Best Newcomer 2013 - The Malaysian Deli

Congratulations to the Malaysian Deli (338 Brockley Road), which has won the 2013 Brockley Central Newcomer of the Year Award for best new high street business, collecting 39% of reader votes.

Brockley is relatively poorly served by Asian food businesses, a problem made all the more acute by the temporary closure of Thai restaurant Smiles. The Malaysian Deli not only serves delicious meals, it's also a source of ingredients that are hard to find locally.

Affordable, friendly and delicious, the Deli has succeeded in uniting foodies of every hue. A rare achievement and an award well-earned - welcome to the BC Hall of Fame:

Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant
Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

Eubanks OBE

Congratulations to Cynthia Eubanks, Executive Headteacher, Grinling Gibbons and Lucas Vale Primary Schools, who picks up an OBE in the New Year Honours List for services to Education, crowning an excellent year for the area's schools. One hundred per cent of Grinling Gibbons students achieved Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths in the latest set of results, an outstanding result.

NYE Parties

A few ways to celebrate NYE locally:

- The Royal Albert will be hosting a free party "til late, first come, first served."

- The Orchard is hosting a "free party at ours with the awesome DJ @saffrolla spinning tunes til late."

- The Gantry says: "Hat party! All hat bearers get a free shot. Last year 5am, this year... Who knows?!"

- Little Nan's says: "NYE Tickets for entry to Bunker Club before midnight have now sold out! There will be limited entry available after Midnight."

- Jam Circus says: "Balloons and glitter, DJ and dancing - it's beginning to look a lot like a rocking New Year's Eve Party."

- The New Cross House is holding a free party with DJs from 10pm, closing at 2pm.

- The Amersham Arms says: "London Intl Ska Festival Party! Ska, 2 Tone, Soul DJs all nite £7 £10 door/£5 Hotshot & Scorcher members b4 9pm."

- The Ravensbourne Arms says: "We're not charging NYE, there's some live Jazz, a special NYE menu & a charity raffle!"

- Hopscotch Bar in Honor Oak says: "We are open all the way from now til 2am, with dj from 9pm playing eclectic house, beats & funk. Its free entry too!"

Contact details for all these venues here. Any other suggestions? Please post below.

Cinetopia 4, January 17th

7.30pm at the Hill Station, Kitto Road. Andrew writes:

A charming, bitter-sweet tale of childhood in 1950s Sweden shows a young boy sent to live with rural relatives when his ailing mother can no longer cope with his behaviour. A seamless mix of tragedy and humour, this witty and perceptive film centres on a remarkable performance from its young star as he struggles to come to terms with events beyond his comprehension.

An evening with Cinetopia includes: - a mystery feature film (you won't know what it is 'til its started), - a two course delicious dinner from the wonderful Hill Station team - a fun quiz that isn't just about film (points mean prizes). 

Tickets here.

Predictions for 2014

Time for Brockley Central's predictions for the year yet to come. Before we say what we think will happen, here's a recap on how we did with last year's predictions.

We're doubling down on our predictions for The Wickham Arms and Brockley Market: New owners for the Wickham and more pitches for the Market by the end of the year… Whatever happens, we predict that Brockley will get another new place to drink booze in 2013.

The market has grown, although not by as much as we thought it might. And The Wickham Arms hasn’t got new owners, but it does have fresh management. We’re tantalisingly close to the opening of a new boozer in Crofton Park (Late Knights are about to start hiring) and Nan’s opened in Deptford. So half marks for this one.

From the shops to the trains, Brockley is filling up. So we expect at least one of these three big mixed developments in Brockley's pipeline to begin construction - 180 Brockley Road, Mantle Road or St Cyprian's. 

None have started construction, but 180 Brockley Road is poised to begin and Mantle Road looks to be not far behind. So we’re giving ourselves half marks again.

We predict that at least one established business will be priced out of Brockley and replaced by something newer and shinier. 

Nope. No points.

We're choosing a wild card. A new hotel will be created or proposed in Brockley in 2013.

Not in Brockley, although work began in New Cross on the replacement for the Walpole, which will be a hotel. Given it was a long-shot, we reckon this deserves another half point.

Lewisham Hospital A&E will earn some sort of reprieve. It's too good and too important to piss away, no matter what the initial recommendations claimed. 

Even better than a fully functional hospital is a full point.

Two and a half points out of five again. 2013 turned out to be a quieter year than we expected. So, what of 2014? Extrapolating from the trends we saw in 2013 and ignoring the certainty that there will be more pop-ups, sports groups and community initiatives in 2014, here are our five new predictions:

1. Lewisham Way Up

We think Meze Mangal’s expansion heralds a little uplift in the street’s fortunes. There are a handful of great businesses on the street already, but it’s been a little too far from Brockley Station to benefit from the extra footfall the ELL brought. Brockley Market and Meze Mangal shows that people will travel in droves to this spot if the offer is right. We think the pub formerly known as Albertines will finally get a new owner and that it might be a pub firmly aimed at young people – with drink and music, rather than food, to the fore. If so, it will be a first for the area. We also reckon that the new shop on the corner of Lewisham Way and Trywhitt Road will get an occupant.

2. New New Cross

Goldsmiths’ New Cross masterplan will kick-in in earnest, having a significant impact on New Cross and the wider area. The University sector is increasingly competitive and Goldsmiths is vying to attract the best and brightest, which means it needs to invest, as other leading London institutions are doing. Being on their Council gives us something of an advantage when making this prediction, but it obviously relies on things going to plan. We hope to have plenty to report next year.

3. Grand Designs

Property prices in the area have shot up, there has been a frenzy of building activity throughout the conservation area and cash buyers have been snapping up million pound houses. Next year, we expect to see more elaborate planning applications, with lots of extensions, basements and self-builds being proposed. But that’s all rather nebulous, so our specific prediction is that a high-end developer will propose to build upmarket new homes in Brockley, closer to the recent Berkeley development in Telegraph Hill than the smaller houses and flats proposed in 2013.

