Crofton Park

CROFTON COLUMN #54

LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD

So where do I begin? 2016 was a very interesting year!! On a personal level it was great with lots of wonderful adventures in India/Kent/Lisbon/Valencia/Hereford. I got even more involved with the fantastic Brockley Max festival plus other community events. I had the first summer appreciating our beautiful new kitchen extension and realising how your space/accommodation really can enhance your life! However perhaps the biggest change was signing up our loft area to Airbnb. We had our first guests in September and have never looked back! I’m meeting amazing people from around the world and getting paid to chat and pass on information about London/plus our community-I think I’ve found my perfect ‘JaneCanDo’ job!

HOWEVER politically 2016 has been disastrous! I am devastated by the referendum vote on June 23rd and 6 plus months on I’m finding the decision to leave the EU still really difficult to come to terms with. I’m upset on so many levels. I feel it has bought the worse out of people and I find it genuinely hard to understand why anyone would think that Brexit will be good for the country. I personally think it will be disastrous financially/socially/politically and culturally. The only heartening thing was that Lewisham and indeed London voted overwhelmingly to remain. A very positive response in this area was that a group of local residents, of all nationalities, came together to show solidarity and organised a Picnic for Peace afternoon in early July on Hilly fields which was very well supported. We need to keep such brilliant initiatives going.

Whilst Brexit was appalling we had even worse political news in November. The unthinkable happened as I woke up on the 8th to find Trump had been elected President of the USA. Again I fail to comprehend why anyone would vote for such a despicable man and there is no doubt that the world is a more dangerous place now he is in charge of the world’s most powerful country. With both Brexit and Trump on the horizon I feel even more strongly that community is so important and we must take every opportunity to support each other.

Anyway enough of politics (interestingly I’ve never felt so politically engaged!) let us turn our attention to what my blog is mainly about which is to look back at what happened in the area in 2016- which businesses closed/opened/reinvented themselves – any major events/festivals that need to be acknowledged and then perhaps even more importantly look ahead to this year with what exciting new businesses are due to open and pass on news/dates of local events/festivals etc. Again 2017 promises to be an interesting year for our amazing area and should once again prove how lucky we are where so much happens and we have such wonderful independent, supportive, local businesses. Let us continue to celebrate this. 

CLOSURES

Let me start with the closures in 2016. Actually I’m really struggling here on thinking of any major closures in the core area that I cover of Crofton Park/Honor Oak/Ladywell or Brockley! I’m sure something will come to me but I think we luckily didn’t have any favourite restaurants/cafes/bars shut down, unlike 2015. The Ravensbourne Arms, an Antic pub opposite Lewisham hospital, sadly closed its doors in October and will be missed. Certainly there were some temporary closures, namely two of our big pubs whilst major building works were taking place but then they both re-opened a few months later. These are the Chandos and the Ladywell Tavern and I will devote more time to them under ‘new Openings’ Ah yes the small but perfectly formed French delicatessen Degustation finally closed its doors early in the year and then Just Thai Thai closed in May but again I can report in the Openings part of the blog that new businesses emerged in both units, later in the year.

OPENINGS

There were lots of new business openings in the area during 2016, all adding to the richness of our wonderful community. It is so great to see independents open, survive and then thrive. Again I think this is down to us being determined to support local initiatives but we are so lucky that quality businesses have opened which we can happily get behind.

I think the first major opening was the cinema at Goldsmiths on the 29th January. In a joint collaboration with the university and Curzon cinemas they have transformed a previous lecture theatre into a state of the art 101 seater auditorium. I have been there now about half a dozen times and think it is a great local venue to watch films. They have struggled with getting people there for many reasons, perhaps the main being the initial high ticket price. However they have listened to concerns and prices are reduced with great discounts for students/concessions and South London Card and Lewisham Local card holders. I really hope that people check this cinema out as we could be in danger of losing it if don’t support. With January/February being a huge film bonanza period I’m hoping more people will discover it.

