Gently Elephant Christmas

Pizza tasting this weekend

No fate but what we make: Kristian believes the future of pizza doesn't have to be like this

He's reimagined La Reines, disrupted Diavolas and synthesised the Sloppy Giuseppe. Now Brockley's pizza oven-trepreneur is inviting you to taste the future. Founder of Uuni, Kristian writes:

Saturday, 1 December, we’re hosting a pop-up pizza tasting outside our Uuni ‘office’ on Manwood Road. This is the first time anyone from ‘wider public’ will have seen Uuni and what it’s capable of. I’ll probably make about six pizzas so if you want a slice don’t be late!

Time: 1 December, 14:00-14:45
Address: Manwood Road, London, SE4 1SA
RSVP on and I’ll send the house number.
Pizzas: pepperoni or mushroom

Supersonic Brockley

Things that didn't exist three years ago: #1 A Brockley bar scene.

Stanley writes:

We've started a new, weekly night in Gulen's every Saturday that is designed for the area and offers something very new. Over the past couple of weeks those who've come in out of curiosity have loved it and we're building a following. We've just started flyering properties around Brockley this week.

We start at nine with laid back cocktail music. A bit of swing, a bit of 'elevator' 60's lounge, a bit of Frank, Dean and Sammy, and mix in indie classics from the 90's and 00's. After midnight, it becomes more of a party and without fail so far everyone's been up and dancing at 3am to Suede, Pulp and Blur.

It's just designed to be really fun and unpretentious and hopefully it can be a real boon to the Brockley bar scene.

Thurston Road Industrial Estate demolition begins

Demolition work has begun on the Thurston Road Industrial Estate in Lewisham. The site is due to be redeveloped as part of the wider regeneration of Lewisham town centre.

The plans for the site include a building of up to 17 storeys, which will include non-food retail space and up to 400 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes, plus associated landscaping including car parking and cycle parking for residents and shoppers. Planning permission for the scheme was granted in 2008, but an extension was granted in 2011.

Acorn Children's Club

Kevin Johnson, Chair of the Acorn Children's Club Committee writes:

Acorn is a long-established after school club for children aged 4-12 which is run from the Ackroyd Community Centre.

Acorn offers an after-school pick up service for children at Stillness, Dalmain and St William of York Schools.

We currently have a few places available if people would like to apply. Acorn also offers a breakfast club for children at Stillness. For further details, please visit our website.

DIY Home Insulation Workshop, December 2nd

Carlo writes:

As the winter brings the cold temperature, Assembly SE8 is hosting a workshop aimed at preventing energy wastage from the lack of insulation in London homes.

The DIY home insulation workshop will take place the 2nd of December at Assembly SE8 spaces in the Old Tidermill school(Frankham street, SE8 4RN, Deptford). It is kindly organised by Transition New Cross, a collective of locals promoting sustainability issues and engagement in the community.

The workshop provides participants with easy to make insulation adjustments for the house and will cover the following topics and techniques:

- temperature management
- curtain making
- DIY door and windows sealing
- radiator reflector installations

After a small introduction and some considerations on insulation savings and principles, the previously listed techniques will be applied to the venue with the help of attendants. Materials are provided by the organisers and no building skills are required.

For more information on the event please contact Carlo at 07826428494 or

Time: 11pm to 5pm, 2nd December 2012
Location: Old Tidermill school (Frankham street, SE8 4RN, Deptford)

World AIDS Day Fundraiser at Jam Circus

Jez: Course it's not AIDS, this isn't the 80s. It's the best STD - just cute old, mostly-symptomless Chlamydia.
- Peep Show

Nena writes:

I've organised a Parents and Babies World AIDS Day Fundraiser.

It's Monday, December 3rd at Jam Circus from 12-2 pm.

The cost is £7 which includes tea, coffee and cake as well as a £5 donation to the charity, Positive East.

We will be joined by the Executive Director, Mark Santos, who will talk about the charity's important working supporting people and families living with HIV across London.

There will be red ribbons and other freebies! I havee asked that the money we raise go towards providing much needed holiday food parcels for the service users. Check out the charity ( and come down on Monday and show your support!

Telegraph Hill campaigners fight play closure

Campaigners hoping to save the Telegraph Hill Play Group, which faces the threat of closure due to funding cuts, will present a petition of more than 800 signatures this to Lewisham Council this evening. 

Running With Wolves

Running With Wolves - Work that speaks to our stories, dreams and desires
By Perienne Christian

Private View: Friday 30 November, 6-9.30pm
Exhibition Dates: 30 November to 22 December
Open: Wednesday to Saturday, 12-6pm
Address:  50 Resolution Way, SE8 4AL

Curated by Bella Easton and Iavor Lubomirov.

Ladywell streetscape improvement plan released

Lewisham Council has released plans to improve the heart of Ladywell, which is riven by an ugly road system that damages its prospects as a local shopping centre. They say:

These plans build on initial work that was commissioned by Ladywell Village Improvement Group in 2010 with funding from Ladywell Assembly. 

At present, the needs of vehicles moving through Ladywell town centre are prioritised over local access for pedestrians, cyclists and businesses. The changes being proposed will help to improve the environment and economic viability of Ladywell’s main retail centre without impacting on the flow of traffic. £800,000 has been secured from Transport for London to implement the scheme over two financial years.

The improvements made to Brockley Road have - along with the extra footfall created by the East London Line - helped to drive the regeneration of the high street near Brockley Station. This stuff works.

Brockley Central Drinks - December 10th

After our usual amount of procrastination, the BC team have decided upon a date and venue for the next Brockley Central Drinks Night.

It's Jam Circus (330-332 Brockley Road), December 10th, 8pm.

Yes, that's a Monday. But finding dates in the run up to Christmas when people aren't otherwise engaged is tricky. And doing it on a Monday night means that skeptics can try out BC Drinks without fear that they are sacrificing an important evening.

Co-hosting this one will be a newcomer to the BC Family - Brockley Lizzie, who has successfully nagged us in to getting another date sorted and - going-forward - has offered to be our BC Drinks Organiser-in-Chief. Together with Brockley Ben, Jon, Kate and Nick, she looks forward to meeting you all.

The usual rules apply: Come (either on your own or with a group, it doesn't matter), have fun, meet some people (there are some regulars who know each other well by now but there are always lots of new faces). You don't even have to live in Brockley, you can live nearby or simply desire to be here (last time we had a few people who were contemplating a move to the area and wanted people's advice). It goes on until kicking-out time.

You don't have to book or register or anything else. Just turn up. Though if you are thinking about coming, it's always good to hear from you in advance, via this page or on Facebook and Twitter. We normally get anywhere between 50 and 100 people, but who knows what we'll get on a Monday night, before Christmas, in a place as popular as Jam Circus.

See you then!

The Hilly Fields Children's Midwinter Fair

The wondrous bushes of Firs Close

Just off Brockley Rise, near the Honor Oak pub, sits a little estate called Firs Close.

Here, every bush is a canvas for a resident called Big John, who cuts shrubs in to a variety of shapes, whenever inspiration grabs him. And that is the end of that tale.

Indie returns to New Cross

Do you remember Bagpuss? Big Track? And the golden era of The Venue when musical giants like Credit to the Nation, Chumbawumba and Shed Seven bestrode its stage? Then Indie Kids Never Grow Up is for you*.

Lula writes:

Indie Kids Never Grow Up is an old school indie disco for grown up indie kids.. So for all those original indie kids that were obsessed with grunge/goth/indie/triphop/shoegazing! Oh dear- I hope it's not just me that remembers!

The newest Indie DISCO, Friday December 7th New Cross Inn. Brand new indie night with all the best tracks from the 90's-00's.

