Nathan: It's funny. You know. No matter how rich you get, shit goes wrong. You can't insulate yourself from it.
- Ex Machina

Resolute against a rising tide of gentrification - the face of Brockley 2015
In 2015, a record number of new shops, cafes and restaurants opened in the area, but this growth in new arrivals was simply a continuation of a long-term trend, which has shaped previous years. The defining story of this year was the takeover of Essence of India on Brockley Road:

Here was a terrible restaurant that had clung on for a decade of dear life in defiance of its lack of customers, occupying one of the most prominent locations in Brockley in order to do nothing with it.

The previous owners could often be seen staring forlornly out of their front window, wondering why the growing numbers of people wandering past wouldn’t come in. Then, a new team took over, put the emphasis on flavour and character and delivered an immediate turnaround in its fortunes, proving once again that Brockley residents will flock to quality. It was a lesson that businesses across the area finally seemed to have learned and there were upgrades to be found everywhere.

The Brockley Barge smartened up, the Chandos de-danked and Villa Toscana pulled off the same trick as Essence of India, with the same effect. ‘Authentic’ Brockley’s standard-bearer Top Chef rebranded as the eclectic Pistachio while Spar ousted the lacklustre Nisa, made space among the crisp packets for a Cook concession and immediately became the people’s choice among local supermarkets. The tasty but hapless Bird of Paradise restaurant was replaced by stylish salon Blue Tit, which magicked a hoard of new customers out of thin air and Meze Mangal proved to itself that it could smarten up its act and pull in twice as many diners each night.

Elsewhere, professional outfits mushroomed too.

In New Cross, Cafe Crema is to be replaced by Out of the Brew (a venue that has swapped political statements for beer taps), while three pubs have been reimagined: The sepulchral Haberdasher is to become a jolly Fat Walrus, the rowdy Hobgoblin is now merely lively as the Rose and the execrable White Hart is in serious danger of getting good.

The success of Deptford’s crowdfunded community cinema proved that amateurs don’t have to be amateurish, while the organisers of the comically bad Heritage Festival reminded us what can go wrong if they are.

Alongside this wave of independent professionals arrived the first wave of big business interest in greater Brockley. The supermarkets are arriving en masse (two more Asdas and Sainsburys opened or declared themselves this year) and Costa Coffee pitched up in New Cross.

While Barratt and Cathedral group have spent the last few years transforming our surrounds, Brockley has been largely untroubled by big builders - instead enjoying the dubious benefits of smaller developers. In 2015, major developers made the running: The Notting Hill Housing Association made rapid progress on a large site off Tanner’s Hill, Boultbee began to peel the wrapping off 180 Brockley Road and Campus Village submitted plans for two major student blocks on Shardeloes and Wickham Roads.

In aggregate, these changes represented the most rapid pace of development in Brockley’s recent history - driven by and reflected in some of the fastest rising house prices in the country. This then, is what the dread force of Gentrification looks like. So what did Brockley’s year teach us about this most-feared of urban phenomena? It showed us that for all the column inches it generates, gentrification is rather a weak force.

Gentrification – and the professionalism that has accompanied it – has superficially changed much, but fundamentally changed little. Brockley is still the same place I started writing about in 2007, with the same strengths and weaknesses, but with more trees, more places to sit – and more young people sitting in them.

- Contrary to some fanciful predictions by local bloggers, an influx of workers from the City and Canary Wharf hasn’t changed the political map of the area one jot – Labour’s grip on the local reins of power tightened at this year’s general election, while the borough’s left-wing activism grabbed an even greater share of national headlines. Conservative Brockley remains an historical curiosity.

- The vaunted political power of the middle classes hasn’t prevented the local primary school capacity crunch reaching crisis point, although it might be a contributing factor to the slew of good news that arrived in 2015 in terms of future rail and bus provision.

- If the wonderful Brockley Street Art Festival seemed to some like the area’s history of artistic subversion had been co-opted by the man, it didn’t smother individual moments of joyful anarchy that continued to dot the local landscape throughout the year.

- Jones of Brockley, Honeybourne’s and Benedict’s Coffee may represent a slick, genteel new wave of local high street businesses, but idiosyncrasy has not been wiped from our streets. Tiny beer shops, archway jerk restaurants and skater cafes abound, while Paranhodu, The Delight House and Longhorn have shown that this is more than ever a place where any kind of entrepreneur with an idea and some talent can give it a go. And rest assured, the hygiene standards of local food places are as low as ever.

