Burgess Park, the Olympic Torch, and so on

Lots of news today, for some reason. Maybe because it’s sunny.

OK, first, Burgess Park reopens this Saturday after a long, long wait. Partially reopens, anyway. There’s an open day with loads of events from 11am to 5pm (weather permitting, of course). I’m looking forward to seeing the changes. One bit of news I’m quite keen on is that there’ll be a new barbecue area in the park, around the lake, which is a nice idea.

On 26th July the Olympic Torch will pass through Camberwell between 11.45am and 12.15pm, coming along Peckham Road to the Green, then up Coldharbour Lane.

SE5 Forum are looking for volunteers to help with stewarding this, and also general leafletting duties; meet at 2pm on 22nd July in The Recreation Ground if you want to help.

According to The Telegraph, teams of ‘street pastors’ have led to a 95% decrease in street crime in Camberwell. I can’t find that figure confirmed anywhere, nor do I know how they can prove that any reduction is due to the pastors, but if it’s at all true then it’s a very welcome development.

Finally, a privately-funded firm has published plans for a new tram line between Camberwell and London Bridge, which they claim could be operational within two years. The streets are certainly wide enough for the most part, as it’s where the old tram line used to run; but Walworth Road has since been narrowed so not sure how that will work. Integration with the Oyster network is also an open question. Still, exciting if it does happen.

That’ll do for now.

Author: Peter

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

98 thoughts on “Burgess Park, the Olympic Torch, and so on”

  1. The tram is a nice idea but sadly I really can’t see that it’ll happen. Unbelievably optimistic to think it could be built within 2 years — I won’t hold my breath.

  2. An excellent scattering of local pearls, Peter.

    The street pastors were great in Peckham — haven’t seen ’em for a while. They beamed and beamed at the knifey people. If God has the effect of making the streets safer, he can’t be that bad.

    The torch is going to Lyndhurst Primary School up Grove Lane where recently one of their excellent kids starred as Usain Bolt in an end-of-term performance which sent the whole hall up into the stratosphere.

    The best way of getting a look at the torch and maybe appearing in the paper or on telly or is to become an SE5 Forum Steward.

    The high-vis jacket is the on-trend uniform of the truly genuine, human, local, real, person being. These are the army of yes-we-can people who not just yes-we-can but yes-we-do.

  3. Burgess Park is much the same as it was, thank goodness. A few no-risk, non-denominational plastic and foam accessories have been added. A tin walkway has been thrown over the slightly expanded lake. The management of the lakewater is probably very difficult, which is why it’s full of a tiny weed which looks like half-inch-long green hair clippings. The tin walkway provides a good view of the weed and a surface layer of strange, bad-milky-looking scum. The flow of water to and from the lake must be very slow. The Serpentine, it isn’t.

    Much of the grass has been replaced by low-maintenance Westmoreland-type moorland grass.

    The wild grass and wildflower areas are the highlight. It will be interesting to see how nature takes over the new Burgess Park and smooths some of its shiny hard edges.

    Part of that nature are the people who may lurk there and vandalise.

    One of the interesting new features is the Shard. It wasn’t in view when the park was closed.

    It’s good to have the park back. It’s a large area of soothing green, ideal for cycling around for the general air of it. It is incredibly calming to sit by the large lake away from the scum end.

  4. I like the look of the park. The sightlines from Chumleigh Gardens through to the lake are rather lovely.

  5. Yes, the rolling songlines and feminine undulations are most pleasing. When all the myriad details are fixed, it will be great.

    We were up in Clissold Park today, N5, Arsenal land. The water there, the canal and lakes, looked really healthy. The lake in Burgess Park was always full of algal bloom and God knows what. Maybe it was a mistake to expand it and throw a tin walkway over it to view the primal soup.

    The wooden walkways over Dulwich Park lake are so oriental and soothing by comparison. The water is clear, too.

    What Burgess Park needs is Colonel J.J. Sexby, the man of vision and practicality who was the LCC’s first proper park man.

  6. Long term, the water in Burgess Park lake should be much better than before. The problem is that thousands of gallons of fresh water have been added in a very short space of time and it will take quite a long time for it to settle. However, the layout of the park now allows water to filter into the lake rather than having to add mains water has was previously the case. Once the water has had a while to settle and the new reeds and other vegetation are established, the water water should hopefully reach a healthy equilibrium.

