144 thoughts on “Future Camberwell”

  1. Wow. Now that’s what I call a makeover!

    Cheers NickW.

    Glad the building’s listed — reckon it led to a bit more effort being put in.

  2. John Betjeman, gah, always wanting to be super-wistful like Philip Larkin, but only managing wistful lite. “If only the rest of our lives were beautifully drawn by architects.” Pah!

  3. I think it’s less about looking better, and more about being better; at the moment everyone entering and leaving the platforms are funneled through a single door; there’s no wheelchair or lift access; nowhere to put oyster barriers. This is a good modernisation of the building.

  4. It would be far better, stylish, understated elegant and much less intrusive as a simple flat topped steel and glass box without that silly half tunnel entrance that makes it look like a model of a bad shopping centre. No doubt cheaper too.

  5. Peter
    Good design works well AND looks good. If it does not do both ( and its not rocket science) then it is bad design.

  6. I strongly disagree with Mark on this one. I think the side entrance looks GOOD. The elegant arched roof is not only aesthetically pleasing mirroring the older grade II listed station house’s roof lines but its design is also much more practical than a flat roof which never adequately allow rain water to run off without over engineering often leading to leaks. However as in any design the proof is in the materials used. The way I interoperate the drawings is that the roof is green oxidised copper. It reminds me of a gallery or quality European station design. If I remember rightly Mr Dodds was one of the St Georges Camberwell Grove developments fiercest critics I hope you’re eating your words on that one now Mark.

  7. @ deb

    Doesn’t that rather depend on your subjective opinion of what ‘looking good’ is?

    I quite like it, though I mistook the patch of shadow cast by the the tree in the illustration for graffitti at first.

  8. I’m still a critic of the St George development. Cosmetically the exterior brickwork and detailing of the imitation Georgian facade is impressive. The whole is nowhere near complete yet and it’s far too soon to be eating words.

    Anyone else looked into any of the cupboards at the bottom of Grove Lane?

    As for the station entrance, inspite of my eyes having being opened, it still looks like a mini 1970’s Arndale centre to me.

  9. The plans are a huge improvement and will make for a better station experience…More natural light and lifts for people with physical problems to use Denmark Hill for King’s — Very important.

    I too think that the half turrets are unnessasary — I think an architect would prefer a nice clean line but somebody somewhere will make him/her add a mock-Victorian florish that will look crap in comparision to the original booking hall which is alongside

    But we’re getting a Tube (of sorts) so I’m not complaining about that — It’s a cause for celebration

    It’s low key and modest — typically Camberwellian!

  10. …and it will be nice to see all the overgrown shrubbery removed that only encourages litter and rodents

  11. I agree with Mark that the “entrance pavilion” could have been more elegant and less like a retail park bus shelter.

  12. It would be great to get a cinema back in Camberwell…

    Hopefully we could get the bingo hall re-converted — if only to prevent one of the execrable unregulated free market economic “Blessed Celestial Church of The Miracle of the Pastors Brand New 450s Lexus” from taking it’s place…

    Conning their flock is their only game…

  13. @Monkeycat: Which document should we be looking at?

    And to all the ‘design should be beautiful’ types: my potato peeler is perfectly designed to peel potatoes, but it looks rubbish.

  14. Mark -

    I know what you’re saying about good design and more often than not I will always agree — but I believe it’s better to keep the new entrance clean,functional and as unobtrusive as possible…

    Whatever they build cannot possibly compare or look better than the original booking hall…That is what will always catch the eye

    I would rather they spent the money on talented thoughtful architects to build some decent apartments and social housing rather than the ugly breeze block and cladding jobs that are being put up all around London (especially Southwark)


  15. That is stark, a dull potato peeler.

    Starker still, you should not peel potatoes at all, because much of the goodness is in the skin.

    The Routemaster bus is back in the garden at the bottom of Bromar Road. It has had a respray in a maroony red, not quite the pillar-box red of the originals, but a good job. It almost looks as though the owner is turning it into a permanent annex to his house. What a wonderful idea. I wonder what the planning permission is for that — what a fabulous loophole that would be. The chap has merely bought and parked a vehicle on his own property, but now he also has a finely designed, two-storey urban cottage in his back yard. Brilliant.

    The hanging baskets in Warwick Gardens are splendiferous. Half the people in Camberwell must be away in Tuscany and Provence at the moment, but surely they search in vain for greener grass or more bountiful floral displays?

