Hilly Fields family picnic, September 4th

This Sunday come to Hilly Fields and join Oak Hill Nursery’s fun family picnic and sports day for under 5s.

As well as the opportunity for parents and children to compete in the sports day there will be story telling, games, face painting and craft fun. Delicious homemade cakes will also be on sale.

Cost is just £5 per family and all proceeds go towards improving the nursery playground.
Please bring your own picnic.

Venue: Hilly Fields by the stone circle
Date and time: 11:30 to 15:30 Sunday 4 September

You can pay on the day or tickets are available from:
Oak Hill Nursery
29 Wallbutton Road
Brockley, London SE4 2NX
020 7639 6047

Courtesy of St Asaph Roadie on the Brockley forum.

Riot urls

The BC traffic spike in August, caused by the riots

Shinji Mimura: When we escape, it will be together.
- Battle Royale

Over the years, Brockley Central's monthly traffic has been on a slow, steady, satisfying upward trajectory, with most months setting new records. This month has buggered that up.

The London riots sent traffic through the roof, with 35,000 visitors on the Monday, when riots in Lewisham took place and 45,000 visitors on the Tuesday, when Brockley Kate provided coverage of the aftermath and we provided a live report, during which mostly nothing happened. On a good day, the site normally gets 2,000 visitors. In total, Brockley Central got more than 135,000 visits this August.

We know that other local websites like Transpontine and 853 experienced similar phenomena, which underlines the important role that hyperlocal media plays in covering these sorts of events. We imagine that for some people it was the first time they Googled their local area and discovered sites like these. We hope that some of them stick around for the post-Apocalyptic rebuild.

DLR link to Stratford opens today

The new 6km DLR route from Canning Town to Stratford opens to the public today, from 11am., according to The Wharf.

The link is an important part of London's Olympic infrastructure, which will facilitate the development of Stratford as a major new centre for London. It will give Lewisham residents an alternative route to Westfield Stratford, when the retail behemoth opens in September.

The BBC reports:

There are four new stations along the new route, which connects the Olympic Park to five arenas in east London.

The extension completes a £500m upgrade of the Docklands Light Railway, which Transport for London (TfL) says will improve capacity by 50%.

Charity shops in the area

Diane has asked us what local charity shops we recommend in the area. It's a weird gap in the local landscape that there are relatively few, but please help us compile a list of good ones (both for buying and giving).

Bingeing poms

For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple;
And God will grow no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.
- Wilfred Owen, Arms and the Boy

Wed 31 Aug - Sat 3 Sep 8pm & Sat 3 Sep 3pm

Brockley fruit fetishist Lewis Barfoot is performing a one-woman show about the pomegranate at Jackson's Lane, Highgate:

Produced in association with Jacksons Lane The History of the Pomegranate explores the universal richness of being female, fecund and fat with life.

From the turmoil of Persephone to the temptations of Eve, discover whether it’s possible that a single fruit can transcend each religion, conquer every continent and even boost your sperm count!

Lewis Barfoot uses a unique blend of humour, song and physical storytelling to unearth the mystery and magic behind this revered mythical fruit.

Tickets £10 / £8 and include a free glass of pomegranate juice for everyone!

Come for the fruit, stay for the juice.

Radical bookshop planned for New Cross

BCers always say they'd love a local bookshop. Well now you're going to get one... Book Bloc promises to open London's first radical bookshop in 20 years in New Cross. Here's what they say:

Book Bloc is South London’s youngest radical bookshop. Originally conceived in the seditious underbelly of Milan, We Have our own Concept of Time and Motion will host the first manifestation of this new and novel bookseller. Writer-led, Book Bloc embraces the much vaunted end of print, the rise in book piracy and the explosion in self-publishing as a catalyst for new forms of publishing and bookselling. Book Bloc will run events as a cornerstone of its approach, providing a platform for, and criticism of the most pressing issues, movements, writers and thinkers from around the world.

A workers co-operative, Book Bloc will be the first radical bookshop to open in London for 20 years. It will exist to provide material from the struggles of the past to aid those of the present, to disseminate the best of contemporary thought forged in the fire of events which have only just begun. Book Bloc will disappear at the end of this four day event, waiting to appear again where you least expect it.

Only Joking. It will be in New Cross. Sometime soon.

The location's not confirmed yet, but Transpontine says:

They are currently finalising negotiations with Goldsmiths for the use of a shop front owned by the college in New Cross Road - I believe on the corner of Laurie Grove opposite the New Cross House (same row as Cafe Crema and Prangsta).

With thanks to Oli for the story.

The Deptford Project masterplan

The Deptford Project from Deptford High Street
Reverse angle: The courtyard
Developers Cathedral Group have submitted their plans for a major development parallel to Deptford High Street and adjacent to Deptford Station, on land next to the Deptford Project cafe. The mixed use development is itself called the Deptford Project and has been masterplanned by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to include homes, shops and workshops.

The logic is obvious - Deptford's one stop from London Bridge, with a busy and potentially stunning high street (with shades of Shepherd Market, Exmouth Market and Portobello) and a buzzy cultural scene but relatively little high quality housing to cater for potential commuters.

The land is derelict, sitting right on top of a station that is being modernised and next to an interesting but neglected piece of London's industrial heritage.

This development would provide more than a hundred new flats and restore the ramp, while more of the railway arches would accommodate workshops and the space behind the high street would become a busy courtyard.

