Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham inches forward

It's out! The final draft of Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy for London and the South East is out! The document is a capacity plan for all routes in to London over the next 20 years and includes support for a southern extension to the Bakerloo Line from Elephant & Castle, with the most likely route passing through New Cross Gate, Lewisham, Ladywell, Catford and on to Hayes:

The RUS supports the concept of a southern extension to the London Underground Limited Bakerloo line, providing new journey opportunities and alleviating crowding on rail routes
into London Charing Cross, by means of taking over the Hayes route...

Such a line would also provide additional capacity in inner South London, greatly improving travel opportunities for areas such as Denmark Hill and Camberwell. There may also be capacity relief to the Elephant & Castle corridor to Blackfriars, depending on the specific route chosen.

Lewisham Council's submission during the consultation process supported an extension along the Hayes route in principle.

The extension (not likely to materialise before the next decade) would significantly improve local transport options and capacity, with Brockley Station one stop from a major new interchange at New Cross Gate. But how would Ladywell residents feel about the loss of Hayes trains?

Common Growth

Common Growth is a gardening project on Sandbourne Road that has restored an unloved patch of land to create a community space. They are holding an art event between 2pm-5pm today and would welcome visitors who fancy learning more about the project or want to get involved.

The space, on the edge of the Sandbourne Road housing estate, is roughly 150m2 and is owned by Lewisham Council. It was formerly a play area and pedestrian access route for the houses on the Sandbourne Road estate to the West of the car park. The play area and rights of way were closed to the public and the area was maintained by Lewisham Homes.

If you can't go today but are interested in supporting the project, email them at

Squeeze at the Greenwich Summer Sessions

Growing up in South East London, little traces of Squeeze were scattered about over the decades: a friend's house used to belong to one of them, a local restaurant was the 'favourite' of another, members performed a benefit concert for a local school here, and composed a tribute to a Blackheath alleyway there. They are to South East London as Joy Division is to Manchester. If you don't like Squeeze, you have no business being here. Or anywhere.

Last night, supported by the excellent Turin Brakes, they played the Greenwich Summer Sessions at the old Naval College, so it was time for Brockley Central to pay homage.

In a suit and close-cropped hair, Glenn Tilbrook looks like Ray Winstone's kindlier brother, with a voice as strong and clear as it ever was. Chris Difford's voice is the perfect raspy compliment, but a little weak when he takes the lead - with the exception of his Cool for Cats, which was the show's stand out moment.

The crowd, in beautifully-lit surroundings that would make an Oxford May Ball weep, was, as one BC tweeter put it, "the most civilised I have ever seen" except during Take Me I'm Yours, when middle aged women in sensible shoes became maenads and the area in front of stage where a mosh pit should be became an erotic swirl of fleece tops and grown-up hair cuts. Hipsters who'd come to pay their respects to Squeeze stood and marvelled.

During the week, Mark Ronson proved the venue was perfect for a wake. Last night, Squeeze showed it works just as well for a homecoming.

Members of the band return for a concert on Sunday called Songs in the Key of London, doors open at 17.30pm.

The O2 wins approval for rooftop walkway

AEG has won planning permission to install a walkway over the top of the O2 Arena, creating a new tourist attraction for South East London ahead of the Olympics.

We've fancied walking on it ever since James Bond crashed on to it in the World Is Not Enough, so this is good news as far as we're concerned. Precisely the entertainingly pointless sort of thing London should do.

Silent Cinema at the Deptford Project

Joe Aguirre: You boys sure found a way to make the time pass up there.
- Brokeback Mountain

Silent Cinema has returned to the Deptford Project this summer.

Apologies, you've already missed the 'Sci-Fi Alien Invasion Weekend', but there are still five movies left in the season, including:

29.07.11 Pretty In Pink 7pm
30.07.11 Grease 7pm
11.08.11 Terms of Endearment 7pm
12.08.11 Brokeback Mountain 7pm
13.08.11 Beaches 7pm

Watching the films via headphone and take them off at the end of Beaches to hear a carriage full of context-less sobbing. Click here to buy tickets.

Greenspaces: Ladywell Fields

Less a park than a self-contained Green Chain walk, Ladywell Fields is a collection of green spaces - dissected by rivers and railway lines and linked by the route of the Ravensbourne River - with each part offering a different experience.

Ladywell Fields has been transformed by a regenerative process that began in 2006 with a project called QUERCUS which had the aim of making better use of the river to improve the park and design-out crime and anti-social behaviour. A second project funded by the London Development Agency was completed earlier this year and the result of these combined works is a triumph, creating some genuinely lovely, watery moments in the heart of Lewisham. Ladywell Fields encourages people to sit and enjoy the water or to take off your shoes and start paddling.

The entrance nearest Ladywell Station presents a large grassy expanse, framed on one side by Lewisham Hospital and on the other by tall trees masking the railway line. In the middle runs a small (man made) stream with pebbly banks on one side, perfect for toddlers to play in. We were wondering how we could capture the Seurat-like scene without photographing a load of toddlers, when this dog came and obliged.
Nearby, there's a little tea hut, which may or may not serve good food, but we gave up queueing after ten minutes of making very little progress.

Further south and over the railway track is a spot forded with large stones and overhung with logs. We don't know how much of it is designed or natural, but everytime we've passed it has looked like something out of Tom Sawyer, with kids wading, splashing and climbing, albeit in a river rather narrower than the Mississippi.

The land is pretty flat, which means that it lacks the spectacular views offered by nearby Blythe Hill and Hilly Fields, but has plenty of space for other stuff, including tennis courts, two children's playgrounds, a collection of skate ramps, an adventure playground for 8-16 year olds, a camogie pitch (a sport which jostles with dodgeball in terms of local participation levels) and of course an athletics centre - the Ladywell Arena. There's also a dry river bed, with water pumps if you want to have a go at filling it up yourself.

Ladywell Fields offers something completely different to other local parks and an experience that changes with every bridge you cross or corner you turn.

