What makes the Hill station so special is that hundreds of local people have been part of creating the unique community cafe, art and entertainment ‘hub’.

The story started in 2010...

...when a number of local residents set up a charity called Bold Vision and inspired local people to get involved in dreaming, fundraising and then working to transform a derelict, damp, undercroft space under the Telegraph Hill Centre. Art was part of this imagining and inspiration and an earlier public art project developed by Artmongers called ‘The Fabric of Society’ (which today clothes the outside of the Hill Station), showed the appetite local people had to come together to build and create local change. Telling stories, sharing tools, seeing something change, these were the foundations of the café.  At a time when people were talking about the Big Society, this small society conspiracy birthed something amazing! 

A little inspiration...

Spurred on by the support from St Catherine’s Church, the Telegraph Hill Centre, Lewisham Mayor’s fund and Social Enterprise department as well as a grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation, local people became ‘bold backers’ and invested in a £200 ‘Bold Backer’ bond which helped us raise our fundraising target of £50K.  Little by little this space become transformed by people power.

The community 'pitched' in...

Neighbours put on concerts, football matches, review shows or posted newsletters through 6,000 local homes sharing news of the dream to build a community café together.  If you couldn’t give money you were encouraged to put your muscles where your wallet wasn’t and invest in the project through ‘sweat equity’; helping to dig out the floor, decorate and eventually build the decking.  All offers of help were welcomed and that’s why lots of local people feel that the Hill Station is their café.  Even the name for the café was decided by a local competition.

Taking Shape....

In stages the space took shape and under the watchful eye and hard working hands of the first café manager, Ian Convery, a space was created where local residents could gather, share food and celebrate all that our community had achieved.   The back area was knocked through in time for the 2011 Telegraph Hill Festival, creating a stage and performance area.  Little by little other fundraising events took place like “A Grand for a Grand!”  raising money for a grand piano.   The art installations and exhibitions – which had always been a central thrust of the space were given space and the most amazing art from local people started to appear under the watchful eye of curator Patricio Forester.

And so it grows...

In 2013 Jacqui Shimidzu and Stephen Carrick-Davies,(who had been fundraising team co-ordinator for the project from the start), took over from Ian to run the Hill Station in February 2011. They run the Hill Station as a the Hill Gate Social Enterprise, a company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales. (company no 8652494).  They employ all the staff on the London Living Wage and are committed to running the Hill Station as a community café, and innovate to find new activities in the Hill Station so that everyone is made to feel welcome and that the community grows and is fed by food, friendship and the creative arts.
Stephen and Jacqui are both Fellows of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and are committed not only to running a successful cafe but to pioneer ethcial, sustainable and replicable programmes which really build community cohesion and support members of the community who are isolated or excuded. Separately from the work at the Hill Station they are are engaged in mentoring, youth activities and job creation programmes. In September 2015 Stephen stepped down from running the cafe but supports Jacqui informally in the background.
Rosemary and Porkbelly pic
Womans Magazine article on Hill Station
 Huffington post article




Opening Times

Monday 7am-3pm
Tuesday-Friday 7am-5pm
Saturday & Sunday 8am-5pm

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