Worst for Monopoly, best for murals

I found myself over on the Old Kent Road at the weekend, where I discovered the old North Peckham Civic Centre and its fantastic mural depicting the road’s place in history, from the Romans to the 20th century. Very pretty, very informative, and a bit of a treasure.

Tucked away amongst the images of South London life was the old coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell, with its now cheerfully ironic motto “All’s Well”:

Camberwell Coat of Arms

While on the subject of Camberwell’s history, some pictures turned up over the weekend showing the streets which were knocked down to form Burgess Park in the early 1980s. Interesting to think of what was there before.

I also strayed across the border on Saturday night, visiting Peckham’s new bar/dining room, The Montpelier. Nice, although a little barn-like; big empty spaces and plain walls. The table service was welcome, although the food was a couple of quid overpriced for my tastes. Selection of beers wasn’t great, either. Over all it was pretty good, but didn’t give me the urge to rush back there.

Like always, I’m sure I had something else to comment upon, but I just can’t remember it now. I really should keep a list.

Author: Peter

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

140 thoughts on “Worst for Monopoly, best for murals”

  1. I had always assumed that Burgess Pk was created from bombsites, and that’s why its shape is odd. we lvie, we learn

  2. On the subject of knocking down streets to create a park, I’ve been thinking recently that the current waste land that has been created by the demolision of the Elmington Estate up Edmund Street could be cleared and turfed to make a nice park. The rebuilding of the estate seems to have ground to a halt, so perhaps this would be a nice alternative? Well, I can but dream!

  3. thinking of Burgess Park — does anyone have pics or plans of the Surrey Canal? I’ve been trying to find evidence of what it did (or was meant to do) beyond the ‘spur’ going in to Peckham.

  4. You can buy reproduction Ordnance Survey maps for a pound or two at the Cuming Museum on Walworth Road or from the Local Studies Library on Borough Road — they’re really fascinating. I especially love the detail of all the factories along the canal: salt works, lime works, mineral water works, the Bible factory…

  5. Peter — I’ve actually lived around here for long enough to remember those roads that used to exist in Burgess Park.

    There were many Victorian Tenements along Albany Road, just like the one in the photo and I actually remember a Hotel on the corner of Albany Road/Old Kent Road too…

    Perhaps at the time the thinking was “out with the old, in with the new” but I can’t help thinking that if the canal hadn’t of been filled in ‑Camberwell and Peckham would of had a fantastic resource which would have been the main focal point for regenerating the area at a fraction of the cost now…

    What Southwark Council/L.C.C did in the 60’s and 70’s was simply unforgiveable

  6. Check out the old lime kiln that is still standing in the Camberwell New Road end of Burgess Park. The last remaining structure of the areas industrial past. Smoke(a London Peculiar)has had some great articles on Burgess Park and the Surrey Canal recently. Smoke is a great little magazine and worth getting hold of.

  7. @ love-borough junction: I used to buy Smoke regularly from Wordsworth. Like many other great little independents, it’s next to impossible to find here now.

  8. Mary Boast’s book “The Story of Camberwell” has an account of the origins of Burgess Park. The plan dates from 1943, and was intended to provide a “green lung” for the South of London. Land was acquired over the years following the war, and the park was completed in 1982. 30 streets, 900 dwellings, schools, churches, factories etc were destroyed along the way.

    The book in a Southwark Council publication, so should be available from libraries. It also has a photograph of the Canal dating from 1934.

  9. On another subject entirely, we learnt this morning that Post Office Ltd plans to close the Post Office in Peckham Road. I picked up a leaflet there this morning. A local public consultation is taking place, which closes on 2 April, and if they go ahead the closure will take place in June 2008 at the earliest.

    I think this is a great pity. We use that branch quite often, and none of the alternatives is as convenient or as pleasant. When I was in there today there was a queue that reached almost to the street — oh, the irony!

