Clacton-on-Sea: Twinned with Camberwell

Camberwell sits in the middle of the London Borough of Southwark. Clacton-on-Sea is in Tendring, Essex.

In the recent EU referendum Southwark was the 14th most Remain part of Britain, whilst Tendring was the 14th most Leave area in the country.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Clacton-on-Sea: Twinned with Camberwell

As someone who loves Camberwell, and the EU, I see and hear the arguments and reasons why places like Clacton wanted to leave the EU but I don’t necessarily understand them. I live a very different life in an inner city neighbourhood to coastal town in Essex.

 

How did people in both areas come to their decision to leave or remain? How did our country become so divided? Is there a way to heal the divisions and respect the other’s decision?

Camberwell: Twinned with Clacton-on-Sea. Populated by giants.

I’d love to find out.

This is not an exercise in trying to change people’s mind.

This is not an exercise in blaming the other side of the debate for the result.

I am organising an exchange visit with people from both towns to visit our respective neighbourhoods.

I am looking for LEAVE voters from Clacton and REMAIN voters from Camberwell who would be willing to share their experiences of their lives, why they live where they live, their jobs, their friends and neighbours,

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

their attitude to politics and politicians, and why they voted the way they did.

I would love to organise an exchange trip where myself and others can show you around my beloved Camberwell, show Clactonites the sights, meet some wonderful people and hopefully residents of Clacton can host some Camberwellians in their home town and show off what is best about their corner of Essex.

I want to understand more about the lives of people outside the London bubble and hopefully people from Clacton would like to find out a bit more about us! This may not make either of us change our minds, but would hopefully help heal the differences between the two sides and respect the other’s decision.

Camberwell Green

As a photographer, I would like to photograph and film the people involved and document the discussions so hopefully you would be happy to be involved in this process.

I am planning to organise the trips sometime in July and August, (and hopefully have a lovely time by the sea if the sun ever comes to visit!)

If you have any questions, please get in touch. You can email me on hello@​photosbytomtom.​com or call me on 07939 250935.

Thank you and see you soon in Clacton-on-Sea / Camberwell!

Tom Leighton

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The new Camberwell Library has landed…

…and what a lovely space it is too!

Whatever you thought about the demolition of the old orchard and the total lack of real consultation about the library (Bad. There wasn’t one.) now that it is here, I think it’s well worth enjoying it.

Camberwell Library

Something that surprised me somewhat was that all the books in there are new. Apparently this is not unusual, and eventually a few of the books will be brought over from old library, but the rest will be distributed to other libraries, or sold. [Update (12th Nov): I’ve now been told this may not be the case. Will check and get to the bottom of this on Friday.]

The selection books is much wider than before, I got rather excited by the selection of art books that I otherwise could not afford.

InstagramCapture_1061715e-f862-4d4f-854d-8ceb242e20a3

InstagramCapture_7008596e-dc03-4eff-92b4-2c402360a62e

There are a lot of events on both during the day, and in the evening, including some talks from well known authors at one end like Lionel Shriver this evening and Stella Duffy in a few weeks time, and (ahem) me somewhere beneath that!

I went to the talk by Dorothy Koomson which was well attended and very interesting but you must email southwark.​libraries@​southwark.​gov.​uk to book most of the talks. Having said that, the Dorothy Koomson one was theoretically fully booked but not everyone turned up, so you may be able to wing it!

WP_20151104_19_11_45_Pro
Dorothy Koomson Talk

Talks and events over the next month or so. Click on the photos to get full size images.

A full list of events is on the library website here: Camberwell Library Website.

The Children’s section of the library seems to be very, very popular. There were about 50 kids and parents there the other day for a storytelling session.

WP_20151109_10_57_45_Pro
A very well attended storytelling club for toddlers.

The library itself is mostly on one floor, but upstairs there is a long bench where you can work and study, with sockets for laptops.

Upstairs Study area

There librarians have also brought in exhibits from the Cuming Museum relating to Camberwell, and also pictures of Camberwell are being put up from the Southwark Art Collection.

A real (not live) Camberwell Beauty, A Samuel Jones jigsaw and old map of Camberwell.
The Camberwell Palace, which used to be on Denmark Hill where Butterfly Walk is now.
WP_20151109_10_56_15_Pro
Who knew Camberwell had a toll gate once?
WP_20151109_10_55_59_Pro
A tablet to commemorate men signing up to fight in WW1 in Camberwell.

Some thought has also gone into the outside areas. The trees in front of the Magistrates Court now sport some really nice little bird boxes!

WP_20151109_11_06_49_Pro

I also love the welcome to Camberwell vinyl at the entrance to the library. If you look carefully, you’ll find a lot of Camberwell institutions, including the Art School, St Giles, and even Sophocles and Crusons!

