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 café, 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.

The Ladywell Pétanque League

Ryan writes:

I was hoping that you may be able to help me try and gather together anyone who uses the Pétanque facilities in Ladywell fields behind the bowling greens.

I have been playing pétanque there for the last year but the courses are becoming unusably overgrown. I'd love to set up a local Pétanque group/league to regularly meet up to play and keep the courses in good order.

There is evidence that some boule activity does take place there (as well as local strong cider drinkers) so it would be very difficult for me to find out who these local boulesmen are without some local help.

If people are interested in joining Ryan's pétanque revolution, please email him here.

Grover Lady's Fun

Casilda's Nice Things is the latest addition to Place Ladywell, 261 Lewisham High Street. A gallery and gift shop, it will host a meetup with artist Martin Grover on July 28, from 6-8pm. They say:

Martin Grover is an established artist and a former student of the famous Royal Academy Schools.  A playful narrative thread runs through his work, at one moment a little dark and woebegone and the next humorous and whimsical but always alluring.

Working from life, sketches, memory and photographs he reconstructs ephemeral scenes from the passing world. Childhood recollections, minor street incidents, slightly surreal radio traffic bulletins, brief news items, poems, short stories, Brockwell Park landscapes, the enigmatic allure of sheds and shelters are all recalled and captured with clarity and wit.

On the evening, Martin Grover will be unveiling several new prints that capture the diversity of south London life, including landscapes and still life portraits.

On the night, art purchases over £250 will qualify for a 10% discount an
d served with a glass of wine.

Training centre for self-build homes in Ladywell

Ted, a trustee of self-build group RUSS, writes:

A crowd funding initiative has been launched to help raise £57,000 to build London’s first training facility for would-be community self-builders. The innovative building will be constructed in Ladywell, Lewisham on part of the land set aside for a new 33 home affordable self-build housing project.

The project is being driven by RUSS, the Community Land Trust that has been set up to deliver the new homes. The project involves:

  • Designing and building a single-storey structure on the site in Church Grove, Ladywell. The building will be used during the main construction phase of the new homes – from 2018 onwards
  • The structure will host a series of workshops and build-days where anyone can come and learn about the construction of the new homes 
  • The building will also be available to local people as a community space 
  • RUSS will also run a programme of events and workshops with other community partners on the theme of self-building and community-led housing

RUSS chair Kareem Dayes said: “Lewisham has a history of self-building. In 1985 a group of council tenants with no previous building experience built their own homes on land provided by Lewisham Council. They were led by architect Water Segal who developed a simple and cost-effective building design that anyone could self-build.”

Megan Ancliffe is one of the team that has developed the early designs for the training facility. She said: “The project would offer people the opportunity to get hands-on experience of building. The structure will showcase different natural building techniques such as timber, straw bale and rammed earth”.

“Once built, the space would host RUSS’s School of Community-Led Housing with the goal of becoming a knowledge hub to share and inspire other communities in self-building and affordable housing projects”.

“We intend to source materials locally so that we support the local economy. We also aim to use as many reclaimed and recycled materials as we can and we’re interested in experimenting with off-grid technologies such as rain water collection.”

The building is estimated to cost £57,000. If enough people sign up to support it by the 10th of July, the Mayor of London’s initiative, Crowdfund London, is likely to provide top up funding to meet this target.

Anyone who wants to support the initiative can find out more here.

Please do not park your car in the middle of our park

The latest in an occasional series about people who park wherever they feel like in Brockley. Tom writes:

"I live near Hilly Fields and love the park. I went for my evening run yesterday and came across these guys. I'm not normally one to get involved in moaning on internet but thought this didn't seem right to me.

"I'm all for using the park for a picnic, drinks, general socialising, it's a fantastic spot for this but my main issue was the car on the they could play music. A bit of a liberty from my perspective and I'm guessing completely against park rules."

The BrocSoc BBQ, July 7

Tomorrow, from 7pm at the Stone Circle on Hilly Fields, BrocSoc will have be hosting a BBQ for Summer Fayre volunteers. Anyone interested in getting involved with the group is welcome.

Bring your own food to cook on their legendarily massive grill.

Open Air Concert, July 6

The Albany launches mission to give every Lewisham five year old a theatre experience

The Albany theatre in Deptford is a great local institution and this is a great campaign. Cassie from The Albany writes:

Lewisham Residents! Please help us support the next generation of leaders, artists and entrepreneurs in Lewisham by supporting this fantastic new campaign by the Albany, raising money to give a free theatre trip to every 5 year old child in the borough.

The aim is to crowdfund the first 1000 tickets, so please give whatever you can afford and share the campaign far and wide.

The campaign is being supported by Lewisham Council and the lovely Jude Law (yes, he's a Lewisham boy), so let's give more kids the chance to enjoy the fabulous experience of theatre.

Click here to support the campaign.

New Cross Night Tube from December

The current Night Tube service
It's been heavily teased, but TfL have now confirmed that a 'Night Tube' service will be coming to the East London Line, stopping tantalisingly-close to Brockley. Until now, Canada Water was the closest station on offer. The Standard reports:

The capital’s 24-hour transport network was expanded again today after it was announced the London Overground will run through the night from December.

The East London route will operate all night on Fridays and Saturdays between New Cross Gate and Dalston Junction, then extended to Highbury & Islington next year.