  10. Well?!

    I reckon we should let the chicken lovers, drinkers and gamblers have their fun. Me included. I regularly buy a bucket of wings after a few pints in the Buckle, and sometimes I buy a late night can of lager for the walk to Loughborough junction to see the Piano Seller.

    I have never placed a bet in Camberwell though. At the risk of getting spam blocked I have to recommend Betfair for gambling.

    On the flip side all the more middle class places are undersubscribed. The Bear is the best food pub for miles around but we’ve never had difficulty getting a table..

    Until we get the long awaited influx of yuppies I think we should let the shops cater for local demand.

  11. I don’t remember anyone calling for the shops to all be shut down; I think the general feeling was that we’ve got enough now.

    As has been explained before, the volume of takeaways and off-licences doesn’t indicate that there’s a demand for more; it’s that businesses like this generate fast cash turnover and so are an easy option for landlords. Or something.

    But the more there are of them, the less likely it is that other varieties of shop want to open up in the same area.

  12. I think that restricting outlets to organic butchers, gift shops, and delicatessens is getting the cart before the horse.

    Are we saying that the fried chicken market is beyond saturation? There has to come a time when it’s not economical to open another bookies.

    Camberwell is in a great location with good transport links. We need more high end housing to bring in people who will be interested in Northcross Road type shops before we need to force shops to sell retro-modern furniture and delicious smelly cheese.

  13. Peter is right.

    Local Camberwell spending power dwarfs that of local Lordshippers, due partly to higher residential density. But the “middle class places” do less well due to a combination of factors:

    (a) As exhaustively discussed elsewhere, it is more difficult to visit Camberwell than neighbouring areas such as Peckham, Clapham and Lordship Lane.

    (b) Camberwell’s streets are unpleasant for a variety of reasons not exotic enough for local campaigners to get exited about. Locals — let alone visitors — don’t want to spend leisure time there, hence the massive exodus of local disposable income to neighbouring areas and the centre.

    That, folks, is known to those in the trade as suppressed demand.

    But frankly, after Northern Rock, all talk of invisible hands and the justice of market forces has to go out of the window and fly off to a distant channel island where it can become the exclusive intellectual property of an offshore trust.

  14. I’m finding you uncharacteristically unclear Reg.

    Are you saying that because Northern Rock has been nationalised we should prevent chicken shops, off licenses and bookies from opening in Camberwell?

    I know you are delighting in this banking failure but I think it’s muddying your argument here.

    Glad to hear Peter is right though. Do you mean that in the light of the credit crisis he is right to be renting rather than have bought a house or are you talking about offlicenses again?

  15. Alan has this town sussed.

    God bless Northern Rock and all of you who are supporting her. We got a 110% mortgage from them at 6x my salary. Course we realised our repayments would be the same as the three of us (me, my girl and our mate) so no big deal. It cost me zero to buy (got fees etc on top) and now we service the interest at same cost as rent. And my profit just keeps on climbin’. Some day soon we’ll cross that river wide. And leave behind some lovely bedsits for those truly in need of affordable housing. I think I’m a saint.

  16. I’d rather have organic yuppy shops than fried chicken and betting.

    Just ‘cos people buy this stuff, doesn’t make it good. More sad than good.

  17. I’m not sure how the debate got framed as organic yuppie shops vs chicken & betting, because I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue should be a variety of shops which cater to everyone, rather than a glut of identical shops which make us leave the area to buy anything other than fried chicken or booze. For example, I don’t care about having an organic butcher, I care about having a butcher which sells good quality meat. You can’t buy that here.

  18. After that anti-organic outburst I’m not sure what you want round here Peter?

    What’s your problem with organic food? You can always add pesticides at home if you feel they are missed.

    I like fried chicken. I like beer and I don’t mind a bit of gambling. D‑MAN do you think I’m ‘sad’?

    According to Alan Partridge kettles are ‘sad’. He’s got a flavia coffee machine.


  19. JohnnyM you say I have it sussed but I love Camberwell more than you love your Mum.

    I also suspect that renting out a room to your better looking friend is playing with fire. Tenner says he’s had at least a near miss with your Mrs. Do you suspect anything? Always the last to know..