Old school indie dancing to Primal Scream, Nirvana, Wonderstuff, Happy Mondays, Pixies, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Beastie Boys, Teenage Fanclub, James, CarterUSM, Nine InchNails, Stone Roses PWEI, Jesus Jones.. we'll be dredging up loads of those obscure indie bands from the mists of time- Cud, Chapterhouse, Eat, Daisy Chainsaw, That Petrol Emotion . Wear your favourite indie band tshirt and win a prize!

There'll be films,dancing, booze and BIRTHDAY CAKE! What's not to love? Dj's Lulabamboola, SimonO and Da'Lynne and her vinyl lounge.

Lynne is the owner of the fantastic You Don't Bring Me Flowers cafe in Hither Green and is also a bit of a fancy Dj in her spare time, she has regular nights at the Lord Northbrook pub in Lee.. And Dj SimonO is the very clever bod behind the I broccoli Brockley bags !

*BC has to admit to rediscovering Cud recently, so we are in no position to judge.

New Cross Learning Christmas Fayre and Book Tree

Lucia writes:

Come see our fabulous book tree and get the Christmas fun started with family-friendly crafts, a Christmas book consultant, and a festive book fair on Sunday December 16 (3-6pm) at New Cross learning.

The community-run learning space and library in New Cross is celebrating its second Christmas with a festive book Fayre. There will be:

- A Christmas Tree made of Books
- Mystery book bags for £5
- New and second hand books for sale from 20p
- Book consultant service for advice on those tricky Christmas book giving decisions
- Festive crafts
- A raffle
- Mulled wine and mince pies

"It's going to be a fabulous festive afternoon" said the Chair of New Cross Learning, Gillian Hart. "Book lovers should come to buy our books for friends and relatives. We've got a marvellous selection, and every penny we make goes towards our utility bills - and keeps our learning space and library open!  So it's not just a gift for your friends, it's a gift for the whole community in New Cross."

Entry is free.

The Christmas Fair will follow New Cross Learning's first Annual General Meeting, which will report back on the community-run learning space and library's first year of work and accounts, and elect a new management team.

Brockley netball

Cathy writes:

Are you new to or returning to netball? Want to find your feet again? Have fun getting fit? Learn new skills? Or refresh old ones? Meet new people? And best of all - play netball!

When: Tuesdays starting 15th Jan 2013 - 7.30pm to 9pm
Where: Prendergast School, Adelaide Avenue, opposite Hilly Fields Park, SE4, 1LE
Cost: £5 per session or pay £45 in advance and get one free

Head coach Janet Lettman, Level 3 UKCC coach will lead the ten week programme supported by volunteer coaches.

At the end of the programme, we will also enter a team into a B2N tournament. We will let you know the details closer to the time.

To register, please contact:

Social business in Brockley

Yesterday in the US was Small Business Saturday. President Obama went shopping in a Virginia bookstore and the country was urged to support independent businesses. As chain retailers withdraw from UK high streets, encouraging the growth of independent high street businesses has become a matter of economic necessity, rather than social preference. The Economist reports:

"But not all stores are suffering equally. Independently owned ones, which account for two-thirds of Britain’s high streets, have fared better than chains, growing modestly in number in the past two years—though that rate is slowing. The number of independent bakeries on high streets rose by 17% from August 2011 to July 2012, according to Simply Business, an insurance provider."

There are plenty of possible solutions being experimented with. Brixton's got its alternative pound, Forest Hill tried to persuade people to spend £5 a week more locally through its Totally Locally day and Lewisham Council's Business Awards and Lewisham Life email service are admirable attempts to support local small businesses.

But the best way to help local business is to help them use the powerful tools already at their disposal.

Social media is not only a great leveller for small business - providing them with free, ubiquitous tools to reach customers - it actually gives local companies an advantage over chains.

Firstly, the management cost of social media is lower for local business. Most big businesses struggle to give local managers the degree of freedom necessary to engage their customers. They live in fear of Wonga-like episodes that will damage their brand reputation, or they expect any communication to go through the same sorts of sign-off processes that a press release would. Independent businesses don't have to worry about such bureaucracy.

Secondly, social media is more effective for local business, thanks to the community network effect. People want to show their support for small business and, for example, will be more likely to share news about an independent retailer than a supermarket brand. You don't have to be Brockley Market to command local loyalty and cache, as Jay's Budgens in Crofton Park has shown. Social media also attaches a premium to the unique. Would a photo of a Tesco aisle have generated the same response that this Brockley Rise newsagent did?

In a report called The Case for Universal Digitisation (2012), Booz & Co says:

"Most UK SMEs lag far behind their international peers—in both the front and back office. If these enterprises adopted digital technologies, thereby growing as fast as more digitised SMEs, Booz & Company estimates that they could unlock up to £18.8 billion of annual incremental revenues."

Speaking at a Paley Center event we attended last week, Katherine Oliver of the Commissioner's NYC Mayor's Office said:

"[Our Small Business Services team] is really important, helping small businesses grow in the city of New York. We created a digital toolkit, partnering with Mashable, teaching businesses how to build a website, how to use Twitter to promote their business. These are small mom and pop companies and cultural institutions, that don't have the wherewithal to use social media. We're making it work for New York but it could be adaptable for other places."

Working to get local businesses online seems like the most effective strategy for supporting them. This needs to be the focus, going forward.

Fortunately, this year, seems to be the moment when Brockley businesses began to embrace social. Perhaps inspired by the success of relative newcomers like The Orchard and El's Kitchen, many more established firms like Magi, Mr Lawrence, and most recently, Geddes, have dipped their toes in the Twitter stream. Meze Mangal stormed YouTube with this effort last year too.

BC's mission is to make SE4 the best-connected part of the country. Brockley business needs to socialise. Here's a list of local businesses with a Twitter feed. It's a start. 

Brockley Barge taped off following serious incident [UPDATED]

The Brockley Barge and the entrance to Foxberry Road from Brockley Road are currently taped off by the police, following a serious incident at the pub last night. The pub was allowed to remain open last night as the police arrived. More details to follow.

UPDATE 11:55: Friend of BC, Richard says that "The incident was serious assault, not fatal, and the suspect has been caught, according to policeman a few mins ago."

Protest against Lewisham A&E closure

Tomorrow, Lewisham residents will protest against the planned closure of Lewisham A&E and the cessation of some other services currently provided by Lewisham Hospital.

The protest on Saturday 24th November will march from Loampit Vale roundabout at 2pm, and link hands around Lewisham Hospital at 3pm, with a rally held afterwards in Ladywell Fields.

Another Public Meeting, organised by the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign will be held on Wednesday 28th November at 7pm in the Broadway Theatre, Catford, with Dr John Lister and Dr Louise Irvine of Lewisham Hospital speaking.

Dr Irvine commented:

“This is not a difficult decision that the government is making - it is a deadly decision. The extra distance and time it will take to travel to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich will mean that those who need urgent medical attention may be forced to pay with their lives."

David Jones in the Great Place

Mike writes:

Thought that you might be interested in a remarkable film on the life of Poet, Soldier & Painter David Jones (buried in Ladywell Cemetery). He is also the subject of a recently published book by Thomas Dilworth on DJ in the Great War, which recounts many incidents about his early life in Brockley. His family lived for a time at 115 Howson Road.

The Brockley Sunday Art Salon

David Bottomley writes:

I'm opening a new gallery space in Brockley, which aims to combine a focus for social networking for local artists and collectors and as a platform for artwork, both contemporary, unique vintage pieces and collectables.

Having opened my studio each summer with Brockley Open Studios and found the social role of host as satisfying in engaging with the community as exhibiting the art, I decided it was time to indulge both passions in creating an art salon.

