Best New High Street Business 2014 - The Brockley Deli

Congratulations to The Brockley Deli, winner of this year's Best Newcomer Award, thanks to a record public vote. The Deli and The Proud Sow butcher dominated the vote in a highly competitive field and were able to mobilise their fan bases very effectively.

In the end, the right newcomer won. The Proud Sow and third-placed LDN Beer Dispensary set similarly high standards, but they were standing on the shoulders of giants - building on the goodwill of established businesses and the popularity of existing high-streets. The Brockley Deli came from nowhere and settled in the most unpromising of locations, to become a smash hit.

In terms of the evolution of Brockley's town centre, the arrival of The Brockley Deli ranks alongside The Broca on Coulgate Street (which begat Brown's and Degustation) and The Orchard (which showed that Brockley was ready for a different kind of night-time experience than the Barge offered and paved the way for The Gantry). If it succeeds in dragging the town centre towards Brockley Cross, it will have achieved the impossible.

Any business whose founders have more powerful rose-tinted spectacles than even ours deserves to win this award. And for the first time, this year's winners will be given an actual certificate, to decorate their loos with, as they wish.

The pantheon of legends now includes:

Best Newcomer 2014 - The Brockley Deli
Best Newcomer 2013 - The Malaysian Deli
Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant
Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

Did 2014 go to plan?

Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an "O" 
And a wheelbarrow full of surprises; 
If you ask for a bat, or for something like that, 
He has got it, whatever the size is.
- AA Milne

Before we make our predictions for 2015, here's a recap on what we foresaw this time last year:

1. Lewisham Way would buck its ideas up, led by a new-look Albertines pub and an expanded Meze Mangal. 

Well fire put paid to the Albertine's dream (although it's been repaired quickly) and for the most part, Lewisham Way remains stubbornly moribund. The race is on to see whether a new pub can establish itself before its new residents snuff that prospect out. However, we called it right when we said the Tyrwhitt Road corner shop would finally get a new tenant. So we're giving ourselves half a point.

2. Goldsmiths would start to transform New Cross (for the better)

As we said at the time, we had some insider knowledge on this one, but the prediction relied on things working out as hoped (which they often don't). A raft of refurbishments and announcements for new facilities means we can give ourselves a point without blushing.

3. Posh developers would move into the area, proposing all sorts of grand residential designs

Not really. Though we did see a few grands projets in the Telegraph Hill and Brockley Conservation Areas and a hell of a lot of other schemes, but they were mostly for small homes, not mansions. No points.

4. The area would join Primrose Hill as a retreat for celebrities, following Professor Green's lead

Did it hell. Still, we got Joss Whedon, Chris Evans (not that one) and Damon Albarn at the Rivoli and Shia Lebeouf having another punch up at the Hobgoblin. Richard Bacon was spotted at #ModelMarket. Does that earn a point? No.

5. We would finally get a new restaurant in Brockley

However strong the wind in our sails, never underestimate Brockley inertia. The LDN Beer Dispensary opened and served a mean burger. The Brockley Deli provided another place to sit and eat a croissant. Lewisham Arthouse turned itself into a pop-up dining venue. But none of these things counts as a proper place to sit down and have a full meal from a varied menu, 52 weeks a year. We came close, but all this adds up to merely half a point.

Two points out of a possible five. 2014 was a surprising year, but in all the wrong ways as far as our predictions were concerned. This is a disappointing result - BC will strive to do better with our 2015 predictions, coming up.


Rabbi Scott: You have to see these things as expressions of God's will. You don't have to like it, of course. 
- A Serious Man

This was a year for deeds, not words - a moment when promises finally materialised and everything in Greater Brockley got bigger and better until we tweaked the nose of God.

At the end of 2013, we reflected on a frustrating year of pub and shop closures and of promise unfulfilled. We consoled ourselves that "the pipeline for 2014 looks strong." In fact, we had a gusher.

Most excitingly, the gap between demand and supply for places to go at night narrowed. This was a vintage year for local pubs. The Honor Oak, The Waverley and The Montague Arms were all reopened by passionate new owners, while great new bars including The LP Bar, VinylThe Job Centre and The LDN Beer Dispensary launched. Existing places like The Talbot, The Fox and Firkin and The Brockley Barge upped their games and The Catford Bridge Tavern got a new owner who means business. Local nightlife is no longer a contradiction in terms.

Everywhere burst with energy and optimism.

In Deptford, a raft of new major new developments began or were revealed, promising a new urban landscape of remodelled wharves, re-used arches and ramps and regenerated creekside. The whole area will be a building site for the next few years, but there will be circuses as well as bread.

The Goldsmiths masterplan began to take shape in New Cross, with a new music studio, a remodelled church, facelifts for two of the area's most iconic buildings, and detailed plans for a new gallery.

Peckham reached a tipping point, so that it no-longer has to put up with being labelled "the new" anything. It now stands alongside Dalston and Brixton as one of the most important and exciting parts of young London, with rooftop cinemas, hardcore gyms and arcade game bars dribbling from the Peckham spring.

Lewisham, which produced a summer blockbuster in the shape of #ModelMarket, showed there's more to #Newisham than just the copse of tall buildings that has begun to sprout this year.

Brockley doesn't have the same space or potential for development, but every available scrap of land caught developers' attention and every gap will be filled, producing more floor space on our high streets in 2015. The most important site in the area is 180 Brockley Road, the former MOT garage, which was demolished in 2014, to pave the way for a new mixed-use building. Next year, we'll find out whether it will create a coherent town centre or set the area's progress back - but the news that its main tenant will be another supermarket was underwhelming.

