Doing the Windsor walk. Oi!

Alan Dale’s fixation on interest in property prices has led to a rather welcome discovery: the fine terrace of houses along Windsor Walk is up for sale. They’re too good to be standing empty and, along with the approved plans for the old Mary Datchelor school, form part of a little property revolution in that area of South Camberwell (or North East Dulwich, as the well-heeled new residents could be wont to call it).

The new inhabitants of Windsor Walk will hopefully still have the train line to London Bridge, as the online petition closes in on 1,000 signatories. The public consultation closes in a few days, so if you haven’t signed it (and you agree with its premise) please go ahead and do so. I’m not sure who set the petition up, but I hope they remember to send it to Network Rail. I emailed the lovely Ms Harman about the topic, but have received no reply.

The BBC were in town at the weekend, with their RaW roadshow; there are some photographs available here. It looks like it’s an attempt to improve child literacy, which is an estimable aim. I’m not a child and I’m already literate, so I didn’t go.

And Channel 4 were around recently also, filming Dispatches: Immigrants: The Inconvenient Truth, which purported to be a fair study of the economic impact of immigration. There were interviews with some of the area’s Somali community (at least I assume so; there were some establishing shots of Walworth Road), and also focused on Nigerian staff at King’s. It was pretty interesting, although focussing purely on the economic impact doesn’t tell the whole story.

Onto a more pressing matter: food. The wife & I went out for dinner on Friday, to the Dark Horse. It was pretty good; not as good as we’ve had there before, but certainly not bad. I can’t escape the feeling that it’s a quid or two overpriced, however. Anyway, it was very busy, as was The Grove — which is something I’ve never seen before.

Rumour has it that Angels & Gypsies will open this month. Can it really be true?

Author: Peter

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

131 thoughts on “Doing the Windsor walk. Oi!”

  1. Not that I have any particular interest in defending Harriet Harman, but in the interests of fairness the issue is also detailed on the front page of her website, where she also includes a link to the petition.

    Who did start the petition. Was it you, Alan Dale?

  2. I moved to Forest Hill this weekend people — cleaner streets, just as many interesting/pleasant places to eat and drink, and cheaper too. fewer street drinkers, my girlfriend hasn’t been aggressively propositioned on the streets for the last 72 hours, my journey into work was quicker, there were fewer rude obese people edged me into a corner of a bus, chucking chicken bones on the pavement and pi$$ing up my doorway. my money bought me a nicer flat for the same money without the omnipresent sound of buses and sirens, and it already feels like home. A home that has not yet had anyone shot to death on its doorstep with a Mac10 automatic pistol.

    I found living in Camberwell to be an interesting experiment, and an OK place to live for two years.. But at the end of the day there are nicer places to be, without losing your soul. Living in North Camberwell is not the same as the ‘North/East Dulwich borders’/Grove Lane end. It’s an uncivilised place to be. And I’m glad to be out of there.

    No-one has to survive this warzone. You all have choices. And for those lucky enough to have bought in Camberwell will have made a pretty packet too. Living, in London of all places, is not about waiting for an area to improve. It is about your choices. As someone said, if you don’t like it, move out. so i did.

    Wookie signing off.

  3. No offence Wookie but you are on the wrong forum.

    It’s a new dawn in SE5. The detractors can move to Forest Hill for all I care..

  4. Forest Hill is nice though. Some really lush 60s houses with big rooms and integral garages. No! Mustn’t be tempted. New dawn. New day…

  5. I’ve been to Dark Horse a few times. It’s just not as good as it thinks it is. If you want good food of that ilk around here you need to go to East Dulwich.

    Regen would make you walk, probably in a hair shirt but you’d still have better food.

  6. Wookie — you are right to draw the distinction between NEW Camberwell and Sogree Camberwell. It is the foremost distinction to draw in discussing SE5 policy and funding needs.

    I would say improvements are more possible in NEW Camberwell than previously, but nothing substantive has actually happened yet as far as I can see. The possibilities issue from increased political engagement, and the emergence of a chattering class. It is possible that this class will effect improvements if all adopt a quid pro quo approach to taking an interest in the problems of other areas of SE5.

    Sogree Camberwell has improved significantly over the last five years even only taking into account the Champion Hill Estate improvements, which used to have a much bigger criminal overspill to the Grove, than now.

  7. Olly — you’re right to instinctively go to the best place for food. Try the Bear — it’s had a few good reviews here — haven’t been myself.

    From where I am it is easier to get to Waterloo and sup on the majestic offerings of EV Restaurant, behind Southwark tube station. I cannot cycle there at the moment as my frame has snapped due to metal fatigue at the sheer mileage covered.

