Sunday, 30 December 2007

Walking Hither Green

Congratulations to Wulf for his new plan to walk every street in Hither Green in 2008.

His new blog, Walking Hither Green, has just been set up and considering his photographic skills are vastly greater than mine I am sure it will be worth following.

Good luck Wulf!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Today's (third last) walk

I've scoured the map for those streets I have missed on my other trips as I desperately try to ensure that Saturday will truly be the "last" walk of the challenge.

Today's walk was quite short (under 2 miles in theory) but there were a few hills involved and lots of staring at the sky (I love these clear days and low angled sun).

View Larger Map

Architecturally there is not much to report. I found what I think is the last remaining original frontage on Cranston Road, with not only the original windows and stained glass intact, but also the swirling wood & iron bar by the door. It is a shame more of these could not be preserved, but I understand that they were probably not made to last forever (I saw lots of rotten wood around) and that modern security and energy efficiency demand they be replaced. Shame a better compromise could not be found for more houses though. The rest of the street is generally rather dull.

I walked back along Woolstone Road and down Hurstbourne (retreading these streets) to reach one I had missed: Fermor Road. Again, a nice, quiet and relatively unremarkable residential street with views of the back of Stansted Lodge (that I would like to visit at some stage).

Then it was up Montem Road. I've been up here a few times, but either in the car or only sections of it, so I thought I would do the whole thing. Plus, there were some intriguing side roads at the top, namely Owen's Way & Austin Close, that I had missed previously.

The main interest were the views, as usual, towards the South and to the West & the Horniman (here on the left - click on the image to see more details), but there are also some interesting houses. There is the house I spotted last time on the corner of Lowther Hill (one half of which is for sale which allowed me to find out that they were built in 1820 but not much else), and opposite that there is a beautiful Art Nouveau (or Deco? I'm still confused) house. Check out those windows!

As everywhere, there was a lot of construction and refurbishment going on everywhere. I doubt there are many streets in SE23 that do not have at least one project going on at the moment.

Then back down the hill and home. It almost seems a shame to be finishing up.

"Be Nice to the Mayor" Campaign

Somewhat against the grain in political terms, but in the spirit of the season, I started a small campaign today that I encourage you all to join.

Forest Hill, SE23 recently topped a poll to find the place residents were most proud of in their area. Called 'Pride of Place', Forest Hill and the Horniman Museum won comfortably despite being in competition with Blackheath, the Catford Cat, the Laban centre and others. And quite rightly too.

The trouble is that we are a quite small and, relatively speaking, affluent part of Lewisham. I totally understand that there are big problems to address in other parts of the Borough that take up a lot of the Mayor's (Sir Steve Bullock) time and that of those involved with Lewisham Council. However, we too have our issues such as the ongoing closure of the pools, the terrible state and services of our station (as well as the shops that are part of that area, including the new Post Office within the WH Smiths) and the total lack of any visible effort to generate new businesses to fill the empty retail properties.

I decided, therefore, that rather than complain (again) I would turn it around and be nice; after all, it works in most other aspects of my life.

I have written a Christmas Card to "Sir Steve" to wish him well, and with a simple request to make Forest Hill a greater priority for 2008.

If you are a member of you may already have read the discussion and text here, if not (and you should be), here is the text of the card. If you are a Forest Hill resident and wish to join in, please do. It only takes a few seconds and the cost of a second class stamp. After all, this will only work if we get a reasonable number of people doing the same thing.

Sir Steve

My family and I wish you, your family and everyone at Lewisham Council all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

We are proud residents of Forest Hill and we were not surprised that Forest Hill and the Horniman Museum were recently voted Lewisham's top 'Pride of Place'. However, there are still too many empty shops, we desperately need our pool back and we would appreciate your active support in helping to regenerate our sadly neglected station area.

The best gift we could hope for would be for you and Lewisham Council to make Forest Hill a much greater priority in the coming year.

Wishing you a happy 2008

I'm sure others will word their notes better, but a few cards like this might just make the difference, you never know.

Please send your cards or emails to:

Sir Steve Bullock
Mayor of Lewisham and Forest Hill
Mayor's office
Civic Suite,
Town Hall, Catford
Tel: 020 8314 6193

Thanks! (oh, and drop me a note if you do decide to join in)

A graded pink reminder

Only two days to go to the final walk. I have frantically been finishing off the last few streets, with only one little loop left.

If you would like to join me and at least 6 or so others on our walk to Rockbourne Road, please do come along. It would be good but not essential, to get get the right number of mince pies if nothing else, if you could let me know you are coming.

Oh, and tonight, the sky will only be mainly blue (but also orange and pink)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

"Now, take a deep breath, and ..."

... cough, cough, cough!

Same day as the blue post earlier, but looking 'through' the layers of air above London

More photos here:

Breaking News: The sky today will be ... blue

Today's sky will be totally blue

More later

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Any idea how big SE23 is?

I have linked to my map of the outline of the SE23 postcode area already, but would anyone care to hazard a guess as to the actual area this covers?

Answers in square miles or square kilometers, or even acres if you must, in the comments below.

I was surprised when I calculated it.

Extra mince pie on Saturday for the nearest guess

Preparing for Christmas

Some things in life really speed up at Christmas, others dramatically slow.

Whilst the frenzied activities of shopping, meal planning and social events takes over, the more considered jobs, such as blogging, seem to become rarer and rarer (apologies in advance).

The most difficult to manage is the social calendar. Even those people who you rarely see all the rest of the year need to be called, visited, written to and bought presents. Then there are all the christmas fairs, office drinks, catch-ups, farewells and family gatherings to fit in. Unfortunately it means that some events get double booked and therefore you end up missing something or someone.

One of the first to suffer this season was my semi-annual pilgrimage to Havelock Walk's Open Studios. I think I have been to them all, every six months, for the last couple of years, so it was a shame to learn about this one too late to avoid the clash with a well planned family trip to Edinburgh. I would also have missed the Christmas Fair at the station, but I gather that did not happen anyway (due to adverse weather conditions).

As it happens we still suffered the adverse weather conditions in Edinburgh (getting soaking wet and cold, but rediscovering a great tapas bar in the process).

I hope to report back soon with the outline of my talk on Saturday (summing up a year of blogging about Forest Hill) ... unfortunately it is another SLOW job that just, somehow, is not getting done.

Must dash! Christmas cards to write.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Getting a bit late now

There are a couple of pockets of streets I have been meaning to walk for a while and never got around to, so with THE FINAL WALK looming, I thought lunch was a good time to do it.