Developers' appetite for Brockley wasn't a surprise, but the public appetite to sit on the pavement at Brockley Cross was gobsmacking. The Brockley Deli pioneered the double-roundabout's transition from gang culture to cafe culture and epitomised Brockley's freshly-grown chutzpah by taking a punt on an abandoned newsagent to create a destination venue. A hairdresser, an estate agent and a hardware store followed suit. Brockley Cross is still SE4's most unsightly spot, but it's heading in the right direction, given a shot in the arm by its new enterprise village.

The Greater Brockley explosion forced the hand of our central planners, who delivered an expanded ELL in double-quick time, released plans to calm two of the area's busiest roads and pictures of Crofton Park's shiny new trains, confirmed plans to bring the Bakerloo line this way, mooted a new circle line to connect Brockley and Peckham, a foot bridge to connect Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf and a rail terminus to connect the ELL with the Central Line.

In 2012, Michael Bloomberg said: "Talent flocks to where the most exciting things are happening – in music, art, design, food, shops and technology. Economists may not say it this way but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts.” In 2014, the former NYC Mayor moved to London to be closer to the excitement of SE4 and the talent flocked to Greater Brockley. Hipster is a lazy word to throw around, but it's a pretty useful catch-all term with which to describe a year of urban railway garden dreams, sourdough pizza places, kitsch nameskickstarter fishbars, winning street art festival bids and Joss Whedon.

But hipsters, on-trenders, developers, media industry professionals, young people, pop-up entrepreneurs, Hollywood moguls - none of these newcomers could dent the area's essential Brockleyness. No sir - in 2014, Greater Brockley proved you can have it all: Falling crime and poverty; Improving schools; Rising house prices that somehow remain below the London average; Better transport links; Cool new stuff; Cool old stuff. And no comeuppance!

But our God is a vengeful God. We flew too close to the sun and he clipped our wings, sending 'biblical floods' to an unfloodable area, causing buses and pubs to burst spontaneously into flames and raining a plague of Labour councillors down upon us to dominate the Lewisham dojo.

The prospects for 2015 look even brighter. A pop-up furniture shop should become a new cafe, a new restaurant will open on the west side, parents will get a new place to stash their young kids, #ModelMarket will morph into a permanent roof top venue in central Lewisham and a clutch of new high street businesses will open in Crofton Park.

We've never had it so good. Expect locusts to descend on our new community gardens in 2015.

Dig This repotted

New Cross plant shop Dig This has found a new home, moving up the hill from next to the Hobgoblin to a shop next to the Venue, at 6 Clifton Rise. On the New Cross forum, Tamsin writes:

"Lovely shop space, café area at the front. Same goods as before but the vinyl easier to browse and playing as background music. Another plus point is selling re-fills of olive oil by the half litre."

Two major new developments proposed for Deptford Creekside

Major residential developments are one of the defining themes of 2014 and squeaking in before the close the year are these two consultations, down the road in Deptford, either side of the Laban Centre.

Creekside East (above) would create two new tall buildings and 249 apartments for rent, next to the Creekside development, which is at last starting to fill up at ground level, with a gym, contemporary furniture shop and nursery helping to fill the units.
Kent Wharf (above) runs alongside Deptford Creek itself and its redevelopment would add another 143 homes to the area, housed in three main blocks.

Although the existing Creekside development looks like an ungainly grey slab from a distance, up close it has succeeded in creating a promising public square, shielded from the busy Creek Road. All it needs now is people to use it.
Creekside square - just add people
Pedestrians coming from Deptford town centre rarely make it past the Laban Centre and no one walking from Greenwich ever bothered negotiating the unforgiving road system to explore Creekside, so if the community at this end of town is going to have a chance of being self-sustaining, it's going to need more residents of its own. Filling these locations with decent residential buildings will help.

Please vote for Newcomer of the Year 2014

Time to vote for the Best Newcomer 2014 - an award which celebrates the best new local high street business of the year.

As is tradition, only businesses in the Brockley, Telegraph Hill and Ladywell areas are counted - which is a mercy, because this is the year when Greater Brockley blew-up, with sour dough pizza restaurants in Honor Oak, controversial bars in Deptford, hipster nirvanas in Lewisham and themed cafes in New Cross. We also saw the welcome return of great pubs including the Montague Arms, the Waverley Arms and The Honor Oak. More on the Greater Brockley explosion in our round-up of the year, coming soon.

Even excluding the wider area, this has been another great year for local start-ups, with twelve new places shortlisted for the vote, serving a wide range of needs and constituencies.

Ladywell's entries on this year's list are new custodians of retiring local heroes, including a new deli, a new butcher, a new art shop and a new park cafe - but each is doing things in their own way and so earns their place on the list.

It's been another big year for local pop-ups, but only permanent new businesses earn a place on the shortlist. Some pop-ups, such as the new furniture shop on Tyrwhitt Road, may morph into permanent residents and earn a place on next year's list.

Here, in alphabetical order, are this year's candidates:

The Brockley Deli
The CCC Club
Cooper's Bakehouse
KR's Barber Station
The Larder
The LDN Beer Dispensary
The Proud Sow
10,000 Hands at Ladywell Fields

Please vote now using the poll on the right hand side. The winner will be announced on December 31st. For a list of the previous winners of this illustrious title, please click here.

