Page 1




Commercial Way’s community centre

The lowdown on the local sauce scene

The cycle club that welcomes all

Page 13

Page 20

Page 22

A free newspaper for Peckham and Nunhead


Issue 32 April/May 2019

PECKHAM PECULIAR HEY GIRLS, HEY BOYS Superstar DJs, here we go! Page 18



DEAR READER, WELCOME TO ISSUE 32 OF THE PECKHAM PECULIAR, A FREE NEWSPAPER FOR PECKHAM AND NUNHEAD. This issue is dedicated to Charles Coote, secretary of the Peckham Liberal Club for 21 years and a member for more than 30, who sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 91. We first met Charles back in 2013, when we interviewed him for issue one of The Peckham Peculiar. An unfailingly friendly, cheerful and welcoming presence at the Liberal Club, he was a true gent and will be much missed by all who knew him.

Charles played a pivotal role in one of those important local spaces – such as community centres, youth clubs, parks and halls – that are the glue of local communities. They allow individuals to come together, meet and form friendships and should be protected and cherished at all costs. So, when Alexandra Waespi, a freelance photographer from Peckham, emailed to suggest a series on these sacred spaces, we thought it would be a great way to celebrate

them. In upcoming issues of the paper we will explore these accessible community hubs, discovering why they are so special to the people who use them. The series begins with a visit to the Bradfield Club on Commercial Way – turn to page 13 to read more. Before we sign off, we’d like to thank all the brilliant businesses who have supported our latest issue through advertising. The more adverts we receive, the more pages we can afford to fill with stories about the community

who live and work in this special part of southeast London. So, if you’re a businessperson who loves Peckham and Nunhead as much as we do, and would like to find out how we can promote what you do in SE15 and beyond, please get in touch via peckhampeculiar@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you. We hope you enjoy the issue! Mark McGinlay and Kate White

Nunhead fills with music A new community music festival is set to bring the noise to Nunhead this Easter, with a varied line-up of more than 40 live performances ranging from choral to rap. Headlining the festival, called Nunfest, is southeast London MC Afrikan Boy, whose music fuses hip-hop, dance, grime and Afrobeat. Citing Fela Kuti, Gil Scott-Heron, 2Pac and Dizzee Rascal as influences, Afrikan Boy’s lyrics are as dynamic as his musical tastes. The bass-heavy sounds of south-east London and the rhythmic beats of Nigeria will collide at his hotly anticipated and intimate performance. Also appearing at the one-day event – which is all completely free – will be indie music star Joss Cope, Camberwell-based singer-songwriter Pearl Fish, party-starters Pregoblin, experimental mavericks Bas Jan, sublime young singers the Honey Hahs and Afrobeat legend Santana Mongolie. All-female garage rock tribute band Ye Nuns will take to the stage, as well as Little Cub, Lewis Barfoot, Bity Booker, Oscar Mic, A Grande Scheme, I Need To Cher, Tugboat Captain, Nunhead Community Choir, John Hegley, Reggae Choir and more. Telegraph Hill resident Joe Downie was inspired to launch the festival after getting fed-up of travelling north of the river to gigs. “I messaged some of the promoters and I was like, ‘Why aren’t you putting on gigs in Peckham or New Cross?’” said Joe, who works as a social media manager for the charity Friends of the Earth. “Some of them didn’t reply and others said there’s not a big enough audience. I tried to persuade them to put more gigs on and they basically said no, so I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do it myself’.” Joe was also inspired by the Nunhead Art Trail, which sees dozens of local artists opening their doors to the public for an annual autumn event. “That gave me the idea to do the festival as a kind of multi-venue thing, because I really enjoyed walking around the neighbourhood during the trail and finding myself on streets that I hadn’t been on before,” he said. “I thought it could be an opportunity for people to discover a bit more about their community and the local area and could help increase footfall here.”

Speaking about the festival’s line-up, Joe said: “I don’t think it’s as mixed as it could be, but it is quite mixed. I’ve tried to make sure there’s something for everyone. I don’t know if we’ve achieved that – there’s no heavy metal for example. I don’t think you’re going to 100% cater for everyone’s taste because there are so many different types of music these days, but it’s pretty broad.” He’s excited to be welcoming Afrikan Boy to Nunhead as the festival’s headline act. “Getting a headliner like Afrikan Boy was important, to have a name that people will recognise. And he’s a south London boy [from Woolwich], so I thought it would be great to have someone relatively local.” Venues taking part in Nunfest include the Old Nun’s Head, the Ivy House, the Pyrotechnist’s Arms, the Beer Shop London and the Golden Anchor. Margaret’s Music will put on lots of activities for youngsters at local community centre The Green, which will culminate in a children’s concert at 5pm. A crowdfunding campaign backed by 100 local people raised more than £2,000 towards the festival, which has also received funding from Southwark Council and Future Strategy Club. “Hopefully all the shops will be busy because we’ll have lots of people wandering around all day getting hungry,” Joe said. “I’m hoping it will bring the comunity out in force and bring people out together, with lots of different people sampling different music in different venues, people popping their heads into places they’ve not been to before and just celebrating what a great place Nunhead is. “Everything’s going to look really nice hopefully, with balloons and bunting and stuff. It’s going to be like a street party across the whole neighbourhood. “Hopefully everyone will just come together, forget Brexit for a day, forget their differences. Let’s celebrate the stuff we have in common, which is a love of music and good times.” Nunfest takes place on April 20, from 1pm till late. For further announcements and details in the runup to the big day, follow @nunfestlondon on social media – and if you’d like to help finance the festival, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nunfestlondon. Pictured right: Nunfest headliner Afrikan Boy.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White | Production Tammy Kerr | Photographer Lima Charlie | Features editor Emma Finamore | Sub-editor Jack Aston Contributors Pary Baban, Rosario Blue, Helen Graves, Derek Kinrade, Miranda Knox, Tim Richards, Paul Stafford, Alexandra Waespi, Luke G Williams, John Yabrifa Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email peckhampeculiar@gmail.com peckhampeculiar.tumblr.com | @peckhampeculiar | @peckhampeculiar | @peckhampeculiar

april/MAy 2019




Tails of the unexpected Children from a Nunhead primary school have enlisted a furry friend to help them boost their reading skills. Leo the dog visits Hollydale Primary School once a week with his owner, local resident Michelle Wardley. His visits, arranged through the charity Pets as Therapy’s Read2Dogs scheme, aim to help pupils improve their confidence and enjoyment of books. They get a private chance to practise, away from their peers, with an audience that enjoys it as much as they do. The children have fully embraced their new four-legged friend. One pupil in year two said: “I don’t like reading out loud normally but I like reading to Leo.

“He listens really well but once he fell asleep on my lap.” Another pupil in year three said: “I like reading to Leo because it’s more fun than reading to people.” Reema Reid, headteacher at Hollydale, said: “This initiative has not only improved pupils’ reading skills, but is helping our children to fall in love with books. More and more of our children now view reading as a pleasurable activity. “We are always thinking of ways to inspire our children to read and this scheme seemed an ideal way to encourage our reluctant readers to improve their reading skills. Evidence shows that children feel less anxious when reading to dogs.”

Let there be light The owner of one of Peckham’s best-loved businesses has been recognised by Historic England for his work to restore a landmark Art Deco building on Rye Lane. Akbar Khan, owner of Khan’s, worked with a group of local people – including architect and heritage expert Benny O’Looney and Peckham Vision – to painstakingly restore the spectacular vaulted roof in his emporium at 135 Rye Lane, which was once home to the famous Holdron’s department store. The roof had been hidden for years behind a low false ceiling. Speaking at a ceremony at Khan’s in March to celebrate Akbar’s award, Benny told how he and Akbar first discovered the vast lightwell after reading an article about Holdron’s in a 1930s architecture magazine. “We saw a section that showed this massive vault and we knew there was something above those, as they say in the business, ‘life-expired ceiling tiles’,” Benny said. “I was like, ‘Akbar, the tiles have got to go!’ and a skip was duly procured. “It was so exciting to climb the ladder and remove the tiles. Then it was like, ‘Holy smokes! There’s this great volume up here’, which was incredible to see. Of course it was all black, because it was covered in tar and tar paper.” During the year-long restoration, two local handymen, Pops and Tony, worked with Akbar, his family and Benny to restore the lightwell. It contains around 1,000 glass discs, which were carefully cleaned by Pops to allow sunlight to come flooding back into the space. “It’s been an absolutely heroic effort by everyone and an astonishing determination by Akbar to see this through,” Benny said.


