What’s Going On?

Just got back from a nice relaxing holiday on the sunny Adriatic coast, and I hear there’s been another murder and Kennedy’s Sausages are to close down; both, in their different ways, indicators of a direction for the area I’m unhappy about.

I haven’t read all the news about the murder in Burgess Park, so I’ll hold fire (no pun intended) on that for now, except to wonder: is crime going up around here? Or is it just being more commented upon? That is, is this just anecdotal evidence of an increase?

As for Kennedy’s, I can’t claim to be bitterly upset about it; although they had their fans, I always found the selection far too limited and they hadn’t moved with the times. It’s a shame to see one of the long-time independents disappear from the area, however, and I’ll miss their landmark signage. One can only wonder what marvel of 21st-century low-cost, high-turnover, disposable consumerist society will replace it.

Sorry if I seem to be in a bad mood; I’ve just come back from a country where vegetables taste like they’re supposed to, and been forced to buy the bland imitations we sell in the high street here.

Author: Peter

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

39 thoughts on “What’s Going On?”

  1. That’s in Bosnia isn’t it?

    Dubrovnik is good isn’t it? Found a really good bar bar which hangs precariously half way up the edge of the city wall overlooking the sea. Still there?

    Also liked the books in gift shops which showed pictures of it under siege in 1991. Very scary.

  2. Yes it is Bosnia, I had a ‘duh!’ moment. Probably best I made the error here rather than there.

    Yes, we went to the same bar and had beers while there was a lovely sunset. It was a great holiday.

  3. The sausages were at one time Camberwell’s trusty weapon against Hitler. Camberwell was the 5th most bombed area of London.

    Down Benhill Road, in the demolition wasteland oppposite the Eritrean church, you can push open the apparently padlocked door in the fence and there on the right is a single sunflower growing in the rubble.

    (My memory of Yugoslavia is mile upon mile of them.)

    Photographers, I know this is a visual cliche, but hey, so was the tennis girl clutching her lovely bum, and it made thousands — and thousands of people kinda glad.

    Get down there! Freedom comes from the barrel of a camera, to paraphase Alabama 3 paraphrasing Mao Tse Tung.

    The SLG private view was good tonight, throbbing with talent.

  4. Why was Camberwell bombed so much? Was there anything strategically important here?

    On Farringdon Rd there is a plaque on a shop which says that the building originally on that site was destroyed by a Zeppelin raid in the war; it always makes me wonder how an enormous, slow-moving target made it all the way to the City without being shot down. It can’t have been a common event, as it’s worthy of a plaque.

  5. There’s a plaque near the church in Lincoln’s Inn commemorating the first Zeppelin bomb to fall on London. Greenwich will see a Zeppelin raid in November I understand. Attritional drum solos. There was a lot of industry where Burgess park is, so the area was a target. Bombs were dropped early on the way to the city on a few occasions too. And later in the war, British Intelligence persuaded the Germans that North Dulwich station was the city of London. Coordinates for V2s were set accordingly and Dulwich, Peckham, Nunhead and to a lesser extent Camberwell took a pasting.

  6. My understanding of the situation was that Camberwell and other bits of South London were bombed in the blitz by German bombers as part of their mission to kill people generally — not for any particular strategic importance.

    In the latter part of the war Camberwell and South London was particularly hit by V1 and V2 rockets again because as inner London districts lots of people lived in the area and the terraced housing meant that they could do lots of damage — ie if you hit one house in a terrace it brings down all the surrounding houses due to the nature of the construction.

    I think it was also because the rockets were heading for central London and particularly the government buildings of Westminster.

    The reason they fell on Camberwell was partly because they were an untested new technology with poor aiming ability and so places like Camberwell two or three miles short of central London were hit because they were generally in the direction of central London

    Also I read an article once that suggested that when the V2 rockets came on stream it was a deliberate tactic of British intelligence to feed wrong information on the location of the central government Whitehall buildings etc — saying they had been moved to Dulwich (which at the time was in the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell) and other parts of South London to escape raids.

    As a result the rockets were set to fall on South London which meant that the government was safe but places like Camberwell got hit instead.

    There are various websites on this aspect of the war including one with a log of se5 incidents — http://www.flyingbombsandrockets.com/web_content_se5.html.

