The Catford Bridge Tavern reopens

After being ravaged by fire in 2015, the Catford Bridge Tavern has reopened. The pub is a local institution that endured a turbulent few years and many feared it would never reopen, so this is very welcome news.

Free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - show your support on April 2nd

On April 2nd, in Hilly Fields, a special rally will be held to protest the imprisonment of former Brockley resident Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe at the hands of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Clare Cowan of the Brockley Society writes:

3rd April 2016: My friend, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was detained by Iranian Revolutionary Guardsat Tehran airport on herway home to the UK after visiting her parents. She has been sentenced to five years in jail on unstated‘national security’ charges. Her two-year-old daughter, Gabriella is stranded in Iran with her grandparents. Her husband Richard is in London, campaigning for her release. Neither can witness their daughter growing up.

The beginning of spring is marked in Iran with New Year celebrations, called Nowruz. It has been sombre for this family. Nazanin is allowed to see her daughter only occasionally.

Richard writes: ‘One day it will be time to heal, to rediscover being normal. If you had one day of freedom –what would you do to enjoy and catch up with living again? What adventures can your children suggest? Not grand ideas, but ordinary ones.’

On Sunday 2 April at 10am or 12 noon or 3pm —or any time you can manage –come to Hilly Fields, Brockley, to the tennis court fence opposite Pistachio’s café. Bring colourful ribbons or labels, or use some of ours to tie messages on the tennis court.

Through the messages and photos, one day Nazanin, Gabriella and Richard will know about the love and support so many people feel for them. Nazanin lived in Tyrwhitt Road with us from 2006 to 2009. Some of you knew her and neighbours frequently ask me about her. You can read more information and Richard’s updates here.

Blight rider

Perhaps naively, I assumed that if a bellend drives a car into a tree and abandons it in the middle of the pavement in one of Brockley's main thoroughfares, that the car would be removed within days, perhaps hours. Instead, this car has been left in Brockley Cross for weeks, for the community to work around.

It's not as though the authorities are unaware of the wreck - the signs are an attempt to sweep the issue under a civic rug.

If CSI Lewisham still needs to run the black light over this one, please can they hurry up - or otherwise move this thing.

- Lewisham police would like to make it clear that abandoned vehicles are the responsibility of Lewisham Council.

Mast of the Phantasm

Nigel writes:

A huge mobile phone transmitter has appeared on top of the council block at the corner of Pendrell Road and Wallbutton Road.

This block has a permanently leaky roof, but the council has seen fit to add to their plight by allowing Vodafone to build a massive scary transmitter on their roof without any form of consultation. They complained to their local counsellor Luke Sorba, who assured them that this was legal. We don't believe it's 'right' though.

So there is this petition, which has just started [BC: And which evokes the phantasm of radiation], with the aim of persuading the Council to remove it.

The People vs Lewisham Way

The Joy of Lewisham Way

This Banksyism was captured by BCer Faith.

Anchor's return

Last night, Lewisham Council agreed to return the legendary Deptford Anchor to its historic home on Deptford High Street. Details TBC.

The Council report noted that the anchor is in good health, although suffering from a light rusting.

Welcome to Ladywell

The Ladywell Street Art design for the Ellerdale Street Bridge, kindly funded by Lewisham Council through the Ladywell Assembly, has now been approved by Network Rail and the work will take place next week (27/03/17 - 31/03/17).

The Bread Collective has said they would love the local community to get involved  to help with prep and the base coat so if you would like to help please come along on the 27th March.  Please share pictures of you helping  with me on Twitter (@JosephJODonnell) using the hashtag #LadywellStreetart

The final design has been refined following comments at the previous Ladywell Assembly asking for a more neutral calming colours.

Many thanks for all those who voted for us to get funding. Information on the bread collective is here.

Two fundraisers

Two local fundraising projects to tell you about...

Leaf & Groove

Leaf & Groove will take a long-disused shop space in Forest Hill and turn it into something wonderful. A second hand bookshop of distinction, also selling vinyl, donating profits to the community library scheme. Not only that, but also an underground lounge space for secret meetings & speakeasies; robotic engineering & art lessons; a writing group & a gin club; board games & tai chi – unbounded possibilities.

