Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cockpit Arts, Faircharm Christmas Fair and 'Gifted' weekend!

This weekend sees a flurry of opportunities to shop local, with Cockpit Arts holding its regular pre-christmas open studios, and the second Faircharm Christmas Fair taking place at the same time.

Faircharm Christmas Fair

I always enjoy the Cockpit Arts open studios, and last year I was impressed by the Faircharm fair too, which is no doubt why my unusually cheerful quote has been used in the press release! (I've left it out to spare my blushes...)

A wide network of artists and designer-makers will be showcasing their work on 3rd and 4th December at Faircharm Christmas Fair. This event provides local artists and designers with a platform to exhibit and sell their work in Deptford. Members of the public are invited to explore working studios at Creekside Artists as part of their annual December Open Studio event. Visitors will also have the opportunity to browse and buy furnishings, fine art, fashion and jewellery direct from local artists and artisans such as Katie New, Kaori Homma, Ruth Solomons, HB Jewellery and London Kills Me.

Masons Catering, whose pop-up café was a particular hit at last year’s Christmas Fair, have now established a more permanent base within Faircharm. The cosy Creekside Café will host an exhibition of work by Creekside Artists and plans to serve seasonal treats throughout the Open Studio weekend, alongside their regular menu of Fairtrade tea, homemade soups, sandwiches, cakes and tasty coffee.

Faircharm Studios, Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 3DX

12-6pm Saturday 3rd December
12-6pm Sunday 4th December


Cockpit Arts

Our Deptford Open Studios (2-4 December) are part of GIFTED a weekend of art & design in Deptford.

60+ talented designers lovingly make very cool fashion accessories, jewellery, homeware and so much more. Each piece has a story to be told and visitors have a joyous time doing their Christmas shop. Come on in and see behind the scenes…

Christmas Attractions include:
- Heal’s Christmas Picks – gorgeous gift ideas
- Paper-cut Stories – workshops for kids by Sian Zeng
- Prize Draw – win a set of bespoke tree decorations by makers
- Mulled wine and organic winter pies by Hand Made Food

Deptford: 2-4 December
18-22 Creekside, London, SE8 3DZ
Fri 2 December (11am-9pm) and Sat 3 – Sun 4 December (11am – 6pm)


These events are both part of the South London Art Map's Gifted; a weekend of contemporary art & design in Deptford which is billed as:

An eclectic mix of art design featuring work by over 200 emerging artists and designer-makers, over two days, all in one postcode.

Find out more here.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Lewisham Council consults on Thames Tunnel proposals

Hot on the heels of Thames Tunnel's own consultation process, Lewisham Council has announced its intention to hold two public meetings to gather comments on the proposals.

Planning permission for sites within the council's boundaries will not be decided by the usual methods, since the Thames Tunnel is considered as a nationally-significant piece of infrastructure. However the council will be making an official response to the proposals, and wants input from those people who will be affected by the plans.

Deptford's Crossfields Street site is not the only one in Lewisham - a second site at the northwestern extreme of the borough - Earl Pumping Station on Yeoman Street - is also being proposed.

Dates for the consultation are as follows:

Wed 7 December from 7pm; 2000 Community Action Centre, 199-201 Grove Street, Deptford SE8 3PG

Tues 13 December from 7pm; Salvation Army Hall, Mary Ann Gardens, Deptford SE8 3DP

Comments about either of the schemes can be made at any of the two events, although the one at Mary Ann Gardens is intended to focus on the Crossfields St site.

If you can't make it to the meetings, you can send your comments direct by emailing or writing to Planning Policy, Planning Service, London Borough of Lewisham, Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, London SE6 4RU.

You can also comment online using the consultation process:

Closing date for comments is 19 December 2011.

Happy Mondays at the Amersham Arms

Jon has written to alert me to the fact that there are only two Happy Mondays left before the end of the year.

He and Holly Walsh are responsible for organising the stand-up comedy nights at the Amersham Arms, tickets for which are a bargainous £5 each if you buy them in advance.

