The Great Hurricane at Camberwell

On the 28th of October, 1898 a hurricane hit Camberwell. It tore down Denmark Hill, passed the Metropole Theatre on the corner with Coldharbour Lane, overturned Hansom cabs and mail carts, and brought destruction.

The Penny Illustrated newspaper, published 5th November, 1898 said “… wrought ruin, as, depicted, in the Railway Station Hotel, plucked up trees by the roots, twisted lamp-posts, and played the Dickens with Camberwell.”

And presented these three drawings of The Railway Station Hotel, Sacred Heart church and a scene on Denmark Hill looking east across to the Cock Tavern and on the corner the Tiger.

Drawings of The Great Hurricane at Camberwell

A full report from the South London Observer.

Henceforward Camberwell will boast amongst its numerous claims to historical celebrity that it holds the record for cyclonic disturbance, and has experienced a meteorological phenomenon which is practically unique in metropolitan annals, and is certainly more in accordance with the climatic conditions of the West Indies or Central America than with those usually obtaining in the vicinity of the Green.

What may be justly described as the most terrible wind storm that has ever been experienced in the metropolis broke over Camberwell and its immediate vicinity on Saturday night, causing many personal injuries and great destruction of property. At half-past nine in the evening a wind sprang up, which in a few minutes had so increased in force that foot passengers were compelled to seek a hasty shelter. The wind raged with great fury, and tore huge coping-stones and slates from the roofs of shops and houses. Nearly every building in the vicinity beam traces of the hurricane. Street lamps were twisted like cork-screws, huge trees were uprooted and literally hurled across the tramway lines, scaffoldings were demolished, and electric street lamps torn from their supports. Curiously enough, the storm seems to have only affected an area of about a half-mile square, for while the streets in the neighbourhood of Camberwell Green were strewn with slates, bricks, and glass, and in In any cases doors were completely wrenched from their hinges, no serious damage done in the surrounding districts of Kennington, Walworth, or Loughborough.

The whirlwind appears to have first swept down Denmark Hill, and thence rushed, with a noise resembling the roar of an express train, round the corner into the Camberwell New Road, where it seems to have divided its work of destruction between buildings in the Station Road and property immediately opposite in the direct line from Camberwell Green. Then in some inexplicable way the cyclone veered round into Baldwin Crescent, a thoroughfare lying away from the main road, west of the railway, where it spent its final fury in wrecking the roofs and top storeys of some half dozen houses.

Starting from the corner of the Metropole Theatre, it appears that the full force of the

Metropole Theatre, pu November 1905

Postcard, 1905 approx.

wind gust, which accompanied a deluge of rain and lasted some- thing less than a couple of minutes, was chiefly felt on the parade side, where the massive lamp standards were broken and twisted in a most remarkable manner. At the corner near Messrs. Horsley’s establishment,

Horsley & Co 2 Denmark Hill, Lambeth Archives - Blanch

where the hand- some electric lamp was swept away, a large number of street traders had as usual assembled for the Saturday night trade, and before anything could be done to save the stock, the entire “market” was hurled pell-mell into space, a most extraordinary mixture of merchandise whirling like an avalanche in the direction of the Green. Here a Royal Mail cart met the full force of the wind and was over-turned, and several hansoms on the adjoining rank shared the same fate. To add to the confusion, some of the omnibus horses waiting on the hill adjoining the cab-rank stampeded for the stables, no doubt finding it too draughty for comfort out-of-doors, and several narrow escapes of pedestrians took place before the frightened animals were controlled. The tram-horses were also much startled by the noise and wind, but were prevented from bolting ; and even a full-blown cyclone cannot do much harm to a tram-car. Curiously enough, the storm appeared to expend its fury on certain buildings, leaving their neighbours unscathed ; and adjoining Camberwell Green itself there were visible evidences of this. For instance, the wind took a special fancy to the huge sign- board placed at the top of the premises occupied by Messrs. Dunn, undertaker, and this was swept completely over the building, carrying part of the roof with it.

E & L Dunn 6 High St DH SLP 10 Sepy 1892

Then, again, some three or four doors away (the intermediate buildings being apparently unharmed) a good slice of roof was taken off a house occupied by a greengrocer. At the corner of Camberwell Green, where there is a scaffolding enclosing the piece of land on which the police station formerly stood,

Camberwell Green 1885 Albert Flint pu August 1905

Postcard, showing the Police Station before it was demolished to build the Bank now a Doctor’s Surgery.

a considerable portion of the upper part was swept away, and the builder’s store- box was hurled from the staging.

The offices of the London Tramways Company in Camberwell New Road sustained considerable damage, hundreds of slates and part of a huge chimney- rack being carried into the middle of the road. The Surrey Masonic Hall,

Surrey Masonic Hall, Camberwell New Road, Lambeth Archives

Lambeth Archives

where a concert was proceeding at the time, did not escape the fury of the storm, which detached several pieces of masonry from the roof; but the greatest damage was that which befell the Station Hotel, immediately opposite the Chatham and Dover Station.