Happy Christmas 2014

Charlie: I don't know if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school, and you helped me.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Happy Christmas to all Brockley Central readers - and particular thanks to everyone who has contributed articles and ideas this year. Couldn't do this without you.

11-storey tower proposed for Loampit Vale

Plans have been submitted for the:

"Demolition of existing shop, workshop and 5 no. bedsits at 87-89 Loampit Vale, SE13 and the construction of a part 4, part 11 storey building comprising 49 self-contained dwellings (20 x 1 bedroom, 18 x 2 bedroom and 11 x 3 bedroom); together with four car parking spaces, landscaping and amenity space."

This scheme, by housing association Family Mosaic, is significant in size and would drag the growing Lewisham cluster of tall buildings west, up Loampit Vale, past the railway bridge, which until now has represented a natural firebreak - or as the application would have it: a barrier to growth.

The building would replace a shop front, which is overshadowed by the bridge and an alleyway, which are squished between the bridge and the Tesco garage - making it an unpromising spot for retail. The high rise element would create a tapering effect from the main cluster on the other side of the bridge and make living in such an unpromising spot more palatable.

On balance then, probably good news. But this building is big enough to merit some hefty S106 contributions towards the local community.

Thanks to Joe for the tip off.

Free Christmas and Boxing Day get-togethers

The Brockley Society's Clare Cowen has produced a round-up of local events for people who might otherwise be alone this Christmas:

Deptford Methodist Church, 1 Creek Road, SE8 3BT
A 10.30 service or just come at 11.30 for welcome, tea and coffee + 3-course lunch followed by games and entertainment, finishing at 3.30pm. Phone Melissa on 020 8692 0048 to confirm numbers and discuss transport

All Saints, Monson Road, SE14 5EH
Mass in the Community Hall at 11am. Drop in for traditional lunch at 1pm, followed by entertainment + tea, cakes and sandwiches. No charge for anything. Phone Father Owen on 020 7639 3497 as some transport may be available.

St John's Church, St John's Vale, corner Lewisham Way, SE8 4EA
Lunch from 12.30pm. Contact Peter on 07786 160 997 or to book in advance and ask about limited transport options.

Cummin' Up Restaurant & Take-away, 389 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6NZ
FREE Christmas give-away. Richard Simpson and family cook traditional British Christmas Day fare, plus jerk chicken, rice & peas and mixed salad 1pm to 6pm. 020 8690 9167

Boxing Day - Friday 26 December. From 12noon to about 4pm
The Hill Station, Kitto Road, SE14 5TY.
Anyone feeling the let-down after Christmas is welcome to come along and bring any leftovers they have to share - or just bring themselves! There will be hot drinks, biscuits, cake and company. All FREE

Central Line interchange for ELL could come as part of new Shoreditch terminus

Shoreditch's continued growth as a major employment cluster and the arrival of Crossrail in 2018 could provide the motivation and means for the transport authorities to create a new interchange between the East London Line and the Central Line.

Citymetric reports that Network Rail has proposed a major new rail terminus at Shoreditch - the first new London terminus since 1899 - to enable more people to access the area and take some of the strain off Liverpool Street, which is bursting at the seams.

The new terminus would serve developments like Bishopsgate Goods Yard
With major Shoreditch schemes like the redevelopment of Bishopsgate Goods Yard (pictured) at an advanced stage, new transport capacity is required.

As Citymetric point out, a new terminal served only by the East London Line won't work, so they will need to create an interchange with the Central Line, which many people argued should have been included in the original scheme, but the lack of capacity on the Central Line was a major factor that counted against the idea. Crossrail, however, should address that problem, alleviating the overcrowding.

The ELL is already getting a Crossrail interchange at Whitechapel in 2018. A Central Line interchange in the 2020s would be another useful new connection. But a Terminus at Shoreditch would pose even more questions about the long-term future of the ELL, which is already struggling to meet the demand of South East Londoners for good connections.

More capacity on the ELL and an accelerated Bakerloo Line extension might be needed, to unlock the potential of the City's eastern fringes.

Park for free in Lewisham tomorrow

For the final shopping weekend before Christmas, Lewisham Council is waiving parking fees at the car parks it owns, to encourage people in the borough to shop locally.

For the full list of participating car parks, click here.

Anatomy of a Pop Up

The pop-up shop on the corner of Lewisham Way and Tyrwhitt Road is slowly unfurling. As was predicted on the previous thread, it's a furniture shop, which complements Aladdin's Cave opposite.

Local Samaritans this Christmas

There is a Lewisham, Greenwich and Southwark Branch of Samaritans, which will offer a listening ear over Christmas, with volunteers available round the clock over the festive period, providing a safe space for anyone who needs to talk.

As well as being the most wonderful time of the year, it's also a period of acute stress and loneliness for many. The service is particularly keen for men to get in touch, since their research shows men are much less likely to seek counselling until a crisis point has hit.

Click here for the details of the local Samaritans branch and donate to the service here.

Seriously bro, do you even lift?

The Brockley lovelock is already starting to have its malign effect. Only a few weeks after the long-awaited and over-engineered lift at Brockley Station opened, it is now closed until further notice due to a fault.

With thanks to Monkeyboy for the heads-up.


