Edgy, gritty, urban and edgy

If I may take a break from my usual homophobic, racist and scatological posts for a moment…

Today’s Evening Standard ‘Homes & Property’ supplement has an article on Camberwell — or a CAMBERWELL SPECIAL, as the posters outside Denmark Hill put it.

The emphasis seems to be on people who want to invest in the area, rather than live in it; consistently referred to as ‘edgy’, the focus is on the relatively cheap prices of Georgian housing stock in the area; I say relatively, because the properties listed go for between £435,000 and £899,950.

The artistic side is played up, with mentions of the South London and GX Galleries, and the middle-class aspect is brought firmly to the fore. There are passing mentions of street crime and population diversity, but this is aimed solely for Standard readers — and you can’t really blame them for knowing their market.

No references to being under-invested and overlooked by the Council, unfortunately; and I’d take issue with Burgess Park being described as ‘leafy’. Otherwise, about what I’d have expected.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

48 thoughts on “Edgy, gritty, urban and edgy”

  1. I’ve had some pleasant mornings in Burgess Park recently. I do think that since its faclift it has become a real strength for the area.

    Once the tram ploughs its furrow therein then others will see what I mean.

  2. What I like most about Burgess Park is the traces of what used to be there: roads with the cobbles showing through that disappear under grass and then reappear a few hundred yards away, and the old baths.

  3. Whilst I’d agree that Ruskin park is leafier I think it’s leafy enough.

    Anyway do you think the article will have a positive impact on local house prices?

    I thought it lacked enthusiasm. A bit too matter of fact rather than ‘get in quick before its too late’.

    Furthermore the idea that Willow is the only restaurant in the area is bordering on racist.

  4. I never read the Standard anymore…It’s just become a London version of The Daily Nail (yes I spelt that correctly)- It just does not represent the London population as a whole…I really loathe it…especially that Simon Jenkins…They should rename it the Kensington Standard

  5. I’d imagine the prices of the Edwardian/Georgian houses will be pushed even further upwards, making it less and less likely I’ll ever be able to afford one.

    Eusebiovic: agree with you regarding the Standard; the London paper that hates London. City Bonuses Specials, scaremongering health alerts and Kensington parties. A load of toss.

    There was only one copy left in the newsagent (Cornners — why the extra ‘n’?), and a few different Homes supplements. As I reached for the last Standard, another man reached for it at the same time. “After you”, I said; he paid 50p for it, I got the Homes supplement for nothing. Ha ha!

  6. Ah yes Cornners Food and Wine — when I lived at Canning Cross the extra n used to be a constant source of amusement to us and to visitors.

  7. Unfortunately I failed to be featured in the Standard after my details were passed on — due to timings I was away when they were arranging the photos and feature

  8. Peter — Have you also noticed how the Standard sensationalises any unfortunate crime or incident that happens in the less affluent parts of London, just to scare it’s readership into buying a more expensive contents insurance and security system for their homes — Be afraid! Be very afraid the poor people are coming and you have to be ready for the battle! — “Assimilatation,Greed,The elite all these things are American dreams” (Know your enemy — Rage Against The Machine 1992) maybe they should have said American Republican dreams…but I got the drift…

  9. Mumu, I was the same. I passed on my details but the journalist contacted me over Xmas when I didn’t have access to emails. When I got back to him a few days later he had already written the article. I really wanted to have my say to “big up” the area. I haven’t read the article yet but it doesn’t sound like it was the constructive piece that we had all hoped for.

    In better news, my faith in Camberwell was renewed yesterday. I had to stop off at the small Somerfield for some urgent supplies (our fridge is on the blink), but didn’t have my bike chain with me. A 12 year old kid came up to me and asked me why I hadn’t locked it up. I was suspicious that he’d noticed and sceptical when he offered to watch it for me, sure that he would have it away, but I had no choice: it was that or risk no dinner (and the wrath of the Mrs. So I accepted. Bless him, the little fella watched it like a hawk the whole time!

    I know it’s only a little thing, but in light of all the bad stuff that is mentioned here, it gave me some heart.

  10. @eusebiovic — I know that many aspirational types (basically most people without some kind of social axe to grind) refer to this area as the front.

    It gives the impression of battle lines which move only imperceptibly over generations, as one side deserts the other and becomes civilised, or the other side’s numbers are depleted by natural wastage to the countryside.

    I like living at the front.

  11. The best returns can be found by investing at ‘the front’ not sure if it’s the best place to live though.

  12. What a bollox article. Certainly is written for Evening standard readers.

    They seem to see Victorian Camberwell (eg, the groves) as East Dulwich overflow and veer away from any mention of lower Camberwell (that must be where the 41% african population lives of course).

    Oh how many times can an article mention ‘poor transport links‘?

    I’ll mention poor — Poorly written article!

    Grrr, wish I hadnt read it now, that just annoys me.

