02 October 2011


In spite of having a lot of money spent on the ticket hall and steps up to the road, Honor Oak Park Station continues to look like an abandoned building site. New benches have been provided, but some are behind fences! As a moderately disabled person, I find that it is not easy to get on/off either the Southern trains or the Overground ones. Why oh why did they not raise the level of the platforms to make it easier for every passenger to get on/off the trains while they were modernising the station? The slope has been stabilised and a ‘weed field’ established. Will this avoid any maintenance?

SE23 On Show

A number of local historic buildings were open to the public on 17/18 September as part of the London Open House Weekend. Here we focus on one of our many gems.

The Capitol pub entertained a couple of hundred or so visitors, taking them around many of the original features. Opened in 1929, and now Grade II listed, this is the only remaining John Stanley Beard designed cinema in the country. In its heyday it sat 1,640 for films, variety shows and the Saturday morning childrens’ club. On the first day the queues went all around the building. It was the perfect location, as the comedy actor Frank Thornton (‘Are You Being Served’, and ‘Last of the Summer Wine’) recalls, being on the convergence of bus, tram and train. Planned for silent movies, it pioneered a new sound system where the speakers went behind the screen, which had 1000s of small holes made in it.

Visitors explored the balcony with all the seats still intact, and marvelled at the views over toward the Greenwich and the ‘Dome’. You can see one of the three resident ghosts in the previous picture.

The architecture has been described as Art Deco Egyptian, but it is more Greco-Roman. The sensitive refurbishment was carefully agreed with English Heritage and Lewisham Council; the few original features not on show were carefully hidden, or where removed replaced by a sympathetic addition. It closed as a cinema in 1973, and as a bingo hall in 1986. Developers would have loved to get their hands on it, but J D Wetherspoons preserved it for public use for the foreseeable future.

Many thanks to ‘Bean’ for showing us around and hope he recovers swiftly after repeatedly climbing all those stairs. Some members will recall the tour the Society had in one of our pub crawls. Bean please keep looking for the keys to the projectionist’s room, and tell us when you find the original Compton organ, in its time the largest in the country.
The self build ‘Segal’ houses in Walters Way, that share many similarities with timber framed buildings from Elizabethan England, have now been on display at numerous open houses. Many have now been remodelled to provide a most eclectic mix, set-off perfectly on the slope of a wooded hill only spitting distance from Honor Oak Park station.

Numerous Havelock Walk studios and The Horniman Park and Gardens were also open on the day, giving visitors the chance to see behind the scenes.

Last year we showcased Louise House, and in a years time this and the Pools may well be on the Open House list. We would be interested in hearing from others who may wish to be involved in next year’s event.


Are you a frustrated craftsperson? Do you get a kick out of DIY? Have you ever dreamt of building your own shelter in the woods? Do you watch those TV programmes about building your dream home and think “these people are buffoons!”; well the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve has just the thing for you!

We need volunteers to build a greenoak shelter with a living roof at the reserve. We’ll be running carpentry workshops during the winter, cutting and shaping the green-oak frame for the building, making the mortice joints and bracing pieces and forming the curved roof timbers.
In the spring we’ll be clearing the site, casting the pad-stones ready for an Amish style ‘barn-raising’; a two-day buildfest to get the frame erected and the roof on. Finally we’ll be running hands-on workshops to build and plant the living roof (similar to the roof on the Horniman Museum).

We’ll have seasoned professionals on hand to guide the work, but the building will truly be yours, something to look back on and say “I did that!”. Contact Jake on 020 8291 2272 or e-mail jake@foresthillsociety.com to enrol.


Following our article in the last issue on new shops, we now feature some old favourites.


Mirror Mirror, 25 London Road
Mirror Mirror Hairdressers, on the ‘boulevard’ side of London Road, has been styling the hair of Lewisham residents since 1994.
Their hairstylists are all qualified and also colour specialists who take pride in their constantly updated skills. So if you feel like an autumn spruce up, pop in and be the fairest one of all.

