The end of Summer

Back from a week in sunny Spain (36° C in Sevilla) to see what could be the last-gasp of the British summer, a warm weekend of clear blue skies. Waking up late (well, not me; my significant other), we took a walk down to Caravaggio and enjoyed some really tasty panini (goat’s cheese, bacon and spinach for me) with a generous salad.

On the table next to us a boxing trainer/manager and a couple of his lads were signing up another fighter. First fight should be late October sometime. The trainer is apparently “the best in the business”, trained a couple of British title winners. Didn’t know him, myself (it wasn’t this guy).

Then off to the Sun & Doves for a couple of pints of cold cider and a read of the papers. The customer service in there is a world away from this time last year; now they pay attention, and even provide proper table service. A real winner.

Anyway, enough of my nouveau middle class lazy weekend updates; what’s going on in Camberwell? Honestly, I genuinely don’t know. I bought a copy of the Camberwell Quarterly this weekend, but haven’t read it yet and I don’t know where it is now. So… the most ill-prepared post I’ve ever written (and it’s up against some stiff competition).

Here’s an interesting article on the history of the Odeon cinema on Denmark Hill. When I find my CQ I’ll write more.

Update: OK, to stop this being the worst post ever, here’s some news from CQ; Denmark Hill station is set for major changes in the next couple of years. The derelict houses nearest the station are to be opened as an assisted fertilisation centre by Kings (so I guess they weren’t bought in auction), the old stationmaster’s house has been granted funds for refurbishment, and the station itself is to finally receive stair-free access and many improvements to access in and around — including, possibly, a new entrance on Champion Grove.

Plans have been mooted to have the station redesignated ‘Denmark Hill for Camberwell’, ensuring we finally get a bit of recognition on the transport grid. All of this should happen just as the number of rail services gets cut. That’s Camberwell.

Author: Peter

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

59 thoughts on “The end of Summer”

  1. The Cambria is the big news, Peter. “Cambria” means “Cymru” which means “compatriots” or “us”. The Cambria is the us pub. Camberwell is where us live and there’s a well for us and some pubs. The post in the last thread about the well was fascinating. Even more so, Rimbaud is living in Camberwell under the name JohnnyM.

  2. Yep — looks like the winter is on its way. I went to a ceremony to dedicate a park bench (to a friend that died) in Kennington Park on Sunday. Kennington Park was lovely in the sun, despite the fact that it’s virtually surrounded by major roads. Then to Bar Bar Black Sheep. Never been there in its current incarnation, but it was quite nice.

  3. Yes I would agree the Cambria is big news — its really good. Having been on three or four occasions in its previous incarnation and once for drinks in its new form we went for dinner last Friday — very impressed with food on offer which gives the Sun and Doves a run for its money. It was reasonably busy on Friday with several afterwork crowds as well as young locals. Thoroughly recommended!

  4. Dagmar

    Actually Cambria is the old Celtic word for Wales or “Us from Wales”

    So maybe you were right!

    Anyway The Cambria is a big improvement food,garden and tea/coffee that doesn’t taste like it has been strained through a vagrants y-fronts…Quiz Night and ahem… Jazz Hands Night

    I might suggest to them that they talk to Movimientos the monthly Latin American Film/Music/Political Discussion organization who hold nights at The Salmon and Compass in Angel and The Notting Hill Arts Club — I think a night like that would go down a storm in this part of London (Mark D eh?)

    I don’t miss the live football, it’s better without it — only the decor is a bit too dark, I prefer kicking back in the garden…

  5. Peter

    Thanks for the link regarding the ODEON Cinema

    I’m still fuming to this day that they knocked it down — It was a beautiful building — and what has it been replaced with?

    A — A sack of shit

    Only in South London

    tut tut…

  6. But Nandos is such a quality restaurant experience!

    Actually I went for the first time to Nandos the other evening and finally found the answer to a question that has been concerning me for some time, namely where do all the families go out to eat in Camberwell as you very seldom see families in Camberwell restaurants, now I know: they all go to Nandos which says something about children’s tastes, the perceived expense of eating out in other restaurants and perceived child friendliness of Nandos.

