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 http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lewisham-live-2018

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 park...so 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 www.london.gov.uk/boroughofculture

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.

Jonathan Coe in Sydenham

Jonathan Jo Has a mouth like an "O,"
But this is what makes him so funny:
If you give him a smile, Only once in a while,
Then he never expects any money!
- AA Milne

The author of The Rotters Club and What a Carve Up is coming to Sydenham. The Kirkdale Bookshop team write:

On Friday 30th June, to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, Spontaneous Productions in association with Kirkdale Bookshop is hosting Jonathan Coe in conversation with Matthew Sweet at 8pm, upstairs at Sydenham Centre, 44a Sydenham Rd SE26 5QX.
Tickets: £8 full price, £6 concessions.

Book online at spontaneousproductions.co.uk/jonathan-coe/
Box office at Kirkdale Bookshop, 272, Kirkdale SE26 4RS.

Footloose, July 8

Brockley Social Club's retro stylings might be better suited to a screening of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, but Hatty is giving it a Footloose makeover. She writes:

We are screening the brilliant dance movie, Footloose, followed by an 80's disco featuring all of your favourite 80's pop tunes.

Join us at The Brockley Social Club on Saturday 8th July - please do dress up in 80s gear if you like - as an incentive, we will award prizes to the best dressed!

For early birds who arrive between 7.30 and 8.00 on the night, we will have Pop Up Make Up and Hair Crimping in the snug (for a 'pay what you like' donation). Guaranteed 80's look in minutes. Ellnet, rollers and peach eye shadow included!

After the film, we bring you the very best of the 80's. Enjoy the tunes you can't believe you still know the words to. Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, A-ha, Japan, Yazoo, we aim to play something for (almost) everyone.  Power ballads also available!

Tickets available here.

Coming soon: Another Elephant

I saw a little elephant standing in my garden,
I said 'You don't belong in here', he said 'I beg you pardon?'
- Spike Milligan

Another local store opening to share...

Helen from Brockley children's store (and Brockley Central award winner) Gently Elephant writes: "We have collected the keys for the old Swintons shop in Crofton Park (between Aqua and Rosie's the florist) and we will be opening a new uptown store with an unexpected twist!"

More news soon.

Coming soon: Rad Bikes

Rad Bikes is a new independent bike shop, opening on June 26th at 148 Lewisham Way, between Upper Brockley and Rokeby Roads. Founders Ben and Tom explain:

"Maintenance is key but we will have accessories, locks, pumps and helmets. We also make wheels.

"We also hope to secure genesis bikes. But also will be doing other bikes. We have worked closely with Brother Cycles in the past. But everything can be ordered and we can advise on that."

Longplayer Day, June 21

James Bulley from Goldsmiths writes:

I'm curating a 12 hour event (with Jem Finer and Helen Frosi) next Wednesday 21 June on Summer Solstice called Longplayer Day.

Events will stretch from the Great Hall at Goldsmiths, across New Cross, Deptford, Greenwich, underneath the river, and then along the shoreline of the North bank to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

This will be the inaugural Longplayer Day, and the programming of the event explores time, duration and environmental thinking. This first edition marks a celebration of a recent partnership between Jem Finer's Longplayer and Goldsmiths, University of London.

The whole day is free, and we​'d like to invite everyone in the locality to come along at any point they wish - we're linking together lots of art communities with this and its been a really wonderful process, bringing together people side by side for years that have never actually met!

For up to date listings, please see our website and Facebook page.

Our Air, Your Health - June 19

6-8pm
The Deptford Lounge

Poor air quality is killing many of us and costing those who survive a fortune in EU fines. The government's reticence properly to tax or to replace London's diesel vehicles means we're waiting for the electric vehicle revolution to save us. Fortunately, Liz is on the case. She writes:

I am helping to organise an event in Deptford on 19 June and am just trying to spread the word locally.

I work with a group of scientists at King’s College London and Imperial College London, we belong to the Centre for Environment and Health, which does research into the health effects of environmental pollutants.

