Gay Camberwell and Peckham straying

Welcome to Gay Camberwell month! It’s a month of events organised by the impressively efficient Roz (and partner — oops!) – sometime contributor to this blog and owner of – including club nights, film and theatre. The full launch schedule is available here. The S&D will be showing four films about the love that dare not speak its name (and serving a special pink cocktail), The Castle will play host to the launch party, and The Cambria to the closing party.

I finally went to The Cambria last weekend; it was very, very busy on a late Sunday afternoon. Food looked great, although we didn’t eat there; we had a pint in the lovely little back garden. Inside is very nice, although a bit chandelier‑y for my taste; I guess that comes from the gay owners (a little stereotyping never hurt anyone).

Last night the wife and I strayed over the Peckham borders and went for dinner at Il Giardino, the Peruvian-run Italian restaurant with substantial Brazilian clientele (at least it was last night, and the super-friendly waitress said that it’s pretty common). The food was nice and reasonably priced, the place was busy and the service awesome. Earns an official COB recommendation.

Before Il Giardino we went to The Montpelier for a drink; it’s a nice pub, but they’ve still got bare walls which makes it feel empty and half-finished; surely someone there could use a bit of nous and get some local art students to display something there.

This morning as I walked to Peckham Rye I saw Olivia Colman (from my favourite comedy, Peep Show). This confirms the gentrification of Bellenden Road, now that we have film stars living there. Yesterday I saw Una Stubbs in Muji, Long Acre, but that’s not really relevant here; I just wanted to tell someone.

As a final note, and related to this month’s theme, I’ve enjoyed the story of the Gay Sex Ordeal in (Camberwell) Doctor’s Surgery; not because I find sexual molestation enjoyable, but because of the victim’s claim that he “fell into a trance” while being massaged (yeah, right!), and “when he came to he found the doctor holding a massaging machine in one hand and the patient’s private parts in the other”. The doctor is accused of “massaging a patient without either consent or gloves”.

Author: Peter

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

70 thoughts on “Gay Camberwell and Peckham straying”

  1. Apart from gay sex in the Doctors reported in the Sauf Loandon press, did anyone read the major article in the weekend FT featuring the Sun and Doves and Mark D? I have no link to any online version but it was an interesting article about running a tied pub. Reminded me of a modern version of the myth of Sisyphus.

    By the way is there really only one Mark Dodds in camberwell? He seems to cover a lot of ground and media for one man with a busy pub and a full programme of events to run.

  2. Fabulous quote from that article: “Anxious not to endanger his immigration status, Patient A made another appointment instead of going to the police.” Huh? What a story. Only in Camberwell.

    Sadly Sisyphus is an excellent analogy although it had never occurred to me. Thanks for that. Unfortunately that’s what it’s like and there’s only one of me pushing that rock, although Nicky my business partner has taken far too much of the pushing for far too long as well. I’m just distressed all the time. The article says it all really

    The American Election’s tomorrow night. We’re backing Barack Obama at The Sun and Doves.

  3. Good bit of PR. Nice one. The article really needs some response from the pub chain given the allegation.

    As a reader I want to know what the pub company has to say. As an editor, I’d be freaking out at the omission.

  4. Another mention for the Sun & Doves, which Mark hasn’t bigged up yet. A group of us are getting together this Thursday to play some old (or new)7’‘ singles. Nicking the idea from the Gowlett, which is very over subscribed as far as djs are concerned. Basically you get to play 7 x 7’’ singles,no mixing, one deck. Come and have a listen and a few drinks, we’re hoping to make this a weekly event.It’s open to everyone, so bring along your records.

  5. I was suspicious of the opinion polls and had this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that the US would never elect a black president, but they have. It’s going to be a rocky road for Obama now, with so much faith invested in him, but let’s enjoy the euphoria.

    1. Liliana — I think there is a very real risk that some nutter will take a pop-shot at Obama. The security around him & his family will need to be very tight.

