London Bridge upgrade means services will be suspended

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deptford Town Hall restored

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

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

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

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

Full disclosure: I am on the Council of Goldsmiths.

Flood warning

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

NYE at the Rivoli

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

Mexican pop-up at the BFM

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

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

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

New restaurant set for West Side

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

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

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

More news soon, hopefully.

Craftmas Collective - November 29th

The Loyal Tannenbaums

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

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

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

Brockley Market Christmas 2014

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

Metro writes longest resignation letter in history

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Patrick for the heads up.

Do you even lift, Bro(ckley)?

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

Thanks to Brockley Nicola for the photo.

They Roll Among Us

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

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

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

The Peckham Coal Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Number 57 Art Fair

House of Nomads

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

Click here for the itinerants' itinerary.

Lewisham floods as Ravensbourne bursts its banks

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

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

The future of the Catford Bridge Tavern

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

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

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

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

Aladdin - December 5th-7th

The cast rehearses
Sanjit writes:

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

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

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

The People's Kitchen - November 27th

The Our New Cross team writes:

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

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

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

Midtown matters

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

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

Esso's being turned into a slightly nicer Esso:

Filipino Pop Up - November 22nd

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

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

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

Click here for tickets and the menu.

The Arthouse Winter Fair, December 13th

Brockley fish and beer mash-up Mondays

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

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

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

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

Who you trying to get crazy with Esso?

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

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

Brockley eclipses Blackheath in Time Out awards

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

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

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

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

Vinyl Verses

As much music venue as record shop, Deptford's Vinyl is hosting a new, infrequent, spoken word night, starting in December. 

Brockley Cross monster refused

Lewisham Council has refused an application to take the B&M Motors building in Brockley Cross (a crazy-paved bungalow with a load of old motors parked on its forecourt) and turn it into something even worse.

Never in the history of BC has one piece of architecture united a community against it. In its current form, it's an ugly, stupid piece of design that would dominate a narrow strip of pavement and doom the street level to another empty unit, in order that the developer could flog some cramped flats above it. The site is a tricky one, but whatever the right answer to the question "how should we redevelop 1-1a Brockley Cross?" is - this isn't it.

The application will now go to appeal. Thanks to Monkeyboy for the update.

Ladywell Christmas Supper Club

Elen from the Ladywell Supper Club writes:

I am very excited to announce that I will be hosting a festive supper club at The Larder in Ladywell on Friday 12th December. I believe it will be our best supper club to date and am so excited about celebrating this season's foods with a festive twist.

It will be a cocktail and four courses (and a few little extra bits here and there- it will be Christmas after all!) and tickets are priced at £32.

Tickets go on sale on Friday November 21st @10am and are available here.

Grinling Gibbons is country's top state primary

Deptford's Grinling Gibbons Primary School has been declared the country's top-performing state primary in the latest Sunday Times Parent Power league table. As the Daily Mail notes, more than half the pupils receive free school meals and the majority speak English as a second language. An amazing achievement.

Leegate 2

Tomorrow, the company redeveloping Leegate Shopping Centre, St Modwen, is holding another public consultation, to discuss their latest plans (left).

This scheme is significantly better than their first effort, but they're still determined to crowbar a cleverly-disguised  ASDA on to the site, despite the fact there are several large supermarkets within a stone's throw, including a Sainsbury's next door.

They also want to build 230 homes and a new courtyard garden. Good use of trees, but this is still a pretty uninspiring effort, that is heavily reliant on car traffic to make it work.

We don't see why any significant retail is required, with Lewisham just down the road and Blackheath Village is up the hill. Just make an inspiring residential development.

NUT: Prendergasts among six Lewisham schools due to become Academies

East London Lines reports that six Lewisham schools will be converted to Academies in the near future, including the Prendergast Hilly Fields and Ladywell Fields schools. Ignoring the fact that the headline characterises this as a "threat" and "privatisation", the article says:

Six more schools in Lewisham are due to be turned into academies, a meeting of the local National Union of Teachers was told.

Martin Powell Davies, the General Secretary announced: “We now know of six schools that will definitely turn into academies, Prendergast Hilly Fields, Prendergast Ladywells Fields, Prendergast The Vale, SedgeHill School and Bonus Pastor which we already knew about and another that I cannot name as it has not been officially reported and possibly more. We have also been warned of an independent school wanting to set up.”As well as the expansion of academies, two more free schools are opening in Lewisham. 

