#Bakernooisham - southern extension consultation launches today

TfL's public consultation on the southern extension of the Bakerloo Line opens later today. The options for the line, include a route via Camberwell and Peckham or a route via the Old Kent Road with both routes converging on New Cross Gate and then on to Ladywell and Catford. Mayorwatch reports:

Michèle Dix, TfL’s Managing Director of Planning, has also said the line could be connected with the rail line to Hayes “which would mean existing rail services would no longer operate on this line, but the Bakerloo line would operate instead.”

A further option allows for the line to be extended to Beckenham Junction to connect with the Tramlink or Bromley town centre.

Lewisham Labour has launched an opportunistic petition, calling for the line to come to Lewisham, which seems a little redundant, other than as a way of getting some reflected glory for the project, when it comes. They're also studiously avoiding mentioning which route they prefer, lest they upset anyone, but it seems fairly obvious that they would favour the New Cross route, on the basis of its regeneration potential.

However, they deserve some credit for making the case for the line over the last few years and for coining the natty name Bakerlooisham (which should of course be #Bakernooisham).

The new line is slated to begin operating in 2040, but the smart money is on this project being brought forward by a decade or so, as South East London transport overheats.

Click here to take part in the consultation.

The Spirit of 78"

The LP Bar in action 
The LP Bar in New Cross is staging a new monthly night for the "spirit and cocktail curious", bringing drinks experts and mixologists in for evenings of "learning, tasting and experimenting"

First up is Whisky - hosted by Mark Jennings of Drinks Galore.

Mark will give a guided tour of the brown stuff with four whisky tastings from Scotland, Ireland, the US and Japan and snacks from The London Particular, created to complement the whiskys.

The event runs from 7.30-9.30pm and tickets cost £25. Click here for details.

Bazooka Joe, October 11th

The Brockley Social Club has changed

This year's model

Lewisham's #Modelmarket celebrated its final weekend with queues that stretched round the block and a deluge of misty-eyed tweets from locals.

Like Brockley Market before it, it has enjoyed a degree of success that undercut the cynics, surprised even the optimists, proved the level of local demand and demonstrated the extraordinary commitment of hipsters, always willing to travel across London to find a new place to eat pulled pork.

Its immediate legacy will be a permanent new roof top venue in Lewisham, opening next month [EDIT: They've just said on Twitter that it's now not going to open until early next year]. It has also established a precedent, showing that there will be more to post-Gateway Lewisham than simply rabbit hutches for commuters.

With thanks to Karen.

Deptford Fun Palaces, October 4-5

The Deptford Fun Palaces team writes:

The Deptford Fun Palaces will be springing up across the SE8 area on the weekend of 4th & 5th October 2014.

This Fun Palace is a collaborative consortium of a number of creative, cultural and educational organisations, including The Albany, Deptford X, Art Mongers, The Deptford Lounge and many more. We have a shared ambition to get the community of Deptford engaged in a spectrum of fun arts and science activities across the weekend.

- Are you 13-19 years old and a budding performer? Do you want to showcase your skills on the streets of Deptford? Deptford's newest Street Theatre troupe 'The Red Anchors' have arrived and this is your chance to be a founding member.

- Become a mad scientist on the streets of Deptford to celebrate the Fun Palace’s, a national festival of arts and science on the weekend of 4th and 5th October. It’s going to be mad, silly and scientific!

- MakeBelieve Arts will be creating a giant science playground inviting the community to solve a mystery of gigantic proportions. Forensic investigators need the communities help to solve the case of a sick giant; the last place she was seen was in the library and they have marked out her outline on the floor.

For more information click here.

Film and TV studio planned for Greenwich Peninsula

Part of the proposed residential scheme
The Wharf newspaper reports that developers Knight Dragon have revealed plans to build a film and television studio at Greenwich Peninsula.

With the 147 acre site now acquired from cash-strapped Quintain, Knight Dragon can now let their ambition off the leash and - with the UK's film studios running at full capacity and demand for UK-produced content growing, they want to attract production companies to Greenwich, bringing jobs and economic activity with them.

The developers have already signalled their intent by bringing in pop-up bars, restaurants and theatre performances to the Peninsula and opening a new visitors centre, to encourage visitors to North Greenwich to turn right, to explore the location, rather than be immediately swallowed up by The O2. They have also announced their intention to build a 5km running course around Greenwich Peninsula and to create a golf driving range. There is more to come.

With The O2 team developing a hotel at the end of the Peninsula and contracts being awarded for the next phase of residential construction, the promise of the location is finally being realised after a dismal decade, where nothing much happened.

In the new plans, all the social housing is now located at the southern end of the Peninsula and some locals have criticised the level of segregation between communities, but this is a brown-field site that has remained brown-field for far too long. There are no established communities being displaced and rich and poor will never be far apart, especially as there is a mixed community at the southern end of the Peninsula already.

Full disclosure: As part of my day job, I advised Knight Dragon for a short time in relation to this development, but I no-longer work for them.

Myatt Garden Table Top Sale, October 12th

Kender Surprise

With the Global Street Art festival on its way to Brockley next year, a new work has just appeared on a warehouse wall in Kender Street, New Cross. Thanks to Vik for the photo - if anyone knows the story behind it, please let us know.
And now? Not. The moral majority won. The mural is gone.

Cagecity, Brockley

Cagecity is a fashion retail brand based in Sydenham and taking over a unit in Brockley Cross to create a pop-up store for one week, 6th - 12th October .

The store mixes mainstream brands with capsule collections by young designers. Customers will also get the chance to play dress up with the clothes as part of a personal photo-shoot with a professional photographer.

Preloved: It works!

The My Ladywell team writes:

With the great success and popularity seen with the recent Brockley front garden sale My Ladywell is pleased to announce Ladywell will be having its very own coordinated *Pre-Loved* sale on the weekend of September 27th and 28th, 11am till 4pm daily. 

Whether you intend to rummage through your garage, shed, and closet or raid your attic, box room, and basement for goods to sell; be sure to let us know so we can share your event with our community.

Please email myladywell@gmail.com with the days you are hoping to operate plus your postcode, road name and house number [a contact name and phone could be helpful for emergencies but not a requirement].

