All things CHRISTMAS…………………..2017
This is now my 5th annual Christmas blog where I try and detail all the events/fairs/happenings in the area plus a shopping guide to our fantastic LOCAL shops. I will also include my round-up of business news-openings/closings-in the area with a final paragraph ‘Snippet of News’ If anyone is new to my blogs, apologies, they are rather rambling but I think/hope they contain lots of useful information/dates for diaries.
Firstly let me put it out there that I unashamedly LOVE Christmas! I write this every year but it is my favourite time of the year and particularly the 6 week run up to the big day, when from around mid- November we start seeing Winter fayres/markets/special events/decorations etc. Okay it has got very commercial but I love it for the opportunity to get together with friends and family and just have lots of wonderful celebrations!
I wrote a paragraph last year about the awful political climate we are surrounded by and sadly 2017 has not improved! Brexit and Trump are only making things worse by the day and the message “Goodwill to ALL people” is not exactly being shouted from the rooftops. I think it is even more important that we use this festive season to send out goodwill messages to all those around us and join together in our amazing community to show solidarity and support to EVERYONE
I will try and put the information in some kind of logical order. As ever there will be things I miss out and I apologise in advance but there is only so much I can know/cover! As I write this over a number of days I keep seeing new things all the time that I feel I should add but there is a point I have to stop! To note the area I mainly concentrate on is Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park but the surrounding areas of Brockley, Ladywell, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Catford and Deptford I also include but not necessarily in the same detail.
So, here goes……………..
The first big fair I am aware of in the area is the now annual Blackheath Christmas Fair and this really kick starts the festive season off. This year it is on Sunday 19th November from 1030 to 1645 and is held in the beautiful Blackheath Halls. It’s a big event with 62 stalls this year selling gorgeous gifts and food items for Xmas plus a large raffle and tombola. There is a small entry charge (£2) and all proceeds go to the local charity Age Exchange. Many of our local favourites ‘My Gorgeous Cards, Belle and Bean, Sarah McEvoy, and Jill Green have stalls so why not go along, support and get ahead of the game with early pressies!
The weekend of the 18th/19th November is also the Lee Green Open Studios which is their final weekend having also taken place the weekend just gone. This year there are over 50 artists in 18 venues, opening their houses/studios to the general public.
With just over a month to go to the big day the weekend of the 25th and 26th November is a bumper one in the area for fairs/events.
On Saturday 25th there is the annual Winter fair at the wonderful Chelwood nursery school from 12-3pm. This is always a good one with lots of fun things for the kids along with stalls/food/music and a great raffle. Also on the same day there is the Christmas fair at St. Augustine’s church, One Tree Hill, SE23 from 11-3pm. The artists/designers and craft-makers from the Brockley Open Studios are also having their 2nd festive fair on Saturday 25th at the beautiful St Peter’s church from 12-4pm. Later that day the Telegraph Hill Traders group are holding their annual Xmas market at the Hill Station Cafe from 6-9pm selling lots of homemade gifts/goodies. On a slightly different note but equally as exciting pop along on Saturday 25th to Wild Cat Wilderness, SE6 to their ‘Make a wild Christmas wreath and Decorations’ session 12-3pm. You do need to book ahead as spaces are limited so check out and register here http://bit.ly/2jbpeP8
Over both days 25th/26th November there is the ever popular ‘Winter weekend’ Open Studios at Havelock Walk from 12-6pm. This beautiful cobbled street in the heart of Forest Hill will have their artist studio doors thrown open to welcome you to wander/look and hopefully even buy! It’s an exceptionally friendly creative environment with highly talented artists/printers/photographers and sculptors. There will also be stalls and food/drink plus music provided by local talented musicians ‘Lewis Barfoot, The Coppergills & Grande Scheme plus others. This is one not to miss so get it in your diary.
Finally to conclude for this weekend there is the Ackroyd Community centre Christmas Fair on Sunday 26th November in SE23, not sure of time but last year it was 1230 to 4pm. I understand you can still have a table at this popular local fair so if interested in selling something get in touch with them.
On the eve of Thursday 30th November there is the inaugural Christmas market at the Honor Oak pub from 7-11pm. The lovely upstairs room will be hosting lots of local makers selling their goodies and there will be a live band in the main bar downstairs. Sounds a good night out!
The following weekend we have a couple of excellent local events. On Saturday 2nd December it’s the Ladywell Christmas market from 10-4pm and there is always a great atmosphere with lots of interesting/good quality stalls focused in the centre of the village with many of the fantastic local businesses joining in with the festivities. There is also musical entertainment throughout the day. This year the Ladywell Tavern are able to join in the fun and have got some Xmas wreath workshops taking place during the day plus the draw for the raffle in the evening, with a line-up of live music to see out the night. Altogether this market is certainly worth a visit.