Water-way to have a good time. Cheers!

London cycle hire expansion steers clear of South East London

Ross Lydall has a copy of a map showing how the TfL London cycle hire scheme will be expanded in to the East End and further in to West and South West London early next year. In addition to creating new docking stations, the project will involve more bikes being added to the most popular docking stations.

The bad news of course is that none of the docking stations will come anywhere further South East than Bermondsey. The scheme is designed with casual cyclists and tourists in mind. For the former group, the relative lack of employment hubs and river crossings in the South East and East are significant impediments to making a South East expansion viable, while for the latter, the Old Kent and Jamaica Roads represent formidable barriers to hotspots like Greenwich. We are probably doomed to be forever without them.

Dodgeball against Alzheimer's

Dwight: We could sell blood and semen.
[everyone gives him a strange look]
Dwight: What? Not mixed together.
- Dodgeball

Brockley's dodgeball jock Steve writes:

One of our players, Karen, is arranging a Dodgeball Tournament on Wednesday the 10th August in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

We're currently between seasons before the action starts again in September we thought that it might be a good idea to enter a team, support a great cause and use the opportunity to give prospective new players a taste of dodgeball with a view to joining us on a more permanent basis.

It turns out that Brockley isn't the hotbed of Dodgeball talent we thought it might be as the 2nd team 'The Really Awful Dodgers' - mainly recruited from a Brockley Central posting - managed to finish their first season with a spectacular reputation. The only blemish on their 0% record was when one of the other teams failed to turn up for a fixture and they won by default.

However, the apres-Dodgeball has been brilliant and it is fast becoming fashionable to have an Awful Dodger as a 'celebrity guest' at many a Brockley House Party. The only drawback is that, judging by the contents of our fridge last Sunday, they turn up laden with bottles of rose wine and then procede to drink the house dry of rum.

We're really keen to keep this season's recruitment drive to the local areas. If any South East Londoners want to join our happy squad for the tournament or for the Autumn League season they should e-mail: for more details.

Tournament Details:
Wednesday 10th August
Venue: Drill Hall - Mile End Road
Entry fee: £5 per player (a bargain compared to our regular league match fees)
Times: There are slots for 5pm, 6pm and 7pm. We'll probably start at 7pm.

Jubilee Line improved timetable starts July 31st

TfL's own Monkeyboy reports via the South East London Forum that the improved Jubilee Line timetable comes into effect this weekend, meaning we'll get 27 trains per hour serving the station and slightly quicker journey times.

This should reduce congestion at Canada Water and mean the end to years of weekend closures and annoying gaps in the timetable.

Goldsmiths' planned art gallery

We're indebted to Transpontine, whose fantastic account of the history of Laurie Grove Baths in New Cross also mentions its possible future use as a gallery for Goldsmiths exhibitions.

The baths, located just off Lewisham Way in the centre of New Cross, were built at the turn of the last century and the pool was in use until 1991, before being converted into an art school for Goldsmiths in 1994.

Now, Goldsmiths plans to convert the old water tower in to a gallery space to display students' work and host events. The designs, which have secured planning permission, look pretty cool: a dramatic weathered steel entrance leads up to a display space in the old water tanks:

The gallery itself will be contained within the existing metal water tanks – a secondary structure will be built within the tanks to provide suitable fixings for hanging artworks and to support to a new roof, without penetrating or damaging the listed fabric.

To prevent intruding on the existing tanks, ventilation and heating services for the gallery will be external above the ‘inner roofs’ feeding through the new roof and into the gallery. The air-handling plant will be located on the roof of the new entrance, minimising duct runs.

The existing profiled metal roof will be removed and replaced with a new dark grey, profiled metal, ‘sawtooth’ construction. The new roof will control light conditions within the gallery and will be slightly higher than the current pitched roof to allow sufficient depth for the north lights. The new gallery will wrap around the existing chimney which will remain the principal
feature of the western frontage of the building.

Goldsmiths is currently trying to secure funding for the project.

Two men charged with Howson Road murder

The News Shopper reports that two men have been charged with the murder of Matthew Clement, who was found dead on Howson Road in May last year. One of the men charged lives on Foxberry Road, Brockley.

Details here.

UPDATE: The News Shopper also reports that: Taurean Davis, aged 26, of no fixed abode, appeared in person at Croydon Magistrates' Court today charged with murder.

Bicycle Leaves

We don't know much about art, but we know what we bike. This bicycle hangs among the leaves of a front garden in Breakspears Road - another of Brockley's hidden eccentric treasures.

Have you met Miss Jones?

Olivier Award-winning Brockleyite Leanne Jones is leading a night of cabaret at the Brockley Jack Theatre on August 14th.

Tickets cost £10, the performance starts at 7.30pm. Click here for the Brockley Jack box office.

Hotel plan for Seager Distillery

The Deptford Dame reports that the developers of the Seager Distillery are planning to substitute the planned office space for a 4-star hotel, shifting the proposed gallery round the corner and installing a restaurant.

The application requests:

Change of use of permitted office (B1) floorspace within International House, and of permitted office (B1) and art gallery (sui generis) floorspace within Holland House to use as a 90 bedroom hotel (C1) with an ancillary ground floor restaurant (A3) on the ground floor of Holland House, along with a change of permitted use of two middle ground floor units of Norfolk House from office (B1) to art gallery (sui generis) at the redeveloped site of Old Seagar Distillery & Norfolk House, 4-12 Deptford Bridge SE8.

As The Dame says:

The developer was originally granted planning permission to convert the old distillery building that fronts on to Deptford Broadway into a ground-floor art gallery and six floors of office space.

But now they are claiming that they've had no interest in the office space, but have been approached by a hotel chain wanting space for a four star hotel with 90 rooms.

The Dame is concerned about the gallery being given a less prominent spot and that's a valid complaint, although galleries tend to cope pretty well in some unprepossessing locations and if we were going to start a gallery, we don't think we'd be too troubled about being shifted from facing on to a busy dual-carriageway to a quieter spot.

