Brockley Max 2014 - Opening Night Tonight

The Brockley Max Arts Festival returns tonight, with its traditional opening night party outside Brockley Station (east side). This year, the action then moves on to four different venues, including:

  • Welcome Back Brockley Max - party on at The Ladywell Tavern 
  • Little Nan’s Cocktail Cup - get squiffy at The Talbot 
  • Exotic Belly Dancing - entrancing dancing in the Misty Moon Gallery 
  • Felix Fables - British folk, blues and Americana at Hop Scotch Bar
There are then eight more days of eclectic programming, right across greater Brockley. For the full programme, click here.

Brockley Max would also like to thank this year's local business supporters, including Brockley's Rock, Bryan & Keegan, Gently Elephant and Jam Circus.

New Model Market

Street Feast is updating followers about the work its doing to ready Lewisham's Model Market for their summer takeover.

Catford Bridge Tavern squatters evicted

Nearly a year after the Catford Bridge Tavern was bought by Camden Bars, police have finally evicted the squatters who'd made it their home and deprived Catford of a decent pub. Lewisham MPS says:

"Today at 07:30am after a possession order was obtained by the owners of the Copperfield PH, (Catford Bridge Tavern). Rushey Green SNT assisted with the eviction of twenty squatters from the pub."

Hopefully, this means another pub will be re-opened soon. The Honor Oak, which was also squatted, remains a sorry sight. With thanks to Chris for the heads-up.

Best Beloved

'My son, when you find a Hedgehog you must drop him into the water and then he will uncoil, and when you catch a Tortoise you must scoop him out of his shell with your paw.' And so that was all right, Best Beloved.
- Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling

Wellbeloved is a film by Stewart Morgan, celebrating the pies made by Deptford butcher Wellbeloved. He says:

"The reputation of the Steak Pie - that staple of traditional British cuisine - has become diminished. More glamorous dishes make the headlines; more photogenic recipes are illustrated on television and scores of inferior, industrial pies occupy the shelves of supermarkets throughout the land. It is time to look beyond these brightly lit aisles and discover the true ingredients of the perfect Steak Pie: Experience, Care and Dedication. It is time to go to Deptford."

Click here to watch Wellbeloved on the website Talking of food.

The Arthouse Cafe

Amanda from Lewisham Arthouse writes:

Our gallery becomes a space to relax and refresh for 6 weeks (6th June – 13th July)! Greenwich Kitchen will delight your taste buds with a fantastic array of fresh food and drinks, all ethically and sustainably sourced.

Pop in for a quick snack or stay for something more substantial. Thursday nights are Foodie Nights. Bring friends and family and sample internationally inspired cuisine. Guest chefs each week will concoct marvellous menus from hot Caribbean spice to vibrant zest of the Mediterranean.

Side orders are a special programme of events to wet and nourish your appetite including; families craft activities with Arthouse artists, live music from internationally renowned musician Charles Hayward & Friends to Dansette record players politically spun by Rachael House’s Feminist Disco.

Monday – Saturday 9am – 6pm
Late night Thursdays and Fridays till 9pm

Poverty rate falls in Inner London

More evidence of London's great inversion, this time courtesy of the LSE. Ruth Lupton of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion analysed census data from 2001 - 2011 and found that poverty rates in inner London fell substantially during this period, while outer boroughs experienced a significant increase in poverty rates.

London's poor are being pushed to the city's outskirts, while inner London boroughs like Lewisham have attracted people with higher incomes. But it's important to note that - so far - this trend has not resulted in greater geographical inequality - it has instead evened out the historic imbalances in poverty distribution. Lupton writes:

Mapping the proportion of households receiving Income Support and three other types of means-tested benefit shows that the greatest concentrations of poverty in 2001 were found in Inner East London. However, poverty rates, on this measure, fell considerably in the poorest inner-city neighbourhoods up to 2008, while increasing in less poor Outer London areas. This was mainly due to new house building and an influx of households that were less poor into Inner London, especially the Inner West.

With thanks to Monkeyboy.

Classical and Experimental music at the Montague Arms

Ian writes:

I'm starting a new monthly evening of music at The Montague Arms on Tuesday 10th June.

It's going to feature contemporary classical and experimental music acts. I'm aiming for a cross between an evening at the Barbican and a night down the pub.

The acts on the 10th are:

The Broca Ensemble - Brockley's finest large minimalist guitar ensemble.
The Iyatra Quartet - specialise in improvised takes of music from around the world
IƱigo Ugarteburu - playing atmospheric classical guitar and vocal work.

We'll have a DJ playing suitably weird and wonderful music in between acts. Entry is free (Donation).

Crofton Park Station to get new operator

Transport operator Govia has been awarded the TSGN rail franchise, by the DfT for a seven-year period, starting in September 2014. TSGN is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff and covers the Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern Services.

