Showing posts with label newsletter0322. Show all posts
Showing posts with label newsletter0322. Show all posts

07 April 2022

Pip Tunstall − Artist in Havelock Walk

Interviewed by Belinda Evans

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My name is Pip Tunstill − I am an artist and live in Havelock Walk in Forest Hill. I graduated from Hornsey College of Art in Fine Art − followed by a stint in the V&A − followed by a side step into an Interior Design studio − (it’s a long story!) followed by a lengthy very enjoyable career as a senior lecturer in 3D & Spatial Design at Chelsea and Camberwell University of the Arts.

Now I paint full time and when I am not in the studio, I will usually be found each morning swimming outdoors throughout the year at Tooting Bec Lido with two fellow stalwarts from Havelock Walk − and yes its bloody freezing! During lockdown, when the pool was closed, the River Thames was a pretty good alternative!

What brought you to Havelock Walk?

My husband & I moved here 20 years ago from Wandsworth. We had been looking for a property to convert or a site to build on (my husband is an Architect) and heard about a possibility in Havelock Walk. We came to visit early one morning before work on a cold rainy winter morning − we walked down the street and a cheery voice from an open workshop asked us if we would like a cup of tea − that was it! We bought the site, built a glass & steel house my husband designed and 20 years later we are still here and are part of a thriving creative community that is Havelock Walk.

What inspires your work?
I started out as a landscape painter in which the work gradually became more and more abstract as I became interested in shape and form and colour. Teaching 3D / Spatial Design has definitely influenced the way I compose my paintings − inevitably they are a square format as I find it the most satisfying form in its symmetry and its ability to multiply. Many of my drawings are sequential and using repetitive mark making − even when confronted by trees. I tend to start with a deep border of colour which usually generates the first question!

  • I find the edges of canvas /board /paper a problem
  • I realised when I was painting landscapes that I always left a border round the image
  • This has now continued into my abstract painting partly due to dislike of frames and also fear of the edge!

The colour becomes the frame. There are still landscape forms and structure which appear traced back to my earlier influences. I tend to work in layers creating a strong three-dimensional element which is the direct result of my strong interest in Architecture and Spatial Design. Intense colour drives the form and hopefully reflects my general optimism and joy in painting

What do you like about Havelock Walk?
It’s quite hidden considering how close it is to the South Circular and Forest Hill station. It is an historic cobbled mews where all the studios homes and workshops generate a very friendly and creative community. Studios are opened twice a year to the public as part of Dulwich Festival − this year May 14/15 and 21/22nd and again just before Christmas. We close the street put up the bunting, make music, serve food and welcome all and sundry!

What do you like about living in Forest Hill?
The Horniman Museum & Gardens was a godsend during the lock down. The gardeners worked throughout, and you became far more aware of nature in all its majesty. I started drawing trees which I haven’t done for 30 years which became my focus in the sameness of every day. Also, in the lockdown discovering all the green spaces which abound in Forest Hill. Excellent public transport (when the trains are running) − a station in which the Forest Hill Society, through its volunteers, maintains planters and greenly things.

Favourite coffee / bar/ restaurant?
For the best toasted cheese ever Aga’s Little Deli. Our own Canvas & Cream with its own studios and gallery – ‘our own’ because it backs onto Havelock Walk − as does the Guava Kitchen − which both serve great food at our Open Studio weekends. Big Cheeks Thai restaurant − despite its odd name. Tea Pot for breakfast and tea.

06 April 2022

Croquet in Mayow Park

By Jane Sheridan

Sydenham Croquet are relocating from their current site on Lawrie Park Road, where we have been part of the wider Sydenham Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club,  to the former bowls green in Mayow Park.

