The Camberwell Society

Society for those living, working or interested in Camberwell

The Camberwell Society monitors developments proposed for all forms of transport serving the area and campaigns for improvements. The Society places official responses to consultations on all transport subjects where there is clear benefit for all members. The Society reserves its position where members’ interests are divided.

The blog below is intended to alert members to changes that are planned or proposed.

ULEZ expands all over us


Tony Coleman rounds up news on transport that affects Camberwell

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be expanded towards the M25 from 29 August 2023. The zone regulates the pollution from dirtier vehicles. The map shows the expanded area in pale green with the existing area (since 2021) in darker green and the central congestion charge zone in red. The blue dot is Camberwell. We have been regulated since 2021.

For vehicles that do not meet the standard, the daily charge to pollute our streets is £12.50, payable every day of the year it is used, except Christmas Day. These vehicles are mostly older diesel vehicles. To help those of reduced means, small businesses and charities, a scrappage scheme is available from 30 January 2023 with a £110M fund. For more information go to and search ULEZ.

In 2019 the total vehicle emission of NOx (a major traffic pollutant) was 15,000 tonnes per year, of which two-thirds was from diesel cars and vans. TfL had worked hard on their bus fleets over the previous years, reducing their annual NOx emissions from 4000 tonnes in 2013 to 500 tonnes by 2019.

London is now only one of many European cities that regulate traffic emissions. Schemes in Paris, Milan, Grenoble, Amsterdam, and Berlin are among upward of 150 emission zones in the EU. But this is not the end. The Netherlands are introducing a law to ban all sales of new carbon fuelled vehicles from 2027, that’s only four years away. Other countries have similar plans, including UK (2030) and most other European countries (2030-2040). The future is a ZEZ, a zero-emission zone.

On your bike

The 85-place bike park at Denmark Hill is about to become more useable. Located next to the new entrance on Windsor Walk, it was heralded by Network Rail, but to date only an occasional solitary bike has been seen to use it. The problem has been access. From the end of March Thameslink is introducing a new fob-based entry system which should make access easier. Fobs will be available from the ticket office. Once the scheme is running, it will be publicised by posters at the station and on social media, so keep eyes peeled!

Bus routes saved

TfL has announced that none of the changes to routes 12, 45, 148, or 171 will go ahead. The No 12 bus and the No 45 are saved, at least for the moment. Well done those who responded to the consultation. Certain routes elsewhere in London are being trimmed, but on a reduced scale to that proposed last summer. You can find out more at

Is it goodbye to the number 12?

TfL are once again trying to trim back our bus services. This time they want to cut the #12 and the #45. While they offer certain mitigations the overall effect would be a reduction in service and no longer any direct connection to Oxford Circus. You can find out about all the proposed changes and have your say by filling in the TfL questionnaire here.

Jane Bevis as written an in-depth response for SE5 Forum for Camberwell that includes some carefully thought out arguments and interesting, if alarming, statistics. You can find it here. Many thanks to Jane and to SE5 Forum for allowing us to put this here on our site.

There is also a petition to sign at here.

Welcome for new entrance and upgrades at Denmark Hill

Jonathan Hunt on the opening of our greatly improved railway station

Much-needed improvements to Denmark Hill rail station, where rush-hour queues once kept Camberwell commuters waiting for up to 10 minutes to reach a platform, were opened on 2 September. Punctual patients for King's and the Maudsley also benefit from ending access delays.

An impressive welcoming, multi-coloured entrance hall is the first thing to hit travellers as they enter the new entrance (and exit) from Windsor Walk and increasing numbers have been using it. Those who have a little time to spare can admire sculptures specially crafted by Godfried Donkor a well-known local artist.

They may also become aware of a notable ecological first. This is the first station in Europe to use photovoltaic ‘film’ fitted to the new roof to produce more power than the new building consumes, allowing energy to be put back into the electricity grid.

Camberwell Society worthies -- instrumental in persuading government to cough up the £7.5. million cost -- joined rail industry and ministry suits for the ceremony (although the most colourful clothing was on chair Nick Mair). He said, "collaborative working with the project team has created a unique welcome reflecting Camberwell’s history and culture.”

