Saigon Streat, New Cross

Write Now 6

The Jack Studio Theatre team say:

We're proud to announce WRITE NOW 6, our annual new writing festival that will open in May 2015, and run for four weeks.

The WRITE NOW festival is an essential part of the Jack Studio's annual programme, and which each year looks to find, develop and produce the most exciting, diverse and significant work of new and emerging writers who have a connection to the south east of London.

From the submissions of plays to a specific brief, three plays are chosen for the month-long festival, and they appear alongside writing workshops, audience discussions, and the performance of six new short plays.

We are now accepting submissions of scripts. The deadline for this year’s applications is Friday 30 January 2015.

Full guidelines and a 2015 application form are available on the Write Now page on our website:

Further details are below and in the attached press release. If you require additional information, please contact me on:

Halloween Night

The Devil's Sentry Box, Manor Avenue
Plenty going on tonight for Halloween. Here's a list of some of the best options:
  • The Royal Albert is hosting Cults - a Judgement Night party with DJ from 9pm
  • The Ravensbourne Arms is throwing a party, 8pm-2am. 
  • The Gantry is going to reward its best-fancy-dressed Halloween customer with a bottle of prosecco.
  • Jam Circus has an All Hallows Eve party with free shots for punters in fancy dress
  • The Talbot has this party going on
And the best-dressed Halloween pub award goes to The Honor Oak:

The Amersham - Loved by Time Out

The Amersham Arms made Time Out's "Eight London pubs we love" list, with the magazine's Comedy Editor, Ben Williams, singling out Happy Mondays as the best reason to love it. He says:

What looks like a small, cosy pub from the street also looks that way inside: there are wood-panelled walls, Chesterfield sofas and fairy lights draped around picture frames. But it’s all a front for a huge club and music venue out the back. 

Comedy night Happy Mondays takes place here every week. Entry’s only a fiver, and some of the best names in the business regularly navigate the Overground to New Cross... Heck, even David Cross – yes, Tobias from ‘Arrested Development’ – performed a rare London set here a few weeks ago... Why do comics like playing it? It’s fun! The crowds are lively and the promoters are nice people. The students might come for the cheap ticket price, but it’s the comedy-savvy Londoners who make it special.

BC was at the David Cross gig (guest of Happy Mondays) and Williams is absolutely right about the appeal of the night for comics. Cross was obviously there as an excuse to stretch his comedy legs during a long stay in London, persuaded to do one last story by someone who offered to buy him a pint. If you haven't been, but you like stand-up, you have to go.

Introducing Prendergast Primary School

Prendergast Primary School is a new school on the Ladywell / Crofton Park border. Head of School, Viv Nicholls, writes:

We opened to our two new Reception classes in September, and have been extremely pleased at how quickly all our children have settled. We received a visit from Ofsted inspectors two weeks into the new term! They were very positive about the learning environment, also citing the calm and happy atmosphere around the school - giving us a 'Good' judgement.

We look forward to welcoming two new Reception classes in September 2015, when we will be moving into our brand new building. The new build is a spacious flag ship design, and will include a five-a-side football pitch, Eco Garden and Habitat area in addition to our three primary play areas. Inside we will have 14 classrooms, specifically designed to meet the needs of our children, as well as an atrium and our own kitchen facilities. We will also be very fortunate to have direct access onto Ladywell Fields, where we encourage pupils to take part in outdoor learning projects.

Please contact our school office if you would like to visit on 020 8690 1114

Back in training

Brockley's traditional summer season of Octopush and Aussie Rules is over, time to re-discover winter games like football and badminton. Chris writes:

I think I'm probably on my 3rd round of e-mailing you. I wonder whether you would mind putting up a post about our Wednesday night Catford football (again!)…people just keep on having babies and moving!

We need players for Wednesday nights 5-a-side football at Catford. KO 19:30 subs of £5. All ages and abilities welcome. We're a bunch of 30 somethings having a competitive kick-around as opposed to a league team looking for players. E-mail Chris Gilbert or Joel

Likewise, Sian is back for more. She writes:

Honor Oak ladies badminton at the Honor Oak Community Centre has vacancies for 2 new players - it costs £7 a month - bring your own raquet. Contact / 07957956089

Weds 8.30-9.30 ladies only (there is an earlier mixed group who play from 6.30-8.30 for intermediate players only if any men are interested).

Malpas flooded

Malpas Road was closed this morning due to flooding, the result of a burst water main. Six basement flats were damaged by the water. The road has now been reopened. These two tweets this morning may have been related to one another:

Aladdin Cline

Lewisham fat-shamed

Lewisham has the 10th-highest rate of hospital admissions related to obesity in England, according to figures released by the NHS.

The rankings are dominated by northern areas, but Southwark and Lewisham take 9th and 10th places respectively. The Mirror reports:

In total last year there were 11,000 hospital admissions for obesity, almost ten times the figure for ten years ago.

The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show women are roughly three times as likely to be treated for obesity as men.

The 2013 Health Profile for the borough showed that Lewisham suffers lower than average life expectancy, higher than average rates of heart disease, and perhaps most-worryingly, a higher than average rate of child obesity, suggesting the fat fight will take generations.

The North South Divide

Ndnd: It is true what they say... Women are from Omicron Persei 7, men are from Omicron Persei 9.
- Futurama

This map by the Future Cities Catapult, which divides the capital's population into eight typologies, illustrates the schism in the Greater Brockley hive mind.

