Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb

This morning I had to go to the dentist (Camberwell Dental Care; recommended), but as I brushed my teeth I realised that I’d run out of mouthwash. Not wishing to visit Dr Asad without a minty-fresh mouth, I decided to buy a bottle on the way, and give my mouth a rinse before I got there. So I bought a bottle from the Spar on Vestry Road, took a good big swig and carried on my way.

Having finished my ablutions, I looked around for a drain to spit it into; that was when I realised that the streets were full of kids on their way to school. I didn’t want to look like a crazy man, spitting a gob-full of foaming liquid into the gutter in front of the children, so I had to walk on with a mouth bulging with mouthwash.

Every turn I took, there somebody was; children and parents doing the school run, commuters late leaving the house, dog-walkers; it was like the Batman film from the 60s, where he’s desperately trying to get rid of a bomb but is thwarted by nuns, children and a family of ducks. It was only on Camberwell Grove I finally found a ten-second window to rid myself of my load. Still, I think Dr Asad appreciated it.

So, dental hygiene aside, what’s the news? Camberwell Baths, the Cuming Museum and Livesey Children’s Museum are all set to be hit by budget cuts, and could close. Apparently health and culture are not high on the list of priorities for Southwark Council. The website of the Livesey Museum has some links to online campaigns to keep them open; I’m slightly wary of the effectiveness of online petitions, so I would urge you to raise this issue with your MP also.

The Camberwell Grove railway bridge is to reopen, with traffic lights and barriers installed until the bridge is replaced completely. There’s another online petition to sign if you want Network Rail to do that sooner rather than later.

There was something else I was going to mention; I may update when I remember what it was.

Author: Peter

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

92 thoughts on “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”

  1. @ YOur Member of Parliament, I have laboured under the belief that Camberwell must be unique among villages nationally in having three MP’s representing parts of it. I was corrected of this when I met Simon Hughes, who pointed out without hesitation that he has a lot of fond memories of Camberwell, having lived here in the past, and a part of it being a small part of his constituency.


    We have a lot of lobbying to do in quadruplicate:

    Harriet Harman
    Kate Hoey
    Tessa Jowell
    Simon Hughes

    ALL have part of SE5 in their patch.

    Get writing!

  2. Do Camberwell Dental Care do NHS treatment? Any more info you want to impart about them? Been looking for a good dentist recommendation…

  3. @ Tom: Yes, they do NHS. One of the things I like most about my dentist is that he explains everything he is doing and looking at, which is very calming on the old nerves. I can highly recommend them.

  4. @1 In my experience MPs only want to deal with matters if it is in their constituency and the letter is being written by one of their constituents. They have a very blinkered view and wont deal with matters outside their area if they are literally 100 metres away.

    In any case I think it would be better to write to your Southwark Councillor in this case with a follow up letter to your MP if you get no joy from the council.

  5. @4 the point being that SE5 has four MP’s. Write to all nine or twelve or so councillors and to all four MP’s at the same time. Concerted and coordinated. People have moved out of Camberwell because they have not been heard.

    On the other hand if everyone reading here sends a message to it will probably have more weight than being sent individually.

    The update from the agm will come soon.

  6. I mean — if the message gets agross to the forum then it will be passed on to the relevant politicians and be taken notice of. That’s what a forum is about.

  7. What a depressing post.

    Camberwell isn’t even sitting still, it’s sliding backwards. How many worthless petitions do we need to sign just to keep what we have? Boy you community folks are making progress!!

  8. @7 Good boy JohnnyM!

    Great example of exactly why getting a Forum working is so difficult; people expect change and progress to be handed to them on a plate, prepared and served voluntarily by others — who don’t have such busy or important lives that they can afford to be ‘community folks’ and just beaver around doing things hoping one day to bask in the glory of praise showered on them by their fellow ‘folks in the community’.

    Still, today was a good day. And now I know where that bomb should be left if it comes to it…


  9. Some bomberclat has nicked my post about the Livesey closing. That’s a shame, because we are being deceived, I am told.

    I am advised that the Lib-Dem leader of Southwark Council is scaremongering — the Livesey, Cuming and Baths are not to close at all. It seems there is some politicking going on, Lib-Dem versus Conservative. Good news for the children’s museum.