As part of the deal, Crofton Park Station will be transferred away from Southeastern and operated by this franchise. The transfer will take place in December 2014.

Thanks to @Trainwatch for the information.

Governors wanted for Childeric Primary School

John Stevens writes:

A few years ago, in a moment of public spiritedness I volunteered to Lewisham Council to be a governor at a local school. After a few months I was offered a place as a community governor at Childeric Primary School in New Cross (round the back of the New Cross Inn) – and since then have gone on to really enjoy helping out with the management of the school with my fellow 8-9 governors.

We do have one or two vacancies on the governing body, including one community governor space, and I wondered if anyone else in the Brockley area might be interested in signing up? The time commitment is fairly minimal – roughly 2 evening meetings every 3 months – and no prior experience of the world of education is required (though an interest would help!). The main function of the role is to consider all scrutinise how the school is performing in a number of aspects (educationally, financially etc.) and advise as appropriate. After that the commitment is as big or as little as anyone wants it to be – help on school trips is always welcomed!

Further details of what we do can be found here:

If anyone is interested in being a community governor they should contact the school on, marking it for the attention of Jean Skitt.

Birds' threatened conversion opposed

Renovation work has begun on-site at 253-255 Malpas Road, the buildings that were once home to Birds Dress Agency. The developers are seeking to convert the building to residential use, a plan strongly opposed by the Brockley Cross Action Group and the Brockley Society.

A planning application has been submitted to the Council the alteration and conversion of the site to use as two dwelling houses, incorporating extensions to the rear as well as the roof. This application is invalid however and the Council has informed the agent that any work carried out prior to planning approval is at the risk of the owner and may be subject to enforcement action. The building has use class 1A, which means it can be converted from retail into a "dwelling house" with relative ease.

Birds is a well-preserved Victorian shop, and although a number of units in Brockley Cross have lain empty for some time, recent developments have shown that commercial space in this spot is viable: an estate agent recently moved into The Tea Factory, while the former newsagent is reopening shortly as a deli (more on that story soon). The Broca Food Market also came close to moving to Birds earlier this year.

With thanks to Robert for the information.

Labour sweeps Lewisham in Euro elections

After sweeping the local elections, Labour dominated Lewisham's European election vote too, taking 32,507  of the borough's votes, ahead of the second-placed Green Party, who won 10,228 votes. UKIP finished third (8,720), ahead of the Conservatives (8,161). The Lib Dems trailed-in fifth (4,252).

Hilly Fields bowls club vandalised

No local sports club works harder in the service of the community than the Francis Drake Bowls Club in Hilly Fields. In terms of local engagement and access, they are exemplary. So it is especially galling that they have been targeted again by vandals. The News Shopper reports:

Overnight on May 21, vandals climbed over a fence at the Francis Drake club in Hilly Fields, smashing flowerpots and statues, breaking chairs and destroying the bowling green.

This is the fourth time the club's been hit and the most damaging attack of the lot. Some people are just dicks. That is all.

The Red Wedding: Bullock leads Labour to 53:1 win

Frank Underwood: A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power.
- House of Cards

"Very well, alone!"
This man, John Coughlin, the new Green Party councillor for Brockley, is the only thing standing between Mayor Bullock and total domination of Lewisham Council, after the results of the 2014 local elections were declared last night.

Mayor Bullock was returned with 50.77% of the total vote (the Conservative candidate came second, with a mere 11%), while Labour won every single ward councillor berth, with the exception of John's. It was always going to come down to this - with Brockley the last line of defence against a totalitarian government.

In our view, Bullock's third term is deserved - he is a capable leader, without credible opposition at this election - but for him to preside over a Council of 53 of his own party members, with only one voice of opposition is democratically disastrous. A lot now falls on Coughlin's shoulders in terms of holding Labour to account in Lewisham.

Turnout rose compared with 2006 (the last time the elections didn't coincide with a general election) to 37.2%, which is good news.

Batwalk v Superanimals: Dusk of Justice

Leo lets us know about a couple of Blythe Hill events coming up.


Have you ever seen a bat on BHF? Apparently there are some, and it takes a bit of patience around dusk of a summer evening to spot them. We have the privilege of having Dr Iain Boulton of the London bat group come on Saturday, June 7th to take us on a bat walk.

We need to keep to 25 places, so please register here to book a place. Children are welcome, but they count as a 'person' if they can in front of the playground at 9.15pm. Bat detectors will be provided..Register for the June 7th Bat walk here.


Have you ever thought that animals outnumber us in our city by many many times…many species have adapted themselves admirably to a human-centred environment, and we live around them all the time.
Come and see 'An Unnatural History of London' at the Blythe Hill Tavern on Friday June 20th, hosted by the Friends of Blythe Hill Fields People and Wildlife group. All welcome, 8pm upstairs.