In our view, the more significant question is whether the loss of office space is a set-back for local economic development. Lewisham has relatively little high-quality office space with which to attract jobs. These developments are an opportunity to help redress the balance. As with Convoy's Wharf, office space is being lost to hotel space. In the case of Convoy's Wharf, we argued that hotels are an important creator of jobs and driver of economic activity and the same argument can be applied here. However, in this case, all of the office space is threatened. Is a large high-quality hotel in the area better than an office building? We don't know.

The other question is how a 4-star operator expects to make a success of this location. We sometimes accuse critics of other developments of suffering a failure of imagination, but we're experiencing one of those ourselves in this instance. We guess the operators are relying on the ready access to Greenwich and Canary Wharf via the DLR, in which case, Deptford will have to work hard to capitalise on the regular inflow of hotel guests.

Gentlemen to bed, for we rise at... just after daybreak

Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.

- AA Milne

Tim sent us these photos of hot air balloons floating over Brockley in the early hours of this morning. One played relaxing music as it passed by his window.

The Crystal Palace Overground Festival, August 10th-13th

All hail the East London Line. So grateful are the people of Crystal Palace for its ginger munificence that they've named their festival after it. And thanks to the ELL, the ritual sacrifices and virgin deflowerings that the festival presumably offers are within easy reach for Brockley residents:

The Crystal Palace Overground Festival will take place over 4 days, featuring over 50 attractions and 30 live acts, including local live music, poetry, theatre, comedy, film, food and fashion around the Crystal Palace Triangle, with events running in the week leading up to and during the main outdoor event itself at Westow Park.

Local bars will host gigs and DJs and there will be a ceramic workshop for children, a silent auction, painting and tailoring demonstrations, an open air cinema, shopping, including vintage and antiques and more.

So, Mo Pho... go? No go? Blow-by-blow below

Mo Pho, the new Vietnamese restaurant on Coulgate Street that replaced Long Time Cafe, has opened. More than just a rebrand, the place is under new ownership (after the previous team lost its way in recent years) and is now focused on Vietnamese food, rather than Asian fusion. They've also reinstated the small dining area, which gives the place back its friendly ambience.

We've not had a chance to try the food yet, but early reports are good. Please post your comments and reviews here.

Blackheath music festival approved

New music festival 'On Blackheath' will go ahead next year after an appeal by the Blackheath Society was thrown out by Bromley magistrates.

The promoters tempted fate by calling their company Nimby, but a festival on the heath - which after all recently swallowed a Climate Camp whole without anyone noticing and which regularly hosts depressing fun fairs and an entire marathon - has the potential to be fantastic.

Bromley magistrates dismissed the appeal brought by the Blackheath Society against Lewisham Council, which granted a 10-year licence to Nimby Events Ltd last year.

The society now faces an £80,000 legal bill following the seven day hearing, the longest appeal ever heard under current licensing laws.

This year’s festival, due to attract 50,000 people over two days, was abandoned because of the lengthy court case, but organisers are now planning to hold the first On Blackheath festival in September 2012.

853 also notes that Lewisham Council got a telling off for failing to consult properly in the first place.

Co-Op launches St Norbert's Road

There's been another salvo fired in the local supermarket war. This time, by the Co-Op.

With a press release which makes it sound a little like impoverished South East Londoners should be impressed by a number with so many noughts in it, the Co-Op has announced its new "£350,000" food store in West Brockley:

On Thursday 28 July, a £350,000 Co-operative Food store will open on St Norbert’s Road in Brockley. The investment underlines The Co-operative’s commitment to serving local communities and has created 16 new jobs.

To mark the occasion artists from Lewisham Art House will perform a ribbon cutting ceremony at the store at 10am. A fellow co-operative organisation, the Lewisham Art House was formed over fifteen years ago and is dedicated to fostering artistic endeavour within the local area. The artists will receive a donation of £200 towards group funds.

Ken Tyler, manager of the new store said: “The Co-operative is a community retailer and we are committed to playing a real role in local life. It is fantastic that members of the Lewisham Art House can join us on our special day.

“Our store will operate in the heart of Brockley, providing an ideal location for people to shop locally. It is important to all the members of staff here that we meet people’s needs and we are all looking forward to welcoming our new customers.”

The bright and spacious store will be open 7am – 10pm, Monday to Saturday and 8am – 10pm on Sundays. Extensive ranges of fresh fruit and vegetables will be available, as well as higher welfare meat and fish. Seasonal products will be introduced throughout the year and The Co-operative bakery will provide a selection of breads and pastries baked fresh in store.

As the leading supermarket supporter of Fairtrade foods, The Co-operative’s extensive Fairtrade range will also be offered, encompassing everything from chocolate, fruit and nuts, to cereals, cakes and a market-leading wine range.

To celebrate the opening of the store, The Co-operative will be staging a series of events and promotions from 10am until 4pm on Saturday 30 July. Rather than the traditional red carpet, shoppers will be able to enter the store via a green carpet that emphasises The Co-operative’s ethical credentials. Shoppers can also try their luck on fun scratch cards for a chance to win prizes from The Co-operative’s family of businesses, including a holiday worth £1000, electrical items and food vouchers.

The Co-operative is different because it gives profits back to its members through the Membership dividend scheme. Members can choose to keep the cash from their dividend payment or donate all or part of their share to local good causes.

Membership of The Co-operative, which costs just £1, offers a range of benefits including a say in how stores are run and the opportunity to support The Co-operative’s campaigns on issues such as climate change and social inclusion.

[Full disclosure: my agency does a bit of work for Sainsbury's, yada yada].

Greenwich Summer Sessions, July 26th -31st

Greenwich Summer Sessions is an an open-air concert series set in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College.

Now in its second year, 2010's concerts attracted more than 8,000 people over four nights. This year's event is even bigger, running over six nights and featuring the likes of the Divine Comedy, Mark Ronson and Squeeze.

For details and tickets, click here.

If you went last year, please tell us what you thought.