    Food at Nandos reasonable but very strange half restaurant, half fast food takeaway system and slightly limited range means I will probably not be going back.

  7. Nando’s is alright; I’ve been there a couple of times. I’d rather kids were eating that than McDs or KFC — but only slightly.

  8. When it comes to Nandos, the ‘luxury’ experience is to be found at the one on Berner Street opposite Arcadia in the centre of town. It’s a whole different world of spicy chicken, I tell thee.

    Crying shame about the cinema, but if it can’t pay for its continued existence, I guess it’s gotta go. That’s just the way it seems to be.

  9. Eusebiomate, are you to Hendon tonight to see the Hamlet in the FA Cup replay? I see Fish lost 3–2 to Maidstone in the Cup. By the way, look up Cambria in wikipedia and you find that “Welsh” just means “compatriots” i.e. “us” as opposed to “them” i.e. anyone else. It’s a bit like Alaska, which in Aleut, “alaxsxaq”, means “the object towards which the action of the sea is directed”.

    Shakespeare passed through Camberwell today.

    This mighty creature is owned by ESW though it has the old British Rail “arrows of indecision” logo still on it. The nameplate has very pleasing, equal-spaced lettering and the livery is ESW’s subtle triple-grey. The Class 92 locomotives have a troubled history. They were built in Brush’s erecting shops in Loughborough between 1993 and 1997 specifically for heavy-hauling through the Channel Tunnel. Then the rules were changed about their interference with signalling — they are AC/DC and very powerful beasts indeed, with a massive 6,760 horsepower. 200 horsepower will take an average car to 150 mph. Maybe Shakespeare can therefore run at some 5,000 mph. Fortunately, he trundles through Camberwell at almost walking pace, so that the philosopher accompanied by a two-year-old companion can observe the provenance of the passing shipping containers, of which more later.

  10. I still miss seeing the Eurostar pass over the very low bridge at the end of Cambria Road…

    All those billions of pounds and it had to pass over a crumbling re-enforced Victorian viaduct

    Who’d have thunk it?

  11. Wellywood News: The new series of BBC retro cop show, Ashes To Ashes, is currently filming in Burgess Park. A Gypsy site has been erected near Addington Square, and the famous Audi Quatro was there when I passed this evening.

  12. Funnily enough Peter, I remember a gypsy site being on the exact site where the tennis courts are now in the early 80’s…

    Spooky place Burgess Park — Black Crows everywhere, they say that they only ever congregate at locations where once there was death

    Highly appropriate for one of the worst hit residential areas in World War II — I think one bombing took out around 1000 people who had homes where Burgess Park now stands in just one night…

  13. Interesting update Peter. What is your source?

    There are two separate derelict house sections in question. I was advised by a friend in contact with the trust that one was sold and the other was looking for an alternative use.

    Sounds like they have found their alternative use..

  14. @ Stuart: I don’t know. Thought it might have been something to do with the new site that’s coming soon, but apparently not.

    @ Alan: The latest issue of Camberwell Quarterly, now available in all good newsagents, priced £1.

  15. Stuart — the new improved SE5 Forum site is being built as we speak and is very nearly there.

    I’m not involved with the website side but i assume it is currently down for technical reasons.

    I’ll enquire and get back to you.

  16. Excellent news that one of the Windsor Walk properties has achieved a community use.

    If it is the case that uncertainty over inflated house prices has led to a reduction in pressures on community and amenity uses locally, then we must all raise a Cambrian glass to this continuing long enough for local authorities to take the following action:

    1. Force landlords to advertise for three months through Council websites before submitting shops for conversion, and for any offers to be submitted through Southwark/Lambeth Council for transparency.

    2. Refuse the conversion of shops where the landlord has not demonstrated lack of demand locally, by carrying out a representative independent survey. Reject claims that amenity properties should be able to achieve a residential yield. Where the highest offer is £1 per month, then that is the market rate, if lack of demand for additional local goods and services is unproven, to reflect the true cost of doing business in a criminal area.

    3. Prioritise free short stay parking adjacent to and near shops ahead of residents’ parking, as they do in the more progressive Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

    A toast to bona fide commercial tenants of retail shops everywhere in Camberwell (which does indeed extend beyond the Green), where formally they were empty and speculated upon! And a curse upon those who live illegally in shops, paying residential rents to greedy landlords, depriving the community of their benefit.

