Coming soon: The Rosemary

When New Cross' Cafe 178 closed in January, the management said they'd found someone to carry the fire for them. Now, the team behind the excellent Dig This nursery are reopening it as a Hungarian restaurant called The Rosemary. The New Cross Gate Trust says:

The Rosemary will be opening on Friday 27th March. Run by the same people who used have the Dig It Nursery and organic veg shop next to the Hobgoblin we can expect high quality healthy food at good prices. 

The Rosemary will continue to work with Toucan, the employment training charity that ran 178 Cafe by offering training opportunities for people with learning difficulties.

Great to see this place back in action so soon and to be able to add Hungarian to the list of local options. A restaurant probably stands a better chance of persuading more people to venture away from New Cross's main drag than the cafe did too. Taste the rainbow.

Thanks to Richard for the news.

Asda and Gym Group sign up for Thurston Central

A rendering of the scheme. Asda confirmed, generic coffee shop not included
Thurston Central, the mixed-use development (400 homes) nearing completion at the foot of Loampit Vale, has confirmed that their commercial tenants will include an Asda supermarket and a 24/7 gym, run by The Gym Group.

As a budget operator, The Gym Group will find itself in direct competition with Glassmill Leisure Centre on the opposite side of the road, but they clearly the recognise unmet local demand for gym space. Asda still has plans to open a supermarket in Lee. The original scheme did not include food retail space and also looked considerably better in the renders.

With the retail units at Renaissance still empty, it's encouraging to see the space go so quickly and while Lewisham is not short of supermarkets, this will make a pedestrian-friendly alternative to Tesco.

Pack mentality

Michael is calling for a culture change in the Hilly Fields dog-owner community since his dog has been bitten twice in recent months. He writes:

I’m a regular user of Hilly Fields and it’s a park I greatly love. It’s very sad then that the “sociable” dog owners of Hilly Fields don’t seem that responsible. There’s is never a single time that I see a dog owner put their dog on a lead when my dog and I walk past them.

It’s pretty much the first rule of dog owning: See a dog you don’t know? Then put your dog on a lead. Let them get to know one another while the owners are in complete control. I know that a lot of dog owners will argue that their dog is kind and gentle but you just don’t ever know how one dog will react to another.

My dog got seriously attacked last year in Ladywell Fields because of a thoughtless owner who couldn’t be bothered to simply put their dog on a lead for a moment.

Also, yes, these owners “socialise”. But they do it by simply standing there talking while their dogs run around. That’s not walking your dog. Fine, socialise, by all means. But walk with the dogs. Every time I see a large group of dogs off the lead, it means I can only stay at one part of the park.

And you know what? Maybe I’d like to socialise with them too but it’s impossible if they won’t just take a minute to put dogs on lead and get them to know one another first.

Lewisham Southwark College launches governor search

Lewisham Southwark College, which has buildings on Lewisham Way and Deptford Broadway and which is expanding into new premises in Waterloo in 2016, is looking for new governors. They explain:

The Board have great ambitions for the College. Under the leadership of its new Chair, Christopher Bilsland OBE, the Board is determined to drive a quality improvement strategy despite the challenging financial environment.

Over the next three years they are determined that Lewisham Southwark College will become the leading London College. Lewisham Southwark College will be known for getting its students into employment and enabling them to thrive at work, as well as for moving students on to higher education.

Full details on the South East London forum.

Dawn Chorus, March 31st

Tom writes:

Spring in Brockley would not be complete without the Dawn Chorus walk, organised by the Friends of Hilly Fields. This year's walk takes place on Tuesday 31 March. Meet outside the cafe on Hilly Fields at 6am for a walk around the park and the Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries.

So far this year, the birds have been very vocal and active so we expect to hear all the usual songbirds, plus maybe a woodpecker drumming, a collared dove cooing and the birds that merely tweet.

More details here.

The Deptford and New Cross Easter Beer Hunt

We're going on a beer hunt. We're going to catch a big one. We're not scared. What a beautiful day!

The Royal Albert team have hidden 38 colourful eggs in businesses across Deptford and New Cross. Solve one of the six riddles and head to the venue in question to do your best impression of a chicken laying an egg to earn yourselves free drinks at the Albert.

Full rules and the six riddles here.