It does involve a relatively tall building that will undeniably be fairly prominent from many angles in Deptford. Some will find that inherently objectionable, but an interesting building peeping out from behind shops and houses in the middle of town should be fun. For those who live next door to it along Octavius Street and Rochdale Way however, there will be understandable concerns about light and parking.

Thanks to Crossfields and Deptford Dame for the story.

New houses proposed for Brockley Cross

The redevelopment of Brockley Cross continues with the proposed construction of two new houses on the land between Geoffrey Road and Upper Brockley Road. The land sits in a disused garden on what is effectively a large traffic island and close to the car lot, which is also targeted for redevelopment. We quite like the design and small two-bed houses are in short supply in the area.

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Theoretical physicist Geoffrey West gave a TED talk earlier this year in which he presented evidence that simple mathematical laws govern the development of cities, from Bogota to Birmingham. Like biological organisms and systems, cities always demonstrate economies of scale. He says:

“The reason for this is because of networks. All of life is controlled by networks. From the intracellular, through the multi-cellular to the ecosystem level. The question is any of this true for cities? Cities are just physical manifestations of your interactions and the clustering and grouping of individuals…

“Cities deliver economies of scale. Fewer petrol stations per capita the bigger your city is. Not surprising… This is true of any infrastructure you look at in any city around the world.

“But even more surprising is if you look at socio-economic quantities. Wages, wealth, patents, crime, AIDS cases, flu cases.”

Double the size of the city and any of these factors goes up by 15% per capita.

“Anything you can think of goes up by 15%... This is a universal phenomenon.”

The bigger the city, the more efficient it is, the more of everything there is, per capita. Whatever it is.

“The reason for this is us. Our interactions and networks. The bigger you are, life gets faster. Even the speed of walking gets faster as your city gets bigger.”

Now, Brockley Central is no theoretical physicist, but if the cause of these efficiencies is the networking effect of cities, then the implication would be that if the networks are more intricate, the scaling effect should be greater. Instead of getting 15% efficiency – a super-connected community should achieve a higher number.

It’s a hypothesis, but one we’re trying to prove with Brockley Central. Making SE4 and its surrounds the best-connected community in the world via the web, Twitter, Facebook, the forum and more Twitter ought to make us more efficient.

In other words, we won’t rest until you’re all rich. And have the clap. Join us!

Convoys Wharf developers submit revised planning application

The owners of Convoys Wharf in Deptford have submitted the latest revisions to their planning application for a huge masterplan that will create thousands of new homes, hundreds of new jobs, a primary school and a new district for South East London.

The development project has as a long and frustrating history and the land that it sits on has a glorious history that local groups have been campaigning to have recognised. The result of this process has been that past revisions have dropped the inclusion of a commercial boat yard and shrunk the office and leisure provision, but added a hotel and provision for working wharf and a jetty. Plans have been developed to make a feature of the architecturally important Olympia Warehouse, which will be retained and renovated as an events space.

Today's submission addresses issues such as the development parceling (since the development will take a decade and will occur in phases), the height and massing of the tall buildings (there will be three towers on the site), access, parking and transport provision.

We'll be wading through this and bringing you reaction in the coming days.

You can see the planning documents in their entirety here and a useful summary of the plans and background here.

Browns of Brockley - evening openings start August 30th

Ross from Brown's of Brockley has written on this thread about his plans for the basement, following his successful application for an alcohol licence. It's worth it's own thread, so here's what he says:

I wouldn't say [what we are planning for the basement is a] wine bar, but we've spent the last month fitting out the basement with seats, storage and a toilet so that we can open in the evenings.
From next Tuesday (30th August) we will be opening in the evenings Monday - Thursday until 11pm.
It will not be, by any stretch of the imagination, somewhere to get dinner but just somewhere to have a drink after work. desgustation have helped us find a couple of wines (there will be one red, one white, one rose and probably some Prosecco) there will be a constantly changing bottled beer menu. as well as a couple of mixed drinks, which also will keep changing. Bread, cheese, meat and a couple of other snacky things and that's it.
The idea for us is to keep it very simple to start with. I would like to do some different things with food in the evenings, maybe open more evenings and extend out drink offerings in the future but we'll see how this goes for the moment.

Behind the scenes at the Rivoli Ballroom

We ran the ad called "The Date" a while back, which showed the Rivoli off at its finest. Here's 'the making of'.

The Rivoli also stars in the latest Anne Hathaway vehicle, One Day, which is based on a book which apparently lots of people like and they are angry because, instead of a frumpy northerner, the producers cast Anne Hathaway, almost as though they were trying to score a commercial hit.

Jamaica Raffle

Our wife organised some fund-raising competitions for Jamaican children in need while she stayed at a swanky resort out there. Raffles? No, Goldeneye.

Venice, organiser of the Jamaica Jumble updates us:

Despite the rain we still manage to raise enough money and quality children's books to send two barrels to Jamaica.

Please find below all the info for the Jamaica Jumble raffle to be drawn on Saturday 3rd September at SHAWNS Food & Wine (formerly LV Food and Wine, the shop next to Tesco) 209 Lewisham Way, St Johns SE4 1UY.

SHAWNS have very kindly offered to sell the tickets at their shop. Confusingly, the current owners have just taken over the business and the sign still says 'LV Food and Wine' until next Wednesday 31st August, when they will be putting up their new sign!