I had a few roads around the South East of SE23 to cover, ones that again are not on my way to a specific place so have been missed out to date. The route was as follows:

View Larger Map

This was around 3 miles and I covered it pretty fast as, for a change, there weren't too many hills.

There were not too many events to report. As expected, the houses on Priestfield Road, Hawksfield Road and Ticehurst Road are all very attractive. This area is relatively quiet, well preserved and reasonable sized houses. I think I have mentioned already that Garlies Road has some very nice houses so I was not surprised.

I was somewhat surprised to find some original-looking Art Nouveau (or is it Deco?) stained glass in a building on Como Road. I didn't take a photo unfortunately, but if you are walking along there, look out for the windows above ground level. Very interesting!

Walking down Perry Hill I was struck by the decorative plasterwork above a series of doors on the houses just over the hill. It is common to about 4 houses in a row, so there must be more to this story than a simple design feature. Does anyone know?

On Priestfield Road I also came across an unusual sight that I have always associated with gas lighting, but to be honest have no idea what it is or how it works. Can anyone help me? You can see them occasionally around London and although I have lived here for a while, I can't say I have ever stopped long enough to consider them - ah the benefits of being a blogger!

What are/were these?

In future I will post some other 'posts' (excuse the pun) that I need to identity.

There are even some nice views of Forest Hill towards the North from here, and, once again, a view of Christ Church (you can see the church on the bottom left of the image, between the tall tree and the palm).

The other common sight, once again, was all the development happening - from large blocks (such as the ongoing development on Stanstead Road/Hurstbourne Road), to houses being re-roofed, re-painted, extended or even gutted and modernised. It is EVERYWHERE!

Nice roads to look at if you are in the market though.

... and ...

finally, back home (after a spot of lunch at The Honor Oak, with a great Club Sandwich and pint of Broadside)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Jolly Bloggers

Thanks to all the Lewisham Bloggers for another great get-together.

I did enjoy the beers, even if I have had far more beer in the last week than the rest of the year put together. I'm hoping for a more wine-friendly place next time. Having said that, those pints in the Jolly Farmers were pretty good.

As usual I enjoyed the chats with those I have met before, but also meeting some new faces too. Others have already added some lists of those present, so I shall leave it to them and to my newly updated blogroll (if I have missed anyone, let me know).

On a side-note, I think that maybe we ought to look for a place where the growing group can mingle a little.

Thanks again, and I look forward to the next one.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Quick! Last chance!

Just in case you missed it, it is only fair to remind readers of this blog (I won't embarrass you or me by revealing quite how many that is, but let's just say that we'd all fit comfortably in the pub) that there is a small gathering of bloggers, all based in and around Lewisham, tonight.

Being St. Andrews night I shall be celebrating it in the company of some very hospitable and interesting people with an incredibly varied list of interests, at the Jolly Farmers, 54, Lewisham High St, London, SE13 6LE

If you fancy popping by to say hello, or to join us, please do (I'll be the one with the beard, the drunken smile, and the camera!!)

Monday, 26 November 2007


Sometimes you see something that makes you laugh then you think "I must show this to others"


Maybe old, maybe done before, maybe a rip-off, maybe ... but who cares. I've only just seen it and I'd like to share this with you.

Probably something up Adrian's (@ fork handles) street!

And, No! It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Forest Hill (unless there are some daft punks around here somewhere).

Thanks to for the link

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Autumn Sun in Forest Hill

Despite predictions to the contrary, this morning was glorious!

Having offered to take some photos of the area as a possible new welcome photo for, and as I was walking up to the dentist anyway, I thought I'd bring my camera.

Just a few snaps that you might enjoy.

Click here for the full set, or here for lots more photos of Forest Hill and the SE23 surrounds.

[UPDATE: Check out stevegrindlay's old postcards in particular - they are currently on page 3 of the pool]

A gentle plug, and a reminder

Still catching up on the last few walks, and still WAY late on writing them up, however, I thought I'd at least use a moment to plug the latest addition to Forest Hill.

The Lemon Grove (no website that I know of) has now opened opposite Sainsbury's on London Road. We had been screaming out for a good, central cafe for a long time, and the new owners have not only provided a great looking place that actually serves good coffee (and excellent food), but they are nice people too. What more can you ask for? (Maybe free WiFi??)

If you are in Forest Hill shopping, on your way to the Horniman Museum and Gardens, or maybe browsing the Estate Agents' windows (we are an up and coming area don't you know!) you should definitely pop in.

As for the reminder, there is only just over a week to go until the next Lewisham Bloggers' drinks. Click here for more information on dates and times. If you are a local blogger and have not been to one before, or even if you just want to meet some of the people behind the blogs, do come along and join the party. Se you there!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The final walk

OK, so the time is approaching, and the plans are not yet fully made, but some details are emerging.

As I still plan on making the December 15th the FINAL walk of the year, I have decided to make it a good one. The plan is to walk from the most Northerly point, at the end of Brenchley Gardens, and then make our way to Rockbourne Road.

The (currently) planned route is here.

UPDATE: I plan to leave from the top of Brenchley Gardens around 11:00 or so.

There have been a few people that have mentioned that they might like to walk with me (I feel honoured), including my not-quite-3-year-old daughter, so don't expect this to be a hike! I plan on keeping it relatively level, as far as Forest Hill permits anyway, and take in a few sites on the way.

If you are interested, keep an eye on this blog and I will publish the latest details as they emerge. I will give you a sneak preview of the plan for the Forest Hill Society to provide an energy-boosting mince pie along the way!

If you do plan on coming along, please do let me know so I have SOME idea of how many might be there on the day.

In residence in Honor Oak

Having realised that time is short, particularly with the planning of "THE FINAL WALK", I decided to set out to visit some of the side streets that I have missed for one reason or another.

I walked 4.5 miles (according to google maps) this afternoon, visiting the residential streets around Honor Oak mainly. I had walked this way before but had not been up and down all the parallel residential roads. However, the goal was to walk all streets, and all streets it shall be.

Most of the walk was relaxing and attractive, but relatively unremarkable. The most remarkable things were:

1. The "Survey House" building on Brockley Rise

2. The views from Blythe Hill Fields

Unfortunately for me, although Blythe Hill is bordered on many sides by the SE23 postcode, the park itself does not count, but it was worth the extra few steps.

The day itself was pretty nice (it had been brighter earlier, but not bad for November). Seeing kites flying on Blythe Hill was heartwarming as there was a family there all together getting the solitary kite aloft.

