The Catford Bridge Tavern bought by Camden pubco

Pubco Antic has lost its fight to hang on to The Catford Bridge Tavern, a pub the team brought back from the brink and then fought their landlords to prevent it becoming retail. They announced on Twitter:

It is with very heavy heart that we must announce we are closing @catfordtavern. We are all absolutely gutted. Such a huge shame. I guess it's the danger of creating such a fantastic pub. It's all down to the type of lease. Unfortunately these things do happen.

But the good news is that the drinkers of Catford can welcome their new Camden overlords, since the pub has been bought by Camden Bars, the pubco behind the Lock Tavern, which was once twinned with the Amersham Arms in New Cross.

Hopefully, this might spur Antic to refocus their attention on reopening Jam Circus, which languishes up the road in Crofton Park, still scarred by smoke and fire.

Thanks to Matt and Monkeyboy for the spot.

Lewisham Hospital saved

Amazing, wonderful news. Lawyers acting for the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital from the threat the closure of key services say:

The High Court today (31 July 2013) found that the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, had acted outside his powers and therefore unlawfully, in deciding to substantially cut services and close departments at Lewisham Hospital. 

In today’s judgment Mr Justice Silber said that the decision of the Secretary of State must be “quashed” as he had acted outside his powers as Secretary of State, and in breach of the National Health Service Act 2006, when he announced to Parliament that services at Lewisham Hospital would be downgraded and closed. 

The BBC reports:

The judge gave [Hunt] permission to appeal against the decision. Mr Justice Silber said recommendations of the Secretary of State had to have regard to, or be supported by, GP commissioners. It was quite clear that the Lewisham GP commissioners did not give support to the proposals, said the judge. 

He went on: "On the contrary, they strongly opposed them although those GP commissioners in a number of surrounding but different areas were happy with them. I considered that it was the absence of support from the local GP commissioners which constituted an additional reason why the decision of the Secretary of State cannot stand."

Brockley immortalised

Simone writes:

Being a massive fan of Brockley and an artist, I've made some postcards of my favourite local landmarks (Carpet Corner I know is a strange choice of landmark but it makes me happy) and was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a shout out about these packs? I'm hoping to persuade some local shops to stock them.

These came about because ten year ago some pals and I did a billboard campaign called 'Happiness in Brockley' and one of the posters had my rabbit Fluffy and his Dad on Endwell Rd. This is a kind of a follow on from that image (in Brockley).

Visit Simone's blog here.
Brockley Road

Lewisham's green spaces in top 10 nation-wide

Lewisham has won 14 Green Flag Awards from Keep Britain Tidy, giving it the joint-seventh-highest score for local authorities nationally. Green Flags are awarded based on criteria including cleanliness, management and safety.

Lewisham borough picked up 13 Green Flags for its outstanding parks, including Hilly Fields, Ladywell Fields and Telegraph Hill Park while Horniman Gardens, which is managed by the Museum Trust, also collected an award.

Lewisham also retained several Green Flag Community Awards (formally the Green Pennant Award) and picked up a new one for Frendsbury Gardens, the West Brockley park that was transformed in 2008.

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “I’m especially pleased that Frendsbury Gardens has received an award. As one of our newer open spaces, it’s a great example of how a community, supported by the Big Lottery fund, has turned around a disused space into something which is now award-winning.”

Click here for the BC Greenspaces map.

El's Kitchen is hiring again

El from Ladywell deli and caterer El's Kitchen writes:

We are looking for part-time sales staff to join our young and friendly team of foodies.

If you love good food, care about how it’s produced and can commit to working for us during the busy Christmas period, we’d welcome your application.

We are looking for people who can demonstrate:

· A passion for great-tasting British and European food
· A strong customer service ethic and good communication skills
· A desire to deliver great shopping experiences for our customers
· A zeal for cleanliness
· A keen desire to learn more about food production and provenance, sales techniques and customer satisfaction
· The legal right to live and work in the UK
· You need to be aged 18 or older

If you are interested in working with us, please pop into the shop and pick up an application form or email your CV to

Crossrail for Woolwich approved

London Reconnections reports that the planned Crossrail station for Woolwich will now be built, following a long period of wrangling and doubt. This looked inevitable after funding was agreed for preliminary work, but it's nice to have it confirmed. LR says:

Woolwich Crossrail station did not feature in the original Crossrail bill, and it is this which has resulted in a more torturous path to funding and prospective completion.

Finally in July this year a final agreement was reached. Yesterday on 25th July, Lord Attlee announced to Parliament that a compromise between all parties had been agreed. A legally binding agreement was now in place and Crossrail had been instructed to complete the station works. 

The full breakdown of that compromise has yet to emerge. Based on the details available, however, it seems that Crossrail will receive fixed additional funding of £54m to cover the cost of completing the station works. This £54m is made up of contributions from Greenwich Council, additional local developer contributions, funding from Berkeley Homes [full disclosure: a client of BC's employer] and contributions from both the Greater London Authority (GLA) and TfL.