    Such is the breadth of Camberwell.

  8. Don’t understand the New Camberwell and Sogree thing. Please define.

    It seems that they have resumed work on that massive block in North Camberwell that was supposed to be nice flats but ground to a halt at the sub structure. Know the one I mean?

    TommyD had some pictures of it on his site. I’ll have a look for them.

    Things are deffo on the up throughout Cambo!

  9. 1. South and the (Camberwell) Green;
    2. North East & West Camberwell;

    I think they’re the most useful distinctions.

  10. I’m slightly confused about these locations!

    As my teachers used to say at school — Define your terms

    Looking at the googlemap at Denamrk Hill/Camberwell Road is clearly the ‘backbone’ of Camberwell.

    So North East Camberwell is the area including Burgess Park up to Albany Road

    And North West Camberwell is the area between Camberwell Road and Camberwell New Road

    West Camberwell is the area between Coldharbour Lane and Camberwell New Road and East Camberwell the area around Peckham Road?

    And South West Camberwell the area around Kings, Ruskin Park to the edge of the SE5 postcode and South East is Grove Lane as park as Dog Kennel Hill

  11. @Mumu — Well, I can’t give you grid references! It’s just the way I think about Camberwell.

    Your last paragraph is Sogree, roughly, including the Green, except that part where a pensioner was pistol-whipped on the steps of the magistrate’s court — that counts as North Camberwell.

    Everything else is NEW Camberwell. North, East and West together. The parts that not only Heineken, but the Westminster Travel Group, Living Streets, Neighbourhood Renewal and sundry other community organisations don’t reach.

    ‘Special Brew and ‘Super — that’s a different question altogether.

  12. SE5 geography is a difficult one to hold in mind.

    The SE5 Forum has a large map of SE5 that should have the n s e w and so on of the area marked up on it. It should be made into a web viewable format.

  13. That’s insanely expensive. A few years ago i looked at a house very like that on Love Walk — part of the same estate i think — nice enough houses but i remember thinking the bedrooms were a little on the small side so i didn’t rent it.

  14. The one in Kerfield is a Selborne Village bargain in my mind. Houses in the village have sold for more.

    It’s got a garden and a garage too.

    Garages in Camberwell are worth upwards of £50k.

    The other once is high spec loft living. Of course it’s expensive.

    I think local property is starting to trade for something close to a fair price.

  15. The one at the Piano Factory is listed as
    “Camberwell/Dulwich” — it is on the Peckham Road!

    Just how far can Dulwich extend its borders these days?

  16. @ alan

    “The other once is high spec loft living. Of course it’s expensive.”

    Dude, are you an estate agent? you didn’t even get that from the description on the site.

    If it is loft living it’s loft living on the ground and first floor of a flat out the back on the Peckham Road.. not Manhattan.

    To me half a mil for for a flat between Peckham and Camberwell is only fair in the relative sense of the word i.e everything else is so bleedin’ expensive.

  17. I am not an estate agent ‑it’s just a hobby.

    I have no interest in living in Manhattan.

    Stop underrating our endz.

  18. What is Selborne Village all about? Is it ex-council or just poor design? Does it mask old bomb damage? It’s the dividing line between glorious Camberwell and the rot. Awful.

  19. It seems that Selborne Village is a term invented by estate agents to describe the modern housing near to Somerfield. I guess its what estate agents do to make an area more desirable? I dont know why it is termed that beyond it containing Selborne Road, I wonder what the inhabitants of Selborne Village in Hampshire ( )think about it? And is there any connection to SE5 Selborne Road?

    It seems estate agents cant help themselves: I’ve heard housing around Ruskin Park being described as Ruskin Village and those of us living near Myatts Field are described as living on the Minet estate (which to be fair is a statement of fact: the land was owned by Mr Minet who developed an estate of private housing to rent)

  20. Jumping back a few posts, can I speak up on behalf of the Dark Horse? You see, I’m a big fan.

    I think it’s the best food in Camberwell by some degree, and certainly a better deal than anything you’d get in Dulwich.

    OK, perhaps the dining area can be a tad quiet and low on atmosphere, and for some reason they seem to change waiting staff on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

    But the chef — a Sr. Juarez, the menu tell us — seems very gifted to me. I’ve eaten far less skillfully prepared food for considerably more money in much flashier establishments elsewhere. My main worry about the Dark Horse is that either the chef will leave or it could close.