Survey House is (quite but not very) interesting and regularly catches my eye as I drive past. It seems to be some faux-Tudor sort of architecture, but the wood beams on the front seem real enough and I cannot believe it was custom built to be an estate agent. I wonder what its history actually is?! Anyone out there know?

I certainly hope they do more business as Surveyors than Estate Agents as I cannot believe they get much passing (foot) trade.

The only other remark I ought to make is, once again, to wonder at how many properties I walk past are being developed. It might be by current or new owners rather than for re-sale, but there are LOTS of empty properties being modernised around these streets and I am not sure what this means for the area except to hope that it is more exciting for new buyers.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The end is nigh!

OK, too dramatic, but it is late and time is short.

If there is anyone out there that, possibly out of the kindness of their heart, or possibly the complications of removing an RSS feed, is still reading this blog, then I am sorry.

October has been absolutely non-stop for reasons I will not bore you with, but blogging has taken a seriously back seat recently. Unfortunately, the end is literally nigh (archaic: near), as it is already the 25th of October and there are many streets of Forest Hill left to walk (and write about).

I still hope to complete my task on time, although it will probably take me well into 2008 to actually write them all up. What brought the deadline home to me recently was a combination of being unable to find a free weekend to plan a meeting with a friend before the end of the year, and a suggestion that I could 'celebrate' completing the task.

Argh! Too many roads and too few days. However, the plan is to have finished most of the walks by mid December, and to celebrate the finish by inviting any of you out there to walk the last few steps of Forest Hill and SE23 with me (for a little company).

More details in the near future, but keep an hour or two of the morning of December 15th (Saturday) free, just in case!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Walking again, at last

I don't really want to think about how long it has been since I last posted on this blog about the topic it is supposed to be about - namely walking around this lovely area of Forest Hill. If I do, I get that stomach churning, chest pain inducing, guilty blogger feeling.

Guilt is an underestimated motivator. Money and praise only go so far (not that I get very much of either) but they do not get you through the 'dark days' when there are just too many calls on your attention. Guilt, on the other hand, accumulates of its own accord, slowly building day by day until you can bear it no longer, and you either shut down the blog or get posting again with renewed vigour.

So here I am. Mea culpa! Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned. Hopefully after this I will feel better and normal service, of sorts can be resumed.

So, what really got me posting? Two things that happened yesterday. The first was the final leg of my deliveries of newsletters for the Forest Hill Society. No route around Forest Hill would be particularly easy and/or flat, but I did get a more than fair share of hills I think. One of which was Thorpewood Avenue.

View Larger Map

There are some lovely looking houses on this road, and if you are reading this, looking to move in to the area, I highly recommend you take a look around here. I have not been inside any of them, but there were some very interesting and unusual houses pretty much the length of this street. Of course, the combination of the main hill, the steps to EVERY door and the lack of interconnecting paths means I got rather tired. In full expectation of this I therefore chose not to bring a camera with me as well, so I have no photos to share this time.

This road rekindled my interest in discovering the history of the different developments and reminded me to post (at last) about the area.

The second factor I shall write about separately, but I was able to tour the upstairs area of The Capitol pub (once grand cinema, then bingo hall, now oversize Wetherspoon pub) and get a glimpse into its history as well. I plan on returning to get more details and some photos, so look out for more on this.

Hopefully you have not all abandoned hope that I would write about Forest Hill again rather than occasionally post random thoughts on recycling bins, trains, internet quizzes and dying buildings.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Blogging confusion

It is neater and clearer to keep separate blogs for seriously different topics, so I keep my interest in wine culture separate from my views on Forest Hill on this site.

Unfortunately this can cause confusion when I link people back to my sites (especially if you have "auto complete" turned on and it includes the wrong one).

So if you were expecting to see something about wine, please click here.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Oh hell, why not?!

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very High
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Hat tip to Kate and Andrew

Thursday, 30 August 2007

all things can be explained

The fun part about having a blog is the connections you can make with other bloggers and other people interested in what you do.

I get a reasonable number of visitors to this blog, most of whom do not leave messages so I have no idea what they came here for or whether they found it, but I hope it was a worthwhile diversion.

The only way to get ANY idea of whether people are interested is to look at the statistics of where people came from and, if it was a search engine, what search terms they were using.

From what I see, most of you are wanting to know more about different streets in SE23 and therefore either live there or are thinking of moving there. The other main theme are restaurants, so I'm happy to oblige by offering links to their own sites.

However, an unusual link appeared yesterday from things magazine (see it on the Wednesday, August 29, 2007 post). I have no idea why, or how, I deserved the honour of a link, but quite a few are following it to this site. If that is you, maybe you could tell me more about that site?

In any case, welcome! ... and if you could spare a few seconds to leave me a comment on the blog, I'd love to hear from you.

Finally, I PROMISE to start catching up on my walks. Not too long left before the end of the year and quite a few streets still to visit.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Train Rumours

I have heard this a few times now (including from someone I met at lunch today), so I thought it might be worth clearing up a rumour circulating around parts of Forest Hill.

Forest Hill Station is NOT about to close for 2 years.

There was a poster at the station for a while (it is gone now I think) that seemed to imply that this might be the case, but it refers to the East London Line (ELL). The ELL will close from New Cross Gate to allow for the upgrade and building on that line, but the train services to London Bridge will not be affected.

"The line will continue to operate between Whitechapel and New Cross/ New Cross Gate until 22 December 2007. The line will then be closed to allow it to be converted in preparation for the new train service."
[from the TfL website]

No need to panic!

If you want more clarification, check out the discussion thread on

Saturday, 25 August 2007

The other face of Forest Hill

No, not a post about dodgy going-ons behind lace curtains, nor an expose on 'alternative' activities, sorry.

It's all about facebook! What's facebook I hear you ask? Well, if you haven't heard about it, I'm sure you will soon. Click here for just one of the stories already covering it on the BBC.

Facebook was originally for university students in North America, but it has spread like wildfire recently and as more and more people join, it is becoming a very exciting place to meet existing friends, people who share the same interests, and, for a change, your neighbours.

Few web sites actually allow you to interact with people locally. We are extremely lucky in Forest Hill to have, but it is a rare thing.

With facebook you can get in touch with others (assuming you want to) and learn about their interests and actually have a chance to meet up with them in the Dartmouth Arms or Honor Oak. Pretty nifty.

In fact, The Honor Oak actually has its own group of fans on facebook already where you can chat, read about the events, get to know about that person you've seen in there a few times, ...