The more transport connections for South East London the better and this project should accelerate the much-needed regeneration of Woolwich. With thanks to Richard on the South East London forum.

The Ladywell Tavern closes for a minimum of two months [UPDATED]

One-time Lewisham pub of the year The Ladywell Tavern, closed at the weekend. The landlord's plan is to shut the pub for a minimum of two months, to allow for refurbishment while the high street roadworks drag on.

The Misty Moon Gallery, located in the pub's premises, will remain open throughout this time.

As we've seen with Jam Circus, pub-reopening timetables can slip badly and it will be reassuring to see the builders and decorators move in. The loss of the Ladywell Tavern, even temporarily, is a big blow for Ladywell, which is now pretty short of places to go in the evenings.

With thanks to Lorna and Melanie for the news.

57 Loampit Hill to reopen as arts space

Mary writes:

We are currently renovating the old chemist shop on 57 Loampit Hill and hope to open it in September as a creative space within the community. We will begin with offering small workshop events - where individuals can learn new skills -traditional and contemporary - make something of quality, tap into their personal creativity and have fun.

The space will also host art shows, exhibitions of work, demonstrations, and offer the opportunity for local upcyclers, crafters and makers to sell their work. Open to ideas it should be a space that changes over time but essentially its all about making - 57 varieties possibly!

Primarily for adults but there will be some family/child friendly activities.

I'm looking for a freelance publicity/marketing professional to join us. Being local is important, with experience in the creative industry and project start ups desirable - I'm keen to tap into local talent. Interested people can contact me for a chat and more info.

Click here to get in touch with Mary.

Brockley hygiene map

The Guardian Data Blog has produced an interactive map of the country, showing those restaurants, cafes, shops and other businesses that have failed hygiene inspections. This is Brockley, with the temporarily-closed Smiles Thai cafe among those that didn't make the grade:

With thanks to Mike.

The Bechdel Test Film Club

Lora: You're aiming high. 
Steve: Why not? It doesn't cost anymore. Don't you believe in chasing rainbows?
- Imitation of Life

The Bechdel Test Film Club's founder Lucy Smee writes:

I started a monthly film club recently (first one was in June) and it's going to be every month on the last Wednesday of the month, the next one being 31 July at 7.30pm.  It's free entry and upstairs in the Gallery at The Amersham Arms.  I'd be very grateful if you could bring it to the attention of your readers.

The name of the club is The Bechdel Test Film Club.  We screen films that pass the test:
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Here's the Facebook page:
People can like it to keep up to date with future events and suggestions for films and so on.

And here's the Facebook event page for July's event:
We're showing Imitation of Life next, so if anyone's planning to come, bring some tissues.

Films that also pass that test include: Aliens, Step Up Revolution and Sharknado. Exciting times lie ahead.

The Friends of Telegraph Hill Park

"How do you kill that which has no life?"
- South Park, Make Love Not Warcraft

The Friends of Telegraph Hill Park went into hibernation but are staging a comeback. Sylvestra Le Touzel and Paul Milnes write:

You may be aware that there is no Friends’ meeting scheduled at the moment, the last having taken place on April 8th. This has happened for various reasons, including some members moving away or resigning due to other commitments. 

As past chairs, we feel it is important to keep the lines of communication with Glendale and Lewisham active in order that the park continues to be maintained in a pleasing way, so we have arranged a meeting for Monday, 29th July, at 8pm in the Hill Station, to which everyone is cordially invited. The purpose will be to explore how we can get the group back on track.


Sooner or later, every article about Brockley cafes descends into a war between two tribes: the creatives, who want to be able to play with their laptops in peace, and the 'yummy mummies' who don't want to be tutted about when they take their kids for something to eat. Now, a couple of Brockley-based Swedish entrepreneurs have launched a company to called Kattoo, which sounds like a Shoreditch start-up but is aimed at anxious parents.

The Standard reported earlier this week:

Entrepreneurs Lena Kyriacou and Susanna Eriksson, who are both Swedish and live in Brockley, have invented a temporary tattoo kit that enables parents to write their phone number on children in case they get lost.

It's a really smart idea and it's lovely to see another flourishing Brockley enterprise. Visit the Kattoo website for more details.

Brockley Jack to close for refurbishment

The Brockley Jack pub in Crofton Park is due to close for refurbishment from July 29th until August 9th. The work will provide the already-handsome pub with a bigger bar, new seating and a bigger garden.

The Brockley Jack theatre will remain open and the programme will continue as normal.

With thanks to Andy.

Lewisham Wine Club

The first rule of Lewisham Wine Club is: You DO NOT TALK about Lewisham wine. Thankfully. Jens writes:

I am setting up a non-profit wine club. The idea is basically for people interested in wine to meet regularly and everybody is supposed to bring a bottle of wine that they consider sharing and discussing with others. 