Prison break

This is the best Miss Sally ever.

- Agamemnon "The Mole" Busmalis, Oz

Earlier today, a Serco van carrying prisoners got stuck under the bridge on Mantle Road, which continues to snare the unwary like a trapdoor spider. We weren't there, don't have any pictures, but imagine it probably looked a bit like this.

Thanks to Brockley's Twitterati for piecing it together.

Gruff trade in Brockley

The shop formerly known as The Shop on the Hill on Harefield Road is the new home of architecture practice Gruff.

Owned by local resident Rhys Cannon, Gruff's offices showcase an eclectic range of conceptual work, from sexy tuning fork pylons to pivoting beach huts, but Cannon also does residential commissions and recently took part in this year's Architect in the House. He says he'd be delighted for people to drop in during the day, as the more work he does locally, the easier it will be for him to keep the office in the area.

Together with Green Tea Architects in Brockley Cross and the progress at Martin's Yard, Gruff's arrival suggests that the Council's long-term ambition for Brockley as the home to a variety of small professional companies clustered around the East London Line may be taking shape.

It's also nice to see these units - in a great location and next door to the excellent Orchard - filling up again.

Tesco plans Lewisham revamp

Tesco has revealed plans to redevelop its central Lewisham supermarket. Presumably mindful of the major influx of potential customers being lured to within walking distance by the Silk Mills and Renaissance developments, the designs place a lot of emphasis on improving pedestrian links to the shop.

Tesco's pitch is:
  • A modernised store offering a first class shopping experience within an improved environment
  • A completely redesigned modern entrance opening out onto the Silk Mills path
  • Landscape improvements to the walkway alongside the River Quaggy, creating an area of public space
  • Enhancing the river with additional planting and gravel to improve its flow
  • A completely redesigned car park with improved lighting to provide better security and safety
  • Separate dedicated entrances for pedestrians, buses and cars to make access easier and safer
By Tesco standards, the designs are relatively modernist, eschewing their usual kitsch stylings. And the public space improvements look like they'll be an improvement.

They also say, in an unhelpfully cryptic way:

Our plans allow for the future longer-term development of the island site and the adjacent surface car park to develop new homes and create a new town centre neighbourhood to meet Lewisham Council's aspirations.

If anyone knows anything more about these longer-term plans (which sound far more significant than the ones the website promotes), please share.

[Full disclosure: As I've mentioned many times before, the agency I work for, Edelman, does a small amount of work for Sainsbury's]

Former gallery space converted to retail

The owners of The Tea Factory have been given permission to change unit 2 (previously known as The Tea Leaf Art Gallery) in to a retail space or office for professional or financial statements.

When the building was completed Tea Leaf Arts were given a two year rent free period as part of the developer's Section 106 agreement, to develop a commercially sustainable business. Unfortunately the gallery couldn't find a viable model at that location, so it's quite right that this should be returned to commercial use.

With Tea Dance for Little People to the left and Green Tea Architects to the right, it remains to be seen what kind of tea-themed business could make a go of it there. Tea Money Transfers?

Two Goldsmiths alumni nominated for 2011 Mercury Music Prize

Goldsmiths outstanding contribution to the local arts scene was underlined today when two of its alumni were nominated for this year's Mercury Music Prize.

Peckham's Katy B and north Londoner James Blake were among the 12 acts shortlisted.

Want smaller bins?

In response to a suggestion by BCer Jonathan, we've set up a petition for readers who would like the Council to offer local residents smaller bins.

Many of our pavements are clogged with wheelie bins, which is ugly and often inconvenient to pedestrians, especially people with pushchairs or in wheelchairs.

Lewisham Council say they will introduce smaller recycling bins in an area if more than 300 people ask for them. The smaller bins would not be compulsory, but those who want them would benefit, as would everyone else who will have to navigate fewer of them on their daily walks.

The Council recently introduced smaller black bins which cut waste and reduced pavement clutter without causing any problems, so this petition is designed to show the Council that there is a local demand for smaller bins.

If the petition gets to 300+ names, we'll pass it on to the Council.

A new work hub for Telegraph Hill?

Clare writes with what sounds like a fantastic idea that she wants some feedback on:

I'm working with Oak Hill nursery on Wallbutton Road to look at ways they can generate more income.

Our idea is to establish a 'work hub' for self employed people, providing flexible desk space and childcare facilities alongside providing some employment and business support, including meeting rooms and events space. Before going ahead with it the Nursery wants to gain an idea of local demand through circulating an online survey to local residents.

Oak Hill nursery is researching the possibility of developing a work hub to extend and expand the work of the existing children's centre on Wallbutton Road. In order to gauge local demand, please complete this one minute survey and pass the link on to anyone else who may be interested.

Greenspaces: The Deptford Railway Meadow Association

The first meeting of the DRMA was an informal affair

The Deptford Railway Meadow Association is a local residents group who are working to turn a local area of land owned by Network Rail into a wildlife meadow. They're looking for new members and would love you to join. Frances writes:

We’re a friendly group of local people who got together in 2010 to manage a rough piece of land located at the crossroads of Lucas Street and Thornville Street, SE8. The land belongs to Network Rail and is directly over a railway cutaway. Because it’s over a tunnel the land has all sorts of restrictions as it can’t have too much weight put on it, can’t have trees with big roots on it and has no water source. This means there will never be buildings or allotments there, and for Network Rail’s insurance reasons, the site can’t have animals (such as horses) or permanent open access to the public.

But it’s not all bad news! Network Rail are happy to let responsible local residents use the land as a managed and beautiful wildlife meadow. We hope the site will become a haven for meadow plants and (now endangered) bees, butterflies and bugs and that it will, over time, become a visual treat for passers-by.

Plans are afoot for local groups to use the meadow for wildlife education too. Future plans include bee hives, bird and bat boxes and possibly outdoor sculpture of some kind.

We’d love you to join us. We have friendly local meetings, and volunteer days when people turn out to tend the meadow. It’s a great way to meet your neighbours! You don’t have to become a member to come along and help, but if you would like to it’s £5 per year per adult.

