And here’s the stuff I was going to post

Herne Hill has a new baker’s shop. I realise that we don’t live in Herne Hill, but I mention it because I passed there a few weeks ago and I noticed that there is a row of shops with a baker’s, a grocer’s, a fishmonger’s, a butcher’s and a delicatessen all next to each other. It’s what I dream of having in Camberwell. Here’s an article from the Guardian, also not about Camberwell, but about the balancing act of regenerating an area without pricing existing residents out, which is what I believe we face here.

News from around;  it seems that we had our own little Cans Festival here, on Camberwell Passage. You can go down and see some of the artworks still, I believe.

I had a somewhat boozy few games of pool in the Cadeleigh recently, and promised Mary (the landlady) that I would mention that Dermot (the landlord) scored a hole‐in‐one at golf. He is very proud, apparently.

Lots of websites: Loughborough Junction looks to be the result of one man trying to promote the area to increase his house’s value (not your friend the piano man is it, Alan?). Sorry, that was quite mean of me; it’s actually a look at places and services around the titular area. People’s Republic of Southwark is a migraine‐inducing site with social and environmental tips and articles; Creative Camberwell Network is a hub for artistic endeavours in SE5.

The SE5 Forum website is back online at the correct address now, although I have some stuff I need to do to rescue it completely. No, I’m not the admin again, I’m just a caretaker manager.

I had some other news which I kept reminding myself to write down, and didn’t, and forgot. Again.

Author: Peter

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

125 thoughts on “And here’s the stuff I was going to post”

  1. Not the Piano Seller.

    I think it is an attempt to court further gentrification in the area. Why not?

    Had dinner at the Dark Horse on Saturday because we couldn’t get in to Seymour Bros Thai. Seems that the secret is out.

    Nevertheless enjoyed my DH experience. Will try to go again on a Monday or Tuesday to grab a bargain version of the same.

    Otherwise I’ve been drinking in the Canning a couple of times this weekend. Seems they’re doing well.

    Also went to the Nunhead Cemetry thing Dagmar mentioned. Great place. Eldest child described it as walking in a dark forest. We were actaully glad of the drizzle that kept the crowds to a steady throng.

    Bought a new table in Morph (Camberwell Station Road) this week too. Bargain vintage retro thing.

    What else? What else do you need?

  2. That is a rather splendid parade of shops. Very well heeled is Herne Hill. The shops pick up the commuter trade. The Bakers in Herne Hill (Blackbird) has just opened a place in Grove Vale, near East Dulwich Station. This is part of Alan Dale’s Camberwell anschluss.

  3. All I ask is that the border is observed but that cross border communication and trade is encouraged.

  4. Herne Hill is so called because it is a bugger to ride up. The village is indeed nice, Peter, so nice that a major high street bank upped and offed from the high street after being robbed too many times. The off‐licence told me that. They had been robbed so many times they now have a push‐button whirlygig system to get in. Still, I agree, the village is peaceful after the through‐put frenzy of central Camberwell.

    Tulse Hill village just further on is less nicey, in fact somewhat crazy. But the Geranium Shop for the Blind is a lot more entertaining the Herne Hill’s rather stuck‐up, probably will be, Oxfam. Tulse Hill has the poorest Somerfield even we’ve ever seen and the most run‐down, daytime person’s pub.

    Past that, Snorbury is a medicated suburban fantasy, with the whiff of the Brighton Road in its nostrils, and Biggin Hill and the south beckoning.

  5. That Hill is a swine. Up from Camberwell is worst, where the road surface would have Lance Armstrong getting off to push. Best thing about Herne Hill is its proximity to the peerless Brockwell park, and of course the lido; open from today for the summer season.

  6. Tried and failed to get into the Seymour Bros Thai on Saturday as well Alan. Still to try it. Really good or just too small anyone?

    Went to Hoa Viet instead. Not good.

  7. Hoa Viet seems to have lost the plot recently. Overpowering smell of furniture polish / mothballs when we were there on Sunday. Salted chilli squid still tasted great though must have been full of MSG as I was buzzing and gulping water all night.
    Seymour Bros Thai has a dish called Angry Lamb. It is very good.

