144 thoughts on “Future Camberwell”

  1. Thats a shame — when I used to live in Canning Cross it was very handy to walk the 10 metres or so down the road to the George Canning.

    I hope they manage to re-let (or whatever they do) it soon

  2. Yeah, the last time I went there it was very quiet…

    They had about 3 pumps out of action — it felt all wrong too…

  3. It needs 150K spending on it, it’s a tied pub — Enterprise are the freeholder — and the rent will be too high — as it is now and there’s no chance it will work as long as the tenure remains the same.

    If it were a freehold it would work a treat. I’ve been banging on about this sort of thing for years. Tied pubs are screwed. Most of the pubs in the area are tied. Silver Buckle, Petit Parisien, Sun and Doves, Hermits, Castle, Cambria and so on.

  4. The Silver Buckle appears to have closed too. Not that it’s any loss. Anyone know if it’s for good?

  5. The Hermit is tied? I thought it was all in the hands of that snowy haired Irish bloke and his mattress packed with cash from all the arts students. What about the Bear?

  6. He is not a bear! He is a shrewd operator, highly switched-on fellow and the most experienced and professional landlord in Camberwell, probably in London. We will not see his like again.

  7. So, Mark, if a complete stranger can intrude for a moment on your impromptu walking holiday, how does all this look from the point of view of the pubcos? Will the loss of rent matter to them as pubs go down like skittles? Or are they somehow so well insulated they won’t have to change?

  8. AHA. An open door!

    As everyone here will attest Vic, complete stranger’s intrusions are more than welcome on Sir Peter Gasston’s Camberwell blog. And what a good, simple, down to earth question too.

    This may seem over simple an answer but believe me, I’ve spent years working on this with others burrowing away at what’s broken in the pub industry, to find the banal and stupid reality and have not got it wrong. There may be small exceptions to the rule below but by and large it all holds true.

    Pubcos are Private Equity companies who stayed in their asset stripping game too long. They got their fingers caught in the till and there’s not a lot can be done about it. They got lazy largely because, until the current financial mess made their gravy train hit the buffers, it seemed their conga like charabanc in the world of pubs simply had no end. As the two pubcos who began the current form of operation — Punch and Enterprise — way outperformed the rest of the pub market, year after year, the other, smaller and perhaps more traditionally minded pubcos found the new model irresistible and copied them. Some ‘family’ brewer laggards, such as Youngs and Thwaites, are still now converting their estates from managed to fully repairing and tied leased even though it’s obvious to most ordinary people that none of it is sustainable in any way shape or form.

    The collective business model of pubcos has simply been to totally, comprehensively, shift all fundamental repsonsibility for the operation of their business, whether financial, practical, legal or day to day, onto onto the shoulders of thousands of ‘entrepreneurial lessees’ who willingly invest in their ‘own’ individual businesses (that is the thousands of ‘units’ (pubs) which pubcos lease to individuals) while the pubco, from the outside, appears as responsible ‘partners’ working together with their lessees in the operation of their very large, and very unrealistically profitable, property portfolios.

    The model is simple: Devolve ALL responsibility and concomitant costs for a pub’s operation, from foundation to rafters and everything in between — over to individual lessees by contract: Make available to market property leases with Fully Repairing and Insuring liabilites (common in the property rental business) from which people will run their own entrepreneurial business and reap whatever financial rewards they deserve for their hard work and endeavour. What is NOT common in other property letting situations if that these leases come with legally binding product supply contracts which mean, at least, that all beer sold by the lessee has to be bought through the freeholder’s price list, and at most ALL products they use, from mopheads to french fries. The freeholders (pubcos) advertise their wares using language like: ‘we operate the highest quality portfolio of pubs in Britain, offering an unrivalled package of core branded products, backed with the dedicated business support of our team of highly trained experienced trade Business Development Managers to individuals who want to run their own business secure in the knowledge that they are working with the best in the business’ blah blah blah.

