SE6: It’s witchcraft

SE6 is Catford. Brewer’s Dictionary of London Phrase and Fable says of Catford: “Perhaps surprisingly, the name is not some arcane corruption , but probably does mean that wild cats did frequent the ford that is now the site of Catford bridge, although an alternative explanation is that “the cat” was a local landowner’s nickname.

Wikipedia has other suggestions including this is “the place where cattle crossed the River Ravensbourne in Saxon times” and goes on to say”. It is also said that the name originates from all-black cats, associated with witchcraft, being thrown into the ford to drown during the witch hunts.” Sadly neither of these assertions are backed up by citations.

We start our walk at Catford Post Office which in Numbers 187-189 Rushey Green. Turn right out of the Post Office and our first stop is a little way along the same pavement.

Stop 1: The Black Horse and Harrow pub

This is a grand Victorian pub called the Black Horse and Harrow.

IMG_1420

IMG_1422

It dates from 1897 and the sign says there has been a pub here since at least 1700.

IMG_1469

It would have been a coaching inn on the road to Tonbridge and Hastings, but clearly became a bit of a Victorian “gin palace”

Now retrace your steps and go down the alleyway which runs through Octavia house.

IMG_1467

On the other side you will be in the middle of Catford Island, our next stop..

Stop 2: Catford Island

Catford Island is possibly one of the most inappropriate bits of development to grace the streets of London.

IMG_1464

Who thought it would be a good idea to put an american style retail centre here where the inadequate A21 London – Hastings road crosses the even more inadequate South Circular Road. Needless to say this is what you get.

IMG_1463

Many years ago there were plans to sort out the roads here properly but there are no active plans for this.

The Lewisham website has something called “The Catford Plan”. Here is a link to the Frequently asked questions: https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/planning/policy/LDF/catford/Pages/Catford-Plan-frequently-asked-questions.aspx

One of which is:

“Has the Council given up on the plans to re-route the South Circular behind the Laurence House?

Transport for London (TfL)’s long-standing proposal, which would potentially remove the Catford gyratory, still has no clear timetable or funding strategy. There are reasons why this project has not happened, primarily that it would be complex, expensive and difficult to implement.

The Catford plan therefore includes alternative proposals which would be more deliverable. These include simplifying pedestrian crossings, improving the Thomas Lane/Catford Road and Rushey Green/Catford Road junctions, and widening Sangley Road to create an eastbound bus lane to cut the number of northbound buses on Rushey Green.”

So this bottleneck is not going to be sorted out any time soon.

Now head to the opposite side of the retail park from the Bingo club and turn right along that road. Our next stop is at the corner.

Stop 3: former ABC cinema

This was the Central Hall Picture House when it opened in December 1913. It was renamed the Plaza in 1932 and was taken over the ABC chain in 1937. It was renamed ABC in 1962. It was split into two screens in 1981 and continued to operate as a cinema until 2001.

IMG_1428

According to the wonderful “Cinema Treasures” website “In 2002, it was purchased by the Brazilian based Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, who also purchased the former Granada/EMD in Walthamstow, and who already operated the former Astoria Finsbury Park” (aka the Rainbow).

They were refused planning permission to convert the Catford cinema in 2003. The case at Catford went to a Public Enquiry in 2005, which allowed the church to use the former stalls area, on the proviso they let out the former circle as a 200 seat cinema. Not sure what happened this idea as the cinema treasures site does not have any up to date info. No sign of a cinema. However the church is certainly operating here.

Now cross over Sangley Road, go past the Post Office and you will see our next stop just over the road on the left.

Stop 4: Broadway Theatre

This is a little gem of a 1930s building adjoining the modern civic suite.

IMG_1429

The Theatre’s website says:

“A grade II* listed building, the theatre was built in 1932 and is an example of Art Deco design. The architects were Bradshaw Gass & Hope; the slightly Gothic features were intended to relate to the adjacent Gothic Revival Town Hall which has since been demolished.