These address will then be collated into one sheet and made available to be printed off and put up around our area in advance.

Arthouse Open

As part of the 2014 Deptford X art festival (more details on that soon), Lewisham Arthouse is hosting another open day. The say:

Wander around a warren of studios, buy artwork from the source, window shop or simply enjoy the grandeur of a beautiful Edwardian building.

After the success of Lounge at the Arthouse, its back to provide a wide selection of scrumptious handmade cakes, savoury nibbles and drinks. Add a dollop of family fun activities - postcard-sized artworks by Arthouse artists, on view and sale in our pop-up café + bar and DJ’s on opening night.

Our gallery exhibition ‘Who thinks the Future? curated by Tom Trevatt and Peer Sessions, considers the future role of the artist. Feel welcome to stimulate your cerebral bits, by participating in a special series of discussion events throughout the weekend.

Check our website for details www.lewishamarthouse.org.uk, Friday 3 October 6-10pm Saturday 4 October 12-6pm Sunday 5 October 12-6pm.

The Streets - Let's Push Things Forward

Living Streets - the group that campaigns to make our streets nicer places to walk, shop and spend time - is creating a Lewisham chapter, with the first meeting taking place at the Brockley Barge next week. They say:

You’re invited to an informal drink to meet other people interested in making Lewisham a better place for people on foot and to have a chat about what concerns us in the borough, and what we can do about it. Whether you’re keen to get involved or just want to meet other people in the area interested in working for better streets, we’d love to see you at the Brockley Barge pub on Wednesday 1st October, 7:30pm (next to Brockley Overground station).

Whether or not you can make it this time, as well as receiving updates from Living Streets nationally, you can join the local group contact list now, and we’ll be in touch occasionally with news about the group's activities.

It would be helpful (but not obligatory) if you could let us know if you plan to come so we know how many to expect. Just reply to this email to let us know.

Thanks to Clare and Fabhat for the tip-off.

Death and ONEIS

There are two Brockley coffee mornings on Friday in aid of Macmillan Cancer Charity. Choose between popping into one that puts the fun in funeral home and another that puts the buzz in local business centre:

Firstly, staff from The Co-operative Funeralcare, on 262 Brockley Road in Brockley, are holding an event on between 9am and 12pm.

Local businesses, including The Co-operative Food and Pat-a-Cakes, have also donated the coffee and cakes, which will be available to buy on the day.

Secondly, local IT business ONEIS is hosting a coffee morning in Dragonfly Place from 10.30am.

Donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/brockleybusiness/

Franc and Beans at the Brockley Brewery

New Lewisham, New You!

Lewisham Council writes:

This month sees the launch of a new range of courses at Community Education Lewisham. Printmaking, Painting, Fashion, Food, Languages and much more - for adults 19+ and Family Learning Short Courses.

Whether you are looking to return to education, want a change in career or would like to learn a new hobby and make friends, our Adult Education Courses are the ideal choice for you. Family Learning gives family members (children, parents, carers and grandparents) a chance to learn something together in a fun and supportive atmosphere.

We have three main centres in Lewisham: Brockley Rise, Granville Park and Grove Park. Click here to see the full listings.

The Proud Sow, 1 Ewhurst Row

As part of Saturday's CroftFest celebrations, the 106 year old butchery at Ewhurst Road (Peter James) unveiled its new identity – as The Proud Sow of Crofton Park.
Oliver Khaldi of Peckham is the new butcher in residence – having picked up the mantle from long-standing owner Peter James in July this year. Oli says he is dedicated to maintaining the traditions of an independent local butcher:

“This site on Ewhurst Road has been a thriving family butchers for over a century and it’s a tradition I want to uphold. We really value our loyal local customers and will continue to provide the quality, traditional cuts they love, as well as hopefully introducing them to some exciting new varieties and other fantastic local produce.”

Click here for their website.

The Yum Turks

Turkish pop-up dining impresario Olly is staging another two local events in October.

Sunday 5th October 2014
A Turkish Brunch @ The Deptford Brunch Club - 40 Seats Available - 3 Course Brunch - BYOB - £16 -
Details here and Tickets £16

Saturday 11th October 2014
An Anatolian Feast @ The Hill Station - 60 Seats Available - 3 Course Dinner - £22
Details here and Tickets £22

Croftfest meets HOPfest today

Businesses across Honor Oak and Crofton Park are taking part in the Croftfest meets HOPfest festival today. Among the participating venues are:

  • Jumping Bean - running a tombola
  • Donde - Pavement paella
  • Stone Bar - Carribean food and 3 piece band
  • Sodo Pizza - Live jazz
  • Pat-a-Cakes - cake decorating
  • Arlo & Moe - live bands
  • Paraphernalia - model catwalk
  • Malaysian Deli - taster dishes
It's a loosely scheduled programme and events are going on throughout day, starting around 10am with most of the action over by about 6pm but some stuff going on later. Check Facebook for the timetable. 

New nights at The Talbot

The Talbot's reinvention as a pub that does more than simply exist continues. Back in 2009, it was rescued from seemingly terminal decline and turned into a handsome pub with a decent kitchen. Then it stopped.

It seemed like the owners felt like they had done the hard work by raising the finance and fixing the wiring and the plumbing. It never quite made the leap from pleasant place to sit for a while to community hub, like The Royal Albert, The Orchard or Jam Circus. Recently, however, things have begun to change. First. Little Nan brought a bit of showmanship to the upper floor and then a new owner, Lesley Shearer, took over.

We tried it out for the first time since her reign began a couple of weekends ago and were impressed by the early signs. It feels fresher, friendlier and more personal. She's also intent on hosting more events and has announced two new regular nights:

- Tuesday is Quiz night, starting at 8pm
- Wednesday is Irish Folk Music night, starting at 8.30pm

More change is coming, but it's good to see The Talbot seems to be in safe hands.

Secret Garden Project, September 20th

Public art commission for the Brockley Corridor

As part of the plan to upgrade the "Brockley Corridor" between Brockley Cross and Honor Oak, a public artwork will be commissioned. Full details of the commission are on the Brockley forum.

There is funding available for an artist to produce a permanent piece or pieces of public art to be sited along this road. The commission must have a link or address the theme of either "environment and air pollution" and "green modes of transport" - sadly the road scheme itself won't do much to address either of these themes, however.