    The Book of the Week on Radio 4 at 9.45pm is the new, long-awaited biography of Muriel Spark, the author of “The Ballad of Peckham Rye” and “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” It is very intriguing and intimate. We will hear this week of her move to a Camberwell bedsit and her huge crisis of faith and sexuality, an intoxicating cocktail. Sex is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that.

    Talking of which, the Carnaval del Pueblo was throbbingly vibrant yesterday. There were incredible sights corseted into tight, tiny, aggressively, suggestively, shinily, provocatively, leathery clubbing gear.

    Thus the beat goes on, right here, right now, in the bedsits and bordellos, the flats and fancy houses, the parks and public houses, the sumptuous bedrooms and on the hard, hard kitchen floors of Camberwell.

  16. Attended the planning committee meeting on the redevelopment of the Kings Car Park on Coldharbour Lane last week. The two blocks (108 flats of 100% affordable social housing) got approved, despite objections that they are too tall and will dwarf other buildings in the area.

    This will be the biggest development in the Coldharbour Lane area for many years. Link to architect’s impression below — note the bright yellow balconies which I fear will actually look vile.


  17. @Monkeycat — do you know if they will be voluntarily moving their facade back a metre to give a decent width of pavement near the town centre, as recommended by Jeremy Leach in his Vision?

  18. Absolutely no idea if he’s moving the facade back.

    However, since the presentation by Jeremy L. was only a week or so ago, I would imagine that the plans for the redevelopment were developed well before that.

  19. “Baldwin Crescent was a quiet street behind the thundering traffic of Camberwell New Road… It was a rackety district… the area is much the same today: tumultuous, largely working class, spliced with some tranquil rows of yellow-brick houses like Baldwin Crescent, left over from Victorian and Edwardian prosperity. To live there was to live in two worlds. Muriel could sit in silence at her desk, staring at the patch of lawn, or walk down the road and turn a corner into the noise. She loved it, and stayed there for eleven years…”

    No.13 Baldwin Crescent. There, we are on the map once again good and proper. How many East Dulwich people can say they had Muriel Spark living in Camberwell?

  20. @ regen- I wondered about that, the new builds on the other side of the railway bridge are built right upto the boundary (ie. the pavement). It’s leaves so little pavement and feels really oppressive. The whole line of the buildings along Camberwell new road is ignored. I hope that the snooker hall development won’t be the same.

    Regarding the flats on Coldharbour lane. Does Camberwell really need more social housing? I know London generally needs more affordable housing, but SE5 does seem to have more than its fair share. It would be nice to have mixed developments and fewer pockets of concentrated deprivation.

  21. Has anyone been watching “Desperate Romantics” starring Camberwell’s John Ruskin? It is most amusing and very saucy. I am thinking of becoming a muse myself — I have already done the sauce bit.

  22. When not marvelling at the 50″ plasma TV and new kitchen in my neighbour’s pigpen, I often wonder what Spice of Life is like.

    Took the plunge at the weekend and, yes, we were the only folk in there, which is something that had put us off til now.

    But what a find. I must recommend this place as the best curry option east of the crossroads.

    The first surprise is that it’s quite smart, unlike most SE5 restaurants which have a cafe / eaterie feel about them. So, serviettes on the tables, wine glasses out, old school style. The waiter was very pleasant and wryly funny.

    Menu was the usual curry house fare but, unusually, had a few beef dishes on it too. We went with one of the beefs, chicken dhansak and okra. All were very pleasing without being outstanding, with the sweet dhansak the best. Fine naan. Portions were generous, especially the amount of meat (compared with frugal offerings at Ambrosia). Prices very reasonable.

    And the best bit is that it’s bring yer own booze. So, we got a bottle of the DIY shop’s finest £7 red and emptied that, saving considerably on what it’d have been at restaurant prices.

    Competent food, cow curry, nice surrounds and cheap booze. It’s the place to be. They need to lose the classical music CD though. Anyway, give it a go before it goes bust. An empty restaurant is always a sad sight…

  23. Looking at the Denmark Hill pics again it’s not clear if they’re planning to keep/restore the old shelters with the cast pillars etc. Anyone know if they’re going?

    It would be a shame and they must be salvaged if so! Stick them in parks? Put in seating and make an outdoor theatre? One in the garden of the S&D?

  24. @copeywolf ‘old shelters’? I’ve missed them. Put a word in for S&D garden. How about the forecourt could a couple be put there without being too incongruous?