We are one of the oldest surviving clubs in the country, being established in 1899, and it is with great sadness that we move after a decision was taken to redevelop our lawn as a tennis court.
We have been made to feel very welcome by both The Friends of Mayow Park, and Lewisham Council, as well as their management company, Glendale, and look forward to a long and settled future in our new home. We will start to play from April, usually on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

We are a thriving club with a strong social side and offer a warm welcome to anyone who’d just like to try this engaging and fun game. For free taster sessions please contact:

05 April 2022

South East London Community Energy

By Zaria Greenhill, Communications Manager, South East London Community Energy

South East London Community Energy focus on the energy of South East London, a vibrant, diverse and lively area, which has its gifts as well as its challenges. One challenge for all of us right now is our energy as prices are set to rise alarmingly.

If you find that this is a level of challenge you could do without, you can contact South East London Community Energy for some support. We can speak to you on the phone to discuss your bill in confidence and assess whether you are on the right tariff and if you’re eligible for any discounts, grants or benefits. We can then discuss ways to save energy and come and do a home visit if you or we feel that would be helpful.

On average, people who engage with us save around £295 (probably not all at once). The service is completely free, prefaced on the fact that a warm home is a human right, and no-one should be too challenged to be able to meet it.

If you can pay your bills but you’re worried about climate change, you can contact our Future Fit Homes service. We can speak to you on the phone about how to ‘retrofit’ your home to be more climate friendly, discuss solar panels, air or ground-sourced heat pumps, insulation, draught-busting and turning the thermostat down. The first 30 minutes of conversation are free, but you can also have a home assessment, a thermal imaging survey (when it’s cold enough: it’s fascinating to see literally where the heat comes out) and more support to make your home zero-carbon.

Find out more at:
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04 April 2022

Forest Cafe Bistro − Perry Vale

By Belinda Evans

Just before lockdown, way back in early 2020, there was a lot of changes being made to the row of shops at the bottom of Perry Vale near the old fire station. The existing café closed and then the barbers! We were worried, were we losing all our well-loved local shops and amenities? Was Perry Vale going to turn into a desolate row of closed shop fronts?  But luckily this was not the case. All this change was part of a fabulous redevelopment.

The owner told us that the process took over two years for everything to go through needing to organize the moving of the existing café and negotiating change with the barbers. On 1st January 2020 building work could finally start! The builders worked tirelessly developing the new sites. So, on 15th March 2020, Forest Cafe Bistro opened and much to the delight of the locals it was great from the off. It was busy, vibrant, the food was great, and the atmosphere was buzzing.

But this soon turned to total disappointment when only five days later the national lockdown was announced, the Forest Cafe Bistro, like all establishments was forced to close its doors.

It must have been heart-breaking for the owners. Forest Café Bistro was just finished after months of long days and late nights of building, redeveloping, moving, fitting, and setting it all up ready to open, for this to be so short lived. I imagine the owners thinking that all the building work could have been done in lockdown after all, and that last push for opening and getting finished which involved many long hours could have been carried out in the months of lockdown in a much more leisurely pace.

As a new business the Forest Café Bistro wasn’t ready for providing take-aways or online delivery. But it was also a good opportunity to investigate how to do this so lockdown and enforced closure did not deter the Forest Cafe Bistro. It set up online deliveries and offered take away dishes and coffee which made a real difference to all of us stuck at home and if you were like me − so bored of the challenge of shopping, cooking, and trying to balance this with working from home. To be able to grab a coffee or a tasty chicken shish wrap, that someone else had made, was a delight.
And the alterations and improvements did not stop during the enforced closure. The owners took the opportunity to create a lovely outside area for dining alfresco. A mural was painted on the outside wall so that even if we couldn’t travel abroad, we could have a Mediterranean breakfast and imagine we are dining in an exotic location. Planters and conifers were put up outside too so that the ever-noisy traffic from the cars and buses travelling on Perry Vale were masked from us all.

But what about the menu? The food is great − very fresh, fabulous range from full breakfasts, to pancake stacks to wraps, hot lunches and so much more (watch out for the size of the liver and bacon dinner − its enormous). The aim of the bistro is to provide tasty, good value dishes for locals and workers. It’s a varied menu but all such good quality and fabulous portion sizes. The healthy breakfast options have become very popular indeed as well as the grilled chicken, or falafel wrap. The charcoal dishes have a unique taste of Turkey − try the lamb shish or the lamb chops.  They also serve Efes beer which on a hot day goes down especially well. I must mention too the crockery − all sourced from Turkey and of such lovely quality.

