180 Brockley Road approved

Cllr Mike Harris reports on Twitter that Lewisham Council has approved the redevelopment of the MOT garage at 180 Brockley Road.

The original scheme was sent back for further work as the Council wanted to drive a harder bargain for affordable homes. The developers have now agreed that any "excessive profit" of more than 20% will be diverted to fund affordable housing schemes.

The ground floor will feature flexible space for approximately four commercial units.

Brockley Welsh church for sale

Another local oddity looks like it will bite the dust. The Presbyterian Church of Wales on Lewisham Way is up for sale for £1.5 million.

The advert notes that:

A pre-application submission has been lodged for a change of use to Residential based upon a scheme comprising five no. 4-storey, 4-bedroom houses arranged in a terrace. Each house is allocated 2 parking spaces and has a rear garden of approximately 8m in length. The total estimated Gross Internal Area of the scheme is 9,600 sq feet.

With thanks to Pam.

Lewisham votes for legal action on A&E and rate hikes

Catford blogger Clare reports that Lewisham Council last night gave the go-ahead to take legal action to prevent the downgrade of Lewisham A&E. She also notes:

The vote came at a full council meeting which also discussed the budget for 2013-14 and recommended a 1.5% rise in council tax and accompanying budget cuts to meet the required savings of £21.3 million based on the budget given to the council from central government.

The Muppets take Brockley

Kermit us to indulge ourselves with some of our favourite Muppet moments
Time for some Gonzo journalism: The new Muppet movie is being filmed at the Rivoli Ballroom today. Details are Fozzie at this stage, but BCer Scott reports that he has seen director James Bobbit walking the streets of Crofton Park today. If you get a Beaker any of the stars, let us know.

ELL tell all

With thanks to Fintan for the photo.

Bye: The Last Man

The Labour Party has announced that its candidate for Lewisham Deptford (which covers Brockley) in the next election will be drawn from an all-woman shortlist. This is a very safe Labour seat, meaning that Lewisham Deptford is effectively guaranteed another female MP once Dame Joan Ruddock steps down.

Lewisham Deptford is one of five London seats which will be subject to all-female Labour shortlists. Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said: “I am calling on women to put themselves forward for the All Women Shortlists announced in London."

All-women shortlists are probably the least-worst solution to the challenge of creating a more representative House of Commons.

Conway bites dog

When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if Conway finishes a job satisfactorily, however small, that is news.

Still no sign of the new zebra crossings in Brockley Cross, but by god, that is a tree - and Conway has successfully planted it. Unless someone else did - and they probably did, but Conway dug the bloody hole, you can't take that away from them! And there's another one next to it too. Two trees in only two years.

Also on the subject of street trees, local group Brockley Street Trees reports that "thirteen new trees will be planted in the conservation area to replace many street trees removed last summer due to disease. These have all been match-funded with local residents contributing 50% of the cost, and Lewisham Council the other 50%."

In March, the group is also planting 70 metres of fruit hedge in Hilly Fields. If you'd like to join them, full details here. With thanks to Monkeyboy for the photo.

The Blind Pig pop up bar / exhibition

If phase one of Brockley's East London Line-led regeneration ended in 2012 with its cafe revolution largely complete, phase two is going to be mostly about booze. This will be a good thing. We've now got a daytime economy. Time for the night. Following the news that Brockley is due to be blessed with two microbreweries and the return of Jam Circus comes news of a pop-up bar in Drakefell Road.

Jo Dennis writes:

The Blind Pig is a pop up bar and exhibition space at the end of a suburban south London garden. Speakeasys or “blind pigs” were a product of prohibition and this DIY art space and social gathering spot, created by artist Jo Dennis, is in part a response to the chastened times in which we live.

The exhibition is a solo presentation of paintings and drawings by the artist. Her work uses disparate components,dark humour and personal symbolism. In this collection they reference vanity, identity and what it is to be human. Some of her ideas manifest as portraits - some surreal, some abstract - and others a mix of all three.

“When I moved in there was this awesome shed at the bottom of my garden, I have trawled around skips and scaffolder’s to find reusable and free wood to make the shed fit for purpose.

I made an installation in it last year for the Telegraph Hill Festival open studios and the response was brilliant. This year it will be opening for the festival again but the instal will be a complete change from what people saw last year.” Jo Dennis.

Jo Dennis graduated from Goldsmiths College in 2002 and has exhibited nationally and internationally including showing at the ICA and The Royal Academy. In 2010 she partnered with artist Dido Hallett to set up Asylum, an arts space in a derelict chapel in Peckham. Asylum is on The South London Art Map
and was voted one of The Guardian’s top 10 London Art spaces 2011.

Opening party Friday 8th March 6pm -10pm. Open Sat 9th, Sun 10th and Sat 23rd 2pm - 7pm. 200 Drakefell Road, SE4 2DR.


The team behind the Deptford Army are launching a new party vibe night at The Bunker Club on Deptford Broadway playing you 80's, 90's and early 00's party hits music, pop remixes, old times hip hop/ DnB and indie n garage!

The drinking will start in Little Nan's from 5pm and continues in The Bunker Club 11pm - 3am (£3 Entry), with doubles and all bottles at £2.50!!!   DJ'S: GEAROID HAYES (Deptford Army) Clarissa Decksplains It All (Catholic Girls) VINYL PITCHIE (Deptford Army)

Offies win for the Jack

Congratulations to the Brockley Jack Theatre, which won this year's Off West End theatre award for Most Welcoming Theatre.

The award is voted for by the people who matter most. The people of Brockley. And the rest of the theatre-going public.

Alternative Paddy's Day in New Cross

Hugh: It is not the literal past, the 'facts' of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language. 
- Translations, Brian Friel

The New Cross Inn will host an 'Alternative Paddy's Day' (Sunday 17 March 2013) to raise funds to stage a Party in the Park this summer in the New Cross / Deptford / Brockley area this year.