We do a lot of research into the health effects of air pollution (as well as other pollutants), and our Centre members at King’s run the London Air Quality Network and the LondonAir website. One of our Centre funders, MRC, organises a week-long festival of public engagement events and as part of that we are organising an evening of interactive activities and short talks based on our research into air quality and related issues – basically a small science fair type event with several short talks throughout the evening.

We have chosen Deptford as we are keen to move away from our university campuses a bit, and as well we have some links with Lewisham Council.

Full details of the event are available here.

Summer Solstice on Telegraph Hill

Virtue signalling

Not only does this new sign, created by Lionel Stanhope as part of the Street Art Festival, brighten this Brockley Road bridge, but it succinctly captures the truth of Greater Brockley: Brockley to the left, Brockley to the right. Whichever way you turn, there you are.

Labour Lewisham landslide

This morning, Vicky Foxcroft was returned as Lewisham Deptford's MP with an incredible vote tally of 42,461, leaving Tory candidate Melanie McLean trailing in second place with 7,562 votes. The turnout was a healthy 70.5%.

In Lewisham East and Lewisham West, the picture was the same. Heidi Alexander and Ellie Reeves each won for Labour, earning huge majorities over second-placed Tory candidates, with desultory showings from the Lib Dems in third.

The votes in full, via the Lewisham Council website, were:

Lewisham Deptford

John Coughlin, Green Party - 1,640
Bobby Dean, Liberal Democrats - 2,911
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour - 42,461
Jane Lawrence, Realists - 61
Malcolm Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 252
Laura McAnea, Animal Welfare Party - 225
Melanie McLean, Conservative - 7,562
​Total rejected votes - 208

Turnout: 70.5%

Lewisham East

Heidi Alexander, Labour - 32,072
Keith Forster, UKIP - 798
Peter Fortune, Conservative 10,859
Emily Frith, Liberal Democrats - 2,086
Maureen Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 228
Storm Poorun, Green Party - 803
Willow Winston, Independent - 355
Total rejected votes - 111

Turnout: 69.5%

Lewisham West & Penge

Shaun Bailey, Conservative - 12,249
Hoong-Wai Cheah, UKIP - 700
Katherine Hortense, Christian Peoples Alliance 325
Ellie Reeves, Labour - 35,411
John Russell, Lib Dems - 3,317
Karen Wheller, Green Party - 1,144
Russell White, Populist - 50
Total rejected votes: 156

Turnout: 73.19%

Pink House creator passes away

Mr Pink outside his unique house in 2002
Mr Brenton Pink, the creator of the legendary Pink House on Loampit Hill, has reportedly passed away. On Facebook, a family friend reported the news, adding:

"Mr Pink was a very well known man to anyone who grew up in Lewisham, you would often see him outside his house talking and seeing to his plants, he would always talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him. He left behind his wife, children and grandchildren who I know will miss him terribly."

He also leaves behind a unique legacy in the shape of his eccentrically-decorated home, which combines Victorian architecture with Caribbean-rococo styling.

With thanks to CamberwickKid for the news.

Lewisham Elects

It may, in many ways, have been a depressing election campaign, consisting of car crash interviews, uncosted promises, reductionist slogans and unprecedented U-turns, with a long shadow cast by the horror of Islamic terrorism.

But on the other hand, this is the first election in generations where the public has been offered a real battle of ideas. There are stakes beyond which colour rosette you prefer. There is choice.

The Conservatives may have moved to the left economically - with the promise of a new wealth tax, more Keynesian stimulus by pushing back their deadline to achieve a balanced budget, and state aid to reduce regional disparities - but Labour has embraced socialism red in tooth and claw, with nationalisation, a tax take that would be the UK's highest since World War II and £250 billion of further stimulus over ten years. The Tories would end the Pensions Triple Lock. Labour would scrap University tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. Five years ago, it was thought impossible that these kinds of policies could come back on to the electoral table.

The reemergence of choice between the main parties has also reversed a trend that seemed irreversible - the decline of the two-party system and the rise of smaller players. In London, Labour seems likely to wipe the floor with all comers, increasing its support in stronghold areas like Lewisham by peeling off votes from the Greens and LibDems and returning a strong crop of MPs in the form of Alexander, Foxcroft and Reeves.

