Malpas Road workshop demolition underway

The Ajax Flooring Company workshop off Malpas Road is being demolished. After years of false starts, the redevelopment plans have been approved, which will involve the row of houses on Malpas Road being extended and new units being built behind them, accessible via a driveway. The planning permission documentation describes the work as involving:

The demolition of existing buildings on the site of 230-232 Malpas Road SE4 and the construction of a 2 storey, basement and roof space building fronting Malpas Road and 2 two storey plus roof space terraces, comprising offices (Use Class B1), 2 two bedroom, 4 three bedroom and 1 four bedroom self-contained residential units, together with associated landscaping, provision of bicycle stores and 10 car parking spaces, with access onto Malpas Road.

With thanks to Monkeyboy.

Dame Sybil Phoenix documentary, tonight 8pm

Dame Sybil Pheonix
As part of this year's Brockley MAX, the Brockley Social Club will stage a screening of 'Loving Hands', a film about the life and work of Brockley resident Dame Sybil Phoenix. The screening will include a Q&A with director Lucia Tambini. The event is free and the Social Club bar will be open.

Lucia explains the important part Pheonix has played in Lewisham's post-War history:
"Sybil Phoenix, through her unwavering faith in others, dedication and activism has managed to transform thousands of lives for the better. As a foster mother, founder of Britains first black youth club and through her work on community relations over the past fifty years Sybil has had a lasting impact in Lewisham and beyond."

For more information about the Brockley MAX, click here.

Dunwoody – Brockley’s greatest hero

I will wait here with my hand on my heart
With my head bowed low, my eyes start to smart
Dunwoody thanks for making it home
We’re glad it’s to Brockley you decided to roam
- From "Dunwoody Done Roaming?" by Desmond Keats

Kate Bush, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Tarka the Otter – when the history of Brockley is written, they will be mere footnotes compared to the legend of Dunwoody, the explorer who vanished from SE4 years ago, promising to return one June 4th. Adventurer, naturalist, gentleman. Dunwoody is all these things and more. He was the reason Brockley Central moved here and the reason we remain; ever-hopeful that one-day he will return.

You can now download and print an explorer’s diary from this website, which tells you more about Dunwoody and the profound impact he has had on Brockley’s history. The diary will help you find clues about Dunwoody’s exploits and also help you track an explosion in the local badger population, which some believe is related to his disappearance.

The search is actually an elaborate theatre production, created by local theatre artist Barra Collins and partner, Andy Franzkowiak who came together to form the LAStheatre Company. Having worked with leading companies such as Shunt, the Old Vic and Punch Drunk, they decided that they wanted to create their own production to celebrate the community spirit of Brockley.

The result is part treasure hunt, part festival and part local history tour, which retro-fits Dunwoody in to local history in the same way that Marvel did for the Sentry’s place in their universe.

The treasure hunt route stretches from Brockley Cross to the Brockley Jack, encompassing landmarks such as Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery and the Brockley Social Club and participating local businesses, from Sounds Around, Bohemia Hair, Degustation and Rosie to the Brockley Jack, Toads Mouth, Jam Circus and Tickle Me, where treasure hunters will be able to spot Dunwoody-branded products and menu items.

The search will end with a 3.30pm Parade from Adelaide Avenue to Hilly Fields, after which one young adventurer will be crowned Master Explorer 2011. On the day, characters from Dunwoody lore will appear around town and – we hope – Dunwoody may even return.

Barra explains:

It will be an immersive experience. We wanted the story to be built around Brockley, to help people learn about their area and discover adventure in the familiar. We’ve tried to create something fun from the banality of everyday life.

The whole treasure hunt can be completed in a few hours at a leisurely pace. Ideally, families will do it over the course of the half-term week and come along to the final event on June 4th.

Click here for more details about the Brockley MAX programme.

The Date at the Rivoli

Heineken's latest ad, "The Date", was shot at the Rivoli and reimagines the Brockley venue as a Tarantino-esque Chinese restaurant. Here you go:

Taxing our patience

Tim sent us this picture he took in Brockley Cross today. No comment.

Brockley Cross development auction

Having secured planning permission to redevelop the car sales forecourt and office on the corner of Geoffrey Road and Brockley Cross as a mixed-use residential and retail site, the owners have now put it up for auction on June 16th.

The auction site reveals that the car dealership's 10-year lease expires in September, as does the short-term lease held by Red Carpet Boutique, suggesting that if the auction is successful, the redevelopment could take place very quickly.

The plans are slightly improved on those that were submitted last September, with a design more in keeping with the local architecture than the hopeless first effort.

If you fancy a prime redevelopment opportunity in London's hottest postcode, click here. With thanks to Kyley.

South East Central - Hither Green forum

Whether because of literary festivals, cinema campaigns or night bus services, Hither Green's been throwing up more than its fair share of stories since we launched South East Central, so we've given it its very own home on the forum.

The Lewisham Literacy Festival

Thanks to Faye, who sent us this photo from Andwell Road.

The Lewisham Literary Festival

Oh Icarus, fly not too near the sun, lest thy waxy wings should melt...

A Hither Green-based collective is organising the first Lewisham Literary Festival, September 9th - 16th. The team says:

We want to put on a Literary Festival that’s less ‘literary’ and more ‘festival’ – not serious-faced, chin-strokey readings, but something for people to enjoy.