We will be meeting at the Catford Bridge Tavern and the first meeting is set for August 4th in which the exact set up will be discussed. I hope to find about 10 likeminded people. 

People can get in touch via our Facebook group.

The mysterious tarpaulined object of Shardeloes Road

BCer The Old Trawlerman wants someone to put him out of his misery. He writes:

This mysterious tarpaulined object has been on Shardeloes Road for a couple of months now. Anyone have any idea what it is? Vehicle of the future? Inflatable rubber pasty?


Ian has taken this shot of the mysterious object uncloaked. Still none the wiser:

St John's reborn

The gentle folk of St John's have a new champion. Roger Lewis from the reborn St John's Society writes:

At an AGM held last Wednesday, a new committee of eleven was elected to lead a revived St. John's Society for the next year. Several members of the original Society - established back in 1997 to fight a plan by Lewisham Council to concrete-over the local duck pond - continue on the new committee and provide much-needed historical knowledge. The longest serving resident at the AGM had lived in St. John's for 57 years, the shortest just three months!

The main emphasis for 2013-14 will be on tackling fly-tipping, campaigning for improved roads and pavements, and various community activities - carol singing, 'picnics in the park' and any other bright idea that's suggested. A flier will be distributed to every household in September giving further details for the Society's growth - in the mean time, and if anyone wants to get involved as an active member, please email the new Chairman, Roger Lewis (

A website and St. John's Directory will be created in due course; as well as a welcome for new residents in its geographic focus: inclusive of all households between Brookmill Road and Lewisham Way, the railway embankment at the far end of Albyn Road, and Lucas Street.

No 178 New Cross Road

No 178 New Cross Road is a new cafe for New Cross Gate, which opened earlier this month. The cafe is operated as a social enterprise and serves an eclectic mix of food, from kedgeree and salads to granola, bacon sandwiches and pancakes. Unexceptional from the outside, it's been fitted-out beautifully inside. 

Please let us know what you think.

Pot tipped

When the Crofton Park plant-pot-tipper is finally caught, we will refuse to name them, lest we give them the publicity they crave. Presumably the same divs as the Brockley Cross tree-snapper:

Wuith thanks to Pam.

Tree down

Lynn: Who’s upset you this time?
Alan: Just, people. I just hate the general public.
- I'm Alan Partridge

A newly-planted tree in Brockley Cross has been snapped in two. We must not let sub-human scum put us off tree-planting. More trees, not fewer.

UPDATE: As you can see from the comments section, there has been a spate of these attacks across the area. The Evil Dead had the right idea.

With thanks to Monkeyboy for the photo.

MAX 2014

Homer: Kids: there's three ways to do things; the right way, the wrong way and the Max Power way!
Bart: Isn't that the wrong way?
Homer Simpson: Yeah, but faster!
- The Simpsons - Homer to the Max

On Monday, July 29th, the organisers of the Brockley MAX arts festival, are holding an open meeting to discuss plans for 2014. The team took a break this year but plan on coming back big and bolder next year - aiming to top the 70 events staged in 2012.

If you want to get involved and contribute your ideas and energy, full details of the meeting are available on the Brockley forum.

The Deptford Project relocates to Douglas Square

The Deptford Project will stay in Deptford. Forced to relocate now that the development of the land it sits on is due to begin, there was a risk that the train carriage cafe would be lost to the area entirely. Now Alison writes:

Just thought you'd like to know that I walked past the Deptford Project tonight and there is a sign outside saying they are moving to Douglas Square. Not sure whether this is temporary or permanent, but it's good news that they'll be staying in the area for the time being at least.

Ashby Mews studios approved

The live / work development proposed for Ashby Mews has been approved by Lewisham Council.

The plans, which will create two new two-storey homes and studio spaces along a cratered stretch of mews, had met some opposition from local residents, concerned about their gardens being overlooked. However, sympathetic development of Brockley's mews is the right way forward.

This scheme is of high-quality and should prevent the mews being treated as a dumping ground, as well as providing new homes and space for local enterprise.

Love Songs to the Planet, July 20th

Brockley Park Cars to leave in September

Brockley Park Cars, the car service operating from the garage at 180 Brockley Road, are to vacate the site in September and relocate to new premises in Blackfen.

The move helps pave the way for 180 Brockley Road to become a mixed-use development, but no start date for construction has yet been set.

Lewisham's Secret Gardens

UP Projects' "Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven"
UP Projects says:

Working in partnership with Lewisham Council, we will launch, a series of new public art commissions this summer. Connected by the Waterlink Way, a cycle and foot path that follows the Rivers Pool and Ravensbourne, a series of new, temporary, permanent and digital public art commissions will investigate four parks, responding to their unique characteristics, communities and ecology.

Launching in July 2013, Secret Garden Project Lewisham will manifest in Sue Godfrey Nature Park, Cornmill Gardens, Ladywell Fields and Riverpool Linear & Bellingham Play Park and will encourage people to discover and use urban green space in creative ways. These artworks form part of the pan-London Secret Garden Project, a programme of environmental art commissions curated and produced by UP Projects.