If you'd like to get involved, please drop us a line and we'll connect you.

Brockley Assembly funds more trees and steps

Brockley Road before and after the trees

We didn't make it along to yesterday's Brockley Assembly, but Brockley Cross Action Group and Transition Brockley are reporting that they secured the money they were looking for to fund the projects they proposed - steps to replace the muddy slick on Brockley Common and trees for the newly-widened stretch of Brockley Road, respectively.

The steps were in the original plan for the Common's redevelopment, but had to be abandoned due to a funding shortage. The inevitable happened and people have been trudging up and down the steep slope, however slippery the rain has made it and however minimal the amount of time it saves for people trying to get to the ticket office.

As for the trees, there will be six of them and it's a project which will further ameliorate this stretch of our high street - a process that began with the removal of the bent railings and continued with the widening of the pavement, creation of parking bays and remodelling of access to Coulgate Street.

Lewisham Council, je t'aime

The Architect: I created the Matrix. And several popular video games, including Q-Bert. And Dig-Dug. I didn't create Frogger, but I did I come up with the name for it. Can you believe they wanted to call it 'Highway Crossing Frog'?
Dude: That is so lame!
The Architect: I know, it's the lamest thing I've ever heard. 'Highway Crossing Frog'!

Reader Steve reckons it's time to celebrate our Council's tech-savviness and all the other ways in which Mayor Bullock's dictatorship is benign.

BBC News ran a feature applauding the Council's Love Lewisham phone app this morning, prompting Steve to write to us suggesting a discussion of what Lewisham Council does well. Seeing as they used their website to extol the virtues of Brockley, we think it's a nice idea to use this website for Brockley residents to reciprocate:

I was watching BBC breakfast this morning and they had a feature on graffiti and fly-tipping. The council have developed an app where people can take photos of graffiti/fly-tipping, email them to the council and they'll respond.

In 2002, it took two and a half days to clean up reported graffiti, now it takes on average half a day. And graffiti is down by 73 per cent.

I don't work for the council nor do I have any vested interest in them. I'm not particularly enamoured with them either but credit where credit's due.

You could focus on council achievements. And request that people only post good things and refrain from snidey comments. Leave that for the other forums, some of which are valid.

So Lewisham does clean-up operations well. We'd also offer that the press office is very helpful and the Ward Assemblies are well done. We hear mixed reviews about how helpful it is towards people who want to organise local community events, but on balance, it seems to have a pretty good record.

What else?

Brockley in five bullet points

Actor: We know you don't have any more money left, but that doesn't matter. Just take
whatever you need from our boutiques until you can get back on your feet.
Bankrupt producer: Thank God we're back in Hollywood, where people treat each other right.
- The Simpsons

Lewisham Council has revamped its website and among the changes is a greater emphasis on showcasing the borough's many charms, which is sensible, since there are relatively few other ways for people to discover the area online.

We were asked to contribute five bullet points about what makes Brockley special. Here's our effort - we tried to think laterally, to come up with a list with something in it to enrage just about every type of BC anonymous. The result is a melange of kids, cafes, community and the East London Line. We hope you approve:

  1. Hilly Fields - amazing views and a playground sandpit like an urban beach
  2. The Rivoli Ballroom - a velvety venue that's hosted everyone from Tina Turner to the Kings of Leon.
  3. The independent businesses - unique places like Mr Lawrence, Degustation, The Orchard and Sounds Around.
  4. The East London Line - tube-like service, with added air-conditioning.
  5. The community spirit - free, fun events every week of the year, organised by people who love their home. The only place in London that has a dodgeball team, a Scrabble club and an Indian Orthodox Church.

HAP HOP - new deli for Honor Oak

More good news from our independent retail sector: Hills & Parkes are swapping their deli stall for a more permanent home. They say:

We are delighted to announce that Hills & Parkes Deli is relocating from its weekend station pitch to shop premises at 49 Honor Oak Park Road. We open for business on Monday August 15th at 11:00am and will be trading 6 days a week. We look forward to welcoming you to a new shopping delight on the HoP High Street.

Brockley 'fully accessible' by 2014

BCer Monkeyboy has sent us a copy of TFL's draft accessibility plan, which sets a goal of making Brockley Station fully accessible by 'early 2014'. It notes that this work is fully funded.

New Cross and New Cross Gate are scheduled for Autumn 2013 and Honor Oak for 'late' 2013.

The Song of Songs

Local composer Hugh Shrapnel has composed a piece for a Brick Lane concert to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War. Shrapnel's album South of the River features a piano duet called Ladywell Fields.

The Old Haberdasher, New Cross

The Old Haberdasher
44 Lewisham Way, SE14 6NP
The Old Haberdasher is the latest incarnation of a pub that has had many names in the last few years, including one that never actually got its own sign.

Oli tried out the new place tonight and reports:

It's an improvement on the previous incarnation and has had a good lick of paint but it's not as welcoming as the Royal Albert nor has it been transformed in the same way as the New Cross House. The landlord said he was planning an ambitious menu, so I'm looking forward to that.

Please post your comments and reviews here.


Supercuts, the Upper Brockley Road off-licence, had its alcohol licence revoked by Lewisham Council this evening.

The shop has been at the epicentre of illegal and anti-social behaviour which has plagued that location for years, an problem to which the owner was avowedly indifferent. Following a review, which asked local people to submit their feedback, Councillor Darren Johnson reports on Twitter:

Supercuts Brockley - licensing cttee agreed tonight to revoke their license in the light of evidence submitted.

The decision comes four years after Mayor Bullock vowed to clean up the area using the full range of the Council's powers.

Brockley Assembly, July 16th

The next Brockley Local Assembly meeting will be on Saturday 16th July from 11.30am to 1.30pm. The weekend date is designed to allow people who don't find it easy to attend evening sessions to come along,

Leander Community Centre
Ship Street

Items on the agenda include:

Brockley Safer Neighbourhood Team

Find out more about what the Brockley Safer Neighbourhood team are doing in the ward. Officers will be on hand to answer questions.