- Gentrification’s footsoldiers, The Brockley Deli and Masala Wala, may have conquered the badlands of Brockley Cross, but 2015 produced some of the worst violent crimes in Brockley’s recent history, in parts of the neighbourhood least-touched by hipsters.

2015 was the year that taught us that the stuff that matters - the culture and community - is a lot more resilient than some would have us believe. However many nice places to sit Brockley produces, nothing ever really changes. And this year, we got the photographic evidence to prove it.

In other words, you can put a shiny new supermarket in SE4, but you won't stop a Brockley cat from doing as he pleases as he sits on your shelves. Then again, the cat's name is Olly, so perhaps he's part of the problem.

Buster Mantis - Ante Up

Deptford archway bar / restaurant / gallery Buster Mantis is now open and throwing a New Year's Eve party to celebrate. Specialising in jerk cooking, it's already earned a decent review from Stylist, which says:

"The food is the real excitement though, authentic Jamaican food without a hint of a gimmick – a mix of small plates and signature smokey jerk."

Please post your reviews here.

The Independent tries the Hilly Fields Parkrun

Indy journalist Genevieve Roberts has written about her experience of joining the 'ominously named' Hilly Fields parkrun. Much has already been said on these pages about this excellent institution, but Roberts' article is a good guide for anyone who's been thinking about trying it in 2016. She writes:

Emma Malcolm, 44, a charity worker for Rethink Mental Illness, is organising today's run. She is one of the 10,000 volunteers who help out each week... Emma is joined by a team of volunteers including John Barron [no relation], 60, from Blackheath. When he isn't running, he volunteers... and is so enthusiastic at cheering others on that he's a big deal round Hilly Fields, credited for many regulars' record runs...

But he warns me: “This is one of the hardest courses. Lots of people come from other runs to improve their times on their home course.”

As we set off, I regret not having been running since the summer – and even then I was only going for little jogs. I also regret having not picked up the clue in the name Hilly Fields. I am swiftly overtaken by a man with a pram. I can hear my breaths draw heavily, but each time I consider halting, a volunteer is shouting encouragement and it keeps my feet moving.

As I complete my last lap around the park, and approach the biggest hill, I slow down on the treacly incline. John Barron springs into action, running up with me, telling me I can do it. His encouragement carries me the last paces to the top and around the corner to a running finish. I come in at 113th – towards the back of the pack at just over 30 minutes – but I'm elated to have completed the course and am determined to come back and improve.

I join crowds who have drifted into the park's café to get drinks. Since the first parkrun 11 years ago, cafés close to each event have become part of parkrunners' Saturday culture. 

Lisa Power is drinking coffee with her father, Sean, 68, and five-year-old son Joseph. They live locally, and Joseph has done junior parkruns 30 times. Lisa started running in 2013. “I got into it to escape my children,” she says. “They love it too. I get half an hour to run to myself. The camaraderie is incredible: within six months of parkrunning, I knew more people in London than I had in 10 years of living here. I see my progress because it's timed; I have achieved something by 10am on a Saturday; and now, when I walk down the street, I find I know people.”

Her enthusiasm seems to be shared by everyone in the café. Tien Wilde, 42, from Lewisham, has run more than 100 times. “No competition,” she says, “It's just against yourself.” She took part in a zero-to-five kilometre running course after having her son Noah, now six. “He's done 12 parkruns now, and he's faster than me,” she says.

Margaret Glover, 54, comes to parkrun with her husband Eric, aged 60. “PE lessons were dreadful when I was at school, and it put me off exercise.” she says. “This has turned me around. People are encouraging, even if you're not good, and it all makes a difference.” She walks briskly as she has a bad knee, clocking a time each week of around 43 minutes.

Each year, every parkrun has the option of holding extra events on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. At Hilly Fields last New Year, a runner had a heart attack. Two doctors running the course helped first-aiders keep him alive until an ambulance came. They saved his life, and he continues parkrunning in Peckham. The British Heart Foundation provided a defibrillator that now hangs inside the door of the café...

For the full article, click here. If you want to join the Hilly Fields parkrun, click here (or turn up on the day!). Thank you to Naomi for the spot.