So nationally, there is a real choice, but locally, it is likely that we will make only one choice. The real question is which parties will emerge as the primary challengers to Labour in Lewisham.

Full details of who to vote for and how to vote can be found here on the Lewisham Council website. How will you cast your vote?

Thunder and Lightning and Beer

Revolt! Art Show: June 9-10

"The sweetness of glory is so great that, join it to what we will, even to death, we love it."
- Blaise Pascal

If you've not had enough of deadly violence motivated by totalitarian ideology recently, then this weekend at 17 Harts Lane (New Cross Gate, SE14 5UP), art event Revolt! will bring you a grab bag of talks about communism, armed struggle and revolution.

The organisers promise a 'celebration of the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the revolutionary women of the women of the world, with beautiful images from the Soviet Union to photos and films of local resistance and current international struggles.'

FRIDAY 09 June 2017 | 6-9pm | Opening night | Free entry

Work on display from all supporting artists (including Chan Maroon, Andrew Cooper, Leah Jai Persad, James Waters and Roisin Anderson.

Short films | Low-price bar (donations) | Banner painting | Books, bags, posters for sale | Raffle

SATURDAY 10 June 2017 | 12-7pm

All day films, talks and exhibition.

1PM | Women’s Defence Units (YPJ): women at the heart of the Kurdish struggle
Film and discussion about Rojava, resistance, self-determination and the women leading the struggle.

2.30PM | Radical self-defence class run by Solstar Sports Association
Led by women trainers. All welcome, no experience necessary. ‘Training together for the struggle’.

4PM | Sylvia Pankhurst: art, working class women and the Hands Off Russia campaigns

5PM | Women in Cuba: the revolution within the revolution. Talk and discussion about the ongoing role women play in building socialism

All talks and films followed by open discussion.

Parlez betting on Scandi chic for Coulgate Street

You've seen the outside, behold the inside. This is how Parlez, the new restaurant coming to Coulgate Street this summer, will look when it opens. The team behind the project describe their influences as Scandi chic and French bistro.
The team they've put in place for opening day will be led by head chef Michal Zajac from the Groucho Club.
Where once, Brockley businesses complained that there were not enough daytime customers to sustain them, Parlez aims to be an all-day experience, with brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

The team are now hoping to be ready to open in late July, though the usual caveats about how long building work can take apply.

Diamonds for Sierra Leone

Roma writes:

I’m a local Brockley resident. Last Sunday I ran the Sierra Leone marathon (a brutally undulating course in 35 degrees with some gastro intestinal challenges!) to raise funds for the charity 'Street Child’ whose core focus is to provide educational facilities and support in some of the most deprived parts of Sierra Leone in order to give young boys and girls the best start in life as is possible.

As part of my fundraising efforts I’m taking over the pub quiz at the Orchard this Sunday - 11th June 2017. All of the proceeds will go to Street Child.

I would love to see you there! The evening starts at 7pm, but do arrive earlier to secure a table and it’s £3 p/p to enter. It’s a great opportunity to get the local community together, I hope you can make it.

Shade, the changing plan

The Key to Brockley, one of SE4's longest-surviving pieces of street art, has been given a 2017 makeover as part of this year's Street Art Festival, enabling the key to cast a long shadow.

The Festival currently only has 760 followers on Instagram, which is a travesty, given how many great images they post. Follow them here.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017

The Brockley Street Art Festival is underway. Works are taking shape across the area.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on
A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

Healthy eating on a budget - free classes

Naomi from Pulse writes:

We are running a course of Free Cookery classes for Brockley residents on Wednesdays in June, funded by Lewisham NHS Trust. The course aims to teach people about healthy eating on a budget, and they culminate in a shared meal.

We have a few places left on 7, 14 , 21 and 28 June at 11.00 to 1.30pm. The sessions take place at St Andrews Church Hall, (285 Brockley Road). In these sessions we:

· explore ideas as to what makes a healthy diet
· learn to source good value food locally  and prepare a series of simple enjoyable dishes and meals
· compile a folder of peoples favourite recipes from their past
· all sit down together to share a meal.

Booking is essential. For further info please contact Naomi on 07714770522 or call in at the Pinnacle Housing Office at Ground Floor, 111 Endwell Road.

