21 February 2014

February Newsletter: Making Forest Hill more fun!

‘Jack in the Box’ is a community led initiative funded by SEE3 (the Portas Pilot high street re-generation scheme) that over the next three months aims to put on a diverse and interesting programme of events to encourage more people to visit Forest Hill.

SEE3 set the ‘Jack in the Box’ team a number of key themes to work to including Valentines Day, Fashion Week, Easter & Film but crucially the events are being planned around the results of an on-line survey that ran throughout the month of January. The survey was designed to uncover the reasons people visit Forest Hill, what aspects of Forest Hill are popular (and which are not); and, most importantly, what activities/events people would like to see more. The survey went out to schools, community groups, businesses and residents and the results can be seen on the SEE3 website.

The ‘Jack in the Box’ team made up of two women have successfully delivered a number of events across London via their Shared City enterprise. Together they run imaginative inter-cultural experiences, consultation projects and community events across London.

Deborah, one part of duo (that has lived locally for ten years) says: “Forest Hill is an incredible place with a rich history, great shops and leisure offer, wonderful transport and a diverse, dynamic population. We are big fans of all the ‘local gems’ that Totally Locally have identified”.

“Through this project, we’re sure we can attract more people to the area to appreciate all that Forest Hill has to offer. Though this project, we would like to ensure that the events we run leave a legacy, encourage further collaborations between businesses and residents and continue to bring more Londoners from an increased catchment to enjoy the area”.

“The events are all different but one lesson we’ve learnt is that they work best when the community comes together and gets involved. We also want to attract those Forest Hill residents who might feel marginalised and through the events make Forest Hill a place of which everyone is proud”.

Keep an eye out for upcoming events via www.see3.co.uk or the Forest Hill Society website.

February Newsletter: East London Line News

Transport for London have announced plans to extend the lengths of platforms at some of the stations in the core section of the East London Line. This includes Shoreditch, Shadwell, Wapping, Canada Water and Surrey Quays all of which currently only have platform lengths for four carriages (Rotherhithe is not on the list). With the extension of trains to five carriages in December 2014 these platform extensions will avoid selective door opening at these stations.

The Forest Hill Society is continuing to campaign for extra Crystal Palace trains on the East London Line. There is space in the timetable for two additional trains per hour and although these trains were not included in the announcement from the Comprehensive Spending Review, we hope that at some point these additional trains will be commissioned by TfL.

Additional trains to Crystal Palace would improve frequency and further increase capacity on the East London Line. This would be particularly useful while London Bridge is being rebuilt, and would provide more capacity as the East London Line continues to gain in popularity, especially with the Crossrail interchange at Whitechapel.

February Newsletter: SE23.COM - A Forum for SE23

If you would like to keep abreast of activities in the SE23 postcode or would like your say on various topics relating to Forest Hill, we recommend visiting SE23.com, an on-line community forum set up in 2002.

It is not officially affiliated with the Forest Hill Society but we often post on the forum to let people know about our latest business and upcoming events, in fact it was where the idea of setting up a Forest Hill Society was first discussed back in 2006.

Many residents living in the SE23 postcode use the forum to ask questions about what is going on in the area, for example recent topics include planting in the town centre, house price increases, a coffee shop opening, parking issues and traffic problems, and many other issues in this newsletter; the subsequent discussions can be really interesting!

You don't have to get fully involved, you can just read the various posts at www.se23.com but if you'd like to join in the discussion and post something on the forum (i.e. write a reply to a question or start a new topic), you'll need to sign up.  You don't have to register under your own name, you can create a nickname so you can post anonymously.

It can be fascinating to read other peoples' opinions not to mention the fact that you'll be informed on the very latest SE23 news - what could be better than that!

18 February 2014

February Newsletter: 'Outstanding' Forest Hill goes for gold

Following our "Outstanding" award from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for our efforts around last year's 'Edible High Road' project, the Forest Hill Society will give the town centre a golden glow this summer by helping the 'RHS Britain In Bloom' celebrate its 50th golden anniversary via its 'Growing for Gold' initiative.

On Sunday 13th April, we will be planting sunflower seeds wherever we can find a space in the town centre. The RHS is donating the seeds as a thank you to all the volunteers who make the UK a more beautiful and greener place to live and the sunflower has been chosen as it reflects the spirit and drive they associate with their volunteers.  If you would like to help plant the seeds and make Forest Hill a brighter and greener place, please join us. This summer's bees will also appreciate the planting as the seeds are all pollinator-friendly varieties.

Come along to the station forecourt at 2pm on Sunday, 13th April - no experience needed.  Bring gardening gloves and a trowel together with a sunny disposition!

Miriam Lodge Open Days

Miriam Lodge 125 bed homeless hostel opens its doors for the public on:
Tuesday, 4th March 2pm-7pm
Friday, 7th March 11am-3pm

Please email to confirm attendance to miriam@hqproperty.net stating which hour you wish to attend.

Address: 185 Dartmouth Road, SE26 4RQ (Opposite Sydenham Girls' School and behind the old police station)

All inquiries to Miriam Lodge should be made to:
0208 699 2345
and not to the Forest Hill Society

16 February 2014

Forest Hill Fashion Week Spring 2014

Forest Hill Fashion Week Mini kicks off on Tuesday 25 February, running for five days and culminating in a vintage themed closing party on Sunday 2 March at All Inn One, where attendees are invited to get their vintage glad rags on and dance to some classic jazz and Motown. There will also be a fashion exhibition showing at Forest Hill Library from Sat 22 Feb – Sat 1 Mar. This season’s FHFW is on a smaller scale than previous seasons. It is however perfectly formed with cherry picked events for fashionistas and families alike. Highlights include talks by industry experts, kids catwalk show and a pop up fashion market.