A Mediterranean breakfast a halloumi wrap and a cold Efes beer alfresco in Perry Vale what could be better? Its open seven days a week so what are you waiting for? 

31 March 2022

Update on Forest Hill Society’s Clean Air for SE23 Campaign

By Alice Tate-Harte

We are a small group of volunteers working to reduce pollution and promote active travel in SE23 and beyond. We last met in person back in 2020, before lockdown, but we’ve been busy since then! We are working with the Forest Hill Society Environment Committee on making a “Parklet” space in front of Forest Hill Station which will use plants to help screen pollution from the busy road.

There are now five School Streets, in our area, including Kilmorie, Dalmain, Eliot Bank, Kilmorie, Rathfern, and St William of York. In these schemes, access is restricted around the school roads at peak hours to reduce kids’ exposure to pollution. We need to work with parents and teachers from other schools on campaigning for more school streets.

Monitoring with the University of Cambridge helped us understand the problems of air pollution better and we responded to the consultation on Lewisham Council’s Air Quality Action Plan. We have worked with Mums for Lungs and Climate Action Lewisham to support the ULEZ, which is hoped to cut air pollution by 30% and we want to campaign for it to be expanded to benefit everyone in the area.

We have exciting plans for 2022, including involvement in Lewisham Borough of Culture.

We need more volunteers to grow the group so if you are passionate about the environment and have a few hours to spare, we have many ways you can help make our neighbourhood cleaner and greener. Please get in touch via

30 March 2022

41 New Trees on the Horniman Triangle

By Stuart Checkley, Street Trees for Living

This winter 41 trees have been planted on the Horniman Triangle in an attempt to restore a tiny fragment of what used to be The Great North Wood.

Some of these trees, like 9 Common Hornbeam, will grow to a substantial height and age and will store tonnes of carbon. Others, such as the 9 Cockspur and 3 Rowan will provide berries for birds in autumn. Some will have spring blossom like 7 Wild Cherry, and others like 7 Hazel will hopefully produce nuts for wood mice. There will also be 20 Hawthorn saplings to repair the hedge around the playground and these with some holly trees will protect the playground from traffic pollution from the South Circular. The very damp area at the bottom of the hill, where two large Willows thrive, has been planted with two more waterside trees, one Alder and one Aspen. In the course of doing this we have identified an area of spontaneous oak regeneration above the playground − where 20 Oak saplings are growing well, and several are already several metres high − this area will now be protected.

Our native trees are threatened by imported diseases such as Oak Processionary Moth. By planting a wider range of tree species we are increasing the biodiversity of our tree population, and its ability to survive tree disease in the future. The trees will also strengthen a wildlife corridor which connects the nature reserves at Sydenham Woods and One Tree Hill. This corridor is used by migrating woodland birds such as Buzzard, Warblers, Red Kite, and in winter, Redwing. We hope that the new trees will bring back to Forest Hill both hedgehog and Tawny Owls − these can still be found in Sydenham Woods.

Fund raising continues but already more than £40,000 has been raised, mostly from a government grant from the Treescapes fund. But different groups of local residents have funded three trees together with a group of Lewisham council employees who raised funds as part of a leaving present for a colleague. Local groups have helped in other ways and I am most grateful to everyone for their support.

I will be leading a tree walk around the Triangle at 2pm on Saturday 14th May and this will be an opportunity to find out more about the project, and the forest that used to be here.

Street Trees for Living is a local charity which works with the Council to plant and care for trees on council property. It has planted 1364 trees in Lewisham and in 2020 it won the Woodland Trust Community Tree award for London in 2020.

