Greenspaces: Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries

There’s you, and then there’s not you: and you are faced with the question of how you are going to spend that time. It’s so much more profound than any hypothesis about some pathetic garden with unicorns and hugs that goes forever. People don’t even know how to spend their Saturday afternoons. What do I want with eternity?
- Tim Minchin

The conjoined cemeteries (entrance at the corner of Ivy Road and Brockley Road), created in 1858 and covering 37 acres, lack the scale and Gothic grandeur of Nunhead cemetery but the shadow play of its most overgrown parts evokes magic and menace.
The pathways through the trees, dotted with Ozymandian tributes, are beautiful and humbling. Some of the more open parts are more like a funereal version of Cargiant.

The cemeteries are also an important habitat for wildlife, including butterflies, sparrowhawks and stag beetles.

Click here for the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries website.

Squashed-on Park

Local blogger Richard Elliot has toured the local buildings featured in this year's London Open House weekend, including End House in Crofton Park, The Capitol in Forest Hill, Seager Distillery in Deptford, de Monchaux Studio in the Brockley Conservation Area and Lewisham Arthouse on Lewisham Way.

End House is a neat example of how to squeeze more space out of residential streets. He writes:

My first stop was End House in Manwood Road. The compact three bedroom house was added to the end of a terrace when someone sold part of their garden to a developer. A mecca to minimalism the house has a wedge shape, being narrower at the front than the rear. The architects have produced a fantastic design and the house didn't feel like it contained awkward angles despite none of the rooms being square. 

You can read his report here.


The Brockley Cross Action Group will hold its Annual General Meeting on October 3rd at the Brockley Social Club (240 Brockley Road). The meeting starts at 7.00pm and will finish at approx. 9.00pm.

The Agenda will include elections, accounts, a review of the year and a discussion of future projects. Having transformed the area around the station and lobbied for improvements to Brockley Cross, their future focus includes installing steps on Brockley Common, a mural under the bridge on Brockley Road and the part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street, as part of the redevelopment of 180 Brockley Road. But they're open to suggestions!

Send a message to the Mayor - protect Lewisham's pubs

Sydenham Councillor Liam Curran is asking for Lewisham residents to show their support for the recommendations of the Council's Sustainable Development Committee, which has a plan to halt the decline in the number of pubs in Lewisham, which has lost 53 pubs in the last ten years.

He says:

"The recommendations, if all combined and agreed would help enormously in helping to preserve what pubs we have left. Please email and ask him to endorse the findings of the inquiry."

So what were the Committee's findings and recommendations?

Firstly, they acknowledge social factors such as changing tastes and lifestyles that mean the public appetite for pubs (or at least, for certain kinds of pub) has declined , but the group also identified four factors which are accelerating the decline, resulting in local communities being underserved:

- The land value is a key reason why pubs are being sold off or closed - for redevelopment
- Closed pubs that successful companies wish to buy and run as a pub are not marketed properly by developers so they can claim nobody wants it
- Pubcos run pubs into the ground with high prices so that the landlords give up and they can sell them off for redevelopment

In other words, in many cases, pubs aren't being given a chance to succeed. And this is the crux of the issue. There are lots of bad pubs out there - dangerous ones, miserable ones, ones that take no pride or pleasure in the range of beers they sell, ones that haven't adapted their business models or decor to account for changing tastes - pubs that still think it's OK to sell warm white wine or flat lager. These pubs deserve to fail, but only in order to be taken over by someone with more passion and ambition, rather than be turned in to flats. At the moment, aspiring landlords are being shut out of the market by property speculators.

In Brockley, The Talbot has found new life and new bars like The Gantry and The Orchard have thrived, while the Wickham Arms has been allowed to fall in to decline, with bids for the pub rejected.

The Committee recommends greater protection for pubs, to signal to owners that the Council won't just give in and allow pubs to be redeveloped. Only once the residential conversion option is withdrawn will pub-owners focus on how to create viable businesses again. The key recommendations of the Committee include:

- The Council should ensure that its economic viability test for pubs sets a new benchmark for best practice. The test should ensure that there is a high standard of evidence required to demonstrate the effective marketing of a pub before approval is given for demolition or change of use. The period of marketing to test economic viability should be increased to 36 months.

- The Council should update its register of community venues for hire to include available spaces in local pubs.

- Local residents and community groups are already entitled to put forward buildings for local listing but may not be aware that this is the case. The review should be widely publicized to make them aware of the process of applying for local listing.

- The Development Management Development Plan Document (DMDPD) should include enhanced protection for pubs through its ‘pubs policy’. Any new planning policy should assume a default protection for pubs both as a building and as a pub business with the onus on developers to prove why a particular building cannot any longer be a pub.

You can download the report here - if you like the ideas, let the Mayor know.

Pretoria Court, Tyrwhitt Road

Pretoria Court is the housing development that replaced the WP Stone factory on the old Pretoria Parade on Tyrwhitt Road. The wrapping is coming off and it looks like an OK pastiche. Divided in to eight two-bed flats, it's on the market with Acorn.

Brockley Design Hunt 2

The Hunt returns after the April's event attracted 50 hunters despite heavy rain. Click here for more details.

East London Line to Clapham opening date confirmed

TfL has confirmed that services on the East London Line extension to Clapham Junction will begin on December 9th, 2012.

When it opens, it will complete a (nearly) unbroken loop around London and allow Brockley residents to reach Clapham Junction, Clapham High Street and Denmark Hill via Surrey Quays.

London Reconnections also reports that TfL have also snuck a couple of extra trains in to the core section of the route during morning rush hour to boost capacity:

"It seems that the ELL now features two extra Surrey Quays – Dalston Junction services at 0804 and 0849 respectively, which don’t appear on the official timetable."

With thanks to BarCar on the South East London forum.

Brockley votes: how the Assembly money was allocated

Cllr Foxcroft has kindly sent us a report from the recent Brockley Assembly, which she chaired. The meeting featured a vote on which local projects to fund this year. She writes:

The main item on the agenda was allocating the 2012/13 Brockley Local Assembly Fund. 12 projects had submitted bids for funding and there were three categories.

Before the Assembly heard each group’s presentation, they had to decide what to do with the unallocated money in categories A and B because less money had been applied for than was available.  The meeting had the choice to roll the money over into Category C or to use it to commission projects in areas that did not bid.  The Assembly choose to rollover the money to category C.