A #meateasy meal for 2 with all the trimmings at The Rye Hotel, Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 3NX

£20 gift vouchers for Arch Materials - Fine Art and Craft Supplies
17 Resolution way, Deptford SE8 4NT

A bottle of Captain Morgan Dark Rum
Shawns Food and Wine 209 Lewisham Way, St Johns SE4 1UY

Coffee and cake for 2 at The Waiting Room, 142 Deptford High Street, Deptford SE8 3PQ

US$150 to spend in their Driftwood Spa
2 t-shirts from Jakes, Treasure Beach, Jamaica

Tickets cost £0.25p or £1 for five.

Night moves

We tried to go for dinner in The Orchard last night. At 8pm on a Wednesday, the place was absolutely packed, with a few tables reserved and a queue of people waiting at the bar for a table. Now The Orchard is an outstanding place that gets the mix of dining and drinking just right, but if you needed any evidence that the market in Brockley has changed, that was it. There are now lots of people in the area who want to drink and eat locally and have the means to do it fairly regularly.

The Barge was pretty full too and thwarted in our efforts to get a table at the Orchard, we went to Smiles. Despite being a little off the beaten track, they were doing a decent trade and we didn’t check Mo Pho’s but we’ll wager it was full too. There is clear demand in the area for another evening venue near Brockley Station.

Meanwhile, La Lanterna sits and rots, Gulen’s does its best to hide its existence from all but the most savvy Brockleyites and Essence of India somehow contrives to be empty most of the time.

Could new owners of Toads Mouth too crack the evening market? It will be fun finding out.

Bullock opposes EDL London march

Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock is among the London politicians to have called for a planned march through Tower Hamlets by the English Defence League on September 3rd to be prevented from happening by the police.

In a letter published in the Guardian, they say:

We – representing communities across London – are calling on the acting commissioner of the Met to recognise that the planned march of the English Defence League in Tower Hamlets on 3 September is a drain on resources that London cannot now afford. While we have no doubt that the Met could contain this demonstration, the cost of policing it (up to £500,000 for previous EDL marches) would simply be too great. That's even before the cost of policing the heightened community tension that the EDL aims to leave in its wake.

Liberal Conspiracy criticises the argument that cost should be the determining factor and makes a very persuasive case for the march to be allowed:

First: every time an EDL rally descends into them fighting against the police, they lose supporters and get incredibly bad press. So, let the police deal with it.

Secondly, I don’t think far-right racism and violence should be swept under the carpet. Let’s have it out in the open. Let ordinary people see that racist thugs still do exist in Britain...

The third point is key. Civil liberties aren’t important just as a matter of principle – they ethnic impact minorities a lot. Remember how people forgot about them post 9/11?

Slater & King: Coming soon

Gabriel Cash: Lucky for me this place is soundproof. That way nobody gets to hear me beating the truth out of you.
- Tango & Cash

Number 46 Ladywell Road, formerly known as Nightwatch, is now known as Slater & King. Rumours abound about what it will actually sell and the new owners have enjoyed fanning the flames of speculation on the Ladywell forum, as work on the fit out begins. However, for now, all we know for sure is the fact that it's been painted a shade called Boathouse Blue. As for the name, Slater & King...

Traditional papers & paint?
Attorneys at law?
The new adventures of Superman?

We look forward to finding out.

Council plans new parking restrictions across the borough

'The Oracle' has tipped us off that Lewisham Council is seeking to introduce new parking restrictions on a number of roads across the area. The restrictions would mean that no waiting (parking) would be allowed at specific points, including:

- Amyruth Road both sides within 10m of junction Chudleigh Road;
- Chudleigh Road northwest side within 10m of junction Amyruth Road;
- Chudleigh Road northwest side within 32m northeast of junction Arthurdon Road;
- Chudleigh Road northwest side within 10m of junction Francemary Road;
- Geoffrey Road north side within 10m west and 6m east of junction Manor Avenue;
- Manor Avenue both sides within 15m of junction Geoffrey Road, measured on west side;
- Vesta Road north side within 10m of junction Barriedale;

Documents giving more detailed particulars of the order and measures can be inspected during normal office hours on Mondays to Fridays at the office of Lewisham Transport Policy & Development, Wearside Service Centre, Wearside Road, Ladywell, London, SE13 (tel. 020-8314 2265).

Parking restrictions are of course necessary in many cases and we can't comment on the desirability of some of these proposals, but as a nearby resident we do know the junction of Geoffrey Road and Manor Avenue that will be affected and we don't understand what problem this is attempting to solve.

There are width restrictions on Geoffrey Road but parking doesn't prevent cars getting through. Manor Avenue's main problem seems to be a lack of parking space, so we're not sure that losing 15m of parking is a good idea.

If you live nearby the sites included on the list - what do you think of these plans?

Lewisham Literary Festival 2011, September 9th - 16th

The full programme for the Lewisham Literary Festival is now live. Even without the children's events it's a big deal, with events ranging from performance poetry to talks by authors including crime writers Oliver Harris and Samuel Bonner and Booker long-listed Samantha Harvey.

The organisers hope it can become an established annual fixture and they're certainly setting the bar high in their first year.

Click here too for a children's poetry competition.

Brockley Market: Coming Soon

It's a rare idea that generates near unanimous support from the broad church of Brockley Central, but the proposal to create a Brockley Market, held on weekends in the Lewisham College car park on Lewisham Way, was a resounding hit when it was floated back in May.

The idea is now taking shape fast and we should be able to bring you the full details shortly, but for now, you can follow them on Facebook, where they've just launched a new page, confirming that it will be held on Saturdays, between 10am and 2pm.