Meanwhile on the same day, Saturday 2nd December, there is another favourite local fair over in SE13. From 12-5pm Staplehurst Road will be lined with over 40 stalls and together with local choirs and musicians creating a very ‘Christmassy atmosphere’ at the Hither Green Xmas fair. Last year I managed to do both Ladywell and Hither Green as they are at slightly different times with Hither Green starting later but hence going on later. Why don’t you try and support both for a great festive day out!
On Sunday 3rd December there is an Artist Open House and Craft fair at the wonderful Talent Factory in Catford from 11-430pm. 15 artists & makers (mainly from the fabulous Catford arts trail) will be selling their wares together with mulled wine & mince pies plus a special charity artists raffle. Sounds well worth checking out.
We now come to the weekend of the 9th and 10th December and one of the events I so look forward to all year is the Brockley Christmas Market. It is on Saturday 9th so slightly earlier than normal. From 12-6pm you can be treated to lots of wonderful stalls set out on Coulgate Street, by the station, with wall to wall live musical talent on the stage at one end. The Broca and Browns always throw themselves into this event but this year there is the addition of Parlez on the block. Very keen to get involved with the SE4 community they are having a Santa’s grotto (£5 for each child) and then in the early evening local musicians will be performing, accompanied by gluwein and fondue! The Brockley Xmas market promises to be the biggest and best one yet and a great atmosphere is guaranteed-I will see you there!
On Sunday 10th December there are a couple of really interesting events in the area. The wonderful ‘So Last Century’ who have bought us 3 vintage fairs to Catford this year are popping up on the 10th at the beautiful Beckenham Place Mansion house. From 1030-330pm there will be over 20 vintage stalls, live music, street-food and more. Meanwhile over on the SE6/SE23 borders there is the ‘Catford Comic and Zine Fair’ from 12-6pm at the fantastic Blythe Hill tavern. The poster says Stokey Bear burgers, comics, art, beer and dub reggae! Sounds very intriguing and I’m sure there will be a great atmosphere.
Finally on Sunday 10th December there is a children’s FREE craft pop up event taking place in the Catford shopping centre (in unit No 2-3 Winslade Way) More details to follow but sounds like good festive fun for all the family.
We now come to the last main weekend of festive events and SE8 kicks this off with the ‘Xmas Designer Maker Fair’ over 4 days from December 14th to 17th. This looks really exciting with lots happening over at Deptford Market Yard. There will be a ‘designer makers’ house in the carriage way showcasing a collection of works by multiple designers where demonstrations and workshops will be taking place. Some are charging but some are also free. Meanwhile lots of the lovely shops and businesses in the arches are taking part and open for business with Xmas goodies and treats. Certainly it all sounds well worth making a trip to Deptford over this weekend. For details on the timings etc click here http://bit.ly/2ykuId9
The Horniman museum and gardens, our local gem in SE23, are having their annual Christmas Fair on Saturday 16th from 1030-430pm. There will be the weekly farmers market selling seasonal produce with festive themed craft workshops and a carol concert to enjoy with mulled wine. Plus lots more. Always a great local occasion and FREE
Lastly but by no means least CROFTMAS is happening on Saturday 16th December 12-5pm. This has only just been confirmed as we knew that St Hilda’s were not able to be involved so sadly no legendary Santa’s Grotto but the lovely Beecroft Garden school have stepped up and are joining in the fun this year. They are opening up all the garden/outside area with lots of stalls, street food and providing the essential ‘Santa’s Grotto’. There will also be a bouncy castle/mulled wine and school choir performance plus more. If people want a stall then you can apply for one at a bargain cost of £20 with £30 for a food stall. The other main focal point will be the Crofton Park library which will host a number of festive events, yet to be confirmed. Also as ever our wonderful local businesses will be doing special things during the day, details to be decided. This promises to be a great day celebrating the fantastic community of Crofton Park, SE4 (sorry but I’m entitled to be biased as I live here!)
SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAIRS
Chelwood Nursery school – winter fair –Saturday 25th November 12-3pm
Prendergast Ladywell Primary school – Christmas fayre – Friday 1st December 315-530pm
Fairlawn primary school– Xmas fair – Saturday 2nd December 12-3pm
St. William of York Catholic primary school – Christmas fair – Sunday 3rd December 1230-3pm
Gordonbrock primary school –winter fair – Friday 8th December 330-530pm
Stillness infant & junior school -Winter Wonderland Xmas fair – Friday 8th December 330-630
Dalmain primary school –Xmas fair – Friday 8th December 4-6pm
Kilmorie primary school – Christmas fair – Saturday 9th December 230-4pm
Turnham primary school – Christmas fair – Friday 15th December 330-5pm
Beecroft Garden primary school – Xmas fair as part of CROFTMAS Saturday 16th December 12-5pm
This year’s community panto in Telegraph Hill is ‘The Scottish Panto’ (or Wee Jock and the Magic Dagger) and is a brand new panto never been seen before but with the creative talent on the Hill it is bound to be good. It’s always a lot of affordable fun with funds raised going towards the amazing work of the Telegraph Hill Centre. Performances are over the weekend of the 1st/2nd and 3rd December. Will Jock find the dagger or Donald find his troosers? Find out by booking tickets-they always go fast so buy now to avoid disappointment. https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/thc
I always know Xmas is coming when the leaflets for the Brockley Jack Theatre festive show appear and this year looks to be another good one! It’s ‘The Wolves of Willoughby Chase’ an adaption of Joan Aiken’s classic novel. Expect wolves/adventure/mystery and hilarity! Performances start from the 13th December and runs until Saturday 6th January. A crowd of us go every year, now without our children, and we always have a great time. Shows get sold out quickly so you need to book asap-for details and link to tickets see here http://bit.ly/2hpEyaG
The wonderful Albany Theatre in Deptford always put on a lovely family Xmas show aimed for the younger audience (from 3 years plus) and this year is no exception with an adaption of the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale ‘Ugly Duckling’ It runs from Monday 4th December and continues up until Sunday 31st December. Many of the early performances are sold out or limited availability as school parties go along but shows after the schools break up look good availability so with a fab family deal check this out for a holiday treat.
Down in Catford there is a family Christmas show in the studio theatre of the Catford Broadway running from 29th November to the 17th December. It is called ‘Santa Claus and the Night before Christmas’ and seems aimed at a young audience with magic tricks, songs and stories and the added treat that all the children will get to meet Santa after the show, each getting a present.
The panto over at Greenwich theatre is always extremely popular with local families and this year it is a firm favourite ‘Cinderella’ It is an early starter, with a 7 week run, and so from 17th November to 7th January expect a magical adventure from rags to riches in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.
Meanwhile there are a couple of FILM showings I want to flag up
Firstly on Friday 24th November the New Cross and Deptford free film festival are showing the wacky/iconic film ‘Rocky Horror Show’ from 730pm at the gorgeous gothic church of St Nicholas in Deptford. I know this really IS’NT a Xmas show but they would love to have a good turn-out as all proceeds are going towards keeping the amazing NXDFF alive so support this great fundraising event. There will be a bar.
Next up the fabulous Catford Film festival team who have now ran 2 highly successful festivals plus monthly film showings are doing a special FREE Christmas screening in the Catford Constitutional club of the classic film ‘Elf’ on the evening of Sunday 3rd December – time to be confirmed
Our very own beautiful Rivoli Ballroom is holding their Christmas 70s/80s disco and funk night on Saturday 9th December 8-1am with DJ Kobayashi. I believe tickets are nearly sold out so you need to book now if interested. Over 30 of us from Catford Wanderers tennis club are having our Xmas social night out here so I’m very excited (as only 4 minutes walk from my house good choice I think) See you there!
Meanwhile over in SE3 the fantastic Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet team are holding their big Christmas Disco Ball at the wonderful Blackheath Halls from 730-midnight on Saturday 9th December. Guaranteed a fun night of 70s & 80s soul/funk and disco. Again tickets are flying out the door. Check out the link here http://bit.ly/2i4FrCt or buy tickets at Ottie and the Bea or the fab ‘You Don’t Bring me Flowers’ shop in Hither Green.
Back in SE4 the ‘We Do Good Disco’ team are also putting on a Christmas Snow Ball at the fab retro venue ‘Brockley Social club’ on Saturday 9th December from 8-1pm. The fantastic duo,Hatty and Debs, always provide great entertainment so expect festive disco bingo, hair and make-up salon, 70s/80s disco, tuck shop & party games plus lots more. Sounds like one not to miss and there is an early bird ticket offer until 23rd November – Book here http://bit.ly/2ytX593
On Saturday 2nd December from 5-7pm there is a Festive concert over at St Swithuns church, SE13 with choirs, musicians and Christmas carols. This is a family fundraising event for the Ella Roberta Family Foundation which raises awareness of asthma and campaigns for Healthy Air after Ella’s tragic death from the disease in 2011, aged just 7 years old. Tickets are £6 for adults and £2 for children over 3 years old.
