Happy Chinese New Year

This is my first post for Camberwell Online. I’m one of an elite (read: small) gang of Camberwellians pitching in here while Peter takes a well-earned break. I’ve been an avid reader of this blog and I hope my (uninformed) ramblings are as interesting as Peter’s.

Today is Chinese New Year as well as Saint Valentine’s Day. We don’t celebrate this Hallmark holiday in the Cookson household so I’ll be spending an unromantic evening in one of Camberwell’s fine establishments nursing a few pints of old man ale.

In the Chinese calendar 2010 is the year of the tiger, which perhaps bodes well for the opening of The Tiger (nee The Oberon), formally The Silver Buckle. After revealing the original façade during reconstruction, Antic have decided to retain the original name. I’ll be eager to see what it’s like when it opens on 25 Feb, but if their other pubs (EDT at Goose Green, Dogstar in Brixton, Royal Albert at Deptford) are anything to go by this should be a good addition to Camberwell. Sadly it’s tied to Scottish and Newcastle (boo hiss) which means inflated beer prices, but I hear that’s true of many of the pubs around here.

According to my sources the pub will aim to be as close to a “traditional pub” as possible with a focus on affordable, decent pub grub. I’m never quite sure what is meant by traditional but I wish them all the best. I hope to get some photos of the renovations up shortly. Perhaps Antic would like to offer some opening night freebies to the readers of this blog?

I also received an invitation to the release of the next stage of flats at “Camberwell Grove” (couldn’t they think of a better name?). From the marketing materials the prices seem to have fallen from almost £500,000 when the first properties were released to £400,000. Having looked around the original show flat I think they’re gorgeous, but I also think my £500,000 would be better spent on a house a few streets over.

I was very excited to try Angels and Gypsies recently. The food was as good as the hype suggested but the bill was enormous. Admittedly we tried plenty of the more expensive things. My better half’s family are staying at the Church Street Hotel above in a few weeks, so I’ll hopefully get a chance to poke around the rooms and to also try their breakfast. I wish they’d open it up to non-residents as their breakfast sounds great. Which brings me on to a pet peeve: why does Johannson’s open at 10:30 for breakfast on a Saturday?

And finally, a quick question: can anybody recommend a good local bike shop for servicing? I usually do my own but I’m fed up of leaving everything squeakier than when I started. Wilson Cycles in Peckham? Edwardes in Camberwell?

So have a great night whether you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day or England’s close victory over the Italians.

40 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year”

  1. Wilsons in Peckham — nearer from our bit of Camberwell and the guys there are really chilled and friendly

  2. Wilson’s are great. Their work is impeckhamable, Rodney. You may have to wait a day or so though a lot of their work is easily same day. It is not always the fast food of cyclism, but if you respect them, they respect you. I had a bike fixed by ’em in an instant on Saturday.

    Wilson’s are top. Many people quibble about the 2 pee they have to fork out for their bike repairs, then hand over two thousand pounds for their Vulvas to be serviced or their GiT to be tinkered with.

    Well done, Graham. You are now a son, my man, of Camberwell.

    Bob’s Bikes just off the Walworth Road on John Ruskin Street are also incredibly good — skilled in bikery, jolly and positive, old school Walworth & Walworth-Turkish.

    The BBC Radio 3 thing they’re doing about Turkey is fab. The sooner Turkey is in the EU and showing Greece what to do, as usual, the better.

  3. Thanks for the post, Graham.

    Re: bike shops; I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Edwardes. Always had great service in there, and they’re more than happy to help out with urgent repairs at rush hour.

    As well as that they’ve a good long connection with the area going back to the beginning of the last century, and employ local kids to help out at the busy times.

  4. Wilsons are good, although struggle with major parts sometimes. Edwardes fantastic for parts. Good for part exchange deals on 2009 bikes too around this time. BC Bikes (ex-Balfe’s bikes) on Goose Green in East Dulwich really good now they’ve sorted their workshop out. All three a lot better than the major chains in central London.

  5. Edwardes is a classy bike shop whose range extends from the cheapest commuters and kiddies bikes to some high-end, lovely machines.

    Wilsons isn’t in the same league. However, they seem friendly and I’m sure they can do a basic service as well as anyone. Might be quicker and cheaper than Edwardes. I’d call both.

  6. Edwardes are good if you are buying a bike or looking for parts, but in my view Wilsons are much better for a bike service.

    Friendly and with a wealth of experience, they really know what they are doing in Wilsons. Until recently the repairs were carried out in the main part of the shop and watching the mechanic at work was an education.

    Best to get there early on a Saturday as you will then have a chance of picking it up later in the day: otherwise you may be bikeless for a few days if you can’t get there before their relatively early closing time (6pm I think). It might be worth buying your parts elsewhere though and getting them to fit them as their selection isn’t huge.