The Greenwich Comedy Festival 2011

The Greenwich Comedy Festival takes place at the Royal Naval College, September 5th - 11th.

This year's line-up includes Tim Minchin, Adam Buxton and Holly Walsh.

Recommended places update

It's been a while since we updated our list of recommended places. So here's who's out and who's in:


Long Time Cafe - closed and replaced with Mo Pho
Tea Leaf Arts - community gallery ran out of time in the Tea Factory
Masons - bar / restaurant very recently closed
Deptford Deli - one too many floods forced them out


Brockley's Rock - posh fish and chips already a massive hit
Mo Pho - Vietnamese focus for Long Time's replacement, winning rave reviews
Tea Dance for Little People - children's cafe, play centre and party venue
Bohemia Hair - hair and beauty salon
Clarkey's - smoothies, juices and sandwiches, handy for the station
WH Wellbeloved - the butcher was a glaring omission from the list, an established favourite
En Gedi Designs - vintage fashions and gifts in Ladywell
Brockley Bikes - bike repairs and maintenance shifted gear to focus on local custom

We're considering upgrading and enlarging the list to include highlights in Honor Oak, New Cross, Nunhead and Deptford. Bit of a slog, so please let us know if you think it would be useful.

The Peckham Forum

We're continuing to tweak South East Central, which has now passed 500 registered members. This weekend, we introduced two key changes:

- We were getting lots of requests for more space for Peckham and the Nunhead forum vote was very clear that it should be treated separately as an area, so we now have a dedicated section for Peckham.

- We wanted to make it easier to follow the range of conversations as the forum grows, so Brockley Jon has added a widget that provides a feed of the five most recent comments. We hope you'll be as pleased with it as he is with himself for working out how to do it.

Ban this sick filth! The Octo-Pump cometh

Richard from the Royal Albert sends us news of an exciting ale and cider festival, starting September 2nd.

Deptford - like a big bear

Jon Favreau plays Deptford in 1996 classic Swingers

Deptford optimists claim that the place is up-and-coming – that its potential as a creative cluster to rival Hoxton and the influx of some much-needed public investment will eventually yield results. Deptford pessimists argue that they’ve heard that story for ten years and its time will never come.

They're both wrong. Deptford’s time is now.

Murals on every other wall. Galleries and workshops in every other industrial unit. Giant snails in every other market stall. Cafes in every other mode of public transport. Livelier than Blackheath, more varied than New Cross or Forest Hill and with more places to stop and spend time than Lewisham, Deptford rivals Greenwich and East Dulwich as a place to explore. If you don’t like it, it’s because you’re not trying.

Deptford High Street
One of many Deptford murals

The Deptford Art Map (now the South London Art Map) captured just how much Deptford now offers in terms of culture, while the Deptford X festival, institutions like Laban and the Albany and new arrivals like Utrophia all create new reasons to discover it. An undeniably scruffy place, it also has outstanding urban retreats in the form of the Deptford Project and the Big Red and recent improvements to Douglas Way have created a pedestrian-friendly ribbon through its middle.

The APT Gallery

The Crossfields Estate, which occupies a large chunk of Deptford’s heart, combines a strong community ethos with good use of greenery while the new build housing nearby is in the most part pretty handsome stuff. Schools like Tidemill and Ashmead have worked hard to earn good reputations.

Deptford’s transformation is not quite complete. A golden library and modernised railway station are taking shape in its centre while to the south east, new flats, a gallery and possibly a four star hotel are about a year from completion. The huge masterplan for Convoys Wharf now looks like it finally has funding in place and could eventually bring significant numbers of new jobs to the area.

Deptford's new library takes shape

When Brockley Central first moved to SE4, someone teased us that Brockley is basically upper Deptford. We’re happy with that.

10 ways Deptford will get your digits:

The Laban Centre
A world-class dance centre, winner of the Stirling Prize for architecture.

The Albany Theatre
Arts centre with an excellent range of productions and activities for kids throughout the year.

Deptford Market
A large food and clothes market that runs down the high street three days a week.

The Deptford Project
The converted railway carriage that doubles as a delicious café is the heart of an arts complex hunkered under brick arches.

The Big Red
Even without the novelty of being able to eat in a converted double decker, this pizza restaurant and bar, managed by a hyper-kinetic Spaniard, transforms a brutal spot in to a Balearic retreat offering wicked mojitos, tasty pizzas, white leather sofas and a flowery sun trap. Pop next door to the Bird’s Nest pub too.

The nearby Deptford Deli may have been forced out by flooding, but Wellbeloved butcher has been a local favourite for many.

Creekside centre
An environmental education centre that organises low-tide river walks.

The Royal Albert
One of the best pubs in the area. Nearby Dog and Bell also worth a visit.

Not the world’s greatest leisure centre, but in a borough starved of swimming pools until the Lewisham and Forest Hill centres step up, this is an oasis.

Proving that there’s room on the high street for more than just bookies, Bearspace does some of the most interesting art programming in the area.

Visit the Deptford forum.

The Stone House, Lewisham Way

Location agency Shoot Factory has just taken a house in Brockley on to its books. The stunning Stone House on Lewisham Way, opposite Lewisham College is easily missed from the road but is a 1770s masterpiece, as these publicity shots (reproduced with permission) reveal.

Thanks to the guys at the Brockley forum for the heads up.