Brockley Assembly Fund Voting Event

Listen to presentations from projects bidding to receive assembly funding and decide which projects you would like to see happen. Pick up your voting pack when you register at the door. Those people wishing to vote must arrive before 11.30am.

Browns of Brockley Sunday openings

Browns of Brockley, the Coulgate Street coffee shop, is now open seven days a week, including on Sundays, between 9am and 3pm.

They're also looking forward shortly to opening in the evenings, when they'll be serving "alcoholic beverages and mouthfuls of food." We're looking forward to it.

Oak Hill Nursery searches for local trustees

Tamsin writes:

Oak Hill Community Nursery is recruiting up to three additional charity Trustees/Directors to join its Board at an inspiring time of growth and development. We are a relatively new nursery, set up in 2006 alongside Lewisham Council’s Hatcham Oak Children’s Centre. We provide day-care and early years education to 55 children and have a turnover over of over £0.5m. Our aim is to deliver the highest quality childcare provision, accessible and affordable to local families from the Brockley, Telegraph Hill, Honor Oak and New Cross communities.

We need people with the skills, energy and passion to take the nursery forward, and maintain its position as a successful charity for local children and their families needing a good, flexible and
affordable childcare provider that is part of the local community.

All our Board members come with a local community perspective, understand the needs of children and families, and champion the work of the charity in the neighbourhood.

We need a Board to take the lead in developing and driving forward the charity’s business plan (prepared last year in conjunction with Social Enterprise London), taking primary responsibility
for staff development and mentoring and overseeing premises and facilities management. This is an incredibly exciting time for the nursery as the reconfiguration of local Children’s
Centre Services means that there is an opportunity to take responsibility for the whole of the building, develop new ways to support local families, and establish new sources of income.

We aim to fill these vacancies by the time of our August board meeting. If you are interested, please send a short letter or email (certainly no longer than two sides of A4) by 20th July 2011 to the contacts below, illustrating your skills and commitment matching the above.

We will respond to you within seven days. Please note that these positions are unremunerated, although a limited budget is available for reasonable expenses.

For more information, email Tamsin.

The Crofton Park Community Carnival

Friday 15 July 12.30 – 9.30pm
Courtrai Road street party and St Hilda’s Church site, SE23 1PL

Music, entertainment, refreshments, stalls and more...

Daytime entertainment:

Madcap Coalition, children's games, races, circus skills 12.30pm - 4pm
Stillness School, steel band
Mambeena Arts, Brazilian drumming and performance 3.30pm

Evening Entertainment on the street stage:

5.30pm acoustic set Sam and Isaac
6.30pm Street Zumba class by Carla Lima
7pm Sarah Rutherford
7.30pm Felix Rock Choir

Bands in the Church Hall 8.15pm onwards..........

8.15pm Open Harte Massage
8.45pm Rain and on my Parade

Brockley Jack and St Hilda's drinks tent with DJ from 7pm onwards
Hungry Horace Turkish BBQ, 6pm
Nigerian food stall, all day

Cancun. Ibiza. Lewisham.

Lewisham Council has launched a new tourism strategy for the borough. With thanks to Fishy.

The Broca Ice Cream Parlour

The Broca Food Market is hosting a pop-up ice cream parlour called Secret Sundae, althought it's on Saturday July 16th, from 10am - 5pm.

News Shopper on the Supercuts debate

The News Shopper has run a report about the Supercuts licensing enquiry that follows long-running complaints about associated criminal and anti-social behaviour, most recently during a street party to coincide with the Royal Wedding:

Concerned people called police 35 times to report revellers allegedly dealing drugs, urinating in the street, and guzzling alcohol from the convenience store.

Others reported seeing a gun and shots being fired into the crowd up to eight times, sending people fleeing the party - some of which was captured on CCTV.

One caller reported gangs fighting and bricks being thrown.

Though the shop denies responsibility, Lewisham’s Licensing Sergeant Tracy Sharpe claims cabling was seen coming from Super Cuts to power the soundsystem and it fuelled the chaos by providing alcohol.

The Seager Distillery Tower

At the recent Hilly Fields Summer Fayre, BrocSoc asked visitors to their stall to vote for their favourite (and least favourite) local buildings. It was part of an exercise designed to provoke debate about the kinds of architecture that local people want to see more of. We visited in late afternoon, by which time a large number of votes had been cast. The 'likes' were fairly evenly spread, but the 'dislikes' clustered around a handful of buildings. Of these, the Seager Distillery Tower was a super soaraway leader.

So we anticipate that this will not be a popular posting, but we're going to go on record as saying that we like it. The cladding is a little plasticy and the design doesn't make our heart flutter, but as we think this photo shows, it's a perfectly decent addition to the local landscape. Building upwards means that the massing of the rest of the building is pretty modest and the developers have been able to include a decent amount of public space. We feared the worst for the curved wall on Brookmill Road, but the removal of the scaffolding has revealed a block that it quite attractive and considerably less overbearing than the brick beast opposite.

With an elevated DLR line next door and a bulky Lewisham College building (our vote for the area's worst building) opposite, this low-lying site is well-suited to a tall building and this one has been reasonably well executed. Unfortunately, by acting as a magnet for local ire, it (we) allows far worse (but shorter) buildings to get waved through in the borough without protest.

Thanks to SE9 for the photo.

Lovely station for ducks

The Brockley Cross Action Group took advantage of the rainy weather to demonstrate the problem of 'ponding' outside Brockley Station ticket office, caused by poor workmanship when the new steps were built.

It's been a problem since it was built, but contractors Conway have not been asked to remedy the matter.

A BXAG spokesperson said:

While everyone else had to tiptoe around the inconveniently located small lake the family of 3 ducks were observed clearly relishing the opportunity for a spot of dabbling!

The water feature has been growing in size in recent months, an unfortunate and unintentional result of works carried out by Lewisham Council two years ago. It was perhaps only a matter of time before pond life began to take full advantage of this new habitat.