The Citizen School has been given the go-ahead by the Department for Education to open in September 2016.

Thanks to Joe for the heads-up.

A rum do at The LP Bar

Thursday, 20 November, from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM

The LP Bar writes:

Following the success of the debut, whiskey-themed event in October, Spirit of New Cross is back for November with rambunctious tales of rum - and of course plenty of it to taste, too.

Spirit of New Cross brings local residents and the liquor-curious from further afield together for an informal evening of learning, tasting and experimenting in the world of liquor – and Thursday 20 November sees rum take the stage in the able hands of host Mark Jennings.

After his captivating performance at Spirit of New Cross presents: Whisky Mark has some arguably even meatier material to get stuck into this time around, with rum a booze entwined with the culture of the West Indies, a rich history encompassing the Royal Navy, piracy, slavery, organised crime and the American Revolution.

Four specially-selected rums will be on offer - with some tasted neat for an opportunity to enjoy the rich flavours. Snacks to complement and enhance the tasting will also be prepared for the event by the neighbouring London Particular kitchen.

Tickets are £27 from the bar or here.

Sing along with the feature length music video for Let It Go

Crofton Food & Wine "completion"

Help reopen the Brockley Nature Reserve

The Brockley Nature Reserve aka New Cross Gate Cutting has been closed to the public for the last few months and now Wild London is trying to organise a group of volunteers to get it open again. They explain:

Key to this will be the availability of a trained warden willing to volunteer, as London Wildlife Trust is lacking the staff and the resources to do it at the moment. This will be explained and discussed with a LWT representative at a meeting next week.

Please feel free to distribute the attached poster and/or the details of the meeting below amongst your contacts:

Open Meeting Tuesday 18 November 7pm, The Wickham Arms (69 Upper Brockley Road, SE4 1TF).

Any queries please contact

Raise the Roof, November 15th

Campaign group wants Drakefell Road to go HGV-free

The DRAG Campaign Team write:

The Drakefell Road Action Group has submitted a Petition to Lewisham Council to persuade them to make this Brockley street safer, more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists and ban the large Lorries which are blighting the lives of residents. Drakefell Road is an important link for residents between Brockley and Nunhead but Lorries are cutting through, knocking over trees and damaging cars and the pavements are being destroyed by pavement parking.

Increasing numbers of large vehicles are taking short cuts across our borough, to get to the Elephant & Castle building sites; they take a short cut  to avoid the A roads they  are supposed to use. These larger vehicles are meant to go on the Transport for London Route Network (TRLN). They divert not just to save time and money, but we suspect to avoid the London Night Time Lorry Ban. They often start thundering through Brockley at 6am.

Drakefell Road is a residential road on the edge of the Telegraph Hill conservation area, an important local route to Haberdasher Aske schools and to two parks, and a college. Yet, Lewisham Council allow the road, despite being mainly houses and flats, to be used as a rat run for larger vehicles taking a short cut to avoid the New Cross gyratory.

Residents are faced with a double whammy, as passing heavy lorries not only cause vibration and damage homes, they force people to park on the pavement, for fear of heaving their cars damaged  - a regular occurrence - and thus the pavements are blocked for pedestrians.

The HGVs routinely ignore the 20mph speed limit and can be very dangerous, and there have been two serious accidents in the last three months. Luckily, during these two incidents, no one has been killed or seriously injured, but this was down to sheer luck, and we believe the accidents happened because these vehicles are too big for narrow roads like Drakefell Road.

On the evening of October 1, 2014, a tree was torn down by an impatient lorry driver who manoeuvred too fast, causing havoc and devastation; the other incident, in June 2014, was a huge lorry that jack knifed while manoeuvring round the tiny Drakefell/Pepys roundabout, feet away from passing school children and commuters.  The driver had tried to turnaround after realising the lorry couldn't continue on a narrower section of road.

Drakefell Road is classed as a B road, even though it isn't suitable for large vehicles – it is too narrow. DRAG would like it to be 'Declassified' to discourage larger vehicles to take short cuts. Indeed we have pointed out that the vehicles often cross a weak Bridge in Avignon Road, which is only meant for vehicles up to 7 tonnes.