The gig will feature the full range of Irish pop music: Enya. And the other one, who ripped up the Pope. Bald chap. And we think... that's it. The party starts at midday, with bands from 2pm-Midnight. There will be Irish Stew, Irish DJs, Irish shenanigans and Irish surprises. The line-up includes:

Thunder Turtle, Mouth 4 Rusty, Dying Breeds, Edie Capone, Nish/Oliver, Emily Eccles, Ben Holland, Little Big Noise, The Old Kent Roadies. The bands are donating their performances for this fundraiser.

Admission is £3 and all proceeds go to the “Party in the Park” fund.

Project Patchwork

Patchwork Presents is a start-up business opening in Harefield Road shortly, replacing Leaf Lettings.

The unit is tiny, which makes it unsuitable for most traditional retail, but as a location for an online retail business - especially one run by four friends, three of whom live in Brockley - it's perfect. Although it will function as their office, rather than their store, the property will serve as a drop-in for interested customers and partners and the window display will add a splash of colour to the parade.

The service launches soon, but in the meantime, you can follow them on Twitter or visit their Tumblr.

A History of Brockley - Part Two: Got to Love the Drake

Jerry: I hate the Drake! Maybe the whole thing was a scam. Anybody can just get engaged and get presents and just keep them all. Maybe they're on their way to Chicago tomorrow and do the whole thing all over again. 
- Seinfeld, The Handicap Spot

This is the second part of Darrell Spurgeon's guide to Brockley:

The land which is now the residential area of Upper Brockley came into the possession of the Drake family in the 17th century. Between 1844 and 1885 it was developed as two great estates - the Wickham-Drake Estate and the Tyrwhitt-Drake Estate. The Wickham and Tyrwhitt families had become linked through marriage. Most of the road names in the area mark family associations.

A relatively small area in the west, between the Goldsmiths College complex and Wickham Road, consists largely of classical terraces of the 1850s; in this area, St Donatts Road, Shardeloes Road and Malpas Road belonged to the Tyrwhitt-Drake Estate, Upper Brockley Road and Manor Avenue to the Wickham-Drake Estate.

Further east is the most dramatic part of Brockley - four long and wide north / south roads with large houses - Wickham Road, the widest, with the largest houses as well as the somewhat idiosyncratic St Peter’s Church, and Breakspears Road, in the Wickham-Drake Estate; then Tressillian Road and the shortest road, Tyrwhitt Road, in the Tyrwhitt-Drake Estate.

These roads were laid out by 1851, when the first two houses in Wickham Road were built; but development proceeded slowly, with only seven houses in Wickham Road completed by 1859, when the first houses in Tyrwhitt Road were built. Both roads had developed some way southwards by 1868, when the first houses in Breakspears Road and Tressillian Road were built. From that time development continued steadily until the early 1880s.

There are also groups of interesting (though usually more modest) houses in many of the roads running west / east across the estates. Some of the shorter roads, particularly Glensdale Road, Avon Road and Drake Road, are most attractive.

Architectural styles of Upper Brockley

Upper Brockley is the ideal place to study the evolution from the Italianate to the Gothic style in the mid to late 19th century.

Up to the mid 1860s the houses were predominantly Italianate, exhibiting classical revival features like decorated window surrounds with pediments and brackets, rusticated ground floors and basements, quoins, porches with classical columns, and the use of stucco. The style continued until the mid 1870s; examples can be seen in the northern parts of all the roads leading south from Lewisham Way.

From the late 1860s Gothic influences began to emerge and during the 1870s became dominant. The style can best be described as transitional, though it is sometimes termed eclectic, with both Italianate and Gothic influences co-existing.  For example, Gothic decorative features may be combined with Italianate round-headed or segment-headed doors and windows.

The variety is almost infinite. A typical house of this type is usually part of a pair but is sometimes detached. It may have a full width gable, a round-headed doorcase with strange capitals on columns, bay windows through one or two storeys, segment-headed windows, often with a fanciful window-head (sometimes jagged with decorated plasterwork), small balconies above the two storeys, and a decorated roundel in the gable. There may be variations on these features, and unusual decorative flourishes as well; in some cases the ornamentation is so extravagant that it has to be seen to be believed – look for example at 133/135  Breakspears Road and 98 Tressillian Road.

Few houses could be described as mature Gothic. The pointed arch, probably the most potent symbol of Gothic architecture, occurs in only a few Brockley houses – 55, 66/68 and 72/74 Wickham Road, the north side of Glensdale Road, 15 and 90 Breakspears Road, 69 and 96 Tressillian Road, 1 and 12 Tressillian Crescent.

Click here for Part One.

'Play While You Wait' at St John's Medical Centre

St John's Medical Centre has launched a ‘Play While You Wait’ programme, which will help kids waiting with their families at the doctor to take their minds off things with a series of activities, led by the team from Tea Dance for Little People.

The programme was piloted in November and is funded by the Lewisham Central Ward Community First panel. It began in the February half term and will continue every Tuesday until the end of March.

Colin Stears, the Management Partner at St Johns Medical Centre said of the project:

"Visiting the GP can be quite daunting for children.  By working in conjunction with Tea Dance for Little People, we are trying to put them at ease whilst educating them at the same time. We hope all our patients will appreciate a brighter waiting room and the opportunity for our young patients to have specific activities to occupy their time whilst at St Johns"

The programme will be expanded to other surgeries in the Lewisham Ward, pending a successful second grant from the Community First panel.

A step towards a step-free Brockley Station

Network Rail has applied for permission to install lifts at Brockley Station to provide step-free access at long-last. Council approval is a formality and this follows a similar application for Honor Oak station.