The deadline for initial entries is October 20th and the installation date is March - July 2015.

With thanks to Moira for the information.

Octopump returns!

Octopump should have been a Barbarella villain but is instead a beloved, beery institution, returning to the Royal Albert next week. The team says:

Octopump, The Royal Albert’s annual real ale and cider festival is back for its fourth year, bigger than ever before. This three-day festival, spread across the 26th, 27th and 28th September, boasts over fifteen hand-selected local, and regional real ales and ciders.

To celebrate National Cask Ale Week and the UK’s hop-picking season, Octopump offers a superb selection of Kent based breweries. With the likes of Caveman, Kent Brewery, Canterbury Brewers, Ramsgate, The Canterbury Ales and Whitstable, plus many more found in the ale barn, you will be spoilt for choice and will be constantly kept on your toes throughout the weekend. If cider is more your tipple, Octopump will certainly not disappoint. With an impressive selection of traditional apple and pear ciders, sampling is simply a must.

Providing the soundtrack to the Festival will be an assortment of some of New Cross’ finest local bands and DJs. Deptford veteran DJ Mario will be kicking off proceedings on Friday 26th with his eclectic box of 12” tricks. Saturday is very much a live music affair, featuring Blues, Rockabilly and Reggae four-piece band, John McClean and the Clan. Gather the kids and the family pooch for a lazy Sunday and sip the afternoon away listening to 50’s and 60’s soul and funk chart classics.

If all this wasn’t enough, pop your head into InSitu Project Space, The Royal Albert’s little sister pop-up gallery space, for a gander at the latest group exhibition by Creekside Collective, as part of this year’s Deptford X Festival.

Scotland decides - The Possible Diminution of Greater Greater Brockley (Part 3)

Part 1 covered the costs of independence, Part 2 covered the main debate battlegrounds. Time for predictions.

Nobody knows anything. The pollsters are already offering all kinds of disclaimers. There are no precedents or models. Turnout will be through the roof (the Scots deserve no lollipops for that - if they can't turn up to vote on the subject of whether to create a new state then they really can't govern themselves) and 16 year olds get the vote.

This is not about politics any more, it's about crowd dynamics. The entire country feels the hand of history on their shoulder.

On the basis of their campaigns, neither side deserves to win. No has been utterly useless. It started when they let the Independence campaign own the word "Yes". Then, they surrendered patriotism to the other side, offered a decidedly sheepish defence of Britishness and pretended that independence was not just undesirable but virtually impossible. Every big move they have made seems to have made things worse and offering Devo Max now is insulting to the Scots and to the rest of us.

Yes has been in many ways worse. If you want to start a new state and break one of the most successful countries in the world, it should be incumbent on you to do three things: 1. Deal in facts, not fiction and fantasy. 2. Make a clear and compelling case for what you would do with new powers. 3. Treat those who disagree with respect, rather than mounting witch hunts against all those who dare to demur. They fail on all three counts and frankly, anyone who has been swept up in the hyperbole should be ashamed of themselves.

But who will win?

I'm 30-something, leftish, liberal, Guardian-reading and a Twitter obsessive with lots of 30-something friends, some of whom have revealed them to be Scottish sleeper agents, hopped up on righteous fury, which seems to have little to do with the cosy lives they've carved for themselves down among the Londoners they despise (not you dear reader, the "other" Londoners of popular myth). Yes has all the best tunes (unlike the pop stars who played at their rally this week) and best jokes (well, one joke, about pandas, that got old a long time ago). You can't open a browser for Yes Vines, memes and blogs.

The sense of occasion looks like it's sweeping all before it, just as the Olympics converted the nay-sayers in the final days before the Opening Ceremony. But it's also like the 1987 general election, when as a boy in South East London, it seemed obvious from the crimson blizzard of Labour posters I saw all around me that the left would sweep to power. The mania on display in Glasgow and Edinburgh may not be reflective of the wider population. This result will be a measure of how influential social media has become in Britain.

My bet is that it isn't quite strong enough yet. That the majority of "don't knows" will fall on the side of No. But I expect it to be exactly as close as the polls are predicting and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's Yes. And if it is, then it will both be fascinating and entertaining to see what happens next, for both our countries.

As I wrote, an independent Scotland would certainly be poorer in the first years after the vote, but might make a decent fist of it in the long term. At least as likely, however is that it would grow to mirror Scottish football - an area in which Scotland has fiercely asserted its total independence from England for over a century.

Deprived of a bigger stage on which to flourish, Scottish professional clubs have retreated inwards, been riven by sectarianism, struggled to get into Europe, flirted with financial collapse and lost their best players to the English game. The fate of the national team is entirely in the hands of Scottish football administrators and the country's youth development system has become an unproductive ghetto. Rather than becoming a national game at ease with itself, it is sustained by the occasional moral and actual victory over the English.

Who knows how to govern Scottish football better than the Scottish people themselves?

PS - there is one part of Britain that really is different from the rest.

On any measure of social attitudes, it is a UK outlier. Its way of life is very different to any other part of the country (less likely to do drugs, less likely to drive a car, more likely to have been born elsewhere) and, like Scotland, it has a distinctive culture and iconography, recognisable around the world. It gets the government it votes for about as often as Scotland does and its local assembly has far fewer powers. It produces financial surpluses that make Scotland's oil wealth look like chump change and its population is demonised by the rest of the country on a daily basis. Despite this, it votes for policies and parties that favour redistribution, rejects nationalism and regards those who talk of separating as cranks.

It is of course London - and I am proud to live here among all you other banksters, plutocrats, crooked politicians, chattering classes, oligarchs and all-round spivvy bastards.

Wine tasting at the Brockley Deli

The Brockley Deli is hosting a wine-tasting evening on October 10th, from 8.30pm.

Complimentary meats and cheeses will be served, with tickets costing £25. Proceeds after costs will go to Myatt Garden School. Only 20 tickets are available and for sale from the Deli.

Global Street Art Festival - Get Involved

Londonist has confirmed the news that Brockley has won the right to host the Global Street Art Festival, bringing top wall-sprayers together to transform some of our walls.