This shop has been empty for 6 years, everyone is keen to see it turned into something useful, rather than yet another estate agent or bookies. Libraries are inundated with book donations, not all capable of fitting on their shelves. But from their sale great things can be done: more shelves bought & books to fill them, more events for children, senior citizens and those on the fringes of our society that visit daily. Then there is the lounge, large enough for 30, a new home for cultural activities, creativity and learning new skills.

Click here to donate at their Spacehive page.

Ladywell & Dubai

Nicola writes:

A group of eleven girls from Ladywell Gymnastics Club have been invited to compete in the Dubai International Gymnastics Competition in April 2017. The girls are in the Elite Gymnasts section at their club and train for around 20 hours a week to be able to compete at this level. They compete regularly nationally, but this is the furthest they have travelled to compete. To help with the huge cost of taking the team and their coaches to Dubai, we have set up a Crowdfunder site to support them get to Dubai.
The club itself has a long history of being part of the Lewisham community and the girls are local to the area, with many of them living in Brockley and Ladywell. The club itself was located in the Ladywell Baths for many years until they were forced to move due to the state of the building.

We are raising money through Crowdfunder to help the team get to Dubai, which involves travel, accommodation and competition costs. Any local support would be hugely appreciated.

Iconic cat to be borough's anchor tenant

As the Council ponders the future of Catford, a petition has been doing the rounds, demanding that the iconic model cat, which sits on top of the shopping centre, must play a prominent part in whatever master plan emerges.

Today, the Council has responded, assuring worried residents that they will not do to the cat what they did to Deptford's beloved anchor. That act of cultural genocide will not be repeated.

From the Big Time to Arsenal

BT Sport will screen a documentary about the careers of two people who put the Great in Greater Brockley - Ian Wright and David Rocastle.

"From Brockley to the Big Time" will screen on April 1. For details, click here.

Embleton Green is people!

The campaigner's photo of the threatened green space
Rosie writes:

Lewisham Council has announced that it intends to build on the green space/gardens at the back of the flats on Ermine Road, fronting on to Embleton Road. One of the residents of the flats tells me that they are also to lose their garages [directly underneath the properties], which they pay for.

The development will also take over part of the back gardens of homes on Vicar's Hill. Both Vicar's Hill and Embleton Road are part of the Ladywell conservation area. We live next door but one to this development but have had no notification.

The first time we'll be able to see and comment on plans for this is at a meeting this Wednesday, 6pm to 7.30pm, at Prendergast Vale School. Details here - please join us.

Brockley: Fit, but we know it

George Osborne's Evening Standard has put Brockley on its list of Zone 2 bargains (admittedly it's a pretty small field to choose from). This week's Homes & Property section says:

"The leafy Victorian charms of this south east London outpost have sent prices shooting up. It is particularly popular with Docklands workers, since it is only three stops from Canada Water and easy for Canary Wharf...

"Brockley is very much the territory of the young couple thinking about kids, or young families who already have one or two; they hang out at the excellent Brockley Market on Saturday mornings, shopping for craft beers and charcuterie, and spend sunny afternoons at Hilly Fields Park. For nights out there are plenty of restaurants and smart gastropubs like The Orchard or The Gantry.

"Despite its changing demographics Brockley has a strong community spirit. Locals organise an annual music and arts festival, including family days and live music...

"The only downsides are the slight aura of middle-class smugness [guilty] creeping in the absence of a good high street. For shopping your closest options are Lewisham Shopping Centre (better than it sounds) or Canary Wharf."

Deptford, rightly, also gets a shout out, although the couple profiled as new buyers in the area are the sum of all fears for people who resent the march of gentrification. The Standard adds:

“'We couldn’t afford to live somewhere we really wanted so we got somewhere we could get there really easily,'” said Will. So far the couple haven’t had much of a chance to explore Deptford – they’ve only been in situ a couple of months – but are looking forward to finding out more about the area and to the new bars and restaurants which are starting to open around them.

"They hope that as the area develops so their flat will increase in value. “We are expecting to live here about three years and then, hopefully, get somewhere a bit bigger,” said Will."