The deadline for step-free services is January 2014, but given the time it took to install a small bike shed, it'd be a good idea to get cracking now.

A shining city at the bottom of the hill

The lights have come on at Lewisham's new pool, The Glass Mill. It's still a long way from being ready, but the light show cheers up the forboding approach to Brockley from Lewisham Station and looks much lovelier than this hastily-shot photo (through a moving car's window) does justice to.

By day, the multi-coloured scheme doesn't work as well as the pastel-shaded renders suggested it would, but at night, the effect is striking.

If anyone has a better shot that they'd like to share, please email us. Usual full disclosure: Barratt is a client of BN's employer.

UPDATE: Day shot by Jason.

A History of Brockley in 10 and half blog posts - Part One

Darrell Spurgeon is a local historian, who has been writing books about South East London since 1990, producing guides to Greenwich, Woolwich, Chislehurst, Deptford, Sydenham and many other areas, which are available in local studies centres. Two years ago, he finished a short book about Brockley, which he never got around to publishing. So Brockley Central will be serialising his work on the site over the coming weeks.


The northern part, known as Upper Brockley, which was in the old parish of Deptford, contains a great concentration of impressive Victorian housing dating from the 1850s to the 1880s. The southern part, south of Brockley Cross, which was in the old parish of Lewisham, developed mainly from the 1870s on either side of Brockley Road, from the 1890s to the south of Crofton Park Station, and earlier, from the 1850s, in the extreme south, around Brockley Rise.

Brockley is recorded as a Saxon settlement in 952, and is mentioned in the Domesday Book as a small hamlet. Brockley Green, the site of the old hamlet and thus the historical centre of Brockley, was in the area now called Crofton Park.

The Abbey

The manor of Brockley was in 1189 granted to a Premonstratensian Abbey, founded c1182 on a site now occupied by Beverley Court, Breakspears Road. The abbey grounds included the site of the present St Peter’s Church, Wickham Road, and the manor extended as far south as Crofton Park.

The monks did not stay long, for c1205 they moved to Bayham Abbey, near Tunbridge Wells, though the order retained the Brockley manor until it was requisitioned by Henry VIII in 1526, a decade before the Dissolution. No visible trace of the Abbey at Brockley now remains, though in the late 19th century building work on the site of the former Manor Farm, Wickham Road, revealed the foundations of the refectory, as well as coins and fragments of tiling and glass.

The Premonstratensian Order (also known as the White Canons) had been founded in the valley of Prémontré, near Laon, France, in 1120 by St Norbert, later Archbishop of Magdeburg, Germany.

The Lane from Brockley

In the early 18th century Brockley was a rural settlement around part of an old lane which extended from Deptford to Brockley Green, with branches to Sydenham Common and to Ladywell. The lane started as Butt Lane (following the course of the present New King Street, Deptford High Street and Tanners Hill), then entered Brockley as Brockley Lane, along the line of the present Upper Brockley Road, and ran to Deptford Common, which was situated near Brockley Cross until enclosure in the early 19th century. The lane then continued as Brockley Lane via the present Coulgate Street and Brockley Road to Brockley Green.

The Green was picturesque and a popular resort, and remained so until the late 19th century. Here were the old Brockley Jack inn, predecessor of the present pub; Brockley Farm, with its pond, which continued as farmland until development from c1870 onwards; a few rural cottages; and the Brockley Hall mansion, which dated from at least the mid 18th century and was not demolished until 1932 (Brockley Hall Road is now on the site). And the Croydon Canal was not far away, at least until 1836, when it was acquired for the construction of the Croydon Railway, which opened in 1839.

Brockley Green extended on both sides of Brockley Road from the present Brockley Grove to the beginning of Brockley Rise. From Brockley Green the lane continued south to Forest Hill along the course of the present Brockley Rise, and another lane, also called Brockley Lane, went eastwards to Ladywell and Lewisham along the course of the present Brockley Grove.

The whole area remained agricultural, with farms and market gardens serving London, until the mid 19th century. Change came to Upper Brockley from c1850, more as an extension of residential development already taking place along Lewisham Way than as a direct result of the arrival of the Croydon Railway at New Cross Gate Station, on the western edge of the area, in 1839. Stations opened later further south had more impact - Brockley Station in 1871 and Honor Oak Park Station in 1886, as did stations on new lines - the former Brockley Lane Station (on the Greenwich Park Line) in 1872, and Crofton Park Station (on the Catford Loop Line) in 1892.

Brockley Green and Brockley Farm were laid out for housing from c1870, and residential development began to cover the whole area, though the Brockley Hall grounds were not developed until the 1930s. As one nears the South Circular Road and Forest Hill, development had started earlier, from the early 1850s.

Coming up in Part Two: The debut of the Drakes...

Grow Wild

Sarah McFadden from Grow Wild writes:

Our organisation first started in the area in September last year with the aim to create and support community food growing and cooking initiatives in the wider New Cross area.

We're now at the stage of trying to expand our reach and tell people in the community about what we're doing so they can get involved and ultimately benefit from our work.

Check out the volunteering page on our website for all the details. One of the first events we're recruiting volunteers for is the Telegraph Hill Festival happening in March.

14-year-old charged with attempted murder in Ladywell

The Guardian reports:

A 14-year-old boy has been charged with attempted murder after another boy, also 14, was stabbed in Ladywell [Ladywell Youth Club, Dressington Avenue].

The boy is thought to have been attacked as he left a youth club. Youth workers who were nearby gave him first aid before paramedics arrived. He was taken to hospital where he was in a critical but stable condition. Police said the youth workers may have saved his life.

The teenage suspect will appear at Bromley youth court on Thursday morning, according to police. Two other boys, aged 14 and 15, were arrested but later released on bail pending further inquiries.