Category A – projects which had bid for £1-500

· Tyrwhitt Road Neighbourhood Beautification Programme (Tyrwhitt Road Neighbourhood Watch) - £500
· Christmas theatre trip for local families who have children under 5 years old (Brockley Parents Forum) - £200

Both of these projects were approved by the Assembly and will receive all of the funding that they bid for.

Category B – projects which had bid for £501-1500

· Hatcham Village Big Lunch 2013 (New Cross Learning) - £1000
· Toys and play equipment for St John’s Baby and Toddler Group (St John’s Baby and Toddler Group) - £750
· Ambassadors Course: two one day pilot training courses for young people 8-12yrs (Tanners Hill TRA Garden Committee) - £680.05

All of these projects were approved by the Assembly and will receive all of the funding that they bid for.

Category C – projects which had bid for £1501-5000

There was a total of £11,870 available in this category.  Seven projects applied for funding:

· Threadz: girls-only fashion project raising the aspirations of young women in Brockley (Peabody) - £5000
· Educational experience for three ages of young people (Somali Education Development Centre) - £2000
· Continued improvements to Wickham/Manor Mews to create a useable and maintained space for the local community (Wickham Mews Residents) - £3000
· Breakspears Mews Community Garden (Breakspeares Mews Community Garden) - £5000
· Tree planting programme in Brockley ward – Brockley Society - £2400
· A mural on the eastern wall of the railway arch over Brockley Road, near Brockley Cross (Brockley Cross Action Group) - £4170.05
· Youth football for activity and health (Junior Reds FC Titans) - £2870

Of the seven projects, three received all of their funding: Brockley Society; Breakspears Mews and Wickham Mews.  The Peabody project received partial funding of £1470.

It was great to see so many groups looking for funding for local projects to improve their area. It's a shame that the council has had to reduce the amount of money available to local assemblies due to the cuts to council funding from the coalition government. However as a Labour group on the council, we're committed to maintaining local assemblies as a voice for the local community.

Brockley Market - 1 year old this weekend

Brockley Market, winner of the 2011 newcomer of the year award, celebrates its first birthday this Saturday, with a band from 11am and some of the regular stallholders trying a few new things. Given how big a part it now plays in local life, it's amazing that it's only a year old.

On Sunday, the Brockley Market team will learn their fate in the BBC Food and Farming Awards, for which they have been shortlisted in the Best Food Market category.

The shortlist of 10 markets will be whittled down to three this Sunday and will be announced on the food programme on Radio 4 at 12.30pm

Telegraph Hill Renaissance

Sanjit writes:

Renaissance is going to be an amazing event, in aid of a local resource which has done, and continues to do, so much to sustain our community. The Telegraph Hill Centre has supported Bold Vision and Hill Station Cafe, helped set up the Festival and now continues to support myriad local initiatives.

Though unaffected by cuts, thanks to its self-funding nature, the Centre has little money to carry out improvements the place so badly needs. Renaissance aims to change that by raising funds to get started on the road to revamping the Telegraph Hill Centre.

Please book your tickets, and soon! Space is limited. Our 'Early Bird' discount (£8) closes at midnight on 23rd September, thereafter tickets will start at £15, with stepped levels up.

Get a top priced ticket and you'll enjoy cabaret style table seating, linen tablecloths, ice buckets and complimentary fizz to help you settle into the show.

Book now -

Support for Lewisham's young market entrepreneurs

Lewisham Council says:

The Council is running a scheme to train local young people – 17 to 24 year olds - in how to set up/run their own market stall - click here.

The closing date is 30 September, with interviews on 8 October. They’ll get training, £1000 contribution to business start-up costs and a free pitch at either Catford or Deptford market in the run-up to Christmas.

With youth unemployment the way it is it’s a great opportunity for local young people to get some free, sound business advice in an area that they may not have thought of necessarily before and a chance to set up their own business.

Royal Tandoori, Crofton Park

387 Brockley Road, SE4 2PH 
020 8692 0700

Thanks to BCer Monkeyboy, who has downloaded the new takeaway app for the Royal Tandoori in Crofton Park and provided a screenshot of it in all its glory:

Please post your reviews of the restaurant here.

LA / Stories

Occasionally, it is necessary to admit that Brockley does not have a monopoly on good ideas. Here are two, from the twin towns of LA and Charlton, that are worth thinking about importing.

Firstly, the Guardian reports that Los Angeles is removing parking spaces across the city and converting them into "parklets" - micro parks that are given over to a range of leisure activities.

In the land of valet parking, maybe kerbside parking spots are at less of a premium than SE4, but parklets could exist anywhere (the BXAG are trying to persuade Network Rail to let them take over the disused steps leading up to the higher-level of Brockley Station, to create a garden) and even if exercise bikes don't suit the British weather, gardeners could have some fun. Likewise, it would be great to create a spot in the centre of Brockley for Ping! London to install a table tennis table (especially given how well-used the one in Hilly Fields is).

Secondly, and less exotically, the people of Charlton have stopped debating whether a book-exchange would be a good idea and created one in Charlton Station. It's just a set of shelves where people can drop off or collect books. It's in the perfect spot, open nearly round the clock, and is handy for commuters. Our Charlton spy tells us the system works well and there's usually a good choice of books available.

Not that there is usually room to open a book on the ELL, but it's still an idea that could be made to happen instantly, if London Overground got on board.

What do you think?

The Green Chain megawalk challenge

Green Chain is staging a range of events this autumn, including an all-day megawalk along the full length of the chain:

The Green Chain Megawalk
Saturday 29 September 9.15am-6.30pm
Meet at Crystal Palace station at 9.15am

All the way from one end of the Green Chain to the other in one easy go - just 21.5 miles! Average walking pace throughout and you CAN do it. Beautiful landscape, woodland and views throughout. Packed lunch essential. Promoted by Walk London. The walk finishes at Erith station. For enquiries please call Ian Bull at 020 7223 3572.

Click here for the other autumn events (including a walk from Sydenham to Brockley and one through Telegraph Hill) and here for Brockley Kate's Green Chain series.

Death from above - are you for or against?

