St John's Baby and Toddler Group - Nearly New Sale

The St John's Baby and Toddler Group, a playgroup run entirely by volunteers twice a week at St John's Church on Lewisham Way, is holding a nearly new sale on Thursday 1 December between 9.30am and 11am.

If Brockley Central readers are thinking of trying to clear some space before Christmas and have clothes, clean and safe toys, books, coats, jackets, nursery and baby equipment or maternity wear they would like to sell, we are opening up our 'sale by ticket' system to non-playgroup members.

Each seller needs to buy a sheet of tickets, which costs £2.50 for 20; you then fill in the tickets and securely attach one to each item.  In addition to the £2.50 cost of the tickets, the Playgroup will keep 20% of the amount of takings over £30 for each seller. So, if you sell £28 worth of items, you take home £28.  If you sell £38 worth of items, you'll be paid £36.40 - we will take 20% of £8, (that is the amount over £30). All this money goes to the running of the playgroup.

For full information and details of how to get hold of tickets, please email:

Parents can drop off the items the day before at the Wednesday playgroup session. Parking is available at the Church and if you don't have anything to sell, want to buy or simply haven't been before, why not try the playgroup and bring your kids along?

We are always keen to see new families and carers bring their children along to the Wednesday or Thursday sessions - or both! It's a relaxed, friendly atmosphere with plenty of dads as well as mums; we start at 10am and have free tea and coffee, with singing and fruit for the children. It's very hands on with helpers making tea, arranging craft activities and tidying up at the end of the session.

Brockley Leaseholders Association AGM

Steven writes:

The Brockley Leaseholders Association was set up a few years ago after Lewisham Council signed a PFI contract with a consortium Regenter B3 in 2007 to look after its properties in Brockley. We're holding our AGM tomorrow (1 December) at 19.30 at the St Andrews Centre (bottom of Wickham Road).

We have had a very busy year this year, a group of us taking forward action at a Leasehold Tribunal which ruled very much in our favour that the major works carried out in 2007-08 were unnecessary, poor and costly. The Tribunal also agreed with us that the 38.6% management fees the PFI slaps on to all work was excessive - but unfortunately Lewisham is appealing against the latter as it is bound by the PFI contract to protect the consortium's profits.

Lewisham has failed to rectify the poor quality works even given the Tribunal's decisions and does not want to engage with us and says repeatedly that it is the PFI consortium's problem: we disagree as Lewisham is our freeholder (and landlord for the tenants) and is ultimately responsible for making sure its contractors deliver work to spec. Unfortunately Lewisham signed everything off without surveys and did not even turn up to the five day Tribunal hearing earlier this year!

At the AGM we'll be holding the usual committee elections and we are open to new members who are concerned about what might happen over the coming years. We'll also be discussing annual service charges which seem to vary in scope from year to year too!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Anna's looking for help. She writes:

I am a BA Anthropology student at Goldsmiths College, writing a dissertation on memory and geography in New Cross, Telegraph Hill and Deptford. I am looking for local residents who would like to get involved in my project, taking part in informal, short conversations about their memories and recollections of everyday life in these areas. If interested, please contact me at

Sewer rat terrorises Lewisham

The Council has issued this scam warning:

Lewisham Council is warning residents to be wary of a new scam where a fake ‘new’ resident claims essential drainage work needs to be carried out at an adjoining property.

Typically the fraudsters visit the legitimate resident posing as new neighbours claiming that there is a problem with their own drains, caused in part by the residents’ drain. The resident is then asked for their telephone number so that a drainage company can call them to sort out the problem.

After doing so, the resident then receives a call from a bogus company asking for money to help pay for the hire of equipment – sometimes with an assurance that this money will be refunded after the job has been completed.

The resident is then asked to make payment either by bank transfer or to pay a courier who is sent round to collect the money.

Trading Standards are advising residents that if they receive such a visit or telephone call they should not pay any money or agree to any work and should report any suspicious activity to the Police on the non-emergency number, 101.

Residents can get more advice about how to choose a reputable trader by visiting or by calling the national Consumer Direct helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

The fog of tor

Kenan Malik sent us these beautiful shots he took in a Blythe Hill fog. Click here for more and to see his other work.

The Faircharm Christmas Fair, 3-4 December

With thanks to Caroline for the information. Visit

The Brockley Fox and other stories

Then Brer Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Brer Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug. "I was bred and born in the briar patch, Brer Fox," he called. "Born and bred in the briar patch." 
- Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby

Amazon is selling copies of 'The Brockley Fox and other stories', a children's book written by Millie Marsh. According to the blurb, none of the fox's adventures involve restaurant reviews:

The Brockley Fox and Orange the Duck and the four included poems are suitable for children aged between seven to eleven years of age. The Brockley Fox begins in the Court of the King of Britain. On hearing the news that all the foxes have been hunted the bad tempered King throws a tantrum. The King demands that his two loyal Lords find him a fox to hunt. They finally find the country's last refuge for foxes - London. However, when they kidnap Brockley, the clever, handsome fox their already troubled lives become a whole lot worse and what begins as the King's greatest triumph quickly turns into his biggest nightmare. In Orange the Duck, we meet Brockley again. In this adventure he has to organise a rescue of his best human friend, Lynda's favourite toy - Orange. Unfortunatly, Orange has been tidied up and accidently thrown away into a council rubbish cart. Can Brockley and his crack animal team rescue Orange from certain doom and mend Lynda's breaking heart?

Plot: good. Characterisation: Quite good.

The Lord Wolseley

Transpontine found this amazing photo of the pub that used to sit directly opposite the Wickham Arms, Upper Brockley Road. Taken in approximately 1920, the pub closed in the 1990s and the building is now a handsome but sterile residential block. Sigh.

The Fly Tip, Breakspears Road

Monkeyboy spotted this protest against a proposed house-building project on Breakspears Road. It wins points for both creativity and fence-climbing ingenuity.

Stop Coral letting homes going to waste - November 29th

The man who started the Brockley revolution by exposing its existence to Channel 4 viewers returns in the flesh to save Ladywell. Lara explains:

Fed up of empty homes in Ladywell going to waste? Fancy being on Channel 4? Come and be part of a protest this Tuesday! 

