Brockley mustard

Local food entrepreneur Julien is starting a mustard business, but before he takes the plunge, he thought it wise to see whether people like mustard. He writes:

"I used to make Cocospice, a Sri Lankan inspired dry sauce that our friends at the Larder and Jones of Brockley used to sell.

"Now, I am setting up a new business to make mustard, having lived in Dijon 4 years and being from the nearby region. I already have an artisan to make a Dijon mustard in Dijon and I am also working to get something going in Tewkesbery, where mustard truly originates in England.

"In order to try and do this as successfully as possible, I am running a little survey that I was hoping BCers could complete. It is just for me to start getting an understanding of who actually eats mustard, and what do people do with it.

"The link to the survey is here."

Ashmead School plans Lewisham Way expansion

As the squeeze on local school places continues, Ashmead Primary School is planning to expand. Rachel sends us this picture and writes:

"I've just returned from a consultation at Ashmead School on their proposed development and extension of the site, which would open it up onto Lewisham Way, opposite the college. It would mean modern four storey building being built in the St Johns conservation area.

"It would be great to see reader opinion in the area of the proposals. The plans will go to public consultation in the next couple of weeks."

TfL works out how to add 4 trains per hour to East London Line peak

A new strategy paper from TfL reports that increasing the capacity of the East London Line will be cheaper, easier and faster than previously expected, allowing them to reduce peak time overcrowding. London Reconnections reports:

In the case of the ELL, it has become possible to increase the frequency by removing signalling constraints long before anyone imagined it would have happened and at little, or no, cost to TfL.

To quote the paper:

"In the 2016 Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced a £450m Digital Railway fund for trialling digital signalling technology, expanding capacity, and improving reliability. The strategic outline business case for the ELL 20 trains per hour project has been shortlisted to receive funding from this fund. Funding of £6m has been received to develop the project to outline business case but a final decision is not expected until spring 2018."

So an unexpected opportunity has arisen to both buy trains at a cheaper price than they would otherwise cost and to have the ELL signalling upgraded at no cost to TfL. Despite TfL being strapped for cash, it must be hard to resist such an opportunity. Indeed, one could even argue that because TfL is strapped for cash it is even more important to take advantage of such an opportunity while it exists.

The ELL is well-known for operating at capacity at certain times of the day. Of particular concern are stations such as Honor Oak Park in the morning peak, where passengers cannot always board the first Overground train that arrives.

For many years there has been talk of running an extra 2tph ‘pixie busters’ (‘Passengers In eXcess of Capacity’, or PIXC to its friends) on the Crystal Palace branch in the peak period. Indeed it is a bit of a mystery why this hasn’t already happened, as the trains are available (they are currently designated as ‘hot standbys’). The main reason for this not taking place seems to be the issues at London Bridge during its redevelopment...

We can fairly safely conclude that the proposal is for the service to be increased to 6pth on both the Crystal Palace and the Clapham Junction branch. At Crystal Palace, where there are two dedicated terminating platforms available, we can be confident that the terminus can handle the increase in services.

There is much more extensive analysis here. Thanks to Richard for the spot.

Clement & Black, October 26

Meet Jo Black & Will Clement
Clement & Black is a local wine tasting company that celebrates its first birthday today.

Based in Honor Oak, Will Clement & Jo Black organise wine tasting evenings in the Greater Brockley area, with their next event taking place at Honor Oak cafe Two Spoons on October 26th. They say:

"Two Spoons maestro Luca will kick us off in authentic Italian style with seasonal cocktails. Then we'll taste 8 beautiful wines along with some lovely food, plus our favourite single estate olive oil."

To get tickets, click here.

Mouse Tail, Deptford

Another local archway-dwelling venue, Mouse Tail is the newish coffee shop underneath Deptford Station (Archway 3).

A cosier version of Peckham's Blackbird Bakery, its chocolate-block walls cocoon customers in a woozy half-light - you will need the coffee just to stay awake.

The Nunhead Gardener, Nunhead

The Nunhead Gardener (1a Oakdale Road) is a charming gardening shop tucked under an archway next to Nunhead Station.

Although it doesn't have the floorspace to compete with larger garden centres for equipment, trees and larger plants, it offers a beautiful range of plants and pots for window boxes, borders and around the home.

Yule not enjoy the Christmas train service

Joe pointed me in the direction of this announcement about local trains over the Christmas period:

This Christmas, between Saturday 23 December and Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive, there will be closures and changes to services as the Thameslink Programme continues to rebuild London Bridge station and the surrounding railway.

