A Community Cinema for Camberwell?

Hello there, and yet another post by another guest poster. Apologies for the very long post but just couldn’t get it any shorter.

As many of you will no doubt have heard by now the former cinema and bingo hall has been bought by Merinbrand (whoever they are) on behalf of (we assume) the Redeemed Christian Church of God or RCCG for short. We believe that contracts have been exchanged but completion is not due to take place until the beginning of March. The chances of us stopping the sale are slim, but I do not think that should prevent us from trying.

We started a campaign this Monday to try and get more information and transparency over the sale of the building by Gala Bingo. Last week I was told that the information was confidential and that I would have to wait until the sale had gone through. I think it is safe to assume that they were a little surprised at how quickly we managed to gather the troops, and very soon after our photo in front of the cinema today we had the head of PR sending out emails absolving themselves of all responsibility and hanging the new (potential) owners out to dry.

This is thanks to people like Victor, a.k.a. Eusebiovic, who set up a Facebook page which has nearly 200 fans already and is growing by the second. Also thanks go to Copeywolf (James), Liliana of PROS,Melanie Rimmer of Camberwell Arts and last but not least Mark Dodds and Barbara Pattinson from the SE5 forum for all their help. I have created a website (www.CamberwellCommunityCinema.webs.com) for the campaign to keep the cinema for the community and I have no idea where all you people are coming from but the response has been (almost) unanimous against having RCCG move in.

I think this is a real chance for Camberwell to come together as a community. And I don’t just mean those who use the internet. I mean all those who loved the bingo and now have to go to Surrey Quays (because that’s convienient). I mean all those for whom Christianity is not their religion. I mean all the artists looking for a space. I mean something to stop Time Out banging out yet another edition about the “great” East End. I mean all those who want Camberwell to have a focal point we can be proud of.

RCCG will have to change the commercial use from D2 (Cinema, music and concert halls) to D1 (Places of worship and Church Halls). This is where we as a community come in. We cannot let this happen. There are so many reasons why this should not be allowed. So, write to your MP, write to your councillors. Tell the press, tell Boris. Shout it out. Email your friends. Join the facebook page. Tell your friends to join the facebook page. Write to famous Camberwellians. Make people notice. MAKE A FUSS!

To be fair I think most councillors are firmly behind us and John Friary has been helping already to ask questions. There is a Camberwell Community Council meeting next Wednesday 3rd March at 7pm at Southwark Town Hall. Please go. We need to let Southwark Council know that Camberwell matters. We need them to stop palming us off with disjointed plans which come to nothing. On top of that, there is an election coming up. That should concentrate the mind wonderfully!

We will be getting some posters to put around Camberwell. I will put them on the website for you to download and print off. Stick them on windows of shops. Talk to your neighbours.


Camberwell deserves better.


a.k.a. Monkeycat.

206 thoughts on “A Community Cinema for Camberwell?”

  1. Tom

    Great Post…I can’t believe how fast we are moving but I’m more than delighted and heartened at the response so far from everyone involved…it’s amazing!

    Once the poster becomes prominent in Camberwell and the South London Press story comes out, and the facebook and website gets more popular then this thing will really start to roll!

    There is a lot of goodwill towards Camberwell, we often underestimate it…I think the main reason for that is our fatigue and frustration at our main local Council who seem to take literally the “All’s Well in Camberwell” inscribed on the coat of arms on the facade of the Town Hall building — and consistently overlook what is directly on their doorstep.

    So many people live,work,study and pass through here and they all realise the potential…I think the reason for that is because once upon a time that potential was fulfilled and was an actual reality. Most possibly, London biographer/writer Peter Ackroyd could be able to explain it far better than myself.

    And yes, I long for the day when I can open the Time Out magazine and read all about how great they think our Cinema/Cultural/Community Centre really is…also what a fine place Camberwell is to spend an afternoon or evening and visit all our Bars,Cafes,Pubs and Restaurants and watch Dulwich Hamlet F.C and knew it all along before everybody else…because they are the coolest cats and have their fingers on the pulse of London!

    See You All Very Soon,


  2. sg

    If you scroll down Tom’s (a.k.a monkeycat) original post then you will see the link to the website and then follow the instructions…particularly the template letter to all our Local Councillors,M.P’s,Cabinet Members and even our Major Mr.Boris Johnson!

