Spam and coffee

A load of comments were mistakenly identified as spam, but have been rescued now; apologies to all, especially Dagmar who suffered the most.

Has the House cafe on Camberwell Church St closed down, or it is being refurbished?  There are works going on there at the moment.

No offers to guest post while I’m away? Anyone?

Author: Peter

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

80 thoughts on “Spam and coffee”

  1. On another note (and concerning Brixton not Camberwell I know but hopefully of wider interest)

    The Hobgobblin pub (up to the late 1990s known as the George Canning) on Brixton Water Lane shut down last night and is going to reopen shortly (and bizarrely) as a Scottish themed pub and live music venue entitled Hootananny. Further information is at

    Reports on the last days of the Hobgobblin are on the urban75 site at

  2. Interesting news.. the second block of shops on Camberwell Road(the block before the Gala Bingo). Has been bought by.…. Sainsburys, looks like we are on the way to getting a new store there.
    Good news I think!

  3. Sainsburys also bought the old bus garage opposite Camberwell Green. The major supermarkets buy land to stop their competitors developing them and all have major land banks of undeveloped sites.

  4. Oh really? so we aren’t going to get a new sainsburys?? what a selfish thing to do.. isn’t their some law against land squatting!!!!!

  5. Another reason for them buying farm-sized quantities of inner-city and watching it crumble is to perpetuate slum communities.

    These encourage supermarket commuting and put pressure on the Council to grant permission for quick and dirty builds when disposing of the slum (c.f. “give the permission — it’ll stop the crimes on my doorstep, the plans could be worse”)

  6. Kia me thinks there are some close to Brown who regard commercial land-banked assets with envious eyes. Commercial supertax on land-banks in return for lower rates on profitable production/sales, anyone?

    Drew Mishmash

  7. A slightly random digression from topic, but has anyone got any information on what’s happening with Camberwell Grove? Is it ever going to re-open? It’s a real pain if you live east of the green.

  8. Just wanted to sing the praises of our local councillors. (Brunswick Park ward.)

    We’ve had a problem with nuisance neighbours in a particular house in our street over the past few months and to cut a long story short, we met last week with one of our councillors, Ian Wingfield.

    A very nice, extremely helpful chap. Not only did he give us lots of ideas for what we should do but he also fired off lots of emails to various people in the council and already we have seen some action.

    I know our councillors might sometimes get a bad press so I just wanted to give them some praise for a change.

    After discussing our particular issue, he talked for a while about planned changes to Camberwell. Some of the interesting things he mentioned:

    - apparently, the police in the two wards which neighbour ours (I think one is towards Peckham and one is towards Walworth Road) now have the powers to disperse large groups of youths. I think he said they had these powers from last month. Yep, that might mean dispersing them back towards Camberwell Green — something he is going to campaign against in the COuncil.

    - a developer has either bought or is trying to buy a large chunk of Camberwell Green shopping area, which includes the police station premises there. (He mentioned it only because we asked about whether the station would ever open again.) Apparently, it may be for building a large supermarket but don’t quote me, I didn’t take notes and there was loads he discussed.

    - the top two crime hotspots in Camberwell are — go on, guess — outside the Silver Buckle pub and outside McDs. Now there’s a surprise.

    - he did talk a bit about the transport links and mentioned a campaign to get camberwell station reopened. I think he said it was part of the deal to get the council to agree to the redev of borough market ??

    It was really worthwhile meeting him and finding out about all the services at our disposal by the council, which none of us knew about. e.g. we have our own Safer Neighbourhood Team comprising a police sargeant, 2 constables and community wardens. Didn’t know that but a group we are now planning to contact.

    Changed my views on both the council and councillors, that meeting did. Ian Wingfield is his name, brilliant.

  9. SP glad to see you are enthused but nothing you report hasn’t been either known about or reported ad infinitum by groups working very hard to improve things. Hope you will now get more involved but warn you local Councillors have zero power in making things happen.