4. Growing Up in Public

Brockley already has plenty of residents who are in the public eye for one reason or another, including artists, musicians, actors, journalists and designers. Most of these have been attracted to Brockley by its relative affordability, its good links to the West End or the fact that they studied nearby. Professor Green and Millie Mackintosh were the first high-profile celebrities to move into the area and we predict others will join them in 2014.

5. Do Not Feed the Trolls

We’ve made this prediction before, but on the basis that it has to happen eventually, we think that in 2014, a new restaurant will open in Brockley, most likely replacing something else, as there are few green field sites in the area. Hopefully, 180 Brockley Road will create space for a new café or restaurant to move into. There is too much untapped local demand for the market to ignore – it’s just a question of the right space being free.

What do you think?


Gary King: I remember sitting up there, blood on my knuckles, beer down my shirt, sick on my shoes and seeing the orange glow of a new dawn break and knowing in my heart life would never feel this good again. And you know what? It never did. 
- The World's End

Any year in which the local schools improve, the local hospital is saved from a downgrade, a sparkling new swimming pool and gym opens down the road, extra public transport capacity is added, a Brockley brewery is born and the Muppets come to town has to be considered a good one.

There were also plenty of new arrivals, from useful mundanities like the new local Sainsbury’s to exotica like the Malaysian Deli, a new art venue called Number 57, a French patisserie in Ladywell, Nan’s cocktail bar and disco in Deptford and two great new cafes in New Cross - Chinwag and Number 178. Meze Mangal grew and tidied up its front garden while Gulen’s at last seemed to hit upon a popular format. Goldsmiths began a programme of investment in its New Cross estate with a couple of small projects, including improving its main entrance and opening a recording studio and record shop.

However, 2013 also reminded us how fragile the area’s recent high street renaissance remains - the loss of Deptford's sturdy anchor was an apt metaphor for a period of upheaval. Local jewel Sounds Around has never fully recovered from the sad death of Dave Hunter, award-winning El’s Kitchen closed due to the strain it was putting on its founder’s health and the Deptford Project was forced to relocate without a new home to go to. The massively protracted Ladywell roadworks nearly put local shops out of business, while the improved Brockley Cross is much better for pedestrians and residents, but did little to turn around the fortunes of that benighted parade.

We were also forced to contemplate a dry future as Jam Circus, The Ladywell Tavern, The Honor Oak, Albertines, The Catford Bridge Tavern and even the Brockley Jack closed at various points throughout the year. By the end of the year, all except Albertines were refurbished and reopened or found new investment, but Brockley’s capacity to serve booze remains well behind its population’s potential to drink it.

The pipeline for 2014 looks strong, with a new café planned for Ladywell Fields, a new microbrewery bar due to open in Crofton Park, a sourdough pizza restaurant due to take over the Old Bank in Honor Oak and a new takeaway in New Cross from a precocious piscine protégé promised. Curzon are even interested in opening a cinema on the site of the old Ladywell pool. We said this last year, but it now looks a certainty – next year should also see the return of long-lost Thai café Smiles.

Until new capacity is added to Brockley’s town centre, the scope for further new arrivals is extremely limited, but this year saw important strides made in this respect. Firstly, 180 Brockley Road, which will create new units next to the Brockley Barge, won approval and the incumbents moved out, to pave the way for redevelopment. Secondly, on the other side of Brockley station, the developers of Mantle Road plots are competing like Bolognese tower builders, with each new building outdoing the last for its ugliness. The silver lining (aside from the new homes created) is that collectively, the west side developments will add to the local retail options.

The real story of 2013 was not commercial though. Two other themes defined this year. The first was residential. As London’s housing market began to heat up again, this area found itself in the inner core that accelerated more quickly than outer suburbs. The results were rapidly rising prices, bidding wars and a slew of new housing projects as the business clusters to which Brockley is best-connected (London Bridge, Shoreditch, Canary Wharf and Blackfriars) all continued to expand dramatically and commuters looked south east.

Lewisham is among the six boroughs that will accommodate 60% of the new homes built in the city over the next decade and that began to show this year: Another large slug of central Lewisham’s redevelopment began, the Brockley Police Station and the Welsh Church were put up for auction, land in Ladywell once earmarked for travellers was reallocated as a site for ‘build-it-yourself’ homes, Waitrose moved in to a new scheme in Deptford as other big projects in SE8 moved forward, a new plan was developed for Catford as the Dog Track project commenced and Boris called in the Convoy’s Wharf scheme so that its future can be resolved one way or another. Only Lewisham Gateway proved heroically inert. Local schools scrambled to catch-up with demand for places, with two primaries gaining approval for expansion.

In Brockley, developers came up with ideas for every spare scrap of land, while the live/work development Dragonfly Place opened and tenants began to move in, including a handful of good local businesses, creating a new enterprise cluster.

The second theme of 2013 was communal. Many of the biggest and best stories of the year were driven by collective action. Most dramatically, campaigners fought-off plans to downgrade Lewisham Hospital, not once but twice. In Brockley, residents spearheaded campaigns to prevent more night flights into Heathrow and to find new uses for the area’s red phone boxes. Brockley Central readers clubbed together to pay for new nets for the Hilly Fields tennis courts and helped save Mo Pho from having to surrender its name to Big Pho. Pop-ups and new events run by local entrepreneurs – one of the defining features of 2012 – continued to proliferate.

The last 12 months have shown that rapid population change needn’t undermine the area’s sense of community, which is lucky, because the rate of change is not slowing.

The Lady Well stone vanishes?

Shadow: How are the stones?
Zorg: Fine... fine, just fine... I'll, I'll have the... ah... I'll have the four stones you asked for anytime now... but, but it wasn't easy. My costs... have tripled.
Shadow: Money is of... no importance. I... want... the... STONES...
- The Fifth Element

Ladywell resident Chris found this in a 1964 guide to Lewisham and wants to know whether the coping stones from the original Lady Well, described in this extract, remain anywhere.