    @Phil G — fantastic observation about your neighbour’s ‘pig pen’. Thanks! And I was in Safa a couple of nights ago, looking at the ludicrous, lop sided bowls swimming in various sauces with a smattering of bits of meat or veg wondering ‘why do they do this to their customers?’, gazing across at Spice of Life on the other side of the road and wondering ‘Why?’ about them as well… and thinking about Ambrosia too. Wish I’d had the nerve to go to somewhere other than Safa but I was tired, ill, and not feeling open to stimulation.

  25. Dagmar

    I too have caught the odd episode and snippet of Desperate Romantics on BBC2 — a bit MTV with a few historical accuracies thrown in

    Seems like John Ruskin had a bit of a problem motivating his “old chap” — If only the Metro newspaper had existed in those days he could have contacted the address on the full page erectile dysfunction advertisement…

    Millais was a bit of a wet blanket according to this adaptation

    The best thing about it though is their appreciation of red-haired lily skinned ladies — The two muses in the show are most agreeable…always a pleasure never a chore 😉

  26. Phil G, Why don’t we all go to Spice of Life and make it look full, just for once?

    Would be a good night out it would appear to me, and we could meet each other.

  27. One wonders whether the current rash of red-locked, quirky pop stars like Sodium Laureth Sulphate is not an echo of the pre-Raphs. Ruskin writes like an angel, but is heavy on the meaning of art and life at the same time as being useless on the impulses that make those redheads positively thump with blood. Still, Ruskin is our lad and was a big thinker. He is counterbalanced by Robert Browning who ran off with a woman 10 times his age, Elizabeth Barrett, a poet. They had a son called Pen.

  28. I keep hearing that redheads are on the way out genetically — a recessive gene or something and their numbers are weedling away gradually to nothing. The more I hear this the more I see them. EVERYWHERE. Is this because I have become sensitised or because the information is wrong? Or is it coincidence they are homing in on me?

    Like the zombies in the Thriller video

  29. @chunters — good idea — set the date and post it here and see how many people say ‘yes’ then we can all rendezvous at Spice of Life and pretend not to know each other. Errr as if we do know each other anyway. I bet they’d be terrified by the shock success of it all and cock up service and we’d all be waiting interminably for cold food.

    We could all go our separate ways and come back here and comment on what an interesting time we had and say ‘I wonder who all those other people were that night?’.

  30. Florence, her of machine inclinations and blessed with associations of our great neighbourhood, is:

    a. barking mad… Or likes to think she is, in an “oh how different i am” 20 year old kind of way.
    b. has a great voice (saw her at Camp Bestival last month)
    c. is not a real redhead.

  31. OK. What about the 15th in the Spice of Life at 7pm?

    It is after all The Feast of the Assumption.

    Perhaps we could wear name badges.

    I’d love to meet Peter as he thinks he has the measure of me.

  32. The George Canning is closed. The end of a little era. You heard it here first.

    And I’m not even in Camberwell, I’m in the Algarve lording it up at my inlaws for a week, without a hire car because hire cars are in short supply because of the cash credit crash crisis and they couldn’t buy enough cars so thousands of holiday makers have no transport and are having to walk klicks to the shops to get bread and milk and butter and cannot get to restaurants or beaches or anywhere else… now THAT’S a knock on effect. And it’s the cheapest holiday I’ve had since I used to hitch around southern Europe when I was a teenager.

    Shame about the Canning… I blame the pubcos.

  33. Well that in part is because the pubco took all the profit and there was nothing left to reinvest. The pubco did the original refurb and it was scandalously crap.

  34. Bad that the Canning has closed — it may be that it is becoming difficult to run a pub at all. The Walmart factor means less public life all round.

    The Dagmars are also on holiday. The debate down here rages over whether the Sterling Eccles is better than the Swift Charisma.

    The dregs bark, but the caravan debate moves on.

  35. There was a time, three or four years ago, that the Canning was a decent little boozer with good bistro-style cooking; but it’s been going downhill since then.

    I suspected the writing was on the wall the last time we went, as most of the beers were off, and the fridges were empty of bottles; and despite a little spruce up recently, the area behind the bar looked run down and dirty.

    I really hope someone takes over the tenancy and it gets a good cleaning and renovating.

  36. Damn it, another pub down. I went there now and then. Sometimes it was OK. Weekend afternoons on the sofas were not bad.

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