Vote for our Best Local Newcomer 2017

Time again to vote for the prestigious Brockley Central Best Newcomer Award. Last year, Crofton Park bakery Cat Food won the vote in a crowded field and joined a legendary group of local businesses in our hall of fame.

The competition is open to any high street business that has opened in Brockley / Crofton Park, Ladywell or Telegraph Hill in 2017.

This year, we have a field of eight new local businesses vying for your love and support. And although the quantity of new entrants may have dipped, the quality is as strong and varied as ever.

Here are your choices:

Bella Nova - a new midtown cafe, blending tradition and experimentation
Bite Mi - a Vietnamese cafe in Brockley Cross, next door to previous winner Masala Wala
Gently - sister shop to previous winner Gently Elephant, bringing a grown-up mix to Crofton Park
Number 50 Friendly Street - a new cafe helping the St John's street live up to its name
Parlez - a family-friendly restaurant that completes the Coulgate Street reimagining
Pizza Verde (originally Pizza Man) - a gluten-free specialist takeaway on Lewisham Way
Rad Bikes - bike maintenance and accessories on Lewisham Way
Saka Maka - a fresh take on Indian food on Brockley Road

Please cast your votes using the options on the side bar. You have until the end of the day on January 1st 2018.

The previous winners are:

Best Newcomer 2016 - Cat Food
Best Newcomer 2015 - Masala Wala Cafe
Best Newcomer 2014 - The Brockley Deli
Best Newcomer 2013 - The Malaysian Deli
Best Newcomer 2012 - Gently Elephant
Best Newcomer 2011 - Brockley Market
Best Newcomer 2010 - El's Kitchen
Best Newcomer 2009 - The Orchard

Bella Nova, 304 Brockley Road

It's time to right a wrong and ensure that a new(ish) Brockley establishment gets a mention before the Newcomer of the Year vote.

Bella Nova opened in Midtown in the autumn and is one part Central Perk, one part greasy spoon, serving everything from lattes and ciabatta to full English breakfasts.

Please share your reviews here.

Lewisham Councillors call on Labour to change Pro-Brexit stance

Seventy Labour councillors from Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark, unhappy at Labour's pro-Brexit policies, have written a joint letter to the party's leadership, asking them to change course.

Labour has struggled to spell out its specific position on Brexit and this letter is similarly vague, falling just short of calling for Labour to stop the Brexit process or push for a second referendum. Nor does it say anything about the single market or customs union. All they know is that they are not happy with the direction of travel. quotes signatory James Coldwell of Southwark council as saying:

"Leavers and Remainers alike now see that the reality of Brexit bears almost no resemblance to what voters were sold last year. In changed circumstances, Labour must have the courage to offer voters the chance to say whether they wish to go ahead with Britain’s exit from the EU. Staying silent up to now has damaged the Tories enormously. But if Labour continues to treat Brexit as an exercise in political point-scoring, future generations won’t forgive us."

Midtown elves transform Brockley Road tree

Another Brockley Christmas tree has been given a festive transformation. Its cheerless safety barriers are now beautiful. Thank you to the people who did this.

Ashmead School expansion plans revealed

A visualisation of the Lewisham Way elevation
The application for the expansion of Ashmead School is now available on the Lewisham Council website. The proposal is for:

"Construction of a three storey school building (use class D1) at Lewisham Way frontage of Ashmead Primary School, Ashmead Road SE8, to facilitate an increase from 1 to 2 forms of entry, together with removal of existing front boundary wall, creation of new entrance from Lewisham Way and associated landscaping and fencing and alterations to external play space."

The proposed building is big (doubling the school's capacity to help address the area's desperate need for more places) and the Lewisham Way access will mean the loss of the small area of green space on Lewisham Way. As a consequence of this incursion, The St John's Society is opposing the scheme in its current form. They say:

"As part of the plans to double the size of Ashmead School, the small public park on Lewisham Way shall be absorbed into the main school site and form part of the school’s new Main Entrance on Lewisham Way.

"Concerns about child safety aside, given Lewisham Way is one of the busiest and most polluted red routes in the Borough, should Ashmead become an academy then this land would be privatised and lost from public ownership forever (academy schools can become limited companies, and the Governing Body would then be free to sell this valuable land for any price it wished)."

Local residents have until January 3rd to comment on the plans. Click here to review the application.

Crofton Park Christmas Tree Transformed

Finally, the big society steps up!

After years of suffering under the dead hand of Lewisham Council, which each December provides the good burghers of Crofton Park with a dismal Christmas tree surrounded by Stalinist safety barriers, the citizens have taken matters into their own hands and transformed their tree into something to be proud of.

Joy to the world. Here it is. Well done people. Happy Christmas.

Crofton Park train campaigners aim high

Michael from the Cinderella Line campaign group, which campaigns for better train services through Crofton Park, writes:

Thameslink have proposed to run four trains to Crofton Park every hour at the weekend, which is great, but they are suggesting we'll have to wait until December 2018. Bah! Humbug! We think that's way too long to wait.

In the last round of their consultation, Crofton Park had the highest number of responses, closely followed by Nunhead in third place, and Catford in fifth. Brighton came in sixth and given how much trouble they have had over the last year it just goes to show what a sweet sound our community makes when it comes to singing from the same carol sheet.

But we need to raise our voices one more time while the weekend services are within our grasp.

We have to respond by 20th December so please get your vote in now.

