26 September, 2010

The Camber Well

Strange things lurk behind suburban houses, and the lady who lives in this house has a historic monument in her back garden.

A rare opportunity arose to see this today, so I set off in the gloom of an autumnal day to see the Camber Well. After a trek round the whole of Grove Park off Camberwell Grove I managed to find the right house with a small printed notice on the gate. I joined a small group and Noreen introduced the well and John, who has been digging it out. All they have recovered so far is Victorian back fill when the well was filled in got building land. The great slab of York Stone you can see in the picture is an attempt by a Victorian builder at a cap. You can also see the round brick work of what must have been a substantial well at least four feet in diameter.

John, who is digging it out supported by donations from coffee supplied to visitors, I had a cup as it was rather too cold for a beer or a wine, thought that the well might be pre Roman although all he has found so far is Victorian backfill. The well has been there for a very long time and is marked on some old maps. Other speculation is that "Camberwell Grove" might be something from prehistoric religion 'druid', or of course it might be eighteenth century romanticism. Never the less the dig is of great interest for the insight into the lives of the early inhabitants of London. John's website is here and you can read more about the well there, as well as some other aspects of London'd history.

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