Chaplin’s of London finally opened in Crofton Park, next to Jones of Brockley. This is a second branch of their highly popular barbers shop, after great success in Deptford. This was in February. Mem and his staff are really welcoming and have been a fantastic addition to the area (I can't help but keep looking at the spirit optics by the window and have had a swift G&T on one visit!)

We then had to wait a long time in the first half of the year before more businesses opened in the area but May produced 4 major openings. Puccini Kitchens opened at the beginning of May, next to the Rivoli ballroom in Crofton Park. They have been long time sponsors of the local Brockley Central forum and this was their first physical showroom. Andrew is the owner and together with Michael they make a great friendly team and it is certainly worth popping in if you are looking for a new kitchen as they have a large range, at affordable prices. They are also great community supporters. To complete that parade of shops all occupied Fred’s cafe opened at the end of May to lots of excitement. The cafe had been shut for 6 months since Pat-a-Cakes had closed and major work was evidently being carried out behind the paper on the windows! We were not disappointed after our long wait. With major investment to create a large counter at the front, open up the back area and also create a large outside space the place has been transformed. The staff at the cafe are all without exception really friendly and the food is delicious-certainly another popular addition to the area.

Another Crofton Park business that opened in May on the delightful Ewhurst Road parade joining The Workshop and Proud Sow was Catfood Cakes. Being only just over 6 months on the block Cat the owner has won the accolade of local forum ‘Brockley Central best newcomer winner of 2016’. This is certainly well deserved and her cakes are amazing. During the week she bakes, supplying many local businesses and also takes individual orders. She then opens the shop on Saturday to us locals and her cake slices are often sold out very quickly as they are seriously yummy!

The final late spring opening was Hattush in Honor Oak, SE23. It is owned by Sezar who is an international singer from Istanbul and has bought delicious Turkish and Mediterranean food to the area. It is beautifully fitted out, occupying 2 large units on the parade and has very quickly proved to be a highly popular destination, particularly Friday and Saturday evenings when there is singing from the owner and guests, with a belly dancer. They also have lunchtime deals and a weekend brunch buffet. If not been already you really should visit.

The cafe No.41 (coffee & kitchen) opened in June on Brockley Rise opposite the Adult Education centre and has really helped revive that rather neglected stretch of parade. I’ve been a couple of times for coffee but not ate there. The food looks good so I hope it does well. 

There were then a couple of significant pub openings in the Deptford/St Johns borders. The Royal Standard was the first to open at the beginning of July on Tanners Hill, SE8. The pub area had previously been the common room for the hostel upstairs but it now doubles up as a social area for the residents if they want a drink and also a decent local pub offering good, affordable food. I’ve been a few times and found it very friendly. Meanwhile less than half a mile away in St. Johns’ The Brookmill finally opened its doors on 31st August following a major refurbishment. I’ve not yet visited but can see from photos and peoples comments that it is proving to be a great success and has many redeeming features such as a large sized beer garden, excellent food, craft beers and hosting interesting evening events. I’ve just seen that during January they are doing half price on their meals on a Monday to Wednesday so a good opportunity to check it out!

Back in sunny Brockley things were also happening. The 180 Brockley Road development finally opened to residents at the end of May and a Sainsbury’s Local opened its doors within the same building a month later. Meanwhile round the corner major road/pavement/improvements works were finally completed in July/August and the transformation was amazing. It is now a one way street with cars not congesting the area. The pavements outside the Broca and Browns have been widened so that you can happily sit outside sipping coffee and eating cake whilst looking across to the attractive planting on the bank leading up to station. The cafe society has truly arrived to this area and it is such an improvement! This will only be further increased with the opening in spring of Parlez (more about this later in the blog)

The next new businesses opened within a few weeks of each other either side of the railway tracks in Brockley. The first to open on the West side in Mantle road (next to Noak Bakehouse) was WaterintoBeer in August. It is a new bottle, can and homebrew shop for beer and cider lovers and is proving to be very popular and they are quickly becoming an established part of the community. On the other side of the tracks at 12 Coulgate Street, local boy Richard Salthouse opened his own beer shop ‘Salthouse Bottles, in the old rather pokey Degustation. However the shop has been transformed/opened up and is selling an incredible selection of bottled and growler beer, natural wine, cider, spirits & liquers. Both these shops are providing excellent knowledge and customer service and meeting a continually growing market for craft beer.