It has two auditoriums, an 800-seat main theatre and a small 80-seat studio theatre. Its programme consists of a diverse mix of theatre and music, including a pantomime season featuring star names, stand up comedy, nostalgia shows, drama and children’s theatre.”

For many years it was called the Lewisham Theatre which was somewhat confusing as it was in Catford.

IMG_1423

Broadway is a better name although it has the disadvantage that it is so generic a name it could be anywhere.

IMG_1425

As you look at the theatre head to the left and our next stop is the building next door.

Stop 5: Civic Suite

The old Town Hall of 1875, was replaced by the current Civic Suite in 1968, soon after the merger of the metropolitan boroughs of Lewisham and Deptford to form the London Borough of Lewisham.  On the other side of the road is Laurence House, where many of the Lewisham Council offices are housed. That is on the site of old St Laurence’s Church.

Go into the courtyard of the Civic Suite and you will see a couple of plaques on your right.

IMG_1440

IMG_1441

These relate to a fire in New Cross which killed 13 young black people in January 1981. This plaque has 14 names because one person (Anthony Berbeck) who was in the house at the time of the fire, committed suicide later.

The way the authorities investigated the fire provoked a huge uprising in the black community. There was a strong view that the fire was caused deliberately but this could not be proved. Forensic science has developed since then. So while some still believe the fire to have been a result of arson, it seems that such evidence as there is suggests it was a tragic accident.

Over the years a number of memorials have been created, including a stained glass window in St Andrew’s Church Brockley (2002), a blue plaque from Nubian Jak Community Trust (January 2011), a stone memorial and bench in Fordham Park, Deptford (2012). There is also a memorial to the victims consisting of a park bench plus 13 trees with a plaque at either end on Hackney Downs. And of course this one.

And just opposite is the statue of a sad looking girl.

IMG_1442

IMG_1443

This statue is bronze and was commissioned by Lewisham Borough Council in 1992 from the artist Gerda Rubinstein.

Now keep walking along the main road and you will get to our next stop – the two railway stations in Catford. You will see a little access road to the right which is a good way into the first station you get to (Catford Bridge)

IMG_1397

Stop 6: Catford’s stations

The two stations in Catford are almost side by side but on different lines, one line goes under the road whilst the other above the road. Interchange on one ticket is allowed between the two stations.

Catford Bridge station was built by the Mid-Kent and North Kent Junction Railway and opened in January 1857. But from the start the line was worked by the South Eastern Railway.

IMG_1399

IMG_1391

This still has original buildings although the main one does not seem to be used by the railway. This station is also unusual in having two exits from each platform – one on the level and one up steps to the road bridge.

The two stations are separated by the site of the former Catford Stadium. Although the stadium closed in 2003, and is currently being redeveloped, it is still mentioned on the direction signs here.

IMG_1401

The other station has lost all its old building and has this rather nasty modular building as a ticket office and little more than a bus shelter on the platform.

IMG_1408

IMG_1406

Catford station was opened by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway in July 1892. This is the next station after Crofton Park going out of town and has an equally poor service.

Now retrace your steps and as you approach the Civic Buildings you will see a pedestrianised street to your left.

Stop 7: Catford Broadway

This sad looking street is called Catford Broadway.

IMG_1418

IMG_1419

It has a few stalls and some dull looking shops – and when I was there, not many people. But at least it was not run down and abandoned, as it so easily could have been.

Our next stop is at the end of Catford Broadway on the left.

Stop 8: Catford Shopping centre

This was designed by the architect Owen Luder (Born 1928) in 1974. He was well known for Brutalist architecture, with its massive bare concrete sculptural forms with no cladding and little or no decoration. Unfortunately time has not been kind to these buildings. In the damp British climate unclad concrete buildings soon become dull and greyer and they get streaked where rainwater runs. Often poor maintenance makes things worse.

But at least Catford Shopping centre is still standing unlike a number of Luder’s other well known projects, such as the Tricorn Centre in Portsmouth, Trinity Square Gateshead and the Southgate shopping centre in Bath.

IMG_1449

The most prominent feature is the Catford Cat, a giant fibreglass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance.

