Crofton Park

CROFTON COLUMN

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE AREA-SEPTEMBER AND BEYOND       BLOG NO #51

Hope everyone has had a good summer-certainly the last 6 weeks, to nicely coincide with the school holidays, has been pretty decent weather as far as I’m concerned and I only hope that we have at least another month ahead of warmth and sunshine as September and into October can often be some of our nicest weather months.

August is generally quiet for events and festivals locally as many people are away on their holidays but certainly there are lots happening/new businesses opening in September and so it promises to be an exciting time ahead!

CROFTFEST

The major event taking place on our doorstep in September is CROFTFEST. This will be the 4th year that Crofton Park has ran a festival along the High Street and it has proved very successful at bringing together local businesses and other key buildings such as St. Hilda’s and the library. The date is Saturday 24th September and the details of what each business will be offering on the day will be published in a blog, in early September. However I can confirm that the street by the church, Courtrai road, will be closed for the day with a stage showing live music and lots of children’s activities (bouncy castle etc). The community garden will be open to the public, it is rumoured that the Rivoli may even open it’s doors for a guided tour! The library should be having stalls in the front courtyard, story-telling, a raffle and a local history theme with our wonderful local historians Carol and Mike Harris who should also be doing a history walk. Besides lots of the businesses on the main Brockley road offering offers/discounts/activities during the day the wonderful businesses on Ewhurst Road are also participating-details to follow.

On the night of Croftfest Lala Piano bar is hosting another fabulous evening at the Brockley Social club from 8pm, following on from the great success during the Brockley Max festival this year. Why not finish off the day with a bang and join in the frivolities and sing songs with David Roper of former ‘4 poofs and a Piano’ house band for the Jonathon Ross show. I guarantee you will have a great time  as this New York style pop up piano bar has many talented West End stars who perform on the night but often the highlight is the rousing sing-a-longs where everyone can join in (don’t worry the words are provided on song sheets)  For tickets book via this link http://bit.ly/2bs34yA  Look forward to seeing you there!

ON BLACKHEATH

This is a local festival on the Heath that started 2 years ago and has been a great success so I believe will now be an annual event. It is taking place this year on the 10th and 11th of September and you can buy day tickets or a weekend ticket. I went in the first year and was very impressed with the organisation and the line up -Grace Jones was amazing! This year the headliners are Primal Scream with Hot Chip on the Saturday and Belle and Sebastian with James & Squeeze on the Sunday. There are also lots of other things happening at the festival besides music and children under 12 go free. I would certainly recommend it -where else can you see top class bands and then walk home! See their website http://www.onblackheath.com/

BROCKLEY FRONT GARDEN SALE

The 4th co-ordinated sale is happening this year on the weekend of Saturday 10th and 11th September. It is organised by the Brockley Society and involves lots of people opening up their front gardens in SE4 and selling their wares – be that arts/crafts, second hand clothes,/toys, bric-a-brac. It is a great opportunity to grab a bargain as a buyer or become a seller by signing up to participate by emailing gardensale@brockleysociety.org.uk with your address details & stating whether you want to join in on Saturday/Sunday or both. I tried to do this a couple of years ago and being outside the main area it didn’t work that well so my advice would be to gather a few neighbours in your street and join together with a poster etc so that you are not alone and create a cluster of houses near each other for buyers to head for. The list of participating addresses will be posted near on the Brockley Society website nearer the time.

HILLYFIELDS RELAY RUN

On Sunday 18th September at 11am there is the second 10km fundraising relay run taking place in the park where you can enter teams of 4 to run a manageable 2.5km each, all in aid of raising money for Marsha Phoenix, a local charity in the area. Why not get together with your friends, family and colleagues and enter! You can sign up by emailing mpmtrelay@gmail.com

FOREST HILL FASHION WEEK

After a very successful festival last year the event is happening again this September in SE23 for 4 days from Thursday 22nd to Sunday 25th. Expect workshops/adult and kids catwalk show/clothes & craft fair plus lots, lots more. All very exciting and reflects the amazing creativity of Forest Hill businesses and residents. For details see http://fhfw.co.uk/

DEPTFORD X ARTS FESTIVAL

This very diverse contemporary visual arts festival is in it’s 19th year and celebrates the amazing creative community of SE8. It launches on September 23rd and finishes on October 2nd. This year a new commissions platform arrives as the central element of it’s new core programme. Five emerging contemporary artists will be commissioned to create new and ambitious site-specific works in Deptford. The programme is being finalised but for details and updates check on their website http://www.deptfordx.org/about

LADYWELL PLACE

I assume people have noticed the bright coloured buildings gradually going up over the last year on the former Ladywell baths site on the main road. I think it is very cheery with its colour palette of green/orange/pink and yellow. The main front hoardings have finally been removed over the last few weeks revealing 24 units of 2 bed temporary accommodation for Lewisham homeless families which is an innovative, award winning scheme which will help those on the waiting list. The ground floor space is being let out as creative/retail/workshop/studio spaces etc. I think there will also be a community cafe. The details of the scheme are still not that clear but I understand tenants are being signed up and it will gradually open over the next few months. It certainly looks an exciting project and a great addition to the area. Watch this space!

