Solution to Denmark Hill overcrowding may come, but not soon

If you travel via Denmark Hill station at peak times, especially in the morning, you can’t have failed to notice it frequently gets overcrowded—often dangerously so. Commuter numbers have increased significantly, and the limited number of ticket barriers don’t always allow a steady flow in or out, especially when three busloads of people turn up at once, or one (or more) barrier is out of order—when both happened recently there was a huge number of people trying to get in, which led to a crowd spilling out into the road outside.

Exacerbating this, the newly-built walkway is a quite long walk from the platforms so people tend to use the older wooden stairs, and when trains arrive and depart on platforms 2 and 3 simultaneously the queues up those stairs can become very long and cramped.

Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t seem set to improve in the short term. Councillor Kieron Williams has been very active in talking to GTR (the station operators) and Network Rail about changes to the station, with one option being a second entrance to the station on Windsor Walk, making better use of the walkway and the full length of the platforms. He tweeted today a response from GTR (quoted below) which acknowledges the situation and the proposal, but makes clear the cost involved is likely to be significant and, even if funds were made available, the earliest it could be would likely be April 2019—and who knows how long construction would take after that?

On the positive side, it’s good that the need has been identified. This is the response from GTR:

GTR and Network Rail have noted the significant increase in passenger footfall at Denmark Hill and the pressures that this then causes on the station infrastructure particularly around peak travelling times.

Network Rail have conducted an assessment on the station capacity including detailed pedestrian modelling with a number of interventions both physical and operational. A possible second entrance was considered as part of the assessment, however it is noted that this solution requires significant capital investment in order to deliver.

The station is considered a priority for investment to improve station capacity as and when funds become available to achieve this (typically this is governed through the 5 yearly railway funding periods). The next railway period (CP6) will commence from April 2019.

In order to support this intervention GTR has sought funding through the National Stations Improvement Programme to assess the feasibility of a second entrance with the support of Network Rail’s specialist engineers. A concept proposal has been prepared which considers a second entrance onto Windsor Walk connected via the recently installed footbridge with lifts. This has allowed the industry to understand the magnitude of costs, risks and constructability to inform a future bid for capital investment.

Header image from Caroline Carr on Twitter.

Christmas Opening Hours

An incomplete and growing roundup of Christmas opening hours around the area, to help you make your festive plans. Submissions always welcome: email peter@​camberwellonline.​co.​uk, or flag/DM me on Instagram or Twitter (I’m @camberwellblog on both) or Facebook.

Food & drink

Stormbird and The Hermit’s Cave will close on the bank holidays: Christmas, Boxing, and New Year’s Days, open regular hours otherwise.

The Crooked Well will close at 9pm on Christmas Eve, and stay closed for Christmas and Boxing Days. They’ll be serving food all day on NYE (no info on hours), but will be open New Year’s Day from 12.30–17.00.

The Sun will close at 11pm on Christmas Eve (8pm for food), stay closed on Christmas Day, then reopen 12–6pm (food until 5pm) on Boxing Day. NYE open until 2am (food 9pm), NYD 12–8pm (food until 6pm).

If you want a drink on Christmas Day, Grove House will open from 12–3pm, and will be open throughout Christmas albeit with reduced hours (12–8pm) until the 30th. I’ve also been told (not confirmed) that The Cambria is open from 12–3pm.

Theo’s will close on Christmas Eve and reopen on the 28th, remaining open over NYE and NYD. FM Mangal will close from 24th-26th December, and on 1st January. Fladda will close Saturday 23rd, reopening only on the 9th January.

The Pigeon Hole have a nice long break; they’ll close at 5pm on 23rd, and reopen at 8.30am on 5th January. Cafe at the ORTUS will have a slightly shorter break, closing at 2pm on 22nd December and reopening on 2nd January. Maloko will close at 5pm on Christmas Eve and stay closed for Christmas and Boxing Days.