IMG_1447

Lewisham Council website credits the Catford Cat to Owen Luder and Embassy Signs with the date 1974.

The Catford Centre was bought by Lewisham council in 2010 for “regeneration”. But this does not seem to have happened yet.

Now cross over the road and have a look at the concrete building on the other side.

Stop 9: Eros House

This is called Eros House and was also designed by Owen Luder. It dates from 1960 and so is somewhat older than the Catford Centre. I am not sure that the proportions quite work. It would probably look better if the tower were taller. And it does not have the elegance of the Goldfinger buildings we saw in Poplar and Westbourne Park.

IMG_1452

The site has an interesting history as it contained not one but two places of entertainment. As ever I am endebted to the “Cinema Treasures” site for much of the following information.

At the corner of Rushey Green and Brownhill Road was the Lewisham Hippodrome Theatre which opened as a variety theatre in February 1911. It was designed by renown theatre architect Frank Matcham. Again this must have been confusing given it was not in Lewisham, proper.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s it was sometimes used as a cinema and sometimes a theatre. In 1931 alterations were carried out by architect Cecil Masey, with interior decoration by designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. It reopened as a cinema in April 1931 but by 1933 was operating as a music hall, with films only shown on Sundays.

It was closed by bomb damage in 1940 and re-opened in 1943. It was closed as a live theatre in 1952 and re-opened as the Eros Cinema in May of that year. The Eros Cinema finally closed in November 1959

Adjacent to the Hippordome/Eros was a purpose built cinema. This opened in December 1913 as the Queen’s Hall Cinema. It was acquired by Gaumont in 1928 but continued operating as the Queen’s Hall Cinema until September 1954  when it was renamed Gaumont.

The Gaumont closed in November 1959. It was demolished in July 1960, together with the adjacent Eros/Hippodrome building. The office block named Eros House was built on the site.

IMG_1458

IMG_1460

On the green outside there is a sculpture.

IMG_1456

This is called Waterline. It is by Oliver Barratt and dates from 2006

IMG_1457

The sign says “This sculpture remembers the waters that once flowed though the green rushes where watercress was farmed and celebrates the dynamic rhythm of life and change” Here is a link to the artist’s website:

http://www.oliverbarratt.co.uk/water-line/

So it is also a little reminder of why the street here is called Rushey Green.

Stop 10: Rushey Green

And so just by Eros House is a green encased in railings with a water pump.

IMG_1454

Not sure how old this is.

Just further along on the other side of Brownhill Road is this sculpture

IMG_1475

It is called “Chariot / Blue on Green” and is by artist Oleg Prokofiev (1928 – 1998). It seems it was bequeathed by Prokofiev family.

Now walk along Rushey Green away from Catford centre. Take the second right which then splits into Farley Road and Honley Road. You want the former which is the left hand way.

Stop 11: Number 48 Farley Road

Our next stop is a fair way down Farley Road.

IMG_1488

Number 48 was the childhood home of film actress Elsa Lanchester (1902 – 1986), who although she spent most of her career in Hollywood was actually from here in South London.

According to Wikipedia: “[She] studied dance as a child and after the First World War began performing in theatre and cabaret, where she established her career over the following decade. She met the actor Charles Laughton in 1927, and they were married two years later. She began playing small roles in British films, including the role of Anne of Cleves with Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933). His success in American films resulted in the couple moving to Hollywood, where Lanchester played small film roles.

Her role as the title character in Bride of Frankenstein (1935) brought her recognition. She played supporting roles through the 1940s and 1950s. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Come to the Stable (1949) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957), the last of twelve films in which she appeared with Laughton. Following Laughton’s death in 1962, Lanchester resumed her career with appearances in such Disney films as Mary Poppins (1964), That Darn Cat! (1965) and Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968).” She also played a witch in the 1958 film “Bell, Book and Candle”

Our final stop is just a little way along the road.

Stop 12: Woskerski mural, Farley Road.

Just before you get to Laleham Road, there is a striking mural on the right.

IMG_1497

This is by street artist Woskerski who describes himself as “A street artist based in London, painting since 1997.”

