Graphic design, parks, pubs, post office

Hello everyone. Quite a mixed bag of stuff to get through with this one, so I’ll crack on.

How would you visually represent SE5? One of the students at the College of Arts has had a go.

Visual representation of SE5

As reported in comments on the previous post, part of Lucas Gardens has been saved from being sold off to developers, as the College is said to have bought South House. I went to a Halloween party in East House on Saturday night; apologies to the neighbours.

Here’s something topical: Camberwell post office (“grungey and dispiriting”) used as an illustration of why bonuses are not always deserved.

Also topical: the murderer of a man who was stabbed to death near his home, on Coldharbour Lane, was sentenced to a minimum 30 years in prison last week. He sounds like a proper nasty bastard, so: good.

Has everyone taken a look at NickW’s proposal to split traffic around Camberwell Green and pedestrianise the end of Church Street? There doesn’t seem to be much there to argue about, IMHO, and it’s good enough to at least serve as the start of a conversation.

Finally, I have a special offer for everyone; my first ever, I believe. The Grand Union are set to open in the former Grove this week, and are having a launch party on Thursday 5th (there will be some free drinks, I believe).

They’re keen to get the hyper-critical readers of this blog on their side, so have offered me the following deal: anyone who presents a print-out of this blog post to the manager gets 2‑for‑1 on main meals — and this deal is valid for the whole of November. That’s pretty good, right? I’m sure there should be some terms and conditions to this deal, but there don’t seem to be, so knock yourselves out.

I wish they’d kept the Grove name, though; a pub’s name is its heritage.

Author: Peter

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

65 thoughts on “Graphic design, parks, pubs, post office”

  1. Can’t wait for GU. Love that they are in “Camberwell Grove” instead of just plain old “Camberwell”. Don’t blame them!

  2. I am near the end of my tether with the transport. It took me 1hr50mins to get to Oxford St today. I could’ve walked it quicker. No buses to start with, then Walworth Rd a total write-off. Everyone got off and walked. Then the Tube palaver.

    They’ve been going for a while, but if you haven’t noticed yet: MAJOR and ongoing congestion at Elephant roundabout both ways due to roadworks. Avoid avoid avoid.

    Nice work on the 2–4‑1 meal deal. I look forward to reviewing the place!

  3. The problem seems to be roadworks on the road leading off the Elephant to Kennington, which transmits south down Walworth Road. It was jammed from Kings to the Elephant today at around 9.

  4. I was stuck on Walworth his morning too, one of the very rare mornings I had to take public transport to pick up my scooter from the garage. An hour and twenty minutes from Coldharbour Lane to Blackfriars Road left me grateful it was a one-off. Bus lanes just don’t work as well in practice as they do in theory.

  5. That poster looks quite striking but I fear it may be a load of old nonsense.

    Surely the Camberwell circle should enclose Denmark Hill and the cross for the Art College?

  6. Yeah, that poster does look daft and inaccurate. Text looks too small and tight too, though it’s a tricky brief. Sorry, son. As the Pink Floyd song goes — wro-ong, do it again! To be nicer, I do quite like the film quote posters he did.

    Sorry to be a grouch. Got the prospect of a long commute back home on kerapp transport. Son, pack in graphic design and study transport management. We need you.

  7. Walworth Road traffic certainly was appalling today, first time I’ve used a peak time bus on that route for months, and the last for a while. I walked half the way to E&C.

    I agree that the Grand Union name is a shame. The Grand Union canal has many merits, but proximity to Camberwell (sorry, Camberwell Grove), isn’t one of them.

  8. I also used walworth road peak time public transport this am. Horrible. I ended up walking across walworth to kennington tube station. I called TFL when i got to work and suggesed the waterworks company puts a temporary traffic light in place or make a temporary box junction at newington butts to allow walworth traffic to flow.

  9. Am greatly looking forward to the Grand Union opening — if it’s anything like as good as the one on Acre Lane between Brixton/ Clapham it’ll be a cracking venue. That one has a fantastic beer garden with Thai style huts at the back which you can hire. And a big screen on the back of the pub which shows films.

  10. I have a few points to make on the above:

    Walworth is a great place. Walworth Road can be a bugger but the answer is to CYCLE.

    The CG project looks interesting. Will it mean al fresco Noodels?

    There is a GU in Kennington and I’m not that keen. I find the whole principle of ‘chain’ pubs all wrong. Especially when the name bears no relation to the place. A shame.

    Anyone here read ‘Real England’ by Paul Kingsnorth? Superb book.

  11. Looks like Camberwell Tandoori, formerly Spice of Life, has closed. That’s a real shame. The one time I went it was good, and much better than Safa.

    On a curry note I’ve previously bigged up Chatkhara near Elephant but would now like to retract its Michelin star.

    Hygiene there was never great but last time it worried even me, and I survived street food in Calcutta. Also the naan was rubbish and the tikka blitzed in the microwave. Still a great curry though.