November 28th, 7.30pm - Isy Suttie (Dobby from 'Peep Show') and Holly Walsh (Never Mind the Buzzcocks, 8 Out of 10 Cats), plus Doc Brown and Lloyd Langford

December 12th, 7.30pm - Josie Long (Never Mind the Buzzcocks) and Holly Walsh, plus Joe Wilkinson, Al Stick and Angela Barnes

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Richard Rogers in Deptford

Suits were much in evidence last Friday when architect Richard Rogers visited Deptford as a guest of Cathedral Group, the developer intending to build Rogers' eight-storey block of apartments behind the station's listed carriage ramp.

(Please do click through and read the story; I haven't lifted the photographs but they are certainly worth a look if only for the outfits)

Of course Rogers, being an architect, shunned the suit, going instead for a striking combo of yellow bodywarmer, red jumper and green shirt. In a bizarre and surely unpredictable sartorial premonition, Cany Ash of Ash Sakula Architects (the architect for St Paul's House and the carriage ramp) also turned up in a canary-yellow jacket. Perhaps they coordinated their outfits in advance? Or is yellow the new black? It all left Richard Upton of Cathedral Group looking a bit out of touch with architectural style, having gambled on the black polo-neck jumper/jacket combo, which in former times would have stood him in good stead. It just goes to show the uncertain times we are living in.

Anyway I'm sure you didn't come here to read facetious comments about What Architects Wear.

Last time I wrote
about this development I couldn't find the design & access statement on the planning website, but I've been back today and found it. It's a little sketchy, to be honest; either the wrong version was uploaded or the architects are hedging their bets - there's quite a large number of pages which state 'model to be inserted' or 'drawing to be inserted'.

However I did manage to find some places where the drawing had been inserted, and present them for your comments:

Refurbished St Paul's House on the right

When you see the colour scheme of the residential block next to the carriage ramp, it seems possible that Rogers might have been making a cheeky reference to it with his outfit. And perhaps Ash was echoing the colour of the shades over the restaurant?

Octavius St is on the right hand side

Two things bother me in particular about this scheme; firstly the overlooking of properties in Octavius Street at the rear of the Albany. You can see from the last image that these houses will be totally dwarfed by their new neighbour.

Secondly, I'm concerned about the effect that the eight-storey building will have on the direct sunlight and natural light that the public area in front of the carriage ramp will receive. Any assessment of sunlight for such schemes only looks at how new structures affect the light reaching windows of existing buildings so it's difficult to get an accurate indication of what the effect will be at ground level.

But with such a tall block to the west of the carriage ramp, the amount of sunlight reaching ground level, particularly in the winter, will surely be heavily curtailed? I love the vision for the space, the visuals showing cafe culture in action with people sitting outside the restaurant eating their dinner in some kind of Mediterranean idyll. That may be the case during summer lunchtimes, but there won't be any evening sun to enjoy - and in the winter I can't imagine the public space getting much direct sunlight at all.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Music in the Engine House, Brunel Museum

The Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe is holding a series of concerts in the engine house - next one is Wed 23 November and features Errol Linton and Jean-Pierre Lampe playing slap jazz and urban blues.
Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start, and tickets are £10

Saturday 17 December 7.30pm (doors 7pm) £10
Ayanna Witter-Johnson

Award-winning Ayanna Witter-Johnson is a classically trained vocalist and cellist, a graduate of the Trinity College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Check out the link below to listen to Ayanna's albumn Truthfully.

The museum also has two concerts with musician in residence Manu Delago on 7th and 14th December - for details see the poster below.

The Brunel Museum
Railway Avenue
Rotherhithe SE16 4LF

T: 020 7231 3840

Monday, 14 November 2011

Upcoming fundraising events: Oxjam, New Cross library auction, Amnesty booksale

Well folks, it must be that time of year - this coming weekend sees several opportunities for you to dip into your pockets and offer whatever you can afford, to help various good causes.

