So Much To Say: Food, Art, Travel, Activism

So much to talk about. Let’s start with some reviews.

Went with the wife to The Recreation Ground last Sunday; had planned to eat there but they were only serving roasts, so decided to just have a drink instead. The refurb isn’t immediately apparent; it’s obviously cleaner and the walls are bare, but the biggest difference is in the fantastic toilets, now down in the cellar. The area where they used to be has a DJ booth and dancefloor. It was a bit empty when we were there — not helped by the bare walls and big space at the back — but the staff were mega-friendly and the food looked good, so we’ll be going back soon.

On the Friday before we went to check out Wuli Wuli, the new Chinese on Church St. As has been mentioned before, they have a traditional ‘English’ menu, but also more typical real Chinese dishes (offal seems to feature strongly). I had a dish which was strips of beef and chilli and it was absolutely delicious; much spicier than I’m accustomed to. They still have a 15% opening discount, so you should get down there and give it a go.

Also, we went to the GX Gallery last week to see the exhibition by local artist Martin Grover. I loved his work, but the big revelation was the gallery itself; I’d never been down to the cellar before, and it’s astonishing. It’s a converted bakery which still has the old ovens in the wall, and the rest of the space is beautiful old brick with hidden nooks. If you haven’t been, go; I had no idea it was so lovely.

Okay, on to proper news. Lewisham Council recently commissioned a report on options to extend the Bakerloo line [PDF, 410kb]. Only one of the options involves passing through Camberwell, but interestingly that’s the second cheapest option (the cheapest goes through the Aylesbury Estate to Peckham) and they note that this line has been extensively planned in the past. If it does happen it won’t be for many years, but useful to know that it’s still being considered.

Activism: Carter Place Garden, the only green space on Walworth Road, is in danger of being developed on. This post on the SE5Forum explains the context, and what you can do to help.

Also, there’s a public meeting at St Giles Church on Nov 3rd to discuss the Camberwell Baths Campaign. Phase 1 of the work — including the pool, changing rooms, and cafe — has been completed and recently an extra £50,000 was granted for Phase 2, which is the gymnastics hall (and why the Baths remain closed until next year). But there’s apparently still £1.8m needed to complete all the works, and the Campaign needs your help to support their petition to the council. Full details here — please get along if you can.

Author: Peter

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

47 thoughts on “So Much To Say: Food, Art, Travel, Activism”

  1. A lot happening — great!

    Sounds as if the GX Gallery is worth a visit. Interesting to read about the cellar: many moons ago, there was a Wilson’s Bakery on that corner spot. Next door was a clothes shop, not sure if it was men’s or women’s wear. Next door to the Joiners was a United Dairies.

  2. Good work, Peter. And the GX Gallery is a great place. I’ve chanced across a few artist’s talks there held on a Sat morning. Well worth joining if you can.

    3rd time at Wuli Wuli the other day. We stepped back from the ‘Chinese’ menu to have the classic Beijing duck for starters and it was good. V friendly place. I like it.

    Well well, if it isn’t Ms Equality. Got it in for ginger people have we? Imagine if it’d had been a comment about — horror of horrors — skin colour or a certain religion.

    Ginger people are people too you know Harriet! And just what colour IS your hair underneath the dye?

  3. We have just spent a lovely evening at Le Petit Parisien. The music was wonderful in a heartwarming, mellow kind of way. The food delicious and the people a truly Camberwell mixture.

  4. Lambeth residents can vote for what they want a pot of money spent on here

    I am voting for a Cafe in Ruskin Park as it is one of the options

    Yes I now it is a sop and means another area won’t get anything. But if you fancy a cafe in the park get voting.


  6. Camberwell Baths meet; I’ve got some pics. What did you think of it Dagmar?

    Even though realistically they are £2million short of a complete refurbishment. It’s some of the only really good news I’ve heard about Camberwell in a long time (apart from SLG relaunching and the College taking on more accommodation locally and from Wui Wui opening and a few other things culinary).

    Roll on deodor February I mean.

  7. I don’t understand how they can first secure extra funding (leading to massive delays in the project) then be 2 million short? Am I missing something?