    There is also a facebook link, so if you haven’t joined make sure you do this and recommend us to all your friends,family and work colleagues etc…





  3. Get copying, cutting, pasting and tapping away people. This is too good an opportunity for Camberwell to miss. Why could there not be part use for a church in a community wide arts and culture centre?

  4. Googling around RCCG, I came across this link which suggests there were a couple of similar applications in Crystal Palace and Penge. A comment on the link suggests one at least was blocked. Worth contacting to see what lessons might be learnt?


    As for the RCCG, I’m assuming a majority of people in the area, and one would hope local councillors, would raise an eyebrow about some of their beliefs and practices.

    See here — http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/12/13/london-mayor-draws-fire-for-attending-crazy-exorcist%E2%80%99s-christmas-carol-service/

  5. And according to the wiki page their goals are:

    1. To make heaven.
    2. To take as many people as possible with them.
    3. To have a member of RCCG in every family of all nations.
    4. To have a parish in every 5mins walking distance and 5mins drive in every city of the world.

    I will follow with interest RCCG’s efforts to break into the Saudi Arabian religious “market” as they strive to have a presence in “every city of the world”.

    Ambitious is the nicest word I can think of that describes their expansion plans.


  6. you guys are really out of your mind to even think of stopping a church from taking over the hall, what is the problem with you guys, can you buynthe place why not shut up and let the church (RCCG) alone.

  7. if you guys want to go to your early graves then keep on disturbing the church. i bet you guys will not last long.

  8. We should definately embrace the RCCG, what could be of more benefit than another on of the ubiquitous places of worship pedalling narrow minded views, basing their whole outlook on life on a piece of fiction?



  9. Power to the people!

    Speaking of which has anyone tried the new free 545 bus service along Coldharbour Lane?

    Its come about because of the closure of the road at Hinton Road which means that double deckers have to be diverted via Herne Hill and Denmark Hill (adding 30+ minutes to journeys) Enough people protested to TfL and Valerie Shawcross, GLA member for Southwark/Lambeth and she has got Tfl to introduce the single decker service free of charge — 5 buses an hour 4:30 am — midnight. Not bad

    See http://www.valshawcross.com/index.php?id=78&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=504&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=2&cHash=ba89671d58

  10. @ Silkyfunz: We are happy to have your comments, but please do not make any more violent threats.

    I have deleted the comment because it is not appropriate in this discussion.

    Please keep it clean and polite.

    The same goes to anybody else thinking of making comments that attack others.

    Attacking people because of their religious beliefs is not going to help. It will do nothing more that polarise the community.

    Also Silkyfunz, I am not against the RCCG, but I do want the building to be as inclusive as possible and I am not convinced that a church is totally inclusive to the community as a whole.

    It is such a large and important building that it is not simply a question of a private sale. There is a much wider public interest at heart.

    I am sure that had we been given the opportunity we would have happily made an offer to buy it.

    However, we would like to be able to discuss things in an honest and open manner.

  11. “if you guys want to go to your early graves then keep on disturbing the church. i bet you guys will not last long.”

    Wishing you all the best too slikyfunz.

    This is not an anti-faith campaign. As has already been said, it is a campaign against the loss of an important local landmark building that could serve the community as a whole, irrespective of backgrounds and beliefs. And it does not need to be at the expense of RCCG’s expansion plans.

    Hardly cause for large-scale premature death, in my opinion.

  12. anyone know what happened on corner of camberwell new rd/camberwell green — iron railings all broken, theres police tape around bits, looks quite savage (as in something massive/heavy must’ve caused it)?

  13. The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, God has a need for the building and He is going to have come what may, because He owns everything. The church is up for peace and it is only a people filled with the spirit of God that can help improve and better the community and world a large

  14. Omo Jesu,

    phew, I’m just glad he didn’t have a need for the old Silver Buckle then.

    Looking forward to it opening as the Tiger — anyone going tonight??

    Another place of people filled with spirit .. but probably from Diageo rather than your bloke — but they should also help improve and better the community, given time.

    Might pop along and have a peak.

  15. Perhaps we should keep religion and football out of this. For instance, just because Catholic Celtic had a black hero goalscoring god from protestant Sweden in the form of Henry Larrson doesn’t mean that they’re not infinitely more broad-minded than those limited, hobbling bigots from Rangers.

    Let peace rain.

  16. Henry Larrson! Come on, let’s ‘ave a larf. Henrik Larrson, that should be. Or Thierry Henry, maybe, or Lenny Henry — he’d get it.