    JohnnyM is right to feel fed up. If he found innocuous post no. 6 “depressing”, he is to be helped, not pilloried. The rich are taxed enormously, he is right to support them. But if a children’s museum has to shut — somewhere where the crocodiles can walk to — then something is wrong. This is not hard to understand!

    Today has been a brilliant day in Camberwell. No wonder Mendelsohn composed “Spring Song” here, that delightful Victorian parlour solo piano piece.

    The street gangs and muggers are a pain at the moment — but with sharia law coming in, they had better look out! Not only do they act like rats, they will soon be hanged like dogs!

    There is a brilliant Brazilian graffiti at the end of Edmund Street by the garages off the street — SAO PAULO MASSIVE or something, it says, with a fabulous anarchist wolf-head logo icon thing, it’s very good.

  10. There’s a whole lot of stirring up going on over 47 trees about to be felled in Myatt’s Fields park. Angry locals who feel they weren’t consulted clearly enough about the park’s development and that heritage is taking precedent over contemporary practicalities and the best environmental practice.

  11. Christ, I’m dreading the traffic lights and standing traffic on Camberwell Grove. I’ve enjoyed the peace and quiet on the street but totally understand that the road needs to be open.

    Unfortunatley, I’ve only ever known it without traffic since I bought my place so I guess I better make the most of it. Ironically, I just had a one of the local council folk make and ad hoc call to my house to tell me that the bridge was opening in 6 weeks and did I have any other issues with area. The intent was the but I just wasn’t in the mood to rant about the bloody bridge again.…

  12. The Grove Chapel public meeting — overseen by gorgeous, tittering Lib-Dem wonks — was told by a Newtwork Rail man that the bridge could be fixed in a weekend if the will was available.

    The Grove has been brilliant without the traffic. We should all walk.

  13. Do you know that strange pocket of land off Coburg Road which is notionally attached to Burgess Park? An empty plot with a fancy boardwalk crossing it diagonally? It always impressed me more as a wasted opportunity than a nature garden — till this week.
    Go and see the snowdrops.

  14. More warnings to lock up tight and improve security as a flat in our block was broken in to recently.

    Oddly it was on the top floor not the obvious and easiest choice — a case of very cocky thieves??

  15. I was jogging round Myatts Fields on Saturday morning, it was so beautiful, makes you temporarily forget about the problems of the area when you can feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, see the crocuses blooming and hear the sound of children laughing in their tennis lessons.
    I was full of joy and happiness, left the park to go home for breakfast, and subsequently trod in a dog turd on the pavement, and nearly got knocked down by a racing motorist on knatchbull road.
    Still, the feeling in the park was absolute heaven.

  16. Hannah, commiserations. There seems to be a lot of activity at the moment — muggings, burglaries, car vandalism. A burglary certainly challenges one’s carefully cultivated, civilised, balanced, beliefs.

    Still, there are the snowdrops, as Mrs Burgess didn’t want the honour (post no. 17) draws to our attention, in the wild area off Coburg Street with the boardwalk going through it. It is a bit grubby, that little wood, but it really burgeons with growth, it is jungly.

    Hannah, the snowdrops, they could perhaps serve as one of your favourite things, along with whiskers on kittens and brown paper parcels tied up with string containing plastic explosives and a detonator, stolen from your flat and activated remotely at your will.

    My guess is that the underclass everywhere are increasingly having a tough time, but also that they may be a dying breed, so to speak.

  17. Sorry to hear of the break-in Hannah. I was subject to some inquisitive types a couple of weeks ago who took a shining to the contents of my glove box. More of a pain in the rear than anything else.

    A top floor break-in seems very brave or very stupid. Somewhat throws my theory of purchasing a 1st floor flat ‘for safety’ out of the window.

    Hope you’re right about C Grove not being that busy Mark; I’m getting used to the peace.….

  18. Yes I had that problem when I lived in Canning Cross a few years ago — I have heeded the Police’s advice to always leave the glovebox open when parked ever since.

  19. I’ve seen a lot of smashed side windows on cars recently in the streets round the Lettsom Estate and near the Grove. It’s a depressing sight.

