Death Race 2017: Telegraph Hill Soap Box Derby

To take part in the event, your car needs to have some sort of steering mechanism!
The first ever Telegraph Hill Soap Box Derby will take place on September 10th. Organiser Martin writes:

Absolutely anyone is welcome to build a cart, show it off, race it round the course (if you're over 10)... and then pick up the pieces!  Carts can be a team effort or the enterprise of individuals, made by kids, families, schools or you and some mates. Your cart could be really quite simple or a highly engineered speed machine. So dig those wheels out of the skip and get building! And don’t forget to have fun with your team theme.

A day of family fun and smashing entertainment.

Entry fee is £15 and they very wisely ask you to sign a disclaimer before you throw yourselves down one of London's steepest slopes.

Full details of the event here.

Lewisham house prices rose 1.67% in year after Brexit

CityAM has published a map of the house price changes recorded in each London borough in the 12 months since Brexit, and shows that Lewisham experienced a rise of 1.67% between June 2016 and July 2017.

The map, based on data from Emoov, displays risers in blue and fallers in red. Lewisham, which has experienced some of the fastest rises in the capital over the last decade, has been in the bottom half of the pack since the Brexit vote. The 1.67% rise compares with a national average increase of 4.9%.

In July, the paper reported that Lewisham house prices had passed the £5,000 per square metre threshold, having experienced a 618% increase in the past 20 years, the fourth fastest rise in London during that period. Halifax points out that Lewisham recorded the third-highest rate of house price growth between 2012 and 2017, behind Waltham Forest and Newham.

Brockley Mess for sale

Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
- The Solution, Bertold Brecht

Midtown cafe The Brockley Mess is up for sale. The estate agents say:

"Contemporary coffee shop & restaurant for sale situated in a desirable location within Brockley. Well-presented trade area measuring approximately 1,066 sq ft (GIA) for 51 covers. Fully fitted trade kitchen. Quaint rear patio area (16-20). Front patio area (8). Established trade with huge scope to increase daytime and evening trade."

The Brockley Mess opened in 2009, in the early stages of Brockley's regeneration. And while its menu and decor were perfectly attuned to local sensibilities, its insistence on devoting a large portion of the space to a gallery area was not. Management often seemed to resent the young families its family-friendly food and furnishings attracted.

The Brockley Mess helped to raise the bar in Brockley and will be missed, but as the estate agents note, there is "huge scope" to increase trade. Step one - lose the gallery space...

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the spot.

Stretching: The Truth

Fences across South London, including these ones on Brookmill Road in Deptford, enjoyed a past life as medical stretchers during World War II.

A new campaign group, called the Stretcher Railing Society, is trying to raise awareness of their historical significance before they are ripped up by developers.

The Standard reports:

Peter Eaves, of the Museum of the Order of St John, which has an original stretcher, states: "At the end of the war, the authorities were left with an enormous stockpile of stretchers.

“Railings across the capital had been removed at the beginning of the war in an effort to fuel the desperate production of munitions and war materials.

“The ARP stretchers were a handy expedient. Across London, particularly in the south-east and east, the stretchers were welded vertically together, complete with their kinked poles and wire mesh middle and fixed into position.”

Nice Thing One and Thing Two

Arcadia according to Claude with a view of Sellafield Power Station” 2014. Kaori Homma.
Brockley artists, Glenn Mottershead and Kaori Homma, are the featured artists at Ladywell shop Casilda’s Nice Things on Thursday 31st August 2017. Both will be taking part in a meet-and-greet session from 6pm. Free tickets available here.

Glenn Mottershead creates abstract photography, they are rich and often deep journeys into multi-layered cityscapes. The selection of prints in this exhibition he says: ‘are not just for placing on a wall, they are for taking down and holding as a map, looking at the detail and letting the current on the canvas take you elsewhere.

Kaori Homma creates beautiful and ephemeral etchings. The technique she uses is called “aburi-dashi” in Japanese, where the images are etched by fire rather than a pigment sitting on a surface. Invisible ink made with lemon juice is used to render images, slightly altering the delicate balance of paper, once exposed to the heat images are burnt into paper as an integral part of its structure. The resulting image contains a level of fragility but is at the same time powerfully absorbing.

The Marquis of Granby - past and present

This postcard of New Cross pub the Marquis of Granby in 1911 was unearthed by @se23LDN.

