Camberwell Society – Local Listing Walk

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Camberwell Society – Local Listing Walk
Date(s) - 24/10/2021
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Brunswick Park - by tennis courts





Learn about  Local Listing – Citizen Action to protect our heritage assets

Please address any questions to Jason Leech (

This is the last of the three autumn walks surveying Camberwell’s built environment through the prism of heritage conservation, as the precursor to the Council’s formal call for nominations for the local listing of heritage assets. More walks will be organised during spring 2022, once the formal consultation has started.

Over the past two walks, we have gazed studiously at the buildings of Camberwell Church Street, assessing what heritage value they bring to the character and appearance of the Camberwell Green Conservation Area, using the Council’s own Appraisal as a crib sheet. There we discovered a previously unnoticed, ornate gem from 1864, with an equally rich history, at ‘Purkis’ Corner’ (where Church Street meets Camberwell Grove). We have walked unaided down Camberwell New Road, seeking to understand the Conservation Area’s (undefined) special architectural or historic interest. And in our search there we may have pinpointed one of the first purpose-built shops at no. 225a, before the neighbouring Georgian townhouses were converted to form a shopping parade for the new suburb.

After every walk, having discovered something surprisingly interesting lying in plain sight, there has been a sense of understanding a little bit more about how the Camberwell we live and work in today has taken the form it has, and what is worth conserving for future generations so that they too can retain this part of their identity.

Brunswick Park and the buildings around the garden square bear many similarities to those in the designated conservation areas; yet only four buildings are listed and the rest have no protection at all from demolition.
–  Would it be a loss to Camberwell if the entire square were razed to build new modern houses and shops, better suited to our 21st century needs?
–  Are there any special buildings in the area to warrant greater protection and be nominated for the Local List? If so, what is it that’s interesting about them?
–  Do the buildings in the area collectively produce a discernible and special character or pleasing appearance which it is desirable to conserve and enhance for the benefit of future generations? Is there a case, ultimately, for a new conservation area in Camberwell?

These will be the questions we’ll be asking and debating this Sunday (24 October).

Meeting time / location

Gather at 15:00 by the tennis courts on the south side of Brunswick Park (SE5 7RH).

There is no cap on the numbers attending this walk but do please confirm attendance in advance with:; and Jason Leech ( who is leading the walk.

Documents / preparation

It is not essential to read or prepare anything in advance because the heritage concepts will be summarised before we head off and you will learn them very quickly with practice. Asking questions and thinking aloud is also very much in the spirit of the walk, so don’t worry if anything doesn’t immediately or fully make sense. Ultimately, the walk is about learning a new technical perspective.

It would be useful to read the ‘Local List Nominations Guidance’ (which is a 2-page document explaining the concepts of ‘heritage significance’, ‘archaeological interest and evidential value’, ‘architectural and artistic interest’ and ‘historical interest’), so you’re not approaching what may seem like a lot of jargon entirely cold.

The current versions of the documents we will be using (which will be improved over time) can be downloaded from the dropbox here:

In the dropbox, you will find the following:

Nominations Form:  The Council’s formal call for nominations to the Local List will entail a form. The Council has not yet designed one, so I’ve made one for us on the basis of the content prescribed in the Council’s recently adopted Heritage SPD (relevant pages enclosed).

Nominations Guidance:  This is my first iteration of a 2-page guidance note explaining the three ‘heritage interests’ (and associated ‘values’) which make up ‘heritage significance’. All nominations must be made and will be judged against a building or structure’s heritage significance.

Key Planning Principles re: local listing:  If you fancy a more in-depth understanding of how local listing fits into the broader planning framework, this is your go-to.

Camberwell CAs shows all the conservation areas and listed buildings in Camberwell and its environs.

In the folder labelled ‘Walk 3 (24 October)‘ are ‘Walk 3 Map – context‘ and ‘Walk 3 Map – detail‘. We will be annotating these with thoughts and deliberations.

In another folder labelled ‘Exemplars‘, you will find informative maps of the Kensington Conservation Area and the Broadway and Christchurch Gardens Conservation Area (situated, respectively, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster). These maps provide an immediate visual overview of the sub-characters within the conservation areas; the architectural styles and age, and typology and uses of buildings, and the materials used in their construction. They also map what contributions are made to the character and appearance of an area by different buildings: positive, neutral and negative. Also where there might be potential for development (eg. upward extension). If new conservations areas are designated in Camberwell, we should want their Appraisals to contain this type of mapping.

I will bring paper copies of all the above on the day, so don’t feel you need to print anything out.

If you have a pen, and a clipboard or something sturdy on which to rest A4 pages, please bring both of these useful tools along. Weather permitting, no further preparation is required.