Also in September there was a very big re-opening in the Honor Oak area. The large corner pub the Chandos, on Brockley Rise, shut its doors temporarily in June. It took approximately 2 months to be gutted and refurbished, opening again with new ownership at the beginning of September to much anticipation. It did not disappoint and 4 months on it is proving a very popular local pub striking a good balance between appealing to the previous regulars whilst accepting a whole new audience through the doors. It now serves delicious pizzas, shows football games, has a Sunday eve quiz and has a very friendly staff team led by Nancy.

October and November was a quiet month in the area with the only new businesses I am aware of opening being the vet surgery on the corner of Stondon Park and the Crofton Park Co-op after a number of weeks closed for refurbishment.

The final month of the year saw two very significant openings in the area. Brickfields Bar opened in mid-December to great excitement! This new bar at the previously Just Thai Thai restaurant had been a closely kept secret until a few weeks beforehand and that added to its mystery. We weren’t to be disappointed as we discovered that Ed and Emily the owners of the successful Orchard in Brockley were expanding and looking to provide a very adult only sophisticated bar in the area. I have been a few times and certainly enjoyed the relaxed space with good music and cocktails alike. Food is now being served and I think it will prove to be a resounding hit. It also has the added bonus of being located in a parade of shops in ‘Midtown Brockley’ on the main road that is so desperately in need of a night-time destination and hopefully more businesses will join them. There are 3 empty units on either side of them that so need to be occupied though I understand it is proving very difficult to trace the owners- a challenge for would be entrepreneurs out there! Anyway go and check out Brickfields Bar, this cool new addition to the area

Finally in Ladywell the only pub in the village, re-opened its doors at the beginning of December after being closed for over 4 months with major works taking place. The opening night of the Ladywell Tavern was eagerly welcomed by the locals and the place was heaving, all of us desperate to see what had been done to the place. I think most of us were not disappointed as the kitchen has been relocated to the downstairs gallery, the outside area really smartened up with a great addition of a table tennis table in the back room, the staff are all friendly and the prices of the food and drink reasonable. I was there last weekend and the pub was buzzing so it all bodes well for the future with many events planned.

ALTERATIONS/CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP

There have been a number of changes to local businesses over the past year either with new ownership/minor alterations or slight change of operation/direction. I will try and list them in some kind of date order. Noak Bakehouse over on Brockleys’ westside underwent a number of changes during the year with minor closures due to staffing issues and also a change in direction of the food. Emma the owner is confident that the relaxed cafe/restaurant is now ready to go forward in 2017 with an exciting fresh menu that is already receiving great reviews.

Hopscotch in Honor Oak has had a number of owners over the last few years and in the late summer the very friendly Rosemary and Luca were the latest to take on the mantle of this relaxed cafe. They are really keen to involve the locals and give the area the kind of cafe that it wants. All the changes have not yet been introduced and after the success of having Japanese comfort food traders ‘Fowls Mouth’ provide pop up evenings they are wanting more specialist food events/residencies in the coming year. Watch this space and I feel confident it will become an exciting local destination.

Neroli the popular beauty salon, also on the Honor Oak parade, was owned by Julia Salisbury but after 9 years she sold the business in September last year. She always wanted to pass it on to someone she had confidence in and Dr Mayoni, a qualified surgeon fitted the brief perfectly continuing the beauty treatments whilst also adding the aesthetics surgery. I wish the clinic lots of luck in the coming year.

