Free Film Festival, Camberwell Union, the Grove Bridge, Wine, and Bikes

Camberwell Free Film Festival is back for another year. Starting on Thursday 15th, there will be a free screening every night (bar one) for the next ten nights—plus a special bonus (more on that in a sec)—at diverse venues across the neighbourhood.

I can personally recommend Ben Wheatley’s fun shoot-em-up Free Fire (showing at Cycle PS) and John Carpenter’s capitalist-critique alien invasion film, They Live (at The Cambria), and am looking forward to seeing the much-heralded growing up tale The Florida Project (at The Crooked Well) and the hand-painted animated biopic Loving Vincent (at Cafe at the ORTUS), but there’s plenty in this line-up to cater to everyone.

The bonus feature is The Shed at Dulwich, in which VICE journalist Oobah Butler managed to make a non-existent restaurant into the highest-rated on Trip Advisor—and then decided to open it for one night only. It’s a short film with two screenings at The Phoenix on Sunday 18th, each followed by a Q&A.

The full line-up of the Camberwell Free Film Festival is online, and there are posters and leaflets at selected venues around Camberwell. Most (all?) films are first-come, first-served.

Other News

Plans have been (re-)submitted for a huge new housing and mixed-use development on the site of Burgess Business Park. Camberwell Union promises 505 new homes (35% affordable—although that’s already being disputed as ‘not viable’), new streets and public realm, and mixed commercial, creative, and retail units (including a microbrewery). You can see the developer’s brochure [PDF], and follow or comment on the planning application by searching for reference 17/AP/4797 at Southwark’s Planning Search (which really should provide shareable URLs).

The former Nape site, on Church Street, looks set to reopen under the name Good Neighbour. Same owners, new management, from what I can tell from their licensing application. @foodstories on Twitter says there’ll be “a wine bar, sharing plates, mini pizzas, and music downstairs” but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that.

The bridge on Camberwell Grove looks set to remain closed for a while yet as Network Rail have said it requires further strengthening work before Southwark can start their reopening work—sometime in the Summer. The bridge should reopen in more or less the same scheme as before it closed, pending a longer-term reevaluation.

Update On 14th March Andy Pryor on Twitter let me know that he’d “got a letter from Southwark and Network Rail saying the works on Camberwell Grove bridge are set for 14th May — 2nd August, due to reopen to vehicles under 3 tonnes on 3rd August”.

Finally, while there’s no news yet on getting Santander bike docks in Camberwell, it seems Southwark have decided on a multi-operator model and will allow dockless bike-sharing operators Mobike and Ofo to begin placing bikes in the borough. Camberwell and Rotherhithe have been earmarked as the areas of initial focus.

News round-up: Camberwell box park, Camberwell Fair and more

Lots of things to talk about, not least the news that Camberwell could be set to turn into hipster central! Let’s start with that.

Camberwell Yards

There’s a chance that Camberwell will get its own temporary retail / entertainment space made of converted shipping containers, similar to Pop Brixton, The Artworks Elephant, or the Boxpark that’s so beloved of the hipsters in Shoreditch and, er, Croydon. Camberwell Yards, as it’s called, is mooted to be on the smaller area of the car park behind Morrisons in Butterfly Walk.

Map showing Camberwell Yards, just off Daneville Road
The proposed location of ‘Camberwell Yards’

There are a planned 14 shipping containers around a central communal area. The intended uses are:

  • Four containers for food and beverages
  • One container for local community use
  • Eight containers for local businesses
  • One container for WC
  • A central communal area for flexible use, e.g. a pop-up cinema
Indicative layout of Camberwell Yards
14 Container units surround a communal area
Sketch of the Camberwell Yards development
An artist’s sketch of how the area could look.

It’s fair to say that reaction on Twitter to this news has not been entirely positive, with much muttering of gentrification and hipsters. I’m not entirely against the idea myself, although I think the key word used in the description above is local. How will businesses be judged to be local? Who will decide? How will that be enforced?

If this brings new people to the area and gives support to truly local businesses, then yes it’s a positive move. If all it does is bring people in who stay only in the box park, don’t get out and see more, and in fact attracts custom away from existing local businesses, then no, it’s not a good thing.

Notices up on the former HSBC building state that there will be a public consultation about this on Thursday, 20th July, from 3–7pm, in the old bank itself. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make this. If anyone is planning to attend, do please get in touch and send me a report.

Update, 28/09/17: the plans have been scrapped.

Camberwell Fair

A reminder that this Saturday, 22nd July, Camberwell Fair returns to the Green. The fair is

a celebration of the diverse people, culture and community of the local area, and will feature 2 top quality music stages, 40 market stalls, food, bars and games.

Entry is once again free, although may not always be; the organisers are crowdfunding to raise £3,000 to cover their costs and keep it free in future. If you’ve enjoyed the fair in the past, or plan to this year, consider chipping in a few quid to support; it’s not entirely selfless, you can get some goodies in return for your donation.

