Babur: 30 Gourious Years

Jason writes:

Gourmandizing is proud to have completed our 6th mural in South London with Babur. This, our latest work, will be dedicated by Lewisham Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, on Thursday, 1 October, from 6:00 - 7:30 PM at Babur. Come along and help us celebrate.

Gourmandizing London is a series of murals based on people’s favourite recipes and food memories. The group has completed permanent work in New Cross, Peckham, Loughborough Junction, Greenwich, as well as others.

The mural helps to mark the South London landmark’s 30th year in business and was over 2 years in the making.

The crew from Gourmandizing are working with Pexmas and the Bermondsey BID next to paint several murals around the BLUE Market in South Bermondsey.

Bobolo Kitchen

Brockley's newest pop-up is a Cameroonian Supper Club, which will trigger all sorts of cognitive dissonance among anti-gentrifiers. The team behind it explain:

Bobolo kitchen is a supper club, serving the adventurous foodie in our (even if we say so ourselves) amazing Brockley home.

Events are held monthly celebrating great vegetables, spices, process of cooking that makes Cameroonian cuisine so distinctive..such as the Bobolo; a cassava (root vegetable) dish. Our first event will be on October 25th and we'll be serving Accra Beans, Koki & Plantains with a side of Suya or Suya Meat or Veg and Banana Puff Puff for dessert.

The team that make up Bobolo Kitchen are Brenda; the chef born in Cameroon, raised in North London and taughtto cook by her nan and her numerous aunties and Kuki; born in Germany, now living in London and loves to cook too.

Click here for more details.

Goldsmiths goes to 11

Dr Evil: My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy.
- Austin Powers

Jane sent us this Buzzfeed listicle, which explains the great debt humanity owes to Goldsmiths. Here's their list of 11 great cultural moments birthed by the college:

  1. The mini skirt
  2. The Angel of the North
  3. The MOBOs
  4. Bestival
  5. The Routemaster
  6. Mogees
  7. Chariots of Fire
  8. The YBAs
  9. Blur
  10. Hacked Off
  11. Punk
You can argue the toss over how instrumental Goldsmiths was in the gestation of any of these things, but it is an impressive cultural legacy and the list could easily be twice as long. The challenge is to capture the economic benefits of these spin-offs by providing places for creatives to work locally. The Live / Work / Play plan for New Cross high street is a step in the right direction, but Deptford is where the creative cluster will build scale.

Broculus: Lewisham ArtHouse Open Studios, 2-4 October

The ArtHouse is baring its soul as part of the Deptford X art festival. The team writes:

We’re open again with a bumper selection of ocular delights…

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

Artists will be exploring the touchy-feely side of architecture in group exhibition Caesura et Vide Supra. Intrigued? Feel welcome to stimulate your cerebral bits, by participating in the related discussion.

Add a dollop of family fun activities - a pop-up café by GCDA providing scrumptious handmade sweets and savouries + bar and DJ’s on opening night…

Friday 2 October 6-10pm
Saturday 3 October 12-6pm
Sunday 4 October 12-6pm

A Public Discussion: Haptic Thinking and Architecture - Saturday 3rd October from 4pm.

Oxjam 2015 - New Cross / Deptford Takeover

Elliot from Songkick writes:

Today the Oxjam New Cross Takeover unveils a second round of artists joining its all-day, multi-venue music festival in South East London.

On Saturday 17th October, the Amersham Arms, the New Cross Inn and the Job Centre will play host to London’s buzziest, scuzziest guitar bands and DJs.

Joining Blueprint Blue, Whistlejacket, Alice Barlow and more at the Amersham Arms are Millions. Cast in the mold of Two Door Cinema Club and compatriots Cloud Control, the Brisbane four-piece will bring their vivid and infectious guitar anthems to the Amersham Arms.

Accompanying them are Husband Material, the new outfit from Bos Angeles’ Richard Board, whose immaculately polished ‘anorak-pop’ slowjams ring of Mac Demarco and Tame Impala in equal measure. Line Of Best Fit DJs will close out the Amersham, spinning back-to-back indie and R&B bangers deep into the night.

Over the road at the New Cross Inn, the excellent Shame will be sparking a grunge riot, alongside Brighton slacker kings Sulky Boy and the Mazzy Star-channelling JC Flowers.

The Job Centre will host a mouthwatering array of street food and pop-up shops, as well as a full day of live music and DJs - headlined by ambient electronic five-piece Three Mile Island.

Stay tuned for even more artist announcements, details of a pop-up cinema and much more. The Oxjam New Cross Takeover takes place on Saturday 17th October 2015 from 12pm until late. Early bird tickets are available now for just £6.

Every penny raised goes to Oxfam GB to help fight global poverty.

Four arrested after fight leads to fatal car crash

The BBC reports:

Four men have been arrested in connection with the death of a teenager who was in a car which crashed after it was attacked. Officers were called to reports of a fight in St Norbert Road on Saturday afternoon.

