21 June 2013

Transport Update

The refurbishment work in the Forest Hill Subway is now almost complete. Walls are painted, panelling in place, steps improved and the guttering is massively improved. But users of the subway will have noticed gaps in the panelling between the lights as the work is not yet finished.

We are expecting Skanska to complete the installation of new lighting in the subway in July and then the final panelling can be put in place with improved lighting.

In the last edition we reported that as well as extra carriages on the East London Line trains (five carriages rather than four), there  would also be additional trains to Crystal Palace. This was based on a draft Business Plan produced by Transport for London in December. However, since that time it has become clear that although orders have been placed for the additional carriages, the extra trains may not be in the immediate plan for capacity improvements.

The timetable for the East London Line has been built with two gaps where additional services could be squeezed in every hour, giving us 10 trains to Canada Water rather then the current 8 trains, as well as the 6 trains to London Bridge at peak and 4 off-peak.

The Forest Hill Society believes that demand for East London Line trains justifies the increase in services as well as the lengthening of trains.

We are also concerned about recent rumours regarding the availability of trains in 2015-2016, while the Thameslink work takes place. It is possibly that this may include a year with no weekend services to London Bridge or Victoria, as well as some other cuts to services during weekdays. If true, these cancellations would place a huge strain on the East London Line, especially if additional trains are not being provided.
We will be pressing for the minimum reduction of service possible and some imaginative solutions to any reduction to capacity on the line to London Bridge. We know this is not just a problem that worries us but it also worries rail operators.

We will keep you informed of developments as details become available.

In other developments, Boris Johnson has started making more positive noises about a possible extension to the Bakerloo line. This issue was raised by Forest Hill Society vice chairman, Michael Abrahams, at People’s Question Time when Boris was in Catford.

Lewisham have already produce a viability report which prefers a route via the Old Kent Road to Lewisham, Catford, and possibly beyond. It now looks like TfL will be producing a report of their own to look at the economic benefit of the Bakerloo line extension and other transport enhancements in South East London.

At a time when the government is being encouraged to spend money on infrastructure projects, the Bakerloo line is one that makes economic sense to develop as soon as possible. It would be a boost to London’s economy and would benefit South East London for decades to come.

20 June 2013

Shall we fetch you water out of this rock?

It may have taken a long time, but we have finally managed to install a watering system for the main flower bed outside Forest Hill Station.

One of the recommendations from our entry into the "It's Your Neighbourhood" competition in 2011 was that we install a watering system for the main beds in front of the station. Although we have selected woodland plants, the trees' canopy prevents water from reaching the ground and it was proving too large a burden for our group of volunteers to carry the many watering cans of water from the platform, through the ticket gates to the car park several times a week; while it kept us fit, it took too long.

We initially bid for the funding from the local assembly in July 2011 and were awarded the funding in March 2012, but it has taken us over a year to deliver due to a number of delays including station upgrades, Network Rail red tape, the Olympics and our own scarce time. LOROL eventually put us in contact with one of their contractors who have been very helpful in getting this project completed a little later than we had hoped, but in time for this year's competition.

We are all looking forward to stunning blooms this summer and for many years to come.

19 June 2013

Give Us back Our Walrus!

In May this year the Horniman Walrus went to Margate to take part in an exhibition at the Turner Contemporary Museum. His departure has left a large gap in the museum, and in our hearts.

He is sending regular postcards to the museum and children visiting the Horniman are encouraged to send him postcards (they were cutting edge technology when he was born in the 19th century). However, he's no Luddite, so you can also follow @HornimanWalrus on Twitter.

Despite assurances that he will return in September, the Forest Hill Society is considering what action to take to help this poor peripatetic pinniped. Even after watching 70s comedy One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, the executive has not ruled out rescue attempts of the one ton animal.

But we all need a trip to the seaside occasionally and he has been stuffed in the museum for more than 100 years, so he is probably due a holiday.

18 June 2013


Saturday 29th June - 14th July - Sydenham Arts Festival
Sunday 30th June, 1pm-9:30pm - Devonshire Road Nature Reserve - Festival in the Forest
Friday 5th July, 9pm-11pm - Bat, moth and owl prowl - Sydenham Hill Wood (London Wildlife Trust)
Saturday 6 July, 11am-5pm - Blythe Hill Fields FestivalSunday 7th July - Forest Hill Food Fair, Station Car Park, 11am-3pm
11th July, 7pm - Perry Vale Ward Assembly, German Church, 50 Dacres Road
13th-14th July - Friends of Horniman Art Fair, Horniman Conservatory
Sunday 21st July - Pool River Walk, 11am

Sunday 4th August  - No Food Fair this month
Sunday 1st September - Forest Hill Food Fair, Station Car Park, 11am-3pm

Events at local Nature Reserves
One Tree HillFirst Saturday of the month, practical conservation workdays
Albion Millennium Greenregular events on the second weekend of the month, always open
Devonshire RoadSecond and last Sunday of the month, open days
Dacres Woodlast Saturday of every month, open days

Forest Hill’s Flourishing Food Fair

The Forest Hill Food Fair is run by the Forest Hill Society and continues to bring in new traders and new shoppers to Forest Hill town centre.