If you decide to check it out you will need to register (I know, that's a pain, but to give you an idea you can click here to see my public profile). If you do, there are loads of forums for Forest Hill already, including:

Forest Hill and Proud (179 members)
Forest Hill peeps (10 members)
The Forest Hill, SE23 Appriciation society (509 members) [I wish they could spell]
194 Crew Appreciation Society (18 members) [see, they can spell it]
The HOP (7 members) [that's friends of Honor Oak Park]
Singers in New Cross / Brockley / Forest Hil (22 members) [yes, they missed an 'l']
The Honor Oak's Virtual Pub (28 members)

and there are tons more for Lewisham and surrounds.

If you are interested in meeting up, check out facebook and get in touch with me there

Monday, 20 August 2007


Forest Hill has many lovely buildings, and a great mix of architecture.

One of the things I have noticed, walking around the streets of the area, is the extent of development of old houses to modern living standards, which is great. It is a shame to see some beautiful houses being converted to flats, with some roads of Victorian and Edwardian town houses totally turned over to flats, but that is the price we pay for urban housing density targets.

Not all developments, however, are created equally. I have been keeping an eye on one particularly lovely building (Montrose Villa) on Church Rise that seemed to be suffering the most horrific abuse.

First of all we witnessed plumes of black smoke day after day from fires in the back garden. I have no idea what they were burning, but I admit at first I thought the entire house was alight it was so large. And it went on and on (they even seemed to be shipping in more stuff to burn at one stage).

Then mysterious piles of earth kept appearing and disappearing, and I saw what must have been a pile of earth over 10 feet high in the back (clay soil - i.e. from rather deep).

Well, yesterday afternoon the road was cordoned off by police. Crowds, including me, gathered to see that the incompetent (or possibly unlucky - but I doubt it) builders had managed to erode the building's foundations. The police were evacuating the surrounding buildings and stopping all traffic.

Check out the crack on this building, and the angles where it has collapsed in the middle.(Click on the image for a larger version)

Today the Council is overseeing the pumping of several truck-loads of cement into the basement. I can't believe the building is salvageable, but good luck to them.

I can't believe there are people out there that stupid or brazen to excavate a basement without supporting the building, especially after reputedly spending £850,000 to buy the building in the first place.

[Update: according to my searches it was actually £585,000 - not that the extra £250k make much difference to the point]

(Click here for a few more photos - sorry the Police moved me on the first day before I got the camera out)

Friday, 10 August 2007


So, when you are away from home, what do you miss the most about your area (not counting your own home)?

I'm not sure I can think of very much. As much as I like Forest Hill, I can't think of anything I would sit and pine for. In fact, having been away for a bit, there are things I can't understand why we DON'T have here - but I guess that is because there are so many other places we can go to buy things other than on our own doorstep, unlike the smaller towns and villages we visit when on holiday.

I think that is the main argument against thinking of Forest Hill as a "Village" as has been raised elsewhere (on some months ago). We don't really live locally as it is too easy to go to East Dulwich, Lewisham, London Bridge, etc. by car or public transport when we need something. There is little incentive for a new business to set up here, such as a bakery, coffee shop or book shop. There is very little passing trade.

Perversely, maybe one of the best ways to generate business in Forest Hill is to reduce parking and the focus on cars, and encourage more of us to walk around the centre and therefore past more shop windows. With the increase in passing trade, more impulse shopping outlets might survive and we could generate more money for local businesses.

See! Forest Hill. Walking. Streets. Keeping up my little theme after all!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Openings and Closures

Normally, if I write about closures it would be in relation to what stopper you'll find on a bottle of wine (check out my wine blog here if that kind of thing interests you) but in relation to Forest Hill it mainly concerns shops.

Forest Hill has yet to become a destination for trendy shoppers although we do already have several very cool places to shop for clothes in particular - check our Bunka, Mayo Maker and Oliver London). However, these are the few gems in a pretty rough shopping desert.

The most regular occurence is that a shop closes - such as our (in)famous condom and tattoo shop (no demand) or, most recently, Mercury Electrical (old fashioned).

I was quite excited, therefore, when I noticed two shops being refitted as I walked around different parts of Forest Hill recently. Both are quite small and in very different shopping areas of town, but I had high hopes for them.

The first to open was a Polish Delicatessen. Excellent! I do not profess to be knowledgeable about Polish delicacies, but that is the point - here is something new and exciting to try. The couple who have opened Jagiello's have big plans for offering coffee and meats (Polish sausages coming soon) as well as the packaged foods they already have from a distant corner of our expanded European Union. I don't think they have a website yet, but you can find them on the short stretch of the South Circular labelled Sunderland Road. More on Polish influences in Forest Hill soon.

The second, yet to open but with a sign up already, was a whole lot less exciting. Peering through the window I saw chiller cabinets and shelves and I had a silent prayer (to a non-existent deity) it might turn out to be a butcher. It is on Perry Vale just before the back entrance to the station. All hopes were dashed though when the sign went up announcing "Indian Take Away" (no name). How could we possibly need another take away in Forest Hill? I'd love to know how many of these businesses actually survive longer than a year, and quite how much money is wasted setting them up. Surely someone must consider the existing market and demand before setting up a business? We are regularly inundated with menus through the letter box and they all go in the bin (we already have our favourites, thanks).

There are plenty more shop premises in Forest Hill, and a quite affluent, and motivated potential customer base. If you are looking for a place to establish a new business, check us out, but if you are planning an Indian take-away or Fried Chicken joint PLEASE try somewhere else.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Summer distractions & floods

"Apologies for the lack of posts!"

I have read this around the place at the moment and it definitely applies here too. I guess the combination of summer holiday plans and the extra work you do to prepare for the break means that blogging time is more limited.

So, back to the streets of Forest Hill.

Well, they've been rather wet of late; wet rather than submerged which I guess we should be thankful for. I need to check out the flood risk maps again (I did this before we moved in and I believe we are fine) but I think we should be OK over here. On the other hand, despite Forest Hill being one of the highest points around London, we live at the bottom of that hill - and boy can you tell when it pours. The main road runs like a river looking for white-water rafters to dare to navigate it, but at least it has stuck to the road so far.

I trust all you have been OK so far. I believe there are small pockets of Forest Hill that have underground water courses (hidden rivers, such as one behind Sunderland Road I believe) so I hope you weren't badly affected.

[On the topic of floods, check out Flood London which seems to be about to come out based on a book by Richard Doyle. I am sure it is over-dramatising the risk, but at least it could help prepare us. Nice to see Forest Hill at least seems to get spared in his predictions. Nice photo on the BBC site today as well]

Here's hoping for a few weeks of sun to dry out the smell of damp that seems to be coming from everywhere.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

What an Honor

Thanks for a great night!