The Brockley Central Zeitgeist 2013

2013 saw another big rise in traffic for Brockley Central, which should earn its three millionth visit some time in February 2014. Facebook and Twitter are now the most important sources of traffic to the site, with Google dropping from number one to number three in the list of top referring sites and Bing disappearing altogether.

The result of this change is that the Zeitgeist list of top search terms for the year tells us little about the interests of BC regulars, and instead shows what those with a more casual interest in the area are looking for. Once again, there is a lot of churn, with last year's most-searched term "The Gantry" dropping out of the top 30 this year, as presumably, we've all worked out what and where it is. Instead, people in 2013 were preoccupied with the fate of temporarily-closed venues like Jam Circus, Smiles and the Ladywell Tavern and new arrivals like Chinwag and the Malaysian Deli. The popularity of building services like Murat the electrician, Harry's Guttering and builders Bells of Westminster, together with the growth in traffic to the Recommended Tradespeople and Classifieds pages, suggests that people are spending more time improving and maintaining their homes, either because the upturn in the property market is making people more likely to think about moving, or more likely to stay put and make the best of what they have.

As ever, we've stripped out general terms like Brockley, Brockley Central or Lewisham.

Phone and the librarian

Buddy: I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.
- Elf

A visionary community project delivered in double-quick time. It almost never happens. But the good elves who wanted to turn Brockley's disused red phone boxes into something wonderful have produced the goods. So tomorrow, if you get any books you don't want, you know where to take them. The team behind the Brockley box project, launched earlier this year, write:

Lewisham has new library, a micro library! Situated on Loampit Hill on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road a disused K2 classic British phone box has been transformed into Lewisham's first mini library. 

It's free for all - all we ask is if you take a book to read, please replace with an old book of you own if you can.

The library will be open 24 hours so we are relying on the local community to use it, love it and keep watch over it. Interior designed and constructed by Sebastian Handley. Thank you to Claire Cowan at Brockley Society for administering the project. 

"Its not what you get, it's what you leave behind."

Click here to see how the transformation was achieved.

Christmas tree recycling across the borough

Having bought the worst Christmas tree ever this year, BC is just waiting for the earliest opportunity to ditch it without losing too much face. A few needles should still be clinging to the branches by the time Christmas Day rolls around but December 28th can't come quickly enough. Here are the recycling details from Lewisham Council:

Christmas trees can be deposited between 28 December 2013 and 27 January 2014, at the following places. Trees that are recycled at these points are collected, chipped and used as mulch in various parks around the borough:

·         Hilly Fields - entrance in Hilly Fields Crescent, SE4
·         Deptford Park - entrance in Scawen Road, SE8
·         Telegraph Hill - Pepys Road/Kitto Road entrance, SE14
·         Talbot Place - Blackheath, SE3
·         Mountsfield Park - entrance top of George Lane, SE13
·         Sydenham Wells Park - entrance Wells Park Road, SE26
·         Forster Memorial Park - entrance top of Whitefoot Lane, SE6
·         Northbrook Park - Baring Road entrance, SE12
·         Mayow Park - entrance in Mayow Road, SE23
·         Chinbrook Meadows, Amblecote Road, SE12
·         Manor House Gardens, Old Road entrance, SE13
·         Beckenham Place Park, Old Bromley Road, BR1

The Council is also keen to remind residents that Christmas wrapping paper and cards can be recycled using the green bins.

Vote for the Newcomer of the Year 2013

It's a smaller field of contenders for this year's list of new local high street businesses as there are now fewer obvious holes to fill in the Brockley streetscape than there have been in previous years. After a busy start to 2013, the good news in the second half mostly related to the return of long-absent friends like Jam Circus, Meze Mangal and the Ladywell Tavern or the prospect of imminent arrivals like Late Knights and Sodo Pizza.

Nonetheless, we still have a few places to choose from, so please cast your vote on the right hand side of the page, from this list:

Excluded from the list are new local businesses like Patchwork Present and the Brockley Brewery, which add greatly to the life of the area, but which aren't really high street places. Likewise, there have been some great new additions like Little Nan's Bar (Deptford), No 178 New Cross Road and 310 NX Road, which fall outside the eligible area.

Voting closes December 29th.

The Jam Circus NYE Glitter Disco

No East London Line on December 23/24

The East London Line is buggered for Christmas. Monkeyboy shares the following tidings from TfL:

No service between Highbury & Islington and New Cross/Clapham Junction/Crystal Palace/West Croydon. 

 Between Highbury & Islington and Dalston Junction: Valid rail tickets will be accepted on London Overground trains between Highbury & Islington and Dalston Kingsland and on local buses via all reasonable routes. 

Between Dalston Junction and New Cross/New Cross Gate/Clapham Junction replacement buses will run. 

Between New Cross Gate and Crystal Palace/West Croydon: Valid rail tickets will be accepted on Southern services. A weekday service will operate on all other routes.

The bad drivers of Deptford

The Guardian has a breakdown of penalty points held by UK driving licence holders. Deptford stands out as one of the worst parts of London for bad drivers (those with penalty points against their name), with nearly 10% of its 10,000 licence holders having had at least one penalty in the last three years.

Brockley Gate

Do not underestimate the determination of an angry man.

Chris, who complained about the gate on Platform 2 of Brockley Station being locked after 9pm, has been taking the issue up with TfL, using the original BC discussion of this issue as ammunition.

So far, he's been told that:

London Overground are committed to providing step free access from Platform 2 at all times. Once the ticket gates are closed at 9pm it is possible to contact a member of staff using the help point system. The member of staff will then make their way to open the gate for customers who require a step free route. The station manager is going to review the signage on the station to make sure that it is easy to use this system.

In return, Chris has pointed out that station staff have told him that they are under orders not to open the gate after 9pm and that because the oyster readers are switched off, even if you persuade them to let you through the gate, you have to walk up the stairs to the ticket office to use the readers there.

Chris' fight continues, but if it's bothering you too, please register your complaint here - he'll be sending the link to TfL.

Serviced apartments replace Seager Distillery hotel

The plan to create a four star hotel at Deptford's Seager Distillery has, perhaps not unsurprisingly, been ditched, in favour of serviced apartments, which Staycity plans to open in May 2014.