Vote now for the Newcomer of the Year 2015

Voting for the Best Newcomer 2015 Award is now open. Please head over to the right-hand side of the page to cast your vote for the best new local high street business of the year.

As ever, only businesses in Brockley and Ladywell are counted and businesses need to have changed hands and reinvented themselves to be considered "newcomers". So the excellent Pistachio misses out because it is essentially a refresh of Top Chef, while Muck N Brass falls just outside the catchment area.

This year's list is the longest and strongest yet, with 15 entries, and it's hard to pick a clear favourite. There's plenty there for the hipsters, home-makers, foodies and those who just want their high streets to be useful places to shop, but little for the Brockley boozer.

Here are your choices:
You may vote for more than one business. Voting closes at midnight on NYE and the winner will be announced on January 1st. Last year's contest was won by The Brockley Deli, who joined an illustrious list of former title-holders.

I Am An F.B.I. Estate Agent!

The Reverend Sheridan James wants to shake off the Feds. She writes:

The space above the Hill Station, formerly known as Cafe Fed, is seeking a new tenant.

Over the last 40 years this space has been a library, a cafe and a sixth form common room. This is a terrific space, with great views over London and access to the creative hubs of both the Telegraph Hill Centre and the Hill Station, the amenities of Telegraph Hill, Nunhead and Brockley.

We are looking for new tenants to take that space who will fit with the feel and ethos of the Telegraph Hill Centre. The successful tenant would outline a business proposal that would:

  • be of benefit to the community;
  • work creatively and collaboratively with the Centre;
  • be financially viable and stable;
  • have a proven track-record; and
  • seek a tenancy for a minimum of five years.
The Old Library is a self-contained, single storey open plan space, partitioned into two large
working areas (Units 1 and 2) with an additional office, conference or storage room plus a
galley kitchen and toilets to the rear. The facility forms a part of the Telegraph Hill Centre of
which St Catherine’s Church is the freeholder.
  • Unit 1 approx. 143 sq.m.
  • Unit 2 approx. 53 sq.m.
  • Total approx. 196 sq.m.
The Church will undertake reinstatement to the facility prior to the commencement of a
new letting, or provide a financial contribution to the tenant, if it seeks to undertake works
(to be approved by the Church) itself. The Church seeks an annual rent of £35,000 excluding
business rates, utilities and normal operating & maintenance charges.

We are looking for expressions of interest to be submitted by January 29th. This means simply sending an email to telegraphhill@toucansurf.com expressing your interest, giving contact details and briefly outlining your proposal (in no more than 300 words).

Viewings can be undertaken on Thursday 14th January and Friday 15th January between 10.30 and 13.30.

Coming soon: Chaplin's of London

Chaplin's of London is an established Deptford barber, opening a new branch in Crofton Park, next door to Jones of Brockley.

Following on the heels of KR's Barber Station and Blue Tit, the gentlemen of Brockley have never been so well served for coiffeurs.

Christmas Craft Fair at the Brockley Mess

Hullabaloo NYE 2015

NYE on Telegraph Hill

If Aneurin Bevan were alive today, he'd be a Belieber [UPDATED]

If this is the race for the Christmas number one then the War on Christmas is won.

The Guardian reports that this year's race for the top spot is between Justin Bieber and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, with the Canadian only 3,000 sales ahead of our team, who have reheated their mashup of Fix You and Bridge Over Troubled Water - the hippest Christmas collision since Cliff Richard married the lyrics of the Lord's Prayer to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.

All proceeds from the NHS song will be shared between Carers UK and Mind (including Mind's sister charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland), and a smaller percentage will also be distributed amongst smaller charities in the New Year - plus of course, a number one would be a reminder that the NHS is A GOOD THING that everyone likes.

Download it here and see off the threat from 2009's answer to Justin Trudeau. Thank you to Michael for pointing this out.

UPDATE: The Choir has claimed top spot, securing the 2015 number one spot with a total of 127,000 sales, compared with Justin Bieber's 96,000. Earlier this week, the Canadian graciously urged his fans to buy the Lewisham & Greenwich team's single.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Rob sends us this yuletide favourite - MOBO-nominated grime rapper Novelist performing Endz, shot on the Wickham Road estate.