The 3rd Lewisham Bloggers Meet-Up last night (Friday the 13th) was a great evening out.

Lots of wine and beer (and a burger or two) were consumed and the more I drank the more (blurry) pictures I took. I apologise for getting carried away, however of the 270 (!) photos I took there were one or two good portraits. I hope you like them.

Before I publish them in all their glory for everyone those who came along have a chance to review them. Nothing untoward to report, but I realise one or two would like to keep a low profile. Check out the facebook event Wall for the link, or email me at: (replacing the relevant characters!) and I'll send you the guest pass.

[UPDATE: Check out some of the photos here]

Thanks a lot to those who came along, even if it was for a short time. It is great to see how committed this group is, walking several miles (Wulf) or popping in before dinner duty (Max) just to say hello. I really appreciate the support and I think it says a lot about our community spirit.

Great to see all those who turned up, including:
Mr "Last Bus Home"
(have I missed someone?)

It was great to see a some new faces as well as those I met last time, and I am sorry that a few couldn't make it in the end - maybe next time! Kate, I still owe you a drink.

Thanks to everyone for helping to put this together and thanks to The Honor Oak as a great venue (even with the rowdy teachers!). Don't forget we must put together a definitive Lewisham Bloggers list that we all include on our sites to raise the profile of these great areas.

See you all again soon I hope

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Brown bins

Posted on with no response so far:

"A whole street in neighbouring Brockley, where my friends live, sprouted Brown Bins (to go next to the Black and Green ones) yesterday. No announcement. No letter. No details on the bin as to why.

Has anyone else seen these and know what they are for? Is Lewisham starting a composting collection service? There is nothing on their website that I can find."

Surely something Andrew or Sue can answer

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

'coz every little bit helps

Something I came across today that is relevant to Forest Hill, and other local areas too

Kudos to Friends of the Earth

Friday, 6 July 2007

Lewisham Bloggers Gathering Now on Friday 13th

The auspicious date should have been the key all along.

After checking with as many as I could, and after discovering that the Thursday did not suit so many of you, I have unilaterally and FINALLY decided that we will do this on Friday the 13th come what may.

So, be at the Honor Oak (see a week today, Friday 13th, from 18:00

First round on me.

All Lewisham (and surrounds) Bloggers welcome

for more information click here

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Lewisham Blogger Influence

This will be interesting!

Hazel Blears is to announce the right of residents in 10 key areas of the country to directly influence council spending through ballots according to the Guardian

"Voters will be given powers to decide how ten of millions of pounds should be spent in their neighbourhood under radical plans being unveiled today."

... and guess what. In at number 3 on the list is our very own Lewisham.

It also says:

"She said she may introduce new powers that will give people the right to petition councils. They would then be under an obligation to consider it. She hinted strongly that even these measures were not radical enough."

Now who on Earth (or at least Lewisham) might be at all interested in helping to tell the council where to spend more money? I believe I can easily think of a few.

Time for Lewisham bloggers to "unite" for influence?!

(interesting that as I write this my radio is playing "Anarchy in the UK"!!)

UPDATE: Andrew has already posted more detail on the same subject in a much more eloquent fashion!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Is 75% good or bad?

75%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This is Kate's fault - no I don't hang out on dating sites!

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Havelock Walk Open Studios

One of my personal favourite events in Forest Hill is about to happen.

Behind the main road (London Road) is Havelock Walk. This cobbled street houses an eclectic mix of artists in Live/Work studios, and twice a year they coordinate an "Open Studios" so that we can take a look at their recent work and maybe buy a thing or two.

The live/work concept is an interesting one and Jeff Lowe, one of the artists but also the guy who helped to create this little artistic haven in the first place, has been praised for the vision he had for this community.

Click here to visit the Havelock Walk site.

The next event is this weekend (not a lot of notice but I only just got the flier to confirm it was happening) Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July 2007.

There are 19 different artists showing paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography and more. If you are around Forest Hill pop by and take a look.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Blogger Meet Up - Hot Summer 2007 Re-Mix

OK, there seems to be quite a bit of interest in scheduling the next Lewisham Bloggers Meet Up for July.


There has been a suggestion that we make it a BBQ, which would imply a weekend (maybe) and possibly even partners and families. I am relaxed about that, I am sure I can sort out the space if this is what we want - and if the weather cooperates.

On the other hand, as Michael pointed out, this might be a bit much of a commitment for potential first-time attendees - they have no idea quite how nice we really are, yet.

So, I'd like your votes/comments on the following options, please, and I trust these will not conflict with the BrockleyCentral gathering.

Option 1
13 July :: Friday (the 13th!) drinks at The Honor Oak, Brockley Rise, from 18:00

Option 2
14 July :: Saturday BBQ (late lunch/early dinner) at my place in central Forest Hill, for bloggers and whatever significant other / child / friend / mate / acquaintance / attractive stranger / ... they wish to bring along (within reason)

Any blogger from Lewisham or surrounds is more than welcome to join us. Spread the word.


After lots of chasing and checking, it seems that the 13th is the best after all. THAT IS IT. NO MORE CHANGES. Be there on Friday the 13th!!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Door to door in SE23

Unbelievably (at least for me), the last time I posted about an actual walk, the supposed theme of this blog, was April 2nd. How embarrassing!

Interestingly, and spookily appropriate, the next walk I went on (WAY back on the 18th of March) was to distribute newsletters for the Forest Hill Society (hence the door-to-door bit). I have recently been asked, and readily agreed, to help out with some Forest Hill Society stuff so you will see my name pop up there from time to time too. This has included doing the layout of the next newsletter which I will be distributing in the next few days. If you want a copy, let me know.

So, March 18th. It was bright day. I remember because I was still suffering from a chest infection but it looked so nice I thought I wouldn't need extra insulation and only took a light jumper. That was a mistake!

My route took me from the top of Dacres Road, across Inglemere to Mayow Road then down to the very end of Perry Rise then across to Houston, Garlies and Allenby Roads. I thought I'd be an hour. It took me three. Thanks to the marvels of Google Maps, you can now take a look at the route here.

Several things stood out on the way. At the top of Dacres Road, at numbers 101 and 103 Perry Vale, is a mystery house. It has a plaque that indicates a date of 1797. The house cannot be that old (see discussion here) so it is a bit of a mystery why. The house is in need of some TLC and I see it is currently up for auction so you never know (as long as it isn't "redeveloped" by being knocked down).

