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Notting Hill Carnival – join the Sunshine International Arts fun, make a costume, party at Europe’s biggest street festival

Carnival workshops - join the fun at Notting Hill

Carnival workshops – join the fun at Notting Hill

 Always wanted to take part in the Notting Hill Carnival?

Then head to the Sunshine International Arts C.A.F.E at Studio 5, 209 A
Coldharbour Lane SW9 8RU

Opposite Loughborough Junction Railway Station

Make your own costume, get involved and get ready to party

You can join the Children’s Day on 25 August with your kids or the Adult
day on 26 August.

Simply phone Ray on 07881571743 for more details

Flyer 1 nh2013 pub

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Below The River magazine editor Kate Burt talks about discovering an ‘amazing south London’

I recently interviewed Kate Burt, editor of south London’s new daily online magazine, the great belowtheriver.co.uk She told me a bit about herself, the magazine, what’s great about south London living and why Londoners CAN move around the capital!

Londoners always seem quite tribal about being from north or south of the river. Do you think that still applies?
Yes and no. There’s a hard core who will always feel that way, but it saddens me. What it really comes down to is not superior places, but familiarity – and where your friends live. I’m in south London because I was born here and my best primary school and secondary school friends still live within walking distance. But my boyfriend is from north London – and I have loved being given the tourist tour of all his favourite places, ditto with Below the River’s sister site, Kentishtowner:  through them I’ve discovered heaps of north London gems I’d never have known about and enjoyed.  (I should point out however that my boyfriend and I recently moved in together… in south London… ha ha.)

Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall – one of Kate’s picks when I asked her what came to mind when I said ‘south London’

Are people more willing to migrate either way?
See above. Though I do think that was an unusual exception. That said, I know of various people who have recently made leaps both ways. I think there’s actually something lovely about moving somewhere that people feel tribal about – because they will generally be gentle with you as they know how big a move it would be the other way. Ultimately, though, London – until you hit the suburbs – is pretty small and everywhere is accessible. We should all make more use  of that as well as the stuff in our community and on our doorsteps. It is a great city – north, south and east (I would falter at west, however… that does feel like a different city in places – just me?)

As you say in your intro to the magazine, south of the river used to get a fairly bad press. What do you think marked the change in attitudes and when do you think the change began?
It’s cheaper. Eventually all things come to what they can afford – and decide to love it.

South of the river is a huge area to cover – how do you try and make sure you’re covering all the areas?
It’s hard! But the area we’ve naturally decided to cover – broadly the blob that spreads downwards along the curves of the Thames beneath London Bridge/the tip of Southwark – feels like a natural trail in a way. I live in SW9 but spend lots of time in SW2, Herne Hill, Loughborough Junction, Peckham, Camberwell, London Bridge, Deptford, Waterloo, the South Bank… And I think other south Londoners will have equivalent orbits. And I have stringers in the most far flung spots! That said – we are after new writers and reviewers – so please email kate@belowtheriver.co.uk if interested.

What have been the main challenges in setting up belowtheriver?
To do it well you need to have more hours than the ones available. Other than that, I’m quite astounded at how smooth it’s been to go from a blank website (in Feb 2013) to launching in March, to gaining 20,000 monthly readers during the subsequent four months… and SO much positive feedback. It feels like we are part of a family that was there waiting to welcome us. People seem to really like what we do. 

Have there been any stand-out highs and lows so far?
I’ve lived in south London all my life. Starting this website I have seen it almost as a tourist and discovered so much great stuff and fantastic people doing amazing things locally that I just didn’t know about. Knowing I’m now in a position to share all this great stuff to other people who didn’t know about it is pretty exciting too. Lows? Gah. Time versus money, the usual. But mainly we (as in me and the little publishing company behind Below the River and the award-winning Kentishtowner.co.uk) are just excited about the plans we have and how we are doing the best jobs we could ever have imagined doing.

Kate Burt: editor of Below The River Magazine

   Kate Burt: editor of Below The River Magazine

 As a born south Londoner are there any particular features you especially love about the vibe of south London  and how do you think it’s changed?