Sunday Art Salon will create a stimulating, friendly environment to meet and engage with a wide range of artist practitioners. Guests have the opportunity of purchasing and talking about artwork with the artists and curator in the setting of a private studio with extensive views across Hilly Fields.

This Old Heart Of Mine II, acrylic on canvas, 105cm x 105cm, Martin Grover, 2011

Sunday Art Salon launches its first exclusive Winter Collection on Sunday 2nd December, 11am – 3pm with a wonderful array of bold contemporary art by south London artists and a unique collection of vintage art and collectables, including important portraits of Charles I, George Harrison and a signed portrait print by Picasso.

We hope there will be something for everyone. Artwork can be viewed by appointment at other times to suit busy lifestyles.

Sunday Art Salon, Hilly Fields Studio, 12 Montague Avenue, London SE4 1YP.
Sunday 2nd December 11am – 3pm. Coffee station and edible art. email

Brockley Station adds 900,000 passengers in four years

Courtesy of Brockley Kate, here the annual passenger numbers for Brockley Station, provided by the Office of the Rail Regulator:

2007–08 1.825 million
2008–09 1.978 million
2009–10 2.000 million
2010–11 2.727 million

Growth accelerated with the opening of the East London Line, which helped passenger numbers grow by 35% in its first year It's this growth which has made many of Brockley's new shops, cafes, bars and restaurants viable - which may offer some consolation, next time you have to crowbar yourself on to the ELL.

Catford Bridge Tavern - Death and Rebirth

There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try 
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn must die 
They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in Threw clods upon his head 
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn was dead 
They've let him lie for a very long time, 'til the rains from heaven did fall 
And little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all
John Barleycorn, Traffic

The Catford Bridge Tavern has been forced to close, but hopes to make a swift return (for the background, click here). Manager Richard explains:

Punch Taverns, who were leaseholders and with whom we had a tenancy at will, served us notice and took the freeholder's offer to end the lease. Punch have been good to us - they tried to assign the lease to us, tried to sub-let to us, both were blocked by freeholder. So we emptied and left the building today.

The freeholder has agreed a deal with a national retailer to take over the space, but the retailer was unaware of the Article 4 Direction put in place by Lewisham Council. Article 4 Direction essentially makes a supermarket impossible. So we're hopeful of either getting a sub-lease from the retailer, or a lease from freeholder. Either way, we're confident we have a good chance - we could re-open soon, all being well!

Brockley Youth Forum launch, November 24th

Kate Yorke from Lewisham Council writes:

The youth forum is designed for 12-17 year olds and is being supported by the Brockley Local Assembly and the Councillors and aims to increase both democratic engagement and community involvement of young people in the local area. It has been given about £3000 to spend on projects and campaigns and the aim of the launch event on Saturday is to find out the areas which young people are most interested in focusing on.

The Girls Group that meets at St Andrew's in Brockley is involved in running the event, and has come up with many of the key ideas for the day. One theme that has already been highlighted by the group is safer skating, which is why we decided to have skate workshops and safety checks at the event.

8% of all shops in Lewisham are takeaways

The Office of the Mayor of London writes:

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is calling on Lewisham and other local authorities in the capital to help combat rising obesity by working with independent fast food takeaways to make their food healthier.

8.1 per cent of all shops in the borough of Lewisham are fast food outlets. Lewisham is one of 10 boroughs in the capital with the highest concentration of fast food takeaways and there are more than 8,000 fast food outlets in the capital - one for every 1,000 Londoners.

The Mayor is backing the Takeaways Toolkit - a new guide published by the London Food Board in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health - which sets out a range of ways that local authorities can tackle the impact of fast food on Londoners' health.

The concentration of fast food outlets and takeaways varies by local authority in England, with deprived areas having more fast food outlets per 100,000 of population. The average for England as a whole is 77.9 outlets per 100,000, but in London 25 London boroughs are average or above, 20 of those well above.

Currently there are an estimated 8,273 fast food takeaway shops in London, one for every 1,000 Londoners. Data analysed by the Greater London Authority suggests that the London boroughs with the highest concentration of fast food takeaways tend to also rank amongst the most deprived boroughs in the capital. Out of the top 10 boroughs for concentration of fast food takeaways seven feature in the top 10 for levels of deprivation.

One suggestion is for councils to work with takeaway owners to reduce the junk by cutting down on saturated fats, salt and sugar in their cooking and putting some low-fat foods on sale. One London takeaway dramatically cut the levels of saturated fat in its chips by switching from palm oil to rapeseed oil with the help of London's Healthier Catering Commitment and their local Environmental Health Officer.

The Takeaways Toolkit sets out how local authorities can develop supplementary planning guidance to restrict how many and where fast food outlets can be sited, and use regulatory measures, including those affecting street trading and the enforcement of environmental and waste regulations.

It also recommends measures schools can use, not just by supporting restrictions on takeaways, but by developing their own policies to encourage healthier eating by pupils. This can be as simple as improving the canteen environment, and using cashless systems to speed up queuing, which have been shown to encourage pupils to stay on site. Other ideas include introducing nutritious 'grab and go', or sandwich options, which are popular in secondary schools.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'As a city, as a nation, we are getting fatter. Just over a third of 10 and 11 year olds are overweight or obese, with numbers rising all time, contributing to a problem that costs the NHS as much as £4 billion annually. Through our grassroots sports programme, we are getting Londoners off the sofa and getting fit, but people also need to eat more healthily.

'We enjoy fast food, whilst takeaway businesses contribute to local economies. This guide shows how councils can manage the proliferation of takeaways across the capital, but also how by working with businesses as well as schools, we can all be served up much healthier tucker.'

Brockley Cross - the final destination

The final stage of the improvements to Brockley Cross has begun. Work got underway in the summer but then ground to a halt when the Olympics and Paralympics forced a temporary cessation of all roadworks in the capital.

Conway returns, a neighbourhood rejoices

The remaining work to be carried out includes installing raised crossings, relaying pavements on the west side and making the stretch of Geoffrey Road between Brockley Cross and Upper Brockley Road in one-way (traffic will only be able to enter Geoffrey Road from Brockley Cross, not exit it).

The Council explains:

Work began again at Brockley on Sunday morning (18 Nov).  Conways have already realigned the kerb and are laying paving on the north side of Endwell Road, outside the timber merchant's yard.  There's not enough space there for Conways to work safely so we've had to temporarily close Endwell Road to westbound traffic and displace the eastbound lane.  However, all being well, we should be able to reopen Endwell Road in time for the evening peak on Thursday.

Our next task will be to establish one-way working in Geoffrey Road.  This is a condition of the Metropolitan Police's acceptance of the new zebra crossing on Brockley Cross.  We cannot finish the zebra crossing and get it up and running until one-way working is established at the western end of Geoffrey Road (between Brockley Cross and Upper Brockley Road).

We have still to fix a date for the resurfacing work and will be discussing this with Conways this week.  We hope to be able to complete before Christmas but we may have to wait until early in the New Year for a slot to become available.

Capitalistic pizza

Uuni is a Brockley-based start-up that's developed a prototype for a small scale wood-burning pizza oven. Its creator Kristian is currently fundraising on Kickstarter and is nearly half-way towards his target of £7,500.

The money raised will help him to protect his IP, so he's keeping the detail of his simplistic pizza design, which he promises will be a low-cost, portable alternative to a traditional oven, secret for now. This is very much an impressionistic pizza video.

He's also planning a pop-up tasting session outside his house in the near future, so you will be able to taste his futuristic pizza for yourselves. More details on that, as and when. It's great to see idealistic pizza entrepreneurs joining Brockley's growing ranks of foodie businesses.

Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction - 28 mins

The new East London Line timetable for the Clapham Junction extension reveals how long the journeys west from Surrey Quays will take.

Clapham Junction will be 28 minutes away (plus seven minutes from Brockley to Surrey Quays), making it uncompetitive with the existing direct connection on the London Bridge to Victoria loop, which takes around 32 minutes during peak times.

However, the links to other stations along the route should be more useful, with the likes of Clapham High Street and Denmark Hill only 16 and 12 minutes from Surrey Quays respectively.

The new service is due to start in December.

Canadian pop-up diner at the Brockley Mess

Alex writes:

On the 12th December, local chef John Murray is hosting a popup evening at The Brockley Mess. The theme of the evening is inspired by Canadian cuisine and will be divided into 2 seatings.

Diners will be able to choose from a 3 course menu inspired by the chef's homeland. We've set up a site where all the details can be found

Lewisham Conservatives announce nothing about the fate of Lewisham A&E

Kent Brockman: I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work.
- The Simpsons, Bart's Comet

Lewisham Conservatives have just announced their concern about the anxiety that the plans to close Lewisham A&E - the fault of Labour, natch - might have caused some local people. They have urged other people to do something about it - pro or anti, it doesn't matter. The important thing is, the Deputy Chairman does a lot of work for good causes.

In only the time it took Labour to raise 14,000 signatures for a petition to save it, the Tories have rushed out the following press release:

Local Conservatives have expressed anxiety about recent reports that the A+E and some maternity services at the Lewisham Hospital will close. Stella Kyriazis, Deputy Chairman of the Lewisham and Deptford Conservative Association, said: 

“As a volunteer at Lewisham Hospital , I witness first-hand the excellent service provided by staff within these departments. I also see the great anxiety of many people who are worried about losing their jobs.

"Labour’s PFI failure has crippled South London NHS Trust. While operating costs have reduced significantly over the past four years, Labour’s PFI legacy has made that reduction irrelevant. This is because South London NHS Trust spends above the national average on PFI costs, a fact that brought us to the messy situation we are today." 

Lewisham Conservatives urge local residents to respond to the consultation on the future of the trust as it struggles with the legacy of Labour’s bust PFI deal.

One of the most depressing examples of party politics since the Southern Strategy.

Scouting for vans

Cutter: Now you're looking for the secret. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
- The Prestige

The New Cross Scout Group have had their minibus stolen. They say:

It went missing sometime after 9.00pm on the 17th Nov 2012. It has been reported to the police but please keep your eyes pealed.

If anyone has any information on its whereabouts please contact: David Cohen on 07933 149749 or Luke Cohen on 07842 959980.

Soho Gyms refits Lewisham

Another Lewisham gym is getting a makeover. Soho Gyms has bought the Fitness First site at 67-71a Lewisham High Street and have begun refurbishing it today, with the aim of having the new place ready by Christmas, for the New Year's resolution crowd.

Soho Gyms explains:

The gym will remain open throughout the refurbishment albeit with reduced service at times. Lewisham members are allowed to use any of our other gyms at respective peak or off-peak times during the period of works. We hope you enjoy the results:

- The Gym
Soho expect the gym floor to be crowded at times as we develop the new studio, lay new floors, re-distribute equipment and bring in new equipment.

- New Studio
Work commences immediately on the new studio. The old studio will remain in use until this one is available and we do not envisage any interruption to the timetable at this stage. The old studio will then be developed quickly to open as the new free weights area.

- Male & Female Changing Rooms
These works will occur in the latter half of the schedule. There will be some disruption but we expect to operate a changing room service, showers, toilets and Spa area throughout. Some works will commence during operational hours except for the ladies area which will all be completed overnight.

New Deptford gym underway

The Deptford Dame reports that the refurbishment work at Wavelengths leisure centre in Deptford will include a new gym, shown in this fly through. The new facilities will include:

- new fitness machines
- new studio rooms
- sauna and steam rooms
- a cafe
- a 'soft playroom' for kids

The leisure pool is currently closed while maintenance work is carried out and will reopen early next year.

New Cross Inn and Royal Albert up for sale

The recently-refurbished New Cross Inn is up for sale. Transpontine reports that:
Christie + Co state that it 'has been instructed to obtain bids for a substantial freehold investment in London. The New Cross Inn is a distinctive building with Victorian features including a domed turret and arched windows.'

It is in a prominent position between New Cross and New Cross Gate stations.The investment is split into two distinct businesses and has recently undergone an overhaul with capital expenditure of £80,000. There is a ground floor and basement live music bar with a 10-year free-of-tie lease and a current rental income of £36,000. The upper floors are presently operated as a hostel with 80 beds, a 10-year lease and a rental income of £60,000. Christie + Co is inviting bids for the freehold investment with a guide of £1,200,000'.

UPDATE: BCers have pointed out that the freehold for The Royal Albert pub, further down the New Cross Road is also up for sale.

East London Line storytelling events

Cherry writes:

We’ve just published a book Stations, which has a story for each station on the East London Line. We are organising free readings at each station to celebrate the launch.

Each event will feature stories inspired by the location, read by local authors. The most local events already planned include:

Canvas & Cream
18 London Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3HF
Wednesday 28th November 2012, 7-9pm
Peter Morgan (Forest Hill), Jacqueline Downs (Crystal Palace), Paula Read (Honor Oak), Joan Taylor-Rowan (Anerley), Andrew Blackman (Sydenham) read by Cherry Potts
Join us for stories of a strange don-like creature haunting a station, a local museum that houses more than exhibits, homelessness and home baking, a lesson on the birds and bees, and a missed chance at love.

Library Deptford Lounge
Giffin Street SE8 4RW
Thursday 29th November 2012 7-8.30pm
FREE (but booking required via Albany 020 8692 4446)
David Bausor (New Cross), Rosalind Stopps (Brockley), Paula Read (Honor Oak), Joan Taylor-Rowan (Anerley), Adrian Gantlope (Surrey Quays) , Ellie Stewart (Wapping), Bartle Sawbridge (Shadwell), Katy Darby (Shoreditch High Street)
Join us for a whirlwind tour of the Overground by way of a foreign student’s first taste of South London, a brief encounter at Brockley, homelessness and home baking, a lesson from the birds and bees, transience by the Thames, failing to learn from beetles and film makers in East London. 

Hills & Parkes Deli
49 Honor Oak Park SE23 1EA
Wednesday 5th December 2012 6pm
Paula Read (Honor Oak Park), Cherry Potts (Rotherhithe) plus others to be confirmed
Get your teeth into stories of homelessness and home baking, rats, tunnels and the invasion of King Canute 

St Hilda's Church Hall, Courtrai Road
Plus join Raise The Roof to learn and sing FOLK CAROLS with LESTER SIMPSON of  Coope Boyes & Simpson. Saturday 1st December 12.45-5.15, advanced booking required tickets £25
cheque: made payable to The Singing Body flat 6, 43 Lyncroft Gardens NW6 1LA

Ladywell Christmas Market 2012

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group writes:

Ladywell, is celebrating Christmas 2012 with a number of themed events on Saturday 15 December, 11am-5pm, outside Ladywell train station.

Organised by the Ladywell Village Improvement Group (LVIG), ‘Strictly Christmas’ will offer plenty of glitter and glamour at events being organised including a Christmas food and gift market, and dressing and lighting of the village Christmas tree.

Businesses supporting LVIG include El’s Kitchen, Slater and King; Oscar’s CafĂ©, Geddes hair and beauty therapy; Ladywell Village Cycles, Sunrise Ceramics; Rose Corner the florist; Ladywell DIY and the Ladywell Tavern.