Serviced apartments are designed for longer-term stays and this plan adds something new to the local mix, while filling space that might have sat empty for a long time.

Hotels have sprouted around the West Greenwich / Deptford border, to take advantage of the former's tourist appeal (Staycity calls this "the historic centre of Greenwich") and the latter's DLR station - as we suggested at the time the hotel was mooted, another it might have struggled.

As the Deptford Dame, who spotted the story, points out, serviced apartments are easier than hotel rooms to convert to residential use at a later date.

Xraftmas Xraft Xollective

Coulgate Street project gets funding

TfL has announced that its budget for the financial support of local projects is frozen for the next three years, but that the Coulgate Street makeover project will get the money it needs to proceed. The release says the funding includes:

£280,000 for public realm improvements in Coulgate Street adjacent to Brockley Common in Lewisham to enhance the pedestrian environment. Works will include improved footpaths, planting new trees and reducing times on waiting bays. One way traffic will also be implemented.

The Old Stables, Geoffrey Road [UPDATED]

A plan of the proposed new housing
The Old Stables is a collection of ramshackle buildings, squeezed between the back gardens of Geoffrey Road and the railway line. The place is barely used as a stables any more, so it's not surprising that its owners are seeking to redevelop it as housing.

Residents are opposed on a number of grounds, most notably that back gardens will be overlooked, the development will eat up the natural habitat provided by the green corridor that runs along the railway line and that the narrow entrance via Geoffrey Road will cause access problems on a busy road.

The developers are certainly trying to fit a lot on to the site. They are going beyond the footprint of the buildings to build on a very tight plot of land, further up and down the railway track. Houses that previously had trees behind them (and a railway line beyond the trees) will have new neighbours. The trees, which shield Geoffrey Road gardens from the trains, cast a lot of shadow beneath them. The current plans would result in homes with very little natural light. When and if the buildings are occupied, it's easy to imagine the pressure there would be from new residents to thin or chop down more trees.

Brockley needs to do its bit to accommodate more housing, but this looks like overkill. Limiting the project to the redevelopment of the existing building would be more appropriate.


This proposal has now been refused by the Council, on the grounds that:

The proposed development would considerably increase the intensity of use of the narrow site access road to the detriment of vehicle and pedestrian safety while service vehicles, unable to use the site access road, would place additional demand for on-street parking in Geoffrey Road, which is already very heavily parked, thereby further prejudicing vehicular and pedestrian safety in the local area.

Mere Baubles

Baubles have appeared across the trees in Hilly Fields. Thanks to Lep Recorn for the photo.

Seymour Gardens gets its garden

Residents of Seymour Gardens (West Brockley) have opened their new community garden, built with £20,000 of funding from the SITA Trust. The garden provides a new focal point for the 20-year-old estate.

Ashmead leads local primary school improvers

The Department for Education's Key Stage 2 statistics have been updated and most of the area's schools have achieved significant improvements.

Ashmead School pupils achieved a huge leap in the number of pupils attaining Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths - 97% (up from 82% in 2012). Other local improvers include:

- Grinling Gibbons 100% (versus 97% in 2012)
- Ashmead School 97% (versus 82%)
- Gordonbrock 95% (versus 82%)
- St Mary Magdelen's Catholic 89% (versus 80%)
- Beecroft Primary 85% (versus 83%)
- Edmund Waller 79% (versus 75%)
- Lucas Vale 79% (versus 78%)
- Myatt Garden 78% (versus 74%)
- Prendergast Vale 66% (versus 63%)

John Stainer fell from 89% to 83%. The Lewisham average was 83% (up from 81% in 2012), compared to an average in England of 75%.

In related news, congratulations to Beecroft, which has announced that it's been awarded outstanding school status by Ofsted.

"Kitto Road Sustainable Homes"

Another bit of housing infill for Brockley. Building Design showcases a planned development on Kitto and Gellatly Roads. They say:

31/44 Architects — a young practice based in Amsterdam and London — is designing two sustainable houses on a former bomb-site in south-east London.

The corner site, recently occupied by dilapidated garages, is on the edge of a conservation area in Brockley. A corner house will finish off the terrace on Gellatly Road and, to the rear on Kitto Road, a lower house has two courtyards. Both are striving to achieve the Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB) Silver Standard for low-energy homes.

Click here for the full article.

Christmas Stag Do at No. 57

Charlie writes:

We're hosting a fabulous Christmas Market this weekend at Number 57. Browse, meet the makers, find some unique gifts for your loved ones, there will be felted lights and fancies, Christmas wreaths, silver crochet jewellery, fabulous tea cosies, cards, prints, illustrations, decoupage, beautiful glass paperweights and lots more.

We hope to see you there! 10-6pm on Saturday and 10-4pm on Sunday. Number 57 is at 57 Loampit Hill, SE13 7SZ.

Super-sized Meze Mangal opens

The Meze Mangal sea container has been replaced by a brick
The new Meze Mangal is now open. The much-loved Turkish restaurant has doubled in size by expanding next door, got rid of the sea container that used to live outside like their entrance like a guard heffalump and modernised the decor. It looks like it's lost a little in terms of intimacy, but the overall effect is impressive and it's already bringing new life to this stretch of Lewisham Way.

Review to come! Thanks to Matt.

Christmas Fair at the Stephen Lawrence Centre

The Stephen Lawrence Centre team write:

On Tuesday 17th December the Stephen Lawrence Centre will be transformed into a Christmas fair for all the family. From 3pm – 6pm children and adults are invited to the centre where a number of activities will be taking place including Santa’s Grotto, market stalls, face painting, Christmas card making and more.

There will also be performances from local youth organisations XLP and Second Wave, as well as a chance to win one of many exciting raffle prizes. Food donations will also be collected on behalf of the Lewisham Food Bank to support those who will struggle with meals over the Christmas.