During this time there will be fewer trains into London and your journey will take longer, especially during the three working days (27th -29th December) From Saturday 23 December until Monday 1 January 2018, there will be changes to rail services across London and the south-east while Network Rail continues to transform north-south travel through London as part of the Thameslink Programme.

Southeastern, Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern services will all be affected as well as other train operators, with no National Rail services running on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Southeastern services will not run to or from Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge, Deptford, Greenwich, Maze Hill, Westcombe Park, New Cross and St Johns for the entire period of 23 December to 1 January.

Thameslink services will not run through central London. Trains will be terminating at Blackfriars, Victoria or London Bridge (from the south) and St Pancras International (from the north) from 23 December to 1 January.

A reduced Southern service will operate to and from London Bridge from 23 December to 1 January.

Heat Massage, 315a Brockley Road

Heat Massage is a new massage therapy room, in Heat salon on Brockley Road. Prices start from £25 for 30 minutes (or £20 for baby massage).

For details, click here.

The Brockley Christmas Market 2017

Last month, I ran into one of the members of the Brockley Cross Action Group, who had moved away from the area, realised the terrible mistake he'd made, and moved back. He was busy weeding and trimming the plants in the Brockley Station garden, which the group created.

The garden and the wider Coulgate Street masterplan they championed helped to unlock the wider improvements around the east side of the station and have produced the town centre that this part of Brockley had always lacked.

This group - along with many others like it - form the vibrant civil society that has shaped Brockley's development over the last decade. We are lucky to have them. Soon, they will be going on a recruitment drive for new members, but for now, they want you to know about the Christmas Market they will be holding in December. Rupert writes:

"The Brockley Cross Action Group is once again organising the Brockley Community Christmas Market, which this year will be held on Saturday 9th December from 12pm (in Coulgate Street by Brockley Station).

"As in previous years we intend to have up to 60 stalls along the street selling a wide range of arts & crafts items, festive gifts and food. There will be festive activities and live music all afternoon.

"We are looking for local volunteers to help set up and run the market on the day! Tasks include setting up the market in the morning, putting the stall lights up, looking after the stallholders, running the BXAG mulled wine stall (to raise money for community activities) and tidying up at the end of the day.

"If you would like to help us run this wonderful and well established community event please get in touch at Thank you!

"If you would like a stall at the market please contact Erin Essex ( to obtain an application form."

The Jam Circus Relaunch Weekend

The Lost Boys at The Brookmill

Cycle Superhighway consultation for Greenwich and Deptford

In a reminder that they do more than just protect cab drivers at the public's expense, TfL has launched a public consultation about its proposed new cycle superhighway from Creek Road in Greenwich to Tower Bridge.

The scheme would include stretches of two-way segregated cycle track on Tooley Street, Jamaica Road, Evelyn Street and Creek Road, providing a dedicated space for cyclists. 

The ride through Deptford and Surrey Quays in particular can be pretty hairy, so this is very welcome. Next we need the Old Kent Road and New Cross to get some help.

To participate in the consultation, which closes on November 19th, click here.

AFC Lewisham

AFC Lewisham is a Charter Standard football club based in Ladywell. Formed in 2012, it is a Sunday youth football club providing playing opportunities for local children. They are looking for more players. Chris writes:

My son has recently joined AFC Lewsiham Under 7’s football team, and we need a 2/3 more players for a good squad.  It a lovely well run club with training on a Thursday in Ladywell and matches on a Sunday in and around south east london.  We're looking for 2/3 6 or 7 year olds in Year 2 of school to join.

For any more information the website is and the contact person is Josephine at or text or phone on 07592 728437.

Brockley the muse

In a new interview for Music OMH, Brockley-based journalist Michael Hubbard has pinned down musician Nick Nicely to ask him about the inspiration behind his song Hilly Fields. He reveals:

"I lived by Hilly Fields in Brockley. It looks out over both London and Kent. We were often up there in psychedelic reveries. It has a stone circle. Brockley has a perfect 19th Century atmosphere, a Conservation area filled with Victoriana in gardens and buildings. Very inspiring."

Switching media, resident Katy Cooper is half-way through her mission to take a picture of Brockley every day for 365 days. In a recent blog about the project, she explains:

"Six months ago today, I was reading on Next City’s website about Chuck Wolf’s book, ‘Seeing the Better City’, which exhorts us to use our cameras to keep an urban diary as a de facto planning tool – and I realised I don’t really know that much about my neighbourhood: Brockley, South-East London.

