Surrounding area

As I mentioned in a previous post the Western side of Camberwell is a moveable feature with what some call Camberwell, others argue is Brixton, Oval, Herne Hill, Putney or wherever (or on reflection maybe not Putney but you get my drift). I guess Brixton has more street-cred and greater recognition than Camberwell.

The Urban75 website is an excellent source of information, reviews, discussion and much much else for all things Brixton (and surrounding area).

Occasionally Urban 75 features reports from Camberwell such as the excellent feature on the lost pubs of the area which documents several of the ‘characterful’ and rather intimidating pubs of Coldharbour Lane that I remember cycling by when I first lived in Brixton in 1998.

Recently it featured Ruskin Park and I was intrigued by another report that they carried on the ‘Camberwell Submarine’ which is an architectural feature I have passed on several occasions and wondered what it was. It is interesting that they consider Akerman Road, SW9 to be in Camberwell.

Another site I have recently discovered is the Lambeth Landmark which features old photos from Lambeth’s archives — by selecting Brixton North or Loughborough Junction from the places menu you can access several from the SE5 Camberwell area.

59 thoughts on “Surrounding area”

  1. Great link re the ‘Camberwell Submarine’. I can see it from my bedroom window. A close-to-home mystery solved for me.

    Akerman Road = SW9 = Camberwell? Climb over the hedge and you’re in SE5 for sure.

  2. Postcodes cannot be how places are defined.

    SE5 = Camberwell is a nice simplification but Camberwell was around long before its postcode. Note the wikipedia reference to the Domesday book.

    Also note that DN36 is Grimsby but the DN relates to the fact that the sorting office is in Doncaster.

    I recently read an appeal on the East Dulwich Forum to rename Peckham Rye Park because it’s mainly in SE22. Ridiculous given that you can’t really send post to the middle of the park and the roads surrounding the park are nearly all called Peckham Rye.

    I think we need someone to draw up a full map of Camberwell and show where it dips into other postcodes or indeed where areas of SE5 are not part of Camberwell. Anyone up for that?

    Once drawn we could all debate the fringes and perhaps even get ourselves a bit of extra lebensraum. (Don’t mention Godwin’s Law please). The first availbale land-grab is Camberwell New Cemetry in SE23. That can be our Camberwellian exclave like the Russians have Kaliningrad…

  3. The submarine story is indeed a kind of psychological reverse epiphany as Marks Dodds might have it, a psychogeographical “sub-conscious” narrative. I wonder if the locals in the estates feel grateful and in awe of the mighty boilers toiling all those years beneath the street to keep them clean and warm?

    Possibly the story has emerged via the phenomenal psychic energy summoned by Alan Dale while considering hand jobs in Grimsby. The submarine is a mighty symbol. So are the dexterous boilers, their hands permanently stinking of fish.

    Mark, I find the 99p shop (your phrase “reverse epiphany” appears on your post about this) has a NEW Citroen DS model, possibly the most elegant of all, the 1959 Coach “Le Paris” Henry Chapron, meaning a two-door, fastback, hardtop coupe with coachwork by Chapron. Suffice to say I have one for your collection which I must somehow deliver soon.

    Also fascinating, there, is a 1944 Wehrmacht Opel “Blitz” truck in camouflage livery. Their trucks were just great, it was their politics let ’em down.

    We need an Opel Blitz for the land grabs, Alan, they are the ideal vehicle. Lyndhurst Grove all the way to Peckham proper is SE15, but is surely Camberwell, as in the Blur Song “59 Lyndhurst Grove”, as someone has kindly pointed out on this richly, wildly rambling, for such an urban area, website.

  4. Apparently i’ve been told but idiot estate agent types i live in North Brixton — not sure that sounds any better than Camberwell really.

  5. Idiot estate agents! We already had lazy journalists — any other career based generalisations?

    How about boring accountants, racist policemen, fat chefs, brave firemen, lonely farmers, geeky IT guys, arrogant traders for the get-go…

  6. The two things were separate — he was an idiot and an estate agent — altough his idiocy obviously informed his estate agency.

    I am not suggesting for a minute that all estate agents are idiots — just quite a few i seem to have had the misfortune of dealing with.

  7. Nice try -‘idiot estate agent types’ definitely a generalisation and not very pc at all.

    Who cares? Come on think of some more job related generalisations.

    Gay vicar, thick bouncer, sexy nurse, any more?

