The Ballad of Peckham Rye

Welcome to the 6th CSB podcast where we take you on a merry tour of the magical land of Peckham in South London, courtesy of Muriel Spark and her superb (and remarkably short) novel ‘The Ballad of Peckham Rye’.

We start at the address in Camberwell where Muriel Spark lived and wrote this book. We then follow a number of lost – or perhaps completely mythical – pathways down the old Surrey Canal, past a number of long-gone pubs in Peckham & Nunhead, before emerging on to the ancient Rye – where Boadicea may or may not have popped her clogs.

Tim gets very excited about the number of pubs you get to visit by following this book – some of them still there and serving pints! Lloyd remains sceptical about the existence of an ancient nun’s tunnel under Gordon Road, whilst waxing lyrical about the delights of 1950s Algerian wine.

Each month we road-test a work of fiction that appears to be curiously specific about dates and locations. We go to the places mentioned and see if descriptions are accurate, journey-times credible, dates and days all in order.

Sources & credits

Fings Ain’t Wot They Used To Be, May Bygraves –
Marigold Girls – from Londoner’s Pub Talk –
Elsie and Doris Walters, Knees up Mother Brown –
Boudica: The Warrior Queen –
Tommy Steele, Handful of Songs –
The Two Ronnies, Down the Pub –

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