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White Woman of Camberwell


gunnersmith

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I'm responding to an old thread regarding the White Woman. In the 90's I was the Parcelforce guy for Camberwell, and regularly delivered to the Maudsley Hospital. She was we'll known there, and had (from memory) been the victim of a racial attack or possibly rape. She is a black lady, and after the ordel suffered a severe mental disorder and took to wearing white. I first glanced her briefly in Denmark Hill and thought nothing more of it, then one morning I actually delivered a parcel to her flat. Put bluntly, she scared the sh*t out of me; white bandages wraped arount her torso, what looked like EMULSION paint on her face and hair, white knickers over the bandages, a Madonna stlye white pointed bra and, to top it all, a white tail draping along behind her! Her piercing red eyes done it for me, a sight I shall never forget! Her flat had white paint smothered on all the windows (both front and back), and apparently everything in the flat was painted white also.

Further threads here say she's cured and living a now normal life, and I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else knows of her now, or if anyone had a similarly surreal experience.

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There was a song about her in 2002 (I think) that was quite a big hit. It was by a band that had their roots in Coldharbour Lane called Basement Jaxx and the song was called, Where's your head at. When they first released it and played it live on tv, they had someone dressed up in white bandages walking around the stage while they performed.
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I haven't seen her for ages - anyone old enough to remember the pint nicker of Camberwell who used to tour the pubs of SE5, (but the Pheonix Firkin was his main one) in the summer and just go up to a table and grab a pint and drink it before your eyes, of course once you were in the know you'd grab yours and wait for chaos to ensure at another table....thing he was probably killed sometime in the 1980s!
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I used to see her all the time when I lived in Camberwell. The first time my Mum saw her she almost ran away and left my Daughter in the pram on the pavement :-S Does anyone recall how she spoke? I recently bumped into a woman in Grove Lane who asked if I had any chocolate or sweets as she was diabetic and need some sugar. She had the same round face as the White lady and was what looked like in her late 50`s and was suffering from what looked like Vitiligo.It did make me think that maybe it was her and the skin problem (as well as a whatever else led to her condition) was the reason for all the make up?
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I haven't seen her for ages - anyone old enough to remember the pint nicker of Camberwell who used to tour the pubs of SE5, (but the Pheonix Firkin was his main one) in the summer and just go up to a table and grab a pint and drink it before your eyes, of course once you were in the know you'd grab yours and wait for chaos to ensure at another table....thing he was probably killed sometime in the 1980s!


Ha ha ????, I remember the Pint Snatcher at the Phoenix. We were reminiscing about him just the other week. Also remember the Camberwell Ghost (as I knew her by). Anyone remember the Y Fumes guy who used to live on Camberwell Church Street in what looked like a derelict house? It was converted a while ago but I think he was around for a while.

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OMG!!!!! I think you are talking about "Dennis" The house used to really give off a pungent smell in the summer as he had lots of different dogs in there and used to always be in Safeway in his shorts and sandals buying dog food. Totally harmless guy who loved the company of dogs more than humans. I heard he had been moved into sheltered accomodation and wasn`t short of a few bob, but you know what rumours are like ;-)


Does anyone remember the homeless man who used to sit outside the post office in Rye lane, His hair and beard had become matted together and he used to wrap them around his face in the winter? Childhood memories are made of such strange things:)

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good lord - that camberwell man is a real blast from the past in every sense. I lived on church street v close to him in the eighties and can see him now, shorts, beard, dogs. And painted slogans outside his house? and i can vividly re-imagine the whiff too. If i'm not mistaken I thought he died around 1990 and it turned out that he had a very interesting past, some famous artistic connections (possibly francis bacon?) and quite a bit of money. but then he never seemed to spend any on deoderant or new clothes...
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Having lived in and around Camberwell and East Dulwich over the years I had seen the white woman a number of times. We moved the Therapia Road in the late 90s and the first night we moved in our new neighbour knocked on the door to introduce herself (white woman) and ask to borrow a paint brush as she was decorating, my husband (who was unaware of her before) had a perfectly lucid conversation with her but came back in saying he didn't know how anyone could get into such a mess painting! A few days later I got a shock when she popped up over the garden fence and I realised who she was - at this stage she was only painting her face and wearing normal clothes. She moved on shortly after so I'm not sure of what became of her but I think she did stop painting her face shortly before she moved.
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Glad to hear she's still around but sorry she's not in full ghost apparel anymore (well, not if her mental health issues have been sorted natch, but she was sch a startling and impressive figure).


And I think I recall hearing similar stories about Dennis of the Y Fumes house in Camberwell so there must be some fact in there somewhere.

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  • 3 weeks later...
The White Lady of Camberwell is called Alison. When I was at Uni in the early 90s my friends and I sat near her in the Coal Hole on The Strand. We thought she was a performance artist from Covent Garden. We started chatting to her and she joined our group as she was on her own. My friends and I still talk about that night. Alison was very quietly spoken with a child like voice. On the night we met her she had lots of tin cans in her white jacket - with the labels taken off. I'm really pleased that she is overcoming her difficulties. It was obvious that she had suffered some sort of trauma, but was a lovely person.
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  • 3 weeks later...

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