Head Shot (Drank)

Little Nan's bar now has its own theme song. It's no Eray & Koray

Goldsmiths' sensor sensibility

Goldsmiths is helping Microsoft get in on the internet of things bandwagon. They write:

Interaction Design at Goldsmiths, University of London has been selected as one of eight programmes worldwide to take part in the 2014 Microsoft Design Expo. 

This year, students will be challenged to create designs that address the theme of sensors. People encounter sensors all the time. Motion sensors turn on lights in a dark place and carbon monoxide detectors tell us that the air is becoming hazardous. These sensors extend our abilities to see, hear and feel far beyond what we ourselves can take in, and a new wave of technology mean smaller, more numerous devices which offer new possibilities.

Following the launch of the project earlier in January, students will work in small groups to generate designs that respond to this given theme. "This is a great opportunity for our students to be stimulated by industry research, and realise that their responses can in turn challenge and inspire", said Tobie Kerridge, programme leader for Interaction Design in the Department of Design. 

It's not just a good opportunity for the college and its students, it's also another sign of Goldsmiths' growing reputation as a centre of excellence for computing and technology, which in the long-term should help to stretch the Tech City cluster down the East London Line, as start-ups chase design talent, cheaper rents and the delights of Greater Brockley...

Full disclosure: This represents the intersection of two vested interests - I'm on the Council of Goldsmiths and the agency I work for counts Microsoft among its clients. Nonetheless, I think it's interesting.

March of the makers reaches Loampit Hill

Mary writes:

'Number 57' - the new creative space on Loampit Hill - is hosting a 'Makers Exhibition' in March and we are keen to showcase the work of selected local artists, artisans and crafters. In curating the exhibition we aim to be as diverse as possible without becoming incoherent, so some selection will be necessary.

Please contact us if you are interested in a finding out more. We are also interested in selling the work of local makers and will be establishing a small permanent retail element in the space during the next few months.

Gold Digger

Lewisham Council targets cuts of another £10m

A Lewisham Council worker writes:

I thought you might like to know that all staff in Lewisham got an online notice yesterday that the cuts in Lewisham have now gone up by another £10 million. They will now be a staggering £95 million. To quote: "we must deliver £42m savings by April 2015. The scale of this challenge is unprecedented."

The biggest sources of potential savings so-far identified include "smarter assessment and deeper integration of social care and health," and sharing services with other Councils. Job losses at the borough's biggest employer are likely to follow.

The Brockley Way: Part 2

Brockley Way is relatively secluded and suffers from regular and spectacular flytipping escapades. Brockley's Twitterati have been highlighting some of the worst abuses in an attempt to deter dumpers and show the Council how urgent the issue is. This is another peach.

Thameslink shows off shiny new Crofton Park trains

The BBC reports that the new Class 700 trains which will serve Crofton Park on the Blackfriars route from 2017 have been unveiled. Train designers don't tend to surprise and delight, so this one looks much like other trains you may have seen, except that there will be more than twice as many carriages, seating 80% more people during peak times - in other words, fewer seats per carriage, creating more standing room.

With thanks to Hazel.

Estate agent creep at Crofton Park

Another Crofton Park shop space will fall to an estate agent.

Alastair notes that planning permission has been given for "the commercial ground floor at 322 Brockley Road (the building over the road from the current KFH estate agents in Crofton Park). The plans show a new rear extension being put in (increasing floor space) a dropped kerb to provide parking to the rear yard and KFH signage to the front."

Boat of Stars, February 8th

Louisa writes:

Please join us for our latest Neighbourhood Concert: 'Boat of Stars' on Saturday the 8th of February, in the undercroft of St Hilda's Church in Crofton Park.

We will enjoy Melanie Sanders, Caroline Foulkes and Richard Black in a programme featuring arias and songs by Handel, Purcell and Jeffrey Joseph. Tea, coffee, cake and wine from 7pm, concert starts at 7.30pm.

We would be delighted to see you there. Enquiries/reservations concertsneighbourhood@gmail.com. Entry by donations.

Greenwich pub group goes into administration

Greenwich Inc, the bar chain with a monopoly position in Greenwich town centre, has gone into administration. The Greenwich Visitor reports:

Administrator Stephen Hunt said Greenwich Inc and Greenwich Inc Holdings were in administration and that Greenwich Inc Trading had been liquidated. He said most of the venues Inc Group owns are "in good shape" and he is hopeful of selling them as going concerns.