If coffee’s your thing, Lumberjack will close at 3pm on the 23rd and reopen at 10am on New Year’s Day.  Spike + Earl will close at 3pm on the 23rd, stay closed on the 24th to 26th, then open again from the 27th to 30th with limited opening hours of 10am to 3pm.

The Hill Baker will close at 1pm on Christmas Eve and reopen on 9th January.


If you need any pills over Christmas, note that Day Lewis Pharmacy on Church St. will close 24th-26th December, and 31st December to 1st January. But if your dog swallows some tinsel, the London Animal Hospital will be open 24-hours throughout the holiday season.

And if you over-exert yourself and need some physiotherapy, Support & Sustain will be closed on the bank holidays but will be available by phone for urgent enquiries, and offering some free advice clinics to help ease the load on the NHS.

If you want to buy some new vinyl with your Christmas money, Rat Records will be closed from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

Camberwell Christmas: Winter Art and Craft Events

As Winter sets in, it’s time for Camberwell to do what it does best: arts and crafts. Plenty of events happening throughout December, and plenty of opportunities to buy locally-made Christmas presents. If you have news of any more events, leave a comment below or talk to @camberwellblog on Twitter, and I’ll update this list.

December Events

2nd-3rd and 9th-10th December: the big ticket event, Camberwell Arts Open Studios. “This season we have over 100 artists opening their doors to the public, from East Dulwich to Burgess Park and from Peckham, through Camberwell to Loughborough Junction.” Participants include Arebyte Studios, Art in the Park, Clockwork Studios, Coldharbour Studios, and many independents. “Studios east of Denmark Hill will be opening the weekend of 2–3 December and those west of Denmark Hill 9–10 December.”

Both weekends will also have guided studio walking tours—tickets are £5.71 (very precise) on Sunday 3rd and Sunday 10th—and the Made in Camberwell Arts Market at The Tiger; “We are offering different traders selling original gifts on each Saturday. From quirky to elegant, luxurious to essential, upcycled and reworked to dazzlingly new. We have everything to delight all the senses – taste, touch, sight, scent and sound.” For full details of the Open Studios, tours, or Arts Market, pick up a copy of the brochure around town, or download the brochure as a PDF.

30th November to 3rd December: Christmas Open Studios at Vanguard Court, SE5 8QT. “Bags, Ceramics, Furniture, Jewellery, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Silverware, Textiles. Meet the artists and explore their workspace.” Vanguard are part of the Open Studios event above, but also keeping their doors open a little longer.

5th December: All’s Well, a talk by Camberwell artists and local mental health charity CoolTan Arts “will explore the idea of “All’s Well”, which runs throughout Camberwell’s culture and history.” Tickets are free but you’ll need to register.

9th and 10th December: Pexmas Festive Market in Warwick Gardens, SE15 5AQ (technically outside of Camberwell, but it’s so close I’ll allow it). “Mulled Wine. Stalls. Street Food. Tunes.” Last year’s event was great, look forward to seeing it again.

16th December: The good news is that Organoke is back. “Forget ‘Little Donkey’ and come sing your heart out to Karaoke Christmas Classics with one of London’s oldest church organs turned up to 11, before rounding off the night with an afterparty in the Crypt.” The bad news is that tickets are already sold out. You can join their mailing list to be notified of any returns.

17th December: Christmas Celebration at Myatt’s Fields Park. “We’ll have a Christmas market from 2–5pm, children’s workshop to make your own christingle from 4–5pm, mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies and from 5pm carols by candlelight around the bandstand, led by Southwark Concert Band.” Facebook event page.

Get Funding for Your Own Business Event

Following the success of this year’s Camberwell Fair, they are able to support three local businesses to host their own event between January and May 2018. The event could be a performance, workshop, talk, a launch of a new product, an exhibition… whatever will promote your business locally. The Camberwell Fair team will be able to support the business in a number of ways, including:

  • £200 to spend on any aspect of the event
  • Marketing support
  • Event management guidance
  • Advice on local partnerships
They encourage collaborations, so community organisations are able to apply if they have a partnership to benefit local businesses. Applications close 28th January,  but the event must be staged before May 2018. For full details, please visit:

Food and Drink News: Openings and Closings

Featured illustration by Sam Peet, used with permission. Thanks, Sam!