Dan Miller: [after the car runs out of gas] Well, we gave it a good shot. Nobody can say we didn't. 
- The Mist

The area under consideration

Lewisham Council is asking residents of Honor Oak and Brockley to tell them whether they would like to suffer from respiratory diseases or not:. For the launch of a new consultation about air quality in the area, they say:

Where levels are being exceeded at a specific location, a computer model is used to predict the extent of the area that is above the target. Monitoring data and modelling shows that areas around Brockley Rise, Stondon Park and Honor Oak Park are failing to meet the standards for nitrogen dioxide. As a result the Council is now obliged to declare an Air Quality Management Area covering these locations as a minimum.

However the Council can choose to extend the Air Quality Management Area beyond these locations. This is particularly relevant when dealing with modelled data which has a degree of error associated with it. It is also useful to consider that actions focused on a small geographical area have the potential to simply displace the problem. Once the Air Quality Management Area is designated, the Council will produce an action plan for the area setting out the measures and policies it will use to deliver improvements.

To tackle the specific problem of nitrogen dioxide in the Honor Oak Park and Brockley Rise area (which is largely caused by motor vehicles, but also other forms of combustion such as heating) actions might include the improvement of facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, measures to tackle congestion and requiring that emissions from new developments are reduced.

We are seeking your comments and opinions on three different options for the extent of the area to be designated and into which we will introduce measures to reduce emissions:

Option 1 (pink shading on the map above): The minimum area option that would cover just the areas predicted to exceed the National Air Quality Objective for nitrogen dioxide (40µg/m3 as an annual average).
Option 2 (pink and yellow shading): The minimum area plus a 25 metre ‘buffer’ zone to allow for errors in the predictions.
Option 3 (pink and yellow and green shading): The whole area north of the south circular (A205) that does not already lie within an AQMA.

If you would like to make a comment and/or indicate your preference, please visit

Here's what the Clean Air Trust says about Nitrogen oxide: 

Health Effects: Short-term exposure may cause increased respiratory illness in young children and harm lung function in people with existing respiratory illnesses. Long-term exposure may lead to increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and may cause alterations in the lung. (Nitrogen oxides also can be transformed in the atmosphere to ozone of fine particulate soot - which are both associated with serious adverse health effects.)

Environmental Effects: Nitrogen oxides help form acid rain.

Sources: Cars, trucks and electric power plants are dominant sources. Home heaters and gas stoves can produce nitrogen dioxide inside homes.

St Hilda's Autumn Fete, September 29th

Arlo & Moe, 340 Brockley Road

Arlo & Moe, the new Crofton Park cafe, opened today. They say:

"And we're OPEN! Got way too many edibles, so come on over!"

Please post your reviews here.

New X Ing Programme

We've given New-X-Ing a few plugs already, but it's worth sharing the full programme of events taking place as part of the festival. Click to embiggen.

Soil association

Reader Delanie spotted this photograph in an exhibition by artist Sam Kirk at Kew Gardens. It's called Brockley Street, but which street is it?

Brockley secures World Heritage status

The lesson of Apple is you cannot just listen to what people are saying they need because they are going to define everything they need in terms they already know: bigger, faster, cheaper. The true revolutionary creates a product or service before people can really define the need for that product or service. They anticipate where the market will go as opposed to simply reacting quickly to where the market is already going.
- Guy Kawasaki

Criticised after the iPhone 5 launch for having run out of ideas, Apple has confounded its critics once again by embracing the biggest idea of them all: 'Greater Brockley'.

Julian sent us this shot of the Evening Standard, which reports on the Apple Maps cock-up, resulting in London landmarks being shunted around:

The Antiques Shop

117 Tanners Hill

The Antiques Shop is open seven days a week from 9am-4.30pm, although the owner, who lives at the property warns that her opening hours can be a little erratic.

The shop, which doesn't really have a proper name, just an old 'antiques' sign above the door, sells a mixture of curios and vintage clothing.

Cash converters

Is it possible to have too much money? BCer Kenny Tinsel sent us this photo of a new cash machine being installed outside the Brockley Barge. After years without a free cash machine near Brockley Station, we now  have four in a 50 yard radius.

Goodbye too to the phone box, a relic in the smartphone era.

Ladywell Christmas Market returns

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group says the Christmas Market will be back, after it was cancelled last year:

Ladywell Christmas Market will take place again this year, on Sat 15th December. Thanks to the volunteers who've taken on the not inconsiderable task of making all the 'behind the scenes' arrangements. Thanks also to all those at last night's Ladywell Assembly who supported funding to cover the upfront costs. 

As previously there will local craft and food stalls, seasonal drinks and treats, and opportunities to snap up some last minute Christmas presents. If you'd like to reserve a stall, please email - as soon as possible to avoid disappointment!

The Coulgate Street Christmas Market will also take place again this year.

Come Dine With Me: Le Diner de Cons-ervation Area

Come Dine with Me - already perfect television - is about to help us achieve nirvana. The producers are currently scouting for talent in the Greater Brockley area. They say:

Anyone who might be keen on applying for the show can call 0871 244 4142 or email Shoot dates are 5th November – 9th November 2012.

Sadly, the producers won't commit to doing a Brockley-only version of the show (insisting that other nearby places might have to get a look-in), but they are missing a trick. This could be the piece of television that defines Brockley in the popular imagination, eclipsing the area's first appearance on Location, Location, Location or that documentary about rich and poor families living side-by-side in Brockley, that people who've been here a long time always drag up.

This is a chance to sit every Brockley stereotype (well, five stereotypes at least) side-by-side around a dinner table so we can at last define terms - our spectres will finally be given a face.

Brockley man discovers alternative to mung beans

Courtesy of Emily, who spotted this beauty in the Guardian.

The paper explains:

A mouse found in a tin of Sainsbury's own-brand baked beans by Robert Howard, from Brockley, south-east London. According to the manufacturer the creature had been cooked in the tin. Eek!

The Orchard opens for breakfast

The Orchard has unveiled its secret plan for breakfast domination. The team says:

The Orchard is now open for breakfast 9.30-11.30 Tue-Sun. The full English is particularly good!

The Age of Emporia begins with 10% off for BC readers

Olivia Costa writes:

Emporia is a newly opened home ware shop selling an eclectic mix of new and pre-loved items. New pieces are added weekly, so please pop in to have a browse of the shop and bring this leaflet with you to receive 10% off your purchase.