The Whereabouts Map
North and Central Brockley is dominated by types 4 and 5 - young, single, car-less, child-less and mortgage less. Telegraph Hill and the southern end of Brockley, including Crofton Park and a large swathe of land running from Honor Oak through to East Dulwich are dominated type 1s - older, home-owning commuters. Pockets of West Brockley, Nunhead and Deptford have a type 8 profile - the youngest average age of all, most likely to be victims of anti-social behaviour and most likely to live in affordable housing.

These divides are largely dictated by the housing stock and are not all that surprising, but it's interesting to see where the fault lines lie and which areas have most in common with each other. Demographically, for example, central Brockley has more in common with central Lewisham, Blackheath and Greenwich than Crofton Park and Telegraph Hill. Likewise, the area around New Cross Gate has less in common with Deptford or Telegraph Hill than it does with Nunhead and the Brockley conservation area.

The methodology is explained here.


Lucy is looking for someone with a good dog to play with. She writes:

I've got a staff cross and she needs to socialise with other dogs. She is neutered and about 3 1/2. She isn't used to other dogs and I need a strong safe and gentle dog for her to learn to play with.

My dog is a strong staffie cross and needs a good romp with another dog. She is good-natured but doesn't know how to play with dogs so when she does she can be very forceful. I need the other dog to be very calm.

I live in Crofton Park so Hilly Fields would be a great place to meet on Sunday afternoons. Please get in touch.

Walls and shutters needed for the Brockley Street Art Festival

This is a huge opportunity to do something good with all the horrible, greying, dirty regulation-defying shutters which Brockley's shop owners are enamoured with. The Friends of the Brockley Street Art Festival write:

Calling all landlords, the Brockley area needs your walls and shutters!

The Brockley Street Art Festival is an exciting project that aims to improve the appearance of the area through the creation of stunning murals along the Brockley Corridor and throughout the neighbourhood.

The week long community event in May is being organised by local residents, the annual Brockley Max festival and Global Street Art (London's foremost mural-organisers). Artists and mural designs will be vetted rigorously and adhere to our strict code of ethics (nothing offensive).

Our hope is that the festival will become an annual event, working closely with other community arts groups and institutions. We have backing from the Lewisham Council, and we are building support with local landlords to turn the blank walls of Brockley, Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park into great art for everyone.

Please let us know if you are interested in talking to us about improving the appearance of your building. The murals will not cost you anything and there will be no risk to you (any murals that do not fit can be painted over). We are not asking you to commit to anything beyond having a chat and a cup of tea!

We anticipate that the Brockley Street Art Festival will enhance Brockley's existing reputation as an arts-minded neighbourhood and generate a lot of interest from both inside London and abroad. The benefits to Brockley, Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park could be considerable.

You could also benefit personally from improvements to the look of your property, and you would be facilitating something that would inspire local residents for generations.

Please email your interest to and

Glass Mill Pool reopens

Halloween Party at The Talbot

It's almost time kids. The clock is ticking. And don't forget to wear your masks.

The new-look Talbot (Tyrwhitt Road) is throwing a Halloween-night party, 7pm-Midnight. They say:

Delores Rocket, our resident DJ, plays music on a topical theme, this month is Halloween and her music features Ghosts, Ghools and Scary Monsters!

Halloween Party 31 October, DJ, Face painting for Adults, Blood Curdling Cocktails & Fangtastic Food. Fancy dress optional

Ladywell Pop-Up Village approved

Lewisham Council has confirmed that this plan for a pop-up housing development on the site of the former Ladywell pool was approved last night.

It is frustrating that, having known for years that this site would become available, the Council has failed to come up with a long-term plan for the site, especially as we're in the middle of another building and investment boom, which won't last forever. However, we are where we are, and this is an interesting throw of the dice. It could be a great new model, or it could be like those miserable little green humps they built in the middle of Lewisham in lieu of Lewisham Gateway. Lewisham Council says:

The site of the former Ladywell leisure centre is set to host one of the UK’s first ever pop-up villages.

The pop-up concept is to use modern technologies to provide temporary housing and retail units that can be largely constructed off-site, assembled and used, then dismantled, moved to a new site and used again.

The central Lewisham site is earmarked for a wider area development that will take some time to put into place and gain all necessary planning consents. The pop-up plan would put the site to good use in the meantime providing temporary homes for 24 families and space for retail, commercial and civic use – a ready-made micro-village.

Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet gave the green light to the concept at its meeting on Wednesday 22 October.
The Council will now move forward with a formal tendering process with the aim of awarding a contract early in 2015.  New homes could then be ready for occupation in autumn 2015.

I'm going to show you something beautiful

The first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron is out and a lot is riding on this film for Marvel, so they have loaded this trailer with fan favourites, including the Hulkbuster armour, Cap's broken shield and of course, the Rivoli Ballroom, where filming took place during the summer. It's here at 1 min 30 seconds. Blink and you'll miss it, but you'll got to hold something back for the theatres.

Usual full disclosure: Marvel's parent company, Disney, is a client...

Blackheath Fireworks 2014 - Back the Bangs

Bonfire Night is apparently November 1st this year. Lewisham Council writes:

Blackheath Fireworks, one of the biggest free displays in the capital, will light up the skies on Saturday 1 November from 8pm. A funfair will be open from 4pm and food and refreshments from 5pm.

