Fairy Tales

It's the start of the Brockley Open Studios weekend and Brockley's orchestra is gigging at St Peter's Church later today. They say:

Join Harmony Sinfonia for a family friendly, musical journey through the magical world of Fairy Tales! Visit the exotic world of Aladdin, fall asleep in the forest with Hansel and Gretel, watch a doll come to life in Coppelia, discover the stories of Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, and Beauty and the Beast, and explore the wondrous world of Harry Potter.

Come dressed as your favourite fairy tale character, bring your magic wand and prepare to fall under our spell! Come and join the fun on Saturday 30th June, 3.30pm at St Peter’s Church, Wickham Road Brockley – suitable for all the family and particularly for children of all ages.

Tickets are £9 on the door (£6 for concessions, £1 for children aged 5 and under) but you can take advantage of advanced price tickets (£7 and £5) on our website www.harmonysinfonia.co.uk

Brockley Bike Station

Work to install a new secure shelter for 20 bikes at Brockley Station is due to start in the next 2-3 weeks. Confirmation comes via Assembly Member Darren Johnson, who pressed the issue with TfL.

Darren Johnson AM sent the following question to Transport for London:

Are there plans to replace cycle parking facilities at Brockley Overground station, following the removal of the previous parking shelter to accommodate the new ticket barriers?

Response from Transport for London:

As discussed, I can confirm that TfL has awarded the contract for the installation of a new cycle park at Brockley station, which will accommodate up to 20 bikes. We should be able to confirm in the next few days whether work can start next month.

Crofton Park: Police the hounds!

'A Concerned Resident' writes:

My mother lives in Crofton Park and up until recently so did I. On the night of Sunday 24th June 2012, she decided to go to the local late opening shop on Brockley Road. In order to get there she is required to walk past the Acorn estate agents (former public loos I think - by the roundabout). Between the Acorn estate agents and Rosie's florist is a bench that was installed approximately a couple of years ago. This bench has increasingly become the hang out for all manner of shady people, including a regular who keeps bull-terrier dogs.

On this particular night, my mum paused at her gate to consider whether it was safe to go to her local shop by walking past the potential threats and was chased inside her house by the dogs, who jumped over her front garden and started sniffing and circling her door. The owner did nothing to try to control her dogs.

My mother says a news article appeared in the local newspaper, highlighting concerns raised by local residents regarding this particular bench and the individuals it attracts, but that nothing has been done.

I am writing this to urge as many people as possible to write to the local authority and local politician to address this issue as soon as possible.

I'm not sure who in the Local Authority I would write this to or how I can go about contacting the local politician, but I'm hoping, the feedback here will help me get the ball rolling.

The Sydenham Arts Festival 2012

Clive writes:

The Sydenham Arts Festival starts this Sunday, 1st July, with a fabulous Arts in the Park event at Home Park, Sydenham and runs for two weeks.

There are some great things happening as part of the festival, many of them free, and lots of great events for families including the Jungle Book performed in the open air (weather permitting) at Albion Millennium Green near Forest Hill station and a fairy tales concert from Brockley’s own Harmony Sinfonia.

We are fortunate to welcome Roger McGough on Saturday 14th July who will be reading from his latest work at Forest Hill School and there are several comedy nights at the Hob.

All the information about the festival is available at www.sydenhamartsfestival.co.uk where you can also book tickets.

Lewisham fourth in national repossession league

[We accidentally ran this story yesterday, ahead of the embargo, and took it down again. We're allowed to write about it now, so here it is]

Brockley Kate has sent us some stats from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter, who claim that Lewisham is the fourth worst hot spot for home respossessions in the country, just behind Dagenham and Redbridge, Knowsley and Thurrock, with 6.51 possession claims per 1,000 homes in the borough. This compares with an average of 3.5 across England.

The figures follow reports that Lewisham would be in the top ten worst affected boroughs by housing benefit cuts.

Shelter commented:

“If you are struggling with mortgage arrears, you may be able to negotiate with your mortgage provider and avoid repossession, so seek advice from organisations like Shelter as soon as your problems start. "Visit shelter.org.uk/advice or call free on 08088 004 444.”

Greenwich cable car "Emirates Air Line" opens

Marge: And that was the only folly the people of Springfield ever took on... Except for the Popsicle stick skyscraper, and that 50 ft magnifying glass, and the escalator to nowhere.
- The Simpsons, Marge vs The Monorail

The new cable car connecting the O2 to the ExCel conference centre opened to the public today, with a single fare on Oyster PAYG costing £3.20 for adults and £1.60 for kids. The journey takes as little as five minutes, although the system can only handle a relatively meager 2,500 people an hour. TfL says:

The cabins provide 360 degree views taking in the City, Canary Wharf, historic Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park. Having taken just under a year to complete main construction works, the Emirates Air Line has a cable span of 1,100 metres boasting three soaring helix towers.

Passengers will cross the River Thames travelling at heights of 90 metres between two brand new terminals (Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks), improving connections between two world class attractions - the O2 and ExCeL, whilst in close proximity to existing Tube and DLR systems.

Journey times during commuter hours (07:00 to 10:00 and 15:00 to 21:00 during the summer) are approximately five minutes. TfL recognises that some visitors will want to experience the journey for as long as possible so the scheme will operate at slower speeds during non-commuter periods meaning a single journey could last up to 10 minutes.

Others will argue the toss over value for money and whether we extracted a good deal from Emirates, whose  rights make the Barclays bicycle scheme look modest and unobtrusive. But BC loves the cable car because any new river crossing in the east of London is to be welcomed and we always welcome a good folly. People who had other priorities, like buses or trains, should have written a song about them.

Photos coming soon...

BXAG on Mantle Road plans [UPDATED]

The Brockley Cross Action Group has joined the debate about the proposed development of 6 Mantle Road. Like BrocSoc, they support the plans in principle but have significant reservations about the specifics. Here's an edited version of their analysis:

We support in principle the mixed use redevelopment of this site and we welcome the proposed active ground floor commercial use. However, we question the limited A1 (shops) and A2 (financial & professional services) use classes. Given that No. 4, Mantle Road has a new Nisa supermarket and how long it took to let the retail units at 1A, Mantle Road and the Tea Factory, the demand for yet more A1 class shops or A3 businesses in the area should be challenged and the proposed use should include Class A3 uses (restaurant/café) as well.

We have no objection to the height of the building which helps to mark the station & the “town centre” and matches adjoining developments, but we think the consistent height is monotonous and would create a wall along Mantle Road. There should be greater articulation in height, perhaps with additional height at the north end and a reduction in height at the south end.

The proposed bridge over the Thames Water sewer has been poorly handled – it just looks like a blank hole opening onto a blank space. While we appreciate this is a major constraint it requires a proper design solution to create an attractive area of public realm.

Immediately north of the site is a public footpath, the western approach to the Station – a key east/west connection in Brockley. While we welcome the proposed removal of the high brick wall and the setting back of the northern elevation, the proposals currently show a blank wall facing the footpath – why not extend the commercial frontage to face the path, to create an active frontage?

Also we feel the entrance to the path off Mantle Road could be opened up further e.g. by raising the colonnade to two storeys to provide an even better sight of the footpath when approached from the south.