Jam Circus and the Royal Albert sold to 'new' pubco

Big Hospitality reports that 12 of the 14 pubs put up for sale when Antic Limited went in to administration. Jam Circus and the Royal Albert are among those acquired. The administrators claim they had more than 20 offers for the pubs.

The new owner is a company called Gregarious Limited, which has just been founded by Max Alderman, formerly the company secretary of Antic and currently the operations manager for Antic London.

The move should secure the future of these pubs and ensure that Jam Circus is reopened quickly. In the (temporary) absence of JC, Sounds Around and Smiles Thai Cafe, a fragment of Brockley's soul is missing.

With thanks to Simon.

Come in to my parlour

Little Nan's Bar, the new Deptford boozer, has updated its Facebook page with some interior shots, to show us what Nan has prepared for us. We share the photos here, partly because there was a lot of interest in the venue, but also for those who remember the Bunker Club many previous incarnations and may be curious as to what they've done to the place.

Brown leaves, green shoots

Leaf Lettings has gone. The former Harefield Road Estate Agents never really made a dent in the local market and they have vacated the premises. But in one of the happier examples of creative destruction, the site has already found new occupants - a retail business, which will be opening soon. More details to come.

The Talbot is hiring

The Talbot is a busy local pub on the corner of Tyrwhitt road and Lewisham Way and we are currently considering applications for fulltime employment.

You will need to be vibrant, outgoing and customer focused, an excellent team player, well presented and energetic, flexible in working hours as they will be a mixture of days, evenings and weekends. In return we are offering good rates of pay depending on experience and also meals on duty.

If you're interested please bring your CV and speak to either Andrew or Phil or please email to hello@theprinceregent.co.uk

No Brockley MAX in 2013

The organisers of Brockley MAX, the (usually) annual arts festival, have announced that it will not take place this year, citing exhaustion on their part and lack of funding as the two main reasons for the decision. Hopefully this is like Glastonbury taking a year off to give the land a break. They say:

The board’s decision was based on two reasons. The Brockley Max organising team are exhausted after so many years of running an increasingly popular and complex festival. The board also felt that, given the size of Brockley Max, the festival is no longer sustainable without proper financial support.

Max Media Arts will take this year to explore ways to increase funding and to attract more volunteers. At this stage we would welcome more board members who have skills in fundraising, sponsorship and advertising. If you feel you could offer these skills, or would like to be kept updated, please get in touch via the contact form.

We also welcome your suggestions about what you’d like to see at Brockley Max 2014 and how you can raise money to enable them to happen.

An estimated 4000 people experienced Brockley Max in 2012 across more than 70 events. We’d like to thank everyone over the years who has volunteered, performed, organised events, sponsored, funded and attended the festival. Let’s hope it will be able to come back in 2014.

The Lewisham Crime Survey 2013

Mark: If he tries to escape, I'll just have to... take him down. 
Jeremy: And how would you 'take him down', just out of interest? 'With extreme prejudice' or 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'?
- Peep Show, "Burgling"

The Lewisham Crime Survey is now online. You have until Monday, February 25th to complete it if you want to let the Council know of your experiences ahead of its review of policing strategy. Click here.

The nu view

22nd February – 1st March
Friday 22nd February 18:00 – 21:00
The Tea Factory 104 Endwell Rd SE4 2LX

Laura Burke writes:

Together with other students from Farnham, as well as two London based artists, I will be exhibiting in Brockley from Next Friday 22nd. We are twelve contemporary artists at different stages of our careers, exploring a range of themes and mediums. Our aim was to create a show that has a strong sense of the interdisciplinary at its heart, a recognition that different people are dealing in different disciplines.

We found the Tea factory through an organisation called somewhereto, who organise free spaces for young people aged between 16-25. By contacting them and asking if they had anywhere suitable for an exhibition, I was put in touch with Julia who manages the space next to their architects firm. It's a lovely little space, in a great area of London, so was perfect for our exhibition.

Time Enough at Last for New Cross People's Library

Lucia, from the New Cross People's Library writes:

Thursday 7th of March is World Book Day and we will be holding a Book Exchange, a write-in for the Bridport prize (flash fiction, poetry and short stories) and an exhibition of Extreme Reading Photos.

The write-in will start at 6pm, Book Exchange will run from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and is the perfect opportunity to pick up some new reading material. Bring along a book of your own (or a pile) and try to convince someone to swap it with you. Refreshments will be available.

Over the whole of World Book Day week we will be be holding an exhibition of Extreme Reading photos. We are trying to encourage reading by making it fun and inviting by adding a little spice to such an everyday occurrence, and we want you to take part! Please send us photos of where and how people can read in the most peculiar, strange, weird and extreme ways.

All entries need to be in by 28th February 2013. Photos can be sent to newcrosspeopleslibrary@gmail.com. We will print them for you. Be creative and have fun!

We're also holding our Big Book Sale on Sunday 10 March.

Underneath New Cross Learning, within the endless catacombs of the Lewisham Historical Society, we have accumulated a store of thousands and thousands and THOUSANDS of books, and the time has come once again to sell some off! If you’ve been to one of our Big Book Sales before you will know that they are among the best places in London to pick up new reading material. Get there early for sweet deals. Hardbacks £1. Paperbacks 5 for a £1.

Big Red Comedy Club

Lana Del Rivoli

Regard style thermometers. A Lana Del Rey video is like a digest of what lifestyle mags think is cool... compare yourself to icons of cool.
- Lana Del Rey is a YouTube pop sensation. But how do you get the look?

Lana Del Rey's new video, Burning Desire, filmed at the Rivoli Ballroom, with thanks to Transpontine.

Crofton Park bar plan approved

Lewisham Council has given approval for Mr Lawrence's former wine shop to be converted in to a bar. A tenant who operates a microbrewery (not this one) has been found to run it, but the date for the opening is not confirmed. More soon.

