A new walk through the Black history of Camberwell
5 February 2024
Camberwell is home to many influential people from the Black community, past and present. Now, a new walking tour round the area celebrates their profound impact that will be felt for many years to come.
Cover over 400 years of Black history in 6,000 steps with the free self-guided tour on Southwark Council’s website. It starts at the lectern on Camberwell Green but you can pick it up anywhere along the route.
The Camberwell Black History Walk was penned by local historian Stephen Bourne. The route pays tribute to people like feminist broadcaster Una Marson and medical pioneer Harold Moody.
Signs at each site along the route were paid for by Southwark Council and the Camberwell Society. Scan the QR code for an audio guide voiced by young actors from Theatre Peckham.
The map features the work of artist Tayo Fatunla. He worked with pupils at Sacred Heart School to help shape the designs, while linking the young people with their heritage.
Tayo said: "This project is a testament to the significant roles these black heroes have played in our society. Working with Sacred Heart Catholic School and Theatre Peckham, we have brought the essence of these influential figures to life, hoping to inspire future generations to honour and cherish their invaluable contributions to our society."
Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “It's the people and diverse communities that make Southwark what it is. I see it every day in my work and as a long-time resident of Camberwell. So I am thrilled that more people will learn about those from our Black community who have left their mark on history through this new walk around Camberwell. Each one has a powerful story to tell that should be heard and celebrated. It’s great to see people be able to connect with their legacies in such an accessible way thanks to everyone working together – local groups, local talent, young people, and the council.”
Tony Coleman from the Camberwell Society, said: “The Camberwell Society is proud to have spearheaded the installation of the Camberwell Black History Walk here in Camberwell. The walk highlights the lives of inspiring people who have made a difference. It highlights their achievements that deserve to be publically celebrated and admired. The Society has worked with the author Stephen Bourne, with local community groups SE5 Forum and Camberwell Arts, with the artist Tayo Fatunla, with Theatre Peckham and with Southwark Council to make it happen. Thank you to all.”
Marie Staunton from the SE5 Forum said: “The community has worked together to celebrate Camberwell's black heroes and heroines with a walk that will inspire our children and children's children for generations to come.”
Suzann McLean MBE, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham, said: "The Camberwell Black History Walk is a powerful testament to the contribution and impact of the Black community in Camberwell. This project platforms the rich history and achievements of Black heroes through history and art and is a meaningful and accessible way for people to connect and cherish their legacies. As the CEO/Artistic Director of Theatre Peckham, I am particularly proud to see the inclusion of John Boyega, who started his creative journey at our theatre and is now a patron. This project not only celebrates the past but also inspires future generations to embrace their heritage, connects with their roots and have a sense of pride in our community.”
Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE said: “After 26 continuous years as a Camberwell councillor, I can say hand on heart just how important it is to leave a legacy for the next generation; to acknowledge and learn from those who have gone before us, like Dr Harold Moody, those who are making their mark now, like John Boyega and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and those who are yet to come and set down their legacy. That could be anybody in Camberwell. Or in Southwark. The message is that anyone can achieve as much as any one of our heroes or she-roes being honoured by our black history walk.’
The council used money from a charge they can raise on new developments in the area to help fund the project. This is known as the Community Infrastructure Levy. It helps the council to make sure that development in the borough works for all.
Page last updated: 05 February 2024