Rise to the top “He’s a great retailer, who we all love here in Peckham, but also a fine building restorer.” Accepting his Historic England award, Akbar, whose business began as a stall on Rye Lane, said: “I never dreamed we would come this far when we started years ago. I’m very proud.” Benny is now continuing his work with Akbar and the Wilson family, who own the building and Holdron’s Arcade next door, to restore the old staircase and the exterior of Khan’s, where he’s stripping off the yellow paint to reveal the 1930s shopfront. There are also hopes that the original glass roof in Holdron’s Arcade, which is currently concealed behind a suspended ceiling, might be revealed in due course. Above: Akbar Khan holds his award from Historic England at an event to celebrate the accolade. Top: the spectacular vaulted ceiling at Khan’s.

Entrepreneurs, freelancers or small businesses could win free desk space for a whole year in a refurbished building in Peckham. Market will be set across seven floors at 133 Rye Lane, offering co-working space, meeting rooms, restaurants, event space, a rooftop terrace with views of central and south London and a basement music venue. To celebrate the launch, the team is offering free desks for up to four people for a year, allowing businesspeople who might work from their flat a professional workspace designed to support those who want to be based in their local area. Anyone looking for new desk space is invited to enter the competition via the website at the end of this article. The winners will then be chosen by a group of local judges. The judging panel is made up of Peter Babudu, Labour councillor for Rye Lane ward; James Browning, founder of Balamii radio;

Alex Fefegha, co-founder of Comuzi; Ibrahim Kamara, founder of GUAP magazine; Monique Tomlinson, MD of Peckham Palms; and Franky and Symara, co-founders of L’Appartement. The competition comes ahead of the official launch of the building later this year. Market’s Nick Mansour said: “Over the past four years we have been listening to and engaging with local people and businesses about our plans. “We have developed a long-term approach and as Market starts to emerge from behind the scaffolding, we’re really excited to see how the building can offer a variety of different things to a broad range of people.” He added: “We’re looking forward to seeing who enters, and are offering hard-hat tours for anyone who wants to see behind the scenes before we open.” To find out more about Peckham Rise and to enter, visit marketpeckham.com/rise



Peckham’s newest place to eat and drink is hosting a tempting series of street-food residencies this spring, from Sierra Leonean pop-up Krio Kanteen to local favourites The Flygerians, writes Rosario Blue. Mae J’s is a cafe-bar that is designed and run by Sara Shipley (pictured right). It is named after Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space. “I was going to call it the Mae Jemison but that’s too long – it sounds like an old English pub,” said Sara, director of hospitality and manager of the Bournemouth Close bar. “Mae J’s sounds a little bit more like where you might go and hang out with the girls.” When work began on Mae J’s, which is based in the new Peckham Palms hair and beauty hub just off Rye Lane, it was an empty white unit. Sara worked with an architect to transform it into the bright, colour-filled establishment you see today. Striking paintings of Grace Jones and Nina Simone by talented local artist and Peckham Palms employee Alistair Wilson adorn the walls. In keeping with its name, the bar’s theme is interplanetary, with an Afrocentric twist. Lightcatching gold panels on the walls have a 1960s sci-fi vibe (Sara is a self-professed sci-fi geek). The colour theme, seating and a clever logo designed by Kemi Schleicher, a graphic designer and one of the Palms’ staff, makes it clear just how well thought-out the space is. “There’s a really iconic photo of her [Mae Jemison] and she’s in her space suit, an orange astronaut suit with blue in the background and it exactly matches the colour scheme on the front of the building,” Sara said.

The cafe’s gold display cages are stocked with Supermalt and Wray & Nephew rum, staples in African and Caribbean culture. Ethiopian beers are on sale, a small nod to Sara’s dual heritage, as well as locally sourced varieties. “That’s why we have Supermalt and that’s why we have rum,” said Sara, “and everything’s got a bit of a twist. “It’s a standard bar and coffee shop, really, but I want to maintain elements of Peckham and elements of the culture. So we have an Ethiopian beer because I’m half Ethiopian, but I would love to get Nigerian beers in – and we have local Peckham beer as well.” Now the doors are open, Sara has planned a packed programme of events and food pop-ups to maximise the use and potential of Mae J’s. Following several successful trials, including a kitchen takeover by healthy Caribbean streetfood vendor Lime Hut, which is based on Berwick Street in Soho, she plans to use Mae J’s as a platform for black street-food businesses to hold residencies, sharing their skills and amazing food with the community. During the first two weeks of April, Mae J’s is hosting Nunhead’s Flygerians, who specialise in Nigerian street food, as resident cooks. May will see Krio Kanteen serving up delicious Sierra Leonean cuisine, before The Flygerians return in June to take up residency for the whole month. “Mae J’s is here to act as a platform for black women and a support system for black women,” said Sara, adding: “It’s a place where everyone is welcome.”


A good use of space



Camberwell club seeks recruits A fast-growing youth football club in Camberwell is on the lookout for new players, writes Luke G Williams. AFC Camberwell was created by club secretary Daniel Hosier and fixture secretary and club welfare officer Brady Owen last year. “With all the social challenges that Camberwell faces we thought we could make a difference by forming a football club that is best suited to the community and the players within it,” Brady said. “It’s a challenging area to have a football club in but our aim is to develop a large club, with enough players to help youngsters throughout Camberwell who want to play football. “If football is used well you can do a lot with it to influence people and bring people into the community. We’re quite small at the moment but in the future we want to do more within the community outside of football too.” Camberwell-born and bred Brady is passionate about making a positive contribution to the local community where he has lived for his entire life. “It’s important to me to give something back to the community and to try and improve it,” he explained. “We started with just one team because we wanted to make sure everything ran smoothly. We are aiming to have an extra three new teams this year.” On May 25 the club will hold trials for its new under-10s, under-12s and under-14s teams, for players aged eight to 13. Brady said AFC Camberwell – whose club motto is “All’s Well” – is a club that seeks to develop players in the “right way”.

“Whether a player stays with us for one year or five years it’s important to me that their parents are able to see their child has improved, on and off the pitch. It’s not just about results. It’s about the journey of being with the club. “For example, we started our first season quite well, then we lost quite a few games, but we kept reminding the players and their parents to not just look at the results but at how we have played.” Brady’s footballing philosophies come from his own experiences as a young footballer. “I played football from a young age and always wanted to have my own club. I played to an alright level as a goalkeeper. I’d stand in goal and watch the coaches shouting and screaming at the players and think, ‘There must be a better way!’ “Later I studied sport science at university and also spent a lot of time reading and researching different coaching methods.” With a cast-iron commitment to safeguarding, and coaches who utilise progressive and modern methods and are all CRB checked, Brady stresses that AFC Camberwell are here to stay, and here to serve the local community. “Anyone who wants to get involved can get in touch with us via our social media – Twitter, Facebook or Instagram [@afccamberwell],” he said. “We also have a website. We aim to always train in Camberwell and people can contact us if they want to find out more details and come along.” To find out more or register for trials on May 25 in Ruskin Park, visit afccamberwell.co.uk


Theatre legend honoured Theatre Peckham founder Teresa Early has received an MBE from the Queen for her services to young people in the arts. Teresa launched the acting school in the mid1980s and expanded it into a renowned training hub that introduces thousands of young people to theatre every year. Many of its alumni are employed across the creative industries. In 2014 Teresa was the driving force behind the £2.5 million project to transform the Havil Street space into a state-of-the-art academy. The new building offers an accessible introduction to the performing arts and provides guided progression into higher education and employment. Teresa, who stepped down as artistic director of the theatre last summer after 34 years, said: “I feel very proud to have received the accolade of an MBE and am very grateful to have had the chance to introduce so many young people and their families to the magic of theatre.” Paying tribute to Teresa, Star Wars actor John Boyega, who attended Theatre Peckham as a youngster and is now its patron, said: “Teresa established a place of creativity in our local area and it is in this space that I found myself, my voice and my lifelong passion. “I’m very proud of her for all she has achieved and the many lives she continues to impact in a positive way. Theatre Peckham will always be home.”