  17. Yawn.

    If a shop was once a house, is it not actually being RE-converted back to its original, historical use?

    If a car is parked long-term on a street, is it more difficult for a bus to get past than if the car were parked short-term? (are short-term parked cars smaller??)

    Just many of the questions one ponders when the rant-er above weighs in.

  18. Yam. How about this, though? Many many containers pass by rail through Camberwell bearing the strange logo of MOL, the huge Japanese shipping line, which features of all things an alligator — and not a crocodile — in an orange lifejacket carrying a silver metal box. The fellow who designed it tells the fascinating story of how he created it at http://www.mol.co.jp/yanagihara-e/library/library2.html This tale is dandy!

  19. Was anyone else at Creative Camberwell’s event last night? It was really well attended (see gaycamberwell blog for our full description). I wonder what will come out of these sorts of events…

  20. 22 — yes, i was, and thought it was a very good event, and a good start to what will hopefully become a regular get-together.

    what comes out of it is, i think, whatever we make of it; i was very struck by the encouragement to “think strategically but act pragmatically”, and also victoria’s insistence that young people deserve excellence from the arts as much as adults.

    but i do hear time and again that the biggest inhibitor is the media; the ‘simplify then exagerate’ model is what allows people outside the area to see us as a war zone, and there is a concensus that we have the creativity here, but haven’t managed to sell it as an attraction to our neighbours. that’s what would genuinely make us a hub, if hubbing is what we want.

  21. Regenguru you are going on about the same thing but alas you are wrong, RBK&C parking permits allow residents to park anywhere in the Borough therefore they use their cars more to “pop” around the corner which reduces the short term parking available as the majority are dual use bays, this progressive borough has more short car journeys because of that policy.

    I was working over in Earls Court today and had to park 12 a mile away as there were only 3 pay and display bays in the area. So obviously not ideal for a short shopping trip.
    Where will these cars park on Denmark Hill and Camberwell Church Street? Or is it okay for the odd short term car space 1 or 2 poeple in a car as opposed to a bus full poeple.

  22. Morning everyone

    Don’t mean to hijack your blog but I thought you might be interested in this -

    People’s Republic of Southwark and Veolia Environmental Services, on behalf of Southwark Council, are running a Bring and Take Day and a mini eco-fair. This will be a great opportunity to clear out unwanted items and get something in return.

    Things you can bring along include CDs, books, clothes, electrical items, buggies, bikes, lamps, plants and kitchenware. If it’s easy for someone else to carry home or take on the bus, and will be wanted by others, bring it along.

    If you do have anything to donate, please bring your items to the Synergy Centre between 11:30am and 12.30pm on Saturday 11 October. The event will be free and open to the public between 12.30pm and 3.00pm.

    In addition there will be a number of stalls providing information on local environmental services, an art project etc.

    Location: The Synergy Centre, 220 Farmers Road, SE5 0TW.
    Date: Saturday 11th October 2008
    Time: 12.30pm – 3.00pm

    Please contact me on info@​peoplesrepublicofsouthwark.​co.​uk if you need any additional information.

  23. A lot a lot.

    The SE5 Forum site is down — the hosts say it’s not them, the domain name people say it’s not them, I say it’s not anyone at this end and around and around we go.

    The only off thing about the Cambria is that I got no eye contact at all from anyone working there. I was there for ten minutes no one glanced, approached or said hello. This doe not imply that the staff at S&D are always perfect wither — and thanks to those who’ve complemented S&D recently. We’re still trying to make it better. New menu coming soon. Anyone get a bad experience at S&D I’d appreciate particularly knowing about it.

    I’d love to have a discussion group going at S&D — anyone interested in getting that off the ground then approach me.

    A new show had just gone up — Mancini Gallery. Paintings on slates, skateboards and other things. Very nice. From November we’re going to specialise in photography exhibits only — may make an exception for two people — Terry Ryan and Frank Xerox — Terry’s working on the Lost Beatles Album now and might be having a show at S&D — his last one there was 1999 so it could be the tenth anniversary next year and Frank Xerox is rumoured to be coming out of noble retirement.

