Leatherwork at the Taproom

Ben writes:

I am doing a series of leather workshops, which are also an opportunity to check out the new Taproom in Deptford Market Yard.

I'll be teaching people how to make a simple leather glasses case or belt which you can take home. It's a beginner class - a good way to find out some basic techniques that may be the gateway to get you into a passion for making beautiful leather items.

The next class is 'how to make a belt' on Wednesday 28th February. The classes will alternate every two weeks from the 28th.

There are more details here.

Suffed at the Brockley Jack

by Lucy Joy Russell & Holly McFarlane
Tuesday 6 to Saturday 17 March 2018

A friend of mine has written a play running at the Brockley Jack in March, which aims to provoke a debate about infertility and IVF. The Stuffed team explains:

"There is a growing fertility crisis in the UK. Around 1 in 7 heterosexual couples, or 3.5 million people will have difficulty conceiving.  Since the 1970s male sperm counts are down nearly 60% across the western world and 20% of women born in the same decade reached 45 without having children.

"It’s not clear exactly what’s to blame. 20-30% of infertility cases are due to male factors, 20-35% are due to female, and 25-40% are due to combined problems in both parts. Up to 20% of cases remain 'unexplained'. But to try and cope, couples are increasingly looking for professional help to conceive and today 1 in 50 children born in the UK are the result of IVF, with many more receiving other fertility treatments.

"NICE guidelines suggest three IVF cycles for couples struggling with infertility. Yet few NHS trusts can afford to offer it and so people increasingly turn to the private sector – often with little understanding that expensive doesn’t mean effective. According to NICE, across the age range, 65-80% of IVF cycles will fail. These can cost anywhere from £3,000 to £15,000 and more.

"Yet discussion on the topic, while no longer taboo, is fraught with anxiety and superstition. People on both sides still don’t know how to talk about it openly. Those with children to those without, Doctors to patients, and people on the journey to each other. In a first for the topic in UK theatre, ‘STUFFED’ is a new comedy about IVF. It aims to demystify some of the challenges and offer a new perspective on an issue that is only growing.

"Playwright Lucy Russell said, “With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the world can often feel very much focussed on people having children. But the new reality is that most people will know someone who has difficulty conceiving - even if they haven't told them yet. Unfortunately, they may know nothing of the experience itself or be unsure how to ask. By showing there is a funny side to IVF we want to open up a conversation, not just about the trials and tribulations of IVF itself, but also of futures that don’t have children at their centre”

"Based on a true story, STUFFED the play opens at the Jack Studio theatre on Tuesday 6 March and there will be a post-show discussion involving the Fertility Network on Tuesday 13 March."

To buy tickets, click here.

Night tube ELL to run to Highbury & Islington from February 23

The East London Line night time service from New Cross Gate to Dalston is being extended two more stops. City AM reports:

The Night Overground service is set to be extended to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington from Friday 23 February after coming to the London Overground in December.

Since 15 December, there have been 24-hour services every Friday and Saturday between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate. Whitechapel is still to be included as it waits until Crossrail works are completed.

Over 30,000 journeys have been made on the Night Overground since the service began in December [which is surprisingly few].

A Star Barbershop, 225 Lewisham Way

A post shared by A Star Barber Shop (@astarbarbershop) on
This new barbershop has just opened and is currently recruiting. Contact them here if you're interested in applying.

The Brockley Experiment

Barry Norris: Hey, listen up everybody, whoever's doing this, they're having a little fun at our expense.
- The Belko Experiment

The crazy cats at TfL have been freestyling around, throwing some stuff at the wall to see what sticks, and came up with the idea of making Brockley Station into a one-way access system, so that  people had longer journeys to reach their trains and fewer gates to pass through at rush hour.

Photo: Ruby Heera
Why this was thought to be an idea worth trying is known only to the imps at TfL but, one week in, the evidence is conclusive. It does not work.

As The News Shopper noted:

A “disastrous” new trial crowd management system at Brockley Station has left queues with hundreds of people outside the station. Introduced yesterday (February 5), the scheme means people can only enter the station via one of the entrances, with the exit being through the ticket hall. It has left queues snaking down the street at rush hours both mornings and has left commuters frustrated at a system many felt did not need fixing.

Out of interest, did anyone ever experience a peak time crowding problem at Brockley Station that they thought needed fixing (other than through the addition of more trains)?

The trial ends on February 16th.

Lewisham Council to decide fate of two towers this week

On Thursday, Lewisham Council will consider plans to redevelop the Carpetright site on Loampit Vale. The application, which has been recommended by officers for approval, is for:

"The demolition of the existing Carpetright building and the construction of two buildings of 16 storeys and 30 storeys in height comprising 899sqm non-residential floorspace comprising (A1) Shops, (A2) Financial & Professional Services, (A3) Restaurants & Cafes, (B1) Business, (D1) Non-residential Institutions and (D2) Assembly & Leisure uses and 242 residential units with private and communal open space, on-site energy centre, cycle parking and associated landscaping and public realm works."

Close the gap in Crofton Park

Reader Emily wants to do something about the large gap between the trains and the northbound platform. She writes:

"I am always a bit nervous of the gap - it’s huge - when I get on or off trains on the northbound platform at Crofton Park station.  I’m tall, wear sensible shoes with low heels, travel light, know the station well, but still get nervous. The platform at Crofton Park is curved and some of the doors on carriages further back from the driving engine are not visible to the driver, at least just by him just looking behind him.

"To make things worse, the platform is often really poorly-lit after dark and I’ve heard people gasp - and not in a good way - as they step out into the void as they disembark on winter evenings."

"Crofton Park station is not unique in this regard.  I’ve long worried about gaps between platforms and the floors of certain models of newer trains at a number of stations.  Nunhead, Catford, Beckenham Hill - the only ones on that line that I use regularly and am au fait with - all bigger than I find comfortable, all with vertical gaps way bigger than I would like to lift a baby buggy or bicycle up or down from."

"These gaps can be fixed. The gap on Platform 4 at Elephant & Castle station used to be huge and I thought it was really dangerous as the platforms and trains were often more crowded than at the stations I’ve mentioned.  I was very pleased when I noticed that this gap was hugely reduced a few years ago - by adding a gently sloping platform on top of the existing platform to raise it and - possibly - extend it out towards the track.

"I would love it if there could be a discussion leading to change on this front. I think the recent tragedy could be a catalyst for a debate.

"It seems to me like it would be quite a cheap and easy matter to raise train platform heights.  It seems curious that so much effort goes into installing lifts and incorporating step-free access at new tube stations but nothing is done to just make access ‘step-not-too-huge’ at train stations."

"I would like to hear from other Brockley Central readers, to know if they share my concerns and would support a campaign to get something done?"

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