Currently, the schedule of events is as sketchy as a Tom Clancy plot, but they'll be announcing more details about the programme in the coming weeks and they've just revealed that the launch event will be a book swap, organised by the team behind the popular Firestation Book Swaps in Windsor.

All proceeds from the Festival will go to the Hither Green Community Hall and Arts Society, who run cinema and arts events in the area and are campaigning for a new cinema for Lewisham.

Follow the team on Twitter here for more details.

Creekside Open 2011 this weekend

Deptford Wives no.4 (Burberry) by Mike Hall

The Creekside Open 2011 at the APT gallery in Deptford finishes tomorrow. Among the paintings, prints and sculptures by 60 artists is work by Brockley artist Mike Hall. His series, Deptford Wives, is composed of a series of eighteen digitally painted portraits "of ordinary womenfolk, based on street photography taken on location in Deptford High Street and Douglas Way, SE8 on market day."

If you want to see the Creekside Open, you have until 5pm on Sunday.

MAX Opening Night and Tank Gallery exhibition

The Brockley MAX kicks-off today, with a concert outside the Brockley Barge, beginning at 4.20pm, with the final act on at 10pm. Line-up below:

4:20pm Gordonbrock Primary School
4:40pm Rain On My Parade (FSOR)
5:10pm The Others (FSOR)
5:40pm The Strum Pets
6:00pm Montage Theatre Arts
6:05pm Brand Nu
6:20pm The Real Bad Habits
6:40pm Paper Fish
7:00pm The Flood Liners
7:20pm Barra
7:40pm Ben & Ben
8:00pm Nunhead Choir
8:20pm Dune Lake
8:45pm Dr Joe Joe
9:10pm Cat Knight
9:30pm Scaredy Cats
10:00pm One Jah

As part of the festival, Tank Gallery in Ladywell is organising a series of photographic exhibitions called Navigate, which will take place in venues across the area. It starts tonight. Check out the site for details.

The Ravensbourne Arms

Reader Andrew has put us - and the rest of you - to shame by taking matters in to his own hands and writing a review of the Ravensbourne Arms, an Antic pub on the Ladywell / Lewisham borders, which opened on Monday.

Here's his review, if you've been, please tell us what you think:

Having been keeping an eye on progress over the last few months I was looking forward to seeing what had been done and the improvements to create the so-called 'proper pub'!

With a very strong smell of paint and refurbishment, first the good news: arriving at 5.30 there was already a busy mix of people indoors and filling the outdoor tables on the street, enjoying the afternoon sun. Gone are the sport tv's and old man pub feel of the old coach and horses.

The back garden and kitchen are yet to be opened, but expected in the next few weeks. Signing up to the newsletter at will keep you up-to-date with developments.

The general manager, Lorena, working behind the bar, had done a great job getting the pub opened on time. Having walked past 2 weeks ago it was full of workmen with electrical wire everywhere and looked nowhere near opening. There was a good amount of staff ensuring you got served pretty quickly and there were no opening night issues apparent as experienced with the Talbot.

£3.75 for a pint of Grolsh is on par with The Jolly Farmer across the road and prices at the Ladywell Tavern, however still bested by the Fox and Firkin at £3.15.

The Ravensboune Arms warrants a revisit when the kitchen and rear garden are opened and the redecoration smell has dissipated. The south side of the pub has been noticeably redecorated however it still looks and feels unfinished. Music Speakers are still under wrap, the furniture is obviously recycled and toilets have been refreshed as opposed to replaced with new facilities. The finish is not to the standard of the recently re-opened Crown pub in Blackheath which had a similar decor to the old coach and horses.

An effort has been to provide to provide a country pub style feel, however it appears to be still a work in progress. There are very strange mini deer head skulls and shields on the walls which don't seem to suit, along with an odd balustraded area that serves no purpose other than possibly to leave very young children in, if only it had some toys!

Overall the conclusion is an improvement on the coach and horses, however I don't think Ladywell Tavern, Jolly Farmers, Fox and Firkin or the Talbot need to worry too much yet. A good addition for a local pub crawl which has potential with continued investment and a decent finish.

Hypermobility fundraiser

Brockley resident and Times journalist Laura Westcott has been raising money to pay for her friend Clara's electric wheelchair by spending a week confined to a wheelchair.

She says:

I've known Clara for eight years and during that time she has been diagnosed with an incurable genetic condition called hypermobility syndrome that attacks collagen in her ligaments. Clara is in constant crippling pain, which makes it hard for her to do simple tasks like cooking or cleaning. With her standard chair, Clara can only manage to push herself a short distance before the pain becomes unbearable. A powered wheelchair will give her the freedom she needs for a better life and a more positive future.

She's now hit her fund-raising target and the additional funds will be going straight to

Her experience will shortly be documented in the newspaper, but those of you who've seen her on the streets of Brockley can donate here.

A farmers market for Lewisham College? Have your say

At the suggestion of Cllr Vicky Foxcroft, the Service Group Manager for Lewisham Trading Standards & Markets, John Pye is asking for readers' views on a proposal to stage a regular market in Lewisham College car park. Please posts your comments in the thread below.

Mr Pye writes:

Lewisham Council has been approached by a local resident who wishes to organise a regular [monthly if not weekly] 'artisans' Saturday market in the car park of Lewisham College [Junction of Lewisham Way & Tresillian Road].

I am advised that the college have given permission in principle but I am awaiting written confirmation of this. This is assuming that they actually own the land and can give such permission. Car park entrance is on Tresillian Road.

