Wild food and wild cocktails await you at the new season of Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe.  Wild gourmet chefs The Foragers (of Dead Dolls Club fame, Dalston) have teamed up with pop-up roof garden cocktail bar Midnight Apothecary. Every Saturday night (5.30pm-10.30pm) join them round the firepit for cocktails, infusions and food.

Optional guided descents of Brunel’s underground Grand Entrance Hall on Saturday nights too (£5).  Every Sunday afternoon 12.30pm-5pm they will both be serving their wild cocktails and wild food too for Gourmand Sundays at the museum.  Free entry, cash bar.

Frank WalkerA man from Rotherhithe was jailed on Monday for the rape of a 17-year-old girl.

24-year-old Frank Walker of Shipwright Road was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court to 36 months imprisonment.

On Saturday 28 July last year the victim attended a party at friend’s house in Acorn Walk which Walker also attended. A number of people attended the party and the pair were not known to each other.

The victim had gone to sleep in a bedroom and woke up to find Walker raping her. Following her ordeal she managed to escape the room, alerted her friends and reported the incident to police.

The victim was forensically examined at the Haven and DNA samples were taken.

Following enquiries Walker was arrested by police on 29 July and subsequently charged.

Initially Walker tried to maintain his innocence; however on 19 March this year he changed his plea to guilty.

Detective Inspector Faye Churchyard said: “Walker took advantage of the victim and tried to spin a web of lies to mask his guilt, but those lies did not stand up to the evidence available and he has rightly pleaded guilty to rape.

“He will spend a lengthy time in prison for what he did to the victim.

“I also hope this will encourage others who have been victims of a sexual crime to report what has happened to them.”



The long-awaited Connect2 bridge across Rotherhithe New Road next to South Bermondsey Station was opened on Friday afternoon by Cllr Peter John, Labour leader of Southwark Council.

The ceremony was delayed after Cllr John and council colleagues were stuck on a train at London Bridge Station for nearly an hour.

Originally proposed in the mid-1990s, the project received National Lottery funding in a public vote in 2007 as part of the Sustrans Connect2 initiative.

The project suffered a series of bureaucratic hold-ups which led the late Barry Mason to campaign and cajole to ensure the scheme went ahead.

“It’s been a long wait, but I’m really pleased to see this bridge finally up and running,” said South Bermondsey Lib Dem councillor Graham Neale.

“Locals have told me they are pleased that the walk to the station will now be just a few minutes and may even increase the value of their homes.

“However there are some security fears that come with easy access to Stubbs Drive which must be addressed by the council.”

The new structure replaces a disused railway bridge which had been built to link the old goods depot at Bricklayers Arms with the main line.


Two Southwark off licences have had their right to sell alcohol suspended after they were caught selling to an underage customer during a pre-Christmas operation.

Both Payless on Jamaica Road SE16 and Costless Express on Lower Road (just across the SE8 border) have had their licences reviewed after being caught out during a crackdown by Southwark Council’s trading standards officers on 8 December last year.

A 16-year-old volunteer for trading standards went into both shops and was sold alcohol and cigarettes without being questioned or asked for proof of age. The council’s test purchasing was part of Operation Condor – the Metropolitan Police’s partnership working initiative where licensing and regulatory issues are targeted on the same day in a London Wide blitz.

As a result the stores have had their licences reviewed by a Southwark licensing sub-committee. Councillors agreed that Costless Express would have its premises alcohol licence suspended for 8 weeks with immediate effect while Payless has had its licence revoked.

Councillor Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for finance, resources and community safety, said: “This needs to serve as a warning to all the licensed premises in Southwark that this council takes its responsibilities seriously and we will come down hard on anyone serving alcohol illegally to our younger residents.  They must make it their habit to check for proof of age when selling to young people.

“As well as being against the law there are serious health consequences to drinking too much alcohol at such an early age and we know that under-age drinking is often linked to anti-social behaviour on our streets and estates.”

Payless has 21 days to appeal to a magistrates’ court and in the meantime can continue to sell alcohol.




At this week’s Southwark council assembly the problem of poor broadband speeds on the Rotherhithe peninsula was raised by Cllr David Hubber. Hear his supplementary question and the response from Cllr Peter John, leader of the council:

“It is not too late to have an alternative to a super-sewer down the middle of the Thames,” Simon Hughes MP told Parliament this week.

The current solution is to pour millions of tonnes of concrete into building a super-sewer through the Thames to intercept the outflows from the sewerage system. That will be very expensive, costing an average of £80 a year for all of Thames Water’s household customers, and it will be hugely disruptive. In my constituency, for example, one site might be worked on for up to seven years. In addition, this solution deals with only one problem. It will efficiently keep sewage out of the Thames, but it will do nothing else.