The Station pub, 1977 photo by Jason Kervan

Station Hotel : Photo by Jason Kervan, taken in 1977

Here the wind completely wrecked a large conservatory in the rear of the building, and not only tore away the inner doors, but dragged the lintels from the walls. In the buffet a scene of the utmost confusion occurred. Large flower-vases, glasses, decanters, and ornaments were swept from the counter, while a shower of bricks and slates fell through a broad skylight, part of the debris slightly cutting a female customer‘s neck. Something like a panic ensued, many of the customers rushing en masse into the private part of the house. The proprietor of the hotel, Mr. C. H. Sisman, who displayed considerable presence of mind, allayed the fears of his customers. The roof was almost completely lifted from the building, and the bedrooms rendered unfit for habitation.

At the Athenaeum

was The Athenaeum, photo Mark Dodds

Photo : Mark Dodds, taken April 9th, 2011, from Flikr

the whole of the lights in the bars were extinguished, and the well-known proprietor of the oyster and whelk stall outside the premises was horrified to find the whole of his stock-in-trade and appliances demolished by the fierce blast, and was only partially consoled by an immediate whip- round ” of Mr. Martin’s customers for a subscription to indemnify his loss.

The Catholic Apostolic Church, in the Camberwell New Road,

Catholic Apostolic Church Camberwell New Road from Collage

escaped almost entirely, with the single exception that some lead-work on one of the porches was twisted into singularly fantastic shapes. The ground in front of the Church of the Sacred Heart, adjoining the railway, was full of uprooted trees, one gigantic specimen lying across the doorway, forming with its main bough a species of natural archway, and one of the lamps over the gates was bent over at a right angle, but, curiously enough, no damage whatever was done to the two notice- boards standing close to the roadway on either side of the entrance. A few yards further on some serious damage was done to the Congregational Church.

Camberwell Congregational Chapel, Camberwell New Road, 1849

Camberwell Congregational Chapel, Camberwell New Road, 1849

A good many slates were displaced from the roof, while an ornamental stone pinnacle, weighing a hundredweight, over one of the entrance doors was snapped completely off; the ornamental metal-work on the roof was cut clean off, and other damage was done, though, singularly enough, mostly on the side of the church remote from Camberwell Green. At other points in Camberwell New Road were to be seen traces of damage, in the shape of broken roofs and windows ; and in the rear of the houses adjoining the hotel broken chimney-pots, bricks, slates, and cistern-tops were piled in the yards in extraordinary quantities.

Some of the most extraordinary damage was, however, that done in Baldwin Crescent, where the final energy of the storm was exercised. In sweeping round the corner the wind completely carried away the brickwork over the dormer windows on the roofs of three houses, -two on one side of the road, and the other immediately opposite, while precisely similar damage was observed in the case of the road, and the other house about half-way up the road, and another residence immediately opposite to this sustained some injury to the roof. These were the only instances of damage in this road, and throw curious light on the partial manner in which the cyclone distributed its unwelcome favours. Fortunately, the catastrophe was not attended by any serious personal injury, although some of the falling slates and bricks caused one or two alight accidents. The heavy rain drove every one to the nearest shelter, and while the main outburst of the storm lasted the pavements were practically deserted. At a moderate computation, the general damage to property, etc., in the immediate vicinity of the Green will amount to many thousands of pounds.

 

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233 Coldharbour Lane, or as we know it today, Loco

For many years now, 233 Coldharbour Lane has been open as a mini supermarket named Loco. This store is opposite the Tesco store which took over the Warrior pub after it closed, I think,  in 2002,  having been open since it was built in 1868.  To the left of the photo is a fish and chip shop and then on the corner of Hinton Road, what was the Green Man pub, now the Green Man Skills Centre.

Loco 233 Coldharbour Lane

The earliest record I could find was from 1856 when a William Mercer ran a grocery from 1 & 2 Maria Place, later renumbered as 233 Coldharbour Lane in 1874. He was succeeded by his son  Frederick Mercer in 1864.  Local trade directories held at Minet Library, home of Lambeth Archives show Frederick still in business in 1873.

From 1876 , Thomas King is listed running a grocery business at 233 CL . He was also an agent for WA Gilber, a wine & spirit merchant.  Thomas King is last listed in 1892 and by this date the business had become wine & spirit shop. In the 1881 census, Thomas King is listed along with wife Jane and their children Kate, Ethel, Frederick, Walter, Elizabeth and Annie and a sister also named Elizabeth.

Thomas Senior is listed a owning the shop through 1895 till 1898. Then James Batten from 1901 to 1903. And a company named Patrick and Macgregor Ltd for a couple of years 1905-1906.

In 1907 arrives Frederick Charles Whitehead & Co and he runs the business until 1912. Luckily for us we have this postcard of Harbour Stores.

Loughborough Junction Harbour Stores 233 CL

Obviously, the taking of this photo was of great interest to many locals. I guess that is Frederick Whitehead standing at the entrance.