But they want even more! They continue:

A little while ago now, the Cinderella Line campaign and the local community successfully pushed for services into Victoria during morning peak times on a weekday. ​

That's helped curtail a lot of commutes but imagine if Southeastern trains on the Cinderella Line went to Victoria on a weekend too?

You can sign our petition for this change here.

Coming soon: Grounds and Grapes

The store front in HOP
Grounds and Grapes is a new coffee shop and bar that's taking shape in Honor Oak (41 Honor Oak Park). They've been recruiting for a chef and have launched a holding website.

To follow them on Instagram, click here.

Brockley Deli Break-In

The lovely Brockley Deli has suffered an attack this afternoon. So if you were wondering where to buy something nice this evening, you now know where to go.

Brockley Christmas Mystery #1

Mary writes:

I am trying to trace a friend of my mother's, who we last heard of living in Brockley some years ago. My mother is 90 and her friend is Lil (Lilian A) Clarke (nee Champion). I'd love to put the two ladies in touch again for a phone chat, if it is at all possible.

If you are, or have any information about, Lil please email Mary.

Christmas at St Hilda's

St Hilda's Church is on Brockley Road in Crofton Park, just past the Brockley Jack

The Balkanisation of Brockley

The proposed new boundaries
The deadline to participate in the Boundary Commission for England's consultation about Brockley's future place on the electoral map is December 11.

To recap, the proposal is to lump the northern end of Brockley in to a new constituency called Greenwich and Deptford, while Crofton Park becomes part of Dulwich and Sydenham and some other southern scraps of SE4 join Ladywell in Lewisham and Catford.

The Commission has been tasked with reducing the number of London constituencies from 73 to 68 as part of an attempt to slim Parliament down to 600 MPs.

To take part in the consultation, click here.

Chinese culture tasting, December 13

Brexit-proof yourself by learning about Chinese culture at the Goldsmiths Confucius Institute on December 13th. They say:

Are you interested in Chinese Culture? Have you been thinking about trying out Tai Chi, Chinese Dance, Calligraphy or Mandarin?

Goldsmiths Confucius Institute are holding a day of free Chinese Culture taster sessions on the 13th December.

Timetable for the day: 

Tai Chi 10.45-11:30
Calligraphy 12.00-12.45
Tai Chi 14.15-15.00 
Dance for Health & Wellbeing 15.15-16.00
Mandarin Chinese for beginners 16.00-16.45

Further details and tickets available here.

Crofton Park Vinyl

What a record looks like
Will writes:

We are setting up a vinyl record shop in Crofton Park Library. Most of the proceeds will go directly towards funding the running of the library and improvements to it.

We will be working closely with the already established and successful Crofton Books, who are also based at the library

There will always be low priced bargains whenever the library or book shop are open. For more collectible and desirable items, Crofton Park Vinyl will be exclusively staffed at the following times (as of Sunday 10th Dec):
Sundays: 1130-1330
Tuesdays: 1800-1900
Thursdays: 1800-1900

To help get us going we’re looking for vinyl donations. If you have a collection, big or small, that you no longer listen to, please bring it in, or we can come and collect. If you have items that are worth more than a few quid that you wouldn’t just want to part with, then we can sell them on your behalf for a commission, including a library donation.

If you want to know more or are interested in donating please contact me here.

Feral Horses in Deptford Market Yard

Feral Horses is a new art investment company, which allows everyday schlubs to take a punt with relatively small amounts of money.

The London-based fintech firm picks up-and-coming artists and allows its customers to buy and trade shares in their work, getting paid when the art gets rented or sold. They are currently staging an exhibition of some of their new talent in St Paul's House, Deptford Market Yard.

The show is open until December 15th, from 10am-5pm daily.

Shop Small in Brockley

I have recently changed jobs, moving to a new agency, which means lots of new clients I have to remember to disclose if I ever mention them. 

I am currently surrounded by lots of people working diligently to support American Express' Shop Small campaign (tomorrow), which gives Amex card holders £5 credit when they spend £10 in a small business. 

There are lots of participating local businesses, including the Brockley Mess, Brown's of Brockley, Meze Mangal, The Gantry and Aladdin's Cave. 

The offer starts tomorrow with Small Business Saturday and runs through to December 17th. To learn more about Shop Small and see the interactive map of participating businesses, click here.

Police seek South London sex attacker caught on Brockley CCTV

The police are asking for the public to help identifying a serial sex attacker, who was caught on CCTV in Brockley following an attack on a 15-year-old girl. The BBC reports:

CCTV footage has been released of a man police want to speak to about 25 sexual assaults of women and children.

The Metropolitan Police believe the offences, which have taken place across five London boroughs, were carried out by the same suspect.

The victims, aged between eight and 35, were attacked in daylight, usually during morning and evening rush hours. The assaults, in which victims were indecently grabbed, occurred between 16 October 2016 and 22 November 2017.

The force found CCTV footage from the latest attack in which a 15-year-old girl was assaulted in Brockley, south London, just after 08:30 GMT.

It shows the man police would like to speak to as part of their investigation. He is described as a white man, aged in his 40s, with blue eyes.

Out of the 25 females assaulted, 16 were young children. The other victims were aged between 16 and 35.

The offences were mainly carried out in the Lewisham and Greenwich areas, but police have received reports of similar attacks in Southwark, Bromley and Bexley.

Det Ch Insp Andrew Furphy, leading the investigation, said: "The offences have been traumatic for the victims, who have been young females going about their daily lives.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police have increased patrols in the areas where offences have been reported, and the force said it was working with local schools to reassure pupils and parents.

