New Year

Welcome to 2009, fellow denizens.

News I have not much, as I passed Christmas in isolation from news of the outside world; whether I was here in London, with family in Bristol, or on a brief sojourn to Brussels.

What I do know is that The Bear and The Dark Horse, feeling the nip of the global recession, are to close on Mondays for the forseeable future; and a pensioner has been murdered in her home at Kenbury Gardens. Neither piece of news gives great succor (although they are obviously of drastically different import).

I know not why I have written this post in this irritating tone, but I must away to seek articles of genuine interest.

Update: Almost forgot; I’ve added more links to the links page, but feel free to suggest more.

Author: Peter

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

46 thoughts on “New Year”

  1. On the new year theme, can anyone recommend a yoga class in or around Camberwell?

    Weekday mornings, intermediate level (lapsed) would be ideal.


  2. On another crime related note, there have been a spate of muggings over the last week around the roundabout at the top of Denmark Road by Myatts Fields Park, a friend of my neighbours was heading through there at about 8pm on Sunday evening and was mugged, and upon reporting it to the police was told she was one of several in the last few days.

    Fortunately it wasn’t aggravated and she wasn’t hurt, just had her bag grabbed off her, gang of 3 males apparently.

    The fact that it’s so early in the evening is what gives me the heebyjeebies, I mean that’s easily still coming-home-from-work time, it is for me anyway, and I always thought the Flodden/Knatchbull junction was relatively safe.
    Oh well.

  3. I guess it makes sense to shut on Mondays if you are going to shut at all in the dark new years no drinking resolution days of January and pub landlords do deserve time off.

    Today of course is the last day for Woolworths so if you fancy buying shop fittings head on down. Let us hope that they can find another tenant for the premises shortly — it would in my opinion work very well as a Marks and Spencer simply food, small Waitrose or even a Sainsburys/Tesco local shop given its proximity to the hospital. The worse thing would be for it to stand empty. Of course it would be great as an independent retailer but realistically I think its only the chains that have access to the funds in these days of credit crunch.

    Speaking of supermarkets I believe the Somerfield/ Co-Op takeover will be completed by the end of February so we hopefully will get a replacement for one of the Somerfields and conversion of the other to a Co-Op shortly after that. There were various stories before Christmas about Morrissons and Lidl buying some of the Somerfield stores but no actual mention of locations so we will wait and see.

    On a more positive not I see that boards have gone up around the former Age Concern building on Coldharbour Lane so it looks like that will be redeveloped shortly. On Station Road too the demolition is carrying on a pace and new blocks of flats (sorry ‘appartments’) will be built shortly.

  4. The Woolworths has definitely been sold to someone and will not sit empty. I was sat next to the surveyor who worked on the deal on New Years Eve, although he refused to tell me who had bought it, professional confidentiality etc.

  5. The sparse goods on offer at Wollies are 70% off. Today I bought Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Greatest Hits, 20 strange to say the least greetings cards and a tub of Pick’n’Mix (self-selected by Dagmar Minor aged 2) all for a fiver. The Pick’n’Mix is 89p for a tub normally £2.99. There are some good CDs left. The band (Woolies FM) was playing Fatboy Slim. The lady on the till had been there 8 years. What would she do next? “Nuffing.”

    Plodding back against this background of economic death, we speculated on why there seem to be no freight trains running through the parish at the moment. Then Hamburg Sud Avantage went past hauling containers. The locomotive is a Class 66 made in London, Ontario.

  6. Good news: in the latest edition of Southwark News I see that a planning application has been submitted to Southwark Borough Council to install an Oyster PAYG machine at Denmark Hill, finally the overground is catching up with the tube

  7. Gabe,

    Yoga options limited but there is a big centre in New Cross that you should definitely look into. Think it’s Ashtanga but search it.

    Classes are run at the council gyms in Camberwell and Peckham. I have not tried either but having been a member of the Peckham gym I really wouldn’t bother with that place.

