Long Time Coming

There’s so much to talk about and I barely have a spare hour in which to devote to compiling it all. As always, volunteer contributors always welcome. Anyway, what’s going on?

First and most obviously there’s to be a by-election in Brunswick Park ward
after councillor John Friary resigned over some quite disturbing allegations. Allegations which the local Lib Dems seized on shamelessly, distributing a quite nasty attack leaflet which they obviously knew would be contentious as their name appeared on it only in the tiniest lettering possible. I think it should be borne in mind that Mr Friary is innocent until proven guilty, and capitalising on the allegations is quite revolting. Kate Heywood definitely won’t be getting my vote.

Lots going on in terms of regeneration. NickW has put together this fantastic map of developments in SE5 in the next five years, which is great work. I didn’t know about many things, but the big project over in Myatt’s Fields was a real surprise. The plans to develop Burgess Park have been approved, and there’s more good news as Camberwell Baths are due to reopen on February 28th.

As some of you have already seen, Southwark Council have proposed relocating an 8,000 square foot prefabricated building, currently in Bermondsey, to the plaza in front of the Magistrates Court. This would involve removing some of the trees and part of the orchard that’s down there. The Camberwell Society have responded, saying that the idea is good but the building far too large for the available space.

Their full response is in the latest Camberwell Quarterly, which also has a nice article on the fire that all-but destroyed Denmark Hill station 30 years ago, and another on the Camberwell House Asylum (which later became the registry office, and is soon to become student accommodation).

On the subject of history, I bought myself a copy of the new book Camberwell Through Time, which shows historical photos of local spots compared to their modern-day appearances. Really interesting, and I recommend you pick a copy up yourselves.

I could write more, but I won’t. Don’t forget, volunteers are very welcome.

Author: Peter

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

103 thoughts on “Long Time Coming”

  1. Great work on the development map NickW.….

    I actually used it to drop an email to Adrian Salt who are looking after the proposal on the Bengeworth Road Depot (between Southwell Road and Ruskin Park)

    Someone very quickly called me back to explain that the council has refused the application and unless it’s taken to appeal it will remain an industrial only site

    And I hope the folks who made the “We Are Loughborough Junction” video don’t mind me posting a link to a short documentary…but here it is

  2. It’s a shame that Jenny Jones isn’t going to stand for the Green Party in Brunswick Park. It’s seem to be an admission that she couldn’t win and would rather concentrate on the mayoral election, which she can’t win either.

    Labour have been talking a lot about Camberwell over the last few months, which is a good sign, but I still think it is important to have alternative voices on Camberwell Community Council and speaking for Camberwell in Southwark. Given this, the Green candidate, Jenny Bentall, seems like the best candidate to me.

    Jenny Bentall is a long-term resident in the ward and was a teacher locally. She recently set up the Wells Triangle Residents Association, which has started to do some good work around Southampton Way. See more here:


    I note that the Lib Dem candidate has been a committee member of All Saints Church in Peckham, which is a member of the Evangelical Alliance. That explains the Christian values that permeated their election leaflet. Also her twitter bio describes her as a “Peckhamite”. Not, I think, what Camberwell needs.


  3. @JK

    Thanks for that. It is very odd, I checked the link to the wordpress LBJ blog page for seven bridges at least twice before posting and added the facebook link on an edit after the first upload. Maybe I cut & pasted the link into two different sections without realising.


    Anyhow last night was drinks at the Bear. Walter Graham Reed organised a surprise birthday party for a friend — there was a great throng of LBJ and & Bridges people there then it was down for some fun underground at a packed Crypt for GuerillaSound.

  4. Breaking news! The government have announced they will pause forest sell-offs for a few months. It’s a brilliant sign, but our forests are still in danger. If we keep working together, we can save our forests forever — not just for a few months.

    The government is still going full steam ahead with changing the law to clear the way for a 100% sell-off. It looks like they hope the fuss will die down if they pause a few sales here and there — so they can press on with quietly scrapping legal protection for our public woodlands.

    Our petition is now 490,000 strong. Let’s show the government we will keep campaigning until English forests are safe, by making sure the petition passes half a million signatures today.

    Please forward this email and ask your friends to sign:

    Picture yourself in the last forest you visited. Remember how you felt, what you saw, how peaceful it was. Now imagine hearing that this beautiful place has been auctioned off. We just can’t let it happen!

    By working together, bit by bit, we are protecting our woodlands for future generations. Since 38 Degrees members voted to launch this campaign, we’ve spread the word, emailed our MPs, and chipped in to pay for opinion polls and adverts. It’s starting to work — today is a time to celebrate. But we also need to keep the pressure building.