Inc sucked the character out of many of Greenwich's best venues, including The Trafalgar Tavern, and the administrators will hopefully find new owners with more imagination and an interest in locals, as well as tourists.

Hilly Fields cafe reopens

After a short closure, the Hilly Fields cafe has reopened. The closure was necessary to repair damage caused by an attempted break in.

Catford Plan scrapped

Why would I want to root for a winner? I am a champion of the underdog. In the Space Race, I supported Mexico! My favourite Destiny's Child is the Other Two! When I get a lap dance, I root for the stripper's dad! I'm telling you... the underdog! The little guy!
- Auggie Smith

Catford just can't catch a break. Lewisham Council has been forced to scrap its plan to regenerate Catford Town Centre, following a change of heart from TfL, which has decided to review its ideas to re-route the South Circluar - a scheme which was central to the Council's vision. They say:

Over the past two years, the Council has undertaken a considerable amount of work and stakeholder consultation to prepare the Catford Town Centre Local Plan (CTCLP) - a planning strategy that will help guide where and how development should take place in Catford town centre for the period up to 2026. 

On 15 November 2013 the Council submitted the CTCLP to the Secretary of State for Examination. On 19 December 2013 the Council made a decision to withdraw the CTCLP. The primary reason for withdrawal was that Transport for London (TfL), in consultation with the Council, wanted to review their long standing proposals to relocate the South Circular (A205) to the rear of Laurence House. 

However, as CTCLP Policy 1 sets out an alternative approach to TfLs re-routing of the South Circular, this casts some doubt on the potential to deliver the proposals set out in the CTCLP. The withdrawal means that the content of the CTCLP submission version will not be used to determine planning applications. Work on the CTCLP has been halted, but it is expected to resume later this year, once TfL’s study has been carried out.

The Brockley Way

We thought this one deserved a wider audience.

Toes Ask Back Home

"Toes Ask" the shop that lurks just by the railway bridge on Brockley Road and has become known for a graffiti tag, in lieu of any other signage, is finally being restored, ready for use.

The unit is owned by Network Rail, who have neglected it for many years, making the building uninhabitable, but work is currently under way to bring it back in to use. Brockley Station attracts huge and growing footfall, but there are still relatively few units nearby to cater for that customer base, so another shop or cafe space in that spot will be welcome.

BBW seeks feeder

Brockley's uncommonly good beer

Like Nigel Farage, Heidi and Joan feel entitled to a lunchtime pint
Debbie from the Brockley Brewery writes: Our Pale Ale has been invited by Heidi Alexander MP, to guest at the Strangers' Bar in the House of Commons this week. Brewers Andy and Rachel joined Heidi and Dame Joan Ruddock at the launch.

Lewisham proposes whatever the opposite of a NIMBY's charter is

Lewisham Council is considering a proposal to cut costs by reducing the quality of local consultation around planning applications.

The Public Accounts Select Committee is due to consider ideas proposed submitted by Head of Planning, John Miller to:

Cease written notification of planning applications to neighbours of proposed developments. It was also being proposed to stop amenity panel meetings and local meetings. 

The proposals would result in a saving through staffing reduction. Other London Boroughs had moved to a system of using site notices to make communities aware of planning applications. 

John Miller advised that the approach had worked in other London Boroughs. However, further work needed to be carried out to ensure that best practice could be replicated in Lewisham.

BC considers itself a pretty pro-development sort of a blog and recognises that the Council needs to find savings and that a strong defence could be mounted for nearly every line of Council expenditure. It's impossible to create a value equation that allows you choose between, say, consultation and refuse collection, but bad developments damage neighbourhoods and digital consultation is of limited use.

The Council has been consulting with local Amenity Groups about the idea and plans to publish a new draft Statement of Community Involvement for consultation within the next year. It needs to make sure people will be adequately consulted before it considers any cuts, especially since cuts to the media team mean that Council information is less forthcoming than it used to be and the email alerts about local applications are erratic at best.

With thanks to JPM and Michael for the information.

Blythe Hill Birdwatch, January 25th

Cutty Sark becomes a theatre

The Evening Standard reports:

London’s newest theatre was today unveiled in the hold of the Cutty Sark.