  7. My kids saw the Olympics Torch go through Lewisham earlier in the week (near their Grandma’s). They were not impressed. The actual torch is, apparently, surrounded by support vehicles and security joggers and flashed by in five seconds.

    Went to the Gowlett the other night for Magic 7s. They’re selling a summer ale branded XX XII. On trend, but not quite an Olympics branding crime.

  8. That’s the Gowlett closed, then. Here is the full list of official Olympics brands. It’s important we know what to avoid.


    Still, Camberwell will be out in force tomorrow along Peckham Road and Church Street as only Camberwell can from 11-ish onwards.

    The best place will be outside the Hermits Cave, for a number of reasons — branding, beer and best lugubrious banter round here!

  9. Its amazing how they can find the money to make Camberwell look spotless …once that torch has gone through no doubt we will go back to living in shit

  10. The thing is to step over it.

    The five Olympic girls wearing just a union jack (some people were saying) and Olympic-ring fascinators outside the Cave with their outsized torch were absolutely on-brand for Camberwell.

    The brand wagons preceding the torch were noted — cola, electricals and the failed Lloyds TSB whose 632 branches have just been flogged off cheap to the Co-op. This will see the return of the TSB mutual banking model, not a bad thing.

    Good old Camberwell.

    “Dirty old river, must you keep rolling,
    Flowing into the night…”

  11. The torch bearers name was Sharon,the 5 Olympic girls were Sharon’s friends, and the little lad dressed up as a torch was her son. Oh yes, and the beaming friendly police on duty were all from Lancashire.

  12. I enjoyed the torch relay enormously — the commercialism didn’t spoil it for me at all, because the atmosphere was so positive. I liked seeing little class-mates waving flags together and being photographed by their teacher, more little children waving torches made from cardboard and tissue-paper, care-home residents watching from their wheelchairs outside Cruson, cars being stopped in the traffic and their drivers getting out photographing what was going on. It was a day when hooting car horns meant fun, and not anger. And in the background, the bells of St Giles Church. The torch bearer I saw was Richard Reynolds, the guerilla gardener.

    Did anyone hear Mendelssohn’s “Camberwell Green” (aka Spring Song) played on Radio 3 this morning, in honour of the torch’s passage through Camberwell?

  13. Even though I’m a cynical swine when it comes to the heavy hand of excess commercialism, I enjoyed it too; it was nice seeing people of different ages & walks of life enjoying themselves in the sunshine. Multi-cultural Camberwell at its best.

  14. I was out and about taking photo’s yesterday during the torch relay. Agree the atmosphere was friendly and festival like. It was fun talking to people and seeing them enjoy themselves, the torch element of the morning was probably the least interesting from a photography point of view. There’s an album on my Facebook Photography page, you don’t have to be a friend to see it.


  15. Yes the atmosphere was wonderful!
    But I was shocked by the big, red CocaCola bus. So everywhere the torch goes (has been) it is preceded by a bus advertising a truly unhealthy product and handing out free samples (my friend tells me that this is what he saw in Peckham). This in a borough that is struggling to reduce obesity in children.
    Creating a legacy of improving health and fitness.
    You couldn’t make it up!

  16. Maude, dear, the cola is full of sugar but is ever so good for a hangover. I’m sorry, Maude, it’s true! x

    Better still is Pepsi Max which has the highest caffeine content of any cola — a small 330ml tin has the equivalent of a nice cup of coffee.

    I have noticed other young and youngish girls like us wearing Pepsi t‑shirts, recently. Attitude! Controversial! Activist! Like wearing a Manu Chao t‑shir with no bra!

  17. Southwark Nonsense:

    Below is correspondence which should be of interest to locals. Check out the dates. The response arrived in my email inbox today: 31 July 2012.

    12 July 2012

    Southwark Planning Department

    Re: The Cadleigh Arms, Shenley Road is closed for ‘refurbishment’.

    See link above for discussion about this on the local Camberwellonline blog. This is to convert the pub into residential accommodation. There appears to be no application for change of use on your website.

    Please confirm whether an application and consent has been received and if not, tell me what your planning department intends to do about it. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    J Mark Dodds FRSA

    Date Received: 17/07/2012

    Dear J Mark Dodds

    General enquiry re:
    The Cadleigh Arms Shenley Road

    Summary description: Conversion of pub to residential

    Thank you for your enquiry regarding the above. It will be allocated to an officer who will reply to you. We aim to reply to general enquiries within 10 working days of receipt but replies to some enquiries can take longer. If it is likely to take longer to reply to you we will write to you again to tell you when you can expect a reply. If we require any further information from you to help us reply to your enquiry we will do so within 7 days of receipt of
    your letter.