Brexit: Lewisham resistance is not futile

In February, Lewisham MPs were among those who rebelled against the Labour whip, choosing to vote against triggering Article 50. At the time, I wrote that this was understandable, yet futile, act on their part - and that it was better to focus on trying to influence post-Brexit political settlement than fight a losing battle.

Local Remain campaigner Essi took issue with my argument (as she did so often when we were at school together) and has written this piece, along with her colleague Laura, to set out the case to resist Brexit, rather than capitulate. She says:

"Before the referendum, a group of us campaigned in Lewisham for Britain to stay in the European Union as the Lewisham Stronger In campaign.

"Since the referendum, we have re-grouped as Lewisham Is For Europe, and we are in contact with other groups around Britain with similar concerns.  We still believe that leaving the European Union is the wrong move for Britain.  We think that in terms of our economy and security as a country we would be stronger working with our closest neighbours – as well as the rest of the world. We still wish to retain the rights gained from membership of the EU, to study or work abroad, and to be part of a community which values human rights and the environment enough to put them in trade treaties.

"We recognise that ‘Leave’ won.  We recognise that many citizens in the UK were concerned about immigration, or wanted fewer rules made in cooperation with other countries, and were concerned about inefficiencies in the running of the EU.  These are important political points to debate – and could have been discussed as part of a movement to build a better EU.  We think they still could be.

"What we do not recognise is the right of the Government to make the biggest political change of many of our lifetimes on the basis of nothing more than the word ‘Leave’. There is no mandate for the Brexit that is taking place. For example, the country did not vote to leave the single market – it wasn’t on the ballot paper and various voices from the Leave campaign assured the public there was no question of leaving the single market. This is an example of the type of discussion our local MPs were trying to have when they tabled amendments to article 50, and that we are trying to encourage as a local group.

"Whether people voted Remain or Leave in June is not now the issue – everyone, whatever their vote, has a right to say what should happen next, including to say that Britain should have the opportunity to change its mind.

"Finally, it is not undemocratic to keep campaigning.  British politics is not based on the idea that one group wins and the other group shuts up for ever.  Where we see something we disagree with we are at complete liberty to express our views, and seek to bring others along with us. We are at liberty to use every peaceful and democratic means available to us – marches, leafleting, writing letters to MPs. Britain has not yet left the EU and the democratic process is still ongoing.

"If you would like to be part of our campaign, check us out on Twitter @Lewisham4EU or Facebook at ‘Lewisham is for Europe’."

Winemakers Club, 209 Deptford High Street

The Winemakers Club is a new restaurant on Deptford High Street. Nisha has been and has this to say about it:

"Just wanted to alert everyone to the fact that Winemakers Club Deptford is now open. Having visited a slightly embarrassing five times already I can confirm that it is a delightful, intimate local bar, and a fantastic addition to Greater Brockley.

"Unsurprisingly the wine list is extensive and excellent, with a focus on natural wines from Austria and Hungary. There are plenty of interesting options by the glass at reasonable prices so it is possible to try a few without committing to a bottle. And if wine's not your thing they also serve beer from Deptford's own Villages Brewery. The food is also pretty wonderful. They are only doing a couple of small plates at the moment as the kitchen is not quite finished yet, but there is a great vegan bean dish and an absolutely delicious lamb shoulder, as well as home cured meats and cheeses, etc.

"Wines are also available to take away, and I would particularly recommend the red and/or white Meinklang which can be yours to enjoy at home for £15.

"All the staff are charming and knowledgeable without labouring the wine talk (unless you want them to, in which case they will wax lyrical about organic vineyards and skin contact).

"I am in no way affiliated with Winemakers, just a very happy customer. If you haven't visited yet, do give it a go - it's an excellent place to while away an evening before wobbling home down Deptford High Street."

The Royal Standard Pub Quiz

The Royal Standard on Tanner’s Hill is hosting its first ever pub quiz on Wednesday 22nd of March at 7.30 until around 9.30pm.

It’s £2 per-person for entry with all the entry fees going into the prize pot for the winners, with runners-up prizes too. There will be happy hour drinks offers during the quiz, including £3 selected pints (including Meantime Lager, Estrella and Urban Orchard cider) and 2 for 1 cocktails.