  8. Just to clarify: I don’t mean that I would like Camberwell to be like Herne Hill; obviously they are vastly different in many ways. What I meant was that I would like to have that small range of shops, which we don’t have here; ok, we have Sophocles for bread, Cruson for veg, Wing Tai for fish, but no butcher and no deli. If I don’t want to shop in Somerfield — which I don’t — I have to travel miles to get my basics.

  9. Deli alert! In my (not) glamorous media job, I found myself at the plush (not) studios of Richard and Judy recently. There is a new deli in Kennington Cross just across from the studios called Franklin\‘s with lovely meats. And a new hair dresser where I got a new media type hairdo!

  10. Seymour Thai is a bit hit and miss if you ask me. Last time I went there we were told they only had red or green curry mains. The three of us ordered curries with rice then, after we’d eaten starters, were told there was only one rice left so we had to have noodles. On another previous visit they had ran out of tofu.

    As for Hoa Viet, I think it’s great although I basically order the same two things every time so I haven’t been too adventurous with the menu.

  11. Food in SeymourThai is good but they are limited by the facilities‐ it’s a sandwich shop after all — but they do well in spite of this. What makes it unique is the seeming secrecy and laid back ambience. Combine that with the now apparent exclusivity and we might have the most exciting Thai experience around.

    Sri Thai has gone bust though‐ hence the dark horse. I like Hoa Viet but I rarely get to choose. Buddha Jazz is less Camberwell in its style‐ it’s all modern, swanky and clean but that can be forgiven given the proximity to ED and the need to lure the young professional set up the hill.

    I am tempted to try the Eastern tree. That’s not very yuppy at all but potentially good on the food front. Very Camberwell indeed. A rare triumph of substance over style.

  12. Sri Thai looks like it has had a fire. Anyone know the story? Eastern Tree is good and the staff lovely. When they tell you a dish is hot it is VERY hot. They took the building over from the horrible Coast Bar who were responsible for the MDF Tyrolean stylings.

  13. @6 Florian

    Would appreciate a water temperature update of the Lido from anyone.

    As a kid swimming on the south coast, I recall threshold tolerance was around 58 deg F. generally arriving late April. I don’t want to visit the Lido until this is equalled or exceeded! By comparison, most indoor heated municipal pools seem to hover around 80 deg F. these days.

  14. Very good source suggesting Boris plans:

    - Tram is dead
    — Tube will expand — something about Bakerloo joining up with a split Northern Line creating a stop at Louborough Junction (may call it Lambeth South), then Brixton then further South
    — Buses with more security and routemasters for Camberwell (feels it is too central for train station and too close to oval/elephant/peckham for its own tube)
    — Kennington to serve as spur for new lines including one to Battersea

    Look for it!

  15. I would be very surprised if that planned tube extension comes off — especially as the London Overground will cover similar areas.

    I also suspect the Routemaster promise maybe quietly forgotten about.

    I would be intrigued about the extra security on buses — how will this be funded — it can’t all be funded from cancelling the Londoner! — especially seeing as they may be a potential funding gap if the Mayor does indeed cancel the West End extension of the CC charge.

  16. Actually the TfL plan makes sense, sort of. I suspect a lot of funding will come from private developers, which is the trend. I’ve heard about the Battersea bit and heard it’s the same sort of deal going on over in Fulham — partially funded by property developers.

    It also follows suit. Camberwell has been overlooked for tube because the figures clearly show most people would still prefer the bus due to lower fares. And it is only a short distance to major stations at Elephant. Extending Bakerloo/Northern close to each other (instead of the Tram) is about relieving congestion on the current Northern Line. The Tram was about that and the Peckham branch was the beneficiary.

    Boris has said the Olympics should not be primarily about ‘regenerating’ East London and so in tune with the Guardian article, he’s not for huge public works projects that ‘regenerate’ by pricing out locals. A tube here would do that.

    So it seems a good plan and a win win for all political walks of life. Better buses here but not investing heavily to make Camberwell another Clapham. Finally extending the Bakerloo south in a way that meets needs of the majority of commuters who will use it. And tapping developers to pay up for their huge profits by directly investing in public services (as opposed to silly section 106 funds that give gov’t control meaning it never goes anywhere and the money dries up).