The first commission to launch will be artist in residence, Rebecca Beinart, who will explore Sue Godfrey Nature Park, Deptford, drawing upon its rich history of local activism, trade and the home remedies that has made Deptford High Street renown. Hosting medicine making workshops, monthly shared meals and conversations with local residents, Beinart seeks to question the wider issues surrounding land use/regeneration and departure of plant knowledge amongst urban communities.

Travelling down to the South of the borough, local digital artist duo, Close and Remote, will be taking to the air, water and land on an expedition to offer a new perspective of Riverpool Linear and Bellingham Play Park. Through a series of events, participants will use radio controlled smart technologies, miniature cameras and binaural microphones to capture different vantage points of the River Pool and Ravensbourne. Utilising GPS technology and the captured film footage, they will develop a free mobile app that will lead visitors off the beaten track, to discover the unique soundscape of this ecologically rich park.

Later in the year, two permanent artworks will be developed for Cornmill Gardens and Ladywell Fields, launching in March 2014. Working in consultation with local residents and park users to shape the nature of these interventions, the works will draw upon the unique characteristics of each site.

Emma Underhill, Director, UP Projects said:

“We are really pleased to have the opportunity to take the Secret Garden Project to Lewisham and work in a series of fascinating green spaces that will provide a rich context for artists to respond to both in terms of local heritage and also ecological value. The four commissions that we are developing for Lewisham will be an exciting addition to the wider Secret Garden Project portfolio.”

Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services at Lewisham Council, said: “We are very fortunate to have one of Inner London’s greenest boroughs and our parks are well loved and well used. The Secret Garden Project is a great idea and it should encourage even more people to discover Lewisham’s wonderful green spaces and to look at them from a different perspective.”

Secret Garden Project Lewisham is an UP Projects production, working in close partnership with Lewisham Borough Council, and is supported by the Arts Council England.

Full details of the commissions and associated events will be posted on the project website

Campaign launched to protect Greenwich and Deptford trains to Charing X and London Bridge

A campaign has been launched by a group called the Greenwich Line Users to prevent major cuts to South Eastern train services.

As discussed on the South East London transport forum, the planned three-year disruption of services from South East London through London Bridge is due to begin in 2015:

- 2015/6 Charing Cross services will not stop at London Bridge
- 2016/8 Cannon Street services will not stop at London Bridge

These changes are the a result of Thameslink construction work to expand and modernise London Bridge station. Once work is completed in 2018, the London Bridge serviceswill resume, but Greenwich and Deptford will have lost direct services to Charing Cross or Waterloo East. The group explains:

Once the work is complete there will be no physical track connection that will enable trains to reach Charing Cross. So, after 150 years, the West End will no longer be reached by direct trains. 

The Greenwich Line Users’ Group has been formed to represent the interests of all passengers who use the Greenwich Line. Whilst we recognise that the work at London Bridge will bring about many improvements for passengers generally, it will disadvantage users of the Greenwich Line. Our objective is to remove that disadvantage. Insufficient thought has been given by the Department for Transport to the impact on the Greenwich Line and the possible ways in which direct Charing Cross services could be maintained. Cannon Street is a fine station for the City, but hopeless for getting to and from the West End. 

The Group will be lobbying the Department for Transport, Network Rail and Southeastern trains for a service that meets the needs of South East Londoners. The Users’ Group can be contacted at We will be happy to receive your comments or questions.

The cancellation of Brockley's infrequent direct connections to Charing X some years ago was a relatively minor inconvenience, but Greenwich and Deptford's West End services are much more frequent and would be a consequently greater loss.

Birds Dress Agency up for sale

Monkeyboy spots that the freehold on the Birds Dress Agency property on Malpas Road is now up for sale. Agents KFH say:

Adjoining two storey mid terrace property comprising an inter-communicating vintage clothes shops on the ground floor level with a self-contained entrance to the upper parts. There is a garden at the rear of the two buildings and there is also rear access to the properties via Shardeloes Road. The upper parts comprise 2 self-contained 1 bedroom apartments.

Flying Ants - Day of reckoning

James Lesko: We knew then, that we were being changed... and made part of their world. We didn't know for what purpose... but we knew, we would be told.
- Phase IV

BC's flying ant eruption occurred last weekend, so we fear this might be a little late (or we have unusually precocious ants):

The Society of Biology is calling for records of flying ants to be submitted online at Last year they received over 6,000 reports of flying ants and hope to beat this in 2013.

The 2012 flying ant survey unexpectedly revealed two flying ant days, but will this be the same in 2013? Professor Adam Hart from the University of Gloucestershire is part of the 2nd year of the flying ant survey.

He says: “Each summer flying ants erupt from the ground seemingly without warning, as new queens leave the nest to mate and found their own colonies. “They often emerge simultaneously over large parts of the country, and many people know this as ‘flying ant day’, but we wanted to find out whether there really is one single day.