The Laugh Train Home from Honor Oak

Tiff Stevenson will perform on the opening night
Another new local comedy night is coming to Greater Brockley. Local comic Robyn Perkins writes:

After running a successful comedy night (Laugh Train Home) in SW11 for over 3 years, I am starting a new weekly night at The Honor Oak Pub on June 13th.

The Laugh Train Home host will welcome Edinburgh preview shows from TV credited acts including John Robins (Mock the Week, Radio X), Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo), Dane Baptiste (Hither Green superstar, writer of BBC sitcom Sunny D, Live at the Apollo & more), Sarah Kendall (two time Edinburgh Award nominee), Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show host), and Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo).

Previews will be running until the Fringe starts from 8-10PM at the pub; tickets are £5 in advance / £7 at the door.  Starting September 5th, Laugh Train Home's pro comedy nights will commence and will run weekly; tickets will be £6 in advance / £8 at the door.

Time: 8:00-10:00PM

Schedule:

June 13th: Tiff Stevenson (Mock The Week, Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Drunk History, People Just Do Nothing) with Darius Davies and MC Robyn Perkins

June 20th: Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, The John Bishop Show, The Now Show) with Anna Morris and MC Robyn Perkins

June 27th: John Robins (Russell Howard's Good News, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Radio X, Stand Up Central, Live at the Comedy Store, Drunk History) with Alastair Williams and MC Jason Patterson

July 4th: Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Comedy Central at the Comedy Store, Live From the BBC),  John Hastings (Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy on BBC) and MC Jason Patterson

July 11th: Sarah Kendall (2-time Best Show in Edinburgh nominee, Russell Howard's Good News) and Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show Host, Dave's One Night Stand, The Rob Brydon Show, Fake Reaction, Comic Releif) and MC Jason Patterson

July 18th: Dane Baptiste (Live at the Apollo, Tonight at the London Palladium, Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, 8 out of 10 Cats, and his own BBC sitcom Sunny D) with Tez Ilyaz and MC Robyn Perkins

July 25th: Ed Gamble (Mock the Week, Russell Howard’s Good News, Dave’s One Night Stand, Drunk History, Virtually Famous, Sweat the Small Stuff) and Robyn Perkins preview their Edinburgh shows

Hustings tonight

People Before Profit may not be a party political force anymore, but their activists are still involved in local politics and have organised this hustings event tonight. The confirmed list of participating candidates is currently a little thin:

Green - John Coughlin
Lib-Dem - Bobby Dean
Christian Peoples Alliance - Malcolm Martin

Sparrow hawked

Sexy Sparrow eggs
Sparrow is the pretty little restaurant, sitting in an unprepossessing spot on the emergent new traffic system that will one-day define Lewisham's future. When that future arrives, SE13 won't have to endure condescension from restaurant reviewers. Until then, it will have to take the rough with the smooth. BCer Kraig writes:

"Glowing review for the food at Sparrow in The Sunday Times this weekend, even if the reviewer acted as if Zone 2 was an arduous pilgrimage not to be repeated. Unbelievably, he waited 25 minutes for a cab to pick him up rather than walk across to the station."

Here is a link to the review in question. Critic John Walsh likens the ride to Lewisham to a trek to Santiago de Compostela and opens:

"I’ve got nothing against Lewisham. I know it’s home to 95,000 charming and brilliant Londoners, and Sid Vicious was born there, as was Alexander McQueen, the Cream drummer Ginger Baker and Elsa Lanchester, who played the Bride of Frankenstein. But, like Croydon, it’s never featured on my list of places to visit. For years, its claim to fame was that it had the largest supermarket and police station in Europe [Ed: Police station, yes. Supermarket - can that ever have been true?]. We spent half an hour circling what remains of a vast shopping centre and a roundabout. Suddenly I saw “Sparrow” on a battered sign and yelled: “Stop!”

Upon completion of his quest, Walsh finds that the chef is infinitely inventive, that the salmon is to die for, the eggs with pork and anchovy relish is sexy and the flourless chocolate cake is "ten times better than Ottolenghi's."

Click here for Sparrow's website.