Blue Rose Code

Julie - the new single from Telegraph Hill singer/songwriter Blue Rose Code

Burnout Paradise: Lewisham sticks with 30mph

In March, Islington will introduce 20mph speed limits to all of its main roads. Greenwich and Hackney are doing likewise. The aim is to reduce the number of people killed on London's roads each year.

The Economist says:

Slower roads appear to be safer. A paper published in the British Medical Journal looking at accident data from 1986 to 2006 gave London’s 20mph zones credit for a reduction in casualties by 42%. Accidents that do happen at slower speeds are less harmful: the Transport Research Laboratory found that approximately 98% of pedestrians will survive a 20mph collision. Their chances drop to around 93% at 30mph and 69% at 40mph.

Lewisham recently turned down a suggestion by Cllr Darren Johnson that the borough introduce a 20mph limit to Lewisham's main roads on the grounds that such a limit would be practically unenforceable. The question is, whether limits work without enforcement - whether it's enough just to tell people to slow down? As the Economist reports, the average road speed in Portsmouth dropped by 1.3 mph as a result of the new rules. Given that an unenforced scheme costs little, is a small drop like this a success or a failure?

If you spend most of the time crawling through London in a car anyway, having to stick to 20mph when you hit relatively open roads is maddening. But faced with the road death statistics, it's hard to argue against a lower limit.

Little Nan's Big Opening

Little Nan's Bar in Deptford has its launch night tonight, opening at 7pm. Nan says:

I am opening up my Living room in Bunker Club as a bar and location venue for the next 6 months. We will be serving your favourite drinks at vintage prices! Tiger beer for £3.40 a pint, Strongbow Cider for £2.90 a pint and loads of vintage priced cocktails and premium spirits, bottled beers, ciders, ales and wines - Along with Victoria Sponge cake, Cheese straws (88 year old Recipe) and Million Dollar Shortbread.

New Ladywell pre-school - manager needed

Sarah Leavesley writes:

Ladywell Fields is a Charity Community Pre-School run by a Parent Management Committee.

You may have heard of Rodett St Marys Preschool in Ladywell. It was much beloved by all of us who sent our kids there and ran for many years, providing a valuable community service. We closed down late last year and some of the parents and teachers have banded together to start afresh. We have been doing our homework to see how much interest there would be from parents and there has been a very positive response so we're now at the stage of recruiting a new manager.

This is an exciting opportunity to use your knowledge, creativity and experience to run and manage a child-focused setting with the support of a strong parent body.

RATE: Approx £16k (£10.25/HR)
HOURS: 8hrs/day, Monday to Friday,
Two sessions daily: 9:15-12:15 & 1:00-4:00. 38 weeks/year, term time only.
LOCATION: St. Mary’s Centre, Ladywell Road,SE13 7UW
FOR APPLICATION FORMS: preschool.ladywellfields@gmail.com / 020 8314 1327

Patisserie Ladywell [UPDATED]

The Ladywell rumour-mill is kicking in and it seems that former restaurant Masons, which is currently being redecorated, may be about to reopen as a patisserie. Two local residents have told us they've heard this from the team working on the refit.

UPDATE: This is now confirmed by a reliable source who has spoken with the owners. The former restaurant will become a French patisserie. It will be great to see the space brought back in to use and a patisserie would be a genuinely different offer for the area. However, it's a pity that we have  lost one of the few restaurant spaces in the area and since it's presumably still a licenced premises, we hope they will find a way to work booze in to their repertoire.


The Brockley Brewing Company has taken delivery of its vats. The serious business of Brockley beer making begins now. Click here to watch the video, which features a look inside.

Honor Oak Station to get lift access

The long-awaited programme to improve access at stations along the southern stretch of the East London Line is about to get underway. Network Rail has applied to add two lifts to Honor Oak Station (with the Council due to decide on the plan this week). Brockley's west-side lift is due to be installed next January.

Story via the Honor Oak forum.

The Funeral of David Hunter of Sounds Around

The family of Dave Hunter, who ran Brockley Road shop Sounds Around and died suddenly in January have posted details of his funeral, for customers who wish to pay their respects.

The funeral will take place at 2pm on March 1st at Grove Park Cemetery Chapel. Any enquiries should be directed to William Dunphy Funeral Director, 294 Brockley Road.

The shop remains closed for the time being.

The Garden of Brockley

Fiona writes:

I'm a former Telegraph Hill and Brockley resident, now living in Kent. I run a small specialist plant nursery and together with other Kent based nurseries, we are holding a plant fair  in Telegraph Hill.

We are going under the name of the Kent Plant Fairs Roadshow, and want to try and recreate something similar to the Unusual Plant Fairs that are held in the north of London and beyond. This is the first time we've done something like this and if it is successful, we'll try to do it annually. Here are the deatils:

The Kent Plant Fairs Roadshow

Saturday 1 June - 1pm to 5pm at The Telegraph Hill Centre, St Catherine's Church, Kitto Road, SE14 5TY.  Admission £2.50


The London Theatre Presents...

The London Theatre is a 37-seat, purpose-built fringe theatre in New Cross, which opened 18 months ago. Since then, they've developed a reputation for staging a diverse range of productions, including a number of plays in other languages such as Russian, German and Italian. We thought it was time to talk to Harry Denford, its artistic director, about its progress. He explains:

"We have an artistic policy of bringing well known but hardly ever performed plays to the local community. We also give professional actors a chance at performing some of the meatier roles.

"Our new season, for example, includes three Shakespeare plays, a Beckett and also the famous '4:48 Psychosis' which only a number of theatres have been allowed to stage since the writer, Sarah Kane's death. 

"The theatre is also are the base for The London Comedy Course' which teaches over 500 new stand up comics a year in association with 'Up The Creek' in Greenwich and we have our own well stocked bar serving CAMRA approved bottled ales and Meantime draft beer, which is purely for the use of the theatre audiences attending productions. And just to add to the eclectic nature of our work, we also run a monthly flamenco night which always sells out."