Interestingly, in 2012 there were two main flying ant days, two weeks apart. But is this the same in other years?

Pictures and experiences can also be shared on Twitter using the hashtag #flyingantsurvey, and photos tagged ‘flyingantsurvey’ on Flickr will be uploaded to our Flickr group.

With thanks to Fabhat.

Brockley Sainsbury's is open

The Sainsbury's Local on Mantle Road opened today. Comments and reviews please!

New Cross Library summer season for kids

Our summer reading challenge for kids is themed ‘Creepy House' and starts from 30th July. Get creative with arts and crafts (mainly Thursdays 2-4pm), magical mystery walks and picnics every Friday (11am-2pm; just turn up).and storytelling sessions (mainly Wednesdays 2.30-3.30pm).

For Alice in Wonderland lovers, the final storytelling event will be a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party  on Wednesday 28th August.

We are continuing the usual programme throughout July and August – including our free and very well attended Baby Bounce sessions, street dance, zumba, knitting and poetry workshops.

You can read the full summer calendar here.

Glass Mill Open Day, July 20th

Fusion writes:

On Saturday 20 July, Lewisham Council and Fusion Lifestyle will be marking the start of the summer holidays with a day of free taster sessions and activities for all ages at Glass Mill Leisure Centre.

Throughout the day, young people will be able to take part in special gym induction sessions and sample classes including boxercise and bootcamp.

Meanwhile, adults can test their dance moves with Zumba, tone their tum with Ab Attack, experience a full body workout with Body Combat or take inspiration from the Tour de France with an RPM class. The gym will also be offering group sessions as well as rowing, sit-up and press-up challenges.

The brand new 10m climbing wall will also be open, with a series of taster sessions for adults and juniors, beginners and experts.

From midday onwards, Glass Mill’s two pools will be dedicated to swimming assessments and fun family swims. There will also be an underwater hockey demonstration from 4pm.

All sessions are free and are offered on a first come first served basis, subject to availability.

Less sporty members of the family will be kept entertained by face painting, special appearances by mascots, Olly the Octopus and Zoggy the Seal, and fantastic prize draws and competitions.

The award-winning Rhubarb & Custard Café, located in Glass Mill’s foyer, will be serving special hand-made picnic food which can be purchased and then enjoyed in the beautiful surroundings of the adjacent Cornmill Gardens.

For the full programme of activities, visit

Coote & Tinney's on Breakspears

Adrian writes:

This notice is from the collection of Museum of Music History ( - a garden party presumably, 123 years ago this Wednesday, hope they enjoyed the same weather!

Big Red Kids

BC threw a kids' party at the Big Red pizza bus recently, which is a great place to book in the morning, for the price of a bulk-load of margaritas. And we were pretty pleased with ourselves until a couple of weeks' later our daughter went to an even better party at Big Red. 

The critical difference between the two parties was that ours relied on us for entertainment, whereas the rival party had booked Tea Dance for Little People, who staged some sort of gonzo theatre vampire experience, which evidently blew our efforts out of the water. This summer, the TD4LP crew are going to be the children's entertainers in-residence. 

Brockley Death Machine

Brockley-based band Little Death Machine's video was filmed at Deptford's Utrophia. Here you go.

Hilly Fields pop-up French dining

Andy writes:

I'm a local chef and Brockley resident.

Fred and Ruth at Pistachio's in Hilly Fields have kindly let me use the cafe on Friday, July 26th to do a pop up restaurant night with a French theme. I'll be offering canapés and three courses for £32.

Tickets can be purchased by leaving a 50% deposit and your email address at the cafe. Here's the menu:

Canapés on arrival 
Choice of Scottish langoustine or steamed artichoke heart with salsa verde and a salad of crudités 

Your choice of Bouillabaisse with baton ficelle bread and rouille or 
Savoury tart tatin of pears, figs and Brie de meaux 

A selection of hand made patisserie with creme anglaise and summer fruit 

Anyone making a reservation will have to let us know what they want at the same time to keep ordering costs and therefore ticket prices down. More events planned for the rest of summer. 

We call ourselves The Black Cat Bistro. Email me here or call on 07804 702221 if you want any more info. It should be a great night in the sun.

Breakspears Mews Community Garden

The Standard on Forest Hill

The Evening Standard's Homes & Property features Forest Hill today and lists being near the buzz of Brockley among its selling-points:

The arrival of the east London Overground train service has turned Forest Hill into a favourite with families who love its roomy, good-value homes and easy 25-minute commute to Canary Wharf.

A leafy south London suburb with breathtaking views over the capital, Forest Hill sits near lively East Dulwich, Brockley and Sydenham...

The paper appropriates a BC line, claiming that "London’s centre of gravity seems to have shifted east, making Forest Hill perfectly placed for commuters."

Full article here.