    1. Really disappointed I missed it! Did the S&D stay open all night?
      Was away in Hammersmith for the evening, don’t like it out West, will be glad to get back to the SE5 homestead this eveningl.

  6. Very Emotional Today. What a fantastic moment in history for us all! Obama’s speech this morning sent shivers all up my back and neck. Brilliant man. Sincerely hope the world, particularly US’ middle America, can accept his Democratic election graciously. He is, no doubt, in the firing line of many extremists who consider themselves moderate.

    Last night was fabtantstic at S&D, thanks, thanks to everyone who came and made such a great mood. And, really too, thanks to the staff who worked on the cuff — we had no idea really what to expect by way of turnout and they all agreed to stay as long as necessary — as long as customers wanted it to go on.I had to leave at 2.30am. Think it was going to wind down by 3 or so.

    1. We certainly had a good time — I think your staff did a very good job of keeping everyone satisfied drink-wise.

      Will you be introducing the American dishes to your regular menu?

    2. Had to leave after the film Mark. Couldn’t hear it but the pictures were so good it didn’t matter!

      Loved the chilli.

      Glad to hear things rocked into the night.

    3. Had a great time at the first Pink November film — looking forward to next week’s But I’m A Cheerleader (my particular favourite…)Gay Camberwell Launch Month’s going well so far, and several venues are planning some interesting events with us in the new year, so it’s all good.

      By the way, thanks for mentioning us on the blog, Peter. (Even if you do give my partner Roz all the Gay Camberwell credit while I slave away uncredited, just a nameless techie web geek to her front-woman glamour… 😉

  7. Thanks for bringing up Thursday Southmark I finally know who you are! Dreadfully slow on the uptake aren’t I? Seven Sevens at The Sun and Doves this Thursday. Seven seven inch singles anyone invited to bring along and play their own choice of seven inch vinyl. Once a month to begin with but would like to do it weekly. We’re looking for a regular host for Thursdays — anyone interested?

  8. @NickW — strange one. Would have thought the Society would have objected, as it’s right on their patch.

    Then again, the owner might have got the verbal nod for retrospective planning permission, such are the developer arrangements that are ofttimes made in inner city dumping grounds such as Camberwell. They just look too local for us, or what has been planned for us.

    Another mature tree of heaven chopped down on a red route t’other week, on Camberwell New Road, to the upset of many locals. This specimen perfectly healthy, unlike at Lucas Gardens. Hardly to be considered an invasive pest in an environment that harsh and polluted — more like adequately qualified to survive and protect locals from the poisons and noise pollution emanating from motor vehicles.

  9. Sad — I used to live in the flat above Del Autos at 4 Canning Cross. If I remember rightly a planning application was submitted around a year ago for the site to be developed by knocking down 3 and 4 Canning Cross and replacing with several new flats — doing a search I found details at where it was recommended that the application be passed

  10. Mah fellow Africans, we are all people now. You limeys cannot knock American folks any more because they got the right answer last night. Hee! Watcha gonna do now!

  11. Steve Corbett, he of George Canning, Camberwell, fame, was interviewed by Peter White today for this Friday’s You and Yours on BBC radio 4. Look out for it.

    Dagmar definately lost de plot.

  12. Not clear on ELL western extension…

    It wasn’t funded therefore I worry it’s been scrapped but he has committed to the ELL project- could that be just the Southern extension though?

  13. got burgled yesterday afternoon. They came in through the window. I live on the second floor.
    Was at work at the time. Even drank the beer in my fridge. I feel awful

    1. Condolences, Kia. It must feel really horrible. This may make you feel even worse, but you need to make sure that the security on their entry path via that window is beefed up, because there’s evidence that a successful burlary is followed up a few weeks or months down the line by the same people. Sorry if that makes you feel worse, I really am.

    2. Very tedious. You have my utter sympathy. I managed to live in London for the best part of twenty years, and my woman for fifteen, then I moved to Denmark Road and got mugged twice, burgled three times, found someone on our roof once and in our garden once, had our hubcaps stolen (just a dull Berlingo), and our previous car broken into five times (all pointless nothing stolen) in ten years.

