Camberwell Online in the Digital Universe

This is… well, this is just astonishing.

As of April 6, a consortium of libraries — including the British, Bodleian and Trinity — will be given permission to archive the entire UK web. As promotion for this, they’ve curated a list of 100 websites that they think will be important for future generations to learn about life today. And on that list is this blog you’re reading.

And I’m amazed, and flattered, and humbled.

They say:

A community blog with lively comments section giving insight into life in South London today. In the future a blog like this could easily be lost, taking the personal insights of a community in 2013 with it.

And I think that the key words in there are “community” and “comments”. I started this blog in 2004 as a way for me to record my rediscovery of Camberwell, and never dreamed that it would be considered like this one day, and the fact that it’s happened is down to everyone who reads, comments, and otherwise gets involved in the discussions that go on here.

If you’re reading this in 2113, I just want to say that I’m sorry you never got to meet some of the great people I’ve met through writing this blog for the last nine years, and that I hope in your time Camberwell continues to be as vibrant and weird and grotty and beautiful and friendly and contrary as it is right now. Also, have you got a tube station yet? And please have a glass of future beer in the Hermits for me.

Author: Peter

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

63 thoughts on “Camberwell Online in the Digital Universe”

  1. My road to immortality. Must start commenting again.

    By 2113, Camberwell will be District 5, used to kettle alien prawns.

  2. Those are not aliens with antennae shambling round our streets listening to the “Rough Guide to Camberwell” on their headphones. They are pub-faced, middle-aged men wearing my knickers on their heads, stolen recently from my washing line. Their tufty grey hair sprouts through the leg holes like their ponytails from the back of baseball caps.

    You naughty boys, you know who you are!

  3. @Peter/All

    British, Bodleian, Cambridge and Trinity Libraries etc

    Wow! Accolades don’t get much better than that…a huge pat on the back to Peter for keeping us all in check over the years.

    Now that people are watching us, are we going to crumble under the pressure or keep it rolling along in our effortlessly debauched Camberwell fashion?

    I wonder what the fine upstanding denizens of the East Dulwich Forum will make of it all?

    On just this one occasion, I suspect that it may well be fun to take a peep! 😉

    All in good nature…of course

    Thank You All

    I drink my tea

  4. Thats great. Nice one Peter and all the contributors Eubo, Dagmar, Tom, Mark etc etc. Thanks again for setting it up all those years ago and maintaining it ever since. I haven’t participated enough of late but continue to enjoy reading about all the goings on.

  5. Shouldn’t we object to being archived, thereby continuing in the spirit of the Awkward Squad, Camberwell SE5?

  6. Congratulations Peter, an exceptional award!

    I must declare an interest here because I was the British Library’s Head of Legal Deposit Strategy when the 2003 Act was passed — getting the Bill through Parliament took over a year of my life. The Act gave powers to archive the web — amongst other things — and it’s a tad disappointing that it’s taken so long for the Act to be properly implemented.

    I’m looking forward to attending the launch party at the British Library tomorrow evening. (I retired 5 years ago and claim no credit for the choice of this blog.)

  7. “Xeroxlore” reminds me of the time when people used to sit on photocopiers and send the pictures to colleagues or superiors.

    Meterorologues are saying that the current cold spell is the start of the new Ice Age and that far from global warming — remember that? — bringing a beach to Camberwell Church Street turning the Cave into a beach bar, soon there’ll be glaciers crawling up Camberwell Grove.

    We may all end up as terminal moraine somewhere south of Croydon.

  8. Well done Peter! Im definitely more of a voyeur on this site but it keeps me up to date and entertained!
    on a side note — not sure if its being commented on before but if you haven’t been to Maloko yet (where Paul’s olive shop used to be) then give it a try. gluten free crepes with broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and cheese with a dash of hot chilli sauce! delicious!! Really friendly chap that runs it, I hope he does well!

  9. The new Maudsley Learning Centre on Grove Lane opens later this summer. There is a consultation this Monday 8 April from 6.30–9.00 pm about their intention to apply for a permanent license to sell alcohol on the premises and also for a regulated entertainment licence. The meeting takes place in the Boardroom at Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill. Apparently the Boardroom is by the reception desk at the main entrance.

  10. Alternative comedians at the East Dulwich Tavern only had to say, “Thatcher, eh?” and the salariat audience cheered so much that the humorous nerd got tenure on Radio 4.