Theatre programmes of yesteryear are going on show at Peckham Pelican this spring, in a nostalgic display that’s not to be missed. The exhibition will explore those illustrated souvenirs of a night at the theatre. Each one is a work of art in itself, uniquely designed to stir excitement before the curtain rises. Visitors to Peckham Pelican will discover an array of programmes peppered with adverts for restaurants long since closed and cigarettes no longer smoked. The programmes are also a celebration of those who honed their craft in an era when fame was hard won. While some shows stirred up that elusive buzz and became a hit, others closed as quickly as they opened. Some names on the programmes will be instantly recognisable to viewers, while others have long since been consigned to theatrical obscurity. The programmes, which date from the 1940s to the 1980s, are from the personal collection of Peckham resident Myles Usher, who has a background in theatre and performance. “From family heirlooms to years of treasureseeking at vintage stalls, I couldn’t be more delighted to share a lifelong passion of classic theatre,” said Myles.


Vanishing acts

“Visitors will have the opportunity to bask in the sheer glory of classic and elegant design from the theatres of yesteryear. Stylish covers open up onto a world that has long since vanished, with craftsmanship and skill from the pre-digital age. “Take five minutes – or maybe 10 – out of your stressful and busy day to come and discover,

explore and enjoy these little theatrical pieces of art.” Vanishing Acts: a Nostalgic Journey through Theatreland will be on display at Peckham Pelican, 92 Peckham Road, from April 27-May 18. All are invited to the opening night on May 2.

Co-op coming to Nunhead



The Co-op has been granted a licence to sell alcohol at 86-96 Evelina Road in Nunhead, paving the way for it to open a supermarket on the site. Southwark Council green-lit the proposal last month, despite more than 200 objections from residents and shops, who said a new supermarket will harm their businesses. Councillor Victoria Mills, Southwark’s cabinet member for finance, performance and Brexit, said: “The decision from the council’s licensing committee was only about the supermarket’s alcohol licence. “The supermarket would be free to open and operate from the premises regardless, although of course unable to sell alcohol, if the licence had been refused. There is no legal standing for considering commercial interests when determining the granting of this sort of licence.”

Pupils say no to plastic Children from Peckham have been exploring ways to reduce their plastic use in a special project at their school. Pupils from the Belham Primary School on Bellenden Road spent a week looking at the problems caused by plastic and the effect it has on our planet. They gained insights into the issues through a fact-filled assembly from Plastic Free Peckham – a community group helping Peckham to go plastic-free – and a screening of Tom Barry’s documentary Drowning in Plastic. Local artist Stephen Wright worked with the children to create a mosaic using plastic lids; year three pupil Dexter’s granddad Gustav gave a talk about life before the plastic deluge; and the Belham’s chef answered questions about plastic use in the school kitchen.

Among all of this, year four pupils launched onto the River Thames in recycled boats to clear plastic waste from the waters. They also wrote letters to local supermarkets, imploring them to cut down on their plastic use, and have composed love-letters to the sea and odes to plastic bags. The children have been getting creative too, making lampshades, tote bags, circus models and musical instruments using sustainable, ecofriendly materials. Kate Gorely and Katie Mander, two teachers from the Belham who organised the plastic awareness project, said: “We have been hugely impressed with how much the children have learnt, not only about the impact of plastic on the environment but also what they can do to help make a change.”


Local artists open their doors revealed as time passes or when landscapes are abandoned or changed by events. Colour and memory are key elements in her work. Elsewhere a selection of paintings, drawings and prints by the late artist Paul Benjamins, curated by his wife Jaqui, will be going on show, alongside a beautiful book of his last drawings. Woven wonders by textile designer Kathleen Groves, who hand-paints silks and rare cottons and weaves them into rich, complex designs, will be another highlight. At the Belham Primary School on Bellenden Road, an exhibition of pupils’ art will be shown along with work by creatives including jeweller Jacqui Quinn, artist Marika Sonne, who creates mixed-media collages inspired by flowers, and ceramicist Tom Turnham, known for his handsculpted flower pots and soap dishes. Meanwhile in the Arches Studios in Blenheim Court off Blenheim Grove, Jane Muir will display her collectable ceramic figures; Loraine Rutt will showcase palm-sized porcelain globes and ceramic topographies; and Eunice de Pascali will present little worlds made of porcelain and black stoneware clay.

Drumming up support Ghanaian master percussionist Afla Sackey will be leading his renowned eight-piece handpicked funk orchestra, Afrik Bawantu, in a rhythm-driven, dance-inducing fusion to some of the best Afrofunk tunes at the Bussey Building in April. Afrik Bawantu blends African percussion with a funky and talented horn section. In recent years the group has gained international acclaim. The event is raising funds for the Giraffe Mobile Education Project, a charity that was set up by Peckham resident Winifred Obese-Bempong (pictured above) about three years ago. This year it aims to launch a mobile library to provide educational support to children of primary-school age in the Akropong-Akuapem township in Ghana. Providing regular access to books, storytelling and other key educational resources, the library

will travel between several local primary schools, encouraging children to learn and helping them to boost their confidence and take pride in their education. Emma Lidbury, a trustee of the Giraffe Mobile Education Project, said: “We’re excited to have raised nearly enough money to launch our Ghanaian mobile library project this autumn. “We’re hosting this event to help us reach our fundraising goal, and we’d love to pack out Copeland Park! It promises to be a hugely fun night, and we hope lots of people will come and support us.” Join Afrik Bawantu on April 27 from 7.30-11pm. Tickets £13.16 in advance from Eventbrite or £15 on the door. For more information and to buy tickets, visit tinyurl.com/afrikbussey

Artists’ Open House takes place on May 11-12 and 18-19 from 11am-6pm. Some artists open for one weekend and others are open for both. For full listings, timings and location details, visit dulwichfestival.co.uk – and for more coverage on the Dulwich Festival, pick up our sister paper The Dulwich Diverter, which is published on May 1. PHOTO BY DAVID MOORE

Artists in Peckham will open their doors to the public for the Dulwich Festival’s Artists’ Open House event in May – giving visitors a glimpse into the creative process behind their work. Painters, ceramicists, sculptors, weavers, textile designers, illustrators, photographers, printmakers and more are all taking part in the popular annual event, which will see more than 250 artists in Dulwich and the surrounding areas welcome visitors into their homes, workspaces and studios to view their art in a unique and intimate setting. Peckham painter Mark Pearson (pictured above) will display his celebrated contemporary figurative paintings, which primarily document the changing nature of Peckham in oils, acrylics and ink. He will also be exhibiting paintings from his travels abroad, as well as a selection of limited-edition prints. “Peckham is an inexhaustible subject,” Mark said in an interview with The Peckham Peculiar back in 2016. “What I want to do is paint these streets. There’s a great amount of material and it really suits my style. I’m developing it all the time and people seem to like it.” Mark, who moved to the area almost 20 years ago, added: “Peckham still has really individual places that other areas have lost. It’s a bit like an onion, there’s always another layer to peel back and explore.” Another Peckham artist taking part this year is Octavia Milner, who paints lyrical abstract landscapes. She is interested in layers that are



A true gentleman Charles Coote, secretary of the Peckham Liberal Club, sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 91. Charles, who was known to friends and members of the club as Charlie, joined the Elm Grove club in March 1988 and was secretary for the last 21 years. He was always on hand to greet members and guests with a warm smile.


We interviewed him in our first issue, where he talked about what the Liberal Club meant to him. “This place is a sanctuary to me. That’s what it is,” he said. The club has created a memorial for Charles close to where he usually sat in the bar area, which bears the words: “In memory of a true gentleman”. He will be greatly missed.