Bakerloo consultation produces massive yes vote

TfL has published the results of its recent consultation about the proposed southern extension of the Bakerloo Line via Lewisham. It found that:

- The vast majority of South East Londoners want it to happen (96% of respondents)

- There is an overwhelming consensus that South East London is relatively poorly served by public transport

- That the route proposed for the more populated, more middle-class area (Camberwell / Peckham Rye - 64%) received more public support than the route through a designated regeneration area, currently populated by warehouses and car lots (Old Kent Road - 49%)

A useful exercise, we can surely all agree.


In amongst the statements of the obvious, there are one or two interesting findings, including that there is marginally more support for the line to stop in Bromley than in Beckenham and Hayes and little appetite for it to end in Lewisham.

The most telling result was that this consultation produced one of the highest turnouts in TfL history, despite the project's modest scope, underlining how much of a no-brainer this is.

Next steps: Get on with it.

Thanks to everyone who sent this to us.

Spring tonight

Coming soon: Heckstall & Smith

Joe: Then I saw it, I saw a mom who would die for her son, a man who would kill for his wife, a boy, angry & alone, laid out in front of him the bad path. I saw it & the path was a circle, round & round. So I changed it.
- Looper

As one local business closes, another springs into life. Heckstall & Smith will be bringing their special breed of butchery to the streets of Ladywell soon. More to come soon.

Maddy's closes

Maddy's Fish Bar in New Cross, which last week announced that it had temporarily closed for personal reasons, has now been repossessed by the landlords. The posh fish-and-chip shop brought something new to the area, so it's a real shame to see it go. Business is hard.

A Field in New Cross

The Field is a community project designed to create a new public garden space on the west side of New Cross. The team behind the vision want to convert a Queens Road garden into a place with facilities to support local self-organised activities, events and projects.

They explain:

This isn't just a community garden! This is an experiment in the act of collectively creating new common space, in negotiating its use, how its run and maintained so it can to meet the diverse needs and interests of everyone who uses it.

  • We will build a workshop to host practical events, classes & projects.
  • The workshop will be a resource with the tools for people to make, repair & experiment.
  • A glasshouse will provide space for group meetings & classes, as well as for growing.
  • An outdoor kitchen will make neighbourhood meals, events and People's Kitchens possible.
  • We will create growing spaces to experiment with urban agriculture methods, including a roof-garden.
  • A covered social area will be created for us to meet, for public events, performances, film screenings and parties.

They are half-way to their fundraising target of £10,000 and you can find out more and back the project here.

Lovelock: The Subletter Hypothesis

Studio Lovelock is design company that recently relocated from Shoreditch to Dragonfly Place in Brockley Cross. They are currently looking for someone who wants to rent some of their desk space. Joe Lovelock explains:

"Brockley proved to be the perfect spot for us. It’s still really well connected to town so we don’t feel isolated but we’ve been able to get our hands on an amazing space. There’s a really nice vibe to the area, far calmer and less pretentious than Shoreditch, but still a nice energy.

"We’re looking forward to being more part of a community and hopefully getting involved in some of the great things that are going on around here.

"When we originally looked around we were surprised not to find more office spaces available around here. I get the sense there’s a lot of creative freelancers in the area. That in part was the motivation to get a bigger space than we needed. Renting out a few desks seemed like a great way to meet others and establish a creative environment above beyond what we do."

Click here to check out the space.

Self-build Ladywell plan gets approved

Lewisham Council says:

Lewisham Council is looking for a community-led partner organisation to work with residents who want to build their own homes on the site of a former school in Ladywell.

Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock has given the green light to a competitive dialogue process to select a not-for-profit consortium or organisation to deliver community-led self-build or custom build housing on the Church Grove site, Ladywell.

The site on the former Watergate School could accommodate up to 30 new homes, with an emphasis on addressing housing needs and challenges, as well as high sustainability standards.

Council officers have been working with self-build facilitators, Our London, to understand the views of interested residents, understand technical site constraints, and devise a selection process for community-led self-build enablers, which will now be launched. The Council is looking for proposals from community-led organisations, which are financially viable and deliverable, and place an emphasis on affordable housing in the long term.

Councillor Damien Egan, Lewisham Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is another exciting initiative that shows that there are many ways in which we can creatively address our housing need. We have a group of people who are very motivated by designing and building their own homes. Working together with the support of the Council and a skilled enabling organisation, they can create a sustainable development that will make really good use of a challenging site.”