Robert from BrocSoc writes:

I met with the developers Planning Consultant, who informed me that Lewisham have asked them to revisit the design.

They have now withdrawn the application. We have put our concerns across quite clearly, which have now been echoed by BXAG - so we hope that the new designs will be an improvement.

We have also been promised that there will be better consultation surrounding the new designs before a further application is made for this site. So all that sounds positive - though we will have to reserve judgement until a new proposal is on the table.

Thanks to everyone who supported this by writing to Lewisham Planning, or signing the petition.

Purley Festival 2012

Our friend Charlotte is one of the driving forces behind the Purley Festival, 'Celebrating everything great in and around Purley'. You might well ask how anyone could hope to do justice to Purley in only 7 days, but they're giving it their best shot, damnit, culminating with a live music day on July 1st.

Visit www.purleyfestival.co.uk/ for all your Purley news.

Death Note

I don't say he's a great man. Willie Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person. 
- Death of a Salesman

A study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that men in the Lewisham Central ward have the lowest life expectancy in London  - only 70.9 years, compared with a national average of 78.2 years.

Trial runs for the ELL's Clapham service

London Reconnections reports that:

Train testing on the East London Line Extension (Phase 2) between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction has now begun. The route was fully electrified at the weekend, and the first 378 ran on Sunday. Driver training will begin shortly, and further testing will now take place, ahead of the extension’s official opening in December.

The impact that the ELL extension will have on Brockley travelers is uncertain. It will mean more trains through the the core route, from Dalston to Surrey Quays, but it will also mean more passengers at Canada Water. Although it won't provide any new direct destinations, it should make travelling to South West London a little more convenient.

Engedi to close

Engedi, the Ladywell Village retailer, is to close on Saturday.

The fashion and gift shop is having a closing down sale at the moment, with many items heavily reduced. It's always a shame to say goodbye to a local high street business that gave it a go and good luck to Angela and her team in the future.

With thanks to Paul.

Goldsmiths SU targets local businesses for Freshers Fayre

Zade, from Goldsmiths Students' Union, wants Brockley businesses to promote their wares to the cream of the country's future designers, artists and radical anthropologists. She writes:

We are currently taking bookings for our Freshers Fayre, which will be held in September and we are keen to have local businesses well-represented, to let students know about what the area has to offer.

All local businesses will benefit from discounted rates of £100 (one day) or £175 (two days). This year the Freshers Fayre promises to be bigger, busier and better than previous years, with events, hot food, societies and sports showcases and much more.

The Freshers Fayre will be two full day events over the 26th and 27th of September held on the Goldsmiths College Green in a grand marquee.
Visit our site to book.

Grow Wild

Grow Wild is a new food growing, sharing and eating project in New Cross and the surrounding areas, with funding to support local food projects and to create three part-time jobs.

Imogen Slater, co-author of the grant application and a Board Member of Edmund Waller Community Services, one of six core partners in the Grow Wild Project, writes:

"Grow Wild is a project promoting the pleasures of growing and eating food. We want to connect people, draw new people into food growing, and draw more people in to sharing skills and experience.

"With £90,000 from the Big Lottery and Local Food funders to be spent over the next two years, Grow Wild is out to make a difference and have a lot of fun in doing so. Grow Wild is run by a groundbreaking community partnership looking to promote innovative and unusual ways to engage people in food growing and cooking. Grow Wild will be creating three new part time jobs locally, a project manager, food activities co-ordinator and a growing activities co-ordinator,to make wild fun things happen around food.

The project will be formally launched in September, in the mean time, if you are interested in getting involved, please contact Grow Wild project, by emailing info@growwild.org.uk. Details of the three new jobs are available on their website http://growwild.org.uk/

Other core partners are Common Growth Community Garden, Bold Vision, Transition Towns New Cross and the Hill Station Community Café.

Tree Bugger

“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patters that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.” 
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Treehugger sent us these shots of the same scene, before (2010) and after (2012) the removal of a tree from his road. The tree had to go - it was suffering from Gandoderma bracket fungus - but the photos beautifully illustrate the transformative effect trees have on our streets. Treehugger says there are is no indication yet from the Council when the tree will be replaced. 

New plans for 437-439 Brockley Road submitted

Developers have submitted new plans to redevelop 437-439 Brockley Road (opposite the Brockley Jack). The plans are for:

The construction of a part two / part three / part four-storey building on the site of 437-439 Brockley Road SE4, incorporating balconies and terraces, comprising a food retail store (Class A1) and an office (Class B1) on the ground floor and 5, one-bedroom and 4, two-bedroom self-contained flats on the upper floors, together with the provision of 12 bicycle spaces, bin storage and associated landscaping.

As the documents acknowledge, this plan is little changed from the original plans that were rejected last year, with the exception that the majority of the ground floor will be used as one single food retail outlet, mre amenity space is created for the flat occupants, there are some revised flat layouts to the rear of the site and there are minor amendments to flat layouts to meet the requirements for Lifetime Homes and Code 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

It does not address opponents' objections that the building will have an overbearing presence on Brockley Road, but while BC's not keen on the way it juts out in to the pavement, it seems pretty inoffensive to us. The potential impact of the supermarket on local parking will need to be carefully considered.

In May, we reported claims that the site had been acquired by Tesco. These plans require an 8m loading bay.

With thanks to Anna.

Brockley Open Studios 2012

"Emma Hollis GB No. 1" by Toni McGreachan

Brockley Open Studios returns this Saturday for its 20th anniversary. The organisers say:

Fifty artists are taking part in this year’s Brockley Open Studios. Recent graduates and established artists are opening their homes to art lovers, showing a huge range of media from painting, sculpture and prints, to wooden animals, ceramics and graffiti art.

The weekend gives the public a chance to browse a stimulating variety of art in a friendly atmosphere, in interesting workspaces and houses. With studios within walking distance of each other, you can leave the car at home and join hundreds of local people out on the streets of Brockley’s leafy conservation area to meet and buy directly from the artists that live and work in their midst.

Since its inception the Open Studios weekend has grown and grown, becoming one of the highlights of South-East London’s cultural year. Its success is partly due to the high density of artists living in the area, many of whom are graduates from Goldsmiths and Camberwell. The beautiful Victorian houses provide a stunning backdrop to the art, and the opening of the London Overground has brought more new visitors to this treasured local event.


Saturday 30th June, 2.00-8.00pm ∙ Sunday 1st July, 2.00-8.00pm ∙ Monday 2nd July, 5.00-8.00pm Maps. Download a map from www.brockleyopenstudios.co.uk

Vote for Brockley Market at the Food and Farming Awards

Several people have contacted us to ask us to urge the people of Brockley to get behind Brockley Market in the 2012 Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards.

The entry form says:

Where is Britain's best food market? It can be a regular street, WI or farmers' market, but what we're looking for is the market that best serves its local community providing fresh, high quality and affordable food, particularly in areas neglected by other retailers.

Brockley Market combines amazing hot food with some of the best-quality ingredients around and while it is possible to spend eye-watering amounts on small pieces of cheese, it also offers some great value stuff and while Brockley's not a food desert, fresh produce was thin on the ground before its arrival. We commend Brockley Market to the judging panel.