Brockley residents mobilised to cast 873 votes, putting us 150 votes ahead of our nearest rival, Walthamstow. Londonist says:

Next steps are for us and Global Street Art to make connections in Brockley, including Lewisham Council and community groups, and start seeking permission to use walls etc. Our intention is to roll out street art festivals across all nominated areas, building on a successful pilot project in Brockley.

They have already been in touch with Brockley Central, asking us to help hook them up with people in the area who may be able to help them put on the show, and since we don't actually know anyone in real life, if you want to be involved, please email us and we will connect you with them.

Jacket Required

Jenny writes:

I dropped my jacket with my Oyster card and keys in the pockets shortly after coming out of Brockley station at Colgate Street (then going back up the stairs and across the bridge and up Endwell Road) just before 5.30pm yesterday.

The ticket office say someone reported a lost jacket around this time but decided they didn't want to hand it in. I'm hoping this person might be a Brockley Central reader as I have no idea how else to find where they might have handed it in. The jacket was a lose fitting blazer from Top Shop with a small black/ grey leather Oyster card holder and 3 silver keys in the pocket.

If you have it, please email me, thank you.

Scotland decides - The Possible Diminution of Greater Greater Brockley (Part 2)

In Part 1, we covered the costs of independence - now on to the stuff that really matters. Or at least, to the possible benefits against which, the costs need to be weighed.

When the status quo is being one of the most prosperous, stable and powerful countries in the world, the onus is on supporters of independence to make their case. So what does that case rest on?

Firstly, identity. 

Any visit to Scotland leaves you in no doubt - Scotland is a different country. Its culture, lifestyle and iconography are distinct from any other part of the UK, while its institutions, its legal system, education system and media means that things work differently. Britain can be accused of many crimes, but suppressing Scottish identity ain't one of them. Culturally, Scots punch above their weight within Britain and use the British stage to good effect to project international influence. That was, after all, the point of the Union in the first place.

Scotland has the scale, the infrastructure and the resources to function as an independent country. To pretend otherwise is stupid. Scotland can be an independent country. For some people, that's enough. If it can be, it should be.

Personally, I like living in a big, diverse country. I like the fact that the British Olympic Opening Ceremony took hours to tell our country's story and only just scratched the surface. By contrast, I found the Commonwealth Games's reductionist equivalent thoroughly depressing ("We've bagpipes and there's castles, there's monsters in our lochs"). Who wants to live in a place that can be summarised so neatly and tidily? We see the desire to carve areas up into ever smaller pieces in some of the debates about Brockley. Some people want to define themselves by the station they can most easily walk to. I prefer to live in Greater Brockley and I prefer, on balance, to live in Great Britain - to share my home with peoples of all kinds. I like the argument and friction that comes from living alongside people of different political hues and I can't abide an echo-chamber.

This is of course a matter of personal taste. Many people want the sense of belonging that comes with being part of a more coherent tribe. That instinct is totally understandable, but it's called nationalism - “a proxy” for an answer to “alienating, dislocating industrial, economic and social change” as Gordon Brown argues.

Nationalism embarrasses many Yes supporters and instead, independence campaigners protest that their's is a very different argument, about nobler, more enlightened principles. So let's examine those arguments, without which, the independence movement would remain a minority passion...


Who knows how to govern Scotland than the Scottish people themselves? There are strong arguments for local democratic decision-making and there is no doubt that central government in a large country becomes detached from the communities it is meant to serve. There is such a thing as a Westminster bubble of unreality. The Washington DC bubble is even bigger. The Edinburgh bubble would be smaller. Some better decisions would be made.

But it is clearly untrue that local decision making always delivers better outcomes. Who knows how to govern Birmingham's schools better than the people of Birmingham themselves? Who knows how to protect the children of Rochdale better than the people of Rochdale themselves? London wasn't better off when the Councils all developed policy locally - we had to introduce a mayoral system, because sometimes we get better policy outcomes when we centralise decision making.

If Scotland joins Nato, the EU and other supra-national bodies, it will surrender some of its decision-making powers in exchange for the advantages that come with pooling resources, expertise and responsibility. So why not do the same with the UK, and argue for a greater level of devolution than Scotland already possesses? If greater local democratic control's what you want, the last two decades have shown that progress is achievable within the UK system, without the costs of independence.

But if you believe that Britain's entire political system is fundamentally broken - that only separation can deliver true reform and a purer form of politics, then independence makes sense. A smaller country might have an elected second chamber and a written constitution, but there is no particular reason to think it would deliver a less corrupt government and it would be more vulnerable to pressure from outside interests. The nation state is the best defence against global market forces.

The desire to rip it up and start again seems to have less to do with a new-found passion for constitutional reform (Scotland voted no to AV) than it does to do with a decline in trust in traditional sources of authority - they're all bastards. The trouble is, this isn't unique to Britain, it's a global cultural shift that affects every western democracy and every walk of life. The UK system has its problems, but it is hard to find anywhere around the world that's any better and there are plenty of places that do it much worse. So sure, start again, but get ready to hate the new lot just as much.

But the argument that seems to have done most to fire the independence movement is the desire to be rid of the Tories for good. Politics is tribal and the Tories are an eminently dislikeable bunch, so it's fun to imagine a world without them. But when we've not had a Tory government since 1997 and they look set to lose the next election, it's odd to talk of there being no escape without independence. Scotland got the government it voted for in three of the last 4 elections and it gets the national government it votes for every time (the rest of us don't have that luxury). Leaving because you didn't get exactly the government you want every time is a thoroughly anti-democratic instinct.

Hang on though, that's not what the Yes camp are saying. They're saying that the political landscape in the rest of the UK is so right wing by comparison, that even when the pendulum swings back their way, they don't get a real progressive alternative, just more of the same, in red. It's this difference in values then, which is the crux of the issue. How can two peoples who see the world so thoroughly differently share a government? The centre cannot hold.

Which brings us on to the next part.


Scotland is different. More welcoming to immigration (because it doesn't have immigrants), more redistributive (thanks to the Barnett Formula) and more tolerant (as we have seen these last few weeks). They are pro-European, where little Englanders are hostile.