The route took me past several new developments for schools in the area which is a very positive sign. The Forest Hill School Sports Centre looks quite grand and well provisioned. They are also redeveloping the main building and it certainly looks an impressive size.

After getting a little lost trying to find all the addresses for the members of the FHS (I think I got most of you) I emerged by the Prince of Wales pub - somewhere I probably need to try at some stage. The standout building in this area has to be the old Fire Station and the afternoon sun made it even more impressive with its shadows. It is a shame it isn't used for more than some basic Council offices (I believe the majority of the building is empty). Does anyone know why more isn't made of this landmark?

From here I walked a loop along Allenby Road (impressive frontages), down Houston (all the way to the very end!) and back along Garlies Road. There are some lovely houses along here. Certainly some of the biggest detached houses I have come across in the area. Unfortunately the light was not cooperating and I didn't get photos to do the road justice.

The newsletters were delivered by this point, but I took one little detour before returning home. I have walked many of the roads around here now and wanted to "fill-in" those I have missed so I headed up Pearfield Road. This is another quiet and attractive tree lined street which is a dead-end for cars and therefore quiet (bliss!). However, at the end I noticed a footpath which I followed to find the Forest Hill Bowls Club. Unlike some of the others in the area this looks still in use but is hidden away back here.

At this point I was rather tired and cold and the sun was about as low in the sky as it can be (as measured by the length of my shadow).

My next round of deliveries is already due (which means, as a quarterly newsletter, it has taken me a shameful 3 months to write this walk up) and I hear there are some great houses on this one too. Maybe one of yours?

Wednesday, 13 June 2007


Just so I am the first to suggest it, I think the time has come for a further reunion for the Lewisham Bloggers and even possibly even spread our physical/virtual wings a little further into neighbouring boroughs?

Who is up for a get-together in July? I think I already know one or two who would definitely be up for it.

Destination: Forest Hill, I think.

If you are interested, let me know. Everything is up in the air, but leave me a comment and we can start to organise dates, invitations, getting your name on the bouncer's guest list, etc.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Events this weekend

What is it about this weekend that SO many things are happening at the same time?

I had several events I could/should have gone to including a wedding in Spain (where I am currently) and a family wedding celebration in Edinburgh (sorry!).

In addition, there are events in Brockley (Brockley Max), Horniman Gardens (Forest Hill Day), Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (wine tasting on Saturday, don´t forget!), and open gardens all over the place.

If anyone does go along to one or more of the local events (not the weddings), please do let me know what you thought of them.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Sociable or Community Minded?

Another non-walk themed post. I do have plenty to write up but they require more research and these "off the top of my head" ones are easier to get on with.

I recently met up with a colleague who is British but has lived in Spain for many years. I briefly outlined to him some of the things I am involved in locally, from this blog, to, the Forest Hill Society, SE23Living Magazine, Friends of the Horniman, etc.

Now, I admit that this is a little over the top and not exactly common here either, but the fact is that all these organisations exist for local enthusiasts and volunteers to get involved in. In general, the British are "community minded", supporting all sorts of societies, clubs, charities, institutions, .. that are for the benefit of the community, whether specific or general.

In Spain, and to a large extent in many other southern European countries, people are much more sociable than we are here. They are familiar with many more "neighbours" than we are and several generations of families hang out in cafes and bars till all hours chatting generally about life. They are outwardly much more likely to seem friendly and open.

However, my friend pointed out that this rarely carries over to social organisations. People are not THAT interested in their neighbours, and in that sense are less 'social' rather than 'sociable', if I can draw that distinction.

I am a big fan of the outdoor, friendly lifestyle of Spain and Italy, but I think that on the whole I support the idea of being interested in others in a more general sense.

Maybe Forest Hill is unusual, having all these civic groups dedicated to the area (and there are lots more, I know), but I like to think that all sorts of my neighbours are involved behind the scenes trying to make this a better place for everyone.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Does the web have moods?

Is it me, or has the entire WWW been in a dark mood recently?

So many of the sites, blogs and forums (or fora for the pedantic and old fashioned out there) I visit on a regular basis are suffering from some sort of collective depression that I feel it rubbing off on me.

The "vibe" is wrong. Where once it was all positive and energetic, particularly a few months ago, now it seems petty and full of squabbles.

It seemed to kick off around the time of the attacks on Kathy Sierra in April. The news started focusing on the negative stories and the admins started clamping down on users. The result is that everyone feels irritable.

We need a positive blogging and web2.0 community story to clear the air. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Some random thoughts (and not really Forest Hill related)

1. I recently discovered a great singer and performer. Check out Imogen Heap (I use Napster but you can find her all over the place including YouTube - see below). Am I the last to find out?

2. Doing anything succesfully with the garden is much more about planning than the effort involved. I seem to be going around in circles and not achieving much.

3. Chicken!

4. Love your bum! (eberg is great - check him out on YouTube too)

5. I need to get out more!

6. 2-year-olds are suprisingly good at winning arguments. They can simply ignore your entreaties and simply get on with the offending course of action. I feel rather powerless sometimes.

7. Thanks to Fork Handles - check out Pickard of the Pops - a different view on pop videos (almost makes me want to watch them).

As I said, random.

Headlock - Imogen Heap

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Don't forget to snap it too!

Wulf makes a very valid point which I should have added to my Walk It! post.

Another great advantage of walking around London is that you get to see things that escape your attention when you are rushing past in cars and buses (rushing being a relative term in London traffic) or passing underneath them on the tube.

London has wonderful architecture and lots of hidden visual gems, but we so often miss them.

One of the things that has most made me appreciate Forest Hill, and London architecture and design in general, is a group of Londoners that challenge each other to identify photos that can be taken anywhere within London. Check out the "Guess Where London" group on but I warn you, it can be addictive!!

Since I joined this group I look around, and UP so much more than I used to and it is amazing what you see, particularly around areas you thought you knew.

So get walking, and get snapping too!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Walk It I say!

I am not a Green (with a capital G) walking and alternative transport evangelist, but I do admit that I try to walk when I can.

Long before I ever started the SE23 Challenge I decided that I would never stand still on an escalator or take a lift if I could walk up stairs. If you are a commuter, the best free "extra" exercise you can get is to walk up the escalator no matter how tired you are (allowances for baggage can be made). I noticed an enormous difference in my stamina in only a few months.

Having said that, Richard over at Baggage Reclaim mentioned a site I had not heard of called WalkIt.