The 17-year-old was in the car which had hit a lamp-post, but he died later in hospital. Police believe group of people threw missiles at the vehicle as it sped off. The four men, aged 19, 20, 21 and 23, remain in custody at various south London police stations.

The Evening Standard reports that the dead boy was Naseem Galleze, 17, of Grove Park.

The scene of the fatal crash:

St Norbert Road knife fight leads to car crash

The crash on St Norbert Road we reported earlier was the product of a knife fight that took place moments earlier, police say. The incident occurred a short distance from where Shaquan Fearon was killed earlier this month in another knife fight.

The Evening Standard reports:

A man is seriously injured and two others have stab wounds after a knife fight in south London this afternoon that ended in a car crash nearby. The fight and stabbing took place near St Norbert’s Road, at about 3pm, police said.

A group of people then got into a green Vauxhall Corsa hatchback and drove off – only to smash into a lamppost. “Two of the men have minor cuts to their hands while the other man is in a serious condition with injuries unknown at this stage,” said a police spokeswoman.

West Side crash blocks 343 and 484 bus routes

Offshore Brockley

Private Eye has created a map of Britain, revealing the properties owned by offshore companies. The research reveals that a company called Cantel Investments owns a significant SE4 portfolio, including St Cyprian's, Brockley Police Station and a number of other houses and flats in the area. The Eye writes:

Over the last year Private Eye has revealed the extent of ownership of British land by offshore companies, generally for tax avoidance and often to conceal dubious wealth. Now the Eye has created an easily searchable online map of these properties, revealing for the first time the British property interests of companies based in tax havens from Panama to Luxembourg, and from Liechtenstein to the South Pacific island of Niue. 

Using Land Registry data released under Freedom of Information laws, and then linking more than 100,000 land title register entries to specific addresses, the Eye has tracked all leasehold and freehold interests acquired by offshore companies between 2005 and 2014.

Click here for the full map. Thanks to everyone who sent it to us.

Wine Larder

Katherine and Cynthia from The Larder deli in Ladywell are running a series of wine tasting events. They write:

We're very excited to announce that our next wine tasting will be with Neil Grayshon of L'Atypique Wines.

Neil sources from small producers across Europe who focus on organic, unfiltered and biodynamically produced wine. He'll be talking us through - and tasting! - eight autumnal wines to see us merrily though the next few months.

We'll also be showcasing some fantastic new cheeses as well as providing tasty nibbles to accompany the wine.

Date & Time: Wednesday 30th September at 7pm
Venue: The Larder, Ladywell
Price: Tickets cost £15 each and include all cheese and wine tastings plus snacks
Extras: Discounts of 10% off bottles and 15% off cases (inc mixed cases) will be available on the night

Please pop in or email us at if you'd like to find out more or to buy a ticket.

I know what you did last decade

The UK census dataset for Brockley Ward is fun to play around with. Here are some things you may not have known, but probably could have guessed:

Most common occupations: 1. Professional, scientific and technical. 2. Education. 3. Arts, Entertainment and Recreation.

Average household size: 2.2 people

Most common "adult life-stage": Age 25 to 34: No dependent children in household

Most common main language, excluding English: 1. French. 2. Spanish. 3. Polish.

Most common main language (non-European): 1. Tamil. 2. Japanese. 3. Vietnamese.

Singletons outnumber Couples: 8,526 vs 5370

Anything is Possible at the Deptford Lounge

The organisers of this event write:

Free tickets are available for 11-16 year olds, whilst student tickets (with photo I.D.) are available at just £4.99. All ages are welcome to come along and adult tickets are priced at a favourable £9.99, available on Eventbrite.

The La La Piano Bar, October 10th

The La La Piano Bar team write:

Our New York style pop-up piano bar from the West End of London is back in south London at the Telegraph Hill Centre.

This lovetastic all-singing and all-dancing evening will bring our own very individual style of fabulous entertainment. Hosted by David Roper from Jonathan Ross show's 4 Poofs and a Piano and the voluptuous Lady La La with a host of singers from around the country.

Please spread the word and invite your family and friends to a night of music, cocktails and general vocal twerking. Come and sing your hearts out with us!

Telegraph Hill Centre, London on Saturday 10 October 2015
Doors Open at 7:00PM
From 7:30PM to 11:30PM
Individual Ticket Price: £10.00 - £15.00*
Group Ticket Price: £135.00*
Tickets available here

Nan's Nunhead Nook

Hey there, I wanted to let you know about Little Nan's Tropical Den opening up in a secret location between Peckham & Nunhead on Thursday 8th October.

A bar dedicated to the love affair of Queen Pat Butcher & Patrick Trueman with decor that Del Boy & Princess Margaret would be jealous of, Little Nan's grandchildren will be serving up her award winning cocktails in teapots along with Caribbean dinners every Friday and Saturday from 6pm - Midnight till Christmas!

We are now taking bookings for the Launch weekender (8th, 9th & 10th) and all other weekends by emailing me on or tweeting @littlenansbar .