Lewisham Council has a history of supporting group self-build in the borough, with innovative and internationally recognised projects like the Walters Way development in Honor Oak, that have gone on to be replicated across the country.

Muck N Brass, 72 Brockley Rise

Muck N Brass is an upcycler that trades on Etsy and specialises in turning vintage furniture into vivid graphic creations like these. This week, they've opened their first shop at 72 Brockley Rise (formerly the rarely-open bric-a-brac shop Caledonia).

Following the arrival of Wandsworth Sash Windows in Crofton Park and a pop-up furniture showroom on Lewisham Way, it looks as though interiors may be the new coffee in terms of the new businesses attracted to the area.

Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 11am -5pm. Follow Muck N Brass on Twitter here.

Tanners Hill mews ploughs ahead

Once, developers' plans for local sites would live as computer generated illustrations for years, if not decades. Now, no-one is hanging about.

The Notting Hill Housing Association's plan to create a new mews at the top of Tanners Hill, announced last year, is already well-under-way.
As this picture from friend-of-BC, Richard shows, the site is now cleared and ready for construction.

The development is very large by Brockley standards and will completely change the character of its location.

Coming soon: Bella Napoli

Ellie tips us off to the imminent opening of Bella Napoli, the wood-fired pizza takeaway that replaces Gulen's Bar at 173 Brockley Road.

Brockley rocks London's cheap eats scene

Time Out is asking Londoners to help it create the Top 100 "Cheap Eats" options in London and at the time of writing, Brockley is dominating the Top 10, with Brockley Market at Number One and Meze Mangal at Number Four.

Voting's a piece of cake, so please back Brockley business here.

With thanks to Marshall for the heads-up.

The Tower: Would suit buyer who really, REALLY likes art deco

We're obviously missing something about Lewisham and / or the London property market, but you can now apply to buy a flat next to Europe's largest police station and opposite the shopping centre for a price between £900,000 and £3m. The developers of Tower House have dared to dream.

The website now asks for you to register your interest, with prices starting at £900,000.

One day, Lewisham may be bijou, able to command prices that would make eyes water in Battersea, but that day is decades away - at least 10 years after the arrival of the Bakerloo Line. For now, it's a place with rough charm - a building site with a nice market, some great pop-ups and a swimming pool.

UPDATE: According to The News Shopper's Mark Chandler, this building is now a sell-out, although prices for studios started at £270,000.

TfL Commissioner: Bakerloo extension could be running by 2030

BC's prediction is that the Bakerloo line extension south to Lewisham will come a decade sooner than originally predicted and will be operational by 2030.

Our reasoning has been that it is cheap and easy to deliver (by the standards of London transport schemes), has obvious regeneration benefits and will cause minimal disruption. For these reasons, we think it will get bumped up the priority list by TfL. SE1 now reports:

Transport for London commissioner Sir Peter Hendy has said that a southern extension of the Bakerloo line could be completed within the next 15 years - a decade earlier than City Hall predicated last summer.

Hendy told a TfL board meeting: "Work is under way to update key elements of the costs, refresh the business case, and investigate a number of alternative route options suggested via the consultation. Subject to feasibility, funding and powers, an extension could be delivered by 2030."

With thanks to Monkeyboy for the spot.

New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2015. Fri 24 April - Sun 3 May

The New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival returns, managing to turn a distinctly average collection of films into something great. The team says:

For 10 days the NXDFFF brings 37 free film events to 17 different venues across SE14 and SE8.
Whether you’ve got election fever or disco fever the NXDFFF has films for political heavyweights (The Spirit Level - the rising gap between rich and poor and Give Us Space - housing crisis in London) and dancing divas (Saturday Night Fever, Strictly Ballroom).

The festival launches with Friday Night Fever, a screening of Saturday Night Fever followed by a 70s disco. Strut your stuff at Number3, the new warehouse space on Creekside. The Big Red will be serving up NYC pizzas and Nuyorican style cocktails, plus there’s a dance competition and prizes for best 70s glad rags.

Futures: Utopia presents leading futurologist Mark Stevenson introducing the film he considers most closely represents a vision for an optimistic future - Carl Sagan’s Contact. Futures: Dystopia presents Strange Days + augmented reality demonstration. To set the scene we’ll have some virtual reality startups demo-ing their hardware and offering a glimpse of the future.

