may close in 2020 [Update: We’re staying open]

Update: we’re staying open :+1:

With sadness, I intend to close later this year.

Update: if anyone is interested in keeping it running, please contact me at

The aim of was to provide a web-based forum for Sydenham that was modern, easy-to-use, and allowed discussions to be shared across the whole web and all social networks, as opposed to having discussion confined to Facebook, Twitter or NextDoor.

I have contributed a large amount of time and money (the forums are all loss-making) to hosting community discussion.

I wanted to offer a friendly, accountable and community-moderated alternative to Sydenham Town Forum, a site which hosts gratuitous personally-targeted slander, including plenty targeting me. The owner of STF (who also acts as its anonymous “admin") banned me, then encouraged public abuse and shaming of me via his own forum and others. Similarly, when I started, the owner of banned me and encouraged people who abused me on his own platform.

And it’s not just competing forum owners who have abused me.

One lady wrote to all local businesses on Twitter to attack my reputation, exagerrating my views after she disagreed with some political opinions I expressed on

More recently the same lady sent me a threatening email listing many of my family members, including a photo of my mother with my 3-month-old child, and a photo of the outside of my flat with an implied threat to “pay my wife a visit” while she was on maternity leave looking after my baby son.

This lady received a warning from the police regarding this email, but that hasn’t detered her from continuing to make unprovoked attacks on me via the Sydenham Town Forum and other platforms. She managed to convince others (including the then chairman of the Forest Hill Society, and also one of the former moderators of that she was the victim in all of this. Apparently it’s stressful being investigated by the police when you’ve committed a crime (perhaps best not commit crimes, then?)

It’s a damning reflection on those other people that they’d be so easily manipulated, but sadly online mobs are easy to form, and are a self-perpetuating phenomenon.

I’ve also received dozens of unprovoked abusive messages from a user on Twitter after he was banned by the moderator team of for repeated aggressive behaviour toward others, and ignoring polite nudges from the moderators.

Another ex-member of developed an obsessive grievance with me and wrote thirteen lengthy blog posts attacking my forums and my character.

Those are the “highlights” but there’s plenty more.

To summarise, I’ve had enough.

I’m going to let these bullies win. I will shut down transition to a new owner, if I can find one, in order to (hopefully) protect myself and my family from further abuse, as I believe the motivation of many of the abusers is to prevent my forums succeeding.

I put a lot of time into building this site and for the most part, I enjoyed running it. Many others also contributed. Thank you to those that did. Thank you also for the solidarity from those who left Sydenham Town Forum when it hosted personally-targeted attacks on me.

To those that participated in the attacks, whether the original orchestrators or the mob that cheered them on - be kinder.

You’ve damaged the mental health of a father, a brother and a son. I hope you come to understand that marginalising and attacking people online is an appalling thing to do.

I’m very sorry to you.

I will really miss this platform.

You gave everyone a voice.

Thank you


That really sucks. Sorry to hear you had to go through that, some messed up people out there. Thanks for the effort you put in, really appreciated.


The admin of Sydenham Town Forum Stuart Grove [mod: address redacted] has a lot to answer for.


That is a great shame and i am sorry you have been harassed in the manner you describe. I am amazed the other forum is still going - everyone i know has stopped using it because of the obnoxious, self- agrandising and tedious rantings of a group of regulars who go on there -at length. Is it a wing of some political party? Anyway, Take care.

1 Like

I’m sorry to hear this. My husband and I are fairly new to Sydenham and have enjoyed being part of your forum. Thanks for all the work you put in.

1 Like

That is awful! I am so sorry and you will be missed.

Look after yourself and your family xx

1 Like

That’s a shame !

But I don’t quite follow your logic since will continue and yet that’s where the abuse has come from.

It is true that hasn’t blossomed quite as much as se23. Partly this is the demographic I guess but also the Sydenham forum is quite good.


I believe the owner (who is also “admin”) of the Sydenham Town Forum is encouraging personal abuse of me because I started, which he sees as a direct challenge to his forum. So I hope that the abuse and slander will be removed from STF if I close will continue, but not under my ownership. I’m looking to transition it to new owners who are local, and whom I trust implicitly.