Click here to see the full video.


Lewisham is bidding to host London's new Borough of Culture festival. Two winners will receive £1m from the Mayor of London to stage events in 2019 and 2020.

Ladywell cartoonist Martin Rowson has produced this artwork to back the bid, which you can support here and by using the hashtag #LoveItLEWISHAM

Browns Doubles Down

Browns of Brockley has always been too popular for its tiny footprint, so the news that it is expanding in to the vacant Speedicars office is an early Christmas present for dedicated Brownies.

The team confirm that they inked the deal a week ago and will soon be expanding, giving them more space and flexibility in terms of the menu.

Ladywell to Victoria trains from 2022

The excellent 853 blog reports that Blackheath's loss will be Ladywell's gain:

Blackheath, Kidbrooke and Eltham stations are set to lose their direct rail services to Victoria from December 2022, according to new documents issued by the Department for Transport today.
But Bexleyheath line passengers will be able to take twice as many trains from Lewisham to Victoria, lessening the pain for passengers who complained about the possibility of losing the link.

The current Victoria services will be switched to the Sidcup line, while half the trains that currently run from Hayes via Catford Bridge to Charing Cross will now run to Lewisham, Nunhead, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill and Victoria.

This brings direct trains to Victoria from stations such as Hither Green, Lee, Mottingham and New Eltham; as well as Ladywell and Lower Sydenham.

Full details here.

With thanks to Joe for the spot.

Jam Circus flats refused

A proposal to build three flats to the rear of Jam Circus has been rejected by the Council on the basis of poor quality and an overbearing design. The plan was for:

The change of use and conversion of the existing shop together with demolition of the existing single storey structures and the construction of a two storey building to the rear of 330-334 Brockley Road SE4 fronting Beecroft Lane to provide 3 x one person one bedroom self-contained flats.

The development would not have directly compromised Jam Circus, but any residential development that encroaches on a pub is always cause for concern on the basis that future residents may find grounds to complain about people having fun outside their windows, even if the revelry was there first. is a new Brockley-based retail business, operating from Breakspears Road and specialising in vintage plant pots from the 1960s and 1970s. Founders James and Eleanor say:

"We fell in love with West German planters of the 1960s and 1970s (as well as similar styles produced in East Germany, the Netherlands and Italy). Plant pots produced in this period include a myriad of styles, colours and textures that can make even the most familiar plant look fantastic and also add a level of design and craftsmanship that is hard to find in a modern product.

"We started off selling at local vintage fairs (such as Peckham Salvage Yard and So Last Century in Catford) and got a really great response which encouraged us to invest in the website and we now do nearly all of our trade online."

Visit their website or their Instagram feed.

Future sound of Deptford

Deptford bar Buster Mantis has launched a new regular Wednesday night 'exploration of Afrofuturism in sound' called Steam Down. Check it out:

Parlez Christmas, December 9th

Coulgate Street newcomer Parlez is entering into the festive spirit on the day of the Brockley Christmas Market, with an evening of live music and a Santa's Grotto.

New Cross Night Tube debuts in December

TfL has announced that its successful Night Tube service will be extended to the East London Line between Dalston and New Cross Gate on Friday and Saturday nights, starting on December 15th. The plans were first revealed in July.

The service will allow people to travel throughout the night and connect with the equivalent Jubilee Line service at Canada Water.

The service will be extended to Highbury & Islington next year.

House of Nomads Christmas Sale, December 2-3

Carolina and Makiko write:

We are "House of Nomads", popup lifestyle shop based in Brockley, offering household products we hand picked from Japan and Asia. Since 2014 we have organised a few private sales andwe are returning on 2 and 3 Dec with more items we picked from our recent trips to Asia.

Expect pottery, kitchenware, bath linens, household items, stationaries, children's toys and more... Please come and find utterly unique Christmas gifts for everyone.

Suttons Radio opening November 23

Suttons Radio (139-141 Lewisham High Street) is the new sister bar of Jam Circus. Operated by pub group Antic, it replaces the Ravensbourne Arms, which closed last year, giving them a more central toehold in Lewisham.

The Ladywell Christmas Market 2017

El writes:

Join us for a day of superb shopping, fabulous food and energetic entertainment at the Ladywell Christmas Market!

We’ve got a whole host of fantastic stalls lined up, with prefect presents and gourmet gifts for friends and family. Local designers, marker, artists and craftspeople will be showing off their talent and selling their wares at the market. Offerings include jewellery, home-wares, ceramics, textiles, handmade toiletries, art and prints. We’ll also have stalls selling Christmas wreaths, decorations and cards for that truly festive feeling.

And for the person that has everything – treat them to a gourmet gift! From chocolates to cheese, the choicest chutneys and divine Italian produce, you’ll be sure to find a favourite to suit. You won't go hungry at the market – we’ll have hot Caribbean grills and Middle Eastern mezes for sale, plus three local cafรฉs and a deli - there’s a range of food and drink to suit all tastes.

As usual, Santa will be paying a visit to his grotto at Honeybourne’s on the day of the market. Each child gets a 15 minute visit to Santa and a specially chosen gift. Tickets are £12.50 and must be booked in advance. Email or pop into the shop. And NEW for this year, there’ll be Christmas wreath-making workshops at the Ladywell Tavern at 1pm & 3.30pm. To book email

To keep you entertained we have St Mary’s Choir and Dacre Women’s Morris during the day and in the evening, the festive fun continues at the Ladywell Christmas Market After Party with live music at the Ladywell Tavern. Come down and join us for the raffle draw at 7.30pm, Joel Bullen and Friends at 7.45pm and dancing ‘til late.

