Tag Archives: Brockwell Lido

The Lido Cafe: Winner of the Time Out Best Park Cafe

Congratulations to the Lido Cafe for their Time Out win and five star review in the Eating and Drinking Awards 2011.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Brixton Week Ahead

A brass band welcomed the first swimmers of the season at the Lido


Saturday 2: The Windmill is hosting electro-pop band Bearsuit, while Upstairs at the Ritzy has BBC 1Xtra’s DJ Edu playing ‘old skool beats’ for Back and Forth (A Night of Pure Old Skool).

Sunday 3: Take advantage of free swimming at The Lido this weekend – but will not paying offset the cold? Brrr. To warm up, there’s free jazz in the evening at The White Horse.

Wednesday 6: This looks like lots of fun – a night of entertainment at The Dogstar with Heart and Lung Unit. There’ll be storytelling, comedy and live music from contributors such as Brixton novelist Alex Wheatle, singer-songwriter Marc Picton and comedian Chris Dangerfield. All for only £3. You can read a review of the last event here.

Friday 8: It’s Faithless‘ last ever concert and they’ve chosen Brixton Academy for the final goodbye. The gig is even going to be broadcast live at cinemas across the UK, although not at the Ritzy.

Saturday 9: Help the dedicated ‘Friends of Brixton Windmill‘ plant the herb garden at the Windmill, 10.30am-12.30pm, in time for the re-opening of the windmill on 2 May. No experience needed and equipment provided. Read their wonderful blog here.

Every Saturday, Plan B holds the Community night as a platform for ‘innovative house, techno, disco and other forms of electronics’. Tonight it’s the Residents Party, dedicated to those who have a long-term association with South London. Headlining are Foolish Felix and rising Camberwell star Kid Who?. And you can get on a £3 guestlist if you email brixton@planbgroup.co.uk with a list of names and the subject ‘Brixton Blog guestlist’.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sporty Spring


Spring is here! And so, to embrace the good weather and blooming of nature, here are some tips for outdoor sport in Brockwell Park:

Tai Chi in the Park: Starting in May, Brixton resident Pete Blake will be leading Tai Chi classes in Brockwell Park.  He already leads Tai Chi for Beginners at Yoga Haven in Clapham – as well as teaching tai chi in Brixton primary schools – and is expanding to London parks in time for the good weather. Joyful. See here for more details and here for his tai chi tweets.

Brockwell Park Run: Fed up of aimlessly jogging around Brockwell Park for a paltry half hour? Well here’s something to give a bit more motivation to a morning run. The Park Run is a free 5k timed run every Saturday at 9am – simply register here before 6pm on a Friday. If you don’t fancy the exercise, you can help out by volunteering.

Tennis: Courts in the park cost £4/hr and can be booked through GLL on 0845 130 8998

Bowls: The bowling green at Brockwell is free to use and no booking is required. A nice game of bowls and a cup of tea at Brockwell Hall – what could be nicer?

The Lido: The swimming season has been extended and will start on 2 April with a free open weekend – no payment for swimming and taster classes in the studios. Here’s hoping this season won’t be plagued by the same problems that caused multiple closures last year.



Filed under Uncategorized

Primal scream – a midwinter swim at Brockwell Lido

Ashleigh Young reports on unexpected screaming and Arctic temperatures at Brockwell Lido’s Midwinter Swim

We were promised sunshine at 12 noon, just in time to kick off the annual midwinter swim at Brockwell Lido. Instead we get a glowering sky and one of those ice-picky breezes gouging across the water, firmly reminding us that it’s winter and no good pretending otherwise. Even the cheery Caribbean drummers under the poolside gazebo don’t fool anyone that it is, in fact, ridiculously cold.

At least the dog was wrapped up warm

After a garbled safety briefing through a loudspeaker – the gist, I think, is “tell us if you get cold” – the swimmers shuffle off to line up at the pool’s edge. Some of us are wearing woolly hats over our swim caps. Some are fully encased in wetsuits. The hardier ones are in Speedos or bikinis. I recognise a few fitness fanatics from the gym. There are even a few kids quivering behind their parents. I elbow them all aside to get to the front: for some reason I’m quite excited about all this. There’s an atmosphere of jollity and determination amongst the crowd. A man standing next to me has a grin that’s become an otherworldly rictus.