I love that it’s got a bit more respect these days. And that taxis don’t flinch when you tell them where you want to go. I love that – in my bit of south London, and – pretty much – Below the River’s patch – it is a hugely varied, vibrant place. I fear for the bland, over-priced homogenisation of certain corners however…

Brixton Village and a lot of privately funded housing is going up in and around south London – obviously we need a lot more housing – what is your opinion on the gentrification debate. Ie development being good for an area but sometimes leading to locals being priced out?
I get very emotional about gentrification. It’s great that Brixton Market is now full of life again – but do the people flocking to eat from delicious menus ever do their shopping from the greengrocers and butchers there? I think the problem with it is that there’s no Gentrification Monitor to say when enough is enough – there’s always a tipping point, though I like to think people have learnt from Spitalfields. Change – and young, independent businesses – arriving: amazing. Lack of integration: saddening. Hiked prices, ditto. It’s about balance and that is something that is often lacking. It’s extremely complex – and I wish I was the Gentrification Monitor. I would be totally fascist about using the arrival of good new stuff to support the good old stuff and make everyone appreciate each other. But that would probably never work.

If I said ‘south London’ to you – what six buildings/communities/events would spring to mind immediately? 

Royal Festival Hall

The Michael Faraday Memorial (aka, as I thought for much of the 1990s, the Aphex Twin’s House. I loved the idea of that) 

Lambeth Country Show/ Brockwell Park

The House in the Junction (a new addition – they really make me feel warm inside)

Vibes FM

Camberwell Art College

How much interaction are you finding with local writers, photographers and creative?
We’d like more! But there’s so much talent – they’re all really busy. So interaction in terms of people to write ABOUT has been amazing.

And lastly how important is social media to the magazine – and do you see a print version of belowtheriver in the future?
There are plans for some interesting print collaborations afoot… And as for social media – it is absolutely vital to us. 

Email Kate at  kate@belowtheriver.co.uk or follow her on twitter @belowtheriver @kate_burt


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Renewable energy has come to the Loughborough Estate

Solar panels on the Loughborough Estate

Solar panels on the Loughborough Estate


By Becky Payne

I’m sure many of you have heard about the solar panels that were installed on the roofs of Loughborough Estate. Although you can’t see them from the ground, several blocks on the Estate have solar panels on the roofs soaking up the sun and creating energy, which is in turn sold to the national grid.

In March 2012, the Brixton Energy Solar 1 installed several hundred square metres of solar panels on the roof of Elmore house in the Loughborough Estate.

In October 2012, the Brixton Energy Solar 2 project installed five sets of solar panels on the roofs of the Styles Gardens apartment blocks. Together with other environmental works undertaken by Lambeth Council and United Residents Housing, these blocks are probably the most energy efficient social housing blocks in South London.

One of the keys is that in urban areas, there are many people who don’t ‘own’ their own roofs, but would like to be able to invest in renewable energy and make a dent into the monopoly of the Big Six energy companies.

Both these projects were set up as community co-operatives and the necessary funds were raised from local people who wanted to invest in a local project. All investors become members and receive an annual return. Money is also set aside to train and give paid internships to young people from the estate. A percentage of the profits goes into energy efficient education and a fund has been set up to pay for initiatives that help tackle fuel poverty eg: providing guidance to local people on the simple changes they can make to reduce their energy bills, for example, draught

proofing their homes and switching to different energy tariffs that match their energy usage. There are also workshop where people can learn how to make their own solar panel.

Find out more about these and future projects in and around Loughborough Junction and Brixton.


Installing the solar panels - while the sun was shining

Installing the solar panels – while the sun was shining


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S.i.A Community Arts C.A.F.E at 209A Coldharbour Lane – getting it together

I popped into the S.i.A Community Arts C.A.F.E at Studio 5, 209A Coldharbour Lane (under the arches opposite Loughborough Junction station) for lovely coffee and a chat with Ray Mahabir this week.

Tucked away at the end of the alley running along the curve of the railway line, it’s a treasure trove of art and good food – and the venue for a number of community friendly workshops – from knitting (while enjoying homemade cakes) to sewing groups and craft workshops for kids and adults.

While the unseasonal weather isn’t encouraging any of us to venture out unnecessarily, Ray’s sociability and warm welcome makes this a rewarding destination.

Did I mention the range of homemade chutneys on sale – and the fully licenced bar?

An expert on Mas (Carnival) costume design and creation, Ray’s been working in LJ since 2001 and took over the C.A.F.E (Carnival Arts Food Empowerment) space in 2011, keen to create a venue for ‘community artists’ who need room to create but can’t always afford to hire larger venues.

Everyone’s welcome to the C.A.F.E where Ray has initiated projects for young and old. He wants it to become a small (and possibly big) arts resource.

