Changes, progress, goings-on

Had a great roast at The Bear today; it may be more expensive (~£14) but it’s the best in the area. Anyway, that’s not the point of this post; on the walk back I noticed a few changes, so figured it would be a good idea to report them. I’ve actually been away for a few weeks, so apologies if none of this is really new.

First, Jono’s snooker hall is still open. I thought it had closed years ago, and it’s definitely due for demolition at some point, but there’s a new note on the door advertising that you can still come in and play. Slightly down the road, The Old Dispensary is continuing its mission to change identity, and they’re now serving Brooklyn lagers and pulled pork to appeal to a younger crowd.

There’s a new pizzeria, Oregano Leaf, on Camberwell Church Street. No idea if it’s any relation to its namesake in Lewisham, or the quality, or anything else; all I saw was the name, a closed shutter, and the fact they have a wood-fired oven. Also, someone was working in the old Paul’s Continental Olive Shop today, cleaning out the interior and scraping the name from the awning. Don’t know what’s going to open in there; could it be the Kickstarter-backed Pigeon Hole Cafe? They said they’re hoping to get the lease this week, so could be… Update: apparently not.

Took a look at the old Tadim to see how the cycle cafe is progressing, but couldn’t see anything so nothing to report there. Definitely seems that work has slowed (or stopped) on the former Recreation Ground.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard already, Costa are taking over the former Wing Tai supermarket on Denmark Hill.

Author: Peter

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

64 thoughts on “Changes, progress, goings-on”

  1. The Pigeon Hole aren’t going to Paul’s Olive shop. Not sure if it’s public where they are going yet so won’t say where they are going just in case.

    Change always happens. Having a Costa could mean that either companies are more confident Camberwell is worth investing in or could be that they’ve run out of gentrified places, schools, hospitals and universities to dominate and have now started scraping the barrel!

    @grovelander: Not sure having a Costa is going be added to the places-to-have-decent-coffee list. Coffee yes. Decent? Hmm.

  2. Costa is stronger in caffeine than any other. A large Costa will induce a state of nervous excitement. It is the commuter’s friend. It raises the dead. It does the trick. It is popular.

    Nervously I went to see if Maloko — half of the Paul’s premises — was being resigned, but they are fine — by far the most stylish and comforting coffee shop in Camberwell.

    Talking of Cameroon and the great Roger Milla, a Cameroon international bothered Millwall — toyed with them — on Saturday, but Millwall were raised from the dead by Easter, their player, matching Harry Redknapp’s top-team QPR by two goals to two with a late late equaliser.

    Has anyone found film of the injury-time winner for the Hamlet against Harrow on Saturday? Our Brixton Buzz blog cousins rave about it.

    That is an excellent blog. They have an wonderful section on Hamlet football chants. One concerns Tuscany. East Dulwich, can you hear?

    “It brought back memories of the victorious grassroots campaign at the end of the eighties when local Dulwich Hamlet supporters successfully battled for a new Champion Hill Stadium, with the ever-popular Sainsburys’ store on Dog Kennel Hill.

    “The main NIMBY, anti-Football Club protagonist John Beasley, stood up at public meetings comparing the hill, with its then corrugated iron surrounded adventure playground on one side, and run down, inter-war East Dulwich council flats on the other, to Tuscany!

    “East Dulwich may have its plus points — the local Football Club being one of them ‑but Tuscany it is not! To this day Hamlet fans bemuse opposition fans with one of their repertoire of songs: “Tuscany, Tuscany! We’re the famous Dulwich Hamlet, and we look like Tuscany!”.’

  3. That’s a good story. I thought the Tuscany reference was to the colour (pink) and that fact that richer Dulwich peoples have villas out there. But then, I know nothing.

    Also @Chris — Hi. We know each other.

  4. We made it into the Salvation Army Hall on Friday night for the Lyndhurst School International Evening. It was a great show.

    It opened with reggae music underneath that huge Salvation Army shield/crest thing. That set the tone.

    Blood & Fire!* Jah Rastafari!

    (*Blood & Fire being a UK record label specializing in reggae reissues)

  5. Dulwich Hamlet Football Club and Salvation Army will both be back for another Camberwell Free Film Festival in March 2014…

    Wish I’d known about the Reggae at Salvation Army though…that would have been first class…next time!

    I don’t like big chain coffee shops but the best thing that I can say for them is that they certainly do a quality refurbishment and know a thing or two about aesthetic presentation. The Brixton branch being a case in point.

    In that respect they do inspire others to raise their game.

    However, the coffee in all those chains is truly shite — don’t drink it — it’s bad for you.

    Whitbread — They were also responsible for giving us Cafe Rouge, Premier Inn and terrible beer.