Talented local boy, David Roper from 4 Poofs and a Piano fame, has been entertaining us over the past 3 years with the wonderful LaLa Piano bar playing to sell-out crowds at both the Telegraph Hill and Brockley Max festivals. He has been very busy recently collaborating with other musicians/artists to write/produce a charity single ‘Love is the Only Law’ celebrating 50 years legal, marking the decriminalization of homosexuality. The single is being released on the 3rd December and all proceeds will go towards the important work of the ‘The Albert Kennedy Trust’ a charity that works with 16-25 year old lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people who are homeless or live in a hostile environment. Get behind this charity single and help make it get into the charts, if not Christmas Number one!!
A piece of art/crafts/ceramics makes a great, unique Xmas gift, or for me it’s a good excuse to treat yourself to that little (or big) something. We have a wealth of artistic talent locally and I have listed above the main open studios/events I am aware of in the next month. Namely Lee Green Open Studios/Havelock walk/Catford Artists Open House and craft fair/Brockley Open Studios fair/Deptford designer makers fair. Of course all of the wonderful markets and other events also have lots of craft/artist and designer stalls.
Under Art I should mention the Someth1ng Gallery on the main drag in Honor Oak. The owner, Rebecca, has a great eye for fabulous, exciting art. I love so much of the work there and whilst there isn’t that much in my price range there is often affordable art in the back room drawers. If you have not been in already I would encourage you to pop in as Rebecca will make you feel very welcome, with no pressure to buy.
We have lots of gift and clothes shops in our wonderful area that are already getting ready for the festive season with new stock coming in daily. Firstly there is the fabulous Honeybourne’s in Ladywell village where Hannah will give you a warm welcome as you look for quality gifts for both children and adults. Zenubian was also in the village but moved to larger premises over in SE13 in the summer so you really should pop up to 136 Hither Green Lane where Michelle will be delighted to see you and you will be amazed by the new, bigger space. Whilst in Hither Green pop down to the 2 wonderful shops in Staplehurst Road, You Don’t Bring me Flowers and Crimson and Clover which are opposite each other and both stock lovely gifts. (whilst also being able to buy flowers and a cup of tea/cake at YDBMF)
In Brockley we have Gently Elephant selling fantastic children’s toys/clothes/shoes whilst a few shop units down the main high street Magi Gifts is always packed with beautiful gift items for all price ranges from pocket money to more luxury goods. The men’s section is very impressive! Plus they stock a big range of gorgeous Xmas decorations which I can’t resist every year!
Crofton Park has 2 lovely clothes shops, one very established and one relatively recent. Paraphernalia celebrated 20 years on the block in September and Mandi sells new, newly new, vintage & designer clothes and accessories. Pop in if haven’t already been as you never know what you might find-I’m presently writing this wearing a dress I bought a couple of months ago that everyone raves about! Meanwhile Lucy and Donna have been 3 years nearly on the corner of Ewhurst road at The Workshop and are very welcoming. Besides creating patterns, designing clothes and doing alterations they have a great collection of winter jersey garments and scarves to buy. Indeed on Thursday 23rd November from 7pm they will be having a shopping evening with ‘Weleda’ skincare products also available so this is a great opportunity to pop in and say hello. Donna is introducing a new ‘wardrobe’ service so go and find out what it is all about!
There is also in Crofton Park a fantastic new gift shop since writing the blog last year. Gentle Home opened at the beginning of July and has been a great addition to the High Street. It is the adult version from the same people who own Gently Elephant and is open 7 days a week selling beautiful gifts/books/cards and homeware. Pop in and support them in the run up to Christmas.
We shouldn’t forget our local bookshop ‘Crofton Books‘ based in Crofton Park library, run & managed by Jason Shelley. It has massively expanded over the last year with an incredible amount and range of books/films from adult fiction & non-fiction to children’s books/comics but also a large collection of vintage books that are often snapped up so you need to get in there quick! It is open 7 days a week so pop in and grab a bargain!
In Honor Oak there is the wonderful Jumping Bean on the corner which is a very popular shop that opens 7 days a week with hours convenient to commuters. The back room has children’s gifts whilst the main shop is packed with lots of lovely gifts/some clothes and homeware. Finally I cannot leave this shopping section without mentioning the Lovely Lady Zoe who owns Muck n Brass, now with her main workshop and showroom on Codrington Hill SE23. Zoe is an inspirational designer and her bespoke upcycled pieces of furniture are delightful. She is constantly evolving and if you want something different certainly pop in and see what she has to offer or see how she could transform/rejuvenate an old piece of furniture. I have now had 2 beautiful chest of drawers and am delighted with them.