    Bikes that I have had serviced at Wilsons have worked better than new, whereas I’ve had to take some Edwardes serviced bikes back for a few extra tweaks.

  7. Several people I know — who don’t live in or near Camberwell
    — have mentioned that they’re going to try Angels & Gypses.

    I’m really glad. It proves if you have a well designed restaurant and great food, people will visit SE5 from anywhere. If you don’t manage to get a table, may I also mention The Bear for great food.

    Anyone know if there’s any progress on the rogue Noodel signage or is it still being contested in the european court of human rights?

  8. I can recommend Johnnies at 104 Coldharbour Lane for a good breakfast. It’s been expanded and refitted recently so tried it. Very good.

  9. Johnnie’s cafe has been and is, in my experience, excellent. Some people defer from my superior knowledge and experience and say Jungle Grill is better. Who am I to argue?

    I totally admire their refit and how they went about it — in the middle of a recession they expanded and upgraded their premises dramatically and stayed open throughout by sealing off bits of the premises so work could go on while serving their fare uninterrupted.

    Their approach to life and business is a model that would benefit most people if they could be bothered to take notice. This is a pic mid refurb:


  10. Meant to say Graham — well done for taking on the mantle of our leader Peter’s burden for the time being. You will be recognised in the annals of Camberwell.

    On the theme of refit while trading and business progress during recession. I’ve had some firm interest now on my proposal on the previous thread to make history by getting you lot, The Esteemed People of Camberwell, to buy one of your locals and purchase the freehold of The Sun and Doves. I need more interest to take it further and on the basis that threads move up and not everyone has the time to read all posts since their last visit, it’s likely that a lot of people will not have seen my proposal.

    Which is to buy the freehold of the pub from S&N and RBS and be free of the clutches of the beer tie and inflated rent and beer prices — the blight of the pub industry — and make the business fully what it’s never been able to be through lack of financial resources. It’s a long story but led me and Nicola, my business partner, to be founders of the Fair Pint Campaign http://www.fairpint.org which has rocked the pub industry boat this past two years.

    IN short, if you’re interested in having a share in the pub, which in essence would be like a savings account with a return (accountants must go over this thesis and the value of investments can go down as well as up) over time. Of course a pub is not a bank or a building society and the initial investment has to be paid back — without selling the business which is an issue. We can work it out with the accountants.

    If we took the idea to its fullest, we could buy CAMBERWELL and do a Passport to Pimlico for real.

    By the way email me on mark@​sunanddoves.​co.​uk of you want to know more…

  11. Importantly the ‘We Are Loughborough Junction’ exhibition this weekend went down like a storm (come to think of it what does that mean?).

    Something approaching 600 people came and walked around the exhibition route, filled in questionnaires and enjoyed seeing portraits of LBJ residents on display on the streets around the area.

    Fantastic job by everyone involved. A great example of what can be done when a few people get together to say ‘it can be better’.

    Conor and Paul main stars of the piece.


    Sorry about all these posts but sunanddoves email has been down for three days — back again now — it’s possible that messages have been lost so if you’ve emailed me since last Thursday with interest on the purchase of the pub and not got a reply, it’s because I didn’t get your message.

  12. Excellent portraits in the weareloughboroughjunction exhibition. well worth the 40mins it takes to wonder round. the larger ones are the perfect scale for street display. no45 at the end of southwell street has real impact. Also discovered http://www.whirledart.co.uk/cinema/ while walking round. Its a small private members cinema in the arches, they were busy with there staple guns making cushions for the bench seats when i looked in. Joint yearly membership is £40 and its got bar.

    Mark — I’ll email you directly about the freehold. The S&D wasn’t a deciding factor in moving to Camberwell but it was certianly one of the major benefits, think of its as the icing on the cake of our move to South London. My partner and I have made a decision to stay in the area and we want to get a bit more involved.

  13. Not another church. O Lord please no. I’m baffled by the sheer number of these churches. How do you choose one over another? Is there rivalry between them?

    Food reviews in the Standard x 2
    New evangelical churches x 1
    So, 2–1. We’re still winning people, but just.

  14. No planning application has been made for a change of use for the Gala Bingo site according to Southwark Council’s website, so if there are plans to turn it into a church then there is still plenty of time to oppose them

  15. Another church will set up there on the Gala site, to pray for the continued existence of amenities outside town centres, in Southwark. These churches are all doing God’s work in keeping valuable community sites out of the hands of the quick’n’dirty builders and the lobby fodder within the Council itself. Amen.

  16. Gala Bingo — we MUST must must work to make this site a cinema. Somehow.

    A lady called Veronica dropped this in at the Sun and Doves yesterday:

    “As a result of the emergency gas repairs on Coldharbour lane there is a small diversion of all transport near Loughborough Junction Station but as this involves going under two bridges which are not high enough for double decker buses to go under, Transport of London has stopped all buses going from Brixton to Camberwell via Coldharbour Lane/Gresham road (they are on diversion via Herne Hill).