  8. gay sailor, humourless parking inspector, gay hairdresser, lying politician, gay fashion designer, funny comedian…

  9. Paedophile priests, Greek barbers, sober judges, manic miners, depressive comedians, camp game-show hosts, infertile nuclear engineers, rapist footballers…

  10. Eccentric gardeners, sodomizing inmates, angelic children, fanatical Muslim, nihilistic teenager, money-grabbing divorcee

  11. (I should add that all these are the views of individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the opinion on different professions of camberwellonline, or not on my watch anyway)

  12. Agile gymnasts, ruthless assisins, illusive spies, talentless red coats, methodical scientists, chartered accountants…

  13. Lulu ‑you seem to have strayed from job related generalisations into any generalisations.

    Certainly shows how statements about idiot estate agents are only a whisker away from race hate!

    Maybe you’ll be more careful in future Hannah M.

  14. I think Hannah M meant that the way what the Estate Agent “typed” on the keyboard rather than Estate Agent types…
    But I dont want to fuel this fire.…

  15. vocal lecturers, demonstrative instructors, deceptive magicians, holidaying teachers, literate authors

  16. Another good try JK but clearly nonsense. I think in order to adequately tackle prejudice you first have to recognise it. Stop this denial.

    Boring musicians, friendly barmen, flirty barmaids, brain dead machine operators, rip-off boiler engineers, fastidious cleaners, sadistic dentists, jolly farmers, travelling salesmen, deep sea divers, mad axemen, cross dressing lumberjacks…

  17. I thought the farmers were lonely. Now they are jolly. What happened?

    This is ridiculous, but quite funny.

  18. The farmers got all that cash from the EU agri-subsidies and Foot & mouth disease, so they can spend up big time on coke & hookers. Thats why they are jolly

  19. As one of the contributers to the BBC said I put it down to high levels of cycling. Get more of the British population on bikes and we would all be happier

  20. One way to combat the national malaise is to always tell surveys/questionnaires that you are deliriously happy and would never live anywhere else other then England.

    If enough people did this, the Danes would be quaking in their boots! They would all probably start eating fish and chips or something to keep up. Actually maybe all Danes are liars…

  21. Half of my cousins are farmers. they are quite jolly in a rueful, we’re getting screwed by the supermarkets and are going to have to sell up kind of way.

    I enjoyed the “Lost pubs of the Area” article on Urban 75, gave me some answers to some questions I’ve had about the ex-pubs round Loughborough Juction, especially the one which is now flats on Flaxman Road.

  22. I have to agree also with the deep analysis of one of the contributers to the BBC article, Joe Spencer of London, who noted “If I lived in a country populated by 6ft blonde bombshells, I’d be pretty happy too.”

  23. @Dagmar post number 4

    can i interview you for my dissertation next year? you’re perfect for ym analysis of the history of the london psychogeographic movement and the contemporary gothic.


  24. haha, yeah bunbohue I reckon there could be a bit of chin strokery involved.

    The reason I want to write about it is to try to work out exactly what it is!

    My (amateur) understanding is that it’s the emotional mapping of cities and how this is portrayed in literature. Go and read “The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde” by RL Stevenson and look at the way he describes Dr Jekyll’s house and London’s streets… none of it really makes sense (which increases the reader’s sense of confusion and horror).

    Peter Ackroyd’s “Hawksmoor” is a really good place to start as well.

    Speaking of maps! I got hold of an amazing map of Camberwell’s radical / forgotten history detailing Blake’s walks through Camberwell and where various squats, anti-fascist demos were and even where the 1956 Teddy Boys Riot took place! Far out local knowledge from those lovely folks at

  25. I am a little wary of college students at the moment, Squids. They don’t like Mondays, they call each other “man” when they are obviously kidz and say that everything is “nuts”.

    I had a fascinating psychogeographic journey yesterday. I went to Sidcup to get my papers, the papers that say who I am. I’d left my passport by mistake at the DVLA office there. I was able to utter the immortal line, “I can’t get down to Sidcup in these shoes.” Pinter was always the poor man’s Beckett or Galton & Simpson but The Caretaker is good enough.

  26. “59 Lyndhurst Grove” is by Pulp, not Blur. Jarvis Cocker lived in Camberwell for a while and was always hanging round the Art College in the early ’90s.

  27. Alan – have you heard anything back from the Maudsley regarding the Windsor Walk properties? I haven’t. Maybe we should pay some teenagers to graffiti the blue fences surrounding the houses with a call to action that will draw media attention to the site?
    I mean it’s not like they need the money:

  28. No. My mate’s next follow up is not scheduled until 28th May. Not that it seems to make any difference.

    The man to contact is definitely Mark Nelson (details below).