We are very lucky to have 4 brilliant deli’s in our immediate local area. I personally think food and drink make great luxury/treat particularly for that person who has everything. I think all of the shops detailed below offer hampers where you can also create your own bespoke hamper of goodies.
The Larder in Ladywell is owned by Cynthia and Catherine and has become a firm local favourite. This is their 4th Xmas and they are already continually bringing in extra delicious supplies for the festive season. Over in Brockley Cross Zoltan and Martin at the Brockley Deli are a very popular addition to the area and sell lots of exciting and interesting goodies. Just over 2 years ago the Honor Oak Provender opened it’s doors and have had an amazing selection of luxury chocolates, panettone plus other goodies for Xmas. I am hoping they have similar stock this year but there has been a worrying lack of stock with the appearance of empty shelves at the deli since the beginning of 2017 so it will be interesting to see if there is a commitment to the business over this festive season! Watch this space. Lastly but my no means least is our own local Jones of Brockley in Crofton Park. Whilst Michael would not describe it as a deli (more grocer) it sells excellent quality food and drink items that make great presents. He has a great alcohol collection, with lots of specialist gins, whiskeys etc. I personally think the highlight of the shop is their cheese selection-varied and all delicious so you can certainly create a wonderful festive cheeseboard.
I would also like to mention Good Food over in Catford. I have made a few visits over the last 6 months to this lovely local grocery store/fine food deli and can confirm it is a great addition to the area and anyone over in SE6 should certainly check it out for festive goodies and alcohol.
Another business to add is the fabulous L’Oculto on Loampit Vale. This is run by the lovely Ana and Teresa who own the company ‘Flavours of Spain’ Beside serving amazing tapas during the week they sell their wines, sherries, cheeses and meats weekly at Brockley market and in the shop. Pop in to pick up a hamper of Spanish goodies or create your own.
Other Food news
Truly Splendid, vintage tea rooms over in Catford are open 7 days a week serving delicious tea and cake and are offering a special ‘Taste of Christmas Afternoon Tea’ over this festive period for just £15.95 per person. It seems a bargain for a full afternoon tea and a great alternative for a group of friends/family to celebrate together.
The Blue Room, a restaurant dining experience at home, over in Manwood road, Crofton Park is run by the delightful Sonia. It is a truly unique night out and she is offering a 6 course Christmas tasting menu in December, back by popular demand. You need to book to avoid disappointment as places are filling fast https://the-blue-room.appointedd.com/
Most of our restaurants/cafe/bars offer special Christmas menus, often at a set price and are usually great value. Local stalwarts The Orchard, The Gantry, The Talbot, the Brockley Jack pub, Babur, Le Querce, the Beer Dispensary and Jam Circus all have festive menus whilst many of the ‘relative’ new kids on the block such as Hattush, Parlez, Honor Oak pub, Ladywell Tavern and Catford Bridge Tavern are all taking Xmas party bookings with exciting special menus. Buster Mantis over in sunny Deptford are taking bookings for their Jamaican Christmas lunch platters-sounds well worth checking out!
The main place in the area that always provides a Christmas day dinner is the Brockley Jack pub but I know that they have been fully booked weeks ago. I have also seen that the Honor Oak pub in SE23 are doing a 3 course dinner on the big day for £65 which includes a glass of champagne-it looks well worth checking out if you would rather not cook.
Meanwhile if you know of anyone who will be alone on Christmas day and in need of company and a meal then a really comprehensive guide has been provided by the Love Catford website on where people can go in the local area. All the information is here http://bit.ly/2hALpxV
I am very lucky to have Proud Sow as my local butcher (it is only 2min walk at the bottom of my road) and I love popping in/engaging in friendly banter with Oli, Josh and Harvey. Obviously Christmas is a butcher’s busiest time of the year and they rely on orders for turkeys and other cuts of meat for the festive period. I can certainly recommend Proud Sow-the quality of their meat is all excellent and I always order my bird from them if I’m in town for the big day. I should also add that they sell lots of extras besides meat so you can also grab a bottle of wine, craft beer, olive oil or a luxury marinade! Also not to forget the daily delivery of delicious fresh bread from local bakers Coopersbake.
Whilst I may be biased in my choice of butchers we also have some fantastic other meat suppliers in the area. Heckstall & Smith in Ladywell, owned by Callum, is proving very popular with the locals whilst The Butchery in Forest Hill, owned by Nathen and Ruth, opened 6 years ago and is very successful over in SE23.