After the Paris love locks brought down a bridge, the philophiles have moved on to Brockley Station, leaving this lock, perhaps as a symbol of their love for Brockley itself, or perhaps as a tribute to the godfather of the green politics movement, James Lovelock.

Sorting office hours should be for life, not just for Christmas

Melvyn wants to round up a posse of local residents to lobby for longer hours at Brockley Sorting Office. He writes:

I was so used to having to wait until Saturday to pick up packages that wouldn’t fit through the letterbox, that I almost missed the revised Xmas hours when the last advice card was left - they now open from 6.30 through to 17.30 Monday to Friday.

I at first thought this a welcome change to the ridiculously short window of time we normally have to collect parcels, but I was told it’s for the Xmas period only.

When I asked where to write to request the current service be extended all year around I was told that Royal Mail Customer Service was the probably only avenue.  Shame.  There must be some way to collectively put some pressure on Royal Mail to extend the old hours to something more practical? 

If you want to join Melvyn's movement for change, let him know in the comments below.

Tyrwhitt Road Pop-Up

When almost all other retail locations in Brockley have been occupied, the question of why this one has remained empty for so long is a mystery.

Nicely refurbished, on a parade of other businesses, round the corner from a busy pub, just down the road from Brockley Market and just up the road from a growing residential population on Loampit Vale, it may not get much footfall but it's nice and accessible and would suit a cafe or similar.

Perhaps it's a little small or a little pricey, but we were going to foretell its occupancy next year as one of our predictions for 2015. So it's very nice to see someone is going to do something with it soon. The question is: What kind of pop up?

Orange Mirror - Sainsbury's Double Act

Following the news that Sainsbury's plans to open in the new development at 180 Brockley Road, the company has confirmed that it will operate stores on both the east and west side of the tracks. A representative of Sainsbury's, Alistair Gordon, has been in touch to say that:

I am happy to confirm that our proposals have been approved by Lewisham Council, and we hope that both stores will complement each other in serving the local community.

From reviewing the response to your recent blog articles I can see that there was some confusion amongst your readers as to whether the existing store on Mantle Road will remain open. I just wanted to clarify that it is our intention for both stores to work alongside each other and operate on both sides of Brockley station serving separate catchment areas.

This means that there will be no fewer than 4 very similar small supermarkets within a 100 yard radius of Brockley Station - two on either side.

Sainsbury's has also put its head above the parapet in the ongoing debate about the condition of Greater Brockley and decided that Brockley East and West are two different places and communities. Boldness in business.


Fintan spotted this tree in Hilly Fields

The Secret Magdalen

If you've been thinking about pretending to be religious to get your kids into a selective school, now's the time. Robert writes:

St.Mary Magdalen's RC Primary - in the heart of Brockley (Howson Road) - is today ranked 6th within a national comparator group of 125 schools in today's DfE performance tables - reflecting its sustained improvement over the last 2 years.

Click here to see the results. Congratulations to everyone at the school for their strong performance.

Ladywell Storey

Once upon a time not long ago, when people wore pyjamas and lived life slow,
There lived a lil' boy who was misled, by anotha lil' boy and this is what he said:
"Me, Ya, Ty, we gonna make sum cash, robbin' old folks and makin' tha dash",
They did the job, money came with ease, but one couldn't stop, it's like he had a disease,
- Children's Story, Slick Rick

The developers of 59 Ladywell Road, the site of the former adhesives factory, have resubmitted their plans, proposing to add another story and onto the building. The construction is already at an advanced stage, so this is a pretty unorthodox move, but another storey makes it a more elegant proposition as it looms over the bridge.

Whatever the aesthetics, resident Caroline reckons the reason given for the new submission is a cheek. In the clunky design and access document it says:

"The council have historically been very concerned about the impact of an additional storey on site and it is accepted that the Inspector had only to deal with an application for four storeys.

"The new owners and current applicants have considered the effect of an extension to the building providing an additional floor only when they had completed the external structure and could visualise more clearly the impact that an extension may have and indeed could see the benefits of such an extension. The CGI’s that were produced show an additional storey provided benefits (providing a better navigational landmark) and did not appear to have the range of negative impacts originally foreseen by the council."

 The date for commenting on the application is 26th December. Click here to participate.

The Brockley Home Brew School

The Brockley Brewery Team writes:

Women of Brockley – Need an excuse to get out of the Christmas shopping? Well here’s your chance. We’re holding a trial run of the Home Brew School this Saturday 13 Dec and need two extra volunteers.

We’re gearing up for our Home Brew School, which starts in January,and need to test the new brewing equipment to make sure it’s up to scratch. So on Saturday we’re holding a trial brewing session in the brewery between 10-4pm. We’ve got some volunteers already, who just all happen to be blokes so we’re offering 2 places to any women who may be interested in joining us. Please drop us an email ( and we’ll be in touch.

Ceramics Sale, December 14th

Deptford MOT garage snapped up by Shoreditch developer

Another piece of Deptford Creekside has been targeted for redeveloped.

Crosswhatfields reports that Shoreditch-based Bluecroft (who were behind the conversion of Riverdale House in Lewisham, but hopefully not the marketing) have acquired Number One Creekside, an MOT garage opposite the Bird's Nest pub.

The move follows intensive development on the other side of the creek and approval of plans to redevelop neighbouring Faircharm estate as a mixed use office and residential area.

The plans for this site will take a couple of years to materialise, but the developer's track record suggests the scheme will seek to build on Deptford's emergence as a nascent centre for the "desk-based" creative industries, rather the "blowtorch and canvas" craft sector. In other words, expect a mini-Faircharm of flats and small scale offices.