Benedict’s cafe in Crofton Park underwent a couple of changes last year. Bianca the owner shut it during August and re-opened in early September with a change of layout to have one wall in the cafe dedicated to units stocking Italian pasta and sauces plus other interesting items. This has proved a success but to create more seating space she opened up a room in the downstairs basement area at the end of November. This is a fantastic area with a large blackboard on one wall and a shelf of children’s toys/books. It is therefore ideal for a group of mums/dads/carers to safely take the children and have a coffee/cake whilst they kids are kept occupied. Check it out if not been already.

Meanwhile over in Brockley Masala Wala Cafe had the frontage of this busy popular Pakistani cafe changed in October to incorporate a modern design. The door is in a different place creating more space internally. The large windows also double up as a counter top seating customers and in the summer the window opens and the wide sill becomes a large high table with stools on either side for up to 8 people to eat together- a stroke of genius. An attractive awning has just been added and there is permission to have seating outside in warmer climes. All very exciting -there really will be a pavement cafe society over in Brockley Cross, together with the Brockley Deli opposite.

The Honor Oak pub has struggled to be a real success over the past few years since it had a major refurbishment in 2014. I think the space that has been created is great but for some reason the food/drink/service has all been lacking. It was therefore great news to hear in December that Laines London have taken over the pub– the same people behind the Ladywell Tavern. They also own the nearby Old Nun’s Head and the Watson Telegraph which are very popular and so it all bodes well. I hope they make the improvements necessary to ensure this is the success it deserves to be!

DEPTFORD MARKET YARD, SE8

There are two major developments that opened in the surrounding area that I would like to mention as they are both very exciting for all of us in SE London but particularly SE8 and SE13.

For the past few years there has been major building works in the area around Deptford station and it was finally revealed as early as September with the main Deptford Market Yard launch happening on the 23rd November. 14 original arches have been developed under the main railway ramp and these have been occupied by an incredible range of quality independent retailers/businesses from Win and Ruby, to The Box, to Dirty Apron to very popular Little Nan’s bar occupying a double unit. There are then 6 larger units opening off the carriage ramp with an additional 2 large restaurants in the main development. All of these have yet to be occupied but hopefully will gradually open throughout this coming year. It has all been done to a high standard and the area will come into its own during warmer climes when everything/everyone can spill out onto the large cobbled courtyard area. The impact it will have on Deptford will be immense and I really recommend you visit and check it out if not done so already.

THE PLACE LADYWELL

This is another exciting development that was all finally completed at the end of last year. The unique ‘pop up’ 24 unit housing scheme for homeless families provides the core of the scheme but the ground floor of this large development in SE13 has been given over to retail/commercial and business use. There is now a large Italian food shop ‘We Love Pasta’ and next door are many smaller retail pods where local people have set up their own businesses and they are open to the public every day – these range from vintage clothes shop ‘Thunder & Lightning’ to florist to dressmaker to picture framer. There is a welcoming community cafe ‘Good Hope’ run by the Jimmy Mizen charity with a cinema area behind that can be hired out. Affordable space is available to local entrepreneurs/charities. Altogether a vibrant community asset that we need to support-pop along and say hello-It is the PLACE to be!

CATFORD

I must say a few words about Catford as I think really exciting things have happened to SE6 over the last year. There seems to be lots of people who really care about the area and keen to bring major regeneration. The Catford upon Avon festival took place for 6 days in March at the wonderful Catford Broadway theatre and was a great success so I understand it will be repeated this year. There have also been some fab new businesses open during the year, namely Good Food, Archibald’s and Truly Splendid vintage tea rooms.  In September two very exciting events took place that really put Catford on the map. The first Catford film festival ran for 8 days and was brilliant with so many interesting films & associated events. It was so well organised and curated-anyone would think they had been running it for years! Meanwhile the Catford Arts Trail ran over 2 weekends at the end of September and was so impressive for an inaugural event. The number of houses/places open to the public was huge and the quality of the artists/craft makers was outstanding. New dates have just been announced for this year so that is great news

FOREST HILL

This is another area where so much happened last year but to be fair lots has been taking place here for a number of years. There are an incredible group of local business owners, Forest Hill society members, councillors and residents who really care about Forest Hill and are continually making things happen in SE23. Perhaps the most significant thing in 2016 was that this committed group of people put forward a proposal to manage and run the local library which was accepted by Lewisham council. It is fast becoming the hub of the community with lots of exciting initiatives and proposals for the year ahead.