    The bottom line is that these conditions imply the pubco works in ‘partnership’ with individuals but the reality is VERY different. The contracts confer no legally binding obligation for shared responsibility of operation of any aspect of the business — except the right of the pubco to profit from rent AND on all products supplied to the lessee. The ENTIRE costs and responsibilities of running the operation, maintaining every aspect of the property from foundations to rafters; keeping up to date with ALL legislative obligations, whether general health and safety issues, from building code certification to climate change levy on decrepit buildings, and local and national fire, gas and electrical compliance, licensing implementation, employment law, minimum wage legislation to every aspect of marketing, promoting and long term investment in the business are entirely the responsibility of the lessee.

    This means the lessee carries ALL the costs and obligations of operating the porperty and the freeholder NONE. Neat business model for the pubco who spends NOTHING directly (unless it’s on capital investment in which case the lessee’s rent increases to repay the pubco’s outlay — they don’t give anything without taking back — at userer’s rates of return) on the business other than looking after the ‘team’ of BDMs and their company cars, performance related bonuses (resulting from making sure rents increase above inflation and that lessees never buy ‘out of tie’), their pensions and industry related incentives, sporting days out, training and free products — which lessees are never entitled to of course.

    Lessees are milk cows nothing more nothing less.

    How this came about is The Fundamental Problem facing pubcos now. They all have gone hell for leather to jump on this free for all bandwagon. They all agressively increased the size of their estates by acquiring new properties at ball breakingly high prices as the property market rocketed, with pubco property values artificially infalted by the notion that there is unlimited, ever increasing future income based on rents and tied supply always going up and up. They borrowed to buy their new buildings and securitised their debts against future income and in many cases even sold their existing freeholds to banks and other ‘Private Equity Partners’ while retaining ‘operational responsibility’ for ‘managing’ the estates, using the proceeds from the sales to borrow MORE money with which to buy MORE pubs which they then let to individuals as above, who, eventually began to start LOSING money and sufferign BUSINESS FAILURE as all of the figures began to fall apart once their margins had been squeezed so much that laying off staff and working all hours god sends to compensate could no longer take up the slack for a failing business losing cash.

    The two biggest pubcos’ borrowings are so high that the annual interest payments alone amount to £700 million between them. This equates to £40,000 per pub in their estate. JUST TO REPAY INTEREST on the two pubcos’ borrowings. ALL the other pubcos have gone down this route and are now ALL in DEEP doo doo with the financial crisis and people’s drinking habits moving away from beer to other products, with pubs closing left right and centre because they cannot afford to keep on paying the sky high rents and beer prices as their income falls so does the income of the pubcos.

    Is this a sustainable business model? NO. Pubcos are knackered.

    Something like that. Sincere apologies of there’s some repetition in there. I have not had time to re read and edit as I am on holiday.

  9. Great explanation Mark but…

    You are on holiday…to relax…stop thinking about it and stop writing on here. Then come back nice a refreshed for round 27.

  10. Bonnes vacances Mark.

    Sorry to hear about the George Canning but agree with Peter’s summing up. A lovely bar that stopped being loved.

    Hope Steve’s ok.

  11. Mark,
    I think what you’re saying is the Pubcos embraced the free market economy too enthusiastically.

    Shame about the Canning, wasn’t a massive fan of their roasts though, the Bear does the best Sunday Roast in Camberwell, and by a country mile.

  12. Peter Mandelson the consummate politician has come home to save Vauxhall, its clubs, its cricket ground…

  13. Dagmar Wrote…

    “Peter Mandelson the consummate politician has come home to save Vauxhall, its clubs, its cricket ground…”

    So one unelected bafoon taking over from another unelected bafoon then…

    This from another site…

    Despite Mandelson’s attempts not to publish the report into the collapse of MG Rover, by referring the case the the SFO, the SFO have told him to take a running jump. That is the reason for all the late night telephone calls on your Blackberry.

    OK Mandy lets have a look at the report which you are running scared of publishing, lets see how the ‘Party of the People’ sold the Engineering workers of the West Midlands down the Swannee, with all the supplier industries in the Region.

    You have tried to smear the former Directors with allegations of Criminality by referring this case to the SFO. You are an utter disgrace to one of the high offices of State, with your overt attempts to pervert the course of Justice just for a few votes.