BROCKLEY JACK THEATRE

If you are a regular reader of my blogs you will realise our local fringe theatre is one of my favourite places in the area and I count myself very lucky that it is only 5 minutes walk from my house! The standard and quality of the performances is outstanding, all for only £14 a ticket. If you haven’t yet been you really should and I will guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

The next production ‘The Gospel according to Philip’ starts on Tuesday 30th August and runs for 5 nights until Saturday 5th September. This is a brand new comedy which takes an alternative look at the events of the New Testament and is presented by Arrows & Traps theatre, who return to the Jack following their sell-out production of Anna Karenina.

Following on for a 3 week run from the 6th to the 24th September is ‘The Awakening’ by DLProductions. Johannes who is serving a life sentence for murder is released on parole from an abusive prison system. Agnes secures him a place working on a remote farm. Here he unwittingly becomes embroiled in an old, unresolved grudge. This certainly sounds very interesting and one to check out!

My husband collaborated with the theatre and helped organise/curate 2 film showings at the beginning of August, a 1960’s film and a contemporary one. Both nights were a great success and it is hoped to continue this relationship during the Autumn with a film season. Details have yet to be finalised but watch this space!

DEPTFORD

So much is happening in SE8! Firstly we have new pubs. The Royal Standard on Tanners Hill relaunched in July and seems to be going down very well with the locals. It offers a choice of craft beers, gourmet food and a cool revamped interior. I have yet to go but it’s certainly on a list to check out. Meanwhile the Brookmill pub on the St. John’s/Deptford borders has undergone a major refurbishment and will re-open its doors on Tuesday 30th August. It promises to be ‘a community hub offering gastro food and drink, served in a cosy environment’ Perhaps their main ingredient is Chef Olly Marlowe, previously of both Michelin starred The Glasshouse and Chez Bruce. All very exciting and with the above 2 pubs only 5 minutes staggering distance from each other I feel a mini pub crawl coming on!

Meanwhile in the heart of Deptford I must mention Buster Mantis which opened at the beginning of the year and is certainly worth checking out. It occupies 2 of the cool arches in Resolution Way, one for the bar and one as a creative space where they do many interesting events-film, DJ nights, pop up markets, art shows etc. Gordon the owner is very friendly and there is a very welcoming & relaxed atmosphere. Why not pop down, have a refreshing rum punch whilst ordering the delicious jerk chicken!

Over the next few months Buster Mantis is going to have many new neighbours, just over the road at Deptford Market Yard. This is the area finally completed outside the station, under the railway arches and the main railway ramp. It is great to see it now open, after various delays. The new tenants are gradually moving in with ‘The Box’, a cool new unisex hair salon being the first to open whilst the stylish interiors store ‘Win & Ruby’ opened this weekend. Perhaps the best known name locally to move into the arches is ‘Little Nan’s’ bar which is finally returning to its roots with a permanent home and should be open for business in mid September, serving you cocktails from its signature teapots and much more. There are lots more exciting names moving in and you can check them all out here http://bit.ly/2aSf2SF

In addition to the arches there are 2 major restaurant spaces and the tenants of these have yet to be announced whilst a market is also to be established on the cobbles in the yard. The timing of both of these is to be confirmed but I understand all of the scaffolding and hoardings that link the area to Douglas Square will be taken down in mid September and I think will transform SE8! I only hope that the original charm of Deptford will still be retained and whilst ‘gentrification’ will certainly be a term used for this project I hope it will not be at the expense of the real locals and that they will not be priced out of the area. Whatever the outcome there is definitely major change coming to this creative area in SE London and I am watching with great interest! 

CATFORD

There is lots happening in Catford over the coming months with many of the initiatives receiving funding from spacehive, showing support from the local residents and the council.