A Forest for our Future

By Quetta Kaye

The planned forest along the perimeter of the Horniman Gardens adjacent to the south circular road − designed to provide a welcome barrier against noise and pollution from this major artery − began in earnest in early December 2021, when the Gardens’ team, led by the head of horticulture, Errol Fernandes, began the initial hard work of preparing the ground: removing turf, digging and mulching (using the Gardens’ homemade compost) and laying out the plan like a curving wide ribbon on the ground in preparation for the planting of about 900 trees. 

By mid-January 2022 hundreds of coloured sticks, each representing one of a mix of around 30 different tree varieties, had been poked into the ground, and then planting of the little trees began in earnest, with each tender plant placed within its own protective felt mat. 

Hundreds of flower bulbs and plugs have also been planted alongside the forest. How lucky we are!


29 March 2022

From Couch to 5km

By Michael Abrahams

Last year, as we entered the second main lockdown, I took the decision that if I was ever going to find the time to do exercise, now would be the time, even if I was 46 years old.

I had joined a gym, 10 years ago, but gave up after a few months as I hate exercise, found it incredibly boring, and didn’t have the time. But with lockdown I knew I could find 30 minutes a day to get some exercise rather than commuting. I had heard about Couch to 5K (C25K), an app designed for complete beginners to build up their stamina and run for 5km (3 miles) non-stop. That was exactly what I needed. I have always been a reasonable runner (in my opinion), but only for about 30 seconds, after that I collapse in a heap, so slowing down and improving my stamina was what it was all about.

The free C25K app has been developed by the NHS and the BBC and is a nine-week program of running 3 times a week. It starts with plenty of time to recover, with 60 or 90 second runs, and builds up to running non-stop for 30 minutes. The app gives you encouragement and you know that if you can complete the last run, then you are capable of achieving the next run with just a little more effort.

I stuck with the program, taking each week as it came, and trying not to look at what I was expected to accomplish next week as it would only put me off. The hardest part was finding flat places to run in Forest Hill. For my first run I made the mistake of thinking the Horniman Gardens would be suitable − but even the slightest hill caused me difficulty, the paths are too uneven and there are too many other people just enjoying the park − so I learned my first lesson, plan your route. And the second lesson was − buy a decent pair of running shoes − your feet deserve it.

I found the east side of the railway much more suitable − starting from Perry Vale and running towards Mayow Park. As the weeks went by, I tested out a few alternatives including one run that is almost all downhill − starting from the roundabout at the top of Kirkdale/Sydenham Hill, I ran towards Wells Park and gradually descended to Kirkdale and Sydenham Park Road.

By the end of ten weeks, I was able to keep going for 30 minutes without stopping and covered about 4km. In the last week I pushed myself to keep going for 38 minutes and was able to complete my first 5km.

After completing the 5km, I wasn’t sure what to do next and without the app I lost motivation. This was cured by joining Strava, a free app that allows you to see your friends and for them to see you, and to give each other ‘kudos’. Now I had an audience and an app measuring me, I regained some motivation. Investing in some wireless headphones and running shorts helped to make the run more comfortable.

I’ve learned that planning a route is important, especially when you live on a hill. There is a simple 5km route along Wood Vale, Brenchley Gardens, Eddystone Road bridge, and back down Grierson and Garthorne Roads to Stanstead Road. The advantage of this route is that it is mostly flat and has very few roads to cross as it follows two railway lines (one of which no longer exists). I’ve pushed myself to run to the Thames (4 miles or 6.4km to the Deptford Creek) it is hard work, but all downhill! And I’ve also taken to running along the railway and getting the train home − from Norwood Junction, New Cross Gate, or Surrey Quays.

Another enjoyable route is Bell Green to Ladywell Fields and back along the river, or you can just run the roads between Stanstead Road and Woolstone Road which are generally flat and straight.

After a year running, I try to go out at least once a week and cover 5km. I’m not very fast and I might not go far, but it is still a good routine for somebody who hates exercise.

