Fun in the (winter) sun

On Sunday a few hundred(?) of Camberwell’s great and good gathered in Southwell Road to help local photographer Conor Masterson recreate the Fun Factory photograph of 1907. You can see some photos of the event here, and a short video here. It was nice to see so many people turn out to get involved, and I hope it provided a boost to the artists at Clockwork Studios, which had an open day to show off the range of arts and crafts made there. Prints of the original and new photograph are available to buy; details are on Conor’s website.

Being that side of SE5 provided an excuse to drop in to The Cambria for a couple of beers and some sausage and chips. Nice pub, nice food, but was a little put out at being moved around by the landlord in order to provide more space for customers (who didn’t arrive while we were there). Doesn’t he know who I am? Then a walk back through Ruskin Park, with a lovely haze providing beautiful golden beams of light.

Dwellers in ‘forgotten Camberwell’ and around may be delighted to know that it seems Tesco have decided to open one of their Metro stores on Southampton Way, if this report on the SE5Forum forum is to be believed (and I have no reason not to). That will make five booze shops in a 50m walk, by my reckoning.

The latest Camberwell Quarterly has an article on a saturation policy for licensing. Apparently there are 76 licensed premises within our borders, and a licensing sub-committee recommended that a saturation policy be introduced; the Council decided not to act on it, however. There’s confirmation of what we heard about the three pitches for the development of the Baths as well.

Possibly have another guest post coming soon, and shortly after it will be Christmas!

Update: I forgot to mention that I finally got around to setting up an email address for this blog. Questions, complaints, compliments, notices, money transfers, etc, can be sent to peter@​camberwellonline.​co.​uk. Please use it wisely.

Update 2: Added a link to buy the Fun Factory print, and made some cosmetic changes to the website; removed the ‘reply’ option from comments, as I wasn’t happy with them, and added support for gravatars.

Author: Peter

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

75 thoughts on “Fun in the (winter) sun”

  1. To be fair to Southwark Council DCMS guidance does state that it would not normally be acceptable to adopt a saturation policy based on the number or concentration of off licenses or supermarkets — Saturation policies are really meant to control the number of on licenses eg pubs, bars and clubs etc.. I would expect any proposed cumulative impact policy for Camberwell would be blown apart by any decent licensing.

  2. I got lashed up at the weekend and then went round moaning about off licenses. Blah blah blah…

    Has anyone got a photo of inside JJ’s that shows the picture of Wacko Jacko getting throttled?

  3. Got on a 343 to New Cross Gate the other day (was playing football at Haberdasher’s Aske School on a Thursday night, they rent out the gym after school hours)

    Bus stops at Peckham Rye and the driver tells us to get off and wait for the one behind…

    When I get on the one behind the driver tells me to pay again, I explain to him what happened and that my card is pay as you go but he doesn’t want to know. He insists that I pay again even though the original bus didn’t honour the journey. I’m trying to explain to him and he just keeps shouting me down saying that “He Doesn’t Give a Sh1t” and that I should have a receipt as proof that I travelled on the previous bus — A little difficult to obtain when one uses an Oyster Card on pay-as-you-go

    After about 2–3 minutes I just turned to the whole occupants of the lower deck of the bus and said

    “Hands up everybody who thinks that the driver is a total f**king doorknob?”

    then I put my hand up and stared at them all rather blankly

    I noticed a fair few stiffled chuckes and guffaws then a rather kind chap offered to pay my ticket but I thanked him and declined explaining it wasn’t the money merely the principle of the matter — I then got off the bus because the driver looked like he was about to mutate into the Incredible Hulk

    Was I in the right or did he have a point?

  4. @Euse — if this happens in the future, I’d recommend that you get a receipt from the driver that terminates his bus early. They don’t issue them as a matter of course, because not everyone is using pay as you go — some will be free, some Travelcards, some bus passes and some will be PAYG, but will already have reached the daily cap, so joining another bus has no implications for them.
    If you phone the Oyster HelpDesk, they’ll refund you the extra £1.00 if you explain the circumstances without question, but won’t do it for multiple instances.