Down our way

IN THE FIRST OF A NEW SERIES ON LOCAL COMMUNITY SPACES, people from Peckham explain why the Bradfield Club is so important to them WORDS MIRANDA KNOX PHOTOS ALEXANDRA WAESPI

At first glance, the Bradfield Club on Commercial Way might not look particularly remarkable – but appearances can definitely be deceiving. Set back from the road with limited signage, you’d be forgiven for not noticing the club initially, but if you step inside, the friendly faces and the welcoming and endearingly chaotic atmosphere will make you feel right at home. Founded in 1912, the centre has been a safe space for young people for more than 100 years, providing activities such as football, basketball, martial arts and roller discos, as well as creating a social community for adults too. Photographer Alexandra Waespi spent a couple of months getting to know the people who attend and work at the club, and discovered just how much it means to those who use its services while creating a series of portraits. Daniel Campbell has worked at the club for eight years, managing the centre for the last four, and grew up in Peckham Rye. “We get up to 500 unique visitors a week, and really want to build up more of a presence in Peckham,” he says. “The area has changed a lot; in some ways for the better, in some ways for the worse. There are a lot more chicken shops and pawnbrokers, but then Peckham Library used to be a no-go zone for kids, and it’s nice people are now welcome to Peckham. APRIL/MAY 2019

“For the young people, we provide somewhere safe, which is the most important thing, and they can be themselves here too. “One of the kids said the other day that outside they have to wear a mask, and put on a tough image, but when they come here they can be silly and just be a kid. “We tick a lot of boxes. While the kids’ sessions are happening, it’s a chance for the parents to chat to each other – it provides something for everyone.” Part-time youth worker and mum-of-four Rose Atkinson has lived in Peckham since 1979. She started off as a volunteer at the club 15 years ago and has never left. She says: “My older kids were playing out and came across this club. They told me the club was looking for volunteers in the summer holiday and I was able to bring my six-month-old baby daughter along too. “I decided I wanted to work with children because my oldest son had been involved in a hit and run car accident on Dog Kennel Hill when he was 13 and we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to survive. I had to care for him without help and he had to learn how to do everything – eat and walk – again. “For my children, the club has brought them to where they are now. It keeps children out of THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 13


trouble. It’s harder now, with the knife crime and gangs. It’s good to have a club like this to serve the community. “We like kids to feel like they’re at home and welcome. We want it to be a family environment, where they can meet friends. We don’t have the usual rivalry in here that happens outside. “We have football, some kids play basketball, and we do a roller-disco on Tuesdays and Sundays.” Among those who use the club, Lee Goodwin – who has lived in Peckham for 15 years – has been bringing her eight-year-old son Christopher to the club for taekwondo lessons three times a week since January. For her, it’s improved her relationship with her son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s as a toddler. Lee says: “Before, we had some challenges, with behaviour and control. My partner has a black belt and has been doing taekwondo for years and suggested we try it and see if it helps. “For the first few weeks he [Christopher] was nervous. With Asperger’s it’s very difficult to do team sports, but this is quite individual. The instructors are amazing. It’s really helped our relationship, and it has helped with bonding – 14 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

there’s less shouting and screaming at each other! It’s worked wonders and it’s a family atmosphere. “I’d never heard about this place and had walked past it so many times – it’s only when you start coming you realise how much they offer here.” Rai-Kwaun Bailey-Brooks is one of the many young people to benefit from the club. The 18-year-old has been coming here for the last two years, using the studio to produce music, and says he owes a lot to the centre. He says: “It’s so welcoming, and without it I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much.” Leanne Stowell has been attending the Monday exercise class aimed predominantly at mums who can also use the free creche at the centre, for the last six months. She says: “The club provides so much. I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression and coming here has really helped. “Since becoming a mum to my son 19 months ago, I sometimes felt like I’d lost a bit of who I was. “Coming here and exercising and having a laugh with other mums makes me feel like I’ve got my own identity back, and we’re all doing it together – we encourage each other.” APRIL/MAY 2019



Peckham Palms is a new Afrocentric hair and beauty hub in Peckham, offering services ranging from hair-braiding to natural hair treatments. It is led by an all-black female team of directors – who better to design a space to primarily serve black women than black women themselves? Located on Bournemouth Close, just off Rye Lane, the purpose-built, covered arcade – with space for up to 30 stylists and lifestyle businesses – launched in January, as a dedicated destination for those hairdressers who have had to relocate from Blenheim Grove during the work to build a new public square in front of Peckham Rye Station. The Palms is home to six salons, of which one is a barbershop. The units derive their names from all over Africa. “They all have great meanings,” says Monique Tomlinson, managing director of Peckham Palms. “Damba, the name of the Palms’ barbershop, means ‘king of the world’ in Angola. Then we have Asantewaa – everybody knows she was a formidable empress in Ghana. We’ve also got Taytu – she was fantastic. Ethiopia was never colonised by the British because of her.” The Palms is not just a hair and beauty hub. It is also home to a cafe-bar called Mae J’s (for more on this, turn to page six) and an events space, running workshops and panel discussions. There are also plans to provide information and support on health issues, especially in those areas that disproportionately affect the black community. 16 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

“It’s about working on all the issues that face our community and making sure that people get the information they need,” says Monique. “You’re not going to come in here and somebody’s going to misappropriate your culture, because we are all from that culture.” Only products that are trusted, reliably sourced and from independent businesses will be on sale. “In January we had a healthcare market,” Monique says. “We had local black women who make creams, hair oils, moisturisers and masks. They do all the butters, all your oils – the jojoba oils, avocado, they’ve got it all there and they were selling their products and it was fantastic.” The Palms also has an on-site trichologist, Ebuni Ajiduah, with two other trichologists set to join the team on a part-time basis. Every other Saturday, Angel Dee Fitness runs a yoga class, Ebon Yoga. Monique says that when people come to Peckham Palms they love it – and she wants to ensure that everybody who lives and works in Peckham and the surrounding area is aware that it’s here and open for business. “It’s great that everybody loves the space,” she says, “but it needs to be filled. I need you to be here, I need everyone to be here to utilise this space, support the businesses here and create new businesses within this space.” APRIL/MAY 2019





All hands on decks

TENDAI CHAGWEDA ACHIEVED HER DREAM OF BECOMING A DJ – AND NOW SHE’S ALL ABOUT HELPING OTHERS DO THE SAME. The inspiring Peckham resident explains why she’s passionate about working with those who might struggle to access the DJ world otherwise WORDS EMMA FINAMORE PHOTOS LIMA CHARLIE

Many people consider their career mission over once they reach their dream job. But Tendai Chagweda isn’t like most people. The Peckhamborn and raised DJ achieved her goal – being able to play music to other people for a living – and has now turned her hand to helping others achieve their own DJ dreams too. Her Inspiring DJs school offers a wide range of workshops and classes, to help teach an even wider range of people all sorts of skills related to DJing. Through sessions at Mountview theatre academy and Peckham Levels, as well as classes in and around south London and up in Dalston, Tendai teaches everything from the basics on the decks, to how to operate as a professional DJ. Her students range from six to 50 years old. It seems apt that Tendai is helping people achieve their musical ambitions in Peckham, having lived here her whole life – on Sumner Road – and beginning her DJ career in south London in 2007, playing sets at places like The Cube in Camberwell, and clubs in Streatham and London 18 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

Bridge, spinning her beloved South African house music under her moniker, Petite DJ. Now she’s DJed at places like the Shard, but it was here in Peckham that her love for music began. “I was always raving; Lazerdrome in Peckham was my first experience of that,” she recalls, of the now-closed nightclub at the top of Rye Lane. Lazerdrome was open from 1988 to 2005, playing host to drum ’n’ bass, house, garage and jungle parties, as well as regular club night Innersense and DJ sets from the likes of Kemistry & Storm – who were huge in the ’90s UK drum ’n’ bass scene. “I used to grab the mic, basically. Me and my girls who all grew up in Peckham were the ‘Dancehall Massive’,” Tendai laughs, remembering a chant she and her friends would shout. “We’d get the mic from the famous DJs.” When a good friend who was also from Peckham offered to teach her to man the decks herself – rather than wait for someone to do it for her – Tendai was unsure at first.

“I wanted to be front of stage. Back then it was all about the person on the mic,” she says. “I wanted to be out there.” She eventually changed her mind though and took some DJ courses, and although she gained the technical abilities required, she says she felt completely on her own as soon as the classes were over, with no guidance on how to use her new skills: “They took my money and then said, ‘Bye’. There was no aftercare whatsoever.” Even though Tendai went on to establish herself as a DJ for clubs and events, specialising in South African house and even being interviewed on BBC World News about the rise of African house music in London, she never forgot that feeling of being left to fend for herself. That’s what drove her to establish Inspiring DJs in 2016, bringing on board another impressive teacher – the award-winning DJ Smasherelly, who specialises in scratch and drop classes and is the tour DJ for big names like Stefflon Don and Estelle.

