Discover Lewisham

London changes in a million imperceptible ways every day. All that remains after the flux are the stories – stories about the people, places and issues that define life in the capital. This project, steered by Beefeater and VICE, aims to capture those stories, profiling five London boroughs with five gifted photographers.

For a long time, Lewisham felt like a kind of island-borough floating just beyond the southern banks of a part of the Thames no one ever bothered visiting. Distant from the crowds and monuments of the South Bank, denied the temporal glamour of neighbouring Greenwich, it felt unloved by anyone not privy to its cheap rents.

This changed when the East London Line made it infinitely more accessible in 2010, and today Lewisham is a place thronged not just by native residents and awkwardly juxtaposed tribes of Goldsmiths art students and Millwall fans, but by weekenders seeking out its famed nightlife boltholes, food markets and abundant green spaces.

To find out what makes Lewisham tick, we teamed up with photographer Bafic to meet some of the locals: jazz-adoring artist-illustrator Gaurab Thakali, trailblazing Afrobeats MC Mista Silva and rave-loving designer streetwear entrepreneurs Wavey Garms.

Milford Towers

Ultimately more a gift to photographers and filmmakers looking to shoot dystopian reel than to the residents who actually had to live there, Milford Towers is a classically Brutalist block that included numerous “streets in the sky” and Catford shopping centre. Currently in the process of being razed to make way for a new development that will no doubt be blander.

Places Nearby:

  • The Jolly Farmers (Pub)
  • Ladywell Tavern (Pub)
  • Fox & Firkin (Pub)
  • The Watch House (Pub)
  • Village Fish Bar (Food)

Deptford Cinema

What is a cinema? It can feel as though the definition’s been warped beyond repair by multiplexes that charge a day’s wages for some popcorn. But, if a cinema should be a place for people to come together to enjoy films, Deptford Cinema – a non-profit, entirely volunteer-run community venue that charges £6 a ticket – is a great one. Launched in 2015, it’s housed in a converted garage.

Places Nearby:

  • The Brookmill Pub & Kitchen (Pub)
  • Royal Albert (Pub)
  • The New Cross House (Pub)
  • Amersham Arms (Pub)
  • The Rose Pub and Kitchen (Pub)

Broadway Theatre

The curved exterior of this Art Deco building conceals lavish crimson halls that regularly play host to stand-up shows, theatrical productions, orchestral concerts and cinema. Noted for being a Southeast London hub of black- and youth-orientated performance companies, it has stood on the site since 1932, when it was built by the architectural firm Bradshaw Gass & Hope.

Places Nearby:

  • Little Nan's Broadway Theatre Saloon (Bar)
  • The Fellowship (Pub)
  • Catford Bridge Tavern (Pub)
  • Mr Lawrence Wine Bar (Bar)
  • Anglesey Arms (Pub)

Eros House

London has lots of Brutalist architecture, but surely no other examples of the style christened with such a sharp sense of Ballardian irony. The God of sexual attraction might well be peering down feeling pretty miffed that his name has been leant to this grey concrete block, which – though imposing – doesn’t suggest much in the way of sensuality: the ground floor used to be home to a gun shop.

Places Nearby:

  • Catford Constitutional Club (Pub)
  • The London & Rye (Pub)
  • Black Horse and Harrow (Pub)
  • Blythe Hill Tavern (Pub)
  • Bill's Caribbean (Food)

Deptford Yard Market

Gone are the days when a disused railway arch could retire in peace, safe in the knowledge that no one would dream of turning it into a burrito restaurant or streetwear boutique. Deptford Yard Market – built into London’s oldest surviving railway structure, and home to various cuisine, art and fashion start-ups – is one of the city’s newest and best loved street food shanty towns.

Places Nearby:

  • The Duke (Pub)
  • Shades Sports Bar (Bar)
  • White Swan (Pub)
  • The Black Horse (Pub)
  • The Dog & Bell (Pub)

The Job Centre

Formerly a place for the unemployed and impoverished to find work, now a bar that describes itself as “quirky”, the current owners of The Job Centre drew criticism upon launch for their “callous” decision to retain the name. They appear to have ridden out the storm, though, persevering in their mission to serve up the finest cocktails, jazz nights and Peruvian coriander aioli in all of Deptford.

Places Nearby:

  • The Birds Nest (Pub)
  • Carlton Wine Bar (Bar)
  • Buster Mantis (Restaurant)
  • The Guildford Arms (Pub)
  • Little Nan's Bar (Bar)

Horniman Museum and Gardens

As far as museums go, the Horniman is an endearingly informal and unusual place splayed across 16 acres of land around the South Circular Road, where Lewisham rubs up against Southwark. Originally housing the private collection of a Victorian tea trader, it opened to the public in 1890 and is quietly famed today for its totem pole, aquarium, Egyptian mummies and collection of stuffed animals.

Places Nearby:

  • The Capitol (Pub)
  • The Signal Pub (Pub)
  • The Dartmouth Arms (Pub)
  • Sylvan Post (Pub)
  • The Hill (Pub)

Deptford Lounge

An eye-catching golden box just off the High Street, the Deptford Lounge houses a library, computer rooms, a rooftop ball court and all the other things you’d expect a community hub to house. The design, by the architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, has won multiple awards, and by and large it’s been a warmly received example of regeneration in a borough still undergoing rapid change.

Places Nearby:

  • Davy's Wine Vaults (Bar)
  • Belushi's (Bar)
  • The Greenwich Union (Pub)
  • Rivington Greenwich (Restaurant)
  • The Gipsy Moth (Pub)

Lewisham Art House

A true example of the power of community, the Carnegie library building that is home to the Lewisham Art House was rescued from disrepair by a team of volunteers in the early 90s after years of being used as an illegal rave venue. A survivor of both World Wars, it now offers the neighbourhood artist studios, rehearsal rooms, workshops and a free gallery, with an emphasis on youth engagement.

Places Nearby:

  • The Fat Walrus (Pub)
  • The Stretch (Bar)
  • Out of the Brew (Cafe)
  • Marquis of Granby (Pub)
  • Birdie Num Nums (Cafe)

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