  5. re businesses etc would any of you know who decides how many churches you can have per 5 square metres? because once you pass the job centre on camberwell green, there’s some 5 different religion businesses vying for your faith/pocket…?

  6. There is a designation for planning officers of ‘places of worship’. Southwark will tell you there are ‘challenges’ in the Borough but it ‘is a very sensitive subject.’

    These issues concern the use of buildings not designated for use as a place of worship and the accompanying health and safety, parking and related issues.

    Your question suggests you are oppose because of your views on (against) religion generally. I’d simply say Camberwell’s population is almost half African/Carribean and that community tends to be much more active in their church/religion for many reasons. Personally I wouldn’t want to shut down something half our community finds important just because I disagree with their religious views, but it sounds like you may? By the way, the area you describe is also one of the most deprived in Camberwell and the whole of the UK.

  7. OK Newroad so a new ‘church’ sets up shop near to you (one) out of the blue — just because there happens ro be a warehouse / office building that is unoccupied in the vicinity. The people who set up congregation there do it under existing planning use, knowing it will take a long time, if at all, for the Authorites to do anything about the parking, noise, health and safety issues generated by their activities. They often knock on nearby doors, in a pleasant, evengelical way, hoping to gain new recruits to thier particular slant on faith, or drop leaflets espousing the benefits of adopting their beliefs and generally interfere with the already dubious harmony of the locality.

    Doesn’t really work very well against loving thy neighbour.

    Shutting them down isn’t fundamentally the issue. Their setting up shop illegally in the first instance IS.

    The fact that there is a demand for space for the needs of people who wish to practice faith is a problem which does need to be dealt with somehow. But just allowing faith groups to cuckoo into neighbourhoods without consultation and radically interrupt the existing status quo is not the solution.

    Perhaps they should be encouraged to approach exisiting faith facilities with the suggestion that they might pay rent for the use of possibly underused facilities and conduct celebration of their beliefs around or alongside others whose congregations are likely dwindling.

  8. Cash Converters closed down, to be replaced by a cash converters with a slightly different slant. All this one sells is an after-life.

  9. Is it not true — though indeed, what is truth? — that Newroad makes some sensible, sober points about a sensitive and serious subject.

    Use of other religious retail outlets would be a good idea if it were not for the risk of one’s flock being perturbed by the sounds of wailing and gnashing of teeth coming from the basement, indeed from “down below”.

    Moreover, many Anglicans worldwide may be dismayed by the merger & acquisition of their benign brand by the hardcore elements amongst them, whilst every young boy amongst that hardcore congregation in turn may know that the pastor is in real life more liberal in than he lets on.

    Perhaps the presence of God-fearing people is good for a community where gangs fight for belief and commitment.

    Who really knows?

  10. don’t know if it needs clarifying, but i never questioned anyone’s faith, which i believe has nothing to do with organised religions (which to me are businesses pretty much the same way any other big business is). the leafleting and arrogant/aggressive knocking on our door to ‘help us find the way’ proves the point i think.

    i have equal issues with the cash converters and pizza deliveries and mcdonaldses and betting shops and supermarket chains and estate agents, as all the camberwell/walworth high street is telling me is lowest common denominator rather than ‘providing services that community needs’.

    in belgrade, where i grew up in, our equivalent of oxford street used to start off with the (then) largest bookshop in the city, then there’s shoe shops and clothes’ shops and a few other kinds of shops, 3–4 art galleries, american library/cultural centre, english library/cultural centre, quite a few cafes etc.

    and, in the 24 years i lived there, there was not a single demonstration/upheaval about lack of supermarkets or estate agents or churches on it!

  11. I think Liliana is trying to say just because their are a lot of low income groups who live in and the environs of Camberwell it doesn’t mean that we should encourage all manner of lowest common denominator business practices to set up shop here because:-

    “That’s what they like isn’t it?”

    That argument is flawed and weak and I’ve never bought into it for a second

    I grew up on an estate and we used to have local shops on the corner of our road —

    A Greengrocer which sold better quality fruit and veg than you will find in a supermarket these days

    A Butcher which genuinely sold fresh meat and would cut it how you wanted without complaining

    A Deli which sold ham on the bone — something only the conceited snobs and chattering classes are now able to afford (and how they talk about it!)