Little Nan's Club opens tonight

From 5pm tonight the top floor of The Talbot transforms into Little Nan's Club, the latest pop-up from Deptford cocktail pensioner Little Nan. It's a "soft launch" for what we hope will be a long term fixture in the Brockley firmament.

The LDN Beer Dispensary, Brockley Road

Crofton Park's new micro-brewery-tied bar, the LDN Beer Dispensary, opened last night. Reviews please!

UKIP's Lewisham Mayor candidate arrested for alleged sex assault on homeless Bulgarian man

Yesterday, on this site, reader Tim argued that "I want to vote UKIP because even though I think they're all weirdos, a vote for UKIP is a vote for change." Today, the News Shopper reports:

The UKIP candidate to be Mayor of Lewisham has been arrested following an alleged sexual assault on a homeless Bulgarian man. Civil servant Peter Lello was arrested on May 15 after an allegation of sexual assault made four days earlier.

Change you can believe in...

#Lewisham 2014: The issues that do matter

Here are the issues that we think ought to define tomorrow's Lewisham elections and the years that follow. Please let us know what you think.


Prices and rents are rising faster in Lewisham than the London average, causing enormous problems for residents and changing the make-up of the area.

Like jobs, housing is a London-wide challenge. So why dismiss the former issue and prioritise the latter? Because unlike the jobs market, Lewisham has a major role to play in meeting London's growing demand for housing. Everywhere you look, major new buildings are at last appearing. But the housing challenge presents a number of questions that ultimately come back to the vision for Lewisham. These are:

- What balance do we want to strike in terms of "affordable" housing?
- Where should development be focused?
- What kind of developments do we admire?
- How much should housing needs take priority over all other considerations?

The Lewisham Plan contains a lot of answers, but our politicians should be campaigning on these fundamental questions. An example of the problem can be found on the Lewisham Labour website. First story "Lewisham Labour make housing top priority in local elections", second story "Boris lets Deptford down at Convoys Wharf [by steamrollering the proposal through without giving due consideration to heritage, transport and affordable housing]."

If Lewisham had articulated a clear vision for Deptford, explaining how its maritime heritage would be incorporated into a wider development strategy, then the years of delays to this major housing scheme would make sense. Without such a vision, holding up vital housing [their top priority] in the name of a completely unfunded 'Build the Lenox' scheme seems, at best, incoherent.

"Secondary schools"

There aren't enough good ones in Lewisham. Great strides have been made in improving and expanding local primary schools to accommodate a growing population and a a growing number of young families who want to stay in the area rather than decamp to the suburbs. Little progress has been made in terms of our secondary schools. If we want to reduce unemployment in Lewisham, we need to invest in secondary and vocational education to improve employability.

We need a detailed plan for new schools, expanded schools and improved schools now.


Improve public transport and so much else falls in to place. The Bakerloo Line through New Cross and Lewisham town centre would attract hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs to this borough, while encouraging house builders to get cracking with dormant projects. It is a long-term vision, but also a realistic prospect and momentum is building. A DLR extension south from Lewisham is fraught with technical challenges but also a possibility. Quicker wins would include a later-running service for the East London Line.

Of course, all this is outside Lewisham's direct control and any party that suggested otherwise could be accused of dishonesty - but we need our leaders to make the case during and beyond the election. In part, that means Lewisham explaining what developments and improvements could be unlocked by these projects.

Beyond the major infrastructure projects, we'd like to hear more about Lewisham's roads. Are we serious about 20mph an hour limits or not? How are we going to encourage cycling and capitalise on the new "superhighway" due to pass through New Cross. When Lewisham Gateway and Convoys Wharf finally materialise, how should local transport cope?

"The night-time economy"

If you really want to help the local economy and improve quality of life for many residents, encourage more night-life. In an area like Lewisham, where most adults work elsewhere during the day, catering for drinkers, diners and people who want a hair cut, a facial or a workout after work is key to developing successful high streets.

We recently asked Deputy Mayor Alan Smith how we could create more space for restaurants, cafes and bars in Brockley, we were told that any new restaurant space would ultimately be turned into takeaways, so we may as well not bother. We asked what his solution was and the conversation ended there. This is another example of how a lack of vision translates into inertia and missed opportunities. Does Lewisham want to help high streets or not? If so, it needs to get serious about creating high streets that people want to use. That means a proper strategy for the night-time economy.

#Lewisham2014: The issues that don't matter

We argued yesterday that Lewisham politics is sorely lacking the vision that our leaders ought to have for a borough with Lewisham's scale and natural advantages. In terms of policies, there is little difference between the solutions offered in the main parties' Mayoral manifestos - most of the difference comes down to the underlying narrative about who is to blame for the mess we're in.