The closing date August 12th. Please cast your vote now.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios 2012

Today is the last day of the Open Studios, which take place at 18-22 Creekside, Deptford, 11am-6pm. Entry is free and a root around in Cockpit Arts is one of the area's must-dos. They say:

60 talented Cockpit Arts’ designer-makers will open the doors to their private work studios in Deptford – offering the public the rare opportunity to see behind the scenes and buy direct from the designers themselves. 

Discover homewares, ceramics and glass, fashion and jewellery pieces and more – all created by designers in Cockpit Arts’ London studios. The work on show caters for all budgets from fabulous finds to all-out indulgence. You’ll also find live making demos, ‘medal makes’ workshops for little ones, sumptuous Hand Made Food cafés and much more.

The Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre today

A quick reminder that the Midsummer Fayre takes place today in Hilly Fields, starting at 12pm. Details here.

Catford Broadway Market

Lewisham Council writes:

Catford Broadway is due to host a new monthly Sunday market from Sunday 1 July.

The new market will see producers selling cakes, cheeses and chutneys alongside street food stalls offering everything from homemade sausages to quesadillas. As well as food there will be antiques, arts, crafts and flowers.

Running on the first Sunday of each month from 10am–5pm, the market embraces Lewisham’s creativity, diversity and entrepreneurship.

Louise Constantino of Louise Queen of Tarts said: “I had a brilliant day during local markets fortnight in April. It was my first time trading so I didn't really know what to expect but I was sold out by 2pm. It was a fantastic experience for me.”

Local people can also have their say on the proposed changes to Catford Broadway, which are being jointly funded by Lewisham Council and the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund, which is helping to increase the vibrancy and growth of high street places across London.

If you produce, grow or make your own products and would like to apply for a stall then contact the markets team on 020 8314 2050, email catfordbroadway@lewisham.gov.uk or visit street markets to download an application form.

Summer wine and Sardinian food tasting at El's Kitchen

El’s Kitchen, the Ladywell deli, is hosting an evening of fine wines and mouth-watering morsels from the island of Sardinia on Monday 2nd July from 7.30pm. They say:

We'll be tasting a selection of fresh and easy-drinking wines to rejoice at the light summer evenings, stand up to those big, BBQ flavours and jazz up your picnics in the park.

We will also be joined by a new supplier of Sardinian specialities who will be sharing the gastronomic delights of this beautiful, Italian island. The tasting starts at 7.30pm on Monday 2nd July.

To book a ticket please email el@elskitchen.co.uk, call 020 7998 4889 or pop into the shop. Tickets are £10 per person and you get 10% off your order of 6 mixed bottles or 20% off a case!

Jay-Z and Beyonce - Show me what you got, Forest Hill

MSN reports that Jay-Z and Beyonce have been hanging out in Forest Hill:

Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z shocked diners when they showed up at a local eatery in south east London recently. Customers of From The Forest, in the Forest Hill area were surprised to see the superstar couple show up to place an order.

Jay-Z takes in the view from Forest Hill

Bonnie and Clyde were killing time before the grand opening of Alby's Place, where the A above the door stands for A-listers.

With thanks to Nunhead Gary.

Edmund Waller Summer Fair, June 30th

Ema writes:

Just wanted to let your readers know about Edmund Waller Primary School’s Olympic Summer Fair which will be on Saturday, 30th June from 12 noon until 4pm, Waller Road, SE14.

Come rain or shine a good day should be had by both children and adults alike with plenty of games, a bouncy castle, local crafts stalls, great food, cold beers, face painting and live music.

Adults only pay £1 and children go free (but must be accompanied by an adult).

Able was I, ere I saw Alby's

Never knowingly undersold. La Lanterna has been given a rebrand that's part Chuck E Cheese's, part US Agent. Henceforth, it is to be known as Alby's Place, which is Latin for 'Badger's Set'.

The re-brand reflects the fact that the new place will be more of a "wine bar" than a restaurant. To help you remember the name, they've written it on the front of their bar eight times.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the photo. It's quite something.

Pistachios, Hilly Fields

Pistachios is the new cafe in Hilly Fields, which opened earlier this month. Although there are still a few finishing touches to complete, it's fully operational.

 Despite being perched at the highest point in the park, it's position nestled inside a grove means that it does not get huge amounts of natural light, despite the front section being covered in glass. Built on the site of the old toilet block, it made use of the old structure, which we thought would make it feel cramped, but it's actually pretty spacious. Although it will do its most brisk trade during the summer, it should actually come in to its own in cooler weather, when it will feel like a cosy retreat.

 For an area spoiled by the likes of Browns, Oscar's and the Brockley Mess, the food might be a little pedestrian for some, but it offers exactly what it needs to - decent, reasonably-priced food, with a menu to suit all tastes and a comfortable place to sit during a day at the park. The ice cream was delicious and the sandwiches were well stacked.

This is a great addition to the park, which already looks busy every time we pass.


Jez sent us this footage of the latest teen craze, sweeping Brockley. Stupidly dangerous roller-bussing. past the Co-Op in West Brockley. Roller busing kids have also been cropping up on the Nunhead forum.

The nexus of all realities

Thompson: The Chairman thought maybe we just needed to do a better job of teaching you how to ride a bike before taking the training wheels off again. So we gave you the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution. 
- The Adjustment Bureau

Like Forrest Gump, Brockley's story is interwoven with every major global cultural phenomenon in modern history. Brockley designed the Olympic torch. Brockley wrote King Kong. Brockley created the Buttery Biscuit Base. Now it turns out that Brockley Central regular Max created the EURO 2012 mascots Slavek and Slavko:

Crime in Lewisham 2011/12

The story about safe havens has reminded us that it's time again to look at the crime stats for Lewisham borough. Here are the annual stats since 2009/10, per thousand people.
The latest Met Police crime map has data for the year up until May 2012 and crime across the borough is down again, from a total of 28,460 to 26,593. There are big drops for violence against the person, domestic crime and robbery. The number of murders fell from 8 to 4 while the number of rapes rose from 131 to 155. Racist, religious and homophobic hate crime also rose. In Brockley ward (and there is a lot more to Brockley than that), every type of crime fell, except for drug offences, which rose slightly, perhaps reflecting the tougher approach the police are taking to drug dealing in the area.

You can track crime rates by ward here. There are notable drops for burglary in Brockley (-18.2%), violence against the person in Telegraph Hill (-13.4%) and robbery in Crofton Park (-21%)

Sexual offences rose across the borough and increased by as much as 50% in Ladywell (against a very low base).

Lewisham Safe Havens

The Guardian reports on a project to create "safe havens" on Lewisham's streets, for young people to use if they feel in danger. Lewisham is one of three boroughs that are piloting the scheme with charity CitySafe:

Safe havens for teenagers conjure up images of terrified teens being chased by territory obsessed, knife-wielding gang members. Yet the initiative's goals are far broader: by getting local schoolchildren to select potential venues and approach shopkeepers, it aims to build valuable links between youths and local businesses that enhance community life. 

Shops that sign up must pledge to report 100% of crime and antisocial behaviour, even if delayed police responses have previously left them frustrated. In return, community organisers will help broker closer relationships with the police so shopkeepers' concerns are addressed...