Next door to the left is Leggatt’s a furniture dealer. Thomas David Leggatt was there from 1888 to 1919. It then became one of the many Jaffe fish & chip shops.

From 1914, Patrick and Macgregor Ltd return to run the business, followed by Charles Albert Davis, from 1920 to 1929.

During 1930, the shop was taken on by E & AM Page, Ernest and Amelia Page through to 1971.  During the replacing of the old Loco shop sign for a new sign shown at the top of the article, the original Ernest Page sign was uncovered for a while.

Ernest Page , 233 Coldharbour lane

I don’t have a credit for this photo, if it is yours, please let me know and I will credit you.

Ernest & Amelia Page ran other wine & other spirit shops, including 78 Loughborough Road from 1928 till 1967. And I understand shops in Peckham, Oval, Herne Hill and South Lambeth Road.

For more information about 78 Loughborough Road, later renumbered 102, please take a look at the fantastic blog all about the people and places of Loughborough Road.

https://loughboroughroadsw9histories.wordpress.com/

From 1975 the wine & spirit shop is run by a national chain called Unwins, I have them there until 1986.  Haven’t been able to find out when Unwins stopped running the store. Or what was there between 1987 and 2008 when is became the Sunstar grocery. My memory is poor. Any help would be welcome.

Sunstar Food and Wines, 233 Coldharbour Lane

And the Loco from 2013. Here is their old shop sign which as we see at the top of the blog was replaced in 2013.

Loco Food and Wine, 233 Coldharbour Lane

 

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Loughborough Junction by Colin Connaughton

Colin Connaughton www.imagekind.com

This painting , a view from Loughborough Junction Train Station was painted in 2012.

It is available from Imagekind on this link

https://www.imagekind.com/loughborough-junction_art?IMID=d74fdd75-fcc0-40a0-951a-82d1dc662cd4

Posted in Loughborough Junction, Paintings & Drawings, People | Leave a comment

Camberwell Palace

Camberwell Palace William Keddie Forrester ,1957 SAC

This painting of Camberwell Palace is by William Keddie Forrester dated 1957. He lived in Dulwich and painted many scenes from the local area.

It was located on the corner of Denmark Hill and Orpheus Street, opposite the Post Office.

Camberwell Palace postcard

It was built in 1898/1899 and closed in 1956 and was demolished shortly after. It was mostly a variety hall and in it’s later days featured girlie shows mixed with variety acts. A sad end to a fine looking theatre.

Just for clarification, the Pub shown on the right was the Bulls Head later renamed The Metropole after the Metropole theatre on the corner of Denmark Hill and Coldharbour Lane was built in the 1890s. It was demolished in the 1920s for at first the Bijou picture palace then of course the Post Office. More on the Bulls head here

https://loughborough-junction.org/2016/04/10/the-lost-pubs-of-denmark-hill-the-bulls-head/

 

Part of the Southwark Art Colllection, GA1010.

 

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Milestone or Distance marker: recently uncovered on Denmark Hill

This distance marker was recently uncovered on Denmark Hill.

20191230_150028

20191230_150149

Located between what were Swiftclean and the Butchers shop at 10 & 12 Denmark Hill. Previously covered over with render as seen in the photo from Google streetview dated October 2015.

Capture from Google streetview Oct 2015

And this is how it was photographed for the Milestone Society in 2009.

https://www.msocrepository.co.uk/

Reference: SY_LODU03

Roadside marker photo from msocrepositary.co.uk (ref SY_LODU03) dated 2009

The Standard in Cornhill was according to Wikipedia ” the first mechanically pumped public water supply in London, constructed in 1582 on the site of earlier hand-pumped wells and gravity-fed conduits. The mechanism, a force pump driven by a water wheel under the northernmost arch of London Bridge, transferred water from the Thames through lead pipes to four outlets. The service was discontinued in 1603. This became the mark from which many distances to and from London were measured and the name still appears on older mileposts

This plaque appears at the site and is at  59-60 Cornhill. Taken from

https://www.londonremembers.com/memorials/cornhill-standard

The Standard Cornhill

Congratulations to whoever spent time and effort in removing the render.

 

 

 

Posted in Camberwell, Denmark Hill, Streets & Roads, Transport | 1 Comment

Two paintings of the Joiner’s Arms, Denmark Hill

Joiners' Arms Inn by JT Wilson City, 1850, City of London Metropolitan Archives

This painting by JT Wilson, dated 1850 is part of the City of London Metropolitan collection.


 

Capture

This painting shows The Cage and the Joiner’s Arms and was painted by Edward Arthur Phipson in 1922. Part of the Southwark Council Art Collection.

 

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Champion Hill Near Camberwell

Published in The Lady’s Magazine in 1796 this poem is credited to M.

Champion Hill Near Camberwell 1

Champion Hill Near Camberwell 2 signed M The Ladies magazine 1796

The Lady's Magazine, June 1796

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