For bookings call 020 8692 6219 or email

DfT muses on Cannon Street, Victoria or Charing X-only service for South Eastern trains

Joe writes:

The DfT has launched a consultation about South East London train services and seems to be suggesting that the routes through Lewisham and Deptford might in future only terminate at Cannon Street although very little detail is given. The document says:

"There would be a limit to the improvements that could be made to the timetable without also reducing the number of central London stations served from certain locations at particular times. An example might be for all Metro services on the north Kent (between Dartford and Charlton), Greenwich and Bexleyheath lines to terminate at Cannon Street only.

"We believe that the simplicity of a regular service to a single London terminal throughout the day would benefit both regular and occasional passengers. A simpler service can help deliver a step-change improvement in the punctuality of both Metro and Mainline services. We are aware that losing direct connections to particular central London stations has the potential to inconvenience a number of passengers, by requiring them to change their usual journey patterns."

This obviously has some major issues if you don’t pay for the tube. It could significantly add to journey times travelling from Cannon Street to Victoria and put a lot more pressure on TfL There is aconsultation Sat 1st April 10:00-13:00 Lewisham Glass Mill Leisure Centre.

Revolting Rhymes, April 29th

Are you ready to Parlez?

New restaurant Parlez plans to open at 16 Coulgate Street in May 2017. The team are now ready to share some early details. They write:

"Parlez came to life from a belief in the local. Home-cooked food enjoyed with good friends. A place where you don’t need deep pockets to treat yourself. Born from the idea that conversation is one of life’s greatest pastimes.

"You can expect seasonal ingredients and a well-sourced drinks menu. Our menu is seasonal, affordable, and inclusive. From vegans to meat lovers to Jay Reyner, everyone’s invited.

"We always try to think local and consider the availability of produce. Fresh ingredients are at the heart of the parlez kitchen. With daily stock coming from suppliers, everyone will have peace of mind knowing our food is fresh while being assured of quality.

"The team will be given a regular tasting session to ask questions about ingredients and a complimentary wine list. Parlez is Brockley’s new neighbourhood restaurant with a full pub license. Founders Matt and Louis have spent the last year looking at how to bring parlez to life in a way that celebrates food, music, and culture.

"Another focus is on the music, with curated playlists to complement the service. This will sit alongside handpicked art from people like Keith Haring to the established young British photographer Vicky Grout. Our hope is that this comes together to reflect the spirit of Brockley."

Their indicative dinner menu includes dishes like 'slow cooked pork belly & saffron potatoes' and 'poached fish of the day w/peas & broad beans', while for lunch they plan lighter options like 'open pastrami sourdough sandwich w/pickles & mustard' and 'heritage tomato,artichoke & red onion salad.'

Follow parlez on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook @parlezlocal

Saka Maka Cafe, 171 Brockley Road

Saka Maka café is officially open. The Indian restaurant and takeaway is already attracting very positive reviews from BCers and now the team behind it would like to introduce themselves. Sohan writes:

Our restaurant is run by three friends and chefs, whose experience includes five star hotels and well-known restaurants. Saka Maka is a slang term used in hotel kitchens. It means work fast or be innovative.

As a promotional offer, we are giving a 10% discount on on takeaways (for collection and home delivery) and we offer free chai to those who can give us our password for the day, which we usually post on our Facebook page here or on Twitter here.

For a little fun, we invite people to ring the bell inside the restaurant if they had a great time. We are giving breakfast cards to guests who eat with us.

Between Mondays and Thursdays, before 5pm, guests can play Try Your Luck. If you roll a 6, then your bill is on us.

The only alcoholic drink we sell is beer, but guests can bring alternatives and we will not charge anything for that.

To see the menu, click here.


Masala Wala Cafe is now offering pavement dining in Brockley Cross. Nothing is impossible.

1,400 new homes planned for New Cross Sainsbury's car park site

Outline plans have been developed to create between 1,000 and 1,500 new homes on the site of the New Cross Gate Sainsbury's.

Estates Gazette reports:

"Mount Anvil and Hyde Group have teamed up with Sainsbury’s to develop a scheme with a possible end value of £600m next to the Bakerloo Line extension at New Cross Gate.

"The pair are the preferred bidders for a potential 1,400- home redevelopment of the seven-acre site. They will form a joint venture with the retailer to rebuild the supermarket with thousands of flats above and alongside it...