In no particular order:

Greenwich Oxjam takes place at the Duke, just over the border in neighbouring Greenwich but still this side of the Creek, which counts as Deptford in my book!

Greenwich Oxjam
19th November 2011, £3 (£2 for students), 8pm-1am

Greenwich joins the nationwide Oxjam Festival with a night of blues and rock and roll featuring some of south-east London’s most exciting up and coming artists. Taking place at Greenwich Creekside’s The Duke (, a pub reknowned for its live music with past guests including Squeeze and Dire Straits. The line up includes:

The Los Dawsons
A hard-working, intrepid acoustic quartet from in and around Greenwich, who play music that encompasses 75 years of popular music, jazz, blues, swing, country, rockabilly & much more. They are endorsed by Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze and have been known to perform with him on more than one occasion.

Jonny Suitcase featuring Chantal Hill of the Cedars
An exciting collaboration between the Deptford one man blues band and the magnificent singer of recently signed Americana band the Cedars.

Rhiannon the Nightmare
Playing country punk sparkled blues, young Rhiannon has been clattering around the south east scene for a little while now. Recently she featured on the line up of Lewisham People's Day and regularly plays around the New Cross area.


Meanwhile the New Cross People's Library is holding a fundraising auction;

Saturday 19th November, at the library on New Cross Road.

Doors open 7pm for 7.30 start.
Come along and support the library by making a bid or just buying a ticket in the raffle (free glass of wine with your first ticket!)

Lots include a week in a four star holiday home with a sea view near Trinity Sq, Margate (sleeps up to 10); one night in a homely B&B in Whitstable; Xmas hamper; Italian conversation practice; plumbing services; antique mirror; fashion items and loads more!


Finally Amnesty International is holding a book sale at the Church of the Ascension on Dartmouth Hill:

Quality books at knock-down prices
Amnesty International Book Sale
10am-4pm Saturday 19th November
Church of the Ascension, Dartmouth Row, London SE10 8BF

The Blackheath and Greenwich Group of Amnesty International is holding its annual fund-raising book sale on Saturday. Doors open at 10am.

The local group has collected thousands of books from a variety of sources, including publishers and book reviewers as well as individual donors. The quality of books – many of which are brand new – is exceptionally high, and there will be plenty of bargains to be found, from second-hand paperbacks to review copies of recently-published novels.

The book sale – now in its 37th year – is established as Amnesty International’s most successful local fundraising event in the UK, raising over £200,000 over the years.

The Blackheath and Greenwich group meets at 8pm on the second Tuesday of each month at St. Margaret’s Church, Lee Terrace, Blackheath.

Thames Tunnel meeting and Thames Water consultation

This week there are plenty of opportunities to find out more/question those in the know about Thames Water's plans to use land on Crossfield Street/Coffey Street as the site of an access shaft for the proposed Thames Tunnel.

On Tuesday evening local campaign group Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart is hosting a meeting about the proposals, at which Phil Stride - head of Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water - will present the plans and answer questions about them.

The meeting is being chaired by Joan Ruddock and it will take place on Tuesday 15th November between 7.30pm and 9pm at the Salvation Army Hall on Mary Ann Gdns, SE8 3DP.

Meanwhile Thames Water's own public consultation about this site will take place later in the week at the Creekside Centre on Creekside.

Thursday 17 November from 2pm to 8pm
Friday 18 November from 2.30pm to 8.30pm
Saturday 19 November from 10am to 4pm

Creekside Discovery Centre, Creekside SE8 4SA

Do note that if you cannot make it to the consultation events, you can give your views online here.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Mike & Ollie

I hesitate to share this with you as I want to keep Mike & Ollie all to myself, but in the spirit of helping their business flourish (and also quite selfishly because I want them to keep coming back to Deptford Market) I give you Deptford's latest top nosh!

Mike is a very pleasant young man with all the skills of a chef but none of the outward signs. By which I mean no white apron and no angry swearing.