  8. Another thought on finding yoga, Gabe — speak to the people in Basic Wholefoods on Denmark Hill.

  9. Mary, who does yoga on Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings at Camberwell Baths is very, very good. Worth checking out.

    Haven’t been for a while as I sprained my ankle very badly and not so good at the balance thing.

    Pilates on Tuesday evenings ain’t bad either.

    A Robert Dyas wouldn’t be bad, but there is a very good and friendly ironmongers at the beginning (end?) of Coldharbour lane. Here’s to Co-op and Sainsbury’s or M & S, but I can’t see Waitrose coming here any time soon.

  10. Dyas would be nice but that’d be gentrification and — as is plain to see — Camberwell is going backwards.

    It’ll be a poundshop.

    But because I’m an optimist, I’m hoping for a Wilkinson’s, which are useful.

  11. Re: Yoga. Thanks all.

    The Iyengar place in New Cross is great, but I got fed up of the journey and stopped going.

    I will check out Mary because the ideal is to find a class that’s ultra local. I’d be more likely to keep that together.

  12. Gabe — i’ve been to the Yoga classes at Camberwell Leisure centre on Mondays and they are good.

    I hope whoever has brough Woolworths keeps the wonderful curved windows. I doubt it will be and M and S as the annouced plans to close over 50 stores this morning (what are the bets the Walworth Rd one will be among them?)

    Gefink bad news about the muggings i live on Denamrk Road but never use that bit by Myatts fields at night at the bit by the roundabout seems to open to muggers with many escape routes etc..

  13. I’ve been to Mary on Sat mornings at the Baths, she’s good, I’d recommend.

    Agreed with Hannah about the M&S not likely to be opening any new stores at the moment, I looked at the list of store closures and am pretty sure the Walworth one was not on it, I think it’s mostly the Simply Food stores.

    Re the muggings, I suppose that’s only sensible, but i use the bus stops at Flodden/County Grove on a regular basis so have to walk that way home, at all hours. Joy.

  14. When getting off the 36436 etc buses from central London or walking home from Oval tube I tend to walk up County Grove/ McDowall Road and then on to Paulet rather than walking up Flodden — not so much for safety purposes but because I think its a shorter distance.

  15. I prefer to go along Flodden. I like the constant in and around the activity TA builing and somehomw if makes me feel “safer”

  16. Flodden’s always felt safe to me, although you get the feeling that assailants could be lurking in the shadows of rows of residents’ cars there, along Denmark Road and adjacent streets.

    Ironic, considering members of the local deprived (majority) community from which most criminal assaults emanate are statistically far less likely to own these on-street cars which so diminish the quality of our public space.

    Still, from the luxury of our blogging armchairs we are able to ascribe all this miscreance to crack hoes and absent Afro-Carib fathers, and that should be of some comfort in these times.

  17. @ Kia blue
    I agree — I know it sounds funny but I felt safer in the shadow of the TA centre.
    I also like to walk up Flodden so I can peak at the lovely E type Jaguar which is kept in one of the gated driveways along there.

    Interesting point about County Grove/McDowall, I haven’t gone that way in the past as it has always seemed quieter, and no matter what time I get off the bus at the County Grove stop there are always other passengers heading up Flodden too.

    I walked home with my hood up last night to make myself look more “blokey”

  18. Random piece of information but as I just done the walk home (wow is it cold outside)I’ve just realised that the TA side of Flodden road is technically in Lambeth and the other side of the road is Southwark. Interesting division line. I hope the residents don’t get too confused.