Brockley Station earmarked for more trains

As a sidenote to its Bakerloo extension plans, TfL adds that Brockley could become one of three new South London "interchange hubs", benefiting from an improved station and more frequent train services. The document notes:

Along with working with Network Rail on their long-term planning process, we will undertake further work on rail improvements for south London. This work will identify where strategic interchanges could be created to maximise the connectivity benefits, including those arising from the extension, to improve orbital and radial travel. 

The work will consider the scope for upgrading existing strategic interchanges such as Lewisham, to deliver faster and more attractive interchanges. Identifying whether more rail services can stop at interchange points on the network, including those along the extension for journeys in and out of central London to reduce pressure on the busy London rail termini, will also be investigated.

BCer Monkeyboy, who flagged the news, says:

"This may be related to whether TfL gain control over Southern services and increase services."

It may also be a reference to the mooted orbital route to Peckham and beyond.

Bakerloo extension work to start in 2016

TfL has now confirmed that it will begin "technical work" on the extension of the Bakerloo Line in 2016. That means they will start thinking how best to operate and deliver it by 2030 - a significant advance on "we're thinking about it", which was TfL's position until this week.

The TfL consultation paper indicates that the Bakerloo would stop at New Cross Gate and confirms that it will travel down the Old Kent Road and terminate at Lewisham, rather than ploughing on to Hayes, via Ladywell and Catford. The factor that gave the Old Kent Road victory over Camberwell and Peckham was the number of new homes that the former route would facilitate. TfL says:

"Our assessment shows that an extension via the Old Kent Road route would provide significant new capacity in a corridor lacking reliable, high capacity and frequent public transport. Reliance on bus travel through the corridor is currently impacted by highways congestion.

"The Old Kent Road would go from having zero capacity on rail to capacity for approximately 65,000 passengers in each direction between Old Kent Road, New Cross Gate and Lewisham per three-hour AM peak period...

"Splitting the extension along both branches [OKR and Camberwell] to Lewisham would significantly reduce the frequency and capacity of the service that could operate along each branch. This would reduce the growth potential that could be unlocked in the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area and also risk crowding on either branch due to the lower capacity. In addition, the lower growth potential would reduce the extent to which the higher cost of a two-branch extension could be part-funded by new development."

Labour London Assembly Member for Greenwich and Lewisham, Len Duvall AM said:

“TfL’s latest commitment to the Bakerloo Line extension is very welcome and will significantly improve the commute for countless South Londoners. It is clear however that to have the biggest impact the Bakerloo Line extension needs to go far further than currently planned.

“In 2018 TfL will have the chance to bid to take over the South Eastern franchise and to the take over the trains running into Central London from Bromley & Lewisham. This could have a transformative impact for South Londoners and bring significant improvements to the service they are given even before the extension has started work.”

The Lib Dems' Caroline Pidgeon said:

"While welcoming this announcement I am concerned that the initial proposals merely have the ‘potential’ to extend beyond Lewisham. We need to be truly ambitious and ensure that the Bakerloo Line connects right through to Bromley. Firmer assurances are also need about a new Thameslink station at Camberwell.”

Live At the Rivoli - New Live Comedy Nights

Reginald D Hunter stars on the opening night
Will is starting new a monthly comedy night called Live At The Rivoli.

The first one kicks off on February 26th with an impressive line-up of Reginald D Hunter, Sara Pascoe and Ed Gamble. Will writes:

One of London’s most beautiful venues throws open it’s doors to a new monthly Comedy Club – Live At The Rivoli.

Live At The Rivoli pairs award-winning comics with the splendorous surroundings of the Rivoli Ballroom for a monthly series of unmissable laughter in South East London - kickstarted with a show headlined by Reginald D Hunter.

One of the most brilliantly unpredictable and thought-provoking comedians around - Reginald D Hunter headlines Live At The Rivoli. A regular face on Qi, Have I Got News For You & more, the Atlanta born star has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award an unprecedented three times and continues to delight audiences and critics alike the world over.

Joining Reginald is the lively mind of acclaimed Live At The Apollo star Sara Pascoe, a special guest TBA and Ed Gamble as host, recently one of the few UK comedians to be invited onto US talk show Conan.

Tickets are £18.50. Click here to visit the website and book tickets.

Brockley school tops Lewisham primary table

The Evening Standard has published a league table of London primary schools, based on the performance of 11-year-olds in the National Curriculum tests earlier this year.