In March, the theatre will be staging Macbeth and a production called The Raft. For full details, click here.

Brockley drugs raids produce 92% hit rate

In the last year, the Brockley Safer Neighbourhood Team has adopted a more aggressive approach towards policing drugs in the area, conducting twelve raids on homes and businesses in the last 6 months alone.

The policy prompted Lewisham Councillor Duwayne Brooks to enquire how many of these raids produced negative searches, with no drugs being discovered on the premises. Cllr Brooks was concerned that "poorly gathered intelligence, which is then acted upon and proves negative can bring discontent. There is a perceived high number of negative searches."

Lewisham police have now confirmed that of those 12 warrants executed in the last six months by Brockley SNT, 11 resulted in drugs being found, which is presumably a hit-rate to satisfy most people worried about police acting on bad intelligence.

My Bloody Indie Valentine

Vote Brockley Jack

Darren from the Brockley Jack writes:

We are in the nominations again for The OffWestEnd Awards ('The Offies') and are currently in the top four theatres in the following categories:

  • Award for Most Welcoming Theatre
  • Award for Best Theatre Bar 
  • Award for Best Theatre Foodie Experience 

We're up against some stiff competition but thanks to the theatre's supporters and BC readers we managed to win an award two years ago. We would love to bring another award home to SE4 this year. Voting closes Thursday 14th Feb so act quick!

If people would like to help us, please click this link, scroll to the bottom, subscribe and vote. Thanks in advance!

Brockley Love Birds

Brockley Road restaurant Bird of Paradise is planning a Valentine's Week. Here are the details:

Tuesday 12th - Wednesday 13th February 2013
Love is.............. Lucky
We'll be having a Valentine's Lucky Dip - Pop in, have a go and see if you'll be struck by Cupid's Bow.
Lots of goodies to win.

Thursday 14th February 2013
Love is...............Sharing
We've put together a menu for you to share with someone special to you. Check out www.bird-of-paradise.org/valentine-s-menu/ to see what we've got on offer.

Friday 15th February 2013
Love is .............. You!
It's customer appreciation day! Whether you eat in or have a takeaway you'll receive a free glass of "Loved Up" Fruit Punch and a heart shape cookie*. (*while they last)

New 'Decathlon' plans for Canada Water

Sellar, the developer behind the Shard has submitted plans to redevelop a site in Canada Water, currently occupied by Decathlon, with a major scheme that would include five buildings, the tallest of which would be 40 storeys.

The development, which proposes to create a cinema, gym and health centre, will sit alongside the new library and residential development next to Canada Water station and will join the new retail and leisure scheme, to create some much-needed critical mass and make Surrey Quays unrecognisable within a decade.

Lewisham Council launches legal action against A&E downgrade

A letter from Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock reads:

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, Lewisham Council delivered a letter launching legal action against Jeremy Hunt’s disgraceful decision to press ahead with the downgrade of Lewisham Hospital’s maternity and emergency services.

The letter makes clear to the Secretary of State and to the Trust Special Administrator that I do not believe that they had the statutory power to make such major changes to Lewisham Hospital.

We are advised, and I believe, that we have a very good case. Of course we run a risk that we may be forced to pay legal costs should we not win our case outright. But the strength of feeling in the Council, and in the community, that this is such an important issue it is a risk worth taking. The Council is in the best position in the community to take the leadership on this issue now and to pursue the argument in the courts.

How you can help

I have already been asked by local people how they can support this legal action. That is why the Council has set up a ‘Legal Challenge Fund’ to enable people to make their own financial contribution to the legal action. I would be delighted if you wanted to make a donation, no matter how large or small. Any money that is unspent will be donated to a local health charity, Children First Lewisham.

We are in the first stages of what could be a long legal process. I will endeavor to keep you up to date with its progress. In the mean time, please feel free to pass this message on to friends and family who want to help us save Lewisham Hospital.

Via the South East London Forum.

Spare Places in Brockley

Spare Place is a new website designed to help maximise local shop occupancy by helping connect people with empty shops with those in need of space. It can be very tricky finding suitable space in a place like Brockley, or even identifying the landlords responsible for certain properties, so anything that can help improve the market is welcome.

Currently, there is a big hole in the map where SE4 is, so local landlords, please get filling.

The project is run by the Empty Shops Network www.artistsandmakers.com/emptyshops

With thanks to Thom for sharing it with us.

The BC hyperlocal case study

If I was 21 now I'd know something about digital and new media and DVDs and marketing and blogging - whatever that might be. And I might be in there. Or maybe I'd go into whatever happens when you press the red button on the remote control. I'm afraid, in my experience, it completely buggers everything. 
- David Attenborough

In our bid to colonise every social media platform in existence, we've created a little hyperlocal case study about Brockley Central and put it on Slideshare. Here it is. For some reason, Slideshare has buggered the formatting (unless you download it), but it works well-enough:

Next up: Brockley Central Grindr.

Edemund Waller half-term playscheme

BCer Dawn alerts us to a last-minute opportunity to join the playscheme at Edmund Waller School. An email from the school says:

There are still a number of places available for the playscheme, running from 18 to 22 February. If you are interested in a place, complete the application form available from the After School Club and return it to me by no later than Friday 8 February.

If all the places are not filled, we would have no choice but to cancel the playscheme! Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested in a place or if you know someone who lives in the area who would be interested. The playscheme is open to the whole community and not just to children attending Edmund Waller - so long as they are aged between 4.5 and 11 years old.

If you'd like to attend, please email Jennifer, Senior Playleader here.