ON THE GREEN Shannon’s Garden Centre

99-105 Stanstead Road
Henry Shannon started his landscaping company in 1959 and won major awards, including the '1988 Principal Award for Hard Landscaping Construction' awarded by the British Association of Landscapes Industries. This was for a project carried at Coin Street River Walk, SE1.
He opened his garden centre in 1989 which was the realisation of a dream for Henry. It is now run by the next generation, and still has Henry Shannon in the background to see that it is run the 'correct way'. They are always happy to give customers advice on plants and flowers and will recommend suppliers for landscaping etc. They will also deliver if you just love gardening but can’t carry all your purchases. Shannon’s are very keen to play a part in the local community helping and advising on planting projects such as The Stanstead Strip. They have also been fundamental in getting the planting at Forest Hill station underway and this year helped the Forest Hill Society with the plants in the forecourt and on the platforms.


EJ Carpets, 1-5 Perry Vale
Established in 1974, E J Carpets is a family run business offering a wide variety of flooring including carpets, real wood, laminate and vinyl floorings
As well as advice and sales they provide a friendly and professional installation service too. As members of the Carpet Foundation and accredited by the Office of Fair Trading, it seems we have a real gem on our doorstep.

ON YER BIKE Finches Ski Emporium

25-29 Perry Vale
You can tell by the name that this is much more than a bike shop. Also a local, family run business, Finches has six different departments: Skiing, Snowboarding, Cycling and General Sports in the winter months, Skateboarding and General Sports in the summer months. They also trade online at www.finches-ski.com.
Current customers will know that the shop front on Perry Vale leads you into a wonderful 200 square metres of beamed space filled with every type of gadget and accessory you could imagine. They also stock ice spikes for shoes and boots, essential for traversing the slopes of Forest Hill in the icy winter.

28 September 2011

Honor Oak Rec deadline. Act now!

The consultation process by Southwark Council is almost over - you have until Friday to submit your questionnaire. If you have not already done so, the questionnaire can be completed online at Southwark's website.

About 150 people attended last weekend's Public consultation event at the Rec and the questions and comments gave the loud and clear message to the council :
that our community want the Rec to stay as an open green space, to be improved and not used for burial.

We recognise that the passing of loved ones is an emotional affair and that people need to visit graves to grieve, but are also cognisant of the fact that we have limited space locally for the living and the deceased. We are not against burial, but urge Southwark (and Lewisham) to follow a sustainable policy which does not consume valuable amenity space; the previous extensions of Camberwell New Cemetery were supposed to last many years and yet are already full. Using the remaining space of Honor Oak Rec will merely delay the inevitable day when there is no more burial space available in Southwark and Lewisham - it is not a solution to the problem. In 2007 the Government stated it was supporting London boroughs in the reuse of burial grounds that are more than 75 years old.

Our suggested answers
How often do you visit the cemeteries or crematoriums in Southwark?
Enter frequency of visits to all Southwark cemeteries and Honor Oak Rec (which is part of Camberwell New Cemetery from the viewpoint of this questionnaire)
What is the reason for your visit(s)?
Tick all that apply
Do you have a preference for burial or cremation?
Answer truthfully. Obviously, if you say burial, then more burial space is required.
If you have chosen burial as a preference please let us know what would be important to you when selecting a cemetery plot
If you chose burial, then explain that you want a sustainable solution, encouraging grave reuse by lift-and-deepen. The Church of England recommends grave reuse after 50 years in its Churchyards' Handbook.
Do you feel it is important for Southwark Council to continue to provide burial space for its residents
If you feel that Southwark should provide burial space, then stress that this should be either by reuse of existing space, or by provision of new space outside the Borough
Please rate the following options in order of those you feel most appropriate for the future of burials in the borough. Please number your preference from 1 to 8 with 1 being your first preference and 8 being your least favoured option.
A. Re-use of common graves - 1
B. Re-use of private graves - 2
C. Use of burial chambers - 3
D. Find burial site outside of Southwark - 6
E. Share other cemetery or buy privately - 4
F. Find shared land with other councils - 5
G. Use some/all of Honor Oak Recreation Park - 8
H. Stop burying in Southwark Providing a burial service is not a statutory responsibility. - 7
Add comments stating the need for any Burial policy to be sustainable. Also note that when Camberwell New Cemetery opened, there was plenty of green space in the Borough and this is no longer the case; burial space should not be provided at the expense of amenity space.

The campaign to preserve the Rec is being supported by Fields in Trust as well as the Friends of Honor Oak Rec.

