Evening all. I’d planned to start with a look through the Council conclusions on the future of Camberwell that Newroad told us about recently, but unfortunately a number of side-projects have kept me busy so that’s out the window. If you’ve read them already and feel strongly about the proposals, I suggest you write to your Councillors.

More prosaic matters: I have to say that St George seem to be doing a good job of the Camberwell Grove development; the architecture of the new buildings is perfectly in keeping with the surrounding ones, and the restoration of the school building has breathed new life into it. The first show apartment was opened at the weekend, and I was quite curious to see inside.

I passed the development on my way back from Johansson’s (formerly Seymour Bros.) cafe, where I enjoyed a big and tasty fried breakfast. There were an awful lot of gay gentlemen in there, and it would be interesting to know whether this was an isolated occurrence or indicative of a more general trend; could Camberwell be set to capitalise on its proximity to Vauxhall? With Queer Complex at the Sun & Doves on Saturdays, and the events organised by our very own team, looks like we’re all benefiting from an injection of the pink pound.

On the subject of development, still, I noticed that the former Father Red Cap / Redstar has had a face lift. I was about to write “looks like Planet Nollywood is on its way”, but a quick search reveals that it seems to already be open. Anyone heard more?

I had a drink in the Fox On The Hill on Saturday, the first I’ve had there in about 12 or 13 years. The views across London are amazing, and the selection of beers is pretty good, but the bland interior and the group of aggressive drunken men on the table next to me reminded me why I don’t go more often.

Final news: as you must know by now, Camberwell Baths have been awarded £1.45m of Government funding, and the Council are to match that investment. Truly good news. Less good, however, is the fact that the Council-owned buildings around the Town Hall are up for sale, marking the beginning of the move to Bankside. One can only imagine how we’ll be treated once we’re out of the Council’s view.

Don’t forget, if you Twitter we’re at

Oh, one more thing: I’m still on the look-out for more contributors; five years of blogging here is playing havoc with my nerves, and I’m sure there must be people with different points of view that would be interested in getting involved. Email me at peter@​camberwellonline.​co.​uk if you’re interested.

Author: Peter

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

52 thoughts on “Phoenix-like”

  1. Redcap’s called ‘Nollywood’ now.

    Read into this name what you wish, it’s intriguing and beyond me, I haven’t had the time to nose around to ask questions.

    I’ve been thinking the same as Peter about what little I’ve noticed of St George. Work looks good quality. Where will it go I wonder… towards regeneration of our complicated little coin of London.

    Let’s hope the pink pound’s here to stay and encourage others to join in staying in Camberwell to socialise rather than stray to other parts. We need more people who live here to actually live here. But that means we need to offer more to people than they are getting now. Perhaps this can become the start of a virtuous circle of people spending in Camberwell encouraging a wider range of businesses to set up here… which is where a visionary town centre manager would be very useful.

    The council leaving for better invested in parts could leave a vacuum — fewer customers immediately and, as Peter suggests, Camberwell even further out of the line of council vision than it is already.

    The £3 million for the baths can be nothing short of welcome but considering the building needs a lot more to sort it out it will be interesting to see the proposals for just how this cash can be applied.

    Oh yes and Sophia Coppola’s at S&D from tomorrow night for the rest of April. Thanks Sophia.

  2. I’m disappointed that the Sophia Coppola season doesn’t include Godfather III. They don’t give out Golden Raspberry acting awards to just anyone, you know.

    You should bookend the films with albums by Phoenix, the popular beat combo from France whose singer is Ms Coppola’s squeeze and father of her child. They’re a great band.

  3. Aghhh. You’re right Peter it IS Sofa. Not Sopha. Although the picture I found of her was captioned Sophia, which is how I got it wrong, it was along with dozens of other mis-spelled references to her. Those damn Yankees can’t keep their names American.

  4. Err lots of religious stuff?

    I would imagine tomorrow’s Southwark News and Friday’s South London Press will have events listed but in my experience not much happens beyond the religious

  5. Oh, yeah, almost forgot about the Christian angle. doh.

    I was thinking fayres, fetes, community events, open house, art happenings…

    Weather looks to have turned over night anyhow.

  6. And of course there’s the easter egg hunt in Brunswick Park on easter Monday.

    Free admission, open to kids under 12 who live in the area — don’t be late as I think it will be popular. Starts at 1pm but you can register from around 12.45

  7. Thanks Mrs Lucas — Slo Food sounds good.

    @sg, Cheers, kind of thing I was after. We live a few streets away. Kids would like it. Who provides the eggs?