    I don’t approve of direct action of the nature you described but I don’t approve of Windsor Walk’s demise either so I am going to buy a balaclava and some spray paint for my paper boy…

    Mark Nelson
    Assistant Director of Finance
    South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
    Tel : 020‑3228-4718

  29. Thanks, Ben Patio, I always confuse Blur and Pulp. This is compounded by the sun and heat. I took our baby all round Ruskin Park this afternoon. The blossom is fab. The ground is as hard as rock, though, and no sign of the April showers that so aptly water the spring seeds in bursts as though this is meant to be.

  30. Lulu Alan 3738 would you like to draft a letter and we can send it on Forum letterhead? Might be bit of a jivvy up then.

    Dagmar; thanks I spotted the new DS a couple of days ago. Sleek supreme.

    MAPPING Camberwell; we’ve got a good map through SE5 Forum. I’ts got SE5 boundaries marked on it but the exercise of adding/subtracting from the boundary to show where les people Camberwell believe is their real boundaries hasn’t been done. That’s one that the Forum website might be able to acheive once it’s fully in gear — a lot of work has been done to it recently which will become live soon.

  31. Mark, do you already have any of the DS’s? I have a carrier bagful, big one. I thought they’d fly off the shelves, but they seem to be a connoisseur’s item.

    The coolest car in Camberwell must surely be the blue Citroen C15 van that’s always parked at the top of Talfourd Road on Lyndhurst Grove. The Provencal sky blue has a silk or even matt finish and the wheels are black with no hub caps. This is exactly the livery of the DS model, “Tour de Corse”.

  32. Coolest car has got to be the red van by the bus garage on Camberwell New Road. Hand daubed in white paint, it reads something like “Man with a van £15 per hour”. And I’ve seen it all over London!

  33. But that’s a van. The owner of Cruson has got a cooler van. He parks it on Grove Lane and it’s covered in graffiti. I don’t think it’s his work but he seems indifferent to it which I thinik is pretty cool..

  34. That’s what’s so good about those vans, Roana, each with home-made, hand-drawn livery suggesting personal, local service in an overpackaged, over-produced, over-spun world. It’s a Camberwell art-design project if ever there was one.

    I cycled through Addington Square today — the Dodge GT is still the coolest car in Camberwell. The C15 van is good, but boy does the GT look cool in this sunlight, huge, long, lean and tatty, like something from the cover of an Elmore Leonard paperback.

    Some of the grass in Burgess Park has been burnt brown in the drought and sun and it’s still only April.

  35. Do the vans ever move? does anyone ever hire them?

    I can’t remember where I was recently, but I saw a much smarter van (blue, I think) with proper stencilled lettering asking for £25 an hour …

    I encountered the word Psychogeography recently (and until I read this post I had no idea what it meant! — thanks Squidder!!) reading London Orbital: A Walk Around the M25:–5920216-3352448?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177016901&sr=1–18

    Also available from Review books of Bellenden Road in a much more attractive paperback cover. As the Amazon reviews imply it’s both wildly pretentious and very satisfying … psychogeographic students with a lot of time on their hands could do worse than start with that …

    Similarly time-consuming and psychogeographic is Michael Moorcock’s Mother London (mentioned several times in the M25 book):–5920216-3352448?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177017154&sr=1–5

  36. Squidder — I work for the RIBA and one of my programmes is building futures. It’s a kinda thinktank about the built environment of the future. one of the things we’re working on is a debate on happiness. our debates are usually held at BDP Architects over Shorditch direction. They’re free, we get good speakers (and a good informed audience) and there’s usually free booze there too. It might be interesting for your work on psychogeography..

    after that we’re hoping to go on to look at applying a emotional analysis of some government policy too — maybe develop a kinda Gross National Happiness indicator.

    I’ll find out when it is if you’d be interested (and anyone else would be welcome)

  37. Dagmar / Dee-eS’s

    I have about fifty of them. Yours would be an exciting addition.

    As for the Dodge:

    ewookie : “Gross National Happiness indicator” Nigerians are the happiest nation on earth according to an international research finding published a couple of weeks ago.

    And Review Books is well worth spending TIME AND MONEY in. Ros and Roy — the people behind it — are very special.

  38. ewookie : “Gross National Happiness indicator” Nigerians are the happiest nation on earth according to an international research finding published a couple of weeks ago.

    And Review Books is well worth spending TIME AND MONEY in. Ros and Roy — the people behind it — are very special

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