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!