  11. @Monkeycat

    Indeed — hopefully before the end of my brief sojourn on this planet and in this cosmos 😉

    If I’m not mistaken — the zeitgeist seems to suggest that strong community self-sufficiency is in the initial stages of making a HUGE comeback…

  12. The Big Society. DIY. PYO.

    Now we’ve gone from “Greed is good” to “Greed is God” and boy is she angry.

  13. Wait …

    The Maudsley (which includes a high-dependency/ addiction treatment unit) is applying for a drinks license?

    Is that wise?!

  14. Hurrah.

    Will be able to claim benefits and live the life of a benefits scrounger on £53 a week. Can’t wait. But we’re going to need to speak to the Hermit’s and see if they can give us a new cheaper beer.… A pint of Camberwell Scrounger anyone?

  15. Slightly off topic here but I thought I’d seek advice from the Camberwell Hive Mind.

    I’m organising a tenants’ meeting for our building (around 20 people) for a Sat/ Sun in a few weeks. Do any of you know of suitable venues (preferably free!) where we could meet? Last time we met in a room at Peckham Library but it would be better if we could meet closer to home.

    Any ideas gratefully received!


  16. Seen this morning: Blossoms of many kinds, especially cherry blossoms, primroses, daffodils, small blue flowers of various types, magnolias and forsythia in flower.

    The viburnum has been flowering for ages already. Crocuses and snow drops have been and gone.

    Future historians and climate scientists, you are welcome.

    Camberwell will probably have reverted to swamp by then anyway, or if not, glacial moraine somewhere south of Croydon.

  17. @St Giles. Free options are a bit limited, unless you go for a cafe space ( like Camberwell Baths, which is pretty big and has sofas at the far end; or Johannsens)or to a pub like the Grove Tavern. Paid for local spaces include the Albrighton Community Centre ( and Institute of Psychiatry, Employment Academy on Peckham Road ( I think) or the Wilson Hall at the Camberwell School of Arts.
    Have you asked other T and RAs for their ideas? They may have access to their own venues?

  18. Took the kids over to bike club at the Velodrome in deepest Dulwich today. Different world over there. Well-groomed mothers charging around in Audi and Volvo estates. The odd Merc thrown in (4WD drives, natch).

  19. @ St Giles: The parish hall is in use on a Saturday morning for the music school.

    However, there is also the St. Giles centre, right opposite the Church.

    Alternatively, there’s a meeting room on the D’Eynsford Estate. I may be able to help arrange for use. Get in touch if you want more info.

    In other D’Eynsford related news, the Secret Garden is back. Well it never went away, but we are open on Friday afternoons from 3pm-5pm (ish). Go to the website for more info. Everyone is welcome, and if you know nothing about gardening, you’ll be in good company. Neither do I.

  20. All,

    I love you.

    Thanks for all the suggestions — I’ll explore them all.

    My first preference is a pub, but I’m not sure how well that will sit with everyone. Or how much we’d achieve, frankly.

    Great news about the secret garden. It’s going to be 20-odd centigrade this weekend so time to dust off the yomping boots methinks.

    Btw — is Burgess Park finished? We walked through it last weekend and it seems .. erm … a little unfinished. Especially the Old Kent Road end. How many millions ?

  21. Lettsom Estate tenant’s hall is a good bet.

    How shall we attend Mrs Thatcher’s public funeral next Wednesday? Something makes me want to go on my scruffy old matt black BMX in a skeleton suit carrying a scythe.

    It’s one of those lifestyle magazine questions, isn’t it? What would you wear to Mrs Thatcher’s funeral?

    Isn’t it great that Dennis Healey outlived her to not attend the TV show thing in Parliament today, saying that it was “over the top”. What a man you can believe in.

    It’s all a bit mad, isn’t it?

  22. @St Giles

    You can always ask The Cambria pub just behind Ruskin Park.

    They have a habit of making their function room available to community groups for meetings.

    Or The Fox on the Hill…you might be lucky with the weather and get to use the beer garden.

  23. The Cambria is offbeat, queer and neo-chintzy. Ideal. Seriously, it’s a world away from Soviet housing estates. Makes you want to buy your own council house and pimp it chintzwise, trinket it up and burst into tears when you see your wedding snaps in Woolie’s frames on the cheaply-tiled mantelpiece reminding you of the times when you just didn’t get on rather than totally loathe each other like now.

    Strychnine! Arsenic! Ground glass!