The Camberwell Cartoon.

Which brings me nicely to a plug for a talk I’m doing this Friday 13th November at 7.30pm. [Updated 1311 to correct the time)].

I was rather chuffed to be invited to do a talk on my photography series 36 Reasons To Love Camberwell. Unlike the other talks you don’t need to book, just turn up.

There will be a short question and answer session about the original project by the Head Librarian, Mark, and me. Then we’ll be opening up the floor to everyone and discussing the changes around Camberwell in the last few years, and those changes coming.

I’m going to update the series, and the discussion will form the basis for new photos and eventually a new book some time next year.

So please come along. It would be lovely to see you all, and while you are at it, you can have a look around this fantastic new edition to Camberwell.

36 Reasons

Help crowdfund the Coal Line

My Camberwell friends, I may have a part of the cycle solution (certainly to Millwall, Dagmar) – but we need your help! The Peckham Coal Line is now Crowdfunding through Spacehive. Take part and help this resident-initiated project move one step closer to creating an urban linear park that would connect South London. An oasis of greenery soaring high across the rooftops of Peckham on a disused rail siding. A route as useful as it is beautiful, unlocking dormant Victorian infrastructure to connect neighbourhoods and high streets, and people to work.

More than a park – a vital connection: The 900-meter link will be for walkers and cyclists and will bridge a gap in a wider network of greenways that would run largely traffic free across South Camberwell to Greenland Dock where Sustrans are planning a new bridge to Canary Wharf. The campaign needs to get out to a wider audience so if any of you know of someone who might be interested please forward the website to them.

056ccbe8-0ff8-4ee4-97e9-56159ecc8a77

01976b25-7f6c-4316-80a4-c354a3bbd26a

3

3DMap

Wider Networkx

All Change On Camberwell Green

After what feels like years of discussions and focus groups, planning permission has finally been presented for Camberwell Green. More on this in a bit, but other plans are afoot too.

Theoretically, work on pocket spaces and specifically Datchelor Place (home to Flying Fish and Pigeon Hole) will be pedestrianised before the end of this financial year (Take heed Southwark Council: April 5th. Get a move on). After this one is done, there’s still a quite a few other pocket spaces to do too. The very successful Camberwell Arts Christmas Market showed what can be done there if given the space and the resources.

The New Camberwell Library
The New Camberwell Library

The new library is taking shape nicely too. Whilst I have been quite vocal in my disgust at a (Labour run) Southwark Council sham of a “consultation” and the destruction of the orchard, the library itself looks good from the outside and I hope that we get something that we can be proud of. I love the type font for the front of the building. The new library sits on the edge of Camberwell Green, between the green and the Magistrates’ Court.

Which brings me neatly onto the plans for Camberwell Green.

On the whole I think the plans sympathetically take into account the history of the Green whilst giving it a much needed and welcome upgrade. Thought has been given to allow people clear paths to the library and beyond, to the court and even Burgess Park. However, there are some aspects that I am not so keen on. Below is a screen grab from one of the many planning permission documents. You can see all of the documents here: Southwark Planning Website

Camberwell Green Overview of plans
Camberwell Green Overview of proposed plans

 

In the plus column:

  • The green will retain some of the historical features such as the original gateposts, the ancient pathways, the war memorial and the Sidney Bates memorial bench. I hadn’t really noticed the gateposts before, but I am glad they are being restored.
    Camberwell Green
    Original pathways and most of the mature trees to be retained.
    Camberwell Green Gatepost
    Original Gateposts to be restored and retained.
  • Most of the trees are to be kept, including the lovely massive one that overhangs the pathway by the loo (see below for more about the loo). At the same time, more trees will be planted, including disease resistant elm trees to replace some of the trees in the future.
  • The railings will now be kept around most of the Green. (The original designs took these away to make it less pleasant to stop people hanging around there being “anti-social” i.e. street drinkers, but without thinking it might make it less pleasant for everyone else as well!)
  • The playground has been moved to the north end of the green. I think this makes for a better, larger connected open space rather than two spaces divided by the playground.
  • The south east side of the green will be extended to take in part of the road in front of the Peabody Estate. This will be used for the farmer’s market and other events. I think it makes sense to bring the market to a more obvious position. Hopefully this will help the market traders and customers.