The event will comprise up to 20 stalls each supplying food or craft goods made and grown by the sellers. It would in effect be a 'farmers type' market.

In order that I can respond promptly should formal application actually be made, I am already seeking some initial views of various relevant people, including Council officers, Councillors, the Brockley Society and the readers of Brockley Central.

The legal grounds for objection are quite limited and are restricted to one or more of the matters set out below:

(a) inadequate arrangements having been proposed for accommodating the vehicles of persons attending the occasional sale;

Organiser believes that customers will walk to the event so vehicle accommodation should not be too problematical. He envisages using the front half of the car park for stalls and the rear for any vehicles that need to be accommodated.
(b) inadequate arrangements having been proposed for controlling road congestion, litter or noise caused by the occasional sale;

Road congestion - see above but as location [ although not the entrances] is right on the main road I am seeking a view from Highways section and have also suggested that organiser seeks a view from the police
Litter - Organiser advises that sellers will clear up after them but he would consider applying for a trade waste agreement if required. There is the possibility that event waste might migrate onto the roads /pavements. Cleansing and waste colleagues are being consulted.
Noise - Organiser advises that he would prohibit amplified sound

Brockley MAX 2011 - Starts Tomorrow

Jazzchantoozie Andrea Mann performs at Brockley MAX 2010

The 10th annual Brockley MAX festival starts tomorrow, with the traditional opening night concert outside the Brockley Barge. This year's programme is dedicated to the memory of Gill Fraser, who worked tirelessly alongside organiser Moira Tait to stage previous festivals and who sadly passed away this year.

We asked Moira to tell us about this year's event.

How does this year’s festival compare to previous MAXes?

This is the biggest year yet with 67 events which is amazing considering Gill’s no longer with us. I feel is a testament to how much people love the festival and support it by holding events.

How many attendees are you expecting, across the festival programme?

Last year, we estimated over 4000 people came, but it is a difficult one to calculate as there are so many events to get round and do a quick head count. We do know that the website visits are double the number of last year so hopefully that’s a good indication of potential numbers.

What's different about the MAX this year? How is the festival evolving over time?

I’m really pleased we have several spoken word and poetry events this year as the festival has been short on them the last couple of years. However, the events at the Toad’s Mouth cafĂ© (two of which are poetry) have had to be cancelled due to a death in the family, so we are looking for new venues as we speak.

Do keep an eye out for updates on the website and our Facebook site. I’m also very pleased that we have 3 photography exhibitions this year by the Brockley Photographers Group and curated by Darrell Morris.

In terms of evolution, the festival changes as people’s interests change. Because we are always so short of funding we have to rely on performers to offer to hold events, rather than the organising team dictating what happens. This I see as positive (although more money would be wonderful) as it means Brockley Max really is a community festival.

Which new performers and artists should MAX regulars look out for?

That’s always a difficult one to answer as there are so many good performers and events!

I would urge everyone to come to the Opening Night by Brockley station as we have some great acts this year. Jazz at The Orchard on 30 May looks great, the poetry events, The Mike King choir at St Hildas Church, and for film we have a Q&A with Sybil Phoenix after a documentary about her life and work.

We also have some great regular acts who are always popular – Peter Searles is back after a few years break with his Through Peru (now free at the Orchard), Shedload of Love at the Wickham Arms, Mazaika’s Peter and the Wolf children’s show followed by an evening performance at St Hilda’s, and the regular Brockleywood Nights.

And of course on Sunday at Jam Circus we have a Tribute to Gill, my co-organiser, with torch songs performed by Richard Swan, Anita Maj, Sarah Blair, Celia Byrne and Dan Maitland.

Who is the mysterious Dunwoody mentioned in the programme?

Who is Dunwoody indeed! Children will have to find clues dotted around Brockley to discover who he/she is. Their first clue will be on the Brockley Max website soon. And I have heard rumours though that Dunwoody may be at the Art In The Park on 4 June.

Has the MAX budget been hit by Lewisham Council cuts this year?

Certainly the Lewisham Arts Service funding has been cut, and there’s been no call for applications so far this year, to which I would have applied. And generally there are fewer funding sources for the arts, which is why Brockley Max would not have happened this year without the support of the Brockley, Ladywell and Crofton Park Locality funds.

We’ve also have financial support from several of our venues and when the festival is so short of money, every little bit helps. I’m about £1000 down at the moment so please support the festival and buy raffle tickets! I’m also putting in applications for the Mayors Fund for next year’s festival, so make sure you come to the Local Assembly meetings later in the year and vote for us.

Why is there no Hilly Fields concert this year and what how will you replace its role as the climax of the festival?

The lack of a Hilly Fields concert is purely down to money. I’ve a third of the funding this year compared to last and an event such as last year costs in the region of £13000.

We will be holding the Art In The Park on 4 June from 12-5pm which we have done so for many years with children’s art workshops, dance and acoustic music , the Jam Circus bar, food stalls and an art market so there’s plenty to see and do. (And we still need volunteers!) I think having events at several venues for the closing night will give people a bigger choice and at the same time supporting our sponsors. And I’ll be trying to get round to all of them!

What are you most looking forward to this year?

In a bitter sweet way I’m looking forward most to Gill’s tribute night as a way of remembering an incredible woman who was my friend as well as my co-organiser. She loved Brockley Max, the arts and this community so it would be great to see as many people there as possible.