I've visited him a few times in the last month or so since he started coming to Deptford market on Wednesdays and Fridays, but never seen any sign of Ollie and did start to wonder if Ollie was the name of Mike's bicycle. However I've looked at the website and it seems that Ollie does exist, he seems to be in charge of gathering fruit and vegetables.

Every week at Deptford market and at Brockley market on Saturdays, Mike & Ollie offer a meat main, a veggie main, and a veggie soup, all of which come with a zillion tasty items and moreish homemade breads. They often feature fruit, vegetables and nuts which have been foraged from the local area, or picked with permission from overladen trees in Brockley gardens.

Dried figs, cobnuts, apples, quince etc are just some of the toppings, usually accompanied by spices, homemade yoghurt, fresh coriander and so on.

A couple of weeks ago the offering was the amazing lamb tagine in the picture - this week was pulled pork with flatbread, baba ganoush, sliced red cabbage, homemade yoghurt, homemade membrillo, chilli flakes and chopped cobnuts, and a few bits of crackling.

Mains are £4.50, soups £2.50. Go and buy from Mike, you will not regret it!
Wed, Friday on Douglas Way.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Local Government Association calls for curbs on betting shop clustering

A press release has been issued by the Local Government Association calling for tighter controls on betting shops. The LGA is giving evidence today to the Culture, Media & Sport Committee which is carrying out a review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Councils must be allowed to regain control of their high streets to stop residents being blighted by even more betting shops, council leaders said today.

Concerns have been raised by councils over the negative impact to high streets from a takeover of late night bars, off licences, fast food takeaways and bookies. However, councils lack the powers to intervene and this is causing misery for local people.

For example, on one street in Hackney alone, there are eight betting shops, which increases poverty in the community. Whilst in Liverpool, high numbers of takeaways and drinking venues are impacting negatively on public health and crime. No powers currently exist for local people to cap the numbers of premises they haven't sought for their local area.

Complicated and costly planning rules are also stopping councils taking control of their high streets. With betting shops – councils can only act to stop them setting up by giving a years notice of plans – otherwise they may have to pay out compensation.

Cllr David Parsons, Chair of the LGA Environment and Housing Board will tell the Culture, Media and Sport Committee today:

"The government must give councils new powers to stop betting shops setting up if they are likely to cause a public nuisance. The same applies to places which have been taken over by fast food takeaways, strip clubs and late night bars.

"At the moment, numbers cannot be restricted and this results in crime, disorder and misery for local people. The government should look to tackle this issue.

"Costly planning rules which are tying up councils from acting at the moment must also be addressed. These concerns are shared widely and this problem is not limited to disadvantaged areas.

"We are seeing a reckless gamble with our high streets which is contributing to higher policing and health costs, in addition to reducing the quality of life for local residents".

The comments come as the CMS Committee holds a review into the Gambling Act 2005 and its effectiveness in protecting children and vulnerable people from the adverse effects of gambling.

Meanwhile the Evening Standard has published a story interviewing Camberwell & Peckham MP Harriet Harman who puts the case quite succinctly.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Draw and be drawn

News from Utrophia of a series of free, drop-in portraiture sessions called Draw and be drawn, which sounds like a good opportunity for anyone interested in drawing who lacks the confidence to make a start, or the funds to take a formal class.

Andrew writes:
The mood is very casual and the level and amount of tutoring and input
from the organisers is dictated by the participants. In other words,
while it is as simple as the title suggests, there is potential for a
very interesting and rewarding project.

The focus is not on teaching figurative drawing but more on
encouraging experimentation in drawing, and trying to boost a
confidence in the ability to draw.

I would really like for this to be, on some small level, a meeting point
for the wonderfully varied inhabitants of and visitors to Deptford, with
contributions invited by anyone from experienced artists to first-timers.

The conclusion of the project will be an exhibition of the resulting
portraits, in the Utrophia project space, running from the 18th to the
26th of November.

