Camberwell swimming pool reopens

(Photo courtesy of Southwark Council flickr set)

Saturday saw the official reopening of Camberwell swimming pool with various events at the pool — it was reported on the BBC website and on Harriet Harman’s website and on the Southwark Council website flickr set but look out I guess for more pictures of the event in Thursday’s Southwark News or Friday’s South London Press. I’m pleased to say that the refurbished swimming pool is a great improvement on the previous pool. See the pool timetable for opening hours and other information.

In other Camberwell news the author of Camberwell through time will be talking about his book at a Peckham Society meeting on 17 April — more information on the Peckham Society website

As has been mentioned in the comments on a previous post the regimental football of the Royal Irish Rifles has been on display at their head quarters on Flodden Road — more about the football on the D Company (Irish Rifles) website

And finally Guardian journalist Dave Hill passed through Camberwell recently in his training for the London Marathon

92 thoughts on “Camberwell swimming pool reopens”

  1. One might wonder that the somewhat brillantly wandery people of Camberwell are the last people one would want running a school and that we should be glad of those who come into the area from northern Britain to get our kids properly sorted.

    The DIY school idea is shit.

    My brother is a respected, retired and rather mild-mannered primary headmaster who nevertheless describes Michael Gove as “that prick”.

    In Camberwell at the moment, the secondary-school situation is ABSOLUTELY SCANDALOUS.

    Our own MP Harriet Harman and her husband MP Jack Dromey long ago sent their kids PRIVATE.

    It is a — not very nice, in fact quite nasty — joke.

    Camberwell is a leadingly vital, mixed area — and is rewarded either by Public School New Labour or by Carpet Harris Conservative with divisive, nasty, neglective, provocative educato-political balls.

    Tony Blair was pathetic about it and his airy-fairy lack of ideas lives on.

  2. was anyone else unoffended by ‘the lighthouse’ signs on the old gala bingo hall? when looking at other ‘churchs’ signs etc this actually looked quality and costly, and ok, the multi coloured flashing lighthouse was a little much, but i prefered it to the usual fabric banners slung up ready to rot!
    anyone else?

  3. @Frazzle I think the lighthouse sign was really naff but then so is noodles city’s sign — whatever, the neon sign was put there illegally and the people who bought the building knew they were putting signs up illegally — so why not let a business just push a cart and horse through legislation?

    Why not let them get away with it?

    Because they are breaking the law.

    @Jes thanks for encouraging Dagmar to come out with it.

  4. I think complaints were made about the Noodels City sign as Camberwell Green is, nominally, a conservation area.

    As for schools, I know not much; but the St Michael & All Angels site is available, surely?

  5. On a matter related to the original post, I went into the Leisure Centre yesterday to ask about membership prices, was met with an incredibly unhelpful response, and left none the wiser.

  6. @Peter

    I just want to know what it will cost for a simple swim membership…

    They could have a system of monthly, bi-annual or annual fee.

    I am none the wiser either.


    The old gala bingo hall is a Grade II listed art deco modernist structure. It is also the last such purpose built cinema theatre building in the entire borough of Southwark. I think it’s very important to treat such buildings carefully and to respect the planning procedure — otherwise if we don’t it could set off all kinds of inappropriate precedents. Non? 😉

  7. @JMarkDodds and @eusebiovic
    i thought we had lost the fight on the bingo hall — dont get me wrong i have written to the council objecting to the right to change, i just thought that if we had lost then the sign was better than most.
    can the council not use the gala building as the new library they keep going on about — turn it into an arts centre, gallery, library etc — im sure its cheaper than moving the other prefab building etc
    I hope that for once then the council does the right thing, do they not cringe when the look back at the amazing buildings that they have let be demolished or left to deteriate!??
    As for the noodles sign — all neon signs should be banned on church street! and im still mad that we didnt even get xmas decorations at christmas!
    I bought the Camberwell through time book — the images are amazing, but it makes you realise what we have lost but also how similar some of the places are — church street for example, we are so lucky we still have a victorian high street, it wouldnt take much to make it better! look at lordship lane, stoke newington church street etc!

    @Laurent — havent ben to hoopers for a roast but have been to victoria inn and highly recommend the roast beef!

  8. Yore right, Pete. The makeover is crap, the service is from the same old whatisname that ran it last — “Dumbo South London plc” — and the the whole thing is dismal.

    Harriet Harman, where are you?

    Do your children live here or what?

    Our children live here.

    It is not nice that the generator of change, Camberwell, is neglected in terms of schools — your kids go elsewhere — and what do ours do?


    You don’t give a flying fuck — you and your airy fairy.

    Dromey. You are a drone.

  9. @Peter: I think St Michael’s All Angels is being taken on by Ark schools whose website is down right now.