Love is in the air courtesy of Electric Pedals bike powered screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Aussie camp classic Strictly Ballroom. Practice your Paso Doble in the park at Telegraph Hill.

The festival closes with a very special guest. Legendary DJ, musician and filmmaker Don Letts will be talking about his documentary film The Clash: Westway To The World followed by a DJ set at the Job Centre in Deptford.

Other highlights include:

·      Carrie – the original teen horror
·      Global Shorts – 16 films from around the world
·      Love & Basketball – The Bechdel Film Test, back by popular demand
·      Old Kent Road - “Everybody’s heard of the Champs-Élysées. The Old Kent Road’s the same. It must be one of the best known names in Europe.” - anon car salesman.
·      Sanford Housing Co-op presents Ways Out: Unfolding the topography of the possible. Six films investigating alternatives to generic Capitalism. Join filmmakers, activists and guest-panellists for discussions

NXDfff is completely run by volunteers made up of local residents, students and community groups. NXDfff has a DIY ethos that encourages creative freedom: this year more than 40 people are curating film events with help and guidance from a core festival team.

Full details at www.freefilmfestivals.org

Kitchen Hijack at The Job Centre

It's not obvious why pub group Antic decided not to have a kitchen in the first place at their Deptford bar, The Job Centre but the team are now making up for lost time, going head to head with Lewisham's #ModelMarket with a street food season called Kitchen Hijack. They explain:

"Having opened its doors in June last year minus a kitchen, Deptford’s newest salon bar is set to welcome London’s finest street food masters to take over its vacant culinary quarters for a series of fast and furious pop-up residencies.
"Launching on Thursday 26th March and running until the arrival of the bar’s permanent menu,Kitchen Hijack brings together a selection of the freshest emerging vendors currently trading on the street food circuit. Championing top-notch produce and tantalising flavours, Kitchen Hijack will serve a variety of irresistible buns, braised and barbecued meats and vegetarian treats from the comfort of your local.

"To keep you on your toes throughout the event, each hijacker will be allocated a three-day stint, rotating every Thursday of each week. So hurry, once the week is out so is the vendor!

"Popping up across the first five weeks will be Oh My Dog, traditional Kansas City BBQ Prairie Fire, Bill or Beak, meatball maniacs The Meat Heads and cheese toastie champs The Cheese Truck.

"First to hijack the Job Centre’s kitchen will be hotdog extraordinaires Oh My Dog, serving the finest German franks and veggie dogs, loaded with the tastiest toppings in town. Keep your eyes peeled for the Hijack’s pedigree hotdog Deptford Dachshund, served with North Carolina Pulled Pork, Mature Cheddar & OMD! Barbecue Sauce – dog’s a good un’!

"Throughout the launch weekend the Job Centre will host a series of live music events, DJ slots and one-off must-does. On Thursday 26th South East London DJ collective Pineapple Jam will provide the beats to your eats, spinning the finest disco, funk and soul. If gin’s you’re thing, learn about Edinburgh’s first gin distillery in over 150 years with Pinkering’s Gin free taster session on Saturday 28th – plus loads more!

"Be you a street food junkie or an intrepid foodie, Kitchen Hijack has a bite for every belly. Cheers to that Deptford!"

The Magic Theatre, March 28

For Coffee Lovers

This long-deserted unit in New Cross is going to be a Costa.

Industrial Camouflage

The artwork that has appeared on the hoardings at 180 Brockley Road is by Rhiannon Hunter. Rhiannon, originally from the North West of England, has lived in the area for ten years and owns a local practice specialising in textile art, sculptural pieces and outdoor paintings. 

She approached Boultbee LDN last year, requesting to paint a sophisticated mural to reflect the changing architectural landscape of the area. Rhiannon explains: “I was drawn to the building activities and was inspired to create something interesting for the hoarding. I often do outdoor paintings in environments where you wouldn’t normally expect them, to encourage people to stop and consider their surroundings. The mural is inspired by architectural forms in the local area.”

#ModelMarket returns, April 17

#ModelMarket, the super soaraway success of 2014, is coming back to Lewisham early this year, with an April 17th opening night and the promise to make BOSH the word of 2015. They say:

"Our MASSIVE summer of street food kicks off in just four weekends, beginning with the EARLY reopening of Lewisham's #ModelMarket on Friday/Saturday 17/18 April. BOSH. Expect at least two new #MicroDiners, two brilliant new bars and LOADS of great food, booze and grooves."