The idea of the site, and the group, is that you could consider walking your intended route across London, so it offers directions as well as a measure of distance, time required and calories burned! Excellent!

Of course this is not reasonable for all journeys (I work from home now but I checked my old commute and it would take me 196 minutes at a reasonable pace each way) but if you have a meeting to go to, tell the boss you are off, then walk it instead next time. It isn't a lie, and if challenged, tell them you are investing the time in strategic thinking, your health and in minimising the company carbon footprint! Dare them to challenge THAT!

I have added the widget to my site although I think it will need a little more work on their side (it will show you the route from your postcode to Forest Hill station), but if it inspires you to walk a little more, let me know.

Walk It!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Postcode Pilot

Apologies for the extended absence caused by what turned out to be a rather damp visit to Cornwall last week.

I have just read the following on offering more details regarding the "Postcode" show at the Brockley Jack that I mentioned in my last post. If you are interested, or know someone who should be encouraged to take part, please let them know.

I'm putting on a theatrical show/tv pilot at the Brockley Jack Theatre on June 5th and 7th as part of the Brockley Max Festival. The concept of the pilot looks at different postcodes around the country and the show will use SE23 as the guinea pig. The theatre will be a tv studio for the night as this is all in a talk show format. So... I'm looking for residents of SE23 to be guests on the show. Interested? Then please go to this link

.. fill in the questionnaire and return it to Need this by Friday 18th May, this Friday!

Successful candidates will be included in both shows in a 5 minute interview on stage (recorded) where they shall get to wax lyrical about there neighbourhood in a light hearted Norton/Ross/Paxman/Parkinson style interview. Easy-peasy and lots of fun.

If its not you but you know a great local character who'd be up for this then either send the link to them or conatact me via the same email address.

Any queries, I'm happy to respond!


I might even have volunteered myself, but unfortunately I am very busy during that week and cannot guarantee to be there both days on time. However, I hope to catch one or other night (from the audience).

Spread the word!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Upcoming Forest Hill Events

I am likely to be unable to post for a few days, but I thought I would quickly bring to everyone's attention a few events that will be happening in Forest Hill in the next month or so and so that you can put them in your diary:

10 May - Forest Hill Society General Meeting
Venue: Christian Fellowship Centre
Time: from 19:00
Mayor Steve Bullock will be there, as will someone to talk about the plans for Horniman Gardens. Last time there were over 150 people, so get there early and see what is going on.

5 June - 'Postcode'
I know very little about this except what was sent to me, but it sounds interesting and I am planning to go.

"Brockley Jack Theatre is turned into a TV studio for this talk show which focuses on the SE23 area on Tues 5th and Thurs 7th June 2007, 7pm .
A panel of local residents take the place usually reserved for celebrities guests as your host Mike Sengelow, his reporter and this uniquely styled show delve deep to find out what is at the heart of the SE23 postcode area. Free."

10 June - Forest Hill Day
Venue: Horniman Museum Gardens
Time: all day?
Lots of activities, music, and food. Hope the weather cooperates.

10 June - Devonshire Road Nature Reserve Open Day
Venue: pretty obvious really
Time: not sure yet
Chance to get into the Reserve, speak to those involved, and I believe there is even a wine tasting (nothing to do with me though)

Tuesday, 1 May 2007


I'd just like to say it is absolutely glorious in Forest Hill today.

I trust you are having as fine a day.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Map of Forest Hill, London, SE23

More maps!

I've been updating some of my walks on the new My Maps feature (more of these soon), and I thought I would start with this one:

What, and Where is SE23?

Well, this is it, as far as I can determine. I think I may need to double check the Mayow Park bit as I thought at least part was SE23, but maybe not.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve - update

Just posted a review of the Forest Hill Society walk around the Nature Reserve.

You can read the full details here.

You can see the photos here.

Technically these paths don't qualify as part of my quest, but the point of the walking is to explore the area and find interesting spots I might otherwise miss. This definitely qualifies.

I have joined as a Friend of the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve (FOTDRNS!) and volunteered to help, so I hope to go back soon. It might even give me a chance to access the equivalent reserve on the other side of the tracks (Gartmore Road Nature Reserve) that is otherwise locked for safety.

See you there?

Eliot Bank in Glorious Technicolor

Michael of the Forest Hill Society alerted me to the very welcome arrival of Google Maps new tool.

MyMaps rocks!

I have been eyeing this for some time, thinking it would be perfect for me, but it was technically too complex (KML anyone!?!?). Thankfully the techies at Google have done the hard work for me and created a very easy interface for creating the maps.

Take a look at the route map of the walk "Up Eliot Bank".

I will try to find the time to go back and map the others, but will certainly be using this from now on.

Thank you Google!

Monday, 23 April 2007

Let's all Zimbio

Well, the name isn't very catchy (Zimbio?), but the tool might be useful.

Lewisham_Kate has used this tool to create a local "wikizine" bringing together articles and content from local bloggers in Lewisham.

Check it out at:

If a few of us get actively involved (yes, another update each time you post!) it could be quite useful.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Who's round is it anyway? (updated)

OK! I know. I owe Max and Andrew a drink. With all of us there I never got round to my round. Next event I promise to make it up to you - so maybe we can plan the next Lewisham Bloggers' gathering in Forest Hill?

Thanks to Andrew for pulling it all together and getting such an interesting crowd of people together. There are loads of things going on everywhere, and Lewisham is no exception. So why not expect a motley crew of bloggers covering a range of topics? The strange thing is how much we do have in common despite all the different lenses we use to review our lives through blogging.

So, you wanted some photos, and here they are. You can see the few I have salvaged. On the night I thought I might be putting various papparazi and even some fashion photographers out of a job with my skills as a photographer. Fortunately I have a day job to go back to, and they can continue to sleep well at night. Having said that, a few photos did come out (after much computer enhancement).

Thanks to all those I met for a wonderful evening. Just so I don't forget, I thought I would list the blogs of those who came to the event to remind me to add more links to them.

Andrew Brown ::photo::
[Someday I will treat you good]

Basswulf ::photo::
[Down in the Den]

Lewisham Girl ::photo::
[Lewisham Sucks & maybe Isn't Great for Everyone]

BONUS LINK: Kate - here is that site I mentioned with the kitten animations and the music: Rather Good, and an example of what I mentioned here: I want to take you to a ..., Independent Woman, (you have to watch both of these, but they loop, so feel free to click BACK!) Ninja Cats and check out the Morris Dancers link below.