Albertines on the market

The Albertines pub on the corner of Lewisham Way and Friendly Street is on the market. Its lease is for sale at £35,000 via Enterprise Inns. This isn't new news, it's been on the market a while, but it's worth noting that if you're up for a challenge, there it is.

Lewisham Literary Festival - Children's Programme

The inaugural Lewisham Literary Festival is taking shape and organiser Rachel has sent us the details of the events for children that form part of this year's programme:

Saturday 10th September

10am St Swithun's church hall, ages 7+
Alex Milway, illustrator and author of the Mousehunter trilogy and the Mythical 9th Division series about yeti spies will be showing how to draw yetis and mythical beasts, and be passing on top secret yeti knowledge!

11.30am Torridon Road Library, ages 3-5
Sally Reeve Edwards will be leading a songs and rhymes session.

12pm St Swithun's church hall, ages 9-14
Brian Keaney has written 18 novels for children and young people. He will be talking about them and his latest, The Magical Detectives and the Forbidden Spell, and answering questions.

Sunday 11th September

10am St Swithun's church hall, ages 7+
Gareth P. Jones is the author of The Thornthwaite Inheritance and the Ninja Meerkats series. Expect songs, stories and general nonsense.

12pm St Swithun's church hall, ages 10-16
Barbican Young Poets Greer Dewdney, Aisling Fahey, Kieron Rennie AKA Zionite and Safi Strand perform their work and answer questions about being a poet.

More detail about locations and transport can be found on the website:

Betfred blocked in Deptford

Deptford Dame reports that bookies Betfred have lost their appeal against Lewisham Council's decision not to let them open convert a former branch of Halifax in to a bookmaker. The Dame has chronicled the gradual spread of high street bookies in Deptford over recent years and says of this result:

This is excellent news for Deptford High Street, but I hope that this decision will also set a precedent for other areas which are experiencing similar levels of crime and disorder related to proliferation of betting shops. It seems to me that it should also have some resonance for the decision-making process relating to licensing of betting shops - where potential impact on crime and disorder are supposed to be considered.

Meanwhile, Monkeyboy points out that the Guardian's forecasting a resurgence of high street butchery. Could butchers be the new betting shops? Not really, but independent businesses that offer quality, expertise and local engagement have a bright future on London's high streets, so long as they can find a point of difference to compete with the chains.

Brockley: Where virgins come to die

Filming has been taking place in Brockley for a BBC Films production called 'Now is Good'. The film stars Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, Twilight saga) as a girl with leukemia who's determined to lose her virginity before she dies - a mission shared by some Brockley Central readers.

A shoot took place in Hilly Fields Crescent yesterday. Thanks to all the people who told us about it on Twitter.

Rave against riots

This Saturday, the Ravensbourne Arms will host a post-riot celebration of the community, with a BBQ, carnival games and table tennis.

Owners Antic (also behind the excellent Jam Circus and Royal Albert, among many others) have arguably taken on their biggest challenge yet with the Ravensbourne Arms, a big pub on Lewisham High Street. The pub opened in May and has had good reviews but BCers report it's rarely close to full, with word of mouth taking time to spread. Alexandra, who sent us the story, says:

I was really impressed with how much care and love the owners have put into every aspect of the Ravensbourne Arms. The staff were lovely and although I love the Ladywell Tavern, I'm really pleased to have another option in the neighbourhood.

Jamaica Jumble [UPDATED]

Our wife's donating books to underpriviledged children in the Caribbean. Jamaica? No, she's doing it of her own accord.

The Jamaica Jumble to raise funds to send books to children in Jamaica takes place this Saturday, from noon-5pm at 38 Breakspears Road.

As well as the jumble itself, there will be food, drink and reggae. Organiser Venice says:

There is a desperate shortage of children's books in Jamaica. Many schools do not have any picture books at all and the books that are on sale locally are often poor quality and expensive.
There are so many children's books given away to charity shops here in the UK that we have decided to get our own collection together and send them to schools and other community groups in Jamaica.
We are having a jumble sale to raise money for the shipping and are asking people to bring children's books to the sale. We are selling good quality jumble – second hand clothes for women, men and children as well as toys, books, ornaments, kitchen stuff and handmade crafts. There will also be Jamaican food and drink for sale and we'll be putting on the reggae and having a fun day. Hope to see you there!
Do you have any old books you could donate? We are collecting good quality picture and chapter books for children aged 0-16.

With thanks to Julene for the story.

Cllr Johnson opposes Avalon House conversion

Green Councillors Darren Johnson has written to the Lewisham Planning Service to oppose the application to convert Avalon House from a care home to a hostel. His letter says:

I am writing to echo the concerns of many local residents in my ward who have contacted me to express objections about the above application for a change of use.
While it is vital that there is adequate provision of hostel accommodation for homeless people, there are legitimate concerns about an overconcentration of such establishments in the Manor Avenue area. Residents are rightly concerned that change of use from a care home to a hostel would increase the transitory nature of what is a residential area. With the previous care home the residents there were an established part of the community. However, temporary hostel accommodation of the type proposed would cater for a transient population and could have a detrimental impact on an area where there are already a significant number of similar
I fully accept that as a borough we need to ensure sufficient hostel accommodation for those who need it. Indeed, in my role as a ward councillor I have been closely involved in the work of one Brockley hostel and know the invaluable work it does in providing temporary accommodation and support for young single homeless women.
However, I am also aware that a balance needs to be struck between different types of accommodation if we are to have stable and secure communities. A further hostel in an area that already has a significant number would undermine that balance and would not be in the interests of the local community.
I therefore urge that the application be refused.