We’ve been warned by officials to enter the water slowly (“do not jump or dive!”) but a friend who swims year-round has advised me that the absolute worst thing you can do is go slow and/or hesitate. If you hesitate, your brain will take over, quickly and efficiently laying waste to your best laid plans. So I decide to enter the water by way of a good old-fashioned bomb.

The loudspeaker blurts: “3…2…1…” and madness is unleashed.

As soon as I hit the water something weird happens: I start screaming. The scream comes from somewhere ancient and primal. It’s a scream passed from our prehuman ancestors down through the ages. All around, I hear the same kind of screaming – a great ululation not of terror or pain but of sensation so overwhelming that a scream is the only possible response. Maybe this is what Beatlemania was all about? Bodies are flailing and flubbering. After the sensory shock, my entire body becomes numb. It’s as if I’ve been doused in liquid nitrogen. Even though I’d planned to breaststroke calmly from one side of the pool to the other, I’m dimly aware that my hands are clawing at the surface of the water and that my feet have curled in on themselves like a retired ballet dancer’s. My body is in mutiny. I try three times to haul it out of the pool. When my limbs finally obey, my skin floods with warmth. The air – once Arctic – now feels like heated thermal underwear. I’m pink as a newborn and filled with a strange desire to sing.

Like me, most swimmers have hurled themselves over the nearest wall, but a few superhuman souls are still paddling around happily. They’re not even screaming. These are the ones, I’m sure, who will tell you that regular winter swimming keeps you hale and hearty – that icy water is great for the heart, immune system, and bottom; that it kickstarts circulation, flushes out impurities, and revitalises a flagging libido. (It must be said, though, that all this depends on how healthy you are to begin with. If you’ve got a dodgy heart, jumping into an icy pool could finish you off.)

You don’t have to be a health nut, or any kind of nut, to take part in a midwinter swim. But you should be prepared to temporarily abandon all commonsense. I would recommend it as an excellent legal high. If nothing else, it’s a very good way of reminding ourselves – cossetted as we are by centrally heated buildings, down jackets, and fluffy earwarmers – what it feels like to be really, really, really uncomfortable.

A triumphant Ashleigh Young - commonsense restored


Filed under Uncategorized

The Brixton Weekend Ahead

The winter is stretching before us with no apparent end, but it’s the first weekend of the 2011 (or rather, the first non-hangover weekend), so here are some tips to spend it wisely, healthy swim included.

Saturday: It’s the mid-winter swim at the Brockwell Lido. Vaseline, wetsuits, warm towels and a brave heart all essential. Or just go down and watch from the side. The Lido Cafe will be open and serving warming goodies afterwards. 12noon and free entry to all with charity collection. And in the evening, the Duke of Edinburgh on Ferndale Rd is hosting the Cassetique, a night of electronic DJs.

Sunday: Brunch at the newly opened ‘Duck Egg‘ on Coldharbour Lane, in the seemingly cursed premises that once hosted ‘Honest Foods‘ and then ‘Burning Bread’ in 2010. I haven’t been yet but eggs are the mainstay of the menu so it must be good. Right? Then across the road for The King’s Speech, which opened this weekend and is showing at The Ritzy at 12noon, 2.40pm, 5.15pm and 7.50pm.


Filed under Uncategorized

New Year’s Day fun

Lost for how to fill the first day of the year? Here are some Brixton-based ideas:

– The Ritzy is screening ‘The Hangover’ at 2pm especially for New Year’s Day . This is actually a good film.

– FOOD. If the Market’s open, get to Nour Cash and Carry and buy the goods to cook up a feast. Or just grab some plantain, jerk chicken and curry from Take Two.

– A walk in Brockwell Park. Or a swim at the Brixton Rec, in preparation for Brockwell Lido’s outdoor swim (brrr) on 8 January.

– For those who saved themselves for partying on New Years’ Day (gah), Plan B is hosting the afterparty for the Together 10th anniversary, with two rooms of electro-bass, breaks and house including the Stanton Warriors and Jurassik. And Brixton Jamm is hosting an all-day event – the Kerfuffle New Years Day/Wiggle After Party.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2010 – the year in Brixton

Kaye Wiggins reports on 2010 in Brixton – a year of elections, closed leisure centres, happy lido days, rising market rents and a jerk chicken festival.


2010 has been a year of change for Brixton. It has said hello to Windrush Square, Starbucks, Chuka Umunna and the co-op council. Here’s a quick round-up of the bigger stories of the year.