      IF I added what’s happened at the Sun and Doves in the time we’ve been here it makes it seem even tougher. Oh go on then, at the risk of seeming gloomy… It’s never as bad as it sounds. Most of this is just plain stoopidity:

      Armed robbery x 1
      General break-ins x 5 times (nothing stolen on 3 occasions)
      Burglaries by walk — in opportunist theives x 3
      Stolen furniture — really good pieces x 3 (‘customers’)
      Stolen shop dummies x 1
      Stolen shop dummy hands x 4
      Destroyed sculpture x 1
      Smashed wc’s x 3
      Smashed coffee grinder x 1 (grieving woman at a wake)
      Smashed window x 3
      Stolen sundries x too many to record
      Business taped off and shut for less than a day because of random shootings, murder and stabbings which had NOTHING to do with us x 3
      Smashed furniture (by a ‘band’ x 1

      The average cost of these inconveniences is around £500 and a lot of disruption and diversion from daily business.

      Most of them clearly committed by idiots and tragically undermined people. Why on earth break in and not steal anything?

  14. May fellow ‘Wellians, today has been a grey day in Camberwell. Tomorrow will be a grey day in Camberwell. Some places is born grey. But Camberwell has greyness thrust upon it.

    § § § § § § § § § § § § § § § 

    Mah fellow Aliens, beware the Crest Super Strength Lager weighing in at a market sector bustin’ 10% abv. It is available in half litre tins from licker stores on the Walworth Road at our peril.

    ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ ¶ 

    Mah fellow Athenians, the said crest on the can bears a resemblance of two rodent critters rampant which is certain to be coypu, not cute beaver, leanin’ on a pair of portcullises, sheeee-it!

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Kia Blue, we is true to you, A break-in is just stuff. It balloons in the mind like a super-leveraged dodgy derivative. Do not let it get out of hand. It’s just Chinatown. Hot love from the Dagmars x.

    1. Kia B — had a leflet put through the door over the weekend by the Met Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team ( They operate on an electoral ward basis (mine is Brunswick Park, but depending on where you live, yours might be different). They are offering free property marking kits and a property registration service as well (

  15. Tedious query again — anyone know a good plumber in the area — my bathroom celiing has suddenly become a lot damper than it should be.

  16. I can heartily recommend Maurice Yeoman, although there was word he might be emigrating to France, also I don’t think he is corgi registered, but if you’re interested his number is 07837168978

  17. A marvellous machine resembling a small dragon has been cruising the embankments by the railway today between Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill stations, chomping up the knotweed bushes and spitting out wood chip. Amazing, from aggressive, invasive species to wood chip heaven. This is not a track vehicle, so has no number for gricers to spot and cannot be “copped” like the leaf-blowers. Still if only a similar machine could ingest burglars and churn out lollipop ladies and gentlemen.

  18. I am always very sorry to hear about when people are victims of crime — it is one of the down sides of living here and until it happens to you (which it does from time to time) it can be brushed off as the downside. Sorry, Kia — I do hope the rest of your year gets better. On a more positive note, the Cambria is a great pub and I have found that the ‘smoker’s corner’ outside is a hub of local knowledge and people are very friendly. I wish them all the luck as it has a real sense of community and inclusion. The food is pretty good but you would have to go a long way to beat the Bear, which has been great. I heartily recommend the pork belly and cheek — it is porcine sublime 🙂

  19. Thanks Newroad. Huge relief.

    7 7s sounds interesting. Is the idea that people dig out old records or is the plan that aspiring djs buy 7 new tracks? I have got all 7 So Solid Crew hits on order special..

    1. If So Solid’s your thing Alan, bring them along!But the basic idea’s to dig out your old ones. There’s certainly no dj skills required, it’s one deck, no mixing and very enjoyable it was Thursday night.

    1. Phase II has not been cancelled. Discussions are continuing to try to obtain funding for the project with a view to having it finished before 2012 (it currently has no funding). There is a report dated 7 November 2008 at the website below which describes the current position. I have quoted the relevant parts.