Comedians Alan Davies and Ross Noble, round-the-world yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and sailing enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones are among the inaugural line-up of performers in the 100-seat venue at King William Walk, Greenwich.

Performances begin on January 29. Details at: rmg.co.uk/cuttysark

Click here for the full story.

Broca Food Market renews shop search

The BFM's planned move from their home on Mantle Road to Brockley Cross has been scrapped, but they aim to move as soon elsewhere in SE4 once a new tenant's been found for their current unit.

Erin says:

"BFM needs a smaller retail footprint with a more space for a kitchen. I've found another property in Brockley that's perfect and will move there as soon as someone takes the Mantle road property. But there hasn't been any real interest yet! It's such a great space and would be fab for a restaurant or bar!!! We run pop ups quite often in there and it's such a large space!

"When we finally get a new tenant in, we shall move to the new space and be open within the same week. So all the real bread and local veggie fans don't have to panic!"

So Bird's is going back on the market, looking for a new buyer, BFM's staying put in SE4, one way or another, and there is a ready made space in the middle of Brockley for someone who wants to take their chance at opening a new bar, cafe, restaurant or shop. Come on people. Make it happen!

Love Lewisham Day - Part 2: The Best Nando's In the World

Wernstrom: Not only do you not deserve a Nobel Prize for loosing this bloated man-ball on the world but you are hereby kicked out of the Academy of Science. 
Bender: Wait! As men of science are not your minds open to new ideas? I say, do not judge me until you have tried my way of life for yourselves.
- Futurama

During this discussion of what high street business would enhance your enjoyment of Brockley, Nando's came up disturbingly often. But sometimes we fail to see what's right in front of us - and hurt those who love us most.

BCer Max spotted this tribute to Lewisham Nando's in a Guardian article about annoying people trying to get a book deal. A Greenwich man has taken it upon himself to visit every Nando's in the world and take a photo of himself in a pose that he's determined will be the next "planking". Having been to 80 Nando's (must try harder), he's discovered that the best that Nando's has to offer was just across the borough border all along, telling the paper that his highlight has been:

The Nando's in Ibiza with its unusual sesame buns. "Although, sadly, that branch since closed," says Christopher. "But the best Nando's in the world [so far] is the one in Lewisham. I had a whole chicken there and it earned a score of 10 in my write-up."

Love Lewisham Day - Part 1

This is nearly two years old, but it's new to us. Lewisham Now, by Britain's Got Talent entrant Cesar Laser. It rewards perseverance (and even repeat viewings). With thanks to Thomas on Twitter.

Maddy's makes its money

Maddy's Fish Bar, the takeaway restaurant concept from one of the people behind Brockley Market's Fishdog and New Cross' London Particular, has raised the £20,000 it was seeking on Kickstarter.

They already have the location (next door to the Particular) and now they have broken their fundraising target with an impressive six days to spare, so all being well, we should be getting another new place in New Cross shortly. Good work.

The Idea Store

Billy writes:

I'm in the early stages of deciding on opening a shop in the Brockley area. I have a location in mind at the moment and I'm really interested in what the local community would like to see on their high street. I want to open a business that would benefit the community and something that people will visit regularly in the area. I'd welcome people's feedback - what would people like most?

New Cross, I love you: LaBeouf back in action at the Hobgoblin

Shia LaBeouf has had another altercation in the Hobgoblin pub, in New Cross. This time, the US actor squared up to another drinker, who had allegedly cussed his girlfriend's mom.

LaBeouf is dating English actress Mia Hoth, whom he met on the set of Nymphomaniac. Hoth's mum lives near the pub. The good news is that this time he got to keep his hat.

With thanks to Mike for the heads-up.

Death: The High Cost of Living

The perils of living next to a really attractive cemetery have never been more starkly illustrated. Time Out reveals that Nunhead has the lowest life expectancy in London, with the average resident only making it to 73.7 years of age. Lewisham Central is the 9th lowest on a list with an inverse relationship to average incomes, at 75.5 years.

Get out while you still can.

Smiles for sale

Smiles Thai Cafe is up for sale. The owners of the Foxberry Road property are selling up, including the ground floor restaurant (A3) they ran and their two-bedroom flat above.