Little Nan's staying put

Little Nan's is a bar that opened as a pop-up in Deptford Broadway's Bunker Club earlier this year. Since then, things have been going so well, they're staying put and celebrate becoming a permanent local fixture this Saturday. Nan explains:

We converted the disused back room of the Bunker Club into a bar which everyone could enjoy. Originally we set out to be a cocktail bar, but I soon realised that it was becoming a regular hang-out, as well as seeming to love our cocktails! So I created more and have changing specials. 

Last month we had a chat with Anne B from Bunker club and decided to go long term with Little Nan's. The feedback we have been getting is great, and we are getting regular hires on the days that we are not open. So as long as we are used we will stay!

Cash rich, thyme poor

Brockley's got another free cash machine, outside the new Sainsbury's Local, which opens later this month.

This brings the total near the station to five, plus one in Crofton Park, one in Ladywell and another on Lewisham Way. That's nearly one for every actual shop in the area and compares with none near the station and one in the whole of greater Brockley only six years ago, a situation BC used to grumble about to the cash machine gods.

Still relatively few places to buy good fresh produce, but hopefully the new Sainsbury's will help on that score too. With thanks to Scott for the heads-up. Usual full disclosure: Sainsbury's is a client of my employer, Edelman.

Chair of governors at Turnham Primary claims for Menorca travel

If you live in Menorca, don't become the chair of governors at a Brockley school. The BBC reports:

The chair of governors of a school in south-east London claimed expenses for travel from his home in Menorca in Spain, the BBC has learnt. In two months, £286 was claimed in air and rail fares for Cliff Pearce, chair of Turnham Primary School, to attend meetings. Lewisham Council identified his "unusual expenses" and concerns over human resources at the school.

More details here.

Sink the South Circular!

The Evening Standard reports that the Mayor of London's transport advisers are recommending that the South Circular should be driven underground, to free up more space on the surface and make the areas it travels through more pleasant to live and breathe in.

The plan is part of a series of recommendations, budgeted at £30bn, to improve road transport while tackling problems like air pollution and making better use of London's limited space. The Standard says:

The bold proposal is greater in ambition than the current £15 billion Crossrail project under the capital and is the most eye-catching plan from the influential Roads Taskforce.

It is the first strategic review for decades of London’s roads which Boris Johnson believes have been overlooked even though they account for 80 per cent of passenger trips. Sources stress the tunnelling is not designed to make way for more cars but to improve the space at ground level for pedestrians, cyclists and parks while improving the environment by cutting vehicle emissions.

They insist a radical solution is needed. Central London has lost 30 per cent of its capacity for motor vehicles in a decade to schemes such as cycle lanes and pedestrianisation. The task is made urgent because London’s population is forecast to grow by 1.25 million by 2031, adding 14 per cent to road congestion.

Much though the good folk of Forest Hill bridle at any suggestion that the South Circular spoils their home, the leaden scar it carves through this part of London is a big problem and the respiratory problems caused by car pollution alone demand a radical approach. The £30bn cost of the project could be significantly offset by using the reclaimed land for residential and commercial purposes.

TfL is now due to look at the proposals.

Driving schools in Brockley

Please post your recommendations here.

Bright Lights at the Amersham

Tom writes:

Bright Lights is back, summer is here (kind of) and we've got another awesome night of music lined up for you lucky cat boys and cat girls! The perfect way to cure your Glasto blues...

Ned Roberts

Bairbre Anne

Tom Jacobson

Nancy Goose


It's just £4 on the door (£3 with NUS), there's a totally amazing line-up of artists playing an awesome intimate setting. Tickets here.

Wet Hot Brockley Summer

Pinbacker: "One man, alone with God."
- Sunshine

@encosion tweets: This is how we sunbathe in Brockley

Tories call for investigation of Labour's Lewisham Deptford selection

The Unite / Labour controversy is threatening to envelop the Lewisham Deptford, following the recent selection of Unite worker Vicky Foxcroft as Labour's candidate for the safe seat in the next election. The Daily Mail reports that:

Scotland Yard was today asked to investigate fresh claims of law-breaking over union influence in the Labour party. The scandal deepened today as the Tories called on the Met Police to investigate allegations of orchestrated behaviour by Unite in Ilford North and Lewisham Deptford...

The letter [from Tory Vice-Chairman Bob Neill] also points to claims from a London Labour activist Mandy Richards that Unite is ‘bankrolling’ a number of ‘orchestrated’ campaigns. She singles out Lewisham Deptford for 'special attention'. Mr Neill says the activities, if true, could be in breach of the Fraud Act 2006 under the terms of ‘false misrepresentation’ or fraud by abuse of position.

Labour insiders had been keen to stress that problems with Unite's practices in Labour constituency parties was contained to Falkirk alone. A Labour source said: 'This is a silly political stunt.

The New Statesman reports that Labour is arguing that the Tories are wasting police time:

In neither case is there any evidence that illegal activity has taken place. Offering members free Labour membership in return for meeting Len McCluskey is not against the law and nor is "bankrolling" or "orchestrating" campaigns.