The school held its first classes at the PemPeople shop on Peckham High Street in November 2017 – “Nicholas [Okwulu] was the first person to believe in me,” Tendai smiles – and one of the first enquiries that came through was from the mother of an autistic child. “He was an absolute pleasure,” says Tendai. “These people are excluded from society, but they have super powers! I refuse to call them ‘disabilities’. I’ve been attracting loads of people with super powers ever since.” As well as a range of ages, Inspiring DJs is opening up the DJ world to those who might struggle to access it otherwise: people with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, as well as those from pupil referral units and foster care. What many teachers might see as hurdles in their pupils, Tendai embraces as strengths. “For them, they love the encouragement and they love the autonomy,” she says of students with autism or ADHD. “Once I’ve taught them the basics, I just let them get creative without APRIL/MAY 2019

MUSIC direction, but with lots of encouragement and motivation. It’s not difficult though because they genuinely have a super power, they get it [DJing] in a completely different way and style to other people. When I try to explain things to people without those super powers, they often overthink it, bring in too much logic. “For some of the mums it’s a breath of fresh air seeing their children use their creativity in a way that is encouraged. It’s beautiful when you gain the trust of the mums. If they leave to go do their own thing, I record classes so they can see what we’ve done – it’s great when you see the parent looking back on what their child has achieved, and they’re like, ‘That’s my child!’ “I remember one mum [during a class delivered to foster care providers] just came up and hugged me – I guess she’d never seen her child in that capacity, being so enthusiastic.”  Working with young people from pupil referral units has been equally as revelatory. “They said they’ve never seen the kids so engaged ever,” says Tendai. “One of the kids kept on stopping us to ask when we were going to be doing it in schools. To hear they’d never been that engaged before, that touched my soul.” Tendai describes how quickly pupils can pick up DJ skills. “One of the children, I call him my little David Rodigan [a reference to the iconic reggae and dancehall DJ] – within half an hour he was mixing, he’d never touched decks before,” she says. She also talks about how DJing is becoming more popular within schools: it’s starting to be taken seriously as a career choice. This is where the other side of Inspiring DJs comes in: offering the “soft skills” required to build a business as a working DJ. Tendai offers coaching sessions for over-16s at offices she has in Vauxhall’s impressive Tintagel House, helping

them plan for the future. “I find out what their dreams are, and teach them to dream big,” she says. “I basically do life-coaching with them, asking them, ‘Who are your dream promoters?’ and ‘What’s your idea of a dream salary?’” Tendai tells how one of her students has gone on to work with some of his dream people in different capacities – proof that her holistic approach to DJ training really works. Arguably, her success as a teacher is also down to the fact that she loves music. When talking about South African house, that passion really shines through: “A dream set for me would be sort of ancestral house – a lot of drums and chanting. A lot of the time the music we’re listening to, we

don’t have a clue what they’re saying, but the beat and the rhythm is so entrancing. It’s hard to explain, but it’s when people just become one. No one knows what they’re saying but everyone feels it.” This passion and emotion comes through in her selections and mixes: a fan got in touch with Tendai just a few days before we meet, enthusing about a mix CD she’d given them years earlier. It’s an enthusiasm Tendai wants to pass on to everyone: as well as one-to-one classes, Inspiring DJs offers group sessions (for example parent and child, groups of friends) as well as fun sessions for birthdays and team away-days for local businesses.

Brimming with ideas, she talks about recent Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, and how she’s creating a DJ version of this in south London, acting as a platform to help her students get bookings. Southwark Council has already booked Inspiring DJs to play at an event, and instead of Petite DJ, it’ll be her young protégés taking to the decks. She says real-life jobs like this will help them become better DJs, completing their training in the real world: “They’ll become more engaged, knowing what to play and how to keep their audience engaged.” All this activity hasn’t gone unnoticed. Last year Tendai was nominated for Female Personality of the Year at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards, a celebration of talent, art, business, expression and achievement in the Zimbabwean community (Tendai’s roots are in Zimbabwe), and she was even invited to Downing Street to talk to the prime minister’s business adviser about her work in local communities. “The bread of that conversation was all about university,” she remembers of the Downing Street meeting. “But I said, ‘Sorry I’ve just got to interject here, I’m from the inner city, I personally haven’t gone to uni.’ “It’s about getting them to understand that not everyone wants to go to uni and not everyone can afford to go to uni, but they’ve still got the ability to do whatever they want.” Tendai is living proof of this. She has achieved her DJ dream without a degree, and also teaches social media at London South Bank University. “I don’t have a degree or any experience in universities, but I can still do it,” she says, reflecting the can-do, sky’s-the-limit ethos of Inspiring DJs. To all aspiring DJs out there, she says: “Come on down, we’ll show you the way.”


Straight to the sauce SALES OF HOT SAUCE ARE SOARING, WITH MOUTHWATERING VARIETIES FLYING OFF THE SHELVES LIKE NEVER BEFORE. Three producers from Peckham and Camberwell talk about their homegrown recipes and why so many people do indeed like it hot WORDS HELEN GRAVES PHOTOS LIMA CHARLIE

Chillies are loved around the world for their unique flavour, wide-ranging heat levels and the buzz they give us as we add ever-increasing amounts to our food. The hot sauce business is booming, with lots of independent producers simmering, fermenting and blending chillies before funnelling them into handy, shakeable bottles. Jen Ferguson, co-founder of Hop Burns & Black, said her business is enjoying a bumper year for hot sauce, with revenue from hot sauce sales in the East Dulwich Road shop alone up by 54% in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2018. From the mild, everyday cayenne-based sauces to those made with the beautiful but serious scotch bonnets we see every day on Rye Lane, people can’t get enough of these spicy additions. Now, three local brands – Peckham Sauce Co, Disco Hot Sauce and Slow Richie’s – are making 20 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

names for themselves with their addictive homegrown recipes. Exactly how does one end up in the hot sauce business? Archie Woodward of Peckham Sauce Co got into it through his love of fermentation, originally just making gifts for friends and family. A combination of “trial and error mixed with serendipity” led him to “create a unique fermented hot sauce that was like nothing [he’d] ever tasted”. After doing some research and finding there were very few other fermented sauces on the market, he decided to use his background in marketing to launch a new business and has “never looked back”. Just down the road in Camberwell, Jen Katan and Oli Kissick-Jones of Disco Hot Sauce were inspired by the scotch bonnet bounty so freely available in this corner of south-east London. “We were walking home from a night out and decided we wanted a late-night snack with some decent

hot sauce but knew we were out of our usual fridge stock,” Oli explains. “There’s always the opportunity to buy scotch bonnets from any of the late-night convenience stores so at 2am we embarked on making some of our own. We both have a lot of energy so we figured, what better time to knock some up?” For brothers Richie and Alex Calver of Slow Richie’s it was a case of developing their established street-food brand, loved for their giant, juicy burgers and now their “hog kitchen” at Brick Brewery. “Having had a career as a chef before starting Slow Richie’s, I believe in making food from scratch using fresh ingredients, not just opening a packet or jar,” explains Richie. “We were raised on spicy foods, so all our hot sauces contain a hefty amount of chillies.” This includes that ever-present scotch bonnet, which they blend into their “Blenheim Black” with

Brick Brewery’s Blenheim Black ale, where its fruitiness balances well with the bitter hops. In fact, all three producers are huge fans of the chilli so familiar to residents of this part of London, with the Peckham Sauce Co fermenting their Batch One hot sauce with the bobbly, lantern-shaped bonnets as well as Dutch chillies, paprika, coriander, mustard seeds and garlic. This produces a sauce that is fresh and hot but aromatic too. “Some people say it’s quite similar to ’nduja [the spicy Calabrian sausage], which I can kind of see,” Archie muses. Jen and Oli make their Disco Hot Sauce with a heavy dose of turmeric in addition to the scotch bonnets, inspired by a trip Jen took to Panama, where she fell in love with a “scotch bonnetbased hot sauce with mustard, fresh vegetables and herbs like onion, garlic and lots of turmeric. They serve it everywhere and keep it in recycled whiskey bottles.” APRIL/MAY 2019