"The site has previously had scoping proposals submitted for a scheme of around 400 homes... Mount Anvil has provided affordable percentages of around 35% on a number of its London schemes, including the 308-home Lexicon on City Road and its Dollar Bay scheme, which had an off-site commitment equating to 46% affordable."

The site is also the subject of a consultation regarding the possible location of a Bakerloo Line station, when the tube is extended to New Cross and Lewisham, but Sainsbury's says that the two projects are unconnected. David Mills, Head of Property Communications at Sainsbury's explains:

"We are working on plans with Mount Anvil and Hyde which will deliver new homes and an improved store, as well as act as a springboard for further investment in the area. We will be sharing our plans with the local community before submitting an application. The Bakerloo Line extension does not facilitate the development, this is something we will bring forward as a joint venture with our development partners.

"TfL have put forward a consultation document which identifies a new station on our land. We are continuing to discuss this with them, including other potential locations in the area for the station."

The fact that the Bakerloo Line will eventually connect with this site, relieving pressure on the East London Line and overland services, makes a scheme of this size more politically viable.
Nine Elms serves as a precedent for a large-format store as part of a mixed-use development
Sainsbury's are also keen to point out that the new supermarket will be of equivalent size to the existing store and point to the recent scheme in Nine Elms as an example of what could be delivered here. Mills adds:

"Our plans will deliver a new supermarket that offers the full Sainsbury’s range. We would make sure that there is continuity of trade as we redevelop the site.

"We’ve been delivering mixed-use schemes since 2009 and have recently opened new stores at Nine Elms and Fulham."

With thanks to Monkeyboy and 853Blog for the link.

Get involved in the 2017 Blythe Hill Fields Festival

Sparrow to give Lewisham a big sexy hook I think you are going to really dig

Lewisham may never get the Polpo it was promised, but it is welcoming something similarly delicious-sounding. The Evening Standard reports that a new restaurant called Sparrow will open on Rennell Street, close to Lewisham Station:

"A couple who met while working at St John are opening their own restaurant in Lewisham.

"Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar will launch Sparrow later this month, serving a menu influenced by their combined experience in restaurants including Bao, Merchant’s Tavern, Pollen Street Social and The Square, as well as St John...

"The regularly-changing menu will focus on seasonal British ingredients, with dishes planned for the launch including a courgette trifolati pasta with roasted spring onion bruschetta, roast pork belly with harissa, and glazed ham slices served with home-baked sourdough and rhubarb relish."

For the full feature, click here. Thanks to LittleJungleMan for the tip-off.

Thameslink works cause St John's headache

Martin writes:

We are having a nightmare in St. Johns with the ongoing railway work. Network Rail have converted the woodland area opposite the station into a works depot for the broader Thameslink project. They have done this without planning permission and consultation.

For those of us living around it, it has become a noisy sometimes 24 hour nightmare. What’s more, they seem to now be extending their depot by constructing new permanent buildings.

This photo shows the currently muddy works deport, complete with the foundations for new buildings that do not have planning permission despite needing it as we are in a conservation area.

Living with the has been difficult over several years and they have partly destroyed the woodland area that makes Cliff Terrace such a special street. We understand that the work has to take place and that it will ultimately benefit everyone, but we are tired of the every expanding, unpermitted work they are doing on our street.

What makes it even more difficult is that our local labour councillors seem to completely indifferent to the difficulties we are experiencing. We are a small community have been imploring them for years to help us, but they just talk about the issue and deliver nothing. They have been aware of the work since before it has started, and have been involved, but have proved completely ineffective in dealing with network rail.

This is a plea to our local councillor Sophie McGeever and Lewisham planning department to help address these problems. We want the work to stop and we want the area to be properly replanted.

V22 Ladywell Bridge

V22, an art organisation that provides studio and workshop space for creatives, is opening a new facility beneath Ladywell Bridge. They say:

V22 are pleased to announce that we are taking a ten year lease on seven arches under Ladywell Bridge which lead onto the station and back onto the park. The studios have good height and some are glazed back and front with great light.

Ladywell Bridge will be opening in March 2017.

Studios and workspaces at V22 are available to rent by artists as well as selected creative businesses and social enterprises.