His website says that this particular mural is of Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong and it was a commission in 2016. It is a little surprising to see this looming up at you in a side street in Catford. I somehow doubt that either Ray Charles or Louis Armstrong had any connection with this part of London, so who knows why someone chose them as the subject of a mural here.

Now we are the end of our walk. But I thought I should just point out a couple of old street signs here. Just beyond the mural, Laleham Road crosses Farley Road and unusually for this part of town there are two signs which are what must be the original signs, as they say just SE without the number.

IMG_1493

IMG_1498

There are lots of these old street signs in the borough of Wandsworth but most other boroughs have systematically replaced them with their own branded street name plates.

So Catford proved to have some interest. Again it seems odd that this was once a significant entertainment centre. There were four theatre/cinema buildings in close proximity up until the late 1950s. But today it is a dull collection of shops with constantly congested gyratory system, and just one working theatre building.

You have a choice about onward travel from here. you can retrace your steps back to the stations or else go back to Rushey Green and jump on one of numerous buses that will take you to Lewisham.

 

 

Advertisements

SE5: All’s Well

SE5 is Camberwell. This was once quite an entertainment centre. Not now. Today it is a major focus for buses, but it has been unserved by rail transport for a hundred years despite there being a line almost through its centre.

We start our walk at the Post Office at 25 Denmark Hill. Turn left and head towards the junction. Our first stop is the large building at the corner with the Nandos on the ground floor.

Stop 1: site of Metropole/Empire Theatre/Odeon Cinema

IMG_1277

This large corner site was a place of entertainment for many years. First there was the Metropole Theatre which opened in October 1894. In 1906 it was renamed Camberwell Empire Theatre. Films were being shown from 1914 and from 1918 it became a mixed use live theatre and cinema known as the Camberwell Theatre and Picture House. From 1924 it was a full time cinema known as the Camberwell Empire and Picture Palace.

Odeon bought the theatre in May 1937. It closed in August 1937 and was quickly demolished for a new Odeon Theatre to be built on an expanded site. The Odeon opened in March 1939.

A key difference from its predecessor was the location of the entrance. The entrance to the original theatre was at the corner of Denmark Hill and Coldharbour Lane, whereas the new Odeon was designed with a matching entrance on each road, with a square fin tower clad in light yellow tiles and carrying the name “Odeon”.

The cinema was never split up and was closed in July 1975. After six years of disuse, in 1981 it became a pile ’em high sell ’em cheap jeans warehouse called Dickie Dirts. That lasted a couple of years and then the building was disused again, finally being demolished in spring 1993, There is now a block of flats for homeless young people here.

Now retrace your steps to the corner of Orpheus Street (right back by the Post Office)

Stop 2: site of the Palace Theatre

IMG_1267

At this corner was a theatre called the Camberwell Palace which opened in 1899.  Films formed part of the variety bill in the early 1900’s but in September 1932, it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC). It became a full time cinema, known as the Palace Cinema. When ABC opened their new Regal Cinema (which we shall see shortly) in 1940, and they disposed of the Palace Cinema to an independent operator.

After a few years, it re-opened under new management in April 1943 as a live variety theatre, and went back to its original name, Camberwell Palace Theatre. The Palace Theatre then went over to staging ‘girlie’ shows. No doubt this was Camberwell’s answer to the famous Windmill theatre in Soho. One of the ways round the law at the time was that the “girls” could only be naked if they were still, as in a work of art in a gallery. Unfortunately one of the girls here, the delightfully named Peaches Page (aged 19) broke the law by moving whilst in the nude. A mouse had come on stage while she posed. She was sacked and the Palace Theatre was closed soon after in April 1956. No long after it was demolished and replaced by this dull looking building. This was until recently HSBC bank.