Blocked pavements are a real problem, and Lewisham council is one of the last remaining authorities in inner London to tolerate pavement parking at the expense of those who walk, or have pushchairs or for those who are mobility impaired and use a wheelchair.

We feel that Lewisham has forgotten that streets are where people live, they are important places, and they are our 'public space' places where we encounter each other. Lewisham Council has made the street a 20mph zone, which is strongly supported by residents; but they are not enforcing it.

Neighbouring boroughs such as Southwark, have been making vast improvements to local streets, including banning pavement parking, making safer streets through better design and traffic calming. During the last five years, street design has come on leaps and bounds, if you go to Hackney now, you will notice how the council has made massive improvements and have blocked off many residential roads to avoid rat running and creating the type of streets where people want to walk and cycle.

DRAG's Drakefell vision
If Hackney can have safe streets where children can play, where people are encouraged to walk and cycle, why can't Brockley? DRAG is mindful that Drakefell Road is a key route for residents of Brockley and Honor Oak and are not suggesting that cars are banned or diverted to neighbouring areas. Rather we want to have a safe street which is accessible on foot, where it is safe for people to cycle, where people can cross the road without fear of being hit by an 18 tonne lorry or the giant skip trucks which ply the route all day.

DRAG have a solution: a ban on big heavy goods vehicles; 2 metre width pavements and slowing of traffic to 20mph using good design including raised sections, which enable safe crossing and slow down speeding Vans and SUV's.  DRAG also want the council to create’ build outs’, as have been introduced in other areas, which are designed to protect parked cars, so that pavements are freed up for use by pedestrians.

Drakefell Road residents are unanimously behind a petition, containing 180 signatures, requesting these changes. We are also preparing a report to be presented to the council, which examines and explains in detail the issues and possible solutions desperately needed to improve our street.

Contact us  follow us on Twitter @DrakefellRoad if you are affected by the issues we have raised; DRAG would welcome your perspective.

Raising the barbers for Brockley Cross

Morells is a new hair salon in Brockley Cross - an area not short of barbers.

Looks-wise, it's not the quantum leap that the Brockley Deli represented, but considering this unit used look like it had been disembowelled, this is a major improvement.

Phase One was "normalisation", with better policing and some much-needed investment in the physical realm. Phase Two is the "tidy up", with the various shops in the area being made over to improve their look and feel. Hopefully Phase Three is "profit".

Good luck to the Morells team.

BC - The Observable Universe

John Bingham-Hall is a locally-based PHD student studying the impact of hyperlocal communities like this one. He put his findings into a fancy powerpoint and managed to wangle himself a nice trip to LA to present it - BC wishes we'd thought of that.

Anyway, his work is very interesting and part of his focus is on our Twitter community (at time of writing approximately 7,100 people strong) and he's written about some of his findings here.

We think what he is saying is that the family that Tweets together also tends to hang out together - that the clusters of online influencers tend to mirror the physical clusters. And that for the most part, local businesses play a key role in building virtual communities as well as physical ones.
He writes:

We created a network map of following relationships between all of Brockley Central’s followers. We found that a few local big players like businesses and journalists dominate the Twitter scene while the vast majority of individual residents have very few followers within the local network. 

Using network software Gephi we analysed the network to see how it naturally concentrates into clusters of following that in network science terms are thought of as modularity classes or “communities”. For the 300 most connected profiles in Brockley Central’s network we assigned them a latitude and longitude wherever possible, for example for businesses that have a specific location. Once we added in the community cluster data (as separate colours) and the number of connections (as size) for each location we saw some interesting results. 

The network communities, which as a reminder are determined purely as concentrations of interconnection on Twitter, were also geographic communities concentrated in places like Deptford & New Cross, and Peckham & Nunhead. Furthermore the profiles along Brockley Road (in pink) tended to be the most popular ones, presumably as they are the most visible in Brockley’s focal public spaces (except for local Twitter behemoths Brockley Market).

