Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

The History of Sydenham from Cippenham to present day. Links to photos especially welcome!

Moderator: frenzarin

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by Falkor »

I've superimposed a 1914 map onto a recent aerial photograph in the hope of answering some of the following questions:
*Where exactly was the Sydenham Generating Station and surrounding buildings located? Where was the Edney Street junction up Springfield Rise?
*Where exactly was St Mary's Oratory and surrounding buildings located? Is there any pattern with the footpaths in the gardens of St Mary's with the modern day road layout?
*Where exactly was Rose Retreat located? Is there any pattern with the carriageway and modern day road layout?

Map Vs. Aerial Photo
Image
Image

Springfield Rise
Image

Rose Retreat
Image

Two Mystery Buildings
Image

Other Buildings
Image

St Mary's Oratory
Image
Analysis to follow...

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

St Mary's Oratory

*I'm sad to say that there is no pattern between St Mary's Oratory and the current road layout. To see no connection with the past in this area is really painful for me, as I was brought up around there.

*Notice the pond!

*Rectangular area with no trees is still a mystery, but it's boundary runs along the side of the garages, where as kids we used to enjoy jumping off of and hurting our ankles.

*The graveyard area is now sloping high ground!

*The trees on Sydenham Hill today appear to curve with the old boundary of St Mary's, or it could just be an optical illusion.

*I realise now that one of the photos in the old topic on St Mary's Oratory is actually of the outbuilding.

*The main building itself was directly on the site of one of the flats as Steve pointed out in an older topic. The Sydenham Hill entrance appears to be in the same place today.

Springfield Rise

*Generating Station = 3 houses + front and back gardens (retaining wall behind; now covered by wooden fencing).

*The surrounding buildings were a lot further back than I originally envisaged.

*Edney Street ran right across what is now the middle of the mini-green towards the bushes and play area.


Rose Retreat

*It looks to be located near a steep slope, between the flat road and pathway. It may be that the 3 cottages were on the flat pathway where I saw those odd looking bricks, which are possible remnants of the past. When I first saw these strange stone blocks I assumed they were something left over from the gardens of St Mary's, as they are not to be seen anywhere else on the estate. I can now see this area was outside of the St Mary's plot, and in the vicinity of Rose Retreat.

*The carriageway was some way up Wells Park Road compared to the current junction, which explains why I couldn't see it in a postcard. I really expected Arbury Terrace to be based on this, but it's clearly not. No wonder Roman Roads became extinguished so easily! Anyone visiting Sydenham Hill Estate would never guess where any of the old roads/pathways were located.

Two Mystery Buildings

*I would love to see some photos of these, but they cannot be made out in any views of Wells Park Road, Wells Park, nor Upper Sydenham Station.

*The building on the left has been rebuilt as a block of flats, and I'm pleased to say, shares exactly the same driveway.

*The building on the right has been demolished leaving the land vacant.

Michael Viner
Posts: 61
Joined: 2 Jul 2007 18:37
Location: Sydenham

Post by Michael Viner »

Dear Sir/Madam,The two mystery buildings you mention opposite the junction of Wells Park Rd and Longton Ave.were 'Claverhouse',a large early Victorian house which stood where the garages behind and to the left of Tynwald House(Sydenham Hill Estate)are now,and Greyfriars,another grand 19th c. villa,which stood where the late 1970's block of flats also called Greyfriars is now.Claverhouse was demolished in 1952 in the development of Sydenham Hill Estate,but Greyfriars survived up until the early 1970's.There are few,if any,really clear photos of them,especially Claverhouse,but here is an early 1930's postcard which shows them in the distance (from Wells Park).Claverhouse can be seen quite well but Greyfriars just to its' left is a bit hidden by trees.Claverhouse is the large light coloured double-bayed building in the middle distance. Kind Regards,M.VinerImage

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Hi Michael,

Many thanks indeed for sharing that information and picture! You should come here more often considering your knowledge on the local area. Any chance of please posting a link to a larger scan of that Well's Park postcard? That way we should be able to get a better look at the house. No photos appear to have been taken of Rose Retreat, either, except for some illustrations drawn. I remember you said you lived in Oaksford Avenue around the 60s/70s. I guess we both missed the Generating Station, Rose Retreat, St Mary's etc (you, only by a few years). The difference is, you probably got to see the statues on Sydenham Hill Estate, but they must have been vandalised before my day. I've got very vague memories of other building work on each side of the Wells Park Road junction with Taylor's Lane and also the original Park office. These changes must have occurred in the late 1980s, and I don't remember what it looked like before. St Philip's Church was demolished when I was a baby--the family having just moved to Sydenham. I never got to see Bradford Road, the original Wells Park Road shops, whereas you probably remember them clearly as it never changed until the 70s. What about Mill Gardens?