    @Peter re Leisure Centre — what a shame but what a surprise (this post in my own capacity and not as a representative of SE5 Forum).

    @eusebiovic as above to Peter. And agreed on Gala.

    @Laurent; No to the roast but their FREE comedy nights on Sundays (not sure how often they are) are very good.

    @Frazzle: I hope my post above didn’t come across as having a go. And agreed on all points.

    @the discussion re secondary schools — just got back from steering group meeting for Katharine Birbalsingh’s new community school. I know a lot more about the process now. I’ve already been told this by friends who are much more switched on than I am in this area and, to say the least, the practical hurdles set up by the government for these applications from parent and community groups are incredibly challenging… That said, the people Katharine brought together cover a very impressive range of skills, networks and experience. If anyone can jump the hurdles and get a successful school at the end of it, I think I saw them tonight.

    Crucial to the success is finding a number of appropriate sites, in appropriate locations, to choose from.

  10. @Dagmar…

    Are you alright, or have you had one to many Netto special offers on special brew?

    You are not your normal loquacious, humorous self…

    I am worried.

    @Frazzle: Re the bingo hall…No we haven’t lost…but then neither have we won…

    What has happened is that the council has rejected the planning application, but the church continues regardless with services. There is an appeal against the planning decision. The process is slow… so slow.

    Yes, it would be so so much better if the place was a community centre with the library based there. Tell your oh-so-unbiased local councillors. I am sure they will listen.

  11. @Monkeycat: “the church continues regardless with services” — and cage fighting. Don’t forget the cage fighting.

  12. This is an outline of the ethos of the proposed school:

    Where tradition and innovation meet.
    • Non-denominational, 11–18, mixed school in Lambeth
    • Beginning with Year 7 only and will increase in size by one year group every year
    • Four form entry school with 120 children in each year group
    • At full capacity, the school will have 840 children, including 6th Form

    • Academic focus – with an emphasis on knowledge acquisition
    • Strong discipline ethos – order and high expectations
    • Rigorous competition – all children will know where they stand in comparison to their peers and how to improve
    • A love of learning how to think embedded in our ethos
    • Ambition and hard work are the minimum expectations

    • Extended day will allow for Oxbridge preparation, reading club, homework club, debating club, anti-street-culture club, competitive sport, peripatetic music, drama, Latin
    • Student voice
    • Vertical & mixed-ability tutor groups
    • Active parental involvement – parents will be required to participate in their child’s learning

  13. @jmarkdodds — i didnt take it to heart! haha but glad to hear we havent lost! we will keep on fighting!
    walked past le petit parisienne last night and its closed — not sure how long for? same as funky monkey! whats going on!! real shame!

  14. Peter — was that me?

    That is one hell of a diabolic alter ego.

    Once at Bristol Zoo I watched fascinated for hours as the orang utans, dining on raw bamboo branches, sicked up their vomit — a cream-coloured, kind of custardy, maizemeal porridge of half-digested bamboo — looked at it, then slurped it up again with their long, flat, admirably fit-for-purpose pink tongues.

    Other Dagmar, you seem to have done the same with my bilious gurgitate.

    Well done!

    I agree with myself.

    The secondary school issue in Camberwell is critical, the big reason why many people move, literally educationally cleanse themselves, from the area.

    The application and appeal process is not just laborious but torturous. Appeal? Failure and dissatisfaction are actually built into the quasi-market-economy process.

    The whole thing is degustating, decustarding, disgrading, dailymailing, dailyrailing, degurgorgitating.

    Other Dagmar — can you boil that down to something the size of a bitter pill?

    Monkeycat, the Co-op on Denmark Hill have been offloading various jovial, ruddy wines for 3 quid. The more you drink, the more you save. But on no account touch the Chilean rose. It is like the sort of blood-tinged pisswater you go to the quack’s for.

  15. Of course, we had a purpose-built school building between the groves but this didn’t meet the needs of modern education (sic)

    Therefore, it was sold and converted into luxury apartments…because that is a much easier job and task than refurbishing it for mere teaching purposes (ahem) — A great shame the timing was all wrong.

    Yes, the said development looks good and is neat & tidy & everything else but I would have been much happier if there were still a school on that site.

    There — I said it.

  16. @Dagmar — It certainly seems to have been you. Used your email address. Perhaps you need to buy better quality wine from Lidl to prevent future blackouts.

  17. I don’t know, my pal “Diabolo” seems quite spirited, if a little “violently accurate”, as Bjork may have put it.

    That Co-op plonk makes a creditable, rustic brandy if you can be bothered to collect the distilled droplets on a bathroom mirror whilst trying to avoid seeing your face.


  18. Le PP has been sold. Yes. Believe it or not someone actually paid for it. Do a bit of research guys. You don’t pay for a failed business. You pick it up for free. Or you negotiate a reverse premium.