A brief history of the Brockley Jack

"The taproom and the whole architecture of the whole [Brockley Jack] are curious, and the sign nailed to the stump of an old elm in yard is painted on a mammoth’s bone which was dug up in the railway cutting behind the house."
— Walter Besant, London South of the Thames

The South London Club has published a neat history of the Brockley Jack pub and theatre. Click here to read it.

Lewisham Food Bank needs help

The Lewisham Food Bank is running low on some essentials and has released a list of urgently-needed items, including noodles, tinned fruit and toothpaste.

For a full list of donation spots, please click here. Thanks to Holly for the heads-up.

Brockley Max 2017, June 2-9

The Brockley Max community arts festival returns on June 2nd for nine days of music, performance, art and parties.

This year's festival includes a wide range of new artists and venues and highlights (other than the front cover of their programme, which is a masterpiece) include:
The Max will also coincide with the Brockley Street Art Festival and this year, the London Beer Dispensary will be pouring a limited edition Brockley Max beer.

For the full programme, click here.

Power serve problem delays Ladywell tennis plan

A plan to create a major floodlit tennis facility in Ladywell Fields is being held up by UK Power Networks, who haven't hooked up the site yet. Lewisham Council's Andy Thomas explains:

"We are still waiting on the power supply to be installed by UK Power Networks but in the meantime we don’t want to keep the courts locked up and unavailable for use.

"The plan is that the courts will be kept locked with combination padlocks but when people book they will be sent the number that will give them access. They will then be asked to lock up the courts again when they finish.  For this period of time, courts will be free.

"To make a booking people simply need to sign up at www.playtnennislewisham.co.uk and go to the courts page where they will see what times are available.  People can make bookings from this Saturday.

"It’s vital that people work with us to look after the courts. In other parks there have been reports of people going on the courts with bikes, skateboards, footballs etc and there is already evidence of damage.  We can’t let this happen because we have to think about the long term and so if this system doesn’t work we may have to go back to locking them up until we have the power supply."

Dine in Deptford in June

Deptford Market Yard writes:

As part of the London Food Month festival, we're giving you the chance to sample the diverse food and drink offerings at Deptford Market Yard, each Wednesday in June between 12pm-10pm.

Come and discover the unique, independent businesses and exciting flavours on offer, including drink options, for just £15 (plus booking fee).

Your ticket entitles you to one sample dish and/or drink from each of the amazing food & drinks arches:

Lomond Coffee, Dirty Apron, Mama’s Jerk, Frankie Goes to Bollywood, Archie’s and Little Nan’s Bar.

For the full menu and tickets head to: bit.ly/DMYDINE

Brockley Cross block approved

With a sense of grim inevitability, it is my duty to report that the plans for 1-1a Brockley Cross have been approved.

After many attempts, the developers of the kitsch car dealership have finally worn down the Council and have gained permission to build:

The demolition of buildings on the site of 1-1a Brockley Cross SE4 and the construction of a part two/part three storey building comprising a Class B1 office unit, 3, one bedroom and 2, two bedroom self contained flats together with the provision of bin and bicycle stores.

The specs are less of a problem than the design, which, despite multiple revisions, is inept.

With "thanks" to Ed for the heads-up.

The Festival of Flowers

Another gong for Brockley's Rock

Brockley's Rock writes:

We are delighted to have been recognised with the prestigious National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Fish & Chip Quality Award.

The award identifies fish and chip outlets that serve the highest quality fish and chips following a thorough assessment of the premises, equipment, working practices, hygiene standards and management controls, along with the quality and taste of cooked fish and chips.

Innovation and Conservation, June 10

Keynote speakers are:
  • Laura Sandys, daughter of Duncan Sandys MP, who instigated the 1967 Civic Amenities Act
  • Duncan  McCallum of Historic England
  • Nicholas Boys-Smith of Create Streets. 
Case studies of local schemes will include:
  • Rhys Cannon of Gruff
  • Jon Broome, a specialist in self-build
  • Charles Coull on a live-work studio featured on Channel 4
  • Murray Groves on timber-framed Cedar Mews
  • Paul Russell on the children’s nursery in the former Welsh Chapel
  • An alumnus from the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust will talk about their work supporting young architecture students

Brockley's dark territory brightened

During the last decade that this site has been running, many of the ugliest parts of Brockley have been, if not beautified, then at the very least significantly improved. But the railway bridges crossing Brockley and Mantle Roads represent grot's last stand in SE4.

