15 September 2014

Crystal Palace Park Update

By Mehul Damani (Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholder Group) www.twitter.com/mehuldamani

 A “masterplan” for rejuvenating Crystal Palace Park was submitted in November 2007. Commissioned by the London Development Agency, the original aims were to increase the park’s profile as community, heritage, leisure and educational asset through restoring some historical park features and building new facilities.

The latest proposal comes from Chinese ZhongRong Group, who intends to spend £500M on reconstructing the Crystal Palace and restoring the wider park. According to ZhongRong, their design will remain faithful to Sir Joseph Paxton’s cast-iron and plate-glass masterpiece, built originally to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. As for the rest of the park, the intention is to honour the masterplan’s provisions “to create a modern 21st century park of national importance which reflects Paxton’s original ideas and responds to the needs of local residents.”

Various questions remain. What will the ultimate purpose of the rebuilt palace be: commercial, social or cultural - and what kind of tenants are we likely to see? How do we manage the impact on the local community and transport infrastructure of resurrecting such a major structure, likely as it is to attract large numbers of visitors? 

Finally, it looks like ZhongRong may obtain exclusive rights over a large section of the park that is currently designated as metropolitan open land - what will the impact be of such a deal on future developments in the park? And to what extent will the community have a say when it comes to final design, integration of facilities and the ongoing management and operation? 

Visit www.thelondoncrystalpalace.com to see the latest proposal and www.crystalpalacepark.org.uk to get involved and have your say.

13 September 2014

Forest Hill Society AGM

The Forest Hill Society AGM will take place on 22nd October, upstairs at the Hob (opposite Forest Hill station).

We intend to present some of the findings from the design workshop that took place in July and provided some interesting ideas on the future of Forest Hill town centre. As well as presenting our conclusions, this is a good opportunity to share your thoughts on the future of the town centre, both in the short and long term.

In addition we will have elections for the committee and sub-committees for the Forest Hill Society.

Committee members don’t need to devote vast amounts of time to the Society, but if you are passionate about Forest Hill, then we would really like you to consider joining us and helping the Society achieve even more than we have already. In particular we will be looking for a new editor for the newsletter and a new secretary for the Executive. If these roles, or any others are of interest to you, please feel free to discuss them with Michael prior to the meeting.

It is wonderful that every year we have a number of new people who get involved and make a difference.

12 September 2014

News from the Horniman

By Janet Vitmayer, Director of the Horniman Museum and Gardens

I often hear from local people how much they value the Horniman and how important it is to the local community. This cuts both ways – our visitors, and especially our local visitors who come here time and again, are the lifeblood of the Museum.

Over the last year, Forest Hill residents have been keen supporters of our Farmers’ Market – which celebrates its first anniversary this autumn – snapping up the array of produce each Saturday from our fantastic traders, many of whom are local themselves.

Our Horniman Members scheme has also been embraced by the local community, with 40% of our current members living in the Borough of Lewisham. The benefits to members include a discount in our shop, exclusive events and offers and of course, free unlimited entry to the Aquarium and temporary exhibition (Extremes closes in November, for anyone yet to enjoy it). Our core supporters group, the Friends of the Horniman – made up of many Forest Hill residents – continues to fundraise actively on our behalf, most recently through the annual summer Art Exhibition which attracted larger crowds and more revenue than ever before.

Local people have been out in force to support recent events here at the Horniman, including our new series of Jazz Picnics on Wednesdays in July, and the Curious Tea Party, attended by more than 10,000 people over a wonderful weekend. Our new Lates programme offering adults a creative mix of art, music, dance and film has also been warmly received, attracting as many as 800 visitors to each evening event.

Not everyone in our community is able to visit and enjoy the Horniman so easily, however. A significant part of our work is to make the Museum and Gardens more accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with numerous community groups, for instance with older people affected by dementia and people with long term mental health issues.

Our recent good news – funding of £2.9m over three years from Arts Council England – recognises our popularity with a diverse audience, and will allow us to attract more visitors from the local community in south east London, as well as further afield.

I hope many of our neighbours in Forest Hill will continue to enjoy themselves at the Horniman in the months ahead. There’s plenty going on, from our Halloween and Christmas fairs to our new exhibitions, Revisiting Romania: Dress and Identity, and Kurt Jackson: River, not to mention the many educational visits we host each term by local schoolchildren and of course all of our family-friendly activities. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

To find out more about events and activities at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, or to become a Horniman Member, visit www.horniman.ac.uk

Forest Hill Free Fashion Week Concert

Forest Hill Fashion Fest, Sunday 21st September, Forest Hill Station main car park.

The 'Outstanding' Grow Mayow Community Garden

As well as the Forest Hill Society gaining 'Outstanding' in the London In Bloom competition, another local group achieved the same accolade:

Grow Mayow Community Garden has been awarded the highest level of achievement from the Royal Horticultural Society and London in Bloom in this year’s RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood initiative.

Iris Borgers and Erika Sager were presented with the Level 5: Outstanding award at the RHS London In Bloom ceremony at the Surrey County Cricket Club on Monday, 8 September.