"Despite moving in 17 years ago (before the arrival of much-improved transport links and much-inflated house prices), I tend to rattle about in the same few streets, the same few cafรฉs and the same park: I needed a reason to expand my horizons. So, I’m doing a photography* project, taking a photo a day from Brockley for a whole year and posting it on Twitter (@healthkaty) at #brockley365."

Outdoor classroom fundraiser

The Friends of Frendsbury Garden, in west Brockley, have launched a fundraiser, which ends this evening, to support the development of an outdoor classroom in the park. They write:

"Frendsbury Gardens is an inner city community garden located within Brockley. To ensure the diverse community can be use the garden all year around we want an outdoor space that could be used for gardening in the rain, chilling with friends or as a performance space.

"We want it have lots of bright colour so that the educational space is both functional in keeping people dry but is a piece of art in of itself. The timber deck is shaped like a leaf and is made from recycled materials. The classroom is designed to be quick, cheap & easy to construct by volunteers, and it aims to inspire those who build and use it."

To support the project, click here.

Write & Shine

Gemma writes:

Join us for a Write & Shine morning writing workshop in Brockley on 26 September (8.45am-10.15am). £15 including a lovely hot drink!

We'll meet at Pistachios in the Park in Hilly Fields. It's a beautiful spot for a couple of hours writing, with good coffee, fine cakes & floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the park glowing in the autumn morning.

Click here for more details.

Coming soon: Deptford Esquire

Deptford Esquire is a pop-up Pakistani restaurant and micropub, running from October to December. No details yet, but follow them for news.

The Cost of Living at The Copper Tea

The Copper Tea cafe (137 Lewisham Way) is hosting a special art exhibition (Fri 22/09/17 – Sun 01/10/17) called The Cost of Living, by the contemporary artist Alma Tischler Wood, who has been supported by The Arts Council England, The Goethe Institute and Council Gรฉnรฉral de l'Oise during her career.

The event is part of the Deptford X Fringe.

Labour Brockley ward organiser resigns

Labour selects Egan for Lewisham Mayor

Ladies and gentlemen, your new Mayor will be Damien Egan. Young, socially-savvy and idealistic, Egan will represent a major change in style - and possibly substance - with the outgoing Mayor Bullock.

Five to Rule Them All: Labour members choose our Mayor

Heavy is the head that wears the crown
The election that will determine the next Mayor of Lewisham has entered its final leg.

Five Labour candidates are currently vying for their party's nomination, which will guarantee that they replace Mayor Bullock when he stands down at the end of this term. Voting closes on September 19th.

Although it is frustrating that a relatively small number of party members will determine who will occupy the most powerful role in Council, the candidates have at least been actively campaigning beyond local hustings, so we can all see what they stand for.

Labour's insurmountable lead in Lewisham means there is little point campaigning on the centre ground. References to socialism and unions abound in their campaign literature and it is fairly hard to spot the differences in their policy positions and priorities.

Housing tops their manifestos, they all oppose outsourcing health services to the private sector (see the interesting Save Lewisham Hospital campaign Q&A) and they all want living wage policies to be expanded.

While the policies are similar, the characters are not. So here is the roster that Labour members have been choosing from:

Paul Bell - The Radical

A familiar name for regular readers of Brockley Central, the Telegraph Hill Councillor has been an active contributor to the site for many years, most recently using it as a platform to campaign on the service provided by housing associations. He also wound-up the local Remain lobby by not being sufficiently upset about the referendum result.

Currently a national officer for UNISON, he pledges a 'radical socialist' set of policies, an 'interventionist' approach to the local education system and has promised reform of the Mayoral system if he is elected.

Website here

Brenda Dacres - The Includer

Brenda is a New Cross councillor and a prominent campaigner, who opposed the cuts to Lewisham Hospital and encouraged the Council to return the blessed Deptford Anchor.

Brenda majors on the principle of 'inclusive politics', including a bigger role for unions (she's a Unite member) in the decision making process.

Website here

Damien Egan - The Metropolitan

Union employee Damien pitches himself as the 'pro-EU, pro-migrant' candidate. He wants to expand refugee support and puts more emphasis on environmental measures than his rivals.

Egan also broke ranks to withdraw his support for the Millwall regeneration scheme after Alan Hall's scrutiny revealed grounds for concern.