  8. To go back to the subject of “Noodels City” and its dreadful fascia, we made a complaint to Southwark Planning Enforcement and have now received a reply. They have confirmed that the sign is “overly large, unsightly, fails to contribute and is harmful to the appearance of the Camberwell Green Conservation Area”. Permission would not have been granted if it had been requested, which of course it was not. The Council will serve an Enforcement Notice ordering the removal of the sign. They add that this action had been initiated before they got our letter, so we can’t take the credit, but we’re very pleased all the same.

  9. there’s a Robot Zoo exhibition at the Horniman. Kids went today and had a great time. Cost a tenner thou.

  10. @ Mrs Lucas. Love it. How fast does a slow food market run?

    And Red Cap is called ‘Planet Nollywood’ now. I forgot the planet bit when reporting above. My diligence is slipping. ph for f and forgetting the planet. Whatever next.

    Robot zoo sounds great. Are they automata or static?

  11. Fox On The Hill

    One of the best located pubs in London, Architecture,History as the site of one of the original coaching inns, Views of London

    But owned by those lowest-common denominator c*nts Wetherspoons…

    I hate them and the idiot who runs them…and resent the fact that potentially one of the greatest pubs south of the river has been colonised by such odious unoch shareholder trash…

    Oh yeah almost forgot — Happy Easter Everyone (except Wetherspoon Shareholders)

  12. Mark Dodds has spoken more evenly about the Spoons here. Well done Carole. How smoothly commonsense runs. Pete, relax, you are doing fine. Waiting for Godot:

    — I can’t go on like this.

    — That’s what you think.

    This is a postcard from the Dagmars currently in another country. We note from our international edition of the Sun that the chap clumsily killed by the police at the G20 demo was wearing Millwall clobber. This will be sufficient evidence for the CPS to dismiss the whole thing.

  13. Yes Carole, well done and sorry I missed that last time I was here.

    eusebiovic _ as for Wetherspoons I empathise with your sentiments but frankly admire what Tim Martin (“the idiot who runs them”) has done overall. His businesses tap into a market which has been woefully neglected by pretty much all other operators and it’s been done well, within the limitations of what they aspire to be doing. Wetherspoons are able to exist and thrive as a side effect of the pernicious cancer on the pub industry of the pubcos. It’s a long slog to lay it all down but believe me, Tim Martin’s more on the side of the common man than most powerful people tend to be. He’s just been taking advantage of a gap in the market created by less scrupulous people than he.

    Thanks Dags. Hope your foreign sojourn is bringing you good weather and tranquility.

    It would be good if for once the coppers could admit they did something thoughtless and silly, pending the outcome of the various enquiries over push and shove and who is responsible for what which will likely drag on for decades.

    Happy Easter to all you non believers.

    PS I’d love to get my hands on that site, even with its £110K + a year rates bill…

  14. @Gabe — eggs have been donated by Mars I think (or at least provided very cheaply) so each child who takes part in the hunt on Monday will receive an egg — until we run out. I think we have eggs for around 35 — 40 kids or so.

    And taking part is free to all kids under 12 accompanied by an adult and who live in our catchment area — the streets surrounding Brunswick Park. (No limit to the number of kids per family but we would look questionably at families of more than 10 🙂

    @Carole — adding my voice to those giving you a big thumbs up about getting rid of the Noodel sign.

  15. Wetherspoons pubs are pretty awful, although their real ale and music policies laudable. On the subject of which, the Cambria needs to sort out its high-energy disco music during the day nonsense. Rye hotel is the same. What’s that all about? Bit of Floyd played low maybe. But dance music over your peanut bake. Disgrace.

  16. florian

    The Cambria is my local and I think a huge improvement has been made on so many different levels since the new owners took it on last year…I don’t even miss the live football — it’s better without it

    I think the high energy disco music during the day can possibly be explained by the fact that the charming young barperson who is usually there during the day is a very gay chap who likes his music loud and with lots of BPM…(beats per minute)

    Nothing wrong with that of course…but I too would probably prefer Pink Floyd or Led Zep 🙂

  17. The majority of Wetherspoons pubs I’ve visited have been extremely depressing; bland decor, and utterly absent of atmosphere.

  18. A similar story at the Rye, reinforced by techno hungry East European staff. Such diversity we must support, and boy do I. And the new Cambria is a solid addition. The Ruskin playground is shaping up well too. Is a west Camberwell renaissance upon us?

  19. @ Peter. Yes, well, the whole chain needs a creative injection; that much has been clear from the start.

    @music in bars. Music is ALL. Wetherspoons made that decision straight away. No music = no customers pissed off just by the music. Get the music right though, and EVERYTHING works better. Getting it right all the time, though, is akin to the alchemist’s trick of producing gold out of lead.