    The wooden play structures in both Lucas and Warwick Gardens are coming along well — the fellows building them are working in all weathers and the wheel tracks in the mud of Lucas look like something out of the First World War.



    We should all embrace rich diversity — and dem churchery are rich, except for the poor old C of E whose clergy are as poor as church mice.

    Our two cats got a mouse this morning and shared it. Spring is near.

    Come on Camberwell, we can handle it.

  17. I would like to appeal to everybody who wishes to post on this board/blog that I am totally against insulting comments that are nothing more than mean spirited and spiteful…It’s not helpful, under any circumstances.


    The point of the campaign and the reason why I was enthusiastic and motivated to try and encurage others to get the ball rolling and assist was this:

    1) GalaCoral — Closed down the bingo hall at extremely short notice and in their questionable wisdom decided to sell the building to a private bidder — without at the very least, being gracious enough to consult the local community at large.

    2) We know that a Christian Evangelical Church (RCCG) have won the closed bid to use the building for the foreseeable future.

    — They may have purchased it
    — They may be renting it
    — They may be using the building free of charge, while a property developer sits on their investment and allows the building to deteriorate and gives them an excuse to ask permission to demolish and re-develop the land.

    These are all potential scenarios and are avenues that we have to assertain the information to.

    It’s not particularly helpful to make flippant,ill-judged,sweeping statements concerning the religious practices of West African nations particularly when our collective knowledge is basic and rudimentary of the actual situation. I am though absolutely convinced that there are a significant number of individuals from that part of the world who question certain dubious religious practices themselves.

    We have to inform ourselves of the beliefs,practices and mandate of the (RCCG)and their credibility as an organization — maybe they are genuine, maybe not, we don’t yet know for sure.

    Only when this has been done can we present this information to facilitate our Local Councillors and MP’s (who already, in principle we have support from) to make a decision whether (RCCG) would be of benefit to the Camberwell Community — at large.

    4) It is the last cinema/theatre building left in Camberwell and it’s Grade II listed with English Heritage. At least one Grade II listed Cinema has already been lost (Camberwell Odeon r.i.p 1994) and doubtless there were many others which were not discovered or listed in good time to prevent their loss.

    Good, I drink my tea.

    Keep it positive!

    Kind Regards

    Victor (Eusebiovic)

  18. “The church is up for peace”. That’s more like it, Omo Jesu. Good to hear from you. Please remind slikyfunz of this (assuming he doesn’t want us to die prematurely in a peaceful way).

    Your church is welcome. But please remember that many potential brothers and sisters would dearly like the Cinema as a hub for the whole community, as it has been all along. There is enough real estate around here to accommodate everybody.

  19. A cinema as a pub, exactly, like the ‘Spoons in Forest Hill. A pub is a broad church, in that even us ugliest broads look nice after a few gargles. Ha-ha-harrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Ah, perspective and distortion. For some reason I was reminded today of that most moving scene in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, when the fallen angel

    “Looks down in wonder at the sudden view
    Of all this world at once…”

  20. guys let me tell you something that you dont know. the building has already being dedicated to God and so there is nothing you can do about it, you just have to accept it that is the truth what ever is dedicated to God no one tempers with it. go and read your bible when the philistines tempered with the ark of God what happened to them? i am a member of the church the branch at peckham rye lane, there is nothing that can be done the building belongs to (RCCG).

  21. Its a shame that people in a country founded on believe in God and who have become so great by it now turn their back on God and think it was all by their knowledge and power.
    So many things happen to our children and we hear evil report in the news daily but we do not take time to think of how things went wrong.
    The presence of a church in this community will actually help develop and increase the level of peace, reducing violence crime and untoward behavior in our children.
    And some one antagonizes it. if you dont consider that God in his mercy sees it fit to help you solve that which your ideals have not been able to solve by bringing a church to the community. please think again.

  22. hey Guyz.…
    c’mon lets give them a break {church people}
    Their God i was told is fierceful in battle,eventhough though He could be Prince of Peace. Dont you Guyz know no man can win a war with GOD !!!!
    ” HIS ” track records speaks for itself
    Do YOU not know that HE owns the keys to the heARTS OF KINGS AND PRINCES.….

    AND ALWAYS FEEL FREE TO COME HAVE A CUP OF TEA @ THE old bingo { dat sounds like a name of a dog } lol

    pls move on people !!!!!