The Unite saga has already drawn blood and it's clear that we're only at the start of this news cycle, so it seems unlikely that this issue is going to go away soon.

Good food. Fine ales. Total Annihilation.

Wanted: man with beard to give home to 100 bottles of beer faced with possible destruction. Julie writes:

My dad loves a 'job lot' auction, and for this reason a few years ago he bought me 100-odd vintage bottles of vintage (undrinkable) beer for Christmas. (I got off lightly, my sister got 2000 disposable plastic aprons).

They commemorate things like Charles & Di's wedding and the Silver Jubilee. Mostly from the 70s and 80s, they're almost all limited/special editions, and though not really worth money, they are pretty ace. (Not all are in good condition, some are a little moldy from being in my shed).

So I'd love them to go to a good home. Perhaps one of the local pubs that's being done up might want them for display? I'll happily give them away free to a good home (not someone who'll just ebay them).

If you will love these poor creatures unconditionally, email Julie here.

Festival in the Forest

Last weekend we went along to Devonshire Road Nature Reserve's first 'Festival in the Forest', in search of some greenery, live music, and a few posh beers (see below). As an unexpected bonus, the sun was shining on us.

The site is accessed via a narrow strip from the road, where a small hut and decked area sits. This acted as the 'main stage'. Venture down the hill into the reserve, and you'll find a meadow, where another gazebo provided the acoustic stage - very fitting for the tranquil location. There was still enough space that you could lose yourself in the reserve if you needed to get away from the crowds.

A BBQ fed the masses, and the event was sponsored by Rolls Beer of Portugal, which, as one BC commenter pointed out, was odd given the growing local ales scene. However, it turns out that one of the organisers was the sole UK importer of the beer, so things began to make sense. For the record, it's a fine brew - dark, porter-style, but still refreshingly sweet.

Felix, of School of Rock fame, compared and oversaw the bands, making it all look far too easy. We didn't see every band, but the music was a mixture of unplugged indie, blues and knees-up folk. The latter was admirably showcased by festival closers Hungry Grass, who made sure everyone was dancing, and probably had the longest encore in local festival history.

The atmosphere was something like a Brockley Max closing night. A good cross-section of the wider community coming together, with many familiar faces from the local music scene, all in the mood for a good party. Hats off to Jake who made it happen, and all who were involved. We hope to see you again next year.

Happy heatwave

The advert on wheels parked on Coulgate Street is due to be destroyed. With thanks to Monkeyboy for the photo.

Shed City

Friend of BC Alys writes:

Unfortunately, I have left Brockley for the bright lights of Croydon. I am, however, fortunate enough to be employed as 'Peabody Housing Association's Men's Shed Project Co-ordinator', and am in the process of creating a Men's Shed in Deptford.

Men's Sheds are a concept originating in Australia, and becoming big here in the UK

We are inviting men over 50 to come and use the space  and tools to make things together, or individually. To socialise over a cup of tea, or to knuckle down and start making things.

There are no set times of operation at the moment, but we will open it on the days/ times that suit those that would like to use it.

We are also looking for tool donations, and volunteers who would like to help out at the project, full training will be offered, and expenses covered.

I can be contacted on I will also have a stall at Lewisham People's Day on July 13th, if people would prefer to talk to me in person.

Crab is King

Fry: My fellow fish monsters, far be it for me to question your stupid civilization or its dumb customs, but is squeezing each other's brains out with a giant nutcracker really going to solve anything?
- Futurama

Brockley postcards from Arlo&Moe

Crofton Park cafe Arlo&Moe is now selling Brockley postcards, designed by sometime BC contributor Brockley Sarah.

Little treasures: Talking Heads

Towards the top of Hilly Fields, painted on to a wall facing the park,is a little work of art partly obscured by a hedge - a barcoded mural of two heads. If you know its story, please share.

Brockley Open Studios this weekend

Some of Aimee Henderson's work
The 2013 Brockley Open Studios takes place this weekend.

Artist Aimée Henderson is one of the 42 local artists taking part this year, and explains what the event means to her:

"I am opening up the wee studio at the back of my flat this year to take part. I have just completed my first year of the MFA Painting programme at the Slade School of Fine Art and I am using this opportunity to raise funds for my tuition fees for my final year.

"The Brockley Open Studios is an incredible opportunity to connect with the local community and show my work to a wider audience.

"I moved here from Scotland a year and a half ago to study at the Slade School of Art so am still new to the area. This is the first year I have taken part and it feels great to be a part of such an artistic community! I have thoroughly enjoyed flyering for the event and meeting other artists in the area."

To download a map of the event, click here.

Brockley Rise Adult Education

The Brockley Rise Adult Education Centre opens for enrolment on Saturday, 6 July, between 9am–2pm for courses starting from September 2013.

 The centre offers a wide range of courses (BC can recommend the pottery course) and you can view the full list here.

Boots N Blisters N Brockley

Emma writes:

We are a line dance club called Boots N Blisters and have been running in Brockley for 17 years. Originally at St Cyprians, Brockley Rd, when it was a social club, and when that closed moved to St Hilda's main hall.