After a prolonged closure, there was hope that they would be reopening soon, but we misread the signs and the recent renovation work was to prepare the place to sell.

It's very sad to see them leave, but hopefully this means that the unit will finally be brought back in to use. There is now a gap in the market for a really good Thai restaurant in Brockley... In the meantime, Chai's Garden, on the far side of Telegraph Hill, is a good alternative.

Thanks to Robbie and Ali for flagging this.

The big push

The Lewisham Octopush club's first session was so successful they are doing it again. Of the 15 people who took part last week, 6 women and 5 men were fully paid up members of the BC army. This video is them in action. 

The Club is running more sessions tonight and next Friday. Visit their site for details of how to take part.

The Gold Medallion of Crofton Park

Jack writes:

I found this St Christopher medallion at Crofton Park Station , this is real sentimental jewllery. There is an inscription on the back. I tried my luck to advertise it at Crofton Park Station but was not allowed to do it, so here I am to try my luck to find his/her owner. Please email me if you are the owner and can tell me what the inscription on the back is.

East London Line: The Future

BCer Monkeyboy has spotted this treat in Rail Technology Magazine, an interview with Huw Edwards, head of programme delivery at London Overground. Edwards says that all those rail replacement bus services we've had to put up with mean that they have been able to compress the project timeline from 3 years to 18 months, as they race to keep up with demand.

The first longer train enters service on the East London Line in late 2014. In total, 29 trains are being extended on the ELL, one a week for just over half a year.

Edwards said: “The insertion of the fifth car will happen at New Cross Gate, unlike when we went from three-car to four-car a few years ago, when it was done at Derby. To reduce outage time, we’re going to take the unit out of operational service for a week, insert the fifth car, fully commission, fully test, and send it back out into operation.”

“When compared to a traditional DfT or Network Rail programme of work, the pace of delivery here is significantly faster. We’ll bring in the first fifth car at the end of 2014, when we didn’t gain board approval to do the work until February 2013. I often say it’s a three-year programme of work delivered in 18 months.”

Looking forward, he says that the Overground will have to grow even more, with new, even longer trains the most likely solution. He says South East London is the main driver of demand for capacity and will be the priority:

Edwards acknowledged that over a 20 or 30-year timeframe, the five-car extension alone will not be nearly enough to offer the capacity required, although Crossrail will help from 2018.

But the Class 378s can’t be configured to run in six-car formation, so Edwards said the next opportunity for serious capacity improvement after this extension would be at fleet renewal time in the mid-2020s.

Until then, LOROL could run additional train services – going from 16tph on the East London Line core to 18tph, for example. Going beyond that would require ATO (automatic train operation), 

“If we stretched and sweated the fleet, we believe we could be running an 18tph service between Shoreditch and New Cross Gate. But the reality is, that’s not where demand is – the demand is south. The demand is for bringing passengers up from the Crystal Palace, West Croydon areas into the central core. So therefore [we are in a] tricky position; that’s where the demand is, that’s where the business case is – unfortunately that’s not where the paths are…so the next discussion to be had with the industry is ‘can we sweat two additional paths south of New Cross Gate’.”

Brockley Cross site to let

Louise writes:

After lots of Brockley Central debate about the shortage of space for opening businesses in the area, I noticed there's now a sign on the recently-closed Brockley Cross Supermarket from the landlord, asking people to ring him if they're interested in renting it. I thought people might want to check it out.

Smoke-free Tabs take on beer-free icon

Ed writes:

The new owners of the old snooker hall on Lewisham High Street have been holding open days for the public all week. I went last night and it was really interesting - you get a hard hat tour of the building, complete with torch and leaky roof, and there's a display of what they hope to do to it. They say:

"The building dates from 1910 at the height of the Temperance Movement and was listed Grade ll in 2008 ... The new owner, the Tabernacle Church (The Tab), has served in Lewisham for well over 50 years ... The proposals on display are for the renovation of this derelict building with a view to breathing life back into it for it to serve as a church, community centre and conference centre [and cafe by the look of the plans]."

Loads of remodelling work will go on inside, but the outside will remain the same, but smarter. Our guide told us work will start "as soon as we have planning permission". She also said all the money needed ("millions") has been raised.

