Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Soft launch for Deptford Lounge

The Deptford Lounge opened its doors to the public today and Tidemill Primary school began a new term in brand new facilities. The excited screams of the children could be heard two streets away as they explored their fantastic new playground, whilst students of further education settled down to study quietly in the new library.

The two computer suites (including Apples Macs) were also almost fully occupied and coffee and snacks were being served from a kiosk in the main area. The children's library area is substantial (we wonder how noise will be kept to a minimum when that is fully utilised since it does not appear to be screened off).

Public access to much of the building is restricted. We joined founding members of the New Cross People's Library on a tour upstairs with Lounge staff, where we saw spacious meeting rooms and got a glimpse of the top floor open air ballcourt. We were unable to see the new hall (with its large picture window opening out onto Giffin Square) and the studio space on the first floor since these areas are to be used by the school until 4.30pm every weekday.

A view of the old Tidemill School from one of the meeting rooms. With the prison-like outer-casing of the building blocking some daylight, the room was illuminated by sensor operated indoor lighting.

A Lounge staff member shows ex-Crossfields residents and founding members of New Cross People's Library, Kath Dunbar and Jill Hart, a quick view of the ballcourt on the top floor.

The hall, studio space and meeting rooms are for hire at times when the school is not using them, as are the ballcourt, a jamming suite, a food technology suite, and a dining hall and kitchen (that lead out onto a generous roof terrace). Meeting room hire fees start from £18 an hour, whilst the main hall has a capacity of 190 people and costs £60 per hour. 320 people can be accommodated in the hall and studio combined at a fee of £100. Other hire fees can be obtained by emailing or pick up a leaflet at the library.

The school, we are assured, is being charged a "fair rent" for its use of this brand new community facility, now that it is an Academy. The kitchen appeared to be not up and running today however – we spied the children being served sandwiches and fruit.

The Deptford Lounge is expected to be officially opened in February by which time it is hoped that the new Giffin Square will be completed (along with a levelling of the tarmac on the road that surrounds it).

Meanwhile, the Lounge will now be open every day except bank holidays from 7am-10pm Monday to Friday and 7am-7pm on Saturdays & Sundays.

Drawing by PTE Architects


  1. shame it's such an ugly building

  2. Jolly Green GiantFriday, January 06, 2012

    Talking to the deputy manager of the lounge side today... I was asking how I could play a game of badminton without paying £60 an hour to hire the sports hall.... He said they might be hatching plans to do it cheap at some points in the week but that they can't use any of the schools equipment ie nets etc so they will have to buy duplicate sets... errr

  3. I was really impressed by all the new books. But less impressed when I went in to look for a couple of specific things, one a classic novel and the other something on African print & textile design that might be in the Art section.Alas a search on the computer showed these were available in Enfield, Battersea, Wandsworth, Ealing but not in Deptford. Still, it was an interesting browse, and afterwards I took a walk up the high street to buy a couple of things - something I wouldn't normally do on a dark Sunday evening. It was quite busy tho obviously the usual suspects were hanging outside the bookies, but it struck me that the high street looks better at night, you can't see how filthy it is then!

  4. Some of the new books are great (even if it's not what you're looking for). I like walking past and looking in and seeing all the people studying. It's weird because when you're in there you don't tend to notice people walking past outside.

  5. Good observation about potential noise from the children's library. It raises a major problem about the Lounge: it is the noisiest "library" I have ever worked in and it makes concentration almost impossible. I'm here as I type and a phone is ringing unneccessarily loudly, children are shrieking next door, parents aren't bothering to lower their voice to tell them off, one woman is snoring loudly. And the staff don't appear to have the wherewithall, or sanction, to do anything about it. From conversation with nearby eye-rolling visitors, I know I am not the only one who thinks this. I perssonally don't care how modern the facilities are. They mean nothing as long as this issue exists..

  6. Agree with Anonymous. This isn't a library. It's a community centre. If you want to effectively study or work, you'll need to go somewhere else.

  7. Perhaps they should allocate the ground floor meeting rooms (there are two) as quiet study areas. There are plenty of meeting rooms upstairs.