With thanks to Paul.

Sing-a-long-a-Frozen

Not for the first time in forever

Pizza place for Brockley Road

Gulen's Bar, another long-term fixture in the Brockley firmament, is reinventing itself again. The team has tried several formats in recent years, without much success, but this incarnation - a pizza place - seems the most likely to succeed.

Brockley needs a good pizza place. If they get it right, it could be the hit this place needs. The fit-out is currently under way.

With thanks to Ellie.

Nat's Your Lot

Nat's Bake & Juices, the Brockley Cross takeaway, has closed - a notice of foreclosure is pinned to its doors.

It's been raided and closed so many times now that perhaps the landlords have finally decided now is the time to give someone else a try with a unit that now sits between a new deli and a new salon and opposite a brand new Indian cafe.

Brockley Street Art Festival team bids for Assembly funding

Tomorrow night, the Brockley Street Art Festival team are making a bid for Assembly funding, to help make the event as successful as possible.

Since Brockley was chosen as the venue for the Global Street Art Festival last year, a small group of local residents has been working hard to secure more than 20 signatures from local businesses and landlords who are providing spaces for art works. They are now bidding for £2,500 to help pay for the costs of the event. They say:

"We have secured collaboration with some excellent local, national and international mural artists, and we have plenty of partners interested in running talks, workshops and other events. We'll need the council funds to pay for all of this, and so we really hope we can count on BC readers' support."

The Brockley Assembly meets tomorrow at 7pm at the Leander Centre, Ship Street, SE8 4DH. In terms of bangs-per-buck, this seems like a good use of public art funding.

JSA: Justice Be Done

Nine out of 100 JSA claimants in Lewisham have received a benefit sanction, the second-highest rate in London after the borough of Bromley.

The data comes from a report by Crisis, who argue this represents a "postcode lottery", implying that the variance across the country (Lewisham's rate is middling in national terms) comes down to aggressiveness of the sanctioners, rather than the quality of claims by sanctionees.

The report does not shed any light on the reasons for the regional differences.

Thanks to Ian for sending this through.

Masala Wala Cafe, Brockley Cross

The cafe is now open and the early reviews are great.

HopCroft Comes, HopCroft Comes

The Ladywell Food Assembly

Via the Ladywell forum, Moira writes:

I'm starting a Food Assembly in Ladywell very soon. Its a pop-up food market held every Tuesday from 5.30-7.30pm at the Ladywell Tavern.

The Food Assembly supports sustainable agriculture, locally sourced (within 150 miles) fresh meat, vegetables and fruit (and more), and fair prices. You order online as little or as much as you want and collect on your way home from work.

You can be kept informed of our progress and news of our launch date via Facebook.

Wandsworth Sash Windows comes to Crofton Park

When BCers run through their list of Fantasy Retail Occupiers, sash window providers come some way further down the list than pubs, gyms and delis. But Wandswotth Sash Windows' arrival at 355 Brockley Road is welcome nonetheless, filling a hole in Crofton Park and offering something people presumably want to buy.

The company, with an established showroom in Battersea, has occupied the unit left vacant by estate agents KFH when they moved to the opposite side of the street recently.

Masala Wala opens tomorrow

Brockley Cross's new Indian / Pakistani cafe Masala Wala ( 5 Brockley Cross) opens tomorrow at 6pm. It looks like another exciting addition to a spot, which is in the midst of a thorough transformation, despite the immovable obstacle of the double roundabout..

A photo posted by Kim Buttery (@kimpenelope) on

This Girl Can Nordic Walk

Laura is a Nordic Walking instructor based in Brockley. She writes:

I am honoured to have been chosen from amongst 54 applicants to become a partner of London Sport This Girl Can campaign to support Sport England's campaign This Girl Can.

Since starting out in November 2011 I have taught over 250 Lewisham residents - men & women - to Nordic Walk in Ladywell Fields and Hilly Fields. 85% of my walkers are women – the youngest participant is 19 and the oldest 85.

I think my Nordic Walking ladies capture the spirit of This Girl Can so perfectly - these ladies don’t care how they look, if their bits wobble, if they get sweaty & red faced; they just love coming together for a brisk Nordic Walk!

