Festive Feast, Sunday 3 Dec!

Feast is nearly over for anoth­er year, but as ever, Fest­ive Feast in Decem­ber is set to be (just maybe) the best of the lot. It’ll be cold and bright and there’s lots to do inside too — just read on!

What’s on?

You can start the day with a vegan brunch cooked by local chefs Mango Man and Dan at Beamish & McGlue, includ­ing banana pan­cakes and smooth­ies, from 9.30 onwards. (And if you can’t make it there on Sunday, they’re cook­ing it on Sat­urday too!)

Then wander up past Fresh’n’Green and Artis­ans for your Christ­mas gift shop­ping, pick out a Christ­mas tree at Floral Hall, and head up to the Portico Gallery, where along­side the Bazaar we will be cel­eb­rat­ing the arrival of the West Nor­wood Com­munity Piano with a pian­othon! There will be invited pian­ists play­ing through­out the day, so come along and have a listen.


(this par­tic­u­lar pian­ist doesn’t play that well)

If you’re still look­ing for that spe­cial gift for that spe­cial someone, we have even more for you — you favour­ite Retro stall­hold­ers will be with the arts and crafts stalls at Fam­ily Well­being by the leis­ure centre, so you’ll find all your vin­tage trinkets and gems there. There’s also a brand new DJ there this month, Glen T, so check him out!

Down on Idmis­ton Road just a brisk trot from Artis­ans’L'arche will be hav­ing their annu­al Christ­mas Fayre, where you’ll find everything from stock­ing fillers to Christ­mas wreaths.

Need to warm up? Grab a mulled wine at the Food Fair, or head inside the Lib­rary where there will be storytime and children’s chess and board games.

This will be fol­lowed by PoetrySlabs with fest­ive poems and a chance to help dress the Lib­rary Christ­mas Tree, and finally warm up with some Brazili­an samba.

At St Luke’s, we’ll have fest­ive music inside the church and out, and we will be tak­ing Foodbank dona­tions — so if you have the chance to bring some­thing, it will be very warmly wel­comed.


(this enter­tain­ment sched­ule will be on A boards at all the hubs, so take a photo of it as you pass)

Busy on Sunday? Miss­ing out on Feast? Don’t worry, we’ll be doing it all again next Sunday, Decem­ber 10th when Christmas Lights will be on from 3–7pm at St Luke’s. More info to fol­low soon!

See you at Feast!


WeNo insiders guide to…The Clockworks

In Net­tle­fold Place near Cenci Vin­tage, fea­tured pre­vi­ously in this blog, there is an unas­sum­ing door marked num­ber 6 and signed The Clock­works. The con­ver­ted Vic­tori­an indus­tri­al build­ing, with on-trend grey paint­work, could be mis­taken for the offices of an architect’s prac­tice or media com­pany. Instead, behind the entrance door there lies a nation­ally unique clock col­lec­tion and a state-of-the-art clock and watch repair work­shop. Vis­it­ors and cus­tom­ers are wel­come by appoint­ment.

Enter­ing by buzzer, our Intrep­id FEAST report­er walked into a metic­u­lously designed open-plan interi­or. It’s a large, atmo­spher­ic space, care­fully zoned to reflect the dif­fer­ent func­tions of the organ­isa­tion: museum col­lec­tion, lib­rary, work­shop and char­ity. The clocks, dat­ing from 1840, are an imme­di­ate visu­al pull and it’s hard not to be mes­mer­ised by the rhythmic tick­ing and click­ing of the timepieces. Behind a raised counter, in the corner, is the work­shop domain of the freel­ance con­ser­vat­ors. This area con­tains the paraphernalia of clock and watch repair­ing: a metal and wood lathe, braz­ing hearth for sol­dier­ing, milling machine with 5 microns accur­acy (1000th of a mm!), a parts clean­ing zone and a cent­ral desk with the most recent repair pro­ject care­fully laid out.

So how has this incred­ible col­lec­tion ended up in West Nor­wood? Well, The Clock­works are the brainchild of Dr James Nye and reflect a lifelong pas­sion for horo­logy (and with­in that field, the even more niche area of elec­tric clocks). James’s interest developed as a school­boy when he was given respons­ib­il­ity for look­ing after his school’s clock sys­tem. He explains: “Elec­tric clocks enable the dis­tri­bu­tion of time at a dis­tance, allow­ing you to have the same time in dif­fer­ent places. They tend to be insti­tu­tion­al.” James first began col­lect­ing clocks in the late 1970s. By the time he moved to West Nor­wood with his wife and chil­dren, he needed to cre­ate a pur­pose-built space to accom­mod­ate what had become a sub­stan­tial per­son­al col­lec­tion. Ini­tially he refur­bished a derel­ict house in Chest­nut Road in 2001, cre­at­ing a fam­ily home with a large por­tion of the ground floor hived off for the clocks. Vis­it­ors accessed the col­lec­tion via the family’s front door. Even with this arrange­ment, a large pro­por­tion of the clocks had to be kept in stor­age. Back then, when a private col­lect­or died, their col­lec­tion was invari­ably sold off and dis­persed. Aware of this, James har­boured the ambi­tion to cre­ate a ded­ic­ated premises open to the pub­lic. It was on the back­burn­er for a long time. But in 2012 he stumbled across the oppor­tun­ity he was look­ing for via a neigh­bour who worked in prop­erty devel­op­ment. He was able to buy the ground floor of the cur­rent premises in Net­tle­fold Place. At that time, it was a shell being redeveloped into flats and it became a labour of love to trans­form it into The Clock­works. The low point? “Wait­ing 7 months to get a gas con­nec­tion.”

As James needed staff to main­tain the clocks, it was logic­al to con­struct a work­shop area. This also met a need in the horo­logy com­munity. Tal­en­ted gradu­ates were emer­ging from con­ser­va­tion courses with amaz­ing skills, but they were strug­gling to estab­lish a work­shop due to a lack of cap­it­al. James had the idea of offer­ing bench space on a freel­ance basis with an agree­ment to work some days on the col­lec­tion. It is how he was intro­duced to Johan ten Hoeve, a second gen­er­a­tion Dutch clock­maker. Johan had recently fin­ished train­ing at West Dean Col­lege with the accol­ade of a renowned horo­logy pro­ject under his belt. (He had cre­ated a rep­lica of a 1676 clock made for the Royal Obser­vat­ory, Green­wich, that had been installed in the space built for the ori­gin­al.) Johan became involved in the devel­op­ment of the Clock­works and is now Con­ser­vat­or-in-Res­id­ence. This brought James on to one of the high­point of The Clock­works to date… In 2014, Johan was approached by the Kun­oz­an-Toshogu Shrine in Japan to con­serve a 16th-cen­tury clock that had been gif­ted to the Sho­gun in 1611 by the Vice­roy of New Spain. Johan spent an ini­tial 8-day trip in an office at the shrine, work­ing at a big desk with a Japan­ese flag behind it, with the con­stant com­pany of his hosts, where he cleaned the ori­gin­al clock, took pho­tos and made draw­ings. The shrine author­it­ies had bought everything they could from his tool kit shop­ping list. Next, Johan cre­ated a work­ing rep­lica of the intern­al move­ment so it could be dis­played by the clock for vis­it­ors to see. This part of the pro­ject was done in West Nor­wood and was finally com­pleted in Septem­ber 2015. Johan flew back to Japan with his rep­lica to attend the huge pub­li­city launch. So, a high prestige pro­ject in the world of clocks and it took place in West Nor­wood!

Given its quiet pro­file loc­ally, it’s easy to assume nobody knows about the col­lec­tion, but one look at the vis­it­ors’ book reveals a steady stream of guests – not all niche elec­tric clock enthu­si­asts. James estim­ates they have about 1000 vis­it­ors a year, mostly as tour groups, who are treated to an informed guided tour of the col­lec­tion. Secret Lon­don Walks have made about 8 sep­ar­ate vis­its because the trip is so over sub­scribed. Then there has been friends of the V&A, Nation­al Trust mem­ber­ship tours, and the Lon­don Explorers Group to name but a few. Of course there are clock afi­cion­ados, includ­ing spe­cial­ists from over­seas. Smiths of Derby, clock­makers since 1856, have made staff trips – pre­sum­ably thrilled to see the his­tor­ic Smiths clocks on dis­play. And local fam­il­ies with older chil­dren have vis­ited dur­ing the school hol­i­days. Since 2014, the Clock­works have also been tak­ing part in the annu­al Lon­don Open House, nor­mally open­ing on the same day as the cemetery and South Lon­don Theatre. If you are a film buff, watch out for screen­ings in the space dur­ing the Free Film Fest­iv­al.

