Saturday, June 30, 2007

Nights out in South London, 1927 and 1963

A couple of old flyers for nights out in South London (found at Southwark Local Studies Library). From 1927, an advert for The Mayoress's Ball at Newington Public Hall, Manor Place, SE17 (off the Walworth Road). The event was to raise funds to 'help poor Southwark mothers and babies' and featured 'dancing 7-12 midnight' a the 'Season's Gayest Carnival' with music from The Jazzarettes Dance Band and The Southwark Prize Dance Band.

The more recent flyer is for an event at the Rotherhithe Assembly Hall, Lower Road SE16 in October 1963: 'Monday is Disc-Dance Night... Dancing to top-twenty records and popular groups' with bands including The Aerials and The Wanderers. Both these nights out cost a mere 2 shillings (10p).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

South London Walks

A couple of interesting walks coming up this week, focusing on spooky events and odd

The London Bridge walk will feature the Queen Rat of Queenshythe, thousand year old ornate castration devices, pagan estate agents and the strange case of the mummified cat. Friday June 29, Walk from Riverside Books, Hays Galleria off Tooley Street. Starts 7.15.

The Waterloo walk will mention William Blake, Spring Heeled Jack, dead sailors, weird tombs, the woman who started the French revolution and some stuff about the real spooks at MI5 & MI6. Saturday June 30 walk from Crockett and Powell, Lower Marsh Street London SE1. 2pm.

Both walks are free of charge and will last about 90 minutes, finishing off in the pub. The tour guide will be Chris Roberts, editor of One Eye Grey and author of Cross River Traffic: a history of London's Bridges.

For more information about these events please e-mail

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Amersham Arms Closed for Summer

The Amersham Arms in New Cross has been taken over by new owners Lock Taverns and will be closed for the summer for refurbishment. Lock Taverns have promised that the pub will continue to be a live music venue although 'It will be more along the trendy route'. Whether established nights at the Amersham like The Catapult Club and the experimental Gluerooms will continue remains to be seen.

Fighting Fascists in Deptford, 1933

Lewisham Anti-Racist Action Group is currently planning a festival in August to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the anti-National Front 'Battle of Lewisham' in 1977. We will be putting more up about this soon, but for now here's a short account of some earlier local fascist-bashing in the 1930s.

On Sunday October 8th 1933, there was what The Times called ‘A clash between Communists and Fascists in Deptford Broadway’. A fascist meeting was being held and a crowd gathered to oppose them. When the anti-fascists began singing The Red Flag, fighting broke out. Several people were bound over to keep the peace at Greenwich Police Court the following week. The fascist who was charged, Geoffrey Clark (aged 22), turned up in court in a black shirt and fascist badge. He was from Westminster, unlike the two anti-fascists charged who were both from Deptford. Sydney Hickman (aged 49) a labourer from Church Street, ‘was alleged to have been one of the principal hecklers, continually shouting “Take those dirty black shirts off”’. Arthur Wright (aged 30), another Deptford labourer from Berthon Street was said to have fought off a fascist assault with a leather belt.

Source: The Times, October 10 1933

Monday, June 18, 2007

Getting Even is a Full Time Job

This week in New Cross, Class Acts presents 9 to 5.

Featuring an excellent cast, this is Hollywood’s finest attempt at feminist comedy.

Jane Fonda is the new secretary in the office, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton are the veterans who teach her how to cope with and combat chauvinistic male oppression, incarnated by embezzling boss Coleman and all about class struggle. The three soon club together in a plot to exact their revenge. Written and directed by the late Colin Higgins.

And of course there's the soundtrack... in fact I danced to the title song at a wedding only last weekend. Altogether now: 'Nine to five they've got you where they want you, There's a better life and you think about it don't you? It's a rich man's game no matter what they call it. And you spend your life putting money in his pocket'.

Wednesday 20th June 2007 at 7.30 for food, 8.00pm for film. Only £4 including delicious veggie food at The Café Crema, 306 New Cross Rd SE14.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Peckham Pet-Tastic

Peckham Pet-Tastic is 'a fancy dress picnic for dogs, Saturday June 23rd, 2.00pm-5.00pm,Peckham Square, (outside Peckham Library) Peckham High Street SE15...