The event is supported and funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Daily Mail and the Brockley Assembly Ward and is part of the Smarter Communities programme at the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Gladly, Wiggins returns

The Wiggins and Miller Christmas sale is back this weekend

John Stainer expansion approved

John Stainer Primary School has secured planning permission for its expansion scheme that aims to cater for Brockley's growing population of young families.

The project will add seven classrooms to the school, which has enjoyed a renaissance in its fortunes in the last few years. See here for details.

Sodo Pizza takes on the Old Bank

On Twitter, Acorn estate agency confirms that Clapton sourdough pizza specialists Sodo Pizza has completed a deal to move into the Old Bank restaurant in Honor Oak. The site was most recently occupied by pop-up restaurateurs Gingerline, who made it their long-time HQ.

This is great news for the Honor Oak Park parade but is also interesting as a rare example of an established, successful restaurant business expanding into the area.

With thanks to Monkeyboy and Joe for the tip off.

New Cross Ogres vs Brockley Trolls

Hans Gruber: "And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer." Benefits of a classical education.
- Die Hard

Ian, author of this year's Telegraph Hill pantomime reveals his terrible betrayal, saying:

I thought you might like to know that the only bit where the villain got cheered in this year's performances was in this exchange...

DUKE OGRE Yes, I will be King! And when I am king of Hatcham there will be none of this nonsense about skate parks and community cafes. I have a REAL Bold Vision. I shall raise up an army. An army! And invade...Brockley! 
WIZARD TOPPING Impossible. Haven’t you read the Brockley Central blog? No one can challenge Greater Brockley! 
DUKE OGRE When I’m finished Greater Brockley will just be Lesser New Cross.

The Deptford Cookbook Project Pop-Up

The Brockley Art Heist

Sergey has fallen prey to the preternaturally efficient domestic recycling system that greases the wheels of the conservation area. He writes:

I moved to Brockley (Wickham Road) on Saturday 7 December. I had unloaded this painting along with a few boxes onto the pavement outside Jasmin House, and went into the building with a few items. When I came back out a few minutes later, this painting was missing – someone thought it was free to take and it wasn’t. It is not financially valuable, but very important to me sentimentally. If you have seen it, please let me know. I would be very grateful to have it back. Reward offered — call or text Sergey on 07412 147309.

Speedicars now Keen

Your Hopes and Fears have been realised. Speedicars is changing.

Fred reports that Speedicars have been taken over by the Keen Group, a major South East London fleet operator. Local journeys are now £6 rather than £5, for some reason only they know.

Love on the Dole

St Asaph Road film-maker Mark is trying to raise money to fund a film called WASTED.  He writes:

WASTED is about a man desperately trying to keep his family together working part time/zero hours.   It's an alternative voice in the whole skiver/striver debate. WASTED takes a look at three generations of men and their relationship to work. It's saying not everyone on benefits is a scrounger. It's saying if being unemployed is a lifestyle choice it's a pretty crap one.

But it's NOT poverty porn.

It's warm, tender, funny; a man out there right now, doing his best.

Click here for the project's Kickstarter page.

Christmas Eve Brockley Market

Toby from Brockley Market writes:

We will be be opening the Car Park on Christmas Eve this year, between 10am and midday.

The Butchery, Jacobs Ladder, Foss Meadows and our fishmonger Veasey & Sons will be on hand for pre-ordered collection of Turkeys, Geese, Cockerel, Chickens, Beef Joints, Pork Joints, Lamb Joints, Stuffing, Sausages/bacon and all fish orders.

You will need to pre-order with the individual stalls at the market in the coming weeks, for Christmas eve collection...

Perry Court Farm (Organic) will be setting up a Christmas eve stall stall where you can buy your Christmas day vegetables. (Potatoes, Parsnips, Cabbage, Carrots, Sprouts etc..)

You can also order Christmas trees from Brockley Logs for collection from the market in the run up to Christmas. Order via email or at the Market with 'Brockley Logs' email:

The last Brockley Market of 2013 will be December 21st (Closed for a week, then open weekly again from Saturday January 4th 2014)

A big thanks to all who have supported the traders and market in 2013, from all at Brockley Market we wish your a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

TfL plans for DLR, Overground and Bakerloo extensions in Lewisham

BCer Monkeyboy has sent us a copy of the latest TfL Business Plan. In the section called "Unlocking the Future Growth of London", the document highlights Lewisham as a borough where future capacity is required and alludes to the possible extensions of Overground, Bakerloo and DLR services in the borough:

We are continuing to assess ways to improve access to Lewisham and Bromley. These will be considered through a coordinated approach, which will include options such as a possible extension of the Bakerloo line, the DLR or the Overground. A key focus is how any proposal will be funded.

The Mayor has been teasing us with the prospect of a Bakerloo extension for a long time now, though at best, it appears to be a rhetorical admission that such a scheme makes a lot of sense, rather than a serious plan. However, the steady drip of news and commentary about these three projects is encouraging. Each of them has the potential to unlock huge regeneration benefits.

Brockley Cross Supermarket gone

The Brockley Cross corner shop has closed for good. The area is not short of alternatives - most obviously the neighbouring Londis - but they were BC's preferred option locally and their departure now leaves this blighted bit of street scape looking pretty empty.

Buying and selling in Brockley

This week, we moved house. We only moved around the corner, so we still get to run this blog, although BT is currently doing its best to thwart us.

After a tortuous six month process, we can offer the following observations:

1. The Brockley property market is frenetic at the moment. We moved to Brockley in 2006, when the last property boom was nearing its height. It was horrible. This time around, we’d been fortifying ourselves for the experience by reassuring ourselves that it would be calmer. It wasn’t. If anything, the scramble for homes in the area was far more intense than last time.

The first place we made an offer for, we bid a few per cent below the asking price. Our friends told us we were chicken and should have struck a harder bargain. They were way off. Our below-asking-price offer was politely declined and a cash bidder snapped it up a day or two later for the full price.

The second place we made an offer for, we were determined not to let escape our grasp. We saw it the day it came on the market and made a full price offer the same day. The estate agent responded nonchalantly and told us to join the queue. There were several other people willing to do the same. It went to “best and final offers” by midday. We “won” that process but lived with the constant threat of our vendors pulling out and "remarketing it" if we didn’t exchange pronto.

