random recall on Sydenham hill 1950-------

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random recall on Sydenham hill 1950-------

Postby kenny b » 28 Nov 2006 23:44

.
Some of my memories of Sydenham hill in the 1950`s and early 60`s. a bit haphazard in places I expect.Probably a bit repetetive for which I apologise.
There used to be a horse trough at the Elliot bank end, before you went down to Lordship lane, which is where I`ll start, the green triangular park down the hill has numerous humps at he bottom which were always refered to as plague pits.Never knew if this were true.
Turning along Sydenham hill there was a nice period house on the right with a rounded front , I think, well tucked into trees, further along, set back behind railings an expensive looking brick house set back, used to deliver milk there as the milkmans helper, never found any one would answer the door.
On the left a huge house which was some kind of LCC hoisng , may be for old folk, it had a caretaker we used to irritate.!!
Then a large vaguely Lutyens style house which was a nursing home of some kind; I went into it much later as the demolition crew moved in. I`m surprised it was allowed to be demolished. It was a fine house; inside a magnificent staircase with huge windows which gave a superb view south. It had magnificent gardens too, which were a scrumpers paradise, even tho` guarded by a demon who could move alarmingly fast when she wanted to.
Then the Lammas green estate, owned by the corporation of London,built to house city of London bomb victimds; very nicely laid out and well thought of; unfortuneately used to house some of the east end`s worst.
Past that memory is vague till a large victorian house divided into flats, then another owned by the Salvation army; they built some small lodgings at the back, which exits onto the top of Panmure Rd;
them the estate.
on the other side of the road from Cox`s walk a series of large houses, mostly subdivided, with yet another nursing home which was one of the last to be demolished.
Its the Gardens behind these house which are now called the `Woods`. they extended down to the railway line beyond which was the golf course.You would not believe the magnificence of these gardens; the outline of many of the features was still visible and most of the garden structures were still standing. The folly that has been mentioned still showed remnants of stained glass in its window; there was an artificial steam that ran down hill near it. The greenhouse and potting sheds were huge, I remember burrowing thru ivy into one which was FULL of clay flower pots of all sizes, arranged as they had been left by the gardener. my brother and I liberated many. I still have at least one.
The green houses had boiler houses and heating systems, huge hot water pipes all round.
All succumbed to the inevitable vandalism a the estate grew and was populated. I`m sorry to say with some help from myself.
I`m surprised no-one has thought to do some kind of time team stunt here, I bet theres lots to be found; it used to be a rich hunting ground for old bottle collectors, I once uncovered a row of what must have been a couple 100 stoneware gin bottles, all complete in the undergrowth, neatly stacked in a row.
The Horniman museum library used to have a book, no idea of the title, which described in depth the houses along the hill and the inhabitants, it was a sort of millionaires row of its time, the green houses used to grow grapes oranges and bananas would you believe!!Fond memeories of that library, I played truant from Dacres rd school the last year I was there, and I was never found as I hid out in that library reading my way through it, mostly the sole inhabitant.
Past the wood house pub on the right there was some magnificent houses, again mostly sub let, they had covered walks to the front doors from the road so you could leave your carriage without getting wet. Used to be a horse mounting block there as well.
In those days the road was unsurface and in a dreadful condition with major potholes. As it formed a boundary betweem three councils no one wanted to take on the expense of surfacing it, All changed when the estate was built and the 63 bus route installed.
Behind the wood house was Peckermans wood road, regarded a s abit posh; Eric Morley of Miss World fame had a house there before he moved down to Woodhall drive.
Further along on the left was Dome hill which had a very avant garde scandanavian style sixties house, with a sauna; a bit `up` for Sydenham, Near Dome hill, can`t remember before or after was a long period house which I was told had its origins as a hunting lodge for King James.
Turn left at the end into Westwood Hill and one of those houses on the left has/had at its roof apex a terracotta eagle, This house was once owned the German embassy pre WW1, the eagle is the Imperial German eagle.
The woods at the bottom of the footpath opposite the Wood house are all Oaks, and its reputed that Oak from these woods was used to build Drakes ship, the Golden Hind at Deptford dockyards, At the top of the road by the toll gate, Grange lane ,was a farm which was requisitioned and a huge set of anti aircraft gun emplacement was built there, only demolished with great effort around 1960, when it was returned to allotments, Speaking of which, the the older allotments, opposite the entrance to the golf course, are worth taking a trek up to the top on a clear day. From the high spot you will get a superb panoramic view of London from west of Fulham to St Pauls. I had an allotment at the top and with a small set of binoculars could get the time from Big Ben!!.
I always thought that the destruction of those houses along Sydenham hill was a real crime. Just think of what that area would be like today if they still existed. Always a money grubbing lot Dulwich College
In those days the tracks were still on the railway line and we could walk through both tunnels, always half convinced that a train would come soon!Crystal Palace high level station should also have been kept, quite a big station with a glass roof, I think, and wooden planked platforms, The subway under the road is quite a sight to for those who have`nt seen it.
Behind the shops backing onto Farqhuar Rd, to the left of the road bridge was the turntable for turning the train engines.
My father, a south London man,was, along with many others convinced that the Crystal Palace was deliberately set alight, very many inconsistancies in the official accounts, they thought that the glass building would be too useful for enemy areoplanes seeking targets, and although well past its prime Londoners of the time loved the place dearly and would have kicked up too much protest if it were "offically" demolished was the favoured thinking for many years after.
What a wonderful millenium project rebuilding it would have been.
I well recall Wells park in which I spent so many happy hours it was a jewel of a park like all the Lewisham parks under the old LCC. Mayow park was another, all had a resident head keeper, living in the park and a crew of Park keepers who brooked no nonsense.
I knew the little wooden bridge over the stream which in spring had a wonderful crocus display around it, the sandpit at the top end was a kids delight, as were the paddling pools,and the free film shows in a mobile cinema during the summer holidays.
No dog poop then either. always well maintained and locked up at night, the park keeper ringing a bell 15 mins before closing time.
Wells Park started out as a Spa so I was told, I was also told by a local historian who live in Longton rove back then, that under the font of the church in Taylors lane was one of these spa springs.
A lot of springs along Wells park road, hence Springfield road,
Towards Kirkdale, there is a small gut of a road [Hensford gdns?] leading to allotments, if they are still there I could guide you to a well which was full of crysrtal clear water.
Apologies for rambling these photos have unlocked so many memories. If not too boring may post others as they flood back in, I lived in Adamsrill road, more bomb damage, till I was 4 then moved to Panmure and when married lived in Penge till 1988, What was done to Penge in the 1970`s by Bromley council is another crime.
good night time for my bed!
kenny b
 
