Antic fermenting Lewisham's Market Tavern

Copyright Chris Whippet and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Market Tavern, currently a boarded-up pub on Lewisham High Street, may be the next local pub to undergo an Antic revival.

The pub group behind Jam Circus, The Royal Albert and the Job Centre has listed the pub on its website in the coming-soon category and the SE London branch of CAMRA, which has its ear to the ground, hinted that there could be some action fairly soon.

Greater Brockley is in the middle of a much-needed pub renaissance and Lewisham is adding people and restaurants to its town centre, so it makes sense that Antic would prioritise this part of town, smack dab in the middle of Lewisham, to tighten its grip on South East London livers.

Five Bells - a new venue for New Cross

This is the opening weekend for Five Bells (155 New Cross Road), formerly The Five Bells pub and now made over as a "two-storey multi-function event space, fusing the spirit of a building that has stood since the early days of the city with the modern ethos of South East London."

The opening weekend party is in partnership with Hoxton FM and you can check out FBNX radio here. Tonight's music starts at 5pm.

New Cross has entered uncharted territory and can now boast almost as much nightlife as the rest of the borough combined.

Beecroft Garden Jumble Sale, February 28th

Click here for details of the school

Coming soon: The new Five Bells

George writes:

I live a couple of doors away from the White Hart pub on New Cross Road and as you can imagine was very pleased to see that it is to be revamped under new management.

With the White Hart, the Brookmill, the Rose, New Cross House, the Fat Walrus and the Sail Loft all opening in the recent past we are spoilt for choice in (and around) New Cross at the moment.

One refurbishment that has flown under the radar a bit is the Five Bells, a little further down New Cross Road. It's been closed since mid January, with one lone sign saying it was to under go 'a light refurbishment under new management'. All the windows have been blacked out with newspaper so it's impossible to see what's going on inside. It seemed as though it was as the sign suggested; likely to open again with the same vibe as before (working man's proper old school boozer type of place), which is fine by me.

However, I have started to see 'Five Bells' stickers pop up around New Cross. They are about the size of an iphone and quite modernly designed. This and the inability to see inside have caused me to wonder whether there may be more than just a light refurb going on, as the stickers seemed totally uncharacteristic of the pub in it's current incarnation. The only mention of it's closure I could find was on a Millwall blog (used to be a Millwall pub aparently), but this didn't shed much light on what is due to replace it (although could explain the stickers)

Does anyone know anything about what is happening to the place?

Man stabbed in Crofton Park

A man was taken to hospital last night after he was stabbed in Crofton Park. The Standard reports:

Police were called to Brockley Grove by London Ambulance Service just before 9pm on Thursday, after paramedics found the man had suffered stab injuries.

One neighbour said: "I arrived home around 9pm, Brockley Grove at Merritt Road was cordoned off down towards the cemetery with a handful of police officers and a van and couple of cars.

Cuts and tax rises in new Council budget

Lewisham Council has approved a budget for 2016/17, which will combine Council Tax rises and spending cuts. The full details are available here, but the headline figures are:

- A 3.99% increase in Band D Council Tax for Lewisham’s services for 2016/17; including the 2% increase announced in the Local Government Finance Settlement for Social Care, along with the withdrawal of the Government’s freeze grant of £1.0m.

- £10.752m of revenue budget savings are proposed for 2016/17

- A rent decrease of 1.0% (an average of £0.99 per week) in respect of dwelling rents, 1.0% (average £0.39 per week) in respect of hostels, and a range of other proposed changes to service charges. The proposed annual expenditure for the Housing Revenue Account is £167.6m, including the capital and new build programme, for 2016/17

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the heads-up.

Lewisham Retail Park redevelopment

The public consultation relating to the mixed-use redevelopment of Lewisham Retail Park - AKA Carpetright, et al - is due to start on March 3rd.

London Assembly Member petitions Brockley residents against Heathrow noise

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.

- BC full disclosure: My firm works for Gatwick Airport.

London and Brexit

Time Out has produced a series of infographics, which show how much of the population of the rest of the country could be squeezed into London. Another of their maps shows that Lewisham's population is roughly the size of Sunderland's (or Newcastle's).

The maps are an illustration of London's dominance of the UK. A map based on share of economic output per capita would be even more lopsided. It highlights the need both to grow the UK's biggest cities and to give great care to London's future.

London is the de facto business capital of Europe, with a hugely disproportionate number of global and European HQs and a vast number of its jobs reliant on London's hub status. The current and prospective Mayors of London barely touched on London's economy when declaring support for #Brexit.

