Frequently overlooked in favour of cool Peckham, family-friendly East Dulwich or even the student haven of New Cross, Brockley has flown under the South East London radar for years despite all its charms. However, since the Overground arrived in 2010 Brockley is finally beginning to get some well-deserved attention.
Packed with independent cafes, coffee shops and a close-knit community, Brockley has all the elements most Londoners look for in an area. Since coming under conservation protection in 1974 the wide, leafy streets of Victorian villas are safe from destruction, offering large apartments packed with period features at prices that are increasingly rare for an area with such a short commute to Central London.
Nestled between Camberwell Arts College and Goldsmiths, the creative scene in Brockley has been thriving since artists began to flock here in the 1960s, and the area is now known for its regular artistic events including the annual Brockley Open Studios and Brockley Max, as well as a charming Midsummer Fayre. Jack Studio Theatre, the local fringe theatre, is also certainly worth a visit.
As for residents, the green spaces of Telegraph Hill, Hilly Fields and Blyth Hill Park and good schools tend to bring families to the area, but students, young professionals and retired couples are also to be found here, giving the area a great mix of diversity and tradition.
On a map
Brockley is located in the Borough of Lewisham in South East London. It sits to the south of New Cross and east of Peckham, and covers the postcodes SE4, SE14 and SE13.
History of Brockley London
The name Brockley is said to have come from the old English word ‘broc’ , meaning badger, or alternatively from the words ‘brook’ and ‘ley’, meaning a stream by a wood. A small hamlet surrounded by farmlands for many years, the area had a number of market gardens and orchards for until it began to be developed by the Tyrwhitt Blake family in the late 1800s. Following the industrialisation of London, the family saw an opportunity to create a suburb and began to build the grand Victorian villas and wide streets that are still seen in Brockley today.
These were largely occupied by wealthy industrialist and factory owners who owned business in Bermondsey and Deptford, but by the 1920s the wealthy began to move further out of London and the area became a little neglected, with many large houses divided into flats and artist studios. Brockley suffered from a significant amount of bomb damage during World War Two, as it was under the flight path for London Docks, a key target for German bombers. Following the war many parts of Brockley were rebuilt, and as students from Camberwell Art College and Goldsmiths began to move in it began to develop a reputation as a creative area.
Transport from Brockley London
Although Brockley may not have an Underground station, it makes up for this with both an Overground station (formerly known as the East London Line) and a National Rail service with direct trains to London Bridge and Victoria. A journey from Brockley to Hoxton, a popular commute with young professionals in the area, takes around 20 minutes, while the Brockley to London Bridge train takes only 12 minutes.
There are also regular buses during the day and night from Brockley to locations across Central and South London as well as the City.
Cost of living in Brockley London
As most of the devlopment in this area was during the 1800s, the majority of properties in Brockley have been built in a Victorian style, with everything from elegant terraced houses and detached villas to cosy workers cottages available to rent. Following the damage inflicted on the area during World War Two a number of post-war housing developments and estates were built, so some 1960s properties are also available.
While prices are rising swiftly here, Brockley is still cheaper on average than neighbouring Lewisham, Deptford or Peckham, with similar prices to those found in Forest Hill. As of May 2016, the average rental price for a two bedroom property in Brockley is around £1600 per month, although similar properties can be found starting at £1200 per month.
Restaurants in Brockley London
Arlo and Moe
There are few places in Brockley more popular than this low-key, 1950s style restaurant on Brockley Road, where families come to enjoy tea and cake and regular residents wax lyrical about their infamous ‘sexy toast’, which comprises of sourdough bread topped with a selection of foodstuffs including baked beans, avocado and feta cheese. They’re also know to be dog-friendly if you plan on bringing a four-legged fried with you.
Address: 340 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2BT
Phone:020 3609 3151
Small and unpretentious, this tiny family-run Vietnamese establishment near Brockley Station serves up delicious South Asian delicacies for hungry locals. Their specialities include vegetarian summer rolls, papaya salad and pho noodle soup, and takeaway is on offer if you prefer to enjoy your dinner in front of Netflix.
Address: 10 Coulgate St, London SE4 2RW
Phone:020 8465 9586
It may be a pub and a restaurant, but don’t be surprised when you walk into the London Beer Dispensary to find no apparent bar in sight. They pride themselves on being a ‘no-bar’ establishment, where the fine selection of beers are served from the barrel or keg for ultimate freshness. Pair your pint with one of their brilliant burgers and if the weather holds out, head out to the garden to enjoy.
Address: 389 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2PH
Shops in Brockley London
Undoubtedly one of London’s finest food markets, Brockley Market is an award-winning venture packed with delicious produce and mouthwatering dishes every week. Pick up some organic vegetables and British cheeses to take home before tucking into a juicy burger from street food favourites Mother Flipper.
Address: Lewisham College Carpark, Lewisham Way, London SE4 1UT
Phone:020 8691 4918
Kitting out the smaller inhabitants of Brockley for years, this friendly shop on Brockley Road is the go-to spot for children’s clothes and shoes. Stocking a wide range of brands for all ages as well as toys and gifts, it’s the best place to come for high-quality kids clothing.
Address: 169 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2RS
Phone:020 8692 2881
A slice of la belle vie in the heart of Brockley, Degustation deli specialises in all things French, from wine and charcuterie to controversial foie gras. Treat yourself to a picnic selection, find a sunny spot on Telegraph Hill and you could almost be in Paris.
Address: 12 Coulgate St, London SE4 2RW
Phone:020 8691 0857
Things to do in Brockley London
It may sound a little morbid to some, but this tucked away cemetery is a true hidden gem in Brockley. Now considered a natural conservation area, it’s a serene spot covered in wild flowers and filled with historically fascinating burial spots including a touching World War Two memorial.
Address: Brockley Cemetery 347 Brockley Road Crofton Park SE4 2QY
Phone: 020 8690 3590
Originally built in 1913, the Grade II listed Rivoli Ballroom on Brockley Road was converted into a dance hall in the 1950s and has been a beloved local attraction ever since. With a stunning original decor including chandeliers and plenty of red velvet and a regular program of gigs (the White Stripes and Florence + The Machine have played here, among others) as well events such as cabaret, it’s the ultimate place to be on a Saturday night.
Address: 350 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2BY
Phone: 020 8692 5130
Held in Hilly Fields, this annual arts festival is one of the major highlights in the Brockley calendar. Spread over nine days every June, it celebrates the best of local talent through music, art, workshops and performances, and with participants from some of London’s finest creative schools involved you’re almost guaranteed to be inspired
Adresse : London SE4 1LD, Royaume-Uni
Main image credit: See Inside