And this year, there will be specially-themed music to accompany the display, making the evening even more spectacular.

Sponsors and partners have been very important to the continued success of the event and this year, L&Q and the Royal Borough of Greenwich have been key partners along with Glendale, Hamptons International, Jo Townshend architects, Party Play Bus, The Crown, The Clarendon Hotel, Sun Ya restaurant, Davy’s wine bars and EM Highways.

Those attending the event are also being encouraged to support the display. Donations can be made online at, at Age Exchange, Blackheath or in one of the many collection buckets on the night.

London widget tracks Lewisham crime drop

Lewisham's crime tracking data
Another crimewatching widget has landed in our inbox. The falling crime rate has given the Mayor of London a taste for transparency, so this new dashboard allows people to see the statistics for themselves. The Mayor's office says:

"Last year the Mayor, as part of his Police and Crime Plan, pledged even greater transparency over crime data and set the Metropolitan Police Service the challenge to reduce seven key neighbourhood crimes by 20 per cent by 2016. Using this interactive dashboard Londoners are now able to track progress against this target, compare local performance every month to other boroughs and look at the overall crime picture in the capital.

"The dashboard reveals that on the latest monthly figures, the Met have cut MOPAC 7 crimes overall by 18 per cent against the 2012 baseline - against a target of 20 per cent by 2016. It also shows the impact falling crime in London has had on national figures with the crime drop last year in the capital outpacing the national fall and accounting for almost half of the reduction across England and Wales. For the first time the data reveals that crime nationally would be rising by 0.4 per cent were it not for the strong Met performance."

Lewisham's performance for the year to September 2014 mirrors the rest of the London, falling significantly on each of the seven key crimes, with the exception of arguably the most important one - Violence With Injury, where we are ranked 23rd overall in London. Overall, the borough is ranked 16th-best in the capital, according to the MOPAC 7 metric.

It's encouraging, though not surprising, to see that London is outperforming the rest of the country in terms of the falling crime rate. The falling crime rate is one of the long-term factors that is making inner London an increasingly desirable place to live. And it's a moment for BC to reflect that 2014 is the first summer to have passed without us having to report any blood being spilled in and around Brockley Cross or Brockley Station.

Yule Log

Date for your diaries: The Ladywell Christmas Market will be returning on December 6th. Details for how to apply for a stall on the Ladywell and Lewisham forum.

Glass Mill pools temporarily closed

The unofficial Twitter feed for Lewisham's Glass Mill Leisure Centre, run by an admirably obsessive critic of the centre, tipped us off that the pools are now shut due to a failure with the heating system (on Sunday, when we went down there, they were still inviting people to swim in icy water at their own peril). A statement issued by the centre says:

"Due to a mechanical failure all pools at Glass Mill Leisure centre are currently closed until further notice. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause you. We will update here with an estimated opening time as soon as engineers have assessed the situation."

Aussie rules Peckham

If you can’t make a girl come why even bother? That always seemed to me to be like writing questions in a letter.
- Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

A Peckham-based Aussie Rules team is looking for players. Marianna writes:

The South East London Giants are an Australian Rules Football ("AFL") team whose home ground is Peckham Rye Common.  The club has been running for 2 years very successfully with its biggest achievements being the running of a London wide pre-season cup on Peckham Rye, playing in the social league 2014 Grand Final and winning 2014 Club of the Year in only its second year as an established club. The club is now looking to expand on its success by introducing a women's competition and setting up a women's team to compete in the 2015 season.

Australian Rules Football is played on an oval ground with an oval ball (similar to rugby) and has 18 people per team. South East London Giants are looking for women with any level of experience (never seen the game to people that may know and have played the game) to give this unique sport a go. We have a great team on hand to help people learn the rules of the game and develop the relevant skills so people shouldn't worry too much about not knowing the sport.  The club is not about winning it's about giving it a go, having a good time and meeting new people.

We are looking to start pre season training in February 2015 with the aim of playing our first game in April 2015.  If anyone is interested in giving this fun game and different way of keeping fit a go they can contact me either by e-mail ( or phone (07742802536).

If people want to see what the South East London Giants are about they can look at our club website

Three more residential developments planned for Ashby Mews

Top to bottom: 111, 143, 153-155 UBR
Three proposals have been submitted to turn garages on Ashby Mews into residential properties.

Buildings to the rear of 111 Upper Brockley Road, 143 Upper Brockley Road and 153-155 Upper Brockley Road.

Each of the projects is a modernist rebuild of dilapidated storage areas, with access from the mews.

Objectors to the development on the Manor Avenue side of the mews complained before it was approved that it would set a precedent for further development. They were right.

However, these three developments are fairly modest and could help to civilise a stretch of mews which remains a dumping ground, despite new gates being installed in an effort to curb anti-social behaviour.

The closing date to comment on these planning applications is October 27th.

Coulgate Street update

Liam posted an update to the Coulgate Street consultation story, which deserves its own thread. The plans to improve Coulgate Street that have been put forward by the Council feature a number of measures to tidy the street up, but stop short of the more ambitious schemes many people had been hoping for, with no shared surface element.

Liam responded to the consultation and updates us. He says:

I asked three questions.

1. Why are you not pedestrianising Coulgate Street?
2. Where are all the cars that normally park on Coulgate Street going to park?
3. Can we have easier access for prams etc?