Cynthia Lamptey, Chair of the LVIG Events Team, said: “We’ll also have a wide range of Christmas stalls selling things you can’t easily find elsewhere. For the adults we’ll also have some warming Christmas food [Ed: OK, they used the word fare instead of food, but it is now irredeemably tainted by trolls, if it wasn't already naff] and mulled wine on offer. For the kids we’ll have face-painting as well as a few surprises and a Christmas tree with guest choirs.”

Baby and toddler music classes in Brockley

It's the biggest thing to hit the under-3s music scene in Brockley since Dooby Duck's Disco Bus. Bea writes:

I run baby and toddler music classes in East Dulwich and Herne Hill and have just started new classes in Brockley which meets Tuesday mornings at Gently Elephant on Brockley Road.

They are drop-in music classes for babies and toddlers, every Tuesday, 10-11am. The cost is £5 and any additional siblings pay half price. For more details, visit

Lewisham A&E threat: Reduced service will have to serve 85,000 more people

Artists - is there anything they can't do? Ryan Gander has created this work for a project called Artists For the NHS in response to the threat to close Lewisham's A&E department. He sums it up:

Lewisham Hospital is a decent local hospital that serves a population of 250,000 – that’s a similar size to a small city like Hull. It is financially stable. It recently had its A&E refurbished at a cost of £22m. That A&E, and large other parts of the hospital, are now facing closure, leaving the population of the borough to try and get to hospitals in Greenwich or Bromley instead.

At the same time,Cllr Darren Johnson reports that the population that the reduced A&E service will have to serve a population that is forecast to grow by 85,000 by 2026. He says:

I will be asking the Mayor of London to oppose the closure of Lewisham A & E at Mayor’s Question Time on Wednesday morning. The Mayor’s own figures show that the population will grow rapidly in the three boroughs in the catchment area for Lewisham Hospital & the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

ELL 2013 timetable published

Reader Robbie points out that the new Overground timetables are out for 2013, with the last train south from Canada Water still leaving before midnight (23:56). He writes:

I noticed that the Overground timetables for next year are online and Crystal Palace trains are now terminating at Dalston Junction, which is a shame.

If there are any other noteworthy details about this timetable, please post them below.

Villa Toscana, 179 Brockley Road

Having spent the last few weeks getting the restaurant up to speed, and earning some decent reviews from BCers in the process, Villa Toscana's manager Susan Caroleo has spoken to us about the new Brockley Road venue.

Having been through a few recent incarnations in recent years, the new place has prompted more reader questions than most places in the area, so she's taken the opportunity to address them and tell us more about the restaurant:

How would you describe Villa Toscana to someone who'd never been?

Villa Toscana Restaurant is a modern Italian restaurant, serving fresh and authentic dishes.  Our speciality dishes include

- Bocconcini di pescatrice in umido con pancetta affumicata, salsa al limone e fagiolini  (Medallions of monkfish wrapped in smoked pancetta, lemon sauce and steamed french beans) and also
- Costolette d’ agnello alla piastra con rattatuia al profumo di menta (Grilled lamb cutlet with minted ratatouille)

At the same time we have a fantastic choice on our a la carte menu, with also weekly specials available.

What are your opening hours?

We are open at present from Wednesday – Saturday 5.30pm – 11.30pm, and Sunday 12Noon – 6.00pm, with Monday and Tuesday closed.  We are available for hire, for any type of function or party.  We will also be opening this year Christmas Day & Boxing Day.

What are your contact details?

Our website is, you can email us at, and of course we can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Who's in the team?

Our Head Waiter Alexandro, is in charge of the floor, and Head Chef Mauro in charge of the kitchen, who between the both have extensive experience in Italian restaurants at the highest level, and which will ensure that our customers will have the best in food and service.  This is a completely different team from when it was run as La Lanterna, although the owners are the same.

What happened with 'Alby's Place'?

When Lanterna closed down, and refurbishment work started on the building we unfortunately found out that the building was unsafe and therefore the amount of work and money that was need to rectify the problem was immense, which is why unfortunately has taken so long to re-open.

We had on completion agreed to rent the premises out to a company that was going to run the business as a private club, but as soon as we found out that there were issues surrounding this, we immediately cancelled their contract and they left.  We therefore decided that the premises needed to go back to being an Italian restaurant, which is what we feel the area needed, and at the same time we decided that going forward we should change the name to give a new fresh start.

We are extremely happy with the outcome and the positive feedback from all our new customers, and hope that those who have doubts about our business come and visit us to experience the restaurant themselves.

Why have you done this now?

The area has changed such a lot in the last couple of years and very much for the best, with various restaurants opening up that can only improve the area even more.

Is there a hotel above the restaurant?

The upper parts of our building will be run similar to a hotel, but is primarily for those people that may want to rent a room for a long period of time, or whether locals have visiting family or friends that they cannot accommodate and need to put them up a room, or even business clients.

What happened to the Lanterna model chef?

Unfortunately the model chef that used to sit on the roof at Lanterna, has gone into retirement back to Italy, as the English weather got to him!

Brockley's Greatest Champion

President: This is your President. On behalf of my country and in the name of the other leaders of the world with whom I have today consulted, I hereby abdicate all authority and control over this planet to General Zod. Only by following all his directives will the lives of millions be spared... Superman! Can you hear me? Superman! Where are you?!
General Zod: Who is this Superman?
President: You'll find out and when you do-...
General Zod: Come to me, Superman! I defy you! Come and kneel before Zod! 
- Superman 2

Food blog Cheese and Biscuits has created this zone 1-2 London tube map, with each station name replaced by the restaurant that the creator feels is the best representative of the area. In Brockley, Brockley's Rock is our nominated champion, while in New Cross, London Particular has the honour.

BCer Stef, who tipped us off, reckons this will prove a controversial choice with Brockley Central readers. What say you?

Eco-friendly social housing proposed for Ladywell

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society have identified the Church Grove site in Ladywell (at one time identified as the preferred site for Lewisham's Traveller community) as a suitable location for their plans to create a "zero waste, energy plus, carbon negative social housing project". These events are designed to explain and develop their ideas with the local community.

Lewisham spending cuts more than double national average

The Guardian's Data Blog has mapped the country in terms of the distribution of local authority spending cuts.

The cuts in Lewisham (which is the 16th most deprived borough in England) amount to £143.50 cut per person between 2010-11 and 2012-13 - more than twice the national average of £60.90.

The inner London boroughs are all among the hardest hit in the country, while outer London areas such as Bexley, Ealing and Redbridge less-badly affected.

Thanks to Jo on Twitter for the hat tip.

John Stainer's Action for Happiness

Happy land! happy land! Thy fame resounds shore to shore
Happy land! where 'tis a crime, they tell us, to be poor.
If you shelter cannot find, of you they'll soon take care:
Most likely send you to grind wind - For sleeping in the air.
- Ultramarine

Adrian Bethune is breeding a race of super-children at John Stainer Primary School. He writes:

I am a teacher at John Stainer School on Mantle Road. I am also the Healthy Body and Mind Leader at the school.

I wondred if you could post a feed/advert on your Brockley blog about an event we are hosting on  Thursday 15th Nov 6.30pm-8.00pm

We are screening an award winning documentary called 'Happy' at our school to celebrate us becoming a champion school for Action For Happiness and their Schools for Wellbeing Scheme. We are inviting the local community to come and watch the film at our school, meet other parents and teachers and learn more about the project. 

We have signed up to the scheme because we have been trialing some new initiatives in our school and want to continue to develop and hone what we do and Action For Happiness have a great deal of contacts, research and resources that we can benefit from. 