We have been developing Brockley Common as as haven for both people & wildlife and with the woodland area we have provided a refuge for many garden birds. But we never expected to see ducks on the Common!

We realise every Common should have a pond, but this one is poorly located and we think it is high time Lewisham Council sorted the problem out! They should stop ducking the issue!

Coulson reportedly held at Lewisham Police station

According to ITV News' Keir Simmons on Twitter, his sources tell him Andy Coulson is being held at Lewisham Police Station. Another opportunity to tell the world about the delights of Europe's biggest police station.

The Telegraph reports that Coulson was collected from his home in Forest Hill.

Brockley Bikes - the new name for Brockley bikes

The Cycle Team is dead. Long live Brockley Bikes! The Endwell Road bike maintenance company is rebranding to reflect the fact that more and more of their work is local. More importantly, they have announced that they will now be opening on Sundays.

In a note to customers, they say:
We are now open on Sunday afternoons from 12pm until 4pm. This is a trial and we may adjust the times to suit your needs as time passes. We will run this in conjunction with our Summer Opening times and if we have a good response we will continue through the winter.
Our current opening times can be found at:
You will probably note that we have also changed our name to BROCKLEY BIKES. We have done this because of the overall change in our business spread over the last 5 years and to reflect the fact that we are now more of a business serving our local area and community.

Jude Court report

It seems that Jude Court, the new Mantle Road apartment block, will be occupied by BC readers. Over the last few months of construction delays, plenty of BC twitterers have been wondering when their new home will be ready. Now, 'Jude Court Resident To Be' has written to say she can confirm a couple of key details about the project:

I visited what will be my flat in Jude Court today for the final inspection, and was informed then that NISA is taking the whole lower ground floor. I asked why NISA, seeing as there's one about 100 meters down the road, and nobody seemed to know. Apparently it's different people running the shop, and that the shop windows will be sorted out next week.

It's obviously a duff choice, seeing as the flat doesn't come with parking, I would have been delighted to be in a position to sell my car and still be able to get a varied and good quality supply of fruit and veg on my doorstep, but there we go [Editor's note: The Broca Food Market does a good job in that respect].

I have been told that I should be able to move in at the start of August. They're taking handover by the end of this month, and a few tenants will be moving in then.

I was also told yesterday that a high number of the people buying flats at Jude Court are from Brockley, which they told me is not typical of most of their developments.

Perhaps these other residents felt the same as me; I love being in Brockley and wanted to do something before I was even further priced out of buying in this area on the open market.

Maritime Museum Extension - Opens July 14th

The Evening Standard has an encouraging preview of the new Sammy Ofer wing at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, saying:

The museum seems most excited about the new facilities it provides than the design of the building. That is a good thing - we can expect to see exciting changing exhibitions now that will give Londoners reasons to return to the building several times a year.

The new wing opens next week. It's the first of Greenwich's pre-Olympics grands projets to be completed and it seems as though the work that has turned so much of central Greenwich into a building site for the last couple of years may have been worth the trouble.

The Craft Collective, July 16th

10.00am - 3.00pm

Telegraph Hill Centre
Kitto Road SE14 5TY

A new group of designer-makers will be holding the first of their monthly events selling unique and innovative hand-made must-haves. A range of products will be showcased and sold, including textiles, jewellery, paper crafts and much more! The Craft Collective will also be organising special evening events and workshops throughout the year so come along and find out more.

And of course if you'd like to learn how to create your own must-haves, don't forget to visit Homemade London for a range of craft classes and workshops.

Charity fundraiser at the Brockley Social Club, July 22nd

Kieran writes:

In August, my girlfriend Emma is doing the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for the Stroke Association and Parkinsons UK.

We are holding a fundraiser at the Brockley Social Club on Friday July 22nd to raise money for the Charities. There is no cover charge for people to come along but we do hope that we can get them to dig deep(ish) on the night.

We are lining up Comedians to perform on the Night and will be having a live band and a raffle.

We have a webpage set up which has all the information of the night and the charities.

We're also looking for a local band who might be interested in performing on the night, so if any BC readers are in a band and want to take part, please get in touch.

The Hilly Fields Cafe, opening spring 2012

It's confirmed: Hilly Fields will get a brand new cafe, opening in spring 2012.

Following a tender process led by Lewisham Council, Pistachios in the Park were the operators selected and they will begin development work this autumn, with the aim of opening early next year.

The cafe will replace the toilet block at the top of the park, creating a new attraction and saving the Council the cost of maintaining public toilets.

Pistachios are seasoned operators of south east London park cafes, running places in Hither Green and Greenwich already.

We've no further details of the plans at this stage, but can confirm that it will be operated by locals Fred and Ruth.

The logic of the plan - cutting Council costs while providing a facility that many local people will value - is irresistible and will help to encourage more people to think local when planning a day out.

Lewisham People’s Day, Saturday 9th July

Lewisham Council writes:

Ska Legend Neville Staple, from The Specials, and his Band lead a cast of thousands at Lewisham's longest running free festival, Lewisham People's Day, on Saturday from 12pm-8pm, Mountsfield Park.

The Neville Staple Band and the BBC Singers lead a fantastic line up of over 1,000 local and international performers on eight beautifully themed stages. Plus Electro Swing Tea Rooms, Art in the Park, Guerrilla Knitting, Blackheath Halls, The People's Theatre and lots more at one of Lewisham's favourite friendly family festivals.

For more information go to:

Brockley's Buttery Biscuit Base

Not only is this video teh awesome, but it was made in Brockley by video artist Swede Mason.

Visit to download the track and to buy the t-shirt.

You're welcome, Crofton Park - A farewell to George

George's, the Crofton Park barbershop, has closed. After 25 years on Brockley Road, George has decided to call time on his shop and we've been contacted by a number of readers saddened by the news, who want to wish him well.

Good luck George.