Little Nan is giving everyone who joins her at the Launch nights a Free Vodka Candy Shot if they text 'NAN and their email address' to 82228 where they will receive a password.

Our Pat Butcher Vs Del Boy photo area will be open every night, so make sure you charge your phones before you come as you will have lots of photo opportunities!

8-a-side football

A different kind of local octopush... David writes:

I'm looking for players of all abilities – ideally 30 + but all ages welcome really (we have players from age 13 to er, 60!) who are interested in a friendly kick-about (8 a side) at Catford St Dunstans ground on the astroturf on a Weds nights at 7pm for an hour followed by a beer after in the shabby chic Catford Constitutional pub.

If anyone's interested, please email me.

Octopump is back

Holly from The Royal Albert team writes:

October can only mean one thing....

I wanted to let thirsty Brockley Central readers know about the return of Octopump, The Royal Albert annual cask ale extravaganza.

Taking place across 1st-4th October, Antic London’s much loved public house will be transformed into a beer drinker haven, promising ale-filled fun, world music, art and a barrelful of good cheer.

With a nod to National Cask Ale Week, Octopump will offer twenty-four of the finest handpicked seasonal real ales, ciders and perries from London and the surrounding Southern Regions. With the likes of Marble, Left Hand Giant, Nightwatchman, Red Squirrel and Saltaire to quench your thirst, as well as some special brews from Volden Oakham Brewery and East London Brewery, you will undoubtedly be spoilt for choice.

With a strong emphasis on music and art, this year's festival will host daily live world music sessions and a pop-up exhibition in The Royal Albert's neighbouring gallery space.

London Labour: Percentage of burglaries solved in Lewisham drops to 6%

Brockley Central's neighbour was recently burgled three times in quick succession and although the police response was thorough, to our knowledge, the culprit is still at large. So this release by the London Assembly Labour Party is timely:

Concern is growing about the Metropolitan Police’s ability to deal with £800m of further budget cuts without a significant impact on frontline services Local London Assembly Member Len Duvall has said. His comments come after the Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was forced to deny suggestions that budget cuts could stop the force investigating low level crimes such as burglaries.

Despite the Commissioner’s assurance Mr Duvall warned that officers are already struggling to deal with some crimes as a result of budget cuts. Since 2010, when the Met’s budget was cut by £600m, the percentage of domestic burglaries in London which are solved by the police has halved from 12% in 2010/11 to only 6% in 2014/15. 121 uniformed officers have already been cut from Lewisham’s streets since 2010 with dedicated neighbourhood policing teams also cut from six to only two officers each. Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has accepted that the forthcoming cuts mean London will “end up with some less police, but I am not going to be precise.”

In Lewisham it is an equally concerning situation. 94% of the 2,068 domestic and non-domestic burglaries reported in Lewisham over the last 12 months have gone unsolved according to the latest annual figures from the Metropolitan Police. Whilst the Met has changed the way it records some crimes, the figures uncovered by Len Duvall AM still mean that over 1,946 burglaries went unsolved in Lewisham last year. Mr Duvall warned that the figures showed the police were already stretched too thinly, with crimes such as burglary not given the resources they previously were.

Since 2010 the Metropolitan police force has cut £600m from its budget and is expected to face a further £800m cut in the Government’s Autumn Spending Review. Whilst the Commissioner has pledged the Met will continue to investigate burglaries he has admitted that there would have to be “a compromise somewhere” saying “we are going to struggle to do everything we used to do.” Even the Mayor of London recently admitted that “you cannot have a city growing as fast as London, with the challenges London faces, without putting more money into the MPS.”

On The Other Side of Town

Artist Tom Berry has created beautiful filigree drawings for shop windows across Brockley for the next couple of weeks.

The event is Brockley's version of the launch of Jay Z's Decoded - each drawing is taken from a different page of Berry's new book, On The Other Side of Town, which will explore "hidden places" in our towns and cities.

Participating businesses include Masala Wala, Cooper's Bakehouse, The Brockley Deli, Laundry 365 and The Broca.

Londonist has more photos. Thanks to Ali and LittleJungleMan for the link.

Power is Power: Foxcroft named Whip

Brockley (Lewisham Deptford) MP Vicky Foxcroft has been named as a Whip for the Corbyn-led Labour Party. Good luck with that one! Thanks to everyone who Tweeted us.

Brockley Market's 4th Birthday Party

Trent: Our little baby’s all grows up. You know what? Our little baby’s all grows up. I’m not even hungry, I couldn’t touch it. Our little boy is all grows up tonight. You know what big boy? You’re grown up. You’re grown up! Yeaaaheyha! Dig that!
- Swingers

Toby from Brockley Market writes: It's our 4th Birthday tomorrow (that went rather quickly) and to celebrate we have a couple of guest spots from The Bowler (they were with us on week one) and Square Root Soda (winner of this years BBC food and farming award for best drink producer). There will also be music from Rum on Tap.