Who are you tryin' to get crazy with, ese? Don't you know I'm local?

The Crofton Park assembly has ring-fenced £10,000 of Local Assemblies funding as a small grants community fund to support local community projects in Crofton Park. For an application form please contact Sarah Eaglestone the Local Assemblies Coordinator at sarah.eaglestone@lewisham.gov.uk

The deadline is Friday 2 September.

The 2011 Free Film Festival, September 8th-18th

A Matter of Life & Death, Nunhead Cemetary, the 2010 Free Film Festival. Copyright Helen Jermyn.

Dale Arden: I'm a New York City girl. It's a little too quiet around here for me.
- Flash Gordon

What this area lacks in multiplexes, it makes up for in pop-up film events, from Silent Cinema in Deptford to the Brockley Jack Film Club. Now, we're pleased to bring you news of the 2011 Peckham Free Film Festival, which includes special screenings of Up, Spirited Away and Flash Gordon, among many others. The organisers say:

Local people have arranged an eclectic and exciting selection of films and venues to choose from. The twenty films and film related events – all entirely free to attend – are spread across Peckham, Nunhead, Herne Hill and Brixton, and include bike powered films, walking tours of lost cinemas, children’s films and a collection of stories from Uganda.

The Festivals, being held between 8 and 18 September, are organised entirely on a voluntary basis by a small group of dedicated local residents. The ethos of the Festivals is to provide a wide range of films to attract as wide an audience as possible. We are entirely not-for-profit and events are funded thanks to partnerships with community organisations and other supporters.

Co-Founder Howard Francis said; “This is our second year and we’re really excited that we have been able to expand to 20 different events. We want to show films in interesting local venues and give local communities a chance to meet and share their enjoyment of some truly classic films in stunning locations”.

Highlights will include Flash Gordon and Safety Last on Peckham Rye, Battleship
Potemkim on the roof of Peckham multi-storey car park, Baraka at the Centre for Wildlife
gardening, and Breaking Away at the Herne Hill Velodrome.

Full details, age guidance, venues and times are on the Festival’s website –

Peckham v Nunhead

After the looting... Peckham community spirit is strong

We're getting lots of requests for a Peckham section on the South East London forum, but there's a debate about whether to lump Nunhead and Peckham together or give Peckham its own section. So we've put it to the vote here. Please let us know your views.

Songs for whoever comes up with the best ideas

Amy is trying to create some songs in the key of BC. She explains:

I'm a resident of Brockley, also a student of Goldsmiths. I'm currently doing a music collaboration project with Kat Drake, a local musician - on crowdsourcing stories, themes, inspirations from the public to write new songs. It is an experiment, but also a project to create songs which we could then give back to the community (through free downloads). The website is: http://happywhenshesings.com/ and here's the video shot on Telegraph Hill:

Happy When She Sings from Happy When She Sings on Vimeo.

Masons closes [UPDATED]

Masons, the Ladywell bar and restaurant, is closed for refurbishment according to a sign in its window. We've no further details at this stage.

UPDATE: It now appears that the closure is permanent, sadly.

Videoplug - Homemade London

Homemade London, Brockley Central's small business, now appears in a series of Blue Peteresque short films on Videojug - a website that makes it its mission to provide a how-to guide to lots of common questions and plenty of uncommon ones - in this case, how to make a paper rose.

There are also Homemade London videos that teach you how to mend holes in clothes or make a woody perfume among other things, depending on your proclivities. So don't forget: Homemade London - for all your paper rose, hole mending and woody perfume needs. Also great for hen parties!

Incidentally, if anyone knows "how to" shrink an embedded Videojug video so that it fits within the frame of this blog, please send us a video!

Anatomy of the Lewisham riots

Shaun sent us six extraordinary eyewitness videos that show how rapidly the Lewisham riots grew up on Monday night, beginning with a sudden surge of people on to the streets and ending with smoke and fire. He writes:

I am a resident of Lewisham, right near to Albion Way where some of the clashes with police occurred on Monday night.

I was present, it happened around me as I was trying to navigate a friend around the high street when it was cut off and filmed what I could. I've got these videos online, I thought they wouldn't be much help as you were putting things out live as they were happening, but they might be insightful if you are building up a complete picture.

Here is one of the videos, that gives you a sense of being right in the midst of the chaos. You can watch the story unfold in video 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The causes and meaning of the riots will be debated for months and weeks to come. If Transpontine is still blogging in 20 years time, we'd be very surprised if he isn't writing retrospectives on the topic. The nature of the riots may be new, but the nature of the people doing the rioting wasn't. Watching the interviews with young people involved, we were reminded of some of the people we went to school with and people we read about in English history.

England's underclass pre-dates spending cuts under Cameron, spending rises under Blair, Thatcher, the big bang in the City, the dismantling of the grammar school system, the neutering of the police, the de-industrialisation of the economy, or any other single cause that gets thrown around. Blaming any particular government policy is unhelpful. As the Economist argued, the narratives offered by the left and the right by way of explanation are (as ever) equally useless.

Just attacking the rioters, doesn't get us very far either. As Russell Brand wrote in his excellent blog:

However “unacceptable” and “unjustifiable” it might be, it has happened so we better accept it and whilst we can’t justify it we should kick around a few neurons and work out why so many people feel utterly disconnected from the cities they live in...