Similarly, we got a full-asking-price offer within a few days of our place appearing online. Based on our experience buying the house in 2006, we expected the process to take a lot longer. But available family homes are in short supply in Brockley, so it went almost straight away. Over the last year, we've observed homes that might once have been expected to sit on the market for months go under offer in days.

Local estate agent Roy Brooks recently shared with us some data from Right Move which shows that Brockley is among the most-searched for areas in South East London. Last month alone, they recored over 35,000 searches for Brockley, putting it way ahead of Honor Oak (10,000), Nunhead (11,000), Camberwell (18,000), Peckham (29,000) and East Dulwich (30,000)  in the rankings, although Forest Hill, Greenwich and Blackheath are the leaders.

2. Prices have risen a lot over the last seven years – ours went up by about 60% over that time – we dread to think what the one we bought went up by. The rises should come as a surprise to no-one, but we can confirm it through gritted teeth. Occasionally, BC is accused of property price boosterism. If that’s been our secret strategy all along, then it’s backfired spectacularly. Anyway, boo-hoo - we appreciate that we are very fortunate to be able to buy in Brockley at all. We wouldn’t have chosen to remain in Brockley at any cost, but we’re delighted to be able to stay put, as we love it here.

3. We have good things to say about the following estate agents we encountered along the way: Winkworth, who handled both our sale and our purchase and who managed to whip buyers up into a frenzy on both occasions, Rococdells, whose local knowledge and proactivity was impressive, and Kershaws, who really know houses. There were others who were rude and / or seemed to go out of their way not to help you buy any of the properties they purported to be selling.

We also got the opportunity to use loads of tradespeople recommended on Brockley Central and had good experience with them all, so thank you for all your suggestions. We will do a round-up of those people separately.

Ladywell Christmas Market, December 14th

Brockley Christmas Market, December 14th

North London's hand-drawn domination

Courtesy of @YourButler comes this Vettriano-esque @glplondon map of London, starring the Rivoli, the Big Red Bus and the Deptford Project, sadly on ice. Click here for details.

New Year's Eve at the Rivoli

The Ladywell Tavern reopening plans

The Ladywell Tavern closed during the protracted roadworks that blighted Ladywell town centre but reopens later this month. Stuart writes:

The Ladywell Tavern will be reopening on Friday the 13th December with Live music and burlesque on the opening night. I am the Curator of The Misty Moon Gallery and I am the new licensee and my team has helped to reinvent The Ladywell Tavern.

Monty is still around in a consultant capacity. The walls in the pub will be used for gallery space, as an extension to the gallery and there will also be a stage for the bands, we will be having open mic on Sundays, poetry and spoken word evenings and comedy.

The Misty Moon Gallery will still be holding exhibitions and the critically acclaimed "An Evening With..." nights. We have Brian Murphy aka George Roper from "George & Mildred" on Saturday the 21st December, Nicola Bryant aka Peri Brown from Doctor Who in the 19th January and Hollywood lgend Sarah Douglas aka Ursa from Superman 2 on the 25th January. So please come along and support us on Friday the 13th from 5pm.

If anyone would be interested in wall space in the pub please contact Stuart on

Gulen's Restaurant opens tonight

Tonight, the Gulen's team tell us their bar reopens as a fully-licensed Turkish barbecue restaurant, open from midday to midnight. Menu below with plenty of cooking from the charcoal grill.

Everest Curry King

24 Loampit Hill
020 8691 2233

Time Out says:

At first sight, the Everest appears to be another neon blot on the charmless A20 corridor, but enlightened locals beg to differ. What this no-frills café and takeaway lacks in comfort, it makes up for in tasty Sri Lankan and South Indian grub, endorsed by a steady stream of local Asians.

If BCers have anything to add to that (or simply dispute the notion that the A20 corridor is charmless), please post your reviews in the comments below.

Deptford Wives

Myatt Christmas one and all

Prendergast primary school given planning permission

Prendergast Ladywell Fields College's proposed new primary school, has been given planning permission. Via the Ladywell forum, the school confirms:

Planning was approved for the building of a two form entry Primary School on the PLFC site and building will begin in January 2014. Two Reception classes totalling 60 spaces are due to start in September 2014, with the whole school due for completion by September 2015. 

There will be an opportunity to visit Prendergast Ladywell Fields College to meet the Head and Executive head teacher, and discuss the plans on Thursday 28 November from 6pm.

The Christmas Neighbourhood Concert

Louisa says: "In collaboration with St Hilda's Church we are putting together a monthly classical concert series at the undercroft of the church. The first one will have a Christmassy feel and everybody's welcome."

Lewisham Laughs with Labour

It's Red Wedge for the, um, Tenties(?). Cllr Foxcroft alerts us to the existence of Lewisham Laughs on December 3rd:

It will be a fantastic night of festive comedy with some top-notch comics coming to Lewisham. Organised by the local Labour Party, it will take place from 7:30pm – 11:00pm on Tuesday 3rd December in the St Mary’s Centre, Ladywell Road, SE13 7HU. Comics include:

Wil Hodgson has won best newcomer at the Edinburgh Festival and is a must-see for comedy fans. To sum up his act would be difficult, but it has involved wrestling, cider and care bears! 

Ava Vidal has appeared on 'Mock the Week' and 'Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow'. Mesmerising to watch and also very funny. 

Nabil Abdulrashid is an emerging talent who has already appeared at the Hammersmith Apollo. Politically conscious comedy that has seen him go viral on youtube. 

Alan Mitchell is a great mimic of famous figures – none of whom get off lightly. 

Guest speaker on the night is Sadiq Khan MP for Tooting and Shadow London Minister as well as Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. Tickets cost just £10 including your first drink. You can get yours here.