Of the young people who had stopped in a haven, 23% said it was because they were being followed, 6% because they were escaping a fight and 2% after an attack. Another 68% simply put it down to "anxiety or fear". 

Jay's Budgens in Crofton Park is among the borough's safe havens and one user is quoted:

Michelle Lindvall, 12, says: "When I joined CitySafe I felt so much safer going out with my friends for the day. Before I knew about it, I hardly went out because I was scared something might happen. You could get beaten up by a gang or anything." 

This is an undeniably noble project and it's great to see local businesses taking their responsibilities to the community seriously.

However, there is a fine balance to be achieved to stop it from being counter-productive, by increasing the fear of crime. Crime in Lewisham fell last year, including a big drop in violence against the person from 6,757 to 6,067. Crofton Park generally enjoys some of the lowest violent crime figures in the borough.

That is not to say that the risks should be ignored, but that if you tell young people that some shops are safe zones, you may, by implication, be sending a message that the streets are not safe. That message may in turn normalise and entrench behaviours which make the problem worse.

As Daniel Finkelstein argues in The Times:

What do you think happens when you announce that teens are all out on the street binge drinking? More binge drinking. You are normalising a behaviour you should be isolating. What happens when you announce that there is an obesity epidemic and that everyone is getting fatter? That’s right. People learn that if they put on weight they are far from alone. Jamie Oliver’s school dinners television programme lambasted Turkey Twizzlers, making them infamous. Sales promptly rose by 32 per cent.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for spotting the story.

EUROS? Mungos I call them, etc.

The question as old and well-worn as this clip - where do you go in Brockley if you want to watch the football? In 2010 we organised a drink-up at the Wickham. If (when) England get through the group stage, we'll try to do the same again, but in the mean time, please use this thread to discuss where to watch tonight's game.

Phonotropia, July 7th

Raise the red lanterna

It's happening. La Lanterna is reopening.

Speculation about the return of the Brockley Road restaurant was followed by sightings of new kitchen equipment and now, confirmation from the builders that they are aiming to open within days. Which, from the outside, seems optimistic. Or worrying.

The Greenwich Comedy Festival 2012

Brockley duo Will and Cass are organising the 2012 Greenwich Comedy Festival, at the Old Naval College, July 13th-20th. This year's line up features Dylan Moran, Reginald D Hunter, Mark Watson and Sean Lock. Will and Cass say:

This year the festival site will be transformed into a wonderland with a host of attractions including a custom-made Bandstand with live bands providing foot-stomping interval entertainment, the stylish River Bar with incredible views across the river. Some of Brockley Market's finest will be serving food, including the Egg Boss and the Red Herring Smokehouse.

Lewisham's Summer Like No Other

In our day job, BC is currently involved in helping to promote A Summer Like No Other - a massive free arts festival across the capital that will cover every London borough, during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The focus will be on outdoor events and helping people to discover new parts of the capital with a host of Secrets, Surprises and live shows.

The summer programme will be available on the Mayor of London Presents website, but details of the events taking place in Lewisham were announced today and we're particularly pleased that they include a visit by 'Saurus', which will be awesome:

11.00am – 7.00pm, 11th August

· Wet Picnic presents The Dinner Table - Enjoy a crash course in table manners in this eccentric foodie extravaganza directed by Petra Massey of Spy Monkey.
· Close Act presents Saurus - The biggest beasts that ever walked the earth return with a deafening roar. And they’re hungry. Get ready to be scared!
· Event International presents Red Poppy Ladies’ Percussion - Relive the best of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony in a spell binding show from China’s all-female percussion band.
· Lyrix Organix presents Relay – A live event featuring the finest poets, beatboxers, hip hop and freestyle in an original live experience like no other.
· Bash Street Theatre presents The Strongman – Based on the silent movies of Charlie Chaplin this show combines silent comedy, circus skills, music and magic in a story about a roaming travelling theatre troupe
· Upswing presents Loved Up - A light hearted, fast paced fusion of aerial bunjee dance and hip hop exploring modern love and urban relationships.

More details soon...

Leyton reoriented

As Whitechapel goes, so goes Leyton. The Daily Mail reports that Waltham Forest Council has followed Tower Hamlets' lead and smartened up one of the high streets that will serve as a gateway to the Games. Here's an example of the work, the article features several more:

The transformation of the buildings was made possible by a slug of public money (Council funding married with national government's Working Neighbourhoods Fund). However, the store front makeovers show that  any shop can make a positive contribution to the look and feel of a high street and, in doing so, increase the number of visitors. It's enlightened self-interest, but it relies on a collective vision.

There's no reason why a newsagent or a post office can't look as handsome as Gently Elephant - Leyton shows what could be done if the existing guidelines for shops on Brockley Road were enforced. And if Ladbrokes and Pizza Hut can smarten their acts up here, they can do it on Lewisham Way or Deptford High Street too.

Spanish Dance Fiesta at the Rivoli

Lewisham Council writes:

Celebrate Midsummer Day on Sunday 24 June with an afternoon of music and dance in the splendour of London’s Grade II listed Rivoli Ballroom.

The afternoon will feature flamenco performances from some of London’s students as well as plenty of opportunity to dance (or just clap your hands and tap your feet) to rumbas and sevillanas. If you don't already know how, come early and learn or just kick back and enjoy the atmosphere. You don’t have to dance to enjoy the party!

Food and pay bar available.

Money raised from this event will go to the Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care which supports young women with breast cancer.

Entrance £10 advance tickets, £12 on the door £5 for under 16s, over 65s and unemployed. Free for children under 3.

Dance workshops (booking recommended) 
12-1pm: sevillanas refresher workshop with Angela Alonso (additional cost of £10)
1-1.45pm: beginners rumbas workshop with Isabel Baquero (additional cost of £5)

2-3pm: flamenco performances from London's students with singers Lola Rueda and Caroline Garrido, and live guitar accompaniment from Tony El Despeinao and Adrián Solá
3-6pm: sevillanas and rumbas with Spanish band, Rumbaba Deluxe

Ode to South London

The charming young man from Too Many Ts is back, putting his blissed out smile and amiable demeanor to good use in this Ode to South London, featured in Londonist and spotted by Malpas Simon. Impressive also for the editing and the consistency of his hair.

Stars Brockley, Ladywell, Deptford and many other beloved locations.

Crossways Art Exhibition

Crossways Sixth Form is staging an art exhibition on June 28th. Although a private view, the organisers are keen for anyone who wants to come and see the work being produced by the school to contact them to book a place.

Following the news that Crossways' future is likely to be the subject of a public consultation, it's a timely showcase.

If you'd like to attend, please email Mark Kavanagh for an invitation.

Red carpet exit

Red Carpet Boutique, the Brockley Cross clothes shop, has closed. With the site it occupied due for redevelopment, it was never likely to be a long-term resident, but it's always said to see a local business which gave it a go, go.

Crossways Academy future in doubt

Lewisham Council officers have is to launch a consultation about the future of Crossways Academy, the sixth form college on Sprules Road, Brockley.