The renamed and re-landscaped Windrush Square opened in February. Lambeth Council said it would “create a safe, high-quality public space reflecting our unique and diverse community.” But critics questioned whether an “expanse of concrete” could really reflect Brixton’s character.

Also in February, the council announced its plans to “go co-op”. It has spent much of the year trying to explain to residents what this means, and gather our thoughts about it, sometimes in unorthodox ways. Asking us to put coloured balls in different bucket and stickers on bits of paper was a memorable example.

But what the council claims is a worse-than-expected budget settlement from central government, announced in October, has brought a sense of urgency to the plans. They are due to come into force from spring 2011.

Sticking with politics, the general election in May saw Labour hold its Streatham, Vauxhall and Dulwich and West Norwood seats. Chuka Umunna replaced Keith Hill in Streatham, Kate Hoey kept her Vauxhall seat and Tessa Jowell held onto Dulwich and West Norwood.

In the local elections, there was a strong showing for Labour, which gained seven seats. The Lib Dems and the Tories each lost three seats.

A plan to temporarily move Streatham’s ice skating rink to the site of the Pope’s Road car park in Brixton caused unrest this year. In October, more than 100 demonstrators marched to Lambeth town hall to protest about it.

The plan also angered traders on Brixton market, who said using the closed car park as an ice rink, rather than reopening it for parking, could cause them to lose more trade. They had been arguing since February that the closure of the car park in December 2009 had affected their trade, and a Freedom of Information request in October added weight to their argument.

Market traders have had a difficult year, warning in September that rent rises could force more of their shops to close. But there was good news in April, when Brixton’s indoor markets were given listed status.

Shopping in Brixton changed a lot in 2010. Whilst several market stalls have closed down, and independent shops like Lori’s Frothy Coffee have struggled, big brands including StarbucksH&MT-Mobile and, most recently, Holland and Barrett, have arrived in the town centre.

But Brixton’s local businesses have had some causes for celebration. The Brixton Pound marked its first birthday in September. And who could forget Charles and Camilla’s surprise visit to the market in July?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ode to the Brixton Summer

There have been some wonderful May-like days this week, but it’s September, it’s now freezing cold and it’s getting darker earlier every night – yes, the summer is truly over, so here are some photos in memory of it:

The summer starts with flights grounded because of the volcanic ash and Brixton got perfect, plane-less blue skies:

(Photo: Laura Morgan)

Then came the end of Labour and the beginning of Con-Lib…

The Lido went from being empty…

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

to being very full…

Some poor people had exams in the Recreation Centre:

Granville Arcade opened up on Thursday evenings:

(Photo: Damon Hope)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

The best lasagne in Brixton at Bellantoni's Italian

England put on some poor performances at The Ritzy:

There were street parties – this one’s on Endymion Rd:

And we got to give our opinion on the co-op council by putting plastic balls in red buckets:

Flowers, and especially roses, bloomed all over Brixton:

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

And the foxes came out to play:


(Photo: Jon Biles)

We had what has been named by some “the best Lambeth Country Show ever”:


(Photo: Laura Morgan)


(Photo: Laura Morgan)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

(Photo: Mike Smith)

photo(Photo: Laura Morgan)

There was a jerk chicken cook-off:

One photographer, Charlie Abbiss, took photos of Brixton Market:

And the star of the summer was…Brockwell Park:


Filed under Uncategorized

The week ahead in Brixton

Tuesday 22 June:  ‘Please Give‘, the new ensemble comedy film from Nicola Holofcener starring Rebecca Hall, is showing at The Ritzy at 6.45 pm and Jazz Hands at Upstairs is on afterwards – a night of bluesy soul, funk and New York comedy .

Wednesday 23: Watch England embarrass themselves against Slovenia at 3pm at home/at work/in the pub. Then take in some high culture at the open-air performance of The Tempest on its first night in Brockwell Park, 7.30pm. Runs until Sunday. See here for tickets.

Thursday 24: The longest day of the year! Check the weather, swim at the Brockwell Lido [it’s cheaper after 6pm] and then join the Midsummer party, BBQ and live music at the The Lido Cafe. You can book on 020 7737 8183.

Friday 25: Deadly Rhythm soundsystem returns to Plan B with the official launch party for Kode 9’s DJ Kicks CD.

Saturday 26: Get over the fact that you’re not at Glasto. Wander through Brixton Market, picnic in the park and enjoy the sun* (*subject to Met Weather change)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized