Croydon Canal route: Brockley to New Cross

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

Moderator: frenzarin

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

Croydon Canal route: Brockley to New Cross

Post by Falkor » 2 Feb 2008 21:41

This stretch of the canal, although on the railway alignment for the southern most part, is quite interesting in the north for the sheer number of back gardens that must be on the site.

At Brockley Way, I keep bumping into the same guy from Brockley Mews, who is convinced I am a copper! I told him I was an explorer and he now thinks I'm based at Lewisham nick. How amusing...

Photo needed
Coulgate Street/Brockley Cross: the canal follows the roads along their western edges, where 2 great big heaps of spoil have been placed right on top of the canal bed. The bricked embankment of a bridge then continues to the cover the site of the canal before it's alignment crosses over the road to follow the center of Shardeloes Road.

Image
Shardeloes Road looking north: does it seem like the owners of this building have designed their walkway to resemble that of a canal? Or has my imagination run wild, or have I totally lost it? :D

Image

Image
Shardeloes Road: Will needs to edit in the location of this lock house.

Image
Shardeloes Road meets Vesta Road: here was once a bridge of some kind that crossed the canal! The alignment now leaves Shardeloes Road and enters the back gardens of the houses to the left.

Photos needed
Shardeloes Road meets St Donnets Road: a block of flats lies between sets of back gardens belonging to houses in both aforementioned roads. It's quite interesting to have a look around the back at the alignment of the canal to see some minor grassy banks that change direction like the canal did at this point.

Image
Photos needed
Barriedale Road: the canal alignment leaves the back gardens of houses in St Donnets Road and cuts across what is now Barriedale Road and under the gates of Goldsmith's property from a similar viewpoint to where those excellent paintings were put to canvas (showing several locks). The thing that puzzles me greatly is that this view now looks uphill today instead of downhill in the past!? And Barriedale Road is fairly flat without any side banks!?

Photos needed
St James: The canal alignment passes across the garden of the Vicarage.

Photos needed
New Cross Station: the stacked up sandstones look very interesting indeed. It's possible to step off the platform as there aren't any rails along the eastern-most part near the New Cross Road bridge, including under it. A small dig around any part of this site--already cut deep for the railway lines to the west--may reveal some other types of canal remnants if not already obliterated by the railway company. I could quite easily pinch those stones to have in my back garden to look big whenever my friends visit me. Further north there is the London Underground line, but it ends well before the bridge. Altogether, there are 3 sets of lines with 2 sets of platforms; it will be important to ascertain exactly where the canal ran in conjunction.

Photos needed
Five Bells Lane: only a small reminder of it on the eastern side. Western side now taken by Sainsburies.

Photos needed
Grand Surrey Canal junction: to be explored another day!

Anyway, by the time Will and myself have finished our next phase of research, the alignment of the canal might end up somewhere in Lewisham Way for all we know! Let's begin...

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

Post by Falkor » 3 Feb 2008 00:42

2 things have come to mind:
1) There's bound to be some documented excavations at LLS that have uncovered parts of the canal--between New Cross and Brockley--over the years. The reason I believe this is because there is so many new developments along the alignment closest to New Cross. I need to check for them, as well as old photos of the above roads.

2) The main website has corrected the Retracing book about 2 locks, but at the same time mucked up on 2 locks themselves! There was indeed a lock right by the lockkeeper's cottage in Brockley.

I hope to get a rough overlay presented soon, and see what kind of surprises we get.

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

Post by will greenwood » 3 Feb 2008 01:04

this should also apply to the estate at brockley way, brockley mews and the crematorium etc........you'd think so.

Juno way and Mercury way should have turned up something.

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

Post by Falkor » 7 Feb 2008 21:21

BTW, I checked all the published booklets on achaeological excavations, but there was nothing on the Croydon Canal--not even in the New Cross Gate development on the site of several locks--quite disappointed with Pre-Construct. I actually met the main man of this company a few years back... anyway, I've got a few more photos to fill in for the opening post. I went down Mercury Way et al... I just can't find the energy right now to edit and update my posts. I need a cup of tea...

Keithec
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Mar 2010 22:24
Location: Ladywell

Post by Keithec » 22 Mar 2010 22:54

"Barriedale Road: the canal alignment leaves the back gardens of houses in St Donnets Road and cuts across what is now Barriedale Road and under the gates of Goldsmith's property from a similar viewpoint to where those excellent paintings were put to canvas (showing several locks). The thing that puzzles me greatly is that this view now looks uphill today instead of downhill in the past!? And Barriedale Road is fairly flat without any side banks!? " Quote.