At short notice, LVIG has arranged a protest against the total lack of movement from Corals and E Coombes Ltd (who own the Corals building) to renovate and put in to use the two flats above their shop on Algernon Road. 

We are hosting a tea party outside Corals for a Channel 4 documentary crew and presenter Phil Spencer (of Location, Location, Location fame), who will meet a family currently living in cramped conditions. 

Local businesses are helping provide tea and furniture, and we need a good crowd of people to be part of the tea party and discussions with Phil. 

It will be an engaging, interactive discussion and we want as many local people there as possible to show Corals that they cannot let these properties go to waste any longer. 

Please donate an hour of your time at 10.30am on Tuesday 29 November, outside Corals on the corner of Ladywell and Algernon Roads. 

Everyone is welcome, and you will be filmed; it's an excellent opportunity for us to see Ladywell on Channel 4, so we hope to see as many people as possible. For more info email

Blackheath Christmas Shopping Evening, December 1st

Our friend is helping to organise this Christmas shopping event on behalf of the Cystic Fybrosis Trust.

Now that's a Nisa meatball!

The new Nisa supermarket on Mantle Road officially opens tomorrow. It's been open irregularly over the last few days, while they've been stocking up and testing their systems and we had a chance to try it out yesterday.

It appears primarily to be aimed at the convenience shopper and impulse buys, with a special offer on advent calendars greeting our arrival and chocolate, beer and crisps all pretty prominently displayed when you walk in.

Closer in feel to the Tesco Express on Lewisham Way than to the Costcutter on Brockley Road, its aisles are wide and bright. It feels like it has a narrower range than Costcutter, but on the other hand, its fresh fruit and vegetables (although overpackaged) look a bit more appetising and Brockley Central wasn't filled with the same sense of doubt when examining the meat.

The staff were nice and unnecessarily apologetic for the fact that they were still stocking up. Prices seemed pretty reasonable, although we lost our receipt so can't give you any examples, except that two litres of semi skimmed milk cost 93p (or something like that).

We don't expect the differences between Nisa and Costcutter will be significant enough to tempt many across the bridge on a regular basis, but if you live on the west side of the station, you now have a nice little supermarket to hand and one that will brighten up a previously dark stretch of street.

Clarkey's closes

Clarkey's, the Mantle Road sandwich shop, which opened earlier this year, has sadly closed. Customer Andy writes: "Jay has been offered as full time job and reckoned that the new Nisa would hurt his trade so he has thrown in the towel and shut up shop. I will miss his coffee in the mornings."

It's a shame both for Clarkey's customers and the street, which is just beginning to develop some life, but good luck to Jay in the future. Thanks to those who confirmed the story.

Beyond bollards

Bollards of London is a blog dedicated to beautiful bollards across the capital. Brockley obviously has more than its fair share of bollard-botherers because we've been sent this link by not one but two BC readers.

It's a shot of Geoffrey Road bollards that has horrified even a bollard-hardened veteran like the site's author, who says:

May I say what a complete and utter mess of an area / piece of road, however within the chaos/cluster of bollards/street furniture there is a very odd aged even scratched beauty.

One set of bollards doesn't matter, but this mess of metal is symptomatic of Lewisham Council's broader indifference to the look of its streets.

Good Evening at The Telegraph

At Stations Present are a group of cultural curators, who organise arts events in South East London. Tomorrow, from 8pm, they are presenting Good Evening at The Telegraph pub in Telegraph Hill. The eclectic line-up includes:

Laurence Clark at the Brockley Jack

Darren from the Brockley Jack Theatre writes:

Friday Nov 25th at 8pm
Laurence Clark recently awarded Best New Comedian in Shortlist magazine comes to The Jack for one night only with his hilarious new show Health Hazard!

His one-man mission to help Obama sell the benefits of free healthcare to the American people wowed packed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

Prior to a national tour, gigs at Soho Theatre and a documentary for the BBC this is your chance to catch Laurence before he shoots to fame.

Bring a friend and you both pay £8 each (normally £12)

Email with your name, number of tickets required and pay at the door.

Moon Under Water in New Cross

Many as are the virtues of the Moon Under Water, I think that the garden is its best feature, because it allows whole families to go there instead of Mum having to stay at home and mind the baby while Dad goes out alone. And though, strictly speaking, they are only allowed in the garden, the children tend to seep into the pub and even to fetch drinks for their parents. This, I believe, is against the law, but it is a law that deserves to be broken, for it is the puritanical nonsense of excluding children —and therefore, to some extent, women—from pubs that has turned these places into mere boozing-shops instead of the family gathering-places that they ought to be. 
- George Orwell comes out on the side of yummy mummies in the great debate about pubs

The Sun today carries an article by Robin Turner, author of the Rough Pub Guide, who asks which pubs today still capture the spirit of the pubs celebrated by George Orwell in his famous essay, The Moon Under Water.

New Cross' Montague Arms is one of four pubs he highlights, saying:

OCTAGENARIAN staff (landlord Stan Pownall is 85), decor like the pirate ship in The Goonies and an events calendar including The Unwrong Quiz make this one of our strangest, and best, boozers.

With thanks to Dan Cooper.

Mayor unveils plans for major revamp of Peckham Town Centre

The Mayor of London and Southwark Council have announced plans for a major revamp of Peckham Town Centre:

The proposed £3-5m project will be funded by the Mayor’s £70m Regeneration Fund, set up to help repair the damage caused to high streets and town centres in the August riots, £20m of which was secured from central Government and the rest from City Hall.

Working together, the Mayor, Southwark Council and its partners are developing a proposal that will help Peckham Town Centre benefit from extension of the East London Line and see improvements to the platforms and facilities at Peckham Rye station as part of the National Station Improvement Programme. Highlights include:

  • Creating a new, high quality public square outside Peckham Rye station - by clearing and demolishing the arcade buildings in front of the station and installing the electricity and lighting infrastructure needed to allow flexible use of the area, for example to locate outdoor market stalls.
  • Transforming the plaza to the rear of Peckham Rye station - by relocating existing light industrial businesses and refurbishing the railway arches to a high standard to stimulate investment and support growth of the night-time economy.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The plans put forward for Peckham Rye are hugely exciting and have the potential to boost the local economy and bring great benefits to everyone living in the area. I really hope the community get behind these plans and give them the support they need to become a reality.”

