2016 saw quite a few changes in Blackfen, some good and some bad. But let’s look on the bright side and hope that 2017 will see lots more good things!
Bexley Council removed Blackfen Library from its core library service. The library is now managed by New Community Church. It still has a range of groups and activities, plus a community cafe.
Blackfen lost both of its banks: Barclays Bank at the corner of Wellington Avenue and Lloyds Bank in Gloucester Parade. Customers now have to travel to other town centres or use online banking, and it means there are two large empty premises in central Blackfen.
The good news is that a range of new shops have opened: Costa coffee shop and The Bagel Shop have added a different dimension to the cafés in Blackfen. The Beauty Lounge and The Little Gym might help with your New Year Resolutions. Posh Paws dog grooming parlour and Affix Windows may well bring in customers from further afield as well as from the local area. And opening soon is an indoor play centre and cafeteria.
Blackfen’s micro pub, The Broken Drum, celebrated its first year anniversary. Long may it continue!
On 17 April 2015 a new micropub opened in Blackfen, The Broken Drum. One year on, and 16,000 pints later, the Broken Drum celebrates its first anniversary. The landlord has praised the sense of community from the regulars and hosted a weekend of celebrations.
The Broken Drum First Anniversary Cake
The Broken Drum First Anniversary Cupcakes
“The Broken Drum”! Containing Tombola tickets.
Blackfen Community Association Tombola at Broken Drum in aid of Alzheimer’s Society, April 2016
Andy Wheeler told the Bexley Times, “We’ve offered 200 different ales, I don’t have one constant beer, I’m always changing, looking for local and national beers.”
Mr Wheeler explained the appeal for micropub regulars. He said: “It’s a breakaway from the noise of pubs or the restaurant-type pubs that just have a bar to drink at. We don’t sell lager, we don’t sell spirits and we don’t play loud music. People come in, enjoy a chat with each other and talk to people they don’t know. People can come in, chat and make friends, we have run three quiz nights and raised around £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation. We also donate to the Alzheimer’s Society, as the pub is named after a pub in Terry Pratchet’s Discworld book series. The author died from the disease last year.
On 17 April 2015 at 5pm Blackfen’s new micro pub, The Broken Drum, opens its doors to customers. The property, formerly a nail salon, has been transformed into a tiny alehouse.
Broken Drum and Woodman Parade, 2015
Father-of-three Andy Wheeler, a former computer programmer, told the News Shopper (23 March 2015) how he turned redundancy into the opportunity to pursue his dream of opening a micro pub. “I love my real ale and have been an active member of Bexley CAMRA for several years. So when I became redundant, opening my own micro pub became my next life challenge.” It has taken just over a year for Andy to find the premises, get the correct licences and planning permission and refurbish the former shop. The pub is named after the tavern in the Discworld series of books by the recently deceased author Terry Pratchett.
The Broken Drum is the Bexley borough’s third micro pub and follows the success of The Door Hinge in Welling and The Penny Farthing in Crayford.
Andy told the News Shopper: “I now hope to promote locals to relax and converse in a friendly atmosphere with good ale to drink. The premise behind micro pubs is that they sell mainly real ale, a little wine and cider, but no spirits and no lager. They encourage conversation and shun electronic games, TV, music and mobile phones. I’m hoping to sell pub snacks and the like.
Opening hours and ale lists can be found at www.thebrokendrum.co.uk.
Broken Drum almost ready to be opened in April 2015
Andy Wheeler with cake to celebrate the grand opening
Very exciting news for Blackfen: a new alehouse is proposed for an empty shop site at 308 Westwood Lane, the middle property of Woodman Parade, which was formerly a nail salon. It will join two other new micropubs in the area: the Door Hinge at Welling, and the Penny Farthing at Crayford (which opens 11 September 2014). The pub promises to encourage good conversation and only sell the finest real ales straight from the cask, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Keep an eye on its new website: http://www.thebrokendrum.co.uk. It hopes to open before Christmas.
Empty shop, soon to be The Broken Drum
Woodman Parade in 2010. ‘Simply Nails’ is currently an empty shop