So if the solutions sound the same, then what matters most is what weighting the candidates give the problems. In our view, there a few issues that should not be a key focus for Lewisham Council - not because they aren't important, but because we doubt the Council's ability to do much about them.


London is a huge, liquid jobs market on the doorstep of every Lewisham resident, so to consider Lewisham employment opportunities in isolation is a mistake. Not because unemployment in the borough isn't worryingly high, but because employability is the key problem, not the lack of local options. It's not even true to say that Lewisham does particularly badly in terms of local employment - as this map shows, job density in the Deptford - Catford corridor is comparable with many other parts of London. While we lack big employers, we have a healthy density of very small businesses.

Labour is pledging somehow to support the creation of 3,000 jobs over the next seven years. For the Lib Dems, Duwayne Brooks is focused on peppercorn rents to attract small businesses. Both of these seem like the wrong solution - trying to remedy a supposed failure of the private sector to pay any interest in our borough.

Firstly, there is a London-wide trend we have to acknowledge - jobs are becoming more and more clustered in the centre. Big employers probably aren't coming back.

Secondly, at a time when London is creating the vast majority of all new private sector jobs in the country, we shouldn't be looking for government to subsidise employers or compete on cost, the focus should be on creating as attractive an environment for employers as possible (more on how in the next article). Lewisham is not a pit village - we should be competing on quality and selling ourselves better, not looking desperate.


Crime is relatively high in Lewisham, compared with the national average. But, in line with the rest of London and the UK, crime is falling and appears in long-term decline. The trend seems linked to a variety of socio-economic factors and is relatively unaffected by policing strategies. This is not to diminish the important work being done by Lewisham police, but simply to challenge the idea that this should be a key election issue, treated in isolation as a policing matter. Let's concentrate on the causes of crime.

A lot's been made of Boris' failure to honour his commitment to increase the number of police on our streets, but as crime falls, we're due a peace dividend.

"Supporting independent high street business"

Lewisham has a good proportion of independent high street businesses. But it also has too many unfilled units. The solution is to be agnostic about the role of "big business" on our high streets and - once again - to focus on creating a quality environment to attract businesses. Chains can be boring, but they attract footfall (because people like them), they can afford to invest in unpromising properties and they tend to be run responsibly. They don't just fill high-streets with useful services, they also make them more attractive for independent businesses to open next door. If Brockley is any guide, they also do a better job of employing staff from ethnic minorities than many independent businesses do.

The model whereby Lewisham Council insists that developers add shops to the bottom of new buildings and offer rent free periods to independent businesses has been tried and has too often failed. Instead, the Council should focus on creating the right kind of units in the right kind of locations. Let's create high quality units in the right locations, for the right kind of businesses. In the case of Brockley, that means on Brockley Road, not in Brockley Cross. And it means restaurants and cafes more often than shops.

No more peppercorn rents for side-street properties - just fix the pavements of our main high-streets, plant trees, prevent rogue businesses and their customers dumping rubbish and encourage developers to create bigger commercial units where people can sit, not hobbit holes that can't accommodate much more than is a counter and a couple of shelves.

Real help for small businesses means not allowing your major contractors to close Ladywell for a year while one worker pokes some tarmac with a spanner and it means knocking heads together to get Brockley's new enterprise centre connected to the internet. That's the kind of meaningful intervention we need.

Next up - the policies that really do matter.

Max 2014: Brockleywood Nights

Brockley Max is coming up and there are some great highlights. Declan writes:

Enjoy the filmmaking talent and cinematic treasures from Brockley and beyond at Brockleywood Nights, a showcase for local Short Film. As part of Brockley Max Festival (30 May - 7 June) it promises to be a fun and free evening at the Misty Moon Gallery

Submissions are still open and so please get in touch. All genres are welcome and while the focus is on showcasing local filmmakers (or films linked to the local area), films from Lewisham, South London and beyond will also be considered.

For further details or submissions contact Declan at

Lewisham Elects: The Hopey Changey Stuff

On May 22nd, Lewisham will elect its Mayor and local councillors based on a set of manifestos that could have been scribbled on a napkin - a huge missed opportunity.

If Lewisham borough (pop 275,800) was a city in its own right, it would be bigger than Newcastle, putting it comfortably in the top 20 British cities. Its future deserves proper consideration.

Lewisham has lush green spaces from Blackheath to Ladywell Fields, first class institutions like Goldsmiths, Lewisham Hospital, Laban and the Horniman, fast-improving primary schools and excellent transport links to four of the most important business hubs in the country - the City, Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Shoreditch / Tech City.