Rum on Tap play at Brockley Market tomorrow

Ladywell: Know your PLACE

The Ladywell PLACE consultation is now open
Rebecca Molina helped give The Deptford Project life as a railway carriage cafe and outdoor cinema, before it was ready to become a massive mixed use development. Now she's involved with a consultation about the future of Ladywell Leisure Centre. She explains:

Feasibility work is being undertaken to investigate future uses for the site of the former Ladywell Leisure Centre in Lewisham. The site is earmarked for a wider area development but in the meantime it will host one of the UK’s first ever 'pop-up' villages PLACE/ Ladywell.

The scheme has been devised in collaboration with internationally renowned architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and is one of the ways Lewisham Council are responding to the on-going high demand for housing and business support in the borough. PLACE/ Ladywell will provide temporary homes for 24 families alongside the the ground floor managed by and for community and/or business use.

STUDIO RAW have designed a nook to engage the community with the development and provide an opportunity for those in the area to voice their opinions and thoughts about the future of the area. The design presents a series of interactions considered to facilitate community engagement in an area of distinct cultural diversity. Each interaction aims to gain an understanding of the needs of the community and ensure their voice is heard by all.

Workshops will take place throughout the week harnessing creative practices to consider the future and explore positive changes to the area. The information gathered will be visibly evolving and adaptable for all to see and feel a part of the bigger transformation. None of this would be as enjoyable without freshly ground coffee supplied by local start up coffee vendor who will be housed in a converted 10ft shipping container.

From Thursday 17 September to Tuesday 22 September, 10am to 5pm, you can visit the site at 261 Lewisham High Street.

For more information visit

Crofton Park - A love story for the ages

Via Patrick.

Lewisham's Polpotential realised

Last month, we reported that legendary Venetian restaurant Polpo would be opening in Lewisham. Many assumed it was a mistake. Even we thought it more likely to be a pop-up than an permanent base. But the Evening Standard interviews founder Russell Norman and Polpo Lewisham is evidently going to be the real deal. They report:

Polpo Lewisham is due to open by the end of the year in what Norman calls “an ugly Sixties building that used to be an OAP drop-in centre.” It will arrive at the same time as his first restaurant outside the capital, in Brighton... 

He isn’t planning to turn Lewisham into the new Soho. The Polpo there will be a neighbourhood place. “I’d discourage people from travelling to get there,” he says. “When you go to a place on the Tube your expectations are unreasonably high."

As Brockley Market and #ModelMarket have shown, people will travel to this part of London if the product's right. But even if the central Lewisham building site deters many, there will be huge demand on their doorstep. The team have promised us more details soon.

Thanks to Stephen for the link.

The Walter's Way Open Weekend

The Walter's Way Estate in Forest Hill is successful experiment in self-build anarchic social housing. This film tells the story of this project beautifully. With thanks to Joe for the link to this account in The Guardian, which notes:

"The street has welcomed visitors as part of London Open House weekend since 1989, but this year’s event, from 19–20 September, will be extra special, with a day of talks followed by three Segal/self-build streets being opened to the public on the Sunday: Walters Way, Segal Close and Greenstreet Hill."

Ladywell Baths ranked among England's most endangered buildings

Photo courtesy of Joe O'Donnell
Heritage group The Victorian Society has included Ladywell Baths (the turreted red brick one, not to be confused with the more modern pool, which was recently demolished) on its list of the Top 10 Most Endangered Victorian and Edwardian Buildings in England and Wales.

The Victorian Society says:

We urge Lewisham Council to redouble its efforts to find a developer able to bring the building back to life. Inclusion in the Society's Top Ten often leads to national exposure and new interest in the buildings selected which can help save them.

When Ladywell Baths opened, newspapers reported that cleanliness was next to godliness as the baths were so close to the parish church. The building must have made an impact with its gothic arches, huge circular tower with turret, stained glass and decorative ironwork.

Innovatively, to avoid paying the water company, the baths sunk a 270ft well yielding 8,000 gallons of water an hour. A fountain in the grounds was topped with the coping stones of ‘ye well of our ladye at Lewisham’ which gives its name to the area and which was said to have been credited with ‘healing virtues’. The baths have long since lost their turret and other decorative features and have lain empty for many years.

Lewisham Council, which owns the Baths, carried out repairs to keep the building water tight several years ago but has struggled to find anyone to take the building on which has suffered internal vandalism. With a property boom across London the baths have lots of potential for reuse - surely the time is right for someone to come to its rescue.

Goldsmiths launches new Short Courses

Goldsmiths writes:

Goldsmiths, University of London is this autumn launching an exciting range of short courses to be taught on campus in the evenings and at weekends.

The south London institution is drawing on its founding principles with the launch of 13 new programmes to compliment its current short course provision.

From using the latest concepts in psychology in a business context to writing moving short stories, the diverse range of subjects being offered reflects the broad community of learning at Goldsmiths.