  10. @ Kia Blue — Comment 4
    Sainsbury’s are a very strange animal. They’ve shown very little interest in our part of South London for a very long time. They have their East Dulwich branch, granted, but there used to be a branch in Peckham (the building now inhabited by the cinema on Rye Lane)which they pulled out of in 1988ish. As reported earlier, they bought Walworth Bus Garage in Camberwell and left it rotting for many years. They own a 5 story office building and car park in Blackfriars Rd which they have left rotting for at least 6–7 years now. Their former HQ building on the south side of Blackfriars Bridge was empty for a number of years before being bulldozed to make way for a huge new development (yet to be started). It has got to be about land values (in the case of the Blackfriars Rd sites) but it seems incredibly wasteful. As far as Camberwell goes, time will tell whether they enter the retailing fray or are just investing in land that they will allow to deteriorate (if that’s possible, for that particular stretch!) and then sell on. I do think that Somerfield could do with a good kick up the bum, but the arrival of a Sainsbury’s will impact upon some of the smaller retailers in Camberwell (Kennedy’s, Cruson, Sophocles) that add alot to our area.

  11. That’s what they said about the small traders on Lordship Lane when Sainsburys applied for planning permission — look at it now!

  12. Interesting point, though, that Mushti makes. Kennedy’s, Cruson and Sophocles are mature Camberwell shops run in a mature way for mature people.

    Maybe Sophocles in particular will eventually have queues like that hilarious organic butcher in East Dulwich with its lines of hangdog “partners” outside (organic men) waiting like lambs to the slaughter.

    The bread in Sophocles is to live for, Kennedy’s sausages are the ultimate sausage pleasure. Cruson is probably the shrewdest-run shop in the world, providing a wide range of people with what they really want. How on earth does he do that?

  13. It should work the way it does in other countries where if you buy a piece of land and don’t build a “worthy ” building on it within a specified number of year, the land get repossessed by the government,.. that will kick their butts into gear!

  14. Kia Blue — we live in a country which values property above humans.

    To demonstrate this, take a look at sentencing levels for criminal damage and compare it to rape, paedophilia, corporate manslaughter and death by dangerous driving.

    For that reason, the legitimate property interests in capital gain and quick-and-dirty builds override the impact on the community of crime and reduced investment caused by their buildings.

    In other words, people die because maximising profits irrespective of external effects is inherently good. Then again, we all make similar choices every day.

  15. “Maybe Sophocles in particular will eventually have queues like that hilarious organic butcher in East Dulwich with its lines of hangdog “partners” outside (organic men) waiting like lambs to the slaughter.”

    love that Dagmar! an acute observation…

  16. Breaking news — theres been a stabbing on Paulet Road, much police action, road closures etc. Does anybody know anything further?

  17. Yeah, their crosissants aren’t much to write home about either..

    But that doesn’t matter.. cause there’s a new pizza place where the Cypriot centre used to be.. 2 for 1 on Monday and Tuesday too.

  18. yes SG i agree about the bread there.
    the best greek/turkish bread is from the baker on Southampton Way…Mrs Paul sells it too- really soft & fresh — good even after a few days!
    Sophocles does have good Baklava i think.

  19. Never had a stale loaf from Sophocles. Try going in the morning.

    Anyone heard the rumour that the Old Dispensary is going to be For Your Eyes Only?

  20. Alan- i assume For your Eyes only is a “gentlemens establishment?

    Can see that one getting past the licnesing committee — that area of Camberwell has enough problems without adding strip joints into the equation!

  21. I see also on the Southwark website that the sports shop at 14 Camberwel Church St has applied for change of use from shop to restaurant/takeaway

  22. Hannah — to the immense hazard of my company’s internet policy I did a search on that establishment.

    It turns out they are an organisation which does photo shoots for brides to give their grooms making them look sexy in a mysteriously respectable 1930’s decadence or Dita von Teese way. … which of course they do anyway (adds hurriedly).

