June and July: Arts Festival, Open House, Fair and more

Lots happening in the next few months in Camberwell and around…

Camberwell Arts Festival is back for 2017, starting with a party on the Green on 10th June, “where you can expect feasting, free fun workshops, a cake competition and a market showcasing the talent of Camberwell’s creative community”. There’ll be an Arts and Crafts Market on the same day, with a “wonderful range of goodies made in and around Camberwell’s dynamic creative community.” (Pardon the quotes, I’m using their press release to avoid rewriting it all.)

There’s a full programme of events at venues all around the area until 18th June. Some events will require tickets, so make sure you check in advance. You can view the brochure onlinedownload it as a PDF, or find a printed copy at “several shops, cafes, restaurants around SE5 including The Leisure centre, Hill Bakery, The Camberwell Arms, Joiners Arms, Art Deli and Maloko”.

On Saturday, 17th June, there’s the Myatt’s Fields Midsummer Fair. “a celebration of food, nature, arts and community, with live music, dance displays, stalls selling food, craft and bric a brac, greenhouse tours, fairground rides, a football tournament, peepshow exhibition, a parade for peace, Big Lunch and more”.

And also on 17th June, just slightly over the border, the Warwick Gardens Great Get Together [Facebook link] is “a community BYO picnic to get people together to meet their neighbours, share food and have fun”. Activities include “hand massages, glitter face-painting, table tennis tournament, yoga demo, kids ballet, swing dancing, and live music throughout the afternoon with local reggae artist Ras Keith”.

On the following weekend, 24th June, there’s the Ruskin Park Summer Fete, with “stalls, activities, pop up bar, food and music. This year you can try your hand at Willow Craft Sculpture, have a beautiful Henna Design, listen to wonderful Caribbean folktales. And back again by popular demand will be Kids’ Whirled Cinema in the Tipii  and those gorgeous and much loved Donkeys.”

The same day, 24th June, Camberwell College of Arts are holding an Open House, “a family-orientated event, offering free creative workshops, especially designed for children and young people. [it] takes place across two sites, Wilson Road, SE5 8LU and Peckham Road, SE5 8UF. The workshops at the event will include letterpress, screenprinting, The Darkroom Experience, stop motion animation, and much more”. Full details on their website.

And the evening of the 24th sees the return of Organoke—karaoke sung along with the mighty organ of St. Giles’ Church. Buy tickets online, or from The Pigeon Hole cafe (Datchelor Place), or on the door if any are left (there might not be).

On the 1st of July there’s the Just So pop-up Summer Fair at Ark All Saints Academy, Wyndham Road. Arts, crafts, local businesses and more. Details on the flyer.

Later the same month, 22nd July, Camberwell Fair returns to the Green. Full details should be released in a few weeks time, and I’ll add them here when I get them; or, keep an eye on their website.

Not forgetting the regular Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Market; all told, should be plenty to see and do in the next months.

Over in Dulwich, the Picture Gallery have opened a Summer Pavilion until 8th October. There’ll be plenty of events happening there, with local interest provided by a bar and menu from our own Camberwell Arms. More information on the Gallery’s website.

Camberwell Market is back for the Summer

After a successful launch last year, Camberwell Market (not to be confused with Camberwell Farmers’ Market) is back on the Green this Sunday, 23rd April, from 11am to 5pm. There’s a mostly new line-up of stalls, including (descriptions provided by the market management):

  • Serious Hashbrowns—a brand-new venture from Daniel Mntungwana of Love Walk Cafe, serving up Gourmet Hashbrowns (from a converted horse box!)
  • Daddy’s Japan Soul Food—scrumptious, authentic Japanese street-food.
  • Meltsmiths—mouthwatering grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Books-Peckham—beloved and hugely popular book stall returns!
  • Fashion Clicks—playful, fun, quirky, inspired vintage/retro fashion.
  • And many more.

It’s great to have the market back for the summer. I still think, however, it would be good if the Saturday and Sunday markets could merge—it would make for a much better destination. I’ve heard there are regulatory reasons why they’re separate, but I’d still like to see it.

News Roundup: Things to See and Do

Time slipped away from me before I could promote this year’s Camberwell Free Film Festival. It’s halfway through already, but you can still see some great films between now and Monday.

The Southwark Community Action Network are organising a petition in support of reopening Camberwell station. If you want to help, you can print a copy and pass it round your local networks for signing.

Camberwell Arts are running another Open Studios event, on the weekend of 16th-18th June. If you’re an artist, maker or creative with a studio in the area, and want to take part, the deadline for applications has been extended to 10th April.

Camberwell Fair is back this year, and back on the Green after taking place in Burgess Park in 2016. It’s going to be a two-day event, on 22nd and 23rd of July. If you want to be involved in the organisation you can get in touch with them now; official applications for stallholders and performers will follow soon.

Finally, local coffee roasters and social enterprise, Old Spike, opened their new café, bar, and roastery, Spike+Earl, last weekend. It’s in the old Town Hall on Peckham Road and was such a success on the first day that they ran out of food for the weekend. A great spot to get some afternoon sun.