I added this category last year as we now are very lucky to have some wonderful local businesses selling quality beer in the area. Craft beer is continuing in popularity and sales will only increase as the festive period approaches, both for personal consumption, taking round to friends/family or as presents.
Waterintobeer opened in August 2016 in Mantle Road on the west side of the tracks at Brockley whilst on the east side a month later Salthouse Bottles opened up. Both are great additions to SE4. If you haven’t yet been to either pop in and pay them a visit. Their knowledge and enthusiasm for beer (plus cider and other alcohol choices) is infectious.
Meanwhile I musn’t forget the very established, highly popular Brockley Brewery in Harcourt Road,SE4 who sell lots of gift ideas with their brilliant branding on T shirts, tea towels, beer gift sets etc. I should also add here that Jones of Brockley plus the Brockley Deli ,The Larder & Good Food also sell a good selection of craft beers.
I will mention below the 2 main outlets I know in the area locally that will be selling real Xmas trees.
The nearest largest supplier is outside the Crofton Park library. John is setting up again this year from Monday 27th November. There will be lots of trees of all sizes and prices right up until the last weekend before the big day and I believe they deliver locally for free.
The wonderful locally family run business Shannon’s Garden Centre in SE23 have informed me that the pot grown Christmas trees start arriving at the end of this week whilst the cut ones should arrive from around the 23rd November. They will have a huge selection and offer free delivery. They also have lots of other festive decorations and a large selection of LED lights for indoor & outdoor use. I also think plants/ornamental trees/gardening tools/pots etc make great presents so pop along and check out their extensive range. On Sunday 10th & 17th December they will be serving mulled wine and mince pies to help make the shopping experience a better one! Support our only independent run garden centre in the immediate area.
Christmas trees will also be sold at Brockley Market again this year whilst many local shops will have a selection of real trees such as Budgen’s, Ladywell DIY plus of course the local florists.
South London Card
I will finish the shopping section with highlighting the wonderful ‘South London Card’ that I have just renewed again. It is a discount card that entitles you to reductions/offers in the area at lots of our local shops/cafes/bars/restaurant/businesses. It is a great scheme to promote LOCAL shopping and the team have expanded its area of operation to include Lambeth, Greenwich, Merton, Southwark, Wandsworth plus of course Lewisham, the original borough. Over 700 businesses are now included in the scheme. You do have to buy the card-1 for £15, 2 for £20 or 4 for £38. I have saved an incredible amount of money and easily covered the price of the card. I have just bought 4, one for me and my husband plus the other two for friends-indeed it is a lovely gift to give to some-one and would make a very useful/different Xmas present.
My last blog post was approx.10 weeks ago, at the end of August. I will detail below the closures/openings/revamps I know of in the area since then.
Firstly Budgen’s in Crofton Park! Since October there has been lots of work going on at this local supermarket. Most residents in the area are very fond of this shop as Jay, Patrick and family are SO friendly and make everyone feel so welcome. I had my reservations as work was progressing whether the obvious money invested was worth it. However as the refurbishment has now finished I have been proved totally wrong – it is a vast improvement and enlarged the shop, making it feel and look much more spacious and inviting. The frontage has been opened up with the entrance now in the middle of the shopfront and the pay counter at the side. All of the fresh produce has been expanded-fruit and vegetables/dairy products/meat and vegetarian options plus frozen ready meals by ‘Cook’ which are already proving very popular. They now need us all to support their commitment to Crofton Park-to note whilst they are under the brand of Budgen’s they are a franchise and so the success of the business is crucial to the family. There is a grand opening this Friday at 11 o’clock so if around pop down-1st 100 customers will receive handmade samosa’s – believe me they are delicious!
DONDE in Honor Oak is the other major business in the area that has undergone refurbishment and is currently closed whilst works are continuing. A full central heating system is being installed along with comfy seating-both welcome improvements. Jason is hoping it will re-open at the end of November under the new name of ‘The Clumsy Mole’ and will be very much a bar introducing craft beers, gins and cocktails plus homemade hearty food. Gone, sadly, are the Spanish tapas but the new menu looks really interesting with moules and frites, marinated chicken terayki, boiled bacon with bubble & squeak, poached egg & parsley sauce, just some of the examples. Prices seem very reasonable with most dishes under the £10 mark. Altogether this is very exciting for the Honor Oak parade and I look forward to popping in there very soon!