    If you have not heard from us within 10 working days please contact our administrative support team on the telephone number shown at the top of this letter and they will be able to put you in touch with the officer dealing
    with your enquiry.

    Yours sincerely

    Gary Rice
    Head of Development Management

    WELL; I rest my case. The initial response is already way out of their own schedule.

  18. “Thank you for nothing, as per usual practice, we expect to get round to intending to do nothing about this, or anything else, and will not respond within any parameters set by anyone, especially ourselves.

    Yours sincerely

    LaaLa Telly Tubby”

    Very experienced and highly qualified. Academically. Not in the use of intelligible English language.

  19. Blackheath is packed with super-posh horse boxes from all over the world. Our royal family and their pals excel at Burghley, Badminton, Blenheim and Bramham but evidently not at bleedin’ Black’eaf where they were superiored by their German cousins. Never mind, good effort.

    North Korea have more golds than us.

  20. Here’s a strange request.

    There is a huge tree stump recently created in the churchyard, 5 foot across, 4 foot high. There is a lot of rot, which is why the tree was chopped — there are shavings like snow everywhere — but a lot of the wood is good.

    Is there some wood craftsman who can turn it into a seat? It could be carved into a large throne, whence to regard the folly of folly, the death of death and the thrill of being a squirrel.

  21. Monday 6th August 8pm Channel 4

    Britain’s High Street Gamble

    A dispatches documentary which discusses the effects of the 2005 gambling bill which basically allowed betting shops to do what they wanted.

    Harriet Harman has admitted that Labour got it totally wrong in every respect when they changed the legislation in 2005, and has advocated tightening it up again.

    I would do a lot more that — it needs to be made stricter than it was beforehand.

    Also, all the internet gambling operations and casinos of these companies are based in Gibraltar in huge warehouses with mainframe computers — where they don’t contribute anything to the British Tax System.

    After that, they need to look at off licences regulation again — and put that back to how it was before — no more than 2 off licences per community. A grocery/ newsagents store shouldn’t be allowed to sell alcohol either.

    P.S I have Olympic Fever too!


  22. The wildflower area in Lucas Gardens continues to astound. One sits there, having lost most of one’s drink money on the gee-gees, with a last can of Tennents, and the flowers just keep on coming in a set order throughout the season, like notes and chords in a gorgeous symphony by Vaughan-Williams.

  23. We’ve been loading up on peaches from Cruzon. Those flat ones like you get in France. He’s got a good batch in — juicy, sweet, and full natural peach flavor.

    It’s a good shop that. I’m always in and out for the odd bit of fuit and veg. Someone will normally watch your bike. If it comes to £3.05, he’ll charge you £3 to keep it simple. Etc.

  24. Camberwell is like Jurassic Park at the moment. You expect peaches in Lucas Gardens to plop on the heads of the dinosaurs and awaken them to the joys of vegetarianism.

    The coolest places to be in reach of Camberwell are Planet Ice, the ice rink in Brixton, which is really cool and the Barbican where the Bauhaus exhibition which closes on the 12 August and costs just a tenner if you buy your ticket online.

  25. @Dagmar

    Or tickets are free if you work in a gallery or museum in the culture sector which has an agreement with the government. (which is most of the big names)

    Just flash your staff I.D pass — It’s that easy — yeah!

    Now all I need is a free oyster card…

  26. Hi,

    If anyone is a budding film maker or an established one for that matter, we are looking for short films to screen next Friday 17th August at the free open air screening of Dracula at the Sports Centre on Coburg Road. If you are interested, please get in touch.

  27. Those marathon runners did a good job advertising London. What would we recommend tourists come to Camberwell for? I would say (1) South London Gallery (2) their cafe (3) stroll through Ruskin Park (4) dinner at Flying Fish (bring your own) and (5) rehydrate with beer at the Hermits Cave then Stormbird.

  28. and now for something completely different.
    we’ve been working on tons of data we recently got from the council, looking at number of people living in southwark by street and comparing this to the number of people who actually own cars. we mapped it all and connected the ‘dots’. have a read and, as importantly, please make as many comments for individual streets as you can (using the google document, the link for it is in the article)
    thank you all in advance — the article which explains everything is here: http://www.peoplesrepublicofsouthwark.co.uk/index.php/2420-imagining-southwark

  29. Interesting data and maps, Lili. I like the idea of joining up areas of car-free goodness.

    If you ride a bike you come across these informal routes between quieter areas. It’s amazing how much of London is quiet most of the time.