Much more info on this and the Metropole/Empire on the wonderful Arthur Lloyd site.

http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Camberwell.htm

(Interestingly the usually great Cinema Treasures site, has a slightly different story, talking about the theatre called the Oriental being built here in 1896 and then replaced. Arthur Lloyd says that this never actually happened. Also Cinema Treasures gives the address as 23 – 31 Denmark Hill but says the site of the theatre was where the Post Office is now. That is number 25 Denmark Hill whereas the HSBC bank branch was 23 Denmark Hill. However the picture on the Cinema Treasures site looks like the old theatre was on the left hand corner of the side street (the HSBC side) rather than the right hand (Post Office) corner. So I think the evidence suggests Arthur Lloyd is right.)

Now immediately over the road was another place of entertainment.

Stop 3: a former cinema (28 – 32 Denmark Hill)

IMG_1269

The building which now houses a Co-Op supermarket started out in 1913 or 1914 as the Golden Domes Picture Theatre, The building originally had a very decorative exterior with large domes on each side. Right through to the late 1930s it operated on a policy of mixing movies with variety performances.

The cinema was refurbished and renamed Rex Cinema in January 1952. It was taken over by the Essoldo chain in August 1954 becoming the Essoldo Cinema in January 1956.

The cinema closed in August 1964 and the building was converted into a supermarket. The ornate facade was removed, but you can still see the roof of what must have been the auditorium from the street

Our next stop is back on the same side as the Post Office where you will find a little shopping precinct.

Stop 4: Butterfly Walk

Camberwell has a somewhat underwhelming pedestrian shopping area, called Butterfly Walk.

IMG_1274

And there is even a butterfly on one of the buildings facing Denmark Hill.

IMG_1270

I puzzled over this as I could find nothing on the web about the age of the shopping centre or why it is called Butterfly Walk. But then I discovered that there is a butterfly known in Britain as the Camberwell Beauty, first spotted in Coldharbour Lane in 1748. This butterfly can be found in both Europe and North America and elsewhere it is known as “Mourning Cloak”. the butterfly has mainly dark wings but they are edged with bright yellow and some blue. The pattern has been likened to a girl in mourning who defiantly lets a glimpse of a brightness show below her mourning dress.

Now head to the main road junction and take a left.

Stop 5: Two Bus Garages

Curiously Camberwell has two bus garages almost opposite each other. As we walk along the road, the one on the left is called Camberwell Garage and is run by Go-Ahead London.

IMG_1261

This was built as a bus garage and although finished in 1914 it was actually only used from 1919. It is one of the largest bus garages in London and extends a long way down the side road and across to the next street.

IMG_1257

And the one on the right is called Walworth Garage.

IMG_1253

This garage is run by Abellio, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands state-controlled rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS). It uses the NS logo.

The site started as Camberwell Tram Depot in 1891. Then in 1950, it became a bus garage. As there was already a Camberwell Bus Garage, it changed its name to Walworth Bus Garage, even though it is actually in Camberwell..

Just before the railway bridge and opposite to the entrance to Walworth Garage, you will see a street on the left called Camberwell Station Road. Go down here.

Stop 6: site of Camberwell station

IMG_1234

And soon you will see a street called Station Terrace.

IMG_1235

But the thing is that there has not been a passenger station here for a hundred years.

IMG_1236

There was one here, opened in October 1862 by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway as part of the company’s new route into the City of London. In May 1863 it became known as Camberwell New Road but in October 1908 reverted to the name Camberwell.

As with many other lesser used London stations, it was closed to passenger traffic during the First World War. It never reopened. Camberwell was well served by electric tram services which gave direct access to more places that the railway could, so like many of these inner suburban stations the traffic had been in decline anyway..

The trams had gone by the early 1950s but Camberwell remained unconnected by rail. There had been plans in the 1930s to extend the Bakerloo line here from Elephant and Castle starting but after the Second World War, there was no money for this kind of project.

The idea was revived in around 2006 and since then Transport for London has consulted on various ideas about extending the Bakerloo line to Lewisham and possibly beyond. However the most recent consultation (February 2017) makes clear the preferred route is along Old Kent Road missing out Camberwell completely. However Camberwell may still get reconnected to the rail network as there is now talk of reinstating the station here so it would be served by Thameslink trains.