  13. Now that A.N. Wilson has gone from Friday’s edition there’s no reason to buy the Standard, except maybe for that stroppy whatisname, that Asian bloke. Yasmin’s all right, bit stroppy. Will Self’s OK but he’s too clever for his own self, a bit like Martin Amis. Vanity is the scourge of the English literary classes. Amis always lumps himself in with Updike, Bellow and Nabokov. How embarrassing.

    Wilson’s gone to the Mail, but people who read the Mail don’t really read. My in-laws take the Mail and their lips move just looking at the pictures.

    I managed to liberate a copy of the Standard’s Homes and Ploperty, which had the same old story about Camberwell, I thought — edgy, art college, Camberwell Grove. It was right about schools — only two good primaries plus Charter. This is the key to residing in Camberwell, I have always thought it.

    If the schools get more consideration — more people will stay despite the perceived street crime and dog plop. Loads of people want to live in Camberwell — Africans for the nightlife and the buzz, middle class white folks for the nightlife and the buzz — we all know it. Who needs shops? What is there to buy? WHAT IS THERE TO BUY?

    If your little kids can go to a good primary school where there’s a third white kids, a third black and a third other, there is no better early years education in every sense in Britain than is available round here.

    They can then fill a bag with GCSEs and A Levels at Charter — if they’re good enough.

    When I cycle through Belgravia, Eaton Square, round there, Knightsbridge, Kensington, I want to march on Downing Street. Tony Blair! Ruth Kelly! Ye would blanch indeed in the face of 10,000 marching women from Camberwell!

    This windy weather is just the time for it! Even the bookshelves were swaying in Peckham library today!

  14. MarkB- poor transport Links- did they really say that?

    You can get to pretty much any area of London From Camberwell. the only area I’ve identified that can’t be reached by a bus is East London.

    I manage to get to deepest darkest Putney everyday with no bother (well except last night- but SW trains are a bit poo!)The Good Husband gets all the way to Mill Hill.

    Seriously you’d think that without a tube you couldn’t get about- I worry for the rest of the UK, they mustn’t be able to leave their homes, what with having no Tube network.

  15. There are trees fallen in Lucas gardens, next to the road opposite the town hall, in St Giles churchyard where the top of one just hit the church, in the small narrow park on the Green side of the church, and in the back garden of the last house in Grove Lane before the Dark Horse.

  16. Surely no recently-planted ones, though? That would screw up someone’s carbon offset as they’re supposed to last 100 years to absorb all the carbon from someone’s essential flight to the Maldives.

  17. My flight to the Maldives was essential. I had a lovely time there over Christmas, hence my absence from this blog. The turkey on Chrsitmas Eve wasn’t up to much, but they made up for it with an incongruous but delicious platter of sushi. My houseboy was slightly oversolicitous, but that’s a cross I’ve had to bear for many years, given my ageing, Brandoesque good looks.

  18. I am severely hung over, aren’t you? I woke today to find I have two small children, I was stunned.

    All this about Jade Goody from Bermondsey, what’s that? It’s all a fuss in a teapot if you ask me. That Slipa Sheetty said Jade was “from the roadside”. In her and also my country there is no bigger slur.

    I went to the Asda on the Old Kent Road yesterday, I think. The clientele there is very cosmopolitan and Old Kent Road. I compare it with the Asda in Falmouth, Cornwall, where I go seeking solace. Off season it is full of just Cornish people, there are no tourists at all. The same is so at the Old Kent Road branch, no tourists at this time of year.

  19. I have yet to recover from, or to properly acknowledge the existence of, two small beings who hang around our house all the time. It’s been seven years and although we appear to have cordial relations — grandparents and so on — between each other, I’m not sure who they, or I, are any more.

  20. Apologies for the scat. Has anyone learnt to drive in Camberwell? I could do with finding a decent driving school, jusdt wondered if anyone has learnt here.

  21. The Royal Parks lost 100 mature trees in the high winds, according to the ‘Standard. Perhaps one day this technologically advancing society will discover a practical way to shield the more valuable dicotyledons, older than all men.

    But first we must morph past the civilised state of not chopping them down to ease the path of HGVs down London’s main arteries — precisely where they are most needed to absorb carbon at source in those most polluted areas of cities, the types of settlement where most humans now live.

    A friend flew to Moscow, and complained there was no snow in December. What happened to the St Nikolaevskij Moroz?

  22. The tree that fell down in St Giles churchyard has been sawn up and carted off. Amongst the gravestones, it was a reminder that…all that… and yet there was a dad playing cricket with his lads there at the weekend. There was a crown cavorting with a magpie, when they normally fight. The church bells were ringing out in the sun and the organ was going full belt inside. Ruskin’s stained-glass window was hallucinatorily irredescent. The whole thing, it could have been Tunbridge Wells.