LEAN times for creative microbusinesses

6-9pm, Wed 13 February 2013
The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG

The Lewisham Education Arts Network (LEAN) exists to nurture the creative sector in the borough and is running a practical session on market research for artists wishing to develop their creative micro business. They say:

BRANCH OUT are an on-going series of workshops for artists wanting to develop their micro business running creative workshops with adults. The seminars will cover skills that can be applied to any area of art practice, for example dance, drama, music, visual arts, craft, participatory arts, interdisciplinary arts, digital arts & more. The first will be "Marketing for Artists Developing Workshops."

Market research helps you understand your customers, the demand for your services, and can help make your micro business a success. This seminar helps you to identify the tools and understanding you need to research your specific market.

Click here for full details. Tickets cost £15.

Ladywell streetscape makeover begins

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group reports that work to improve the streetscape in the centre of Ladywell, will begin "within the next week or so," making it more pedestrian friendly, to attract shoppers and shopkeepers to the area.

The provisional timetable involves work starting on Algernon Road from next week and continuing for approximately a month. The £800,000 project will improve the pavements and enhanced pedestrian crossings as well as fixing some drainage issues.

Full details of the works schedule here.

Five carriage trains to be introduced to East London Line

Transport for London announces a much-needed boost to capacity on the ELL:

A programme to introduce five-car trains on all London Overground routes and increase the capacity of the railway by 25 cent, to meet rapidly increasing demand for the network’s services, was announced by Transport for London (TfL) today.

The £320m programme includes the construction of longer platforms and the delivery of an extra 57 carriages by mid 2015.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Passenger numbers on our London Overground services have been going through the roof, but this important programme of investment will enable us to provide the extra carriages required for Londoners to take advantage of what has become the most popular suburban railway in the country.”

Transport for London’s Chief Operating Officer for Rail, Howard Smith, said: “Demand for London Overground – the UK’s most punctual rail service – is growing at an incredible pace.  By the end of 2012, London Overground carried 120 million passengers - nearly four times the number carried when we launched in 2007.

“To enable this positive trend to continue and maintain our high levels for safe, reliable and frequent travel, we need to deliver more capacity by adding more carriages”.

The increased capacity will help London’s transport network accommodate the predicted 810,000 new residents expected to move into London by 2021.

To enable the new trains, the following work will take place on the ELL:

- Reconfiguration of the New Cross Gate and Willesden depots
- Platform extensions at some stations on the North and East London lines and associated signalling and power works.

HACAN feel your pain

HACAN (The Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) is the key lobby group against noise pollution from Heathrow. Their voice counts in the debate over Heathrow flight patterns and to-date they have remained silent about the test patterns that have recent been employed over Brockley in the early mornings. HACAN's silence has been in stark contrast to the planes, which have kept many BCers awake (see here and here).

So Brockley campaigner Elise has turned her bloodshot gaze upon them. She reports:

I have spoken with the head of HACAN who I am pleased to hear confirm that they say:

"HACAN will not support the continuation of any scheme beyond the end of March that disbenefits any residents. And without our support, the airport authorities will not introduce a scheme." 

We, therefore, need to demonstrate to HACAN (as well as BAA and our councillors etc) that we are suffering and do not want the scheme to be implemented permanently beyond March. You can email HACAN to register your view at info@hacan.org.uk or johnstewart2@btconnect.com 

A public meeting has also been arranged on March 8th by BAA and HACAN to consult on the issue of the trial. This is our chance to give our view and be counted. Please attend if you can: 7.30-9.00pm at Greenwich and Southwark Samaritans, 1-5 Angus Street, London SE14 6LU. 

Finally, the government is inviting consultation on the issue of night flights generally: email your view to night.noise@dft.gsi.gov.uk

The Brockley Bike Rack

After long months of construction work, a small bike shed, with an off-the-shelf bike rack system has finally opened at Brockley Station. Behold.

Fillip for New Cross dining

The Kamayan Supper Club is planning a Filipino experience in New Cross, involving fishballs, kwek-kwek and Kare-Kare. They say:

Of all the Southeast Asian cuisines, Filipino is arguably the least known in the UK, and quite frankly, we think this is a real shame. Combining Southeast Asian ingredients and cooking styles with Chinese recipes and dishes, and overlaying a thick dollop of Hispanic influences (and some more modern American ones!), Filipino food is wonderfully characterful and full of flavour, and reflective of the Philippines’ complex and varied history as a trading hub between East and West. 

And it is because of this that we are launching a Filipino supper club in London. We are two friends who share a passion for Filipino food and want to share that passion with people around us. It’s quite simple, really – we love to socialise, and we love to cook.

Your hosts for the evening: Mae of Pepe’s Kitchen (www.pepes-kitchen.co.uk) and Mark of www.boymestizo.wordpress.com

Location: A secret yet surprisingly easy-to-reach living/dining room in New Cross

Dates and Times: 7pm on Saturday 9th February, Saturday 16th February and Saturday 23rd February

Capacity: 10 people

Recommended Donation: £28 per head, BYO

To book a place, please email Mark at mark_corbs@hotmail.com with the number of guests. Once your booking is acknowledged, please confirm by paying a £15 deposit (details to be provided).

Click here for full details and the menu.

More Nordic Walking

BCers have an insatiable thirst for nordic walking. Instructor Laura writes:

There has been a huge amount of interest since the Brockley Central article about Nordic Walking, so much so that both Jan and Mar courses are fully booked and with waiting lists. I am therefore running another course starting this Sunday at Hilly Fields.

The Nordic Walking technique course will run on two consecutive Sundays, 10th and 17th February at 2 - 3:30pm at Hilly Fields.

This course is suitable to those with good basic level of fitness as we will cover the Nordic Walking technique at a faster pace, the sessions last for 1,5 hours and a lot of walking up and down the hills is involved!

The cost for this 2-session course is £20 per person and poles will be provided.