    A Mini Market who didn’t mind letting you off if you were short of some change because they knew full well you’d be back the next day and give them the difference

    A sole off licence which only opened during the day and sold only alcohol, indeed apart from the pub it was the only place to buy it — then everyone wonders why this is a country full of pissheads nowadays when every other grocery store is handed out a licence like confetti

    Quality used to be the norm for people on low incomes — now it’s labelled Free Range or Organic and they have to pay through the nose for it

    Unregulated free-market economics has been catastrophic for the working class and going to a church which celebrates this while only making the Pastor wealthy isn’t going to change a damn thing

    It’s not a case of disrespecting anyone for being religious, it’s more a case of feeling upset when I can see full well they are being conned and Evangelism is a very bad thing indeed…

    Rant Over — Now I drink my tea 🙂

  12. Mmm Dags — not sure about your final question/statement. Most of us inhabit the ground between “God-fearing” and “Gangland”. This is a sensitive subject, but what the hell.
    I am the founding member of The Church of Latter Day Mumbo Jumbo, looking for a flock. Any takers out there should meet me outside Woolies on Denmark Hill at the witching hour on 1 January 2009, because I have a cunning plan to secure the lease on a sizeable property in that vicinity.
    And by the way, please don’t take the above as a rant against the African-led Christian churches in our area in particular. Or even just Christianity. Don’t get me started!

  13. Right, that’s one! Only another 8,999 places left. A free i‑pod nano for the next 9! Your robes are in the post, Liliana.

  14. A sensitive subject, and one about which at least two other members of our online community feel very strongly; (here, Lord and here).

    Can’t see anything in Liliana’s original post which is anti-religious except a criticism of certain pastors more concerned to channel the funds of deprived communities into their own pockets than dispense Gospel Truth.

    Mushti — a good initiative in these directionless times, but let’s not convert the Woolies to a place for conversions. There is a niche market for living in converted churches which could invoke the planners’ rubber stamp, and we mustn’t lose this valuable community space.

  15. The issue i have would be the same as any business or organisation setting up in an area without planning permission. the reason planning permission exists is to make best use of exisitng space for all communities and consider the resources needed.

    For example there have been two such churches set up near my flat whilst generally the people attending are polite and well behaved and in general a boon to the area the problem does come to a head on Sundays when a residential area suddenly attracts many many more cars and visitors than it can cope with and crowds of people and children standing around outside our residences early in the morning being noisy and yes evangelising. Now i have no problem with religion but being an unrepentant athesit i object strongly to anything or anyone that wakes me up on a Sunday before 10am!

    As pointed put up thread it’s not the fact these places are churches or the people they serve but any busienss or organisation that sets up in an area of limited space is bound to have an impact on the area and that is why we have plannign permission to try and negotiate a way through these issues.

  16. It is right that anti-social behaviour, including noise, should be frowned upon from on high in the Environment Department on Walworth Road, on the Day of Rest.

    Re the area not being able to cope with an influx of cars, this probably has more to do with residents already forming a solid wall of steel along the pavements prior to the arrival of worshippers.

    We should be encouraging cross-fertilisation of deprived areas with other potentially more affluent areas.

    Anyone suggesting that you need a car stored locally in Zone 2 to maintain quality of life is slapping the deprived community full square in the face, making a sound like a cracked whip. For 70% of their households do not contain car owners. Hence all residents should ask themselves this question when considering visiting congregants:

    When they needed a space, were you there, were you there?

  17. Norman

    I hope to see the day when Burgess Park gets the money to make it look and feel like a genuine park…

    It has always felt like a piecemeal afterthought to me and there is something about the night regarding the place…as a kid whenever I played football there until late, I would walk home and think the place was haunted

    Maybe it’s to do with the fact it was one of the most devastating areas that was bombed out in one night during WW2

    All that premature death in one place…can’t be good

    The Black Crows are always present in that park too…

  18. Mark

    I like the Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday options…very nice they sound too

    £5 eh?