    Please forward this email and ask your friends to help get our petition past half a million signatures today:

    Let’s keep going!

    David, Johnny, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

    If you use Facebook, please click here to post the petition to your profile: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/forests-facebook-share
    If you use Twitter, please click here to send a tweet: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/forests-twitter-share

  5. The current copy of Grazia magazine has a great feature on Camila Batmanjelly and her involvement in placing four Kids Company kids in six-month placements with the label Reiss.

    She is uncompromising and totally switched on, Camila, probably not easy to deal with and the R.D. Laing of her time. She is the Scheherazade of child care and all care, making it up as she goes along, brilliantly.

    Her Desert Island Discs will cure you of any grumblitis you may have — hear it again on the BBC website.

  6. Nick W — Brilliant Work regarding the map…

    With all these proposed developments taking place in and around the central Camberwell area — it makes a very strong case indeed for a Camberwell Village Hall.

    The demand is already there…people have been asking for a place like this for years…

    When all the developments on the map are completed — plus transport improvements ‑the Overground at Denmark Hill & Thameslink Refurb at Loughborough Junction with the bicycle superhighway routes then this place could suddenly become very popular indeed.

    If we also take into consideration that (despite a few humble innovations) Peckham doesn’t really have a community arts centre like the one we propose either, and we ARE the same constituency despite certain (ahem) parochial tendencies.

    The case for the last remaining grade II listed purpose-built cinema theatre building left in the entire borough of Southwark to become a hub for all manner of community groups including the arts and of course a cinema becomes ever more credible by the day.

    As an example of what we could do but even better given all the untapped potential from the many cultures and people who make up the population of this area then take a look at this.


    We are not asking the council to totally fund such a project…merely to have the vision to see what the building could really represent…Once the council fully support such an idea…you’d be surprised at how many patrons and sponsors would be willing to help.

  7. Met the Brunswick Park Ward by-election Labour candidate yesterday, a very well informed and informative chap. Many folks coming through now in Labour speak a pleasant, vividly figurative, understandable language called English rather than the policy-wonk nicey-poo lingo bodged together into plasticky ra-ra-ese by our friends in north London.

  8. @ Mark.… yes I’d seen the 7 Bridges project, yet more community cohesion through art in Loughborough Junction. Good stuff.

  9. One must never tell anyone how one votes or how much one earns.


    It has been recorded in these pages before that national treasure, poet and for many years editor of Pseuds Corner, Christopher Logue, lives in Camberwell.

    He wrote the brilliant poem “I Shall Vote Labour”, which gets more and more telling about politics and people every year since it appeared in 1966, and shrewdly ends with the line, “I shall vote Labour because deep in my heart I am a Conservative.”

    The new Labour candidate is a good, solid fellow. His ward is SOLID LABOUR.

    One day, the banker class — the Conservatives — who put the country into such miserable debt, will get the SOLID THUMPING they deserve from the true conservatives of this country, as Christopher Logue foretold.

  10. Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
    Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
    Into the blue again/in the silent water
    Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

    Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
    Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
    Into the blue again/after the money’s gone
    Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

    Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
    Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…
    Same as it ever was…Same as it ever was…


  11. Life in the Bush of Ghosts eusebiovic!

    Just got this message from the people who organised a whole day consultation / input session with locals at LBJ a couple of weeks ago. They want to take that even further so there’s another session planned:

    Loughborough Speaks… Again!

    Wednesday 16th February 2011, 6.30–8.30pm at

    The Loughborough Centre, 105 Angell Road, SW9 7PD

    If you couldn’t make our first event in January, this is a further opportunity for you to feed in your ideas!

    An invitation to residents, community groups, local businesses and services around Loughborough, to talk about issues affecting you and how we can work together to improve the area for everyone. If you live or work around Loughborough Junction, including the Loughborough, Thorlands, Moorlands and Lilford estates, this event is for you.

    Background: The Capital Community Foundation (CCF) is a local grantmaking foundation, supporting grassroots community activities. We also encourage companies and individual donors to donate funds to support community work through our grantmaking.

    Purpose of the event: CCF is working with a number of business and voluntary sector partners who are interested in supporting work in the area, for the benefit of the community. The event will provide an opportunity for residents, businesses, local community groups and service providers to help identify ways in which any future investment could benefit the area and improve people’s lives.

    Book now to make sure your views are heard!

    The event will start at 6.30pm (registration from 6.15pm) and a hot supper will be provided.

    How to book your place:

    Please e‑mail events@​capitalcf.​org.​uk or telephone 020 7582 5117

    The event will follow the same format as the one held in January.