Lewisham is blessed with diversity - both of its people and its streets - from Deptford's creative cluster to Bellingham's suburbia. It has fine residential areas with handsome houses in areas like Sydenham, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Honor Oak, Catford, Lee, Blackheath and Telegraph Hill. Having scoured London in search of a new home before retaking our Brockley vows last year, we can say with absolute confidence that Lewisham boasts the greatest of all neighbourhoods.

Every time someone takes a chance on our borough, it surprises on the up-side: Brockley Market became one of the country's best food markets; Apartments at Lewisham Renaissance are selling as fast as Barratt can build them; When Holly Walsh decides to put on a show at The Amersham Arms, she can tempt the best comedians in the country to perform at £5 a ticket and whenever The Rivoli opens its doors The Avengers or Damon Albarn rush in.

The borough is benefiting from a general resurgence in the popularity of in inner-city living, bringing with it new people, energy, ambition and spending power. Successful entrepreneurs like Street Feast and Sodo are beginning to discover the area. More will follow.

Lewisham-ites are infused with this sense of the possible, but when our local politicians talk, you don't hear it. There are platitudes for our people, nods towards our communities and a few vague pledges about local infrastructure, but little about what kind of Lewisham they want to cultivate.

Cycling utopia or free-enterprise zone, BC cares less about the particulars of our politicians' vision than whether they have any vision at all. Labour often seems content to use Lewisham elections to fight a proxy war for the general election and field candidates who are passing through on their way to bigger and better things - particularly troubling, given that they have the borough locked-down for the foreseeable future.

The political discourse here is about defending Lewisham from the cold, rapacious right or the inept, complacent left. It portrays our people as perennial victims and Lewisham as the unloved, forgotten quarter and it panders to South East Londoners' hard-won chippiness. From poverty to homelessness, there are huge social challenges this borough faces, but they should not overshadow the positive or stop us from talking about what is achievable for a borough the size of Oxford and Cambridge combined, which sits at the heart of the greatest city on earth.

Having said all that, policies do matter of course. Tomorrow, we'll list the policy areas that we think should and shouldn't define this election. Please let us know what you think here and at #Lewisham2014.

Write Now 5 at the Brockley Jack

The Brockley Jack team wants to let you know about the 5th birthday of their new writing festival:

The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre launches Write Now 5 this Saturday 17th May with performances of ten minute short plays, followed by three weeks packed with new drama, workshops and discussions.

As in previous years, we are offering free tickets to under 25's to see one of the new plays. Check out the festival programme and email with your name, age and date of performance you wish to attend. (subject to availability and on a first come, first served basis).

Tickets for all the events can be booked at

The festival is made possible thanks to The London Borough of Lewisham, Arts Council England and is supported by Acorn Estates Ltd (Under 18's must be accompanied by a paying adult).

Crofton Park Community Garden open day

The Crofton Park Community Garden was born from a patch of wasteland next to the railway line, located just off the high street, behind Terry's All Locks. The team behind the project are now looking for volunteers and donations of plants to help bring the garden to life.

There is a volunteer day on June 1st, 2pm - 5pm, open to anyone. Gloves and tools will be provided but wear sturdy footwear and bring your favourite spade or fork if you have one - plus any plants you can spare.

Brockley Beers

Local tech start-up Patchwork Present is hosting a second party for local freelancers and entrepreneurs. Brockley Beers Part Deux is this Thursday, May 22nd from 6pm-8pm at their studio, 7B Harefield Road.

Brockley: Great People, Great Cheese

Blackwoods Cheese Company is a cheese-maker based in Brockley Cross. We've been waiting for the appropriate time to celebrate their presence in our midst, and the time is now. Vikki tips us off about the fact that Hawksmoor has started using Brockley cheese in their Seven Year Steak Sandwiches. Hawksmoor gushes:

Richard Sandiford, Head Chef at Guildhall, has come up with an awesome version that we had to get on to the menu: rib-eye steak, Graceburn cream cheese (made by the amazing Blackwoods Cheese Company in Brockley), watercress and lots of fresh horseradish.
Click here for more about Blackwoods.

Thurston Work

New buildings are flying up on Thurston Road. Once the sole preserve of evangelical churches and MFI-bound traffic, the area is being transformed by the creation of Thurston Central, a mixed-use development, with 406 new homes (including 12 new apartments available for shared ownership) and 80,000 square feet of commercial space, located in three different buildings.
Aerial view of the development
Nearby resident Taz writes: "We are becoming quite attached to the cranes that dominate the view from our window. Here they are looking great last week. We can also attest that they seem to be making breakneck progress on the site."

The largest of the three new buildings under construction

Bare Essentials at The Amersham Arms, June 5th

The Ladywell Supper Club, May 29th

The Ladywell Supper Club is a semi-regular pop-up dining experience, touring far and wide around the Ladywell region. This one will be at new deli, The Larder.