  19. I would be happy with a Morrison’s or Sainsbury’s Local but suspect an Iceland is on the way — if so then I’d prefer an all-singing all dancing new Co-Op

    M&S is unlikely as they are closing some of their simply food outlets — Walworth Road will be O.K that’s one of their original stores from back in the day

    Waitrose is a pipe dream and won’t happen — maybe they will eventually replace the Somerfield in East Dulwich…

    I don’t want a Tesco — they are shite especially their Express or Metro Stores and I refuse to contribute to the increase in share value of that 24 karat C**t -

    Dame Shirley Porter

    Aside from food stores, like I said a Robert Dyas would be great…or a Boots perhaps even a bookstore…

  20. Maybe it is the 99p Store from Butterfly Walk extending as they seem to be the busiest shop in Camberwell.

  21. Kia Blue — Denmark Road is also split between Lambeth and Southwark!! Not only do the residents get confused but the councils do too!!

  22. Gnomee

    99p store is very handy indeed especially for household cleaning products!

    Only problem is that it can be a bit stressful queueing up in there at the best of times…

  23. The 99p store in the dreadful Butterfly Centre does have a good selection of coarse fishing DVDs.

  24. loveburgesspark

    I have signed up to the Facebook group — cheers!

    Over the years I have always thought what I would do if I was given an unlimited budget to make Burgess Park feel like a genuine park that is loved…It has always felt like “reclaimed wasteland” which is what it is really…

    I hope it happens — Mile End Park in East London is a good example of making a shabby urban park and turning it into a sucess story and Southwark Park looks lovely these days — An amazing transformation compared to 10 years ago…

  25. I’m all for extra funding but I think Burgess Park is great.

    Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with it?

  26. junkie needles? kids on motorbikes? fighting dogs?

    i do quite like it though, inspite of all that

  27. Alan Dale

    What wrong with Burgess Park?

    It wasn’t landscaped to be a park — It still has the feel of reclaimed wasteland which is what in reality it still is…It’s always been an afterthought for the council and added to in an adhoc fashion when funds allowed

    Imagine what a grant would do:-

    Extensive flower beds
    New Entrances/Railings
    All manner of sports facilities
    Refreshment Facilities
    Maybe an Art Gallery
    Maybe a Lido
    A youth club
    More varieties of trees
    Cinder Paths instead of ugly tarmac

    I’ve always thought that a cafe/restaurant in the middle of the lake which you could get to by a pier/jetty would be a fantastic idea

    Use some imagination man!

    Think of your house prices — I know it’s your favourite subject


  28. 99p store has lots of good stuff, jiffy bags, scoop and poop bags, dog treats what more could a camberwellian need. not to mention coarse fishing DVD’s.

    Burgess Park the largest post war purpose built park in London I have been told. Could be great with a big injection of cash. The plans for The Groundwork Trust to take it over have been shelved thank god, They have no experience of park management and would have been a big failure.

  29. In my opinion the problem with Burgess park is that unlike most parks in London it’s not over looked by houses (see Myatts Fields as an example of this) and therefore feels isolated and dangerous at night.

    It’s also an odd shape and fairly unloved.

    I would be in favour of having more events there as it’s big enough for teh kind of events they usually hold in Finsbury or Victoria parks. The year they had the Respect festival (2005) in Burgess Park seemed to work well.

  30. I would reject the suggestion that Burgess Park can be improved by spending on internal improvements as if it were located in a bubble to which we could all transport ourselves with three clicks of the heel.

    Burgess Park is surrounded by some of most dangerous roads in London. Any serious scheme to bring it fully into popular use — and therefore safety — must include traffic calming zones along its borders, including a strict 20mph maximum plus changing traffic light phasing to give pedestrians more priority and time. With such costless measures, the surrounding area’s shops including White Hall Clothiers could be regenerated for free.

    Replacing exclusive residential parking with visitor parking in side streets near Albany Road and Southampton Way would also assist with regenerating both the park and surrounding area.

    Without such measures, an award to BP could be a colossal waste of money — not an unprecedented occurrence I admit, for project-based grant funding in Camberwell. But perhaps the biggest yet.

  31. Little known fact about Burgess Park — the pond there is one of very few coarse fisheries in Central London.

    As a former club fishing champion in my teens I was keen to look into this rare opportunity after two fishless years in London.