The next and last open day is this Saturday 18 Jan 12-5pm. The website, due to be live in a week or so I was told, is here: http://thetabandcommunity.org/


Olive's Diary 1914 is a project to digitise the 100-year-old diary of a girl called Olive Higgins, who lies buried in Brockley Cemetery. The diary was written in 1914, when Olive was 16 years old. Eight weeks after she began writing, she was dead.

The man behind the project, Rob McGibbon, is Tweeting one extract from the diary each day, timeshifted by a century, until the last entry on February 25th. The BBC reports:

Mr McGibbon, a journalist and writer, said he became "completely captivated" when reading the newspaper cutting about her funeral that had been enclosed in the book.

"Because then I learnt she was buried in Brockley Cemetery [in south-east London] and it's the exact cemetery I used to look on when I was a little boy," he said. "I was about six years old and my grandfather moved into a flat overlooking that cemetery. So there was that extraordinary geographical connection that absolutely blew my mind and gave me goose bumps."

Thanks to Mike for the tip-off. Follow the diary on Twitter here.

Lewisham: The Youngening

Farnsworth: At this rate, we'll keep getting younger until we suffer a fate worse than death: pre-life! Then death.
- Futurama

Another London map from Savills. This one, courtesy of The FT, shows that the capital's Great Inversion has caused the average age of Lewisham residents to fall significantly over the last 30 years.

As the rest of the UK gets older and fatter, immigration (from other countries and other parts of Britain) and higher birth rates keep London young and sexy. The average age in the inner London boroughs has fallen faster than in the outer suburbs and Lewisham's mean average age fell by 2-4 years between 1981 and 2011. The mean average age of a Lewisham resident is now 32-34, compared with a national median average of around 40.

A younger population means growing demand for things like education, vocational training, maternity services and night-life and declining demand for things like care services, so this change has profound implications for Lewisham Council's long-term priorities.

The CCC breakfast and after-school club

The Children's Creative Community Club is a new breakfast and after-school club operating from St Catherine's Church hall in Telegraph Hill. The team explains:

The CCC Club will drop-off to and pick-up from John Stainer, Edmund Waller and Haberdashers Primary Schools. At launch, we will be able to look after children aged 5 and above.

At launch, The CCC Club will have capacity to look after 24 children per morning and 24 children per afternoon session. This comprises 22 ‘regular’ places plus 2 ‘last minute’ places (available on a ‘first come first served’ every day). Whilst we have a preference for full-time places (i.e. your child either the breakfast club or the after-school club or both clubs every day) we understand that family lives are not always that simple, so will endeavour to enable part-time places.

Registration is not yet open. The CCC Club are awaiting an Ofsted inspection of the facilities at The Telegraph Hill Centre. Once we know the date of the inspection, we will announce the registration date, along with details of the registration process.

We want to provide a happy, safe, stimulating, supportive, inspiring and FUN environment in which children will thrive and develop as rounded, creative and responsible members of the community in which they live.

The cost is £5 per day per child for the Breakfast Club and £12 per day per child for the After-school Club. For more information, visit http://thecccclub.org/

The Montague Arms reopening soon

More good news for the South East London pub scene. The Montague Arms has hit the comeback trail.

The legendary New Cross / Peckham borders pub closed in 2012 after the death of its manager and while its unique brand eccentricity was lost forever, it appears to be in good hands. The team behind the Brown Derby pub in Oval have taken it over and have been tweeting their progress here. With lighting rig already installed, the emphasis is going to be on music and own-brewed beer.

It might be Peckham's cultural resurgence which is driving this project, but it's a great result for New Cross.

Thanks to everyone on the New Cross forum for this update.

Birdie Num Nums, New Cross Road

Birdie Num Nums is a new cafe serving an eclectic mix of bowl foods, salads, cakes and coffees, with a strong Turkish influence. Located just down from Chinwag and a clutch of other restaurants and cafes, it looks like a great addition to the area and is already picking up good reviews on Twitter.

Follow them at @BirdieNumNumsNX

32% of Right to Buy Homes in Lewisham now privately let

A new report ("Right to Buy to Let") from the London Assembly finds that 32% of homes bought through the Right to Buy scheme are now let by private landlords. The figure is lower than the London average of 36%, but shows the extent to which the private rented sector has replaced Council-let housing, rather than creating residents with a long-term equity stake in their community, which was the original aim of the policy, introduced in 1980.