Leslie Eveleigh − Pioneer of the Silent Film

By Gary Thornton

Born in Deptford in 1890, Leslie Eveleigh was one of the early silent film makers whose names have largely slipped into obscurity, but who still retain an important place in the history of British cinema. Eveleigh lived and died in Forest Hill and is buried in Brockley cemetery.

Eveleigh’s life is not well documented, although it is known that he served in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War. His film career is best traced through the BFI historical archives. There, his first film credit dates from 1913, where he is listed as a cameraman on Sixty Years a Queen, a dramatised version of the life of Queen Victoria, based on the book of the same name by Sir Herbert Maxwell.  The film was made at Ealing Studios, which had been founded in 1902, and was directed by Bert Haldane, who made over 170 films in his short 10 year career. In 1915 Eveleigh is again found working with Haldane as photographer, this time on Jane Shore, another of the hugely popular historical dramas which were the mainstay of this early film industry. Jane Shore is notable for its scale − probably the first ‘epic’ British film, it used thousands of extras in its crowd scenes, and has been compared to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation in its scope and ambition.
Although Ealing, Elstree and Pinewood are considered the hub of the British film industry, once Paul and Acres had made the first British 35mm film in 1895, studios began to appear all over the country, as creative talents sought to exploit the wonders of this new technology. From the creation of Gaumont in 1898 to the onset of the talking picture in 1929, many studios briefly flourished, then disappeared, as a combination of rising costs and the expansion of Hollywood meant that only the largest − such as MGM or Rank − continued to enjoy success. Of the 640 production companies registered from 1925 to 1936, only 20 remained in 1937.

One of these short-lived companies was British Filmcraft, which was founded in 1926 by Eveleigh and the film producer George Banfield, along with cameramen Bert Ford and Phil Ross. They took over Walthamstow Studios and operated from there until 1931.  Interestingly, their predecessors at Wood Street, Broadwest, also used studios at Southend Hall in Catford, located at what is now the junction between Bromley Road and Whitefoot Lane.

With British Filmcraft, Eveleigh was elevated to director, sharing duties with Banfield on a number of productions through the second half of the 1920s. Although the company made only a few feature-length films, they made numerous short films and serials, including six films featuring the detective Sexton Blake, and a further series on the life of Dick Turpin, filmed on location in Epping Forest.

Perhaps his best known work is a 20 minute short film, The Lady Godiva (1928), based on Tennyson’s poem. Thanks to the work of the BFI archive, a restored version of this is available, the story filmed on location in the historic medieval centre of Coventry, later destroyed during the Blitz, and starring Gladys Jennings as Lady Godiva.

Scene from The Lady Godiva (1928 − BFI)

The advent of the talkie, Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929) usually considered the first British example, sounded the death knell for many silent film-makers. British Filmcraft’s last production (and Banfield’s last film) was made in 1930, and Eveleigh has only one further final film credit, an advertising documentary for the manufacturer Mabie Todd & Co., Making a Swan Pen in 1940, released after his death.

As a young man, Eveleigh had married Nellie Evit in Thatcham in 1913. He is recorded as living in Kentish Town in 1930, but they subsequently settled in Forest Hill, at 6 Woodcombe Crescent. In a rather macabre turn of events, however, Eveleigh met an unfortunate end by his own hand, aged just 49. The Birmingham Mail of 4 December 1939 reported that Sydenham police had received a hand-written letter from him containing a garage key. When the local sergeant attended the scene, he found Eveleigh kneeling behind his car, with the exhaust and his head both covered by a mackintosh. The ignition was on but the engine was no longer running. The death of his wife just a few months earlier appeared to have led to his suicide, and the coroner ruled that he took his own life while the balance of his mind was affected by ill-health.

Thanks to Mike Guilfoyle from the Friends of Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries for alerting me to this story. Mike has recorded a series of fascinating podcasts on other cemetery residents (including Louis Drysdale) which can be found here:



6 Woodcombe Crescent (photo by May Teo)

28 March 2022

Asterley Bros − The Spirit of SE23

By Gary Thornton

An industrial estate on Dalmain Road isn’t the most obvious place to find Mediterranean-inspired treasure but, hidden away in a shed outside the Keynote Studios, you’ll find brothers Rob and Jim Berry carefully crafting a range of vermouths, amari and cocktails − inspired by traditional Sicilian recipes, but nurtured in Forest Hill.