Kickstart Maddy's Fish Bar

Maddy's Fish Bar is the latest project from the team behind The London Particular in New Cross and Fishdog. They want to open a new fish and chip shop right next door to their cafe and are fundraising £20,000 on Kickstarter, with the promise of curry sauce. They explain:

Maddy’s fish bar will be located in New Cross, next door to The London Particular. Being an established café and a unique gem in the local community, The London Particular has managed to bring culinary change to New Cross. When the owners of the chip shop next door to The LP approached Becky to see if she wanted to take on their shop, Becky immediately thought of Maddy and her passion for fish and anything British, which led to the birth of Maddy's Fish Bar project.

Becky is the owner of The LP and a pioneer of local change in New Cross. The London Particular was recently awarded 5 stars in Timeout’s food guide. She will be a partner in the Fish Bar next door and will contribute with all her vast experience of local producers and add creative twists to the daily changing specials.

Madeline has worked in London’s top restaurants. Her training began at the young age of 15 working as a prep-chef assistant for Billingsgate Fish market’s weekend courses. This was the catalyst for her enrolling in Westminster Kingsway College’s acclaimed catering course. After graduating from WK she had a job waiting for her at Caprice Group where she had been doing work experience as part of her course. She started working at the group’s Scott’s fish restaurant in Mayfair spending nearly two years under Head Chef Dave Mccarthy. Seeking new challenges, she was recruited by Mark Hix for his then newly opened Hix of Soho. Climbing the ranks within the company, Maddy got involved in pioneering Hix’s streetfood concept, The Fishdog van.

Maddy’s menu will be familiar and simple yet new and exciting. Through simple tweaks such as herb infused tempura batter and skin on chips re-invents the classic dish. Keeping the northern tradition of curry sauce is another exciting addition to Maddy’s sauces, which will all be made on site showing the condiments the respect it deserves.

Visit their Kickstarter page here.

Croydon Westfield shopping centre approved

Plans to create a new Westfield shopping centre in Croydon, replacing the rather tired Whitgift Centre, have been approved by Croydon Council. It means there will be a new shopping destination at the southern end of the East London Line, but Stratford's already within fairly easy (and cheaper) reach, meaning it's of dubious benefit for this neck of the woods, especially as it will add pressure to the Overground services.

The Croydon Guardian reports:

Westfield and Hammerson's £1bn redevelopment plans for the Whitgift Centre have been unanimously approved by the council's strategic planning committee. 

The scheme, which was first announced in January, has been earmarked as the catalyst for a massive economic boost to Croydon's economy. 

The redevelopment will see both the Whitgift Centre and Centrale replaced with 1.4 million sq ft of shops and leisure facilities, as well as between 400 and 600 new homes. 

Approval by the planning committee is subject to subsequent approval from Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Cinetopia, December 13th

Cinetopia at The Hill Station, Kitto Road SE14
Friday 13 December, 7.30pm

Kin Flicks - families on film
In this month's mystery film a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter. As we follow their picaresque odyssey through the Kansas dustbowl of the Great Depression the two forge an unlikely partnership which is funny, poignant and in the end deeply touching. Cinetopia invite you to join us for the third in our Kinflicks series - an American classic with marvelous monochrome camerawork and a heartwarming cinematic period piece for the Christmas season.

An evening with Cinetopia includes:
- a mystery feature film (you won't know what it is 'til its started),
- a two course delicious dinner from the wonderful Hill Station team
- a fun quiz that's not just about film (points mean prizes).

Tickets from:
Contact us at

Lewisham Way plot sold

As the housing market heats up again, some of the area's last remaining residential development opportunities are beginning to show signs of life. Richard writes:

A building plot in the conservation area sold this week at auction (Lot 35) for £310,000. 

It is the 'land at the rear' of 170 Lewisham Way. Someone subdivided their garden a few years ago and sold it off. The site was given planning permission for a 3 bed house back in 2003

The land was sold again in 2005. No building on the site was ever undertaken and the previous permission has lapsed. 

The site had a lot of fly tipping on it until recently, but was cleared up prior to selling and is now a empty. I'd expect to see a planning application being submitted in the next few months. It could prove controversial as it may be considered a mews location.

Slater and Queen

Narrator: And so, Gary Coleman and the Simpsons argued long into the night, and then, as day broke, the spirit of the season entered their hearts. 
Lisa: Lets just agree that the commercialisation of Christmas is, at best, a mixed blessing. 
Coleman: Amen.
- The Simpsons, Grift of the Magi

Ladywell gift shop Slater and King has turned its window into a tribute to Narnia, complete with Aslan and the Snow Queen - thus winning the best local decoration award. And in the end, isn't beating the competition what Christmas is all about?

The Brockley Freelancer Christmas Party

In addition to the Mingle Bells party for local business owners, the Patchwork Present team are organising a party for local freelancers (the forgotten victims of the Christmas season). Olivia writes:

As there are only 3 of us in the studio we're opening our doors to Brockley freelancers who might not have a Christmas party to go to. 

We're planning and paying for it 'patchwork style'. Info here.

The Brockley Brewery Open Day

As Jam Circus becomes the latest to welcome the Brockley Brewery's beers to its taps, this is a chance to go inside the beer belly of the beast itself tomorrow.

Croftmas comes early

24-hour weekend Jubilee Line is coming

LondonLovesBusiness reports:

For the first time ever, Tubes on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines will run round the clock [at weekends]. The project will begin in 2015 and is expected to create 200 jobs.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: “Rebuilt stations, new trains and signalling systems mean we are now running some of the most frequent metro services anywhere in Europe. To meet the challenge of London’s growing population and development, we must continue to invest and deliver even more efficiently in future.

As well as being fairly useful for Brockley residents, it does mean a 24 hour London Overground service might become a reality too.

Two Angry Men* - Part 2: Brockley Police Station

Knight Frank have listed the former Brockley Police Station for sale, noting that it's a sui generis use class, which means that any developer that buys it will have to justify whatever use they propose to put it to. Most likely, someone will try to turn it into flats, although, as we've argued before, this is a rare opportunity to do something different in Brockley and it would be lovely if Lewisham Council encouraged a developer to include office or leisure uses within the quarter-acre site.

