I have lived in the Loughborough junction area for over 42 years, and for 39 of those years I have had my hair cut at Albertos on Camberwell Green.
In that time we have had many conversations and I learned just a little about his life. He was born like his 5 brothers and 1 sister in Newcastle. His father and mother emigrated to Newcastle where all the children were born. His father was a shoemaker. They returned to Italy in 1936 when Alberto was 4 years old where his father joined the army. Italy is where Alberto learned barbering.
He returned to the UK in 1948 and started working in London’s West End and Southampton. He opened Albertos in March 1961 having worked in a barber shop around the corner on Camberwell New Road.
Photo: London Metropolitan Archives, 1972. reference 54533
He was a fixture in Camberwell ever since.
Alberto Petrozzi (1932-2019), it’s been a pleasure. RIP.
This poem by Ray Pool was uploaded to writeoutload in September 2017, you can hear Ray read this poem at this link. You can also hear Ray read samples of other poems.
in the father redcap on camberwell green
a fight broke out
the worst i’ve seen
blood and beer all up the walls
all the fault of billy bloxsome
now the pub has changed its name
it’s called the nollywood club (for nigerians)
fair do’s. I’ve never tried to knock one out
all those boozers have changed or gone
familiar faces on the streets an age away.
More cameras and bollards,
but that’s modern times.
Let’s make it clear
there’s more fear out there than ever was
in the father redcap on camberwell green.
(and yes, billy was good to his mum).
This painting by George Shepherd is held in a private collection.
It is a view looking north from the Herne Hill side of the Triangle. Now the home of the Fox on the Hill. In the distance you can see a row of large houses and the top of Denmark Hill Chapel.
The chapel was built in 1773. “It was said that the inhabitants of Camberwell Green area “found it very difficult or impracticable to procure Seats or accomodation to attend divine service in the Parish Church of Camberwell” (St Giles)”. It was demolished in 1846, to allow the building of St Matthews Church, on the site of the current Dental Hospital.
More on the Denmark Hill Chapel here:
George Shepherd was born in 1784 and died in 1862. More on George Shepherd on Wikipedia
This painting is by Arthur Robert Laird and was painted in 1953. It is part of the Southwark Heritage collection.
This oil painting by Antonia Myatt is titled Camberwell Green.
On the right a photo by Robin Scott, 26 August 2013. From Geograph.