I caught up with managing director Rob Berry to find out more.

Where did it all start, and how did you end up in Forest Hill?
We had both always worked in hospitality, but I married into a Sicilian family in 2009 and, like many families in the region, they had their own recipe for making Amaro, a herbal, bitter and sweet spirit commonly drunk as a digestif after meals. We started to make it ourselves, but then thought that as recipes for Amari differ from place to place, we should do a London version, using botanicals that are found locally rather than in the mountains around Palermo.

Using Culpeper’s London Dispensatory, we came up with our own recipe for Dispense Amaro in 2014, which uses some of the herbs and botanicals which are common in the area, such as chickweed, hops and yarrow. These produce a more medicinal, less sweet flavour which we think captures the essence of our region.

As we both live in Sydenham, we wanted to find a base nearby, and we moved into the Keynote Studios in 2017.

What is the origin of the Asterley name?
It’s our mother’s maiden name. We would have chosen Berry Bros, but obviously someone else got there first.

How do make your Amaro?
Our recipe calls for quite a complicated process − we take neutral grain spirit at 96% abv, cut it with filtered water, and use it to macerate citrus and dried fruits. Separately we macerate the bitter herbs and hard spices in another spirit reduction, and the remaining botanicals in English red wine. After a month the three liquids are combined with sugar, to produce the end result.

You sell a Britannica London Fernet − how does this differ from Dispense?
Common Fernets, such as Fernet Branca, are typically a super-charged version of Amaro, with a higher ABV and less sweetness. We have toned it down a little for British tastes, so we include London porter and coffee, making it more approachable and palatable by rounding off the more bitter notes.  

You also make two types of vermouth?

Yes, we have a dry version − Schofield’s, and a sweet − Estate. We again use English wine, a combination of whites (Bacchus, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay) for the dry, and red (Pinot Noir) for the sweet, and aromatics such as lavender, jasmine and camomile. European vermouths typically use a neutral wine, so the role of the botanicals is more important, For us, we wanted something which brings out the character of both. It’s a more playful and friendly version of a vermouth, and drinks as well neat over ice as in a cocktail.

How did the Asterley Bros Cocktail Club come about?

We already had a range of Christmas cocktails, but with the first lockdown in 2020 hospitality dried up practically overnight, and we knew we had to do something different to replace lost sales. As people were stuck at home, we had the idea of creating different cocktails and delivering them to members who sign up for a monthly subscription. We include mixers, snacks and also samples of different Amari from around the world.

How do you come up with the cocktail recipes?
We have different cocktails themed around the four seasons, and they are our own take on classics such as Negroni and Manhattan − the only condition is that we have to include one of our own spirits. We work with Joe Schofield, an award-winning bartender who runs his own bar in Manchester, and he develops and tests each recipe.

The cocktail packaging is very striking. How did you come by it?

It was a deliberate decision to be different from the classical look of the other products. We wanted it to reflect the fun of cocktails, and we found the artist Ryan Gajda on Instagram. Ryan creates a different image for us each season, which appears on the packaging and on a limited edition print which goes out to subscribers.

You have an online shop, but where else can we find your spirits?
They are stocked at places like Hawksmoor, Claridge’s and Harvey Nichols, but also more locally at Two Spoons, The Butchery and Clapton Craft.  

And finally, what does the future hold for Asterley Bros?
We’re raising funds for expansion at the moment, so we can take on more full time staff. It’ll mean moving to larger premises, but we want to remain in Forest Hill.