We can’t wait for you to join us for a day of festive fun!

Ladywell Christmas Market takes place in the centre of Ladywell – 10am to 4pm on Saturday 2nd December.

Ladywell Christmas Market is very generously sponsored by Sebastian Roche estate agents.

Curzon plan picked for Ladywell Playtower

The Curzon proposal
The Mayor of Lewisham has selected Curzon cinemas as the Council's preferred bidder for the redevelopment of Ladywell Playtower.

Of the four proposals shortlisted to restore the derelict building, the Curzon plan was ranked joint-first  by Council officers alongside a rival cinema scheme from Picturehouse, and came second to the Picturehouse plan in the public consultation. A petition against Picturehouse gained momentum in recent days, due to the pay and conditions offered to the parent group's workers.
The Curzon scheme was produced in partnership with developers Guildmore and will include "a mix of residential, nursery and supported living uses across the remainder of the site."

The result is a fantastic turnaround in the fortunes of the building - which once looked doomed - and great news for Ladywell as a destination.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, November 24

The New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival team writes:

Calling all Rocky virgins and committed fans: The campest of cult classics is coming to church.

The screening will take place in the gorgeously gothic atmosphere of St Nicholas Church, Deptford.

An adventure of love, hate, seduction and garter-belts follows. Will our young love-birds survive with their integrity intact?

All profits will benefit the 2018 festival.

Extravaganza begins: 7.00PM. Film starts: 8.00PM

Click here for tickets.

Game & Curry

Picturehouse tops Playtower poll

The people have spoken - and they demand a cinema.

On November 15th, the Mayor of Lewisham will meet with his cabinet to discuss the four bids to redevelop the Ladywell Playtower.

Two cinema chains (Picturehouse and Curzon), a property consortium (RJK Properties / Copeland Park and Hillman) and Goldsmiths College have submitted plans.

A public consultation has been running since the summer and, when asked, the public chose fun. In the public vote, the Picturehouse bid (below) came first, followed by Curzon, RJK and Goldsmiths.

Picturehouse wants to develop a 5-screen, 620 seat cinema, with cafรฉ and bar space. The main cinema space would be included within the existing fabric of the pool hall while a two-storey building would be built to the rear of the building to accommodate four more screens.  Curzon offers two fewer screens but includes a residential component.

In the public feedback, Goldsmiths' proposal was not deemed to offer enough benefit to the wider community, while the RJK 'cultural quarter' left people wondering what it was supposed to be or how it would be delivered.

Any of the bids would deliver a boost for the area and breathe welcome new life into an important building, but the Picturehouse bid would be transformative for Ladywell.

Thanks to Ladywell Paul for the prompt.

The Brockley Christmas Market, December 9, 2017

The Brockley Christmas Market will be the biggest ever. The full quota of 65 stalls is now taken, Santa and the Christmas Fairy are booked and the playlist has been chosen. All that remains is for you all to come.

The Aviva Community Fund: Vote for Marnock Road community garden

The Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park Neighbourhood Forum is fundraising to improve the public garden in Marnock Road (Crofton Park). Member Kay writes:

We have big plans for the Railway Garden and need your help to make them a reality! Firstly, we'd like to thank all those who voted for the project at the Crofton Park Ward Assembly. We succeeded in getting the grant! This will help with our continued efforts to make small improvements.

We want this little green space to be a local resource for everyone to use and to realise this vision, we have estimated works of about £100k. This will deliver:

- a new accessible entrance with a ramp down to the garden
- accessible pathways
- new planting areas
- removal of more rubbish
- increasing the biodiversity on site
- improving our mini woodland area for outdoor learning

To achieve this goal, the team have been hard at work applying for funding and seeking match funding, including bidding for £25,000 via the Aviva Community Fund. We would be grateful for readers' votes in support of our bid.

Please sign-up to vote here.

Creative writing classes new and old

Another opportunity for Brockley writers to hone their skills... David Bottomley writes:

This will be my eighth season of running the Jack Writers Workshop At the Brockley Jack Theatre and this year we have designed a brand new course for playwrights and those wishing to try their hand at writing for the stage. We are now taking applications to join the group.

I have also decided to launch a series of new creative writing workshops at the Brockley Art House where I run monthly open art salons exhibiting the work of London artists and a unique selection of vintage, antique art and collectables.

The writing workshops are starting fortnightly on Wednesday evenings 7.30pm- 9.30pm and Saturday afternoons 1pm – 3pm for intimate groups of people wanting to find the time and impetus to write this winter.

Again, although writing is a solitary pursuit, it is far nicer shared with a small group of like minded individuals to compare notes and progress through different exercises.

With a bottle of wine to share on Wednesdays or afternoon tea on Saturday afternoons the idea is to keep a social and relaxing atmosphere whilst also encouraging a rapid response of writing to a number of given exercises to kick start those who may have come to an impasse with their writing or just wanting to find new ways into creative writing.

For more details and to book your place- as there are only seven places on each workshop please click on the link.

St John's CPZ causes knock-on problems

With grim inevitability, residents just outside the new CPZ in St John's are now complaining that it is having a knock-on effect on their streets. James writes:

"New parking restrictions in St. John’s causing a nightmare for us residents at the north end of Wickham, Breakspears etc... I literally see cars stalking down the road each morning until they finally find a spot to park."