  8. A healthy turnout for the Baths meeting in St Giles last night, the sort of gathering of people who wish to turn Camberwell into a spa town, excellent idea, like Tunbridge Wells — Camberwell Wells, “The first Spa to open since the Regency,” brilliant. A good assembly — the walking elderly, the active mediaeval, the athletic youngish, the odd publican and people extruded by pilates and purified by vegetarianism.

    Even if you do not like religion, St Giles, with its spire and high windows, is an inspiring place to sit and let your mind wander. There is a massive amount of air and space in the church.

    Indeed, there is no “dead space” there (except next door in the graveyard) unlike in the old Baths which, it was explained to us, was initially divided into men and women entrances and areas, from when it held wash-houses for the grimey and later warrened with many-layered partitions over the years.

    Some healthily roly-poly fellows ran us — so to speak — through the plans, which look great. The pool will be full-length, for instance, without the elver-hatching area currently at the shallow end.

    There will be a new Fusion team running it. Anyone working for outsourcing companies deserve our full support and sympathy. Serco et cetera are haunted by the Dickensian ghosts of old Jarvis and poor Connaught.

    The hope is to get £2 million from the Olympics windfall to complete the back area where Timmy used to run the baby gym. Many of us hope the money doesn’t come through so it will be just like the old days complete with Timmy, the babies rolling about and the grubby old fun of it. However, the new area would be in every way brilliant, so let’s hope the terrorists let the Olympics go ahead peacefully.

    Interestingly, there will be a music/recording facility. Various garage, grime, and grubby sounds will battle it out with magnificently swirling Mendelssohn octets from Camberwell Grove’s own Premier Cru.

    There will be a cafe and juice bar.

    Talking of which, some people drifted off as if magnetically drawn to the Hermits Cave which still sells “The best beer round here” as their slogan proposes. Their Amarilla is superb, a hop-infused malted-barley dream from a local London brewery.

    It looks like the new Camberwell Baths will keep the old heritage features but be a fresh, modern facility. It is excellent — like the new South London Gallery.

    There has to be something in Camberwell for people who like quality. The Baths will be it.

  9. I have to say there was no representative cross section of our community at St Giles last night. Not at all. A lot of those people Dagmar mentions and no others.

    @St Giles: during the refurbishment project MORE money kept coming in from new sources that were not available at the outset so it was possible to make the project more ambitious as it went on. i.e. extra money meant extra work meant extra time taken.

    The shortfall is for the large room at the back which contained the pool for the second classes; this one:

    It seems, from the meeting, that money was never raised to deal with this area fully and so it will come back into use at the end of this stage of refurbishment as it was but cleaner and spruced up.

    IF the £2mill comes in (they say it is £1.8mill) it will be used to make this room better transform it into a different, more flexible more community activity friendly space — doing away with the sunken pool area and creating a totally disability access room with a sprung floor and a new roof (cost of glazing alone £600K apparently) GOD knows what the other 1.2 or so million would be spent on but it would result in a marvellous thing.

    Ahem. Anyone for Foundation X? I think we should ask Camila to ask them.

    Looking at that pic again it looks like £1.8million is a lot of cash to sort that out.

  10. Mild? Don’t mind if I do.

    Mark, the people at the Baths meeting were exactly the people who turned up to the meeting, not just the kind of people who turned up to the meeting or who bothered to turn up to the meeting — they were just the people who turned up to the meeting, whether a cross section or not.

    Many Baths users were otherwise at work, in transit, at the Sun & Doves, on their second pint of excellent Amarilla at the Hermits, wherever.

    It was a good turnout for the Baths and well done to everyone for organising it, speaking, doing the tea and buns and simply turning up like your good self, Dodds.

  11. I understand that the F.Hinds jewellers at Camberwell Denmark Hill is going to become another betting shop. Betfred. But I can’t find anything on the Southwark web site applications.
    I think this has to be the most saturated area in London within a few hundred yards. We will soon be competing with Las Vegas for gambling premises.
    Am I mistaken?

  12. No Dagmar. They, like you and me are the KIND of people who go to meetings like that rather than the KIND of people who OUGHT to go to meetings like that who don’t go to meetings like that because deep down and at the surface they are the KIND of people who just don’t go to meetings. Unlike those almost exclusively white degree educated go to meeting people who were kind of at the meeting.