In Boris' case, he acknowledged that there are 'risks' but airily dismissed them as 'likely to be exaggerated'. For his part, Goldsmith claims that "A few of the largest multinationals disagree with me about the EU, but we shouldn’t be surprised. An uncompetitive Europe benefits established players at the expense of new market entrants." This is thoroughly disingenuous.

Every survey of businesses shows a large majority in favour of remaining in Europe - from the major multinationals that employ millions to the tech stars and innovators who want easy access to talent and a single market and the manufacturers who understand that free trade is as much about adopting unified standards as part of complex European supply chains as it is about simple stuff like tariffs.

There may be good reasons to leave the EU, but dismissing the huge risks associated with Brexit is dishonest campaigning.

The Telegraph Hill Festival 2016, March 5 - 20

Sanjit writes:

The Telegraph Hill Festival is a 22 year old Festival celebrating life in this part of South London.   This year's Festival majors on community, participation and experimentation.

There are free events and taster sessions - everything from art classes to yoga. - all taking place at Telegraph Hill Centre

St Catherine's Church plays host to Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods - a musical extravaganza with a cast of nearly 200. Meanwhile Sonic Imperfections will feature stunning experimentation in sound by modern composers and musicians using live and digital instrumentation. Then there are two classical music events... and more besides.

Hill Station hosts the Bootlegger's Tea Party - cakes and cabaret with cocktails - while the Telegraph at the Earl of Derby hosts an evening of cabaret with Songs we thought we Couldn't Sing described as "two middle aged women and a piano, what could possibly go wrong ... ?"  Lady La La and her boys return for an astounding evening of song with La La Piano Bar. Two open mics cater for aficionados of modern song while Punk Karaoke gives you the chance to forget your backache and pogo!

Smashfest at Besson Street Garden throws us into a dramatic disaster scenario - what can we do to save dying bees and ensure that we can feed ourselves?   Then there's documentary making, spoken word, a Science Show Off .... All that hard work has made us peckish so we might pop down to The Rosemary for an evening of Hungarian wine and food tasting.

For full details, visit the festival website.

The Sail Loft, Greenwich

11 Victoria Parade
SE10 9FR

The Sail Loft is a new Fuller's pub on the Deptford-Greenwich border.

A large glass box overlooking the river, it opened in January and is already hugely popular. I visited a couple of weeks ago and booking ahead to get a table at the weekend was essential.
A 21st century interpretation of The Trafalgar, The Sail Loft is spacious, buzzy and gloriously light. The ground floor is dominated by the bar, the first floor is essentially a restaurant. Although a stone's throw from the Cutty Sark, the stretch of river front it occupies is relatively untravelled and the pub feels more like a local than a tourist trap - more Deptford than Greenwich.
The menu was high-quality, albeit Sunday's are roast-only, which is annoying for those of us who don't fetishise Sunday Roasts. The pork belly was fine, but the non-Sunday menu looked more interesting. The service was friendly, if a little chaotic during the opening week.
The Sail Loft adds a new dimension to the area: It's the sort of place to take visitors who are suspicious of London - reassuringly bright, clean, jolly and tasteful. It will come into its own in the summer.

Click here to visit the website.

Ode to Malpas Paul

Dicky Fox: The key to this business is personal relationships.

- Jerry Maguire

Journalist Simon Usborne has produced a paean to veteran Malpas Road barber Paul Neophytou. Writing in the Independent, he says

I have known Paul for 28 years but only learned his second name this week. "My name is Neophytou," he says while dropping a gown over me at Paul's, the South-east London hairdresser's he has run, latterly alone, for 52 years. "You can say it means 'new plant'," he adds, waving his clippers at the flourishing pots in front of the window.

Paul embodies that energy, which must be as old as scissors themselves. For more than half a century, he has watched hairlines recede, fashions change and lines around eyes map the advance of age and changing fortunes. New jobs, bereavement, illness, depression and big decisions: all of life has been here, and so has Paul. "It's a peaceful place, you know," he says. "There's no rush here and you can talk. My old mum always told me: 'Son, do not make enemies, make friends. Always be polite to people.' If you do this, people are nice to you and they talk to you.

For the full article, click here.

Bakery plan for Ewhurst Road

Cat Food is a small batch bakery trying to set up permanent home in Brockley. They are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to set up shop on Ewhurst Road and are half-way towards their £2,000 goal. They say:

Having moved kitchens 3 times in 2015, we need to move in to a permanent space of our own. We've found a property in Brockley which is absolutely PERFECT! Our vision is to use the space for our production baking during the week, as well as offering a few classes on baking, cooking and business. 

On weekends we'd like to be open to the public, allowing everybody to pop in for a coffee & a big slice of cake with us. 