Sharing this experience with the wider world is a driving belief at the university, with many of the short courses being led by the same academics who teach on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

The move also sees Goldsmiths going back to its roots. Opening in 1891, the then-Goldsmiths Technical and Recreative Institute provided short courses focusing on "the promotion of technical skill, knowledge, health and general well-being among men and women of the industrial, working and artisan classes".

Goldsmiths Warden Patrick Loughrey said: “These courses will see us throw open the doors to the university and share our love of learning with London and the world. We are using our expertise and knowledge to launch what I hope will become a very successful part of the Goldsmiths offer.”

The new programmes establish Goldsmiths as one of the leading providers of short courses in London.

The courses will be drawn from the following disciplines:
  • Anthropology
  • Business, Innovation & Marketing
  • Creative Computing & Design
  • English & Comparative Literature
For more information about Goldsmiths Short Courses, click here.

- Full disclosure, I am a Member of Council for Goldsmiths.

The Brockley Way

Friend o'BC Fintan is making his way steadily from Land's End to John O'Groats by bike. Recently, he passed through "the other Brockley" (or Lesser Brockley), just south of Bristol. This is how they roll:

Hollywood at the Rivoli, September 25th

Victorian secrets

Eco-Tips Workshop,  Saturday 17 October 2015, 2 – 4pm Telegraph Hill Centre Narthex.

This is a free workshop being led by an expert in Victorian housing to explain how to reduce your living costs. Book now here.

With thanks to Sanjit.

Essence of India, 171 Brockley Road

For years, The Essence of India was one of those troublesome local restaurants that just wasn't good enough to support. With the consistently outstanding Babur not far too far away and new kid Masala Wala winning fans in Brockley Cross, a sub-par option.

More than that, it occupied an important spot on the local high street - denying another team a shot at running something better and serving as a deterrent to any other restaurateurs who might have looked through its empty windows and concluded that local demand was too weak to sustain restaurants.

Convalescence of India

Now, a new team has taken over and brought with them fresh conviction. New manager Shamim writes:

"We took over with the view of providing something that the local residents actually seemed to want - a classic Indian restaurant. The previous owners sold to us in July, and most of the management team and staff now are immediate family.

"The kitchen is headed by a new Head Chef who has over 30 years experience working in Indian restaurants in the UK and Europe. With what appears to be a shortage of good Indian chef's in the UK, we were lucky to get him!

Iridescence of India

"We've updated the decor and lighting but kept it simple - some customers have said that it feels fresh and homely. The artwork on the walls and candles are all bespoke and made by a new artist, who also happens to be family. The menu is new and we encourage customers to try something different instead of playing safe.

"We've kept some staples on the menu but they may taste a little different (we hope for the better). Our largest section is the vegetarian section - typically these would be side dishes but we've turned it into a proper menu selection and put some thought into it. I think the Essence Biriyani, Essence Mixed Grill and Aubergine Joypur have been our most popular dishes.

"We've also revised the drinks menu and are experimenting with different Indian desserts. I would love to hear feedback from any readers who've been since we've taken over."

Lewisham Rising: Heidi Alexander named Shadow Health Secretary

Lewisham East MP and former Deputy Mayor, Heidi Alexander, has been named Shadow Health Secretary in Jeremy Corbyn's first Shadow Cabinet.

Not only does that make her the first Shadow Health Secretary to have toured Brockley Cross, it means that Lewisham Hospital has a strong ally if - as rumoured - it faces a fresh assault on its status from the government. With Tom Watson's Deputy Leadership secured with the help of campaign manager and Brockley Councillor Baroness Alicia Kennedy, Lewisham's political stock has rarely been higher.

This decision comes as a blow to the fevered plotting of Lewisham politics' secret Machiavelli, who has been thwarted in his attempts to overthrow Lewisham Labour once more. Like Skeletor, Dick Dastardly or any other 80s cartoon villain, he'll be back next week with a fresh scheme and we'll do it all over again.

I didn't choose LFUG life, LFUG life chose me

Robert Sheppard has been doing good work for two decades, in service of the wonderful Ladywell Fields. He writes:

Dear friends of Ladywell Fields,

After nearly 20 years, first as Chairman and latterly as Secretary, I have decided to step back from active involvement in the Ladywell Fields User Group. I have just been appointed a School Governor and already have a number of other pressures and challenges in my personal and work life, so for the time being Ladywell Fields has simply been 'squeezed out'. I am sure I will be back!

So LFUG needs one or two volunteers to step forward (1) to act as Secretary, calling and publicising our 3-4 meetings p.a.; and (2) to manage the website, posting occasional updates and news items of local relevance. No previous experience is required, just commonsense and a relentless commitment to making Ladywell Fields the best it can be!

Tony Rich (LFUG Chair) and I are more than happy fully to induct anyone appointed to this/these position(s) and though I'm dropping out of active involvement, I will remain around to help on an ad hoc basis.

Please let me know if you'd like to take up the reins! I plan to resign at the next ordinary meeting on 29 September and ideally the new appointment(s) will be made that same night.