Michael Abrahams ::photo::
[Forest Hill Society]

Bob ::photo::
[Bob from Brockley]

UPDATE: photo has been updated to protect the anonymous!! anyone interested in "disappearing" and entering the blogging witness protection scheme?

Andrew ::photo::
[The Ragged School Blog]

Max ::photo::
[Max's Stuff & Max's Ink]

Richard Sanderson ::photo:: - sorry none came out as they were too dark!!
[Baggage Reclaim]
BONUS LINK: Morris Dancing - just for you :)

Adam Tinworth ::photo::
[One man and his blog]

James Cleverly ::photo::
[James Cleverly]

Did I get everyone??

UPDATE: Sorry, forgot Tom Hamilton of Let's Be Sensible and I saw that two others who arrived but I didn't get a chance to meet you, Katy and publicansdecoy. Next time.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Walking Lewisham in Company

Although my own goal is to get to know Forest Hill better, and I have not yet completed that task, Andrew (K) Brown over at "some day I will treat you good" alerted me to the Lewisham Walking Festival

On the programme there are a few walks around Forest Hill, mainly involving the Horniman Museum and my new favourite the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve, but you may want to look at others (like the pub walk?).

Worth supporting if you want to get out and start walking too.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Back to Nature in London

I will be rather busy next week with a course, so no time to write up my visit to the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve in detail for a while. However, I just wanted to say thanks to the Forest Hill Society for organising a wonderful visit, and to everyone who gave up their time there to host us so magnificently.

The volunteers who run this nature reserve in conjunction with Lewisham Council are doing a great job and it is a place everyone in Forest Hill should take pride in, if not actively support. Little plots of "real" nature (as opposed to the manicured gardens and busy parks, that have their place, but are more about entertainment than nature) are an oasis from our every day stresses. We need to fight to keep the ones that still exist (I sound like a convert, don't I?)

More on this in future, of this I am sure. However, a quick note for those interested:

The reserve is open to the public on the last Sunday afternoon of every month and there is a children’s club on the first Sunday morning of each month. The wildlife garden and visitor’s centre is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays (term time only). We also run a number of events during the year, including an annual Open Day.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

One of my "must visit" places will be ticked off the list tomorrow (Sunday 15th April) when I plan to go along to the Forest Hill Society's guided walk of this nature reserve (walk starts at 14:00).

I don't know much about the place yet, but I'm sure I shall be posting more about it very soon.

Click here for the map.

More information on the visit from the FHS here.

If you want to come along it is free and sounds like it will be the perfect weather for it (25°C).

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Update: Up Eliot Bank

Just updated my previous post on my walk Up Eliot Bank with a comment by Mayor Steve [about half way through]

Should we start a campaign to help other orphan roads out there?

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

What is this building? updated

Can anyone tell me what this building is or does?

I was walking to Mayow Park this weekend (lovely place that is in the sun) and I finally had a few extra moments to check out the building.

It is on Mayow Road, just between the school and the park and just in front of the tower blocks.

It has large bay doors that seem to be able to accommodate large trucks, but no other real windows or other features. I thought it was a hall, but considering the lack of access, I now doubt it.

Anyone out there know?

Here is a link to the satellite image

Update: thanks to Courtney Hamilton for this information in the comments (and for correcting my spelling of Mayow):

"The building is used by the council to store machinery for Mayow Park next door.

They have a couple of those motorised lawnmowers, cages for cut grass, and lots of other machines you need to keep a park like Mayow in tip-top order."

Monday, 2 April 2007

Up Eliot Bank

The longer I leave it between posts, the further behind I fall with posting about these walks. I currently have 5 to write up and now that the weather is improving I imagine I will be getting out even more.

On the 12th of March I organised a work meeting at the Horniman Cafe. It seemed like it was to be a good day, so when my colleague asked me where we should meet, I instantly thought about getting away from the house and into some green space.

I left the house a little early (on purpose) and decided to walk to the Horniman, but take a sudden and last minute diversion up Eliot Bank. This hill has been intriguing me for some time. There is something about these residential streets that makes you feel like you are trespassing without an invitation, when in fact they are still public highways.

I headed up the steep hill opposite Honor Oak Road and the museum to find out what lay at the top. The area is called "Forest Estate" and the buildings at this level are all 60's/70's apartment blocks. They must have a pretty good view although I am not sure of the longevity of anything built at that time.

Once you reach the top there is a central green with tall buildings facing North, and smaller family terraced housing around the other sides. This is a nicely secluded spot, and certainly was quiet compared to the traffic on the road below.

Just off this green is a side road called Knapdale Close that skirts behind the impressive Forest Grove building (accesible from Taymount Rise - see my separate walk) and down to the back of the Shackleton Close Estate (whose buildings, see here on the left, I now learn, are designed in a 'Streamline Moderne' Art Deco style).

Following the main road from the green you pass an attractive building called Phoenix House which I believe is a health clinic of some sort (nice building to house it in) to one of the worst maintained roads I have seen in London. I guess this is one way to ensure that this does not become a 'rat-run' to Crystal Palace for daily commuters.

[Edit 12/04/2007: A member called Mayor Steve left me this message concerning this road:

"Sorry to be pedantic but as I understand it this is not on Lewisham's priority list because it isn't a Lewisham road! Its an unadopted road which is the responsibility of the residents living there.

Mayor Steve"

I have no idea or evidence that this was THE Mayor Steve we all know, but sure sounds like I annoyed someone at the Council]

The road emerges on the roundabout at the top of Sydenham Hill, so I am skirting with the borders of SE23 here, and as my colleague will eventually wonder where I am, I decide to head back down the hill - all 12% (+ tilt) of it.

The route down is down Sydenham Hill, then down Sydenham Rise. The triangle that this creates, with London Road, currently has a lovely little playground much loved by my daughter. However, it has a reputation as an old 'plague' burial ground. I believe that this is without substance, but this is a question I need to get "my mate Steve" to confirm for me.

After my meeting at the museum, I used the opportunity to sneak up the roads around Surrey Mount. There are some houses here, between the museum and the Tesco garage on the corner of Honor Oak Road, that back onto the museum. Nothing much to report (I had hoped to find Frederick Horniman's House, but I gather that was demolished) but my quest is to walk ALL SE23 streets in 2007, so must do my best.

I did not have the time to climb up inside the buildings on Eliot Bank as I would have liked, but I have been told the view is great. This was another walk that opened my eyes to parts of Forest Hill that were totally new to me and connected the dots with other walks on other routes. All in all, a short walk, but a good one.

[Edit 8 April: If all works as planned, this link should take you to a map of the route courtesy of Google Maps]