1 Like

The Sydenham forum is quite good??? Really? It is deserted apart from a band of loyal and contrary followers as far as i can see.Dominated by the same few voices year in year out. Never use a sentence when four screens worth of their own opinions are due an airing!


I shall be really sad to see SE26Life close. I have found it and its sister site of SE23LIfe welcoming and friendly. It’s so relaxing to be able to post on such a courteous site, which I’m sure has done a lot to project a positive image of SE26/23 way beyond our borders.

I love too that the site is open to all to view. Not a closed Facebook group or at all cliquey.

Having had bad experiences elsewhere, I in effect exhaled when I joined the Life sites. Oh the relief of finding a safe space! I do hope that there’s some way the sites can continue/combine.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Chris and his team for all their hard work and fair moderation.


Chris, thanks for all you and your team have done here to try to provide a better forum for Sydenham. I enjoyed using this site and I’m very disappointed to hear of its shutdown.

Is this your final decision? I see you recommend instead, and while that website is bustling, it is very Forest Hill centric and I doubt I’d feel comfortable using it for Sydenham related matters.

Having looked at Sydenham Town Forum once again, I see the dreadful thread you refer to. So many anonymous cowards with so much to say, and all of the abuse encouraged by Stuart Grove (or “admin” as he is well known to be moonlighting as). Don’t take their abuse to heart, Chris. The internet can be a vile place. Very sorry to hear you’ve also suffered threats toward your young family. Rest assured Sydenham residents are NOT represented by STF or by your abusers.

Please reconsider the shutdown. Don’t let STF be the website face of Sydenham. This is a friendly area full of good souls.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

In response to the points you raised: has a long and bright future ahead of it. It’s busier now than ever, and the tiny handful of trolls that used to use it have moved elsewhere - for example, STF (which attracts personally-abusive trolls due to the behaviour / policies of its admin). has always had the benefit of an excellent and accountable mod team and good policy decisions. I intend to transition the site, lock, stock and barrel, to new owner(s) whom we can all trust to retain the site’s positive outlook.

If I find someone technically able to take over to I’m willing to transfer ownership to them. This would need to be someone that I trust, like a member of the SydSoc exec, for example, or a moderator of

Absolutely, I know. For every cowardly abuser on STF there are many community-minded people here and on our Facebook page.

I’m baffled to see apparently reasonable people get taken in by the outright lies on STF. Do they realise that anyone able/willing to represent the other side of the story has been banned from STF by Stuart?

I am sad to shut this site down - especially as that’s what my detractors are hoping for - but honestly, running the site just doesn’t make me happy anymore, given the personal abuse I frequently get as a result of being its figurehead.

I hope that any new owner would avoid the abuse that I’ve received. The owner would probably need to be politically left-of-centre. A lot of the abuse I’ve received has been from far-left political activists (judging by their comments on social media).

1 Like

Chris, sorry to hear it and thanks for putting so much energy into it . There are some very strange coves on STF - there seems to be an innate suspicion of people from that site - at times we don’t agree with what some people are trying to do for Sydenham but my default is that if they are sincerely trying to do something positive then better to support and work with than undermine, or sometimes something much worse . All the best


It’s like the Tiger King ! Lol

In what way?

Sorry to hear Chris. I’ve always enjoyed this forum. All the best to you and your family.


Thanks @jonnoprice and @NigelA. I hope to see you both on

If I find someone to take over hopefully this site can continue to run.

I personally just want to take a step away from the constant abuse and slander I’m getting from elements of the Sydenham community (which still continues even now, from people who don’t know me. They’re lying and attacking because others on STF do so with impunity).

I am so sorry to hear this. The forum won’t be the same without you. It would be really good if you would reconsider.

Although as someone who experienced the public nastiness towards me of at least one one member of STF, which, coupled with the general unpleasantness of that forum, together with a seeming lack of moderation,
leading to my leaving the forum, I can’t say I blame you for your decision. I certainly wont be rejoining the STF.

I do hope will not close

Thank you so much for all your kindness to me, particularly when I was recovering from serious illness.

I wish you and your family health and every happiness for the future.



Thanks Ann.

I will see how the forum goes while I take a step away from adding content to it.

If it’s still actively used by its members then I will try hard to find someone to take it over.

1 Like