  20. :). No, you seem full of enthusiasm.

    My point was low income areas, like Camberwell, suffer from crap food and poor health. That’s sad.

    The fact that it’s hard to get fresh, organic veg is disturbing. If I ate animals I’d worry about that as well.

    I do like beer, spliff, etc — but not fried chicken.

  21. Not even a Zinger Tower Burger?

    It’s really easy to get the veg you describe on Dog Kennel Hill in a lovely organic grocer I know called J Sainsbury Plc.

    Central Camberwell you have to pull the other eco card of supporting local small business and go to Cruson. It’s not organic — it’s the other eco option — considerate pesticide consumption.

    Glad to hear you’re a weed smoking vegetarian. I eat meat (even veal and stuff) and my weed smoking is severely limited because I can’t roll but I can manufacture a bong out of an apple then eat the evidence. Great trick I learnt from a Kiwi guy whilst camping in Biarritz.

  22. Yeah, I like the eco card. Might as well play that one, no?

    Not so hung up on the organic thing, but it sets the tone about right.

  23. Nearly forgot, there’s a thing for kids at the South London Gallery over half term.

    Angolan drumming & videos & stuff. Cool.

  24. Me and my 2 went today & saw the Angolan land mine video and participated after. The 2 were filmed by a film lady, imitating heartbeats, though the baby ran away. The music to the video was great — Portuguese African music bouncing along like a couple in the Buckle. The other 8″ video is a bit grisly, though my 4 year old and her pal sat through it, nodding and whispering. Viva Angola, viva Cuba, viva Camberwell!

  25. Anyone notice the quality of the new paving on Denmark Hill? Notice the food stains on the pavement under the new bus stop? The paving hasn’t been down a week and it already looks crap.

    The bus stop outside MacDonald’s has its legs in tarmac. I can’t figure out how they can change that so it’s paved instead.

    Social engineering on a fairly profound scale is needed around here.

  26. Having a low moment Mark? Chin up.

    Tell us about the bailiffs you snapped and flickred.

    (Enjoying your photos by the way…)

  27. D‑MAN

    Totally agree with you about your points regarding fast food…

    gum disease,diabetes,obesity and heart failure is all it guarantees…Don’t eat it it’s shit

    But then McDonalds,KFC,Subway,Chicken Cottage,Burger King — don’t care about that as long as there are enough people who are uneducated enough to buy it their shareholders get rich and they argue that they create much needed jobs in the community…

    It’s all self-defeating in the end, but we live in a short-term world and there isn’t a damn thing that the 35% can do to change it…

  28. Yeah you’re right poor people have got absolutely no idea that fried chicken is unhealthy.

    They don’t even realise that smoking kills.

    Impoverished fat simpletons.

  29. I’d guess we all do stuff that’s not healthy. It’s hard to break out of it sometimes.

    And where do you draw the line? Smoking might be less risky than cycling.

  30. About the Angolan drumming. I’ll ‘fess up. I didn’t go. But the kids did and quite liked it (or maybe they just humor me).

    They did sort of say there was something disturbing about it thou’. Now I know what.

  31. Fast food I generally find unpalatable but there is one treat I experience at motorway service stations about twice a year.

    The kids will not eat MacDonald’s — they say it’s disgusting *glows with pride* — they like Burger King. So the last time I had an spicy chilli double Angus or something like that. It’s really, very good. To do something that good on such a large scale is quite an achievement.

    Alan — I’m not down I just can;t stand seeing lots of money wasted on unimaginative materials being laid badly which, in a matter for weeks, will look as crap as the materials they replaced at £150K cost (I recall it being 150K I might be out a bit). And that none of that is linked in to anything else that needs to be done to this area.

    And I had no problem understanding regeneguru’s points above.