    Future Location of the Farmer's Market.
    Future Location of the Farmer’s Market.
  • The borders of the green on Camberwell Church St and Camberwell Road will be filled with flowers and wild meadows to create a buffer zone between the green and the traffic.
  • There are also several “feature walls”, near the borders, some of which will also contain seating.
  • And finally, there will be a pedestrian crossing from the green to Camberwell Passage. As someone who crosses the road here all the time to catch the bus, I know this is a really helpful thing. (I hope they don’t make it too frustrating for traffic though. If it’s a pelican crossing that takes for ever for the green man, often people have crossed already meaning drivers have to pointlessly wait while nobody crosses!)

On the down side:

  • The toilet. Yes, THE TOILET! It screams: “Welcome to Camberwell, it’s full of s**t!”. Apparently this toilet, that sits at the crossroads to the green (where a beautiful water feature of another type used to sit, see pics below) has to stay because the bus drivers need it. I’m sorry, but I have never once seen a bus driver, or anyone else use this toilet, except on the rare occasions when there are big events on the green. If it has to be kept (and I do not think it’s worth it personally) a much better solution would be to have it near the farmer’s market area, in a more discreet position. Not with the door opening onto a busy crossroads where everyone can see you! (Apparently cost is preventing this. See below for my solution).
Welcome to Camberwell Green. It's a bit shit.
Welcome to Camberwell Green. It’s a bit s**t.
Note the old water fountain that pre-dates the current water feature!
Note the old water fountain at the entrance to the Green that pre-dates the current water feature!
  • I don’t like the new street lights that are proposed. I think they will date very quickly and the ones we have currently are a much better design for the green. Maybe the money saved by not buying new street lights could be used to pay for moving the turdis (a.k.a. the toilet).
Existing Lamp Posts
Existing Lamp Posts. Pigeon Optional.

 

Proposed Lamp Posts for Camberwell Green.
Proposed Lamp Posts for Camberwell Green. Man with briefcase optional.

 

So what now?

What do you think? Do you like the plans? What do you want to see changed, even at this late stage?

As well as adding your comments below, if you want to show your support or opposition to the plans (see full details of all the documents and plan here) you should email Southwark’s Planning department quoting planning reference 14/AP/4537. Send your emails to: planning.​consultation@​southwark.​gov.​uk.

A note on the Southwark website says: “Please make sure that you state the application number and your postal address. Comments that you submit will be published on this website for others to see”, so make sure you do this.

And if you want to make a fuss (dare I say a “Sh*tstorm”?) about the toilet plans, get in touch. Let’s march!

Shop Locally for Christmas. Part 2.

Clearly Camberwell has become a hotbed of artistic tendencies. Or people are getting better at organising. Or it’s Christmas. Or all three.

Why do I say this? Because there seem to be a lot of open studio events, Christmas Markets and also a big auction of artworks by the great and good, as well as the unknown, up at King’s in the next few weeks.

1. Coldharbour Studios and Clockwork Studios both have their open studio events this weekend. The private view is on Friday 6th from 6-9pm, with the studios open throughout the weekend and lots of pressies for you to buy, as well as the odd mince pie and glass of wine I’m sure.

OPEN STUDIOS INVITATION

2. Camberwell Arts are hosting “Made in Camberwell” on Saturday 7th from 1-5pm at the Tiger with local artists and designers selling their wares. See their Facebook Page for more details of who is exhibiting.

cam arts

3. On Thursday 12th December, King’s College Hospital is celebrating its Camberwell centenary  with an auction of 100 artworks by 100 artists who have connections with Camberwell or the hospital. Some of the better known artists who have donated works include Maggie Hambling, Gillian Ayres and Sir Peter Blake, as well as lesser known local artists and designers such as…, ahem, me! (Monkeycat). More details of all the artists can be found here: Together We Can.

There is a private view of Kings’s 100 Artworks Auction at 6pm with the obligatory mince pies and mulled wine before the auction, which starts at 7pm. You need to buy tickets (only £5). You can either get them from the Friend’s Gift Shop on the ground floor of the Cheyne Wing in Kings College Hospital, or buy them online from Rosebery’s, the auctioneers who are conducting the event. You can get them here: BUY TICKETS.

Penguin-Classics-web

4. Mini Moderns, the amazingly talented design chappies, are holding their own open studio event from Friday 13th — Sunday 15th December, with the private view on the Friday evening. Well worth a look, especially if you’re thinking wallpaper and home wares are just what you need to get someone for Christmas.

Mini moderns

5. The Farmer’s Market on Camberwell Green are also holding a Christmas Market on Saturday 14th December from 10am-4pm. Alongside the usual food stalls, there will also be live music and carols, artists and general Christmas good cheer.

Camberwell Christmas

I can’t think of any more events at the moment but if you know of any, just get in touch or leave a comment and I will update.

Update: On Saturday 14th there’s also a Christmas Bazaar at The Tiger. — Peter

bazaar