time refuse collection will be cut back;
- economic development will be cut by £500k, with up to 30 jobs going;
- the anti-fraud team will be cut;
- the finance team will be cut by nearly £1m, almost a quarter of its current budget.

Additionally, a 2nd stage of cuts is planned, in which according to the NUT £10m cuts will be involved. This includes:
- £2m from early years centres (1 in 4 to close);
- £400k school improvement officers will go;
- £1m property management, halving the number of council-owned buildings by selling off office buildings, libraries, adult education and community centres;
- £400k on parks and improvements to open spaces;
- £400k on IT and equipment, due to reduced staffing (ie. redundancies).

These two stages of cuts deliver £31m of savings in total; however Lewisham is required to save £60m. Therefore these cuts only cover half of the savings that will be required all-in-all.

The demo will take place from 5.15-6.30pm on Weds 14th July, outside Lewisham Council Town Hall in Catford.

Thanks to Transpontine for flagging up the information.

Not Brockley Central: The Serpentine Pavilion

So the children learned how to function as a society, and eventually they were rescued by, oh, let's say.. Moe.

- Das Bus, The Simpsons

We could claim that we were there to see what the new Hilly Fields cafe could be like with enough ambition, but honestly, there's no real Brockley-based justification for this story.

The new Serpentine Pavilion opened to the public this weekend. Designed by Jean Nouvel (who's also the architect of One New Change, a new retail centre opposite St Paul's and sort-of-accessible via the ELL) it uses lightweight materials and an intensely and inescapably red colour scheme. The building encourages you to walk through it, with revolving doors, open sides and bewildering angles, which make it hard work out where the building ends.

Nouvel wanted to create a 'sun machine', but on a genuinely hot day it's too efficient a mechanism: it felt suffocating, the red filter intensifying the effect of the sun. The outdoor areas, however, work beautifully. The lucky few who bagged a lounger or a hammock were content to stay there all day, the rest of us could enjoy the flowerbeds (planted with strawberries and tomatoes to complete the effect) and the table tennis.

Beautiful to behold but as tough to endure on a hot day as a sauna, a visit to the pavilion is best followed by a picnic in the grass - not least because like everywhere else in Hyde Park, the bar struggled to keep up with demand.

Convoys Wharf public consultation

We're late to the party with this one, but the public consultation for the latest iteration of the Convoys Wharf redevelopment plans takes place today at the Deptford Methodist Church, 1 Creek Road, SE8 3BT, until 2pm.

The Deptford Dame has been through the new plans and reckons that the main differences are:

- Less employment space (from 26,000 to 19,000 square metres)
- More leisure space (from 23,500 to 30,600 square metres), which includes a hotel that will help offset the lack of new jobs
- A new category of "wharf floorspace", which will take up 32,200 square metres.

One of her readers believes that 2,300 parking spaces will be provided at ground level under many of the buildings, with the housing gated off, both of which would damage its appeal as a destination for non-residents.

Lewisham People's Day 2010

The annual summer festival, Lewisham People's Day, takes place tomorrow.

Mountsfield Park in Catford will host eight stages of music and entertainment, food stalls and a real ale tent from 12pm to 8.30pm.

Click here to get the details from the Lewisham Council website.

Lewisham budget cuts plan to be debated

On July 13th, the Council’s Public Accounts Select Committee will discuss proposals to reduce the Council budget by £60 million, which will involve significant service reductions.

Much of the reduction will be achieved through “efficiency savings” such as job losses and renegotiating supplier contracts and by shaving non-core services (for example, nearly £100,000 will be cut by reducing the number of issues of Lewisham Life from ten to six per year and the elimination of the borough’s Fairtrade promotion). Many of the proposals seem eminently sensible, if the claims that service delivery will be unaffected are correct. For example:

Officers recommend the amalgamation of the Community Safety Service and the Community Wardens Service to create three area based neighbourhood safety teams on a reduced staffing level. The amalgamated service will still be able to deliver against the requirements set out in legislation, maintain key aspects of the current provision and deliver in partnership with the safer neighbourhood teams. A restructure is anticipated to save approximately £791k plus a £20k saving against tendering of the home security service.

But frontline provision of core services will also be hit. We’ve already highlighted the impact this could have on Lewisham libraries, including Crofton Park, which faces possible closure. Other major cuts include (but are by no means limited to):

· The cancellation of night-time waste collection in Lewisham’s major shopping centres, including Lewisham town centre, Deptford and Ladywell.

· Reduced funding for sports clubs

· The closure of adult social care centres for people with learning disabilities

· Fewer street cleaning machines in operation across the borough

· The closure of Lewisham’s automated public toilets

· The loss of trading standards officers, planning officers, environmental enforcement officers and town centre managers

Residents could also be faced with increased charges for services, including having to pay for replacement bins.

Lewisham Cllr Mike Harris told Londonist:

To cut any Council service there has to be a statuatory consultation and then to deliver the cost saving it can take a few years. We predict that we need to deliver £60m worth of cost savings based on the fact that in the budget the coalition announced cuts worth about 25 - 30% per department. We need to plan a minimum of 3 years in advance - therefore we're sketching out savings now so that if we need to be can deliver a 'balanced budget'. Local Councils aren't allowed to borrow except for capital improvements - so if we get our budget cut by 25% and don't manage to cut costs in time then we have to slash services that can be cut at short notice (which isn't acceptable really).