    We are petitioning the London assembly to get Transport for London to provide
    A shuttle service of single decker buses between Brixton and Camberwell
    until the road works are completed (expected repair time six weeks).
    The petition has been registered and will be presented next Wednesday 25th February.

    WE need more signatures on the petition so please sign

    Look for them in bus shelters, some shops and carried by odd bods with clip boards.”

    There is a petition form at the Sun and Doves’ bar. Feel free to come in and sign any time before next Tuesday…

  17. I think there are strong grounds to oppose a change of use to a place of worship for the Gala Bingo site whether the decision is made under the current Southwark Plan or the forthcoming Core Strategy.

    It is a very large site in or very close to Camberwell town centre and therefore any change of use should be taken seriously. It’s loss as a retail or entertainment space would be a significant loss to the local community in terms of provision of jobs and providing a range of leisure activities. On the other hand, a cinema or theatre would fit perfectly with the aim to encourage Camberwell’s reputation for art and creativity. Cinema’s (but not theatres) actually fall into the same use class as bingo halls, so this would be perfect!

    The documents on the council’s website are difficult to use, so here are some extracts if you’re interested.

    Southwark Plan (currently in force)
    9.10 Camberwell Neighbourhood Area
    The vision for Camberwell is for:
    “An easily accessible district town centre that provides a range of arts, leisure and retail services, some specialist shopping opportunities, community facilities, homes, and local employment”.

    Policy 7.7 Camberwell Neighbourhood Area
    Proposed development in Camberwell Neighbourhood Area should seek:
    ii. To improve the quality and range of services in the area enhancing the arts, cultural, leisure and retail provision

    Camberwell Neighbourhood Area is a successful district town centre with small and medium sized local businesses, anchored in the centre by the Butterfly Walk shopping mall. The size and catchment of the town centre is strongly influenced by its location between Brixton and Peckham, which are major town centres. There is a very high proportion of independently run shops and services, particularly those run by black and minority ethnic operators, which help to give Camberwell its special character. It is also enriched by the artistic influence and creativity clustering around Camberwell Arts College, which should be encouraged.

    Core Strategy (soon to replace Southwark Plan)
    We will continue to protect this successful town centre which has many small and medium sized businesses. Many of them are independently run which helps to give Camberwell a special character.
    Butterfly Walk shopping centre is the only large development site. However the focus is on improving current shops rather than retail growth or new development, particularly businesses in the town centre and along Camberwell New Road towards the Oval.
    Camberwell has a well-known reputation as a creative place with artistic influences clustering around Camberwell College of the Arts. We will continue to encourage this as they add to the vibrancy of the area and provide employment.
    We will also protect and encourage more small businesses within the town centre and the wider action area, including the large area of council housing and small businesses to the north west of the main town centre.

    Use Types
    D1 Non-residential institutions — Clinics, health centres, crèches, day nurseries, day centres, schools, art galleries (other than for sale or hire), museums, libraries, halls, places of worship, church halls, law court. Non residential education and training centres.

    D2 Assembly and leisure — Cinemas, music and concert halls, bingo and dance halls (but not night clubs), swimming baths, skating rinks, gymnasiums or area for indoor or outdoor sports and recreations (except for motor sports, or where firearms are used).

  18. Cinema in Brixy, Cinema in Peckham, latter often empty. Sorry folks but I don’t think it’d fly commercially in SE5.

  19. Gala’s a big building — it WOULD work as a cinema — it just depends what’s and how’s done to it.

    The Peckham cinema is empty because it’s not nice, it’s barren and difficult to get to. There is NO reason to be there except to see a film. NOTHING of interest whatsoever. And a round of drinks and popcorn takes a mortgage application to buy. No wonder it’s quiet.

    Gala could be many things as well as a destination venue cinema. It also has a big car park. It has huge potential.

    I proposed a Camberwell Community Development Trust years ago, an idea that was poopooed by many. It’s the only way, short of an incredibly visionary developer coming into SE5, that real big scale impact stuff that’s good will happen here.

  20. Six Nations RUGBY — apologies to all who follow rugby but completely forgot to say this before, because sport is very low on my own horizons, we are showing all the rugby, I believe it’s going to be called the Seven Nations now Italy is in on it and with Argentina on the way it’ll have to be Eight Nations.

    27th Feb 2009 France v Wales 21.00.

