That amazing Peckham rooftop view (and trying to save it)

The summer weather keeps on giving and it prompts me to look back over my highlights of the past couple of months.

I spent one of my favourite evenings of the summer on a rooftop in Peckham. It’s not the now-famous one on top of the car park which Frank Boxer  turned into the phenomenon which is Frank’s Cafe. But it is the one which overlooks it, and which was made into the brilliant Rooftop Film Club (Peckham site) and where I went one beautiful evening in July. We drank cocktails and watched Dallas Buyers Club in deck chairs wearing headphones, always distracted by the clear sky above and the beautiful view over to the city.  It was funny to look over and see Frank’s first, and then the recognisable London skyline beyond.

I also spent another sublime evening being distracted by the view when I went to see an event put on by Multi Story. This one did take place in that car park underneath Frank’s. The Multi-Story orchestra, with Matthew Barley on solo cello, played Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1, and this main event was introduced by other ‘stories’ presented by musicians dotted around the car park giving talks and demos. The sun obediently gave off its best ever light, and then set as we watched and listened hard to the music.

Bold Tendencies is the non-profit summer project who put on these amazing performances in the disused multi-storey car park. All sorts of exciting things go on there. Theatre, yoga, and an intriguing concept called Right to Flight which has seen artist and writer James Bridle sending balloons up from the roof on a daily basis, and bringing back film footage from up there. There is a lot more information on this project at the tumblr here.  You can spot a balloon in some of the photographs below.

By the way Frank’s closes after this very weekend so if you haven’t been, get your clogs on now, as this closing marks the official end of South London Summer, or SLS.  Unless of course you are more of a Model Market type of person, in which case SLS ends next Saturday 27th September – but more of that subject anon.

The shock about this post is not that summer draws to a close. The really bad bit is that the magnificent view is threatened.  There are plans to construct a 20-storey building on the Aylesham Centre/Morrison’s site in central Peckham, just 200 to 400 metres in front of Frank’s Café, Bold Tendencies and the Bussey Building.

So enjoy my photos below – click on any of them to enlarge – and forgive the fact that some are similar, but it is the point of the whole post, and I personally like each one for different reasons.  Then you could actually go to the top of Frank’s this weekend or the Rooftop Film Club (where SLS lasts until 30th September: last showing of the season is Dirty Dancing). You can follow Peckham’s view on Twitter and, if you like, join the Facebook page to Protect Peckham’s view.

Then please please please sign the petition and share it with other likely signers!

The petition to protect Peckham’s Rooftop View is here:

Thank you to all of you who sign. I am now filing the summer away under ‘memories’  and looking forward to next June in the strong belief that I will be able to enjoy the sublime rooftop view many times again.



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