Author of the report, Assembly Member Tom Copley, says:

Right to Buy has also resulted in the situation where councils now rent back homes that they once owned from private landlords at much higher rents in order to fulfil their statutory duties. The increased rental costs are then usually met by the benefits system. Even the figure of 36% is probably an underestimate. The data in this report is drawn from records of leaseholders who have registered an “away” address with their local council (i.e. those owners who do not live in the property). However, landlords are not required to register an ‘away’ address and many do not, meaning that they appear to live in the property they in fact rent out.

The report's recommendations include mandatory covenants on all Right to Buy properties so they cannot be let through the private rented sector, a new system should be introduced whereby local authorities retain an equity stake in any property sold and that local authorities should have a ‘right not to sell’ if it is not in the community interest to do so or if they believe it would harm their housing operations.

The new face of The Honor Oak

Punch Taverns, owners of The Honor Oak, seem to be serious about reopening the pub. Ali spotted this planning application, to go with their commitment to invest in its refurbishment, for:

"The installation of various externally illuminated fascia and projecting signs on the elevations, together with a replacement swing signpost to the front forecourt."

The look and feel is pretty traditional, which is probably right for this location. The quicker it returns the better.

Vesta's Pathway to Crime

Liz, of Vesta Road, writes:

Last week at about 5.30pm my neighbour who lives in the upstairs flat spotted a chap, who looked a bit like a builder, skulking around our shared front garden with a bucket.

He didn't think too much about it as he was putting his bike away in the garage, and the guy got in to a white van which someone else was driving and they drove off. When my neighbour came to the front path he noticed that someone had stolen a load of tiles from the original Victorian pathway - the scumbag had also done it a couple of doors down, also where the same orginal Victorian tiles had remained for a hundred years.

Our next door neighbours had come back to their house about 4.30 and their young daughters had been playing on the bars that serves a partition between our two gardens and so would have definitely noticed had the tiles not been there at the time.

The family affected a couple of doors down noticed this about the same time, so all in all we're pretty sure it was the builder chap at 5.30 who did both. We've told the police but there's nothing to stop them coming back or attacking other peoples pathways. Might be worth letting everyone know to be vigilant, if they see anyone being suspicious? It must have taken him a good few minutes to prise them up...

Tower-ring internal

The bells of St Peter's church on Wickham Road recently began to ring again, after a long absence. The engineer working for the Church of England, who led the restoration project, Danijel Pavlic, rebuilt the clock and bells mechanism, originally built by Smith and Sons of Clerkenwell. He explains:

"What was initially an idea of converting the 19th century mechanism to electrical power ended up as an effort to keep the mechanism genuine and, of course, operated by human power only. That will put the St. Peter's Church tower on the map as a valuable cultural heritage protecting probably the last hand-wound clock and bells mechanism in London."

So far, only 40 visitors have had the chance to see the  mechanism during a guided tours of the tower, but Danijel will be holding more open days soon and would love to host Brockley residents who are interested in the project. More information here.

Revue ZouZou

Piccadilly Productions, the team behind the former Brockley Jack Film Club, have resurfaced for a one-off event at The Ivy House in Nunhead. More info . Tickets are available here.

Coming Up Roses, January 26th

This Lady's not for burning

We don't know why. We don't understand how. But we love the fact that Ladywell is a hotbed of retro-geek culture thanks to the Misty Moon gang - and that we at last have a legitimate excuse to talk about heat vision on a Brockley Central post.

The original Ursa takes your questions in Ladywell on January 25th. Full details on the Ladywell forum.

Lewisham's Violence Against Women and Girls consultation

Lewisham Council has launched a public consultation about its planned Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. You can complete the online survey here (unlike most surveys that claim to be short, this one actually is). They explain:

In 2011 the Coalition Government published its ‘Call to End Violence Against Women & Girls’ which outlines the responsibility of Local Authorities to co-ordinate their response to VAWG issues.

The Safer Lewisham Partnership (SLP) includes the Police, Probation Services, Housing providers, the local Community and Voluntary Sector and the Council and work together to tackle crime in the borough. Domestic violence has been a strategic priority in Lewisham for the past 8 years.

