Jacqui Shimidzu

Community activist Jacqui Shimidzu runs the Hill Station Café as a social enterprise in Telegraph Hill. She also helped set up the New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival.

How do you think the people of Lewisham help shape its culture?

‘There’s a massive sense of community in the area of people pulling together. I’ve noticed that if you have an idea there are people around that can help bring that to fruition.


‘There’s so many different nationalities in Lewisham it’s added to this amazing melting pot of people and ideas and culture and flavour.’


‘I think quite a lot of people have come through quite a struggle so there’s this sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ and we kind of ‘get’ each other.’

What do you love to do in Lewisham?

‘My favourite thing to do in the borough is to go and see a film at Deptford Cinema, they always have such an amazing programme. It’s a volunteer-led project and they just got up and did it.

‘I really like Deptford market, been going there since I was a kid and I love eating at the Vietnamese restaurants. I love the view from Telegraph Hill Park and walking my dog there.

‘One of the most exciting things I’ve been to is Steamdown which is an open-mike jazz jam every Wednesday at the Matchstick PieHouse in Deptford which is phenomenal.’

‘There’s an amazing melting pot of people, ideas, culture and flavour here’

Could you tell us about the New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival?

‘We set up the New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival about eight years ago.

Since then, we’ve shown a screening of a film about human rights in the cell of the old Deptford Police Station. We’ve projected the science of sleep onto a ceiling and people watched it lying down. We’ve even done a bike powered screening of ET. Kids from the local library made model ET’s which we stuck to the front of the bikes.’

‘We normally show about 35 films over 10 days and we get about 5-700 people coming along. We’re all volunteers from different walks of life and all the films are free.’

What positive benefits do you think there’d be if we won London Borough of Culture?

‘There’s a massive young music scene in Lewisham with artists that could really benefit from getting recording studio time and stuff like that. My son’s into making music, and he used to make music in my basement, but it got so noisy we moved it to a shed at the bottom of the garden.

‘It’s open 24/7 to about 50 young kids in the area and they come and make music ranging from grime to trap to drill to funk to rnb. It’s like a DIY studio, and it’s really quite basic, but the stuff that goes on there is quite amazing.’

‘If we won we could invest and build upon the stuff that’s already being done.’

Why do you think Lewisham deserves to be the London Borough of Culture?

‘There’s such a rich tapestry here of things going on and everybody working away and adding to the culture – adding to British culture, not just Lewisham culture. I went to an Age Against the Machine event recently and it just blew me away; all these people in their seventies and eighties coming together to put on a cabaret night. There’s just so much going on here.’

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