  23. i don’t like the tone of this plan to oppose a religious organisation called RCCG. i learnt that they have been a part of the community for the past 21yrs.
    The Islamic league are planning to join them in voicing out their concerns. We need peace not bombs in camberwell. This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance and THEY must BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS.……UP WHITE SUPREMACY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. There’s need for everyone to understand that the greatest ‘benefit’ is for Almighty God to come and dwell amongst you all in camberwell.

    1. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it ‑Psalm 24 vs 1

    2. Everything on earth exists for God Almighty and even through Him all things exist also ‑Hebrews 2 vs 10

    3. The property in question will be a place of worship and the name of the MOST HIGH GOD will surely be honoured and God Himself will come amongst you all and bless you. So I believe everyone should be glad about this init-Exodus 20 vs 24b

    4.Finally, we are a peace-loving people and it’s reflected in our doctrine of peace which CHRIST JESUS(who’s coming back)teaches us. Therefore, ALL ARE INVITED AND WELCOME @ the house of God ‑Act 10 vs 34

    Thank you for your time.

  25. This is hard to keep up with. Can I sum it up thus: the RCCG already own the joint but don’t have the right planning permission, and that’s what we’re hoping to change.

    Good luck anyway. You have my support, though I don’t do Facebook.

    So who’s who in that photo then?

    I’ll try The Tiger ASAP. It looks completely unfinished from the outside though. They must need the cashflow.

    Pizza lovers don’t forget that Bar Story and Il Giardino opposite both do pizzas. Gia’s were OK. Not tried BStory’s.

  26. A warm welcome to those members of this marvellous church’s congregation. This moment is very special for Camberwell. Our shared concerns that the future of the bingo hall should benefit the whole community is bringing together many people an exciting opportunity to meet and get to know each other for the first time.

    The advantage you guys from the church have over all the rest of us put together — and this includes all those thousands of people who used the building as a bingo venue for decades — the main advantage you have in this situation is that you knew the building was going to be sold — while we — none of us — knew nothing. NOTHING AT ALL.

    ‘WE’ is a difficult thing to describe, partly because many of ‘YOU’ the congregation are probably are part of ‘we’, who are people who live love and work and play in Camberwell. People who grew and are growing up here, people who moved here, who chose to lay down roots here. People who bring up their children here, go to school here, expect and hope to see Camberwell become a competent community for the benefit of everyone. People who either through birth, heritage or by choice live here to whom Camberwell is their downtrodden home. A home many of them already feel excluded from because there is so little in it which offers them anything of sustenance. People who used the bingo hall are bereft, they have nowhere to go, people who did not use the bingo hall were already bereft.

    It is likely though that members of your congregation naturally fall into this ‘we’ whereas ‘we’ are not part of your congregation.

    ‘WE’ are the thousands who live and work in Camberwell and have NOWHERE where we can visit, meet, see and share expressions of our various cultural heritages. This ‘we’ is the Camberwell community that has no civic hall or shared congregational facility, nowhere to celebrate our diversity, the richness of our backgrounds, cultures and life experiences.

  27. I don’t have a lot of time for the Bible, but let’s not forget it helped with the intro for the Iron Maiden classic, The Number of the Beast.

    Let’s all be thankful for that. Praise be!

    Gonna have to Youtube it right now. Great song.

  28. Jesus Reigns and Yum Yum make a good team. Let us not forget that we also have the Gnostic Center here on Denmark Hill Road. No-one has ever opposed that, I don’t know why, they don’t know why, no-one knows why the Gnostic Center is here, is not opposed — the whole thing is a mystery!

    That chief chap from the Odeon was on the Home Service this morning. He said that in the last 40 years, the number of cinemas has halved. That cinema bingo hall is a big place to run. Why have not the Odeon or other big boys taken on the big cinema? The chap talked about DVDs being available early in the cycle, all that.

    The Church of the Latter Rain Outpouring Revival have been doing particularly well in Coplestone Road. Some people say this is to do with the iceberg the size of Luxembourg that has broken off and is interfering with the production of bottom water which will make winters in the north colder and wetter. But they would wouldn’t they?

    Jesus rains on the vainglorious, whoever they are.

    Well done Yum Yum and Jesus Reigns. It is great to have fresh voices here. There is more to life in Camberwell than discussing the merits of langoustines and croutons!

  29. ‘We’ all need to take ownership over this rare — no — this unique opportunity that is in front of all of us.