650 young Lewisham residents could be hit by housing benefit cuts

The vastly-improved-since-it-became-free Evening Standard reports that 12,000 young people in London risk losing their homes due to cuts in housing benefits, according to housing charity Crisis. Lewisham is in the top ten boroughs likely to be hit, with 650 people expected to be affected. The paper explains:

Official figures show that single people aged between 25 and 35 will lose as much as £116 per week.

Claimants will only be given enough to rent a room instead of a one-bedroom flat now, bringing them into line with the under-25s.

Lewisham Library Campaigners Go To Downing Street

Gus: That's a bloody outrage, it is! I want to take this all the way to the Prime Minister. [they go down to a lake] Oi! Mr. Prime Minister! Andy!
Andy: [floating naked on an inner tube with a beer] Eh, mates! What's the good word?
- Bart vs Australia

The People Before Profit party took their campaign to prevent the Council from 'closing five libraries'* across the borough to Downing Street. The South London Press has the story, reporting:

John Hamilton, from the Lewisham People Before Profit Party, said on the rally: “We are asking David Cameron to ask him to step in and overrule the council’s decision.
These libraries are important facilities that are well used by people.
We are not giving up the fight to save them.”

*Only New Cross is actually threatened with closure, the others are being transferred in to the care of social enterprises, with the Blackheath library collection being relocated. See here for details.

The state of Lewisham's parks

The 2011 Lewisham Parks survey is now underway. You can complete the survey before June 17th by following this link.

Doggers and dog poo notwithstanding, we're lucky to have some outstanding green spaces on our doorsteps - in particular, Hilly Fields, Telegraph Hill, Ladywell Fields and Blythe Hill. There's also been substantial investment in our green spaces over the last few years, with new playgrounds, waterways and sports facilities either completed or in the pipeline, so please have your say on how our parks can be maintained and improved.

With thanks to Tamsin.

Lewisham Council creates 40 apprentice places

Lewisham Council writes:

The Lewisham Apprenticeship Scheme is advertising up to 40 new vacancies online, providing young people in the borough with more opportunities to earn as they learn.
The new apprenticeship roles cover areas such as finance, human resources administration, caretaking, youth work, theatre management, community development, and carpentry.
The apprenticeships, which will start from September 2011, are a mixture of on and off the job training. On the job, apprentices will gain key transferable skills including working in a team, communication and using new technology. Off the job, they will spend time working towards a Level 2 or 3 National Vocational Qualification (NVQ).
Apprentices will receive an annual salary of £14,350 and £500 bonus on successful completion (subject to performance and attendance), 26 days annual leave and 8 bank holidays.

The apprentices will be supported by an experienced manager and a tutor at Lewisham College. Once the apprentices have completed their traineeship, they’ll be in a strong position to move into a permanent job.
To apply, candidates need to be a Lewisham resident, aged between 16 and 24, have GCSE level A to C or NVQ level 1 in English and Maths or equivalent, and be eligible to work in the UK.
The closing date for applications is Friday 10 June and prospective candidates can find out more about the apprenticeship scheme and apply on the Lewisham Council website at or through the Lewisham Homes website at

Co-Op to open in West Brockley

More supermarket news. The Co-Operative has confirmed that they will be opening a new food store in West Brockley.

After a post on the forum suggested that the Co-Op was planning something, the Co-Op press office has issued this statement:

“We can confirm that we have exchanged contracts to open a new Co-operative Food store on St Norbert’s Road in Brockley. The move will create a mixture of approximately 20 full and part-time positions at the store.

“We anticipate the store will open in the autumn of this year and we look forward to providing out customers with a pleasant and convenient shopping experience with excellent customer service.”

Tree down! Adelaide Avenue

Clara took this picture of a Hilly Fields tree blown over on Adelaide Avenue during the strong winds last night. One for the Love Lewisham app.

Paradise is Here / Nutcase City Limits - A Brockley Double A-Side

Transpontine watches old Tina Turner videos so we don't have to. He's spotted that Private Dancer was filmed at the Rivoli:

Ladywell Fields celebrates makeover on May 28th

Ladywell Fields has undergone extensive redevelopment over the last couple of years and its full majesty is now ready to be experienced, petanque and all. Lewisham Council writes:

Lewisham residents are invited to Ladywell Fields on Saturday 28 May to enjoy a range of free activities between 12-3pm .

The event marks the completion of the park's regeneration. Following the QUERCUS project in 2008 which helped revive the northern part of Ladywell Fields, Lewisham Council managed to secure £1.94m from the London Development Agency in 2009 to revitalise the central and southern parts of the park. Some eighteen months later, all the work has now been finished.

Amongst the events taking place on 28 May are:

  • Lewisham's Mayor Sir Steve Bullock to open the regenerated park
  • New adventure playground to be unveiled by Lewisham's Mayor. Funded by the Big Lottery, this giant timber structure will provide supervised active fun for 5-16 year olds and will be open Tuesdays - Sundays
  • River Ravensbourne nature wades and Ladywell Fields wildlife walks, organised by staff from Lewisham Council's Rivers and People project
  • River dipping - see what you can catch! Equipment and help with identification of species provided
  • Opening of new 1 mile Walk4Life route. Try out the route with volunteers and staff from Lewisham Healthy Walks
  • Nordic walking taster sessions, organised by Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Free tennis coaching 1-2.30pm
  • Bouncy castles and face painting
  • Food and drinks stalls
  • Ladywell Fields bowling club open day 12-3pm
  • Ladywell Youth Village skating dance performance at 1.30 and 2pm