The first Catford free film festival is taking place from Friday 16th September to Saturday 24th September and will involve lots of different, interesting venues across SE6. It kicks off with the glitzy ‘Great Gatsby’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Carey Mulligan. The wonderful Lewisham & Greenwich NHS choir are also performing live and black tie and Hollywood glam is being encouraged-all sounds very exciting! Other highlights are the ‘Life of Brian’ an outside screening on Catford Broadway, with live music by the very talented Mazaika. The closing gala is ‘Life is Beautiful’ with a live poetry challenge before the film. There are lots more really great showings during the 8 day festival & for more details see http://bit.ly/2bkRy8A

Another project receiving funding from spacehive is the inaugural Catford Arts trail/Open House event to celebrate creativity in Catford, with local artists and makers showing their work in various homes and public spaces. It is happening over 2 weekends on the 24-25th September and the 1st – 2nd October and is involving 70 local artists in over 31 venues. Lots of other activities are planned around the dates with workshops, demonstrations, music, art installations being created plus lots more. Again very exciting for the area. The details are still being finalised but keep checking http://catfordarts.org/catfordartsgmailcom/ for more updates.

FILM

Lewisham has always been cited as one of only 2 London boroughs that did not have it’s own cinema but over the last year things have improved considerably. Firstly Deptford cinema opened as a community funded 40 seater cinema in March 2015 and is regularly showing films at very affordable prices. See http://www.deptfordcinema.org/ for details.

However the major breakthrough is that the Curzon cinema group has collaborated with Goldsmiths College to bring the first full time cinema in the area, opening at the beginning of the year. I went very early on and sadly we were the only 2 in the cinema. This was very disappointing as the news of it opening was received with such excitement. Things have certainly improved since but numbers are still relatively low and so they have recently reached out with a survey, asking for feedback/suggestions. I think the major difficulties are that still many people don’t know it exists, it is quite hard to find within the university and the ticket prices are high. All these things will hopefully be addressed and so please go along and support. For the latest film screenings check out http://www.curzongoldsmiths.com/ 

However film festivals and one off showings within the borough are only growing in popularity. I have already mentioned Catford film festival and as I’ve also referred to above in my blog it is hoped to start a film club in the Autumn at the Brockley Jack theatre. In addition the wonderful Rivoli ballroom is becoming a pop up cinema for 2 nights only in October showing Halloween and The Shining-a great location for these classic horror films. See croftonparkpictures.com for dates/details. We shouldn’t also forget the fantastic New Cross and Deptford free film festival which takes place annually every April/May and brings lots of screenings to the area.

NEW BUSINESSES

LADYWELL TAVERN

The Tavern shut it’s doors rather abruptly a few weeks ago and has posted information on social media that it is doing work to the pub and plans to re-open in November. It is now part of the Laines pub group. I had hoped to have information direct from the company but I understand major works are taking place and incorporating the back, outer buildings to help create a much needed bigger kitchen. The Gallery is also shut but I think/hope re-opening again. I have watched over the years the changing ownership of the Ladywell Tavern and each time hope they will get it right-I always maintain that if the right investment/staff/food/prices were put in place this pub in the heart of Ladywell could do so well and be a fantastic community hub for the village. I await the changes with great interest!

THE CHANDOS

For the last couple of months the Chandos pub, on the corner of Brockley Rise and Codrington Hill, has been closed and gutted for a major refurbishment. It is re-opening again on Wednesday 7th September with great anticipation from many of us. I’ve got to admit I went quite a few times to have a drink during May and June, not having been there for years. I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly (and cheap) it was so rather sad to hear it was closing in its current form. I also know many builders who have been using it for years and so were devastated when it shut. However I feel very excited with its opening and it hopefully will be a great addition to the area. Nancy, the manager, is certainly communicating all the right things and wanting it very much to be a community pub. She says “we will have great beers, fabulous pizzas and there are 2 TV’s which will be on only when there is sport worth watching on” I’m personally hoping the prices will be reasonable and so it will attract and be accessible to all of the local community. I certainly plan to be there on the opening night and so will see you there!

GROUNDS AND GRAPES

Another exciting development in Honor Oak is the business outlet next to DONDE on the main Honor Oak Parade. There has been lots of activity over the last few months and I understand it is to open sometime during September. Not much information is known yet but that makes it even more interesting! It was understood to be a coffee and cake cafe but the Grapes bit to the name would indicate it will be serving wine and so not sure if the opening hours extends into the evening yet. It all looks great and so bodes well. Certainly the parade over the last few years has seen a major transformation and all of these new businesses only add to the area, making it a food and drink destination that hopefully benefits each other and gives us, the customer, greater choices.