CamSoc also worked with Camberwell Arts and SE5 Forum to produce a new public artwork which reflect Camberwell's unique, vibrant identity by the internationally celebrated British Ghanaian artist Godfried Donkor, using traditional adinkra symbolism of Ghana; a poem by Una Marson, the first black woman programme maker at the BBC and former Camberwell resident; and walls tiled with the ‘Camberwell Brick’, in a palette of colours drawn from local greenery, architecture, water and the sky.

Young actress Daniella Arthur Kennedy from Theatre Peckham read a poem by Una Marson.

A platform for speeches was offered to Kings and the Maudsley charities, Network Rail and railway contractors. Rail minister "call me Chris" Heaton-Harris said the “upgrade transforms a Victorian station into a modern experience for passengers -- cutting crowding, improving access, and introducing new space for cyclists and artwork and the first ‘carbon positive’ upgrade -- demonstrating our ambition to ensure our rail network is greener for passengers and better for our environment."

After he cut a large ribbon by the open barriers, local resident Sandi Togsvig said “This is the only cut by a Minister that I have ever been able to agree with”

Finally, Tony Coleman, the Society's in-house transport guru, who has been involved in the whole project since its inception, says: "I am delighted to see the new entrance finally open and to see passengers stopping to take in the artwork and entrance hall designs.

"Thanks to Network Rail for the level of local engagement and openness to incorporating ideas. And to GTR, INVVU and Bam Nuttall for their inputs and support throughout.

"A special thanks to Godfried Donkor and his team who delivered the sculptures that are so eye catching. If you want to read more about them there is a plaque with details on the back wall at the bottom of the ramp way.”

Sandi makes Denmark Hill connections

Sandi Tosvig gave a speech at the opening of the Windsor Walk station entrance

I think it only appropriate that a Danish person says something at any opening related to Denmark Hill. You may well wonder how the Danes came to claim the Hill in the first place. So, Prince George of Denmark married Queen Anne of England in 1683, even though they had never met and as far as I know did not even speak the same language. And if you recall Queen Anne she looked exactly like Olivia Coleman, who also lives locally. One of those strange things. But she was probably busy today.

So, George and Anne had an arranged marriage with a view to developing an Anglo Danish alliance to stop the Dutch navy. (Very much the reason I gave to my own father-in-law when I proposed to his daughter.) Despite their lack of courtship or even a common language, it was a love match. Because as we all know from the dreaded COVID sometime conversation in marriage is overrated.

George was widely held to be kind but boring, carrying in himself a heady combination of laziness and incompetence. The sort of skill set which in no way prevents a rise to the top in power.

He was put in charge of the Admiralty. Why not? He knew nothing about boats whatsoever. Nevertheless, he was given the Admiralty and decided to come here hunting. That is how he spent his time, hunting up and down Denmark Hill. Indeed, he hunted here so often that is why the hill is remembered for him. I wish Denmark had contributed something more exciting. Nevertheless thank you George.

Camberwell of course was named in the Domesday book. It probably referred to a settlement which developed when people were expelled from the City of London because they had leprosy. I am just putting it out there. It is all behind us now. I have not seen any for ages. That is the history.

What I have seen in the years that I lived here is a wonderful sense of community. Indeed, it was community campaigning which stopped the Victorian station building being knocked down and led to this lovely (and indeed quite Scandi) new entrance. And I love the tiles and all the art that really reflect the wonderful strong cultural mix and rich history of the area.

Thank you to Rosey and Jim of Studio Sutherl& who provided the artwork for this tiling pro bono. There were once healing waters in this area, which is why the people with leprosy came here. Each tile is the shape of a Camberwell brick inspired by the keystones of the very well which you can see featured in Camberwell’s name and history and in the coat of arms. I think a well is a really splendid metaphor for Camberwell’s diverse and vibrant community. Each brick symbolises different characteristics and they come together to make us a whole.

The new sculpture uses adinkra symbols from Ghana. I spent much wonderful time in Ghana. They represent general truths about wisdom, about life, about the environment. They reflect the importance of physical and mental wellbeing in Camberwell. They stress our links to the rest of the world.