  7. I’m pre-empting Alan Dale’s regular Friday afternoon question — Sun and Doves, in time for the rugby at 8 pm, maybe with some other sorts. Maybe move on to Hermit later, and stop-off at Bear on route home. I look like my SE5 profile pic.


  8. I find that on the Open House website, you have to buy the pdf list for £3. You’d’ve thought the Mayor would have made the guide free.

    However, In a stop press section, so to speak, I find for free that Cockpit Studios, Creekside SE8 3DZ is open; former Purley Town Hall is open on Brighton Road CR8 4DP; also the Royal Artillery posh building at Firepower SE18 6ST.

    11 o’clock start tomorrow on the Green for the SAVE CAMBERWELL BATHS WALK to the Town Hall which will pass the Funky Munky, Hermits Cave and Castle for those for whom a livener will help on this early start.

    I’m sure poolwear is optional on the march, but I myself will be wearing my tiniest denim shorts, skimpiest top and my steepest and most viciously strappy take-me heels to tower over the bureaucrats who baulk at splashing out on funding for a building that is right at the heart of the health of Camberwellians, now and for many years, especially when so many new flats will bring in so many people “sat on their fat arse is front of the telly” to use the reality TV makeover lingo.


  9. “…most viciously strappy take-me heels…”

    I was planning a lie-in tomorrow, now I’m going to have to go on a soddin’ march!

  10. Forget marching for the baths unless you just want some exercise. It will not change anything with Southwark. The council has been very positive about the baths’ future but in creative ways that need positive input from the people who live in Camberwell, and a lot of people who live in Camberwell have not understood this and have simply MISSED the point.

    If their energy and determination to get the council to completely reverse its published policy for the future of the facility was directed into finding creative ways of raising 10 million quid and making their vision manifest itself pragmatically then the future of the baths would be secure. Instead they march with children in tow thinking their ambitions cannot be ignored by the Authority. They are wrong.


    OK. Admission and apology.

    WE weren’t set up properly for the Rugby. The aerial reception for ITV failed dramatically an hour and a half before the ill fated 36000 — 0 England loooser game against South Africa and we ran around like headless chickens trying get a signal that would project a glorious technicolour image and failed. Heath Robinson and a portable television interpreted the weak reception and transposed through a set top box with an incompatible signal cable only allowed a black and white broadcast of the game.


    Having run the embarrassment gauntlet for too long yesterday, after trawling the Internet for all possible solutions to this horrendous very public faux pas, today I scaled the heights of the building and installed a brand new high specification high gain digital aerial on the top of the building which results in a crystal clear image in full cmy colour.

    For those loyal customers who sat through the monochrome disaster, my apologies and a promise that it won’t happen again.

    As for the widescreen LCD all weather monitor that was supposed to be installed in the garden under the all weather remote controlled awning some considerable time ago. About two months actually. The installers DID arrive on Friday but during a very busy service and informed that they need an electrical supply in order to fire it up.

    A small oversight on their part even though I had pointed out several times when the job was being surveyed in etail that there is no power available in the garden.

    So our electricians are on the job on Monday 17th and the full multi media installation should be ready before winter.

    It was never meant to be like this.

  11. Hey, we all loved that groovy black-and-white. The oldies were coming over all nostalgic. Overheard, “If only we could have Cliff Morgan commentating as well…”

    So what did we all do for Open House? Did you make it to the top of the tower at William Booth college? Admire the rain-water powered loo in the 3 Acorns Green House? We need to know…

  12. The Baths authority have seen the truth today, I can tell you.

    William Booth College Tower is open tomorrow, too. I will be up the spiral stairs with no knickers. The view will be stunning — last day of this clear, high-pressure weather.

    Cliff Morgan has had throat cancer and will not be broadcasting again. He used to be a lot better than the corporate rugger robots today who go on about “er, hopefully” and so on.

  13. For those contemplating a glimpse of Dagmar’s “stunning view” I regrettably have to report that you will have to wait another year as WB College aren’t participating in today’s Open House (Day of the Lord and all that).

  14. Last day of opening of Brockwell Pak Lido. What a glorious day for it. The water temperature may hid the dizzy heights of 17 deg with a bit of luck!

  15. Is there a chance of Diana Krall playing at the Sun & Doves? I heard her on Radio 3 yesterday and crikey is she good. Even when she speaks, it’s riveting.