Website here

Alan Hall - The Statesman

A senior figure within the Council, Alan pitches himself as the experienced statesman - a continuity candidate who was sufficiently independent to hold the Council to account over its plans for the compulsory purchase of land around Millwall's stadium. He really wants to protect Lewisham's post office services.

'Ambition' has traditionally been a dirty word in Lewisham politics but he places greater emphasis on local regeneration and aspiration than his rivals.

Website here

Paul Maslin - The Maverick

Deptford gallery owner Paul is the outlier. He eschews a 'triumph over adversity' personal narrative. He likes to write lengthy articles on his blog (rarely a winning strategy) and is willing to give answers that may not be popular (see his answer to the question about Forest Hill School, here).

Maslin supported the Council's regeration scheme for Millwall. He avoids describing himself as a socialist and he believes the Council has a duty to fall into line with national Labour Party policy by implementing local cuts.

Website here

Saturday Night Jam, October 7th

Philippa writes:

I am hosting an open mic night and jam session as a charity fundraiser on 7th October at The Hill Station in Telegraph Hill.

I'm hoping to get together a diverse group of musicians from different genres, and of different ages, to play and socialise together, with all the money raised going to who work with kids in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

Tickets start at £10, depending on whether people want to play or just listen, and are being sold online here

Celebrate the Brockley Brewery's 500th brew

Andy from the Brockley Brewery writes:

500th brew celebration 22 September - I would brew 500 gyles and I would brew 500 more....!!

We've brewed our 500th brew (or Gyle as we say in the brewing world!!) and it will be tapped and ready to drink next week. 

We thought we'd mark the occasion with a celebration at the brewery 5.30-9pm on Friday 22 September and a special Brockley 500 brew (5% ABV).

Congratulations to the team on an extraordinary success story.

Zumba in Telegraph Hill

Open House London - Walter Segal Houses

Alice writes:

The Lewisham self-build houses in Honor Oak Park, designed by Walter Segal, will be open to the public on Sunday 17 Sept as part of Open House London. The FREE event will be extra special for two reasons:

It is the 30th anniversary of Walters Way - the houses were completed in 1987.

A new book about the streets, written by two of the residents, has recently been published: Walters Way and Segal Close, by Alice Grahame and Taran Wilkhu.

Both Segal Close and Walters Way will be open to the public: Segal Close in the morning 10-1 and Walters Way in the afternoon 1-6.

Visitors will be able to see inside at least four homes across the two streets. The day will include films about Segal self-build, a pop-up cafe, and a display from RUSS - the new Segal inspired community self-build project.

For full details, click here.

NHS considers closing Waldron Walk-in

The Waldron Health Centre, is an NHS centre built in 2008 next to New Cross station and home to the Amersham Vale Training Practice and the New Cross GP Led Walk-in.

As part of a consultation by NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the option to close the Walk-in Centre is being explored. The CCG writes:

We want to improve urgent and non-urgent primary care across the borough and as part of this we are looking at the future of the NHS Walk-in Centre service, at the Waldron Health Centre in New Cross.

We think the way people access primary care services could be improved. People tell us the way it works currently is confusing, and means people are not always seen in the right care setting or at the right time, with some duplication of service elements.  

We are committed to improving access to GP appointments and advice. Our priority is making sure that primary care services are easy to use, joined up and focus on helping people stay well. In order to do this, we need to:

- Remove the overlap and duplication in the services
- Provide clear and straightforward messages to people on how to access urgent and non-urgent primary care
- Get better value for money for all of our population
- Improve the provision and access to GP services for all Lewisham residents

We now wish to consult with patients, the public and other key stakeholders on our proposals, which includes closing the Walk-in Centre in New Cross.

The consultation runs for 12 weeks from Tuesday 8 August 2017 until Monday 30 October 2017, closing at 5pm on that day.

Read our full consultation document here. And complete the survey here.

Leathersellers Federation launches governor search

Andy Rothery is the new chair of governors at the Leathersellers Federation of Schools (Prendergast Ladywell School, Prendergast School and Prendergast Vale School). He writes:

Due to governor retirements we now have three vacancies for co-opted governors.

We are looking for committed people who live locally, have the capacity to devote time to the role and are passionate about improving our schools and providing excellent education for children from our local community.

We particularly welcome female applicants and those from an ethnic minority, as these are under-represented groups at board level and it is a key objective that our governing board better represents the diverse communities it serves.

