19 April 2022

Recycling for Soft Plastics

Few of us are aware that, as well as recycling in our Green Bins, local branches of Sainsbury's have facilities for recycling of soft plastic wrapping and bags that cannot be recycled by Lewisham Council.

Polypropylene film can now be recycled. This is a type of plastic commonly used for items such as salad bags, frozen food bags and rice packaging. This includes all flexible plastics, including laminates and pouches. All items should be clean and free of food and sticky labels removed where possible.

15 April 2022

Bombing of Boveney Road 1944

Our thanks to Steve Johnson who has kindly sent us some photos of bomb damage in Boveney Road, taken by his uncle. The photos relate to a V1 that exploded on 26th June 1944, when eight people were killed.

Photo A – North end of Boveney Road, looking towards Devonshire Road

Photo B – similar view to A, but other side of the road

Photo C – North end Boveney Road where it bends towards Devonshire Road

Photo D and E – Boveney Road, opposite Hengrave Road

Map of Bombs in Forest Hill for context showing the V1 damage on Boveney Road at the top centre of the map:

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:  info@sydenhamcroquet@gmail.com

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: www.selce.org.uk
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/SELonCommEnergy
Email: info@selce.org.uk

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? 

01 April 2022

Launching the Trebuchet Railway Crossing Project

Since the Forest Hill Society was formed in 2006 we have been hoping for a new pedestrian bridge to replace the existing bridge between Sydenham Park and Dacres Road. This is an important connection to Sydenham and Forest Hill schools for children on either side of the railway and it is a useful bicycle route too – avoiding the poor cycling provision in the centres of Sydenham and Forest Hill.

We wanted a scheme that would work for everybody and provides a safe way to cross the railway instead of a slippery and steep set of steps over the bridge. After hours of careful deliberation, the Forest Hill Society put together a proposal that combines the latest innovative technology in personal transportation to provide a quick and easy way to cross the railway.

Forest Hill Society Chair, Claus Murmann, tests out the prototype trebuchet


On each side of the railway a trebuchet (sometimes referred to as a catapult) will be positioned to transport people across the railway line. This part of the scheme is simple enough, but the innovative part of the scheme is the installation of two ‘bounceways’ on either side of the railway, where passengers land and can bounce their way towards their chosen destination.

The bounceway is a series of trampolines that form the ideal landing site for trebuchet passengers. Bounceways were first proposed in 2014 for Jubilee Gardens by, then mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The scheme never got off the ground, but we are delighted that now that Mr Johnson has taken on a new role in government, this scheme is to take off - in Forest Hill.

The trebuchet will be capable of taking one person at a time with a bicycle or buggy and the speed of the flight and centrifugal force means that any bags of shopping can be safely carried without anything falling out.

Although initially considered dangerous, our experiments have shown that using the catapult in conjunction with two bounceways is significantly safer than trying to cross the existing footbridge.


Bounceway sketch from 2014 Architecture for Humanity

Boris Johnson is expected to lend his support to this visionary transport scheme and will be one of the first dignitaries to launch, or be launched by, this project. The PM's spokesperson, Avril Dummkopf, said that "at least with this project, unlike the zip wire, we know he can't get stuck halfway across!" Sadiq Khan is expected to take a different approach, with his own simultaneous launch from the other side of the railway. But we hope compromise is possible and that they meet somewhere in the middle.

The combination of bounceways and catapults is clearly the perfect solution for cyclists and pedestrians crossing a busy railway with the minimum of human debris.

We will continue to push for delivery of a new bridge for this location rather than this ridiculous scheme.

* Press release issued by the Forest Hill Society on 1st April 2022. Some of the details in this article may not be valid on any other day of the year.

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!