  21. I think in all the hurrah about house prices everyone has missed the priceless joke at post 16. A cracker!

    To further add to the housing excitement I spotted this just of Coldharbour Lane for just shy of half a million.

    Went to No 22 in Herne Hill for yummy tapas last night and am awaititng the opening on Angels And Gypsies with egar anticaption…

  22. I also like the Dark Horse it is Selborne Village’s local.

    JohnnyM — that’s my home. You are entitled to your opinion but I’m saddened that you have such a low opinion of the village.

    It is a Wates development built in 1982. It is mostly 2 bed ‘cottages’ but there are some flats at the Western end of Allendale Close and there are a couple of detached homes at the entrance to Allendale on Love Walk.

    Most of the ‘cottages’ have garages and rear gardens with separate rear access. I actually think that the layout is great as there are lots of nooks and crannies providing privacy and there are a number of mature trees that predate the development.

    The one way system around Daneville Road ensures that there is no through traffic and consequently the streets are quiet enough for the local kids to play out on their bikes.

    Whilst I accept that there are prettier houses in the area I think that the Village is a functional and a very pleasant environment in which to live.

    No offence taken by the way!

  23. Selbourne village seems to work on several levels. It feels good, walking around it, it’s well structured and laid out, it feels like it’s not in a densely populated urban area, which is quite an achievement for any property developer to reach. The houses are just a little, er, little but so what it everything feels good. Kids being able to play outside around here is a pretty major asset in itself.

  24. Alan, a few years ago Allendale (ha!) Close was named as one of the most dangerous streets in Camberwell because of the poor lighting and street layout. Has that all been sorted out now?

  25. The street layout isn’t changing but we certainly got a couple of new street lamps in the passage through to Love Walk.

    There are lots of passages which I suppose are dangerous in that people could hide and jump out but I haven’t heard of anything and certainly haven’t been the victim of anything.

    The 2 bed houses aren’t big but both bedrooms accommodate a double bed and a few have knocked through the kitchen to form open plan living spaces which feel a bit more airy.

    If they were bigger then they’d be that bit more expensive.

    I forgot about the three beds that form the border between the estate and Somerfield. They are a bit bigger and have integrated garages.

    There’s more to the Village than initially meets the eye but I accept that it’s not everyone’s pint of bitter.

  26. Seems like the approporiate time and juncture to report back on Wookies RIBA organised seminar — “this house belieives palnners should stop social engineering”. Interesting debate which correctly identified that all architecture / urban design includes an element of social engineering — whether it’s “creating sustainable communities” or putting restaurants and cafes on the ground floor of office buildings. However the conclusion seemed to be this house beleives planners should stop social engineering and let architects get on with it because they would be so much better at it!
    Thanks to Wookie for the invite is he’s still logging on from Forest Hill.

  27. @35 Came across a ’50s guide to British Architecture the other week. One passage said something to the effect: “in the 19th Century, architects concentrated on the aesthetic, and left the functional such as housing to the engineers. Contemporary architects have now overcome this misplaced snobbery and are merging the two. We have every reason to be optimistic about the future”.

    How I laughed, considering the crap functionalist dross we get served up in NEW C.

  28. According to Mary Boast’s Story of Camberwell, the Selbourne estate was built on what had been the grounds of Denmark Hill Grammar School. I’ve got an ordnance survey map dated 1871 which shows the school. The school closed in 1873, and the ordnance survey map of 1913 shows that the area between Love Walk and Daneville Road was covered in densely-packed housing. It appears the council originally planned to build an estate there, but sold it to Wates instead.

    I’ve always thought it was a very attractive estate. I’ve noticed that houses get a fair amount of rubbish dumped in their front gardens, especially the side facing Somerfield and the car park. But we get rubbish thrown over our garden walls, so this isn’t exclusively a Selbourne problem!

  29. On another subject entirely, has anyone been watching Last Chance Kids on C 4 this week, about a primary school in Dagenham where the pupils — especially white boys — had a very low literacy level? The headmistress introduced a reading programme to raise standards.

    Some of the children there have reminded me so much of the kids on the Glebe Estate whom I see every day. Not that I know much about their literacy, but the behaviour is the same — aggressive, running around in the streets at all times of the day and well into late evening, language that would make a sailor blush. But I’m fond of them — they are (usually) so ready to respond if someone makes an effort to reach them.

  30. Saw the trailer. Shocking stats but once the problem is identified then there is hope.

    I know what you mean about local urchins. There is a gaggle of kids who play along Vicarage Grove. They are rough around the edges but they always say hello and make a fuss of the baby.