Here is the Council officer's response:

We are still open to ideas regarding the use of Coulgate Street. "Pedestrianisation" means different things to different people but any scheme that we implement will have to allow for some vehicle access to and from Coulgate Street. Apart from Coulgate Street's residents, business premises, including Network Rail and London Overground, need vehicle access for deliveries and maintenance purposes. The Council also needs to be able to collect the refuse each week. We also have to consider those disabled people who need to be able to reach the station's entrance with a minimum of inconvenience. Having said that, I am sure that we will be able to come to some compromise that will satisfy most, if not all, of Brockley's residents.

If we exclude parked vehicles from Coulgate Street then their owners will of course have to make alternative arrangements. Our thoughts on this are that Brockley's streets are already at or near capacity so there is very little spare, kerbside space for any vehicles that are displaced from Coulgate Street. It is likely therefore that, since the majority of these vehicles are owned by commuters, many will change their commuting routes. The only comprehensive solution to the problems created by commuter parking is permit-only parking, by way of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). The Council intends to consult on a possible CPZ in Brockley during the Summer months of 2016.

Finally, yes we will be dropping kerbs at various locations to improve access for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

Silvertown Tunnel vision

This week, TfL launched a public consultation for the planned Silvertown tunnel, which would link Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks. The plan would reduce the strain on the Blackwall Tunnel, create a direct road link between two of London’s biggest development areas and provide an alternative option whenever the Blackwall Tunnel decides to have one of its little closures.

We’ve kept out of the Silvertown Tunnel debate until now, because the details of the plan hadn’t been released and because there are people we respect who have mounted a very credible campaign against it on the basis of the deleterious effect it would have on air quality in the area. But now, a consultation leaflet’s been shoved through our front doors, it’s time to wade in.  

Opponents are right to highlight the risk of increased air pollution as new capacity encourages more cars and lorries. Air pollution is already bad across London and the Blackwall Tunnel approach is among the capital’s worst hot spots. Air pollution kills thousands of Londoners a year and harms the health of many more. It is arguably the single biggest problem we need to fix. But the campaigners are still wrong to oppose Silvertown.

Back in 2008, when the Thames Gateway Bridge plan for Thamesmead was cancelled, BC argued that the pitiful number of river crossings in East London was the biggest brake on employment growth in the city and it was time to build not just one, but several river crossings here:

“South East London needs more cross-river journeys. It needs more business people jumping in taxis to get across the Thames. It needs more tourists strolling or catching a bus across the river from the north bank. It needs to be part of the same city as north east London. The fact that one of the key crossings is a ferry only strengthens the feeling that the two places are foreign countries to one another.” 

Now, six years and one cable car sop later, wellity, wellity, wellity – everyone’s talking about the urgent need for more crossings to cope with London's rapid growth. Prospective London Mayor Andrew Adonis and a new report called Linking London argue that East London needs four more links to boost the economy by up £1 billion annually. For its part, TfL promises a “package” of new crossings, “including improved connections for cars, public transport, pedestrians, cyclists and freight.” They say:

"We recently held a consultation on options for further river crossings in addition to the Silvertown Tunnel; at Woolwich, Gallions Reach and/or Belvedere.  The Department for Transport has also proposed building a new ‘Lower Thames Crossing’ to provide additional capacity at Dartford."
The planned new river crossings
And it's in this context that Silvertown deserves support. In the absence of other crossings, Silvertown would encourage too much traffic into Greenwich - forcing traffic that doesn't need or want to come in to inner London through Zone 2. But with a range of new options and smart traffic management, Silvertown will be a huge asset, massively reducing the congestion, which is the biggest cause of air pollution. Yes, new supply begets new demand, but proposed tolls at Blackwall and Silvertown, as well a bridge at Belvedere will deliver smoother traffic flow even as the number of journeys grows.

Instead of trying to stop the tunnel as a way to reduce air pollution, we should be campaigning for positive solutions - pushing for a 'Bridge and Tunnel and Ferry' strategy to stop the Peninsula being treated as a funnel - or maybe even lobbying for electric vehicle-only crossings. By the time any of this stuff gets built, we'll all have self-driving, fusion powered, hover cars.

You don't fix London by trying to halt - or worse, ignore - its growth, we have to find smart ways to manage the network. Let the call go out - four more crossings!

Hills & Parks & Resignation

Honor Oak deli Hills & Parks is up for sale. Reporting a turnover of a quarter of a million quid and seeking buyers willing to stump up £95,000, the sellers say:

The Deli has been established for over 3 years and is at the heart of a growing local high street. The business has a fantastic local following and trades daily with the knowledge its customers attach an immense amount of goodwill to the business. The business offers a wonderful and profitable catering service which has a grown with the reputation of the deli.

My Jamii Cafe, Honor Oak

3 Honor Oak
SE23 1DX

My Jamii Cafe is a new cafe-cum-not-for-profit enterprise scheme in Honor Oak.

It aims to help young (17-23) people with low educational attainment, minimal literacy and little access to work experience or opportunities to improve their circumstances in the Borough of Lewisham.

It also does cake.

Factory-built home plan for Ladywell baths [UPDATED]

Another bit of residential experimentation in Ladywell. The News Shopper reports that Lewisham Council is considering installing factory-built temporary housing on the site of the former Ladywell baths, while they draw up long-term plans for the site. The units would be semi-portable and low-cost.