Grad internships at Lewisham Council

Lewisham Council writes:

Undergraduate students with a connection to the London Borough of Lewisham are being given the opportunity to work full time with the Council for an 8-week period between 16 June and 30 September.

The internships are paid and students will gain the sort of work experience that will help them get into employment once they have completed their academic course.

For more information go to:

iMoves in to Brockley

Upgrade your Brockley growth forecasts, the Tea Factory has finally found a tenant for its biggest unit. And of course, it's an estate agent:

The leading indicator of an area being on-the-up is the number of 20-something female joggers who can be seen on its streets: Joggers are aspirational types, which means they probably have the money and inclination to spend locally. That they're female means the area feels reasonably safe. That they are 20-something means they are probably too old to be students and too young to have a family - in which case, they not just in the area because they settled for whatever was available - they've made an active choice to be here.

The number of 20-something female joggers in Brockley and New Cross has exploded in recent years.

The lagging indicator is the number of estate agents kicking around. And iMove is one of a resurgent army of flat-floggers in the area.

Brockley Max 2014

The Brockley Max team writes:

Over nine days, Brockley Max, the community-led arts festival, will showcase amazing talent from the local area, with mostly free events ranging from gigs, parties, comedy, film, poetry and activities for kids.

The opening night open air concert will begin at 5pm on May 30th outside Brockley Station, with performers of all ages, from street dancers to Cornish folk music.

- Saturday 31 May: The Artist Flea Market, with an eclectic array of work at rock-bottom prices from local studio clear-outs and unrealised projects. Dragonfly Place, midday to 5pm

- Sunday 1st June: Always wanted to have a go at using video cameras or DSLR? The Robo Films Film School workshop will give you a taster of how free yourself from auto mode and get to grips with lighting, sound, composition and directing. Misty Moon Gallery, 10am-6pm

- Monday 2nd June: Join Martin Rowson, cartoonist for The Guardian and Brockley resident, for an illustrated talk on the history of satire - Cartoons and Visual Satire: The Last 32,000 Years. Brockley Social Club, 8pm

- Tuesday 3rd June: An evening of poems and music entwined through Time and Space, with readers Wendy Schulter and Madeline Smith. Misty Moon Gallery, 7.30pm

- Wednesday 4th June: Just Jones and Ros Philips present Brockley More – ten, tiny plays for, by and about Brockley. Jam Circus, 8pm

- Thursday 5th June: Up-beat folk band, Mackenzie Bidgood, will be playing their trademark mix of bluegrass, folk and swashbuckling sea shanties for a good, ole-fashioned hoe-down! Jam Circus, 7.30pm

- Thursday 5th June: A fusion of stand-up, storytelling and physcial comedy in 'Sex... with Pete Searles' Misty Moon Gallery, 8pm, £10/£7conc

- Friday 6th June: Spanish music with Los Musicos. The Wickham Arms, 9pm

- Saturday 7th June: Art in the Park - a creative day for all the family, centred around the Magical Marquee and filled with music, art and crafts. Hilly Fields, midday-6pm

- Saturday 7th June: Glitter-ball disco, courtesy of local club night, Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet! Prendergast School Hall, 7.30pm, £12 on the door

Visit the Brockley Max website to find out more about the programme. New events being added all the time.

Food stalls needed for Hilly Fields Summer Fayre

The Hilly Fields Summer Fayre is coming up on June 21st and the BrocSoc organisers are looking for caterers, to sell food on the day. It's a big event, attracting a lot of hungry people.

They're already well covered in terms of cakes, burgers and West Indian food, so they're looking for alternatives, to add a bit of variety. They are hoping to find local providers as a priority, but happy to cast the net wider if necessary.

If you're interested, click here to download an application form.

Lewisham still among most affordable choices for Generation Y

Another Savills map of London, this one designed to show how much a member of Generation Y would need to get on the property ladder.

Obviously, this is all fairly frightening for most first-time buyers, but despite the fact that Lewisham has been playing catch-up with London's pricier boroughs, it is still among the most affordable parts of the capital, with £37,000 per annum just enough to get you a mortgage, assuming you have 20% deposit(!).

Despite this, Savills also shows that Lewisham has suffered a relatively sharp fall in home ownership among under 35s over the last decade or so. Presumably this is mostly because there were relatively few young buyers in many other parts of the capital already, so we had further to fall.
Savills comments:

This is not just a moment in time. The very strong house price growth in the first half of the noughties substantially altered access to home ownership and the shape of the housing market... The mortgage market review is going to continue to restrict access to home ownership and ensure a continuation of this trend... Accordingly, younger households will undoubtedly rent for longer and enter the housing market later in life, possibly when they can pool two incomes or for the lucky ones, take advantage of the housing equity built up by parents and grandparents. 

As a result, government policy needs to become less fixated on home ownership and look to substantially increase the supply of good quality rental accommodation.