    ‘Blaming the bosses’ is meat and drink to your followers, open that report so that the voters of the West Midlands can see what BERR under Labour and your stewardship has been doing to industry in this country.

    Its going to make interesting reading just before a General Election


    Mandelson ‘welcomes’ the £175m ‘private’ finance deal for TATA Motors (JaguarLandrover to you and me) on the SAME day as the OFT decline to take on the MG Rover investigation.

    Does he think we are all stupid, not to see the spin and ‘good news sandwich’ here. I suppose Peter Poppet will be dishing out British Passports as incentives again.

    This is just such a crock of sh1t.

    Hat tip Old Holburn.

    This on the day we are, or should be talking about the death of baby Peter and the shits who did it.

    Another day to bury bad news.

  14. Yes, that approach worked a treat for Chinese and Russian industry.

    You ever try buying a half decent radio in Beijing in the early 90s? It’d be so much easier now that they’ve adopted a virulent form of cowboy capitalism.

  15. The Telegraph is a great paper if you are an old codger with prostate trouble or already dead. The best bit of the paper is the Obituaries. The religious affairs chap Christopher Howse’s column is excellent and well worth reading if you are in the waiting room (of life).

    The Daily Mail, however, who really have it in for Peter Mandelson, is for ladies, not lads. They have an especially strong line in the murders of attractive suburban women in the south east — many of these tales are probably made up. These stories supply a frisson for the pampered lunching-lady readership who must be thrilled that various spun-out nutcases are testosteroned up enough the care for them that much in that way.

    Recently, the Mail ran an article on how bee stings cure cancer. A few pages later came an article on how eating fish adds four years to your life — the piece was written by “Peta Bee”.

    As the Mail’s Richard Littlejohn would ay, “You couldn’t make it up.” He is the most bitchy of all about Mandelson, for whom he uses the epithet, “odious creep”, a phrase utterly made for the Gorblimey-why-oh-why-it’s-political-correctness-gone-mad-I-lunch-with-Clarkson artist himself.

    The Conservatives will have an indubitably, absolutely corking landslide next time round when the louche Cameron and Osborne will represent everything that is British in this Daily-Maily, death-notice, impacted-stool, in-need-of-a-strong laxative, capitalist lackey, lickspittle, bum-munching way. What a carry on that will be!

  16. Liliana says:

    @dagmar: this would be very funny if it wasn’t prophetic!

    Prophetic? Pathetic I’d say.

    @dagmar:“The Conservatives will have an indubitably, absolutely corking landslide next time round”


    @dagmar:“The Telegraph is a great paper if you are an old codger with prostate trouble or already dead.”

    I am neither.

    .…OH and BTW I don’t read the Mail either.

    So Dagmar where did the money come from to pay for the gap that clearly exists in his finances?

    If you know this, which you seem to it is only fair to tell us.

  17. Have been looking around the net for the history of Mandypop.….

    ‘Peter Benjamin Mandelson, Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, Privy Councillor (born 21 October 1953) is a British Labour Party politician who is the current UK First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council.

    Mandelson served as Member of Parliament for Hartlepool for twelve years, a seat he vacated in order to become a European Commissioner. When he returned to the Cabinet in 2008, he was created a life peer.

    In 1971 left the Labour Party Young Socialists (LPYS) to join the Young Communist League, then the youth wing of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

    He was a delegate in 1978 to the Soviet-organised World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana, Cuba, with Arthur Scargill and several future Labour cabinet colleagues.

    He worked as a television producer at London Weekend Television on Weekend World, forming an enduring friendship with John Birt, then LWT’s Director of Programmes, before being appointed as the Labour Party’s Director of Communications in 1985. Mandelson was able to secure close friendships within the Labour Party due to uncle Alexander Butler who had worked alongside many important Labour politicians during the 1960s.

    He ceased being a Labour Party official in 1990, when he was selected as Labour candidate for the safe seat of Hartlepool. He was elected to the House of Commons at the 1992 general election.