  16. The Sun & Dodds, Father Red Star and St George Workhouse are all combipatible, in my view, with the Camberwell Baths, white duck in Ruskin Park pond, ineffable peace of Lucas Gardens and other features of Canitbewell?

    At that, I unstrap my cock-boggling heels, lay down my longship acheingly and thank of Inkland witch is the SE15est place in the world with the most SE5less people in it, ah, ah.… oh!

  17. Bit late for this discussion perhaps but I understood that one of the reasons that SE London got badly hit in the Blitz was also because we were just south of the docks. German bombers would either unload their bombs a bit early and get the hell out, or if they had got as far as the docks and had a couple of bombs left on the way back they’d drop ’em on us…

    Dotcom Towers is still affected by the blitz — A bomb took out the next door pair of houses and destroyed our extension, which was rebuilt, but badly so we’re currently trying to get it altered/refurbished …

  18. Been asking around about Dogstar but got nothing yet.

    ON a rotten note. A young man was stabbed to death in his home on Paulet Road on 3 September. Six people forced entry and did the deed (I heard on one grapevine they were all apotted on cctv and subsequently nabbed by the way). Today, opposite S&D half the Crawford estate was cordoned off — blue and white tape and loads of police around — another murder. This one a 19 year old man/boy.

    This cumulative killing is not part of functional society. It’s chilling. And freaking me out.

    *honest* It’s not like it used to be. And it is definitely getting worse.

  19. Dotcom is right about about bombers dropping their bombs as early as possible, it’s human nature to want to get away as soon as possible.

    My Grandfather did the same thing over Germany. Towards the end of the war the British would drop coloured marker bombs at the far side of target zones knowing that the bombing pattern world creep back by several miles.

    Camberwell also got heavily bombed because of the timber wharfs and basins that lined the Surrey Canal. Burning timber presented a big target so as soon as one fire was visible it would attract more bombs.

    My Grandmother pointed out to me that you can still see bomb patterns in the buildings around Camberwell. Apparently a stick of bombs falls in a triangle pattern with the point towards the direction the bombs are coming from. In a lot of streets you can see a triangle of postwar buildings in between the older ones.

    V1s and V2s were pretty random and did terrible damage all over London. Targeting was very crude.

  20. We are happy to announce the new Cowling & Wilcox Art Shop and Warehouse is
    NOW OPEN in Camberwell
    With two busy artist materials shops at Soho and Shoreditch and the pressing need for more storage space we settled on Camberwell as the ideal place for our third shop and warehouse.
    Camberwell with its village character, its artists, its photographers and designers, its museums and art galleries is a stimulating area.
    The College of Art is a well-respected institution and when an old garment factory became available, we knew this was the place for us.
    Following complete refurbishment Camberwell now has a shiny new artists supermarket, probably the largest Art Shop South of the River.
    There are many good deals to be found around the shop which carries not only all you would expect to find in a modern art shop but also many exclusive and seldom seen lines.
    We are especially proud of our range of Presentation Books and Archival Storage Boxes and our large range of professional inkjet papers and inks.
    We offer a 10% discount to students and also courier and local deliveries if requested.

    “not just a fine art shop”
    6000 sq.ft of fine and graphic artist materials on one floor.
    Orpheus Street, Denmark Hill.
    0845 241 9299 guy@​cowlingandwilcox.​com

  21. Listen up all you armchair Camberwell thinkers, Cowling and Wilcox have provided a real model for what you could start doing today. Market SE5’s value for money in terms of space to get good shops. ‘Plenty of storage within an easy drive of Central London plus shopfront space to sell locally’. Genious.

    I know you want to waste time dreaming in la la land about banning criminal drivers but if you dare to look up from your dreaming, you might find a few things you could actually DO and see an improvement.

    Good luck boys!

  22. Tried Caravaggio yet?

    I really like it.

    The Doves was well busy the other night with a free film on…

    This town eh?!

  23. No i must go to Caravaggio — maybe i’ll try it this weekend.

    I know Camberwell is generally great — that’s why i live here! I chose to live here rather than just ending up here waiting until i can afford to live somewhere with a tube.

    However my Camberwell life would currently be more pleasant if Southwark Council would be less liberal in their interpretation of “within 24 hours” for collecting dead fridges!

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