Blessed with a family background that blended arts and business skills, he’s still utilising his Carnival skills – assisting others to create and amend their costumes, storing costumes and pulling together a C.A.F.E Carnival group while also freelancing on projects nationally and internationally and producing some inspiring food along the way.

Passionate about cooking, Ray built up his skills as a chef while volunteering at a number of charities and is now able to make the most of all his talents while building up the C.A.F.E into a community arts and social venue.

I loved the vibe, the ‘PloughGirl’ lunch looked amazing (I had eaten but vowed to head back for Sunday lunch) and the space is very appealing (as is the host).

If you’re into arts and crafts, dance and stretch classes (Sunday mornings), getting into the Carnival spirit or just feel like a bit of socialising – head through the gates and make for the C.A.F.E.

Oh yes, the space is also available for hire – and is due to host a birthday party with a Caribbean theme next week.

I think we’re onto a winner here!

C.A.F.E details: The workshops are an opportunity to meet like-minded people, sit, chat, eat and drink and learn from one another. C.A.F.E is a registered Charity and intends keeping prices affordable.

What Ray says about contributions: £2 goes toward space and just keeping the place open, £4 contribution and a pot of tea and £5 contribution, pot of tea and a cake.

WEDNESDAYS Open from 11am – 7.30pm

Knit N Tea, Stitch N Cake… Learn to knit or practise your knitting


THURSDAYS Open from 11am – 6pm

Kraftea 14.30-18.00 Open Craft Workshops,

Card Making and Embroidery.

FRIDAY Open from 11am – 9.30pm

Afternoon tea, come sit read chat have a tea/coffee and a cake.

4-8pm: Sewing and Alteration classes. £5 per hour

7-8pm Adult Street Dance class WITH ALIX ROBINSON £3

SATURDAY Open from 11am – 5pm

11am-12.30pm on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month.

Kid’s Arts and Craft.

Kids from 2 years old and up. Cost £4 per child (include snacks, fruit and juice)

2-4.30pm: MAKE – Adults Craft

Bring your craft or learn a craft enjoy with like-minded arts and craft people and enjoy 2hrs of making, chatting, eating and drinking.

SUNDAYS Open from 11.30am – 3pm

Bi-weekly family Sunday lunches

1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.

Sunday 11am – 12pm:

Sunday Morning Stretch Out Class WITH ALIX ROBINSON £3

Ray and some of the artwork on sale at the C.A.F.E

Ray and some of the artwork on sale at the C.A.F.E

Ray would love to hear from anyone who would like to set up an arts/ crafts project or would just like to come to C.A.F.E and finish your own project.

Check the schedule on facebook or the website, email admin@sunshineiarts.co.uk or give Ray a ring on 07881571743


The House in The Junction flashmob success on Good Friday

Good Friday turned out to be a shiny kind of day – not only did we have sunshine in the morning – real, actual sunshine but we ended our day getting smiles out of people at a flashmob organised by The House in The Junction.

The aim of the flashmob was to ‘welcome people back to Loughborough Junction’ and to make everyone feel at home in LJ.

We arrived a little bit late for the initial part of the event but still managed to get two messages to hold out to passing motorists and pedestrians. Mine was a huge favourite, for obvious reasons, saying ‘Oh, I forgot how gorgeous you are!’ Boy did I get some big smiles back – and LJ suddenly felt like a community sharing a laugh … I’m hoping The House in the Junction organise another one soon!

While I’m normally shy about these kinds of events, I loved taking part.

Even though the sky was grey by 5pm and it was getting very chilly – we were warmed by the smiles, laughter and banter. It was almost as sunny as being in Ray Mahabir’s warm and welcoming C.A.F.E in the arches.

Great idea, well executed

Flashmob at LJ 29 March 2013

Bright and light

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Getting up to speed

The Loughborough Junction blog has been a tad inactive for a while. But it’s back … and will try and answer questions, provide room for issues to be debated and chat about the latest happenings in our area.

So please feel free to advertise your businesses innovations and creative ventures and also raise issues about the neighbourhood and we’ll try to get some answers – or at least provide details about how to get in touch with the relevant people.

There are new developments to keep an eye on, a slow but steady increase of interest in the area and great coffee and some good food to be had at the Beanery cafe.

As we’re not as up to speed as some of you about the area we will be making a point of visiting shops, checking out eateries and speaking to locals about the area.