FOOD She resolved to come back and make a version of the sauce, albeit with a special “London twist” that includes English mustard. With the hot sauce market crammed full of products, these cooks focus on small batches produced with high quality ingredients. “All of our chillies come from Rwanda,” explains Archie. “We work closely with a few farms out there because the quality is second to none and it’s less than 24 hours from picking to landing at Gatwick. From there they get chopped down to a mash, then we chuck in salt along with our favourite herbs and spices. We then seal up the barrel and let it sit for at least one month but it can be up to three. Once that’s complete all we do is blend down the barrel and throw in some vinegar.” At Slow Richie’s, all sauces are handmade in the kitchen at Dulwich Hamlet football club and they often take things one step further by working with high quality local producers. In addition to their collaborations with Brick Brewery, they’ve made sauces with Gosnells mead (a green cayenne number) and Kanpai sake (roasted chilli and horseradish). Richie also cultivates some of the chillies at home for “small batch sauces”, including the fearsome Carolina Reaper, which currently holds the Guinness World Record for the hottest chilli pepper on the planet (it has been claimed that other chillies are spicier but this has not been confirmed by Guinness). So what’s the best way to enjoy these sauces? Slow Richie’s, unsurprisingly, suggests trying it on their swine-based sandwiches at the brewery. Their behemoth Black Hog sandwich is made with slow-roast pork, black pudding and their Original Hot Sauce, while the Classic Hog comes with an impressive shard of crackling and their sweetspicy chilli apple sauce (see their Instagram page @slowrichies for incredible photos that should

come with a trigger warning for the hungry). Diners can then buy a bottle to take away and douse their sandwiches for ever more. For Archie at Peckham Sauce Co, a bacon sandwich is number one. “It’s my favourite thing about the weekend,” he says. “I also made a Batch One braised short rib, which was pretty mind-blowing and the recipe for that is over on our Instagram [@peckhamsauceco] if you want to check it out. Batch Two [their habanero, yellow pepper and peach sauce] is pretty decent on

tacos because you get a good hit of sweet, tangy spice.” Jen and Oli are less specific, saying: “We eat it on literally everything! We also experiment with recipes and post the creations on our Instagram [@discohotsauce]. Last Saturday we made a spicy cod and fried egg ‘disco bap’ for breakfast and drenched that with Disco Hot Sauce. We add it to mayo for a spicy mayonnaise. “It can also be used in salad dressings to add a kick, or as a flavour enhancer in a stew. We’ve

also been experimenting with drinks too – a Disco Michelada went down a treat during the summer and the Disco Mary was on the drinks menu at the Montpelier pub last summer. We’re hoping to introduce it to the White Horse menu very soon.” All the producers clearly have strong ties to Peckham’s creative community. “Being a local in south-east London has been brilliant for discovering food entrepreneurialism and connecting our favourite dance haunts and music networks with the sauce,” Jen enthuses. “We’ll have a stand at Hot Sauce Society [London’s first dedicated hot sauce festival] on April 13 in Copeland Park, where we’ll be selling sauce and our disco-lyric slogan T-shirts. Oh and we will also be DJing later in the day.” It turns out the name Disco Hot Sauce comes from a combined passion for music and chillies. “I’ve worked in the music industry most of my life for labels such as Universal and currently Kobalt’s AWAL,” explains Oli. “I still DJ regularly and spent my early London days running dance parties and hanging out in late-night discotheques.” “So much has changed in the six years Peckham has been home,” Richie says. “In that time the food and drink scene has grown massively and it’s been great being a part of it. There’s a real festival feeling in the area throughout the summer months; from the rooftops to Peckham Rye Park, everyone is having a great time. There’s very little reason to leave the area these days, with so much going on.” Archie agrees: “I live in Peckham and it’s the best place in London – there’s literally no other place I’d rather be. There’s always so much going on, with new places popping up and exciting events. There’s very few places where you have it all and I think Peckham is one of them. The day I have to leave will be a very sad day.”


Peckham revolutions SINCE IT BEGAN IN 2010, PECKHAM CYCLE CLUB HAS EARNED A REPUTATION AS ONE OF THE FRIENDLIEST CLUBS OF ITS KIND. Rob Whitworth and Jemma Adams tell us more about the group’s welcoming and supportive ethos, which ensures no one who wants to ride gets left behind WORDS LUKE G WILLIAMS PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

You’ve probably seen members of Peckham Cycle Club whizzing around the environs of SE15 clad in their striking black tops emblazoned with five multicoloured vertical stripes. But unless you’ve ridden with them, what you probably don’t realise is that Peckham CC has fast carved out a reputation as the friendliest and most sociable cycle club you could ever imagine. The club’s motto – “United we roll” – aptly summarises their inclusive and welcoming ethos, which is reflected in the fact that after their regular Saturday morning social rides, many riders end up sharing coffees at SeaBass Cycles on Rye Lane or beers at Brick Brewery on Blenheim Grove. “We fundamentally believe riding bikes is good for people’s mental and physical health,” says club chairman Rob Whitworth. “We’re now a group of about 100 or so riders and what we are trying to do is make sure that people in Peckham have people they can go and ride bikes with.” When it began in 2010, Peckham Cycle Club was, in Rob’s words, “quite an informal thing”. “Two guys called John Armstrong and Tom Cardwell set up the club after meeting through mutual friends,” he explains. “When I joined in 2014 or 2015 there were maybe eight members. “Over the last couple of years it’s grown a lot. In terms of our ethos, John always strongly encouraged new riders and as a personality he was massively important to the club. When I first joined he was there every weekend encouraging people to ride longer and harder. He’s about 22 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

to move to America but he was absolutely instrumental in setting up and growing the club.” Club volunteer and member Jemma Adams began riding with Peckham Cycle Club in 2017after spotting one of the club’s jerseys “whizz by”. Jemma has been a loyal member ever since and emphasises the importance of the club’s friendly and supportive approach, pointing out that it is an ethos that contrasts with many other cycle clubs. “There are an awful lot of cycling clubs to choose from in London but often they can be quite formal and a bit intimidating,” she says. “There are often quite strict rules as well, for example you might be allowed to go on just one beginner’s ride and then you have to decide whether to join and pay for membership or not. “I’ve heard horror stories about some clubs dropping people and that sort of thing. Peckham CC gets away from that intimidating ethos and offers something really welcoming, friendly and chilled out. “We have a really strict non-drop, everyone’s looked after policy. We always make sure that new riders know they won’t be dropped and left at the bottom of a hill or left to make their own way home, which can happen at some clubs!” Rob stresses another factor that differentiates Peckham CC from other clubs is their membership structure and policy. “You can ride with us and you don’t have to pay to be a member,” he explains. “We don’t want

anyone to have to commit financially in order to ride a bike. So if you want to participate in our regular Saturday morning social ride you don’t have to pay a penny.” In order to facilitate and help fund the club’s growing roster of other events – from charity rides to cycling trips abroad – PCC has now introduced a Friends of Peckham Cycle Club scheme. For an annual fee of £25, those who sign up qualify for a range of discounts and special offers – plus it enables them to wear the club kit. “We now have operating expenses by being a part of British Cycling, that’s the only reason we ever decided to set up the Friends of Peckham Cycle Club scheme,” Rob says. “It’s important to note that even if you’re not signed up to the scheme then we still consider you a member of the club. In other words, if you ride with us, you’re a member.” “If we have people who want to join and want a club kit but have less financial resources, then the Friends of Peckham Cycle Club scheme means we have a pool of money available to help people out,” Jemma adds. “We are adamant that our Saturday morning social rides will always be open to anyone and everyone, without having to pay.” The Saturday ride Jemma refers to regularly attracts at least 20 to 25 participants, and begins at Peckham Library at 8am in the summer and 8.30am in the winter. “It’s a standard loop down into Kent and back again around Biggin Hill,”