It is recognised that domestic violence can only be effectively tackled by multi-agency working. A Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy will outline how we will work together to ensure that the immediate and longer term needs of victims and their children are met, and that those who commit any form of violence against women and girls are held to account for their unacceptable behaviour.

The SLP is conducting this consultation to get insight, feedback and comments on whether shifting to a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy would be welcomed throughout the borough.

Three nearby fire stations close as New Cross escapes axe

Ten fire stations across London, including nearby stations in Downham, Southwark and Woolwich have closed today. New Cross Fire Station, which was originally targeted for closure, has been spared.

The Alternative Valentine's Day Dinner 2014

Lewisham Council writes:

Plenty of romance in your soul but not much money in your pocket? You need the alternative Valentine's Day dinner. Great food, lovely surroundings, a chance to win prizes – and only £25 for a three-course meal.

Whether you're single or part of a group, want romance and candlelight, or feasting and fun, come to the Phoenix Restaurant, Lewisham College, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT. Friday 14 February 2014, 7.30pm.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Lavender Trust which raises money to fund information and support services for younger women with breast cancer.  The charity was co-founded in 1998 by former Lewisham councillor Beth Wagstaff and is the chosen charity of the Mayor of Lewisham.

Reservations are essential. To book contact Derek Johnson on 020 8314 8636 or email derek.johnson@lewisham.gov.uk.

For more information about the Lavender Trust see www.lewisham.gov.uk/lavendertrust.

The Deptford Diamond

This other Eden - the roof is made of the same stuff as the Eden Project's biomes

The Deptford Dame has a great article about a new building that sprouted in her manor over Christmas:

A new artist's studio, designed by De Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects, has just been revealed at the southern end of Comet Street. I suspect its form and function will provoke much discussion, although its location means it may not be seen by a very large audience - you really do have to seek it out.

She describes it as a potentially divisive piece of architecture, but we hope it will prove well-loved. For the full article, click here.

Bert's Kitchen at the Amersham Arms

Bert's Kitchen is the new team behind the food at The Amersham Arms.

Run by recent Goldsmiths graduate, Rose Walsh, the Kitchen will be serving up a new menu (although of course, burgers still play a central role), with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. She says:

"This week we'll be opening the kitchen from 5pm to get the ball rolling and from midday on Sunday for a homemade roast, with the view to eventually opening from midday every day with deals like beer and burger for £6. We'd love this to really take off, so please come and give us a try!"

"The Kitchen is named after my cat and I've already had endless cat lady related stick for it. Over summer Bert went missing in Brockley, and after 70+ retweets from total strangers, emails from people who thought they may have seen him and had left food out just in case, I got him back! (3 weeks later)! So the name is a tribute to the good nature of Brockley folk!

Download a copy of the menu here.

Little Nan's Market

Maya from MAYA Bakery writes:

After running a successful cake & cocktail event at Little Nan's Bar in Deptford in November, the owner, Tristan, has kindly given me an opportunity to start a new pop-up market in the hallway of his bar to run once a month. 

There is currently space for 5 stallholders in total, so I'm looking for 4 others who would like an opportunity to showcase their products/creations with me. I'm quite open about what the other stalls will sell, but no other cake stalls and no food that needs cooking on site. Other than that arts/prints/jewellery/textiles/pottery, etc would be great.

Tristan is making me an introductory offer of £15 per hour, so if there are five of us in total and we hire it for 5 hours, that will work out at an incredibly reasonable £15 each for the full hire.

I'm planning to run the first one on Saturday 8th February to trade between 12-4pm (but hire from 11:30am-4:30pm for set-up & pack-up). This neatly ties in with Little Nan's one year birthday event, so no doubt it will be a busy afternoon. There are tables available in the hallway for stallholders to use.

If any local businesses are interested in joining me for this, please get in touch.

Burns Night Banquet at the Hill Station

Scotland was invented in 1911 by the McGowans sweet company as a way of marketing Highland toffee

Saturday 25th January - The Hill Station 7:30pm prompt 

The organisers promise "a feast of Scots cuisine: A beautifully prepared 5 course Traditional Burns Night Banquet fit for bonny princes or princesses - including a vegetarian option for those who don't think they'll have the stomach for Haggis."

And to help you cope with that, the poetry and the music, they are also planning to offer you a dram of Telegraph Hill blend whisky.