Rail news: Denmark Hill & Camberwell

Network Rail have released a new set of reports related to their long-term planning process, which looks at the UK’s rail network over the years to come. There are a few interesting details in there related to Denmark Hill and the mooted Camberwell station.

First of all it’s notable that Denmark Hill has been marked as one of the stations with highest priority for funds to relieve overcrowding—anyone who uses the station at rush hour will know this is badly needed.

The main issues identified are congestion on the platforms, stairs and interchange footbridge, and at station entrance / exit gatelines, both in the morning and evening peaks.

Some of the ways they’re looking at to ease congestion are by adding additional gates to the existing entrance/exit; building a new entrance onto Windsor Walk; and encouraging better use of the footbridge. This latter point could be done by relocating the station entrance nearer to the footbridge; by lengthening the platforms to terminate services closer to the footbridge; or by simply covering the footbridge.

By implementing the proposed interventions, it is anticipated that there will be reduced queuing at the bottom of the platform access staircases and decongestion at the main gate lines, with improved passenger safety and reduced passenger walk times.

Obviously some of those are going to be more practical—that is to say, cost less—than others. Whatever changes are made, they are to be “considered for delivery by 2024”—but hopefully well before that.

As for Camberwell station, the report notes that TfL and Southwark council have made the case for reopening it as an alternative to the Bakerloo extension (which, in case you haven’t heard, will be going down the Old Kent Road instead). TfL are working on a business case, supported by Southwark’s Area Vision development plan.

The report notes that impact on timetables on the rest of the line would have to be considered, as well as requiring an updated capacity study in case of crowding. Also, the existing platforms (what’s left of them) don’t currently support the needed 8-car length, and would need to be capable of possible extension to 12-car length in the future.

TfL’s initial Business Case is expected sometime this year. Meanwhile, Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes have written to transport secretary, Chris Grayling, in support of the project:

The reopening of the station would come as much needed relief to residents of Camberwell, who have suffered from poor transport links for years. The proposal is supported by nearby King’s College Hospital… from whom constraints in local public transport create significant issues in getting staff, patients and visitors to the hospital.

If you want to hear more about the station reopening project, you should head along to the Camberwell Community Council meeting on Thursday, 30th March, 6.30pm, at the Employment Academy on Peckham Road.

Mono, Nandine, Nape and Louie Louie — food and drink news

It’s been a while since I wrote about new places in the area to eat and drink, and as they’re generally the most popular posts, let’s do that.

Mono (above) is the most recent addition, a new coffee shop that’s opened at 49 Denmark Hill. It’s very much the modern coffee shop style: bare brick, gleaming espresso machines, and a bunch of old classics on vinyl. I popped in for a takeaway coffee (a flat white, very good) and had a quick chat with the owner—he says there’s a kitchen in the basement which his partner will cook in, so expect food to come soon. For now it’s coffee and pastries, but I look forward to seeing how it grows.

Nandine is a small café serving Kurdish salads, sandwiches, and sweets. I’ve been in a couple of times since it opened in December (I think), for a very tasty sausage breakfast sandwich and a chicken wrap. It’s a family business, with mum in the kitchen, dad as the handyman, and son front of house. It’s tucked away in the backstreets of Vestry Road (near the old town hall) and will struggle with foot traffic, so if you’re a local or passing nearby do check it out. (They also deliver through Uber Eats.)

Nape are a bar, bottle shop and deli specialising in wine and cured meats—it’s a business enterprise of Cannon & Cannon, the local meat specialists. The bar, at 21 Camberwell Church Street (one of the old library units), opened in December as a pop-up test run, but are now fully launched. Wine and ham is pretty much my dream combination, so I dropped in last night and can confirm it’s great; wine on tap and by the bottle, and delicious small plates.

Eggs & chorizo from Louie Louie

Louie Louie is a café/bar/restaurant specialising in cocktails. They’re a little bit out of our catchment area at 347 Walworth Road, SE17, but I’ll make an exception as they’re from the team behind Fowlds café in Addington Square. Weekend brunch (above) is very popular, we were lucky to get a table just before lunchtime on Sunday, and a constant flow of people arrived all the time we were in there—seems there’s pretty high demand in the area.

In other food & drink news, there’s a new kebab shop, Tazze, at 22 Camberwell Church Street, in the place where once stood Safa and the short-lived Shanghai Taste. In terms of what they offer, I had a decent doner there (made with cuts of lamb, not the minced ‘elephant leg’), but it’s not at the standard of FM Mangal and is up against two popular incumbents in Golden Grill and Bolu.

The Flying Fish, further down Church Street, has closed. Only temporarily, from what I’m told; seems Kamal, the previous owner, has retired and sold the business. New owners will apparently reopen in six weeks or so, keeping it as a chippy.

In final, less positive news, the landlady of the Nags Head says the owners of the pub have more than doubled her rent to some £75,000 per year, making it untenable for her to stay there. The pub was recently granted ‘asset of community value’ status by Southwark council and will have to continue with the A4 use class (‘drinking establishment’) in the future, but no idea what form that will take as the rooms above the premises will be converted into flats.

The demographic of Camberwell, like everywhere else in central London, is changing.