Anyway, for those who are new to Sydenham in the 21st century and reading this topic, the Wells Park Road area has had atleast 4 waves of demolition/construction between the 50s and 90s--being almost completely landscaped over--making it unrecognisable.

Regards,

Giles
Image

Image

Michael Viner
Posts: 61
Joined: 2 Jul 2007 18:37
Location: Sydenham

Post by Michael Viner »

Giles-thanks for the reply.I'm afraid I don't get that much time to myself to do this sort of thing,as I'm a full-time carer for my mother who is 82 and in poor health mentally& physically,but I'll write a few lines which may I hope be of interest.There was only one statue on Sydenham Hill Estate "Mother and Child" by talented sculptress Karin Jonzen,who died just a few years ago.I remember the statue well-my mum used to tell me off for climbing up on it on our way to the mother and child clinic which used to be held once a week in the hall.The statue was stolen one night around 1969/70.The next morning there was an empty plinth and tyre tracks leading away...There was a series of thefts of bronze statues around this time-the small statue of a nude girl which stood in the fountain near the entrance of Hornimans Museum(since its' opening) was stolen in July 69.There were others in SE London too.The empty plinth on Sydenham Hill Estate remained there embarrassingly for years afterwards,not being removed til the early 1980's'I think.
Yes,I remember Bradford,Coombe and Prospect Rds;I used to play in the houses when they were empty and waiting to be demolished in the early 70's.It was a good time and place to be child-you also had the old railway tunnels at Upper Sydenham and Crystal Palace to play in(they were still open)which were great,scary and exciting.Must go now-regards,Michael.
PS. If you go to my page on Flickr (Michael Viner) you can download a large version of the Wells Park photo.

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Your time is much appreciated, Michael; some good info there, thanks!

Here's those odd-looking bricks I found along the orange line circled in blue:
Image
Image
Image
I was right first time; it's actually in the vicinity of St Mary's! Could it be something left over or did the council decide to lay a random brickwall in a style that's out of character with the rest of the estate?

Image
Image
Image
Site of Rose Retreat; the cottages must have been close to where that modern brickwall lies.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
It looks fairly flat from this view, but a more distant view shows the downhill and uphill gradients on each side of the graveyard site:
Image
Image
I find it really hard to imagine there was once a graveyard here; the contrast is so depressing. No part of the estate's past seems to exist in the present. I've given up trying to find any other patterns. :?
Image
Image

kennyb2
Posts: 133
Joined: 13 Apr 2007 09:22
Location: wilts

Post by kennyb2 »

I seem to remember my father building a ragstone wall as part of a some kind of communal building nearer the road, its now gone/altered. this may well be some more of his handiwork
If you had seen that area under construction and the vast amount of earth moving that went on you'd realise there would be nothing of the original site intact, especially this small and so near to a block of flats.
I always understood the huge oblong blocks set into one of the banks by the road, to be some kind of grave slabs, but even those are far from their original site.
When the graves were discovered the whole site was shut down, and then systematically scoured for more.
Those big old Rush and Tomkins excavators were not delicate.

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

I seem to remember my father building a ragstone wall as part of a some kind of communal building nearer the road, its now gone/altered.
What is gone/altered--the communal building or your father's wall? There's a community hall on Sydenham Hill at the junction with Crescent Wood Road; is this what you mean? The building is nearby where I took my photographs but isn't close enough to be associated with the wall pictured alongside the pathway behind the block of flats.
this may well be some more of his handiwork
It's possible, but there's no reason to build a wall next to part of a secluded pathway in that location, unless it's a remnant of the gardens of St Mary's; indeed, it falls on the orange plotline circled in blue.
If you had seen that area under construction and the vast amount of earth moving that went on you'd realise there would be nothing of the original site intact, especially this small and so near to a block of flats.
True, but all that earth moving was confined to a steep hill.
I always understood the huge oblong blocks set into one of the banks by the road, to be some kind of grave slabs, but even those are far from their original site.
What road / blocks are you referring to? I'm wondering if there were graves in other parts of the gardens besides the rectangular yard seen in the old photos.

This 1959 map is rather interesting--to me anyway:
Image
Over in the east, Springfield Rise, Plane Street, Fir Street, Edney Street and Rosamond Street had been completely cleared away all at once, leaving the Duke, generating station, HQ, Springfield Gardens til the end (only for another year). One side of Dallas Road remained until the 70s I think.