  17. Seems to me like Boris is shafting us already.

    The Tube is a terrible method of transport — who wants to be voluntarily underground?

  18. I do like the Brixton Lido, though — used to go to Yoga as well as swim there.

    It’s all part of the same general area to me — not like these kids who gang fight by postcode. What’s that about?

    Like Alan Dale says, cross border communication and commerce is all good.

  19. New Road i was just questioning how he would get the tube built following the collapse of Metronet and the huge finance there are already on the tube.

    The Jubilee line cost so much to build all other non emergency maintainence was cancelled — this is why there is so much engineering work now.

  20. Butterfly Tennis Club is having an official re‐opening on Monday 2 June at 4.30pm. St George’s have been persuaded to provide strawberries and cream, and you can have a look at the new clubhouse‐oops information centre. There’s also an Open Day on Sunday 8 June from 12.30–2.30 to bash a tennis ball about, sign up for coaching, and even join the tennis club.

  21. There will be another Hippy Mother Club gig on 6 June at Dulwich Hamlet, all manner of bands, all on one night.

  22. @ 13 Sri Thai had a fire about a month ago and has been closed since. Presumably it will reopen — there seemed to be builder type people in there the other day when I went past.

    Herne Hill is interesting as like Camberwell it straddles the two boroughs but strong organisations like the Herne Hill Forum http://hernehillforum.blogspot.com/ have done a very good job of bringing the community together and ensuring that the authorities on both sides of the border take note. The HH Forum is actually what I think the SE5 Forum should be like — campaigning, meeting regularly, holding the statutory services to account by for example commenting on planning applications, liaising with local police and ensuring that councillors from all sides take note of local opinion, not just a place for a few people to talk among themselves .

  23. Agreed Mumu. Forum is dissappointing and no one seems to know what’s going on. Even Mark has gone silent.

  24. Whilst he/she is clearly well informed, I couldn’t agree less with a lot of what newroad has to say. What’s so special about Camberwell’s low income population that they should go without the improved opportunities that come with quick, dependable transport infrastructure? And what about the local traders and key institutions?

    The logical conclusion to newroad’s argument is that no station should open anywhere for fear of “pricing out locals”. Or again is there something special about Camberwell’s less well off?

    Most of us are here because we like it. The idea that we can protect what we like by resisting meaningful change is naive.

  25. Mumu and New road. Quick reply as a board member of the SE5 Forum — NB this is my personal reply and not an offical one from the SE5 Forum.

    I would agree that we “appear” to be inactive currnelty but that is far from the case. Setting up and running an effective community organisation is hard work and harder work than any of us really anticipated. Currently we are doign a lot of work on the boring but important stuff to ensure we have coirrect management structures in place and that we — all of us being volunteers — can ensure that projects can be carried out and we can manage our work and finances properly. This is essential if the organisation is to be effective, accountable and have a long shelf life. Too many organisations collapse through poor organisation and lack of funds once the inital momentum and enthusiasm has run its course. It may be frustrating for those on the outside but beleive me this work is very important and will be of great benefit in the long run.

    We will be holding another public meeting very soon to present what we have been doing — so please come along!

  26. New Road, as I have argued elsewhere, reopening Camberwell Rail Station for freight and leisure purposes would not cause house prices to rise, because transport only does this in inner city London if it affects the 9–5 commute. Yet it would regenerate the area with new visitors and opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

    Chancellor Darling just had an emergency meeting with the supermarket chiefs to discuss the rising price of food. To paraphrase ex‐President Clinton, it’s the distribution network, stupid. Stop subsidising free supermarket parking with planning laws, and ploughing the bulk of transport investment into the roads, and you’ll get a more efficient one. Hopefully, this will make it into the Camberwell Vision.

    Meanwhile, did anyone notice the cycle helmet stunt at the GLA meeting yesterday? — an embarrassingly poor use of scrutiny opportunities to continue demonising cyclists. Ditch the tribalism, please, and work for the area’s real interests.