    We like hoping between Warwick Gardens, Lucas Gardens and Brunswick Gardens via the back streets. From there its a short link to Burgess Park, and thence down the old Surrey Canal to Peckham… and, then back again, via Holly Grove, to Warwick Gardens. A better link up to Peckham Common would be nice… from there you link to One Tree Hill or over the footway to Crofton Park and beyond.

    North of Burgess Park to the river or to town isn’t so great. The Portland Street cycle route up to the New Kent Road is a good route.

  30. @gabe thanks for the feedback — connecting is key, as few things in southwark are at the moment (whichever way you look at it :P)
    going through burgess park west-east is brilliant, but south-north isn’t and this could be one of the priorities, as albany road is horrible.
    if you’ve got specific comments for any of the camberwell streets included, please put them into the google document, so it’s all in one place? thank you xxx

  31. One end of the games: Deutschland Leaves Canary Wharf http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBoknAo

    Seeing this boat leave the dock was marvellous: it’s just about two metres shorter and 50cm narrower than the lock; a very tight fit!

    The ship was loaded with the German Olympics team, who were having a great time lining the upper decks and taking in the atmosphere of this spectacular moment of a huge ship leaving the glowing heart of Canary Wharf lit up at night.

  32. THOU mastering me
    God! giver of breath and bread;
    World’s strand, sway of the sea;
    Lord of living and dead;
    Thou hast bound bones and veins in me, fastened me flesh,
    And after it almost unmade, what with dread,
    Thy doing: and dost thou touch me afresh?
    Over again I feel thy finger and find thee.

  33. To the happy memory of five Franciscan Nuns exiles by the Falk Laws drowned between midnight and morning of Dec. 7th. 1875

    Perhaps God’s finger had a hand in sinking the ship?

  34. God has a finger or, indeed, a hand up your arse, Mark Dodds. You are his puppet. You may know Harriet Harman and God doesn’t, but you should watch your backside, young man.

    The names Grace and Maude are rocketing up the girls’ names tables, I read. Dagmar cannot be far behind, so to speak. Anyone who has seen my behind cannot speak! x

  35. Very funn Dagmar. Very funn. You know very well there’s no god anywhere near mine and I’m certainly not up it either.

    Speaking of jacksies, so is Jackson most popular.

  36. This is a message from the Hand of God.

    Cloud cover meant it was completely dark last night. No matter. I was sitting in the garden listening to bats fluttering back and forth, pinging.

    Co-op were selling sunflowers yesterday, £3 for four, a real bargain. I splashed out on twelve of them. I’ve been recording them out of respect for their beauty, their visual impact and for posterity.

  37. The silly season is truly upon us.

    This afternoon I was walking down the Grove carrying a bicycle tyre and one of my shoes in my hand — it had given me a blister — when a garishly dressed, proper Camberwell woman came out of the alleyway looking like Widow Twankey.

    LADY: I thought you was riding your bicycle. Where’s yer shoe?

    DAGMAR: In me ‘and.

    LADY: Are you all right?

    DAGMAR: I’ve got a blister.

    A short way down Bromar Road there is the smallest park in Camberwell, a tiny enclave with a slate sculpture in it — a tall chunk of slate with a perfect whole machined in it, sort of a cheap Hepworth. The flowers in the beds are lovely. There is a bench. Does anyone know about its provenance?

    Millwall have got off to a poor start with a 0–2 loss at home against Blackpool. One of Ian Wright’s sons excelled for the seasiders. Danny Shittu, the human man-mountain and one-man defence is back for the Wall which is good, well, could be, should be.

    Tomorrow Millwall visit Peterborough, the town that makes Swindon look like San Francisco and Bermondsey look like Sodom and Gomorrah, for their second game. Both clubs lie at the bottom of the Championship eah with a loss and 0–2 goal deficit. However, Millwall is placed above “The Posh” merely on the strength of alphabetical order.

    Shouldn’t there be a system of drawing lots for this, or a playoff or penalties? It seems unfair that Arsenal or Aldershot should stand on the backs of Zimbabwe or Zennor just because of the vagaries of the alphabet, not to mention the silly season.

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