Over in the west, Sydenham Hill's estate was first built around Rose Retreat, so the cottages existed simultaneously overshadowed by a circle of towers. Why were no photos taken of them!? I was born in the 80s, but I do feel that people in the 50s/60s/70s seemed a bit daft. Rock Cottage/Rock House was still there, but there's no photos taken of this building, either. Anyway, eventually the bigger blocks of flats came to fill the center of the estate, overunning the poor Rose cottages; the first of these "big blocks" was evidently the one associated with the graveyard.

The 4 houses at the top of Longton Avenue appear to have gone by 1959, and I doubt there's any photos of these, either. :?

kennyb2
Posts: 133
Joined: 13 Apr 2007 09:22
Location: wilts

Post by kennyb2 »

Memory is difficult after so many years away from the area, but the community building, its adjacent adjacent to the road, Sydenham Hill. its still there or its replacement is much altered.
Why put a bit of wall there for no reason?, well, piece work/ apprentice training, just filling up time. work practices were very much different in those days and they'd make work to make up wages.

Don't bank[bad pun] on the earth moving to be restricted to one small area, the foundation digging for those flats disturbed huge areas, and then was back filled, they'd level areas just to place concrete mixing machines, stack bricks, build temporary road ways. Look at the amount of bricks on that site, all brought in by lorry,and more of them because they were smaller lorries.
Todays health and safety wallahs would have a blue fit at building site practices back then.
One of our kids games was to climb up the scaffolding[open sites then, no fences, watchmen] and jump from two or three stories high into the huge piles of sand waiting for the mixers, The demolition sites around Springfield grove were the same, blokes would knock of and go home leaving an open site; you should have seen those guys walking along the tops of walls of those terrace houses, knocking them down, row of bricks by row, with a pickaxe or sledge hammer, hard hats? weren't invented.
they'd attach chains to some old ex army truck to pull roofs off.

I remember the pond at the bottom corner, and it being dry, a huge hole we assumed to be bomb damage, in those days thats was filled in.
The stone blocks I refer to are or were at the Palace end, of the estate, on the south side. In a bit of a gloomy spot as I recall, last saw them late 1970's
Talking of blocks of stone, in the top corner of Wells park there was an infants play area, sand pit etc, at the back of that were more squarish blocks we used to jump off, wonder if they were any connection?
Never knew it was the site of a flying bomb hit till I saw it here, they must have built that on the bomb site, certainly got it cleared and planted quite quickly, I used it when I was about 5/6yrs but then Wells Park was always a little gem back then.

You are dead right about peoples mind set back then... BUT....you have to realise the mindset of the time was entirely different, the whole country was occupied with getting people into decent housing at any cost, and hadn't we just lost hundeds of years of history of greater worth to high explosive?
And it was also about keeping a population occupied, employed and happy, think of it, a whole nation full of well trained fit servicemen, often disgruntled,many still bearing the scars, physical and mental of years of warfare, promises were made, and had to be kept, lest they took it into their heads to turn on their masters....
You have to have been there,,,,whole diferent world, better in many respects than the one we have now, for all its faults back then.
I have to say, as a history buff, that there is a lot more to understanding of the recent past . Pictureseque those old cottages certainly were, and probably we lost out by losing them;but most of the inhabitents were probably really glad to see the back of them. Would you have wanted to live in one today, as they were then?

Half a century since, long long time ago
PS
looking at the pictures again, the building I am thinking of is placed before the last two sets of Y shape blocks, its along here those stone slabs are to be found.
I seem to remember this building was something of an afterthought. I remember my father moaning about working on it as he was keen to get off site to a better job, I know he was told he had to rebuild one section as it was not to the architects scheme, that was enough to give him the hump.