In a report set to be discussed on June 20th, proposals are presented to "consult on the closure of Crossways Sixth Form in order for Christ the King Sixth Form College, an outstanding, over-subscribed provider, to expand their post-16 provision on to the site."

The document says:

The consultation is designed both to inform discussion by interested stakeholders within Lewisham, and to allow individuals and groups to report their views.

The Local Authority has had increasing concerns about the long term sustainability of Crossways Sixth Form and how it could secure the future of high quality post-16 provision on the site. These concerns are focused on its financial viability, set against a backdrop of declining numbers together with the capacity of the school to improve outcomes rapidly. 

Despite the best combined efforts of the school leadership, governors and Local Authority, the school has been unable to demonstrate the rapid and sustained improvements needed to secure its own future as a stand-alone institution.

Crossways Academy was built less than a decade ago and describes itself as "one of London's most modern sixth forms".

Thanks to those who linked to the report on the "Suggest a Topic" thread.

BrocSoc opposes loss of Lewisham Way retail

The Brockley Society is lobbying Lewisham Council not to allow planning permission to be renewed for the conversion of 243 Lewisham Way from retail to residential. The unit is two doors up the road from Meze Mangal and the application is for:

The renewal of planning permission dated 8 April 2009 for the change of use of the ground floor and basement, the construction of an extension to the rear at first floor level and conversion of 243 Lewisham Way SE4, together with the construction of a basement light well to the front and alterations to the front and rear elevations, to provide 2 one bedroom and 3 two bedroom self-contained flats and the provision of bicycle stands and bin stores in the front garden area.

BrocSoc argue that:

This stretch of road along Lewisham Way has great potential as a good quality retail and restaurant stretch. It already houses one of the most successful restaurants in the area, Meze Mangal, who have plans to extend into the next door property. 

The forecourt in front of the shops would be ideal for outside dining – so this retail unit could be perfect for another new local restaurant. I have spoken to a number of people who have expressed an interest in developing such a business proposal in this area. 

It was a real shame that the application for a change of use for this unit from retail to residential was granted in 2009. It goes without saying, that the persistent change of use from retail to residential has the potential to hamper local business enterprise. We are running out of retail units in prime locations, and there is great demand. Things have changed since 2009, a collection of local restaurants and shops have opened that have demonstrated ambition and achieved local success. And Brockley market, near to this site, has created a new focus for this part of Lewisham Way.

We agree with BrocSoc that things have moved on since 2009, with an increasing number of businesses looking to locate in the area. We also think it is wrong to allow this parade to be broken up further and support their opposition to this planning application.

However, it must also be said that Lewisham Way does not seem to be in as much demand (at this time) as commercial property around Brockley Station. While Brockley Market certainly proves that new businesses can work on Lewisham Way, it's too far from this location to deliver much in terms of increased footfall. And while it would be great if Meze Mangal follow through with their plans to expand next door, until they move that sea container parked outside their property, it's not going to become an al fresco hotspot.

The Hilly Fields Midsummer Fayre 2012

The good, honest Midsummer Fayre is back, but will the miserable weather change in time for this event to break its sorry streak of rain-sodden saturdays? BrocSoc is looking for volunteers for this year's event, so email them if you'd like to get involved.

Estates Gazette: 'Laughing Stock' Lewisham Gateway back on track

This week's Estates Gazette reports that thanks to an anticipated grant from the Homes and Communities Agency's Get Britain Building fund, the long-dormant Lewisham Gateway scheme (a mixed-use commercial and residential proposal for the heart of Lewisham, which EG says had become an industry laughing stock) is back on track.

To get the controversial scheme off the ground, EG reckons that the developers Taylor Wimpey and Mace will jettison the cinema and scale back the retail space by about 40%. If all goes as expected, it would mean the first of the homes being ready by 2014.

Property company Land Securities is considering redeveloping Lewisham Shopping Centre and a cinema could form part of that scheme instead - as LandSecs notes in the article, this is the only London borough without a multiplex.

The article wraps up by suggesting the horrific possibility that Lewisham could be "the new Wandsworth".

Crofton Park Assembly, June 14th

Beecroft Garden School, off Brockley Road
7pm – 9pm


- Crofton Park Community Safety Workshop
- Crofton Park Community Garden, hear about progress made at the site on Marnock Road and get involved
- Crofton Park assembly action plan, learn about projects delivered in Crofton Park 2011 - 2012 and find out about our planned activity for 2012 - 2013. Ward priorities are: community cohesion streetscape youth provision traffic and parking roads and pavements
- A presentation and discussion about a proposed neighbourhood plan for SE23 and SE26.

The Dish and the Spoon, Nunhead

The Dish and the Spoon is a brand new neighbourhood cafe / deli at 61 Cheltenham Road, Nunhead, founded by former Brockley resident Shona Chambers.

It's four weeks in to its new life having endured a lengthy gestation period as Shona applied for permission to change the use of the unit.

The Dish and The Spoon is explicitly child friendly, with a large play area for under-fives and plenty of room for the baggage that comes with toddlers.

Open 6 days a week (Tuesday-Sunday) the Dish and the Spoon has a daily menu, usually featuring soups, sandwiches, savoury tarts, salads, deli platters & freshly made cakes, biscuits and tray bakes. Coffee is by Brockley Market's Dark Fluid Coffee and they have a well stocked deli counter.
Please post your reviews here and visit the Nunhead Forum for more Nunhead magic.

Thanks to The Faerietale Foodie for the use of her excellent photos.

Brockley and New Cross step-free access timetables confirmed

Councillor Paul Bell attended a Lewisham Council Transport Select Committee tonight and reports that: "According to the TfL representative present, Brockley Station will get a lift for Platform 1 in Jan 2014 and New Cross Gate will get three lifts in November 2013".

This is consistent with TfL's draft accessibility plan, which we reported last year. However, it's good to have the plan confirmed and that work will be completed at the started of the year.

Southeastern releases Olympic timetable

Southeastern has released full timetables for its services to stations including Deptford, St Johns and Ladywell, during the Olympics and Paralympics.

All the details here. We might have to do a bit of 'crowd sourced data journalism' to work out the key issues here (in other words, you work it out dear readers, because we don't use Southeastern services and our eyes glaze over looking at timetables). But it looks like - as promised - the Deptford service is going to be pretty rubbish.

If anyone spots any big changes, please post below and we will incorporate them in this article.

Toll bait - the CPZ debate reimagined

BC reader Hugh writes:

I went to visit a friend not so far from Brockley and came across a parking solution that may represent an acceptable solution for Foxberry road and other roads around the station. I never saw this before and thought I would share it.

The picture shows a parking restriction 9 to 6.30 with the possibility to park for up to 2 hours for free multiple, non-consecutive (ie: max of 2 every 3 hours), times a day.

This does not solve the cost of £150 per year, but would give a very intellingent answer to all comments such as "I do not want to pay if the plumber, a friend or my mother comes to visit me." Or "I need to be able to park near the high street when I go there with my children to buy food."

The Telegraph Hill Beacon

Lord Summerisle: Good afternoon, Sergeant Howie. I trust the sight of the young people refreshes you. Sergeant Howie: No sir, it does not refresh me.
- The Wicker Man

Peter sent us this shot of the Telegraph Hill beacon, lit to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, to remind us of a time when it wasn't too damp to kindle a fire.