Brockley 1910

A couple more historic photos of Brockley, this time courtesy of the Brockley Design Project. These two were taken circa 1910.

'Midtown' Brockley
Crofton Park
With thanks to Charlie.

In Memoriam: Steve Smith

Steve Smith, the popular landlord of the Brockley Jack pub has sadly passed away. A memorial service will be held on Saturday at St Hilda's Church. Details are available from the Brockley Jack, for those who would like to pay their respects.

TfL promise review of dangerous junction

Lewisham Cyclists have produced this video to highlight a dangerous junction on the A2, next to OneSE8, where Deptford meets Greenwich at Blackheath Hill. Residents of the massive residential development trying to set off by bike are met by a most unforgiving junction with traffic failing to give way as it turns right, as this video shows:
Lewisham Cyclists say:

When [TfL] redesigned this junction with the A2 a couple of years or so ago, [they made it] even worse.  They removed the dedicated green light for Deal’s Gateway, which now had to share the green phase with traffic emerging from Greenwich High Rd, much of which turns right. 

There are alternatives, it’s true. On a bike you could dismount and cross to the central reservation and cross on foot , although there are no pedestrian phases for the crossing here, which seems crazy, especially as there is quite a lot of new housing in this area, a bus station and busy DLR station too.

The group is asking TfL to look again at how to improve safety at this junction. It is a tricky issue to get right. Traffic regularly gets snarled up here during rush hour and the desire to keep it flowing as much as possible is understandable, but if we want to encourage cycling in London and ensure that major housing developments like these are properly integrated into the fabric of the city, then we have to address problems like this. So it's TfL's response is welcome. They say:

The junction will be reviewed to identify if any long-term alterations are required to assist traffic, particularly cyclists, travelling from Deal’s Gateway. We have added this onto our programme of works and accelerated the review so it will take place before the end of the calendar year. We have also brought forward the review for the Deptford Bridge / Brookmill Road / Deptford Church Street junction, so it is possible the reviews may take place simultaneously.

With thanks to 853blog.

Forest Hill Pools reopen

Just in time for the temporary closure of Deptford's Wavelengths pool, Lewisham Council reports the fantastic news that Forest Hill Pools (Dartmouth Road) have been reopened:

Several years of hard work and dedicated campaigning by local stakeholders has finally come to fruition and Forest Hill Pools have now been reopened. After a series of public consultations, construction commenced in February 2011 and the costs for redeveloping the site amount to £8.9m.

Facilities now include:

·         25m length swimming pool
·         16.7m length learner pool
·         state-of-the-art fitness suite
·         two studios and a café area
·         community room for hire
·         spectator viewing and exhibition area

This new facility, which is fully accessible, including parking for people with disabilities, and the architects, Roberts Limbrick, have worked to make the pools as eco-friendly and energy-efficient as possible.

The Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, marked the occasion by taking a plunge in the new pool.   He said:  “This is a very exciting day for Lewisham.  I am thrilled to be here today in Forest Hill at yet another fantastic new facility for the borough.  It’s a real tribute to the hard work and energy of everybody involved.”

Cabinet Member for Community Services, Chris Best, "The significance of the occasion comes from the aspirations of the many local people who have worked so hard to see this building saved and now re-developed.”

“I am absolutely delighted to see the wonderful job that has been done redeveloping the pools to modern standards, while retaining features like the historic Victorian frontage.”

“This is a striking development but perhaps its most important dimension is that it’s the result of joint working between local stakeholders and the Council to achieve a shared goal. Willmott- Dixon has carried out a magnificent job in delivering this project on schedule and providing a sustainable future for such a well-loved local building that will benefit the community for many years to come."

Opening hours are:  Monday-Friday, 7am-10pm and Saturday, Sundays and Bank Holidays 7am-6pm.

Residents will have the opportunity to tour the facilities and try out some of the activities available at Forest Hill Pools as part of the ‘Forest Hill celebrates’ event on 22 September.

Sound and curios: SHO-ZYG

Curator James says:

The exhibition of sound art and sound practice will include rooms on Daphne Oram (founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), Hugh Davies (collaborator with Stockhausen), and works from over 50 Goldsmiths artists, past and present, working with sound.

Parkrunners through the pain barrier

Parkrun - the weekly running event - has successfully staged two runs in Hilly Fields. BCer Lep Recorn sent us a shot of this week's run:

On Saturday, 94 runners took part, with a total of 125 runners taking part over the two weeks. Ros Tabor and Danny Norman are the record-holding queen and king of the hill.

The numbers taking part suggest it will run and run.

New Cross stabbing leaves man in critical condition

The scene of the crime is currently taped off

Police have taped off a stretch of New Cross Road between the New Cross Inn and ReynA on the northern side, as they investigate a stabbing incident that has left one person in a critical condition.

The BBC reports that this happened last night, a few hours after a fatal stabbing in Lee:

Police said a 19-year-old man was stabbed in New Cross Road - just three miles from Lee - just after 03:30 BST on Sunday. The man is in a critical condition in hospital. No-one has been arrested over the attack.

Greenspaces: Blythe Hill Fields

SE23 1SN
Blythe Hill Fields completes the trio of hill-top parks running through this area, from New Cross to Honor Oak. Smaller, flatter, quieter, emptier and more gently-undulating than Hilly Fields, it offers the better views across London (and over Kings College's sports ground), despite being a little further away. 

The children's play area, recently refurbished, is nicely done and is beautifully sheltered against the allotments next door.

Brockley Kate's green chain guide takes in Blythe Hill here. Visit the Friends of Blythe Hill Fields here.

Handmade Crafts in Crofton Park

Catherine Walsh writes:

I'm starting a Handmade Crafts class, weekly, in Pat-a-Cakes coffee shop on Thursday evenings and the Ackroyd Centre on Tuesday evenings.

They are drop-in classes, held between 7pm and 8.30pm.

In each class participants will make a new craft project, starting with a stencilled tote bag on Tuesday 18th/ Thursday 20th September, then sewing a cusion cover, handmade books, felt jewellery and more.

Each class costs £10, including materials, and there is no need to book, just come along.

If a tree falls in Lewisham, is it a scam?