The park's regeneration has focused largely on revealing the park’s greatest natural asset – the River Ravensbourne. The Council has in particular concentrated on:

  • Improving biodiversity and access to the river, including building a series of timber viewing platforms along the riverside and a number of new paths and bridges
  • There is now an abundance of coarse fish, including roach, dace and chub, and bird life, with herons and ducks inhabiting the river
  • Improving the quality of the the river, with new meanders, pebble ‘beach’ areas, deeper pools and backwaters
  • Work to existing and new entrances, to connect residential areas with the green space
  • Installing new lighting and street furniture to help make the park more user-friendly and accessible
  • Planting an orchard for community use

In addition, sports and leisure facilities in the park have been improved:

  • A new children's playground is now open at the Catford end of the park
  • the tennis courts at the northern and southern ends of the park have been resurfaced
  • three petanque (boules) pitches have been installed
  • a Walk4Life one mile signed walking/running route around the park has been created new signage has been installed for the Waterlink Way which is part of the National Cycle Network and in Lewisham runs from Deptford Creek to Beckenham Place, following the Ravensbourne River

New Ladywell shop on the market

The shop formerly known as Nightwatch has been given a complete makeover and is now yours for £10K per annum.

Reader Patrick reports that an ad has now appeared in their window, stipulating no hot food is to be served on its premises, which would have been tricky in any case, given the small size of the unit.

The finish on the shop is good and nearby businesses such as Geddes, El's Kitchen, Oscar's and Masons have helped to ensure this is a reasonably busy and attractive stretch of high street.

Sainsbury's granted planning permission on Lewisham Way

Sainsbury's has been granted planning permission to open a new high-street branch at 33-35 Lewisham Way, opposite Goldsmiths. The decision, which was passed with the casting vote of the Chair, has been met with some local oppposition, including Brockley ward Green Councillor, Darren Johnson, who said:

"I am terribly disappointed that planning permission has been given. It’s a totally unsuitable site for a supermarket. There’s no proper delivery area and it will just mean delivery lorries clogging up the bus lane and causing traffic chaos. Local businesses are also very worried about the impact of another big supermarket chain, understood to be Sainsbury’s, coming to Lewisham Way.”
“Because it is opposite Goldsmiths College I expect they thing they will do well out of student trade. But they could be in for a shock – students may decide to boycott Sainsbury’s in favour of local businesses.”
Similar complaints were made when Tesco opened its Metro store on Lewisham Way in 2007, but so-far, there has not been business displacement.

Last year, Sainsbury's confirmed its interest in opening in Brockley.

Full disclosure: My employer, Edelman, has Sainsbury's as one of its clients.

Cyclists campaign for fair deal at Blackfriars

South East London cyclists who use Blackfriars Bridge are being urged to support a campaign to secure a better deal for bikes in TfL's development plans for the important river crossing.

Website ibikelondon is organising a "flash ride" tomorrow to protest against revised plans, which the campaigners believe still fall short of providing a safe and convenient route for bikes:

Following a storm of protest over proposals by Transport for London to strip cycle lanes out of the northern junction of Blackfriars Bridge and to increase the road lanes from two to three for cars, TfL yesterday set out their new proposals for the bridge after they were sent back to the drawing board by cycling campaigners...

The new plans are better, but still pretty crap, and will just about help to manage the existing cyclist traffic flow, who will still be expected to battle for space at junctions with buses, taxis and HGVs... but where in these plans is provision for the future? Isn't Boris Johnson's London supposed to be becoming a cyclised city?

Click here for more details. Thanks to b. for letting us know.

Has Tidemill lost a talented head? [UPDATED]

SayingNo, the campaign group that aims to prevent Tidemill School in Deptford becoming an Academy, claims headmaster Mark Elms has resigned.

The headmaster, whose pay was the subject of intense media scrutiny when the GMB highlighted it last year, has been on the receiving end of personal criticism from campaigners against the Academy plans and the issue of his salary resurfaced last month in the national media, when teachers union the NASUWT called for heads' salaries to be made public.

Elms had a successful career as head of Gordonbrock before being asked to turn Tidemill around, a challenge which he met with some success.

We hope to confirm the validity of the SayingNo report as soon as possible.

UPDATE: We're glad to report that the report by SayingNo has proven to be groundless.

The Telegraph Hill Revue Show, June 4th

Sanjit writes:

Well, the feathers have been dusted down, the sequins sown, the lycra and leather prepared - the time is right for the Revue Show to take Telegraph Hill by storm.

The date to remember is Saturday 4th June
The bar at Hill Station opens at 7.30pm and the show starts at 8.30pm (estimated end time 10.45pm)

The venue will be dressed, so should you be in any which way you want - have fun, it's your night! This show is for adults only (18+).

Confirmed acts include:
  • An Opera singer
  • Several bands
  • Street dancers
  • Jazz singers
  • Cabaret performers and singers
  • A blistering comedienne
  • Satirical sketches
  • Torch singers
  • A Drag artiste . . . . and many more amazing acts to confound and delight in equal measure
The Revue Show is a fund-raiser in aid of Bold Vision, a local charity dedicated to making Telegraph Hill an ever greater place to be. Bold Vision has achieved a lot, but there remains a lot more to do. Raising funds will help Bold Vision achieve more for our community.

Book online - (there will only be limited tickets at the door)

New Neighbourhood Community Safety Service

Lewisham Council writes:

Lewisham residents have a chance to meet and find out more about Lewisham Council’s new Neighbourhood Community Safety Service.