    You’ve obviously cut your profit margins — from 80% to 50% perhaps?

  19. Mushtimushta I will join you will need a someone to look after the collection from the congregration!
    I could do with the extra cash since I became a victim of the Global Downturn or is it a crunch or a recession?

  20. eusebiovic: from 60% to a much lesser amount I haven’t even thought to calculate. The business breaks even on an annual basis; I do not get a living wage out of it and we are all working hard to increase trade because if we don’t there will be no Sun and Doves come June next year and I’ll be bankrupt. So. I hope your comment wasn’t tongue in cheek. If you want my job — and the liabilities, responsibilities and stress it comes with — you can have it. It’ll cost you 230K for the privilege. And there’s still a three year overdue rent review outstanding with a potential liability of a further 120K on top of the £150K I owe already. And I’m meeting someone from the pubco this Friday to demand a reduction in rent because what I’m paying already is unsustainable. Your 230K will leave me with precisely nothing for thirteen years hard work and give you a place that needs at least 200K spending on it to make it even worth considering operating.

    Fancy that?

    Most of the pubs in the Camberwell area are on the market by the way. Because we’re all doing so well on our 80% profit margins. It costs around 350K a year just to open the doors before a customer comes in.

  21. man, that sucks. all the profit is going to the landlord for doing sweet FA.

    if all the pubs in camberwell are on the market (notionally, at least) presumably that’s the market saying rents are overpriced

    don’t know how you can resolve that other than push your PubCo to the wire for a rent reduction. that could be stressful, but you already seem to be running the pub very well, so what else can you do?

  22. It’s sad that there are so many businesses in trouble or about to close down.

    Next time you decide to go to the west end for a night out, think about what Camberwell would be like with no pubs or restaurants.

    We have decided to try and eat out once a week in Camberwell. Last week we tried the food at the Castle and it was perfectly fine and great value. The food at Sun and Doves also looked good and its on our list.

    We don’t do our main shopping in Camberwell — we use Tescos Vauxhall or Sainsburys DKH for it — but where there are good options — pubs, restaurants, pound shops, dry cleaners, cafes, etc — we do try and spend locally.

    I think we should all do our bit — otherwise we will have no options at all.

  23. SG
    Why don’t you do your main shopping in Camberwell?

    What do you get from the supermarket that you can’t get from the local shops?

    Not condoning or criticizing your decision. Just genuinely curious.

  24. We went to the Sun & Doves last NYE and had a terrific time. If you don’t want to roam around London and pay a fortune to get into a club, it’s a good bet.

  25. Tom,

    mostly good fresh sourdough bread, belgian fruit beer, good wine, quality pet food, variety of meat, fish and fruit/veg.

    plus the convenience of being able to do it all under one roof, load it into my car (or onto my scooter sometimes) and bring it home.

    I’ve looked in Somerfield now and then but it feels more like a big convenience store rather than a supermarket, doesn’t feel like it has the variety of products and brands.

    cheers sg

  26. Mark

    Of course my comment was tongue in cheek — I thought you’d know my style by now 😉

    I realise that you have a tough job and that pubco’s are the scum of the earth…

    My solution? Revoke all alcohol licenses to grocery stores and to only allow 1 off licence to operate in each community on controlled opening hours (like it used to be in some long forgotten past civilisation)

    This would regenerate the pub trade, cut binge drinking and make the neighbourhood a more pleasant place to walk through…

    But no doubt I’ll be shouted down by the usual one-dimensional, media assimilated sheep-type arguments

    “I’m a responsible adult, you can’t take away my freedom to purchase mass produced wife beater at £4 for a six-pack from my local shithole!”

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

  27. just to say that we went to the Sun and Doves today for lunch and it was excellent. We hadn’t eaten there for ages but will definitely be doing so again soon.

    We both had burgers and they were really nice, and great value.

    can highly recommend eating there — go on, get out and support your local pubs.

    You’ll regret it if they all close down 🙂

  28. We have four-packs in this country, not six-packs. That always gets my goat, like people saying, “Can I get?” Or am I thinking of Tupac? Or Bobby Womack? No, Brunswick.

