Around Camberwell
Interesting information on Camberwell in preparation for our Walk around Camberwell (November 12).

‘A pleasant retreat of those citizens who have a taste for the country while their avocations daily call them to town’ – Priscilla Wakefield (1809), Perambulation

October 10, 2010
Posted by Adrian
Thanks to Janice for this link

The Camber Well
external image camwell2.jpg
John Chaple's site has an interesting collection of information relating to the 'Camber Well' which, he says gives, Camberwell its name.

October 10 2010
Posted by Adrian

Southwark Town Hall, 1934, Peckham Road, London. Photo (c) Adrian Holme, 2009

The former Camberwell Town Hall, built in 1934. The Art Deco facade has striking Corinthian pilasters topped by a classical pediment, in which is set a modernist style clock. An ecclectic mix of the modernist and the classical. Looking at this facade it is tempting to speculate that, in the future, the Art Deco and the Postmodern might be seen as a continuum, interrupted only briefly by the audacious high modernism of the 1960s and 1970s.

October 25, 2010
Posted by Adrian
Camberwell in 1806

Camberwell 1806. Bowles' New Plan of London Westminster and Soutwark (detail), 1806, London Metropolitan Archives

November 6, 2010
Posted by Adrian Holme

Saint Giles Church
Saint Giles Church Camberwell , photo (c) A Holme 2010

From the AIM25 record (Index to archives in the London and M25 area)
'Saint Giles is the ancient ''mother'' church of the parish of Camberwell, which included Peckham and Dulwich. It has stood on the same site since its original construction shortly after the Norman Conquest, being rebuilt in stone in 1154 and surviving until being burned down in 1841. A new church, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, with stained glass windows created by local resident and well known poet and author John Ruskin, was built in 1844.
Camberwell was a farming village surrounded by woods and fields until about 1800, with mineral wells abounding. One of these was supposed to have healing properties and many invalids visited in the hope of a cure. It is probably no coincidence that the church was named after Saint Giles, the patron saint of cripples.'

View of Camberwell from the Grove
(?18th or 19th Century?)

The Camberwell Beauty
The Camberwell Beauty - Photo Jan Miller. Source
The Camberwell Beauty - Photo Jan Miller. Source

Do not expect to see this particular beauty in Camberwell, although its first siting was recorded in Coldharbour Lane in 1748 (Willey, 2006, 74). Nymphalis antiopa is generally found in Scandiavia and Central Europe - although it was seen this year in North Wales (BBC website).

Camberwell facts: People
Denmark Hill was named after Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Ann, who had a house there (Southwark Councill, 2010)
Robert Browning (poet) was born in Camberwell in 1812 at Rainbow Cottage on Camberwell Green and moved to Hanover Cottage, now on the corner of Coleman Road and Southampton Way, marked by a blue plaque (source: )
John Ruskin, artist, theorist, critic, moved to 163 Denmark Hill in 1847 (


British History Online: Camberwell (Accessed October 10, 2010)

John Chaple. Britain's Hidden History, The Ancient Well of Camberwell (Accessed October 10, 2010) [Although this is not a particularly authoritative site, it is an ecclectic mix of some interesting facts and speculation about London]

The Camberwell Society (Accessed October 10, 2010)

The South London Guide - Camberwell guide (Accessed November 6, 2010)

Southwark council - Camberwell history
Cragoe, Carol Davidson (2008). How to read buildings: a crash course in architecture. London: Herbert Press
[This is a superb and highly practical book, sumptuously illustrated with drawings and prints rather than photos, which adds to the clarity of presentation. There is also an invaluable glossary - AH]
Willey, Russ (2006). London Gazeteer. Edinburgh: Chambers