Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

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

Moderator: frenzarin

sheepy31
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Feb 2012 21:38
Location: kent

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by sheepy31 »

I lived in the block of flats that were on top of the grave yard through out the eighties, there were poltergeists in our flats which were frightening. I know this sounds mad but its true, we moved because of this, my nan and grandad used to live in farley house and also edisbury and my nan used to see monks standing over her bed. Very strange place but nice with all the woods and old monestry remains.

Beerboy
Posts: 16
Joined: 2 Aug 2013 00:10
Location: Thailand

Re: St. Marys'

Post by Beerboy »

During the war I used to play in what we called The Monastery, I which I suppose was St. Mary's'. The talk was of ghosts if we played near the grave yard. The pond mentioned was not a bomb crater in my opinion as it was surrounded by lush vegetation and trees.I carved my name on one. We used to skate on the pond in the winter. Not with skates in those days. Re. Rose cottages. My father used to send me to an old man who lived there to get our saw sharpened. It was, like the Monastery, creepy at night. Of course the blackout was in force then. On Sydenham Hill my mother used to work as a cleaner in Otter House, which she said was a "Mad House'! Today it would be a place for mental illness. She described, accidentally being locked in a padded cell with one of the patients.It was always good for a laugh or to frighten us before going to bed. We had gas light then and had to put a penny or sixpence in the metre when the gas ran out. It frightened the life out of me when it did while I was listening to 'Appointment With Fear' by the 'Man in Black' Valentine Dyal, on the battery and accumulator radio. The accumulator was recharged at Jeffries bike shop on the corner on Bradford Road.
Another large house on Sydenham Hill was called 'The Elms' or 'Beeches' due to the trees in the front of them.
My pal Davit Hewlit used to live in one of the lap board cottages at the top left hand end of Springfield Rise where we used to play in our camp.. In the right top end there was a small alley where you could get through to Panmure. We did after the V2 struck it. My grandmother, Theresa Toop lived in one of the houses opposite the South Eastern Electricity Company office. When we lived in one of the houses to the left side of the Electricity Board I vaguely remember my mother holding me up to see the glow from the Crystal Palace fire. Later we moved to 28 Springfield Rise opposite another lapboard house where the Hutchins family lived. A Mr Warner, who my mother described as a 'Tight old sod' lived next door to the Hutchins and he kept chickens. The reason for her label for him was that when my younger brother was recovering from diphtheria, he would not sell her an egg to feed him with.
I went to my first school St. Phillips, which had a big stove in the classroom to keep us warm. and then Kelvin Grove.I was also a choirboy in St Phillips when Mr Chalk was choir master and we thought he was the greatest as he had been in the R.A.F. and we thought he had been a Spitfire pilot. Sadly the the church had gone when I last visited in 1996. As with everything, changes come about. Some for the good, some not so good. I'm just grateful for the contributors here who have awakened some memories for me. Quite a bit off the subject, ah well.








Falkor wrote: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.

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

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by marymck »

Hi Beerboy

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your posts and also to ask if, in your childhood wanderings, you remember a path between the top of Panmure Road and Mount Gardens. And again if there was one from Mount Gardens through to Lammas Green?
If I can ever work out how to post a picture (I've failed at every attempt in the past) I could post some pictures of the remains of what I think used to be a pathway.

I enjoy your remembrances very much and look forward to reading some more.

thank you :)

Beerboy
Posts: 16
Joined: 2 Aug 2013 00:10
Location: Thailand

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by Beerboy »

I'm glad it gave you some pleasure. I can't help you out with your questions. Sometimes memories come clear in my head and I can remember names and places. Perhaps this comes with age. I am well past my sell by date so I suppose it applies to me.My late Step father gave me a book which may interest you if you can get a copy. It is 'The old photograph series'-Sydenham and Forest Hill'. By John Coulter and John Seaman. The book code is ISBN 0 7524 0036 3. It makes very interesting reading especially if you can remember some of the places as they are in the photos and the names of some of the people who lived or worked in them.. Being born in 1933 I was lucky enough to see many of these sites before they were destroyed by the air raids and then the Town Planners. I suppose it had to be done by the planners but is destroyed 'village life and communities'."Fings ain't what they used to be!"
Best wishes.