And that brings me to one of my heroes whom I have long campaigned to be more widely known. Not far from here in Brunswick Place. At number 16, you can see a blue plaque dedicated to Una Marson. She was born in Jamaica in 1905. She was a feminist, an activist, and a writer. She was a remarkable woman, and I am so delighted that people are getting to know more about her. During World War 2 she became the first black woman programme maker to be employed by the BBC. This event represents the gathering of many voices who have lent their support. Local groups and individual donors. But it is Una’s voice that will ring out for us now as Daniella Arthur Kennedy from Theatre Peckham performs one of my favourites The Test by Camberwell resident the late, great Una Marson.

Champion Hill Trial Closure - Plan for it to be Permanent

Southwark Council are proposing to make permanent the one way closure of Champion Hill. The monitoring report of the trial can be downloaded here. The report concludes that for the monitoring dates the morning peak time traffic in Grove Lane has increased by 130 vehicles/hr, a clear dis-benefit for residents there. It also concludes that the trial has resulted in a net reduction of 200 vehicles/hr crossing the area which is a clear benefit to other residents and potentially will lead to a slight reduction in traffic related pollution around Dog Kennel Hill School.

Southwark Council are offering no mitigation for the residents of Grove Lane if the one way trial is retained.

The original purpose of the trial was to find a way that traffic levels in Champion Hill could be reduced sufficiently to allow it to be designated as part of Quietway 7. This Quietway has problems with routing as Camberwell Grove (part of the proposed route) is not a cycle friendly road, especially the up hill slog on the southern side of the bridge. The Council also propose to make changes to the cycle priorities at the Dog Kennel Hill traffic lights.

The consultation is open for comment until 15 March here.

Show more posts

ULEZ expands all over us
Is it goodbye to the number 12?
TfL are once again trying to trim back our bus services. This time they want to cut the #12 and the #45. While they offer certain ...
Sandi makes Denmark Hill connections
Sandi Tosvig gave a speech at the ...
Champion Hill Trial Closure - Plan for it to be Permanent
Southwark Council are proposing to make permanent the one way closure of Champion Hill. The monitoring report of the trial can be downloaded ...
Litter at The Station
Many members have complained about the litter in the bushes behind the railings on Champion Park, It is very unsightly, We have shown the ...
Denmark Hill Station - Entrance and Platform Access Upgrades
NetworkRail say they have completed detailed design of the proposed new entrance. Two of the Camberwell Society committee members have been ...
NetworkRail Commences Work on Recommendations in GLA Report "Broken Rails"
The Broken Rails report by Caroline Pidgeon and Florence Eshalomi of the GLA found that South London was not well served by rail, suggesting ...
Broken Rails
The GLA published a report in November 2018 calling for improved rail services in London. The report was published by the Transport ...
Williams Report on Rail Services
Keith Williams chair of the Rail Review gave an update at Bradford in July this year. The update reported on the listening phase of the ...
Denmark Hill Station - Entrance and Platform Access Upgrades
Network Rail have been successful in securing funding for the detailed design of the proposed second entrance on Windsor Walk. Architects ...
Denmark Hill Station - Network Rail Apply for Next Stage Funding for New Entrance
NetworkRail have now presented their Outline Buisness Case (OBC) to the DfT for funding to take the project to detailed design. The OBC ...
Heathrow Expansion Consultation
Heathrow have published their formal consultation for the proposed airport expansion. The consultation is wide ranging and seeks answers on ...
Denmark Hill Station - Entrance and Platform Access Upgrades
The Camberwell Society attended a meeting at Network Rail's (NR) offices in Southwark on Monday 3rd June to hear about the intentions for ...
Traffic Study
Southwark have commenced a study on the traffic flows and elimination of "rat-running" between Rye Lane and Grove Lane. The Council ...
Electric Vehicle Lamp-post Charging Points
Southwark Council have received 103 requests across the borough for charging points. Of these approximately 14 are from Camberwell. They ...
Camberwell Traffic Management Study
The Camberwell Society have been advised that the study that was promised at the time of re-opening the Camberwell Grove bridge is "being ...
Champion Hill One Way Trial
The consultation on the trial one way system for Champion Hill returned a 57% favourable response. Accordingly Southwark Council have ...
Denmark Hill Station - Entrance and Platform Access Upgrades - February Update
NetworkRail report that their preliminary option study has identified 7 options for ways to improve the congestion. They are proceeding to ...
Aircraft Flight Path Routing Consultation
Heathrow have launched a consultation on flight path routing to minimise noise disruption. This follows on from a previous consultation ...