The space is completely empty right now and needs a little bit of refurbishment. We need to install suitable flooring, plumbing in our sink & dishwasher, as well as some furnishings such as workbenches and shelving.  We've managed to secure the property and invest in some equipment, but need a £2000 boost to complete our project by May 2016. 

To support the Kickstarter, click here.

Ivy Road floods

Brockley nurse kept sex slave using ju-ju curse

A Brockley nurse has been struck off, nearly two years after being jailed for operating part of a sex-trafficking ring from her Westside home. This is Local London reports:

A mental health nurse from Brockley made a woman become a sex slave under threat of a black magic curse, a tribunal has heard.

Florence Obadiaru, 50, of St Asaph Road, was one of a gang of traffickers that forced the 23-year-old Nigerian to fly into Heathrow Airport with a bogus passport in September 2011.

Before leaving Nigeria the victim was raped and subjected to a "ju-ju" death ritual where gang members told her if she did not pay them £40,000 she would die. 

She was promised a job in the UK so she could repay the debt, but when she arrived she was kept at Obadiaru's house, sexually assaulted and told she was destined to work as a sex slave in Italy.

For the full article, click here.

Coming soon: The Brookmill

Via the Deptford Forum, the new team in charge of Deptford boozer The Cranbrook reveal themselves. They say:

We’re super excited to announce that The Cranbrook is under new management. Undergoing a complete refurbishment and re-brand it will re-open as The Brookmill pub and kitchen in Spring 2016!

The plan is to create a relaxed, family and dog friendly pub serving great beer and classic pub dishes. At the weekends we’ll be doing brunch, Bloody Mary’s and Berocca (to nurse any foggy heads). And on Sunday’s, the roasts will be our pride and joy and take over the menu – we can’t wait for you to try them. Live entertainment, film nights and supper clubs are also in our plans.

The menu will feature the classics; braised beef & ale pie, beer battered haddock & chips and sticky toffee pudding (To. Die. For). However, with a team of chefs who’ve worked at some of London’s finest restaurants, including Terroirs and Racines, the menu wont be restricted to classic pub fayre. It’ll be free to roam in whichever direction, creating an exciting, and ever changing menu!

When it comes to the bar, sourcing the best local ales and supporting craft breweries is our mission and our passion – the stock will rotate with the best of what’s on offer. The wine racks will be full of delicious, natural and organic wines from our favourite supplier, Les Caves de Pyrene.

In time for summer, we’ll re-open the secret beer garden (a total suntrap!) for BBQ’s, beers on ice and table tennis.

We’re determined to create the ‘local’ you want, so to help us do that, we’ll be seeking your feedback, thoughts and opinions. Look out for tasting events, hardhat tours and lots more on our Twitter feed @thebrookmillpub or ‘like’ our Facebook page @thebrookmill.

To get an idea of what The Brookmill might be like, you can take a look at the Great Northwood ( in West Norwood. Nick Willoughby and his team refurbished The Great North Wood in 2013 and it’s now time for project No 2, which is really exciting!

Brockley artist short-listed for painting prize

Brockley artist Emma Cousin (creator of local art event Bread & Jam) has had a painting shortlisted for the prestigious Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize - one of the UK's most respected prizes for representational painting.

Her work will be on show show alongside 130 shortlisted paintings from across the UK at the Mall Galleries, London from 7th - 13th March.

This year saw an 82% increase in submissions to the Prize, which is run by the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers, the 5th oldest of the 110 Livery Companies in the City of London, and active since the 13th century. They pair up each year with the Lynn Foundation (supporting disabled children in the arts) to deliver this annual prize exhibition.

The Sunflower Centre is hiring

The Sunflower Centre on Hilly Fields is currently recruiting. They say:

We are currently offering these exciting opportunities to work at our Complementary Health Centre in the heart of Brockley:

  • Practice Manager
  • Receptionist/Administrators
  • Social Media support
  • Premises Manager
We’d like to hear from you with your CV and a Covering Letter - please email to

Digger little deeper

Yet another vehicle snared by the Mantle Road fool trap.

Spring Volunteering Fair, Feb 25th

Parroting Brockley's virtues

Olly has a new rival.

Southern and Thameslink trains most likely to be hit by staff shortages

If the worst excuse for late-running train services is 'the wrong kind of sunshine'. The second-worst is to run out of staff - a situation which, pandemics aside, is least likely to be caused by acts of god and most likely to be caused by poor management and planning.

So guess which operator has the worst record for crew shortages in the country? The BBC reports:

Crew shortages cause almost one in 10 delays and cancellations on Britain's railways, the BBC has learned.