Upcoming dates for drawing are 12th, 19th and 26th November, from 11am till 1.30pm.
Utrophia project space
120 Deptford High Street

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Deptford landlords show what they think of planning law

A couple of months ago I wrote none too favourably about the new building being erected at 497 New Cross Road.

The actual structure bore little resemblance to the building plans that were approved by Lewisham Council for this site - which although not remarkable, were preferable to the shiny bathroom-tile type cladding that were put up.

The owners have now added insult to injury by sticking a bright red shutter on the shop front. It does rather feel like they are making a big two-fingered salute in the direction of the town hall. Tasteful huh?

In the meantime it has been brought to my attention that landlords elsewhere in Deptford have been cocking a similar snook to our planning system.
Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond which bought the former slot machine arcade at number 37 Deptford High Street put in a planning application for change of use of the unit, as well as for the replacement of the existing shop front. They proposed to replace it with a bright yellow aluminium facade, totally at odds with its location in the Deptford High Street conservation area.

With objections registered against the shopfront design proposal, Albemarle & Bond decided to amend the application to cover only the change of use to pawnbroker. Presumably the intention is to submit another planning application for the shopfront in due course.

In that case, let's hope our planners weren't going to insist that the existing shop front be retained, as it's too late for that - the shop front has already been torn out.

I'm experiencing a sense of deja vu, considering that some of the changes to the Deptford Arms were made by Paddy Power in advance of planning permission, which was never granted. The fact that they have not as yet been forced to reverse the changes is surely sending a message to other landlords in the area that they will get away with similar breaches.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Thames Tunnel update: Deptford Church St selected as preferred site

With the start of the second phase of consultation on the proposed Thames Tunnel, Thames Water has announced that Deptford Church Street is now its preferred site for construction of an interception chamber to connect with the Greenwich storm relief combined sewer overflow.

In brief, this involves the land adjacent to St Pauls (bounded by Coffey Street, Crossfields St and Deptford Church St) being used to construct a 17m-wide shaft. This shaft will allow sewage which currently overflows into the Thames to be intercepted and diverted to the Thames Tunnel for transfer to treatment plants.

Although this land is stated in Thames Water's documentation to have no formal leisure use, its a classification that fails to recognise the site's importance as one of the few green open areas close to Deptford High Street.

Once work is completed and the shaft covered in, there will be permanent structures left on the site - a number of ventilation columns and a 'kiosk' which will house the controls for underground equipment. The kiosk will be 2.5m high (about 8ft). The columns vary depending on which of Thames Water's documents you read - either three ventilation columns, two 4m high and one 6m high, or four ventilation columns up to 6m high and a small diameter column (described as similar to a lamp post) up to 6m high.

Aside from the loss of the land and everything on it, the plans will impact in other ways on Deptford, and the documents available give some indication of this. According to the plans, the construction work will take about three and a half years; during phase two (the shaft construction, which will take about a year), some 24 lorries a day are expected to visit the site to carry out spoil removal and deliver materials.

During phase three (a period of about 18 months) the northbound half of Deptford Church Street will be closed to traffic while the underground interceptor chamber is constructed. Two-way traffic will be introduced on the southbound side of the road, although details about how this will be managed are so far sketchy.

The documents online (see link below) include some renderings of what Thames Water intends to do with the land after the construction works - they propose to landscape it and return it as a public space with gardens, lots more trees, benches etc.

This rendering shows the proposed view along Coffey St, with St Pauls on the left, just out of view.

This aerial render shows the proposed site with ventilation columns in grey on the left, and the kiosk in the foreground on Deptford Church St.

Local campaign group Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart is hosting a meeting about the proposals, at which Phil Stride - head of Tideway Tunnels at Thames Water - will present the plans and answer questions about them.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday the 15th November between 7.30pm and 9pm at the Salvation Army Hall on Mary Ann Gdns, SE8 3DP.

Full information and documents are available here.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

SE London at its best

Thanks to Transpontine for posting this film, made by Goldsmiths, about the joys of our little corner of south east London.

Stars lots of familiar Deptford faces; see how many you can recognise!