  27. OK, I’m going to brave the Tulse Hill Somerfield to do some panic buying on my way home from work this evening. I hope to live to report back. Will I need one of those Zimbabwean zillion dollar notes?

  28. Hoa Viet is defo slipping. I don’t go there much any more.
    Seymour Thai is nice and boho but the food really isn’t that good.

  29. “Seymour Thai is nice and boho but the food really isn’t that good.” — exactly right

  30. Hannah, good post. I know nothing about local government or (I’m ashamed to say) local campaigning… but getting the structure of an organisation right is clearly the best place to start.

  31. What is the world coming to if normally biddable Thai people stop serving us grub just because their restaurant is burning down around them? Can’t they urge their langoustines to leap flame‐grilled onto our plates?

  32. Thanks D man — good but not very well spelt 🙂

    There are many quick wins and issues to be tackled in Camberwell and the SE5 Forum could have waded right in but we have to be organised and have good structures, hopefully we are nearly there.

    Also as anyone who has been involved in community groups will tell you this is long haul stuff not quick fixes — it’s often a case of one step forward two steps back but hang in there we are making progress.

  33. Re: Camberwell Station; has anybody else noticed that it doesn’t actually exist anymore? The station entrance is gone, and there’s barely a trace of platform left. It wouldn’t be a simple case of refurbishing and reopening, it would involve rebuilding. Call me pessimistic, but I just can’t see it happening.

  34. So pleased to have been found online in such a short time (for what ever reason)! We have greatly enjoyed putting together loughboroughjunction.com and I hope that it will provide some benefit for the area. It is an immensely undervalued part of London and frankly its reputation need revising and bringing up to date. If anyone has any relevant sites to propose for inclusion please let us know.
    Thank you,
    Nick
    loughboroughjunction@​yahoo.​com

  35. SE5 Forum

    I have fallen silent becaase I stood down from chair in January because of many needs: the Forum needed a chair who would take it to its next stage of development; as Hannah has explained above. A lot of work has been done and Laurence Benson, the new chair, has been seeing it through this important process. You would all be impressed if you could have seen what’s been happening. This bodes well for the long term future of the Forum and although tough and perhaps at times seemingly tedious, absolutely necessary.

    I am concentrating on Camberwell business which, frankly had to begin with my concentrating on aspects of my own business first as it has been under threat of closure because of potentially calamitous costs of a rent review case that has been going on for over two and a half years.

    On the voluntary side I’ve been involved, as Se5 Forum’s business representative, with Neighbourhood Renewal on an important project developing the groundwork for a permanent weekly Arts, Crafts and General Produce market for Camberwell.

    The Forum website is under the cosh for a complete rebuild which should make it more responsive and interactive and a better tool for helping develop community participation in Camberwell’s long term regeneration.

    If you’re disappointed with the Forum; get in touch; get involved and help. Some people actually do get involved you know.

  36. Toff Dungoody. Attlee was the greatest, but you can’t dine out on the minimum wage forever.

    Although I have no official role there, I am keen to see the Forum succeed. I echo Mark’s encouragement for people to contact SE5 Forum and get involved. Attend committee meetings, which are basically reporting sessions on what each Board member is up to. These committee meetings are announced in advance on http://www.se5forum.org.

    In particular, there is a big shortage of IT/website help. Non‐technical people urgently required to assist with updating, sorting or contributing topical information and pictures and writing articles.

    Peter — fantastic job on the site; the search feature is working again.

  37. Diane Abbott was great on Desert Island Discs, though. As long as Labour have bright brains like her, they will win. Toffs do not inspire trust — that is not the point of the toff. The toff is inherently, indeed, hereditarily dodgy.

    Tulse Hill Somerfield is OK. I bought 2 packs of New Zealand Coxes, 3 packs of new potatoes, 2 packs of tomatoes, 1 pack of satsumas and 4 cobble rolls all for £2.86 from their “reduced” trolley. To think the crisp, zingy Coxes had come all the way from New Zealand to this unassuming to say the least part of south London… The aisles are long and cool. You come out blinking in the sunshine to see the White Hart opposite. This legendary downmarket boozer was once offered a grant to do itself up but declined. The flightpath of the STOL aircraft from City Airport is right overhead. The hedgefundmen pass over aloft as though the whole of the 21st Century was bypassing Tulse Hill.

