Surrounding area

As I mentioned in a previous post the Western side of Camberwell is a moveable feature with what some call Camberwell, others argue is Brixton, Oval, Herne Hill, Putney or wherever (or on reflection maybe not Putney but you get my drift). I guess Brixton has more street-cred and greater recognition than Camberwell.

The Urban75 website is an excellent source of information, reviews, discussion and much much else for all things Brixton (and surrounding area).

Occasionally Urban 75 features reports from Camberwell such as the excellent feature on the lost pubs of the area which documents several of the ‘characterful’ and rather intimidating pubs of Coldharbour Lane that I remember cycling by when I first lived in Brixton in 1998.

Recently it featured Ruskin Park and I was intrigued by another report that they carried on the ‘Camberwell Submarine’ which is an architectural feature I have passed on several occasions and wondered what it was. It is interesting that they consider Akerman Road, SW9 to be in Camberwell.

Another site I have recently discovered is the Lambeth Landmark which features old photos from Lambeth’s archives — by selecting Brixton North or Loughborough Junction from the places menu you can access several from the SE5 Camberwell area.

An information request from New Zealand…

A request for information was received in the comments section of a previous post, I thought that it should receive more prominence on the blog
Can anyone help this journalist:

Did you know that the oldest person in New Zealand, Florence Violet Finch (nee Regardsoe), who died this week at the age of 113, was born in Camberwell? I am a reporter with the daily newspaper Hawke’s Bay Today, covering the region where Mrs Finch has lived the last 40 years of her life, and am urgently seeking any information anyone may have about her family in Camberwell, and any background relating to her late husband, a Charles Finch. Contact may be made in the first instant to this e‑mail address:

History Lesson

Did you know that Camberwell has it’s own coat of arms? Well, at least the (now-defunct) Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell did.

The various elements of the arms represent the three constituent parts of the Borough. The wells are a ‘canting’ allusion to the name Camberwell, they also represent some of the many wells in the area, of which one was said to have healing properties, and was therefore associated with St. Giles, the patron saint of cripples.

I mentioned this in a comment recently.

The lion represents the Liberty of Peckham, it derives from the badge of Robert Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I, who was Lord of the Manor of Peckham.

So the Leopard Man of Peckham has an illustrious forebearer!

The wounded hart and crosier, are emblems of St. Giles, to whom the Parish Church of Camberwell is dedicated. He is probably associated with Camberwell because of the well with healing powers, the name Camberwell is said to be derived from the ‘well of the crooked or cripples’ (camber being derived from an old word meaning crooked).

I’ve also tracked down a famous piano piece by Felix Mendelssohn called ‘Spring Song [MIDI file]’; the original title was ‘Camberwell Green’, as it was written when the composer stayed on Denmark Hill. It sounds like the music that would play in a silent movie when the damsel was introduced, shortly before being abducted and tied to a train track by a mustachioed, cape-twirling villain.