    That being said, in the VAST majority of bars techno and disco should be reserved ONLY for high energy moments, late on weekend nights. If it’s heard in an empty or near empty place it’s a sure sign that the staff are being narcissistic and not thinking for a moment about the best interests of customers, or the business, ergo formal verbal warnings should abound with alacrity.

  20. Peter, the Kentish Drovers is filled with the gentle susurrus, the gzhentle shushurrush, of people talking agreeably and drinking their way through their money at the slowest possible on-trade rate. To go there with a newspaper and find one’s own cubicle with a pint of Ruddle’s Bitter for a quid is a great pleasure in this overbranded, overproduced and overpackaged “for you to enjoy” world. I contend.

  21. Wetherspoons has its market, I agree; it’s just not me. Having a drink in the large (former cinema) site on the Holloway Rd was one of the most depressing experiences of my life; a cavernous hall filled with tables, on each of which sat a sad, solitary, old man, in abject silence.

    On the subject of underwhelming drinking experiences, went to the Rye Hotel in Peckham today. After five minutes at the bar, the first contact from the staff was to tell us to take a table and “stop hanging around” the bar. We took a table, and were ignored for 20 minutes before leaving.

    Instead we went to the Sun & Doves where the service has improved exponentially, and is now one of the most pleasant in the area. Congratulations, Mark.

  22. Yeah I got sick of the Rye last time I went. It’s OK on some evenings but on a Sunday it was packed with families, overpriced, overrated, short staffed and slow. That area needs another decent pub.

  23. Feed the family and have a pints for under £20. God bless Wetherspoons.

    St Tim patron saint of the real ale drinker.

  24. So, back to a touchy subject on this forum. No, not Harperson, but Tadim cafe — The Return.

    The revamp looks a bit stark, at least the previous version looked quite cosy. I think they’ve made a mistake missing that line of seating down the side of the counter. Now it just looks a bit odd, and it’s not really clear that it’s a restaurant with seating out back.

    Menu seems to have more kebab classics than before, I’ll have to see if it’s an improvement on the previous efforts, which were inconsistent.

  25. Listen, Phil, you are right about the classics, but Harriet Harman was right to want to send her son to St Olave’s in Orpington. The school is a beacon of excellence and excretes extrordinary people. Alumni include the formidable Sir Michael Scholar who recently ticked off the goverment for spinning their crime statistics. He, however, sent his son Tom, who is a Brown man, to Dulwich College.

    Equally however and notwithstanding, it is right of every — EVERY — parent in Camberwell to want to send their sons to St Olave’s, but they can’t, and the lottery for secondary state education here has to be the real shame of Camberwell, not the quality of the langoustines in its trattorias.

    Peckham have Carpetright College, fine, good for them. Any commercial education provider worth its salt hired by Southwark to “meet the needs” of Camberwell would bung all the data into its computer and come up with the solution of delivering quality secondary education somewhere in the area of the old Mary Datchelor School.

  26. It appears Tadim has a rival Turkish restaurant opening up just over the road, in the premises formerly occupied by Miura and Calabar Kitchen (and probably other incarnations I’ve forgotten).

  27. I quite like the look of the new Tadim — more in keeping with Carravaggio’s etc.
    Haven’t tried it yet though — I’ve missed my croissants while they’ve been closed.

    Nice to hear there’s another opening over the road — hope it’s smart.

    It’s a shame Camberwell don’t enforce some kind of theme for all the shopfronts to give the place a bit more coherance. Or do they and everyone ignores it?!

    All you Jacqui Smithers should check this out — most amusing:

  28. Robp, you have a weird tastes.

    The croissants in Tadim’s? You like them?

    Very strange.

    Vile inedible and just wrong…same goes for the ones in Sophocles.

    Hopefully the food will have improved in Tadim’s. Willing to give it a try.

  29. @ Phil G

    Panic over sir, the seats seem to have reappeared.

    It does look a bit austere in there now, though if they’ve upped their game in the food stakes, it’ll more than compensate. Tadim’s as it was sorta alright in a kinda cheap eat sort of way, but the waitress who served me the last few times me and friends went in there could’ve curdled milk with her surly demeanour.

    Got to co-sign with Monkeycat on those croissants. They were like chewing kevlar…

  30. @Monkeycat — agree, the croissants at Tadims and most of the bread at Sophocles have always seemed stale to me.

    Maybe that the way turkish croissants are though — and Greek /Cypriot bread??