    Yeah…err…much appreciated

  6. I also attended the International Event at the Salvation Army hall, sorry but I must disagree on this being a “great show”. Having visited many of Lyndhurst’s fantastic school events and fairs I think the International evening was a total embarrassment. The whole event was a shambles from start to finish and the fact the organisers had such a huge budget to work with makes it all the more shocking. What a shame for the children who weren’t even given the opportunity to rehearse, some didn’t even know what they were doing until a few days before (we certainly didn’t)so they did brilliantly to get through the very, very long evening. I understand that it was a group of parents, not the school or Lyndhurst’s Parent Teacher Association, who planned and ran this event. Hopefully Lyndhurst will return to running their very enjoyable and social, international evening at the school next year.

  7. I actually think that Costa coming to Camberwell is a good sign — they have confidence in the future of the area. Of course there is already a Costa at the hospital so presumably they know what they are letting themselves in for!

    At least the fairly large space left by the supermarket will be used rather than left empty for more months and its not another betting shop. Longer term I think Whitbread want to open a Premier Inn hotel in Camberwell so maybe the Costa is a first move.

    Also Costa are the least worst of the big coffee chains — it pays taxes in this country unlike Starbucks or Caffe Nero. And it is a local business (kind of) done good — its started down the road in Lambeth in the 1970s.

  8. @Mumu

    Indeed, you are most correct Costa Coffee started in the railway arches off Paradise Street in Lambeth back in the 70´s…the roasting facility is still there…

    It used to be the brand of choice for most of the little Italian cafes in London but it has long been removed from it´s original roots since Whitbread took over…

    However, I know that they will do a good refurbishment, make a slightly run-down building look presentable and make others raise their game too…

    So in that respect…yes it´s a good sign and they pay tax…which is nice…but as a fussy Londoner which Spanish and Portuguese roots…I probably won´t be drinking in there…

  9. Do you like the little Portuguese cafe on Church Street, Eusebio? I like its averageness, normality and lack of style — in effect, very authentic.

    I still prefer Malako to anywhere as a place to hang out. I’d like to quietly pass away there and may do so, listening to the fantastic music they play there at a gentle but audible volume.

    Interesting about Costa being local, originally. Their coffee is stonkingly strong. It probably won’t detract from the local cafes. If you are a knackered commuter looking for a quick fix…

    SERVING (ml)
    CAFFEINE (mg)



    PECKHAM’S (Scotland)

    BEANSCENE (Scotland)


  10. Hello all. I posted a reply here last week but it has never appeared. Does anyone know how this is all works? I am presuming replies are “vetted” but I have read previous posts and couldn’t see my comments were any different or offensive in anyway. I just wondered if I have made a mistake and this is a private forum for a chosen few?

  11. @Spitfire Sorry, as an anti-spam measure all first-time posts are held in a queue for moderation; I’ve been away for a few days (in Norway) so it took me a little while to get to yours, but it’s done now.

    Comments are also held when they’re very long, contain multiple links, or contain certain blacklisted words.

  12. That’s a bit harsh Spitfire — even for an anonymous drive-by. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good and it was great for the kids to be part of a live show like that.

  13. I agree it was good for the kids but I still feel that with the huge budget something more memorable for the school, parents and children could have been produced. Sorry if my posting was a little harsh. Lyndhurst’s kids are great and I am sure they all enjoyed the evening.

  14. Where is the original post? Is Obama reading it now.“Guys, where is Camber Well? Should I have been at this International Evening?”

    It think it’s fair not to censor it. Come on Peter, posterity needs this missing post!

  15. Ah, yes, ha-ha, whoops, thank you.

    Spitfire deserves support. Years ago, say 150 years ago, it was enlightening to have displays about peoples of the Empire along the lines of, “This is Bob Marley, he was the first reggae superstar and was fond of a bit of weed…” and so on. But the children and people generally of Camberwell don’t need lectures about diversity — they are it. This is London.

    If we want Victorian type displays, we can go up to the Horniman and view the stuffed animals.

  16. The International event was only for Lyndhurst families but there are fairs at the school that are open to all and well worth a visit. No stuffed animals but they did have donkeys a few years back.

  17. True, their fairs are legendary. Their rainbow-hued kids are treated like people not possessions and are always a laugh. Camberwell kids. God help us.

    Talking of which, their winter fair is coming up soon, quite early in the Retail Season this year. Thank God for the winterval. The word is it will kick-start the economy.

  18. I just saw HM Queen Elizabeth and her cavalcade drive through Camberwell. I expect she’s gone up to the Fox on the Hill for a swift lager.

  19. @ Dagmar, will the huskies be at this year’s Winter Fayre?

    @ Jes, did the Royal cavalcade include donkeys?

  20. She might have been sitting next to a horse. But no donkeys unless they were cunningly disguised as police bikes.

    I’m sure someone will have a picture of her in the Fox.

  21. A couple of autumnal observations from my morning perambulation around parts of the parish of St Giles. First, on the collection of leaves. There is a very enthusiastic man with a leaf blower outside Hull Court. After two days of strenuous activity there is barely a leaf to be found. Passing through Wilson Road, Graces Road and Graces Mews I found where all the leaves had been blown to.