  23. I was also a bit bemused to hear that my road (Paulet) is in Kennington.
    Maybe they’re doing us a bit of PR and assuming that Camberwell might not want the bad press.
    I got door-to-doored by the detectives last night, very pleasant chaps, wassorry i couldn’t have been more help but was at work at the time of the killing.
    Was i foolish and naive to think that things like this only happen at night, or are we not even safe when watching “Doctors” on the beeb in the afternoons.
    I feel for his family :O(

  24. Just seen the news of the stabbing — that explains the presence of a large amount of Plod quesioning motorists in my road at about 8 ish then.

    Not good really. How did the BBC figure that Paulet Road is in Kennington?

  25. Speaking from a house price of view (if one were so inclined to make light of a serious matter) its minus for the stabbing but plus for being described as Kennington!

  26. even better that they are looking for a white transit van and a ford focus, two of the nation’s most abundant vehicle models.
    Mumu, I’m with you on the house price issue!

  27. I hate to disillusion the owner of the unattractive brick bum ground floor shop conversion next to the chippy on Denmark Road which has a constant stream of for sale signs outside it, but I don’t think the PR will have much effect on its price movements.

  28. No I think they pulled out a map and figured it was as close to one as the other so chose Kennington. What they didn’t realise is the DMZ line runs just slightly east of Kennington Park and defines two very very very different worlds.

  29. The case of John Bowden is interesting. There have been some nasty murders in Camberwell. Nothing is what it seems.

  30. I’ve not had a Kennedy’s sausage as I do use the butcher in East Dulwich, which isn’t organic and really is fantastic. Apart from a bit of game and french chickens it’s standard butchers fare at a reasonable cost and high quality. The bread in Sophocles is nothing short of sub standard, and before it’s said so is all that deli stuff in Dulwich, but really, you’re two slices short of a bag of Nimble if you rate our local ‘baker’

  31. Peter W
    saw your van today, it is certainly characterful.…phil will fit new glow plugs & all will be well(ish) needs a good wash though I think…

  32. “You old bastard. I hope you die screaming of cancer!” shouted John Bowden to Justice Mars-Jones as he was taken down to serve 25 years in 1982 for dismembering a 49-year-old fellow boozehound, whilst he was still alive, after throwing him into a bath of boiling water. The victim’s head was kept in a fridge for a while. A Brindle was involved, too. Camberwell folklore, this. The Paulet Road murder recently was just business. We have nothing to worry about.

    The Anarchist Black Cross are angry about his treatment, Bowden. It’s an interesting story about someone who grew up in state “care” in the bad old days, to be followed at

    The foliage and flowers in our streets and gardens, parks and wild places are just fantastic at the moment.

    The men playing football in Burgess Park are incredibly handsome. Their corresponding girls are simply spilling out of their clothes with beauty.

    Today, the Dagmar family saw a mechanical dinosaur, driven by the boys from Conways, eating the road on Camberwell Grove, making a short meal of the speed bumps. That was so gratifying to see!

  33. it’s unfortunate that i am debuting on the blog with a grumpy post but here goes…

    I never get the ”Cruson’s is amazing’ line that seems to be taken as gospel in Camberwell. Every time I buy anything from there it’s normally way beyond the best time to buy it. The apples for instance are routinely terrible, and the rest of the fruit is normally minutes away from going off. I always vow never to go back but as everyone goes on about it I think I’ll try again and am always disappointed. Give me Somerfield anyday.

    And I’ve also had my fair share of stale loaves from Sophocles. I like the idea of local businesses sorting us out with quality produce and making our area more interesting at the same time, but these ones aren’t cutting it if you ask me.

    one other thing — anyone know about the italian cafe which was supposed to be opening?

  34. Ah yes Dagmar, I love the concrete nibbling dinosaurs too. Last year I saw one having a veritable feast on the condemned building in the middle of the roundabout at st thomas’ hospital. i stood transfixed for almost an hour; the chap operating it had an artistry that can only be described as creative.late for work again that day…

  35. “FAIR, FAIR but firm,” was the view of one barrister learning of the death of William Mars-Jones.

    Not sure as to the circumstances of his death, or whether Mr Bowden’s words were amongst the chiaroscuro of life imagery which made its light play before his eyes, before his end.

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