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Postby Juwlz » 29 Nov 2006 04:25

Wow, brilliant! Thanks for taking the time to write all that, its so fascinating. I think there are still some allotments near Hensford gardens. They are on the map but I've never checked it out. If you ever want to go on a visit to check out whether the well is still there count me in. I am fascinated by those springs– I even had a sip of the water from the stream in Well's park and I'm still alive!
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Postby leaf » 29 Nov 2006 08:26

thank you kenny,like i said vefore,nothing beats a first hand account.

I love a conspiracy story![crystal palace]
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Postby kenny b » 29 Nov 2006 17:10

Leaf did you get my answer to your PM ?
had bit of trouble loading things last night.
Juwlz, be some time before I could get up there again, but am thinking I ought to revist one day.
If those allotments are still there, turn in the gate sharp left and walk towards Kirkdale, there is a a little brickwall, with a turn-in on it, its near that.
are there still allotments between the electric station and the railway in Sydenham park road? theres another well in there about the middle under a slab.
Not bad recall after 50 years is it? can`t remember what happened yesterday tho`,

I was told also by my historian friend that opposite that elec station where there are flats now, [used to be pre fabs], that that area was once a feeder resevoir for the Croydon canal; have a taste if you can find it; we are on well water here in wiltshire, lovely stuff.At the crossing of sydenham park and sydenham park rd as you face the railway; on the left is /was quite a nice old building of some history, think it may have been a school, not sure,
for the life of me tho, and having been up and down Venner road countless times I can`t remember that spooky house that has been mentioned in other topics
kenny b
 
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Postby leaf » 29 Nov 2006 17:43

hi kenny

the allotments in syd park are still there.

i did get your pm and i replied.

the building you speak of on syd prk is there but i think it was either knocked down and rebuilt or modified,it is now a hostel for the homeless!
leaf
 
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Postby sarahc » 29 Nov 2006 18:27

Hi Kenny,

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your 'memories'. Please do some more.

With regards to the allotments in Sydenham Park Road, I believe they are still there (down by footbridge to German Church??).