“This is a wonderful achievement for the Garden that would not have been possible without the help of local volunteers who have spent countless hours planting, weeding, watering and moving mulch” says Iris Borgers, Garden Director.  “We are also very thankful for the support we have received from Martin Hyde at Green Scene, Shannon’s Garden Centre, Mayow Park Systems, Havelock 11, Caribbean Mix Cricket Club, Friends of Mayow Park and Streetscape whose contributions and donations have made the reinstatement of the front garden possible.”

Grow Mayow Community Garden Project is open to public on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 2pm and has weekly volunteer sessions on Tuesday mornings from 10am to noon and Wednesday afternoons from noon to 2pm. They host a variety of events for children and from September will be running their own Nature Kids Club on Thursday mornings from 10:30 to Noon.

Further details about Grow Mayow Community Garden Project and all upcoming events can be found at growmayow.blogspot.co.uk

11 September 2014

Dartmouth Road improvements work

It is still early days but we know that Lewisham Council have been successful in their bid for funds from TfL to improve Dartmouth Road (north). In total it appears that £650,000 has been allocated over the next two years to make substantial changes to a key section of the high street.

There are a number of challenges in the stretch of road from the swimming pool to the station, these include; lack of parking/too little time in parking bays, parking away from bays blocking the road and the footpath, difficulty for pedestrians crossing the road, lack of provision for cyclists, and poor use of public spaces outside Sylvan Post and Heron House.

We are expecting consultation by Lewisham Council to identify priorities and find solutions that are right for shops, shoppers, school children, and bus routes. We will keep you updated about the plans as we find out more over the next few months.

08 September 2014


The Forest Hill Edible High Road has been judged as 'Outstanding' by the RHS London in Bloom Judging panel!

Congratulations to the
volunteers from the Forest Hill Society, Forest Hill station and local businesses!

The Edible High Road 2014

The Forest Hill Society joined with Chelsea Fringe’s Edible High Road scheme again this year when we distributed 100 tubs of plants sponsored by local businesses throughout Forest Hill and Honor Oak Park.

Linking with the RHS’s 50th ‘Golden’ anniversary of their ‘In Bloom’ competition, we chose sunflowers, poppy and strawberry seedlings and, at the station forecourt launch in May, accompanied by music from Holy Trinity School band, more than 200 vegetable plants donated by the Horniman Gardens were given away.

Has it been a success?   Well, many people stop to check the labels and admire the tubs.  The shopkeepers, on the whole, have been watering and are pleased (intrigued?) to see their sunflowers getting taller and taller - and the strawberries being popped into passing mouths!

So, yes, decorating the main streets of our town centre with plant life seems generally to be considered to be a good thing.

Going forward ... if the Edible High Road is about anything at all, it is to raise awareness of the simple way in which edible plant products can be produced.  

Anyone can grow their own using an old bucket, tub, window sill or grow bag and with little effort beyond regular watering the pleasure of watching seeds turn into things you can eat is immense.  It's an educational experience for children to observe the natural world evolving, especially those living in the inner cities.  It's good for children, too, to take responsibility for care of plants by becoming the official waterer or weeder.  In Forest Hill the local shopkeepers, having invested in procuring a tub, seem happy to take on this role too.

Forest Hill Fashion Week

As London Fashion Week tails off, the local community of Forest Hill pick up the fashion baton and provide South London and it’s visitors with their local take on fashion, craft and style.

Founded in 2013 by South East London local Louise Brooks, this bi-annual event was born from the SEE3 Portas Pilot investment to regenerate local high streets in the area. Originally conceived to support the Pop-Up shops scheme, Forest Hill Fashion Week (FHFW) was such a local success that the team have kept it going.

Previous FHFW events have seen live catwalks and a local craft market take over the Horniman Museum & Gardens. Keen to keep each year fresh, new and interesting, this year will see a host of events that will allow innovative and original designers the opportunity to present their work locally in and around Forest Hill.

Festival highlights will include; catwalk shows, markets, children’s events, and designers showcasing their work in local shops. It will end with a grand finale closing concert staged by Forest Hill Society in the station car park on Sunday, 21st September.

Local Forest Hill craft store Stag & Bow will be organising a Big Knit. It’s an unofficial record attempt to knit as many items as possible. They will be inviting participation in the preceding weeks at a number of events, with the items going on sale during FHFW and all proceeds going to the One Girl charity for the education and empowerment of girls and women in Sierra Leone (www.onegirl.org.au)

Louise Brooks, FHFW founder told us "We're looking forward to delivering the biggest and best Forest Hill Fashion Week to date. We’re aiming to highlight Forest Hill's strong arts identity, as well as providing a platform for the growing crafts and makers community. We have some really talented creatives in Forest Hill and this event will be a celebration of their talent."

Forest Hill Fashion Week is a family-friendly, inviting, community festival with something for all ages, celebrating the wonderful craft, design and creative buzz of South East London.

For all the latest up-to-date Forest Hill Fashion news, please visit www.foresthillfashion.com