For more information, and for the online shop visit

Asterley Bros Cocktails

Cherry Americano
•  25ml Estate Vermouth
•  25ml Doghouse Distillery ‘Doppelganger’ Aperitivo
•  5ml Cherry Liqueur / Creme de Cerise
•  5 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
•  2 drops Citric Acid tincture (20g citric acid / 50ml water)

1.  Add the ingredients to an ice-filled glass
2.  Stir for 10 seconds
3.  Top with soda

Strawberry Spritz
•  25ml Victory Bitters
•  20ml SCHOFIELD’S Dry Vermouth
•  15ml Wild Strawberry Liqueur (Merlet Fraise de Bois)
•  2 dashes Orange Bitters

1.  Add the ingredients to an ice-filled wine glass
2.  Add 75ml tonic or rose prosecco
3.  Stir for 10 seconds
4.  Garnish with a slice of orange

27 March 2022

Forest Hill Library update

By John Firmin

Forest Hill Community library is emerging from coronavirus restrictions in good shape. Now open seven days a week, footfall each month is around 6,500 and while this is below the level before the pandemic, the recovery is faster than at other Lewisham libraries. Group meetings have resumed with the popular Rhyme time for the under 5’s at 10am on Tuesdays and children’s origami on one Saturday each month.

Throughout the pandemic, the library continued to receive a steady stream of new books from Lewisham libraries especially in the children’s section, which continues to account for the majority of book borrowing. More children completed the summer reading challenge at Forest Hill than at any other library in the borough. This year, children were asked to review the books they read and post their reviews in the library. Forest Hill accounted for almost half the reviews posted in all Lewisham libraries. Well done to our younger readers! For older children and students, the library provides a safe space to study after school.

Good use continues to be made of the computers available to the public in the adult section. This service is vital to people without access to the internet at home when most job vacancies require on-line searches. If this applies to you, the volunteers at the library are ready to help you use the computers there.

Most recently, the community library was successful in two NCIL bids: £2,900, which will be used to redecorate and refurbish the busy children’s library; and £2,075 for developing room at the rear of the library.  This will be divided in two to provide a dedicated space for community use and hire and a smaller space for volunteers.  Work on both projects will be completed this year.  Additionally, Library Garden is receiving £9,451, which will enable it to complete landscaping work including raised beds and a seating area”.

The Library Garden Group is continuing to carve out a productive vegetable and dye garden from the space behind Forest Hill Library. The dye garden proved fruitful last Summer and enabled the project stewards to run a series of natural fabric dyeing and sewing workshops.

Through seed sowing and planting out dye plant plugs, the garden was full of bright, profusely flowering, annuals and perennials. There were over 50 sunflowers, ranging from the simple yellow to a Hopi black, and our tallest, at 3.05m won London Harvest Festival's Tallest Sunflower competition. The first raised vegetable bed was completed last Autumn, and planted up with onions, garlic and winter cabbages at a Moonlight Gardening event full of lantern making and folk music.

Looking to the future, Library Garden is taking steps to finish the main infrastructure of the garden, seeking to complete all raised beds and provide a comfortable seating area for volunteers and visitors. After applying to the Forest Hill NCIL ward at the end of last year, the garden has been recommended for enough money to carry out this hard landscaping work. It will be delivered over the course of the next year in one 'Hands-On' session per week, focusing on the more physical aspects of completing the garden build.

A short maintenance gardening course for Lewisham residents is also on the horizon in order to restore the Louise House wildlife garden to a flourishing state (funding dependent). As always, the more volunteers the merrier, so contact for more information about how to get involved.

From March the library has resumed opening on all evenings Monday-Thursday but does need more volunteers to cover these times. If you can do so, or if you are interested in volunteering at other times you are most welcome. Library volunteers include young adults on work experience and on schemes like that of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Future challenges for Forest Hill Community Library include doing more to bridge the digital divide and making the library eco-friendlier with more efficient heating and lighting. Both, however, depend on continued success in grant applications.

The library is self-funding. You can help by becoming a friend (£29 per annum) or a patron (a single payment of £300). And corporate friendship is also available for £99 or a single payment of £500. The library is a registered charity and when made by UK taxpayers donations qualify for gift aid.