In Lewisham, Greater Brockley schools perform strongly, with St Mary Magdalen Catholic School on Howson Road top of the league for the whole borough. Haberdashers Askes Hatcham, Gordonbrock and Beecroft Garden are numbers 2, 3 and 4 in terms of the Brockley-area schools, in the top third of the Lewisham table. 

Congratulations to the staff and pupils of St Mary Magdelen, who not only came top overall, but also earned one of the highest "value added" scores in the borough.
Thank you to Robert, who pointed it out.

Dawn chorus of the Dead - Campaigners fight to save trees from graveyard shift

This is their Third Runway, nay their Vietnam!

Campaigners are trying to protect 30 trees on (ironically) One Tree Hill from being chopped down to make way for graves. This is an ongoing problem, with a shortage of space in Southwark for burial plots bumping up against a shortage of space for everyone else.

The living should take precedent over the dead. No more space for cemeteries. Cremate us and heat the local swimming pool with our bodies.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the tip off.

Coming Soon: The Fat Walrus

The Fat Walrus has taken over The Old Haberdasher pub (44 Lewisham Way), strengthening ties between the great families of South East London and Odobenidae. The team have been in touch to let us know that they are aiming to reopen in January 2016.

The use of a jolly, eccentric anthropomorphic figurehead is promising, as is the fact that they're moving quickly to get the pub back open, after it was sold earlier this year. They've already managed to garner some positive coverage via a blog called Enough About Me, which says:

"The new place to watch out for in 2016 is the new pub 'The Fat Walrus'. The brain child of David Mitchell and Gareth Knight previous managers of the New Cross House (now under Greene King management) is set to take the place of New Cross's favourite pub.

"Located in the Old Haberdasher's spot right next to Goldsmiths University, the vibrant, friendly vibe accompanied by a good selection of beers and ales is not something you should miss. It is scheduled to open in early January, so keep a ear out for The Fat Walrus, it's got a ring to it."

Follow them on Twitter here.

Deptford Cinema's Utopian New Year

Rachel: The Greeks had two meanings for it: "eu-topos", meaning "the good place", and "u-topos", meaning "the place that cannot be".
- Mad Men

Deptford Cinema promises a night of intergalactic spectacle, mind-expanding projections, cosmic cocktails and gravity-defying DJ sets to greet the glorious future:

"Utopia is within your grasp! Enjoy a free glass of space wine (prosecco) before 10pm, our regular low drinks prices all night, good vibes + an interstellar party to start 2016! Tickets here.


Robot Santa: Fry and Leela, you've both been very naughty! I checked my list.
Fry: Well... Check it twice!
Robot Santa: I perform over fifty mega-checks per second!
- Futurama
Brockley-based SeventySeven84 specialises in producing personalised gift sacks and say there is still time for people to place their orders to meet Santa's deadline, especially since they are all designed and made in their local studio.

Check them out here.

TfL favours Old Kent Road Bakerloo

SE1 reports that TfL Commissioner Mike Brown has indicated a preference for the Bakerloo Line to be extended to Lewisham via the Old Kent Road, rather than Camberwell. Sounding exactly like a BC editorial on the subject, Brown writes:

"The results of our work demonstrate that the preferred route option for a first phase is from Elephant & Castle to Lewisham via Old Kent Road.

"Any extension would also be supported by significant improvements to the national rail network in southeast London, including the possibility of a new Thameslink station at Camberwell.

"This route alignment could support up to 30,000 homes and subject to funding and securing powers could be completed by 2030."

It sounds as though the plan to extend it beyond Lewisham by sacrificing overland services is on ice.


The 999 Club - Volunteer

Julia writes:

I work for the 999 Club on Deptford Broadway. We work with homeless people and our Winter Night Shelter is now open. We rely on volunteers to keep the shelter running. We are still short of people willing to volunteer on the weekends, so we are having an extra drive to try and recruit more volunteers.

If people are interested in helping, they can find out more here www.999club.org/volunteer

Lewisham Arthouse Winter Fair 2015

The Arthouse team writes:

On Saturday December 12th 11.00 am – 6.00 pm, we’re hosting our poplar Winter Fair again, featuring an array of original artworks, hand made crafts and seasonal gifts. There’ll be something to fit all sizes of pocket, whether you’re a discerning Christmas shopper or art lover.