Apple pressing afternoon at One Tree Hill

The One Tree Hill allotment society have their annual apple pressing afternoon on Saturday, 1st October, between 1pm and 5pm.  All are invited to go along and join them “chop/ mash/ scrat/ press apples into lovely fresh juice for you to drink".

It’s a free event at the One Tree Hill Allotments, just off Honor Oak Park. Entry is by the top side gate on Honor Oak Park. See this map for the location (marked “ALLOT”) or email london_cider@btinternet.com for further information.

15 September 2011

'Bring and Take' day - Saturday 24th September

The Forest Hill Society is organising a 'Bring and Take' day on Saturday 24 September 2011, 11.00am to 3.00pm, at the Dacres Wood Reserve Field Centre, off Dacres Road SE23.

BRING: usable items you no longer need
eg bicycles, push-chairs, books, toys, CDs, DVDs, tools, small items of furniture, musical instruments, good‑quality clothing, electrical goods, kitchenware etc

TAKE: items you will find useful

This isn’t a swap so you don’t need to match a Bring item with a Take item. Bring and Take whatever you like but remember, the more items people bring the more there will be take away!

Please note: Items you bring should be in good working order.

In addition, Lewisham Council are providing a van for the collection of WEEE waste (electrical and electronic equipment), so if you have any electrical items that no longer work you can bring them along to be disposed of properly.

How to find the Dacres Wood Field Studies Centre:
Entry to the Field Centre is off Dacres Road, between Catling Close and Homefield House, near the junction of Dacres Road and Silverdale. An unmarked driveway leads directly to the Field Centre from Dacres Road. Parking is available on Dacres Road and other nearby roads.

The Nature Reserve won't be open but the Forest Hill Society are organising an Open Day on Sunday 23 October 2011.

View Larger Map

11 September 2011

Open House Weekend in SE23 - 17th-18th September 2011

Havelock Walk Open Studios
Saturday and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

Tour of the landscaping of Horniman Gardens- Sat - 2pm-4pm.
More details

The Capitol - Sat 10am-5pm/Sun 10am-5pm.
Regular architectural tours including behind-the-scenes to largely untouched first floor area. Pre-book ONLY on 020 8291 8920. Last tour 4pm.

Walter Segal self-build house with eco-refurbishment
8 Walters Way, Honor Oak Park SE23 3LH - Sun 1pm-6pm.
Regular tours, first come basis.

10 September 2011

What is Neighbourhood Planning,and why might it be relevant for us?

The Forest Hill Society and The Sydenham Society invite you to a neighbourhood planning workshop on 21 September 2011 at 7.30pm,  Upstairs at The Hob (opposite Forest Hill Station).

You may have heard about a range of changes to The Planning System that the Government are proposing.  One of the positive things to come out of the draft legislation is the proposal for Neighbourhood Plans that allow communities to put together their own vision and plan for the future in a way that can then become planning policy.

The Forest Hill Society and the Sydenham Society are hosting an event on the 21st September at the Hob to consider the neighbourhood planning proposals, to discuss how it might be relevant for Forest Hill, Perry Vale and Sydenham and whether it is something we should to do.  The idea is that the event gives information about Neighbourhood Planning and Localism, but that it also focusses on the specifics of the areas we are interested in and gets people to think about what could change for the better and what the key issues might be?

We want to include people who don't know anything about this at present but who are simply interested in the area(s).  We don't have a set view about whether a Neighbourhood Plan is the answer or not yet, or how it would work, but understanding the issues behind this is one of the purposes of the event. We particularly want to attract people with good ideas and thoughts about what could be done to improve the area.

The meeting is open to all, from SE23, SE26, and those further afield who are interesting in what neighbourhood planning might mean to them.

03 September 2011

Perry Vale Energy Savers - Launch Event

Time: September 13, 2011 from 7pm to 9pm
Location: Kilmorie School, Kilmorie Road, London SE23 2SP
Organized By: Susan Wise and Lewisham Council

Perry Vale residents (see map of Perry Vale Ward) have been awarded funding from the GLA to improve energy efficiency in their homes.

Participating households will receive a visit from a professional energy advisor who will asess which energy and water saving devices residents can benefit from, install them and offer practical advice on how to reduce energy use,  The scheme is open to everyone in Perry Vale, is completely free with no obligation on the resident's part.

Please attend and learn how to save energy and reduce your energy bills!

Cross Post from Love Perry Vale.