In the long-run, if St John's ceases to be a convenient place for lazy drivers to park and ride into central London, then it may mean fewer journeys on our roads as out-of-towners give up and move further up the line and locals learn to walk to the station. Or the problem may become a permanent side-effect for people on the perimeter. Either way, it is not clear whether the CPZ is a net benefit to the area.

What are your experiences? And do you agree with James, who suggests:

"Unfortunately seems the only answer for our roads now is further residents parking restrictions."

The Brockley Festival of Ideas for Change 2017, November 19


Lewisham Southwark College, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT.  

The festival is back for its second year, with speakers including nailed-on new Lewisham Mayor Damian Egan, Andrew Mitchell from outstanding local homeless charity 999 Club, Battle of Lewisham academic Dr John Price, food futurist Rosie Boycott, boxing coach Jon McKenna, agricultural economist James Skinner and reparations scholar / activist Esther Stanford-Xosei.
Organisers BrocSoc explain:

Last year’s very successful event had 250 people attending, almost all local. We have planned this year’s event to enable more time for discussion by continuing the sessions in break-out rooms. We will also have films and audio recordings in another room and an Ideas Cafe for informal discussions. We have five themes:
  • Battle of Lewisham - 40 years later
  • Housing, Homelessness and Inequality
  • Debt, Money and Exploitation
  • Food and the Environment
  • From Ideas to Action
The agenda will be on our website this weekend, as soon as we have finalised our exciting range of nearly 30 speakers. Please register online to reserve your FREE place: or directly from 

We will welcome donations from those who can afford it as the event is self-funded. Tea and coffee will free, with affordable food at lunchtime, or you can bring your own. 

Doors open at 9.30am for registration and coffee before the 10am start. 

We look forward to welcoming you to this stimulating event which we believe will contribute to actions for change. 

Coming soon: Mamma Dough Ladywell

After months of speculation, Honor Oak sourdough specialists Mama Dough have confirmed they will be coming to Ladywell. A great result for the high street, which caters well for daytime punters, but is short of evening options.

Luxmore Gardens spring bulb planting

The nicening of Luxmore Gardens continues. Be a part of it.

Number 50 Friendly Street, Friendly Street

Exit Swiftkill, enter Number 50 Friendly Street. Opening next week, the replacement for the pest control office promises to be a classic cafe, with plenty of tea and cake.

St John's is a relatively untapped market and this spot, overlooking a park and just up the road from a primary school, is a promising location, with little nearby competition for nice places to sit.

Horniman crowdfunds a World Gallery

There was not a country in the world that had not fought a battle in the war of all Earth against the invaders from Mars. All was forgiven. All living things were brothers, and all dead things were even more so.
- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

Shut Kwan from the Horniman Museum writes:

Some of you may have noticed that the Horniman Museum and Gardens is crowdfunding for a new World Gallery, celebrating what it means to be human.

From personalised poems by the Horniman walrus to private tours of the new gallery, a range of fantastic rewards are available for your support at There are just 7 days remaining for you to pledge your support - the campaign ends on 7 November, so don’t delay!

The World Gallery will include more than 3,000 objects from around the world, works of art and fun things to touch, play with and even smell. The World Gallery will be a place of inspiration for visitors of all ages and will promote tolerance, respect and empathy. It is due to open in June 2018.

Please share the link with all your friends, family, neighbours and everyone you know who loves the Horniman, and help them reach their target of £30,000 in the last few days of the campaign.

The Telegraph Hill Pantomime, Dec 1-3

It says "bee" and it has a picture of a bee on it

This rather literal piece needs to be captured and added to Brockley's ever-growing street art compendium. Beelashfull is on Lewisham Way.

Gin and Beer, Deptford

Gin and Beer is the new neighbour for Buster Mantis, underneath the arches on Resolution Way. As the name suggests, Gin and Beer is what they sell. Don't embarrass yourself by asking for something else, unless it's a mocktail.

Happily, within that limited palette, they manage to conjure enormous variety, thanks to their ambitious cocktail menu. Of the two ingredients, gin appears to be their real passion. They are as pleased as punch while talking about their Halloween special and the week-long process they went through to create it.

Last night, the atmosphere was warm and relaxed, but there is now a string of bars along the route of the railway track between Buster Mantis and Little Nan's, with the Job Centre a stone's throw away. It will not be long before queues start forming in Deptford.

Follow them on Twitter here.

Brickfields brunch begins

Mo Pho No Mo

I'm always reluctant to pronounce the death of a local business, in case it turns out that they are just resting.

However, Coulgate Street's Vietnamese micro restaurant Mo Pho has been closed for months, since it declared on Twitter in July that, due to unforeseen circumstances they were closing. Now, their neighbours at Nu Spice have said that they believe the closure is permanent. So I'm calling it: For all practical intents and purposes, Mo Pho has closed.

It would be more of a tragedy if it weren't for the recent arrival of Vietnamese cafe Bite Mi at Brockley Cross. However, Mo Pho has been a quality stalwart for many years and is a big loss to the area.

BMW flips on St Asaph Road

The News Shopper reports:

"A man had to be cut free from a BMW after a car being chased by an unmarked police car crashed into it in Brockley.

"Police said officers chased a Mini Cooper from Pomeroy Street to St Asaph Road shortly before noon yesterday (October 25) after it failed to stop when it was flagged down.

"As the car reached the junction with Avignon Road, the Mini collided with a BMW, flipping the BMW onto its roof outside a St Asaph Food and Wine convenience store, according to police."