The Lewisham Story Festival

Dinosaur Roar author Paul Strickland will
host a workshop at Crofton Park Library
The first Lewisham Story Festival Family Weekend takes place at venues across the borough on September 19th and 20th.

Created by local non-profit company, Story Matters, there will be a range of activities, including workshops, nature trails, author visits and storytelling sessions.

The venues include Crofton Park Library, Hill Station Cafe, Hilly Fields, Lewisham Shopping Centre, New Cross Learning and Telegraph Hill.

Story Matters says: "Come prepared to join in, and for children and parents/carers to be able to enjoy workshops and activities together."

Click here for details.

New Cross' abandoned Tube tunnel

Here be drabness - the location of the secret tunnel
London blog Ian Visits has a brilliant feature about a forgotten part of New Cross - an abandoned tube tunnel. Ian writes:

Although South London has but a few tube lines, and they are as scarce as a black cab after midnight, there is still the odd bit of abandoned tunnel even south of the river. One such tunnel is also comparatively modern, having been dug in the early 1970s, then abandoned after just a couple of years.

A short stretch of tube tunnel that leads from nowhere to nowhere, next to the East London Line but not connected to it, this was an experimental tunnel dug as part of the original Fleet Line plans.

For the full story, click here. Thanks to Richard for the flag.

Brockley Babel

Tyler Durden: You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis.
- Fight Club (1999 - when this sort of thing still sounded profound)

Brockley businesses Maxin Chicken and William Dunphy Funeral Director are among 3,000 London high street businesses immortalised in Stoke pottery by artist Barnaby Barford.

The Tower is a thing of beauty, with a regrettably tedious Fight Clubesque message ("we've ceased to be citizens and are now just consumers") that overlooks the last couple of decades of extremism, recession, digital disruption and civic activism. The V&A says:

The Tower of Babel is Barnaby Barford’s representation of London today. Standing six metres high, it is made up of 3000 individual bone china buildings, each depicting a real London shop photographed by the artist.
At the base are derelict shops and pound stores, while at the pinnacle are London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries. Blurring the boundaries of art and commerce, each shop is for sale during the period of its exhibition at the Museum.

With prices rising as the Tower ascends, it confronts us with the choices we make as consumers, through necessity or desire.

Made in Stoke-on-Trent by 1882 Ltd, each fine bone china shop is individually signed by the artist. The shops are exclusively for sale through the V&A, priced between £95 and £6000.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition. Thanks to Marc for the links.

Look on my works! Yee mighty!

Brockley's Alex Yee went to the Commonwealth Youth Games and won Bronze in the 3,000 metres. Boom!

Fabrique en Brockley

One of Francois' mirrors
First, Brockley-based curator Helen Osgerby launched Simple Shape to celebrate great makers, now a local designer is launching a Brockley design showcase. François writes:

I’m a French independent product designer living in Brockley. As a product designer I'm designing products for big companies, producing in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam to sell in Europe… the job is interesting but I want to work on a very different scale now.

With my new project called “Made in Brockley” my wish is to help people living in Brockley to use the local resources to generate business in the community and to enhance Brockley’s identity.

Through a website called “Made in Brockley” (online soon) I will promote people making things in Brockley to develop local production for a local market. I will select and sell local products like furniture, cheese, prints, bags and so on.

I'm already working with a few Brokley's inhabitants but I'm looking for more people, makers, artists, craftsman. If anyone is interested in getting involved, please contact me.

Croftfest 2015

The Old Haberdasher for sale

The Old Haberdasher on Lewisham Way is up for sale.

A fine pub, it has never quite found its raison d'etre. A little too much of a stagger up the hill from New Cross and a bit too far from the beating heart of Brockley - but not far enough to claim any kind of monopoly - it needs someone who can inject it with character and culture.
With a passionate, clued-up owner, it could be great.

The lease is yours for £95,000. Thanks to Gill for the heads-up.

Charity Ball to raise money for Lewisham Hospital

Ed and Natalie write:

On Christmas day last year we had a son, Arthur, who was born 11 weeks prematurely and sadly passed away 5 days later in the neonatal intensive care unit at Lewisham Hospital. The care he received from the team there during his short time was amazing. To this end, we have decided to raise money for the unit to buy a new ventilator.

Our aim is to raise £25,000 for this ventilator by holding a charity ball at Blackheath Concert Halls on 31 October 2015 for approximately 300 people.

TfL responds to Bakerloo consultation

TfL has published its response to their public consultation about the southern extension of the Bakerloo Line. There are few surprises in their responses, but the tone of the document suggests that the project is definitely on, one way or another, with the 2030 the likely opening date.

