Transported to Camberwell Arts Festival

I was giving directions to my flat from Victoria this week. ‘Well, you could get the train to Denmark Hill and walk, or you could take the 36 or the 436 bus. Oh, or the 185’. And it occurred to me that we in Camberwell are very well connected. What with the arrival of the orange line having made it so much easier for the tight trousered hipsters to get from Dalston to come and visit us, we’ve chosen the theme of Transported for this year’s Camberwell Arts Festival.

That time of year again? Yes, indeed. Listen to blues at the bus stop, make your own vehicle and aim to win Wacky Races, snoop round artists’ studios, and when you’ve finished with that, follow the trail through some of our finest boozers.

It all kicks off on Saturday with the Art Picnic on the Green, featuring possibly the world’s largest picnic blanket, followed by another turn by music hall revivalists the Palace of Varieties. Also, make sure you swing by Monkeycat of this parish’s exhibition —

Check out the programme at, and I’ll see you for life drawing on the number 12 bus.

31 thoughts on “Transported to Camberwell Arts Festival”

  1. Looking forward to the Arts Festival. You’re either on the bus or off the bus.

    Good pictures Monkeycat. No washed-up greyed-out office dudes in your block?

  2. I’ve been on the buses quite a bit the past few weeks. I quite like it. Watching teenagers swaggering around is an insight. But the bus takes all walks of life.

    The 36 is more or less an hour to Paddington. So keep it Zen. And don’t forget headphones.

  3. There are some impressive photographs of the Crossrail tunnel in the “Evening Standard”. To those of us who watch the glistening tons of clay in open wagons being dragged eastwards through Camberwell by Gwynneth Dunwoody, Sunderland, Derby County and other stalwart Class 66s (“Ying Yings”), the project is genuinely awesome.

  4. I love waving to people who have just arrived on long coach trips from the Continent via Dover.

    It’s always nice to make someone smile. So go on. Give a Camberwell Wave!

  5. The BBC radio commentators on the cricket at the Oval today made mention of the oversized root vegetable that Camberwell is famous for — much sniggers!

    I agree about waving to the coach people, M’cat. This kind of gesture is the grain of sand around which grows the pearl of Situationism. The Continental visitors should know that they are not just in London, but in Camberwell where “imaginative barmies smoke hash by right” to rephrase Matthew Arnold.

  6. Tracy & co’s quilt is a total triumph of imaginative collaboration, a tapestry of Camberwell colour and textile wit. See it tomorrow on the Green 12–6pm. Be there or be square, as we say in the patchwork quilt world!

  7. @Eilean I imagine they’ve described it as the ‘the relatively uncharted waters of Camberwell’ because they’re a *Brixton* based listings site that’s focused on Brixton events, not Camberwell.

    I hope they list more Camberwell events because it’s a very useful site.

  8. Very prescient. Today’s rain brought unchartered waters, indeed. By 5.15pm the Green was just dribs and drabs.

  9. Talking of transport, the new ticket hall for Denmark Hill faces the wrong way, desire line to Camberwell severed. Ugly bridge and dangerously narrow platforms not meeting standards. Delivered late too.

  10. The new entrance & ticket hall at Denmark Hill Station are now in use along with the footbridge and lifts. Not sure what will happen with the old ticket hall which is all locked up now.

  11. @NickW By chance Mr Eilean and I were sauntering past the station and spoke to the nice man in the ticket office. Apparently the old ticket hall is up for rent. Ideas on a postcard please.

  12. How about a people’s pub. You go in, hand over some money and invest in a pint of beer. You go to the bog and comment ruefully to the bloke in the next pissoir, “It’s all money down the drain, innit?”

  13. Ladies and Gentlemen of Camberwell!

    May I rudely interrupt your Monday night to invite you all to St Giles Church tomorrow night (Tuesday 18th June) for a real musical treat by the Camberwell Community Choir and the fantastic POP UP CHOIR, featuring none other than Camberwell’s very own Tom Leighton of 36reasons to love Camberwell, At Home By Tom Tom, and Picture The Block notoriety.

    Enjoy a glass of Pimms, a beer and the likes of Adele, Beach Boys, the Knife and Fleetwood Mac as you’ve never heard them before…

    Doors open at 19:30
    Gig starts at 20:00
    …Did I mention it is FREE!
    Please do join us — It’s a BIG venue to fill!