I now plan to look back to EVENTS/HAPPPENINGS in the area during 2016.

Let’s start with perhaps my favourite local venue, the wonderful Brockley Jack Theatre. It put on lots of shows throughout the year, all very different but always excellent. I try and go to most of the shows and my highlights last year were Better Together, Persuasion, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, After Three Sisters, and only a couple of weeks ago the festive show ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’. An addition this year was the showing of 3 films chosen, curated/introduced by my husband, Eamon and he hopes to put on more films in the year ahead as they were a great success. I say this quite often but if you live local (and I assume most reading this blog will do) and NOT yet been to our local fringe theatre then make a point of visiting in 2017.The ticket prices are normally £15 and the quality of performance is really high so a bargain for a night at the theatre! There are exciting shows now listed on the website up until June.

The Rivoli Ballroom should get a mention here as this is the other jewel in the Crofton Park crown. It continues to put on regular disco and jive nights with the now popular family New Year’s Eve night to round off the year. There was a sell-out comedy night and a few iconic film nights which were a great success and are continuing into 2017.

For me perhaps the highlight of the year in the community was at the end of May/first week of June. The Brockley Max festival is 9 days of fantastic art/theatre/music and much more. This is the third year I have been involved in the organisation of Brockley Max and I’ve given myself the title of ‘Operations Manager’ I love being part of this great local festival and last year over 70 events took place ranging from a children’s treasure trail to a 1940’s film in the cemetery chapel to a singalong Cabaret evening. It all culminates in the ever popular Art in the Park family event up at Hilly fields where huge numbers turned out.  An even bigger and better festival is planned for 2017.

The previous year the wonderful Brockley Street Arts festival happened in parallel with Brockley Max. In 2016 this wasn’t so formalised but Lionel Stanhope got lots of local artists together and many of our walls and shutters were once again given fantastic makeovers with murals/street art. Big thanks to Lionel and others for brightening up our area! I understand that for 2017 the Street Arts festival will officially happen again, at the same time as Brockley Max again, so this is great news for the area.

There were lots of local festivals over the year but for Crofton Park ‘Croftfest’ in September and ‘Croftmas’ at the end of November happened in 2016 after a year off. These things always need people to organise them and with the closure of Pat-a-Cakes where Stacie led the team it was thought they may not happen again. However Sodia who runs local cake business ‘Sucre le Crème’ and Bianca the owner of cafe ‘Benedicts’ stepped up and took on the mantle. The two festivals involved lots of local businesses, St. Hilda’s church, the library and the library forecourt became a market area. They were a huge success so big thanks to Sodia, Bianca and the rest of the organising team.

Collaborations were very much a theme of 2016 where local businesses joined forces to create events/pop ups or just sell each others produce. Proud Sow and Jone’s of Brockley are a prime examples of this with Oliver the butcher selling a selection of cheeses from Jones and Michael the grocer selling bacon, chipolatas and more recently fresh whole chickens from Proud Sow – win win for us the customer. Meanwhile Arlo & Moe hosted a number of pop ups in collaboration with local street food traders-Olly’s Turkish on a Thursday eves and Saigon Street-Vietnamese street food on Friday eves last year and this is continuing again this year so great news. The Japanese comfort food trader ‘Fowls Mouth’ had a monthly residence at Hopscotch cafe in Honor Oak and this was very successful. Meanwhile Indonesian food trader Kaki Lima run by two local sisters has been selling their delicious food outside Proud Sow monthly on a Saturday using meat from the butcher. Again a win win for both businesses and also for us the customer.