Perhaps most surprising is that there are actually members of the public who oppose the plan on the basis that "Southeast London already has adequate transport links." Besides this revelation, there are few interesting titbits in their answers:

Lewisham's population is expected to grow much faster than Bromley and by more than Southwark:

The growth forecasts mean the boroughs along the consulted extension options will see the following changes in population and jobs by 2036:

- Southwark: 62,000 more jobs and 62,000 more residents
- Lewisham: 20,000 more jobs and 65,000 more residents
- Bromley: 16,000 more jobs and 53,000 more residents

The route might end at Lewisham, at least initially

The consulted routes included various options for terminus points. TfL is currently undertaking further work to understand whether a phased approach could be taken and what the advantages and disadvantages could be.

Of the options TfL consulted on, only an extension beyond Lewisham, to Hayes and Beckenham Junction, would directly impact National Rail services.

If funding for a full extension cannot be found, TfL might seek to undertake a phased approach as a shorter extension may be cheaper, less complex and potentially quicker to deliver and work could continue to identify how a further extension beyond an initial phase could be funded and delivered.

The Old Kent Road route would be faster and cheaper

For journeys beyond New Cross Gate, to and from central London, Option 1a (via the Old Kent Road), may provide a greater reduction in journey time than Option 1b (via Camberwell) as the route is expected to be shorter. Newly built stations, in areas without existing rail services, could also deliver faster journeys for many people and connect them to new destinations.

Option 1b is currently expected to be a longer extension and is therefore currently expected to be more expensive to build than Option 1a.

Mob rule at Big Red

Speculation that Deptford's Big Red restaurant would never return looks wide of the mark, as Brockley Market's Fleischmob have announced their takeover for the rest of the year. They say:

We are beyond delighted to announce our next thang. We are taking over the Big Red Bus site in Deptford until NYE. Expect local beers, amazing eats cooked over wood & disco all weekend long. 

Kooks & cocktails to the midnight hour & well beyond. Opening 02/10 6pm - 2am. You will want to be there. You will want to say you were there. You will say you were there. Just be there.

With thanks to LittleJungleMan for the tip-off.

Lewisham in Polposition

Polpo Lewisham probably won't look like this
The Wall Street Journal has interviewed the founder of Polpo, Russell Norman, and casually lobs in a reference to the fact that the Venetian restaurant chain is planning to expand to Lewisham.

Anna, who flagged the story to us, is incredulous, believing it must be some sort of mistake by the journalist - Polpo fiction or an Octo-lie.

However, Norman is a founder member of London Union, a start-up that's planning 15 permanent day/night food-markets across unfashionable locations. Street Feast (creators of #ModelMarket) are also part of the LU and Norman lives in Blackheath, so it looks as though this site could become one of the first London Union venues, with Polpo an anchor tenant.

Turnham Road knife fight leaves one boy dead, another wounded [UPDATED]

One 17-year old boy was killed and another left with serious stab wounds after a fight at Spalding House on Turnham Road last night.

ITV News reports:

The pair were airlifted to hospital but one of the boys died shortly afterwards, with the other in a stable condition. Witnesses told ITV News the attacker was male, and they saw him run from the scene, dropping his phone.

The Evening Standard adds:

Scotland Yard has today launched a murder investigation and is appealing for witnesses to come forward.

A spokesman said: “Police were called to Spalding House, Turnham Road, Brockley, on Thursday at approximately 6.15pm to reports of a fight in progress. Lewisham Borough officers attended and found two 17-year-old boys suffering stab wounds."

Any witnesses or anyone with information can call the police emergency line on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

UPDATE: The News Shopper reports:

Two teenagers aged 15 and 16 have been arrested on suspicion of murder after Shaquan Mario Fearon was stabbed to death in Brockley.

The 17-year-old victim died from a stab wound to the leg after a knife fight on Thursday evening.

Happy Mondays Headliners Autumn 2015

Happy Mondays - one of Time Out's Top 10 Comedy Nights in London - returns to the Amersham Arms from September 14th with some amazing stand-ups. This is the line up:
  • 14th Sep - Roisin Conaty
  • 28th Sep - Sara Pascoe
  • 12th Oct - Doc Brown
  • 26th Oct - Richard Herring
  • 9th Nov - Susan Calman
  • 23rd November - Simon Munnery
More details and tickets at:

Tickets still just a fiver (and they're donating 10% of any profit they make to the Lewisham Food Bank). We're lucky to have this place in our midst.

Lewisham Council launches landlord licensing consultation for 4,000 homes

Lewisham Council writes: We are consulting on a proposal that would require landlords renting out accommodation above commercial properties (such as flats above shops) for multiple occupation to obtain a licence from the Council.

The Council believes the licensing scheme would help improve conditions in these rented properties. It would ensure that landlords manage the immediate environment around their properties, including making proper provision for waste and recycling. And it would result in improved health of tenants living in these properties.

Councillor Damien Egan, Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“With around 33,000 properties the private rented sector in Lewisham is now huge and growing every day. While most landlords play by the rules there are an increasing number of rogue landlords who are exploiting vulnerable tenants. We’re building on some high profile successes in Lewisham where we’ve prosecuted these landlords, with our new licensing scheme.