Snowflakes and Snowballs

This Saturday, Deptford's hosting its own "winter wonderland - a free day of festive fun for the whole family." The organisers say:

The Deptford Lounge will be transformed for the season with snowflakes, craft stalls, workshops for children, storytelling, games, Christmas family film screenings and magical performances. You can even take part in the Deptford Bear Hunt this week (6-13 December) – spot the bears in a trail around Deptford for a chance to win a Family Ticket to Little Angel Theatre’s production of We're Going on a Bear Hunt at The Albany. Click here for details of the event and here for tickets to WGOABH.

St Andrews Community Nursery Christmas Fayre, December 12th

Claire writes:

The amazing team at St Andrews Community Nursery are holding a Christmas Fayre and Market this Friday.

They've received a huge amount of support from local Brockley businesses in terms of prizes for the raffle (including The Gantry, The Orchard, Pat-a-Cakes) but I've just realized they haven't told you about it yet!

We've just found out that local author Clare Stanhope will also be doing a reading from her brilliant book Brenda's Bottom. Proceeds from the Fayre will go towards updating some of the facilities at the nursery.

St Andrews is a nursery that has been at the heart of Brockley since 1983. There are currently spaces for 36 local children aged from two to five. The aim of the nursery is to provide good quality, affordable childcare, which supports children developing to their full potential at their own pace. We received a 'Good' OFSTED Report.

If you would like any more information about St Andrews Community Nursery please contact us on 020 8692 5041 and we will happily answer any questions.

Piltdown Man plants spaghetti trees in Crofton Park

Phillips: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed . . . Wait a minute! Someone's crawling out of the hollow top. Someone or . . . something. I can see peering out of that black hole two luminous disks . . are they eyes? It might be a face. It might be . . .
- The War of the Worlds (1938)

BC keeps getting emails about this notice of proposed development, which claims that the vacant site at 437-439 Brockley Road is going to be turned into a Romany holiday camp. To be clear, it's a hoax.

As Paul, who sent us this photo, points out "There seems to be precedent for fake European Roma housing planning notices - but quite who would go to this length to foment prejudicial NIMBYism, I dunno."

To be fair to the good folk of Brockley, most of the interest it's stoked seems to be of the bemused variety, rather than the pitchfork-wielding sort. And to be fair to the hoaxer, they seem to be trying to make some sort of satirical point, rather than to dupe people - after all, it's filed in the name of Jo King.

Whether it's an attempt to reveal the raging bigotry that lurks beneath the thin veneer of bourgeois Brockley or whether it's a joke about how even this would be more palatable than the prospect of Tesco (who've taken an interest in the site), we don't know. But if Jo is out there and wants to explain themselves, the floor is yours.

The Lewisham Way Christmas Market, December 6th

The team at Lewisham Way art gallery Number 57 write:

Our Xmas Market opens tomorrow and is open Sat & Sun 10-6pm. There will be crafts and more on offer including:

- Floral Wreaths created by Lewisham &amp
- Southwark College Floristry which can be ordered and collected from Number 57
- An advent calendar countdown window display for the small people ....and big people of course

The Ladywell Christmas Market 2014

The Ladywell Xmas Market traditionally falls on the same weekend as the Brockley Xmas Market, but this year they went a week early, to give themselves a clear run. Doh!

The Telegraph Hill Christmas Market, 6th December

Winner of best Christmas Market poster of the Year 2014

Whoa, I'm going to bar New Cross

Christmas in Barbados: In a Pikkle presents Catch me if you Can

Karen writes: Fancy spending Christmas in Barbados? Well on the  21st December you can do the next best thing and catch a flight on-board In a Pikkle airlines.

Touching down at the LP Bar we will be offering 4 courses, served to you in true in flight style. Once you book your ticket you will be issued with your boarding pass which you will need to bring with you on the night. Once on-board we will lead you to your first class seat and get you settled in with a glass of rum punch before we get ready to take off!

Book your tickets now only £20!

Shipwrecked at the Brockley Jack

Shipwrecked! An entertainment - the Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont  (as told by himself) 
by Donald Margulies

Tuesday 9 December to Sunday 4 January
Press Night: Thursday 11 December at 7.45pm  

Louis de Rougemont took Victorian England by storm with his tales of adventure on the high seas.  It was a story of bravery, survival and celebrity that left his readers spellbound.  Embarking on an epic journey, Louis encounters extraordinary creatures and strange islands, overcomes storms, shipwreck and attacks by a native tribe and a man-eating octopus, only to return to London thirty years later to publish his exploits.

Shipwrecked is a story that captivated and divided nineteenth century society.  Is Louis de Rougemont an adventurer capable of amazing deeds, or is he merely a teller of tall tales?

The Jack Studio presents the UK Premiere of Shipwrecked! An Entertainment... written by Pulitzer Prize winning dramatist Donald Margulies. Produced by the same team behind The Mystery of Irma Vep (nominated for five Off West End Awards, including best director and best production), Ghost Train, Around the World in 80 Days and Sleepy Hollow.

National Infrastructure Plan namechecks Bakerloo and Rotherhithe bridge

An email from Southwark MP Simon Hughes provides more evidence that the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham is moving steadily up the transport agenda. There's also an encouraging nod towards the idea of a bridge at Rotherhithe. He writes:

In today's National Infrastructure Plan (page 52), the government has signalled its interest in a Bakerloo Line extension and a new Brunel Bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf.