    Often kids could teach their parents a thing or two about being pleasant. The kids of course have the benefit of good role models in the form of school teachers when they aren’t truanting that is. The parents lack positive influences..

    Nice to hear positive comments about Selborne and lovely to get a bit of history. I was told by an estate agent that it was a commercial estate prior to the development..

  31. Quite so Carole — the impotent anger we feel across the board.

    I was actually quite glad that c4 chose not to present this in a gloating or ‘daily mail’ fashion — apart from the kids what struck me anew was how hard the teachers, the head, benjamin zaphania, and ruth miskin all work to get their results.

    And the all too easy ‘blame the parents’ answer seemed no to work either; the parents [usually the mums] seeemed either committed to helping or just disempowered themselves.

    Drew Mishmash

  32. Maybe we should produce a definetive map of Camberwell based on all the locations of 24 Hour off licenses within the SE5 Postcode — Who knows it might even make Southwark/Lambeth council realise the magnitude of their disastrous town centre management…

  33. An inspired idea, eusebiovic. Except we should include all off-licence premises, irrespective of hours.

    Surely no-one will seriously debate that adequate supply of demand for alcohol at 2.30 a.m. is in the public interest?

    We will need an ultra-high resolution printer, of industrial specification, to squeeze in all the dots without them overlapping.

  34. ‘Surely no-one will seriously debate that adequate supply of demand for alcohol at 2.30 a.m. is in the public interest?’

    Au contraire mon frere. I regularly finish off a big night with some late night takeaway booze.

    And more importantly people who work unsociable hours should be able to buy booze as and when.

    I do think a map might be a good idea and agree that there are perhaps too many off licenses but I still think ‘adequate supply’ is essential. By definition anything less would be inadequate. And we can’t have that!

  35. Or maybe we should approach it from the other way — produce a map of non licensed premises in Camberwell?!

  36. Actually, the percentage of retail premises which sell alcohol in SE5 would be a very useful — and shocking — statistic.

    Alan — I can sympathise with not wanting the night’s merriments to draw to a close. But can’t you order in advance? Even I have a spare Eau de Vie, Baileys, Beer and a Rose in reserve, and I consume a fraction of a unit a week.

  37. Maybe thats a job for the forum ?

    It would be a good way to get press coverage too — in my experience there is nothing like a survey or research ot get the headlines: shock survey reveals 80% of shops in Camberwell are off licences kind of thing

  38. I’m not against places where you can obtain alcohol late at night (or indeed alcohol itself) but do we really need 30+ (that’s a conservative estimate) in SE5? — Surely less than half the number which already exist would more than suffice the demand and in the long-term create an environment where businesses and enterprise would be willing to take a chance and invest — thus creating a better organized and more prosperous town centre in future…

    Alan — Sometimes, especially in a diverse Inner-London community like Camberwell the unregulated free-market model has to be slightly adapted to correct the negative social impact that it’s lack of responsibility creates — this does not mean that a person who subscribes to that view is anti-capitalistic or a pure undiluted traditional leftie. Like I said a more attractive town centre with a greater variety of shops and services would generate more money in the middle to long term so in fact it is in our interests to do something to effect this change…

  39. Regeneguru — I’m glad you like the map idea, sometimes the only way to make people realise there is a problem is if the raw reality of the situation is clearly displayed in a format which is unarguable and easy to understand…

    I live around Loughborough Junction so I would be happy compiling the information needed from this part of the SE5 postcode, up to Myatt’s Field and back down to the Green or more if needed…

  40. Totally off topic but hope you don’t mind -

    a group of residents in Elmington Road and Samsom Street met last week with Ian Wingfield, Sandra Rule and the T&RA chap from Southwark Council and the upshot is that we are going to try and set up a Brunswick Park Tenants and Residents Association.

    We are planning on having a big public meeting for folks who might be interested in joining, in early December.

    The idea is to include all streets that surround Brunswick Park, but not estates as they already have their own TAs.

    If anyone wants to find out more, please drop me an email. We are looking for representatives from other streets to help us band together around issues such as anti social behaviour, urban planning, parking and so on.

  41. when mr and mr Buk went for an early morning bike ride at 7am last sunday morning, we were actually surprised that there wasn’t an off-licence selling booze in SE5 at that time.

    Even the Food and Wine near Somerfields wouldn’t hook us up. It wasn’t like that in 2003 for sure, when the guys who worked there then told me “We will sell you beer 24 hours a day, 365 days a year”. The offys that are selling you grog at twat-o-clock in the morning are paying someone some serious money to turn a blind eye I’ve always thought.

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