Charity gig row skippered by a better Brockley Nick

Zev Bellringer: Kai, I want you to live. To really live!
Kai: I suggest you modify your wants.
- Lexx, Giga Shadow

The crew: Nick is second from the left unless he tells us otherwise
Brockley resident Nick Stoker has set himself the challenge of rowing the Channel at its widest point in a Cornish Gig Racer (a monstrously heavy canoe). In June 2015, he's going to try the 50 mile row from Belgium to Kent with five friends to raise £20,000 for a range of cancer charities. He says:

If we receive any support from local residents and/or businesses it will be hugely appreciated – we’re looking for raffle prizes ot help us raise funds, but I don’t want to push this and would prefer it to just happen naturally.

You can find out more about the challenge and follow the team here.

Fair Flight Paths for Heathrow

Brockley resident and London Assembly Member Darren Johnson writes:

At present, over 700,000 people live under the Heathrow flight paths; that is, 28% of all people impacted by aircraft noise across Europe.  For many people it can mean more than 40 planes an hour passing overhead at the busiest times.  People are crying out for respite.  Fair flight paths would mean most communities getting respite for 50% - 70% of the time without noise becoming a serious problem in new areas.  It would benefit residents with no disbenefit to the airport.

You can find the petition here. I do hope you sign and share amongst friends and neighbours:

I have also tabled a question to the Mayor of London, calling on him to add his support to this initiative but have yet to receive a response. Please be assured I remain committed to ensuring the problem of aircraft noise is dealt with. I continue to work closely with campaigners to put pressure on the relevant bodies to ensure they take their responsibility seriously as well as being an outspoken critic of airport expansion.

Do please continue to register any specific noise complaints with Heathrow Airport at  in order to keep up the pressure.

Remembrance Sunday at Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries

10.55am – 12noon

The Friends of Brockley & Ladywell Cemeteries will be holding its Remembrance Day event again this year. This will start at the Ladywell Cemetery Cross of Sacrifice at 10.55am and, after the two minute silence and wreath laying, proceed via two or three relevant points to the war memorial in the Brockley Cemetery for the laying of another wreath.

With thanks to BrocSoc for the information.

Elevator bitch

The lift access to the northbound platform of Brockley Station is not only ugly and over-engineered, it's also taking an age to build.

Now, thanks some probing from BCer Peter Laurie, London Overground have confirmed that the lift won't be operational until next year.

Patchwork Present is hiring

Patchwork Present, the Harefield Road group-gifting start-up, is recruiting again. They are in search of a a creative producer to work with them 2.5 days a week, "in a role that is both creative and strategic."

The gig pays £520 per month and applications close at the end of the month. Full details here.

Longer East London Line trains are here!

TfL's just-in-time delivery means that extra capacity on the East London Line should just about offset the extra space taken up by passengers' winter coats this Christmas. 

Monkeyboy sent us this release and these photos from the launch of the longer trains yesterday, which confirmed that five-carriage service will start next week. TfL says:

A special preview of the London Overground extended five-car train took place yesterday, with the first train now being held at New Cross Gate depot. 

Head of Programme Delivery, Hugh Lawson said. ‘It feels like such a great achievement to see the first longer train running on London Overground. Following the success of the completion of Silwood sidings, this was the next big milestone for the London Overground Capacity Improvement Programme. 

With London Overground becoming one of the UK’s most reliable services, with passenger numbers growing rapidly, TfL has had to extend London Overground trains from four to five carriages. Where necessary platforms across the network have been lengthened, existing depots upgraded, new stabling facilities built and alterations made to the signalling system to accommodate the longer trains. 

The first longer trains will be introduced on the Highbury & Islington to West Croydon/Clapham Junction line from November 2014, followed by the Richmond to Stratford line by the end of 2015. The train will come into passenger service from next week.

Greater Brockley gym options

Whenever any new development - large or small - is proposed, some BC reader will call for it to include a gym: Police Station closing? Make it a gym. Pub being turned into flats? We need a gym! Someone trying to think of an alternative use for an old red phone box? How about a micro-gym?

There's no doubt that Brockley is missing a gym, but if you're in the northern end of town, you're pretty well served, with good gyms in New Cross, Deptford, Greenwich and Lewisham all a short run or ride away. The options include:

Clubpulse, New Cross

Located on the Goldsmiths campus, the gym is open to members of the public and very good value.

Glass Mill, Lewisham

One floor above the pool and recently refurbished (despite being only a year old) the gym is well-equipped, rarely too busy and gets plenty of natural light. Fitness studio next door.