The Council promises they won't look anything like the units in this photo from the Shopper
The Shopper says:

Lewisham Council is considering the move - thought to be the first of its kind - at a meeting next week.

The innovative pilot scheme would see 24 housing units blocked together, with four retail, commercial or civic spaces beneath, on the old Ladywell Leisure Centre site.

Ideas for the units below the housing include a meeting space, an "enterprise hub" or a "21st century library" with a 3D printer.

Once the units have been used in Ladywell, they could then be re-deployed elsewhere in the borough, across a number of different sites if necessary, or even given a different use.

Details here.

UPDATE: The Council adds:

If the idea is approved on 22 October then the Council would move forward with a formal tendering process with the aim of awarding a contract early in 2015. New homes could then be ready for occupation in autumn 2015.

Brockley Road Sainsbury's confirmed

Simon Hosking of Boultbee, the developers of 180 Brockley Road, confirms the story we reported yesterday - that they have agreed a lease for the main retail unit with Sainsbury's. He says:

"The new retail space has been let to Sainsbury’s under a "green lease". It was important to ensure that the retail space reflects our design and sustainability-led approach, so the team strived hard to achieve the BREEAM Excellent rating, which is the highest level possible rating. The BREEAM Excellent rating includes high levels of insulation, increased ecology through the incorporation of a green roof, energy efficient plant and equipment, reduced water consumption, as well as detailed waste management strategy."

"The 4,000 sq ft store will also create approximately 25 local jobs. We believe the store will help to enhance the overall area."

East side Sainsbury's to open at 180 Brockley Road

Well - this is a surprising turn of events. Despite having a branch on the other side of the tracks, Sainsbury's has submitted an application to open a store in 180 Brockley Road, the new development next to the Brockley Barge.

The site has space for a supermarket and it had been rumoured that Tesco was going to be the anchor tenant, but it looks like Sainsbury's is seeking a more profitable site in Brockley, which might free up the west side location for something more interesting - or maybe another supermarket chain!

The Deptford Stories Festival

1st – 16th November 2014
Preview night: Friday 31st October, 5-9pm
Family open day: 1st November, 11-6pm
Anthology Deptford Foundry, Arklow Road Trading Estate, SE14 6EB

Deptford Stories, an arts festival celebrating the lives and legends of Deptford will launch on Friday 31st October & Saturday 1st November. It will then continue until 16th November by appointment only. Bringing together art, theatre, music and history of the past, present and future of Anthology Deptford Foundry, the festival will take place in the empty warehouses and workshops of the former site of Arklow Road Trading Estate.

Curated by experimental arts space, Harts Lane Studios, and created by Greenspace on behalf of Anthology; Deptford Stories will be an eclectic array of mixed-media installations, sculpture, prints, light displays, textiles and tiling. From James Capper and Katie Surridge’s imposing industrial and structural pieces to Cedric Christie’s iconic light-boxes and Margot Sanders’ site-specific painting portraying the frail beauty of human bonds, the artwork is varied and engaging. The event is organised in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of London.

Liam Fleming’s immersive-theatre group, In(ep)trepid, will be performing throughout the weekend. On Friday evening they will perform a re-enactment of Christopher Marlowe’s last night, who was rumoured to have died in Deptford. A surprise finale will follow at 8.30pm. There will also be a soundscape over the course of the two days where visitors can experience the sounds of the old foundry, complete with sound bites from George Arthur, a local man who worked on the site in the 1960s.

Refreshments will be provided by Pig&Rig, who will be serving up a scrumptious hog-roast, accompanied by their own sound system. The Black Cab Coffee Co and Brockley Brewery will be supplying their own expertly brewed coffee and beer respectively. A limited number of drink tokens will be available to sample some of Brockley Brewery’s finest craft beer.

There will be a range of musical performances playing on both days. On Friday night we welcome Lit FM, a London-based ten-piece alternative jazz-funk band with influences of hip-hop, dub, soul, electronica and jungle music. Then on Saturday JD and the Longfellows will present their violin-driven folk followed by electro swing band, Booty Swing.

To find out more about specific acts or artists, follow our arts festival on Facebook:

Le So Over It

Deptford Dame has spotted that the LeSoCo brand has met an undignified end. From now on, you can call it by a proper name - Lewisham Southwark College.

The LeSoCo name was created when Lewisham and Southwark Colleges merged, but proved to be as popular as Consignia and has been consigned to the dustbin of local history.

The branding consultancy they used, Elmwood, used to count BC amongst its clients, and they are a good bunch of designers, but they are better at making something old look sparkling than they are at creating something from scratch. This was not their best work and deserved to be dumped. Also, maroon?!

The Dame notes:

Since the rebrand things have not gone well. Ofsted gave the merged college an 'inadequate' grade at the start of this year, and in June, principal Maxine Room 'stepped down' to be replaced by interim consultant principal Ioan Morgan.

State of Play

John Trent: God's not supposed to be a hack horror writer.
- In the Mouth of Madness

Ampersand will be running a twice monthly newspaper reading group in The Deptford Lounge. If you like discussing what's in the news, or have an opinion on current events then this is for you. If you have no idea what's happening in the world and want know more – it's for you too.

Once a month the things discussed can also be suggested to actors in The Lounge who will create a show based on your ideas. There will also be tea, coffee and the chance of a good old natter. Everyone is welcome. Come whenever you are available, or to them all.