The Food Fair runs on the first Sunday of the month (although we are taking a break in August) at Forest Hill station. There are about 15 stalls serving hot food and food to take home and eat.

We try to provide a range of foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cheeses, cakes, pies, pickles, pizza, hot dogs, sausages, fish, wine, and beer. But if you think we are missing something we are happy to receive new ideas. Our only limit is space, and we have more traders interested in joining the market than we can provide with pitches.

The majority of traders are local people, living in SE23 or close by, but we also bring in a few specialities from further afield if we cannot source them locally. In addition you will always see a stall from the Forest Hill Society, where you can chat to us about local issues.

In addition to the Forest Hill food fair on the first Sunday of the month, Sydenham now has a SEE3 market on the last Sunday of every month on Sydenham Road, close to the station. This gives local shoppers twice as much opportunity to buy produce from local people and explore the other shops on our improving high streets.

If you would like to contact us about the food fair please email foodfair@foresthillsociety.com

11 June 2013

Farewell Gordon

It has come to our attention that Gordon Lucas is leaving the Horniman at the end of the week. According to the Friends of the Horniman,

Gordon Lucas, the Horniman Gardens' Manager, will be leaving his post on 14 June. He has been a staunch supporter of the Friends since he first came to the Horniman 15 years ago and will be much missed.

The annual Plant Sale and Art Exhibition are just two events for which his help has been invaluable, but especially the Plant Sale into which he has put so much time and effort. And let's not forget all the work the Garden team, led by Gordon, put into the re-design of the Gardens last year.

In recognition, therefore, of his many years of service to the Friends, a collection is being taken for a farewell gift. If you would like to make a contribution towards a leaving present for Gordon, please make a cheque payable to ‘The Friends of The Horniman’, with a note that it is for Gordon's farewell gift and send it to:

Ann Wallace,
Chair of the Friends of the Horniman,
Horniman Museum,
100 London Road,
Forest Hill. SE23 3UE.

We would like to echo those sentiments and wish Gordon and his family every success in the future. His warm smile and friendly welcome will be greatly missed.

If you would like to contribute, please deliver your cheque directly to the Horniman as above or click this button to send your donation via PayPal

10 June 2013

Horniman Art Sale 13 - 14 July

The 22nd Friends of the Horniman Art Exhibition will take place in the Conservatory of the Horniman, over the weekend of 13th and 14th July 2103.

Opening at 10am on both days, the exhibition will close at 5pm on the Saturday and 4.30pm on the Sunday. Entry is free and there will be 36 exhibitors with all the paintings, prints, sculptures and greeting cards present for sale during the event.

SEE3 - Community party at the Dolphin

Thurs 13 June, 5pm (food from 6pm), The Dolphin, 121 Sydenham Road SE26

The team behind SEE3 (the Portas Pilot in Forest Hill, Sydenham, and Kirkdale) are certainly creating a buzz this summer! With supper clups, pop-up shops, street art and a club night, save the date for a community party at The Dolphin. All are welcome for a fun evening of music, food and great people!

For more information go to www.see3.co.uk or follow on Twitter at @SEE3PortasPilot

03 June 2013

Persian Delights

On Saturday, 8 June, Young Lewisham Project and Southwark Refugee Project are hosting ‘Persian Delights!’ an evening of great food and entertainment including watching a documentary film at the Ackroyd Centre.

Dinner will be a 3 course meal starting with hummus and freshly baked bread, followed by our very own cous-cous massive and then enjoying some fresh pastries with tea and coffee.

Before the food we will be screening ‘Grass’, an incredible documentary about Persian tribal nomads. The epic story follows the journey of 50,000 of the Bakhtiari, a poor nomadic tribe in Iran, as they herd their livestock up snow-covered mountain passes, barefoot to get to the grazing lands on the other side of the mountains before their animals die from hunger. An amazing story from 1925 of human endurance and a community working together.

There will be two screenings of the film, one at 7.15pm and the second at 8.45pm. Tickets for the whole evening, inclusive of food, are £20. They will be available on the evening but if you are planning on attending please send your name, email address, how many of you are coming and which viewing time you would like to dave@younglewisham.org.uk To find out more information about the projects that this event will be benefiting go to: facebook.com/young.lewisham and www.southwarksrp.org/.

Buses - Have your say

The London Assembly has launched an in-depth investigation into bus services in London as passenger numbers rise and investment into bus services has flat-lined. Local London Assembly Member Len Duvall wants residents in Lewisham to share their experiences of bus travel in London to improve and strengthen the service offered by Transport for London.

Mr Duvall said “Residents can share their good and bad experiences by filling in a short survey on bus services in London and attending the public meeting on 6 June at 10am in City Hall. We need bus users help to ensure the London Assembly puts forward strong recommendations to the Mayor on how we can make bus services in London suit the needs of the people that use them.

“TfL’s business plan does not provide for expansion of the bus network, and unless plans are secured to deal with extra passengers, London buses run the risk of entering a period of decline.”