The Hipster Guide to London

What Brockley Central really needs is more social stereotyping. So here's your handy guide to hipsterism in London by Hostelbookers.com, which beautifully sums up New Cross' attitude towards East London.

Four reasons why high streets are the future

We were asked to write an article for London business magazine, Business First. The fate of our high streets is something that we spend a lot of time thinking about and arguing the toss over on these pages, so it was a natural topic to write about - it also gave us an opportunity to plug two of our favourite things: Brockley and Homemade London.

Our contention is that (recession notwithstanding) this is the most exciting time for London's high streets since the 1970s. Here's why...

Public debate about the future of the UK high street has intensified as the bodies of British retailers have stacked up. In May, Mayor Johnson launched a competition to find three London high streets to act as pilots projects, following the recommendations of the Mary Portas review. Meanwhile, more employees have been affected by retail failure in the first half of 2012 than in any year since 2008 and it’s on course to surpass that depressing benchmark by the end of the year.

The list of the biggest name retail casualties of recent years includes Clinton Cards, La Senza, Peacocks, Comet, MFI, Habitat, Focus DIY, JJB Sports, Adams and Borders. They range from local high street retailers to shopping centre regulars and big box brands.

Despite this grim backdrop, this is, perversely, the most exciting time for London’s high streets in decades. That is because high streets aren’t the common denominator in this misery – (bad) retailers are.

In fact, the high street is part of the solution for ailing retailers. In April, Tesco CEO Philip Clarke confirmed that his strategy to re-engage shoppers would involve rebalancing the portfolio away from big box Tesco Extra stores towards smaller format stores. It was the latest signal supermarkets are scrambling to deliver growth by returning to the high street. Jon Copestake of Retail Gazette explains the trend simply: ‘Sellers need to be where their customers are and not the other way around.’

For decades, supermarkets have been cast as the enemy of the high street, so the fact that they are now recolonising the locations they left behind might seem like dubious evidence of green shoots, but there are four fundamental reasons why London’s high streets have a bright future:

1. Fewer cars

Car use has been declining among Londoners since the 1990s.

‘The picture for the whole of Britain has been quite stable since the mid-1990s, but London is a very interesting case,’ says David Metz, of UCL. ‘[The number of car journeys per person] reached its peak in the early 1990s, has been declining ever since and it's projected to go on declining as the population keeps growing.’

Fewer cars means more demand for local shops and services, easily accessible on foot. This change is partly due to higher density development of the capital, which according to Christine Whitehead, Professor of Housing Economics at the London School of Economics, ‘traditionally generates more, but shorter, trips using more public transport.’ This brings us on to fundamental reason number two.

2. Smaller homes

Boris Johnson decries London’s ‘Hobbit Homes’ but London’s population boom has not been met by a house building bonanza. Our living space is shrinking.

The average UK new build home is smaller than the average Dutch or even Japanese new home. And London’s existing housing stock is being subdivided into smaller and smaller dwellings. As our living space shrinks, so we want to spend more time outdoors.

You can see the effect in action in my South East London neighbourhood, Brockley, where I run a community website. Where once the residents rattled around in nice big houses, and barely bothered with the decaying high street next door, newer residents are squeezing into flats and spilling out of their homes to spend time and money locally. Brockley Road is making a slow but steady recovery.

Businesses like Big Yellow (whose growth is driven by London and the South East) are responding to Londoners’ lack of room, but so are the cafes and bars that realise their real business is renting living space, rather than selling coffee or beer.

3. More time

The internet might be taking an ever-growing share of Londoners’ wallets, but in return it is freeing up time that was otherwise spent on drudgery. Since I discovered internet grocery shopping about three years ago, I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have set foot in a physical supermarket. My weekly shop used to take up one or two precious hours of weekend time. Now, it’s done on a phone during TV ad breaks. There is evidence that the cumulative effect of these kinds of lifestyle changes is significant.
In 2006, American academics Mark Aguiar and Erik Hurst showed that Americans have much more leisure time than they did 40 years before. As The Economist explained: “Appliances, home delivery, the internet, 24-hour shopping, and more varied and affordable domestic services have increased flexibility and freed up people's time.”

Having been given the gift of time, Londoners want to escape their poky flats and spend time and money on experiences. And if they’re given the option, they’ll do it locally. That’s why I disagree with the prediction of Philip Dorgan, a retail analyst at Panmure Gordon, who recently said, ‘The high street will become full of coffee shops, building societies, kiosks and hubs to pick up stuff. It's a different place from 10 years ago and I imagine in 10 years' time it will be a different place again.’

This is too reductive a vision. High streets also have a bright future as centres for the experiential economy. As digital channels hoover up more and more areas of retail, doing stuff will replace buying stuff as the primary function of the high street and in turn those same digital channels will facilitate the growth of thousands of new high street businesses. This brings us on to driver number four.

4. Unlimited customer reach

Digital technology has brought the cost of marketing down for high street businesses. Small independent businesses can now reach the whole of London for no or very little cost, thanks to social media, search-based advertising, daily deal sites (treat with caution) and CRM. That doesn’t just bring costs down, it opens up new possibilities, allowing high street businesses to target niche interests – and in a market the size of London, every niche is big enough to sustain a business.

Two years ago, I co-founded a small high street business called Homemade London. It offers unique experiences to people interested in trying their hands at everything from perfume- to lingerie-making. There wasn’t an established market for these kinds of experience and we had a tiny marketing budget to find our target customers, who were scattered across London. We didn’t know who they were and it had probably never occurred to them that their life was missing what we had to offer. Yet with a tiny marketing budget we have been able to grow a sustainable business.

Before the internet, we’d have needed much deeper pockets to make it work – most likely, it would never have existed at all. Back in Brockley, a local photographer decided to start a food market in a high street car park that was deserted at weekends. Through social media (and yes, a hell of a lot of leafleting) he filled the place on opening day and has turned it in to a weekly event that attracts people from miles around.

To encourage London’s high street renaissance, policy makers need to stop wringing their hands and do two simple things. Firstly, invest in the quality of the high street to create an environment where people enjoy spending time – plant trees, replace cracked paving and remove clutter. Secondly, stop obsessing about bringing ‘retail’ back to the high street and make it easier for experiential businesses to open – let shop space be converted in to bars, cafes and other places where people want to spend time and let informal spaces like car parks be re-used in creative ways.

Earlier this year, a San Francisco State University study found that ‘experiential spenders’ get more well-being for their money than ‘material spenders’. Encouraging the experience economy is not only the right economic strategy for London’s high streets, it will also make Londoners happier.

Lewisham Council offers discount insulation

Lewisham Council has partners with Saving Energy Ltd to provide discounted insulation for Lewisham residents.

Cavity wall insulation is free and loft insulation is free if the home has less than 60mm of insulation, otherwise it is £179. These costs are flat rates irrespective of the size of the property, resident circumstances or current energy supplier.

The offer runs until September.

Light at the end of the tunnel for La Lanterna?

On Twitter, Rachel reports today that kitchen equipment was being taken in to La Lanterna, the Brockley Road restaurant, which has been closed for several years. This follows one or two other recent sightings of activity inside the defunct restaurant. Could this rotting waste of space finally be flickering in to life?