There is precious little left of the old station which closed in April 1916. At track level there is the ghost of an island platform and at street level there is a much altered building which I guess would have been the entrance and ticket hall.

IMG_1239

It has lost its upper floor and the main structure has been used as a car repair facility. But you can just about imagine it as a station.

By the way if you look on the other side of the road you can see a large bus park which is part of the huge Camberwell Bus Garage.

IMG_1246

Now retrace your steps back to Camberwell Green where you should turn left, continuing with the Green on your right. Our next stop is just beyond the end of the green on the left.

Stop 7: Former ABC cinema

Now we have an old cinema building which is still standing largely intact.

IMG_1286

This was the Regal Cinema. It had been started just before the start of the Second World War and it was finished off finally opening in June 1940. It had been developed by an independent company but was sold to Associated British Cinemas prior to completion.

IMG_1288

Within weeks of opening, in September 1940, the Regal was closed by bomb damage but it quickly reopened the next month. It was renamed ABC in December 1961 and finally closed in October 1973.

It was converted into a Bingo Hall and operated under various names including Jasmine and Gala until February 2010, when it suddenly closed. The building was sold to a church which is what it is today.

Return to Camberwell Green and our next stop is around the first part of the green you get to.

Stop 8: Camberwell Green memorials

There are a number of memorials here. First there is a bench round a tree, dedicated to Corporal Sidney Bates VC.

IMG_1282

He was a local lad who was killed in France and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for Gallantry.

Then there is a path to the left with a couple of Second World War memorials.

IMG_1299

Immediately to your right is one dedicated simply “For those who lost their lives in the Second World War”.

IMG_1296

But further on is a more site specific one, and one with a very poignant story.

IMG_1297

Although the plaque starts off “In memory of the people of Camberwell who died or suffered in War” it then goes on to record a specific incident from 17 September 1940. There was a direct hit on a bomb shelter here and it killed 13 members of the same family who had just been celebrating a wedding.

Here is a link to the story in the Guardian from 2007

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/sep/17/secondworldwar

And then to the left of this is a chunky wooden bench.

IMG_1295

This has a little plaque which says “The CoolTan Arts bench. A safe place to sit, rest and a gift to our local community. Dedicated to Debbie and everyone with experience of mental distress.”

IMG_1293

CoolTan Arts is an arts in mental health charity run by and for adults with experience of mental health conditions. According to its website, CoolTan Arts has existed since 1991 and became a charity in 1997. It took its name from the disused CoolTan sun lotion factory where the founders of CoolTan squatted. Today it is based in railway arched near to here in Walworth Road.

I do wonder about siting a bench referencing mental distress so close to three war memorials. Which came first, I wonder?

Now go to the end of the Green and turn left. Our next stop is in Wilson Road a side turning on the right just beyond the church. 

Stop 9: Camberwell School of Art, Wilson Road (Formerly Wilson’s School)

Camberwell is home to a well known art school, now part of the University of the Arts London. The Camberwell School is on two sites. The main location which opened in 1898 is a little further along the main road along with the South London Gallery which opened in 1891. The old Town Hall of Camberwell Borough Council dating from 1934 is also along here. Architectural guru Pevsner describes that building as “singularly undistinguished”

By the way Camberwell Borough Council’s motto was “All’s Well” as in “All’s well that ends well” or maybe “All’s well that Cambers well”.

It is a bit too far to go to see these buildings but we can content ourselves with the other Art School building in Wilson Road.

IMG_1310

This building was originally Wilson’s Grammar School. There is a plaque you can just see through the railings which says “Grammar School founded by Edward Wilson, Vicar of Camberwell 1615 Rebuilt 1882.”

IMG_1308

And this is echoed on the street by this stone.

IMG_1314

Wilson’s School still exists and has claim to be one of the oldest state schools. It moved to a new development called Roundshaw on the site of Croydon Airport in 1975. One famous old boy of Wilson’s School was actor Michael Caine

Now retrace your steps along the main road and turn left into Camberwell Grove.

