12 March 2012


In January, as part of their 'Mummers, maypoles, and milkmaids’ series, the Horniman Museum and Gardens presented an event on the traditional Twelfth Night celebrations. Some of you may have seen this for real at London Bankside, where The Lions Part performed a few weeks ago.

Participants had their chance to join in, including a traditional Wassail to bless the coming year's apple harvest. Fruit is abundant at the One Tree Hill allotments, where they carry out their own Wassail, helped by cider (the product of the previous year - see photo to the left) every autumn. For further details including open days see www.othas.org.uk

Environment & Leisure

The Environment & Leisure Committee continues to work to promote SE23 as a green, clean and exciting place in which to live, work and play.

Volunteers worked with Lewisham's Nature's Gym to plant hedgerow whips and create a stag beetle loggery in the Horniman Triangle on Saturday 18 February and we ran our fourth Bring and Take Day on February 25, this time at Holy Trinity Church hall in Sydenham Road.

Following the success of the Christmas tree-lighting event in the station forecourt, we are working to use that space again on Sunday 22 April for a St George's Day themed food market featuring the 'best of English produce'.

Our gardening volunteers are hoping to improve on our 2011 In Bloom 'thriving' award by adding summer planting to brighten the station platform planters and, in the nearby town centre, new planters will be added and planted up on April 28th. New granite planters will also be installed at the entrance to Honor Oak Park station.

A joint trip is being planned with the Sydenham Society for a guided tour of Lullingstone Castle and its World Garden in Kent on Saturday, May 12th. Anyone wishing to help or join in with any of the above activities please contact Environment@foresthillsociety.com.

Swinging in Forest Hill

Five swings were recently installed in the Horniman Triangle Play Park as a result of our work; two for toddlers, two regular swings and a crows nest, which is suitable for children with disabilities. These will provide many years of enjoyment for younger generations.

Last June, bids were requested for the Forest Hill ward's Assembly Fund. Various people suggested on local forums that the Horniman Triangle could do with some swings, especially for the younger children.

Following some procedural 'hiccups' we were permitted to make a bid, and therefore visited play parks throughout London and researched suppliers. This was successful and £9,500 was allocated from a combination of the Assembly Fund and Localities Fund. The Council agreed that they would deliver the project, which allowed the monies to go further as we would not have to pay VAT on the equipment.

A big thank you to all those involved in this project.

A further £4,000 has been allocated from the Assembly Fund to provide two all-weather table tennis tables which will be installed near the Cafe in April.
Together, these projects represent an investment of over £13,000 and are the most expensive projects delivered by the society so far.

Thameslink Extension - Good or Bad?

From 2019 the Thameslink extension will greatly improve services from London Bridge to Kings Cross and beyond. How will this affect us? Today developments can be seen above Borough Market where a new viaduct is being constructed to relieve congestion on this section of tracks.

In 2008 the South London Route Utilisation Strategy recommended that Thameslink services should stop at Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and other stations on our line, replacing 4 out of 6 of our existing peak services. This gave us hope of a direct trains to Kings Cross, possibly all the way to Bedford.

However, Network Rail and the Department for Transport no longer appear to favour Thameslink services stopping at Forest Hill. Although no final decision has been made, all reference to stations between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction has been removed from information about the Thameslink upgrade programme and renewing franchises. Without public consultation a decision may have been made.

Commuters and/or passengers would still be able to benefit from increased interchange opportunities at London Bridge after 2019, which should improve journey times to Kings Cross and other parts of the City. However we are not sure if there will continue to be any direct services to East Croydon, or if all the East Croydon trains will be fast to London Bridge, possibly with a stop at Norwood Junction. We already have some trains via East Croydon and these are very useful for passengers heading to Gatwick Airport, an additional change at Norwood Junction as well as East Croydon would increase the inconvenience for many people on our line.

In the short term there is a threat that services into London Bridge may be reduced in frequency, with more 10 carriage trains to partially compensate. The reason for this is the rebuild of London Bridge Station. As a result there will be fewer terminating platforms, particularly during the redevelopment. Previously the suggestion in the Route Utilisation Strategy was that the Forest Hill services should be extended to 12 carriages and reduced to four trains per hour (even in the morning peak). Since then some of our Southern trains have been extended to 10 carriages but many still run with 8 or less during peak times. Evening services have already been cut back to four p/h, although there are six p/h in the morning.

Perhaps we shouldn't complain too much... We have more trains to more destinations. This year we started to get longer trains - up to 10 carriages, and it seems increasingly likely that East London Line trains will be increased from four to five carriages. Our services are now slightly less crowded. Lifts are planned for Honor Oak Park.

But it does seem that ignoring Forest Hill from the Thameslink programme is a missed opportunity. Instead of increasing direct destinations for an area of South London, the Thameslink trains will only directly benefit the Home Counties. We should probably be thankful that the old Thameslink carriages (with little legroom) may be distributed to our line to increase the length of our trains.