LONDON BEER DISPENSARY

Rumours were rife on social media earlier this week with what was happening to our beloved local beer bar in Crofton Park. However I can confirm that everything is fine and whilst there has been some major developments, in that it is not now managed by Late Knights the brewery, it is certainly open for business as usual. Graham Lawrence (of next door Mr Lawrence’s wine bar)  has always owned the building and he is now forming a new company with the lovely Darren and Sam who have been involved with the beer bar and the other bars, since its inception. The brewery in Penge is currently being upgraded and there will be new beer brewed and into the barrels in hopefully 2-3 months time. In the meantime they will be sourcing other great craft beer from local breweries. The delicious, legendary burgers will still be served and Sunday roasts have started again this weekend. Please continue to support this wonderful addition to the Crofton high street.

BEER

Talking of beer there are 2 new exciting craft beer shops opening in the north of SE4, on either side of Brockley station. Water into Beer opened on Friday and is located on Mantle road, next to Noak Bakehouse. They are selling all things beer, bottles, cans, homebrew ingredients, equipment and books. With the incredible growth of craft beer over the last decade it promises to tap into a popular market and should do very well and I can already see from comments/photos that the past few days of opening have been very successful.

Meanwhile Richard Salthouse is creating ‘Salthouse Bottles’ in what was formerly Degustation the deli in Coulgate Street. It is due to open on the 8th September and on the first weekend there will be free samples of wine and beer. The shop promises to offer the best of British beers and ciders in bottle, can and growler-fill as well as a select range of wine. Whilst the company is made up of Richard and two other local successful business people it is Richard who is managing the shop and I believe largely sourcing and selecting the merchandise. Richard has worked for many years at Antic London, being the general manager of many of their local pubs and has been responsible for their beer selection. All I can say that no-one has ever come close to Richard on running Jam Circus when it first opened, many years ago, and if this is anything to go by expect great things!

NOAK BAKEHOUSE

This cafe/bakery/restaurant first opened in November last year in Mantle Road, Brockley and has been a lovely addition to the rather barren west side of the railway tracks. However it closed rather abruptly at the end of June, due to staffing difficulties. Fortunately all the problems got resolved and it re-opened 4 weeks later with a revised menu. Presently it is open from Wednesdays to Sundays 8am to 4.30pm with delicious looking brunch/lunch and kids menus. I understand it plans to open again soon in the evenings. If you haven’t yet visited do so – there are strong Danish influences and it is a great relaxed space with delicious, interesting food.

SNIPPETS OF NEWS

Hattush, the Turkish restaurant in SE23, is now having live music on Thursday evenings in addition to the very popular Saturdays/The Co-op in Crofton park is closed for refurbishment, opening again on the 23rd September so support our wonderful local Budgen’s!/Brockley Jack pub are doing a family fun day on bank holiday Monday (tomorrow) 11-4pm/Muck n Brass changed its format-as they are so busy Zoe is working in the back workshop so you need to ring for attention-however still selling & taking orders for her fab upcycled furniture/With the closure of Pheobes there is only Shannons in SE23 locally as an independent garden centre-support this fab family run business/Olly’s Turkish pop up supper eves are happening at Arlo & Moe from the end of September-every Thursday eve at Crofton Park and Fridays at Hither Green/Our fab Rivoli ballroom is holding the popular Jukebox evening on Saturday 3rd September/Have you got your Lewisham Card yet? Gives great discounts to lots of local businesses/.Masala Wala cafe is doing a 3 course charity meal on Tuesday 27th September-email for bookings. To note they are now on holiday until the 7th September/A few other local businesses have taken well deserved breaks-The Larder is opening on Tuesday 30th August, Jones of Brockley is opening again on Wednesday 31st whilst Zenubian is re-opening on Monday 5th September/In September Le Querce are celebrating 10 years on Brockley Rise and say they are marking it with a new look!!/Coulgate St is looking great with the new road layout & paving, allowing the Le Brocca & Browns to have outside seating-cafe society has come to Brockley!/Fred’s has a great sun-trapped patio at the rear of the cafe to soak up those rays whilst The Gantry has a wonderful hidden garden area-check out/Crofton Park community garden is looking fabulous-always wanting volunteers to help out-next dates 11th & 24th September/The Workshop on Ewhurst road are having a sale of their clothes-bargains to be had/Benedict’s Coffee is opening on Tuesday 30th August-expect changes to the space and menu-exciting!/Crofton Books, housed in the community library is a vintage and contemporary bookshop with an expanding range-pop in.

Right I need to finish this (but keep thinking of things to add!) As you can see there are lots of really interesting developments in the area so September looks to be an exciting month. Once again I apologise if I have not included something but there is a limit to my knowledge and this blog length! I intend posting another blog in the next fortnight with the details of Croftfest-remember keep the date free-24th September.

It is the last week of the school summer holidays so please support our wonderful local businesses as it is always their quietest time. USE/SHOP/EAT/DRINK LOCALLY

Hope to see you around the area over the next few months.

Bye for now 

Jane x

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