    Should we try and do comedy at S&D?

    An Apprentice sold me a resin skeleton last Thursday — I’ve always wanted one and now I’ve got one.

    The Creative Camberwell gathering at GX was a good start. Momentum has to be kept up — socials are a good way to keep communication going. Seymour Brothers has new owners apparently — the canapes at the GX event were done by the new incarnation — REALLY GOOD and bodes very well for the future of the cafe. Plans to extend the scope of the premises to wine bar deli — I like this idea very much. Unfortunately I had to leave GX to go to City Hall to meet Val Shawcross with others. How did the rest of the networking go?

    There is hope for Camberwell but it won’t be realised unless more people take part in shaping its future.

  24. Mark @ 26

    Good point about the staff at The Cambria and their lack of eye contact

    But I think this is more a sign of our society than anything else

    Cold,distant people with plastic faces and plastic brains…it’s the future

  25. I found the staff at the Cambria really friendly, maybe they were just having an off day when you visited (or a rare on day when I did — who knows).
    Have to say, I went to the S&D’s on Friday for the first time in ages and the service in there has definately improved 10 fold. Had a really good night.
    Re. ‘Denmark Hill for Camberwell’ — surely Denmark Hill is IN Camberwell? Maybe they should just call it ‘Denmark Hill, Camberwell’, or just ‘Camberwell’, or then again, maybe just ‘Denmark Hill’… oh.

  26. “Cold,distant people with plastic faces and plastic brains…it’s the future” horrifying but true I fear. Plastic faces don’t age.

    It would be too radical to call the station ‘Camberwell; Denmark Hill’ wouldn’t it.

    Sorry about the myriad yptos above.

    Rainy Days and Sundays Don’t Get Me Down…

  27. Gay Camberwell I was responding to someone’s suggestion (think it was Dagmar’s) that there might be room in Camberwell for something along the lines of events that are managed by a south American group elsewhere; I think Notting Hill was mentioned. I cannot fins the post now because I am in a hurry and my male-ness makes it impossible to find ANYTHING when I’m under pressure — or not. According to my lovely female partner that is.

    It’s still raining. Was at George Canning for a half hour earlier today. Feels really nice with new decor. There’s goign to be some pictures going up soon. Bumped into a couple of S&D regulars — there for Sunday lunch — say it;s about the best in Camberwell… I can testify to the great roast pork.

  28. Mark @32

    The South American “Movimientos” movement was my suggestion…

    Check out their webpage — I think it’s your cup of tea too

    http://www.movimientos.org.uk/sitio/

    I’ve been to quite a few events — they are always hugely enjoyable, a film/documentary, a little discussion then some dj’s playing latin music to finish the night off

  29. well we (people’s republic of southwark) are planning monthly mini eco-fairs around the borough (which would include bring & take events, info-stalls, hopefully debates/lectures/discussions) & it would be great to see if we could do stuff together — i think it would be great to have a bit of everything (environment and social issues would be the two most important features of the mini fairs, but there’s plenty of room for film and music in particular i think)

    oh bring back SE5 forum back! 🙂

  30. Update on the train station situation: apparently there will be a new entrance, either on Champion Hill or Windsor Walk, which will have a lift, new ticket hall etc. I gather the existing entrance hall with then be up for grabs- maybe the Phoenix will extend.Any thoughts on what should be in the space? It’s potentially rather splendid, with some of the original cornicing left.
    Yes to comedy in the S&D. We all need a laugh.

  31. Alan, I agree that a dry cleaner would be ideal in that location

    There is L’Atenagas on Camberwell Road by Keats House…I’ve heard they are quite good…

  32. @20 & 24
    Wouldn’t know much about the details, but Regeneguru seems mostly correct in a directional sense.

    We can’t even get decent pavements around Camberwell center. I was walking along from Sophlocles to the bank with my kids at the weekend. WTF is that stretch like?

    There’s barely any pavement to walk on. It’s narrow, it’s filthy, it’s full of obstacles, it’s treacherous for old people, disabled people, and kids, and hemmed in by a monsterous red route.

    Why can’t that be fixed? Unbelievable slackness.