I look forward to reading some more.......get that thinking cap on!

sarahc :D
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Postby kenny b » 29 Nov 2006 21:27

thanks for those kind remarks, flattery will get you even more ramblings!
I`l put my thinking cap on.
Have any of you spotted the Church spire in Round hill? When I knew it it was very over grown and hidden in scrub,
my self and a friend "discovered " one day, it was full of dirt and when stamping on it it sounded hollow, so we returned with shovels to dig it out convinced we had found a secret cellar or the like.
couple hours digging got us to a disappointing floor............
What is now known as Baxters field at the end of Charlecote was for years abandoned allotments, a war time relic I suppose, but a source of free fruit for the local kids in autumn. loads of blackcurrant bushes.I have some pics of old postcards of the area , one of the horse trough on Sydenham hill, a Couple of Peter Pans pool at South End, bit out of the area but a Sunday outing for a treat in those days; it had motor boats and canoes for hire and a small steam railway for kids. Its a Sainsburys now i think?
My mum now 84, who still lives in Forest hill used to care for an old lady who told of walking from Bell green to Bromley to pick wild violets, OVER FIELDS all the way.
kenny b
 
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Postby Falkor » 29 Nov 2006 22:11

Hey kenny, I need someone to show me around Wiltshire! :D Which part do you currently reside? Are you at all familiar with Lacock or Chittoe by any chance? Thanks for sharing all your valuable memories. I need time to respond to your lengthy replies and really pick your brain! :wink: I'm intrigued by this well near Hensford Gardens... :!:

Last month, a few of us here gathered up to go on various walkabouts, so if you're ever in the area, it would be an honour to have your company. I mainly do it just to keep fit, but it's great to learn more stuff about the area we were brought up in. 8)
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Postby kenny b » 29 Nov 2006 22:46

i`m near Marlboro, not too far from Lacock but not walking distance.
I`d love to come up one day when the days are longer, bit of a drag for me tho`, My mum gets chauffeur driven down by my sis so have not been back for quite a while.
Nice place wiltshire , but sometimes a bit too quiet for a south london lad
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Postby leaf » 29 Nov 2006 23:28

hello all

falkor,i went to lacock this summer,it is the most beautiful place a real sense of magic in the air,its like going back in time,there is an Inn you can stay in,its even got a resident ghost!!

kenny
ive seen the spire on round hill,its from a famous church and i forget which one?
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Postby Falkor » 30 Nov 2006 00:45

leaf, you're making me jealous! :oops: I need to go there ASAP, as 80% of my ancestors are from Wiltshire--mostly Lacock/Chittoe--all bloody agricultrural labourers. :twisted: Some close relatives I made contact with on the internet have already visited there and sent me some brochures--and guess what? They even sent me an ordinance survey map, too! 8) Where I am now is pretty damn bleak, but I feel fit for walking around Wiltshire. I'm even considering doing a 25 mile walk down to Cooling Castle if anyone wants to sponsor me? :lol: Most I ever did was 11.4 miles to Exhibition Road and even then I had aching legs, nausia and vertigo. I'll tell you something... I wish my ancestors were from Sydenham; family history sort of goes hand in hand with local history. I wouldn't need software to tell me all the nearest churches/parishes within a 3 mile radius etc. I'm now pretty much aware of all the roads/churches that Sydenham ever had. In other words, it's so much easier to research family history when you've researched the local history.

Image

Image

Image
Falkor
 
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Postby leaf » 30 Nov 2006 01:19

hi falkor

you must get down there,im inpressed that your ancestors are from lacock!!

my family hail from that neck of the woods and they were mainly farmers too[suppose it goes with the territory!!]

ive got that leaflet about the fox talbot museum and the abbey,we didnt go in there though[it was a hot day]had a lovely walk around the village though and i found my favourite shop ever;

http://www.quintessentially-english.co.uk/

*sorry if thats not allowed admin,please delete if not.
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Church Spire in Round Hill

Postby Malcolm » 1 Dec 2006 19:49

I can remember this too! I had a friend who lived in Thorpewood Avenue in the 1960s and you could see it from the upstairs rooms at the back of her house. It looked really strange as it only the spire showed above the fences. We imagined it that the rest of the church was buried underneath!

Found out years later that it was the top part of the spire of St Antholin's Church, Budge Row (near Cannon St). When the church was demolished in the 1880s (?) the owner of a lrge house in Round Hill bought the very top of the spire as a well-cover!