The role is unpaid and demanding. The selection process is a skills-based application form and interview. For more information about the role and details of how to apply please see this link


Overlap (starts tonight, with a private viewing 6-9pm) is the 2017 final degree show for the MA Computational Arts programme at Goldsmiths College. The organisers explain:

"The exhibition explores the exciting new waves originating from the intersection of art and technology. It features ground-breaking installations, interactive virtual and augmented realities, and thought-provoking conceptual works by mixed disciplinary artists from fields as diverse as fine art, dance, photography, graphic design, puppetry, sound art, and architecture."

10am–7pm Friday 8 September 2017
12noon–8pm Saturday 9 September 2017
12noon–6pm Sunday 10 September 2017

Full details here.

The Luxmore Gardens Picnic, September 16

The Friends of Luxmore Gardens is a new organisation formed to celebrate and enhance Luxmore Gardens, the pretty but occasionally sepulchral park sandwiched between Rokeby and Malpas Roads. The Friends write:

Please come to our first ever community Picnic in the Park with music, kids activities and  free cake.

Have your say on what you want to be included in plans for upgrading Luxmore Gardens as well as meet your neighbours and have some fun. We will be sharing the results of a recent survey of users of the park.

Bring a picnic, or just turn up for cake.

Ten minute plays at The London Theatre

Nick Mouton, from New Cross' fringe venue The London Theatre, writes:

The London Theatre, will be home to 'The Collective Collected', 16 new plays by the London-based group The 10 Minute a Month Playwriting Collective, from Tuesday 5th - Saturday 16th September.

During the fortnight-long showcase event, each week will see eight separate 10-minute new plays performed, covering a number of themes set by the Collective, such as foolishness, nightmares, ambush, divorce, space and jargon. There will be a variety of stories told across the 16 plays, including a Jewish resistant cell in Prague recruiting a new member; a woman trying to find her lost husband in Athens; and a group of friends travelling to France to watch England play in Euro 2016.

The 10 Minutes a Month Play Collective, which was established in 2016, is a monthly initiative to keep writers writing by setting a monthly theme as a basis for new 10-minute plays. As a result, up to 10 new plays are presented at a reading night each month covering a number of styles, be they comical, dramatic, historical or whimsical. This is the first time that the Collective’s plays have been fully performed and directed.

Andy Marchant, organiser of The 10 Minutes a Month Playwriting Collective, said: “When we started the Collective we weren’t too sure what to expect, but it has become a great platform for writers, old and new, to test themselves and create some exciting new work. As it’s an open group we have a fantastic mix of experienced writers rubbing shoulders with those who have never written a play before.”

For full details, click here.

The Ladywell 10000M

BCer Richard writes:

Next Sunday there will be six 10km track races as part of a racing festival at the running track in Ladywell Fields, with the first race at 3pm and the final race at 7:30pm.

The races will get progressively faster during the day. Each race is going to be very competitive with pace makers and will be fantastic to watch.

It is FREE entry for spectators. There will be a cake stall, food from Jerk Rock and bar run by the Gypsy Hill Brewery. Music will be pumping during the races and you'll be able to stand on the track to get really close to the action (which is quite rare for a track race).

Venue: Ladywell Arena, Silvermere Road, London SE6 4QX
Time: 3pm - 8:30pm

The South East Makers Club Weekend, September 23rd - 24th

Meander is one of the Brockley events at this year's Festival
The South East Makers Club returns on the 23rd and 24th September as a Design Route in the 2017 London Design Festival.

The event brings top local talent together across Brockley, New Cross, Deptford, Peckham and Nunhead, to deliver workshops, talks, exhibitions, screenings and a makers market, celebrating the best of South East London design.

Brockley events will include Meander (a solo show by Superfolk, at the Simple Shape Studio in Ashby Mews), Object Talks at the Art House and A Dog Like Sparky open studio event in Ashmead Road.

For details of the South East Makers Club weekend, click here.

Bank Holiday Rum Day at Model Market

To celebrate Notting Hill Carnival weekend and in honour of the king of spirits, Model Market is pitching Rum Day. They say:

Street Feast’s late and local Lewisham market (196 Lewisham High St) will be opening its doors this Bank Holiday Sunday for 10 hours of street food, music and RUM.