Meanwhile next door to The Clumsy Mole in SE23 is the empty unit that has been threatening to open for months and is to be called Grounds & Grapes, serving coffee during the day and wine/alcohol in the evenings plus I’m assuming food. I understand the refurbishment is totally complete and rumour has it that it will finally open before Xmas-I wait to see this for myself but from anything I’ve read it sounds like a quality addition to the area. Watch this space!
The other business news linked to Honor Oak is that the highly popular, Mamma Dough, serving delicious sourdough pizza, has confirmed it is opening a branch in Ladywell village. This is fantastic news for SE13 as the shop unit next to Le Delice has been empty for years, finally refurbished last year but again laid empty with little sign of tenants moving in. Ladywell SO needs a restaurant as the area has little night time economy, besides the Ladywell Tavern. This will be a huge boost to the area with such a quality business moving in that I feel confident will be permanently busy and so should have a knock on, positive effect, for everyone else. Confirmation has not been given yet as to when it will actually open and whether that will be before Xmas but I understand there is not that much to do internally so we shouldn’t have to wait too long! All very exciting.
There have been some new openings in Deptford over the last month. Firstly Gin & Beer has opened next door to Buster Mantis, under the arches in Resolution Way. It serves up just what it says on the tin- over 100 gins are available with Belgian beer! I popped in and looked around but it was during dry October so I didn’t stay but it looked very cool so certainly plan to return! Meanwhile at No 29 Deptford High Street ‘Deptford Esquire’ was born nearly a month ago and is a pop up collaboration between 2 of our most exciting local entrepreneurs. Masala Wala cafe has joined forces with Little Nan’s bar to produce a unique micro pub & restaurant serving craft beers & curry with cocktails & small plates. It is open on Fridays/Saturdays from 5-11pm and sounds well worth a visit down to SE8. Virtually opposite them there is a new creative space being opened in December ‘Deptford Does Art’ which I understand will have a basement gallery space to exhibit locally created art and a cafe/bar above. Workshops and talks will be held on a regular basis. All very exciting!
News from Midtown Brockley– Brickfields Bar is just about to celebrate one year on the block and I can certainly say it has been a great addition to this previously neglected stretch of Brockley. They have gradually been extending their offerings and now do brunch (plus bottomless brunch deals!) at the weekend from 11-4, relaxing jazz on a Sunday evening and introducing ‘vinyl nights’ on Thursdays starting tomorrow! It is a perfect venue for small gatherings/parties and the back room can be hired out. Meanwhile there is not much information on the other units in Midtown area where things are changing. Works are still continuing on the Turners shop and certainly an exciting new business should be opening here in the New Year-watch this space! Not sure on the sale of Brockley Mess and how that is progressing but in the meantime Spanish Particular are continuing to pop up from Thursdays to Saturdays evenings here, serving delicious tapas so go now whilst the going is still good!
Jam Circus in Crofton Park has certainly had a revamp over the last month with a new exciting food menu, toilets redecorated and improved (they needed it!) and lots more interesting events being held-the weekly quiz on a Wednesday is back along with regular DJ nights-Hannah the new manager has instigated these positive changes and so we need to now go in and support as we would all be very upset if this SE4 institution were to ever close! Antic Pubs are the owners of Jam Circus with nearly 50 pubs across London and their most recent addition to the portfolio is Suttons Radio which is opening up in the heart of Lewisham on Thursday 23rd November. Sounds a great addition to SE13 and very conveniently situated by my bus-stop to go home so may have to pop in when the P4 is late!
I need to mention Noak cafe &restaurant over on the west side of the railway tracks in Brockley. It opened nearly 2 years ago and has undergone various changes/guises over this time, mainly around the food provided and the opening hours. I think it is a beautiful, large fresh space and the food has always been of a high quality but it has struggled at times to find the right niche. For just over the past 2 weeks it has been ‘temporarily’ closed and Emma, the owner, has sent me over this information “After a year and a half of pursuing a cafe-restaurant approach, Noak is returning to its original raison d’etre-an on-site bakery focused on sourdough bread and pastries-we are taking this month to complete the light refurbishment & reorganisation needed to accommodate the bakery, but will re-open before Christmas to reintroduce the neighbourhood to our great range of products” It will be a welcome return in December and I hope people pop in and support.
A couple of our local businesses have been winning awards over the last few months. The fabulous L’Oculto owned by Ana & Teresa won ‘The Best in Lewisham business’ award in October-this is SO well deserved! Meanwhile Masala Wala the Pakistani cafe over in Brockley Cross run by mother and daughter Nabeela & Saima won the Mayor of Lewisham best business award-again SO well deserved. We are very lucky to have such award winning businesses in our midst.