For more information please contact

- Thanks to Paul for the heads-up.


Pratik from the Crofton Park Budgens writes:

You may have seen some recent press reports regarding the closure of 36 Budgens stores nationwide.

In July 2016, The Food Retailer Operations Limited (TFR) bought 36 stores from the Co-op and traded them under the Budgens brand.

However, due to financial issues the company TFR experienced, it has gone into administration.

Just to confirm:

We are an independently owned store.

We have been here since 1980, and are currently in our 37th year!!!

In this climate of increased competition, we know how lucky we are to have such lovely people shop here.

And with your continued support we will be staying open.

Printworks: All that's fit to print

Friend of BC, James, has been to The Printworks in Canada Water and after an all-day rave at our new resident 'culture destination', he is keen to tell you how impressed he was by the soundproofing. The party animal writes:

We descended on London’s newest, and perhaps only thing resembling a super club – the arts venue Printworks – on Saturday, for the second in their Spring series of day parties.

Formerly a printing facility for the London Evening Standard and Metro, located a short walk from Canada Water station, the 16 acre site has the capacity to host 5000 people, although for this particular sold-out party the attendance was a mere 2,500.

Big things had been written about Printworks in the lead-up to its opening in early February and it’s safe to say that all expectations were completely and utterly exceeded. A world-class DJ line up, on this occasion playing a mixture of house, disco and techno, a sound system that was loud and clear but didn’t leave your ears ringing afterwards and a truly spectacular light and laser show combined with slick and efficient organisation to produce the best clubbing experience my friends and I have experienced anywhere in the world – Berlin included.

The best part of all? In the smoking area outside you couldn’t hear a thing, so the neighbours hopefully won’t be bothered too much. Well done to LWE, the promotion company behind the event – it’s great to finally see a new London venue having a license approved, rather than revoked.

Deliciously Ella (probably doesn't do) Crofton Park

UPDATE: After some sleuthing by BCer Joe, it appears this is a false alarm. The address mentioned relates to a recruitment firm. Which makes more sense, if we're honest. Sorry for the mistake. Still, the news that we have a newish recruitment firm in our midst is almost as exciting, eh!?

Deliciously Ella, the 'natural eating' evangelist and blogger, is recruiting for a head pastry chef to work in a new branch of her Mae Deli in Crofton Park.

When my wife's business, Homemade London, gave up the lease on our old shop in the West End, the Mae Deli moved in and soon there were queues round the block for very-nice-but-undeniably-pricey produce. This will be a real test of the SE4 market's spending power.

East London Line trains could get juiced to 24tph

The most recent minutes from TfL's Programmes and Investment Committee notes that they are exploring the possibility of using new digital control systems to amp-up the East London Line service and deliver 24 trains per hour, rather than the current peak of 16.

Digital signalling effectively means that computers drive the trains and can do so more efficiently than humans, squeezing more trains on to the same track. Southern train services might also be increased.

Bring on the rise of the robots.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the heads-up.

Fair Funding for Lewisham Schools

Cassie writes:

The National Fair Funding for All Schools Campaign is holding a public forum for parents, teachers, head teachers, governors and councillors in Lewisham to raise awareness about the proposed cuts to schools’ budgets.

The event will be chaired by Lewisham parents who are engaged with the National Fair Funding for All Schools'campaign and will be attended by Vicky Foxcroft MP, Cllr Luke Sorba, Nicky Dixon (CASE Lewisham,) Matt Dykes ( National Fair Funding For All Schools Co- Founder.) Other speakers to be confirmed.

Our aim is to build a local coalition of parents, teachers and leaders in support of the National Fair Funding Campaign to stop these proposed devastating cuts. Lewisham parents, teachers, and heads we'd love to hear from you, please join us. This is not yet a done deal as the consultation closes on 22nd March 2017; the government must hear our voices.

The Government’s proposed new funding formula will see schools in Lewisham Deptford suffer massively. Across the country, the average loss per primary school pupil by 2020 is £339, in Lewisham Deptford it’s 40% more than that at £558. Secondary schools here will also suffer hugely, with an average loss of £717 per pupil by 2020.

It is a free event but tickets must be reserved here.