The landed Gantry

Just a few pics from last night's opening session at The Gantry, Brockley's newest bar and a very welcome addition to the station zone.

Moving kitchen operations to one of the warren of rooms downstairs has opened up a very pleasant bar area on the ground floor. Access is via a new door at the furthest end from the station (don't try to use the old one) and on warmer nights – last night just about qualified – the other patio doors open out onto a outside drinking/smoking area. The rest of the layout, including the conservatory and garden, is unchanged from TM2 (apart from the new kitchen), but has benefited enormously from the refurb.

There were lots of staff monitoring the further outposts last night – some additional experienced help has sensibly called in for the opening – and they were unfailingly friendly, helpful and coping very well with a pretty busy debut night. Brockley has clearly been looking forward to this opening.

They sell booze. Samual Adams and Asahi on tap. More beer by the bottle and a shortish but varied wine list with plenty by the glass and carafe. Cocktails will be available when things settle down a bit but even last night the odd Mai Tai was in evidence.

The main food menu doesn't kick in till next week but, on the evidence of a limited selection of bar snacks, we're in for a treat. Really good pork belly with a mustard dip, crispy crudités with a feta dip (the only veggie option at the moment) and this rich duck confit in the tiniest kilner jars known to humanity. There were also sardine fritters, the ubiquitous sliders and a few other tasty-looking morsels.

Brockley Central is looking forward to seeing what else the kitchen can offer and can also predict many an unscheduled after-work visit. Despite the rather confusing advice the business card seems to be offering, however, we won't be going there by cab.

The Gantry - Brockley reacts

We couldn't make it along to The Gantry's opening night last night, but plenty of the BC Twitter community did. BC food critic Brockley Ben will share his thoughts a little later, but here's what you said about it:

Katy: Gantry looks fabulous! Busy bar on ground floor; garden looks wonderful. Looking forward to afternoons there over coffee!

Becky: Just had a quick peek in the Gantry, it looks very quirky, very pleased to have this as my local.

Alastair: It was nicely packed and looks great. They have a bar food menu for a week and then full menu from then on. Food was good. Sam Adams in 2/3 pint glasses only - which was nice . Also Asahi and lots of wine. That's as far as I got.

Paul: Looked v busy when I just walked past. Nicely asymmetrical, too.

Erick: Go and enjoy, it's fantastic.

Brockley Big Brother

2006: Gary Glitter was jailed in Vietnam, Brett Ratner was busy killing the X Men franchise, we all set our watches by Chico Time and Brockley's own 'sexual terrorist' Richard Newman wowed audiences with his collection of hats. Well, the spirit of 06 has returned to Brockley.

The News Shopper reports that one of this year's Big Brother contestants is from "trendy Brockley":

Former Catholic school girl turned Playboy Bunny Shievonne Robinson, 28, went into the house two days ago with 16 other housemates including a porn star and an ex-gang member for the launch of the new series. The former St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School pupil, who was a waitress in a Playboy casino in Mayfair last year, can smoke a cigarette with her boobs and can down 10 tequila shots in 30 seconds. She lives in trendy Brockley with her mother and has two older sisters and three nieces.

Her sister is calling on Lewisham residents to back her in the house.

68 Wickham Road

The residents of 68 Wickham Road - a huge house in the convervation area - have launched a petition in a bid to prevent the building's owner from redeveloping the basement.

The basement has been used as an artist studio and party venue for many years (Brockley Jon can vouch for the quality of its parties) and its redevelopment as flats would obviously put an end to that. The petitioners claim that the development would damage the structure and character of the property. They say:

The house has a special history and quality of its own, which would be destroyed if this proposed development were to be allowed. This would be a great loss and sadness to the residents, our friends and to the area.

The Brockley Society have considered the proposal and say that although the proposal would not really affect the external appearance of the building:

We have written to Lewisham Planning to ensure that they are aware of the potential complications to the building programme, as the information in the application from the builder paints a slightly different picture.

So the Council has to consider whether the desire to preserve the eccentric character of the house outweighs the wish of the owners to realise the full value of their property and the need to create new homes in the area.

Brockley Nature Reserve opens this weekend

Steve Cleall writes:

This Saturday (9th June) Brockley Nature Reserve (New Cross Gate Cutting) will be open for all to enjoy. The day will run from 12pm until 5pm so come and join the local volunteer group who will be around the nature reserve working on the footpaths to cut back and open up the paths around the nature reserve.

To help out with the volunteer group then please bring with you old clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty, stout footwear, waterproof coat (in case the weather changes) and a pack lunch - tools, gloves, tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

If you are going to be volunteering with the local group then please bring with you an emergency contact with you. Support throughout the day and training on all the tools will be offered by the local group or the volunteer warden.

The Secret History of Deptford High Street

Starting at 9pm tonight on BBC2, a new series called the Secret History of Our Streets examines the way that some of London's high streets have changed since the 19th century. The series kicks off with a look at Deptford High Street. The makers say:

In 1886 Charles Booth embarked on an ambitious plan to visit every one of London's streets to record the social conditions of residents. His project took him 17 years.

In Booth's time, Deptford High Street was 'the Oxford Street of South London'. Today, marooned amid 70s housing blocks, it is one of the poorest shopping streets in London. 

Featuring compelling accounts from residents, including one family which has been trading on the high street for 250 years, the film tells the story of transformation and endurance as the people themselves tell the history of their own past and the street they lived in.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the reminder.


The programme just aired. Anyone with even a passing interest in the place where we live should watch it. Beautifully filmed and excellently researched, with some fantastic interviewees, it was a fascinating and in many ways depressing story.

Its thesis was that the "slum" clearance by local government that displaced communities was wrong-headed (planners were guided by modernist ideas which portrayed cities as machines) and hobbled the pubs and shops which once served the people who lived there.

Undoubtedly, the filmmakers' argument is right. But in their desire to make their point, they were guilty of the same mistake the planners once made - ignoring the signs of vitality right under their nose in the rush to declare the area a failure. The film told a story of decline, which it seemed to suggest was total and irreversible. No hint was given of the exciting qualities that endure: communities may have been displaced but in the Crossfields estate and elsewhere, community spirit remains; the high street may be poor, but it is still busy and plays home to a great market; most of the pubs may have gone, but it still plays home to a fantastic theatre, library, galleries, cafes and restaurants, while the pubs that remain are excellent.

London life ebbs and flows, as the series illustrated so beautifully. Deptford has suffered, but it is still a wonderful place, which will one day repair the damage done to it. The destruction of beautiful streets and successful neighbourhoods was depressing, but also a reminder that Deptford was once great, and will be again.

Hilly Fields Cafe Opens

BCer Camilla reports that the new Hilly Fields cafe opened for business today:

They made lovely coffees with latte art, they know their stuff... It still looks half finished but happy to chill there in the sunshine with a flat white.

More details to come soon.

The Gantry opens tomorrow night

Brockley's new bar and restaurant, The Gantry, is due to open tomorrow night. The team are committed to hosting an event for the Brockley MAX and have been working round the clock to be ready in time.