Jemma says. “It’s about 30 to 40 miles and we arrive back maybe at 11am or 12pm. It happens pretty much every week, come rain or shine. I think it’s only had to be cancelled once or twice in the last six months, due to bad weather.” The age range of Peckham CC’s members spans several decades, and Jemma points out: “We’ve got a real mix of people involved – mostly Peckham and Nunhead residents. “Our youngest member is probably in their early 20s and we also have people in their 50s. We have a steady number of female riders and we’ve got some ethnic diversity, but that’s an area we want to improve in the next few years so we can reflect the local community of Peckham more. In order to do that we want more people to know about us and know that they are welcome to join us.” Rob agrees that the club wants to attract a more ethnically diverse membership. “We would like to be more representative of the community we live in,” he says. “We want everyone to know that if you want to ride a bike and you live in Peckham then we really want you to ride with us. We welcome anyone and everyone with open arms.” For more on Peckham Cycle Club, visit their website, peckham.cc or find them on Facebook and Twitter @PeckhamCC. Peckham Cycle Club caps and water bottles are available from Rat Race Cycles in Nunhead. APRIL/MAY 2019


Films and feminism WOMEN IN FILM SE15 IS A FEMINIST FILM GROUP THAT ENCOURAGES WOMEN TO UNITE THROUGH A SHARED LOVE OF FILM. We spoke to the women behind the group to find out what inspired them to set it up WORDS ROSARIO BLUE PHOTO PAUL STAFFORD

Women in Film SE15 was founded in 2011 by friends Tracey Francis and Else Thomson, after they watched Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller Black Swan. The film had just debuted to much critical acclaim and went on to win numerous prestigious awards. But Tracey and Else left the cinema wondering what on earth they had just watched. They felt the film was a negative representation of women, which showed the “worst stereotypical features of femininity playing themselves out” – including jealousy, rivalry and betrayal – plus the “usual lack” of diversity. Both women agreed that it “wasn’t a very good film about women and we thought we should do something about it”. Women in Film SE15 was born. The Nunhead-based group runs workshops for women in Southwark who want to gain skills in filmmaking. It hosts screenings of films written and directed by women, and puts on a yearly event as part of the Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival (PNFFF). Tracey and Else became friends after their kids attended the same school. But when they met up, they would – rather than “do the mum thing”, as Tracey puts it – watch films at the cinema and talk about them. Tracey, a graphic designer and visual artist, was always interested in film, theatre and general creativity, while Else, who is studying for a PhD in APRIL/MAY 2019

film, was a teacher of film at a further education college. Taking a risk – because they didn’t really know what the response would be – the women hosted their first event, titled Sister Act: Female Friendship in Films, in Nunhead. The event was a success and the duo went on to organise more regular meet-ups and events. Tracey recalls being pleasantly surprised at the number of young women who turned up. “We didn’t know there were so many young feminists out there,” she says. The meet-ups maintained a consistently high attendance rate and on the back of this, WIFSE15 began running tailored workshops to “get women together over two weekends to make a film”. One camerawoman, 10 talented, hard-working and ambitious women later, and a film called Adults – now housed in Southwark’s archives – was created. One of the workshop’s attendees, Lina Caicedo, came along wanting to explore her love of film and is now pursuing a career in it. From there they continued holding events for the PNFFF. Tracey started her MA in film; her focus was women in film. This inspired their next workshop, The Female Voice, a two-day event that worked specifically with young women. Together they created Simi, a suspense film coordinated by Tracey and artist and filmmaker Sarah Peace, who was the first person to receive

the young filmmaker award at the PNFFF. “It was all based on what young women said about their lives and what affected them, what they were involved with,” Tracey says. In 2017, Máire Graham O’Hara, who works in TV and theatre in various roles, including costume assistant and dresser, joined WIFSE15 as a volunteer. The last of WIFSE15’s four coordinators is Sasha Hoare, a filmmaker and film editor. WIFSE15’s blog has expanded to host reviews of films written and directed by women, interviews with female filmmakers and summaries of WIFSE15 events. The group recently created their first ever WIFSE15 zine, too, which was designed by Tracey. The group has hosted some illustrious names at its events over the years. Peckham’s own Jenn Nkiru, director of recent Neneh Cherry music video Kong and co-director of the Carters’ Apes**t, presented her short film En Vogue at Nunhead Library during a 2014 WIFSE15 event. Last year the group organised a workshop on screenwriting with Maxine Gordon – broadcast journalist, award-winning documentary producer and lecturer on film and TV at the BRIT school. Films made during the workshop were later showcased at WIFSE15’s annual event for the PNFFF, which centred on female collectives uniting to create narratives from different female perspectives. Films shown included Janie’s Janie,

a second-wave feminist film made in the 1970s in which a woman takes control of her life after years of mental and physical abuse. Looking forward, WIFSE15 plans to continue running workshops and holding meet-ups at the Green in Nunhead to discuss all aspects of film. They are especially interested in doing something related to the #MeToo movement. Tracey, Else, Máire and Sasha are women representative of many in Southwark. They have managed to run the group for eight years and show no signs of slowing down, with successful events and frequently oversubscribed workshops. Tracey and Else have been able to balance WIFSE15 with work and motherhood and for the audience the group serves, it is so important that they are able to set that example. They have managed to create a space for all types of women to express themselves and not feel restricted. As Máire says: “This is for local people to come and learn new skills or just discuss stuff they’d like to talk about.” Tracey adds: “It’s important to be seen by a wider audience. Forget your race, your gender – come and see these things that we’re doing.” Visit womeninfilmse15.wordpress.com and follow @wifse15 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Pictured above: Else Thomson, Tracey Francis and Máire Graham O’Hara. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 25


Welcome to Hollier’s Gymnasium

TED HOLLIER WAS A CELEBRATED BOXING INSTRUCTOR OF THE LATE VICTORIAN ERA WHO WAS FAMED IN SOUTH-EAST LONDON. But little is known about the “genial and popular” man, who would regularly hold bouts at his former home on Peckham’s Rosemary Road WORDS DEREK KINRADE

Information about Edward “Ted” Hollier (18621915) is limited. The 1871 census had him living at 249 Albany Road, Camberwell, with his father Emmanuel, aged 39, a grocer from Oxford; mother Emma, aged 33, from Chelsea; grandmother Jane Taylor, aged 69, from Kingston; and sister Isabella, aged seven. By 1881 the family were living at 16 Tilson Road, Camberwell, but Ted had moved on. He married Emma Caroline Bowles in 1885, and we next pick them up in the 1891 census living at 59 Rosemary Road in Peckham. By this time Ted was working as a warehouseman and had two children: Ethel, aged seven, and Gertrude, aged three. By 1901, his parents were also living on Rosemary Road, at number 5, his father on parochial relief. Ted, still at number 59, is recorded as a “skin dresser and teacher of boxing”. Which brings me to the point; for it was his association with the world of pugilism that made his name. Ted’s was a controversial career at the time. Stan Shipley, writing in the Journal of Socialist Historians tells us: “Prizefighting, with bare knuckles or skintight gloves, had long been illegal by the 1880s,” adding: “Indeed in this 26 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

transitional decade the police often raided professional boxing shows to test their legality in the courts.” We can only speculate as to the possibility that Ted’s initiation to the sport was illegal and therefore went unreported, but it would account for the fact that his name first appeared in Sporting Life only in August 1888, by which time he was an instructor at the Eagle Boxing Club, Trafalgar Road, of which the proprietor was “Mrs Bowles”, perhaps his mother-in-law. This was the precursor of more than 700 reports in which Ted’s name appeared in numerous guises. He was frequently referred to as an instructor, occasionally as a contestant (sometimes in exhibitions), as a promoter (as early as September 1888), a judge, master of ceremonies, manager and second. Many of the suggested bouts were advertised conditionally, on the possibility that “Ted Hollier will offer a prize”. The fights took place at “small halls”, mostly a network of boxing clubs, pubs and saloons that were dotted across Peckham, Camberwell, Bermondsey, Walworth and other parts of southeast London; in low-cost, working-class settings, prudently regulated.