t b 37
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Feb 2014 23:37
Location: herne bay kent

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by t b 37 »

Well ill go to the foot of our stairs, How nice to see there are some people about that remember old Springfield Rise
and of course giveing our family a mention The Brookers from Fir Street, who are by the way are all ,still about, :
Ron its nice to see both you and Tony are still with the liveing ,And of course hearing you talk of all the old folk and the places I can still recall your Dad running from the policeman when he was a bookies runner, Keep telling the stories
Ron if your ever on Face Book were there By the way im the youngest Tom. Best of Luck

Conker
Posts: 153
Joined: 22 Feb 2014 22:26
Location: west country

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by Conker »

Hello marymck,
I lived in Panmure road as a child from 5yrs old.
Those roads around Springfield were my playground as they were demolished!

I cannot remember any footway between top of Panmure and Mount Gardens, although I think I remember an unofficial one between the top of Panmure and the Syd hill estate.
Certainly there was never one between Mount Gardens and Lammas Green as that was built on the site of one of those big old houses on the hill, I can remember the huge Rhododendron bush in the middle.

The estate next to Lammas Green was also built on the site of a huge Lutyens style house,from which garden my brother and me were chased out by a woman with a stick as we were loading ourselves up with her apples.

I used to short cut home later in life, when I started work, through the Salvation army home;there was a wicket gate sometimes left unlocked at the top of Panmure; when locked I would climb over the metal fence, I slipped and got my ankle stuck one night, I couldn't get my foot out but was saved by the paper boy on his evening round...needless to say I didn't do that again.

At that time Panmure road was lined with huge conker trees,[hence my name] I used to sit at the top of the road waiting for them to fall....on a good day you could see right out to the hills by Biggin and Addington, and watch cornfields ripening.

I used to help the milkman on his rounds which covered Mount Ash, Mount Gardens and Sydenham Hill. Mount Gardens was an amazing secret little road, almost country side in its feel.

I also remember a huge wooden wall at the end of Mount Ash, an odd end to the road.

Pushing 70 now, I never go back there. I do though wander all those places via Google street view, I must say what has happened in Panmure is very saddening, so many houses gone to be replaced by dull stuff, I'd never have thought so many houses could be fitted into the old tennis courts on the corner, that was a wilderness then. Probably a dumping ground for bomb rubble.

Panmure road was so very quiet and peaceful, only about three house had cars; on Sundays a man would come round with a handcart selling shrimps and winkles that was our Sunday tea with some Hovis for a treat.

Much the same can be said for Kirkdale, I remember it as full of small businesses of all kinds. Very sad and run down now.

I went to Kelvin Grove school, when the classrooms were two room prefabs on bomb sites, one at the corner, and another halfway up on the right.
My overpowering memory of that school is the smell of the boys urinal in the corner of the playground, yuk x100

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

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by marymck »

Hi conker

I really enjoyed reading your memories of growing up here. You brought those times so visibly to life in my mind. You've a real gift for description. Thank-you so much.

I lived in Sydenham as a child, then had a long gap and moved back here 12 years ago. Just in those 12 years upper sydenham has changed radically. When we moved back, Mount Gardens still felt like an oasis of countryside hidden away in sydenham. I'm told you could hear the nightingales when we moved in ... possibly you could, I wouldn't know a nightingale from a bitterne but whatever the birds were their song was certainly very pretty! But sadly there have been a lot of big extensions built on the backs of the Mount Ash houses that back onto Mount Gardens and lots of trees have been lost both because of that and in Mount Gardens itself. Just a couple of years ago what I suspect may have been the last survivor of the old apple orchard fell victim to a tasteless construction and hard landscaping more suitable to Broadside Close than a wildlife rich conservation area. Now I come to think of it, I haven't had to duck out of the way of an incoming stag beetle since! I do hope we've not lost them.