* We would like to see Thameslink trains serving our community directly;
* We value the direct connection to East Croydon;
* We strongly oppose any permanent loss of service and are concerned at any temporary loss of service, due to the inconvenience that this will cause;
* If Thameslink trains don't call at Forest Hill then there is even more reason for reinstating the late evening and weekend Charing Cross service;
* We would like to see more trains in peak hours extended to 10 carriages with further consideration to 12 carriage trains as demand dictates.

Changes to the 63 Bus Route?

The 63 could be extended along Forest Hill Road and Honor Oak Park to Brockley Rise, to allow residents on the Southwark side to use London Overground services from HOP (part of an election commitment by the Labour Party in the Mayoral elections).

This may cause additional traffic issues, with added delays by using Honor Oak Park which suffers from traffic jams during the rush hour, along with potential infrastructure issues at Brockley Rise which already has the 172 and P12 buses parked on the local roads. Honor Oak Park is currently served by single decker buses, although double decker Route 363 serves Wood Vale, which is less busy in comparison.

Residents in Forest Hill Road already have a regular service to Peckham Rye station which will be connected to the East London line in December when the final phase of the extension opens between Surrey Quays and Clapham Junction, also a regular service on Route P12 which can be boarded in Brenchley Gardens or at the very end of Forest Hill Road for Honor Oak Park.

Exciting Times at the Horniman Gardens

Jenny Seymour, Development Officer at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, updates us on the redevelopment project.

The project is now in the final stages. New ramps and paving has improved access to the Sunken Garden, the bandstand has been restored to its elegant 1909 condition with new glass screens, and the Learning and Community building – the Gardens Pavilion - is complete.

We are now moving on to the planting stage and as the new areas take shape, we are able to offer items for 'naming' in return for a donation. You can donate a tree or picnic bench in memory of a loved one, in celebration of a marriage or simply to mark many happy years spent here!

There are a number of items and areas you can 'donate' (see the 'support us' section on www.horniman.ac.uk for the full list). Included in the cost of these items is a discreet plaque acknowledging your support.

There are 12 new picnic benches located on the Bandstand Terrace, costing £500 each. Eight plane trees are available on the Terrace, which will provide shade on hot summer days. They are £1200 each. A ‘Sound Corner‘ (see picture) beside the Bandstand Terrace features five sculptural musical instruments—costs to donate them is available on our website.

This is a wonderful way of helping, whilst you and your family enjoy a lasting record of your support. If interested, please speak to us at: 0208 291 8169 or development@horniman.ac.uk

08 March 2012

Lewisham selects Forest Hill for Portas Pilot

We are delighted to announce that Lewisham will be putting forward Forest Hill and Sydenham for funding from the Portas Pilots. Now all we have to do is beat the other 300 candidates.

07 March 2012

Get Pampered at Rockbourne

Treat yourself to one of the following treatments at Rockbourne Youth Club on Saturday, 10 March to help them raise funds.
Mini Manicure - Indian Head Massage - Executive chair Massage - Foot Massage - Ayurvedic Head Massage(With oil) - Eyebrow Shaping

Tickets cost £10

Please book your appointment in advance on (020) 8699 0163 or (07834) 491914. Ticket price includes a welcome drink with a tapas and a treatment of your choice. Also on sale will be Exotic ice cream and cakes.

06 March 2012

Woodland Walk and St George's Food Fair

Hopefully you are enjoying the new venues and swings which have opened up recently in the area. These are indeed exciting times for Forest Hill. Below are listed a few local events happening in the near future. Keep an eye on our calendar for the latest information.

The next Perry Vale Local Assembly will be held at 7pm on Tuesday, 20 March at the Forest Hill Methodist Church, Normanton Street, SE23 2DS

On Sunday, 25 March, why not meet at 11am outside the Horniman Gardens - at the Sydenham Hill entrance on London Road (the one nearest Dulwich, furthest from the museum) for a circular Spring Walk through Sydenham Woods exploring the nature and history of our local woodland. Steve Grindlay is promising to go along too to shed a little light on the history of the woods and disused railway too.

View Larger Map

Note: Sturdy shoes required and paths may not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

Next month, come along to Forest Hill Station Car Park from 10:00am to 4:00pm on Sunday, 22 April to sample the delights of local producers, with the finest local food and entertainment on offer at our St George's Food Fair.
There will be Hot Food by Fleisch, English Cheeses, Pies & Tartlets by Hills & Parkes, The Egg Boss's Handmade Scotch eggs, Award winning Chutneys from Mridula’s Kitchen, Caribbean Sauces and Spices from Pimento Hill, Fresh Delicacies by Franklins, Artisan Bread from BreadBread, The Forest Hill Cake Company's Delicious Cakes and Fresh Coffee from On the Hoof.

01 March 2012

Raise the Barn at Devonshire Road Nature Reserve

The Devonshire Road Nature Reserve is looking for volunteers to help build the new Green Oak Shelter.

Specialist green-oak carpenter and teacher Tom Trimmins is running free carpentry workshops on three Saturdays, March 3rd, 17th and 31st from 10.00am until 2.00pm. Contact infodevonshireroad@gmail.com for details.

The oak frame will be erected on April 1st; we’ll be throwing a party to celebrate, so dig out your dancing clogs. There’ll be hard work, music and food and drink. Families welcome to come and ‘raise the barn’!