Schools that purely focus on results and attainment, in my opinion, don't always produce happy, well-rounded pupils. England has the most tested primary school pupils than anywhere else in the world. In contrast, at John Stainer, we believe that if you focus on the children's happiness and sense of wellbeing, good results and achievements naturally follow. 

This does not mean that we have lowered our expectations in terms of what we want our pupils to achieve. To be clear, John Stainer School has very high expectations of its pupils. We want pupils to do their best and achieve their full potential - which is why teaching them about resilience and perseverance is part of our wellbeing strategy. 

In practice, some of the things we have been doing in our school to help promote our pupils' happiness and wellbeing are:

Fostering a Growth Mindset - using the research and ideas of Carol Dweck, we are doing more in our classes to move pupils' mindsets from fixed ones (where they believe their talents and abilities are fixed no matter what they do e.g. "I'm rubbish at maths"), to growth mindsets (where they realise that with enough effort, they can improve at something.  

Teaching our children about brain plasticity - we have been teaching mini neuroscience lessons to classes, showing them how their brain works. Most pupils now can tell you about their neurons connecting up when we learn something new and how, if we find something hard, it's because our neurons haven't connected up and we need more practice at it. 

Meditation - I guide my class through a 3-min meditation every morning before we do any work. There is masses of clinical study research on the benefits of meditation on mental wellbeing, health and learning/memory. 

Perseverance and Resilience - we try and teach our children that they will inevitably face challenges, setbacks and disappointments. Indeed, teaching about happiness and wellbeing is NOT about our children feeling happy all the time (trying to achieve this leads to unhappiness as it's impossible!). We also stumbled across this clip in my class and now the phrase 'be like the penguin' has become a bit of a motto as the penguin's fight really seemed to resonate with the children at John Stainer 

Brockley whale warning

Dex writes:

On Saturday at midday, a man came up to me near the corner of Brockley Road and Harcourt Road and kept asking for sex, followed me down the road and then started offering me money for sex (£5 - not that flattered!).

It continued as I (and others) shouted at him to stop, and he just kept on. I reported it to the police but wasn't sure they'd take any notice as it wasn't a particularly serious incident. They came round within 10 minutes, took a statement and said the same man had been reported earlier on Saturday in New Cross, doing the same thing.

It wasn't particularly frightening as it was broad daylight with lots of people around, and I'm 30, but if it was dark I would have been more concerned, and I think a teenager would have been more frightened.

The man was white with dark hair, about 5'5 and a bit unkempt. Please could readers report it to the police if anything like this happens to them? It will help the police build up a profile of him.

I, Robbed: Shia Labeouf punch up in New Cross

The Standard reports that Transformers star Shia Labeouf tussled with another drinker who stole his hat in the Hobgoblin in New Cross.

The star failed to keep an Eagle Eye on his property as he ventured in to London's Disturbia, among the Freaks and Geeks.

The article, complete with suspiciously made-up-sounding quote, reports that:

The 26-year-old Hollywood actor got into a fight with a fellow drinker who had “jokingly” swiped his baseball cap. One onlooker said: "No one could believe that a well-known Hollywood star had rocked up at a bar in dingy south London. Everyone was getting photos taken with him. 

"The row started when this guy took his hat. I think he was joking, but Shia didn't like it. The guy just took it off him and wouldn't give it back. He tried to get it back and they ended up tussling. It shows that even Hollywood stars can't avoid trouble down this way."

It appears that the scuffle ended Even Stevens but the incident is a reminder that we must stay Constantine vigilant.

The Duke refurb

Duke, the late-night convenience store in Brockley Cross, has been cleared out. It's not clear at this stage whether the business has closed down or the shop is being refitted (a reader below suggests that it's the latter), but the entire contents of the shop have vanished and work is underway on a refurbishment.

Duke, this morning

The parade of shops it sits on, on the Brockley Road approach to Brockley Cross, has recently been given a makeover, with Prestige Barber now looking particularly handsome.

We'll update the story with more details when we have them, but you won't be able to buy a pint of milk there tonight.

Honor Oak shooting wounds one

LBC reports:

Police are investigating a shooting in Honor Oak last night.

The victim, who was found on St Norbert Road at around 8.30pm, is being treated in hospital, but isn't thought to be seriously hurt. No one has been arrested.

Brockley man assists in wheelie bin killing

Brockley man Bernard Beddoe, 60, has been found guilty of assisting an offender in a grizzly Forest Hill murder.

Karen Otmani, of Stanstead Road, Forest Hill, drugged her lover before suffocating him and stashing him in a wheelie bin for 11 days, before his body was discovered by the police. She has been sentenced to serve a minimum of 17 years.

The Standard reports:

She put him into the bin with the help of her friend, Bernard Beddoe, laid it on its side, and covered it up.

Otmani had been talking about getting rid of her on-off lover and had even asked another boyfriend to experiment with some blue liquid to see if it would knock him out...

Beddoe, of Brockley, south London, was found guilty of assisting an offender and was remanded for reports to December 7.

Florence: Brockley Cemetery High School Football Rules!

On ThursdayFlorence and the Machine performed a Radio 2 gig at the Rivoli. Returning to the area that helped forge her musical career, lead singer Florence Welch remarked how much more moderner Brockley was than before:

It's so wonderful to be home - and here of all places... It is such a pleasure to be back at the Rivoli Ballrooms and also just to be back in Brockley. I actually spent quite a large bit of time here at one point, 'cause I was having music lessons here and I used to hang out in the graveyard. 

And actually, strangely a small bit of inspiration came from that graveyard 'cause I did used to do handstands and hang out there. And if anyone knows the lyrics to Only For a Night - a small portion of it comes from Brockley Cemetery. That and other cemeteries across England... 

But we've been home not for that long and actually driving through South London, just kind of... it's been really... South London, yes!

Brockley must have seemed bigger during her homecoming - and yet smaller for her drummer, who was held hostage by the Rivoli's lavatory: Welch explained:

“I didn’t know whether to say it on stage because I didn’t want to embarrass him, but he got trapped in the loo. He was screaming He got really freaked out. We could hear him – ‘Let me out’ – trying to bash the door down, and they had to take the door off its hinges."

Edmund Waller Toy and Craft Fair

Ema writes:

This Saturday, 2-4pm, Edmund Waller Primary School will be holding a Toy and Craft Fair run by local school children. The children will be selling their toys and items they’ve made. We hope that people from the local community will come out to support them and perhaps find a great pre-Christmas bargain! If anyone (child) is interested in hiring a table for the event they’re only £1.

 For more info please contact:

Ivy House reprieve sets precedent for Lewisham pubs

Southwark Council has taken action under the new Localism Act in order to protect The Ivy House pub in Nunhead / Peckham from being auctioned off for redevelopment.

The Ivy House had recently reopened but owners Enterprise Inns believed there were better ways to make money from a property portfolio than running boring old pubs and evicted the manager in order to put it up for sale.

The Council's decision to list it as 'an asset of community value' has caused the auction to be cancelled. It's a precedent which Lewisham Council should consider carefully, given the number of pubs in the borough at risk of redevelopment, despite being successful or rich in potential. Local campaigner Tess Blunden writes on the Guardian website:

Chapter 3 of the Localism Act came into force in September 2012. This allows communities to apply to their local council to have a building listed as an 'asset of community value'; the council can approve the listing if it considers the building's current use (or use in the recent past with a prospect of being revived) "furthers the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community" and is likely to continue to do so. With assistance from the Peckham Society, the Ivy House is now one of London's first assets of community value: Southwark Council listed the pub just in time to prevent its sale at auction.

However, the pub remains closed. How has the Localism Act helped our campaign, and how could it help other communities in a similar position as us?