    Night all.


  14. Ruskin Park Summer Fete Saturday 22nd June 1pm to 5pm

    Around the bandstand

    There is Performances from The Tones, Umbrella Birds, Cambria Community Choir and more…

    The fiercely fought cake competition. more info at.

    The Snakes are back including a 13ft Python.

    Coconut Shy, Tombola, Cake stall, Plant Stall, and the Fantastic Book Stall.

    There will be free activities for children with face painting, carnival mask making etc

    The Cambria BBQ and Bar plus Fox on the Hill Hotdogs and Trinidadian Food from Rays Sunshine Arts and C.A.F.E

    It is going to be a good fun day out not to be missed

  15. It’s all going on this weekend.

    Camberwell Society have their annual Open Gardens Day Sunday 23rd June, between 2pm and 6pm. This year all proceeds go to The Hollington Youth Centre on Comber Grove. Hollington celebrated their 120 Anniversary last Saturday- Hoooray for Hollington! (

  16. There is an art-student project on Love Walk at the Denmark Hill end, a simple paper message board with nicely handwritten quotes from Browning (the wrong one, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who did not set foot in Camberwell to one’s knowledge) plus comments from locals, though some of them seem to be made up or are saucy impersonations.

    Text-based work is always less interesting, by definition, than pictorial art.

    Never mind. Ruskin Park Fete on Saturday afternoon is the perfect antidote to passing trends. It is always one of the more charming and other-worldly events of Camberwell Summer Week.

  17. SUN LOVERS. Summer solstice is upon us, part of Camberwell Summer Week. It’s nice that the sun has got involved. The magic time is 5.04 am tomorrow, Friday — sunrise on midsummer’s day. All us of will dream well tonight.

    Things are much better than you think.

    As the days get longer, life gets shorter. But then, life has been getting shorter ever since we were born.

    When people ask a question, they already know the answer — and increasingly know the answer, the less life they have.

    Add that Camberwell has long been the first hill south from old London, up from the spread of the great Thames where the sea visits twice daily.

    Thus tonight, let us salute the silt and salt below and walk the chalk of the incline, should we be inclined, knowing that we dwell in an ancient place where so many souls have come and goed.

    5.04 am.

    And then Friday will be the summer solstice celebration evening spent in locations like the ley-line-happy Hermits, Stormbird and all pints in between.

    Life, love, luck — how will it cease?

  18. I’m not convinced about this Hermits ley-line theory.

    I was told years ago that ley-lines connect the national network of Chinese takeaways, allowing them to share emergency portions of crispy duck and other culinary offerings.

    It was plausible at the time.

    I think the Hermits is built over an ancient place of worship and whoever gets too near is irresistibly drawn to its wholesome goodness.

    That’s why, after a few hours, one is often found talking nonsense to amiable, forgiving strangers. I’m sure others have noticed this effect.

    Happy solstice.

  19. Maybe the ley lines come to you if you’re all about wholesome goodness. I think that’s how it works.

    Meanwhile, we’ll be at the Camberwell Art School open day at some point tomorrow. Hopefully early enough this year to design and print a T‑shirt.

  20. Don’t forget the Ruskin Park Summer Fete tomorrow.

    Jolly Japes from 1pm — 5pm and the weather looks good!!!!

    Lots and lots of free activities for children. An Adults can enjoy a Pimms or two

  21. An excellent fete, as expected. Great choir, good music generally. The Carnegie Library stall were upbeat — they will be modernised soon, watch this space.

    Isn’t “The Travel Guide to Camberwell” good. Monkeycat Tom Leighton’s famous shots are in there; Amy Pennington’s A‑Z of Camberwell is great, her style is so sympathetic. Here’s a puff for Amy:

    The two chaps on bric-a-brac were as entertaining as ever — they could imbue any tat with the magic and mystery of a fabulous, fine, priceless, precious piece at Sotheby’s or Christie’s or, indeed, at the V&A.

  22. Years ago someone bought our flat in Grove Hill Road on the basis that ley lines crossed it. They didn’t even come in to see it before putting in an offer. Wow.

  23. How much? Ten goats, a tub of ale and a quartz crystal?

    Seriously. I have had an idea.

    Camberwell could become…

    a spa town.

  24. Sadly the ley lines did not come with a crystal ball so our purchasers could see that the P4 would be soon be trundling down Grove Hill Road at all hours

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