FILM

Throughout the year there were some great film festivals across the area and these have become an established part of the year’s calendar. The New Cross & Deptford film festival is the one that I have participated in the most and takes place in April/May. It launched with the Summer of Sam and finished 9 days later with Rubble Kings, showing a huge variety of films/genres in between. As mentioned earlier Catford launched its first successful film festival last September and there were other festivals in the area.

The Rivoli Ballroom put on a number of films during last year and were very quickly sold out whilst the Brockley Jack theatre had a few film nights which proved popular. Certainly there is the demand for the big screen and with the ever growing popularity of Deptford Cinema and the opening of Curzon Goldsmiths it was a great year for film in our area.

ART

Another growing trend in the area that totally reflects our burgeoning art scene are gallery openings/shows and open studios. It started with open studios during the Telegraph Hill festival in March and continued with the wonderful Havelock Walk open weekend in May,Forest Hill. Brockley open studios, Lee Green Open studios and Lewisham Arthouse open weekends are established events in the area along with the highly popular Deptford X festival in September when the Catford Arts trail also joined last year’s arts calendar. These are a great opportunity to nose around in galleries/studios or people’s houses (let’s be honest here!) whilst also appreciating some great art and crafts at very affordable prices. Last year I bought a number of art pieces from local artists that I am delighted with.

TRANSPORT

I feel I can’t complete a reflection on last year without mentioning ‘A Cinderella Line’ a pressure group which formed during the year in response to the appalling train service from Thameslink at Crofton Park and the surrounding stations on the Catford loop. Open meetings were held during the year, arranged by the group in the Rivoli ballroom with the local MP Vicky Foxcroft attending all three. Numbers at each meeting have been very high reflecting the concern from local residents on this major local issue. A Cinderella Line have been amazing in their achievements over such a short time and Thameslink are certainly made very aware of their shortcomings and the strong feelings both from an effective social media campaign and meetings. Things have materially improved with extra trains stopping at the station going to Victoria in the morning rush hour and there now seems a real hope that 4 trains an hour is an achievable, realistic possibility in the future. New trains with increased capacity are gradually being rolled out from Thameslink and this is certainly easing the situation. A Huge thank you to Vicky and the team at A Cinderella Line for all their hard work and commitment towards improving the transport in our area.

LOOKING FORWARD  2017

I am not aware of too many new businesses opening in the year ahead but the few I know of are significant in each area and will certainly make a difference. Let’s hope there will also be a few surprises that we don’t yet know about!

LADYWELL-Major refurbishment works have finally been taking place to the unit in between Le Delice and Geddes, near the station, which has for so long been empty and works promised to be imminent but never materialising. It is certainly due to be a restaurant but on asking around before Xmas the actual cuisine to be provided seemed unsure and there is a big question mark over whether the owner is to run it or he leases it out to someone else to manage it and this decision will finally determine the direction of the restaurant. Let’s hope the work gets completed very soon as Ladywell so needs more evening venues so that a night time economy can be established in the village.

CATFORD As mentioned above there is so much going on in SE6 but the huge news, only released a couple of days ago, is that Little’s Nans is taking over the stunning Catford Broadway theatre bar and creating Little Nan’s Saloon! There is understandably an incredible buzz in the area surrounding this announcement and quite justifiably so-Tristan and his team certainly know how to create cocktails/bars/an event/an occasion and I really think this could be a massive boost for Catford that can only have knock on effects for the rest of the local economy. I think it is due to open in mid-February so watch this space!

Another big opening that I believe is happening as early as March is the re-opening of the Catford Tavern by the station. Major work has been going on over the past year since the fire that gutted the place nearly 2 years ago. This again will be a massive new opening in the area and we can only hope that the owners, Solitaire Ltd, understand what the community wants/needs and get it right!

Also to add here, whilst not a new business there is a big event taking place in Catford on Sunday 12th February at St. Dunstan’s College. ‘So Last Century’ is a vintage and retro fair with 45 stalls covering homeware, décor and furniture, fashion, jewellery, records and more, vintage DJ, tearoom and street food. All sounds really exciting-see you there!