This Sunday, for Mother’s Day, I will be doing a free Nordic Walking taster session at Hilly Fields at 3-4pm specifically aimed at Mothers and Daughters. I am hoping to get more 18+ girls and women active together.
Nordic Walkers in Hilly Fields
This event is part of the This Girl Can campaign programme in London. Anyone interested in signing up can do so by emailing me at brockleynordicwalking@gmail.com

Singles Supper Club, March 28th

Julie writes:

Brockley's very own 'Unhungry Supperclub' is back with another date: Saturday 28th March.

We're doing brunch (12pm) for singles (and have lovely women booked, but currently NO single men!) And we're also doing dinner for non-singles (7pm), where everyone's welcome.

As usual it's BYOB and £25 for four courses and a cocktail. Join our Facebook group or email unhungrysupperclub@gmail.com to book.

The case against the Prendergast Academy plan

Last month, the governors of the Prendergast federation of schools voted to apply for Academy status, prompting protests by unions, parents and students.

The schools are generally well-run, which is both an argument to trust the judgement of those running them and a reason not to fix what ain't broke. Likewise, the educational advantages (which are all that really matters) of the Academy model are relatively unproven, but if the worst that can be said about it is that the upside may not be all it's cracked up to be, that's not much of an argument against Academy status.

So here is an article by Prendergast parent Meredith Eddy from campaign group SAIL (Stop Academies in Lewisham), who summarises the case against the plan:

"For parents, what is happening at their child’s school is very stressful. It is something over which you have little control but seems like a huge chunk of your precious one’s life and future. The reality is, whether State or Independent, we all rely on the teachers to know their business and do the very best they can.  This should be vital to those in the community without children as well, since the children of today are the citizens of the future, looking after all of us in our old age.

"Academies seem to offer us a way to have a bit more control over what happens within a school. However, there is little evidence to support this claim. Any new academy can choose how it governs itself, and they are under no obligation to include more parents or teachers in that equation. Further, the current governors are under no obligation to consult parents, teachers or the wider community (whose taxes still pay for the schools).

"What about academic performance?  There is unequivocally no evidence that there is any impact on performance by changing the status of schools to academies.  This is true also of charter schools and free schools in other countries – the USA and Sweden – for example.  Further, Prendergast Hilly Fields is one of the best performing, most improved schools in the country – this without the ‘benefit’ of being an academy.

"Surely, though, it’s just good business sense to manage a school locally and not rely on the council, who cannot be counted upon to manage things efficiently.  However, even when it comes to simple economics, the numbers are vague at best.  Currently, schools report to the local authority – Academies report to the even bigger bureaucracy of central government. Further, non-academies use central council facilities, like accountancy, legal and human resources.  An academy could not provide these services on its own as effectively.

"And finally, who educates our children, but the teachers that make up the school.  We all might have ideas as to how they could do it better, but at the end of the day, they are professionals, just like your GP. If any of us are faced with an uncertain future at our place of work, we are likely if we’re any good, to look elsewhere.  So will our good teachers.

"The anti-academy group in Lewisham is not just a bunch of radical activists looking to poke one in the eye of the Government.  We are simply a cross section of parents and citizens who want the best for our children, for our community and for our future – over which we are being given absolutely no say."

Lewisham Way Dry Cleaners reopens

This is old news but, having previously covered its closure, we ought to mention the happy news that the Lewisham Way Dry Cleaners (189 Lewisham Way) has reopened. They say:

"We are very happy to be OPEN again, and sincerely thank our customers for their good wishes."

Lewisham Way micro-library wins PM award

The Cabinet Office writes:

The creator of London’s smallest library which is housed in a disused red telephone box has been named a Point of Light on World Book Day by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Sebastian Handley, 46, launched the Lewisham Micro Library 15 months ago on the corner of Lewisham Way and Tyrwhitt Road in Brockley. It is London’s smallest library and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and has proved a huge success in his local community with hundreds of visitors.

Sebastian is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.

Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

When BT started offering the iconic red K2 British phone boxes through their ‘Adopt a Kiosk’ scheme, Sebastian decided to buy one for just £1 on behalf of the Brockley Society. The old BT telephone boxes are Grade II listed ’buildings’ and were designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the designer of Battersea Power Station and Tate Modern in the 1920s. Using £500 of his own money, Sebastian added extra lights in the ceiling, laid carpet on the floor and opened it up to the public.