  12. LibDem ladies out the front of Denmark Hill station this morn.

    Pizzas at SLAG85 or whatever it’s called. Good value and definitely a nice and informal option. Generous with the meaty toppings though dough a tad soggy in the middle. Service a bit forgetful but charming enough. Loved the chilli sauce. Two good pubs across the road too.

  13. “Are we voting Labour then?”

    Yes of course, but first we need to pretend to deliberate. Let me kick off.

    The Labour candidate seems to understand Camberwell best and we shouldn’t vote Libdem because their campaign manager sent round some nasty leaflets which are 1,000,000 miles from the truth. It’s not the first time either.

    The Tories are evil. The Greens would be a wasted vote.

    Will that do?

  14. I don’t think that the Greens are a wasted vote…

    Their community development and social responsibility policy is in many ways far more impressive than all the other parties — including Labour.

    The problem is unless they get a benevolent philanthropist
    billionaire to fund their party…then they will always be struggling to build the vote share they truly deserve.

    About 15–20% is all they need to make a difference.

    So Labour it is then — I can only hope the central party has finally realized that their long term record in this area has left a lot to be desired and they need to grasp the nettle and start sending some people with imagination & vision who can react positively to the concerns & ideas of it’s constituents. Over the years they have always turned a blind eye to their safe Southwark (& Lewisham) seats and have allowed some truly awful decisions to go down here with frightening regularity. It’s become the norm. Their reputation has taken a battering in SE London…hence the significant Lib Dem inroads made here over the last 20+ years.

    I hope the new Labour chappie who they have chosen to contest the seat is well aware of this fact and genuinely wants to change such perceptions.

  15. @SouthLondonJohn: thanks for that cracking link to Francis Maude, a true unscripted comedian, guarantees a laugh.

    @eusebiovic: watch out for developments on consulting for the proposed Camberwell Pavilion on the piazza in front of the Magistrates’ courts.

  16. IF you didn’t see Michael Morpurgo’s 2011 Richard Dimbeby lecture last night you really ought to put a little time aside to watch and take it in: http://bbc.in/h60tGw

    It is a simple and brilliant, inspiring distillation of what MUST happen to education in the UK. DO what Michael Morpugo recommends out of experience, observation of evidence and from intelligently applied common sense, and we would see a competent society in two generations.

    It’s so rational and sensible there’s FAT CHANCE of any of it being put into place. It would get rid of the national deficit too.

  17. The swimming pool does look good. Having proper steps into the pool seems very luxurious. Also, the learning pool is a decent size, which is good because I’m hoping that once the pool reopens my wife will take lessons there.

    I enjoyed The Melange chocolate shop on Bellenden Road yesterday. I’d walked past often enough, but never been in before. Isabelle, who runs the place and makes the chocolate, is very friendly and there are lots of unusual flavours to sample. There’s more info here:


    There are people suggesting that Southampton Way might be Camberwell’s answer to Bellenden Road after its forthcoming make-over. Seems optimistic, but fingers crossed. Speaking of Southampton Way, the plans for the new cafe go before Camberwell Community Council tonight. The planning officer has recommended it for rejection on the rather subjective basis that the glass roof extension to the back doesn’t enhance the area. It certainly enhances the area more than the current boarded up building that’s been derelict for 20+ years.

    In truth, the extension might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s not hideous and it’s not going to be that obvious. Obviously the guy opening the cafe must like the design as it’s going to be his home. Living in the area, I’m just grateful someone is willing to invest in opening a cafe on the street. Let’s just give him the home he wants and hope the new cafe opens as soon as possible.

  18. I see our old friend the House of Praise (aka former cinema/bingo hall) has a new sign up on it where the Gala sign was — the Light House although the H wasnt illuminated last night when I went by. There appeared to be notices up advertising the hall for hire.

  19. See? It’s not all negative stuff around here.

    Planning application for National Builders’ Merchants: 10/AP/2915 — 166–176 CAMBERWELL ROAD AND 16 WYNDHAM ROAD, LONDON, SE5 0EE

    is causing a stir.

  20. Had dinner at Caravaggio last night and was pleasantly surprised to find that they have added pizza to the menu. It was only the second day they were doing them as their original plan to add them to the menu in January was delayed when the supplier sent over the wrong model of oven from Italy.
    The chef is apparently still fine tuning his technique and they will be adding more varieties soon, but I had a very nice Capricciosa for just under £7.

  21. Austerity!

    I’ll have the Pizza Povera, please, with some bread of sorrow and a small glass of lachrimae christi.