However, hidden in the small print of the announcement about the 2017 Street Art Festival was the news that this spot will be transformed by a brand-new, epic-sized mural. Artist Lionel Stanhope confirms:
So that the West Side doesn't feel left out, Frendsbury and St Norbert will be joining the party with commissioned work.

Housing Associations: The Bell Tolls For Thee

The Bell Curve: A bent lamppost was the final straw for Cllr Paul Bell
Telegraph Hill Councillor Paul Bell has launched a campaign to improve the service provided by local housing associations. He writes:

This is a picture of my building, managed by Gallions/Peabody Housing Association. Last week a delivery driver to the Cooper's Bakery, stupidly reversed into the lamp post. I won't bore you with the details, but this is just one of many issues Gallions/Peabody have failed to sort out in a timely and in this case, health and safety way. Others include failing to sort or communicate about fire prevention measures to failing to give us a recycling store key for 8 months.

My building is not alone. Through my casework as a councillor, I know that many others are fighting to get services that as a tenant, shared owner or leaseholder we all pay for. Housing associations fail to keep residents informed. They lie. They make up stories and finally, when things do get done, they've had to be shamed and contacted many, many times before hand. We should not put up with this.

I am intending to write a report to the Chair of the Housing Select Committee, Cabinet Member for Housing and the Mayor of Lewisham demanding that action is taken to sort out this general housing association incompetence. Will your help? You can do so by filling out the online form HERE, telling me about your experiences and problems. I will also accept best practice too, as there are some - smaller housing associations - that do good work. The survey can be done anonymously. Please note, as Lewisham Homes is not a housing association, I've not included them in this survey.

The Quaggy Community Choir


The Quaggy Community Choir meets at the new Parkside Centre
Priya and Jake write:

The Quaggy Community Choir is a new group based at the brand new Parkside SE10 Commity Centre, on the border between Greenwich and Lewisham.

We’ll be singing an eclectic mix of songs of different styles – to well known hits to some tunes which are a bit more unusual. Once we are more established, we look forward to inviting people’s song suggestions and will eventually head out into the community to do some shows.

The first session is free and no experience is necessary.

DAY: Every Tuesday evening
TIME:   7:00 – 8:30pm
PLACE: Parkside SE10 Community Centre 1 Copperwood Place SE10 8GF

Brockleywood Nights – Thurs 8th June

Declan writes:

Enjoy the filmmaking talent and cinematic treasures from Brockley and beyond at Brockleywood Nights, a showcase for local short film.

The event is free and scheduled for the evening of Thursday 8 June, starting at 8.30pm (offering respite from the General Election mayhem) and will be in the fantastic sprawling garden of the Fox & Firkin down the road on Lewisham High St in SE13. Pushing the Brockley boundaries a wee bit, but the venue is great and there will be live music afterwards with Ron’s Speakeasy, so it’s going to be a top night!

Submissions are still open and so please get in touch. All genres are welcome and while the focus is on showcasing local filmmakers (or films linked to the local area), films from Lewisham, South London and beyond will also be considered. Please get in touch or forward to any filmmaking friends you know.

For further details or submissions contact Declan at declanmcgill@gmail.com

The event is part of Brockley Max (2 - 10 June 2017) and as ever there will be loads of (mostly free) gems to discover. Check out  brockleymax.co.uk for more info or like/follow @BrockleyMax on social media.

The Brockley Art House

David has issued a call out for artists:

"The deadline for submitting art work to be exhibited at this year's big Brockley Max Open Art Show at Brockley Art House is 20th May. Artists can enter two pictures. Our biggest ever open submission art show alongside a gallery of vintage art, clothes and collectables. Pop-Up Attic Tearoom serving cakes and speciality teas."

Submission guidelines are on our Facebook page.