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Good post, Kenny! Thanks for sharing those stories and insights into the day in the life of a builder in post-war Sydenham.
I remember the pond at the bottom corner, and it being dry, a huge hole we assumed to be bomb damage, in those days thats was filled in.
Wow, so you actually ventured in the gardens of St Mary's before Sydenham Hill Estate was built and saw what was left of the pond? I only figured there was a pond there after studying the shading of an earlier map, so was only half sure of it. Do you remember the generating station?
Talking of blocks of stone, in the top corner of Wells park there was an infants play area, sand pit etc, at the back of that were more squarish blocks we used to jump off, wonder if they were any connection?
Good point! I forgot about the sandpit... those blocks are still there and probably the same type. The play area must have been formed by the LCC after demolition of the Longton Avenue houses. Maybe some blocks were used for that wall on the estate at the same time--possibly laid by your father. But an alternative explanation/interpretation could be that blocks were taken away from the gardens of St Mary's and used for the sandpit. Of course all this is purely in the realm of speculation. I assume your father is no longer with us, otherwise you could have asked him direct.
Pictureseque those old cottages certainly were, and probably we lost out by losing them;but most of the inhabitents were probably really glad to see the back of them. Would you have wanted to live in one today, as they were then?
According to that article, one or more of those cottages were made of brick or stone in contrast to the amount of timber framed buildings on the common. I wouldn't mind living in an old building like that personally; I think it would be worth a lot of money if still standing. There probably is photos of Rose Cottages, but the new mindset of people these days is not to share anything, and collector's items get hoarded until their deathbed. People are becoming more paranoid in general and brainwashed by the TV/media. There's more books on Astrology then there is on Astronomy; the former has more believers than religion. :D So, you're right, no point in me trying to pretend that everything is much better now than it was before my time. One thing I am happy about is technology and the Internet, and the fact that we have this wonderful forum to discuss history. Also, I just found out about Google Book search the other day; hey, check this out:
http://books.google.com/books?id=REMFAA ... 2+sydenham
looking at the pictures again, the building I am thinking of is placed before the last two sets of Y shape blocks, its along here those stone slabs are to be found.
I seem to remember this building was something of an afterthought. I remember my father moaning about working on it as he was keen to get off site to a better job, I know he was told he had to rebuild one section as it was not to the architects scheme, that was enough to give him the hump.
It must be the same building then! Never knew it was rebuilt... What other buildings did your father work on?

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Image

will greenwood
Posts: 352
Joined: 14 Jan 2008 23:45
Location: moorlinch

Post by will greenwood »

This is Lammas green estate, I think, in 1960;
Image

Image

Jan
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 Apr 2008 06:29
Location: West Sussex

Residents of Wells Cottages 1881

Post by Jan »

I read with great interest your extensive information on the Sydenham area, particularly the mention of Wells Cottages, Wells Road and Fir Street.

My Great Grandmother, Harriet Robert(s) is recorded as living at Wells Cottages, Wells Road in the 1881 census with a number of children, my Grandfather, Bertie, being the youngest. She is recorded as being a widow.

We know very little of this family I am wondering if in all your research you have come across any information on them?

Keep up the good work! After finding your site I have learnt far more in half a day than I have in all the years of research!

robin harrod
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Aug 2008 18:42
Location: Cheltenham

Greyfriars, Wells Road

Post by robin harrod »

Hi,

I found this very interesting. My g'grandfather, Charles Digby Harrod and family lived at Armitage Lodge, Wells Road, later Greyfriars and Wells Park Road between about 1870 and 1890. Apart from the 1930s PC posted, has anyone else seen a photograph of the house or got any further information?

Robin

LewisSale
Posts: 7
Joined: 30 Apr 2011 11:23
Location: Forest Hill

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by LewisSale »

Somebody on this site asked for a picture of "Greyfriars" in Wells (Park) Road. I took a picture of this property from outside the entrance gates in about 1969. Any interest? I do not know how to upload copies of scanned photographs on to this site but will e-mail a copy if anyone is interested. I have only just joined this forum, having been interested in local history since the 60s, and am fascinated by the wealth of information here. Perhaps somene will tell me how to upload photographs??

Lewis

marymck
Posts: 1578
Joined: 9 Feb 2008 16:30
Location: Upper Kirkdale

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by marymck »

Hi Lewis

I would very much like to see your photos, thank you. Unfortunately, I don't know how to upload pix successfully either. I will send you a PM.

marymck
Posts: 1578
Joined: 9 Feb 2008 16:30
Location: Upper Kirkdale

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by marymck »

I'm going to attempt to post the photo kindly sent in by Lewis Sales. Here goes ...

Lewis Sales' photo of Greyfriars, Wells Park Road.jpg

marymck
Posts: 1578
Joined: 9 Feb 2008 16:30
Location: Upper Kirkdale

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by marymck »

Oh dear. It's kind of there, but not quite right.

tulse hill terry
Posts: 686
Joined: 25 Jun 2007 01:33
Location: sarf lunnen

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by tulse hill terry »

Here's my attempt

Image

The new format of the forum shrinks the display of the image within the page but it's actually bigger than shown.

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by Falkor »

Many thanks Lewis; really generous of you to share that photo! Thanks also to those who assisted with getting the image posted onto this forum; it would have to rank as the best contribution here in quite a long time. Checking out that pic within the context of my old topic tonight has been a sobering experience. Cheers! :)

Post Reply