Councillor Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration at Southwark Council, said: “Peckham's Rye Lane was once one of London's premier shopping streets featuring department stores like Jones & Higgins, but sadly it's become rather run down. For instance Peckham Rye Station is a beautiful Victorian Grade II listed building, but it's hidden away from view behind a tatty shopping mall. In recent years we've been working with local residents' group, Peckham Vision, to improve the station starting with the old waiting room. What we really want to do is knock down the mall and create a fantastic new public square in front of the station - a grand entrance is just what Peckham needs to welcome residents and visitors alike and to help kick start the local economy."

For more background about this story, visit South East Central's Peckham forum.

Local hero

The good thing about the franchise model of supermarket retailing is that they are independently owned and thus inherently more responsive to the community they serve than inhuman chains. Oh sure, Tesco might spend billions on capturing and interpreting data with sophisticated algorithms to understand local market preferences, but you can’t beat good old gut instinct and local knowledge.

That’s why Nisa makes such a virtue of being a chain of local stores owned by local people. The owners of Nisa’s new Mantle Road store have listened to the local debate about Greater Brockley’s ever-expanding borders and they’ve responded, by welcoming Haynes Park in to the fold. Romford isn’t the first place we’d have made a land-grab for, but we’ll take it.

Brockley's new local Nisa

Meanwhile, Fabhat sends us a link to a design company that reckons Jay’s Budgens in Crofton Park has got it right. With thanks to Vesta Curry for the spot.

Classifieds information

In case you haven't spotted it, Brockley Central has a classifieds page. It features all kinds of interesting and useful local stuff, from Japanese hairdressing to traditional brickwork, Brockley bed and breakfast to man and van hire.

Click here to see for yourself or use the Classifieds button along the top of the page.

The Hilly Fields Lunch Club, December 2nd

Jennifer writes:

The Hilly Fields Lunch Club meets again on Friday 2 December, 12-2pm, at The Ladywell Tavern, 80 Ladywell Road, SE13 7HS.

Launched in October, the club brings together freelancers, homeworkers and small businesses in the area.

At the next meet up, Tim Grollman, local toy designer, will give a short presentation at 12.30 on how he took the Tubie from an idea to the high street. After a commercial career at BT, Tim took advantage of early retirement to create the Tubie, a unique and patented puzzle influenced by Sudoku, where you rotate a tube to line up coloured cells. Tim will explain how he devised the game, secured a patent, and negotiated manufacturing and distribution agreements.

If you'd like attend, please leave a comment on the Hilly Fields Lunch Club blog.

Shardeloes Road rehab response

Cllr Vicky Foxcroft has forwarded us the reply she received from Lewisham Council in relation to the substance abuse treatment centre proposed for 181 Shardeloes Road. She asked about the extent of the consultation (which has been extended until December and which includes a debate at this evening's Brockley Assembly), the key question about whether patients would receive treatment voluntarily and whether there would be any additional policing measures put in place for the area. Here's the response: 

The consultation pack was distributed to roads in the immediate vicinity of 181 Shardeloes Road. Over 1,000 packs were distributed to: Shardeoles Road, Millmark Road, Endwell Road, Geoffrey Road, Brockley Road, Mantle Court, Endwell Court, Steven Court, Coulgate Road and Cranfield Road. 

Staff from the Daat also personally visited local businesses, including the Timber Yard, the nursery, car repair shop next door to 181. In addition they visited all the shops around Brockley Cross as far as the Brockley Barge. 

On the 8th November we ran an outreach event using the Safer Lewisham Partnership Bus which was parked outside of the station. During this time the shops and cafes in the area were visited and we received a very good response. 

During the consultation period some residents have complained that they did not receive the consultation pack, it is possible that some people may have mistakenly thrown the envelope away. In response to this and in response to interest from people living in a wider geographical area all properties within half Km (a 10 minute walk) have been sent an additional pack. 

All the service users would attend on a voluntary basis and we would expect no more than 25 -30 people in the course of the day, this would include family members, parents, carers etc. The building would be carefully managed by CRI who have been commissioned to deliver this service, they successfully manage similar schemes in Southwark and Bromley. 

Outreach workers would be based at the project and they would be available to offer support to people in the wider area, service users would sign up to a behaviour contracts and CRI staff would regularly check/patrol the area around the service. 

If this service goes ahead it would be delivered in a close partnership with the Police and local community, we would envisage that there would be regular meetings with local residents and businesses. 

The Waldron Health Centre had been identified as a possible location for this service several months ago. However, for the delivery of a hub service CRI were looking for 2,000 plus sq ft and this was not available at the Waldron at that time. It is public knowledge that this is being revisited as a potential option and there are ongoing discussions with Health.

Click here for details of the Brockley Assembly.

St Mary the Virgin Church, Lewisham

A Brockley woman has pleaded guilty to the theft of a war memorial from St Mary the Virgin Church, near the Ladywell section of Lewisham High Street. It's a pretty sad tale all round, and means the names of some who lost their lives in the First World War may be lost forever. Rising metal prices mean that metal theft (like the copper cabling theft that occasionally wipes out telecommunications in the area) is becoming more common and as many as 100,000 memorials are thought to be at risk, according to SmartWater (full disclosure: client).

The story is, however, an opportunity to celebrate one of the area's finest buildings, seen here peeping over the trees in Ladywell Fields (Copyright: Steven Craven). St Mary's was built between 1774 and 1777, designed by the architect George Gibson, who also built the Stone House on Lewisham Way. The church is surrounded by the St Mary's Conservation Area, which was the birthplace of Lewisham town.

The church says of its origins:

"Lewisham people have worshipped here for at least a thousand years. The site of the church is close to, and almost certainly linked with, the ancient well at nearby Ladywell. Although the foundation date of the church is not known a tenth century charter, confirming the gift of Lewisham and the surrounding area to the Abbey of St. Peter’s in Ghent, refers to “churches.” The ownership by St.Peter’s Ghent continued from the tenth century to 1414."