Tuesday, 25th Feb
  • Recycle your Wardrobe
  • Ups and Downs of Modelling

Wednesday, 26th Feb
  • All you knit is Love
  • Walk Tall! Posture Clinic
  • African Plaited Necklace Workshop
  • Running a Fashion Pop Up Shop
Thursday, 27th Feb
  • Vintage Chic Makeovers
  • Bracelet Making Workshop
  • Short Fashion Movie Bash

Saturday, 1st March
  • Fashion Market
  • Rio Carnival Mark Making
  • Kids' Catwalk
  • Clothes Swap

Sunday, 2nd March
  • Kids' T-Shirt Printing
  • Kid's Fancy Dress Competition
  • Working in Fashion Talk
  • FHFW Vintage Closing Party

15 February 2014

Stories of Forest Hill: A Writers Workshop

Lived here for some time?
Interested in sharing with others the changes you’ve seen?

Experience not essential, simply an interest in tales of your life in this fascinating community. Written nothing beyond the odd letter since leaving school? Now’s the time to try!

WHERE: The Montage Coffee House, Dartmouth Road SE23
WHEN: Thursdays 2-4pm, beginning February 27, Weekly for six weeks
TUTOR: Maggie Smith (former National Adviser, Creative Writing U3A)

Places very limited. For enquiries please call 07507 753984 or email info@see3.co.uk

February Newsletter: Pizza Restaurant adds New Flavour to the Old Bank

The Old Bank site on Honor Oak high street has been un-utilised for a number of years and the last potential opening was an application by Dominos Pizza to convert the site into a takeaway and delivery shop. The Forest Hill Society in unison with local residents campaigned to stop the planning application. Our main reason for objecting was the poor use of a prime location which we felt should be a retail unit.

There were also concerns around parking and the noise generated by bikes serving the shop during peak hours. There were over 300 objections to the application and thankfully the Domino’s application was rejected. Although Domino’s went onto appeal this decision, through a series of demonstrations outside the restaurant, Dominos’ remained unsuccessful.

Residents had nothing against takeaways but we felt sure that this key location would be better placed as a restaurant rather than a hub for a take way delivery service.

Indeed we are delighted to report that an independent pizza restaurant/cafe called SODO has now opened on the site. This is exactly the outcome we wanted, even if it took three years for it to happen! It provides a better future for Honor Oak with a selection of top quality restaurants in a small area of South East London.

SODO announced ‘SO DOUGH’ (as in sour-dough, the traditional pizza base) opened in early February. This is the third venture from SODO, the original is in Clapton and there is also a concession at The George & Vulture pub in Hoxton. The whole ethos is based around offering the best and freshest pizza, working with local suppliers and creating a fun experience for the customer.

At University, Dan Birch the founding director worked in a kitchen and hated the fact that so much was processed and deep fried. He came across somewhere selling pizza and loved the freshness and theatre of it and this is what restaurant is all about; the pizzas are made on order in front of the customers and the kitchen is an integral part of the experience.

They came across The Old Bank site very much by accident although they were actively hunting for new sites across London. They thought the building was ‘amazing’ and immediately fell in love with it describing it as ‘a big old building with bags of character’. Dan and his team have renovated the majority of the existing features including fireplaces, brick walls and old tiles and have incorporated them into the d├ęcor. They have created an interior that’s in harmony with the building and which brings to life the period features that remained hidden for many years.

In addition to the restaurant, there is a bar with seating and space for between five and seven people. The idea is that people can just pop in for a drink or actually eat at the bar, much like you might eat tapas in Spain. If you don’t fancy eating out, you can call the restaurant for a pizza and then pick it up between five and ten minutes later. The pizzas only take a minute in the oven so this is fast (and fresh) food at it’s best! At a maximum, the take away process may take twenty minutes but that’s only to be expected on a packed out Saturday night.

The most popular pizza at the moment is called the ‘Winter Goat’. This consists of mozzarella, tomato, caramelised onions, goat’s cheese, olives and walnuts. Prices range from between £6 and £11 depending on the toppings but the average price is £8/£9. All the ingredients are fresh and locally sourced and indeed they are currently looking for local suppliers in the area.

Dan is not from SE23 so I asked what he has come to like about the area and his answer was ‘the community’ which will not surprise us Forest Hilliers! He says the reception has been really supportive and that people could not wait for them to open.

It’s clear that SODO will be a great success if his passion for freshly made pizza and the support of the local community is anything to go by. The restaurant is now open, three days a week between 12pm – 11pm and once everything is fully up and running, they plan to open six days a week.

Extremists at the Horniman

The Horniman Museum's latest family friendly exhibition “Extremes” explores what it takes for animals and plants to survive in some of the world's most hostile environments.

Much of the animal kingdom is far better adapted to extreme conditions than we are as humans. The exhibition will take you on an expedition to see how animals and plants survive in extreme conditions relating to heat, cold, dryness and constant darkness.

You can see some of the animals that live in these environments and watch films that will make you shiver.

There are hands-on experiences including feeling the 'air-conditioning' inside an ostrich’s beak or trying to keep up with the drinking speed of a camel. A definite must for the would be explorer!

Ticket prices: £3.30 Child, £6.60 Adult, £16.50 Family.

11 February 2014


23 Bike Ride - Sunday, 23rd March, 8:30am23 mile bike ride from Devonshire Road Nature Reserve to Orpington. Email Jake@fhsoc.com for further details.
Honor Oak Pub - Sunday, 23rd March, 7:30pmDrinks with the Forest Hill Society at the newly reopened Honor Oak Pub (assuming it has reopened).

Planting at the Station - Sunday, 13th April, 2pm