    28th Feb 2009 Scotland v Italy 15.00

    28th Feb 2009 Ireland v England 17.30

    14th Mar 2009 Italy v Wales 16.00

    14th Mar 2009 Scotland v Ireland 17.00

    15th Mar 2009 England v France 15.00

    21st Mar 2009 Italy v France 14.15

    21st Mar 2009 England v Scotland 15.30

    21st Mar 2009 Wales v Ireland 17.30

  21. id commented on the job centre proposal, http://www.peoplesrepublicofsouthwark.co.uk/planning/place-formerly-known-as-camberwell-job-centre, saying that a space could be much better used as a community space/cultural centre + if it’s linked with the gala bingo space, we’ll be laughing (maybe not all the way to the banks because banks are mainly bad :P)

    @james: that’s very helpful & yes, it’s all there in theory isn’t it except that practice leaves a lot to be desired.

    time to do some reclaiming?

  22. 6 Nations inc. Italy Mark 🙂

    As for a stand alone Cinema I doubt it would work. I was a member of the Ritzy for a year and didn’t use as much as i thought, as the films were never on at convenient times for my London life (which is true of most cinema’s ) its either a mad rush to get home after work, grab a snack get to the film for 7ish or its the late show after 9 which my partner never fancied. Anyway we now wait for most films to be released on DVD and use EasyDVD which at £2 a film is much cheaper and convenient. I suspect a lot of people now do this especially if they got surround sound and big flat TV’s. If i really want to see a film in a cinema i go the Imax at Waterloo.

    As small cinema as part of an arts complex might stand a better chance if its included other facilities — small theatre, music studio, art gallery, rehearsal spaces.

  23. We must not allow the Gala Bingo Hall to become an Evangelical Christian Church (surely the vilest of all religious strains)- it needs to be converted back into a cinema/mixed arts space and it can be done…

    Here are a list of communities who have or are in the process of saving their purpose built cinemas to help regenerate the local area — Evangelical Religion doesn’t do this…

    The Gala bingo in Crystal Palace closed down and resident had The Picture House Group interested in taking it over but were appalled when the council and landlord rented to an Evangelical Church…

    Crystal Palace residents are making excellent progress despite their Gala Bingo hall also being earmarked for a church…


    Walthamstow END Cinema


    Hither Green Hall


    And the final result and end game of what a local cinema/arts space can do for a community

    The East Finchley Pheonix


    We need to tap into all the intelligence of the people who have given time to preserve these spaces…

    It can be done in Camberwell…This is one of the original jewels in South London’s crown and we need to do something that will make a positive difference

    Engage local businesses in campaign…restaurants and pubs

    Get Kings College Hospital on board
    Get Camberwell College of Arts on board
    Get Camberwell Bus Garage on board (Abellio)
    Get Salvation Army on board
    Get St.Giles Church on board
    Get Sacred Heart Church on board

    Speak to local councillors and even Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell and if they don’t care then engage Green,Liberal and shock horror even a Tory Councillor if they are willing to lend their support…

    Speak to Gala Bingo head office

    It can be done…I will attend any meetings and contribute my time — I’m deadly serious…

  24. The Peckham plex is well cheap. And its bustling most of the time. Added bonus is that shortly, on your walk back to Camberwell, you can drop in at Bellenden Road’s new destination boozer The Victoria (what the Wishing Well will become once refurbished by the people who own ED’s Bishop and Herne Hill’s Florence. Take out from the Cave of Spirits, a fish supper from the Codfather make for a perfect evening out.

  25. Had a quick look round. Nowhere near ready, but good on ’em.

    Not sure I got a clear impression of what it will eventually look like but so far so god, sorry good. The restored windows are great. Very light and roomy.

    Bar had pumps ready for ale and Birra Moretti on tap, which makes a change. Serving area a bit small maybe? Time will tell.

  26. The Tiger is live: http://www.thetigerpub.com/

    Popped in for a drink myself and was a bit shocked at how unfinished it is.

    First thoughts were that half the old Buckle crowd were in attendance but then realised that they were the builders who had been working on the place.

    One section of the pub is not open yet and the place looked a little bit sparse and not very cosy but when it is all finished off in a week or two it should be a good addition to Camberwell.

    Apparently they start serving food from 11th March.

  27. I was going to go to the Tiger but saw last week there was no way they’d get open in time. Credit to them that they opened when they aren’t ready for it. I hope Anthony reads this from time to time. Eh Anthony?

    I have great admiration for the job Antic have been doing at Tiger — they made decisions as they went… changed direction with a fair bit of their initial vision being honed to what the rip out revealed. This is the ONLY way to get really good work done that responds to a building and its place in the environment. Rarely does such a good refurbishment happen to a pub these days, not for many a year hence. Aye.

    And besides I’m babysitting. And plotting.

  28. went to the Tiger and loved it. Its quirky and charming and the big windows are great. It still needs to be finished but i think they have done a really good job. There was a nice varied crowd in their too..

  29. When i walked past about 9.15 last night the doorway was crowded with lots of intimidating hoodies, were they doormen? They didnt look like them, also lots of them if so! couldnt have been less welcoming in my opinion, no way i would have wanted to push past them to go in. Very disappointed.

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