The Mini driver was arrested and the BMW occupants taken to hospital.

Click here for the full report, including photos. Thanks to Monkeyboy for the heads up.

Free Healthy Cooking Classes in Brockley

Community interest company Pulse is running more free cookery classes for local residents, funded by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

The classes will run on November 8, 14, 22 and 29 and on December 6 at St Andrew’s Church Hall, Brockley Road.

To find out more or to put your name on the waiting list, please contact Naomi from Pulse CIC on 07714 770 522, or drop in to the Pinnacle PSG office at 111 Endwell St, SE42PE.

The free classes are designed to encourage residents to take enjoyment in making fresh, healthy, good value food.  Meals taught range from jerk chicken, mackerel fish cakes, asparagus and spinach frittata, homemade muesli and wholemeal chapattis.

Participants also learn how to read food labels, identify what makes a healthy meal and find cheap, fresh fruit and vegetables in local markets. And make friends in the process.

So don't eat yourself into a lifetime of dependence on health and social care, cook something good!

Deptford Esquire, 29 Deptford High Street

Pakistani pop-up, Deptford Esquire is now open. A collaboration between two of our finest local businesses, Masala Wala and Little Nan's, it will be serving craft beer, Pakistani curries, cocktails and small plates every Friday and Saturday till Christmas 5-11pm.

Happy Mondays special in support of the Lewisham Food Bank

On November 13th, at the Amersham Arms, legendary local comedy night Happy Mondays will throw a special event in support of local charity the Lewisham Food Bank.

MC'd by co-founder Holly Walsh, the guests will include Jeremy Hardy, Tom Allen and actor Dave Johns ('I, Daniel Blake').

100% of the profits will go to the charity. For details and tickets, click here.

Philosophy taster sessions at the Granville Park Centre Open Day, November 30

The Granville Park Centre is an adult learning institution in Lewisham that offers over 700 part time courses, with the new term starting in January 2018.

The team is hosting an open day on November 30th (1-7pm), including philosophy taster sessions with the London School of Philosophy and a showcase from the Lewisham School of Arts and Design. They say:

"Come and talk to subject specialists about our courses, take a tour of our creative spaces, take part in free taster sessions and enrol for courses starting in January 2018."

"The Lewisham School of Arts and Design brings together a group of designers and artists, including experts in upholstery, jewellery, prints, textiles and glass. The hour-long London School of Philosophy taster sessions will help you develop your critical thinking skills and learn about the fundamentals of philosophy."

For full details about adult learning in Lewisham, click here.

Brockley mustard

Local food entrepreneur Julien is starting a mustard business, but before he takes the plunge, he thought it wise to see whether people like mustard. He writes:

"I used to make Cocospice, a Sri Lankan inspired dry sauce that our friends at the Larder and Jones of Brockley used to sell.

"Now, I am setting up a new business to make mustard, having lived in Dijon 4 years and being from the nearby region. I already have an artisan to make a Dijon mustard in Dijon and I am also working to get something going in Tewkesbery, where mustard truly originates in England.

"In order to try and do this as successfully as possible, I am running a little survey that I was hoping BCers could complete. It is just for me to start getting an understanding of who actually eats mustard, and what do people do with it.

"The link to the survey is here."

Ashmead School plans Lewisham Way expansion

As the squeeze on local school places continues, Ashmead Primary School is planning to expand. Rachel sends us this picture and writes:

"I've just returned from a consultation at Ashmead School on their proposed development and extension of the site, which would open it up onto Lewisham Way, opposite the college. It would mean modern four storey building being built in the St Johns conservation area.

"It would be great to see reader opinion in the area of the proposals. The plans will go to public consultation in the next couple of weeks."

TfL works out how to add 4 trains per hour to East London Line peak

A new strategy paper from TfL reports that increasing the capacity of the East London Line will be cheaper, easier and faster than previously expected, allowing them to reduce peak time overcrowding. London Reconnections reports:

In the case of the ELL, it has become possible to increase the frequency by removing signalling constraints long before anyone imagined it would have happened and at little, or no, cost to TfL.

To quote the paper:

"In the 2016 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced a £450m Digital Railway fund for trialling digital signalling technology, expanding capacity, and improving reliability. The strategic outline business case for the ELL 20 trains per hour project has been shortlisted to receive funding from this fund. Funding of £6m has been received to develop the project to outline business case but a final decision is not expected until spring 2018."

So an unexpected opportunity has arisen to both buy trains at a cheaper price than they would otherwise cost and to have the ELL signalling upgraded at no cost to TfL. Despite TfL being strapped for cash, it must be hard to resist such an opportunity. Indeed, one could even argue that because TfL is strapped for cash it is even more important to take advantage of such an opportunity while it exists.

The ELL is well-known for operating at capacity at certain times of the day. Of particular concern are stations such as Honor Oak Park in the morning peak, where passengers cannot always board the first Overground train that arrives.

For many years there has been talk of running an extra 2tph ‘pixie busters’ (‘Passengers In eXcess of Capacity’, or PIXC to its friends) on the Crystal Palace branch in the peak period. Indeed it is a bit of a mystery why this hasn’t already happened, as the trains are available (they are currently designated as ‘hot standbys’). The main reason for this not taking place seems to be the issues at London Bridge during its redevelopment...

We can fairly safely conclude that the proposal is for the service to be increased to 6pth on both the Crystal Palace and the Clapham Junction branch. At Crystal Palace, where there are two dedicated terminating platforms available, we can be confident that the terminus can handle the increase in services.