  19. @eusebiovic — that’s what I mean — somebody actually PAID £50K to get in there and take over paying the rent and buying beer at ludicrously high prices. THEN they are going to spend another £100K or so ‘doing the place up’ turning it into something else that will fail.

    All you people out there listen up:

    Remember The Kerfield?
    Remember Blakes?
    Remember The Dark Horse?
    Remember Le Petit Parisien?

    Think how much money has been spent and lost on this site over the last fifteen years.

    £400K at least spent and another few hundred grand in trading losses on top all gone down the pan. Now another £150K.

    In all that time the pubco just carried on making money while people like us lost their shirts. Now THAT makes sense.

    I really hope this lot are on the ball but basically they’ll be lucky if they last two years. If they are REALLY REALLY good they might last five.

    The average length of time a leasehold tenant survives in a pubco pub these days is 18 months. It’s the immutable law of the pubco tie.

    By the way, unless they read this and change their mind, it’s going to be called the Crooked Well.

    I was writing measured stuff like this about the Dead Horse and no one believed me. Some people even suggested I might be bitter, not wanting competition. I JUST DON’T LIKE SEEING PEOPLE LOSE THEIR SHIRT.

    Why does no one believe me?

    Good luck.

  20. The Dark Horse opened sometime like April 2006. It’s 2011 now, that’s two businesses failed in five years to the month. Some of you will say the LPP got £50K for the lease. Well they lost money for two years or so and there’s no way the £50K covered the losses.

    And, by the way, the Black Sheep went down the Swanee a while back and is on the market again now. And Planet Nollywood is going down too.

    It’s all a bed of roses.

    OH. And The George Canning is now on its FIFTH lessee in two and a bit years. Watch out for it going on the market suitable for alternative use subject to planning consent — all because a pubco ripped the heart and profit out of it. It’s a crime on society.

  21. South London Gallery has had its Arts Council funding increased, news just broken on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” programme. Rewarded for adventurous programming. Well done SLG.


    South London Gallery’s Arts Council grant more than DOUBLED for 2011.

    Incredible! Well done Margot Heller and TEAM.

  23. @Mark, I believe you.

    Msr. PP .….did he jump or was he pushed?, it seems to me that the pubco’s involvement in that bars fate has been even more sinister than your rallys on here have described.

    are they seriously going to call it The Crooked Well ?!

  24. @paul b. Phew. Thanks. If you were M le PP, or if I were he for that matter, I’m sure you’d have been desperate to get out. I’m sure you’d have thought that it was a miracle that someone was prepared to buy the lease before imminent bankruptcy. Generally all pubco’s involvement in pubs is like that. There’s barely a fag paper’s worth of difference between them behaviour wise. I’m only measured because what I post is based on observation rather than provable as it would have to be if tested in court. I know what goes on because it’s been happening to me for sixteen years. Can you imagine that? Sixteen years. I hate it. It’s life sapping. Proving it happens across the board is difficult, nigh on impossible which is why government doesn’t get it.

    By the way, paul b was a fashion impressario in Chicago in the early 1980’s. He had a very trendy clothes shop which was run by Laurel Fishman. They used to buy leather ties I made and touted around town to pay the rent. Are you that same paul b?

  25. @Peter — and all of you dear readers… Antic is by and large free of tie. See the price difference? They will be selling beer more than a pound less that I do, or Le PP did, or the Rec etc and will still be making a better margin than we do.

    Who takes the profit out of this? That’s right, the pubco. For doing nothing other than running down pubs all across the UK.

  26. Indeed Antic are completely free of tie except for The Tiger, will be interesting if they have a clause in their lease that allows them a guest ale or not.

  27. Antic pubs are good…I like Westow House in Crystal Palace too

    You can tell just by walking in to one they are able to breathe easier…hence their success (freehold!) — looking forward to sampling the Camberwell brew.

    They should call it Butterfly — it would make perfick sense 🙂

  28. Isn’t Antic itself a “pubco”? At the very least a “chain” which, like The Metro (Daily Mail) are usually hated on this blog.

  29. some sunny afternoon, in the garden of the sun and doves,
    a pint of untied camberwell ale,
    some olives from pauls olive shop.

    such things are dreams made of.

    and Steve Vai’s “Bad Horsee” in the background.

  30. @David. Antic IS a company that owns and operates pubs and therefore is a pubco. Pubco describes a wide range of different entities who are involved with pubs.