Once again, Rachael House invites you to make a costume, dress up your dog, and bring it along to Peckham Pet-Tastic 3, the canine art social event of the year. During 2006 Rachael House’s Peckham Pet-Tastic was enticed far away. In May, dogs dressed up and congregated at Hå gamle prestegard in Norway. In August, Bexhill Bow-Wow transformed the De La Warr Pavilion into a gaudy throbbing mass of dogs and humans. In 2007 we even went to neighbouring Lewisham. Now Peckham Pet-Tastic is back where we belong, in Peckham Square, our spiritual home. Bigger, bolder and even more extravagantly beautiful'.

A new high in canine fun, or a new degrading spectacle of animal exploitation - you decide. Still discussing this with our dog.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Eastern Flavaz Cafe

Eastern Flavaz Cafe

Friday 22nd June Camberwell Squat Centre
A feast of eastern music and food with live gypsy/balkan/klezmer/turkish music from matt and suzi shekoyokh

Middle eastern food from 8pm
Music and bar til 12pm
192 Warham St SE5 (off camberwell new road)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

White Stripes in Brockley

The White Stripes played at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley last night, apparently a warm up gig for the 02 festival later in the week. Surely the most auspicious night there since S Club 7 made their video for Don't Stop Movin' at the Rivoli.
Actually, according to this article by Mel Wright it has also been used for videos and photo shoots by many others: 'In the 1980s, pop diva Tina Turner filmed the video for her hit Private Dancer at The Rivoli. The song was written by Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler, from Deptford. Other pop luminaries of the time who filmed at The Rivoli include Elton John (They Call It The Blues) Tracey Ullman (Move Over Darling) and the Beautiful South (I Sail My Ship Alone). Paul McCartney also shot scenes from his film, Give My Regards To Broad Street, at the ballroom... Kevin Spacey shot parts of Beyond The Sea there and it was seen in the spy thriller Dark Horizons, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. Robert Lindsay's sleuth thriller TV serial Jerricho transformed The Rivoli into a Soho ballroom and bar. The list of guests includes S Club 7, Oasis, Charlotte Church, Kylie Minogue, Vinnie Jones, Westlife and model Rachel Hunter.
The Rivoli started out as as the Crofton Park Picture Palace in July 1913... It became a ballroom in 1957 and like many had its heyday in the 60s and 70s, when it featured performances by acts such as Acker Bilk and Pans People'.
I remember also seeing an Arcade Fire photoshoot in NME done there, and came across this video by 12 Stone Toddler. I have had some of my finest nights there too, at the great Night of a Thousand Stars/Club Montepulciano - but that's another post.
(follow links in this post for some great footage of SE London's finest dance spot)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Queen of the Witches

At South East London Folklore Society this week, John Callow (a historian of early modern magic and witchcraft), brings alive the tale of the infamous Isobel Gowdie 'Queen of the Witches', accused of witchcraft in 17th-century Scotland. Thursday, 14th June. Arrive 7.30pm for a 8pm start, at The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49, Borough High St, London, SE1 1NA.

Followed by: 12th July: Catherine Rider - Magic and Medicine in the Middle Ages: Catherine discusses her research for her Katherine Briggs award winning book "Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages."

In August, SELFS are organising a trop to the Margate Shell Grotto: 'Is it a subterranean Victorian folly or an pagan shrine? A hoax, a mis-understanding or England's most under-rated sacred site? How was it discovered? Who built it? It is haunted? Are there any more secrets there? Come and decide for yourself'. To reserve a place on the trip contact Scott on 0795 201 2487.

South East London Folklore Society is interested in "paganism, folklore, forteana, high-strangeness and the occult" and meet every second Thursday of the month at The Old King's Head.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Cycle Speedway New Cross, 1950s

Great bit of footage here from New Cross in the early 1950s of 'daredevil cockney kids' at an impromptu cycle speedway track. The location was a bombsite where the Wesleyan Methodist Church stood on the New Cross Road before it was destroyed in 1944.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Since I joined the ranks of dog walkers I have been spending a lot more time in the top bit of Telegraph Hill Park - for people who don't know this park in New Cross, it is split in two with dogs only allowed in the higher part next to Saint Catherine's Church. I've noticed that there are often people in there at sunset just admiring the view of the sun going down over London. The views definitely rival those from across the river on Primrose Hill.

So I was pleased to see that some people locally are planning an event to celebrate the view from here - Hillaballoo on 21 July. There will be a camera obscura, history talks and various other happenings, with an open invitation to contribute other ideas. See you there?