Other countries across the world are doing things differently now. Places such as Detroit and Philadelphia and places in Europe started to think about building tunnels but have realised that greener alternatives may be better. Instead of building a big tunnel, Philadelphia now has small interventions: much more porous surfaces on roads, drives and car parks; and smaller sewage collection tanks across the city, rather than in a central place. People in those places believe that what they call a blue-green solution is a better solution and it allows parks to flourish, with the transformation of the city into a wholly greener environment. Such a solution also produces many more jobs at the lower skill levels more quickly than one big tunnel project does. Philadelphia and London may not be the same, but Greater Philadelphia has a huge population, just as London does.

Read the speech in full.

Everyone in Bermondsey  must now be aware of the traffic chaos resulting from the enforcement of new width restrictions on the Rotherhithe Tunnel.

“Despite Transport for London having a year to prepare for the start of this policy it seems very few people are aware of this new ban on wide vehicles being allowed through the Rotherhithe Tunnel,” said Caroline Pidgeon AM, Lib Dem London Assembly member.

“These new restrictions might be necessary for safety reasons, but it is equally vital TfL ensure that drivers are fully aware of these new restrictions so where necessary can make alternative journeys. Every step must now be taken to avoid the gridlock we witnessed this week.”

“I am now seeking an urgent meeting with Transport for London and local councillors to help resolve these problems.”

Canada Water Library has received two prestigious awards in the space of a month: a 2013 EDGE Award in the physical category and a Civic Trust Award.

“We are thrilled to have won two notable awards,” said Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport, the Olympic Legacy and volunteering.

“The iconic building has been a resounding success and has helped renew excitement about libraries. The library has been seen over half a million visitors since opening, and is on course to hit the one million mark later on this year.”

“As well as being a stunning piece of architecture the library is also a great community asset, as these awards show. We plan to build on our successes and continue to deliver a library service in line with the needs of the local community.”

At this weekend’s Civic Trust Awards the library received the Selwyn Goldsmith Award for Universal Design.

The citation said:

This Civic Trust Award winning building is incredibly successful, managing to redefine the function of a traditional library into that of a hub which offers a multitude of services to the whole community. All facilities are thoughtfully designed and clever environmental systems have produced an environment that is imaginative, elegant and beautifully lit. Inventive approaches to providing universal accessibility have created a library, coffee bar, theatre, learning, study and administrative areas that have excellent functionality. The enthusiasm of the staff for their building and the users of all ages coexisting comfortably, show the effort made by the client to involve all groups in the brief. This has resulted in a welcoming civic facility that is clearly enjoyed and well used by all. Canada Water Library brings to the East End of London an iconic community asset that is an exemplar of Universal Design.

Canada Water Library is currently Southwark’s library of the month and is hosting a special programme of events during March.

At the Civic Trust Awards the Dilston Grove gallery in Southwark Park also received a commendation from the judges.

Diane Gorvin, the artist behind the original Dr Salter’s Daydream sculptures, has produced ideas for a new commission which will not only replace the stolen statue of Dr Alfred Salter but also include a new sculpture of his wife Ada.

The complete work will include the sculptures of their daughter Joyce and her cat which were placed in storage after the theft of the Dr Salter statue from the Thames Path in November 2011.

The Salter Statues Campaign has raised more than £10,000 so far. Treasurer Catherine Dale said: “It was devastating when the statue of Dr Salter was stolen but we are making the most of a bad situation by aiming to raise enough money to commemorate Ada Salter as well.”

Cllr Veronica Ward,  Southwark’s cabinet member for culture, said: “We were very much saddened when Dr Alfred Salter’s statue was stolen in 2011.

“Our artworks are celebrated by our residents and play an important part in the lives of our local community. It is because of this that we have supported the Salter Statues group and have pledged to match the funding they raise to take steps to permanently replace the statues plus necessary security works.”

Artist Diane Gorvin said of her drawings: “Dr Salter’s Daydream 2013 will be expanded by the welcome addition of Ada, a remarkable woman who deserves recognition for her many good works to benefit the people of Bermondsey.

“Alfred and Ada Salter worked so hard that they did not have much time to relax, but after the birth of Joyce they made a garden at their home, a ‘green parlour’ where their ‘sunshine’ could play. This is the memory I wish to evoke for Dr Salter.”

Diane welcomes additional photographs of Alfred and Ada Salter to ensure their likenesses are as accurate as possible.   Any photos or contributions should be sent to [email protected]

Under the Localism Act people can petition a council to designate a building as an asset of community value (ACV).

Buildings that are successfully listed cannot be sold without first giving community groups the right to bid for them in order to use them for community benefit.

Someone has applied to have Rotherhithe Police Station – which is intended for closure and sale – designated as such an asset.

The council has said ‘no’.

It’s only the second time the ACV procedure has been used in Southwark. Last autumn the Ivy House pub in Nunhead was granted ACV status by the council.

Last week Southwark borough commander John Sutherland told Bermondsey & Rotherhithe Community Council that the Met is “actively seeking” a suitable location for a contact point (or ‘front counter’) in SE16 but that there are “no guarantees” that such a facility will be provided.