Yv Greav has gone one-further and launched a petition, arguing that it should not be sold at all. She writes:

Brockley Police Station is being sold on. This classical building once a place of the community is in danger of passing onto transient property developers. We need to save this building and preserve it for the local community. 

There are lots of pubs, betting shops, fast food restaurants in Brockley, but nothing no large centre for the whole community to take care of their health. We urgently need a gym. There are lots of new big properties being built in the area such as in front, behind and beside the station. 

Brockley will look very different in 5 and 10 years time, however this all appears quite individually focused nothing is opening up to support the health of the community. 

*We've belatedly realised that Yv is a woman, which renders today's Two Angry Men theme farcical. Sorry.

Two Angry Men - Part 1: Brockley Station

Today's first angry man is Chris, who writes:

Please can you run a story about how the people at Brockley Station now both close the barriers and lock the gate from 9pm at Brockley station east side, so everyone, (disabled, luggaged, pushchaired, or bicycled) has to go up the stairs (ironically past the leaflets entitled ‘making rail accessible’). 

It may stop fare-jumpers who go through the gate, but it would not be necessary if they kept someone on the barriers. The long-suffering staff hate it and encourage people to complain – but that is not enough; so over to you. 

Chris is right, it's annoying. Though of course, public services are under pressure to find savings, so not paying people to stand by a gate may be one of the more palatable measures. What say you, Brockley?

The Hilly Fields Network Mingle Bells

El writes:

Run your own small business, freelance or work from home in the Ladywell/Brockley area? Come and join us for the Hilly Fields Network Christmas Lunch on Friday 13 December, 12 – 2pm at The Gantry, 188 Brockley Road.


- Mingle bells – networking with a festive twist
- Secret santa – sharing inspiration and skills to help your business prosper
- Festive feast – a sumptuous two/three course Christmas menu at The Gantry

Christmas menu
Choice of two courses £24, or three courses £29 (price includes a glass of prosecco with your meal and an espresso or Americano coffee to finish)

RSVP at:

The Hilly Fields Network is a club for freelancers, people working from home, and small business owners around Hilly Fields.

The club brings together local professionals for a regular monthly informal meet-up to support local small businesses and freelancers and build a network of potential collaborators amongst locally-based professionals. To find out about our network go to

Mantle Road bridge 5 - Lorries 0

The Mantle Road bridge has snared another unwary lorry driver. Thanks to Pat for the photo.

The Broca Brunch Club

Duende Supperclub, November 30th

Chef José Botella is hosting a 7-course LondonMed tasting menu at the Telegraph Hill Centre on November 30th. Tickets are £35 per person, which includes a welcome aperitivo and canapés on arrival. A vegetarian tasting menu also available.

To reserve places, please book online Tickets will not be available on the door, advance booking is essential.

The Jam Circus restoration

330-332 Brockley Road, SE4 2BT 
020 8692 3320

Local blogger Kaja Emilie Berg has interviewed the manager of Jam Circus about her plans to restore the reopened pub's place at the heart of the community. She writes:

Fire broke out in the popular Brockley pub last year, due to electrical wiring problems. The pub’s manager, Rose Hanison (28), says it was a big job getting the place back in shape.

“We would have opened it a lot sooner, but we had a lot of different bits and pieces to do. The fire was so extensive and it took us a very long time to clean and get everything set up again,” she explains.

The pub’s got a warm feel to it and hints of vintage style with furniture from different time periods and authentic details, such as old board games and lamps.

“We haven’t actually changed that much in the style and look. The wallpaper and furniture is a bit different. But the general feeling of the pub is the same as before,” Hanison says.
Hanison says the fact that the pub is loved among locals was a motivation for reopening. “Jam Circus has always been known as a community based pub. The support on Facebook and Twitter since we reopened has been humbling.”

Jam Circus are planning to bring back the evenings and events from before the fire. The popular Pub Quiz as well as Cabaret nights where comedians, poets, writers and so on will be able to perform in an informal space, is on the agenda.

“The plans are to eventually expand a third more on the size and have a function room and a dining room at the back. This might happen in January,” Hanison reveals.

Hanison would also like the space to be used by locals if anyone needs a room for workshops.

“One of my dreams for the pub is to make it a creative space for the area. I’m open for people in the community to come to me and tell me what they want to do with the space, and if it works for us we are very happy to get it going.”

The pub also just had a brand new coffee machine fitted, for those in need of a relaxing atmosphere during the day.

“We’ll be a café and lunch area during the day time, a pub and a restaurant at night time and during the weekends we’ll give you a good party time.”

You can read Kaja's blog here.

Mountsfield Park goes edible in major makeover

Lewisham Council writes:

Mountsfield Park in Catford is the latest park in Lewisham to be awarded funding from the Mayor of London’s ‘Pocket Parks’ initiative and will shortly undergo a major programme to transform the upper area of the park.

Lewisham Council, working alongside the Friends of Mountsfield Park, has been awarded £35,000 from the Greater London Assembly to help create a new community garden on the site of the former bowls green.

The community garden will include the creation of a number of distinct individual gardens, raised beds made with new oak railway sleepers where people and groups can plant, tend and harvest their own produce, fruit tree cordons with edible hedgerows and potentially an outside kitchen with large seating area - which will be used as an outdoor classroom or performance space.

The 13.4 hectare park, which was first opened in 1905, is also set to benefit from £450,000 funding from the Rushey Green Renewal Fund and will provide a new café with indoor seating, an outdoor gym, new fitness equipment, an improved children’s play area and better landscaping. The Council has also earmarked £35,000 of this funding to match fund the ‘Pockets Park’ funding for the community garden.

Council officers are currently working with landscape architects from Building Design Partnership (BDP) to draw up designs for the upper park and it is hoped works to the community garden will start in the New Year with works to the wider project beginning later in 2014.

Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Councillor Susan Wise, said: “Mountsfield Park is one of Lewisham’s flagship parks and attracts nearly half a million visitors every year. We are delighted to be a recipient of ‘Pocket Park’ funding which will help us create a much-wanted community garden."