They say:

"Thursday through to Sunday however, we will open the bar and serve bar snacks (both savoury and sweet) throughout the restaurant and launch our a la carte menus the following week."

Tomorrow night's event will feature poets Sean Coughlan, Matthew Wall, Chrissy Williams and Robert Cole, performing work from the newly published ‘Deptford Creek’ and ‘The Jam Trap.

UBR Street Party [UPDATED]

Homer: Marge, someone squeezed all the life out of these kids. And unless movies and TV have lied to me, it's a crusty, bitter old Dean! 
Dean: Hi there! Hello, I'm Dean Peterson, but you can call me Bobby. I just want you to know if you ever feel stressed out from studying or whatever, I'm always up for some hackey sack. Or, hey! If you just want to come by and jam, I used to be the bass player for the Pretenders. 
Homer: Boy, I can't wait to take some of the starch out of that stuffed shirt.
- The Simpsons, Homer Goes to College

The "Suggest a Topic" thread (already unwieldy) got clogged over the long weekend by a discussion about a street party that took place at the corner of Upper Brockley Road and Lewisham Way on Monday, June 4th. Some people were unhappy with the scale and noise of the party, which took place without permission from the Council.

The last major party at that location (which coincided with the Royal Wedding) was a contributory factor in one of the local shops losing its alcohol license and, eventually, to the police raids that recently took place in the area.

If you wish to discuss this issue, please use this thread from now on, rather than the "Suggest a Topic" thread.


The News Shopper reports:

Ward councillor Cllr Darren Johnson said the party was full of people travelling from outside the area to "impose themselves on the local community". He said: "Obviously this can't be allowed to continue year in, year out. I'll certainly be asking both the police and council officers to look at all possible enforcement actions to stop repeats of it."

A spokesman for Lewisham Council said: "No road closures were granted to hold a street party in the Upper Brockley Road over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. Licensing officers did visit the site over the weekend but given the nature of the occasion, the fact it took place during the day on a public holiday, and there were no reports of fighting or other anti-social behaviour, it was not thought appropriate to shut the party down."


Brockley resident Jason Page has been in touch about a project he's running, called Gourmandizing. He says:

Gourmandizing started as an artwork by local chef and visual artist Matthew McGuinness after he painted Persepolis' windows on the Peckham High Street as part of "Through the Peckham Glass" with Peckham Space last fall. 

We have also hosted four supper clubs in the past two years, each featuring ingredients from in and around London. As the art work develops, we will continue the suppers and feature recipes that we have gathered from the community. The whole idea about Gourmandizing is to celebrate the diversity and evolution in how people cook and eat here in south east London. 

We would like to know how to use Brockley's ingredients. We want to know your recipes, family heirlooms and fail-safe culinary instructions that have been responsible for keeping you delighted at dinner time. We desire to collect, test, taste, cook and share these recipes with Londoners of other neighborhoods via a mural project. That said, please send us an email, follow us (@gourmandizing) and contribute to the tastiest visual treats on the street.

Brockley Station balls-up

Duncan captured this mishap at Brockley Station, which will exacerbate the "ponding" at Brockley Station and cause further delays to the remedial works that have been taking place - not to mention the timetable for delivering step-free access on the west side.

Found cat on St Donatts Road

Gareth and Anna write:

We came home to our house on St Donatts Road last night (Saturday) to find a beautiful and extremely friendly cat on our doorstep hiding from the rain. He ran inside as soon as we opened the door and has made himself right at home.
There was a note round its neck asking if the cat belonged to anyone and gave a phone number which we duly called. It turned out to be someone three doors down who said that the cat had been in his garden for most of the last week.

The neighbour has tried asking all the usual local cat places to take it and apparently got him scanned for a microchip with John Hankinson Vet but without any luck. They're off on holiday for a week so we have said that we would take on the task of trying to find his owners.

To this end we'd be grateful if you could post this photo of him on BC to see if any readers know the cat or where he's from. We'll be putting up some posters too once it's stopped raining. Anyone with any info can email baker_gareth@hotmail.com

Square Pizza, New Cross

389 New Cross Road

A lifesaver for BC late last Friday night, the Square Pizza takeaway does ten inch pizzas for five quid and got on great with the post-pub crowd.

Click here for their website.

South London Press spawns seven new "hyperlocal" titles

Elizabeth Shaw: My God, we were so wrong. 
- Prometheus

The Press Gazette reports that the South London Press is spawning seven "hyperlocal" paid-for newspapers, covering each of the SLP's main areas of focus: Streatham, Brixton, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Deptford & New Cross and Forest Hill & Sydenham (Brockley will presumably be covered by a combination of the latter two titles).

That's a hell of a lot of stabbings they will have to find on a weekly basis for their front covers.

Sir Ray Tindle told Press Gazette: “The South London Press has been a major paid-for weekly paper in London for 147 years. We are changing that from one paper into seven. They will be hyper-local papers covering the same footprint as old South London Press but in much more detail.

The papers will cost 50p.

Obviously, BC advocates the hyperlocal model, but it will be interesting to see whether a paid/print model is viable.

With thanks to Darryl.

Brockley MAX Kicks Off

The 2012 Brockley MAX Festival opens this evening, starting at 5pm with a performance by Ben Godwin at the regular stage, next to the Brockley Barge. For the full line-up click here.

Jubilee weekend at the Royal Albert

Emily from the Royal Albert writes:

We have DJs tonight and on Sunday along with our lovely British Sunday Roast. We will also be showing the Jubilee coverage.

On Tuesday from 3pm till 5ish we are doing some jubilee inspired face painting and arts & crafts with the lovely Morwenna for the kids.

All weekend we will be serving Pimms, Tea, Cakes, great Ales and our signature ‘Ju-belini’ Cocktail! We have also extended our opening hours so we are open Saturday 12-1, Sunday 12-12, Monday 1-12 and Tuesday 1-12.

Hilly Fields cafe aims for MAX opening

The new cafe on Hilly Fields is nearly ready to open, having experienced a slight delay due to the need to bury the telephone line serving the building, rather than run it in to the park on telegraph poles.

Pistachios' Aysin confirms that they are aiming to open at some point during the Brockley MAX festival and hope to have a confirmed date soon.

Trusty bin heroes collect Ted Rogers medal of honour

Narrator: Police Constable Nicholas Angel: born and schooled in London, graduated Canterbury University in 1993 with a double first in Politics and Sociology. Attended Hendon College of Police Training. Displayed great aptitude in field exercises, notably Urban Pacification and Riot Control.
- Hot Fuzz 

The twelve police officers who took down a man wielding a machete on Shardeloes Road, last year, without prejudice but with the aid of a wheelie bin, have been honoured for their bravery. The News Shopper reports:

They were amongst 58 officers, special constables, staff and volunteers honoured at Lewisham police's commendation ceremony this week. PCs Hasan Berkul, Hayley Barton, Tim Chik, Dan Dewdney, Shaun Elliot, Nick Gerry, Kelly Gladdis, David Hughes, Jennifer Lane, Alex Melnkov, Tracy Todd and Tim Ward were all honoured for their Brockley bravery.

Take yourself back to the hot summer of 2011 to remind yourself that it was a genuinely scary moment, as the guy hiding by the window in this commentary attests.