This new face for the pub was created in 2017 by Artmongers, paid for by Anthology.

Battle of Lewisham Weekend

This weekend, a series of free Goldsmiths events will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham:

On 13 August 1977, the far-right National Front (NF) attempted to march from New Cross to Lewisham town centre, leading to violent clashes with counter demonstrators and the police.

The Battle of Lewisham, as it became known, marked the first time a national NF march was prevented from reaching its destination, and also saw the first deployment of riot shields by police on the UK mainland.

In partnership with Lewisham Council, Love Music Hate Racism, and the Albany, Goldsmiths will be marking the 40th Anniversary of the historic events that unfolded on the streets of New Cross and Lewisham.

Join us on the weekend of 12-13 August 2017 to commemorate one of the most important events in the history of Lewisham and for race relations in the UK.

Download the full events programme

Council consults on tougher penalties for anti-social behaviour in public spaces

Lewisham Council has launched a consultation about a new proposed public space protection order, which will create prohibitions on specific activities deemed anti-social to the public.

The orders would provide authorised officers with powers to enforce prohibitions in public spaces, potentially resulting in a fine of £100.

The proposals cover booze and drugs, cars and tents and dogs and dog poo.

Please take part in the consultation here.

Make Mee Studio Sewing Saturdays

Make Mee Studio is a sewing workshop in Tyrwhitt Road, which now runs classes on Saturdays. This weekend, you can try your hand at making bunting or this three arm hole dress.

Details of their classes and advice sessions are available here. Follow them on Twitter here.

parlez review

I had my first opportunity to visit new Coulgate Street restaurant Parlez on Friday. Co-founder Louis invited me along to talk to me about the experience of opening in Brockley.

In the early evening sunshine, the place was full inside and out. The addition of pavement dining transforms the area around the station and completes the effect started by the Broca, Browns and the station garden: Coulgate Street now feels like a coherent centre and provides a tempting diversion for anyone spilling from the southbound platform.

The inside / outside seating also creates a sense of accessibility and permeability, in keeping with the parlez ethos. The founders, both South East London locals, have worked hard to keep prices low and hire locally. The clever design and personal touches have instantly imbued a relatively unprepossessing unit with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The layout combines informal seating at the front with more formal booths as you go deeper in to the belly of the beast.

The affordable menu places lots of emphasis on small sharing dishes, as well as more spectacular set pieces. Vegetarians are well-catered for, as are kids. As the sun set on Friday night, the young families gave way seamlessly to a grown up crowd.

Louis told me that they were caught by surprise by how soon after opening they started to fill up. It has been busy since day one, proving the Brockley Central axiom that things that are good in SE4 will also be popular.
Although a quality experience already, Louis insists that parlez is still a work in progress. He asked us for constructive criticism of the food and the wine list, but we drew a blank. It was all good - especially the cheesecake. I apologise to you and to him for not having a more sophisticated critique than that.

With their first couple of weeks under their belt, they are now recruiting for new chefs to join the team. Louis explains:

"Successful candidates will work alongside head chef Michal Zajac (formerly of The Groucho Club, Smiths Of Smithfield and The Wolseley) and join an enthusiastic, well-organised and ambitious outfit in the kitchen. We’re offering competitive rates of pay and an opportunity to grow. Breakfast Chef and Chef De Partie position available immediately."

Get in touch for more info at

Villa Toscana up for sale

Villa Toscana, the Brockley Road restaurant, is up for sale.

This venue has had a colourful and unsuccessful decade and a takeover, followed by a makeover, is necessary. It occupies a prime spot, bang in the middle of Brockley's main drag, but dated decor, a bewildering decision to block the front windows and regular changes of management have haunted it.

The six bedrooms above the restaurant are included in the sale price.

Midtown plot for sale

A Brockley Road plot with planning permission for development as flats is up for sale - yours for a mere £900k.

The site, on the corner of Brockley and Arabin roads, is occupied by a 3 storey house with a single storey garage extension. Permission has been secured to death mask the house and add an extension, to create four flats.

Mantle Road conversion refused

A proposal to convert the ground floor of Maypole Court on Mantle Road into residential space has been refused.

The retail space, opposite Spar, has never been used and the owners have never given the impression that they were in any great hurry to let it.

Brockley Central Label Cloud