The news group will run from 9:30 am to 11:30 am on: 17th October, 14th and 28th November, 5th and 19th December, 9th and 23rd January and on through the rest of 2015.

Worth a visit? Oh pho sho

Polly writes:

I got a flyer today advertising a new Vietnamese restaurant in Lewisham (first floor, 100-104 Lewisham High Street) called Pho House. I'd love to know if anybody has tried it yet - could this finally be an eating establishment in Lewisham that is worth a visit? The pictures on the flyer look very nice and they're offering 50% off all food until 23 October.

Doggie Deadline

Carlos writes:

Our beloved dog Bonnie was stolen yesterday in Ladywell Fields at 15:15. Would you be able to help us find her? She is under medication (penicillin) and needs to continue it immediately. Attached is a picture of Bonnie . She has now a brown suede collar.

The Honor Oak, 1 St German's Road

The first law of Greater Brockley is that any good new place that opens in the area will instantly fill up. So the fact we've struggled to book a table here for a long time is testament both to BC's slackness and its quality. However, we got in on a Sunday lunchtime and can now report back.

The Honor Oak reopened this summer after an ambitious refurbishment, which rescued this grand old pub first from incompetence, then neglect and finally squatters.

In terms of the space and the atmosphere, the money has been well-spent. They seem to have preserved all its best features and modernised the aspects that needed refreshing. The space is cosy without being too crowded and it all works - whether you want to prop up the bar, lounge around with the papers or have lunch with friends, there are no dead zones. The front garden's effectively sheltered from the busy road too.

Booze-wise, readers who give a toss about ales and wine lists are better qualified than we are to comment, but there seemed to be plenty of choice. The food too was generally good, though not quite as flavoursome as The Talbot or The Royal Albert. Our roast pork was let down by the apple sauce, which was gloopy and insipid, like the filling of an exceedingly bland Mr Kipling apple pie.

The service was also a little slack during our visit. Having served us lunch, the waiter never returned to ask us about desert, so we got bored and asked for the bill. But at this early stage and during a very busy Sunday, a few teething problems are to be expected.

The Honor Oak represents the sort of place this area remains short of - a large traditional pub, operating to a high standard, attracting a cross-section of the local community, with the space and flexibility to fulfil a range of different roles.

Oxjam New Cross Takeover, October 18th

Syn City: A Road to Build For

Alice writes:

The Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) is a Lewisham-based community group working towards developing sustainable social and affordable housing. They have proposed a community-led housing development on an empty council-owned site at the end of Church Grove, Ladywell.

RUSS are holding a day of talks and discussion about the current housing situation in Lewisham and about their proposal.

Saturday 18th October from 12 noon until 6pm at the Fox and Firkin Pub, 316 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6JZ

RUSS wants more people to join and help shape the project, so local residents are invited to drop in and find out about the plans and how they can get involved.

Cooper's Bakehouse Open Day

Brockley bakery. Cooper's Bakehouse, based in Dragonfly Place (Brockley Cross), is having an open day today until 3pm.

Complete the danged Bakerloo line

The Old Kent Road. A death row of increasingly-redundant large format stores, bookended east and west by Domino's Pizza.

A road built to serve cars in a city that passed peak-car a decade ago. A place of vast empty car parks and van storage yards, which houses, pleases and employs very few. A spectacularly grotesque waste of central London - and the only one of the cheap streets on the Monopoly Board that's still cheap.

While regeneration slowly creeps along Jamaica Road through Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, the Old Kent Road serves as a vast grey-brown ligature that restricts the flow of capital, energy and talent from the centre of London south east. With Vauxhall and the Elephant & Castle at last being razed and rebuilt, the OKR remains as the North London bigot's best argument against South London - a place where people are rarely seen, except bunched at crossings or hanging from doorways.

The Old Kent Road is also one of London's designated "opportunity areas". But it's a public transport desert and without new links, that opportunity won't materialise.

So why are we consulting about whether the Bakeloo Line should travel down it or go via Camberwell? This shouldn't even be a question. If the Old Kent Road was in North London, there would have been a Cobra meeting about it by now. Given that the extension will need to be part-funded from levies on developers along its route, the Old Kent Road is the best chance of getting the project paid for - the part of the journey where most development is possible.

Make the decision today, start work tomorrow. Forget about the Hayes extension if that's going to hold things up. In a city where brownfield is a precious commodity, the Old Kent Road represents a dereliction of duty on the part of our politicians.

Prendergast Vale earns Ofsted upgrade

Congratulations to Prendergast Vale College, the Lewisham school that serves pupils aged 3-18. Its rapid improvement has now been recognised by Ofsted.

In its new Ofsted report, Prendergast Vale has earned a "Good" status, having been told previously that it required improvement.

The report notes that: "Pupils achieve well. They are making better and faster progress than they were at the time of the previous inspection. Progress is also much more consistent across the college."

Coulgate Street improvement plans revealed

With construction work at 180 Brockley Road due to begin on Monday, the plans for improvement work on Coulgate Street, which would be part-funded by the developers, have been made available online. Lewisham Council writes:

Lewisham Council is consulting on plans to improve Coulgate Street, on the eastern side of Brockley Station. 