But the data doesn't back this self-mythologising up. As The FT's John McDermott writes:

"Polls show that Scots have similar views to the rest of the UK when it comes to welfare, immigration, benefits, unemployment and public spending. Summarising the data from social attitudes surveys, Lindsay Paterson of Edinburgh University writes: “These differences, though generally placing Scotland to the left of England, are not so huge as to signal a fundamental gulf of social values.” Although Scots rightly look enviously at Norway’s oil fund, as a whole they do not seem to want to be outside the EU paying high taxes, as in Oslo.

Policies pursued by the Scottish Parliament have not been coloured by left wing principles - favouring middle class benefits over serious intervention to tackle Scottish poverty.

In this context, the "values" argument looks like another attack on the "other". "Westminster". "The City." "London". "The South East". "The English". They're all versions of the same thing. Those guys are not like us, they don't understand our way of life. They are bad and we are good. We are a rainbow coalition, while they vote UKIP. The bitter irony is that this is the same, beguiling, narrative peddled by UKIP to the disenfranchised English about another great other: "Brussels." Both UKIP and Scots Nats deny that they are insular - UKIP want new links with the Commonwealth, while Scots Nats pine for their Nordic brothers and sisters. They both want the freedom to reach out in to the world - they just have to get rid of those bastards down the road first. It's the same story because it's pushing the same button - nationalism.

There is one more argument though, which can't be reduced to nationalism. The most interesting issue and the least discussed...


Oh, the economy has been discussed all right. In excruciating detail. But mostly in relation to the costs of independence, whether Scotland gets the oil and whether Salmond has a Plan B (when your plan A is basically to be Greece to the UK's Germany, that's a fair question).

But the actual question of what Scotland could do with its new found powers rarely goes beyond the platitudinous: Is it going to be the renewable Saudi Arabia or ruthlessly drain every drop of oil? Redistributive or a tax-haven? Cock a snook at the global economic system or play the game better than dopey old Britain? The Yes movement is happy to be all of these things, because it needs to keep a lot of very different interests in the same big tent.

My own view is that Scotland might be re-energised by independence. It probably can attract back as many ex-pats inspired by the idea of a new Scotland as it loses as people move south in search of new jobs. It could build on its existing strengths in life sciences, cleantech, tourism and food. The retreat of the UK's public sector from its shores might reduce crowding out of private enterprise and the tough choices forced upon it by austerity might create a healthier long-term picture for its finances. A national government might be able to marshall a small country's resources more effectively - delivering education, immigration, trade and infrastructure investment policies that suit it best. If it does pull off this invigorating trick, it will be by adopting policies that many Yes supporters effect to despise. And it will probably take more forelock tugging to the likes of Donald Trump.

But, wandering the streets of Ibrox, it's clear that modern Scotland is not the best of all possible worlds. Scotland could do better. It might not. Long term gain is possible. Short term pain is guaranteed. It is the great hypothetical question on which the rational case for independence hinges. It would be undeniably fascinating to find out what would happen both to Scotland and to the rest of us.

In Part 3, I'll have a go at predicting the outcome.

Brockley wins Street Art Festival

In the bid to host the Global Street Art Festival, Team WALLthamstow have congratulated Brockley on our win. They may have had the cleverer name, but the Brockley bid picked up a reported 873 votes. Brockley is too strong!

We'll follow up with Londonist and ask what happens next... Thanks to WALLthamstow for their gracious tip-off.

Appeal for witnesses

Jonny writes:

At around 9.30am on Tuesday morning on 9th September, Brockley resident Jonny Freeman was cycling to work when he was involved in an accident with a vehicle on Brockley Cross. As a result of the accident Jonny needed major surgery on his arm and shoulder. The driver of the car is known, I am just looking for witnesses.

Please get in contact with Jonny @jonnyfreeman if you witnessed the accident.

Brockley Market's Third Birthday Party, September 20th

Scotland decides - The Possible Diminution of Greater Greater Brockley (Part 1)

The Scottish referendum is somewhat off topic, but then again, what is Scotland, if not Evelyn Ward North? We may not have any vote on an issue that will affect everyone in these islands (a feeling the Scots will need to get used to if they do choose independence), but that's no reason not to discuss it here.

There is of course, a lot of bluff and bluster surrounding this issue, so let's start with what we know. There are some guaranteed consequences:

  • The uncertainty around the future of both countries will cause UK share prices and the pound to drop, while investment plans will get delayed or cancelled. 
  • The disentanglement of two countries will lead to additional regulatory and cultural complexity, making supply chains more expensive, increasing the costs of doing business.
  • There will be doubling up of government services and administrative costs (everything from embassies to the DVLA, intelligence services to NICE) – losing the efficiencies of scale you get with a bigger country. 

There are also some consequences which are not guaranteed but you’d be a fool to bet against them:

  • Borrowing costs on international markets will rise, pushing up the cost of financing public debt. 
  • Some jobs, particularly in the financial sector, will leave Scotland and relocate elsewhere within the UK. It seems likely that in the early days of independence, this would be more like a trickle than a flood – a few thousand jobs. And of course, other parts of the UK would be beneficiaries. 
  • It’s likely that trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK would decline from its historic levels. This will partly be due to the animosity that will follow the negotiations and partly due to the inevitable result of uncoupling our economies. Falling trade will make us all poorer.
  • Government revenues in Scotland will fall, requiring public spending cuts. The Scottish government may try to increase borrowing and will offer incentives to business (lower taxes) to increase oil production or relocate to Scotland, but these measures will take a while to have any effect. The best hope is that the global oil price rises to boost government coffers. In the meantime, the exodus of UK-funded jobs will make the loss of private sector jobs seem trivial. 

Then, there are the costs that depend on political decisions that will follow the result:

  • There is no good reason to expect the UK to agree to a currency union with Scotland. Yes, without Scottish sales of whisky, salmon, oil and other key exports, the value of the pound will face a little downward pressure, but it’s strengthened in recent months in spite of a yawning trade gap. Many people consider that it is now too high. A bit of a fall in the value of the pound is a price worth paying to avoid having to underwrite the borrowing decisions of another country. Scotland can threaten to default on its share of the UK’s debt, but only once they have been given independence – at which point they have to choose whether starting life as the new Argentina is a smart move. With default a hollow threat, there is no other reason to expect currency union. Scotland will do a Panama and adopt a currency they have no control over. Higher borrowing costs are inevitable. 
  • It seems sensible to assume that the EU will want Scotland back in at some point. But they will have a lot of member countries like Spain and Belgium who’ll not want to let them back in in a hurry. A period of some years outside the EU seems almost certain, hitting exports in the short-to-medium term. Once they do get back in, the Scots will have to adopt the Euro and surrender much of the independence they just paid a heavy price to secure.