I should here admit that I have been arrested for criminal damage for my part in anti capitalist protest earlier in this decade. I often attended protests and then, in my early twenties, and on drugs, I enjoyed it when the protests lost direction and became chaotic, hostile even...

I found those protests exciting, yes because I was young and a bit of a twerp but also, I suppose, because there was a void in me. A lack of direction, a sense that I was not invested in the dominant culture, that Government existed not to look after the interests of the people it was elected to represent but the big businesses that they were in bed with.

Ironically, given that this sense of hopelessness was undoubtedly amongst the root causes, the riots themselves appear to have been fuelled by a sense of possibility. The rioters weren't a demographic, they were a psychographic, mobilising and self-reinforcing through networks - they knew their collective power as a mob and felt the collective weakness of society.

But as the flash mobs bearing brooms the next day showed, London society isn't weak. It's strong. We just have to work harder to demonstrate it, to reinforce it and to show people their positive place in it.

Some of that work involves stronger policing and enforcement of laws and regulations to show that society does have standards. It also means massive and unapologetic intervention in broken communities, through education, social work and funding for community projects. It means taxpayers having to spend lots of money on people whose personalities and behaviours scarcely merit it. It also means - god help us - listening to the likes of Iain Duncan Smith when he points the finger at family breakdown. It means a more Reithian (and sometimes tediously worthy) cultural agenda. In other words, it means doing lots of things that will stick in the craw of just about everyone of every political persuasion. The alternative is to live with this underclass for the next couple of centuries, as we have the last.

The challenge is not without some precedent.

In the wake of EURO 2000, Brockley Central's day job involved working with England supporters trying to purge the national team's following of hooligans. In a typical crowd a small proportion were really, really nasty people, without the intelligence or empathy to function normally. Most were just muppets, who took vicarious pleasure from being around danger. The sort of guys who would run forwards a few yards, then back a few yards - if they felt safe, they might chuck a plastic chair from distance. And then there were the apologists. A much larger group, not involved themselves in trouble, but always on hand to offer an excuse to legitimise the action - 'the police were looking for trouble', 'the other fans started it' and on, and on. Often, there was truth in what they said, but how they said it stoked tensions and energised the trouble makers. You can see a lot of same behaviours in the riots as you can in football violence.

The approach taken to change behaviour at England games required a whole range of measures. Primarily, these were:

- tougher policing and bans on travelling
- social engineering through a ticketing policy that encouraged new people including more women and children to follow England - and if you had the wrong type of criminal record, you didn't get a ticket. Tough.
- celebrating, rewarding and facilitating positive behaviour, whether that was through contributing towards positive fan initiatives or helping the media to find and interview fans who had something to offer other than nihilism
- it even meant building an online community forum, where fans could bitch about the moderator (us) in much the same way as they do on Brockley Central today - we told you the precedents were uncanny

To pay for all this, people's membership costs went up, as did the subsidy from The FA. Everyone paid and no-one liked it very much.

But the result was that - while things are still far from perfect - we went from riots in Belgium to congas in Japan within a decade.

Lifetime Barbers, 2 Brockley Cross

A quick plug for Lifetime Barbers in Brockley Cross who, as other places boarded themselves up and fights broke out on Tuesday, carried on applying coats of bright orange paint to their spiffy new store front.

Reader offer: Have you met Miss Jones?

Half price tickets for BC readers for the launch of Cabaret at The Jack on Sunday August 14th at 7.30pm with Have You Met Miss Jones?

Leanne will be performing musical theatre classics, pop ballads and songs from Hairspray.

Please email producer@brockleyjack.co.uk with your name, amount of tickets and pay just £5 on the door. (Tickets subject to availability)

Friends of Frendsbury Gardens

Tom, from Frendsbury Gardens writes:

We're having our 1st AGM on 16th August from 6.30-8pm at the Broca Cafe, Coulgate Street.
We'd love to see some new faces either as potential committee members, volunteers or just people who want to know more about this fantastic community garden.

We're bounded by Frendsbury Road in the East, Pincott Place in the West, Honor Oak Estate in the South and the Crofton Park-Nunhead trainline in the North.

On the first Saturday of every month we hold a 'Bug Club' for young children and their parents to learn about wildlife. Earlier in the year we got funding to get a large Porta-cabin to store our tools in and have a small classroom. Our current priority is getting the toilet in the cabin connected to the mains but that's a long story. We have a large crop of fruits and vegetables most of the summer. Passers by are welcome to pick any food they find. We're not precious.

Even if they can't commit long term we always need help with weeding and deadheading so if people could spare a few minutes as they are walking by that would be great.

You can also follow them on Facebook.

Property share in Brockley and South East London

We got this request for somewhere to live via email, which we're happy to post as an excuse to remind you all that you can use both Brockley Central and this section of South East Central to help you find somewhere to live or someone to live with in Brockley or elsewhere in SE London.

Meanwhile, Lucy's looking for a place to stay:

Do you have a flat/studio/attic/quirky space that you would like to rent out but can't find the right person? I am a 32 year old woman who is very reliable, easy going and honest. I am an actress and a drama facilitator who is very into the creative arts. I am based half here, half in Brighton and I am looking for a bolt hole in Brockley that I can afford, (max £600 per month inc. bills) to look after and call my home. I have lived in this area for 10 years so have many local landlords to vouch for me. I have my own furniture, kitchen stuff, etc. and would love to make my own nest now rather than share a space. So in return for reasonable rent (ie what one person could afford) I would look after your space, be reliable and respectful. If you have anything that you think may suit, do email me on maemoses@hotmail.com, or give me a call 07990 575808. Thanks!