  38. Donkey rides at a fete on the Albrighton estate today apparently.

    Worth a foray across the border into SE22?

  39. Sorry I can’t remain silent anymore. It is quite disingenuous and downright unfair that over the past three years, anytime someone dares to question the SE5 Forum we get the same template of an answer:

    1 Empathise but don’t apologise (eg I know it must seem things are not happening..)

    2 Be vague but confident things are happening of great importance (eg we’re building foundations vital to make us strong)

    3 Remind everyone you are volunteers (subtly suggesting you are immune from scrutiny) (eg we are all volunteers here)

    4 Turn the tables by suggesting the questioner is uninvolved, uncaring and thus the real villan (eg some people do try and make things better)

    The Forum started more than four years ago holding its first public meeting more than three years ago. I’ll address the points above with what I think gives us valid reasons for demanding progress.
    1 Things are not happening and the truth is you got it wrong for nearly three years. Someone should just admit it. We will be more understanding if someone just admits it didn’t go smoothly.

    2 While I’m all for building strong foundations, come on. It shouldn’t take four years to bond a team and get decision making into place. (See point 1)

    3 Yes you are all volunteers, but the Forum is been somewhat arrogant in demanding it be THE group in charge of changing Camberwell and actively urging other groups to hold off. It has not helped any local efforts on any front but has (sometimes loudly) thrown stones at other efforts. And yes, those efforts were by volounteers too. And the Forum has received a great deal of local funding for volunteers that could’ve gone elsewhere. If you are going to set yourselves up as the main group and take money, you should be accountable regardless of whether you are volunteers or not.

    4 A lot of other people and groups have been busy doing things that people will touch, see and feel while you’ve spent time and money doing ‘the boring stuff’. Again fine to teambuild, but we could’ve planted a lot of trees with the public money you’ve wasted to date. It wouldn’t fundamentally change Camberwell but it’s more progress than what you’ve accomplished.

    My wife and I have lived here for a long time. I love Camberwell and have done a lot of volunteer time to try and improve it. A while back we realised it is what it is and we like it. We’d like less chaos, crime and anti‐social behaviour on the streets but we get a good deal in other ways. I don’t have a bone to pick with the Forum, but if I did, as others do, we should all be able to demand answers and not be patronised with the above ‘template’ answer.

    Go back on this and the Forum website for three years. You’ll see the same answer over and over. At some point, you have to do something or call it a day.

  40. Why would you want the Bakerloo to run from Elephant to Loughborough Junction!? Doesn’t Thameslink already do this exact route and the (very little) “overcrowding” on this line will be alleviated when the stations are rebuilt to accommodate longer trains as is happening already through funding for a full line upgrade? I suspect Tfl insider may actually be another Loughbourgh Junction property speculator.. which is fair enough (I would do the same). On the other hand I wouldn’t put this dumb idea past Boris build a tube to a no mans land which is already well served and leave ancient, important and heavily populated Camberwell town centre to rot!?.. A tube doesn’t spell the end of buses for god sake it just gives residents choice (fast, smelly, expensive travel vs slow, sick‐inducing, gang dominated, cheap travel)

  41. There is a masterplan for transport in Camberwell and the tube is not part of it. Car ownership is to be illegal, whatever one’s circumstances. So the only choice is to travel by bus, alighting outside McDonalds. From there our consumer instincts can come out with a vengeance with all the splendid items on offer for a pound. Every journey must pass through Camberwell Green at one point. This part of the strategy is nearly complete. The reopening of Camberwell Grove could have been a setback but work has thankfully been halted.

  42. Odd that there is no down hill cycle lane in the new Camberwell Grove arrangement. As if cyclists are going to wait patiently for the oncoming cars to pass without mounting the kerb.

    Crap design. Plenty of room for two way bicycle traffic.

  43. “Diane Abbott was great on Desert Island Discs, though. As long as Labour have bright brains like her, they will win.”

    Your Situationist humour has reached its apotheosis, Dagmar. Nothing more can be said that will top this statement for its sheer wilful insanity. You may now retire gracefully from the field.

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