The proposed scheme is designed to improve the environment for pedestrians by laying new paving (and widening some sections of the current footway), planting some trees and removing clutter. Other measures include restricting traffic to one-way (from Brockley Cross southwards to Foxberry Road) and providing some short-term parking for customers of local shops.

The Council is consulting on its proposals until 24 October, with the intention of implementing the finalised plans - subject to final approval from Transport for London, who have funded their development so far - during early 2015. To have your say on the proposals, contact

It's not the part-pedestrianisation or shared-surface scheme once imagined, but it would tidy up a chaotic part of our town centre and form a nicer link between a pretty set of flower beds outside the station and the cafes opposite. More parking for bikes, less parking for cars and wider, smarter pavements. A bit conservative, but nonetheless a big improvement.

Refugee charity walk, October 26th

180 Brockley Road - construction begins on Monday

With demolition complete at the 180 Brockley Road site (formerly the MOT garage next to the Brockley Barge), construction begins on Monday. Details of the project here.

Thanks to Browns of Brockley for letting us know.

Help to Buy vs Mansion Tax

In recent days, two maps have appeared which throw a bit more light on the state of the Lewisham housing market.

The first is in The Telegraph, which has mapped the boroughs according to the number of homes bought through the Help to Buy scheme. The areas in dark red are those which have made most use of the mortgage guarantee initiative.

As you can see, South East London is the biggest beneficiary, which is to be expected given that it's still a relatively affordable area and HtB is aimed at people trying to get on the ladder. So far, 41 homes have been bought with Help to Buy backing.

Secondly, this one from City AM, examines how many homes in each borough might qualify for Labour's proposed  Mansion Tax. Data from the Land Registry suggests only 12 houses in the borough would qualify, although that seems like a massive underestimate given current house prices. The Cator Estate alone must have more than that. Anyway, the key number is 23 - that's where Lewisham ranks in terms of London boroughs with £2m+ houses.

Telegraph Hill Festival + Number 57 - get involved

Two opportunities to get involved with local creative projects.

Firstly, The Telegraph Hill Festival has launched its annual search for ideas. They have a planning meeting on November 6th, 8pm at The Hill Station, which is open to all comers with suggestions for events they'd like to put on as part of the 2015 festival.

Secondly, the Number 57 Gallery is looking for artists. They say:

Number 57 @ 57 Loampit Hill will be holding an Art Fair this November 21st-30th We would love to exhibit the work of local artists and show what wonderful diversity and talent is flourishing here in Lewisham.

Each artist may submit a maximum of three artworks. Entry fee £10 for one, £20 for two and £25 for three.

See website for more details. Deadline November 1st.

Restaurants, offices, shops and workshops available at The Deptford Project

The Deptford Project opens next year. Image courtesy of 7-t.
The Deptford Project - once a train carriage-cafe, now a building site, soon to be a major new mixed use development - is due for completion in Autumn 2015 and the commercial premises are now being advertised on the developer's website

The project should be transformative for Deptford and the space that will be created is huge. The units now available include:

- Seven Commercial Units in the Octavius Street building (840sq ft-1900 sq ft each) Uses. A1, A2, A3, B1, B8, D1 All first floor units will be accessed from the restored Grade II listed carriage ramp via linked foot bridges.

- Two Restaurants (circa 2500 sq ft each) located on the ground floor of the St Paul's House element of the scheme. Both restaurants will feature outdoor seating areas.

- Fourteen Arch Space Workshops (circa 25.6 sqm each) Uses A1, A2, A3, B1, B8, D1 All arches will have sympathetic brick restoration work; the internal demise will have exposed brickwork (treated with a protective resin) in order to preserve the character of the Grade II listed heritage structure.

Local entrepreneurs interested in applying should contact

Will the last person to leave Brockley please nuke it from orbit

Brockley's zombie outbreak response unit

New Crofton Park cafe? [UPDATED]

Friend of BC Molewife has been talking to the builders refurbishing an old shop in Crofton Park and reckons they are converting it into a cafe of some sort. If anyone has any further details, please let us know.
The empty unit next to the Lycamobile signage is showing signs of life
If true, this means that an amazing year of new local high street business is set to continue into the autumn.

UPDATE: Crofton Park Life informs us that this is going to be something more akin to a deli than a cafe. Most of all, it sounds like they're planning something akin to the Brockley Deli. More soon.

St Thomas doubts value of Superkids

I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended. 
- 13, words to Thomas

Superkids, the swimming club that until recently operated out of St Thomas the Apostle school in Nunhead, has been told to find another swimming pool. Brockley parent Helen has asked us to plug Superkids' campaign to stay put. They write:

Over the last 8 years, we have taught hundreds of children how to swim at St Thomas'. Sadly, earlier this month we were told that we were to be evicted by St Thomas' school because of their wish to use the pool to teach their own pupils, and because "we do nothing for the community".

This is simply not true. Superkids has a loyal customer base & we wish to continue running our business, meeting the needs of families in the local area. We currently have 140 swimmers at St Thomas & another 42 children on the waiting list. Out of these, 106 children live locally - in the postcodes SE14, 15 & 16 with 33 in the SE22 & 23 postcode & 19 in SE4. We're not asking for anyone's charity. We understand the need for the school to teach their own pupils, but all we ask is that we are able to continue using St Thomas' pool for a mere 6.5 hours per week - and continue teaching this important skill to local children. Please spare us a few minutes to support us, by joining our campaign.