The service provides a visible presence on the streets in Lewisham’s local neighbourhoods, working with residents to help them feel safe.

The teams will be working to support other agencies including the police, tackling local issues such as reducing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Residents can meet staff from their local Neighbourhood Community Safety Service, which is divided in to three teams, to find out more, at a series of events across the borough.

Visit the Safer Lewisham Partnership bus from 11am - 4pm on 18th May - Lewisham Town Centre, SE13 (outside the main entrance by the market).

Staff from the Neighbourhood Community Safety Service will be joined by officers from the Lewisham Borough Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Residents can pick up free information and advice on anti-social behaviour, burglary and car crime prevention, personal safety and more. There will also be space to speak to a member of staff or Police Officer confidentially, if needed.

Introducing the Catford forum

The South East Central forum, our sister site, now features a dedicated section for Catford. The site is now about a month old and hosts nearly 250 different conversations and it was time to make a few tweaks. After putting it to the vote, Catford came out as the area most deserving of its own section. We'll be adding a couple more areas in the coming weeks.

Brockley Cross parking - the Council response

Officer Number 1.0: Don't quote me regulations! I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the colour of the book that regulation's in. We kept it grey.

- Futurama

Following the stink BC readers have kicked up about illegal parking (particularly of vans) around Brockley Cross, the Council have been moved to issue this statement:

The Council is aware of some concerns locally about parking in Brockley Cross/Coulgate Street. Our parking enforcement attendants visit the area on a regular basis, to ensure that vehicles are not parking in contravention to the parking regulations. If they are not a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued.

The statement is pretty anodyne but at least it's progress of a sort. We're told that the Council does take the issue seriously - we hope to see some evidence of that and, ultimately, fewer illegally parked vehicles.

Serious incident on Shardeloes Road [UPDATED]

Superman: Well, I hope this experience hasn't put any of you off flying. Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel.

- Superman Returns

We're getting reports via Twitter that a serious incident has occurred this evening on Shardeloes Road. Early reports suggest a middle-aged man wielding a large knife and behaving erratically was arrested by dozens of policemen at the roundabout at the junction of Shardeloes and Vesta Road.

UPDATE: Mike, who wants to stress he is NOT a Daily Mail reader, alerted us to this report in the Daily Mail, which is pretty comprehensive.

Oh, ladyboys

News Shopper's PubSpy has reviewed Jam Circus and has had his mind blown by the exotic life on display in Brockley:

So, roll, roll up! Come see the amazing Brockley boozer which offers all the fun of the fairground at slightly inflated prices. At least their freak show is free.

Dawn chorus on Hilly Fields, May 19th

The Friends of Hilly Fields and the Lewisham Rivers and People Project present another guided walk to greet the dawn chorus in Hilly Fields.

Meet by the flag pole at the top of the park near the tennis courts at 5am on May 19th. Those who went last year didn't regret the early rise.

Myatt Garden Summer Fair 2011, June 11th

Myatt Garden Primary School's Summer Fair will be on June 11th 12pm - 3pm. We hope that whoever was responsible for their frozen daiquiris at the last fair we went to is involved again this year, although the Mini Beast theme they've chosen this time lends itself less well to cocktails than last year's strawberry motif.
Attractions will include:
Human Slug Racing
Gooey Lucky Dip
Splat the Bug
The Stocks
A live mini beast demonstration
Pimms and Smoothies
Bug Parade
To get involved or to make a donation to the raffle, email

Things to do today

Help the Brockley Commoners with another afternoon of gardening at Brockley Station, from 1pm.

Go to The Hob Craft Fair in Forest Hill, where, among others, Brockley glass designer Flaming Lily will be exhibiting.

Read this guide to South London in the Guardian, which features some nice local name checks.

Thank you to the Brockley MAX supporters

On your right hand side, you'll notice a new banner ad for Jam Circus. This is to thank them for their support of this year's Brockley MAX and is Brockley Central's way of helping the cause. The Orchard is another important supporter so you'll be seeing their banner soon too.

So if you like the Brockley MAX, then eat and drink at Jam Circus and The Orchard every day please. And why not buy an extra packet of crisps while you're at the bar? And one more for the road.

One million visits BC

My name is Legion, for we are Many.

Today, after 2,500 articles and 80,000 comments, Brockley Central recorded its one millionth visit. All that time wasted, when we could have been watching telly.

Forthcoming events from the Brockley Society

BrocSoc writes:

Brockley Mews Walkabout (2)
Sunday 22 May, 11am-12.30pm

Meet on the corner Wickham and Harefield Roads. Guided walk and historical explanation by Gillian Heywood MBE, covering Garsington and Breakspears Mews, finishing at the Wickham Arms. This follows last year's first popular walk round Ashby and Wickham Mews. There is always something to learn from Gillian's vast knowledge of Brockley's Victorian and recent history!

Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre
Saturday 18th June, 12 noon - 5pm

Make sure you keep the date free for this highlight community event. Book your STALLS now using the application form on Even if you always have a stall, don't assume we know! Space may run out!

To ADVERTISE in the programme (deadline imminent, circulation 10,000) email

As a community event it needs more VOLUNTEERS - especially on the day! If you can steward or help for a couple of hours, email

On the day we need CAKES! Our tea and cake stall is one of the fayre's highlights and we depend on contributions from all who can bake. You can bring them on the day.

