Camberwell’s view of St Paul’s

Many people have heard about and experienced the views of St Paul’s Cathedral from locations such as Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath and Richmond Park, which are protected by law. This prevents the construction of tall buildings across large swathes of central London. You can see a map of the areas affected here.

But did you know that Camberwell has its own splendid view of St Paul’s? Walking north on the west side of Camberwell Road from the Green, the dome of the cathedral is clearly visible for a 100m stretch of road. It is a particularly stunning and unexpected sight at night-time, and a pleasant reminder of how close our neighbourhood is to the centre of London. The view is highlighted in the Camberwell Green Conservation Area Appraisal, which states that it should be protected and enhanced. Indeed, even the masterplan for the redeveloped Heygate estate has been shaped by a desire to protect this view.

However, it is now under threat from a potential development further north in the borough. Delancey have submitted an application for a Scoping Opinion to build three residential towers of 10, 14 and 23 storeys on Park Street, near Tate Modern. The tallest of these, at 80 metres, sits directly on the line of sight between Camberwell Green and St Paul’s.

It would be such a shame if this view was lost because of the desire of a developer to cram yet another skyscraper onto the London skyline. There is still time, though, for Camberwell’s voice to be heard. Please consider emailing your views to Southwark at planning.​consultation@​southwark.​gov.​uk (citing application number 14-AP-0528), and help save our view for future generations. The consultation period ends on 27 March. And if you have not yet seen it for yourself, have a look next time you are on Camberwell Road.

11 thoughts on “Camberwell’s view of St Paul’s”

  1. Good spot Robert! I cycle that stretch of road often and it always cheers me up to see St Paul’s in the distance. I’ll draft my email to Southwark Council forthwith.

  2. Looks like a new cafe is about to open in Denmark Hill train station. The stickers on the windows say it is FBC, Flying Bean Company (?) an artisan coffee maker. Cappuccino in mugs hewn from the living rock, anyone?

  3. We should fight for London like Bob Crow did, a proper leader and Londoner, the John Smith of the unions, before our poor coffee-fed, jittery commuters have no proper London to travel through, or for.

  4. Done. Thank you for letting us know about this, and Nick, for the alternate address. I have sent my feelings to both. Or rather an email containing my feelings. The other would be weird.

  5. I was walking up Camberwell Grove after lunch when an odd fellow shambled harum-scarum past me and thrust into my hand a small manuscript which bore the following in a fine hand:


    “Full moon tonight,”
    quoth the fool,
    looking forward
    to cavorting in

    the churchyard
    with its genteel
    inhabitants in their
    old-fashioned black

    funeral wear
    playing in the
    Sunday parlour
    of their lives

    and with whoever
    else would delight
    in the full-blown
    ghostly glow over

    the town of the
    other-worldly moon
    with its is-it
    or isn’t-it pallor -

    topers, lovers,
    loonies, druggies,
    chattering magpies,
    squirrels, foxes -

    “Full-moon, Sunday
    in spring,” quoth
    the fool beneath
    the silver sixpence,

    the bowl of the
    Georgian spoon,
    letting out a few
    choice notes into

    the air from his
    violin, “see you
    there, inevitably,
    some day, soon.”

    As I finished reading this somewhat mournful, haunting ditty, I looked round for the fellow only to see him disappear at the very bottom of the Grove and turn left towards town, his gait extremely agitated and jittery, his arms flailing and his top hat perilously askew.

  6. It is said that Wren lived in Camberwell whilst st Paul’s was being built as it was the best position in the green and leafy suburbs for him to watch its development hence the naming of wren road

  7. I’m shocked to hear that Anant Patel at Brights died last week.

    Anant was always helpful and practical and deflated many a major crisis to a minor inconvenience.

    Over the last 20 years Brights has become part of fabric of Camberwell and Anant one of its true characters. He was always ready to support local community projects.

    My thoughts and condolences go to his extended family at Brights and the newsagents, and especially Cash at Butterfly pharmacy.

    I’ll miss him enormously.


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