Any Lewisham election candidate that does not have much to say about housing strategy is not worth voting for. #Lewisham2014

Inside Mr Lawrence

As we await the arrival of the LDN Beer Dispensary, it's important to mark Mr Lawrence's move next door to accommodate them. The Mr Lawrence bar has now moved into the former Mr Lawrence shop, which is a little smaller, but as these pictures show, still charming.

Thanks to Lucy, who is a fan of the big windows, for the photos.

Brockley Ward Hustings, May 15th

7pm, Brockley Social Club, 240 Brockley Road

Clare Cowen writes:

Meet the candidates, ask questions about the big issues affecting Brockley Ward – all Brockley residents welcome. Candidates from Labour, the Greens, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, People before Profit, the Trade Union Coalition and UKIP have been invited. They will introduce themselves and tell us what they would do for Brockley. Then the questions will begin – it should be a lively evening! The bar will be open during the event.


Cannabis fire wrecks Albertines

A fire in a cannabis factory in the top floor of the Lewisham Way pub formerly known as Albertines has destroyed the roof of the building and led to major water damage on every floor, including the ground floor bar, which had just been refurbished.

The fire is now out and Lewisham Way has been reopened to traffic. The pub's inglorious history continues.

Brockley Police Station residential development proposed

Brockley Police Station (2-4 Howson Road) was sold earlier this year to developers Holbrook Investment Limited, who want to turn it into a residential property. A public consultation is now under way on their plans to convert the station itself into four new homes and to build a new terrace of five two-storey houses to the rear of the building. The centre of the building will be converted to gardens.

We were hoping forlornly for a mixed development, but these plans seem pretty reasonable to us. With thanks to Auntie Kate for the image.

Heart Awakenings, May 10th

Taste Mauritius, June 6th

New Cross cafe, No 178, is playing host to a Mauritian supperclub night on Friday, June 6th.

The event will be banquet-style, with a paid-bar. Click here for details. Tickets cost £29.50.

Brockley Max volunteers needed

The Brockley Max team writes:

Brockley Max needs volunteers! With only 3 weeks to go until the start of Brockley Max, we need lots and lots of volunteers to help make it happen. Roles include leaflet and poster delivery, photography, selling raffle tickets and stewarding at our Opening Night and Art in the Park events.

In return for your time and effort you get to work as part of a great team, have fun, and know you've helped play a vital role in making the festival happen. Stewards also get a festival t-shirt to wear and keep as a souvenir. This year for the first time, all volunteers will be eligible to receive time credits for their contribution too, to be exchanged through the Rushey Green time bank. So in return for delivering leaflets you could get your dog walked, a cake baked, or go for a free swim.

If you’re interested, sign-up sheets with more information on the volunteer roles can be found by clicking on the following links: Opening nightPhotographyProgramme delivery to shopsRaffle ticket salesArt in the ParkProgramme delivery at train stations

Coming Soon: The LDN Beer Dispensary

The Late Knights Brewery team have confirmed the opening day of their new bar in Crofton Park, The LDN Beer Dispensary will be... May 22nd. The bar will occupy the space once used by Mr Lawrence's wine bar and will serve the group's own brews. Mr Lawrence moves into their old shop, next door.

GOODjumble, May 31st

Bryony writes:

Set up by two friends in SE4 hankering after a good jumble, GOODjumble aims to be just that. Expect to find high quality women’s clothes and accessories at much less than the original selling price or even something altogether unique, in beautiful surroundings close to home.

Shopping second-hand is always exciting, because you never know what you might find, but we wanted to make the experience easier and generally more agreeable.

We have fitting rooms, lots of mirrors and everything is clean and beautiful. Customers can get a coffee (from Lawrence's Dark Fluid  - Brockley market star..) while browsing and even have clothes altered on the spot if they don’t fit perfectly.

Selling is simple too. Book a stall and decide on your own prices. Turn up on the day to your allocated space, man the stall for 3 hours and walk away with all the profits. Anything that doesn’t sell can be left and will be given to a local charity. (The Brockley sale's charity is Celia Hammond Animal Trust)

The first sale will be held at the Art House on Lewisham Way on 31st May with the second on 14th June at fh space in Forest Hill.

Entrance is £3 and sellers can reserve their seller space at

Brockley Market a "blueprint" for Britain's urban markets

BBC Radio 4 has just announced the winners of the 2014 Food and Farming Awards and Brockley Market was one of three markets shortlisted from a field of 150.

Although it didn't win, the judges described Brockley as "a really good blueprint for urban markets" in the UK. Congratulations to Toby and the team who made the finals.

Stillness falls

Jocelyn writes:

We are really gutted that the beautiful tree which used to greet residents of Stillness Road was chopped down without warning last week- would really like to know why and if it'll be replaced ... I have noticed a few others in the borough being lopped down - our neighbourhood and our air quality needs trees!