  12. I had a peek through GU window. Some funky lamps and wallpaper and some neon signs. The high tables with stools seem to remain.

  13. The Silver Buckle has a sign in the window giving notice of change to the facade (doors and windows) and the toilets. George Canning has refurb work going on too.

    I hope both get the proper investment they need, instead of just a bit of cosmetic work.

  14. Two refurbed venues. Talk about V shaped recovery.

    I am really missing the Buckle.. Just hope they keep some of the old vibe.

  15. Sometimes that is the case! Their lamb curries and biryani are great though. Like some of the Tooting canteens. Stonking value too.

  16. Neither George Canning or Silver Buckle will get the improvements they need, I guarantee it. There will be cosmetic improvements to customer areas. Behind the scenes will be as slum as ever.

  17. I thought graphic designers avoided Helvetica these days.

    We burned a large section of a very solid mahogany bar top from the Grove on our open fire. We were thinking of using it in the reclaimed-wood spaceship we’re building in the back yard. A spaceship should have a bar, it’s a long way to the moon. But were were cold one night. Now we’re looking for a nice piece of teak.

    “The Surrey Canal” would have been a more apt name for the Grove, but not as apt as “The Grove”.

  18. Grand Union looked great and the folk were nice. I’ll be spending much more time in there than I did the Grove. Handy, given that it’s my local.

    They’ve still got Bombardier on pump and good lagers on tap — a welcome alternative to the Fosters/Kronenbourg axis of evil.

    Nice cocktail list for those that way inclined. Though the slickly prepared (and tasted that way they do using a straw) mojito was sickly sweet. Has anyone ever heard a cocktail mixer admit “no, that one’s crap. I’ll start again” by the way? Didn’t check out the wine list.

    Would have, nay needed to, try the grub but they weren’t serving any. Fair enough as it was their first night.

    They’ve done well and I hope they do well out of it. Ideally it will lead to increased traffic as opposed to customers disappearing from other joints.

  19. Was at the Grand Union as well last night and was impressed as well. Very friendly staff and the place was buzzing when I arrived just after 9pm. The complimentary cocktails were tasty and the decor was nice — they’ve got some comfy looking leather booths.
    Spoke to one of the bar staff and apparently the kitchen will be open tonight so I might pop to take up their 2–4‑1 food offer.
    Didn’t recognise too many faces there (besides Mark checking out the competition), so hopefully, as copeywolf says, it may attract those who might normally drink in Dulwich or the like.

  20. GU brilliant! Will eat there soon — and told no need to print out blog as 2 for 1 is general offer for all.

  21. Forgot to mention, I wandered past the Silver Buckle last night and had a close look at the change in facade notice in the window.
    The applicant is Antic Ltd which should be good news for Camberwell as they have a decent selection of pubs in their stable. If they manage to do a good job of the refurb, that corner of the Green could actually be be a bit more welcoming — I was always too scared to venture into the Buckle.
    Coupled with the Grand Union opening, could this mean that Camberwell is on the up?


    The decor of the Grand Union is sumptuously raffish in a Rafflesish, Singaporean style, with its fancy oriental fans spread out on the walls and fantasy Edwardian ladies ditto, their lush limbs contained tastefully in frames.

    This is, one may aver, a Sarah Watering hole, a Wilde place, a wonderful come-hither to a whole world of oral, amoral, abnormal, aberrant, transigent and transgressive mortal pleasures.

    That’s it!

    One thinks at once of the Raffles Hotel, named after Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, who is rightly to be confused with Arthur J. Raffles the Edwardian gentleman thief, creation of “Willie” Hornung, who was at Uppingham under the distinguished headmaster Edward Thring and who based his raffish character Raffles on the ebulliently unashamed early gay rights activist, George Ives, to whom homage is due, hommage en tout.

    The shadows gather!

    The Grand Union is a somnolently, insouciantly pleasing place to haunt, especially on a dark November night, the predominantly orange and red light reminding one of how it must surely have felt — so to speak — felt like velvet — in the blood-red womb, as Freud must have fancied, though this womb is lavishly louche and entirely suited to the pleasure-seekers of Camberwell, who, after all, live precariously on the edge of virtually everything, either in the promising twilight or exhausted dawn of being.

    The language of fans is fascinating.

    One wafts this way, this spells “I may”, one waves it another, the display says “Get thither”.

    This is a far cry from the “language of fans” at Millwall and from all the medocrity of the modern, call-me-Dave age. The Grand Union will surely see all kinds of unions formed, fleshly or otherwise, fantasies enacted, bonds contracted and exhilaratingly broken and urgently refastened.

    Fans of the Trollettes at the old Union Tavern will not be disappointed. The Grand Union is luxuriantly, tastefully, capriciously and utterly camp.