HONOR OAK The only new business that I’m aware of that is due to open in the area is ‘Grounds & Grapes’ which is in-between DONDE and Dr Mayoni Clinic. It looks to be a great addition to the area-however worryingly works appear to have been halted for the last few months! I only hope this is temporary and whatever reason there was/is will be resolved very soon and we can have another vibrant business join the HOP parade.

CROFTON PARK There are very few units that are still empty in Crofton Park so I don’t think we will have any significant new businesses open this year though you never know! Saying that I did see recently that the unit set back on the end of the parade the estate agent KFH and opposite Beecroft Garden school is empty and has a planning notice on the door asking for a change of use to restaurant/cafe! Watch this space. I would also like to add here that Crofton Books, located in the library, has many interesting vintage, classics and modern adults and children’s books for sale at very reasonable prices. It has certainly expanded its stock massively over 2016 and I’m sure will continue to grow in the year ahead-check it out if not already done so.

DEPTFORD As indicated earlier there is lots happening in SE8 and with the further openings in the Market Yard development over 2017 it will be an exciting year ahead. I have also only just heard that Winemakers Deptford is opening on the High Street. The wine bar is due to open in the next few weeks with the restaurant opening slightly later. This is the same team behind the successful Winemakers Club in Farringdon and so looks an amazing addition to the area. Certainly one to check out!

BROCKLEY I have been saving the best until last as I think this should be a fantastic new business in SE4. Coming out of the station on the east side I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there is a large  empty ground floor unit underneath the low level block of flats that is going to be home to a new business ‘Parlez’ looking to open in the Spring of this year! All really exciting and the 2 owners Louis and Matt are keen to provide the kind of relaxed neighbourhood eatery that has an affordable menu alongside a well sourced drinks menu. They are looking to serve brunch right through to dinner in the evenings with alcohol provided until 10pm on Sunday to Thursday and midnight on Friday/Saturday. I think the area can certainly absorb another cafe/restaurant to join the many quality businesses already around-I wish them lots of luck and can’t wait for it to open.

Meanwhile I understand there is a new Vietnamese cafe opening Bite Me soon next to Masala Wala Cafe and I don’t know of anything else on the cards in the area. As mentioned earlier under the Brickfields Bar paragraph the only area I’m aware of that has blatant empty units is the 3 shuttered businesses near Sids the Plumbers in what has been termed ‘Midtown Brockley’ it would be great if something could be done with them over the coming year-again challenge open!!

Okay I’m finishing this blog as keep thinking of more things to add but it has already become so long that if you are still reading it then you deserve a medal! (it is actually over 6k words which is half a dissertation) I also would love to add photos to break up the rambling text but I have run out of time/energy so I'm sorry no pretty pictures!.

Our area is so vibrant and 2017 only looks to be another exciting year (politics aside!!) As ever I apologise if things have been missed out but it is my personal reflections on businesses/events and I can’t begin to know/cover everything!

SOME DATES FOR THE DIARY

So Last Century – Sunday 12th February

Telegraph Hill Festival – 29 March to 9th April

New Cross & Deptford free film Festival – 21st to 30th April

Havelock Walk Open studios – 13th/14th May & then 20th/21st May and then in November

Brockley Max Festival – 2nd to 10th June

Brockley Street Arts Festival – same dates as Brockley Max

Lewisham Peoples Day – Saturday 8th July

Catford Arts Trail – 23/24th September & 30th/1st October

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE (sorry bit late in January-had meant to do this earlier!) HOPE 2017 BRINGS YOU LOTS OF FUN AND HAPPINESS-remember we are SO lucky to live in this fantastic community.

DRINK/EAT/BUY/USE OUR WONDERFUL LOCAL BUSINESSES OR WE MAY LOSE THEM!

Bye for now

Jane x

Follow me on twitter for local updates/information @JaneCanDoSE4