We still have wonderful views though. And a visiting fish seller ... although he comes from Grimsby now and it's more a case of stocking up the freezer than fresh shrimps for tea.

I'm going to print off your post and try to retrace some of your steps. Here's hoping I don't get my foot stuck in any railings ... I think my fence climbing days are long gone and I think I'd wait a long time for a paper boy to rescue me!

Thanks again, conker. All the best.

Conker
Posts: 153
Joined: 22 Feb 2014 22:26
Location: west country

Re: Sydenham Hill Estate, Springfield Rise etc

Post by Conker »

hello again mary.

I have just spotted the pics of the abandoned salvation army site,is this the one thats at the top of Panmure? A shame if that big house were to be demolished.Lewisham council were always too fond of the demolition crew.

Stag beetles... now there's a memory brought back....there used to be always masses of stag beetles around Panmure, lots of rotting wood between there and Mount Ash, I haven't seen one for years, not even here in deepest Wessex.
They were really common.
We'd get all sorts of birds ,house martins on the bigger older houses, snakes and hedgehogs, always lots of hedgehogs I suppose the traffic has wiped them out now. Nightingales wouldn't surprise me, lots of bird song but then I suppose a awful lot of them were being pushed out of the old monastery gardens as they built the flats.

There is a little alley that runs from Kirkdale through to Lammas Green, the orchard I spoke of was to the right as you leave Kirkdale; a wonderful old fashioned land laid out set of fruit trees; My brother and I and another delinquent had stuffed our shirts full of apples, while we rather craftily, quietly and cleverly we thought hid ourselves amongst the trees while a lady with a white stick tapped her way about... till she got within distance of us, then lunged at us with her stick, apples went everywhere as we vaulted that brick wall like Olympic athletes.

I suppose it'd be an asbo for us these days, but back then we knew every apple pear and plum tree for miles round that was get-at-able.
no sweets, but lots of fruit. we'd eat anything vaguely ripe, I would even eat raw sticks of rhubarb.
What is now Baxters fields was then abandoned wartime allotments [what was it before he war?] we topped up our vitamin C ration by gorging on blackcurrants in there, rhubarb was for some reason always plentiful, still plenty of horses around.

The old man used to dig for Horse radish in Cheeseman street on a derelict site, where a bloke kept a horse in makeshift stables; wasn't there a murder in Cheeseman street in the 1970's? a sign of changing times.

enjoy your walk round, I'd have liked to accompany you too far away now. We used to walk everywhere as kids, no other choice, out to Crystal Palace,still remnants of wartime use, I used to like walking around the campsite on the Parade spotting the foreign number plates; you could see the Crystal palace TV tower growing from the back of Panmure.
Bet you can't see it at all now.
we'd walk to Catford, out past Beckenham, Beckenham Place Park was a wilderness and seemed huge. Past Bell green to Peter Pans pool.
Up from Dulwich toll gate to the old anti aircraft station, where the gun emplacements where still there, mostly half full of water. Marvellous views over London from there.

My mum used to char for an old lady in Adamsrill road who said when she was a girl she'd walk overfields from Bell Green to Bromley to pick Violets.

When I felt like going farther afield I'd get on a bus, top deck right at the front,chances are I'd go a long way before the conductor came for the fare, which was my cue to ask for a stop way back in the other direction. That meant I'd be put off at the next stop with ridicule and curses for being such a little fool, but I still have my precious pennies, and there was another bus along soon..... a trick I used often, you can't do that with a one man bus and an oyster card can you?

Do you live in Panmure? there was a go nowhere alley round the back of the row of six new builds, another short one between those and the mock tudor ones nearer Kirkdale.
Panmure seemed to be full of kids then, all using the street as a playground, teaching each other to ride bikes in the road, gathering under the street lamp under a hawthorn tree where Panmure turns to go uphill, it was a proper street lamp then not that bit of municipal street furniture now.
...and men in army or navy uniform, national service days.

amazing how each memory brings back another.

Post Reply