    Half term and the young things of spring bring their zing to the proceedings!

    Full Moon tonight over old Camberwell, the full full moon in Leo, the Millwall Lions’ moon. Incredibly, this will be conjoined with some extreme solar flares which will alter clocks and confuse satnavs.

    Aye, there will be not a few leaving the Hermits tonight with their satnavs awry and their bodyclocks to cock…

  22. Good news on Cara. I haven’t been there awhile as I’d tired of the menu. Will revist. SLAG85 on Bellenden Rd is worth a trip too.

  23. Phil G@


    Sounds suspiciously brothel-like to me…If so I’ll give that one an extremely wide berth indeed.

    Of course, there is a chance they could be making reference to the waste product which results from extracting coal from underground.

    Ahhhh! A basement bar?

  24. Eusebiomate, this is a basement club of some kind complete with slings and manacles. There is a company called Civil and Marine Slag Cement (part of Hanson) who process GGBS.

    GGBS is not Tina (or “Crystle Meth”) but ground granulated blastfurnaced slag which is a cementitious material which is the by-product of blast furnaces that manufacture iron (cf Bessemer of Camberwell).

    Slag is fantastic.

    It is glassy, black and mysterious. Civil & Marine grind it down into power so that it can be mixed into a superior class of cement.

    That fool moon is powerful tonite!

  25. Sorry, Civil & Marine grind it into POWDER not power. God, the rays!!!

    That full moon is so powerful tonite,
    feel like I’m Nietzschean dynamite.
    Where is my frayed denim miniskirt?
    ‘Fraid it’s Thrilla time you Cambwerwell innocent.

  26. Jah Dodds! Was you watching Toots on BBC4 tonight? Toots & the Maytals. Aye! Major.

    Grind it into powder
    and sing it up louder

    I luv dis sun in de sky at night. What is?

    Wat is it de big sun oop aboove Camibewell
    at night wat a fright wat a fright wat a fright
    dat made me fill so wery well an all rite and all rite

    chaka laka




    (and de girls sing)




    and de girls sing



    and de girls sing





  27. Great photo, just as I remember it, though no way a photograph can remind one of the soggy carpet. Think we — my then partner and I — first went to the S&D back in spring 1984 (it was too cold to go into the garden); hadn’t changed much by 1995. Vaguely recall a series of Aussie barstaff in the early 90’s, then the renaissance and the very good food (which impressed the next partner, high praise as she was French).

    A recurring destination for good food and drink.

  28. @SouthLondonJohn Coo! You knew it a long time before me, when I came to Camberwell in those days I was living in Balham and the Grove was the pub of choice.

    Can you imagine people coming all that way to Camberwell from Balham now? No.

    The Sun and Doves in 1995 was stale and almost completely dead and smelled like it. The the carpet was black and green checked and threadbare, the sponge padding on most of the furniture was bursting out and scattered small granulated bits of yellow foam rubber around the floor. The colour scheme on this side ranged predominantly through dark pink to even darker pink. The Dj booth which you can see at the back was like a guard’s post in a high security prison with wired glass.

    Apart from domestic microwaves the kitchen had a four burner domestic oven, no extraction and a yellow/brown (with grease) domestic fridge… those were the days. Deep fried sausages mmmmmmmmmh!

    Above the bar was a jungle of plastic foliage set in bronze mirrored planters. The back bar was covered in small square yellow rustic tiles that looked like they came from Fanny Cradock’s kitchen.

    It was a mess in need of change.

    I smashed, pulled, dismantled and skipped most of that myself with my father Roy, my uncle Alan and Rob, who was to be head chef.

    When we opened

  29. Your friendly friend here. As I ranked burgers in the area, thus the pizzas.

    1. Caravaggio
    2. 168SLA (Bellenden Rd)
    3=. La Luna and Il Giardino
    5. Bar Story

    Special mention to The Gowlett. Bit off patch but no more than La Luna. I’d place it after 1. and 2. above but I’m not sure where, as I only went once a while ago. Bit of a thin base for me, but I recognise it was good.

  30. What a lovely lighthouse it is too! Yours I mean.


    Structure, usually with a tower, built onshore or on the seabed to signal danger or provide aid to seafarers of choppy Camberwell seas.

  31. Aye!

    It’s the Torre de Hercules in A Coruna, Galicia, Spain — the oldest operating lighthouse in the world — but then they all say that don’t they? Apparently this really is the official one!

    Perhaps Camberwell & Peckham had a mini-version in the days when a canal used to operate here…but it appears the vision to envisage what that waterway could represent in the mid to distant future wasn’t realized then either!


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