There is much more extensive analysis here. Thanks to Richard for the spot.

Clement & Black, October 26

Meet Jo Black & Will Clement
Clement & Black is a local wine tasting company that celebrates its first birthday today.

Based in Honor Oak, Will Clement & Jo Black organise wine tasting evenings in the Greater Brockley area, with their next event taking place at Honor Oak cafe Two Spoons on October 26th. They say:

"Two Spoons maestro Luca will kick us off in authentic Italian style with seasonal cocktails. Then we'll taste 8 beautiful wines along with some lovely food, plus our favourite single estate olive oil."

To get tickets, click here.

Mouse Tail, Deptford

Another local archway-dwelling venue, Mouse Tail is the newish coffee shop underneath Deptford Station (Archway 3).

A cosier version of Peckham's Blackbird Bakery, its chocolate-block walls cocoon customers in a woozy half-light - you will need the coffee just to stay awake.

The Nunhead Gardener, Nunhead

The Nunhead Gardener (1a Oakdale Road) is a charming gardening shop tucked under an archway next to Nunhead Station.

Although it doesn't have the floorspace to compete with larger garden centres for equipment, trees and larger plants, it offers a beautiful range of plants and pots for window boxes, borders and around the home.

Yule not enjoy the Christmas train service

Joe pointed me in the direction of this announcement about local trains over the Christmas period:

This Christmas, between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive, there will be closures and changes to services as the Thameslink Programme continues to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway.

During this time there will be fewer trains into London and your journey will take longer, especially during the three working days (27th -29th December) From Saturday 23 December until Monday 1 January 2018, there will be changes to rail services across London and the south-east while Network Rail continues to transform north-south travel through London as part of the Thameslink Programme.

Southeastern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern services will all be affected as well as other train operators, with no National Rail services running on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Southeastern services will not run to or from Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, New Cross and St Johns for the entire period of 23 December to 1 January.

Thameslink services will not run through central London. Trains will be terminating at Blackfriars, Victoria or London Bridge (from the south) and St Pancras International (from the north) from 23 December to 1 January.

A reduced Southern service will operate to and from London Bridge from 23 December to 1 January.

Heat Massage, 315a Brockley Road

Heat Massage is a new massage therapy room, in Heat salon on Brockley Road. Prices start from £25 for 30 minutes (or £20 for baby massage).

For details, click here.

The Brockley Christmas Market 2017

Last month, I ran into one of the members of the Brockley Cross Action Group, who had moved away from the area, realised the terrible mistake he'd made, and moved back. He was busy weeding and trimming the plants in the Brockley Station garden, which the group created.

The garden and the wider Coulgate Street masterplan they championed helped to unlock the wider improvements around the east side of the station and have produced the town centre that this part of Brockley had always lacked.

This group - along with many others like it - form the vibrant civil society that has shaped Brockley's development over the last decade. We are lucky to have them. Soon, they will be going on a recruitment drive for new members, but for now, they want you to know about the Christmas Market they will be holding in December. Rupert writes:

"The Brockley Cross Action Group is once again organising the Brockley Community Christmas Market, which this year will be held on Saturday 9th December from 12pm (in Coulgate Street by Brockley Station).

"As in previous years we intend to have up to 60 stalls along the street selling a wide range of arts & crafts items, festive gifts and food. There will be festive activities and live music all afternoon.

"We are looking for local volunteers to help set up and run the market on the day! Tasks include setting up the market in the morning, putting the stall lights up, looking after the stallholders, running the BXAG mulled wine stall (to raise money for community activities) and tidying up at the end of the day.

"If you would like to help us run this wonderful and well established community event please get in touch at Thank you!

"If you would like a stall at the market please contact Erin Essex ( to obtain an application form."

The Jam Circus Relaunch Weekend

The Lost Boys at The Brookmill

Cycle Superhighway consultation for Greenwich and Deptford

In a reminder that they do more than just protect cab drivers at the public's expense, TfL has launched a public consultation about its proposed new cycle superhighway from Creek Road in Greenwich to Tower Bridge.

The scheme would include stretches of two-way segregated cycle track on Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Evelyn Street and Creek Road, providing a dedicated space for cyclists. 

The ride through Deptford and Surrey Quays in particular can be pretty hairy, so this is very welcome. Next we need the Old Kent Road and New Cross to get some help.

To participate in the consultation, which closes on November 19th, click here.

AFC Lewisham

AFC Lewisham is a Charter Standard football club based in Ladywell. Formed in 2012, it is a Sunday youth football club providing playing opportunities for local children. They are looking for more players. Chris writes:

My son has recently joined AFC Lewsiham Under 7’s football team, and we need a 2/3 more players for a good squad.  It a lovely well run club with training on a Thursday in Ladywell and matches on a Sunday in and around south east london.  We're looking for 2/3 6 or 7 year olds in Year 2 of school to join.

For any more information the website is and the contact person is Josephine at or text or phone on 07592 728437.

Brockley the muse

In a new interview for Music OMH, Brockley-based journalist Michael Hubbard has pinned down musician Nick Nicely to ask him about the inspiration behind his song Hilly Fields. He reveals:

"I lived by Hilly Fields in Brockley. It looks out over both London and Kent. We were often up there in psychedelic reveries. It has a stone circle. Brockley has a perfect 19th Century atmosphere, a Conservation area filled with Victoriana in gardens and buildings. Very inspiring."