Wavelengths, Deptford

Operated by the same group as Glass Mill, this is another recently-re-equipped gym inside the leisure centre.

Meridian Fitness, Creekside
Meridian Fitness, Deptford

The newest and most upmarket venue, it's just opened in the Creekside development and emphasises its wide range of classes. Membership required.

PureGym, Greenwich

Another new gym, this one on Greenwich High Road emphasises its low-cost monthly membership fee.

Beefs and Babes, Greenwich

Comedy name, brutal decor and easily mistaken for a Hooters, this place is aimed at hardcore bodybuilders.

The southern end of Brockley is more of a challenge, so please post your recommendations below and we'll add to the list. Likewise, please share your reviews and recommendations for any and all local options.

Little Nan and Birdie Num extend their partnership

The advantage of being a pop-up is that every finger you lift is a news story. Tristan from Little Nan's Bar writes:

Just to let you know that along with her regular Friday & Saturday evenings Little Nan's Bar is now taking midweek evening bookings round her temporary home inside Birdie Num Num's Cafe in New Cross from now until Christmas, now becoming available every Sunday - Thursday 7pm - 11:30pm.

Little Nan and her Turkish Granddaughters at Birdie Num Num's have created a festive package which includes Cocktails & Meze sharing platters. Full menu can be found here.

The Lewisham Fringe Festival - Bigger than Jesus

4:48 psychosis, November 13th and 15th
The Lewisham Fringe Festival is a season of plays and events at The London Theatre, New Cross. The Festival launched earlier this week and runs until November 16th, with 30 different performances in-between.

Highlights include Jesus Camp the Musical (November 15th) and child-friendly play How Planes Fly (November 16th).

TfL unveils plans for a better (but not much) Deptford Broadway

Deptford Dame has found TfL's plans to remodel the disastrous Deptford Broadway road junction, which is scary to navigate on foot, on a bike or in a car. TfL's main objective is to make it safer for pedestrians, but as DD says, the plans are basically putting lipstick on a pig and the provision for cyclists is particularly disappointing.

Pretty much anything would be better than what we have at the moment, but these changes won't stop this junction being a serious impediment to Deptford's development. As the Dame asks:

"Why does a junction connecting the vaguely dual-lane Blackheath Road to the definitely single-lane New Cross Road need so many traffic lanes? It balloons up into an enormous swollen racetrack - not just left and right turning lanes, but two lanes for the traffic going straight ahead, which then has to squeeze into a single lane within yards of the other side of the junction."

Click here for the consultation site.

The Brockley Deli Wine Tasting Night II

The Brockley Deli's last wine-tasting event in aid of Myatt Garden school was a sell-out, so they're holding another one, this time to raise money for John Stainer Primary on November 21st.

Tickets cost £25 each and guests will sample a variety of wines chosen from around the world with a selection of complimentary meats and cheeses.

Pop into the Deli in Brockley Cross to buy your tickets.

The Crofton Park and Honor Oak Neighbourhood Forum

Kay writes:

Established in July 2014, the Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum (HopCroft Forum) is a group that will lead on pulling together a Neighbourhood Plan for the area to outline the future for Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park.

Starting with blank sheets of paper we would like to hear your views, ideas and aspirations for your Neighbourhood. If you live or work within the Neighbourhood Area, or even regularly visit then please help us make the vision reality.

You are invited to Crofton Park Library at 7pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014, to start the process and hear about what is being planned.

There will be food and drink to help your ideas flow.

Ladywell Ceilidh, November 14th

Goodbye to Emporia

Ewhurst Road gift shop Emporia is, sadly, closing. Rachel writes:

Emporia is closing on Saturday 29th November. The shop is only open every Saturday till then from 10am to 4pm. Stock is currently up to 50% off and selling fast. Lots of items are perfect for Christmas gifts.

On Saturday 29th, please join us for a glass of bubbly to say goodbye and to thank all our wonderful customers. We hope to see you then.

LDN Soup and Sandwich Dispensary

The LDN Beer Dispensary keeps taking baby steps into the world of food. Firstly, they added some of the best burgers in SE London to their repertoire. Now, they've created a lunch menu starting on Monday. From midday, they will be serving three (count em) types of sandwiches and a soup of the day.