These then, are the likely real costs that independence will bring. Nothing apocalyptic, but real, significant costs. As a result of them, we will all be poorer – but Scotland will potentially be hit very hard, while some UK communities, will get a boost from the transfer of things like shipbuilding and financial services to other locations.

Money isn’t everything of course and there are lots of other arguments for and against independence, but there can be no proper debate without accepting the reality of the cost of breaking up a major country with 300 years of close-knit connections.

In part two of this article, I’ll try to cover the central themes of the debate: Identity, Democracy, Values and the Economy.

In part three, I will make one of my unerringly accurate predictions.

Comedy Social, September 27th

Private Widdle Social Club
Saturday 27th September, 7.30pm until late
The Brockley Social Club, 240 Brockley Road
£7 ticket

Having conquered Margate and Whitstable, comedy night "Private Widdle" is breaking itself gently into the sophisticated London market, by playing at the Brockley Social Club. Malcom Head and Trevor Lock are headlining. The team says;

We want to make it a regular thing so want to make the first one go with a bang. There is also an open spot if anyone is feeling particularly possessed!

You can reserve a place (and pay on the night at the door) by emailing me at danny@dannyjones.org Full details on the Brockley forum.

A new butcher for Ladywell - feedback needed

Callum is a former colleague of Brockley Central's and is planning to open a new butcher in Ladywell. With the re-launch of Crofton Park butcher Peter James imminent, he wants to know the good folk of Ladywell want. He writes:

I live in Ladywell, with my girlfriend who’s a lifelong Ladywell resident - and I love food. Particularly meat! 

I want to improve the quality of meat available to Ladywell. I want to open a small butcher's specialising in helping people improve their meals – from Sunday roasts to sandwiches – by supplying wonderfully cared for meat at fair prices with advice on how to get the most flavour and value out of each cut. 

So I can make a Ladywell butcher's a reality, I need to understand what Ladywell wants from a butchers. I have put together a short online survey, which I’d be delighted if you could take five minutes to complete. 

To complete the survey, please visit, https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ladywellbutchersshop-bc

Thank you!

Goldsmiths Open House, September 20th

The newly-restored Richard Hoggart Building
Goldsmiths writes:

Members of the public will be given the opportunity to explore and absorb some of the rich architectural history of Goldsmiths, University of London when it opens its doors as part of the 2014 Open House London event on Saturday 20 September (10am – 4pm (last tour 3pm).

Goldsmiths’ Richard Hoggart Building is amongst more than 800 buildings across London taking part in the free Open House event, run by Open-City.

The 160-year-old Richard Hoggart Building will open to reveal its architectural and naval history, as Goldsmiths invites visitors to wander through corridors which over the years have been host to some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, artists, musicians and designers.

Liz Bromley, Registrar and Secretary of Goldsmiths, said: "We are proud to open our doors to our local community and invite visitors to explore a place deeply rooted in the history of New Cross and the Borough of Lewisham.

“We have transformed our campus over the past two years with a view to making our staff and student experience the best it can possibly be. Open House London is a chance for the local community to get involved and see how our iconic Richard Hoggart Building has transformed into a modern and creative space for everyone.”

Family Fun Day, Jubilee Sports Ground

There's a family fun day taking place today in the Jubilee Sports Ground in Catford until 4pm. Organised in aid of the charity Dreams Come True, there will be entertainers, children's authors, sports and workshops. Entry is a via a donation to the charity of £5 per family.

Full details here.

Coulgate Street pedestrianisation - consultation due

The Council has confirmed that the Coulgate Street pedestrianisation scheme is progressing. The project, which was due to be part-funded from S106 payments from the redevelopment of 180 Brockley Road, had gone a bit quiet lately, so this is welcome news. They say:

In the autumn, we will be consulting the public on additional proposals for the public realm at Coulgate Street adjacent to Brockley Common and Brockley station.

A budget of £140,000 for this work seems to have been identified, according to this.

Oh My Cabaret, September 25th

Bakerloo consultation starts on September 29th with Southwark lobbying for Brockley route

Southwark news site SE1 reports that the public consultation for the southern extension of the Bakerloo Line will begin on September 29th, with the Mayor urging "south-east London boroughs to "come to the party" with their ideas." Southwark Council leader Peter John is campaigning for the line to go via Camberwell, Peckham and thus Brockley. SE1 site reports:

"[Boris said] We're looking for interest, we're looking to hear about development potential, about funding packages we can put together with business to support a scheme that has a lot of government interest. We really need the boroughs to come to the party and say how they will help us to finance it."

Mr Johnson's comments come in the same week that Southwark Council Leader Peter John was quizzed about the tube plans by a cross-party committee of councillors.

"TfL are going to be putting two options- the Old Kent Road option and the Camberwell option – on the table. My primary argument has always been for Camberwell and Peckham, and the commitment I got from the Mayor a couple of years ago was that he would extend the Bakerloo line in that direction.

"I remain hopeful that that is something that TfL will continue to look at extremely seriously. [However] It's more difficult to see how funding generated from the delivery of the tube to Camberwell and Peckham would deliver the same potential financial gain as you would see running down the Old Kent Road,"

Click here for the full article.

Catford's Alive! Pop Up Cinema comes to Broadway

Emperor Ming: Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?
- Flash Gordon

The Catford Film Club team write:

Catford will be joining the ranks of unlikely cinema locations this month with the Catford Broadway Pop Up Cinema Night.

On Saturday 20 September the newly pedestrianised broadway will host the free showing of the 1980’s sci-fi classic Flash Gordon.

The night starts at 7pm with the film starting at 7.30pm sharp.  There’ll be street food from local chefs Route 66 serving up the fresh Mexican flavours of Southern California, as well as a pop up bar by local pub the Constitution Club.