It has certainly bought us time. The objective of the act is to allow communities time to put together a bid to buy an asset. Our successful application to Southwark means that a moratorium of 6 weeks is now in force, during which time the pub cannot be sold. If we notify Southwark of our intention to prepare a bid to buy the pub then a further moratorium of 6 months then comes into force to allow us time to prepare our bid.

A full account of the issue is available here on the Guardian co-op hub. Thanks to the guys on the Nunhead forum for alerting us.

BMA questions Lewisham Hospital cuts

We're grateful to the Brockley Society, who circulated this email from the Lewisham branch of the British Medical Association, reflecting on the recommendations of the Trust Special Administrator, who proposes to cut front line services at Lewisham Hospital. The BMA says:

Unsurprisingly, he recommends that the hospitals be run more efficiently, cut staff (including 140 doctors) and put some services out to tender. More surprising is his recommendation that the accumulated debt be written off, and the DH make an annual contribution towards the excess cost of the PFI contracts...

His most detailed proposals are for Lewisham, a solvent and well run hospital not even in the SLHT. He recommends that the A&E be downgraded to an urgent care centre, that the site be developed for elective surgical care, and that all critical care activites should cease. This then brings into question the future of obstetrics on the site. He is silent on the subject of paediatrics. With the reduction in activity, he points out that part of the site could be sold off. 

The TSA recommends that Lewisham Hopsital should "join up" with QEH. There is a possibilty that Lewisham could impart good practice to QEH, but there is real risk that QEH could destroy the finances at Lewisham.

It is not clear if he expects all of the 70 patients currently admitted each day to go to QEH instead, and what would be the financial consequences if they did not. He presents no assessment of the capacity of QEH to cope with the extra work, nor of their capacity to cope with extra obstetrics, nor of the capacity at Kings, which is where I suspect many of the patients would end up.

This has many consequences for those of us who live or work in Lewisham. For hospital doctors and patients these are immedicately obvious, but for GPs too this is very problematic. The work of the CCG has been based on successful partnership working with the hospital, and mnore recently good partnerships have been developed with Lewisham Council. The abilty to plan services for the people of Lewisham is entirely undermined.

The full report, summary and online response froms are all available at

The TSA is organising consultation meetings in Lewisham:

16th November 10.00-12.00 Goldsmith's College SE14 6NW

26th November 14.00-16.00 St Andrew's centre SE4 2SA

4th Decemebr 19.00-21.00 Calabash Day Centre SE13 6HH

Ladywell and Deptford shortlisted for the London Planning Awards

BCer James alerts us that the finalists for this year's London Planning Awards. include Ladywell Fields for Best New Public Space (up against Leicester Square and Granary Square in King's Cross) and Deptford's Tidemill Academy / Deptford Lounge for Best Built Project (pitted against Neo Bankside, The Olympic Park, Westfield Stratford and 5 Merchant Square in Paddington).

And if you want to help maintain one of London's best public spaces, The Ladywell Village Improvement Group reports that there's a Ladywell Fields River Clean-Up, this Sunday (Nov 11th) from 10.00am to 1.00pm. They say:

This is one of the Ladywell Fields User Group's twice-yearly events run by Meet at the cafe at 9.45am to get kitted-out with waders and to hear the mandatory safety talk.

Through a Bus Darkly

Pam got a bus-eye view of the new Lewisham Way / Tyrwhitt Road corner shop and writes:

Thought you might like a look at old grocers on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road [now being refurbished as a small retail unit after the Council intervened to force this building's refurbishment]... Apologies for the quality of the pic... Had to take it quickly with my phone camera on the top of the bus before it pulled away from the bus stop.

Boris Bike fees to double in TfL fare hike

The Evening Standard reports that:

[Today} Boris Johnson outlined above inflation increases averaging 4.2 per cent for the Tube, buses, DLR and overland rail from January... The surprise news that Boris Bike charges will double from £1 to £2 a day, £5 to £10 a week, and £45 to £90 a year is certain to anger regular users.

Mantle Moan

Tom wants to know if there's anything he can do about traffic problems on Mantle Road. He writes:

As you know, The Maypole redevelopment [a new block of flats, opposite the entrance to the station] is now under way. The builders have moved the hoardings around the site further on to Mantle road, thereby blocking the sight line when trying to exit Foxwell St on to Mantle Road. 

Add to this the fact that there are nearly always two cars outside the shops under Charlotte Close, so there is always a line of cars queuing to get under the bridge and up on to Endwell Road. It forces cars on to the wrong side of the road into traffic coming under the bridge which is on a blind bend. 

Take in to account all the cars and delivery lorries and bad parking outside Nisa, it is all becoming a mess. 

There is already a problem with the end of Foxwell St with people parking there and taking the train to work to save a few quid. This parking problem is creeping down Foxwell St and is getting worse, making the street look like a car park.

Campaign launched to save the Telegraph Hill Playclub

Jean, Jessie and Laura write:

We are starting a campaign to save the play / one o'clock club in Telegraph Hill park which is threatened with closure in May 2013 as part of proposed council cuts. The playgroup has been part of our community for the last 50 years.

Together we can STOP Lewisham closing another community asset. You can show your support:

Add your name to the Petition found at Telegraph Hill Playclub or New Cross Library.

Attend the public meeting on Saturday 10 November 3pm,Barnes Wallis Community Centre

Befriend us on facebook or follow us on twitter

Contact us and to volunteer expertise and ideas


BC's kids used to use the Playclub regularly, so we can attest to its brilliance and its role as one of the nicest and most relaxing places in the area to take young children.

Telegraph Hill Mixer

Teleraph Hill charity Bold Vision writes:

We are proud to announce the third edition of our magazine "Mixer" is now available. This time it’s the Food Mixer.

Inspired by the launch of the Grow Wild project based in and around News Cross and Telegraph Hill, this edition collects together contributions from artists, writers, chefs and cultivators all connected by the area’s market garden history.  Every copy includes free litmus paper for finding out what kind of soil you have, and a voucher to exchange for a free clove of garlic to grow.  You can pick up your copy from

·         Green Shoots, Besson Street, SE14 5SE
·         the Hill Station, Kitto Rd, SE14 5SG
·         the Telegraph Hill Centre office, Kitto Rd, SE14 5TY
·         the Common Growth garden, Sandbourne Rd  SE4 2NS
·         New Cross Learning, New Cross Rd, SE14 6AS

Or look out for the Food Mixer in local coffee shops and other outlets.  If you would like a copy but aren’t able to visit to pick one up, let us know at or phone 07812 638301  and we will try to get one to you.  Happy reading, planting, growing and eating!

Brockley Beer

Earlier this year, we reported plans to convert a Harcourt Road garage in to a microbrewery. Now, we have an update from the Brockley Brewing Company team:

The Brockley Brewing Company is a small group of local residents who love a good pint of ale and who have set up a private enterprise to do something about it. Over the years we’ve seen the choice of local bars and restaurants improve dramatically, some of these serve great beers but none of them made locally. We think Brockley deserves its own brew and will be making handcrafted quality beer - brewed with love in SE4. 

Building works are already well underway at our microbrewery in Harcourt Road and we’re hoping to roll out our first barrel in early Spring. We will be arranging an open day for everyone to have a look around and sample SE4’s first brew – Brockley Central readers will be the first to know the details.

El's Kitchen Christmas Wine Tasting 2012

Ladywell deli El's Kitchen, which is now staffed by no fewer than three BC readers, is staging another Christmas wine tasting event. El writes:

We are  popping the corks on some Christmas crackers at their next wine tasting! Master of Wine, Clive Barlow, will be taking us through the “top rack” wines at El’s Kitchen on Monday 12th November. 