    This IS Loss Vagueass Lili. Loss Vagueass. Rolls off the tongue and onto the floor. Like a sheet of white blubbery rubbery bouncy lard.

  13. @mark: i never said nothing
    @london patsy: where did you hear this? if this is another case of the planning department or councillors not telling anyone anything, it might be time for changes? for real this time though?

  14. Hello Liliana.
    I saw one of those white notices sellotaped to the side of the shop. I also asked the man in the shop next door, called ETC if it was his shop or the one next door that was closing. He said it was the Jewellers.
    I was born in Camberwell and I feel very sad a very powerless to the way things are. Having objected to Paddypower I feel that nothing I can do can change things.

  15. @London Patsy: Democracy doesn’t work as well as it ought and it’s very hard for individuals to have their voice heard — even when there may be a majority who want the same things — but when knowledge and experience like yours is put alongside other people’s and presented to local authorities formally in ways that HAVE to be answered; it’s VERY powerful.

    Help with Liliana’s ‘for real this time though? suggestion and speak out through People’s Republic of Southwark.

  16. If at this meeting there wasn’t a tubby kid of around eight — you know, the one who always pisses in the pool — then I’d suggest the meeting wasn’t truly representative.

  17. Phil G: you are right. That kid is THE one we should all be thinking of when scoping out the future of our land. Get it right for the eight year old tubbies and the rest will fall into place.

    TONIGHT; off to Lettsom Gardens for the annual feu de bon and then down to The Sun and Doves for the fabulous spectacle of South London Jazz Orchestra at 8.30pm

  18. Funny day yesterday. Instead of Radio 4 news in the morning, solemn programme about Churchill. We thought he’d died. But it was just a fill-in for the NUJ strike.

    Today Ebbsfleet drew 0–0 with Wimbledon in the FA Cup, FA indeed. Will there be a Camberwell region Ebbsfleet shareholders’ outing to the replay, in a rusty coach? Come on the Dons!

    F. Hinds will be missed for its old-fashioned shopfront tinkling with scintillating jewellery. Still, times change. There is now a jewellery studio in Camberwell where several designers turn out literally brilliant jewellery — made in Camberwell jewellery. You can have it made there, to your notion.

    Who are these people who go into a Betfred, hand over some cash and leave miserable and empty-handed again and again?

    Today we went to Lucas Gardens and made our own jewellery at the fun ‘n’ craft stall by the bouncy castle, all provided by the council. The set-up will be there every weekend and is a right laugh. The staff are great.

    As for meetings, me and our youngest (aged 4) went to a meeting recently and were so upset by the outcome that we had to go to the 99p shop to buy ourselves a present — a much better bet than going to Betfred’s, at least you come out with something.

    The youngest bought some silver jewellery-feature, feature-fan stickers for 99p (obviously) and I bought a 6‑pack of Matchbox-sized cars which are still in their bubble display case. For 99p, you get two V8-engined two-door GT coupes, an airport service pick-up truck, a Formula One racing car, a beautiful silver delta-winged Cold War era bomber and a modern,“Gaza-here-we-come” high-tech slimline tank.

    If Camberwell carries on the way it’s going, we will be back soon for the pretty-girl fairies kit and the zombie serial-killer Xmas set.

  19. @London Patsy

    We need as many people as possible to attend the next Camberwell Community Council meeting on Thursday 16th December at 7.00PM

    It’s usually at Southwark Town Hall (Peckham Road) but the venue may be switched elsewhere…

    We need a large turnout, perhaps we can raise questions regarding why there are so many betting shop organizations who are granted planning permission in the local area?

    As well as that we can also ask questions regarding the ex-Gala Bingo hall building and the Camberwell Village Hall campaign…and other Camberwell related things such as what are the chances of getting a bike docking station and some off road temporary parking to assist local businesses etc…

    I really think we all need to make a huge pre-Christmas collective effort to be there or be square

    What does everyone think?

  20. @london patsy: you are everything but powerless, trust me. true, queueing and marching and writing articulately works only some of the time but
    as shelley and many since have said
    they are few we are many
    we have the visions and the imaginations to know there’s a real, better alternative to this
    we have the passions and the knowledge
    and the time really is now

  21. Yeah, it’s a shame about Hinds. Nice shop with some helpful staff who know the area. Instead yet another bookies and the losers who hang out in them. God.