Police ask for witnesses to Dundalk Road fight

Police are appealing for witnesses and information to a serious assault that occurred in Brockley.

On 11th May shortly before 6pm police were called to a disturbance in Dundalk Road, SE4, involving 20+ youths.

Officers attended and found a 16 year old boy at the location suffering from a stab wound to his chest, he was taken to a hospital in South London where he remains in a stable condition.

Several youths were seen making off from the scene when police arrived and three male juveniles all aged 17 years were arrested by officers at the location and taken to a South London Police Station

They have been bailed till a date in June pending further enquiries. Lewisham CID are investigating.

If you have any information, please call Lewisham CID on 0208 284 8372 or call crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

What is going on here?

Fry: Well, thanks to the Internet, I'm now bored with sex. Is there a place on the web that panders to my lust for violence?
- Futurama

Brockley Central runs on a platform called Blogger, a tool built and maintained by Google. Blogger has had all sorts of problems since yesterday and sites like this have lost recent articles and commenting has been disabled. We've also been unable to publish new stories.

It appears that the problems are being resolved. Hopefully, the lost stories will return in the next few hours.

We're not saying that this is all Burson-Marsteller's fault, we're just saying it's a coincidence.

Blythe Hill - Quality worth every penny

Futurama is brought to you by Arachno Spores: The fatal spore with the funny name.
- Futurama

The Friends of Blythe Hill Fields have been in touch about an event taking place in the park this Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, organised by Marks & Spencer’s and Glendale. They say:

The event is to mark and revisit the contribution M&S made to our park as part of the playground redevelopment. They donated the plants that made the bed at the entrance to the playground look so beautiful last year and loads of people, including the Mayor came and joined in planting them.

There’s loads to do, from gardening to bird box making to Face Painting so if you’ve not already got plans for the weekend, why not come and join us - we’re meeting by the playground.

M&S made a significant cash donation to the project and staff volunteers planted one of the flower beds.

Southeastern plans Olympic service cuts to Deptford

853 blog has done an admirable job of highlighting Southeastern's relatively unsung plans to cut train services to Deptford and a host of other SE London stations during the Olympics. Under their proposals, Deptford will only be served by two trains per hour, rather than the usual six, which ought to render the station practically unusable, due to overcrowding.

The changes are planned in response to a dramatic shift in usage patterns during the Games, as people travel to events at Greenwich Park, the O2 and Woolwich.

Now, 853 has managed to extract a response from both Lewisham and Greenwich Councils. Both object, not only because of the disruption this will cause to residents but also because it will limit these destinations' ability to attract Olympic visitors.

Serious incident closes Dundalk Road

A serious incident occurred this evening on the west side of Brockley Station, leading the police to cordon off parts of Dundalk Road.

One local witness who contacted us says that a fight broke out between some young people and one or more people were stabbed.

At least one person was arrested and sniffer dogs were deployed at the crime scene.

We will update the story when more facts emerge.

Browns applies for license

Coulgate Street cafe Browns of Brockley, has applied for a license to serve alcohol until 11pm, Monday to Sunday and provide regulated entertainment, in particular, film screenings and live music.

The cafe has already made its name on the basis of its outstanding coffee quality and established itself as a hipster hangout, so this is a natural move. The Broca already stages evening events and the presence of the Brockley Barge means that Coulgate Street residents are no strangers to drinking establishments. Brown's small size means it's unlikely to become a raucous venue and while The Orchard and the Barge do a good job catering to different clientele, it would be nice to have another local drinking option.

The application notice is available in their window.

The Nature Bug, Telegraph Hill

Saturday 14th May 10am & 11.30 am

As posted on the forum, The Nature Bug, a new nature club for kids, is looking for children (aged 2 - 5) to take part in free trial sessions at Telegraph Hill Centre, Kitto Road, London SE14 5TY.

These fun and interactive sessions will teach children about nature through games, movement and music, art and craft activities and stories. Each child taking part will also get a free Nature Bug gift.

Places must be pre-booked so contact us or visit our website for more info and come along and get The Nature Bug. Contact Vicky:

Tel: 07521 778 136

Martin's Yard update

As promised, work has begun at Martin's Yard. The site has largely been cleared, paving the way for construction of central Brockley's newest street.

DLR upgrade completed, Thameslink milestone passed

TfL has today announced the completion of a £325m project to expand the capacity of the DLR across the network, by converting all of the stations and track for use by three car trains. The new trains began running between Beckton and Tower Gateway yesterday, while the Lewisham upgrade was completed last year. The release states:

The Docklands Light Railway’s (DLR) three-car upgrade was completed on time and within budget with the launch of three-car trains on the Tower Gateway to Beckton route. The £325m upgrade also includes longer platforms, improved track and signalling, £13m of improvements to Tower Gateway station and an entire new station at South Quay. Fifty-five new carriages costing £100m (£80m from TfL and £20m from the Olympic Delivery Authority) were also commissioned.

In related news, the Thameslink upgrade of London Bridge passed a key milestone last week, with the installation of a huge new bridge across Borough High Street. London Reconnections has the pictures.

Brocky Horror Show

After yesterday's Bride of Chucky, we bring you the little guy himself, spotted on Saturday leering through the window of a car on St Asaph Road. We think he was keeping the engine running on the getaway vehicle.

Death's Head, Yes?

All the Pretty Hearses
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo but if anyone knows why this hearse with lurid carpet flooring and a comedy skull has been parked in Brockley Cross for the last few weeks, we'd like to know the story behind it.