Camberwell Grove Railway Bridge

If you live in East/South Camberwell, you may be affected by the ongoing closure of this bridge. The latest news is that it will cost at least £17,000 to strengthen the bridge to support vehicles up to 3 tonnes, plus the cost of works to ensure that heavier vehicles can’t cross it; or at least £1,000,000 to strengthen it for vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes. Some people want the bridge reopened, others want the closure made permanent. If you have an opinion, Southwark Council want to hear it.

The Bower

More crowdfunding news, this time for a new gallery, bookshop, publishing studio, and cafe—in a converted toilet block in Brunswick Park. The Bower will

host a series of exhibitions and events and produce books with artists and writers by Publication Studio London on site. In addition to this, The Bower will provide a much needed cafe service to the park, serving freshly made coffee, tea and refreshments, all from local suppliers.

If you’d like to see a better use for the old WCs, you might consider sending them a few quid towards their £10,027 (very specific) target.

Nape & Rock Oysters

A quick thanks to Cannon & Cannon for inviting me along to their Oyster Summer Session at Nape on Sunday. Fantastic Jersey oysters from &Rocks, and great wine from Nape themselves. Good to see the place nice and busy, it’s a very welcome addition to Camberwell and a local business that deserves support. And I’m not just saying that because I was given some free oysters.

Two plates of oysters, one raw, one cooked
Raw oysters with lemon, and grilled oysters with chipotle

Camberwell Green

And finally, the revamped and refreshed Camberwell Green has been awarded a Green Flag, “the benchmark national standard for publicly accessible parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom”. It’s a pleasure to walk through there now, and great to see it so well-used in the nice Summer weather we’re having. Wish more people would pick their litter up after them, though.

June and July: Arts Festival, Open House, Fair and more

Lots happening in the next few months in Camberwell and around…

Camberwell Arts Festival is back for 2017, starting with a party on the Green on 10th June, “where you can expect feasting, free fun workshops, a cake competition and a market showcasing the talent of Camberwell’s creative community”. There’ll be an Arts and Crafts Market on the same day, with a “wonderful range of goodies made in and around Camberwell’s dynamic creative community.” (Pardon the quotes, I’m using their press release to avoid rewriting it all.)

There’s a full programme of events at venues all around the area until 18th June. Some events will require tickets, so make sure you check in advance. You can view the brochure onlinedownload it as a PDF, or find a printed copy at “several shops, cafes, restaurants around SE5 including The Leisure centre, Hill Bakery, The Camberwell Arms, Joiners Arms, Art Deli and Maloko”.

On Saturday, 17th June, there’s the Myatt’s Fields Midsummer Fair. “a celebration of food, nature, arts and community, with live music, dance displays, stalls selling food, craft and bric a brac, greenhouse tours, fairground rides, a football tournament, peepshow exhibition, a parade for peace, Big Lunch and more”.

And also on 17th June, just slightly over the border, the Warwick Gardens Great Get Together [Facebook link] is “a community BYO picnic to get people together to meet their neighbours, share food and have fun”. Activities include “hand massages, glitter face-painting, table tennis tournament, yoga demo, kids ballet, swing dancing, and live music throughout the afternoon with local reggae artist Ras Keith”.

On the following weekend, 24th June, there’s the Ruskin Park Summer Fete, with “stalls, activities, pop up bar, food and music. This year you can try your hand at Willow Craft Sculpture, have a beautiful Henna Design, listen to wonderful Caribbean folktales. And back again by popular demand will be Kids’ Whirled Cinema in the Tipii  and those gorgeous and much loved Donkeys.”

The same day, 24th June, Camberwell College of Arts are holding an Open House, “a family-orientated event, offering free creative workshops, especially designed for children and young people. [it] takes place across two sites, Wilson Road, SE5 8LU and Peckham Road, SE5 8UF. The workshops at the event will include letterpress, screenprinting, The Darkroom Experience, stop motion animation, and much more”. Full details on their website.

And the evening of the 24th sees the return of Organoke—karaoke sung along with the mighty organ of St. Giles’ Church. Buy tickets online, or from The Pigeon Hole cafe (Datchelor Place), or on the door if any are left (there might not be).

On the 1st of July there’s the Just So pop-up Summer Fair at Ark All Saints Academy, Wyndham Road. Arts, crafts, local businesses and more. Details on the flyer.

Later the same month, 22nd July, Camberwell Fair returns to the Green. Full details should be released in a few weeks time, and I’ll add them here when I get them; or, keep an eye on their website.

Not forgetting the regular Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Market; all told, should be plenty to see and do in the next months.

Over in Dulwich, the Picture Gallery have opened a Summer Pavilion until 8th October. There’ll be plenty of events happening there, with local interest provided by a bar and menu from our own Camberwell Arms. More information on the Gallery’s website.