If anyone has specific projects, shops or recommendations to make, please feel free!

For instance I already know I love Zest of India’s great cooking but am certainly willing to try more of their dishes in the interests of a review.

And oh yes, while Loughborough Junction is fairly clearly defined, we’ll still welcome posts about happenings in Brixton or Camberwell if they’re relevant. And link to all the sites we can think of…

Onwards and upwards


Viola Nights at the Whirled Art Cinema 27.7.11 @ 7.30pm £6.00

Following on from the huge success of its debut back in May, Viola Nights hosts its second event at the Whirled Art Cinema on the 27th July, featuring two exciting artists with a very different take on electronic music.

From a small village in the Swedish countryside, bringing what could be described as Northern Lights folk-tronica, come girl/boy duo The Deer Tracks. Their gorgeous sound is like some elfin telex from another universe, an electromagnetic mist of melodies and harmonic noise. Critically acclaimed 2008 debut album ‘Aurora’ received stellar reviews across the board includingThe Guardian and NME.

The band then reached an even larger audience with a full song placement in the hit show Grey’s Anatomy.

They will shortly release their second long player ‘The Archer Triology Pt 2’ as part of a trio of releases.

“The Deer Tracks combine folk-ishly delicate melodies with glitch techno techniques.” The Guardian

“Beautiful and ethereal songs that are epic in both scope and, occasionally, length.” The Fly


Gyratory System is the sound of electronica played by clockwork and steam-powered sequencers.

Combining acoustic and electronic sounds  they draw on sources from post-punk, to jazz, to Krautrock, to early house music.

Two albums to date, ‘The Sound-Board Breathes’, 2009 +  ‘New Harmony’, 2011 have met with great critical praise and substantial radio support. The band has toured the UK extensively.

When not creating Gyratory System’s blend of heavily treated wind instruments, synths and processed percussion, producer/trumpeter Dr. Blick is a constitutional historian and author who once worked at No. 10 Downing Street. His diverse musical background includes work with artists such as Damo Suzuki of Can, David Gedge of the Wedding Present and drum n’ bass DJ Grooverider.

“oddly delightful…brain tinglingly electrifying” – NME live review

“gorgeous” – Steve Lamacq, BBC 6music

“If David Cronenberg had managed to create his own BBC Radiophonic Workshop to score his films, their music might have sounded something like Gyratory System…a collection of little jewels… ” The Quietus

“Mind-boggingly brilliant bonkers electronica” – Huw Stephens, 1FM


£6 advance tickets              7.30pm, Wednesday 27 July @ Whirled Art Cinema, London

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Peace finally returns to Graphite House

Following a number of frustrating months for residents of Southwell Road, Lambeth council has finally evicted the Evangelical church from Graphite House.

Thanks to the efforts of a number of active residents and the Loughborough Junction Action Group, Lambeth council finally placed an eviction order on the church.

The last few days saw a totally new development. About half a dozen female church members were racing around on the flat back roof of “Graphite House” shouting to Jesus, exhorting the devil to leave my building, and blowing loud blasts on a long curled trumpet.

Witch craft is a popular ill to cure within evangelical churches and this ceremony was no doubt to “clean” the building of any evil spirits so exorcism’s could be carried out on witches. One does not need a very long memory to recall the horrific case of Victoria Climbie who was deemed to be a witch and died from her awful abuse at the age of eight.

Interestingly, Channel 4 broadcast a episode of Dispatches today at 8 with a number of hidden cameras finding out exactly what went on in these churches.

Britain’s Witch Children


There are at least 5 other similar churches operating within the area of Loughborough Junction. Are they all operating within the law?

If anyone would like to contribute to this post please submit a comment below.


Loughborough Junction in Bloom! 2010

Hook up a hanging basket bursting with flowers,

grow herbs and vegetables on your windowsill

turn your front garden into a green haven.

Meet your neighbours and invite them to help you garden
Volunteer to help others or “adopt”a green space

Free compost and Rubbish clearance.

Celebrate on Saturday 10th July 2010 with festivities and prizes!

join in and find helpful gardening tips and advice at Carnegie library, 188 Herne Hill Road

Important documents!!!!!

Entry Form Download (Please return to Loughborough Junction in Bloom, 144 Lowden Road, SE24 0BQ)

Some resources to get you started

The Flier to email far and wide (well, in Loughborough Junction)