The audience are encouraged to bring a cushion, blankets or their own seating to avoid numb bum by sitting on the concrete floor. The guideline being ‘if you can carry it, then you can bring it’.

The night has been organised by Deck Social, who delivered the Catford Broadway Supper Club, the Catford Canteen, the Deptford Brunch Club, and the newly Catford Society.

Director, Deborah Efemini said: ‘It’s great to be doing something in Catford again. We’re local so were happy to volunteer our time to support this great project and work with the Catford Society and local businesses.

The Catford Broadway Pop Up Cinema is a taster event for the Catford Free Film Festival launching in March 2015 which aims to bring people together from across the community to enjoy free films. It’s also part of the Mayor of London’s Summer of High Streets celebrations, with free events across London.

Follow @CatfordSociety for more information.

Tempest shortlisted for Mercury prize

Kate Tempest

Brockley's Kate Tempest has become the latest local to be nominated for the Mercury prize. Tempest's album Everybody Down made it to a shortlist, which includes Damon Albarn, FKA Twigs and GoGo Penguin. The winner will be announced on October 29th. 

London Overground 2026

City Metric has found another new TfL map, this one showing how the London Overground network will be expanded by 2026. The site explains:

The map shows all the bits of the rail network whose operators will be answerable to the city’s government, rather than the national Department for Transport. That includes the existing Overground network; the West Anglia suburban lines into Liverpool Street (which TfL is taking over some time next year); and Crossrail (which is currently under construction, and which neatly ties the rest of the network together).

In total, the network will comprise six lines and an extension to Essex.

Brockley Bakerloo line revealed

The News Shopper has found this TfL-designed tube map, which shows the tube network, following the southern extension of the Bakerloo Line, earmarked for completion in 2040.

Aside from the fact that it's nice to dream, the map is helpful in that it confirms that Brockley would be served if the line goes via Camberwell. This would be achieved by reopening the high level station, which runs perpendicularly to the East London Line. A direct tube link to neighbouring locations like Peckham and Lewisham would be terrifically useful, even without the extra connectivity to central London.

A public consultation on this project is due to start later this year.

Brockley Voices Winter Term

Brockley cake baking

Bake this cake at Dragonfly Place
Rosalind Miller Cakes is a cake business, based in Dragonfly Place in Brockley Cross. They specialise in creating bespoke cakes for private customers and supply Harrods, and they have used their move to Dragonfly Place to open a kitchen and classroom area, where they now run cake-making master classes.

Yasmine explains:

Rosalind and I run the business. Rosalind is my mother, and we are both local to the area, having spent the last 20 years living in Honor Oak.

Rosalind started out selling cupcakes in Greenwich market when she finished working as a lecturer in Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. The business expanded into wedding cakes and has now outgrown the home kitchen. We decided we needed to move to a commercial unit and stumbled on Dragonfly Place.

We have a purpose built kitchen and classroom here, and students and customers can see many of wedding cakes which are on display here in the consultation area. There's a lot going on in Dragonfly Place with a diverse range of creative businesses here (we have a fashion designer, artists studios, a film-maker, music company), and once people start to become more aware, hopefully it will become a bit of a destination for this type of thing for businesses and locals and the wider community.

Our baking and decorating classes for all levels of experience and expertise. You can see the full list here.  We have a class coming up this Saturday 13th September - Baking Fundamentals - which we still have some spaces left on.

11 feet wide, £490,000 steep

Last week, a 7-feet-wide house in Haringay made headlines when it was put on the market for a mere £235,000. Now, a house in Brockley that's less than twice as wide is on the market for twice as much - and it doesn't even exist yet. If you want this baby, you have to buy off-plan.

This two-bed, 11-feet-wide, house on Revelon Road is currently under construction, with a due-date of January 2015 and a price tag of £490,000. It's actually pretty cute and, like Manor Avenue's Invisible House, it's a smart use of space.

It's romantic to live in a slightly ramshackle world where not every square inch has been optimised, but it's better to find smart ways of providing new homes for Londoners.

Southern HO-spitality gets some Northern Exp-HO-sure

In response to public demand, The Honor Oak Supper Club has added a new date. Anne writes:

After the Brockley Central article we filled the first supper club with in 3 days! We received so many requests for places we have decided to run another one on the 6th December. 

We had some lovely feedback about the menu and quite a few people saying they were new to the area and were hoping this would be a good way to meet local people. 

Click here for details.

Coming up at The London Theatre

Awkwardly monikered New Cross theatre 'The London Theatre New Cross' has announced it's autumn programme, including Edward II (Marlowe), Miss Julie (Strindberg) and Bouncers (Godber), plus acting courses and a networking event for theatre industry producers and performers.

Full details of the upcoming events listed here on the New Cross Forum.

Croftfest meets HOPfest

Retailers in Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park are teaming up on September 20th to create "Croftfest meets HOPfest". To find out more about the planned events, follow them on Twitter here.

Haywards End

Work has begun on yet another residential development. This one runs parallel with the railway line at Crofton Park Station and involves:

The demolition of existing buildings at Haywards Yard, Lindal Road SE4 and the construction of 6 three bedroom and 3 four bedroom two storey houses.

Thanks to Fintan for the photo.

Brockley bids for Street Art Festival

As we reported in July, Londonist is looking for a neighbourhood to host the Global Street Art Festival next year. Brockley's been nominated by a local resident and is shortlisted among the big dogs, including Walthamstow, Poplar, Leyton, Stoke Newington and Streatham.

Brockley's pitch by Ian is as follows:

The Brockley/Crofton Park/Honor Oak Park/neighbourhoods of Lewisham in south east London would really benefit from some exceptional street art. The community is diverse, independent-minded, and supportive of the local arts scene. 

Some corners of these neighbourhoods are beginning to thrive due to some great community initiatives but some corners would certainly be improved by inspired mural work. It would certainly be appreciated here more than in some London areas! 

Essentially, I’m proposing art on a strip that runs through three interconnected neighbourhoods — along Brockley Road, from the Brockley Overground, through Crofton Park, to the bottom of Honor Oak Park. Much of the area off this drag is residential and the art would really create a unifying aesthetic on this main road.