  23. Bukowski. I am learning how to drive through BSM. They are useless. After 11 hours of lessons I had to ask the instructor about a certain technicality he hadn’t bothered to tell me about. If I hadn’t asked I’d still be none the wiser. It’s something that would have caused me to fail my test.

  24. Oliver — Thanks, I’ll bear that in mind. I thought about going with them but they seem to be expensive.

  25. buk, i learned with BSM and they were okay, but i did feel that i paid for a LOAD of lessons that i might not have needed. (i should say as well that i passed first time, so you’ll have to pass first time, switch, with a flip in the middle!)

  26. I started learning with the AA (never finished, still can’t drive). They were really crap. More correctly, the instructor was really crap. Whoever you go with, do not continue if you don’t have a good relationship with your instructor. Mine was routinely 45 minutes late and talked on his mobile to his girlfriend. I had non-stop road rage, directed at my instructor. I have no idea why I didn’t complain — except it was quite a bad time in my life and didn’t want extra stress.

  27. Thanks for the advice. I’m going to Wait until Spring, Bandini as it seems mad enough learning in the traffic around here anyway, never mind in the dark.

    Anyone know anything good to do with kids in London?
    Squidder’s got a 32 year old visiting at the weekend and needs something that will satisfy his eternal quest for F*U*N whilst sedating him with alcohol.

  28. 32! he’s my best friend and he lives out in the pastoral countryside of derbyshire. whenever he comes to london he gets super excited by the giddy bright lights and wants to go to the Trocadero. He once spent a whole saturday walking back and forth between the Trocadero, Leicester Sq and Soho, then he went and got wasted on cocktails in the Cheers bar at Piccadilly. whenever he comes down me and buk try to find fun stuff for him / us to do, without it involving the Trocadero, Leicester Sq or Soho!

    By the way the chap in question does live at home, does wear Lynx deodorant and does own a palm-size, remote-control toy helicopter…just to give you some context!

    any ideas of fun stuff going on this weekend folks??

  29. I used Lanes driving school when I was learning to drive in 2005.

    I passed first time so would definitely recommend my instructor who was called John. I think they were a bit cheaper than AA and BSM.

  30. I see, squidder, I thought your friend may have been 3 and a half. I was going to sing the praises of Lucas Gardens and the Horniman.

    I ‘d suggest the Somers Town Coffee House near Euston as a starting point. This has been regenerated since the days I knew it when you played pool there for your life, not just for £5. The place was originally a coffee house for Huguenot intellectuals. Now it’s a good gastropub. The alehouse is a fine example of degeneration and regeneration.

    Then a tour of Camberwell.

  31. If he’s here on a friday go to Ye Olde Mitre on Ely place a fantastic little hidden pub that serves cheese toasties and real ale.

    Then on Saturday take him to Bradleys Spanish bar on Hanway street for a taste of real Soho with good music and people who know how to drink properl.

    Or perhaps Bar Kick on Shoreditch high street a wonderful football bar with fantastic food, table football and more beer and cocktails than you can shake a stick at.

    Then spend a lazy Sunday recovering over brunch at the Sun and Doves

    And finally 3 or 32 take up Dagmars suggestion and go to the Horniman Museum anyway — the new Aquarium is ace and the exhibition on stuffed Polar bears is reassuringly odd.

  32. Yes, the Polar bears are great, especially if you’re hung over — they keep moving. Our baby Poppy has never seen so many stuffed Polar bears in her life. There are dozens of them from collections all over the world, it really is a bizarre show.

  33. Squidder / bukowski: kid things to d oin London.

    Livesey Musem Old Kent Road, Horniman as mentioned already and Design Museum Sunday afternoon: free children’s activities. Call and find out what’s on.

    All thre museums are interesting for kids even at three and a half.

  34. Squidder / bukowski: kid things to do in London.

    Livesey Musem Old Kent Road, Horniman as mentioned already and Design Museum Sunday afternoon: free children’s activities. Call and find out what’s on.

    All thre museums are interesting for kids even at three and a half.

  35. If you go to Ye Old Mitre wear something to distinguish yourselves and I’ll buy you a pint — I practically live there!

  36. Suidder, how was the weekend? I was at the Horniman today — there is only one stuffed polar bear, I got it wrong, but it is big, about 8 feet tall. It was shot in 1897 by Lord Somerleyton, at Spitzbergen Norway. The exhibition is of photographs of stuffed polar bears in situ all over the world. The two artists who did it will give a talk about the project at 8pm on 1st March at the museum — they traced every stuffed polar bear in UK collections.

    If you are hungover, though, the Horniman is still very vivid. The moon jellyfish in the aquarium enhance the worst of hangovers.

    Today I saw a stuffed bichir, a primitive fish found in the Sudan that has lungs and legs, probably the ancestor of all tetrapods (four-legged friends) including us. Far out!

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