The Police have put out an alert about a tree-felling scammer operating in the borough. They say:

Lewisham Police and Lewisham Council are urging residents to be wary of bogus cold callers offering to carry out maintenance work in or about their premises.

This follows two incidents on Wednesday where a man offered to carry out maintenance work on the rear garden and cut the tree.

In one case the householder agreed to the work but became suspicious when the man asked for more money than was agreed.

In the other case the householder had not agreed to any work being carried out, the tree in her front garden was cut without her permission and the suspect than asked her for payment.

Anyone with any information bogus callers is asked to contact Lewisham Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous

Sorting office redevelopment to extend Brockley high street?

It began with a wheelie bin, it will end with a new apartment block and set of shops on Brockley Road.

The evidence is mounting that Royal Mail is preparing to sell their Brockley Road sorting office for redevelopment.

The logic is compelling: The office occupies what is now a very valuable plot of land close to Brockley Station, where the Council is keen to see more development, to help it meet its new homes target. The sorting office is a pretty inefficient use of that land and truncates what could be a more significant high street.  So, despite the fact that we find it handy, BC's always assumed the sorting office's days were numbered and, on balance, would welcome its redevelopment.

Now there are signs that a sale may be on its way.

Firstly, in May, The Guardian reported that the Royal Mail is under pressure to sell off any unnecessary assets before the company is privatised, in order to that the public realises that value, rather than the shareholders:

The government passed the privatise Royal Mail bill last year, allowing the company to be sold off by the end of 2013 at the earliest, although any sale is unlikely to take place until 2014... But there are fears the company could be sold off too cheaply, either through a private sale or by listing it on the London Stock Exchange. Murray said: "Look at what happened with the utility companies when they were listed. They were sold in a fire sale, so if there is to be an IPO [initial public offering] it needs to be set at the right price, otherwise it could turn into a 'get rich quick' scheme and the taxpayer will be footing the bill."...  

Its property director, Martin Gafsen, said: "Royal Mail has a clear strategy to ensure we derive maximum value from any property we no longer require for our operations. We have a strong track record in using the proceeds from disposal of surplus property to invest in the mail operation.

Next, this week, the Royal Mail orders Lewisham Council's recycling bins off its land without explanation and with immediate effect. BCer Oaksys asked why would the Mail care about the bins all of a sudden, when they've happily accommodated them for years? The bins are a bit of an eyesore, but they don't impact on the work of the sorting office. However, clear them away and the site looks more attractive for sale.

Then, in the discussion that followed, long-time BCer AuntyKate adds that:

The Royal Mail delivered a note through my door a few weeks ago to say that they "tested" leaving parcels with neighbours and the results were "really positive" with 92% of people being satisfied with this. So from late September they are going to do this when you are out rather than return it to the delivery office. To me this change of policy does indicate they are planning to close the sorting office. And sell it for redevelopment.

So, if it goes - what can we realistically expect to take its place?

The space is pretty big, currently accommodating a van yard behind the high street. It could take a large building (possibly with a courtyard) with residential on top and commercial units at ground level (potentially on Harefield Road as well as Brockley Road). Its footprint could swallow a large restaurant, or even a gym - neither of which could be accommodated elsewhere nearby. Sitting on the boundary of the conservation area, we can expect the height to be similar to the roofline of the rest of the high street, with the developers possibly trying to see if they can get away with another floor or two as the building steps back from the road.

Together with the proposed development of 180 Brockley Road, Brockley would then have a high street of a scale and range to match the size of its population and its proximity to two train lines.

DJ Jakki Degg at Gulen's

Gulen's is raising its game and proving that Brockley doesn't only cater for yummy mummies. Glamour model-turned-DJ Jakki Degg is their new resident DJ, playing every weekend.

Greenspaces: Twinkle Park

Watergate Street

Twinkle Park is a stone's throw from the Dog and Bell, tucked between a housing estate and the river.

Redesigned in 1992 to be shared by the now-defunct Charlotte Turner Primary School, it's divided in to two halves - a basketball court on one side and a garden on the other. When we visited, one Sunday afternoon, neither half was in use, except by a homeless guy taking a snooze amongst the reeds which fringe its duckweed filled pond.

Beautifully - eerily - quiet, it's a hotchpotch of curiosities, from a pergola on wheels to a sunken boat.

Recycling bins to go from Brockley Road

Lewisham Council report that the Royal Mail have instructed them to remove all the recycling bins currently parked outside the sorting office on Brockley Road. They say:

Royal Mail have instructed the Council to remove all recycling bins inc. textiles from Brockley sorting office in 7 days. The recycling bins will be removed next Monday (17th) on a permanent basis. with no plans to re-site them. 

The Council believe the most likely reason behind the decision is the problem of fly tipping by the bins. When BC first started, the bins were a real eyesore in the middle of the high street, but significant effort went in to improving their impact and the setup had seemingly worked pretty well in recent years. 

Faces of Lewisham: The Pink House

Faces of Lewisham is an online photographic archive built by the Lewisham Local History and Archive Centre. It contains a beautiful shot of Brockley's most eccentric house (located on Lewisham Way) and its owner, Brenton Pink. They explain:

Mr. Pink is a retired refuse collector who came to Britain from Jamaica in the fifties. “He lives in an extraordinary house in Lewisham. Inspired by a mixture of dreams, memories of his childhood and his religion, he has decorated his Victorian mansion with his own unique designs.

Thanks to Simon for the link.

Chef needed to help El's Kitchen grow

Ladywell deli is El's Kitchen is expanding its food-to-go offer and searching for a chef to help them grow. We're always keen to help promote local job opportunities and the last time we ran an ad for El's Kitchen, two readers got jobs out of it. Let's hope we get a similar result this time. El says:

El’s Kitchen delicatessen is looking for an experienced and qualified cook to join our motivated and friendly team in Ladywell, South East London. We’re looking for an aspirational sous chef who is ready to take on more responsibility and help us develop and launch a new line of ready meals as well as increasing our range and volume of food-to-go. You will be responsible for producing delicious, seasonal food made with fresh ingredients and ensuring that the kitchen is run smoothly, safely and hygienically. 

With 2-3 years experience as a sous chef or equivalent, you will also have NVQ level 1 or 2 in food preparation and cooking or equivalent and hold an intermediate or advanced Food Hygiene certificate. Accountable for all aspects of the management and the administration of the food operation, you will have demonstrable experience of menu planning, controlling food costs and achieving GP% combined with culinary flair.