As you will know, I have been fighting for these two projects to be given the go-ahead in recent times, and it is very satisfying to know that the government is supportive of both of them. We are now a step closer to delivering these essential projects.

In the plan, the government commit to a "full options appraisal of potential major transport projects in London, including an extension of the Bakerloo line and the devolution of South Eastern rail services to London."

The plan also says that "An interesting proposal made by Sustrans, and worth looking at in more detail, would be a new pedestrian and cycle bridge from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf – which could be called the Brunel Bridge in tribute to one of the great figures in the history of UK infrastructure.

It's not much, but it's more evidence that both bridge and tunnel are coming soon. With thanks to Monkeyboy for the tip-off.

Actors Reading Writers 4 Crisis

Brockley Xmas Market 2014

Harmony Sinfonia Christmas Concert, December 6th

May Gob have mercy on their souls

Dig This, the New Cross nursery, is looking for an alternative home, after the new owners of the Hobgoblin pub, which houses them, served them notice. Owner Mihaly confirmed the news at the recent People's Kitchen event.

Dig This is a wonderful local institution and it's been joined at the hip with record store Spotty Vinyl in the Hobgoblin's side passage - the Gob and Magob of New Cross. We don't know why they have to go - perhaps there are good reasons - all's we know is that the world needs more plant, food and record shops. We hope they find a new home nearby soon.

With thanks to Tamsin for the news.

Clarissa Porter Open Studio

On Sunday, 7th December, 10am - 5pm, local artist Clarissa Porter will be hosting a solo open studio event at 85 Tyrwhitt Road. She promises art, mince pies and hot drinks.

Take care of Pepper

Sarah writes:

My family and I are moving to Oz in January for 2 years. We are looking for a cat-loving home to take on our lovely cat Pepper.

I've so far had no success with friends and family so I'm having to put her out onto the open market. I thought I'd start with the Brockley Blog as your readers are sure to be kind and cat loving!

She is aged 6, great at catching mice and keeping herself clean.

Please contact Sarah on 07713 400 958 if you're interested in looking after Pepper.

London Bridge upgrade means services will be suspended

Network Rail has launched the world's most expensive pro-cycling campaign in history.

You've probably all been grumbling about this for some time, but worth repeating the news that the disruption at London Bridge is nearly upon us as Network Rail's £6.5 billion station upgrade project gets under-way in earnest.

As an appetiser, there will be no Southern or Thameslink train service to London bridge from December 20 – January 4. Some Southeastern morning peak services to Charing Cross will not stop at London Bridge during this time.

Then,from 12 January 2015 to August 2016, all Southeastern services to and from Charing Cross will not call at London Bridge. That means Southeastern services from New Cross, St Johns, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations will no longer operate to and from London Charing Cross or Waterloo East, and will instead operate to and from London Cannon Street.

The Standard reports that 750,000 journeys will be affected every day and notes that "Southeastern says it aims to make up for lost London Bridge services with longer suburban trains and 3,000 additional seats in the peak."

Full details of the changes and travel advice can be found here.

Deptford Town Hall restored

Deptford Town Hall, the Grade II-listed building on New Cross Road, has been unwrapped, following recent restoration work.

The building is owned by Goldsmiths, University of London and the work is part of the college's strategy to enhance its estate, which sits at the heart of New Cross and does much to define the area.

Like the Richard Hoggart building refurbishment, the work has had a dramatic effect, turning an austere building into an uplifting presence on the high street.

Due to accessibility issues, its use as a public venue is limited, but it's great to see the area's best buildings being treated with due reverence and the unwrapping represents another important milestone in the development of the Goldsmiths masterplan - about which more soon.

Full disclosure: I am on the Council of Goldsmiths.

Flood warning

We think the people whinging about the changes taking place in Lewisham right now are fundamentally wrong, but we will give them props for a good joke. Never let it be said that BC does not give credit where it's due. This is from the vacant unit on Loampit Vale that came close to the weekend's flood waters.

NYE at the Rivoli

No child left behind: Kids have to be a minimum of 6 years old

Mexican pop-up at the BFM

Homer: Animals are crapping in our houses, and we're picking it up! Did we lose a war? That's not America. That's not even Mexico!
- The Simpsons

Lest you think that this news means that the Broca Food Market has taken its foot off the gas, Maria wants you to know about their new Taco Sundays. She says:

We're hosting Taco Sunday at the Broca Food Market every Sunday from 11.30am to 5pm until Christmas We use only fresh products from the market and have been trading at Brixton street market for over a year now.
We'll be serving old-fashioned Mexican recipes for tacos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, salsas and delicious chicken soup. Drinks on offer include traditional Jamaica water (hibiscus), Orchata (rice & cinnamon), lemonade sweetened with agave syrup for a skinny alternative to normal lemonade and coffee.

New restaurant set for West Side

A new restaurant looks set to open on Mantle Road, on the west side of Brockley Station.

The team behind the project is in the final stages of securing the lease for units 3 and 4 of the parade, which are currently occupied by the Broca Food Market (the owners have been seeking a new tenant for their premises, to allow them to relocate).

Until the deal's done, there are no more details to share, but the ambition is to create a full-blown restaurant, rather than a cafe / shop / takeaway / whatever hybrid.

More news soon, hopefully.