    The term has come to be used perjoratively because the pubcos who dominate the UK pub market;
    Punch; Enterprise; Greene King; Marstons; Scottish & Newcastle; Admiral — there are many smaller others who slavishly imitate these ‘big six’ — have taken the legal gift of beer tie and used the advantage it gives them over their tenants to shift all legal and fiscal responsiibility for the running, operation and upkeep of their estates over to thousands of individual lessees who supposedly are well funded, dynamic, visionary and entrepreneurial business people who take on all risks of the estates as employers, insurers and repairers of the pub industry. The number of pubs that operate this way far exceeds the numbers that are genuinely free of tie and operated differently with the best interests of the customer at heart.

    These pubcos have discovered that they can aggressively extract the maximum possible profit from every single one of their pubs, making the pubcos’ perform brilliantly year in year out, without leaving any profit to be put back into the businesses by their lessees. They promulgate the myth that their lessees, because they are running their own businesses (errr rather than pointing out they are actually paying the pubcos for the privilege of manage their estates) are infinitely robust individuals, crafty and capable of surviving downturns in the economy, inexorable increases in duty, the impact of the health lobby, new licensing red tape and H&S legislation, competition from cheap retail booze in supermarkets while they pay the pubco DOUBLE what they would be spending on their beer if they were free of tie.

    I’m not exaggerating. I am buying beer out of tie now for the first time in sixteen years — I am doing this because I CANNOT afford to buy the pubcos beer and to stay open. I am in breach of my lease but still able to sell beer.

    An average weekly order of beer through my tie supply with S&N costs me around £1,900. The beer I have delivered to me by an independent wholesaler (who buys it from S&N and then sells it to me, making a living profit on the transaction) costs me £1,200. Tell me that makes sense.

    The other myth of the beer / pub industry is that tied pub rents are lower than free of tie. There is no proof of this whatsoever. Believe me, I’ve been campaigning against this for three years and have seen nothing anywhere to support this lie. If anything my own anecdotal evidence suggests that free of tie rents are actually lower than tied. If anyone is interested I can supply information to support this.

    The majority of pubs in the UK are owned by such pubcos who operate them under the supposed auspices of the beer tie. This, essentially, is why most of the pubs in the UK look run down, dilapidated and unattractive to customers. They have not had any money spent on them for decades because all thr profit has been trousered by greedy shortighted pubco property dealers.

    Customers in reality have abandoned pubs because they are not nice places to relax in.

    The landscape being littered with closed pubs is little to do with all the reasons cited by the pubcos and their industry lackey pundits for their closure, as touched on above. No, customers have abandoned the pub in droves in favour of Starbucks because pubs are stinky falling apart crapholes — JUST because all the profit’s been taken away from the bar and tucked into the board room.

    Antic is a different form of pubco. Antic cares about its profitability, for sure, but Antic ensures its profit by taking a different sort of responsibility for the way its pubs are run. Antic has a long term vision for its pubs. All the staff are employed by Antic and all the buildings are looked after and cared for by Antic. Antic cares about its customers, Antic cares about its products, Antic cares about its staff.

    The pubcos we love to hate are the ones who take no responsibility for anything other than praise for taking all the profit out of their estates and to deny that their activities are directly the cause of pubs closures all over the country and the destruction of a fundamental part of British heritage and tradition.

  31. Poked my nose into the new baths the other day. Buxton have done an excellent job with the renovation and its much nicer than before however I think the architects really missed a trick with the café — why a brick-wall behind the kitchen area when this could have been glass leading to outside seating with the kitchen down the other end – this would have made a much nicer outlet and in my opinion it is a wasted opportunity.

    Peter — Good to see you on the way back from the farmers market, we bought some meat, fish, cakes and eggs there and I also filled in the library consultation document. Although it would be sad to see the library move from Church Street I do see the benefits of having the space all on one level plus if its bigger and has more study area looking onto the green then I think overall it would be a positive thing.. I really hope the old space does not turn into a Tesco though!

    Springs Camberwell Quarterly is now out and has articles on the refurbished baths, Denmark Hill Station, talk of a possible new free school and the problems of club couture and extended licence.

    On the development front I have amended the Camberwell development map,, to include the library proposal. Also more plots around the green have recently sold or are under offer so we may see more building going on in that area soon:–274%20AND%2029.pdf (It’s a pretty ugly proposal but unfortunately it already has planning permission). Does anyone have more details on the old St Giles Hospital being sold off by the council, like who its being sold through and for how much?

    Finally with the warmer weather just around the corner can I remind you all of my new book on cycling routes in and around London. It can be found here:–1 and I would be very happy to sign copies if you want me too. It has got some great rides in it particularly around here (as you might expect) and Michael Palin described it as “bringing the city to life!”

  32. Anyone noticed the huge red-and-yellow-brick period industrial building at the top of Camberwell New Road, near Oval tube? Here’s some news about it:

    Having read about Theatre Peckham in Camberwell Quarterly, I wonder why it was the only organisation in the Camberwell & Peckham constituency not to get a generous settlement from the Arts Council?

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