The position is full-time (32-40 hours per week). You’ll be working straight day shifts with the occasional evening and weekend shift as required to fulfil catering commissions and in-house events.

We aim for El’s Kitchen to be a fun place to work, where you’re well rewarded for working hard and doing a great job. El’s Kitchen is still a new business so we look for people who are able to adapt and grow with us in the future.

Contact for an application form.

Brockley wine

Jeremy: "Oh. That is fantastic. THIS. This is wine. Yeah, look at what these idiots are drinking. Look at these dicks! Obviously it’s not REALLY delicious like hot chocolate or coke but for wine…” 
- Peep Show

BC regular JPM has spotted a corner of an Australian wine region that will be forever Brockley. Myattsfield Vineyard in Perth Hills is named after the farmer who birthed the rhubarb revolution here in Brockley. Joseph Myatt travelled from Staffordshire to establish Deptford and Manor Farm, where he experimented with rhubarb reinventing it as a food, rather than a medicinal herb and triggering a rhubarb-growing explosion around the capital. The vineyard explains that having conquered the world of rhubarb, the Myatts' next move was to Australia:

In 1906 Frank Myatt (Joseph Myatt's grandson) and his wife, Rosa, left Gloucestershire for Australia, setting up market gardens the southwest region of Harvey. Myattsfield’s flagship wine, the “Joseph Myatt” Reserve, commemorates the family’s founding horticulturalist.

So if Brockley made wine, what would it taste like? The Myattsfield guys explain:

We produce a wide range of wine styles from sparkling to fortified (primarily to satisfy our winemaking urges). As well as working with the varieties we grow, we also keep an eye out for interesting parcels of fruit. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Semillon, Tempranillo and Pedro Ximinez have become regulars. Members of our “Left Field” wine club are privy to the more unusual and exclusive batches.

Brockley Assembly, September 15th - help allocate cash to good causes

The next Brockley ward assembly will give attendees the chance to vote for the local projects which they think are most worthy of support. Ideas put forward include Christmas theatre trip for local families in need, improvements to Wickham / Manor Mews and additional tree planting across the ward.

Lisa Buckingham from Lewisham Council writes:

The next Brockley Assembly meeting will take place on Saturday 15 September between 1pm and 3pm at the Leander Community Centre, Ship Street, SE8.

You are welcome to attend assembly meeting if you live, work or learn in Brockley ward.
The meeting is your chance to vote for which projects in the local area you want to see funded.  You can find details of the projects that have applied here.

We hope to see you there!

Registration and refreshments from 12.45pm. If you need any further information please don't hesitate to contact Lisa Buckingham on 020 8314 3386 or by email at

Coming soon: Arlo & Moe

Crofton Park cafe Arlo & Moe opens later this month. Founders Julie and Jamie have documented their preparation on the Brockley forum and now they're ready to explain what lies in store. Here's their Q&A:

When are you opening?

24th September 2012.

What will the place be like?

Arlo & Moe will be a cafe serving a) Quality Coffee & Tea. b) Breakfast menu. c) Lunch menu. d) Sandwiches and snacks. e) Cake, including cake orders as we already have an online celebration cake service:

Quality coffee is a real driver for us, as we are both local coffee drinkers, knowing we have to go as far as Browns one way, and Honor Oak the other to get a decent cup of coffee. Our coffee is supplied by an award winning independent roaster.

Foodwise, we are making as much as is physically possible on site, with the obvious exceptions-butter, milk, plates, salt, pepper! Bread and french pastries are being supplied by a local French bakery, but pretty much everything else savoury or sweet is made by us. In the winter months we plan to have our own soups and stews with our own shop made soda bread. Summer will see more pulse, quinoa and couscous-type salads, although these will be available year round.

As this is a new venture in a new area our menu will surely evolve, but so far we have a set menu which we hope will provide something for everyone-real coffee made well, artisan tea, healthy, hearty and tasty lunches and snacks, salads/soups for a lighter lunch and delicious cakes for anyone you can't resist a Victoria Sponge.

Ambiance-wise, we are both in the mid century nostalgia, rockabilly/swing/country music, fashion and dance scene so inevitably the decor will reflect this. And lets be honest, almost everything made in the 1950's looked nice! As for the general ambience we feel as long as we focus on the important stuff-our service and quality of products, we are happy for the space to discover its own feeling. But already whilst refitting the shop, the sun streaming through the re-instated shop front lends itself to the space.

Are you catering for any particular types of customers?

That's a tough question. We have free wi-fi, artisan coffee, 'real' food and spacious baby changing facilities and hi-chairs so maybe there will be space for anyone who wants to eat good food in a tastefully designed space?
Why did you decide to open in Brockley?

We started our planning application and talks with the landlord over 12 months ago with no other indie shops on the horizon. We could feel a change in the area and thats one reason we felt we had a good business case for opening up in Crofton Park.

We know from our own experience and through speaking to lots of local friends that there is a shortage of decent places to eat in Crofton Park. And the proximity of the shop to the train station and local amenities made it the perfect place to open up....hopefully!

We wanted to work locally too, a 15 minute walk to work over Hilly Fields will do nicely!

What new qualities do you hope to bring to the party?

Again, quality coffee and food are the main ones. But moreover, providing a pleasant space and service, somewhere customers feel valued is a really important one for us. We have both spent hours and hours over the years eating and drinking in cafes, and we know how important feeling valued is to us at least.

There have been a lot of good new businesses opening in the area in the last 12 months (The Gantry, Pistachios in the Park, Pat a Cakes and Gently Elephant, for example) - do you think there is a particular reason for this?

People like nice things.

What will your opening hours / contact details be?

This will be dictated by business, but our hours of trade to begin with will be as follows:

Mon-Fri 07.30-16:00
Sat/Sun 10.00-15.00

We are also considering evening openings for acoustic music events (you may have heard Jamie's band play for Story Jam at Jam Circus), supper clubs, Rivoli Ballroom nights. But let's not run before we can walk.

Until our website is up and running we can be contacted in or on our Facebook page.

Look Besson

Telegraph Hill is staging a Super Saturday next weekend, with a range of community events taking place in venues across the ward.