There's going to be a lot of consultation - and Councillors, the Mayor and his Cabinet really mean this. When you start looking at the budget options you realise how difficult some of these choices are.

However, the target of cutting £60m from the Council budget was discussed before the election. During the Brockley Central hustings, Mayor Bullock said:

All three major Parties have made clear that there will be a severe squeeze on public spending – they only differ on when and by how much this will be done. None of us can know until after the General election how much is needed but a 10% real terms reduction is likely to be the least that is required.

Brockley Primary School rebuild

Lewisham Council is holding two public consultations about the proposed rebuilding of Brockley Primary School tonight and on Monday, July 12th, between 3pm and 7pm, at the school's main hall.

Together with Gordonbrock, the Brockley rebuild is a central plank of Lewisham's strategy to create more primary places to cope with the growing demand, locally. A report by the Council on February 24th, 2010 said:

The Reception cohort increased from its low point of 2,776 in 2005-06 to 3,123 in 2008-09 and to 3302 in 2009-10.

And in lieu of new or rebuilt schools, others in the area have been squeezing them in, with 90 new places created in Lewisham / Brockley / Telegraph Hill catchment area, more than any other part of the borough. Brockley Primary itself was one of the schools to take an extra 30 pupils, with Holbeach and John Stainer also taking 30 each.

With uncertainty surrounding the future of Gordonbrock, we must hope that the consultation process is managed effectively for this project.

Lewisham Way - major road works imminent

From July 21st until at least December 13th, road works will take place between Tressillian Road and Malpas Road on Lewisham Way. Work will happen between the morning and afternoon rush hours, but expect disruption for both cars and pedestrians using that stretch.

Much of the planned work will focus on improving the pavement and removing clutter. Pedestrian diversions will be put in place.

With thanks to Cllr Johnson for the heads-up.

The Brockley World Food Festival, July 17th

The Brockley World Food Festival aims to celebrate the cultural diversity of Brockley through food. As well as being delicious in its own right, it's also a clever way of encouraging more people to get involved in the local Assembly, which is a really vital part of local political life.

As well as different dishes from around the world, there will be music, dance and children's games. Be there from 11am - 3pm.

Foxberry Place

Adam says that this is simply how things work: First the parents take care of the children and then the children take care of the parents. He says historically, that's how it works. Whenever Adam gives me such obviously incorrect information, I just smile, slap him on the knee, and look out the window.

Why spoil his dreams? They're such wonderful dreams.

Brockley resident "Brockley Resident" has been dreaming big dreams. Thinking about what is and what could be, if only Council and developer worked together with shared vision. BR's idea is to create a new public square called Foxberry Place, adjacent to Coulgate Street. Here's the plan:

I have read in many posts that lobbying to pedestrianise Coulgate Street continues to take place.
It think this is a beautiful idea and potentially a step in the right direction. However I think this will not be sufficient to boost the other shops and does little in regards to the lack of quality office and commercial space. So why not lobbying the Council to pedestranise the end of Foxberry Road as well, next to the Barge?

With the help of an enlightened developer this part of the road could be transformed into a small square with shops, offices and apartments built where the garages are right now. A perfect setting for the Brockley Max Concert and in hot days bars and restaurants could put their tables outside. Two upper floors could be built to match the hight of the buildings in Coulgate Street so that well designed modern office space could be offered to the entrepreneurs of Brockley. I am aware this is an ambitious plan, almost an impossible dream for a place like Brockley.

However there are some incredible people and organisations in Brockley that may buy into the idea and one day deliver the miracle.

We love this kind of idea, because it marries ambition with respect for what is already great about Brockley and offers a coherent vision for how to make our world a little better.

It would certainly create a town centre that Brockley doesn't have and provide new high-quality retail space, which the area lacks.

What do you think? Beautiful dream or fascist plot to sanitize Brockley?

Brockley Society Open Meeting, July 13th, 8pm

The Brockley Society will be holding an open meeting at the Brockley Social Club to discuss "the built environment: good design and conservation," issues that they play a major role in in the area.

All welcome.

What's so funny about Ladywell?

Woman: You don't know my name, do you?

Jerry: Yes I do.

Woman: What is it?

Jerry: It, uh, rhymes with a female body part.

Woman: What is it?

Jerry: Mulva...

Jerry: Er, er, Gipple?

Jerry: Loleola?

Jerry: Oh! Oh! *Delores*!

- Seinfeld, The Junior Mints

We regularly trawl Twitter for stories about Brockley and Ladywell, searching for references to both locations. It occasionally throws up some interesting stuff, but despite the best efforts of Ladywell tweeters like Sue Luxton, the main thing anyone has to say about Ladywell on Twitter is how suggestive it sounds. “I’m stuck on a train, just outside Ladywell, haha,” is a typical comment.

We usually have a good nose for sexual innuendo, but it had never occurred to us that there’s anything funny about “Ladywell”. Is it that it sounds like a female body part or are we missing something?