Thursday 28 November 2013

New Cafe / Gallery for Camberwell

Hotel Elephant to expand community work at “The Butterfly” in Southwark Town Hall development.

Southwark based not-for-profit business Hotel Elephant has announced it plans to expand its community work by opening a café gallery in the proposed development of Southwark Town Hall.

Reuben Powell, long term local resident, artist and director of Hotel Elephant says ”It is an amazing opportunity for us to be able to develop our cultural activities in Southwark and provide something new for Camberwell”.

Hotel Elephant aims to broaden access to cultural activities across the borough; it is established as an art gallery and cultural venue in Elephant and Castle working with local artists, schools and universities, hosting arts events, festivals and exhibitions. It will be opening a vibrant new café gallery in Camberwell named The Butterfly, on the ground floor of the old town hall building.

The Butterfly (taking its name from the Camberwell Beauty, the rare species of local butterfly) will open seven days a week as a café. The interior will reflect the Edwardian past of the building, incorporating many existing elements and “utilitarian grandeur” says Reuben: “I want visitors to the Butterfly to have a sense of discovering something”.

More importantly it will be a platform for the arts. The Butterfly hopes to meet the needs of the local artistic community; as a shop window for local designer makers, an exhibition venue for local students and artists, a venue for poetry and literature and an occasional cinema. The aim is to bring as broad a cross-section of the local community under one roof as possible.

The café will provide around 10 jobs and have a training capacity focusing on young people and marginalised groups within the community.

“Culture is the glue that holds communities together. By sharing experiences, opinions, even coffee, people are brought closer together. The Butterfly will be so much more than a café!”

The development of Southwark Town Hall, 31 Peckham Road, is a planning application proposed by student housing provider Alumno Developments.  The old town hall building will be refurbished alongside a completely new, purpose built theatre building for Theatre Peckham on Havil Street.  In addition to The Butterfly café, the proposal includes 149 student rooms and affordable artists’ studios.

Information about the Southwark Town Hall development proposals at