We are a friendly and informal club, heavily populated by locals but with some coming from as far afield as East London (thanks to the new line) and Orpington.

We have an early session for beginners and always welcome newcomers.

I am a qualified fitness instructor and, as part of Boots N Blisters also run 'Zumba with Emma', before the line dancing on a Monday evening at 6.30pm. It is a great time slot for those calling in on their way home from work. We also have mums with young kids who are able to pop out at this time, when dad gets in, have their hour of 'me' time, and get back home in time to put the kids to bed. Those without kids enjoy that they have done their exercise and the night is still young! Quite a few also stay on for the line dance afterward- with beginners from 7.15- 8.30 and all levels (over lapping) from 8-10pm.

We have a new website

Palestinian pop-up

Cristiana writes:

I'm organising an event in support of a project I'm personally involved in: Bait al Karama, the first women led Palestinian cookery school of the West Bank. The event is going to be a Palestinian dinner with music at the Hill Station Cafe on Sunday 14th of July. A rare opprotunity to taste some Palestinian specialities such as bread with zatar, fattush salad, foul, maqlouba. On you can see what we do in Nablus.

Brockley's Rock turn cake-pushers

Brockley's Rock, the Brockley Road fish and chip restaurant, is offering free cake again. The team say:

This week we are celebrating our second birthday. We can’t believe two years have gone by so quickly. As a community you welcomed us, making us feel right at home which is why we just love filling your tummies with yummy fish and chips.

Since our last birthday we have introduced Gluten Free Tuesdays and are still keeping our promises to be as ethical and sustainable as possible, which is why all our fish is responsibly sourced and the majority of our fish is line caught.

We will be celebrating by teaming up with Stacey from Pat-a-Cake, giving away hand-made tasty cupcakes with every portion of fish and chips on Thursday the 4th of July, so make sure you come on down to wish us Happy Birthday!

Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries open day

Sunday, July 14th, 11am - 4.30pm

To celebrate their sixth birthday, the Friends of Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries have chosen to stage a photographic exhibition of monuments and wildlife in Ladywell Chapel and host guided walks, rather than dance on people's graves.

Details here.

Save Lewisham A&E campaign heads to high court

The three-day Judicial Review of Jeremy Hunt's plans to downgrade Lewisham Hospital begins today.

Lawyers from Leigh Day, on behalf of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, will argue that the decision to substantially cut some of Hospital’s services in three years’ time is unlawful and they will ask the Courts to quash it and ask the Secretary of State to reconsider.

The campaigners also point to a report published yesterday by Prof Allyson Pollock, professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary, University of London, which claims that the major closures, redundancies, sell-offs and service reconfigurations imposed on the hospital, and more widely across the South London Healthcare NHS Trust by the special administrator appointed by the secretary of state, do not serve patient interests whose needs, prof Pollack claims “…have been, at best, down-played and at worst ignored.”

Writing in the Guardian today, campaigner Shannon Hawthorne says:

As a resident of the south London borough of Lewisham, for me, today is a very significant day. After months of fundraising, protesting and petitioning, the community-led Save Lewisham hospital campaign is heading to the high court. The aim? To challenge plans to close the successful, solvent hospital's existing A&E, maternity, adults' and children's acute wards, and critical care unit, all to bail out a failing neighbouring NHS trust.

By approving the cuts at Lewisham, the health secretary sent out a clear message: any hospital, regardless of quality or financial solvency, can be subject to closures if it fits with the government's wider agenda.

Full article here.

The Blythe Hill Festival, July 6th

BrocSoc BBQ 2013

Brockley Society Barbecue, Friday 5 July, 7.30pm, Hilly Fields Stone Circle

Bring friends and family – meet others from the Brockley area. Some food and refreshments are provided – and bring your own to cook on BrocSoc's large barbecue. All welcome!

New Mental Health Service for Lewisham

Mental health charity, Bromley Mind, launches a new service from 1st July. The Mind Community Support Service in Lewisham is focused on adults affected by mental health problems whose needs are most appropriately met outside of statutory mental health services.

The Mind Community Support Service in Lewisham will work with adults affected by mental health problems for up to six months.  It will support individuals to plan for the future given their personal interests and skills, develop life skills including managing finances and access support and new experiences in the local community.

Funders of the service (London Borough of Lewisham and Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group) have also announced that additional funding has been identified to expand the mental health support team.  As a result, the service can provide support to older adults as well as those aged 18-65.

The team of a Service Manager and six Mental Health Advisors will be based in central Lewisham.  Referrals from GPs, mental health and social care professionals are being accepted as of 1 July 2013.  Adults affected by mental health problems living in Lewisham or registered with a Lewisham GP can approach the service directly to request an assessment to find out if they qualify for support from the service.

For more information about the service, please contact Community Support Service Manager, Antonio Danzi at or 07734 857303.