Head down early to nestle into one of 10 micro-diners - Ink's crispy squid with pastel mayos, Petare’s deep-fried cornbread Arepas, Up In My Grill’s perfectly pink steak with shoestring fries plus loads more - and don’t forget to order plenty of Caribbean Rum Punch, on the menu for only £5 all day long. Expect Reggae, Hip Hop, Funk and Soul from local DJs including Sleepy Time Ghost, Martin Sage, Jack Christie plus more guests to be announced. Entry is FREE all day so grab your mates and get down for rum fun in the sun.

Sunday 27 August
2pm - Midnight
Free entry

Crofton Park refresh

Lewisham Council has a launched  public consultation in relation to its plans for the Crofton Park stretch of Brockley Road.
The proposals are to:
  • Narrow the available road width widening footways allowing for inset parking, disabled parking and electrical vehicle charging bays to be constructed
  • Raise the carriageway level (raised junctions) locally in three areas to reduce vehicle speeds along Brockley Road
  • Introduce a raised section in the side roads (raised table) at the junctions, to improve safety by reducing the speed of approaching vehicles, and to provide better facilities for pedestrians and those with impaired mobility to cross
  • Formalise all on-street parking within inset bays and improve vehicle visibility at junctions
  • Plant new trees along Brockley Road within the widened footways where possible
Though these are modest proposals, similar small changes have already helped Ladywell and Brockley Cross attract more footfall and business activity. 

To take part in the consultation, click here. Thanks to Joe for the heads-up.

Waterintobeer launch birthday celebration with the Brockley Brewery and Dulwich Hamlet FC

The Waterintobeer team write:

Brockley's home brewing supplies and beer shop, waterintobeer (on Mantle Road), has teamed up with Brockley Brewery and Dulwich Hamlet FC to celebrate its first birthday.

To celebrate its first birthday, owner Tim has collaborated with Brockley Brewery to create an exclusive orange peel porter and for the first time, you'll be able to enjoy a beer on tap at wib!

And that's not all! To say a big thank you to everyone who's helped the shop through its first year, everyone who spends £20 or more from 21-27 August will receive:

> A free ticket to see Dulwich Hamlet FC v Tooting and Mitcham FC for them and up to three guests
> A free waterintobeer tote bag
> Entry into a raffle to be in with a chance of winning: a Dulwich Hamlet season ticket and a homebrew kit

On Friday 25 August, join us for a drink with the guys from Brockley Brewery to find out more about their beer and brew school.

On Saturday 26 August, free samples, cake and other beer snacks will be offer all day - so be sure to join us!

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.

The Future of The Ladywell Playtower

Four potential bidders for the Ladywell Playtower - including two cinema chains, a cultural consortium and Goldsmiths - have been shortlisted by Lewisham Council, who have launched a public consultation about the future of the iconic building.

The Grade II-listed Playtower has lain dormant for years, but now four exciting concepts have been identified, including:


"Goldsmiths propose to locate the University’s established and internationally renowned post‐graduate Art courses solely at the redeveloped Playtower site, in a dedicated and purpose‐built centre for the growing Masters programme on offer.

"Primarily this would see the sensitive restoration of the main pool hall, and the reinstatement of the part‐demolished rear pool over two storeys, to provide three large flexible studio spaces. This model would replicate the under graduate facilities currently provided from the similarly constructed Grade II listed Laurie Grove Baths at the Goldsmiths main campus in New Cross."

Guildmore and Curzon

"Our vision is to reimagine the Ladywell Playtower as a publicly accessible leisure destination for the Borough of Lewisham.
"In response to strong local demand and drawing upon the original concept for the building which saw the First Class Pool Hall seasonally decked over for use as an entertainment venue, we propose to reopen the Playtower as a three screen cinema, complete with freely accessible public events foyer and complementary cafรฉ, bar and restaurant uses."


"Our proposal seeks to enhance and preserve it by finding a new use which will enable it to play an active part in the community for many years to come. We propose to refurbish the main building and to use the theatrical pool hall space for one large cinema screen - the remainder of the existing building will provide ancillary spaces with a cafe, bar, event room, exhibition space and community rooms. To the rear of the site on the footprint of the demolished second pool hall - we will construct a further four cinema screens in a new extension.
"Alongside this will be a thorough landscaping proposal for the whole site including a new route
which will link Ladywell Fields with Ladywell Road, placing the Playtower at the heart of what could become a new cultural quarter for Ladywell."