New shop for Jude Court

The owner of a planned new convenience store at Jude Court on Mantle Road has applied for a licence to sell alcohol from the premises. MNM Stores is the applicant.

As the long-delayed development on Mantle Road finally appears to be nearing completion, this is the first concrete sign that the ground floor retail units will be used, with this store joining Bohemia Hair and Clarkey's to bring more life to this side of the station.

Tea Dance for Little People, opens today

If the time it takes to extricate two young children from a large cardboard teapot is a reliable measure of success, then Tea Dance For Little People is a hit.

We went along to the official launch of the Tea Factory social enterprise on Saturday, intending to stay long enough to watch the ceremonial cake be cut but ended up staying until the last crumbs had been eaten, having to drag our kids away.

Opening today, TD4LP is a family cafe and play centre aimed at people with kids under five. Families pay an entrance fee to use the play facilities and enjoy the entertainment for as long as they like. With the majority of its space given over to play, it's not really a direct competitor with Brockley's existing cafes, more a low-cost, local alternative to taking the kids to Discovery Planet or the Aquarium at the Horniman Museum.

Every session is hosted by TeArtists - children's entertainers and performers who arrange activities throughout the day. The founder, Sally, is herself a former dancer and circus performer and has recruited a range of local talent to get involved. The artists involved in the launch were charming and great with the kids.

Located in the long-vacant corner unit of the Tea Factory, they have done their best, with the help of Green Tea Architects to transform an unpromising location in to a toddlers' paradise. The outside area is now screened by a wooden fence creating a usable outdoor space and the windows are filled with teapots to create some privacy and the colour palette and choice of props gives everything, including the staff's costumes, an Alice in Wonderland-meets-Beatrix Potter feel. The plan is to change the cafe's theme regularly, so look out for an indoor beach coming soon.

The space also doubles as a children's party venue and they have already taken a number of bookings. Sally's approach, especially while the business is in its infancy, is to listen to what local families want and to be flexible in terms of what they offer. So if you have a specific request, such as an space-themed birthday party, don't be afraid to ask her. As a not-for-profit, they will also be expanding their community outreach in the coming months.

The first Brockley business designed with the local explosion of young families in mind, TD4LP is a bold project, run by a team whose enthusiasm is infectious and whose ambition is to create something truly unique.

For prices, opening hours and more, visit the Tea Dance for Little People website.

Yo Mo Pho!

Long Time Cafe (Coulgate Street) was once the best-named Brockley business, but it's now long gone, replaced with an even better-named venue: Mo Pho.

Whereas Long Time served a fusion menu, Mo Pho will be a specialist Veitnamese restaurant. BC reckons this is a smart move since the small kitchen limits the range of dishes that it can serve. With a new focus, it can do one thing really well. And Vietnamese food is worth doing well.

Mo Pho opens later this month.

APT Open Studios today

Art in Perpetuity Trust
Harold Wharf
6 Creekside
London SE8 4SA

In addition to the Brockley Open Studios weekend, you can still catch the last day of the APT Open Studios in Deptford, from 12pm - 7pm today. There's also a pop-up dinner at 7pm.

Full details of the exhibitors here.

Brockley Open Studios starts today

The 2011 Brockley Open Studios starts today. Click here for details of this year's event. On a summer's day there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing.

Plan for Saints alive

Nick writes:

Just to let you know there's been another submission of revised plans (Revision B) for the St Cyprians Hall redevelopment which includes kitchen extract and comercial waste space.

I've spoken to the planning officer who has informed me they're moving towards finalising the commitee report.

Franks Cafe and Campari Bar returns

Franks Cafe and Campari Bar is back. The super-cool, rooftop Peckham pop-up had its opening night last night and these guys have a report, complete with photos.

A new nursery for Ladywell

As reported by Sue on the Ladywell forum, Slagrove Training Centre is being converted in to a large new nursery, having been sold at auction by the Council.

The nursery will be operated by Cherubins, who already run centres in Croydon and Lambeth. It will have 8 classrooms in total, and a separate sleeping area and a children's kitchen. You can see a bit more detail about their plans on their website.

This does of course ruin the opportunity to run the headline "The Flat Slags." Where's a speculative buy-to-let property deal when you want it?

The Likes of Us

We’re not so different, you and I.
- Dr Evil

‘To say that Muslims carried out 7/7 - those three guys from Leeds and one from Aylesbury - to say they did it is racist, Jon. It's racist. You're being racist against Muslims.’
There was a short silence.
‘Oh, fuck off,’ I said.
- Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test

Class tensions have been an ever-present in the life of this site. The fear of gentrification is not a new subject for BC debate, but it reached absurd new heights yesterday when our autobiographical reference to eating big macs on buses was interpreted as ‘casual class contempt.’

This thread is an attempt to focus the class debate, so we may be permitted to discuss issues like a new local pizza restaurant in peace.

We are something of a middle class stereotype ourselves – the son of two leftish London academics, we grew up reading the Guardian and going on camping holidays in France.

But perhaps because – unlike some of the class-warriors who frequent this site – we actually went to a local comprehensive and grew up among the south east London working classes, we haven’t developed middle-class man’s burden and we don’t regard working class people as an alien species. Love see no colour.

They, like we, eat Big Macs from time to time. Like BC, they sometimes use the bus. Our understanding of their culture is that they quite like clean streets, green spaces and to be able to cross the road safely. These are not the quaint concerns of the effete middle classes, they are universal aspirations and challenges that we all share. We have not yet become the Morlocks and Eloi.

In fact, it is the better off among us (who can afford to travel more and choose the area in which they live) who are least reliant on our local environment. The rich of Brockley can hide themselves away from van-choked pavements in their large houses and gardens and jump in the car to escape the squalor of the high street. It’s the less well-off who depend most on the social services paid for with the business rates and Council Tax of new shops and residential developments.

Making Brockley nicer – not more deli-laden, just nicer – is not a class issue.

If you disagree, please make your case here. But please, argue with what is said, not with the secret dog-whistle code you think is hidden between the lines.