See also:

The Presbyterian Church of Wales
St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church

London Overground 2016

Thanks to Patrick, who has forward us a TfL Impact Study for the London Overground network. The good news is that  customer satisfaction with the service has risen in line with the soaring passenger numbers, which have grown by 160% since 2007, with half of the growth coming from the East London Line.

However, their projections for the 2016 suggest that we may be about to reach a tipping point, with overcrowding expected to get worse. This map shows the worst-affected parts of the network, with the short stretch between Surrey Quays and Canada water the most-crowded part of the East London Line.

The great squash means that measures to boost capacity become more necessary and thus, we hope, more likely, more quickly. These could include improving frequency (4 more New Cross trains could be accommodated each hour without too much fuss) and extending the length of the trains (one more carriage could be added to each train on the ELL relatively easily). They are on the drawing board already and the London mayor, who's argued passionately in recent days for a £40bn airport infrastructure investment as a means of escaping recession, could surely see the value in comparatively modest expenditure on this service.

Other points from the study worth noting:

- The network helps to reduce car journeys in the areas it serves and the greater connectivity means that people are making new journeys, which is benefits those areas' economic development. In total 12% of all journeys are by people who have switched from cars or who are making journeys they didn't before.

- Also of note is the fact that the LO has a much higher number of school children passengers, due to the fact that it provides a circular, rather than radial route across the capital.

Cathedral's Deptford plans presented

We're grateful to the Deptford Dame for letting us know about architect Lord Rogers' visit to Deptford to promote Cathedral's masterplan for the area behind the Deptford Project. They have released new images that give a much clearer idea of the proposals than previous sketches (click to enlarge).

What do you think?

(H/T to Luc in the BC Facebook group, who spotted how incredibly white the CGI crowd is).

Brockley TV agency seeks full-time employee

These are harsh economic times. So harsh, that the very idea that a new restaurant might one day open in Honor Oak is branded corduroy-clad fantasy by some of BC's most realistic readers. So we are delighted to post details of the one economic bright spot in Brockley right now. TV is back!

Full time Assistant for Television Agency.  Salary c 22K pa.

Small but booming Brockley based television agency seeks experienced and extremely organised assistant to help run their list of specialist factual television presenters.  The job would suit someone already working in the media looking for something more local or someone keen on a change of career but who is interested in Television.  

The successful candidate will have incredible attention to detail, an ability to handle over 20 diaries and a desire to learn and get stuck in to a growing agency business. They will also be very digitally savvy and prepared to manage the agency (and some client’s) web presence.  This is a job for someone who is prepared to commit to being an assistant for a couple of years but it has real prospects in either office management or agenting depending on which way the candidate wants to go.

Please email with your CV and a covering letter as soon as possible.

Honor Oak Dominoation plan rejected

Domino's Pizza has been refused permission for a change of use of the Old Bank restaurant in Honor Oak Park. The Council's verdict agreed with the points made by campaigners against the plan: that it would be an unacceptable loss of a local amenity and create traffic and noise problems that would be to the detriment of the rest of the high street.

On balance, this is the right result and nothing to one's opinion about Domino's products. The handsome Old Bank should be given a chance to continue as a restaurant. Hopefully, a restaurateur will now come forward to take it on. In the mean time, Domino's have the financial and commercial clout to identify another location in the area, from where they will be able to operate their takeaway services. There must be an empty unit with planning permission for a takeaway facility somewhere in this part of South East London...

This. Is. Lewisham!

Batty: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die.
- Blade Runner

Brockley's artist laureate Mike Hall has created a new illustrated map of Lewisham, which you will be able to buy at Brockley Market on December 3rd or online via his site here.

Pistachios reveals plans for Hilly Fields

A hastily-taken shot of the new Hilly Fields cafe

At yesterday's ice skating in Hilly Fields (nice for kids, not really for adults), the Pistachios team unveiled some images of their plans for the new cafe. The building, which will occupy the toilet block site, will be completed early next year.

Harmony Sinfonia concert tonight

Brockley's resident orchestra Harmony Sinfonia play tonight.

7.30pm, St Peter's Church, Wickham Rd

Overture, from Beatrice and Benedict - Hector Berlioz
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D Op 35 - Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Legends, 'Lemminkainen Suite' Op 22 - Jean Sibelius 

Drawing lessons at Cafe Crema

December 3rd, 1-3pm, Cafe Crema, 306 New Cross Road, SE14 6AF.

Botanical drawing with drawing expert Alison Day, from Lewisham Arthouse. Free, but please text 07950 552 571 or call in at cafe crema to reserve a place.

This event is organised by The London Wildlife Trust's 'Wild London, Inclusive London' project and Cafe Crema.

The workshop will cover botanical drawing techniques using found natural bits and bobs from the garden like seed heads, fir cones, dried flower heads, winter branches and bark etc. Perfect for a christmas card or special present. Child friendly. 

Basic materials are also provided, but feel free to bring along your own sketch books and materials if you'd like to. Refreshments provided.

Shaun's, Lewisham Way

Mintness writes:

I noticed that Shaun's (formerly LV Food and Wine), the unit on Lewisham Way near the Tesco Express, opened its doors this weekend. Popped in for the first time just now, and it's a bright, nicely laid-out shop.  

With thanks to Pam for the photo

Depending on which side of the Great Mung Debate they favour, BCers will be delighted/appalled to learn that they seem to have a pretty good range of organic fruit and vegetables on offer, as well as other organic products from biscuits to Belgian beer. Some Indian goodies too, plus plenty of the usual honest corner shop fare. 

I didn't investigate in any great detail, but north-enders lamenting the loss of the Shop on the Hill would be advised to take a look - easy enough to pop in this Saturday on their way to/from the Market!

Essie Blu - Money

Essie Blu are a female duo from Brockley (the name is based on SE Blue borough, presumably) and have just released their first video, Money, which borrows a little from Jessie J, both lyrically and visually.