      “Peter Hendy’s report to the TfL Board 5th November 2008
      Whilst the Mayor was attracting the headlines with his cull of Herodian proportions of politically cherished transport projects, the Commissioner updated the TfL board on the more bread and butter issues of the last month. …

      East London Extension Phase Two

      Discussions are underway with the DfT regarding funding options for the proposed extension to Clapham Junction. A resolution is required shortly to ensure delivery before the commencement of Thameslink works at London Bridge and before the run up to the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012.”

  20. Interesting ideas from nef to make the Post Office a people’s bank, without exhorbitant multiple penalty charges for single transactions, and straightforward sensible lending. Could be the perfect microfinance solution for local business in inner city areas like Camberwell.

    Meanwhile The Great Leader has brought in Mandelson to close down a further 3,000 post offices, the urban ones of which are profitable. This will be done by tendering the Post Office account out to the private banking sector.

    Peckham Road branch is gone, pavement-parked into oblivion, and can it be long before our “local” post office is in Elephant & Castle?

  21. Hehe thanks Peter, though I wasn’t really THAT bitter… honest. Was excited to find the Gay Camberwell cocktail list available from yesterday at Sun and Doves — has anyone sampled one? (it seemed a tad inappropriate to partake over lunch while studying for a professional exam yesterday, alas…)

    Camberwell was quite the theme in this week’s Time Out — a feature on Gay Camberwell, plus the “subscriber of the week” describing his favourite Camberwell spots, and a description of the number 42 bus route.

  22. What happened to Viet Hoa on Camberwell Church Street? i hadn’t been there for months then went at the weekend. Food was sub-standard and service was surly. Shame — it was a Camberwell staple.

  23. But I’m A Cheerleader screening last night at the Sun and Doves was fantastic. Not to mention busy! It was particularly heartwarming when the main character made her big proclamation of love at the end of the film, and the whole of the Sun and Doves erupted in applause! Thanks so much for organising this season, Mark. It’s lovely to be able to see films by walking a mere 5 minutes from home, and seems to have lured lots of gay Camberwell locals to their local pub! We’re looking forward to next week’s film (gay camberwell events almost every day next week: will need one of your cocktails to steady myself)

  24. Mozart cruised through Camberwell today, a frequent visitor, so sparklingly talented, he must surely be gay.

  25. Thanks for the thanks Gay Camberwell — it’s a please — like I said above, the loss of Father Redcap was a waste and thanks to you for having the energy and vision to bring this all together. Please consider helping out the SE5 Forum — it needs people like you! although the site doesn’t appear to be working just now.

    I’m writing this from New York. Ahem. On the tenth floor of a modestly appointed and priced hotel in Gramercy Park. It’s raining but not pouring and I’m at the computer primarily to finish off some evidence I’m submitting to the Business Enterprise Select Comittee’s hearing into pubcos and tenant relations which starts next week.

    Manhattan used to feel like Camberwell to me. At least Camberwell used to fell like it had the potential to be like parts of Manhattan that is. On reflection nothing’s changed except Manhattan’s moved on in the last ten years and Camberwell’s still lagging behind in all areas (IMO).

    Gay Camberwell’s work is very enouraging. Can more people help put Camberwell where it deserves to be? Please> Pretty Please?

    Hoa Viet — overworked and underpriced for too long I’d say. Not enough investment back into the business.

  26. Goodness, posting from New York: the glamour of it all! Good luck with your submission. As for the SE5 Forum, what do people think it is about it that prevents it being as used as, say, the East Dulwich forum ? I wonder if a looks makeover would help? More categories? The front page going straight to a forum list — currently it’s a bit difficult to navigate to the actual forums when you reach the homepage for . Or some kind of publicity type thing to make Camberwellians more aware of it, which seems to be working quite well for . On the other hand, though we are getting lots of hits, our message board is fairly quiet, and not many people are posting blog comments as yet (despite us writing new blogs a couple of times a week), and we’d definitely like to increase the amount of community interaction on our website… what’s your secret, Peter?

