Category Archives: shops

Rough service at Selectric

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Did you know, Selectric still sell beautiful, warm, dim, inefficient light bulbs?

Apparently the lightbulb industry have got around the ban on incandescent bulbs by describing them as “rough service” bulbs, which are designed for use in the building industry. The glass is slightly thicker than normal, but apart from that they’re just as good as the old ones.

Article about the workaround here in The Telegraph.

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The best pen

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As selected in The Wirecutter, and sold in Blackheath Rymans for £2.99 (the Uniball Jetstream). Seems pretty good, even for a left handed scrawler.

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Bookshop on the Heath selling up

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Massively sad to hear that yet another independent shop in the village is selling up. The Bookshop on the Heath is a fantastic place. I really hope they find a buyer to continue the shop as a going concern.

Their press release is below. If anyone has any good examples of how local communities have managed to stem the exit of local businesses from their high streets, please place them in the comments.

Richard and Jasmine Platt, founding owners of the Bookshop on the Heath Ltd in Blackheath, South East London, have announced that they are selling the business in order to pursue other interests in the leisure industry.
During the past ten years, the business has won awards for excellent customer service and it has been independently rated as one of the country’s finest bookshops. From day one, it has posted excellent year-on-year profits.
There has been a bookshop in this location since 1949, making it one of the longest continually running bookshops in South London. The bookshop has become a real fixture in Blackheath Village and it has generated a tremendous local goodwill. More recently it was the setting for part of an episode of the BBC1 drama “Spooks”.
Richard says, “After a very happy and successful ten years here, we feel that the time has come for us to step back and pass on the legacy and reputation of the business to someone else. We hope that they can now also realise their dream like I did ten years ago by taking over and further developing a super little shop in a marvellous trading position. It would be lovely to think that the long tradition of bookselling could be continued by someone who shares our passion for offering fine books, maps & posters with friendly, personal service. Trade has been exceptionally good and there is also the opportunity for the new owner to develop web sales and sales of new books (children’s in particular) – areas which we have barely touched upon.”
The bookshop continues to open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and by appointment at all other times. If you are searching for a quantity of specific quality stock or you are interested in buying the whole of this successful and profitable turn-key business, please contact Richard Platt for more details on 01526 352267 or email richard@bookshopontheheath.co.uk

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Brake Bikes

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I’m no expert on bikes, but have to say that the eye-catching Brake Bikes make a nice addition to Blackheath’s high street. The business model is interesting – a kind of “pop-up shop” appearing outside various shops on the street – I’ve seen them at the hairdressers next to Strada, and Raffles the clothes shop. Wondering if a bike shop could be the next addition to the high street? Never ridden a “fixie” myself, unless you count a BMX (many years ago).
UPDATE: They’re not fixies. See the comments. Told you I don’t know about bikes :)

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Makers and takers


Received this from Handmade Food yesterday:

We recently received a London Borough of Lewisham Business award for most sustainable business practice . We are grateful to Sir Steve Bullock and panel for recognising Hand Made Food’s efforts. Fourteen of us, chefs, shop staff, baristas, events staff, washers up raised a glass of Sussex’s best sparkling Breaky Bottom in a toast to our patrons and supporters. We recently lost a great Blackheath independent Sisters and Daughters to a stinging rent increase and ever increasing costs. We got Cook ( national chain of 60) a shop full of factory produced ready meals , a cashier and a freezer filler – at least they put gingham round the freezers.

Congratulations to them. I’m sure it’s not easy trying to run an independent business on the high street at the moment, and I have to agree about Cook, which I shall continue to refer to as Posh Iceland. The wicker baskets and picnic cloths aren’t fooling me… Handmade Food on the other hand is a lovely place, which I’ve spent a lot of time in, but for some reason never mentioned much on here. It serves Monmouth Coffee, which is delicious, and Neal’s Yard Cheese, not to mention all the food which is solid and tasty. It’s not cheap, but if you’ve looked at the rents on that high street, it’s not hard to see why (£100k a year for Venice Restaurant?)

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Shepherd’s food of the week

Chocolate sardines in Shepherd Foods

Five chocolate sardines on sale in Shepherd’s Food. For the bargain price of £9.95.

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Coquillage

Coquillage photo, fish shop, Blackheath, fishmongers
The vegetarian bugle was sent to Coquillage, the local fish shop last weekend. I’m told the fish was great, so if you’re looking for something to set fire to on the barbecue this weekend, here’s what we did. They also sell Samphire (green stuff at the rear left of the photo), which is really nice with a little lemon juice, as a green salad next to your fish. Very few places sell samphire, so this is quite a find!