Click here to cast your vote. Voting closes on the 12th. If Greater Brockley works together, we can do this.

Skewer Nights at the Brockley Mess

Brockley: Icon needed

There has been too much talk of carbuncles lately. Time instead to talk about icons.

Since the Brockley Road MOT garage bit the dust, Brockley's most prominent landmark has been erased. The graffiti that wrapped its Coulgate Street walls featured in a thousand amateur rap videos, blogger articles, Time Out reviews and more. In lieu of many iconic spots, those walls were the face of Brockley.

The graffiti represented Brockley's recent past, not just because it was a nice visual near the station, but because it captured the shabby, home grown, amateurish quality of the area. The DIY spirit that shaped the area's culture. The triptych opposite the Barge also reflected the importance of the local Afro-Caribbean community - or at least, it represented what a white middle class person tends to celebrate about black culture - Maya Angelou, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley to the fore. Black culture with a hippy filter - nothing could have been more Brockley circa 2007. As time moved on and Jimi vanished, a hipster-friendly alternative took his place alongside Maya and Bob. These walls were an evolving reflection of the local populace.
Now we must ask: What represents Brockley in 2014?

What is the new icon we can all rally behind? What image should fill our Facebook banner and our Twitter avatar? We've always tended to go the lazy route - using images of Hilly Fields, because nobody could be uncheered with a tree. But Hilly Fields, for all its wondrousness, is a bit dull and from most angles looks like most other parks. The Rivoli is our most celebrated building, but mostly for its innards - our icon needs to be accessible always.

So suggestions please? Serious or flippant. The best idea will represent Brockley on our social channels and, maybe one day, on our redesigned homepage.

Dulwich Hamlet - Pay What You Like

Unless you fancy watching Cray Valley Paper Mills FC, Dulwich Hamlet is our local Non-League team (get there on the 484 bus). They are celebrating national Non League football day with a 'pay what you like' entrance fee. Attendances rose 36% last season and they seem to have half the South East London blogosphere in their back pocket, so it's a good time to give them a go.

Greenwich lifts Carbuncle Cup for the second time

For those who wish Lewisham would pool its sovereignty with Greenwich - a cautionary tale. Woolwich Central, which is essentially a giant Tesco hovering above a car park in the middle of town, has won the Carbuncle Cup - making it two wins in three years for the borough after the Cutty Sark restoration won in 2012.

The judges for the award, which is designed to highlight bad architecture, said of the building:

"Some truly diabolical cladding and a massing strategy that seems to have been directly inspired by the 1948 Berlin blockade; we can only hope that residential leases come with free airlift."

The Carbuncle judges are always wrong - picking on ambitious, high-profile (usually London) projects, rather than the mundane, sheepish dross that ruins our streetscapes. And while this
is a terrible, ludicrous building which looks like it needs the stickers to be peeled off, the pity of it is that the square that Woolwich Central adjoins is a very nice bit of urban landscaping and - together - the two developments have given a shot in the arm to Woolwich town centre.

Away from the square and the superstore, the long, slow death of Woolwich shopping precinct continues, waiting for the arrival of Crossrail to deliver a reversal of fortune.

St Cyprian's development begins

Demolition work is imminent at St Cyprian's Church, by the junction of Adelaide Avenue and Brockley Road. The plan is to build a new mixed-use development, which will retain the Brockley Road-side facade but getting rid of the rest of the church, creating a restaurant and office at ground level and residential space above.

New restaurant space is welcome and this church has been a grim, brooding presence on the high street for a long time, but the architectural mash-up (below) the developers are going for is pretty unsastisfactory chimera, which belongs on this list. It's neither respectful of the building's character, nor bold modern architecture.

With thanks to Nick for the photo.

Happy Mondays Winter Term

London's best comedy night, Happy Mondays, returns to the Amersham Arms this month for its Winter Term. Another strong line-up includes Jeremy Hardy, Stewart Lee and US comedian David Cross.

15th Sep - Stewart Lee (Star of 'Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle')
29th Sep - David Cross (Star of 'Arrested Development')
13th Oct - Josh Widdicombe (As seen on 'The Last Leg')
27th Oct - TBC
10th Nov - Jeff Innocent (As seen on 'The Comedy Store Presents')
24th Nov - Jeremy Hardy (As heard on Radio 4)
8th Dec - James Acaster (As seen on 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks')

Happy Mondays nights are intimate, buzzy and incredibly good value - tickets are still just £5 in advance, £6 on the door. Buy them online here. Only 7 tickets left for Stewart Lee, apparently.

East London Line drives Brockley house prices

Prices of homes near the East London Line have risen faster than the London average, with houses near Brockley Station experiencing the second-fastest rise along the overground route, according to research by Hamilton International, reported in today's City AM. The paper says:

Homes within a 10 minute walk of an overground station have outdone the rest of London’s house price growth since the line was set up in 2007 [sic]. Now, house prices sit 31 per cent higher than the capital’s average level for homes near the stations. In 2007, they were around 15 per cent more expensive. 

Some of the areas with nearby underground stations have seen prices swell even more rapidly than the London average... Dalston Kingsland, Brockley and Hackney Central’s prices have risen by an average of 31, 30 and 29 per cent in the last year respectively.

With thanks to Alastair for the report.

Police Station plans opposed by neighbours

Today is the last day to comment on the plans to redevelop Brockley Police Station. The developer that has acquired the site has applied to convert it to flats, preserving the exterior but adding a row of small houses. Some local residents are opposed to the plan and are asking other locals to object. Gavin writes:

We're collectively objecting as the houses just aren't in character with the area and street, it will effect us through loss of light as well as creating a real strain on the existing parking in the area - which is already pretty saturated - often used by the garage as overspill as well as commuters parking here to use the Overground.

It feels like another clumsy piece of urban planning where the aesthetic of the streets in Brockley is slowly eroded with lazy design and lack of consideration.

I think part of what makes Brockley an attractive place to live is the way it looks, and developments like the new flats in and around John Stainer School area for example are eroding this fast. I'm not sure exactly how this would become a thread but if you could highlight the fact that any planning objections need to be submitted via the Lewisham Planning Department portal today. It is application No. DC/14/88272.