Mantle Road keeps it real

The new skip yard, in the middle, taken from the wrong side of the tracks but we had a train to catch

Score one for “real Brockley”. Instead of more flats, which would only have contained dreadful people wanting to use your trains and services and buy things you don’t like anyway, the new building being put up on Mantle Road is to be a skip yard. Better still, it’s using good honest materials like corrugated iron, it will be low rise and no-one could accuse it of contributing to our “dormitory” status.

Steel frame construction is well underway and completion should be pretty quick.

Christmas foodie events at El's Kitchen

Ladywell deli, El’s Kitchen is hosting a series of Christmas wine and food tasting events, on Monday nights, starting next week. El writes:

On November 21st, Clive Barlow will be taking us through the “top rack” Christmassy wines. Join us for an evening of festive fizz, classy whites, full-bodied reds and after dinner sweets. The lovely people from Gruyere will also be cooking up a fondue for us to dip into. Our tutored tasting starts at 7.30pm; tickets are £10 each and you also get a voucher for 10% off your order of 12 mixed bottles or more. Email, pop into the shop or call us on 020 7998 4889 to reserve your place.

At our food tasting evenings customers will be able to taste over 20 products, from puddings to panettone, chocolates to cheeses, Chinese teas to chutneys and sweet and savoury biscuits. The tasting events are taking place on November 28th and December 5th from 5.30pm – 8pm (when the store is normally closed). We’ll have various suppliers and producers at the shop for customers to get the low-down on their products.

Speed the plow - playwriting courses at the Brockley Jack

Donald Kaufman: I'm putting in a chase sequence. So the killer flees on horseback with the girl, the cop's after them on a motorcycle and it's like a battle between motors and horses, like technology vs. horse.
Charlie Kaufman: And they're still all one person, right?
- Adaptation

The Brockley Jack Theatre team write:

New writing is vital to the Jack. In 2011 Kate launched Writers Ink and Writers Hub to offer further opportunities to writers with scripts in development. Throughout the year we offer a number of rehearsed readings, workshops with actors, script surgeries and feedback opportunities.

In Winter 2011-2012 we launch Write Here, two new community writing workshops. Please come and join us! To learn more and download an application form click here.

Ice skating on Hilly Fields - It's on, like Michelle Kwan

We've had a few inquiries from readers who can't quite believe that there will be ice skating in Hilly Fields this weekend. Here's the press release from BrocSoc, confirming it and providing more details about the Brockley Design Festival:

Enjoy skating on a synthetic ice rink at Hilly Fields, alongside craft stalls, refreshments, creative activities and consultation [sic].

Saturday 19th November, 12 noon-­7pm Sunday 20th November, 12 noon-­4pm Tennis Courts, Hilly Fields Park, Brockley, SE4 1LE

Cost: £2 for skate hire and 20 minutes skating. Under 7s must be accompanied on the ice.

This is the launch event for the Brockley Design Festival, a six-month programme of fun ‘pop-up’ events, put together by a collection of local designers, artists and community groups, including Brockley Society and Brockley Cross Action Group.

As well as a café, creative consultation activities will take place alongside the rink, to provoke debate and encourage ideas about how a little re-imagining could improve parts of our area.

What is the Brockley Design Festival?

Stage 1:  A series of fun and creative events based around Brockley and surrounds. At each event there will be an opportunity to put your views across on issues relating to our area and built environment through discussion and consultation.

Stage 2:  Local artists, designers and architects will work collaboratively to come up with proposals that address some of the local issues raised. Work to include joint projects with community groups.

Stage 3:  A free public exhibition of the design proposals at a local venue to engage interest and gather feedback.

Stage 4:  We will work to attract public or private funding to help bring some of the ideas that you come up with to life.

If you would like to get involved with the Brockley Design Festival, or have a great idea for a future event please contact us: Follow us at twitter/@brockleydesign Like us at facebook/brockleydesignfestival

Honor Oak and Crofton Park mystery shopper

As revealed on the Brockley forumNotes of an Idealist reports a mysterious letter they received from someone planning to open a shop in Honor Oak or Crofton Park, asking residents to complete a survey, saying what kind of shop they'd use. It's a curious approach, but you can take part in the survey here:

What you gonna do with all that junk?

The junk shop that has occupied the shop on the corner of Brockley and Cranfield Road has been served with an eviction notice.

The junk shop shows off its wares

We were never entirely sure whether it was meant to be a permanent addition to the neighbourhood or an enterprising bit of opportunism while the building behind was being redeveloped. The lack of a sign or a name suggested it was intended to be semi-permanent at best.

Junk shops sell useful stuff that people need. They can be a great addition to any parade. But this one didn't exercise much quality control of its stock, used the pavement as its sales room and the shop itself to stuff bric-a-brac in as tightly as possible. The big new windows that the Council insisted the developer install as a condition of planning permission for redevelopment seemed somewhat wasted on stacks of indiscernible junk piled to the ceiling. As a prime site on a parade that desperately needs rejuvenation, this shop didn't really maximise its cardinal utility.

So the question is: What next? What would be the best use of this space?

Thanks to Breakspears Eagle on the Brockley forum for the heads-up.

The past is a foreign country. With really bad taste in music.

1992: Undercover had stormed the charts with an ersatz version of Baker Street. MC Hammer had reinvented himself as Hammer and scored with the Addams Groove. Dr Spin's "Tetris" vied with the Ambassadors of Funk's "Super Mario Brothers" for chart supremacy. Tasmin Archer was enjoying success that would see her win the following year's Brit Award for Breakthrough Artist.


We're grateful to Barry, who spotted that the billboards underneath the bridge on Brockley Road have been ripped off, to reveal posters from 1992, which suggest the people of Brockley had marginally better musical taste than the rest of the country.

Cut it out

The Green Party press office confirms that Upper Brockley Road / Lewisham Way off-licence Supercuts has lost its appeal to stay open, after it was found to have encouraged years of anti-social behaviour in the area, culminating in a shooting incident during a street party:

Brockley Ward councillor for the Green Party, Darren Johnson, who gave evidence at the appeal today on behalf of local residents, welcomed Bromley Magistrates' decision to reject the appeal by Super Cuts off-licence in Upper Brockley Road. He commented:

"The Supercuts off-licence has been a nightmare for local residents the whole nine years I have been a councillor. Large noisy groups congregate outside and the proprietor seems to run the place more like a pub than an off-licence. The so-called Royal Wedding street party outside that ended in gunshots was the final straw for local people and I am pleased that Supercuts have finally lost their licence."