Craftmas Collective - November 29th

The Loyal Tannenbaums

The Brockley Cross Action Group is using Patchwork Present to organise a neighbourhood whip round to buy our own Christmas tree. So if a local tree would boost your festive spirits, click here to contribute what you can. Suzanne writes:

We'd like a big beautiful tree for Brockley this Christmas, and now that councils have stopped paying for Christmas trees we need a bit of help! Just contribute what you can afford and we can all enjoy a lovely tree in our town centre this Christmas. 

The Brockley Christmas Market is organised by the BXAG, a community group and registered charity, and run by unpaid volunteers. The Market is run as an independent event and receives no financial support or subsidy from Lewisham Council.

Brockley Market Christmas 2014

It's a month to go before Christmas and Brockley Market wants you all to know that it will be open every Saturday until Christmas, only closing on the 27th. It also wants you to know that it's up for another award - The Urban Food Awards, which will be announced on December 4th.

Metro writes longest resignation letter in history

One of BC's neighbours is a former writer for Metro. No wonder the guy got out.

Metro's editorial team have put their heads together and come up with this list of London boroughs, ranked from worst to best, in their opinion. Lewisham comes 28th, beating only the boroughs that got no votes - including Kingston, Havering, Bexley and Redbridge.

Now, not even Metro is taking this list seriously, but house prices being equal, it would be hard to make the case that Lewisham deserves to be ranked above Camden, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster or even Southwark. Beyond these ones though, Lewisham can hold its head up alongside a host of other boroughs:

  • Hackney? Cool, but dirty and often inaccessible. See also: Haringey
  • Richmond, Wandsworth and Merton? Handsome but stiff and monocultural
  • Barnet? Far too far out and not worth the bother
  • Tower Hamlets? Too many flats, too many elaborate road systems
  • Hammersmith & Fulham? Surely London's most overrated borough
But the clincher is that Greenwich made it to number 3. As a Greenwich native, BC has a foot in both camps and can safely say that Lewisham is the much better borough. Greenwich Park is majestic, Greenwich town centre is nice early in the morning before the tourists get there. Westcombe Park has stunning streets but no transport connections and the Standard is an embarrassment.  Their bits of Blackheath are nice, but ours are nicer. Beyond that, it ranges from adequate to awful, with terrible transport links. No one who knows anything about the borough would rank it third.

Lewisham is an underwhelming place to visit, but an amazing place to live.

Most importantly, BC has just spent the last week outside the London bubble and therefore feels obligated to point out that all 32 London boroughs are the real winners.

Thanks to Patrick for the heads up.

Do you even lift, Bro(ckley)?

Brockley Station is all access, all the time! The lift is now open for business. This is much sooner than the guidance London Overground recently provided, possibly because they were shamed into action. 

Thanks to Brockley Nicola for the photo.

They Roll Among Us

“Oh, don't mind Humpty. He's inhaled a hell of a lot of super-glue.”
- Jack of Fables

The fabled fifth East London Line carriage is here. London Overground confirms that "the first of the five-car trains is now in service between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon/Clapham Junction/Crystal Palace/New Cross."

BC is still trying to eke out the last few cycles to work before the cold and Christmas parties render the journey uncyclable, so please let us know if the arrival of the fifth carriage has started to make a difference to your journey?

The Peckham Coal Line

From green bridges to fungal tunnels, everyone wants to do a High Line. New York's smart use of an disused elevated railway line that runs through its old meatpacking district is an urban design phenomenon, attracting millions and offering a unique experience in a crowded city.

The Peckham Coal Line is a new project, which comes closer in spirit to the High Line than any other project so-far imagined for London. The team behind it wants to create a 1km park and cycle route between Queens Road and Rye Lane. They say:

By using the disused Rickett coal sidings, which were decommissioned in the 1950’s, the elevated urban park would cut through the heavily built up ex-industrial area providing a precious green open space; a place to enjoy nature, amble, cycle, relax or play.

Users would discover local history in the atmospheric shadow of grand old Victorian arches and factories such as the Bussey building with park views towards the city skyscrapers and beyond helping contextualise Peckham geographically and historically, in a space that amplifies the seasons whilst linking our communities.

The high-line ties in with Peckham Vision's proposal for a low-line green path alongside the Bussey Building. Together the two green paths would tie into the transformed area around the planned new square in front of Peckham Rye station.

The proposal also has wider network potential; by linking two parts of the national cycle network it would be possible to create an almost continuous green route stretching from Brixton to Rotherhithe with the future potential to reach Canary Wharf.

It's a beautiful idea, still in its infancy - uncosted and undesigned - but with amazing potential. With successful precedents, an increasingly confident local neighbourhood and a relatively simple plan, there's no reason why it couldn't happen.

Right now, they're looking for support and design input, so click here for more details.

The Number 57 Art Fair

House of Nomads

House of Nomads is a Brockley-based duo who organise private sales of "hand-picked functional items". They have a couple of Christmas gift weekends coming up.

Click here for the itinerants' itinerary.

Lewisham floods as Ravensbourne bursts its banks

Heavy rain has caused flooding at Lewisham roundabout today. Lewisham's river system is being jiggered about as part of the Gateway development and the waters of the Ravensbourne have burst their banks, causing chaos on the roads.

Thanks to Fred, who reckons this hasn't happened since 1968, for the video from Loampit Vale.