Park and ride

Just to show that the war on illegally and inconsiderately parked vans is not really a war on vans but on inconsiderate people, here's an example of a cyclist parking where they shouldn't near Brockley Station too.

Sound Tracks Festival, 17th September

Oh East London Line, is there anything you can't do? Two east London music promoters have created the Sound Tracks Festival that will play across Cafe Oto in Dalston; Concrete in Shoreditch and the Amersham Arms in New Cross, linked by the East London Line, with live music played on the connecting trains.

Headline acts include abstract dance music innovator Fantastic Mr. Fox, rhythmic jazz quartet Shabaka & The Sons of Kemet, and energetic garage punk frontwoman Marina Gasolina, formerly of Baile Funk band Bonde do Role, who will be playing in New Cross. The promoters have secured the permission of TfL to bring the gigs in to the carriages and the New Cross Inn will also be supporting.

Promoter Amanda Lwin explains:

My colleague Carolina is based in Hoxton and I live in Dalston. Deptford and New Cross have a lively cultural scene but people perceive Dalston and New Cross to be worlds away - when in fact they're only 22 mins on the East London Line. Part of the reason of putting on the festival is to connect these places and communities.

For project management reasons, the acoustic sessions on the East London Line will run from New Cross to Dalston Junction, and from Surrey Quays to Dalston Junction (for trains heading up from West Croydon / Crystal Palace). This is the first year we've done this (and the first time that TfL / LOROL have put on something like this) so we need to make it as manageable as possible. We're not allowed to say exactly what time specific acts will be performing, to avoid overcrowding.

This year was about creating something interesting and manageable - but we have a million ideas of how to grow the festival in future. We'd love to expand its reach other places on the Overground network in the coming years.

South East London Updates Wednesday

UPDATE 22:11: In badass minimalist fashion, the Met Police have drawn a line under tonight's proceedings in Eltham:

Missiles thrown at officers in Eltham. Incident dealt with and group dispersed. Police remain on scene.

And the good news is that Beaver Falls can still be caught on E4+1. It's almost as though someone up there's looking out for Brockley.

UPDATE 21:57: Alex Thomson, C4 News says 1,000 police were deployed in Eltham, which probably explains all the sirens heard going through Lewisham. He also says:

Locals furious at what they say are outsider vigilantes coming in to fight anyone - particularly the cops

UPDATE 21:43: Meanwhile, lest we forget, a Brockley man was among the first to go in the dock in relation to the week's riot. He doesn't fit the 'futureless child' stereotype that has been most often described this week. South London Paper says:

Barry Naine, 42, of Foxberry Road, Brockley, who works for a St Mungo's homeless hostel in Lewisham, is alleged to have burgled the Primark store on Rye Lane on Monday.

UPDATE 21:39: BBC Five Live reports:

Scores of police vans, riot police now closing entry to #Eltham High Street - crowd dispersing. Policeman tells 5 live they are not EDL

UPDATE 21:32: Earlier today, Greenwich Council offered the following statement, which rather contradicts the idea that this is just local people defending their area:

Regret Eltham Town Centre pubs closed.Decided so as to deter outside groups from diverting police resources.Robust police presence already.

UPDATE 21:30: The Guardian has a very good short video made last night, with interviews with some of the Eltham protectorate. Meanwhile, we're missing Beaver Falls on E4.

UPDATE 21:25: C4's Alex Thomson claims 200 EDL members are on the streets of Eltham and are being dispersed.

South East London seems determined to wring every last drop of notoriety and sadness out of this week. A large crowd has collected in Eltham (the scene of last night's Millwall vigilante army gathering) and are busy squaring off with police. Sky News is reporting live.

Beat cancer doggy-style in Peckham

Cancer Research UK is organising a sponsored dog walk on the 3rd of September 2011 in Peckham Rye Park.

You can register to take part here and search for 'Peckham'. On the same day the Friends of Peckham Rye Park will be holding a Summer Fete including a dog show.

They say:

Your support is vital. We have made significant progress in understanding and treating cancer, yet one in three of us will still get cancer at some point in our lives so there’s much more we need to do. Our vital work, funded entirely by the public, will mean that many more people will survive. It would be great to see you and your dog in Peckham and we hope you can join us there.

Contact felicity.jones@cancer.org.uk for more details otherwise we look forward to seeing you there.

Mob justice - show your support for Lewisham traders

On Saturday, Lewisham residents are being encouraged to shop local to show our support for businesses hit by events this week.

Lewisham shops and market traders were badly affected, not just by the damage inflicted by looters but also through trade lost from having to close early two days in a row.

Lewisham Cllr Mike Harris says:

Let's hold a CARROTMOB for local market traders who have had a difficult week. We'll meet outside the Clock Tower at the top of Lewisham High Street and then do our week's fruit and veg shopping at our fantastic market. That way traders will recoup the income they've lost from having to shut today at 1pm and from yesterday's looting.

I've called it for 12 noon on Saturday. If people can turn up we could also take a photo to send a clear signal out that we're determined to help those in our community affected by this senseless violence.

I spoke to a trader today who was really upset by what happened. This is a nice way of showing our support.

Of course, it wasn't just market traders who were affected but many businesses across Lewisham, so this week, more than ever, please show your support by shopping local whenever possible. If anyone wants to organise any other local carrotmobs, please feel free to use the comments section below and we'll update the thread with the details.