They accounted for 9.42% of 1.93 million delays and cancellations from 1 April 2013 to 12 December 2015, figures from the Office of Rail and Road show.

Govia Thameslink Railway - which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services - had the highest rate, at 13.59%.

The TfL takeover can't come soon enough. Thanks to Hugh for the story.

GoodGym Lewisham

BCer Adele wants to tell you about her running group GoodGym, a real-life version of Zombies Run - only instead of rebuilding your base in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, you do odd-jobs around Lewisham. She writes:

There's now a whole new way of getting fit while doing good in the borough of Lewisham, with GoodGym. We run in groups to help out local community groups, charities and public spaces, with our weekly run meeting at Glass Mill at 6:45pm on a Monday evening.

We started our group runs in Lewisham on January 18th and have had lots of interest, both from participants and organisations. Anyone can come along and you can sign up on our website here.

If you are part of a community group who might need our help, here are some examples of tasks we complete:

- Gardening, weeding and clearing parks or open spaces
- Moving heavy furniture or items
- Painting, sanding or decorating
- Tidying communal areas
- Setting up for events

The Phantom Phonebooth: Mystery Micro Library for Kids

Another Brockley phone box has been converted into a micro library. This one is on the corner of Wickham Road and Lewisham Way and is specifically for children's books.

Given the success of the first one, which regularly overflows with donations and the lack of any better ideas for what to do with these boxes, this is a brilliant idea.

Thank you to Jeff for the photo. If you know more about its origins, please post the details below.

180 Brockley Road revealed

The wrapping has now come off 180 Brockley Road to the extent that we can see what impact it will have on the streetscape from both Coulgate Street and Brockley Road. 

I like the massing and mix of materials, especially the metallic roof. I'm not sure how much fun it would be to have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the main entrance to a busy station, but the proportions look good from street level. Likewise, it's hard to tell whether the courtyard will work for residents, but the angles conspire to make the narrow Coulgate Street cottages look like Brockley's answer to the Thin House.

Coming soon: The Habit

Another new local dining option is looming on the horizon. The Habit is a "modern British bistro" aiming to open next month, adding to Nunhead's small but pleasingly formed high street. A short walk there and back again may be in order.

Deptford High Street pilots money-back app for parking

Deptford High Street is piloting a new app called MoreForMe that allows people to get money off their shopping in return for a minimum spend in local shops, offsetting local parking charges. Lewisham Council says:

"The free MoreForMe app, developed by Better Cities, can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet and works once an activation QR code has been scanned at stickers on the parking meters in Frankham Street or in participating stores. Shoppers can then shop at their favourite participating retailer, make the minimum purchase and scan the store QR code in the shop.

"The retailer will then give a discount off the purchase price to the shopper. Shoppers can continue the process in other participating stores on Deptford High Street, effectively wiping out their parking fee, with the added benefit of saving even more money, the more they spend.

"Current Deptford High Street retailers signed up to the initiative include: A.J. Goddards, Agege Bread & Bakers, Amber Tree Cafe, CakesNMore, Central Vape, Curtains by Iris - Textiles, Danny’s Pound Shop Plus, Debonaire Designer Couture, Deli X, Ebis Collections, Jenny’s Cafe, Johnny’s DIY & Building Supplies, Kims Newsagent, Lewisham & Deptford Sewing Machines, London Velo, Manze’s, Red Carpet Boutique, rhubarb&CUSTARD Cafe, Swag City, Terry’s Discount Store, The Albany Cafe, The Birds Nest Pub, The Lounge Café, Wünderlust at The Big Red."

"Cllr Rachel Onikosi, Cabinet Member for the Public Realm, said: ‘We want to support our traders and encourage more people to shop locally. We have collaborated with local retailers and Better Cities on this initiative, which we think is a win-win all round. The shopper benefits by saving money on their parking fee from their purchases and retailers benefit by having customers who visit, dwell and spend more.’"

While it's good to explore ways in which technology can improve our high streets, using public funds to encourage people to drive to a local high street feels like a retrograde step in many ways. But it will be interesting to see whether the app gets used and the model pays dividends for local retailers.

Thanks to Brockley Kate for the heads-up.

Lewisham Way crossings live to fight another day

Don't cross the people of Brockley. TfL have responded to the public consultation about the fate of traffic crossings on the A20 - the Algernon Road crossing at the foot of Loampit Hill will go but those on Lewisham Way will stay. They say:

Last year we held a consultation on a number of changes to the A20 between New Cross and Lewisham. We had nearly 200 responses.