Lewisham GP to stand against Hunt

The Lewisham medic who played a prominent role in the campaign to save Lewisham Hospital from being downgraded will stand for election in South West Surrey in a bid to unseat Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Independent reports:

"The Green Party has withdrawn their candidate from the race completely, while Liberal Democrat and Labour members agreed not to campaign in order to boost Dr Irvine’s chances, despite their national parties standing candidates in the constituency.

"The decision by left-wing activists to unite behind the GP — which marked a major step in the drive for progressive alliances across the country — was met with a stark response from the national Labour party, which on Monday expelled three executive members in South West Surrey who had been leading the movement.

"But despite the opposition at a national level, local cross-party support for the National Health Action party candidate remains strong, with many Labour and Lib Dem activists in the constituency still said to be planning to vote for Dr Irvine and refusing to campaign for their own party candidates in the lead-up to the election."

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017, June 2-10

Ten new works will be created across Greater Brockley as part of this year's Festival, which returns for its third year next month.

The organisers have recruited national and international artists, including locals Pangea Arts (above) and Doodle Man Colour (below).
Director Phillipa writes:

"This  year's addition  of  street  art  tours  will  offer  the  opportunity  for visitors and local residents to get more involved with the festival than ever before, exploring the tales and techniques of a selection of work which has been produced by previous festi-vals, including Dale Grimshaw’s landmark Bob Marley mural and Artista’s Flying Toast.

"The festival has also been working with local schools to offer tours of the existing murals for school children, and as well as devising a free self-guided family trail, will be hosting a dedicated walking tour for children and families, led by museum, gallery and arts educator Neysela da SilvaReed.

"Other events and activities include live painting jam Merging Inks, an exclusive screening of cult  graffiti  film Bomb  It at the pop up Courtroom  Cinema and a talk  about  the  2015  mural Supernova in our Hearts, created by south London arts collective Artmongers, in collaboration with STEAM:ED and supernova discoverer and astronomer Dr. Steve Fossey.

"Bristol-based artist Aspire will also create his trademark pixelated birds close to a local community garden and  self-taught  street  artist  Koeone  will bring his photo-realist female portraits to another. Popular local artist Lionel Stanhope will also be continuing south London’s trend  towards traditional signpost murals, following in the footsteps of Herne Hill and Hither Green, with a mural planned for under the nearby railway bridge."

brockleystreetart.com

The voice of degeneration

"This is Harry Allen, hip-hop activist and media assassin, with Flavor Flav. What's the flavor, Flavor?"
- More News at 11, Public Enemy

Brockley's mockney performance poet Kate Tempest has triggered a Daily Mail hit job thanks to her performance of "Tunnel Vision" on BBC Newsnight last night. The headline rants:

'What an embarrassment!': BBC Newsnight is slammed by viewers for airing performance poet's ranting 'left wing victimhood politics'.

Complaining about a performance poet's left wing politics is a little like complaining about the noise at a Sepultura gig, but it gives them something to do.

Thanks to Patrick for trawling the Sidebar of Shame.

The Myatt Table Top Sale, May 7th

Turners to close

Turners, the Brockley Road hardware store, is to close later this month. The shop has been providing a valuable service to the local community for decades and built a loyal customer base, who've come to rely on the fact that Turners will always have what they need, however obscure.

Recently, the owner of Turners was a victim of a violent assault in the course of a robbery, but the decision to close the store is due to retirement.

Thank you to BertofBrockley for the heads-up.

Stephen Kovacevich at St Mary the Virgin in Ladywell

The acclaimed pianist will play at Ladywell's ancient church on May 19th
Ros writes:

I’m a member of Lewisham Park (Crescent) Residents’ Association and we are organising a charity concert in Lewisham in aid of St Mungo’s the homelessness charity, and also to fund improvements to the park. Proceeds will be spilt equally between these two.

Somewhat miraculously one of us has managed to get the world-renowned pianist Stephen Kovacevich to agree to play, and also local musicians and singers will be involved. The concert is at St. Mary’s church in Ladywell (just opposite the park) on May 19th.

You can buy tickets for £10 or even sponsor one of his keys to pay for the piano hire. Full details here. You get a free glass of wine with your admission ticket too.

Brockley Central Label Cloud