Camberwell Blog

Life in SE5 and its environs

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  • NickW: Look forward to trying out Theo’s soon. On another note if any one is around on Saturday afternoon come...
  • sloth: Another thumbs up here for Theo’s. Food was still half price last night, and was all delicious.
  • pk36: I’ve just found an article with an interview with Theo Lewis – owner of Theo’s. It gives a...
  • pk36: Went along to Theo’s pizzeria on Saturday for their soft opening. The place looks great (lots of white...
  • James J: @Peter, Ah yes, I think making them sui generis must be have been a recent change to the planning...


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  • Monday afternoon in Peckham
  • Magical world of courgettes!

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Welcome to the Camberwell Online blog, a place for free and spirited exchange on anything with even a tangential connection to the South-East London district.

Many Changes to Camberwell Green

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Some changes are coming to Camberwell Green from this month. The long-awaited new library is set to open on the 4th November, somewhat delayed after unspecified ‘contractual issues’. The former library will close on 31st October, so there’ll be a few days without a library.

New Camberwell Library

But before that, work begins on the transformation of the Green. From 5th October until sometime next year the Green will be closed while the changes – part of a wider £11m regeneration of the area – are undertaken. The full plan [PDF] is available online, and you can compare old with new in the image below.

A satellite picture of Camberwell Green alongside a plan showing changes

The big change will be moving the playground from the East to the North side, enlarging it in the process. There will be feature walls around four major entrances, and a long wildflower meadow will be planted along the West edge (near Camberwell Road). The South will remain largely unchanged.

Just outside the Green, there will be a new pedestrianised area on the North East corner by the new library, and the South East corner will also be pedestrianised and made into a permanent ‘market square’ — hopefully this will allow them to also serve cooked or ready foods. While the Green is closed, the market will move to Datchelor Place, outside the Pigeon Feed.

Across Camberwell Road to the West, the new ‘Camberwell on the Green’ development has gone on sale. There are 96 new flats, with prices starting from an eye-watering £446,000 for a one-bedroom. On the ground floor of the development, on the East and South sides, there will be a number of new shopping units.

All in all, there’s going to be a new look to the Green over the next year.

As a minor postscript, Southwark have announced that all shop units in the new development, and existing units from the Green to the junction with Coldharbour Lane in the South, and to the Hermits in the East, have had change of use rights from A1 to A2 withdrawn. In a nutshell, that means they will not be allowed to change use to become “financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) and including estate and employment agencies” — although they could still become pretty much anything else.

9 Comments » . October 1st, 2015. Filed under Development, Property

On the buses

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For the last few months, like many people, my commute to work has been affected severely by the road works at Elephant and Castle. The removal of the northern roundabout and the new north-south cycle superhighway have often created tailbacks all the way back to Camberwell Road. The option of traveling west up Camberwell New Road has also been affected by the road works for cycle superhighway 5 over Vauxhall Bridge. Personally I welcome these developments, but I will be very glad when their construction is finished.

The effect on traffic made me think about the extent to which Camberwell commuters rely on the bus to get to work. Census data from 2011 shows just how dependent we are – out of more than 8,500 wards in England and Wales, the six with the highest percentage of residents in employment who use the bus to get to work is:

Camberwell Green 44.3%
Peckham 44.2%
Faraday 43.9%
Livesey 41.1%
East Walworth 38.9%
Brunswick Park 38.6%

Source: Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics, Method of Travel to Work (QS701EW), 2011

In other words, our little area of London is unique in the whole of England and Wales in terms of its reliance on the bus. The reasons for this are interlinked. With the exception of South Bermondsey and Denmark Hill stations, there are no other rail or tube links across the six wards. As with much of inner London, car ownership is low – between 60% (Brunswick Park) and 69% (Camberwell Green) of households do not own a car. Only 7% of commuters across the six wards cycle to work, which compares to upwards of 20% in areas of Hackney (although hopefully this will change once the new cycling infrastructure is in place). By contrast, the bus network is very comprehensive. 15 different bus routes pass through Camberwell Green, which is one more than Piccadilly Circus. During rush hour on Camberwell Road, the interval between northbound buses is usually less than a minute.

Just another reason, if one were needed, why Camberwell is special.

Camberwell’s view of St Paul’s Cathedral Update

In 2014 and earlier this year I wrote about the proposal for residential towers on Park Street near Tate Modern that threatened the view of St Paul’s Cathedral from the northwest corner of Camberwell Green. In response to the concerns raised by local residents, the developer reduced the height of the tallest tower by two storeys, and in the summer Southwark Council gave the go-ahead for the project. The new building will still have an adverse effect on the view of the drum of the Cathedral, but the view of the dome should be preserved. It is probably the best outcome we could have expected, so thank you to all those who wrote to the Council to object to the original proposal.

Nevertheless, it will still stick in the craw when the towers are completed, and their top floor penthouses are marketed for their unparalleled views of the Cathedral!

8 Comments » . September 23rd, 2015. Filed under General, Transport

Help crowdfund the Coal Line

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My Camberwell friends, I may have a part of the cycle solution (certainly to Millwall, Dagmar) – but we need your help! The Peckham Coal Line is now Crowdfunding through Spacehive. Take part and help this resident-initiated project move one step closer to creating an urban linear park that would connect South London. An oasis of greenery soaring high across the rooftops of Peckham on a disused rail siding. A route as useful as it is beautiful, unlocking dormant Victorian infrastructure to connect neighbourhoods and high streets, and people to work.

More than a park – a vital connection: The 900-meter link will be for walkers and cyclists and will bridge a gap in a wider network of greenways that would run largely traffic free across South Camberwell to Greenland Dock where Sustrans are planning a new bridge to Canary Wharf. The campaign needs to get out to a wider audience so if any of you know of someone who might be interested please forward the website to them.





Wider Networkx

1 Comment » . August 25th, 2015. Filed under Development, Guest Author, History, London, Transport

New old photos of Camberwell

Written by | 10 Comments.

A new account on Flickr, Historic Images UK, has posted a batch of old photos of Camberwell that I’ve never seen before. Among many (many) of Camberwell Grove, there are some real old treasures. Here are a few good ones.

This is the corner of Camberwell Green where the public toilets now stand. Is that some kind of shrine there, or just a monument?

Camberwell Green 1930.JPG

The Lava Skating Rink, which stood at the top of Camberwell Grove near Denmark Hill station. So-called because the surface was covered with lava from Vesuvius.

The Lava Skating Rink, Grove Lane, Camberwell 1908.JPG

Camberwell Grove, 1905. Hasn’t changed much.


I think this is the cottage that still stands at the top of Camberwell Grove, although it’s not thatched any more.


A drawing of the old St Giles church, which stood on the site of the current one.

St Giles, Camberwell.jpg

300-year-old galleried stables on Camberwell Grove. Gone now, I think.

Old Stables, Camberwell Grove.jpg

10 Comments » . August 5th, 2015. Filed under Art, History