Goldsmiths announces new fees structure - 10 free places for Lewisham's best

Goldsmiths is planning to charge the maximum £9,000 annual tuition fees for new students. In a statement issued today, they also announced that 10 free places will be created for students from Lewisham:

Goldsmiths, University of London proposes to set a tuition fee of £9,000 for home/EU students on all undergraduate and PGCE courses and for all new entrants in 2012-13.

Goldsmiths is committed to attracting the most promising academic talent from a wide range of backgrounds, and to ensure we continue to build on this strong tradition we will introduce a raft of bursaries, waivers and awards worth more than £1.6million to help students.

Among those to benefit will be the brightest and best students from the borough of Lewisham, ten of whom will receive a complete fee-waiver to cover their entire undergraduate degree.

In addition to the fee waiver they will have the opportunity to become part of our pool of student ambassadors and be enrolled on our Gold Award, which helps students track and demonstrate their extra-curricular learning and skills development whilst at Goldsmiths. This is turn helps to improve their employment chances.

We will spend 30% of the fee income from all fees above £6,000 on additional measures to improve the student experience and encourage wider access to Goldsmiths. This substantial level of investment is consistent with our wish to maintain our ongoing success in attracting students to Goldsmiths regardless of their background.

We will also continue to work closely in partnership with local schools, colleges and universities to ensure aspirations are raised at an early age. That support extends to families and schools of students who are considering university, and will involve us supporting the application process too.

Pat Loughrey, Warden at Goldsmiths, said:

“We are committed to making Goldsmiths as socially inclusive as possible and this is reflected in our access agreement which is one of the most generous out there.

“We hope the £1.6million pledged towards fee waivers and bursaries will demonstrate the importance we place on ensuring Goldsmiths is open to those wishing to study with us, and firmly embeds Goldsmiths within the borough of Lewisham and South East London.”

Breakdown of support:

Full waivers for Lewisham’s brightest talent
We will give ten merit-based £9,000 fee-waivers (covering a full undergraduate degree) to the brightest and best students from Lewisham, our local borough. Those students will become part of our pool of student ambassadors and be enrolled on our Gold Award, which helps students track and demonstrate their extra-curricular learning and skills development through College.

Further £3,000 for each National Scholarship recipient
We will match our 2012-13 scholarship allocation, which is £195,000 and equates to 65 scholarships, with a further £3,000 for those scholars offered as either a fee-waiver or as a bursary, depending upon the scholar’s own choice.

Financial support for care-leavers
We will offer up to five awards of £4,000 value, as either a fee waiver, a bursary, or in-kind support (e.g. accommodation costs, computers, books) to students who are care-leavers.

Bursaries for those from non-traditional academic backgrounds
We will offer up to 10 bursaries of £3,000 for students over 25 who come from a non-traditional academic background but show great academic potential. These awards will be made on merit.

Awards for students with a disability
We will offer up to four awards of £4,500, as either a fee-waiver or a bursary, to students with a disability. These awards will be assessed on academic merit and on students need, to ensure that they are well-focussed.

Awards for students from our neighbouring boroughs
We will offer an award of £750 for students from Lewisham, Southwark, Greenwich, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets and Newham from homes with a combined income of less than £50,000. We will offer awards of £1,000 to students from homes with a combined income of less than £50,000 in neighbourhoods with a low university participation rate, offered as either a fee waiver or a cash bursary.

Waivers for students living outside of London from low income backgrounds
We will offer a fee waiver of £500 for all students in England, who do not live in the above boroughs and are eligible for a full maintenance grant to benefit students from lower income backgrounds outside London.

Strengthening our outreach links
We will be increasing the emphasis given to outreach work by academic departments, with increasing emphasis on departmental links with schools and colleges through progression compacts, and by strengthening the role of departmental leads. This will help to address subject specific widening access and retention issues which we know to have an impact in creative disciplines particularly.

South East Central Bites

Here's some of the stuff we unearthed on the forum recently:

Lewisham Police Station Open Day, May 8th

Damon Macready: Tool up, honey bunny. It's time to get bad guys.
- Kick Ass

Lewisham Police Station will open to the public from 10am tomorrow. The website says:

The open day will be a family event encouraging visitors to take a look behind the scenes of the largest police station in Europe.

The event will be opened at 10:00 am by the Borough Commander for Lewisham Borough Police, Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton.

Visitors will be able to cast their eyes over vintage police vehicles and original police artefacts that include old-fashioned handcuffs and historic police uniforms from the 1800s.

In keeping with modern policing, there will be a number of stalls with scenes of crime officers explaining the role they perform at critical incidents, visitors will get the chance to have their fingerprints taken which will not be kept on file but placed on a badge as a souvenir for them to take home.

They will also be able to try on riot gear, stroke police horses and speak directly with local officers and officers from specialist units that include the Territorial Support Group (who assist the borough in tackling street crime and large scale public order incidents) and Counter Terrorism Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit.

With thanks to Bob.

Magic tonight in Telegraph Hill

At: St Catherine's Church, Pepys Road, Telegraph Hill, SE14

Mr Magic presents an evening of genteel parlour magic and mentalism.

For adults and 13+, to raise money for the further development of the Hill Station.

7.30pm: Bar in Hill Station

8.00pm: Show in St Catherine's Church followed by table tricks and drinks in Hill Station. Book online
at or buy on the door: £8 and £4 (concessions)