A September 1888 issue of Sporting Life specifically advertised a fight “under Queensbury rules” for a silver cup at the General Moore – formerly the Corunna Music Hall, Stewards’ Lane, Battersea Park Road. By 1892, Ted was referred to as “Professor” and was very much a local favourite. But before that, in April 1891, the Sporting Life made the first mention of a special venue: “On Saturday evening, despite the strong counter-attractions of Her Majesty’s, the Oval, and elsewhere, Hollier’s Gymnasium was literally packed to witness one of the best shows... ever seen.” It was the first night of many, at a location – 59 Rosemary Road – that proved to be “increasingly popular and well managed”. Which part of Ted’s home accommodated a boxing ring, with room for an enthusiastic audience to boot, is uncertain. Some say it was in the back garden. The Daily Herald, much later, remembering the gymnasium’s demise, put it in an unlikely “back kitchen”. Stan Shipley, in the article previously mentioned, relates that Ted charged sixpence and a shilling for admission to his shows, and sets out in some detail the costs and prize money typically involved.

The enterprise was clearly not hugely profitable, a finding that shouts that more than money was at stake in boxing at this grassroots level, indeed perhaps at any level: the vanity of prestige, the esteem of being seen as a conquering hero. Hollier’s Gymnasium prospered into the 20th century. The Sporting Life in 1902 announced: “The company on Saturday night [April 26] at this boxing saloon was again a numerous one.” There followed details of the bouts, besides which there had been “some exhibition boxing of an unusual character... most of the lads being pupils of its professor”, who “controlled the arrangements in hand”. But, thereafter, suddenly and mysteriously, Ted’s name disappeared from the sporting media. The 1911 census had him living at 10 Limetree Terrace on Pitt Street in Peckham. He died, in obscurity, in 1915, aged only 52. Does anyone know more? In writing this short article, I have, as so often, had the considerable benefit of Deborah Elliott’s painstaking research. We have both also heavily relied, for details of press coverage, on the website genesreunited.co.uk. Pictured above: Ted Hollier refereeing a bout. APRIL/MAY 2019



ANSWERS 1 St John’s Vicarage, Adys Road 2 The Gardens Surgery 3 12b Asylum Road 4 Peckham Rye Station 5 Peckham Pulse 6 St James the Great Catholic church, 45 Elm Grove 7 Dulwich Library, 368 Lordship Lane 8 Faith Chapel, 198 Bellenden Road 9 HSBC bank, 47 Rye Lane 10 Blackbird Bakery, 134 Queen’s Road 11 The Friends’ Meeting House (now the Royal Mail sorting office), Highshore Road




10 6



11 7



Can you guess where these circular windows are located in Peckham and East Dulwich, without checking the answers below?


Through the round window QUIZ



Ahead of the launch, the Kurdish kitchen – which also runs fast-food kiosks in Peckham Levels and Elephant & Castle – shares the recipe for its epic dolma WORDS PARY BABAN

METHOD WE BEGIN by cooking the lamb. Place a large, thick pan over a medium heat and add one tablespoon of oil. Place the lamb in the pan. The colour we’re looking for is a golden brown (this may take up to 3-5 minutes). Once this has been achieved, sprinkle some salt to taste, remove the meat from the pan and set aside. NEXT UP... the vegetables. Make sure you’ve rinsed them all, then place them aside for just a moment. Let’s prepare the shallots first. We do this by cutting both the top and bottom off, along with the skin. Now, gently cut a long line across one side of the shallot, ensuring that you reach the core, but don’t cut all the way through. Once you’ve repeated these steps with the rest of the shallots, place them in hot water for 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to cook them too thoroughly or else they will start to open up. This process is called blanching. REMOVE THE SHALLOTS from the hot water and give them a cool rinse, then carefully separate the layers of the shallot using your fingers and place them aside. LET’S MOVE ON TO our courgettes and aubergines. Cut them directly in half and scoop out the flesh (this is where we put our stuffing). Tip: if you’re vegetarian, keep the scooped flesh to add to your stuffing as an alternative to lamb meat. ONCE YOU’VE DONE THIS, coat the insides of your aubergines and courgettes with some salt and fresh lemon juice. This will prevent any discolouration to exposed vegetables. NEXT UP, TOMATO PREPPING! Cut a hat off four tomatoes and scoop out the flesh to form a fillable centre. Tip: try to keep the top of the tomato attached, as only by closing the “lid” will we guarantee that all those exciting flavours are kept trapped. REPEAT with the bell peppers. NOW FOR THE CHARD. Cut off the stalks and blanch the leftover chard over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Then, bathe them in cool water to stop the cooking process. IT’S FINALLY TIME to prepare the stuffing! Rinse your rice in any temperature of water, then drain the excess water. Put the rice in a large bowl and season generously with fresh lemon juice, sumac, black pepper, turmeric, cumin and salt. Finely chop the celery leaves, dill and parsley and add to the rice. Mix this well and set aside. WHILE THE RICE MARINATES, we can start to prepare the rest of the ingredients for the


PREP TIME: 30-40 minutes COOKING TIME: 40 minutes SERVES: 4-7 people INGREDIENTS 5 tbsp vegetable oil 500g lamb ribs or chops (optional) 2-3 long shallots or brown onions 2 long courgettes 2 long aubergines Juice of 1 fresh lemon 4 small tomatoes 3 small green bell peppers or green chillies 3 bunches of fresh Swiss chard 2½ cups of short-grain rice or jasmine rice, soaked in water for 15 minutes then drained 2 tbsp ground sumac 1 tsp ground black pepper 2 tsp turmeric powder ½ tbsp cumin powder 1 large bunch of flat-leaf celery, chopped 1 bunch of fresh dill, washed and chopped 1 large bunch of parsley 1 onion, diced 3 tbsp of tomato purée 1 tomato, finely chopped 1kg green broad beans ½ tsp salt (this may vary depending on your taste) 1 litre warm water

stuffing. Using the same pan we used to sear the lamb, dice one onion and add this to the hot oil. Next, add your tomato purée followed by one finely chopped tomato. If you like, you can also add some fresh herbs to taste. Fry this batch for at least 4 minutes and add it to your rice mixture. The next steps are where your large, deep pan will come in handy! FIRSTLY, PLACE THE CHARD STALKS and fresh long broad beans at the bottom of the pan, followed by the lamb. Using the stuffing we created in the previous step, start to stuff your shallot layers, as these need more cooking time than the vegetables.

THIS STEP MAY BE COMPLICATED, but practice makes perfect! Once you’ve rolled all of the remaining chard leaves, place them on top of the veggie-filled pan and add a large, flat plate on top. The weight ensures even cooking.

take a piece out and give it a try. If it’s still dense, add some more water and allow it to simmer for around 5 more minutes. FINALLY, SET UP THE DINING TABLE! Prepare some salad and serve traditional yoghurt beverages. To serve the dish, place a large serving plate on top of the pan and sharply flip the dolma over to present the colour and flavour.

TO STUFF, put roughly a teaspoon of the rice mixture in the shallot layer, and to seal, simply roll it. Tip: a little goes a long way – try not to overstuff your vegetables. Repeat this step with the rest of your vegetables, sealing the “lids” onto the tomatoes and bell peppers.

ADD ONE LITRE OF WATER TO THE PAN. To check if it’s enough, see if it covers the plate.

ONCE ALL YOUR VEGETABLES ARE STUFFED, it is time to assemble the pan. Tightly pack the veggies on top of the lamb ribs that you’ve placed in the pan previously and repeat in a layered motion.

PLACE THE PAN ON THE STOVE over a mediumhigh heat, bringing it to a boil for 30 to 40 minutes. Make sure to check on it a couple of times, keeping a special eye out for the water level.

TRADITIONALLY, sumac berries are used in dolma to add a sour flavour and pop of colour, but this step is optional as some people may not appreciate the taste as much.

PLACE THE CHARD LEAVES onto your work surface and begin to stuff these in a rolling motion. These go on top of the dish.

HALFWAY THROUGH THE COOKING PROCESS, remove the plate from the pan. Take care as it will be extremely hot. To check if the rice is fully cooked,

THE MEAT STEP is completely optional, so feel free to remove it and create a vegan/vegetarian alternative.

TRADITIONALLY, we would use a flagstone to place on-top instead of a plate, to prevent the leaves and vegetables from opening and releasing the flavours.



Profile for The Peckham Peculiar

Issue 32 of The Peckham Peculiar  

Issue 32 of The Peckham Peculiar