Sparrow hawked

Sexy Sparrow eggs
Sparrow is the pretty little restaurant, sitting in an unprepossessing spot on the emergent new traffic system that will one-day define Lewisham's future. When that future arrives, SE13 won't have to endure condescension from restaurant reviewers. Until then, it will have to take the rough with the smooth. BCer Kraig writes:

"Glowing review for the food at Sparrow in The Sunday Times this weekend, even if the reviewer acted as if Zone 2 was an arduous pilgrimage not to be repeated. Unbelievably, he waited 25 minutes for a cab to pick him up rather than walk across to the station."

Here is a link to the review in question. Critic John Walsh likens the ride to Lewisham to a trek to Santiago de Compostela and opens:

"I’ve got nothing against Lewisham. I know it’s home to 95,000 charming and brilliant Londoners, and Sid Vicious was born there, as was Alexander McQueen, the Cream drummer Ginger Baker and Elsa Lanchester, who played the Bride of Frankenstein. But, like Croydon, it’s never featured on my list of places to visit. For years, its claim to fame was that it had the largest supermarket and police station in Europe [Ed: Police station, yes. Supermarket - can that ever have been true?]. We spent half an hour circling what remains of a vast shopping centre and a roundabout. Suddenly I saw “Sparrow” on a battered sign and yelled: “Stop!”

Upon completion of his quest, Walsh finds that the chef is infinitely inventive, that the salmon is to die for, the eggs with pork and anchovy relish is sexy and the flourless chocolate cake is "ten times better than Ottolenghi's."

Click here for Sparrow's website.

A brief history of the Brockley Jack

"The taproom and the whole architecture of the whole [Brockley Jack] are curious, and the sign nailed to the stump of an old elm in yard is painted on a mammoth’s bone which was dug up in the railway cutting behind the house."
— Walter Besant, London South of the Thames

The South London Club has published a neat history of the Brockley Jack pub and theatre. Click here to read it.

Lewisham Food Bank needs help

The Lewisham Food Bank is running low on some essentials and has released a list of urgently-needed items, including noodles, tinned fruit and toothpaste.

For a full list of donation spots, please click here. Thanks to Holly for the heads-up.

Brockley Max 2017, June 2-9

The Brockley Max community arts festival returns on June 2nd for nine days of music, performance, art and parties.

This year's festival includes a wide range of new artists and venues and highlights (other than the front cover of their programme, which is a masterpiece) include:
The Max will also coincide with the Brockley Street Art Festival and this year, the London Beer Dispensary will be pouring a limited edition Brockley Max beer.

For the full programme, click here.

Power serve problem delays Ladywell tennis plan

A plan to create a major floodlit tennis facility in Ladywell Fields is being held up by UK Power Networks, who haven't hooked up the site yet. Lewisham Council's Andy Thomas explains:

"We are still waiting on the power supply to be installed by UK Power Networks but in the meantime we don’t want to keep the courts locked up and unavailable for use.

"The plan is that the courts will be kept locked with combination padlocks but when people book they will be sent the number that will give them access. They will then be asked to lock up the courts again when they finish.  For this period of time, courts will be free.

"To make a booking people simply need to sign up at and go to the courts page where they will see what times are available.  People can make bookings from this Saturday.

"It’s vital that people work with us to look after the courts. In other parks there have been reports of people going on the courts with bikes, skateboards, footballs etc and there is already evidence of damage.  We can’t let this happen because we have to think about the long term and so if this system doesn’t work we may have to go back to locking them up until we have the power supply."

Dine in Deptford in June

Deptford Market Yard writes:

As part of the London Food Month festival, we're giving you the chance to sample the diverse food and drink offerings at Deptford Market Yard, each Wednesday in June between 12pm-10pm.

Come and discover the unique, independent businesses and exciting flavours on offer, including drink options, for just £15 (plus booking fee).

Your ticket entitles you to one sample dish and/or drink from each of the amazing food & drinks arches:

Lomond Coffee, Dirty Apron, Mama’s Jerk, Frankie Goes to Bollywood, Archie’s and Little Nan’s Bar.

For the full menu and tickets head to:

Brockley Cross block approved

With a sense of grim inevitability, it is my duty to report that the plans for 1-1a Brockley Cross have been approved.

After many attempts, the developers of the kitsch car dealership have finally worn down the Council and have gained permission to build:

The demolition of buildings on the site of 1-1a Brockley Cross SE4 and the construction of a part two/part three storey building comprising a Class B1 office unit, 3, one bedroom and 2, two bedroom self contained flats together with the provision of bin and bicycle stores.

The specs are less of a problem than the design, which, despite multiple revisions, is inept.

With "thanks" to Ed for the heads-up.

The Festival of Flowers

Another gong for Brockley's Rock

Brockley's Rock writes:

We are delighted to have been recognised with the prestigious National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Fish & Chip Quality Award.