RJK/Copeland Park and Hillman

"Our vision for the Playtower is to create an exciting and dynamic cultural quarter for Ladywell, while transforming a building that was originally designed to separate people by class into a thriving site that brings people together and encourages them to interact and create.
"We see the Playtower housing a rich mix of performances, events, artist/maker studios, cafes, creative business offices, art galleries, a communal garden-courtyard, restaurants, health and well-being studios, a small cinema and community organizations. The jewel in the crown will be transforming the incredible former first-class pool area into a dynamic performance and event space.

"This space could become one of the most unique and intriguing performance venues in London and we will work with our partners at the Albany Theatre in Deptford to programme a range of commercial and community performances by everyone from leading arts organizations to local people.

"We are proposing to build, subject to planning permission, three new buildings on the site, all sensitively designed to fit in with the Playtower and other surrounding heritage buildings. This new ‘family’ of buildings will include a block of twenty rentable flats, a modest building with four rentable live/work units and ‘The Pavilion’ - a commercial building we will rent out to multiple tenants in the same way as the Playtower."

For a site that has been so neglected for so long, it is exciting to see such ambitious visions being presented by organisations with the means to realise them. You have until August 17th to complete the questionnaire.

Full disclosure, I am a member of the Goldsmiths body that approved this exploratory work on their part.

Lost silver bracelet

Anju writes:

I've lost a precious bracelet from my family, and I believe it may have been on June 17 at either Frendsbury Gardens, St. Hilda's, or Hilly Fields.

The bracelet is two silver bangles joined with a silver ring around them. It is engraved with 'Ava 11.12.15' on one, 'Om Mani Padme Hum' on another and the ring says 'ML & AA'. It looks similar to this.

If it's been found, I would be most grateful if you could contact me by email or mobile, 07979 2041 79. Thank you.

Yes, Let's

Could this be the most measured and accurate account of Brockley ever to appear in a national newspaper? The Guardian's Let's Move To column has covered Brockley and says that while the case against it is a lack of a proper town centre (although Coulgate Street is doing its best) the case for it is as follows:

 "I like Brockley. Gentrification advances, but has yet to overwhelm the place. Duck down the odd back alley, squint and you might have slipped down a wormhole to 1978 when it was full of sociology students from Goldsmiths, bohemians and the scent of wacky baccy and rosebay willow herb.

"A glance in an estate agent’s window might break the spell, but the geography of hills, valleys and crisscrossing railway lines is complex enough to keep hidden wormholes to a past long disappeared in inner London, like a wee nature reserve off terraced streets, or Hilly Fields park, its stone circle glowering over London’s thrusting skyline, the glorious Rivoli Ballroom, and the shaggy mews of overgrown flora behind the town houses on Wickham Road.

"It feels like London used to feel, only with decent coffee. And a lovely Saturday market. The past wasn’t always so great."

 Click here for the full piece

MOT garage closes to make way for more homes

The Geoffrey Road MOT garage is closed
The MOT garage on Geoffrey Road has been closed and boarded up, to make way for a new housing development, which is yet to earn planning permission. 

The garage has lived with the Sword of Damocles hanging over its head for years and the development has gone through a number of iterations, with the last version having been rejected earlier this year. The latest proposals are for:

"Demolition of existing buildings and the construction of a three story plus basement building comprising 4 two bedroom and 2 one bedroom, self-contained flats/maisonettes and one 89.9sqm Class B1(a) Office Unit at ground and basement level with pedestrian access from Geoffrey Road, together with the provision of bicycle and refuse/recycling storage and front and rear gardens."
The latest design proposal
The changes to the roof line and Upper Brockley Road elevation represent an improvement on the previous effort.

The neighbouring garage operating from Ashby Mews is still open.

Gently, 405 Brockley Road

Open seven days a week in Crofton Park, selling homewares and gifts, Gently Elephant now has a sibling.

South Circular to move south

At a meeting this week, Lewisham Council decided to move the stretch of the South Circular that snarls up Catford approximately 50 metres further south. The News Shopper reports:

The road will be moved to the south of Laurence House on Catford Road (through the car and lorry park).

The gyratory will also be removed to create a simpler road layout at the junction of the A21 and A205. The works will take place in 2020 and 2021.

Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “Moving the South Circular road will transform Catford and make the town centre a better place to live, work and visit.

“Our decision ends 50 years of uncertainty over the route of the South Circular road and the benefits will be felt for generations.

“The simplified road layout will make it easier for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to travel by removing the gyratory."

The decision was based on a report that has been kept confidential and no maps have been released. Anything that alleviates congestion and enhances the public realm at this end of Catford has to be worthwhile, but it would be good to see the detail.

oBike arrives in Lewisham, immediately ends up on DLR track

Where the Mayor of London has fails us, Singaporean capitalism rushes in.