Join us for an evening of festive fizz, classy whites, full-bodied reds and after dinner sweets for your perfect parties and festive feasts! Our tutored tasting starts at 7.30pm on Monday 12th November, and to get us all in the mood for a really cheesy Christmas, we will be baking a boxed Vacherin for you to dip into, so you won’t hungry! 

What with the delightful company of your Ladywell and Brockley neighbours too, it’ll be a very enjoyable evening all round. Email, pop into the shop or call us to reserve your place. 

Tickets are £10 each and you get 10% off your order of 6 mixed bottles or 20% off a case!

Spam - The Invisible Menace

BC is bombarded by spam bots all day every day. Mostly, Google blocks it, but it still causes problems and means that some people's legitimate posts get filtered in the algorithm's attempts to blog ads for Chinese porn sites, Ugg boots, prescription medicines and French eCommerce sites. You would think that the collective mathematical brilliance of Google could create a filter that could tell the difference, but apparently they can't.

Anyway, for some reason, the spammers have gone in to overdrive for the last week or so, so we are flicking the switch that means only people who log on with their Google account can post comments. Hopefully, the spam bots will get bored and we can go back to normal shortly. 

In the mean time, all those of you who think BC shouldn't allow anonymous comments: this is your time to shine. Show that you can be arsed to log-on in order to comment. 

Florence and the Machine at the Rivoli

BBC Radio 2 will be broadcasting a Florence and the Machine gig live from the Rivoli this Thursday. They say:

Join us live on the Red Button from the beautiful Rivoli Ballroom in South East London for BBC Radio 2 In Concert with Florence + the Machine on Thursday 8th November. 

Florence and the band will be performing classic tracks and songs from their latest album Ceremonials, plus talking to Jo Whiley straight after the show. You can also watch at or on BBC Big Screens.

Save Lewisham A&E

Lewisham Hospital's A&E department is threatened with being downgraded to a non-admitting urgent care centre following a review of healthcare provision in South London, which has also recommended a number of other cuts to the services offered by the hospital. Click here for details.

A campaign has been launched to save it from closure and a meeting will take place this Thursday, to discuss next steps.  
In the meantime, you can sign the petition here.

The designated alternative to Lewisham A&E would be the Queen Elizabeth Hospital by Woolwich Common, which is already overcrowded and hopelessly hard to reach for anyone without a car. The campaigners point out that Lewisham's closure would leave a population of 750,000 with just one A&E department between them and would mean mothballing an A&E department that underwent a costly refurbishment earlier this year.

The review was ordered after a Trust of three hospitals accumulated debts of £150m between them. Lewisham was not one of these hospitals, but faces the most severe cuts as a result. Some argue that because Lewisham was not part of the Trust that incurred unsustainable levels of debt, its residents should be  insulated from any cuts. BC doesn't subscribe to that view - such cuts as are necessary (and there is a good argument to suggest that central government should do more to protect front-line services in this case) should be administered to minimise harm to South East London residents as a whole. It's not the fault of Greenwich, Bexley or Bromley residents that their hospital managers messed up.

The whole mess illustrates the problems of a decentralised system - Trusts cannot truly be held accountable for their bad decisions, because healthcare is too important to allow hospitals to go to the wall.

Brockley Police Station faces closure

Brockley Police Station is tucked away on Howson Road and is open from 10am - 2pm, Monday to Friday. It has been threatened with closure since 2007, when we first reported it. With police budgets under pressure, its future is under review by the Met again and a petition has been launched against its closure.

Cllr Foxcroft writes:

"I am unhappy about the closure of Brockley Police station. We cannot afford to be blasé about community safety. I and fellow Labour Councillors, Jimi Adefiranye, Carl Handley, Helen Gibson and Vincent Davis are deeply concerned about the potential closure. The proposals for community safety have not been made clear by the London Mayor and the Metropolitan Police. Community safety is paramount and we need to keep a close eye on these developments whilst ensuring the local residents maintain an adequate service."

The loss of any community asset is always something to be regretted, but if we were tasked with cutting the police budget, we'd probably start by culling these outposts too. Brockley Police Station's main function is as a base for local Community Support Officers and while we absolutely agree with Cllr Foxcroft that community safety is a vital service - and the police must be clear how it will be delivered in the event of the station's closure - if there are cheaper ways of delivering it, then the station would be an acceptable loss in order to protect other areas of the police budget.

The Gantry writes...

The Gantry bar and restaurant on Brockley Road has generated a huge amount of comment since it opened in the summer and the team behind it has written to us to answer some of the questions raised on the review threads. They say:

First of all, we would like thank everyone for their comments and feedback. Our first few months have been a whirlwind and it’s hard to believe that we have already left the summer behind us and are instead taking bookings for Christmas!

As you may know this is our first venture in the restaurant business and as such the last few months have been a steep learning curve for us all but as we stand here today we can say that we are incredibly proud of what we achieved so far at The Gantry- we are proud of our team, of the food that we produce and the drinks that we have on offer.

We set out to be a fantastic local venue and it is wonderful to see that so many BC readers have enjoyed great evenings out at The Gantry, whether that be in the restaurant or at the bar. It is, of course, disappointing to hear that we have sometimes fallen short of expectations but it would be a mistake to think we are by any means perfect. We are always trying to get better and feedback, both good and bad, is crucial in order to make this happen. So a big thank you to everyone.

We thought it would also be good to use this opportunity to clarify a few things as there seems to be some confusion regarding opening hours, garden, menu, etc. The different nooks and crannies both outside and in are what make the space at The Gantry so special but it also makes for some lets say...particular challenges.

The Garden is open until 6pm every day except for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday where we are allowed to open until 9pm. We did request an extension in our original application but the usage was not amended from that of the former TMT due to the potential noise impact on our neighbours. Everyone is free to use the garden as they please - you can have a full-blown meal but you are just as welcome to sit down and enjoy a few drinks with friends. There have been some unbelievably sunny days over the summer but when we have not been so fortunate there are always some brave souls who are willing to face the elements....with varying degrees of success! We should also note that we do not currently take reservations in the garden, as the British weather is just too unpredictable.

We have been gradually introducing greater choice and variety on our menu ever since opening, including some great new vegetarian dishes and it will continue to change as we move through the seasons. We offer weekly specials to make sure there is always something new to try and of course continue to offer our irresistible bar snacks. We have also very recently started doing a fantastic range of breakfasts on the weekend so although we can clearly not be all things to all people, we have tried to get most bases covered! Hopefully there is something in there for everyone to enjoy, so if you have not yet had the chance to give The Gantry a go, we would love for you to do so. Our full opening hours and menus are as follows:

Monday - 5.00pm - 11.30pm.
Full menu served all day. Kitchen closes at 10.00pm

Tuesday to Friday - 11.30am - 11.30pm.
Lunch menu served until 3.00pm. Full menu served all day. Kitchen closes at 10.00pm

Saturday - 10.00am - 11.30pm
Breakfast menu served until 3.00pm. Full menu served all day. Kitchen closes at 10.00pm

Sunday - 10.00am - 11.00pm
Breakfast menu served until 1.00pm. Sunday Roast and selected items menu served from noon. Kitchen closes at 9.00pm

On a final note and just to put minds at ease regarding our wine list. As a few people have mentioned already we have spent a great deal of time and effort devising a small but, in our humble opinion, excellent wine list. However, this effort is clearly not transmitted through our menu, which is a temporary item that has more than outstayed its welcome! We are very proud of every wine that we serve and the prices we are able to offer and hope this will be better reflected with our new (soon to arrive) permanent menus.

Hopefully we have covered most things but if there are any queries or if anyone would like to get in touch then we are always available via email

Once again a big thank you to everyone for their continued support and feedback.

All the best,

Team Gantry