The award identifies fish and chip outlets that serve the highest quality fish and chips following a thorough assessment of the premises, equipment, working practices, hygiene standards and management controls, along with the quality and taste of cooked fish and chips.

Innovation and Conservation, June 10

Keynote speakers are:
  • Laura Sandys, daughter of Duncan Sandys MP, who instigated the 1967 Civic Amenities Act
  • Duncan  McCallum of Historic England
  • Nicholas Boys-Smith of Create Streets. 
Case studies of local schemes will include:
  • Rhys Cannon of Gruff
  • Jon Broome, a specialist in self-build
  • Charles Coull on a live-work studio featured on Channel 4
  • Murray Groves on timber-framed Cedar Mews
  • Paul Russell on the children’s nursery in the former Welsh Chapel
  • An alumnus from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust will talk about their work supporting young architecture students

Brockley's dark territory brightened

During the last decade that this site has been running, many of the ugliest parts of Brockley have been, if not beautified, then at the very least significantly improved. But the railway bridges crossing Brockley and Mantle Roads represent grot's last stand in SE4.

However, hidden in the small print of the announcement about the 2017 Street Art Festival was the news that this spot will be transformed by a brand-new, epic-sized mural. Artist Lionel Stanhope confirms:
So that the West Side doesn't feel left out, Frendsbury and St Norbert will be joining the party with commissioned work.

Housing Associations: The Bell Tolls For Thee

The Bell Curve: A bent lamppost was the final straw for Cllr Paul Bell
Telegraph Hill Councillor Paul Bell has launched a campaign to improve the service provided by local housing associations. He writes:

This is a picture of my building, managed by Gallions/Peabody Housing Association. Last week a delivery driver to the Cooper's Bakery, stupidly reversed into the lamp post. I won't bore you with the details, but this is just one of many issues Gallions/Peabody have failed to sort out in a timely and in this case, health and safety way. Others include failing to sort or communicate about fire prevention measures to failing to give us a recycling store key for 8 months.

My building is not alone. Through my casework as a councillor, I know that many others are fighting to get services that as a tenant, shared owner or leaseholder we all pay for. Housing associations fail to keep residents informed. They lie. They make up stories and finally, when things do get done, they've had to be shamed and contacted many, many times before hand. We should not put up with this.

I am intending to write a report to the Chair of the Housing Select Committee, Cabinet Member for Housing and the Mayor of Lewisham demanding that action is taken to sort out this general housing association incompetence. Will your help? You can do so by filling out the online form HERE, telling me about your experiences and problems. I will also accept best practice too, as there are some - smaller housing associations - that do good work. The survey can be done anonymously. Please note, as Lewisham Homes is not a housing association, I've not included them in this survey.

The Quaggy Community Choir

The Quaggy Community Choir meets at the new Parkside Centre
Priya and Jake write:

The Quaggy Community Choir is a new group based at the brand new Parkside SE10 Commity Centre, on the border between Greenwich and Lewisham.

We’ll be singing an eclectic mix of songs of different styles – to well known hits to some tunes which are a bit more unusual. Once we are more established, we look forward to inviting people’s song suggestions and will eventually head out into the community to do some shows.

The first session is free and no experience is necessary.

DAY: Every Tuesday evening
TIME:   7:00 – 8:30pm
PLACE: Parkside SE10 Community Centre 1 Copperwood Place SE10 8GF

Brockleywood Nights – Thurs 8th June

Declan writes:

Enjoy the filmmaking talent and cinematic treasures from Brockley and beyond at Brockleywood Nights, a showcase for local short film.

The event is free and scheduled for the evening of Thursday 8 June, starting at 8.30pm (offering respite from the General Election mayhem) and will be in the fantastic sprawling garden of the Fox & Firkin down the road on Lewisham High St in SE13. Pushing the Brockley boundaries a wee bit, but the venue is great and there will be live music afterwards with Ron’s Speakeasy, so it’s going to be a top night!

Submissions are still open and so please get in touch. All genres are welcome and while the focus is on showcasing local filmmakers (or films linked to the local area), films from Lewisham, South London and beyond will also be considered. Please get in touch or forward to any filmmaking friends you know.

For further details or submissions contact Declan at

The event is part of Brockley Max (2 - 10 June 2017) and as ever there will be loads of (mostly free) gems to discover. Check out for more info or like/follow @BrockleyMax on social media.

The Brockley Art House

David has issued a call out for artists:

"The deadline for submitting art work to be exhibited at this year's big Brockley Max Open Art Show at Brockley Art House is 20th May. Artists can enter two pictures. Our biggest ever open submission art show alongside a gallery of vintage art, clothes and collectables. Pop-Up Attic Tearoom serving cakes and speciality teas."

Submission guidelines are on our Facebook page.

Lewisham GP to stand against Hunt

The Lewisham medic who played a prominent role in the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital from being downgraded will stand for election in South West Surrey in a bid to unseat Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Independent reports:

"The Green Party has withdrawn their candidate from the race completely, while Liberal Democrat and Labour members agreed not to campaign in order to boost Dr Irvine’s chances, despite their national parties standing candidates in the constituency.