If you would like to volunteer at the library or find out more about being a friend or a patron please contact the manager, Stephen Bruce at the library, or on 020 8244 0634 or by e mail to

26 March 2022


By Quetta Kaye

Watch the flowers spring up in your neighbourhood (squirrels and the weather permitting) because before Christmas hundreds of bulbs were distributed by stalwarts of the Forest Hill Society. The bulbs were donated by Energy Gardens and the Forest Hill Society, but the majority came from a Metropolitan Public Gardens Association grant. They went to the Sydenham Society, Kilmorie and Horniman Schools, the Library gardens, planters at Kirkdale, in and around Forest Hill station and nearby street corners, around the trees in London Road opposite the Horniman Museum, as well as to some neighbourhood guerrilla gardeners.

Other hopefuls for Spring viewing will be a white climbing rose newly planted to overhang the underpass, and a new clematis to cover the blank wall on platform 1 at Forest Hill station, replacing those plants cut down when tarmacking of the area took place last year. Wildflower seeds have also been scattered on the waste patch behind the nearby passenger waiting room in the hope of attracting more bees and other insect life to that area.

2022 will see the Forest Hill Society’s Clean Air group pressing forward with acquiring important air pollution data and progressing the plans to limit car parking in Forest Hill station forecourt in order to provide safe pedestrian access and to green up the area. Talks have been held, measurements taken, and things are moving in the right direction − at last.




25 March 2022

Climate Action Lewisham

By Zaria Greenhill, chair of Climate Action Lewisham

As you may know, Lewisham council declared a climate emergency in 2020 with the stated aim of reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2030. This is an ambitious aim, with good reason, and it asks a lot of the council’s operations, the elected representatives and the communities of Lewisham to work together to achieve that aim. It sounds daunting and demanding, but it’s a great chance for us to work together, to deepen our creativity, our humanity, appreciate our nature, make our streets and public spaces better; healthy, green, clean, pleasant and convivial.

Climate Action Lewisham supported the declaration of Climate Emergency back in 2019 and now support and challenge the council to go further and do better. And we offer events and ideas and projects to the community to help us all learn and adapt. We have Lewisham Family Cycling Library, which has regular public events in local parks where families can try out an e-cargo trike and some children’s bike trailers, and then hire them if they find they like them.

We also organise local litter picks alongside community groups. We have monthly meetings, mostly online, with speakers and themes, and we also do advocacy and lobbying to Lewisham council.

We believe that our resilience, our courage, our creativity and our connectedness will help us play our part in mitigating the Climate Crisis and also to weather its effects.

If you’d like to ride an e-trike, have a clean-up, learn more about sustainability or learn how to speak to your council or MP, you’re welcome to join our mailing list on our website:
Twitter: @actionlewisham

Sadiq Khan comes to Forest Hill to launch proposal for London-wide Ultra Low Emissions Zone

In March 2022, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan came to Forest Hill to visit Forest Hill Secondary School and announced his proposal to extend the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) from the south and north circular roads to include all of Greater London.

Back in 2018, when the mayor was consulting about the ULEZ that came into effect in October 2021, at that time the Forest Hill Society responded to the consultation with one clear message: “Recognising the need for action to combat poor air quality, the Society would support a larger ULEZ, extending even to the full extent of Greater London.”

This proposal is particularly good news for South London and for Forest Hill. The south circular is much closer to the centre of London than the north circular. While the boundary in North London is a large duel-carriageway, the south circular is a more modest road that goes right through the heart of communities − as Forest Hill residents know only too well.

By extending the ULEZ to the whole of Greater London, there will be less pollution for miles beyond the South circular and this will hopefully have a positive impact on the health of local residents.

The proposed timescale is ‘end of 2023’, after which time drivers with more polluting vehicles will be charged £12.50 to drive anywhere in Great London – the same charge already applies to vehicles within the current ULEZ.

The Forest Hill Society welcomes this initiative and is delighted that the mayor chose Forest Hill as the place to launch this proposal.