More recently, The Clock­works gained high­er pro­file in the area when James was involved in the £35,000 fun­drais­ing cam­paign to repair St Luke’s tower clock. James com­ments: “It is a nation­ally sig­ni­fic­ant clock made in 1827 by the fam­ous clock­maker Ben­jamin Lewis Vul­li­amy” (who at the time was clock­maker to George IV). The clock hadn’t been work­ing for about 10 years, per­man­ently stuck at 12 o’clock. In May 2016, with the money raised, the clock was restored by the Cum­bria Clock Com­pany. So now the people of West Nor­wood have no excuse for being late!

And how about the work­shop? Well, it is busy, with more work than they can ful­fil. Many cus­tom­ers are local people, often private indi­vidu­als with heir­loom clocks, mainly mech­an­ic­al, that have ceased to work. The con­ser­vat­ors devel­op their own cli­en­tele based on their expert­ise. Johan, not sur­pris­ingly, spe­cial­ises in clocks and often does site vis­its. They tend to gen­er­ate busi­ness word of mouth. Our report­er talked to James Har­ris, who spe­cial­ises in watches. He gradu­ated from Birm­ing­ham City Uni­ver­sity with a BA in horo­logy and has worked for Omega. A lot of the watches James Har­ris repairs are vin­tage; some are antique. He explains: “Vin­tage watches are very fash­ion­able at present – you can get a brand such as Omega for a few hun­dred rather than the new price which can be £1000.”

Then it was time for the tour of the col­lec­tion given by con­ser­vat­or James Har­ris – and it was truly fas­cin­at­ing. It was hard not to appre­ci­ate the engin­eer­ing or be dazzled by the ideas behind meas­ur­ing time and dis­trib­ut­ing time in factor­ies, on ships, to the top of church towers.

What a treas­ure nest­ling in West Nor­wood! It’s well worth book­ing a visit, and if you have an old clock or watch to repair, there is a team of incred­ible experts on your door­step.

 

 

 

The Clock­works

6 Net­tle­fold Place,

Lon­don SE27 OJW

Tel 020 86764856 

http://theclockworks.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feast Christmas Lights, Sun 10 December 4pm-7pm!

 

Feast and St Luke’s come togeth­er once again for the last Feast event of the year! Come to Christ­mas Lights for an even­ing of food and fest­iv­it­ies from 4pm until 7pm.

Food & Drink!

Come hungry! There will be deli­cious hot street food from Feast favour­ites Lucknow2London selling their Brit­ish cuisine with an Indi­an twist, Original Fry Up Material with the best bur­gers in town,

Feast & St Luke’s church come togeth­er annu­ally to bring a volun­teer powered com­munity Christ­mas fair to West Nor­wood.

Creperie Anglaise (a firm favour­ite with the kids!) and Feast new­bies Route 66 with their infam­ously yummy burri­tos.

There will also be a bar out­side selling warm­ing mulled wine and cider from cel­lars of The Great North Wood…

Christmas Carols!

There will be carol singing from local choirs through­out the even­ing inside the church
4.20 Pram Chorus
5.00 Carol singing for every­one, led by local churches (please join in!)
6.20 Crystal Palace choir

Christmas Gifts!

Inside there’s a Christ­mas gift mar­ket with a won­der­ful selec­tion of local makers and artis­ans selling ori­gin­al art­works, unique home­ware items, hand­made jew­ellery and Christ­mas dec­or­a­tions. You can also ‘gift a gift’ of a Food­bank Christ­mas hamper for a local fam­ily.

Don’t miss your (almost) last chance to buy a pack of Feast Christ­mas cards and a bag (apart from Otter Cafe who stock them)

Fun for kids!

What child really likes Christ­mas shop­ping? We have free craft activ­it­ies (includ­ing mak­ing some­thing sparkly for your Christ­mas tree) to keep flag­ging little shop­pers happy.

And to top it all Fath­er Christ­mas will be there, ming­ling with the crowds and tak­ing orders for Christ­mas… What bet­ter way to kick off the fest­ive sea­son in West Nor­wood?

See you there — for the last Feast event of the year!

St Luke’s Church, Knight’s Hill, West Nor­wood SE27 0HS.

Sunday 10 Decem­ber

16.00–19.00

Free entry