The Lewisham Micro Library launched in November 2013 and operates as a community book exchange- a free resource where people who take a book are encouraged to give another back to the library. The library has seven shelves altogether, housing over 200 books from fiction and reference books to a whole shelf dedicated to children’s books, and is looked after by two librarians. The library has been so successful that Sebastian aims to create another micro library near Farringdon.

Sebastian is the 237th winner of a Point of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Sebastian’s innovative idea has become an incredible resource for all ages in his community. I’m delighted to recognise Sebastian with a Point of Light on World Book Day.”

Sebastian said:

'It’s lovely to be recognised like this, but the Lewisham Micro-Library wouldn't have been such a success without the help of Clare Cowen and Dijana and Danijel Pavlic. All I did was the initial setting up - the real achievement was the myriad of tiny contributions by ordinary passers-by who stopped to talk and share, who gave without any motive other than to enrich everybody else. The Lewisham Micro Library stands as a quiet and functional little monument to the fact that generally people are decent'.

Blythe Hill Fields Festival - Get Involved

Ghosts of Milford Towers


A Journey Inside Milford Towers from SouthLondonInterest on Vimeo.

Like the Heygate Estate, Catford's Milford Towers was a terrible place to live, but a fantastic place to film apocalyptic cityscape. The estate is due to be demolished. Through its destruction, South London will lose something important, but not somewhere so important that anyone who opines its loss would choose to live. This film captures Milford Towers in their flawed glory.

With thanks to Peter.

Tree planters celebrate second birthday

The Brockley Street Trees project has celebrated the start of spring and the end of its second year by planting its 36th tree. The group is funded by donations from local residents and has planted new trees in streets across the conservation area:

The team explains:

With the dwindling funds available for Lewisham Council to replace and plant new street trees, local residents have been coming on board in ever greater numbers to purchase/part-fund new trees for their streets. This year, we have also been greatly helped by an extremely generous donor who has come forward.

All told, we are just completing the planting of 36 new street trees in and around the conservation area. This is an amazing achievement, and we are hopeful that we can continue this level of planting in the coming year. What is also evident is that the model is spreading out to other parts of the borough, including St Johns, Ladywell and Crofton Park.

Battle of the Pop-Ups

Two popular local pop-up dining experiences return.

Olly's Turkish Pop-Up Restaurant 

Every Friday - Starting 17th April Time: 19:30 - 23:00
Ten Thousand Hands Cafe - Inside Ladywell Fields Park
£27.00 OR £25.00 if purchased at the cafe

It's a full family affair! - Come down and enjoy a 3 course Turkish meal in Ladywell Fields with a refreshing welcome drink. Book in advance from - http://www.ollysturkish.eventbrite.co.uk

The Honor Oak Park Supper Club

April 11th from 7:30pm
A six course meal for up to 14 people.
Tickets £30 + booking fee

Menu and details here. Book now at www.wegottickets.com/event/305103

37 pieces of flair

People can get a cheeseburger anywhere, but they come to Lewisham for the atmosphere and the attitude. That's what the flair is about. It's about fun. Somebody has chosen to do more and BC encourages that.

Deli discount days

Another nifty initiative from The Brockley Deli. They are now running 10% discount days for parents with kids at Myatt Garden (Tuesdays) and John Stainer (Wednesdays - including tonight).

Lewisham Live 2015

Lewisham Live is the borough-wide festival that starts tomorrow. The organisers say:

From 4–29 March enjoy a festival of music, dance and song performed at venues all over the borough by young people.

Now in its sixth year, Lewisham Live celebrates a huge array of talented young dancers, singers and musicians: from classical to hip hop, jazz to street.

Don't miss a specially commissioned Live at Trinity Laban – a new dance and music collaboration.

Learn too how the BBC's 10 Piece project, which aims to open up the world of classical music to children, has been the inspiration for Live at Trinity Laban and Live Winds.

For full details, click here.

Javone Prince at the Rivoli Ballroom

A new comedy series is filming at the Rivoli Ballroom and the producers are looking for a live audience. The promoters say:

Oh Mah gosh! Javone Prince, star of PhoneShop has been given his own BBC2 series!


Join Javone as he hosts an evening of characters, sketches, live music and bare madnesses at The Rivoli Ballroom in Catford [sic]. With neo soul legend Omar performing alongside surprise musical guests, tickets are going quicker than your Mum at a 'Single, Widowed or Recently Divorced' Night. Get yours NOW. Man ain't gassin' - this is a ting.