    On a different note, Mark, were you serious about considering holding comedy nights at S&D? We’re meeting with an acclaimed local gay comedienne tomorrow to discuss potential opportunities for performing in Camberwell…

  27. SE5Forum is in need of a facelift, and there’s one coming. The site that’s there now was put up quickly a few years ago, and never developed in the way it should have been.

    My secret? Time. It took me years before I built up any kind of community (if I may dare refer to it as that); the hardest part is keeping it going. Also: I don’t moderate or ban. I may argue, I may even curse occasionally, but I’ve never yet deleted a comment — and there are some very nasty ones.

  28. Yo Mark!

    Got a black and white picture in my mind of you working away in rainy Gramercy Park. Smoke-filled room? Supposed to be heading that way myself in a few weeks and would really appreciate any tips on accommodation you might be picking up. Beds aint cheap over there.

    Come back with something “Manhattan” we can push for or implement.

    Have a nice day!

  29. Brooklyn is the new Manhattan. Brooklyn is where the cool kids hangout now; it’s a little like Camberwell.

  30. Presumably because I’m Stateside I forgot there is no ‘UK’ in the SE5 Forum website address. The site wasn’t down yesterday.

    Bought a load of American flags at Vercesi Hardware 152 E 23rd St — for the American Pie Thanksgiving night at The Sun and Doves in a couple of Thursdays from now.

    I’m off to Brooklyn minutes because of dman’s suggestion.

    The hotel I’m staying in is the Marcel at 201 W 24 St. Four nights the same price as one at the Gramercy Park hotel where a small glass of sauvignon blanc costs $18 and the bar tenders don’t know the bottle price is $90 and the typeface on the wine list is around 6pt.

    By the way the NZ sauvignon blanc we serve at S&D is better and MUCH less than half the NY version.

    America (NY at least) seems very happy about Obama. VERY HAPPY.

    Television content has not improved all the credit crunch adverts seem to include lashings of mozzarella and Swiss cheese.

    Live Better. Spend Less. Walmart.

  31. Hi Camberwell — I’ve just found camberwell on-line and wondered if any of you have an update regarding the future of Camberwell Baths? I seem to recall a decision was due in October? Thanks!

  32. See — it looks like the baths are “saved” for the time being at least but watch out for the Council blaming the government if no funding is available. I get the striong impression that Tory/Liberal Southwark do not care about Camberwell as there are few votes for them here

  33. Mumu — you could equally well take the view that Southwark Labour don’t care about Camberwell, as the vote’s int’ bag. The only way to be sure is to check which Executive presided the longest over the period of the Baths’ decline.
    Either way, tribal-voting wards tend to get left out. To its detriment Camberwell is not a swing area in that sense.

    1. Regen — a very partisan piece, posing as un-partisan. You conveniently forget that the Thatcher government slashed direct government grants to Local Authorities like Southwark and simultaneously imposed rate-capping. Where was the money going to come from? “Tribal” voting? A strange term that you introduce whenever you talk about Labour councillors. I can only deduce that at some stage, you have stood against Labour and lost. If it helps to blame tribalism, go ahead!

  34. @48b Mushtimushta — it’s not a criticism of Labour councillors, but people who vote blindly for any political colour. Camberwell is a safe political area in a Borough perpetually teetering on NOC (no overall control), and it’s nature that the parties will fight fiercely over wards in the balance, far from SE5, pledging vast sums of money and strategic commitments to them instead of us. Long shall it continue, but much can still be done at little cost, and I wish all local community campaigners well in that regard.

    If enough local voters still get a feeling of well-being for punishing the party responsible for what happened to ‘pit, then there is at least a silver lining, and a more relaxed community.

    Not sure where you get the idea about “Vote Regen”. Never stood, have no such intentions, and certainly don’t have the time.

  35. OK Regen — develop your argument for me, please. Give me two examples of Southwark Council (whatever the political control) committing vast sums of money in a marginal ward & what the effects of this were on voting intentions.

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