  20. @ Two

    One thing I’ve heard is that even though people in general don’t want a ground floor flat because they think it’s more vulnerable, statistically flats nearer the top of a building get burgalled more as crooks think they’re less exposed and it buys them time should they hear someone coming.

  21. Moving on to more positive things: I have just walked into Camberwell along C’well New Road and whilst dispairing at the impression it gives of Camberwell — the closed office stationers, the decidedly scruffy looking snooker place and the wasteland of the former garage — but I noticed that the for sale had gone from the Old Dispensary bar and that there is a licence application up on the door for a general food and drinks licence so hopefully that means that the Old Dispensary will be open again soon. I hope they have done their market research and can offer a bar/ restaurant that proves more sustainable than the previous incarnation.

  22. Who cares whether its sustainable? As long as it’s good for a few months, closed for a few, good for a few,… keeps things interesting.

    Look at the West End — bars round there are always closing and reopening with a new name. Keeps it lively.

    Everything seems to have got a bit stable recently.

    What is going on with Angels and Gypsies?!

    They are sitting on a gold mine for crying out loud and I would like somewhere new to try..

    Maybe the Castle could have another resurgence..

  23. Alan. Angels and Gypsies: Go in and ask them. Sitting on a gold mine. Presumably they haven;t made enough gold yet out of Camberwell to be able to dig for the the motherload.

  24. Yes I have been concerned about Mr Stanton’s skin for a while — it must be the stress of overseeing Southwark.

  25. Now it all makes sense…So that’s why Camberwell has such a plethora of falling down water establishments…

  26. So there we have it. Not just Southwark but whole swathes of middle England have been ennobled by the closure of the Livesey Children’s Museum on the Old Kent Road.

    That’ll show those insurgents and Taliban who’s boss!

  27. Grills etc is reopening as a Lebanese. Exciting times indeed.

    I daren’t go in the Church St Hotel to ask about Angels and Gypsies. I’d never say Gypsies out loud — it’s racist.

    Anyone else care to ask then give us an update?

  28. Let’s not forget — and this means you, hold-yer-nose Labour voters — that the cuts are a direct result of a shortfall of £35 million from central government to Southwark.

    Big money in the context of community grant awards circa £5k to £25k, such as the Livesey requires.

    There are efficiency savings to be made by Southwark too, but no single community organisation yet exists which is focused on scrutiny of the way the Council spends its money, and on the closeness of the relationship between PFI contractors and local government officials. Hell, some of them even share a desk.

    With a turnover of £1.2 billion, clearly any attempts to help the Council spend its money more efficiently, in a less PFI way, would yield impressive results and keep museums like the Livesey open.

    Then there’s the failure of any community organisation in Southwark to fully realise the impact of red routes, such as the Old Kent Road where the Livesey Museum is.

    Ideally, motivated locals would seek more specific social funding from TfL red route revenues for amenities aligning and affected by those routes, as I have long argued.

    But we don’t live in an ideal world, and the Livesey will close.

  29. Re Southwark
    Being cynical is there also a political motivation here? The cuts will be occurring in areas which are strong Labour and where the Liberal Democrats have little chance of winning. So it is Camberwell and Old Kent Road facilities that are being cut not Dulwich or other areas where the Liberal Democrats are strong or which are Liberal Democrat held marginal seats

  30. Exactly, Reg, that is precisely what I was more detailedly trying to say, but without the technical bits, because I do not want to be dumboist.

    In other words, Tony Brown, where are ye? What was the name of that restaurant where ye agreed to be successive, successful prime ministers?

    The Roma Cafe, near the Old Kent Road, eh?

  31. … and Cher’s father was Armenian, her mother Cherokee, German, Irish and English, so there could be a lot of apologies going down.

    A trip to the Horniman in the Cadillac Escalade, Porsche Cayenne, VW Touraeg, X5 or similar will prove educational — all the above species are on view there, stuffed. Disadvantaged children in the Old Kent Road area can get stuffed.

  32. Sorry to hear about your break in Hannah. The house opposite us was broken into last Thursday and the people inside held at knife point — we were questioned today by police — and only just after they left — someone from was spotted climbing over our wall — i reported it — assuming that the police may be interested as it could easily have been related to last weeks break in — but Brixton police couldn’t have been less interested — so you can’t win really

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