We’ll be featuring lots of local talent including our studio artists, producers of Mosaic, felted goods, linocut prints, ceramics and much more. Come join in the yuletide joyousness, warm your cockles with a seasonal beverage and a mince pie! And if that isn’t enough jingle all the way to the vibrations of our resident DJ.

Brockley Xmas Market 2015

The Brockley Cross Action Group writes:

We are pleased to present the ninth Brockley Christmas Market, this coming Saturday 12th December, 12.00 - 6.00pm! As usual the Market will be located in Coulgate Street, from Brockley Road to Foxberry Road, outside Brockley Station. The road will be closed to vehicles for the day.

This year will be out biggest market ever! We have 70 stalls selling mainly bespoke arts & crafts and festive items, along with a mix of food stalls. BXAG will as always have their own stall selling mulled wine, mince pies and sausage rolls. The market offers a huge range of high quality wares and is a great place to do some Xmas shopping!

We have six hours of live music and carol singing, with a packed line up of local talent to entertain you all day long! The music is being organised again this year by the excellent School of Rock!

There will be an Xmas tree lighting ceremony for the kids at approx. 4.30, up on the Common! This year we have for the first time planted a proper living tree, which in time will grow into a fine specimen that can be used for years to come. The tree was kindly funded by the Brockley Assembly.

If you have parked a car on Coulgate Street please help us to clear the street by removing it on Friday evening. We close the street to traffic on Friday evening from 7.00pm.

We look forward to seeing you for what we hope will be a fantastic festive occasion!

Forget everything you thought you knew about Crofton Park Station. History Starts Now

The Partnership grows
This week, Crofton Park became the first station in the Thameslink network to be adopted a local community group.

The Crofton Park Railway Group had already established a garden on spare land at the station and the signing of the Station Partnership formalises the commitment between the two to work together further.

The station garden includes flowers, as well as vegetables, and is looked after by the Crofton Park Railway Group. Thameslink has agreed to let the group expand further on the station, and will also pay for an in-depth survey of the space to support the group's aspirations.

The garden has helped transform an overgrown area of the station which, historically, was plagued with litter, including a number of old mattresses. Since the creation of the garden, fly-tipping has reduced significantly and the group has plans to make it even more attractive to the 700,000 passengers who travel through the station each year.

Perhaps Thameslink will hold up their end of the bargain by throwing some extra trains into the mix.

Brockley Christmas Market, December 12th

The market will take place on Coulgate Street this weekend

The Ladywell Playtower - Time for action

Photo from LVIG
The Ladywell Village Improvement Group (LVIG) writes:

Local frustration has been building over Council's shoddy custodianship of the Ladywell Baths (a.k.a.'The Playtower'), a fine Victorian building much valued and appreciated in Ladywell and far beyond (not least by the Victorian Society) but, sadly, in sorry decline over the last few decades.

Though the Council spent money a few years ago to weatherproof the building there is no real evidence that it is taking the urgent and concerted action required to safeguard the building in the long term.

The Ladywell Village Improvement Group has now launched a petition in an attempt to demonstrate the level of public interest in this matter and to press the Council into more demonstrable and meaningful action.

If we get 8,000 'signatures' by the time the petition closes in February we will be able to secure a debate in full Council. Please can Brockley Central readers sign the petition here.

Catch Me, Lewis Barfoot

More Brockley music: Local chanteuse Lewis Barfoot filmed her debut video at Asylum in Peckham.

Frozen Christmas, December 12th

The Sport of Kings

Corin writes:

Regular players needed for long-standing 5 to 7 a-side football games, where numbers are running a little low.

Where/When: 8 o'clock on Thursdays at King's College Sports Ground, Brockley Rise.
Standard: Quite good. The main aim is to do some exercise, not to win at all costs. A visit to the pub afterwards has been known.

Cost: £5 a game, or cheaper if bought as a block.
Contact: corin.naylor@hotmail.com or simply turn up on the night.

Labour: The Party - December 13th

Celebrate the spirit of unity and solidarity that pervades the Labour movement right now. Kate Tempest is playing along with Sophie from the Night VI and local DJs. Kids welcome. Tickets are available here.

Benedict's to open tomorrow

All the ladies singles

Sian's looking for fresh blood for the badminton court, no noobs. She says:

The Honor Oak Ladies Badminton Club has spaces for 2 new members.