Tickets are £35 and available here.

Cooper's Bakehouse moves to Brockley

South East London bakery, Coopers Bakehouse, is among the early wave of businesses moving into Dragonfly Place (nee Martin's Yard), and they are hiring. They say:

We're looking for baking cyclists, or cycling bakers, to join the Bakehouse at an exciting time of growth. You don't need to be a baker yet but you do need to love good food and riding a bike. If you're interested, please see the full job description and details of how to apply. Closing date is January 26th 2014.

Bring and Buy Book Sale, January 11th

Tamsin says:

In aid of Crisis - in the Telegraph Hill Centre Lounge 12noon to 4pm. Prices from 20p (paperbacks mostly five for a £1) to £2 (hardbacks 50p to £2) or maybe a bit more for something really special.

Drop off donations any time during the week beginning Monday 6th Jan at the Centre or the Hill Station. Then come and buy, buy, buy!

Books will be sorted for easy browsing. You can also bring donations on the day of the sale if you wish.

Lewisham house prices rising at 14% annually as Great Inversion accelerates

Lewisham's house prices have risen at an average annualised rate of 14% over the last two quarters, the 8th fastest recorded price rise in London, according to the latest Nationwide House Price Index.

The data, released yesterday, shows an acceleration of the trend we've written about before - in terms of house prices, inner and outer London are diverging as a "great inversion" takes place.

London boroughs ranked in terms of the fastest rising house prices over the last 6 months
As the map shows, all of the fastest-rising boroughs are in London's inner core. By contrast, all of the boroughs with the slowest rates of house price growth are at the city's edges: Kingston Upon Thames, Redbridge and Harrow's prices have hardly risen at all. The City and K&C are excluded on the basis that too few sales are recorded to provide an accurate sample.

The factors driving this (with the exception, possibly, of international investors flooding into central London) are all long-term trends - jobs are increasingly centrally located, people are having families later and the quality of life (air quality, crime, schools, shops and restaurants are all improving in inner London). So the price trends should be similarly sustained.

Lewisham is still fairly affordable by London standards (17th overall in terms of average house prices) but expect the tables to change significantly within a few years. These trends mean (other than in pockets) the end of relatively cheap homes in Lewisham and inner London. The map is being redrawn and the effects over the next decade will be profound.


James writes:

We have just launched an new underwater hockey club at Forest Hill Pools and I would like to offer BC readers the chance to have a free have-a-go session at 7.15pm, Friday 10th January 2014. Meet in the lobby of Forest Hill Pools. You can just come along but if possible please email me james@bayley.me.uk with your shoe size so I can confirm your place and sort out kit for you.

Underwater hockey is played with a lead puck and a short stick; swimmers wear a mask, snorkel and fins. We are set up to train absolute beginners and supply all the kit for the session. It has all the virtues of swimming to keep fit but is actually fun! Here is a promo video.

The men and women is this video are really good but don't worry, we are not! The youngest member of our club is 12 and the oldest 67 and we all play in the same game!

The Telegraph Hill Playclub reopens

Happy Mondays returns for 2014

New Cross comedy night, Happy Mondays, starts again at the Amersham Arms on January 13th and already has some great headliners booked in, including:

13th Jan - Milton Jones
27th Jan - Tony Law
10th Feb - Josie Long
24th Feb - Doc Brown
10th Mar - TBC!
24th Mar - Robin Ince

Tickeyts cost £5 in advance or £6 on the door. Full listings and tickets at www.happymondays.eventbrite.com

Knock Down Singe-r

Brockley Rog writes:

Early on Tuesday morning (31st December) a kind passer-by woke me up to let me know that my garden was on fire.

The previous night we had held a party and despite ensuring that our garden clay pizza oven was no longer lit it suffered a catastrophic failure. While we slept it smouldered and then caught light. By 6am there were three meter flames engulfing our garden.

If it weren't for the passer-by the fire would have spread to our house and, but for the grace of god, we may not be here. We rang the fire brigade and the wonderful men and women of New Cross and Deptford Fire Stations arrived quickly and put the fire out.

In the confusion I didn't have the opportunity to thank the person who alerted us. If he is reading this (or someone knows him) I would like to thank him very much. His vigilance (and tenacity in ringing the bell and knocking on the door) meant that we are here.