    We have a new mood amongst us. As soon as we step gingerly into the camellia-crimson gaslight glow, we are transported, by jingo, to the time of the Edwardian dandies, knuts, rorty plungers, cads and mashers like the Marquis of Camberwell Green himself.

    Unleash the purple hounds of Lethe!

    Well done, Grand Union. Grand job. What a blast!

  23. Nice to know Camberwell is having a good recession and things are looking up. Any news on the Noodel signage or am I going to have to action my plan to vandalise it?

  24. Noddle sign will, no doubt, take a long time to alter.

    Silver Buckle — a rumour has become fact — Antic Ltd — they of East Dulwich Tavern and other fine hostelries — are about to take it on. Camberwell is indeed beginning to enjoy a recession renaissance.

    The Nag’s Head on Camberwell Road opposite Edwards is being evicted on Monday morning.

    Apologies for the late reconfirmation of Antic Ltd taking on the Buckle — didn’t see the post above confirming the same.

    Grand Union good night, think the music could have been less intrusive for the open day… One of my former staff manages their Shepherd’s Bush venue and had a good chat with Richard their marketing chap and met Rose the new manager. A good addition to Camberwell.

    Hubert send me Harry’s details!

  25. Checked out Grand Union at the weekend. The chintzy decor was OK and using such dark paint really shrinks the place and makes it a bit cosier than it was, though perhaps it’ll be too dark and gloomy in the day.

    The real change is all the leather booths, which I quite liked. Though if a couple is sat squarely in one then it’s also quite a bit of space closed off to other drinkers — unless you ask them to move over.

    Beers etc as before. Look forward to trying the big range of burgers. Looks like a useful addition to the Camberwell food scene.

    Anyway, it was the busiest I’ve seen it on Sat night but it was still quite empty and the snug was deserted. Bouncers on the door. What for? I can’t help thinking they’re expecting bigger crowds than can ever fill it.

    It’s frustrating because I went to Brixton last week midweek and the pubs we went to — Mango Landing and White Horse — were completely packed. No seats, long waits at the bar etc, lots of youngish professionals about.

    To me, GU follows quite a common and popular pub theme that has worked well elsewhere — just look at the weekend crowds at The Florence and The Prince Regent in Herne Hill. But I just can’t see Camberwell ever getting those numbers.

    Anyway, I’m glad GU is here and I’ll be going more often. After three years of steady support and a few grand spent, I’m a bit bored of the Hermit. The Castle isn’t q comfy enough, and the indoor seating at Le PP is offputting. See you at the GU.

  26. The Florence in Herne Hill is just about as good as a pub of its type can get. Only the Sun and Doves can compare locally, although beer at the Florence is a notch above. Peter has cited HH as a model of development for Camberwell (what with its useful parade of station proximate shops) and I think he’s right.

    Hoopers in the southern recesses of SE5 seldom gets a shout on here. A truly lovely back street boozer, with a jaw droppingly good beer selection. It even does mild.

  27. I saw adverts up in the windows of Angles and Gypsies for waiters/waitresses and a manager. Could it be that the tapas bar will open soon…?

  28. Camberwell Grove should go back to 2‑for‑1 pizza.

    Hoopers is good for beer. It’s more of an ahh-that’s-a-nice-pint-lad sort of pub. Not exactly happenin’ or buzzin’as such.

    £4 a pint now in the Crown & Greyhound in Dulwich Village. Remember your hunting jacket, what.

  29. I saw the ads for that Tapas place too. I’ve been mailing them on and off since we moved to Camberwell (2.5 years ago!) and keep being told they are opening ‘in a couple of months’.
    Hopefully they finally are — I’ll definitely be a regular (if the food’s good).

  30. @Peter and @ RobP Well, I’m not holding my breath but it would be good to see it open fully at last.

    BTW, I went to Silk Road on Saturday night. I found it as others have reported — interesting, not your run-of-mill Chinese stuff, full of flavour and at decent prices. I’ll be returning.

  31. I went past The George Canning yesterday — it looks very demure with it’s traditional mint green style sign and fresh new paintjob…I never liked the old dark blue one with gold lettering…I hope The Silver Buckle gets a good makeover — I’m a genuine believer in colour and good design being a genuine conduit for a higher standard of behaviour…

    The Florence in Herne Hill is a good pub but a little unfair to point out the beer is better than Sun & Doves — Mark would definetely like to stock his own choice but has his hands tied on that — as he has mentioned many times before…

    Camberwell is definetely looking up…all we need now is a cinema/arts space…

    I shall be keeping a beady eye on the Gala Bingo Hall/Old Cinema — with internet Bingo all the rage it’s only a matter of time before it closes…

    Who is up for helping make a claim on the place before the inevitable “Blessed Celestial Church of The Rapacious One-Eyed Capitalist With BTEC in Business Studies” picks it up for tuppence and a pork pie?

    Some good links here to show what can be done… (Save Walthamstow EMD Cinema)

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