Click here to support the club. Ask yourself, what would the original Superkid, Jesus do?

Rivoli Fundraiser for the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign

Iain writes:

The last fundraiser sold out and we were turning people away at the door. Obviously, we were all still high from the victory in the high court, but I think the last year has shown how important it is that we continue, which means we need funds.

The trust has to make 5% 'savings' every year for the next 5 years (25% over 5 years) and the local CCGs have coalesced to work on a south east London plan. It is likely that Lewisham hospital's services and land will be recommended as a sacrifice to the cuts and PFI liabilities... Again...

New Cross library fundraiser with AL Kennedy

Author and comedian, AL Kennedy will be attending a fund-raising evening on 27th October at New Cross Learning (AKA New Cross Library), reading from and signing her new book All The Rage.

Tickets in advance from Brown Paper Tickets – £10 full price, £8 concessions. There will be refreshments available.

New Cross Learning, with the support of Bold Vision, has secured a two-year lease, but has to fund its running costs, so however terrible Kennedy's Guardian column may be, please go along.

The embattled of Algiers

A short-cut used by people to walk between Algiers Road and Greatfield Close in Ladywell is being shut off for no good reason (motorbikes and mopeds occasionally sneak through, so pedestrians have to pay the price), annoying residents who are going to be forced to walk the long way. Sara explains:

At issue is a gate in a high metal fence that was always open to pedestrians, and will now be welded shut. It crosses a paved foot path leading from near the top of the U made by Algeirs & Veda, through to Greatfield Close, enabling one to get to Adelaide Road or Eastern Road without having to walk down Vicars and through Ladywell Village. 

It is heavily used by school runs to Gordonbrock & Beecroft by those living on Vicars, Algiers & Veda. Personally I'd be gutted if it was shut off. With it, I can walk 2 small children to the doctors in 10 mins, or to school in 20. Without those would be 25 & 35.

The Greatfield Close estate is managed by Brockley PFI. A petition's been launched to stop the cut-through being cut-off. Click here to support it.

#Newisham: Living the desk-bed dream

Validation! Lewisham's reputational journey from scruffy, dangerous backwater to super-connected, hashtag-branded hipster haunt is complete!

Time Out's regular series of depressing stories from the London housing market has reached SE13 with this desk-bed, yours to rent in Lewisham for only £74 a week. They say:

Who needs wardrobes, a bedside table or floor space? Here’s an opportunity to de-clutter your life entirely by sleeping on a desk in Lewisham for just £74 per week, including bills. You also get a wifi box and a mattress as part of this sweet deal. 

An advert for the desk went up on property website Spareroom last week, with the landlord stating that renters will share the house with five ‘easygoing people from Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Portugal’. 

Little Nan extends her stay

Itinerant bar Little Nan's is extending its stay in New Cross and looking for a permanent home. Tristan says:

I would like to let you that Little Nan's Bar is staying at Birdie Num Nums Cafe in New Cross until January! It's been going so well at Birdie Bar, and we have viewed potential new homes in Brockley, Ladywell, Lewisham, Deptford, Crofton Park, Crystal Palace, New Cross, Greenwich and Woolwich, St Johns, but we want the next home to be very perm fixture to the area.

So until my Nan chooses that perfect place we are staying in New Cross.

This does mean that we are here for Christmas (and available for Midweek Staff parties) and will of course be selling my Nan's Candy Vodka Shots for Xmas prezzies!

Full info can be found here.

Silent Disco - Day of the Dead II

Last year's event was a sell-out so Silent Disco is back. Gill writes:

Saturday 1 November 2014 is Mexican Day of the Dead and to celebrate The Hill Station Café will again be teaming up with the Silent Disco crew to create a Fabulously Fluorescent, Luminously Lovely, Ultra Violet, Psychedelic Disco.

A top line-up of local DJ's will keep your feet firmly on the dance floor with a selection of the best banging party tunes, decadent disco hits and old-skool hedonism.

It's a fancy dress thing - the more skulls the merrier (but of course you don't have to).  The best dressed Senor and Senorita will be crowned "King and Queen of the Dead". Everybody gets a free cocktail on arrival, and there'll be lots of extra scary stuff too.

Tickets available here. Proceeds go to the Hill Station Café and  the New Cross & Deptford free film festival 2015

Deptford X 2014

It's Always About the Hair, Jessica Voorsanger
Sorry everyone, very late to the party here - we missed the start of the Deptford X arts festival, but there's still plenty to see before it draws to a close on October 5th with a March for Art.

Bob & Roberta Smith is the artist in residence, working with Jessica Voorsanger, whose series include It's Always About the Hair.

Other highlights include photographic history 'Protest and Survive', open studios at the Acme building and Lewisham Arthouse, 'Call and Response - a Running Programme of Immersive Sound' and an 'all day gathering of electronic experimentation' at Vinyl.

Thanks to the sponsors Anthology, who reminded us about the festival and earn themselves a link for their trouble.

Telegraph Hill Barn Dance

Sheridan writes:

Come on friends, take your partner by the hand and join us at the Telegraph Hill Harvest Barn Dance with Caller & local band “Plow'd Garlic Crusties”

St Catherine’s Church, Pepys Road, Saturday 4th October 7pm doors, dancing starts 7.30pm.

Tickets £5/£3 Cash Bar &

Family-friendly event, come and join the fun!

Tickets on the door or available in advance here.