    The bench in the secluded lovers’ area of Brunswick Park — the little enclosed area with the single steel rocking horse and alphabet hopscotch markings — the bench there has been replaced by a segregated bench, meaning, it now has discrete single sitting sections, separated by steel armrests, to preclude lovers from lying on the bench or on each other on the bench. The used-condom problem has gone, but the area underneath the bench used to be a very good source of loose change.

    The last leaf-clearing operation of the winter was carried out last week in Lucas Gardens by men on the moon in special suits, carrying mechanised, air-blasting elephant trunks to blow the leaves into long piles for removal. All over the bare winter soil of our green areas, however, there are thousands and thousands of tiny green shoots already appearing, looking worringly like little green nuclear mushroom clouds. This is a result of global moaning. Viewers of Tony Robinson’s eco-disaster telly documentaries will know that the survivors of the Permian and Tertiary-Cretaceous cataclysms were burrowing mammals. Those of us who feel like burrowing mammals at this time of year will be the masters of the universe next spring — which has already begun.

    The Network Rail leaf-blasting units have been hyperventilating through Camberwell again. What Mr Jones on the 7.40 from Orpington doesn’t realise about the leaves on the line is that the lignum in the leaves is baked onto the track by the 40lbs per square inch pressure of the locomotives and rolling stock. This has to be removed if not by sandite then by water jets operating at 1000/bar which is 1000 times stronger pressure that the water issuing from Mrs Jones’s kitchen tap.

    James Watt passed through last week. For sure, there are more excitingly named Class 60s — Yes Tor, Sgurr Na Ciche, Wild Boar Fell, Saddleback, Roseberry Topping and Kinder Low. Many ‘Wellians may think themselves hallucinating if they see a loco passing through on these winter daze with the nameplate “Kinder Low”.

    The Class 60s are the strongest locos on our tracks with 3,100 bhp and a top speed of just 62mph. They are freight tractors not express thoroughbreds. They have a separately excited (Sepex) traction control, interestingly enough. The thyristor (diode)…

  29. Dagmar

    They tend to chuck an extra 2 in for “free” these days…

    It must be expensively brewed to such an optimum standard that they can afford to give it away like that 😉

  30. Oh No! — That means Southwark Council will no doubt be sending around a new set of service charge bills for leaseholders to cover another set of extremely rudimentary painting and decorating by a bunch of shiesters with no talent that the firm they gave the contract to got from the local job centre…

  31. Soon before Christmas, Lisa and Kirsten sauntered sensually through our parish. They are ever so petite and pretty — for thundering railway lococmotives — and far lovelierly-named than other Class 73s like “Sir Herbert Walker”, “London Chamber of Commerce” and “Stewarts Lane Traction Main Depot”. The girls were built at the Vulcan Foundry of English Electric at Newton-le-Willows between 1965 and 1967, so yes, they are Sixties chicks. That’s how old they are, like many of the locos still in use. What does that say about our reliance on the tinny, born-to-rust motor car and our care but also neglect of the literally transcendental railways?

    The little Class 73s are unusual, because although they are low-powered at 1,420 hp (on electric power) they can operate on their diesel power alone as well as the 750v DC third-rail electric supply, therefore are used as “Thunderbird” engines to retrieve failed electric trains.

    Here’s to Kirsten and Lisa and to all girls everywhere as we enter another year where the blokes are most probably going to bungle it again with their wah-hey and their Top Gear and their insane, narcissistic look-at-me.


  32. Liliana

    Looks like Southwark Council are going to cut all their Libraries funding and Social Programmes…

    Hmmmmm Were you aware that last year Southwark spent £5 MILLION pounds on PR and Marketing while Lambeth only spend £1 Million…

    I always say that in the last 10 years Lambeth are the most improved council in London — It’s been a real Phoenix from the Flames resurrection…

  33. yes i read about the insane pr and marketing spendings and i have a rant about that brewing don’t worry 🙂

    is the thing about the libraries/social programmes true?!?!?!?!?!

  34. Phil G

    Is that the Venetian style one in the pvc coating?

    What’s wrong with you man, can’t you recognize old riche when it’s staring you in the face?


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