Businesses that trade legally and responsibly in the area deserve our support as a community. Ones that don't have a deleterious effect on quality of life for people of all backgrounds and damage trade for other businesses, discouraging more legitimate businesses from opening in the area. This was the right decision.

Declutter to shift

Life is struggle against clutter. To a list of irritants like illegally parked vans and illegally dumped refuse, we can add illegal estate agent signs.

Claire wants to know if her experience is unique (we have deleted the name of the company):

"I live in the conservation area and am having trouble getting [redacted] to take their ‘Let by’ sign down from outside my property. The flat in question has been let for over a month and [redacted] were incredibly rude and aggressive when I called to ask for its removal. First they lied and told me the freeholder had authorised it (he confirmed he had not, and had in fact removed it himself, only for [redacted] to come back round and put it up). They then threatened “there will be trouble” if I remove it myself.

"I'm interested to see if this is an issue that affects or bothers other flat owners in the area, as I have now taken it to the council."

New Year late in Brockley

The London Overground will be running free late night services this New Year's Eve. Reader Mike explains:

"The overground is running into the small hours on December 31st / January 1st. The last train heading up from Brockley to H&I leaves at 01.58am. The last train back to Brockley leaves Whitechapel at 02.33am.  And all the trains will be free after 11.45pm."

Christmas cancelled in Ladywell

Ladywell Village Improvement Group writes:

We have reluctantly made the decision to cancel the Christmas Market this year, which was due to take place Saturday 10 December and would have been the fourth annual Ladywell Christmas Market.

Due to the continued works at our current venue, the forecourt at Ladywell Station, the most recent advice from Southeastern Rail is that they cannot guarantee the works to be finished in time to hold the market there, the decision has been made to cancel the event.

I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you with this information but we and Southeastern Rail were hopeful until now that the works would be finished in time.

This was a tough decision and it was made in the interest of the Market. At this late stage we could soldier on and put on a market somewhere but we run the risk of it being a sorry one in an unsuitable venue and we don't want to take that risk. Ladywell is on the up and as such deserves the best market we can give it!

BT's Olympic hubris

BT is currently running ads showing off about the tremendous speed of the Infinity broadband network it's putting in place in time for the 2012 Olympics, of which it is a partner. So it won't shock you to learn that roll-out to the Deptford exchange (which serves most of Brockley) has slowed to a crawl. Having brought it forward to December 2011, they've now put it back again to December 2012 (on the previous thread Matt Z warned us this was likely to happen).

Local community garden grants

Lewisham Council is currently taking applications for community garden grants. If you run or are planning a project in the borough, you can apply for up to £750 to help with costs.

The deadline for applications is 30th April 2012 and there will be two funding rounds. Round 1 will opened on 7th November 2011 and will close on 13th January 2012. Round 2 will open 1st March 2012 and close on 30th April 2012.

Eligible projects must:

1. Encourage community cohesion (for example, creating a derelict area into a garden that gets the whole community working together in harmony) and at least one of the following objectives.

2. Help develop projects to initiate and run new food growing spaces within LBL

3. Or support existing projects that encourage people to grow their own food for community benefit within LBL.

Please contact 0208 314 2068 to request an application or email

Thanks to Cllr Foxcroft for the information.

The Jam Circus Tuesday Night Pub Quiz

James writes:

I run the Tuesday Night Pub Quiz at Jam Circus. Throughout November I am raising money for Movember and on 29 Nov we’ll be having a special Movember quiz.

As it’s for charity I am hoping to get local businesses to donate prizes for the cause and wondered if you could spread the word. Brockley Market and Brockley Bags are already on board. We’ve got information on this event on our website, and there’s a Facebook event page too.

We’ll be giving the first 50 people to make a non-copper donation a free cupcake on the night too and will be playing an extended pub quiz and additional games. If there’s anyone you know who could help, or if you could just promote the event to help us raise as much money as possible I (and prostates everywhere) would appreciate it.

Brockley Cross, 1962

We're grateful to Rob for sending us the following photo, available via photo-mapping site, Geograph. In 50 years, little has changed, other than motorbike riders have learned to wear helmets and the zebra crossing has been moved to a less sensible place.

Brockley: Not Brockwell

The Dude: Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
- The Big Lebowski

Time Out makes the Brockley = Broccoli joke and then compounds the sin by saying we have a lido. And people wonder why South East London has a disproportionate number of local area blogs...

There may be some wine

Shameless plug for friend's boyfriend's mission to the Antarctic. They are raising money for a journey that only an elite few (and a 16 year old girl) would dare attempt, recreating Scott's mission 100 years after his death. If you or your company have quite a lot of money, you can join them at the Painted Hall, Greenwich, on December 3rd for a fundraising dinner.

Inside the actor's studio flat

Jimmy Katz: Acting is reacting. 
- Mulholland Drive

Gavin writes:

I'm looking to get together a group of actors in our local area who meet up regularly to read plays or scripts, where we can develop our skill and knowledge as we do so and also to become a resource for local writers and directors who would like to hear their work read aloud. This can be done over a glass of wine at the Brockley Jack or a cup of tea and maybe dinner at mine on occasions.

Meeting to read plays would provide an excellent networking opportunity and would be a great way to broaden our knowledge of plays whilst bringing them to life and using important techniques we use in auditions all the time. Anyone would be welcome to select a play and hopefully we can put ourselves ahead of the game when it comes to auditions just by keeping our skills fresh.

We could also benefit local writers and directors who would like to hear work read out. In fact a couple of directors have already shown an interest in the idea and are enthusiastic to have such a resource on their door step. If you are interested it would be great to hear from you, so please drop me an email at

I work as an actor and you can see my online details on spotlight or at Don't forget to mention if you're vegetarian or not ahead of our first meeting!

Convoys Wharf campaigners propose alternative vision

‘Deptford Is...’ the group campaigning to prevent the development of Convoys Wharf in its proposed form, has unveiled their alternative vision for the site.