  31. Phil G

    Clock House is quite a good pub and it’s not far from The Rye Hotel, which I didn’t like on the 2 occasions I’ve been…

    Wetherspoons are horrible because they mostly feel like a place where people go to have a drink before they commit suicide…That’s what they feel like to me anyway…

  32. Will the honourable member for Barking, WILL the honourable member for Barking, please apologise for his or her unnacceptable comments about the sublime bread made by Sophocles and place his — or indeed her — of indeed whatever variety — langoustine-lusting lips upon his or her exterior rear exit, suck strongly, ingest himself or herself like a gentleman or lady of honour and digest himself or herself thoroughly for his or indeed her poor taste and frankly puerile or girlsome remarks about the bakery’s makery, thus leaving just a pile of small chicken-size bones and a gutter-filthy throwaway cardboard box bearing a grinning cockerel emblem, for Messrs Albin & Co of Bermondsey to dispose of in time-honoured, black-plumed cockney style?

  33. @ Genfink Thanks for so
    potting that,any chance of a copy for the file?

    Agreed on all claggy pastry points but the soft white sesame seed bread at Sophocles is great on all levels.

    @ Phil G the suicide feeling of Wetherspoons is spot on really.

  34. Sophocles bread always seems to taste of the paper bags they put it in to me.

    Kind of … papery.

    I stick by my croissant beliefs on pain of death.

  35. “Appealing turquoise-painted Camberwell boozer.” Sounds like the opening line from poem by Swinburne about a Camberwell flaneur.

  36. Ready and steady yourself for Camberwell [borders] Crufts:

    An afternoon of barking mad fun for our four legged friends, plus an opportunity for dog owners to come together to promote responsible dog ownership. The many attractions will include;
    * A ten category novelty dog show- with prizes!.
    * Meet the Expert with Battersea Dogs Home
    * Bernie the dog photographer snapping doggie portraits to hang over the mantelpiece.
    * Southwark Council offering FREE DOG CHIPPING and Flag-the-Poo activities.
    * Greyhounds-in-need offering you the opportunity to adopt a pooch
    * Foal Farm animal rescue centre.
    * Refreshments in the form of HOT-DOGS, ice-creams tea and coffee.

    Or you could just get bladdered at the Doves.

  37. Appealing turquoise-painted Camberwell boozer
    Is getting bladdered at the Doves, like some loser .

    His ghastly girlfriend is wearing Ugg boots,
    They won’t save her from the awful dog poo

    In Warwick Gardens at the doggy festival,
    Where they celebrate everything bestial.

    A man’s best friend! Beast friend more like.
    The dogs in Warwick are exceptionally warlike.

    I [heart symbol] WG. That is their logo.
    WG. Why not? Wake me up before you go-go.

  38. Sophocles

    Don’t criticise the lovely seeded bread…we’ll all be crying if they left overnight and were replaced by something else like a grocery/off licence, because there’s a real dearth of those in Camberwell at the moment…and betting shops, if they were good there wouldn’t be so many…Or perhaps replace Sophocles could be replaced by a “Blessed Celestial Church of the Righteous Pastor’s New Lexus”…that would be an absolute boon for all of us

    Same for Cruson — not perfect but miles better than most…

  39. Off topic:
    I was at home last night and heard a lot of shouting and shrieking from the street outside, I thought someone might be getting attacked so I stuck my head out of the window to see what was going on.
    Turned out it was a group of kids walking down the middle of the road (as usual) laughing at the tops of their voices, which obviously is fine.
    What I do have a problem with is the fact that they saw me, and I popped my head back in and shut the window and about 30 seconds later there was an almighty CRACK on my window and they ran off. I mean for goodness sake I was only trying to see they were alright and that no-one was getting hurt outside and I get pebbles or pellets hurled at my windows.
    It angered and upset me enormously. Next time there is someone getting attacked in the street outside I’ll just leave them to it.

  40. Genfink…

    Sadly yet another negative side-effect of the overall masterplan — it’s all connected

    We must not under any circumstances question or indeed understand the negative social side-effects of completely unregulated free-market economics…

    Just merely accept the bulbous, shiny head of the state sponsored phallus as endorsed by the media…

    I drink my tea now 🙂

  41. Went to Crystal Palace the other day and had a drink in The Alma — which is a solid, unpretentious pub that shows the footie and has a garden centre attached to it…very nice

    The White Hart across the road has had a lick of paint and some spit and polish…it’s looking good, ordered some fish and chips and it was one of the best I’ve had in many years — absolutely superb

    Domali Cafe is a very fine establishment as is the St.Germain French Bistro…I must check out Westow House that looks a mighty fine place to take a lady on a date…if their food is as impressive as The White Hart then they can’t go wrong

    I like Crystal Palace, it’s a vibrant place the triangle and somehow works considering it’s where 5 (five!) London Councils share a boundary —

    Bromley,Croydon,Lambeth,Lewisham and Southwark — but like Camberwell there’s a lot of severely faded glamour which isn’t being attended too 🙁

    Bromley Council lets the area down — A local authority so flakey that it makes Southwark look like Venice at the height of it’s majestic pomp…

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