    After the election, Blair appointed him as a Minister without Portfolio in the Cabinet Office, where his job was to co-ordinate within government. A few months later, he also acquired responsibility for the Millennium Dome, after Blair decided to go ahead with the project despite the opposition of most of the Cabinet (including the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who had been running it). Jennie Page, the Dome Chief Executive was abruptly sacked after a farcical opening night.

    In December 1998, it was revealed Mandelson had bought a home in Notting Hill in 1996 with the assistance of an interest-free loan of £373,000 from Geoffrey Robinson, a millionaire Labour MP who was also in the Government, but was subject to an inquiry into his business dealings by Mandelson’s department. Although Mandelson alleged he had deliberately not taken part in any decisions relating to Robinson, he knew he should have declared the loan as an interest, and he resigned on 23 December 1998. Mandelson had also not declared the loan to his building society (the Britannia) although they decided not to take any action, with the CEO stating “I am satisfied that the information given to us at the time of the mortgage application was accurate.”

    In January 2001, it was revealed Mandelson had phoned Home Office minister Mike O’Brien on behalf of Srichand Hinduja, an Indian businessman who was seeking British citizenship, and whose family firm was to become the main sponsor of the “Faith Zone” in the Millennium Dome. At the time, Hinduja and his brothers were under investigation by the Indian government for alleged involvement in the Bofors scandal. On 24 January 2001, Mandelson resigned from the Government for a second time,insisting he had done nothing wrong.

    On 22 November 2004, Mandelson became Britain’s European Commissioner for Trade. On 22 April 2005, The Times revealed that Mandelson had spent the previous New Year’s Eve on the yacht of Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, which is at the centre of a major EU investigation, although it did not allege impropriety.

    On 3 October 2008, as part of Gordon Brown’s cabinet reshuffle, it was announced that Mandelson would return to government in the re-drawn post of Business Secretary, and would be made a life peer, entitling him to a seat in the House of Lords. On 13 October 2008 he was created Baron Mandelson, of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham.

    In October 2008 Mandelson was reported by the press to have maintained private contacts over several years with Russia oligarch Oleg Deripaska, most recently on holiday in August 2008 on Deripaska’s yacht at Taverna Agni on the Greek island of Corfu. News of the contacts sparked criticism because, as European Union trade commissioner, Mandelson had been responsible for two decisions to cut aluminium tariffs that had benefited Deripaska’s United Company RusAl.Mandelson denied that there had been a conflict of interest and insisted that he had never discussed aluminium tariffs with Deripaska

    Reports at the time said that he had sold his shares in an advertising agency and received a large legacy from his mother, but Companies House records showed that the shares were not sold until 2007, while a copy of his mother’s will revealed that he had been left only £452,000.

    In a reshuffle on 5 June 2009, Lord Mandelson was appointed to the honorific office of First Secretary of State, making him Deputy Prime Minister in all but name, a controversial position for an un-elected politician. Mandelson was also appointed to the position of Lord President of the Council. It was also announced that he would continue in his role as Business Secretary, with much expanded powers.’

    Basically Mandelson you have never had a job in the commercial world,yet you have become the most powerful man in this country though a combination of the moral weakness of Blair and Brown.

  18. @ Chunters:

    How much do you earn?

    He “he had been left only £452,000”. You don’t think this is a large legacy?

    Be careful of the writing of people who have a bias or an opinion. Words like only, insisted, denied, all tell us what the author wants us to believe.

    Compare “Prescott says he did not have an affair” with “Prescott denies affair”.

  19. Not a Mandy fan, but if he curbs city bonuses then I’ll cheer that. Difficult to do though, and it’d restrict the size of yacht he blags his holidays on. Maybe it’s just for a headline so that muppets like me think — hey he’s not such a **** after all. But I’m not fooled. He is a ****, and an unelected one too.

  20. The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail sure do not like Alan Duncan, the Conservative MP for Rutland, who is an out gay. They have outed him for saying that MPs are now on “rations” and have been nationalised. Queer he may be, but he is dead right.

    Talking of dead right, the Mail wrote of Hitler last week — again. The Daily Mail was pro-Nazi during the late 1930s. The British Daily Mail was pro-Hitler — oh dear — oh dear — oh dear.