By completing this course, you will gain basic knowledge of the Nordic Walking technique and will be able to join the regular sessions I teach at Hilly Fields.

If you would like to reserve a place, please do get in touch as soon as possible at brockleynordicwalking@gmail.com

My Budget Valentine

Bullock's arrow flies straight and true. Lewisham Council writes:

Plenty of romance in your soul but not much money in your pocket? You need the alternative Valentine’s Day dinner. Great food, lovely surroundings, a chance to win prizes – and only £20 for three courses. So whether you’re a group or a single, want romance and candlelight or feasting and fun, come and join in.

Phoenix Restaurant, Lewisham College, 7.30pm

Starter: warm beetroot tart tatin with goats cheese mousse and balsamic dressing
Main Course: twelve hour shoulder of lamb and rack of lamb with bubble and squeak cake, confit garlic sauce OR a selection of tempura vegetables, sweet chilli dip and braised rice
Dessert: steamed bachelors pudding with custard followed by coffee or tea and shortbread hearts

For tickets call 020 8314 8636 or email derek.johnson@lewisham.gov.uk Reservations essential.

All proceeds go to the Mayor’s chosen charity, the Lavender Trust.

Masons: The Lost Symbol

BCers report that the Masonic bodge may be about to be fixed. Two readers witnessed movement inside Masons restaurant in Ladywell, which closed in 2011. There were, apparently "men with clipboards" walking around inside last night who "looked like builders".

This is perhaps not the most compelling evidence that a reopening is on the cards, but given that it's lain completely dormant for more than a year, it's encouraging to see some interest in the property, which occupies a prime spot in Ladywell.

With thanks to Daryl and Patrick.

Lewisham A&E:GPs "considering their positions"

Commissioning GP reports:

Seven GPs on the CCG board are said to be “considering their position” after it was announced last week that Jeremy Hunt had ignored their advice over the future of A&E services at Lewisham Hospital.

The walkout would be the first of its kind, and comes after months of protests which culminated last week with Mr Hunt announcing that the most seriously ill patients will now be taken to other hospitals in a bid to divert Government money from Lewisham, South-East London, to a neighbouring NHS Trust which is in danger of going bankrupt.

Dr Helen Tattersfield, chairwoman of Lewisham CCG, said, “There’s a view that if we on the CCG board can’t influence something as important as this then how can we expect to influence anything? It’s a definite option for people, including me, to stand down."

More here.

Martin's Yard unwrapped

Friend of BC, Richard went to get his bike fixed at Brockley Bikes this weekend and got these pictures of Martin's Yard in the process. The new street will consist mostly of live-work units and after a bit of delay, is now nearly finished.

Richard says:

You get a much better view of the development from in the business park than from the road and was surprised how advanced everything was. The development is looking very advanced and they just seem to be finishing off the balconies / walkways and a few bits of external cladding.

The development is intended to create a new little enterprise hub in Brockley, which will boost local employment and opportunity for other local businesses.  We've heard from at least a couple of businesses hoping to move in there when it opens, but it will be a big test of how attractive Brockley has become as a business location.

Petitou, Peckham Rye

63 Choumert Road

If you want a dose of mid-noughties era Brockley, Petitou combines the scruffy charm of Toads Mouth and the simple, delicious brunch menu of Moonbow Jakes

Hidden away in a picturesque spot off Bellenden Road, Petitou is friendly and unfussy. Our group had mackerel pate and pitta, roasted vegetable quiche and a couple of plates of crumpets. Everything, with the exception of the side salad (which was a little dry), was delicious, and the atmosphere was as unhurried as a little park cafe.

Grime Scene: Scene of the Grime

Koder is an irrepressible young Brockley MC who reminds BC of a younger version of ourselves, forever taking to Twitter, to represent SE4. Here's his new Brockley-based video, with a cameo role for ACE vans. It may also be the last time that the MOT garage murals appear in a music video.

Happy Mondays at the Amersham Arms

It's been a long time since we've plugged Happy Mondays (the regular Amersham Arms comedy nights) and the return of Isy Sutie, who plays Catford resident Dobby in Peep Show, seems as good a reason as any to mention it.

Sutie performs next Monday and tickets are available here. The Amersham is an excellent venue for comedy and the team pull in some great names.

Brockley Cross: The Return of the Kings

Cyclist: So, uh, what's the worst part about being old, Alvin? 
Alvin Straight: Well, the worst part of being old is rememberin' when you was young 
- The Straight Story

Everything that has a beginning has an end. Work is due to restart on the Brockley Cross improvement project later this month.

You may remember this little scheme, a much-needed construction gig for Conway that involves tidying up one of the ugliest bits of the area by extending a few pavements, putting in some zebra crossings and making 100 yards of Geoffrey Road go one-way.

Work began nearly a year ago, in March 2012 and we watched in fascination as they pootled back and forth for about three months, managing to do about half the work before downing tools so that the Olympics need not be disrupted by their road closures.

The Olympics came and went, leaves fell and they eventually returned in November, determined to finish the job. The work done in this second phase seems mainly to have involved re-doing the work to the mini-roundabout that they'd done previously and installing a few lights we have remained dark ever since. Having made this progress, Christmas intervened and then the snow came. Some of Conway's trademark pavement clutter got parked in the area, but no work was possible.

Now, the Council confirms that the third episode in this epic trilogy is due to begin. They say:

The new illuminated traffic signs and signposts, which will enable one-way working in Geoffrey Road, should be in place by the middle of next week. We will then construct a traffic island at the mouth of Geoffrey Road, where it meets Brockley Cross. That shouldn't take us more than a couple of days. It’ll then be ready for resurfacing to take place. 

We have made provisional arrangements with Conway's to come on site during the third week of February. Once the resurfacing is complete, we will be able to mark-up the new zebra crossing and open it to pedestrians.