    The people of Camberwell have been ‘consulted’ for decades about what is needed for their area while their local amenities, services, shopping facilities, social comforts and public environment has slowly fallen into decline, neglected eroded and eaten away as the result of changing political priorities, ignored by local authorities whose concerns are perennially focused deeper in their geographical spheres.

    Camberwell NEEDS, truly desperately, a high quality mixed use multi cultural hub that can address many of the huge gaps there are in general provision and amenity for the local population.

    A great amount of this could be achieved in this one building — and there is nowhere else like it anywhere nearby. The last opportunity anything like this was lost thirty years ago. This is the only opportunity the people of Camberwell will have for at least another thirty years.

    ‘WE’ and this is all ‘we’ s MUST get together and make a positive solution come out of this unique cultural opportunity which will benefit us ALL. Christian, other faith, and secular fellowships alike.

    SE5 Forum is the right vehicle for substantial local change and the place a competent solution can be worked through.

  30. Robert said:

    i don’t like the tone of this plan to oppose a religious organisation called RCCG. i learnt that they have been a part of the community for the past 21yrs.
    The Islamic league are planning to join them in voicing out their concerns. We need peace not bombs in camberwell. This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance and THEY must BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS.……UP WHITE SUPREMACY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have never heard this kind of language or suggestion on this forum, and if it did I would hope that it would quickly be deleted by those with responsibility for moderation. Incidentally, have you any idea what national or ethnic background the people who are posting here are from? Finally, if this Church has been part of the community for 21 years, yet the community is still plagued with problems of poverty and violence, perhaps it’s time to try something different.

  31. A church is part of a community. I am very sure the people of camberwell will enjoy the new development if only you will allow it. It is for the people.
    Trust me, that the development will increase employment in this area and also it will be a family home where we all have fun together in His presence. Christianity is FUN and I bet it,you will enjoy it.


  32. Here’s a lovely comment that someone called Gerry Ewan just left on Facebook

    For a community to survive, it needs inclusive meeting places. We complain when villages lose their amenities but the same applies to districts in cities — which, historically, often began as villages.
    I speak as a Christian — I’m well aware of the need for churches! — but any building will do as a place of worship.

  33. @James J. Sounds like Robert is just a wind-up merchant aka ‘troll’. Ignore it.

    Your other point is interesting. My guess, and it is only a guess, would be that the fine people who have taken the time to post here over the years are generally white and British.

    Though sg is Aussie, right? And Dagmar may be Danish?

    I would add that many posters here are ‘educated’ and there are some ‘middle class’ aspirationals here for sure, and I stand with them. Age is more difficult to nail down. I thought there’d be some younger faces in the photo above.

    White and ‘middle class’ makes the blog posters here just another minority community in this area.

    I’d add too that I tick a box ‘Other’ or ‘Mixed’.

  34. I was brought up in Nigeria on a Christian missionary school compound. I’m white, middle class, atheist humanist in receipt of working family tax credits with nowhere to go.

  35. @Robert. Nice point, well made. FWIW my white middle class leanings mean I have more affinity with those that see the need for a mixed use venue of benefit to the whole community. I applaud those making an effort to try to influence that.

  36. i dont understand what the problem is with you guys expecially @roberts talking about religious war it is a pitty you dont know what you wish for your self when religious war will start i dont even percive you surviving it so stop talkin about that you say white suprimacy where are the whites that africans and asians are taking over your so called home office. let the church be, if you need the building desperately then buy it from the church they will sell it to you if your offer is good enough but idont think so even your fourth and fifth generation will not make up half of the money.

  37. @silkyfunz — I think you misunderstood Robert’s post. Robert is pro the purchase by the Church and was accusing those who want a mixed-use cultural venue of engaging in a religious war. I absolutely refute this. There are no posts talking about ‘religious war’ by people campaigning for a venue that can be used by the whole community including church-goers. If you have a problem with that kind of language Robert used, you need to address this to Robert and no one else.

  38. pls james j. this are the exact words of roberts.

    This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance and THEY must BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS.……UP WHITE SUPREMACY!!!!!!!!!!

    so dont think i got him wrong i got him perfectly right. what is the meaning of

    “This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance and THEY must BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS.……UP WHITE SUPREMACY!!!!!!!!!!”

    pls explain it to me expecially “this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance and THEY must BE STOPPED BY ALL MEANS.……UP WHITE SUPREMACY!!!!!!!!!!”

    it then we are also talkin about racism in this modern world. he is a racist, he is lucky i dont know him he would exlained to the security agency what he means by that.

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