    I’ve spent many an hour in the bookies but rarely do so now. They’re not that much fun really. The number of them round here is depressing. Mind you, the one up from Lucas Gdns opposite the Lettsom Estate closed so maybe we’re due another.

  22. Frankly another bookies is a disgrace an outrage and a travesty — even without going into the social and financial damage betting shops make their living out of.

    The last Coral bookmakers on the corner of Valmar Road — a few doors up Coldharbour from the newish Paddy Power — is about to become a cafe / restaurant and a lot of money is being spent on the tardis like venue…

  23. That was a shebeen, that bookie’s on Vestry Road, wasn’t it, Phil? There was an awful lot of footfall there, most of it watery-eyed, not clutching winnings.

    We are lucky in Camberwell to be so near IKEA, that palace of plainness with its order pencils stacked like logs.

    Aren’t the names of their products funny! The KRITTER children’s chair. The mulled wine called GLOGG. Glogg-glogg-glogg! There is an uplighter called NOT. The bookcases are stacked with books in Swedish, including “Henrik VIII:s sex hustrur” by Antonia Fraser. Dirty cow!

    Now they have a children’s play set called EDEN with figures of Adam, Eve, the serpent, the apple tree, the apple, etc. I think this is designed for sex education lessons in Sweden.

    You’re right, London Patsy. We MUST all go en masse wielding our scythes and sickles to the Thursday 16th December 7pm Community Council meeting at the Town Hall. I will bring my stainless steel, long-handled, Viking axe from IKEA, the excellent value DECAPITT.

  24. @dagmar: i hate having to say this, but LOL and the other one…RFLMAO or something, you know, laughing and rolling on the floor or something. or i just invented a new mysterious acronym

  25. I will certainly try to be at the meeting. ( Do I need a degree? because I only have one O level and a certifice in washing up)
    As I said I was born in Camberwell and I live in Camberwell. I also work in Camberwell. Perhaps I should get out more?
    I’m fed up of having to dodge on my way to and from work the beggers, drinkers and druggies which hang out along this long parade of betting/money/pawn shops. Soon Camberwell will just be a place where people drive through just to get somewhere else.
    @ Dagmar. I don’t have a scythe but I think I might have an unused garlic crusher in my kitchen drawer somewhere.

  26. Another mellow Sunday evening at Petit Parisien. The waitress is really engaging. The food unusual and absolutely delicious. Trumpets (make me curl up and laugh).….…together with a very talented quartet. Wonderful way to end the weekend and then rocket into the week.

  27. @London Patsy

    No qualifications needed…Trust me

    Just the determination and passion to help change things for the better…

    It’s long overdue…especially in Camberwell


  28. Oh dear, London Patsy, you have one O Level and a caprice n washing up? You can’t bring those to the meeting! But you can bring the garlic crusher — that’s all you need. We are passionate about cutlery in Camberwell, one way or another, and a garlic crusher is the sign of everything we value, like home-made sausages and other charcuterie. It also wards off careerist councillors.

    Roll on Thursday 16th December. We will be there mob-handed. The big society has arrived!

  29. So you got a photographer the Mark or are these your shots? Nice pics. Some more crowd shots’d be good so’s we can check out the blart.

  30. Yeah the PP waitress is n‑i-c‑e isn’t she. I’ve mentioned her here before.

    Also scoring highly on the SE5 Phwoar-ometer is, perhaps surprisingly, the Chairlady of the Camberwell Society. Or at least from the small pic in the mag anyway.

    Fit, moneyed, fancifully named, and fighting the successful fight to get Mary Boast Walk/Passage recognised.

    I browsed the Society’s mag in Camberwell Library. Now I’m all ready for some cuts but I urge readers to make use of our fine library as much as possible over the coming year. Savings can be made on pointless bollards, not books.

  31. oh garlic crusher discussions at camberwell community council meetings is about as much as they’ll allow residents to talk about

    do not mention whisks though

  32. @Phil G: thanks they’re my shots. My absence was the week before for Timezone whose pics were taken by James, who offered to do so after my posting a request for someone to take over for the night. We also had another generous offer to help out by another photographer but we didn’t double book.

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