The future of the Catford Bridge Tavern

Luke points us to an update from the new owners of the Catford Bridge Tavern pub, which had its squatters removed earlier this year, clearing the way for its reopening. The Solitaire team writes:

"Solitaire is a small, independent pub company with a tradition of revitalising important local pubs across the London area; it has ambitious plans for the Catford Bridge Tavern and is determined to re-establish the pub within the local community.

"Our plans include a bespoke bar in the centre of the pub welcoming customers as they arrive, a restaurant and a heated outdoor roof terrace to the rear. As well as restoring the pub, the company plan to sympathetically refurbish the residential area into a combination of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom flats. Solitaire has taken great care to ensure that the residential refurbishment does not affect the external appearance of this fine building.

"A planning application determining the future of the building will be presented to Lewisham Council by December 2014. To date, feedback from the planners to the proposals has been extremely positive. If the planning application is successful, building work will start in 2015. We are planning an open evening to discuss our proposals on Wednesday 3rd December 2014."

Aladdin - December 5th-7th

The cast rehearses
Sanjit writes:

The last four years have seen some great community generated fundraisers.   Of these few have been as consistently entertaining as the Telegraph Hill Panto. This year's Panto, Aladdin, will be the fifth such entertainment.  

Will Aladdin feature risqué double entendre?   Check.   Will Aladdin feature a man in drag?   Check.  Will Aladdin feature a principal boy?   Check, in the form of Aladdin's brother Wisheewashee.   Will there be a petulant Princess who succumbs to the charms of the hero? Check. Oh, and will there be flashes, pops, flatulent noises off and laughs aplenty? Check, check, check and check.

Aladdin is a production that will have something suitable for all the family. With a third of tickets already sold, now is the time to make sure you get yours -

The People's Kitchen - November 27th

The Our New Cross team writes:

Our New Cross is a forum for everybody who lives, works and studies in New Cross. We aim to protect and improve our area through projects, events and developing a Neighbourhood Plan.

The People's Kitchen is a neighbourhood forum with a difference. It's a chance to meet other people in the community informally and sociably to share your stories, experiences, hopes and concerns about the way New Cross is now and how it is changing.

We're cooking and offering a free communal meal plus asking questions like "does New Cross need a market?", "what would you do with an empty plot?" and "how could a Neighbourhood Plan help achieve our aims?". The event is free and all are welcome. Starts at 7.30pm or 5pm if you want to cook.

Midtown matters

Two glum midtown buildings are in the middle of a makeover.

St Cyprian's is being turned into a block of flats with a ground floor restaurant and the scaffolding is creeping up (thanks to Fintan for the photo):

Esso's being turned into a slightly nicer Esso:

Filipino Pop Up - November 22nd

To the growing list of local pop-up cuisines can now be added Filipino food. The Adobros team are hosting a Filipino night at New Cross cafe No 178. They say:

If you've ever wondered what Filipino food is - or if you already know the answer - then this is the moment you've been waiting for: on Saturday 22nd November, New Cross' very own Filipino Supper Club, The Adobros, is bringing a taste of the Philippines to your taste buds and your bellies, courtesy of the good folk at No178.

Combining Southeast Asian, Chinese and Hispanic elements into a compellingly unique whole, Filipino cuisine is fascinating and, above all, delicious! And, in case you were feeling just a bit more curious about it after all that, do check out our little explanation of what Filipino food is all about.

Click here for tickets and the menu.

The Arthouse Winter Fair, December 13th

Brockley fish and beer mash-up Mondays

From November 24th, Brockley Road fish and chip restaurant Brockley's Rock will be doing Beer Batter Mondays. They say:

"We'll be collaborating with the much loved Brockley Brewery and are honoured to be using their Pale Ale for the batter. On Monday evenings, 4pm – 10pm, we'll be offering a Pale Ale Beer Batter as a special for those who enjoy the taste of an ale infused bitter batter. The Beer batter can be used with any of our fried fish.

"This compliments our growing specials menu which contains regular variations of homemade fishcakes as well as a Gluten-Free menu on Tuesdays. Over the last few weeks, the demand for Beer Batter has increased considerably. With many of our twitter followers suggesting that we collaborate with a local brewery to create a tasty new batter, we felt that the Brockley Brewery was a great choice to work with due to their amazing reputation and great tasting beer.

"Those who do not drink alcohol for personal or religious reasons will be pleased to know that we use a separate pan for beer battered fish."

Who you trying to get crazy with Esso?

Exciting times for Midtown: The Esso garage at the junction of Wickham and Brockley Roads is getting a makeover. The refurb, currently underway, should make midnight chocolate dashes more palatable.

But hold! Hold... that is not the really exciting news. That's coming up next.

Brockley eclipses Blackheath in Time Out awards

Duke: He's worried! You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man!
- Rocky IV

For the last few weeks, Time Out has been asking people to vote for their favourite local venues in neighbourhoods across London. The results are now out and despite being randomly bundled together with the big dogs of Blackheath, Brockley has scooped four out of the five awards in its category - a measure of how far the area has come in a few years.

The Orchard wins best restaurant, Arlo & Moe best cafe, Jam Circus best bar and Brockley Market best local thing. We only missed out on best shop category, thanks to a strong performance by Bookshop on the Heath, which will only compound the frustration felt by Brockley Central bibliophiles, who are almost as desperate for a local bookshop as Brockley Central gym bunnies are for somewhere to bench press.

Congratulations too to the Deptford, New Cross and Lewisham winners.