    Sigfried Mischner, an old German sportswriter, claimed that he saw Jessie Owens shake hands with Hitler after his famous 100m win at the 1936 Olympics — Jessie’s, not Adolf’s — behind the “honour area” so that he they wouldn’t be photographed. Owens kept the shot in his wallet. It’s an interesting snippet — Jessie Owens said he was treated OK in Germany whereas he was segregated in America. All the same, the Jews were segregated in Germany somewhat.

    Old Siegfried wanted to set the record straight, that Hitler had always been “painted in a bad light” with regard to Jessie Owens.

    “Painted in a bad light.” Perhaps it was a self-portrait. But that was all a long time ago and we should look to the future. Soon we will be all in thrall to the rapacious ladies of the suburbs.

    There is talk of Jon Cruddas leading the Labour Party. He is a bright & solid chap. If he needs a politician in his team, he can call on Peter Mandelson, proper job. Mandelson sold his shares in Clemmow Hornby Inge — an advertising agency so brilliant that it sells a mineral water called Drench to trendies — so that he could buy his house. OK, he doesn’t live in Camberwell like Harriet Harman, but he is true to himself.

    And before there is all this playground “Please Sir, Dagmar said…” -

    Mandelson as politician, proper job. Jon Cruddas as leader of Labour, has to be.

  21. I bought and read the Sunday Times last week for the first time in a very long time. I was surprised, more shocked really, at how any pretence of being a newspaper has been abandoned in favour of it being an easy read under a well worn ‘this labour lot is useless’ veneer. A comic without the support of nicely drawn cartoons. And the front page made a very a big thing out of a soldier with a prosthetic leg going back to give the Taliban a proper seeing to.

  22. There can be no doubt that making government work anything like effectively is akin to being in a never ending wrestling round with a very slippery leviathan. Mandelson’s extremely capable and when it comes to it prepared to say it like it is can actually get things done instead of procrastinating as most others do all the time.

  23. Dagmar wrote “doesn’t live in Camberwell like Harriet Harman”

    She doesn’t live in Camberwell, thankfully. I may see her too often in my local and that would surely mean I would have to go to jail for offencive language.

    Monkeycat wrote “How much do you earn?

    He “he had been left only £452,000?. You don’t think this is a large legacy?”

    I think £452,000 is an immense amount of money, I would be very happy to receive that kind of money.

    What I earn is my own affair, but I can tell you it is far lower than any MP, I live on rations. I would have sacked Alan Duncan if I was leader of the Tory party.

    I used to vote Labour but it was then the party standing up for workers rights etc.

    It has been taken over by a strange bunch of nutters and is not the party my Dad used to support. Full of Champagne Socialists, the worst kind. Do what we tell you but we’ll do what we want.

    Illegal war in Iraq, our freedams slowly but surely being taken from us, it’s becoming more and more like East Germany before the wall came down.


    Went for a beer in the Hermits yesterday afternoon and it looked like the Sahara, nobody in it. I then went to the Old Dispencery for a meeting, there was about 25 people in there and the barmaid never stopped serving. Mark what’s that all about?

  24. People who think that Peter Mandelson is a pest should take a long hard look at ladybirds. No, not the ladyboys of Bangcock, but the ladybirds reported in the recent 4 August edition of the Daily Mail, which terrorised “families” in Somerset and Norfolk. They came in search of the “natural larder” of aphids, but clung onto “families” or “famblies” to give them the correct mealy-mouthed spelling, presumbably terrorising “tots” in particular.

    And what have the government done about it? Nothing. Zilch. De nada. Zero.

    Then there is the harlequin ladybird, which might seem like an Alan-Carr-like gay jester, but there is nothing funny about it at all. This species comes from Asia, of all places, and is edging out our natives species.

    We all like a good curry or Thai ladyboy but the Asians’ harlequin ladybirds are political correctness and so-called health and safety gone mad, not to mention immigration.

    I was pointing out the foreign species to my tots in Lucas Gardens only the other day. “Lucas Gardens is the Sangatte of Camberwell!” I offered, flecks of spittle blowing in the warm summer air like old man’s beard.