As part of this, the New Cross Gate Trust is staging a ‘Come and Look’ community day over the weekend of 15th/16th September. Besson Street Gardens will be open for everyone to explore, and there will be a range of arts and crafts and outdoor activities taking place – from pond dipping and gardening, to a decoupage workshop.

On Saturday the 15th, there will be a street market selling secondhand clothes, household items, bric-a-brac and plenty more – if you’d like your own stall, please contact

Make Change

Pete: Well, let me ask you a question. Am I the Ultimate Fighting Champion? 
Monica: Well, no. But... 
Pete: Well, I'm not gonna stop until I'm the Ultimate Fighting Champion. 
Monica: That guy stood on your neck until you passed out! 
Pete: Let me tell you a story. When I set out to create Moss 865, do you think it just happened overnight? No. There was Moss 1, that burnt down my Dad's garage, there was Moss 2 that would only schedule appointments in January, and 862 others that I learned from, just like I learned from this fight, never to let a guy stand on my neck.
- Friends

Make Change is a new organisation that seeks nothing less than "a world where everyone is inspired and empowered to take action and affect change on issues which touch them, their communities and the wider world."

They are starting with an event at the Deptford Lounge, where they will be hosting a Day of Creative Action, which so-far is slated to include activities like badge making, face-painting, 'poetry activism' and 'jewellery making / learning about international development'.

The event takes place on September 29th, click here to get involved.

Double Glazing

It had to happen eventually. Andy's asked for a thread:

Just wondered if you could post something re Double Glazing Companies please. Had a quote from Master Windows and can’t find anything reviews online and thought one of your readers might be able to help? 

Know Double Glazing isn’t the most exciting of subjects but appreciate your time.

The Times: "Honor Oak: an affordable alternative to East Dulwich"

The Times property section today features Honor Oak, pitching it as "an affordable alternative to East Dulwich" and arguing that "people looking for a slightly younger vibe tend to go for nearby Brockley." The paper praises its transport connections (except to East Dulwich) and its green spaces and says:

Honor Oak has a history of rallying locals. In 1896, residents halted plans for an open space — today the area’s main park — to become a golf club. These days their protests are directed against chains such as Domino’s Pizza and hastily planned new-builds, but that sense of community is still just as strong. 

Friendly neighbours is one of the perks of living in this still relatively unknown pocket of Lewisham, but most people move here for its comparatively affordable property. Average house prices in Honor Oak and trendy nearby East Dulwich have risen by 63 per cent during the past decade, according to Zoopla, but it’s only in the former that you can still find a three-bed with a garden for less than £400,000. The extension of the East London Line (now the Overground) to Honor Oak Park in 2010 brought an influx of wealthier buyers, and the area is now well on its way to imitating the success of East Dulwich (where family homes now cost more than half a million). It’s not quite there yet, though; the little high street by the station is a curious mix of tapas bars, antique shops and fried-chicken joints.

The rest is here (paywall). Thanks again to FashionBite on Twitter for the tip-off.

Alby seeing you

The Zippos Circus posters of death have appeared in the windows of the business formerly known as Alby's Place on Brockley Road.

Equipment and furnishing from the "restaurant" was cleared several weeks ago and a notice appeared in the window, saying that the owners were applying for retroactive planning permission for all the features they'd installed that didn't comply with their approved application. Alby's name has been removed from above the front door.

The Circus posters are the surest sign that a business has closed and won't be coming back.

Despite plastering the windows with the word "restaurant", Alby's Place never operated as such. CCTV cameras monitored the locked front doors and members of the public were not allowed in in the evenings. All of which makes it difficult to mourn its loss.

So it looks like we are basically back to square one with this restaurant space, which occupies a key plot in the centre of Brockley. With The Orchard, The Gantry, Mo Pho and Nu Spice flourishing and businesses like City Noodles and The Brockley Barge continuing to do brisk trade, there's no doubt this is a prime spot that could be a massive success in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing and is prepared to run it as a restaurant.

As its neighbours have raised their game, this unit has turned from tragedy to comedy. The owners, Biagio, need to find a proper tenant or sell the freehold to someone who will.

Hither Green Disco

Organiser Nikki writes:

"Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet! returns for a fabulous night of 70’s and 80’s soul, funk and disco - for people who remember the tunes first time round and still want to party- with DJs Lord Ant and Da-Lynne & dance diva, Ali Golding."

But that is not all, oh no that is not all. She adds:

"Have you heard we in Hither Green have had yet another pub refurb (The Station Hotel - much needed!) and even a designer kids shop has opened the wrong side of the tracks. We are being Brockleyfied by the day!

Little Kickers and Little Rugby move to Brockley

Last year, we took our son to the Little Kickers Saturday morning football sessions in Telegraph Hill. Compared to the Peckham Rye sessions we'd been to in the past, numbers were low despite the excellent venue, so it's no surprise to hear that they've relocated to the Brockley / Nunhead borders, where there are probably more young families living locally.

To coincide with the move, they're also launching Little Rugby, to help kids learn the subtle skills involved in egg chasing, like holding a ball and running in various directions. The organisers say:

In September, we are moving venue from Telegraph Hill to Brockley, and also launching Little Rugby classes alongside our Little Kickers classes.

Our Little Kickers classes at Telegraph Hill are moving to the Haberdasher's Askes' Hatcham College Sports Ground on St Asaph Road, SE4 2ED.  The new venue has a huge indoor space and a large grass pitch for outdoor play.

All the classes take place on a Saturday morning and they teach kids from 2-7 for football and age 2-5 for rugby. To inquire about classes, email

Recycle more, cut Council costs

Lewisham Council writes is conducting a survey / push polling exercise to understand how aware residents are about recycling services in the borough in an effort to cut costs. They say:

Many items suitable for recycling end up being disposed of by incineration or through landfill.

By recycling more, the borough can reduce its costs associated with waste disposal, as well as generate valuable income from items sent for recycling.  If everyone in Lewisham recycled everything they could it would save thousands of pounds; this would mean more money is available for other services . Income is raised by the sale of plastic, glass, paper and tin collected for recycling and also from recycling credits - money paid back to the Council for diverting materials to recycling.

The results of the survey will help identify the most effective ways to inform residents about waste management issues and will enable future information campaigns to be targeted to encourage increased participation in local recycling schemes.