Stop 10: Camberwell Grove

IMG_1315

This is a lovely, rather unexpected street. Pevsner describes Camberwell Grove as “well preserved late Georgian terraces and semi detached houses connected by one storey entrance bays”.

The street began as a private avenue behind the mansion of the Cock family and was built up after the house was sold in 1776 and demolished. What is unusual is the development focuses on a single avenue. There are no squares or crescents.

The first part you get to is the oldest with some houses dating from the 1770s and 1780s

IMG_1320

Further up on the right is a little chapel – the Grove Chapel which dates from 1819 and is still going.

IMG_1325

Grove Chapel is an independent church which has no formal links with any particular denomination or church grouping,

Sadly not all Camberwell Grove is Georgian. A little way along you come to some newer (less attractive) buildings and it opens out. (Note the picture below was taken looking back from the way we have just come)

IMG_1334

And look to your left and you can see a four track railway line in deep cutting. You cannot see this on the right as the line goes into a tunnel.

IMG_1330

Then a bit further on to your right you will see a house at the end of a terrace with a large white plaque.

IMG_1342

This records that Joseph Chamberlain (1836 – 1914) lived here.

IMG_1341

Joseph Chamberlain was a major politician first in local Government and then nationally. We came across him in Highbury, N5, where there is also another (non blue) plaque to him. He moved to N5 in 1845, but he was born in Camberwell, so I guess this was the place (or one of the places) where he lived as a small child.

Now take the side just a little before this house, Stories Road

IMG_1343

There is a nice little sign on the left at the start of the street proclaiming the extent of Mr Stories’ property.

IMG_1344

Continue along Stories Road and take a right at the end. Follow this road along. On the left you will see the beginning of the site which is our next stop.

Stop 11: William Booth Training College

IMG_1347

But before we get to the main entrance, have a look at the artwork as the road bends

IMG_1351

IMG_1352

This is called “Run”. It dates from 2009 and is by Leigh Dyer. There is a wolf in one bed and a number of sheep in the other bed. The piece at once blends in but is visible, so I think it works really well on this site as the main road bends.

Now follow the main road round and you will get to the main entrance of the Salvation Army training college.

The Salvation Army’s William Booth Memorial Training College was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott and was completed in 1932; Gilbert Scott’s other monumental South London buildings are Battersea Power Station and Bankside Power Station (now Tate Modern). The simplicity here is partly the result of repeated budget cuts during its construction. Apparently much more detailing, including carved Gothic style stonework surrounding the windows, was originally planned.

IMG_1356

Even so it is very impressive.

In front there are statues of General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army and his wife Catherine. They apparently did not die but were “promoted to glory”.

IMG_1361

IMG_1359

Our final stop is just over the road from the College.

Stop 12: Denmark Hill Station

Denmark Hill Station was opened by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1865. Today the entrance is an uninspiring box behind the original somewhat grander station building.

IMG_1383

But the old footbridge is still in use and as a result of refurbishment, the station does now have lift access to all platforms.

IMG_1385

There is also some nice multi coloured brickwork at platform level.

IMG_1389

The original station building just to the left of the new entrance is in the Italianate style and sits above the tracks which are in a deep cutting. The building suffered a fire in 1980 and after restoration, a public house took over the main building. It was initially called the Phoenix and Firkin to commemorate the fire, then it became O’Neills and but it is now just the Phoenix.

IMG_1367

IMG_1379

Sad this is not still the station entrance but at least it is a good use for the building.

We are close to King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital and you can easily pop over and see them from this point. But I am not planning to. So that brings us to the end of our SE5 walk.

Camberwell was clearly once quite a centre of entertainment with theatres and cinemas but today there are none left. The shops are pretty standard inner city fare and it is busy without too much character. Still there were one or two unexpected things along the way: the memorials on Camberwell Green; Camberwell Grove is lovely and the Salvation Army College was somewhat of a surprise.

We are now at Denmark Hill station which has trains into Victoria and Kent plus it is on the southern arc of London Overground from Clapham Junction to New Cross Gate and beyond. Or maybe pop into the Phoenix for a quick drink!