We wanted to merge and relocate some of the crossings along this stretch of the road, and 63% of responses opposed these proposals. When we analysed the comments, most people expressed a need to keep the crossings by Lewisham Southwark College, Tressillian Road, St John’s station and St John’s Medical Centre. Due to the low use of the crossing by Algernon Road, and the new signalised crossing nearby at Jerrard Street we have decided the Algernon Road crossing can be removed. 

All the other crossings will remain in where they are and they will be upgraded over the next year (2015-16). This means all pedestrian crossings will be a common crossing type, and we will be able to link the signals with SCOOT control to ensure a smoother traffic flow. This will provide some benefits along this road for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Our proposals also included changes to the bus and cycle lanes, and changes to the side road junctions. The majority of people supported these proposals, so we will continue with these.

Thanks to everyone who sent this to me.

Breddos Tacos confirms Lewisham London Union plans

#ModelMarket street foodies Breddos Tacos have revealed that they will be joining Polpo at the new London Union restaurant complex that is coming to Lewisham soon.

In an interview with Big Hospitality, founder Jonathan Downey revealed that Lewisham's Riverdale Hall will be the setting for their first ever permanent restaurant. Called Pocho, it will be "a large Californian/Mexican influenced diner."

For the full interview, click here.

This is going to be awesome! Thanks to LittleJungleMan for the tip off.

Westside corner shop up for sale

Dom writes:

I noticed a sign today showing that the lease is up for renewal on the newsagents (plus a 3 bed flat) on the corner of St Asaph and Finland Road.

It's a shame as I have known that place since I was very young and I have fond memories of buying penny sweets there. However it's a great spot and it would be wonderful to have another local business there.

Indoor market and small cinema planned for Ladywell development

Pop-up development PLACE / Ladywell has an irritating name and would be better as a permanent structure rather than messing around as a temporary building, but by God, the team behind it know how to give the people what they want - and are planning an indoor market and small cinema on site. They say:

We will manage the Ground floor as affordable mixed-use spaces with a focus on making and selling.

We will also be creating opportunities for an indoor market for start up retail, some independent retail units, a community café and maker spaces. A long consultation period uncovered a strong desire within the local community for a cinema / screening space of some sort.

The space will come with a basic fit out to allow for this but it is expected that adaptations may need to be made by the eventual operator of the space. We would like any interested parties to get in contact with us for further discussions on what may be possible within the space available.

There will be around 50 square metres of space allocated from May 2016 – 2019, with possible extension of up to 5 years on the same site. The space may also come partially furnished depending on budget. Lease terms are negotiable. The building will be brand new and tenants will benefit from being able to have early influence in the way the spaces are set up and managed to creative create a strong supportive community of space users.

If you are interested in operating the cinema, click here for details. With thanks to Paul.

The Glowing Sea

A campaign has been launched to persuade Thames Water to reopen Nunhead Reservoir (next to Nunhead Cemetery) to the public after a fence was erected in 2014 to prevent vandalism. The petitioners, who've attracted 6,000 signatures already, say:

Nunhead Reservoir has one of the best views in South London. It has been a much loved picnicking spot, place to relax and hang out with friends for many years, and deserves to be officially opened so that everybody can enjoy it.

Thames Water can use some of the profit they make from their bill payers to supply bins and official entrances. Replant the trees they dug up and take down the ugly fence around the perimeter.

Whenever possible, we need to design and operate London for the benefit of the vast majority of responsible residents not the minority of idiots. A local beauty spot should not be lost for the want of a security guard, so please click here to sign the petition.

Diamond City

While New Cross wrestles with rubbish dumps, Lewisham developers are imagining a future where Emporio Armani sits side by side with Maggie's Cafe. Jessica writes:

I was looking at the hoardings surrounding the Lewisham Gateway building site and I think the designer doing the artist's impression may have confused the people of Lewisham with those of Kensington...a Giorgio Armani shop has been 'visualised' in the retail space underneath the flats.

It made me laugh, and then made me wonder whether the developers actually envisage this type of retail unit in place? Or is it 'aspirational' - why include a name such as that at all (probably to sell it to overseas investors?). 

Given the pace of change in Greater Brockley, nothing is impossible and I am aware of at least one developer operating in South East London who fancies their chances of bringing very high-end fashion brands to their masterplan, but even I can't imagine Armani in SE13.

It does, however, prompt the question: What kind of brands would we like to see attracted to Lewisham when the work is done?


A post-apocalyptic landscape, but messier, the 'Deptford Dump' is a site next to New Cross Gate station that is currently playing host to tonnes of construction industry waste. Door frames and window sills litter the landscape like they've been deposited by a very destructive but very precise twister.

As you can see, the Council is trying to get it cleared.