    And the bailiffs were from Lambeth for unpaid rates — belive me it;s a long story and they didn’t have a warrant and they were not entitled to but they did get the money including their handsome £700 or whatever fee because they just bullied and barged their way into getting it. “it’s a civil matter” the police said “all we can do is prevent a breach of the peace” the police said. Pathetic… Anyway suing them will cost more than it cost to get rid of them so there’s point.

    Come the revolution.

  32. Alan Dale -

    Fast Food

    No, it’s not 100% down to lack of education, but in most cases (particularly amongst youngsters) it certainly is…

    The occasional snack/treat won’t do anybody much harm but there are many people who regularly eat it for breakfast,lunch and dinner without realizing just how bad it really is.

    It may be cheap but that’s not really an excuse…maybe a lack of basic cookery skills is, which used to be deemed important when we lived in a more qualitative society…

  33. Anyone who harks ack to a bygone age is either misguided or just flat wrong.

    We’ve never had it so good.

    Short termism has it’s down sides but it is also very rewarding. In the short term at least.

    Perhaps you could clarify Reg’s point for the rest of us. Was he saying don’t pay your rates because of Northern Rock?

    Glad you’ve paid up now Mark especially seeing as Peter’s post about paying taxes sited you as an example of an upstanding tax payer. What is the tax on nine grand a year by the way?

  34. I think the point about education was not that anyone who eats fast food is thick, but that in the case of younger people they may not have been taught the basics of good nutrition.

    As for harking back to the good old days, I certainly wouldn’t want a return to rationing or the barter system, but I do think the growing movement towards better quality food is a reaction against the bland fare of the petrochemical age.

    Of course, eventually we’ll have to face up to not just the quality of the food we eat, but the quantity. Easting meat every day is unsustainable.

  35. Alan. The tax on 9 grand a year is very little as is obvious.

    For your edification, about the taxes I am responsible for paying, as you evidently didn’t believe me when I told you how much I earn. I pay 29K a year in business rates to Lambeth. The council tax on the flat is £1,300. I pay around 70K a year vat and in the region of 50K paye and NI. I pay myself subsistence wages because I cannot afford to pay myself more and there are no dividends, just personal loans I doubt I will ever be repaid. I do not own the property, it rented, I have spent more on it than it is valued for assignment. I cannot afford a mortgage. The beer I am legally forced to buy from the freeholder is priced such that it is impossible to return a living profit on it. My last rent review is two and a half years past due date and is sitting as an application in an in tray at the court of appeal waiting for a decision as to whether it should be heard or rejected. If it is rejected I will be immediately liable for rent arrears which stand today at around 33K. The freeholder has indicated that they intend to sue me for all their costs for arbitration and appeal. This, conservatively, will be another 50K. My own costs for the rent review to date stand at 30K — one of the reasons I cannot afford to pay myself. If I am unable to pay the back rent the freeholder will put me in an arrears situation and threaten to evict me within two weeks.

    Stick that in your pipe.

    IF you think publicans have it rosy have a look at The Morning Advertiser website forums.

  36. Er… that’s over a 100 grand a year in taxes — the paye and ni is, of course on the payroll.

    I don’t have a pension either. And I’m 50 this year. I sleep secure every night knowing I could have done it differently if I knew fifteen years ago what I know now.

  37. OK Mark- you have enough on your plate without me winding you up.

    Not sure about your VAT point though. I thought you shouldn’t be paying VAT as long as your vatable sales exceed your vatable supplies. You are collecting it rather than paying it. Your customers pay it right?

    Glad that I’m close to my flaming best. I’ve gone a bit soft recently. Still digging up the whole Jamie Oliver chips through the school fence is a bit weak. Must try harder.

    Looking good at 50 Mark. Keep snapping every mirror you pass and I’ll let you know if you start to age. As for the pub I don’t understand why you still do it. Is there no exit route? I am afraid that you haven’t convinced me that your project with the Doves is anthing more than a rich man’s play thing.

    But who care’s what I think?

  38. Mark’s troubles sound more like the result of an unrealistic property landlord who applies the rules of unregulated free-market economics to the nth degree whilst completely disgarding the concept of discretion and rationality…

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