  24. @St Giles Not only is the new Maudsley Learning Centre applying for a drinks licence, but also an entertainment licence. No wonder pubs are closing down…

  25. Congratulations! But it does beg the question what will Camberwell be like in 2113. I’d like to think there is a tube station too, but even more importantly, I’d like to think there is a greater degree of prosperity in the area, perhaps brought on by a greater diversity in the socio-economic profile. Camberwell could be so much better.

  26. Surely, AlwaysRight, Camberwell is already incredibly varied. Any more socio-economic-diversity and people will be spilling off both sides of the graph with desiccated pondlife as goldfish food at one end and Russian oiligarchs at the other.

    Camberwell reflects national averages — that’s where we want to be.

    The problem with predominant wealth can be seen in central London which is now -


  27. @AlwaysRight — I’m not sure I understand your riddle, but interpret it to mean less social housing & more lofts?

  28. Just found this site! I love Camberwell, socio-economic bizarre-ity and all. There’s just something about it.

    Has anyone tried that new place on Camberwell Church St — Maloko? Crepes and buckwheat sandwiches! Where else can you get that, I ask you?

  29. Hello — a request on behalf of another really having scratched my head and wondered where to point these people in the right direction..
    Cafe Pronto at the railway station has been told it will need to re-apply for its franchise and will see it’s rent go up (by up to 5x the current rent). Sam the owner has put out a petition and from the looks of it had a good sign up.I got talking to Sam on Friday and I think he’s going to need some help to write the bid (I told him he’s going to want to emphasize he is a local business and to draw attention to the fact he did not get compensation during all the building work..)I’m sure there a small business help gps or are there people who follow the site who understand writing SME bids I dont! I’d hate to see a local business be replaced by an AMT or bigger franchise! If anyone can help, swing by the coffee stand and introduce yourself to Sam!
    Cheers, Tasha

  30. Buckwheat crepes, you say? — I’m in.

    Tasha — that sounds like bad news. Rents make it really hard for people to run businesses at a decent profit margin. Pubs we’ve heard all about on these pages, but it would seem to be the case for just about any shop-type activity, apart from betting.

  31. We went to the Pae White exhibit at the SLG at the weekend. It’s really good — kind of a “yarn bomb”.

    I didn’t really sense the “insomnia and consequent reflection on the transience of our existence” aspect of it, noted in the blurb. It’s made of wool, so you know… it feels cosy if anything.

  32. That show is great, well done the SLG. It’s a sort of conservatory, hallway thingy you can walk through and underneath made from multicoloured woollen twine. It has to be seen to be experienced.

  33. It is a great show. But like it less when I read the artist’s statement.

    I just want to take my cats there and let them have a bit of fun.

  34. Cat’s cradle, that’s it. It’s a giant cat’s cradle or spirograph pattern (hypotrochoid) made of woollen twine of many colours. Mesmerising to walk through.

  35. Here’s an email I got through from Peckham Vision

    It’s worth a read and help out if you can

    Peckham Vision had a shock in discovering a Council report last week
    which seems to recommend a total clear out of the businesses on Network
    Rail land around Peckham Rye station between Rye Lane and Bellenden Rd.
    See the report and map -

    It was expected that some businesses would be displaced by the plans to
    recreate the station square and reclassify some of the industrial land
    behind the station for town centre commercial use, and that for the rest
    there would be an organic process of change. No one expected that
    everything would be swept away to create a sterile place which would
    have to start all over again.

    Peckham Vision is seeking a deputation to the Council Cabinet meeting
    TODAY Tuesday 16 April 4pm Council HQ 160 Tooley St, SE1, for
    clarification and, if it is a plan for wholesale clear out, to seek a
    postponement for urgent discussions about a different approach.

    Please come to support the deputation if you can and are near that area.

  36. Ok, so I’m late to the party as ever, and more sadly no longer of Camberwell — but amazing to see CamberwellOnline as one of the Digital Legal Deposit 100! Congratulations! I’m truely sorry not to be living in Camberwell anymore — ironically I moved away for a job at one of the DLD holding institutions — and where I am now just ain’t the same. Deeply dull and rather smug in fact. One day I shall scheme my way back to SE5 — but until then — keep on writing scabrous ‘lively’ comments below the line!

  37. Today, tribespeople of Camberwell, of Albion, let us turn our backs on the macabre display on the river plains below and head for the hills.

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