    So, to those that are interested, or in the hope this will show on websearches, here’s the skinny.

    It’s what’s known as a “hard” water as the fish are quite smart and the place — like so many things in London — attracts too many people. I toured the banks and spoke to a few folk, some of whom were q hardcore, and nobody had caught anything. Not a good sign.

    There’re carp up to 30lb or so but it’s not a fishery where 6lb to 10lb fish are easy to catch — unlike many places in the UK.

    You’d have more chance going on a lighter rig for small roach etc. There’s not a huge range of species there, I don’t think.

    It’s dayticket but there is a membership option and members can use a fenced off area. The tickets aren’t always checked, so many were fishing for free that day.

    Good news is it’s all q accessible and that the volume of anglers bankside means you’re less likely to get hassle off any of the scum kids off the nearby estates, which can be a problem for fishermen at other waters.

    Some of y’all hate Phil G, but I’ve scoured this area for interest more than most. I still lament the closure of Fus. I’m here to help.

  32. There is already a cafe in the park.

    Park Lane runs along Hyde Park. If they don’t calm down the traffic there then that Park is never going to catch on.

  33. Alan, sometimes your hunches are right on the money, so if your spine is tingling right now I suggest you write to the Mayor on this point.

  34. Well it’s definitely not an Iceland in Camberwell, the list of the Woolies stores that they have bought was just published, no Camberwell mentioned.

  35. PhilG, this lad who was fishing with his dad at the lake once told me, “That bloke over there, they call him CK, carp killer.” The bloke’d posed for a shot with a giant carp but dropped it and the carp died. CK. Carp Killer!

  36. There used to be a Walworth Woolworths. The finest pub in our area if not the whole world must surely be the Wetherspoons in Forest Hill on the right soon after the Horniman in the old Capitol cinema. It is absolutely mind-boggling inside — you expect Bruce Forsyth to bounce onto a stage to Wurlitzer organ music. The gold mouldings of cherubs, putti and other naughty figures are bubblingly fun-filled, the carpets are oringinal cinema carpets, the Greene King IPA — one of Britain’s best beers — is 99p a pint and the place is vast. This pub is Xanadu.

  37. Dagmar

    Indeedy, the Walworth Wooworths is where the Argos now resides…I think

    I like the Forest Hill and wish that the Wetherspoons was still an Odeon…

  38. I visited Xanadu in Cuba funnily enough. So now I must go to that Wetherspoons.

    Unfortunately my photographs of Xanadu were lost in a theft. I will have to go back to Cuba to recover the loss.

  39. I hope you don’t think it is inappropriate to place this information here but …

    A national campaign is being launched next week aimed at ending stigma and discrimination around mental illness. You can get further information at You might be interested/want to get involved.

    Thanks. I am a regular reader of this blog but have hesitated to contribute before.

  40. Signs of the glistening, insect-trapping black shoots of slump & bust must surely be the reduced number of freight trains passing through and also, perhaps more sinisterly, the apparent discontinuation of the free biros in Barclays bank.

    Still, we were out and about today when the Venice-Simplon Orient Express passed through served by two Class 67s 67021 and, taking up the rear, 67019, locomotives made by Alstom in Valencia, Spain, almost quite 3,000 horsepower, commissioned in 1999–2000, 30 of them, to draw the night mail, with a top speed of 125 mph.

    In the gloriously camp pullman carriages, lovely ladies with elegant long necks ideal for strangling and well-groomed gentlemen with a touch of the talented Mr Ripley about them chattered and laughed with each other, oblivious of the depression in Loughborough Junction, Camberwell and Peckham, and of the gawping faces of two Dagmars framed by the rusty iron railings.

    Denman Road has a fabulous Alfa Romeo 1750 at the moment in what at first seems to be a 1950s ultility light grey, but on closer inspection is a slightly lighter, delightful, dawn-mist grey from the late 1960s. Perhaps this is a subtle shoot of recovery and a sign that the depression may not be as dark as at first appears.

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