“The scheme will start with properties where we have the biggest problems, rented flats above shops. Although the rents can be very expensive some of these flats are unsafe and unfit for human habitation.”

The Council estimates that there are 4,223 private lets in 1,813 properties above commercial premises across the borough of Lewisham. Evidence shows that large houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), which are already subject to mandatory licensing, provide more satisfactory housing than small HMOs. This would suggest that licensing does help to improve standards.

Under the proposed scheme any private landlord operating a private rented flat in multiple occupation above commercial premises will need to apply for a licence, show that they comply with the requirements of the licence and pay the fee. A licence is likely to cost around £100 to £110 a year.

If a landlord continues to operate a private letting without a licence then they will be liable for prosecution. They may also be liable for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO). The Council is asking for comments on the licensing proposal in principle, the proposed standards that would need to be reached to be eligible for a license and the fees to be charged for the licence.

There will be a public meeting to discuss the proposal on Tuesday 15 September at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Civic Suite, Catford. Please reserve your space at this event on Eventbrite. The consultation will run until 5pm on 17 November 2015.

To find out more and have your say go to

Big Red Bust?

Another story from The Deptford Dame, who points out that the Big Red Pizza bus' 'temporary closure for refurbishment' is looking less and less temporary.

The Bus and its charmingly ramshackle surrounds had established themselves as a focal point for a wide range of local events and getting a table on a weekend was getting increasingly difficult, so it'll be a great shame if it never returns.

Click here for the details.

Unite "insider" plots to dethrone three Lewisham MPs

Channel 4 News' political correspondent Michael Crick quotes a union source who claims that Jeremy Corbyn's election will be an opportunity to purge Labour of three "careerist" Lewisham MPs, including Brockley's Vicky Foxcroft - or threaten them into adopting more left-wing positions. He writes:

"A Unite organiser from South-East London has told me that Vicky Foxcroft, who was only just elected in May as the MP for Lewisham Deptford, is said to be among the prime targets for de-selection. Remarkably, Foxcroft is herself a former union official, and was even listed as one of the names on the union’s list of 40 hoped-for candidates before the 2015 election.

"“Activists in the area are very disappointed in Vicky Foxcroft, and the noises she has been making distancing herself from Unite,” said the official, who did not want to be named – and whose views may not be shared by the union leadership. He explained that local union members planned to replace Foxcroft with a black woman who has been an active member of the Corbyn organising team.

"Some left-wing activists believe that the redrawing of constituency boundaries currently being implemented by the government in time for the next election will make it easier to get oust MPs whom they don’t like. “We think we can challenge Foxcroft if the boundaries are redrawn,” the Unite man said.

"The two other Labour MPs in Lewisham are also named by the Unite organiser as likely targets, including Jim Dowd, MP for Lewisham West since 1992.

"“We’re hoping that when the boundaries are redrawn he’ll step down. And there’ll be a real battle over the re-selection of Heidi Alexander [MP for Lewisham East since 2010]. There’s also a directly elected mayor standing down in Lewisham, so there’s a lot to play for. My union Unite will be putting resources into encouraging our members to join the Labour Party.”"

Foxcroft's certainly a career politician, given an easy progression into a safe seat with the backing of her former employer Unite, but the idea that she's now distancing herself from her union backers is insane. She's talked proudly about her links to Unite and has fallen squarely into line on the centre-left of the party, alongside Alexander.

This proposed putsch is probably little more than pub braggadocio, but it speaks to the febrile atmosphere that the Corbyn era will usher in.

We wouldn't like to guess who Crick's old-skool union source is, but their curious obsession with the borough of Lewisham, their fondness for media briefing and their itchy trigger finger does suggest that they might occasionally share a beer with the People Before Profit clowns who recently encouraged their members to vote Corbyn and who believe that "years of fractional battles will be needed” to win the “fight” for Labour’s soul."

With thanks to Jenny for the link.

Creak: Immersive sewer theatre

The Albany Theatre team write:

On Saturday 26th September, enter Victorian Deptford with the Toshers who worked in the sewers... Take a low tide wade and find hidden treasures!

Be taken back to Victorian Deptford by Penny Dreadful Productions and find out about the life of a Tosher working in the sewers in the area.

Come and visit the Creekside Discovery Centre, participate in a low tide wade and find hidden treasure in the real Creek.

For tickets, visit The Albany Theatre website here

No tunnels are in the experience, for Ages 8+. Please speak to the box office about accessibility for this event as some areas of the performance do not have disabled access.

This performance event is part of the Totally Thames Festival.

Pre-school tenant needed in Catford

The Lair of the White Chicken

Via the Brockley Central Facebook page, Francois writes:

I have a hen to give away to a good home. A light Sussex (white one) born in Brockley 3 months ago. Let me know if you are interested.

Contact her here.

Wickham Mews Street Art - Part Three

Rodent's The Thinker
If I knew what sort of bird this was, I could come up with a pun
Carol Thatcher would approve