  33. Oxford Dictionary

    Late amendment to all the definitions of the word Slackness

    Southwark Council

    Thank you very much ladies and gentleman, leave your tips in the flat cap…

  34. Actually in my many years here, it has improved. They are constantly cleaning the pavements. Of course, we’re not allowed to blame the people who toss rubbish and cr*p constantly. It’s not their fault at all.

  35. newroad @41

    But if the types of business that the landlords of the street and Southwark Council encourage to set up there -

    ie: every other shop selling cheap alcohol, then of course it’s going to be a shithole, that attracts all the vagrants — it becomes their home

    Add to that the cheap shop fittings and vulgar plastic signage and you get the “post modern” high street that 21st Century Britain has become…

  36. Well much of our area is plenty nice, street cleaners do a great job, no question.

    You are right about the *minority* of individuals that drop crap everywhere, but what can be done about that? It doesn’t excuse the piss poor excuse for a streetscape.

    There’s an argument that improving the built environment can actually make people respect it a bit more — even those lacking basic manners.

  37. It would be even better if they were able to widen the pavements Walworth Road style so that there is space for everyone who uses the pavement. Maybe then there would be more respect for the public space and less litter throwing

  38. @42 exactly.

    Bellenden road is fairly good example of how they’ve managed to redevelop an area by managing the types of shops allowed to operate in leased premises. There’s a hipster clothes shop, a book/art shop, a car stereo shop, an organic-type place, a dog grooming shop, a hardware store.

    It could easily have all been filthy newsagents and takeaways.

  39. Camberwell’s not as needy as Bellenden of course so it doesn’t qualify for the cash. It’s also largely off Southwark’s agenda because of other, more pressing, priorities elsewhere.

    However there are plans afoot for Camberwell Green and for improving the street scape all around — along the lines above — but ALL depends on grant applications being successfully returned by TFL and English Heritage. Precarious threads of hope there. Southwark is backing and prioritising the applications for Camberwell over other areas of the borough. Lambeth of course does not get a look in because it conveniently fails to even recognise that a good part of Camberwell is in its constituency.

    WE the people need ot be a bit more militant and vocal all round about what does, and doesn’t, happen to our town.

    Write / email polite, concise letters demanding that Camberwell become the focus of their undivided attention for at least a while, depending on your postcode, to: Harriet Harman; Tessa Jowell; Kate Hoey; Simon Hughes. Hold no quarter but don’t sound angry. Sound balanced and thoughtful. It will get results!

    http://www.writetothem.com and follow the on line instructions.

  40. Good call. I wonder though,

    Has the local government leader ever walked around Camberwell town center?

    Surely he/she can see the issue for him/herself. Same for the MPs – it is so freaking obvious you have to wonder if any of them have ever been here.

    It could be a really pleasant town center, in spite of the traffic and slackers dropping crap.

  41. I walked around Camberwell with a bunch of senior council officers last year. They all know Camberwell fairly well and had slightly sentimental views of it… the mythological views that it’s edgy and happening and vibrant and all that. Local shopping to them seemed to be going to East Dulwich, Herne Hill, Brixton or Elephant or Peckham as well as trying to find something in Camberwell. I suggested that getting to any of those places with a pram or kids in tow and suddenly they don’t seem like local any more.

    Got to keep getting the message across.

  42. Well that’s a nice positive thing to read on a Monday, need something cheery after the depression-fest that was Tess of the D’Urbervilles last night.
    Anyway just swung by to say I popped into the Cambria with the OtherHalf last night and we were very impressed, I hadn’t been to it before now but had heard about the refurb from this here blog and decided to go for a wander up there to give it a go. We liked the decor a lot, agree that it is quite dark what with the black ceiling n all but I liked the atmosphere, had a couple of glasses of Argentinian Malbec which was light and drinkable and some sweet potato wedges, which were a bit over seasoned and produced suspiciously quickly, but maybe we were looking for a fault, they were very tasty nonetheless, and maybe I’m showing my ignorance of pub catering form by saying they were too quick. Either way I’d order them again.
    Nothing more profound than that from me today, Legs Bums and Tums at the Camberwell Leisure Centre tonight, come on down if you think you’re hard enough!

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