"The decision by left-wing activists to unite behind the GP — which marked a major step in the drive for progressive alliances across the country — was met with a stark response from the national Labour party, which on Monday expelled three executive members in South West Surrey who had been leading the movement.

"But despite the opposition at a national level, local cross-party support for the National Health Action party candidate remains strong, with many Labour and Lib Dem activists in the constituency still said to be planning to vote for Dr Irvine and refusing to campaign for their own party candidates in the lead-up to the election."

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017, June 2-10

Ten new works will be created across Greater Brockley as part of this year's Festival, which returns for its third year next month.

The organisers have recruited national and international artists, including locals Pangea Arts (above) and Doodle Man Colour (below).
Director Phillipa writes:

"This  year's addition  of  street  art  tours  will  offer  the  opportunity  for visitors and local residents to get more involved with the festival than ever before, exploring the tales and techniques of a selection of work which has been produced by previous festi-vals, including Dale Grimshaw’s landmark Bob Marley mural and Artista’s Flying Toast.

"The festival has also been working with local schools to offer tours of the existing murals for school children, and as well as devising a free self-guided family trail, will be hosting a dedicated walking tour for children and families, led by museum, gallery and arts educator Neysela da SilvaReed.

"Other events and activities include live painting jam Merging Inks, an exclusive screening of cult  graffiti  film Bomb  It at the pop up Courtroom  Cinema and a talk  about  the  2015  mural Supernova in our Hearts, created by south London arts collective Artmongers, in collaboration with STEAM:ED and supernova discoverer and astronomer Dr. Steve Fossey.

"Bristol-based artist Aspire will also create his trademark pixelated birds close to a local community garden and  self-taught  street  artist  Koeone  will bring his photo-realist female portraits to another. Popular local artist Lionel Stanhope will also be continuing south London’s trend  towards traditional signpost murals, following in the footsteps of Herne Hill and Hither Green, with a mural planned for under the nearby railway bridge."

The voice of degeneration

"This is Harry Allen, hip-hop activist and media assassin, with Flavor Flav. What's the flavor, Flavor?"
- More News at 11, Public Enemy

Brockley's mockney performance poet Kate Tempest has triggered a Daily Mail hit job thanks to her performance of "Tunnel Vision" on BBC Newsnight last night. The headline rants:

'What an embarrassment!': BBC Newsnight is slammed by viewers for airing performance poet's ranting 'left wing victimhood politics'.

Complaining about a performance poet's left wing politics is a little like complaining about the noise at a Sepultura gig, but it gives them something to do.

Thanks to Patrick for trawling the Sidebar of Shame.

The Myatt Table Top Sale, May 7th

Turners to close

Turners, the Brockley Road hardware store, is to close later this month. The shop has been providing a valuable service to the local community for decades and built a loyal customer base, who've come to rely on the fact that Turners will always have what they need, however obscure.

Recently, the owner of Turners was a victim of a violent assault in the course of a robbery, but the decision to close the store is due to retirement.

Thank you to BertofBrockley for the heads-up.

Stephen Kovacevich at St Mary the Virgin in Ladywell

The acclaimed pianist will play at Ladywell's ancient church on May 19th
Ros writes:

I’m a member of Lewisham Park (Crescent) Residents’ Association and we are organising a charity concert in Lewisham in aid of St Mungo’s the homelessness charity, and also to fund improvements to the park. Proceeds will be spilt equally between these two.

Somewhat miraculously one of us has managed to get the world-renowned pianist Stephen Kovacevich to agree to play, and also local musicians and singers will be involved. The concert is at St. Mary’s church in Ladywell (just opposite the park) on May 19th.

You can buy tickets for £10 or even sponsor one of his keys to pay for the piano hire. Full details here. You get a free glass of wine with your admission ticket too.

Flat Fields

It's been a while since we've had an historical postcard of Brockley to look at. Here's one of Hilly Fields, which somehow contrives to make the park look flat.

Coming soon: Suttons' Radio

Mark: There's no pocket to this zip. That's the way things are these days: 'Let's just put a zip here, a swastika there, why not? Who knows what these things were once used for. Who the hell even cares?'
- Peep Show

Pub group Antic London have renamed the Market Tavern on Lewisham High Street "Suttons' Radio" in honour of the shop, whose signage they uncovered while renovating the building.

The pub is due to reopen later this month and you can sign-up for more news here.

Crofton Park Pictures at The Rivoli

The Shining is playing on October 25th
Smile, you son of a bitch! Crofton Park Pictures is screening classic movies, including Jaws and A Nightmare on Elm Street at the Rivoli Ballroom (the perfect setting for a pop-up cinema experience) later this year.

The season starts on June 22nd with Jaws and ends on October 27th with The Exorcist. Tickets start at £12 and are available here.