Take part in the survey here (it's a lot shorter than some of their other recent surveys).

London Bubble in Ladywell Fields

The beloved London Bubble returns to the area this weekend and next with a series of events in Ladywell Fields called "Rivers and People". They say:

Sun 16 September Performances every 20 mins from 6.30pm - 7.50pm. Free, but ticketed. Please call 020 7237 4434 to book. 

On the evening of 16th September, musicians, poets, singers, visual artists and sculptors will come together and present and eclectic array of performance to delight Lewisham residents. The event celebrates and is inspired by the dramatic regeneration of the area, the flora and fauna and river life as well as the local people who enjoy the café, skate park, adventure playground, sports facilities and picnic spots along the river.

More information about the show and how to book here.

A weekend of free workshops leading up to Rivers and People, 8 and 9 September 

Free workshops for all the family in storytelling, formation dog walking and creating creatures from recycled materials. More information about the workshops and how to book here.

Octomom: Octopump 2

Octopump returns to the Royal Albert this month...

Lewisham Open House 2012

Lewisham Life says:

Some of Lewisham's most unusual public and private buildings will throw their doors open for London Open House Festival weekend, 22–23 September.

Open House celebrates the best architecture and design that the capital has to offer, and participants will be able to meet the professionals behind the likes of Tidemill Academy, Deptford Lounge, Forest Hill Pools and the revamped Ladywell Fields, as well as enjoying the breathtaking views from the observation deck on the 27th floor of Distillery Tower.

See the full list of participating properties here.

Stories for Grownups

Visual artist George Williams is hosting an exhibition at the Misty Moon gallery in Ladywell called ‘Stories for grown ups’, from 11-15 September. The show will invite the audience to create their own narratives, using the work as a starting point:

Entrance is free and the preview is on Wednesday 12 September from 7pm-late.

The Twilight Zone

You are entering the vicinity of an area adjacent to a location. The kind of place where there might be a monster, or some kind of weird mirror. These are just examples; it could also be something much better. Prepare to enter: The Scary Door.
- Futurama

Reader Jim has asked Lewisham Council to find an urgent solution to traffic chaos on his street, caused by the recent expansion of the Ladywell CPZ, which has shifted more parked cars on to narrow streets used by the 484 bus.

He has written to Mayor Bullock to complain about the impact that the Ladywell CPZ has had on Brookbank, Shell Road and Vicar Hill. The litany of woe includes scrapes, road rage, traffic jams and one occasion when a bus careened in to someone's front garden - exhibit A:

He says:

The CPZ did not account for the bus route. This was a major failure that requires urgent attention. It is not fair to residents. It also is not fair to the people using the 484. Most of all, it is not fair to the bus drivers of the 484 route. 

Albany Outdoors - free festival this weekend

The Albany Theatre Deptford writes:

Join us for the Albany's free outdoor weekend, with theatre, live music and family fun taking place in the squares and streets between the Albany and Deptford Lounge, including:

- The Albany Bandstand Marathon
- Red Herring's That's The Way To Do It!
- FanSHEN's Green and Pleasant Land
- C-12 Dance Theatre's The Van Man Uncover
- Emergency Exit Arts' Tag It MADCAP's Urban Village Fete

Browse our online brochure for full details

Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival 2012

The Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival organisers say:

The full schedule of the 2012 Festival (13-23 September) is announced today, with more than 20 free film screenings and events taking place in inspiring and pertinent locations across Peckham and Nunhead.

The Centre for Wildlife Gardening will host East German children’s classic The Singing Ringing Tree as well as Laurel and Hardy shorts accompanied by a live piano soundrack.

Ken Ashton’s 1972 documentary We Was All One, about the old Elephant & Castle community and decline of cockney culture, will be shown at Manze’s pie and mash shop, while Nunhead delicatessen Bambuni will be screening Jeunet and Caro’s darkly comic Delicatessen.

The grittier side of 1960s London can be seen in vintage documentary The London Nobody Knows, screened at bijou bookshop Rye Books, while ever-popular festival venue Nunhead Cemetery is likely to be packed out again this year for Kind Hearts and Coronets.

This year the festival has spawned its own mini festival, Welcome to Busseywood – a 16 hour film marathon held in Peckham’s Bussey Building (a former cricket bat factory, and recently home to the Royal Court’s Theatre Local programme).

The festival, now in its third year, is organised entirely by volunteers. It aims to provide a wide range of films to attract as broad an audience as possible. Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the events – including a capacity crowd at Nunhead Cemetery – and we expect this year’s festival to be even bigger. Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival is entirely not-for-profit and events are funded through partnerships with community organisations and other supporters. It was awarded a ‘distinction’ for innovation at the 2011 Film Society of the Year Awards.

The full programme with further details of the films is at

Flashmob justice for New Cross

Christiana writes:

And…Cross! is a choreographic Flashmob designed to give the power back to the pedestrians in New Cross against the tyranny of the A2. Humorous and visually strong, this event was imagined especially for the area and will be performed as part of NEW X-ING Performance Relay on Saturday the 29th of September.

We need to gather as many enthusiastic pedestrians as possible living, studying and/or working in the area. Performance and art background welcome but NOT necessary! Anyone with a desire to make a difference in New Cross welcomed.

A few rehearsals will take place in Fordham Park during the week leading up to the event. The aim is to share the material and structure with the participants and to build a strong group dynamic.

If you are interested in joining us for this very special march, please contact or

New Crossers can get exercised by any suggestion that the A2's course through their patch is especially problematic, but it is undeniably a physical and psychological barrier to the cohesive development of the town centre. So it's good to see the issue being highlighted.

The Amersham Arms pub quiz

Gareth says:

Quiz Bang is returning to the Amersham Arms this Sunday at 9pm and will be a weekly event from now on!

Everyone's favourite Jewish American Quiz Master, Maxwell Haus (Jewish American Quiz Master of the Year 1963 - 1965) will be providing the laughs and entertainment as we test your wits and knowledge with a variety of rounds.

Expect the unexpected, or unexpect the expected and remember to bring a pen! £1 per team member.

Party near the park

Parkrun in Hilly Fields, September 8th

Parkrun, the free weekly timed 5k run, comes to Hilly Fields next weekend, Saturday, September 8th at 9am. To take part, you must register in advance - full event details here.