    Second, the preparations for Hallowe’en, the best night of the year for Camberwell’s teenagers. Obviously the code is as follows: lights or pumpkin outside the house means you are open for business, and that you have chocolates at the ready. Less obvious is deciding the cut off time for answering the door. Thoughts anyone?

  22. The trick and treating is kinda neighbourly. I am told of local mummies who sit in the window Amsterdam style in tiny black kinky underwear topped by a witch’s hat, in strappy black high heels, whilst their good-natured, maybe too much so, husbands hand out sweets to their own kids and their pals on the doorstep.

    But then, all kinds of chimerae are flying around tonight.

    Dagmar posts a link to The Daily (Fe)Mail on Camberwell Online — implying personal recommendation.….….…
    The world’s gone all topsyturvey.…..

  24. I found it in a bin on Camberwell Grove. Their bins are good for Guardians, London Review of Books, all that mullarkey.

    Mushtimate, where you bin? You bin away?

  25. Daggydoll — I have been a bit absent recently, haven’t I? I have been popping in regularly, but have been lazy in the posting department. I’ll rectify that, promise.

  26. London Review of Books — like it, but always feel at the end of every review that it was a political treatise in search of a book. Does anywhere local stock it? Used to get it in Blackwells in Charing Cross Road, but they downsized and ditched the magazine rack in favour of overpriced brightly coloured school satchells.

  27. I call it the North London Review of Books. Maybe the new library will stock it, where it will remain pristine.

    “Rectify” sounds interesting. Are you a doctor?

  28. I miss living in Camberwell. Moved out about 3 years ago.. climbed over the hill and settled in dullish. It’s ‘nice’, but not fun. Also, there is now a big hill to cycle over.

  29. Someone told me about a recent’Yuppies Out’ protest in Brixton against a new shop called ‘Champagne and Fromage’. ‘Yuppies Out”s Facebook page is ALL IN CAPITALS TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE VERY VERY ANGRY ABOUT CHAMPAGNE AND CUPCAKES

    @ Stuart Could have told you that there are only so many chi chi shops you can cope with before becoming desperate to escape to Jono’s and Rat Records

  30. Took the No. 12 up to town this morning. Half the bus got off at Parlimment Square and walked straight into the HM Treasury and Department of Culture & Media building. Conclusion: Camberwell is one half made up of civil servants.

  31. The old barbers behind the Flying Fish is being done up. Anybody know what it’s going to be? Pigeon Hole cafe maybe…?

  32. Interesting. The Pigeon Hole website says: “We use Camberwell’s surprisingly abundant natural landscape to forage what we can to use within our menu.”

    Mr Stubbs from Crofton Road has died. The police and ambulance were called to attend. He drove a black taxi till it fell apart not long before he did. He left a veritable empire of rather run-down houses all over south-east London. In fact, urban belief stories about him abound about his provenance and fabulous wealth.

    Despite being the miser of Crofton Road, he was a gentle soul to talk to, a bit like a Professor Branestawm of the Knowledge of the Streets of London.

  33. Some great music on tonight at the Crypt- an artist called Eska. Tickets have sold out online, but I guess there may be some at the door. Just the thing for a rainy Friday night.

  34. Changing topic…

    Has anybody been caught out by Southwark’s extremely infuriating visitor parking permit nonsense?

    I only need 1 permit because I need to visit my parents flat in Kennington because of a maintenance issue — they live in Spain — a plumber needs the permit to park outside.

    You are obliged to buy a book of 10 for £25 and thereafter it’s £45!

    WHY? Can I not just buy a one-off ticket as and when needed? There is no parking office anymore either…so if I pay online they deliver the damn thing 2 or 3 days later


    Or is it me?

  35. There are several plusses here, Eusb.

    (1) Your parents are still alive for you to enjoy.

    (2) They live in Spain nicely out of the way.

    (3) You can go and visit them in that wonderful land.

    (4) They can enjoy living there.

    Kennington has its merits e.g. it promiximity to Gatwick, but Spain — the very word — “Don Quixote” the unsurpassed existential novel, the food, the wine, the people, the music, the warmth, the passion, the sun, the sea…

    Visitor parking dockets are so much ticker-tape on the wind compared with the poise, the pride, the dignity, the poignant melancholy and powerful passion of Spain.

  36. @Dagmar

    You haven’t been to Spain lately then? 😉

    Yes, it can be a wonderful place but like so many others it’s a shame about the politicians…who don’t really run anything anyway!

    It’s almost Panto season anyway…

  37. Yes, let loose the anarchic spirit of Albion during the imminent retail season.

    Talking of which-ish, the evergreen and possibly Everton-supporting Jenny Eclair in her ever-excellent effervescent column in Living South about buskers, says her favourite is Flame Proof Moth who performs on the Thames beach beneath Tate Modern until overcome by the engulfing tide.

    He reallys is himself like something from a song by the early Pink Floyd, Kinks or the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. He’s from Nunhead. Does anyone know him?

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