    Our native ladybirds are red with seven spots, I said. They are called ladybirds after the Virgin Mary, I told the bewildered tots — I was positively frothing at the mouth by this time — and the seven spots represent the Seven Joys and Sorrows of Our Lady.

    “YES!” I spluttered, “these darn red ladybirds are all CATHOLIC!” At that moment my Super Brew spilled all over my denim miniskirt making me look not just obdurate but incontinent.


    I am not being sarcastic, but these ladybirds are racaille.


  25. I’m no fan of Mandelson — far from it — but unelected advisors are the norm nowadays; some of the biggest decisions regarding planning the future of London are in the hands of Boris’ advisory team.

    By the way, I saw ‘pshaw’ to the old party loyalties; flipping between two parties for hundreds of years is not in the best interests of democracy. Time to campaign for proportional representation and electoral reform.

  26. Hallucinating, now. Miracle happened. Saw Britten pass Camberwell, Class 92, made by Brush Traction, now part of Bombardier.

    At last, something British!

    This great British composer, the stature of Vaughan Williams, in a country now pestered by “gays”, homosexuals, queers, buffons, bassoons, bafoons, baboons, osbornes, obornes, oboes, french horns, cors anglais, pediatricians…

    And where’s Mandelson? On a yacht somewhere!


  27. Ms. Chunters has just pointed out to me that already Morrisons are selling out of date foodstuff.

    A container of coalslaw dated eat by the 6/8/09 was sold to her at the 8th.

    As this is a brand new supermarket it would be assumed that brand new food and supplies would be the norm?

  28. Have tried a new e‑mail address to avoid being moded and it doesn’t work so am trying a new log on name and we’ll see if it works.

    Best regards Chunters

  29. Whenever you post with a new email address the first posts will be held in moderation; hopefully now I’ve approved your comments, we won’t get this problem again.

  30. Not in any way condoning selling out of date food BUT yesterday I made scrambled eggs (Lidl organic eggs £2.50 for 12) for breakfast and used Sainsbury’s double cream to keep the mixture soft and forgiving (delicious!) the sell by date on the cream was 26 July. Purrrffect.

  31. A while back Dagmar mentioned that Florence from Florence & The Machine lives in Camberwell. I looked up her pictures and realised that I recognised her. She used to work as a barmaid in the Old Dispensary when Ross was running it. The reason I remember her is because she’d always forget to put at least a couple of drinks on my tab, sometimes three or four, so my bill at the end of the night was always a pleasant surprise. I’d kick up my heels walking home some nights.

  32. Different things happen I followed the “Leave a verified comment using” instructions and posted it seemed not to be there and now it is but it wasn’t before. And, clearly tyhe verified comment route does not possess the image of my younger self in its catalogue of verification. Modern life eh?

    Been thinking about next year’s local elections and wondeing what might happen to Camberwell.

  33. Will definitely not be voting for SANDRA RHULE.

    The only one of my 3 Brunswick Park Labour ward councillors never to have replied to my queries.

  34. Got this from Iain Dales Diary…

    Mrs. Harmen or is it Dromey or is it Mr Harmen, even their kids are called Harmen??? I’m confused.com

    Dromey to Bypass All Women Shortlist for Leyton & Wanstead?
    Iain Dale 10:32 AM

    Labour has a system whereby if an MP retires, the constituency party is supposed to instigate an all women shortlist process to replace them. So what’s this I hear that Leyton & Wanstead is being targeted by Mr Jack Harman (nee Dromey) who is desperate to join his wife in the Commons. And who oversees the whole process? Why, the chairwoman of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman herself. How convenient.

    If Labour think they can parachute any old party hack into Leyton & Wanstead they would do well to remember the Leyton by-election of 1965. In that year, Foreign Secretary Patrick Gordon Walker, who had lost his seat the year before, tried to re-enter Parliament in a “safe seat”. He ended up losing by 205 votes to the Conservatives. Tony Blair once said history rarely repeats itself. Let’s see whether he was right…

  35. Hello All, off topic…

    I’m after a second hand color TV.

    Does anyone have one they want to clear out, or possibly sell for a small fee?

    The green has gone on our current TV. Purple is taking over.

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