We are a friendly group of an intermediate level who meet on a Wednesday 8.30-9.30 at Honor Oak Community centre. Bring your own racquet. Cost £6-£10 a month (depending on membership levels) – ladies only – sorry but we don’t take beginners.

We currently have a coach who trains us (roughly) once a month and we play games in the other sessions.

There is a mixed group who play 6.15-8.15 at the same location if anyone is looking for a mixed group. Again no beginners (sorry).

Contact sian.griffiths@talk21.com

Colour in Brockley

Francois writes:

We are very proud to launch “Colour in Brockley”, a colouring book about Brockley designed by Nicolas Wild and published by Made in Brockley itself. With a humorous pen, Nicolas depicts seven scenes to colour in.

Nicolas Wild was a “Made in Brockley” special guest for 10 days. He is a graphic novelist who became famous with his comic book series “Kabul Disco”, chronicling his 2 year humanitarian mission in Afghanistan.

The colouring book is available for £5 at MadeInBrockley.

The Catford Bridge Tavern to reopen next year

The Catford Bridge Tavern is due to reopen next Christmas, after Lewisham Council approved the planning application by the new owners. Ambitious plans to renovate the pub stalled when the pub caught fire earlier this year.

The Solitaire team confirmed that they have received approval for their post-fire plans and are aiming to reopen the pub by Christmas 2016.

Brockley's last line of defence

After the discovery of Nazi bullet holes in Brockley Cross, Barbara has revealed on the BC Facebook page that her neighbour has part of an anti-aircraft battery lodged in her back garden. She notes:

"A small bit of the anti aircraft battery is still in our neighbour's garden on Pepys Road. It's so well embedded no one has been able to move it."

Ladywell Christmas Market 2015

Nazi slugs Lodged in Brockley Cross

Transpontine has discovered a boys-own bit of local history. Bullet holes that remain from World War II. He writes:

The novelist David Lodge (born 1935) grew up in Brockley, living at 81 Millmark Grove from 1936 to 1959. Walking home from school during the Second World War he had a narrow escape:

'One afternoon we were a few hundred yards from the railway bridge that traversed Brockley Road just before Brockley Cross when a German aeroplane flew over our heads firing its machine guns, perhaps at a train on the line, though its main target was said later to be an anti-aircraft battery on Telegraph Hill... Some of the bullets hit the white-tiled walls under the bridge and left pockmarks which were still discernible the last time I looked, about fifty years later'.

To see the holes, click here for Transpontine's photo.

Surrey House site targeted for redevelopment

An application has been made to redevelop Surrey House, a large site on the corner of Shardeloes Road and Lewisham Way. Part of a wider plan by Campus Village to develop new and improved student accommodation for Goldsmiths, the application is for:

The demolition of the existing single storey link block and replacement with four storey block above to provide a new link and site entrance to create 35 new student accommodation rooms at Surrey House, Lewisham Way SE14, together with alterations to the front elevation, re-landscaping of the courtyard and provision of photovoltaic panels and cycle storage spaces.
The plans include a new block on Shardeloes Road
Raymont Hall on Wickham Road and Chesterman House in New Cross are also part of Campus Village's plans. To view the application, click here.

Full disclosure: I am a member of Council for Goldsmiths.

Application to redevelop Raymont Hall

An application has been made to redevelop Raymont Hall on Wickham Road. The building provides accommodation for Goldsmiths students and the application has been made by developers Campus Village Living for:

The construction of a two storey extension, forming the 4th and 5th floors to the main block fronting Wickham Road and demolition of existing single storey garden building and replacement with two storey garden building to create 40 new student accommodation rooms at Raymont Hall, Wickham Road SE4, together with the demolition of the external stair link, alterations to the front elevation, the provision of cycle storage spaces, photovoltaic panels and associated landscaping.
The application is available to view here.

If approved, the building will continue to be used by Goldsmiths students. Full disclosure: I am a member of Council for Goldsmiths.

Brenchley Gardens Winter Wonderland

Brenchley Gardens is a beautiful sliver of parkland that runs between Camberwell New Cemetery and Aquarius Golf Club, at the south western extremity of Greater Brockley.

If you've never explored it, then the Brenchley Gardens Winter Wonderland on December 19th (12-5pm) is a good excuse to have a look.

The event itself will feature all the usual stuff: crafts, games, stalls selling local produce and plenty of food and drink. It takes place at the Don McCoan Community Centre (113-143 Brenchley Gardens).