Student accommodation plan for The Walpole

The owners of the steaming pile of rubble formerly known as The Walpole (403-405 New Cross Road) have changed their minds about about building a hotel there and submitted an application for a "part 4 and part 5 storey building with basement for 60 student rooms and communal facilities at part basement, part ground and upper levels including commercial use (A4) at ground floor and car and cycle spaces." The building is little changed from the previous plans.

It always seemed an unlikely location for a hotel of this scale and specifications, so to the extent that this is a more plausible use for the building, it is reassuring that they actually intend to do something with the site. But it's hugely irritating that The Walpole was allowed to be destroyed on the basis of a plan so incredible that the developers had a change of heart while the dust was still settling on its ruins.

Goldsmiths launches £1.5m bursary scheme for south Londoners

Goldsmiths writes:

Students from south London are to benefit from over £1.5 million of bursaries and scholarships, thanks to Goldsmiths, University of London and their generous donors. In total, 200 students will receive help with tuition fees and living costs. Among the bursaries are full fee waivers for ten students living in Lewisham and The Mayor's Award, set up by Lewisham Council in memory of those who died in the New Cross Fire.

Speaking on Thursday evening at a ceremony to honour last year's recipients and thank donors, Warden of Goldsmiths Patrick Loughrey said: "Many students may not be able to come to university without the funding we are honouring this evening. These awards exist thanks to gifts from others made generously and repeatedly over the years."

Sandra Ruddock lost her husband Paul and sister in law Yvonne in the New Cross Fire in 1981. She attended the ceremony to meet the recipients of last year’s award. She said: "There were many children who died in the fire who never got the chance to go to university. It gives children from underprivileged backgrounds that wish."

To find out about Undergraduate scholarships click here. For Postgraduate scholarships click here. For PGCE scholarships click here.

Ladywell hustings, May 15th

Prendergast Hilly Fields College (Lower Site)
Adelaide Avenue, SE4 1LE

Come to hear from, and question, the candidates seeking your vote at the Council Elections on 22 May. Each party ‘slate’ will be given 5 minutes (uninterrupted) to set out their priorities and manifesto for Ladywell (and for the Borough) then those present will be able to ask questions.

Please note that precedence will be given to questions pre-submitted by Ladywell residents to by Monday 12 May. Questions will be sorted and ordered in advance to avoid duplication and to ensure the questions asked first are those of broad interest to Ladywell residents. If there is time before the conclusion of the meeting at 9.00pm, the chairman will take a few questions from the floor.


Maddy's Fish Bar, 397 New Cross Road

Maddy's Fish Bar in New Cross is now open. We tried it for the first time last night, expecting to beat the rush by getting there just after 7pm, but found it already packed. The golden rule of Greater Brockley: Good news travels fast.

It's an excellent new addition to the local seascape, offering a different kind of fish and chip experience from the likes of Tony's Plaice or Fishy Business, and different again from Brockley's Rock. Portions are smaller but more delicate and while the menu focuses on doing a few things well, there are also some surprises, like gorgeous chicken nuggets. The chips come with the skin on, the batter is tempura and the mushy peas are the best we've ever had.

St John's Medical Centre Behind Closed Doors

GPs - Behind Closed Doors is the Channel 5 documentary, filmed at St John's Medical Centre, Loampit Hill, and starring Doctors Ferdinand and Jean Parker and a kebab knife wound. You can see episode one here. Thanks to Monkeyboy and Chris Wheal for flagging.

On Blackheath, September 13th / 14th

On Blackheath, the festival they tried to ban, is taking place on September 13th / 14th and tickets are now on-sale.

CCCClub Fundraising Night, hosted by Peter O'Hanrahanrahan

CCCClub is a breakfast and after-school club in Telegraph Hill. As a social enterprise, they are looking to fund-raise from the local community. They say:

We cover John Stainer, Edmund Waller and Haberdasher Aske's Free School and since we opened our registration we have grown our membership so that we are now helping 53 local families with their childcare. We are also employing 6 people to look after the children 4 of whom are from Brockley.

Little Nan's Cocktail Club, 2 Tyrwhitt Road

The venue for Little Nan's Cocktail Club has been confirmed as the first floor of The Talbot pub. They say:

Soft Launch will be the 23rd & 24th May with the Official Launch shindigs happening on the 30th & 31st May. We will be open every Friday & Saturday from 5pm - 11pm for 6 Weeks. If you like my cocktails & feel at home in my Brockley Victorian Parlour room, then we will stay for Longer!

The Talbot's a fine pub, which lacks a little character. Little Nan's oozes character and knows that Brockley is the perfect place to take their brand of nightlife. This is an asset swap that GSK and Novartis would approve of.