Last week, shipbuilding historian Richard Endsor and Deptford boat builder Julian Kingston presented a proposal “to bring shipbuilding back to Deptford's former royal dockyard.” They propose to build a full-scale replica of the Lenox, one of Charles II's warships, which was originally built at the King's Yard in 1678. They say:

Apart from reconnecting Deptford to its maritime history, this project would offer training in traditional crafts and skills, apprenticeships, educational and employment opportunities for local people, as well as creating a tourist attraction to complement neighbouring Royal Greenwich.

The Hermione project, in Rochefort, France, attracts a quarter of a million visitors per year who each pay €15 to see the ship under construction, demonstrating that such a heritage project could be self-sustaining, as well as bringing increased footfall to Deptford town centre, having a hugely beneficial impact on the local economy...  

The reopening of the riverfront walkway should take the opportunity to acknowledge the history of the site by recreating the seven bridges that would originally have crossed the seven openings connecting the dockyard basins and slipways to the river.

We love the idea of a development that celebrates the area’s maritime heritage (although arguably, we’re already pretty well served by maritime Greenwich) and makes better use of the riverside than the what’s currently on the drawing board. If a consortium capable of delivering such a project, was proposing it, we’d be raving about it. But at the moment, it’s just a nice idea, put forward by some enthusiastic and knowledgeable people, not a genuine alternative. They are up against one of the world’s most liquid property developers, who are at an advanced stage of planning and who own the site. The developers aren’t tearing down history; they are building over its foundations. As Kieron Long wrote in the Evening Standard recently:

This isn't just any slice of the river. Convoys Wharf was formerly the King's Yard, built by Henry VIII in 1513 as London's military dock and known across the world. It was the harbour to royal yachts, where Francis Drake was knighted aboard the Golden Hinde in 1581, and where Elizabeth I's Spanish Armada-defeating fleet was built. It is a place of astonishing, nationally important historical significance.

Greenwich, just a mile down-river, with its colonnaded Old Royal Naval College, has become a world heritage site and will officially become a "Royal" borough next year. But it was Deptford that built the boats that made England powerful enough to conceive of and fund that architectural set piece in the first place…

The site today is rather eerie, a huge expanse of concrete with a few Sixties and Eighties warehouses still standing. There are no roads and no sense of how it all once fitted together...

The King's Yard has long lost its Tudor character. Since the Second World War, successive idiotic owners chose to demolish the remaining buildings on the site and fill in the basin and slipways. Most jaw-dropping of all is that in stages between the Sixties and as recently as the Eighties, a Tudor storehouse was demolished and its foundations concreted over so that huge distribution sheds and warehouses could be built.

Hutchison Whampoa proposes to create a development that would represent a major investment in the area, providing new jobs and homes for the borough. The proposals have been watered down from the original master plan and are somewhat uninspired. The transport strategy is deeply flawed and the developers should be asked to do more work on it before consent is granted. River buses are the easy but implausible get-out for every riverside developer. And as English Heritage notes:

The one real attempt that was originally proposed to interpret the site's history in the new development, i.e. the creation of a significant area of public open space that evoked the dockyard basin in front of the Olympia building, has been 'fine-tuned' out of this latest application. In our view, the creation of a tangential link with the river as now proposed is a distant second best relative to the original proposal.

Nonetheless, despite its flaws, Convoys Wharf could be a new destination development, with a cultural space at its heart and a few minor sops to its riverfront setting. At this stage, the best strategy would seem to be to focus on securing better transport links and a better use of the riverside.

[Full disclosure, our day-job employer, Edelman, does some work for News International and its parent company, NewsCorp. News International has a stake in the proposed development by Hutchison Whampoa. Edelman's work for NI / NC is unrelated to this project and views are BC's own.]

The Wickham Arms plays on

The Wickham Arms has transitioned seamlessly to its new (temporary) landlord and will continue as a venue for live music. 

The first event is tomorrow, with the return of Paul Astles and Bobby Valentino. On Saturday, Buick 6 play.

Crofton Park supermarket plans rejected

On the Brockley forum, Anna reports that controversial plans to develop a building suitable for a supermarket in Crofton Park have been rejected by the Council. The Brockley Road building has already been demolished, as planning permission existed for an earlier scheme.

Campsite consultation launched

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group writes:

The Council has announced details of the consultation on the proposed Travellers' Site in Church Grove.

There will be four drop-in sessions and a public meeting; you can also submit comments on line or by post. The deadline for all contributions is 18 December.

Drop-in sessions - all at St Mary's Centre on Ladywell Road:
Saturday 12 November, 10.00am - 12.00noon
Friday 18 November, 7.00-9.00pm
Thursday 24 November, 3.00-5.00pm
Wednesday 30 November, 3.00-5.00pm

Public meeting - Tuesday 6 December, 7.30-9.00pm, also at St Mary's Centre.

Aperture Assassin, Honor Oak

Photographers Aperture Assassin are staging an 'exhibition of urbanography' at Hopscotch in Honor Oak. It kicks off with a launch part at 8pm on Friday. Here are the details:

AA also has an installation in the Creekside Cafe, Deptford.

The SE4 Book Club

Yvonne is launching a new book club in Brockley. She writes:

I am proposing that we meet at Jam Circus by the fireplace once a month on the first Monday at 7pm... starting 5th December. It will be an opportunity to meet for booze or coffee and chat about books.

For December, I suggest 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Democracy rules thereafter with members suggesting the following months book at our meeting. Please get in touch via email or Facebook if you're interested.

I can't wait to meet you all!

Introducing the Honor Oak forum

Honor Oak now has its own forum within South East Central, Brockley Central's sister site, which has local area forums for all of the main areas covered by this site.

The amount of news and comment on BC about Honor Oak - from the Dominos debate to knitting groups - means that a dedicated forum is long-overdue. We hope that you enjoy it. 

The forum is now up to 775 members, who have collectively posted 5,000 messages on more than 1,000 different topics since the site was launched earlier this year. Click here to try the forum out and click here to visit the Honor Oak section.

And just to underline the point, we have two Honor Oak stories today, coming up...