It means passengers will be able to travel across even wider swathes of the capital 24-hours a day as it will also connect with Canada Water station on the Jubilee line.

Cooper's Fundraiser

Brockley bakery Cooper's is fundraising to pay for a new oven. Founder Francis writes:

We're raising funds to replace our old, unreliable oven with a new oven to improve our ability to bake consistently and our capacity to expand delivery services in and around Brockley.

The details of the campaign can be found here.

Lewisham is the new Hull

The Mayor of London has taken a leaf out of the national government's book, who in turn nicked the idea from the EU. Sadiq Khan is launching a search for the first ever London Borough of Culture.

This shouldn't even be a competition. Bullock must bring it home for the borough. The release says:

A huge celebration of culture across the capital was kick-started by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today as he launched the search for the first-ever London Borough of Culture.

The major new London Borough of Culture Award will see the capital’s 32 boroughs bid for more than £1million of funding to stage a programme of world-class cultural events and initiatives, and to develop a plan to make culture an integral part of the boroughs’ future1. The competition will also be supported by a grant of £300,000 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder. The City Corporation will also explore how its cultural assets, expertise, and services can support the competition and the winning boroughs.

From today, boroughs across the capital will begin to develop their bids to be awarded this major local funding for culture. In February 2018, two winning boroughs will be named London Borough of Culture, with one taking up the title in 2019 and the other in 2020.

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes, the competition fulfils one of Sadiq’s key manifesto pledges and aims to strengthen London’s reputation as an international powerhouse for culture, by highlighting the hidden cultural gems across the capital.

The winning boroughs will be chosen based on their artistic vision and ambition to deliver outstanding cultural initiatives in their local area, putting communities at the centre of the programme’s design and delivery.  The top bids will not only be expected to shine a spotlight on existing cultural treasures, but to bring new cultural opportunities to the area, encouraging their own residents to get involved as well as Londoners from across the capital, and visitors from further afield - this might include festivals, exhibitions, pop ups, and other arts activities.

A wide range of London’s leading cultural institutions will help the winning boroughs to realise their vision, including the Barbican, the Museum of London, the Roundhouse, Film London and the National Trust and others. The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will also work with the winning boroughs to help them secure further funding for bespoke cultural projects.

In addition, £600,000 is available for to up to six boroughs which don’t win the title, but which put forward exemplary projects.

Another major element of the competition will focus on how the award can bring real change to the winning borough, delivering a lasting legacy for the area. Boroughs will be encouraged to consider how arts and culture can help them deliver their local plans, for example through training and skills development as well as regeneration projects.

Only a third of Londoners feel that they make the most of the culture on their doorstep. From the outset of his Mayoralty, Sadiq Khan has pledged to make growing the capital’s cultural industry a core priority, and today’s launch sees him delivering on a key manifesto commitment to ensure the capital’s cultural riches are celebrated through the entire city and accessible to as many Londoners as possible.

Contemporary artist Bob and Roberta Smith joined Sadiq Khan at City Hall this morning, where he unveiled an artwork created especially for the London Borough of Culture launch.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Culture is the DNA of our city. It has the power to transform communities and to bring people closer together. Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need to reach out to our neighbours and celebrate London’s unique and diverse culture. London Borough of Culture is a great way to do just that whilst showing the world that our cultural gems extend way beyond the centre of the capital to all corners of the city.

"From the outset of my Mayoralty, I pledged to make growing London’s culture a core priority and I’m proud to launch this ground-breaking new initiative, which I know will bring culture to life across the city. I can’t wait to see what inspiring ideas our boroughs have in store.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “We are so lucky to have such inspiring culture on offer every day in London. There is always something to discover, every London borough is full of talent, culture and creativity. London Borough of Culture is a chance to be ambitious, to celebrate what we love about our boroughs and to dream big!”

The closing date for boroughs to submit their bids is 1 December 2017. The London Borough of Culture Prospectus, a video featuring the Mayor of London, and guidance on the application process is available at

Brockley Open Studios 2017

The awesome Brockley Open Studio weekend is upon us. The team writes:

This year Brockley Open Studios celebrates its 25th anniversary. Wander along the leafy streets of Brockley and Ladywell this weekend (Saturday and Sunday 2pm- 8pm and Monday 5pm-8pm), see some of the beautiful art and have a sneaky look inside some of those big houses. It's like a 3D version of Rightmove but with a cultural twist.

There is also a group show at St Peter's Church Wickham Road. Come along tomorrow evening for the launch party (Thursday 29th June 6pm-9pm). All welcome and refreshments provided.

Click here for full details

Rad Bikes, 148 Lewisham Way

Rad Bikes, the bespoke bike build specialist, has opened on Lewisham Way.

The great and the good of South East London cycling turned out to celebrate this evening and here is a badly-taken photograph to prove it.

Click here for their website.

Wight jazz at Brickfields

Brocktail bar Brickfields has got lovely new windows that open out on to Brockley Road, just in time for the summer. 

On Sunday nights, the breezy mood is matched by live jazz performances from 6-9.30pm. They've already staged two jazz nights and due to their popularity, plan more throughout the summer.

The Marquis of Carabas

In July, local art collective Artmongers will complete the visual transformation of New Cross pub The Marquis of Granby, creating a mountainscape in the middle of the one-way system.

Brockley Central Label Cloud