Jade Boulangerie and Coquillage occasionally give out 10%-off vouchers, which can come in handy. Anyway, without going all Jamie Oliver on you, here’s what we did:

Ingredients:
Whole sea bass, cleaned and de-scaled (they cleaned it reasonably well at the shop, but there was a little more to do).
2-3 cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)
Slices of lemon
Bay leaves
Samphire
Olive Oil

Method:
Wash and de-scale the sea bass. It should be sliced open from the underbelly (do fish have bellies?)
Cut some lines diagonally across the fish
Stuff the garlic, lemon, and bay leaves into the cuts
Stick it on the BBQ turning occasionally until it’s brown. – one of these helps (Sainsbury’s sell them too).
Serve with samphire drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Anyway, it’s good to see them doing well, especially in a location that saw other businesses fail before.

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Coquillage opens tomorrow

Coquillage Fishmonger Blackheath opening soon

The much-awaited fishmonger opens tomorrow morning.  Hope it’s good for you (vegetarian Bugles need not apply, although I’m sure the fish-and-chipocrite Mrs Bugle will be investigating).

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What’s the difference between an estate agent and a betting shop?

Harrison Ingram Estate Agent to be turned into a Betting Shop?
Apparently nothing. What used to be Harrison Ingram Estate Agents in Blackheath Standard is applying to be turned into a Betting Shop. And guess what? It’s three doors down from Ladbroke’s.

Estate Agents are defined as “use case A2″, which is for “Financial and professional services”. Here’s how “use classes” are supposed to work – it looks to me as though a change of use from Estate Agents to Betting Shop is viewed as quite normal, which makes me unsure as to whether to laugh or cry.

I don’t know what the best plan of action is against this, but I’d like to read your thoughts in the comments below. Please also look at the many posts on this subject on the Deptford Dame’s pages – some positive news too.

So what can you do?
See how to object to license changes on Greenwich Council’s site.
Contact your local councillors for Blackheath & Westcombe Ward, who are:

  • Geoffrey Brighty (Conservative) email geoffrey.brighty at greenwich.gov.uk or phone 07507 859 205)
  • Alex Grant (Labour) alex.grant at greenwich.gov.uk or phone 020 8855 7292)
  • Alex Wilson (LabourConservative) email alex.wilson at greenwich.gov.uk or phone 07783 611 607)

And tell them that you think it’s a crappy idea. Ask them whether they think it’s good for the area to increase the number of betting shops.

Then email licensing@greenwich.gov.uk writing along the following guidelines:

Apparently your representation must:

* Mention issues that relate to one or more of the four licensing objectives -
1. Protection of children from harm
2. Prevention of crime and disorder
3. Public safety
4. Prevention of public nuisance

* Describe precisely how you think the premises concerned are or would be contravening the licensing objective concerned
* Relate specifically to the premisses concerned
* Contain your name and address
* Reach the Council no later than the last date for representations given in the Licensing Applications list
* State that you wish for a named councillor to represent you at the hearing if you have spoken to your ward councillor about this.

God knows how you crowbar those points into your complaint, but please copy your email into the comments below, so that others can use it for reference.

Good luck with finding the application on Greenwich Council’s licensing pages… I couldn’t. Below is the full text from the application (typed by me, so please excuse typos – hyperlinks are mine).

GREENWICH COUNCIL

NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR A PREMISES LICENSE UNDER THE GAMBLING ACT 2005

175 Deptford High Street
London
SE8 3NU

is applying for a Betting (Other) Premises License under section 159 of the Gambling Act 2005.
The application relates to the following premises:

McDonnells Bookmakers
174 Westcombe Hill
Blackheath
London SE3 7DH

The application has been made to: London Borough of Greenwich, Community Safety & Integrated Enforcement, 11th Floor, Riverside House, Woolwich High Street, London, SE18 6DN

Information about the application is available from the licensing authority, including the arrangements for viewing the details of the application.

Any of the following person may make representations in writing to the licensing authority about the application

* A person who live sufficiently close to the premises and is likely to be affected by the authorised activities
* A person who has business interests that might be affected by the authorised activities
* A person who represents someone in any of the above two categories

Any representations must be made by the following date: 2 October 2011

It is an offense under section 342 of the Gambling Act 2005 a person, without reasonable excuse, gives to a licensing authority for a purpose connected with that Act information which is false or misleading.

London Borough of Greenwich, Community Safety & Integrated Enforcement, 11th Floor, Riverside House, Woolwich High Street, London, SE18 6DN

Here’s the estate agents rental page (don’t think it’s still on the market?) – PDF version here.

PS: Yes, I did speak too soon.

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From kites to photos…

Fergus Noone Photography
The old sports shop has become a Fergus Noone wedding photography shop (there’s another one in Greenwich)… Maybe they could stock a couple of kite models just in case? Or start specialising in kite aerial photography? The perfect hobby for the heath!

Photo shows the sign writer in action here (snapped from a fast-moving 202 bus.. No really).. Tip off from @BBCarpentry

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