Cinetopia, Telegraph Hill

Telegraph Hill will host a celebration of French cinema 

Telegraph Hill film club Cinetopia will be hosting a new series of film nights at the Hill Station. They say:

Each Cinetopia event includes a quiz based around the theme of the film being shown plus hot food and a bar. To add extra frisson to each event the audience do not know what the film is until they turn up. In other words, always expect the unexpected. 

Each evening will feature a film from a particular city and our first destination is Paris [any money it's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra]. The mini season will start on Friday 18 November at 7.00pm and run monthly until March. Tickets will be sold in advance at £10 and include film, quiz and food. There will also be a fully licensed bar. To book tickets and for further information contact

You can also make friends with them on Facebook.

Brockley's Economic Plan B

Hermes: We can't compete with Mom! Her company is big and evil! Ours is small and neutral! 
That Guy: Switzerland is small and neutral! We are more like Germany, ambitious and misunderstood! 
- Futurama

The future of UK manufacturing is in high-technology, high-skill, high value-added niche products.

Local bubble-master Lionel Stanhope has taken advantage of the weak pound and launched his own events company - Brockley Bubbles - supplying bubbles of a size and beauty that would make Germany's Mittelstand weep.

Olympic Torch Relay visits Lewisham July 23rd

The Olympic Torch will pass through Lewisham on July 23rd 2012. LOCOG has unveiled the torch route today and the interactive map shows that the torch will pass through the borough on its way to the Olympic Park - a journey that takes in more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages.

Lewisham is an Olympic 'gateway borough', which means that it doesn't actually host any Olympic events, but it's near places that do. Southwark and Greenwich (natch) will also be graced by the Flame.

Full disclosure: LOCOG is a client at Edelman (our day job), etc and so on.

The BC bag competition - answers so far are a load of sloblock [UPDATED]

The answer to our competition question is more obvious than some of you imagine 

In spite of your best efforts, we still haven't found a winner for the I Broccoli Brockley bag competition. The winner is the person who guesses what item we have in our hypothetical bag. The long list of entries contained a lot of 'broccolis' (too obvious), random items (like mugs), or hyper-specific suggestions (like 2kg desiree potatoes). So here's a clue: the item in question has its roots in the history of Brockley.

And here is a list of what is not in our bag, based on previous suggestions:

Loaf of bread, Broccoli Baguette, Broccoli Brownies, Muffins, Cake, Coffee from Browns, Broccoli, Large Lamb Donner from Gulen's, Broccoli Soup, a cat (?), Ipad, Leeks, cauliflower, pumpkin, peppers, spinach, carrots, Syringes, 2kgs of red desiree potatoes (admirably specific), an unusual and on the face of it naff gift from Sounds Around but which you know will be just what the recipient would love to get (likewise), Dodgeball, a mug, cheese, a book.

If you think you now know what's in the bag. email email Simon with your answer at this address. First correct guess gets the bag and the respect of Brockley Central.

UPDATE: We now have a winner. Tabitha was the first to correctly guess that the hypothetical item in the hypothetical bag was a stick of rhubarb. Brockley achieved fame by pioneering the growth of "enormous" rhubarb (fed with human excrement) for use as a foodstuff. Please stop emailing Simon with your answers, he is being overwhelmed!

Another big fire in Deptford

A major fire is taking place in Deptford (which has suffered more than its fair share of serious fires in recent years).

London Fire Brigade says:

10 fire engines and 50 firefighters at a fire in a tower block on Abinger Grove, Deptford. Half a 4 room flat is alright. We believe the fire at the tower block in Abinger Grove is now out. Three people were rescued by crews in breathing apparatus.

The fire is also causing serious traffic problems in Deptford tonight.

Knit Nights in Honor Oak

Gemma writes:

The Honor Oak Knit Night meets at The Honor Oak on alternate Tuesdays to knit, natter and have a drink (with the next meeting being this Tuesday 8/11).

We are a recently established group of knitters and crocheters who are looking to increase the club.  Everyone is welcome, regardless of ability.

For more information, I can be contacted at this email address, via twitter @gemski_lou and also we have a Facebook group.

Greenspaces: Mayow Park, Sydenham

If you're looking for an alternative to Hilly Fields, Telegraph Hill and Blythe Hill for an autumn walk, then Mayow Park in Sydenham is worth a visit.

Lewisham's oldest municipal park is a broad, shallow grassy bowl - a little featureless but handsome and well looked after. It's also great for sport, with plenty of open space, a cricket square, tennis, a bowling green and a great junior zip slide.

Visit for more news and information about the park.

Deptford's Stinking Bishop?

Thames Water has begun the second phase of its public consultation on its plan to build an access tunnel off Deptford Church Street for the Thames Tunnel super sewer project, which gave rise to a local campaign called Stop the Stink. The plans will mean some disruption during the construction and the permanent legacy of some large pipes sticking out of the ground.

Here's the location:

And here's what Thames Water says it will look like once they're done with it:

The proximity of the church doesn't bother BC too much. The plans are fairly unobtrusive and London's ancient buildings sit side by side with all sorts of odd things, which adds to the city's higgledy-piggledy charm. For us, the bigger issues are the disruption caused by the works, the loss of green space and of course, the threat of stink.

In relation to the loss of space, the proposals state:

"The site would be returned as an open space once construction works have been completed, and we have illustrated the potential for an enhanced space to be created for the benefit of the local community. We would work with the local community and council during the development of our design and
construction to work up the detail of the space.

"The majority of the proposed permanent works on this site would be below or at ground level, so would not significantly affect the amount of open space available at the site. All of the existing trees located in the centre of the site would be lost, but high quality tree planting would form part of the enhanced space to be created."

Of the stink itself (bearing in mind that as a riverside community, Deptford ought to gain from a raw sewage-free river), the planners' response is:

"Odour effects at this site are expected to be negligible because we have developed an Air management plan to minimise possible odour and air quality effects arising from the operation of the tunnel. The technology we are proposing to use at this site includes the use of passive below ground carbon filters that will remove possible odour before air leaves the ventilation equipment."

Click here for the full document and tell us what you think.