Switching media, resident Katy Cooper is half-way through her mission to take a picture of Brockley every day for 365 days. In a recent blog about the project, she explains:

"Six months ago today, I was reading on Next City’s website about Chuck Wolf’s book, ‘Seeing the Better City’, which exhorts us to use our cameras to keep an urban diary as a de facto planning tool – and I realised I don’t really know that much about my neighbourhood: Brockley, South-East London.

"Despite moving in 17 years ago (before the arrival of much-improved transport links and much-inflated house prices), I tend to rattle about in the same few streets, the same few cafรฉs and the same park: I needed a reason to expand my horizons. So, I’m doing a photography* project, taking a photo a day from Brockley for a whole year and posting it on Twitter (@healthkaty) at #brockley365."

Outdoor classroom fundraiser

The Friends of Frendsbury Garden, in west Brockley, have launched a fundraiser, which ends this evening, to support the development of an outdoor classroom in the park. They write:

"Frendsbury Gardens is an inner city community garden located within Brockley. To ensure the diverse community can be use the garden all year around we want an outdoor space that could be used for gardening in the rain, chilling with friends or as a performance space.

"We want it have lots of bright colour so that the educational space is both functional in keeping people dry but is a piece of art in of itself. The timber deck is shaped like a leaf and is made from recycled materials. The classroom is designed to be quick, cheap & easy to construct by volunteers, and it aims to inspire those who build and use it."

To support the project, click here.

Write & Shine

Gemma writes:

Join us for a Write & Shine morning writing workshop in Brockley on 26 September (8.45am-10.15am). £15 including a lovely hot drink!

We'll meet at Pistachios in the Park in Hilly Fields. It's a beautiful spot for a couple of hours writing, with good coffee, fine cakes & floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the park glowing in the autumn morning.

Click here for more details.

Coming soon: Deptford Esquire

Deptford Esquire is a pop-up Pakistani restaurant and micropub, running from October to December. No details yet, but follow them for news.

The Cost of Living at The Copper Tea

The Copper Tea cafe (137 Lewisham Way) is hosting a special art exhibition (Fri 22/09/17 – Sun 01/10/17) called The Cost of Living, by the contemporary artist Alma Tischler Wood, who has been supported by The Arts Council England, The Goethe Institute and Council Gรฉnรฉral de l'Oise during her career.

The event is part of the Deptford X Fringe.

Labour Brockley ward organiser resigns

Labour selects Egan for Lewisham Mayor

Ladies and gentlemen, your new Mayor will be Damien Egan. Young, socially-savvy and idealistic, Egan will represent a major change in style - and possibly substance - with the outgoing Mayor Bullock.

Five to Rule Them All: Labour members choose our Mayor

Heavy is the head that wears the crown
The election that will determine the next Mayor of Lewisham has entered its final leg.

Five Labour candidates are currently vying for their party's nomination, which will guarantee that they replace Mayor Bullock when he stands down at the end of this term. Voting closes on September 19th.

Although it is frustrating that a relatively small number of party members will determine who will occupy the most powerful role in Council, the candidates have at least been actively campaigning beyond local hustings, so we can all see what they stand for.

Labour's insurmountable lead in Lewisham means there is little point campaigning on the centre ground. References to socialism and unions abound in their campaign literature and it is fairly hard to spot the differences in their policy positions and priorities.

Housing tops their manifestos, they all oppose outsourcing health services to the private sector (see the interesting Save Lewisham Hospital campaign Q&A) and they all want living wage policies to be expanded.

While the policies are similar, the characters are not. So here is the roster that Labour members have been choosing from:

Paul Bell - The Radical

A familiar name for regular readers of Brockley Central, the Telegraph Hill Councillor has been an active contributor to the site for many years, most recently using it as a platform to campaign on the service provided by housing associations. He also wound-up the local Remain lobby by not being sufficiently upset about the referendum result.

Currently a national officer for UNISON, he pledges a 'radical socialist' set of policies, an 'interventionist' approach to the local education system and has promised reform of the Mayoral system if he is elected.

Website here

Brenda Dacres - The Includer

Brenda is a New Cross councillor and a prominent campaigner, who opposed the cuts to Lewisham Hospital and encouraged the Council to return the blessed Deptford Anchor.

Brenda majors on the principle of 'inclusive politics', including a bigger role for unions (she's a Unite member) in the decision making process.

Website here

Damien Egan - The Metropolitan

Union employee Damien pitches himself as the 'pro-EU, pro-migrant' candidate. He wants to expand refugee support and puts more emphasis on environmental measures than his rivals.

Egan also broke ranks to withdraw his support for the Millwall regeneration scheme after Alan Hall's scrutiny revealed grounds for concern.

Website here

Alan Hall - The Statesman

A senior figure within the Council, Alan pitches himself as the experienced statesman - a continuity candidate who was sufficiently independent to hold the Council to account over its plans for the compulsory purchase of land around Millwall's stadium. He really wants to protect Lewisham's post office services.

'Ambition' has traditionally been a dirty word in Lewisham politics but he places greater emphasis on local regeneration and aspiration than his rivals.

Website here

Paul Maslin - The Maverick

Deptford gallery owner Paul is the outlier. He eschews a 'triumph over adversity' personal narrative. He likes to write lengthy articles on his blog (rarely a winning strategy) and is willing to give answers that may not be popular (see his answer to the question about Forest Hill School, here).

Maslin supported the Council's regeration scheme for Millwall. He avoids describing himself as a socialist and he believes the Council has a duty to fall into line with national Labour Party policy by implementing local cuts.

Website here

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