If you would like to join us for night of comedy, then apply now!

The show will record at 6.30pm at The Rivoli Ballroom, Brockley, London on Wednesday 4th March. If you would like to join us for a night of comedy, then apply now!

Booking is open via our website at www.sroaudiences.com

Greater Brockley Meetup, March 11

Nisha & Paul are new in town. So new in fact, that they haven't learned that the correct name for 'Brockley & Crofton Park' is 'Brockley'. But they are keen to learn. They say:

Join us for the first Brockley & Crofton Park Meetup on Wednesday 11th March, from 7pm, at Jam Circus.

We're relatively new to the area and love the community feel - thought this would be a good way for everyone to get together, socialise and support the local bars, pubs, coffee shops, cultural events and restaurants.

We're planning to have at least monthly meetups and more frequently if people are interested. Look forward to meeting you!

Details here.

Cat Video Film Festival, Big Red Pizza, April 25

We got this via Transpontine who explained to his readers that he's resorting to posting about cat videos because he is too busy at the moment to write proper articles. We offer no such apology. 

Catford Bridge Tavern owners say fire changes nothing

Solitaire, the owners of the Catford Bridge Tavern, which suffered a fire during renovation work over the weekend, have confirmed that they still intend to reopen the pub as soon as possible. In the aftermath of the blaze, they issued a statement saying:

Last night, the fire brigade attended a fire at The Catford Bridge Tavern. The fire was extinguished and no-one was hurt. The LFB web site notes that they weren't treating the incident as suspicious.

Everyone working on restoring the pub is pleased that no-one was injured in this unfortunate incident. 

Michael Nicholas from Solitaire Restaurants, owner of The Catford Bridge Tavern, notes: 'We’re not in a position to comment on the fire, but we are working to ensure that the site is safe and secure. Our intention has always been to reopen the pub and nothing has changed in that regard.'

The fact that the owners have so publicly committed to restoring the pub is as refreshing as it is reassuring.

The Secret World of Elverson Road

The day these kinds of public moments of local joy dry up will be the day gentrification has gone too far (or not far enough). Please keep this sort of stuff coming people.

Tell me what you see

People keep sending us photos of the hoardings around the 180 Brockley Road development, with no further comment.

We're not quite sure what reaction we're all expected to share in response to this bit of marketing by the developers - presumably revulsion? Or maybe validation? Amusement?

To be honest, looking at this bit of stock-aspirationalism doesn't evoke a strong reaction in us except to say that this kind of affirmation might have helped six or seven years ago, but now it seems a little behind the curve.

So tell us - what do you see?

Catford Bridge Tavern burns

Plans for the Catford Bridge Tavern - a pub with a convoluted and problematic recent history - have suffered a setback as the pub caught fire this evening. Catching alight is an unfortunately common problem for Lewisham pubs.

The London Fire Brigade reports:

Eight fire engines and 58 firefighters and officers are currently tackling a fire at a pub under refurbishment on Doggett Road in Catford.

Firefighters led four people to safety from the building and they have been taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service suffering light smoke inhalation.

The whole of the roof and second floor and part of the first floor is alight. Trains travelling through nearby Catford Bridge station are doing so at a reduced speed. Firefighters from Greenwich, Lee Green, Bromley, Forest Hill, Lewisham, Bromley, East Greenwich and Orpington fire stations are at the scene. The Brigade was called at 1754. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

The Telegraph Hill Festival, March 14-29

Sanjit writes:

Over 16 days more than 110 events will celebrate all that the area has to offer, from art, music and performance to workshops, walks, dances and DJs.

There are lots of ways to enjoy the Festival:
  • Come and see Guys & Dolls - with a cast of more than 250 people, this blockbuster of a musical will thrill you with song, choreography and large scale set pieces
  • Comedy, Quizzes, Theatre ... 
  • Enter your child's art work in the Children's Art Competition, get yours or a family members photograph into the photography exhibition, or bake a cake and set it against peers to see if you can win the Cake competition.  Then there's the Upcycling and much else ...
Box Office opens at Telegraph Hill Centre on Thursday 5th March 8 - 10pm, where you can buy tickets in person.   Or if you can't make that, make sure you're ready to get your tickets online from 7am, Friday 6th March.

Find out more at telegraphhillfestival.org.uk

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