Little Nan’s have been expanding their wings over the past few months. Besides their involvement in Deptford Esquire (mentioned above) they also now pop up in Forest Hill in the basement of the gorgeous ‘Stag and Bow’ shop on a Friday and Saturday night. Whilst I have not been yet myself I can see the ‘Royal Parlour’ is going down a storm in SE23!
OTHER NEWS IN THE AREA
There are a few news items that I want to mention that don’t necessarily fall under either Xmas news or business information.
Crofton Garden-I assume/hope anyone in Crofton Park has noticed the gradual transformation of the strip of garden by the railway line in Marnock Road. Resident volunteers have been working really hard over the last few years to create this space as a pocket park/community garden for all. However to really move forward they need funding and landscape architects have drawn up a scheme to address the safety issues and make the garden more accessible but it costs £80-100K! Major fundraising is therefore needed to make this happen. The project has currently been put forward to the Aviva community fund but they need our VOTES to stand a chance of being shortlisted for the £25K prize. Anyone reading this and have not already done so could you please click on the link and VOTE http://bit.ly/2xk07Mq ideally giving the scheme 10 votes-to note that the closing date is the 21st November so only 6 days away. Please could you also spread the word!
The London Borough of Culture is a new initiative devised by the London’s Major Sadiq Khan as part of his plans to support the arts in London. He has set up a competition for one London borough to win one million pounds to stage a programme of cultural events and initiatives in 2019 and another borough in 2020. Lewisham is really keen to win this competition and take up this amazing opportunity to become the Borough of Culture. It is preparing the submission as we speak- the deadline is only a couple of weeks away on the 1st December. However it needs our support. Check out the website for further details, where you can pledge your support and also contribute with your ideas http://loveitlewisham.co.uk/ We deserve to win this-let’s make it happen!
The second Festival of Ideas is happening this Sunday 19th November from 10am to 530pm at Lewisham Southwark College on Lewisham Way. This has been organised again by the Brockley Society and aims to bring together diverse speakers on some of the big issues of our time, offering challenging new perspectives to stimulate debate and inspire action. It is a FREE event but you need to register. Click here for further information http://bit.ly/2hrhVyE It sounds a very interesting day
SNIPPETS OF NEWS
Two Spoons cafe/bar in Honor Oak have collaborated with ‘Ratis Kitchen, serving East Indian street food, on a Friday & Saturday eve until Xmas/Proud Sow plan on opening on Sundays from January/If you are gluten intolerant or coeliac then check out the gluten-free Tuesdays at Brockley’s Rock/The Xmas lights are being switched on at 4pm Saturday 25th November on Catford Broadway/Mad Maths is a fun way for children to enjoy & develop their maths skills-new classes locally for 2018-check out http://bit.ly/2yDzVgq /Brockley Max needs new people to join the festival committee-check out the website/Greenwich is having an ice-skating rink again as part of the Greenwich Winter Time Festival from 1st December/The Honor Oak WI are having their Xmas meeting Monday 4th December 8pm at the Honor Oak pub-new members always welcome/The Importance of Being Earnest is currently running until 2nd December at the Brockley Jack studio theatre/Santa is visiting Honeybourne’s on Saturdays 2nd,9th,16th December-places going fast-pop in to book a space/Have you seen the amazing street art in Catford! Butterflies, greyhounds, mosaic beer drinking cat, Catford sign and beautiful nature scenes in the underpass/Longhorn are having a special 3 course Xmas meal Saturday 16th December/Parlez are starting live music on Saturdays from December ‘Parlez Lates‘ with a late night bar menu until 1130pm/Masala Wala cafe do a great lunchtime deal Fridays & Saturdays from £8.50/Check out the Malaysian Deli-weekends often have specials and a buffet/Pop into Mr Lawrence’s wine bar for pre-drinks before events at the Rivoli Ballroom/Check out Crofton Park opticians for comprehensive eye tests & large range of glasses/Wild Cat Wilderness are starting an indoor volunteering session using garden arts and crafts-Fridays 1215-330pm at Place,Ladywell-need to book in advance/Charity gift shopping eve 30th November 6-9pm at Archibalds, Catford
I thought this would be another long blog but it is over 7,000 words!! Nearly a dissertation! If you have read to the end then well done. I hope it has given you lots of useful dates for the diary and information. As ever there is SO much HAPPENING in our wonderful area and once again proves what an amazing community we live in.
HOPE YOU HAVE LOTS OF FUN OVER THE FESTIVE PERIOD AND THAT YOU ENJOY/APPRECIATE THE TIME SPENT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REMEMBER TO SHOP/USE/EAT/DRINK LOCAL
See you in 2018
Bye for now
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