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Good news for rail travellers – extra late night train on East London Line in December

Good news for night travellers on the East London line when the new timetable starts on Sunday 12 December.  An extra late train will leave Dalston Junction at 00.15am calling at Canada Water at 00.31 and arriving at New Cross Gate at 00.36am in time to catch the last train from London Bridge and arriving at Sydenham at 00.52am.

After the new timetable starts in December the times of late ELL trains leaving Canada Water towards Sydenham will be: 22.46, 22.56, 23.16, 23.26, 23.46, 23.56 and 00.31.

With the news reported earlier on this website that two extra evening rush hour trains from London Bridge will be provided in December, this shows a continually improving service for Sydenham.


Meatballs and Music – Trattoria Raffaele, 29th October

The wonderful Alex Carter, star of recent Sydenham hits such as BLITZ! and OOH LA LA! is accompanied by accordionist extraordinaire Serge Pachnine in Una Notte Italiana a celebration of  the Italian greats from Neapolitan to popular Italian songs.

£27.50 with a superb 4-course Italian meal. Starts at 7pm. Book your ticket now – they’re disappearing fast.

Pop into Raffaele, 29 Sydenham Road or phone the restaurant on 020 8778 6262

Billings recipe collection

We all love our new fish shop, Billings at 45 Sydenham Road, and we all love their fish recipes.

So here are all of Billings recipes gathered together in one collection for reference or printing.

Baked gilt-head bream

Mussels with wine and parsley

Red salmon Thai curry

Salmon and spinach with tartar cream

Sea bass with sizzled ginger, chilli and sping onions

Soy glazed tuna steaks

Spiced fish and mussel pie

Squid with mint, chilli, coriander and lime

Tomato and thyme cod

It’s not grim up north – a guide to some great pubs on the East London Line

Pub enthusiast and CAMRA stalwart Neil Pettigrew takes you on the first of a series of trips to the best boozers along the new rail line.

Part 1 – Dalston


Sydenham pub-goers, often less than thrilled by the pubs on offer locally, are finding they have a feast of new pub experiences to enjoy, now that the recently re-opened East London Line goes all the way to Dalston. There are good pubs to be found near all of the stations on the new line (including Wapping and Whitechapel), and this article, the first of a series, will begin by looking at just those that are an easy walk from Dalston itself, the end of the line.

The previously-uncharted (at least by a southern softy like me) territory of Dalston is a goldmine for those who, like me, enjoy the endlessly fascinating architecture of London’s Victorian suburbs, and in particular the faded grandeur of our capital’s purpose-built nineteenth century pubs. And, a bonus for real ale lovers, all of the following serve traditional cask-conditioned beer by hand-pump.


When you emerge from Dalston station you will immediately be confronted by the sad sight of two impressive Victorian pubs that have seen better days. Look slightly to the right and you will see the Railway Tavern – now a William Hill betting shop – and then walk left to the main crossroads where you will see the Crown and Castle – now a noodle bar. For both pubs, look up to see the evidence of their former glory.

Have no fear, though, a short walk west takes you to The Duke of Wellington (119 Balls Pond Road, N1). This handsome Victorian corner pub still displays, rather magnificently, an old Watney’s sign outside. The original Victorian features inside have been sympathetically retained by the current licensees, including some old dark wood and etched-glass screens. A selection of real ales is offered and kept in excellent condition. Here one can sample beers from Sambrook’s, a small and relatively new London brewery based in Battersea. Food is offered daily, and so too are Saturday brunch and Sunday roast are also available. See their web-site for more information:

Head south from here to the Scolt Head (107a Culford Rd, Dalston, N1), another elegant Victorian corner boozer. While musing over the meaning of the pub’s name, you can admire the green-tinted leaded windows, which are trade-mark remnants of its days as a Charrington-owned pub. And on the day of my visit, there was another reminder of pub heritage: a bitter called Truman’s Runner was available, thanks to some enterprising locals who have started a new brewery in honour of the old company.

The Stag’s Head (Orsman Rd, Hoxton, N1) is a splendidly traditional 1930s back street boozer, included in CAMRA’s inventory of London pubs with interiors of special interest. For those who object to the gentrification and gastro-ization of many of our pubs, this place will be more to your liking, and it has even retained an old spittoon trough around the base of the bar (present-day usage not recommended).

The Prince George (40 Parkholme Rd, E8) is a short walk to the east of Dalston station. Inside is still pleasingly traditional, and outside is a seriously faded pub sign atop a pole (still advertising ‘Whitbread’, although they haven’t owned any pubs for two decades), and depicting the Prince himself with a lady of low morals sitting on his lap. Real ale fans will enjoy the selection available in here.

The Prince Arthur (95 Forest Rd, E8) is just a couple of minutes walk from the Prince George. Architecturally, it’s another good-looking Victorian corner pub, looming over its neighbours by a good ten feet, and with the name of the pub and the year 1861 engraved high up in stone. Inside is still traditional, and above the back of the bar is an eye-catching display of old lettering advertising various drinks.

Forest Hill underpass – renovation at last?

Long-awaited improvements to the underpass at Forest Hill could now be within sight thanks to a decision of Lewisham’s Mayor and Cabinet on Wednesday 20 October.

The M&C agreed to provide up to £104,000 from money allocated to improve access to the East London Line stations in the Council’s capital programme to renovate the subway. Together with funds from Network Rail it looks at long last as if local residents may soon have a decent underpass to walk through on their way to and from Forest Hill Town Centre.

Let’s hope this long saga will soon come to an end.

Full details of the Mayor and Cabinet decision here

Planning reform – could it change the face of Sydenham?

Are you dismayed by the prospect of yet another “chicken shop” appearing in Sydenham Road? Or local pubs like the Prince Albert closing down? Or small strips of land which were previously gardens or recreation spaces being grabbed by greedy developers?

Well all that may be about to change.

The coalition government has promised to put forward a new Planning Act which will “radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which inhabitants live.”  The proposals would mean “giving local people the power to engage in genuine local planning through collaborative democracy – designing a local plan from the ‘bottom up’, starting with the aspirations of neighbourhoods.”

Here are some of the proposals:

 • Neigbourhood plans to protect local shops and services from being lost and encouraging the types of business locals want to see

 • An end to “garden napping”

 • A community “right of appeal” against planning decisions

 • Stronger enforcement against breaches of planning control  

For more details see the Civic Voice website

Trees, Spooks and Stories: a Halloween event for families – Sydenham Woods, 31st October

Join Southwark Conservation Projects Department for a  Tree Spooks and Stories – a Halloween event for families with children aged 5+ in Sydenham Woods.

Meet 2pm, Sunday  31st October at the Crescent Wood Road entrance to the woods (Crescent Wood Road is behind the Dulwich Woodhouse; the Crescent Wood entrance is at the opposite end of Crescent Wood Road to the pub.

Walk down into the heart of the wood where we will meet the Gypsy Queen of the Wood who will tell us some scary stories. Children will also get the opportunity to decorate masks to become tree spooks!