Love all the memories from Kenny B, exactly match my own. My Grandmother worked at the Invicta Laundry with her sisters before the First World War and could remember being frightened by a flock of sheep being driven along Dartmouth Rd when she was trying to walk to Forest Hill sometime in the 1890s.
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Re: Church Spire in Round Hill

Postby Steve Grindlay » 1 Dec 2006 23:52

Malcolm wrote:Found out years later that it was the top part of the spire of St Antholin's Church, Budge Row (near Cannon St). When the church was demolished in the 1880s (?) the owner of a lrge house in Round Hill bought the very top of the spire as a well-cover!

It is often claimed that the spire was brought to Sydenham when St Antholin's was demolished in 1875, but it was actually brought here some years earlier. St Antholin's was struck by lightning during in the 1850s, and the spire was severely damaged. The top third was replaced. One of the churchwardens, Robert Harrild of Round Hill House, had the damaged spire re-erected in his garden. As Robert Harrild died in 1853 (he has a prominent tomb in St Bart's churchyard) the spire must have been brought to Sydenham between 1850 and 1853. Furthermore, there is a photograph of the spire taken in 1925 by Frederick Harrild, grandson of Robert. He wrote on the back: "Spire of St Antholin, Budge Row, removed about 1850 to Round Hill House, Forest Hill".

St Antholin's, with its replaced spire, was demolished in 1875 and some of the furnishings went to the church of the same name in Nunhead, but what we have in Sydenham is the original spire unique, apparently, because it was the only stone spire designed by Sir Christopher Wren for any of his City churches.

For those who don't know it, this is what it looks like:
Image
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Postby Greg Whitehead » 3 Dec 2006 21:23

Hi Steve,

Where is this church spire to be found currently? I've searched for Round Hill House and have had no luck...if it's mentioed where it is earlier in the thread I must have missed it.
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Postby Falkor » 3 Dec 2006 21:48

Greg, you can't miss it, mate...
http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2& ... ne=4272031
(click Birds-eye view)
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Postby multisync » 26 Oct 2007 13:58

I seem to remember as a child there being some sort of working mans club near the church spire.We used to go there and explore the buildings after the club was lefy abandoned.Then we would cross Thorpewood Avenue and go down "dogs___ alley" towards London Road behind Taymount Grange there was a swimming pool there.
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Postby Falkor » 26 Oct 2007 14:21

multisync, that's all news to me!! I was recently trying to find out if there was a shortcut into Taymount Rise from the Thorpes side, but it seems the only way in is the main street from London Road. I wouldn't have a clue where this swimming pool might have been. Compared with my knowledge of London Road and Honor Oak Road side of town, I'm more familiar with Dartmouth Road/Round Hill, but then I haven't a clue about a working mans club, either!? Hmmm.... Perhaps Steve could shed some light on those... I saw a photo of a garage, but I'm not even sure what all that's about. :D Let's change the subject to Wells Park Road and I should hopefully do a lot better! :P
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Postby multisync » 26 Oct 2007 14:31

Yes, Wells Park Road is a Good topic to get into although Greg Whitehead might not think so.Iremember there being three paddling pools being functional in the 60's also asandpit higher up.We used to go to Hornimans park to the paddling pool as youngsters .But once we'd found Wells Park,that was it!
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Postby Steve Grindlay » 26 Oct 2007 15:12

multisync wrote:I seem to remember ... a working mans club near the church spire

That would be The Sydenham and Forest Hill Social Club. The club was in Round Hill House from the 1930s until, I suppose, the 1960s when it was demolished to make way for the small estate that now covers the site of the house and its garden. All that survives from Round Hill House is the spire, and a splendid Cedar of Lebanon. This shows the house and the tree, but the spire is out of sight:
Image

Falkor wrote:I was recently trying to find out if there was a shortcut into Taymount Rise from the Thorpes side, but it seems the only way in is the main street from London Road. I wouldn't have a clue where this swimming pool might have been.

There used to be a way through, but it was blocked-off some years ago.

The lane, an old field path sometimes more poetically called Ghost Walk, begins in London Road, opposite Sainsbury's, and ends at the junction of Derby Hill Crescent and Featherstone Road. It still almost has the feel of a country lane, although I know of two people who have been mugged there.

The swimming pool was a private pool for the residents of Taymount Grange.
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