Some enticing news, some good news, some bad news.


There’s a licensing application in for Ambigu, a new restaurant over two floors at 58a Church Street, the site of the recently closed Kalabash African restaurant and Club Couture in the basement. The food would be small plate / tapas, largely Latin American, with a small bar and a late license. The team behind the application are involved with the Bermondsey Social Club, and Blues Kitchen in Brixton and Shoreditch. You can see more details on the published appeal to local residents [PDF].

It’s an interesting proposition; the request is to have a license until 2am, and Camberwell doesn’t offer much in the way of late-night dining. My guess is that there will be some objections about noise from the residents of Camberwell Grove. I can’t find a formal decision made on the application as yet.

Peckham’s famous Frank’s will be moving into a winter residency in the room above The Camberwell Arms, which they bought outright back in May (I missed that news at the time). Seems Camberwell’s Frank’s will be a cocktail bar.

Major refurbishment work seems almost complete at The Grove, on Camberwell Grove, which will reopen this month as Grove House (update: it reopened on 11th November). After the last tenants, the Grand Union chain, sold most of their properties to the Draft House chain, The Grove returned to ownership by Young’s, but they’ve said they’ll only be acting as landlords and the new tenants are private; I don’t have any details yet on who they are.


The Bear, on Camberwell New Road, will be closing down for six-eight months from this Friday, 10th November as the landlord of the building renovates the upper floors of the building. The team at the Bear say they will definitely be re-opening again next year, and there’ll be a big party there on Friday.

Nape, the wine and charcuterie deli on Church Street, has permanently closed. They’ve said they’ll soon publish news about why they had to do it; I don’t know whether it was trouble with the premises (I know it wasn’t as complete as they wanted it to be), a simple lack of business, or just the difficulty of doing business in Camberwell.

Camberwell Church Street is becoming pretty bare after the closure of Angels & Gypsies, Queen’s, and now Nape. Does the area’s heavy concentration of students make it hard for slightly more expensive dining and drinking spots to keep going? Or is it perhaps with seasonality (it’s quiet in Summer and at Christmas, again because of students)? Is it more to do with the transport links? The A202 running through the middle of it?  Business rates?

Whatever the reason, seems that it’s often a struggle for small businesses to establish themselves here.

Possible Closing and Opening

I can’t comment on this publicly yet, but have been told that it’s likely that another small, popular, recently established business in the area may be closing soon. However, there’s a chance it could appear again in a different venue a little later. Sorry for being so maddeningly vague, I’ll update in future.

Camberwell Yards ‘box park’ plans scrapped

Plans for Camberwell Yards, the box park / container village project proposed for the area behind Butterfly Walk, have been scrapped. An email sent to some local residents says:

As you are aware, we have been working on this project for most of the year and have gone through extensive public and tenant consultations.

We have received a huge amount of interest and positive support for the project where the majority felt that this would be a beneficial addition to Camberwell.

At the end of an extensive reach, where we have also undertaken various surveys and reports including Transport and Noise Reports (following consultation of the Community) in order to support a planning application for this temporary project, we had hoped to submit the application for planning during September.

Unfortunately, our discussions with one key Tenant has proven to be unsuccessful as they feel that the project will not be compatible with their operation.

Therefore, it is with regret that we have to inform you that we will not be proceeding with this exciting project.

We would like to take this opportunity to all the people who attended the Consultation, and to all those people who have shown interest, co-operated and supported our team in endeavouring to get this project off the ground.

It’s fair to say that not everyone was behind this idea—some with reason, others less so—but I would have liked to have heard more about the plans, so it’s a shame this didn’t progress a little further.

More info if I get it.