TfL may not have brought bike hire to Lewisham, but oBike, the Uber-for-bikes system that was defeated by Mancunian cussedness, is putting the civic attitude of residents to the test.

The system promises to do wonders for local fitness levels. From this pick-up location, the only directions of travel are either up steep hills or towards Catford and Lee.

oBike's deeply flawed model has prompted complaints about the way bikes are abandoned and clutter up public places. In Lewisham, one has already been chucked on to the DLR track.

Lewisham Live crowdfunder

The Lewisham Live organisers are crowdfunding to pay for next year's event. They say:

Lewisham Live Festival will be back in 2018, providing many more unique performance and development opportunities for local children and young people.

Programmed and run by a consortium of top-class arts organisations in the borough, the festival in 2017 saw 16 performances, in 9 prestigious venues and included well over 2000 young participants.

Partners provide their time and use of venues often at little or no cost to ensure funds go to where they are needed most; development opportunities for young people, however against the current financial climate, keeping the festival affordable is always an uphill challenge.

Lewisham Live has launched a crowdfunder campaign to raise funds helping to ensure that ticket prices for the Live Voices and Live Dance events, held at The Broadway Theatre Catford, remain affordable for families.

"So many young people state year after year how much of an incredible experience it is to perform somewhere as prestigious as the Broadway Theatre and that seeing their mums, dads, siblings and grandparents in the audience is something they will never forget. It’s a real honour to be able to provide such exceptional opportunities for Lewisham's young people, but it is increasingly more expensive. We are hoping individuals, group and businesses will support our crowdfunding campaign so we can make sure as many young people have the chance to perform in this iconic local treasure and see their loved ones cheering them on." Natalie Clarke, Festival Coordinator

Lewisham Live is working to raise £3000 from their crowdfunding campaign, which will be used as matched funding for an arts council application helping to secure the festival activity and costs for 2018. There are various 'pledges' offering marketing credits, event tickets and promotion in exchange for donations, but any support however big or small is a great help.

Lewisham Live’s 2018 crowdfunding page can be found at

Driver mugged by moped gang in Ladywell

Police have asked the public for help in catching a moped gang who robbed a driver on Ladywell Road on July 6. The Standard reports

"A gang of thieves on mopeds robbed a Porsche driver at knifepoint in broad daylight in south-east London.

"Shocking footage showed the gang of four, on two bikes, pulling up beside the car before one of them threatened the driver with a blade.

"One of the pillion passengers pointed the knife towards the victim, a man in his 30s, as he sat in traffic in Lewisham."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lewisham CID via 101 or tweet information to @MetCC

Lewisham Gateway revisions rejected

Proposed changes to the Lewisham Gateway scheme, currently under construction in the centre of Lewisham, and intended to connect the station with the high street, have been rejected by the Council. South London Press reports:

The revised plans for phase two of the Lewisham Gateway development were unanimously rejected by Lewisham Council’s strategic planning committee.

There was widespread concern had been expressed over the lack of social housing in the plans and the council deferred the decision in March and requested further information from the developers.

Muse had highlighted that there was an overspend on its contribution towards reconfigurating the Lewisham roundabout. The subsequent presented financial appraisal concludes that the scheme is unable to support the delivery of affordable housing on viability grounds.

There has also been concern that the revisions included a hike in one of the towers from 25 to 34 storeys. 

The revised scheme reduces the space for education or office use at the bottom of one of the buildings... The new plans allow more space for the proposed hotel, shops and leisure space which could include a cinema.

Councillor Alan Hall said: “I moved the motion to oppose this application and my colleagues voted unanimously in support because there was no commitment to affordable housing. There was no social housing."

Thank you to Alistair for the link.

Summer of Love, July 22

Parlez, Coulgate Street

New Coulgate Street restaurant Parlez opened last night. If you've had a chance to try it, please post your reviews below.

Cat locked in suitcase found in Telegraph Hill

Gill writes:

My husband found this poor cat locked in a suitcase in Telegraph Hill this morning. We have it at home and are taking it to Celia Hammond, so if anyone wants to give it a home, you know where to go.

Coming soon: Gently

Gently is the sister shop of Gently Elephant and will be opening in Crofton Park soon. Owner Helen teased this shot today and promises a shop for grown ups.

Brockley Central Label Cloud