Falkor I know that the received wisdom is that the canal route is as described above but how reliable is it and what is it based on? Do you think that it is possible that the route is slightly further west?

I think there is some evidence to suggest it was.

Keith

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

Post by will greenwood » 23 Mar 2010 08:09

Hi Keithec,
As far as we can be sure the route is pretty certain around this area, predominantly due to the canal following the same contour line at each level, and from the allignments of the original maps.
Certainly it may be a few yards either way of the map as its accepted today, but still within the confines of the barriedale rd gardens.
if it moved too far west it would needed a cutting, or an embankment if it was further east.
Remember. every change in ground level had to be met with earthworkings of some kind, so the most direct routre along the same level was always chosen.
the lack of 'side banks' will be because the canal would have been infilled when it was abandoned, which is common practise with most abandoned canals.
Id be interested in hearing your evidence, just in case something has been missed, but I'm pretty sure we've got the route finalised now.

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

Post by will greenwood » 23 Mar 2010 09:19

in this 1862 map, the line of the towpath is marked as a footpath and a line of trees leading south east then south from st james' church
the towpath was on the east side of the canal.
Image

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

Post by will greenwood » 23 Mar 2010 09:28

also this might be the place to show this newly found image of brockley in the early 19th century, showing the towpath and part of the canal
i think this is the soutern bend at hatcham, facing north, but i could be wrong.
Image

Keithec
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Mar 2010 22:24
Location: Ladywell

Post by Keithec » 24 Mar 2010 22:25

I have some more questions. Does anybody know what material (i.e. what type of clay) was used to line the canal? And what materials were used to make the lock chambers?

Keith

Keithec
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Mar 2010 22:24
Location: Ladywell

Post by Keithec » 24 Mar 2010 23:10

Will,

On Cary's map which I think that you reproduce on another thread the canal is shown to the west of the newly built rail line and then just past field house swings to cross the railway as it makes its way uphill. If this is so it could put the canal west of the presently accepted route.

Keith[/img]

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

Post by will greenwood » 25 Mar 2010 09:01

im not sure which map you mean, but i dont see how the canal could ever have been west of the railway...without even more locks.
the canal only goes uphill at a lock...the rest of the time it follows the flattest route possible, using embankments and cuttings to stay level.
the clay used would be local london clay, and would have been simply stamped hard.
the fact that the banks regualrly collapsed points to a slightly shoddy job having been done, especially around the devonshire rd area.
the locks, as far as we know were built of local brick and masonry, and would have been very similar to the locks on the kennet and avon canal, also designed by Rennie at the same time.
there seems to be some remnants of this masonry by the old platform at new cross gate station.

mikee
Posts: 2
Joined: 19 Jul 2011 19:39
Location: Honoe Oak Park

Davids Road pavement

Post by mikee » 19 Jul 2011 19:57

Having read all the posts on here with great fascination, I thought I would put forward a theory from my own obervation - if anyone is still active in this discussion.I don't know how much (if any) of the the brickwork on the Davids Road raised pavement might be from the time of the canal (ie a retaining wall for the canal bank/towpath, but has anyone thought about the origins of the wide cobbled ramp up to the raised pavement? It seems to be designed for horses owing to its width, but why would anyone want to take a horse onto a pavement? It would make more sense that it was for taking horses on and off the towpath, and it is therefore an original piece of the canal stucture? It may of course have another later origin, but does anyone know?

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

Re: Croydon Canal route: Brockley to New Cross

Post by will greenwood » 2 Aug 2011 10:01

Hi Mikee
I've checked all the maps and plans for the canal and there seems to be no ramp leading to the towpath at that point until after the canal was filled in, and shops built along davids rd and havelock walk, the actual course of the canal.
there seems to be something on the 1850's map but its very vague.
what you need to remember is that there was the swing bridge just by where the underpass is now, and a small wharf by the dartmouth arms, where there was livery for horses, so getting on and off the towpath would have been easy. Also, east of the canal beyond he swing bridge was just a gently sloping system of fields and gardens. there was no waldram park or devonshire roads at the time, and the only track accross the swing bridge seems to have been from perry vale oming on from the north.
I imagine the ramp was introduced when the railway telegraph and waldram crescent developed with the station.
I believe there are some 19th century images of the shops opposit ethe station on this forum....I'm off to look at those now.
Image
http://sydenham.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1727
all the best

Keithec
Posts: 4
Joined: 22 Mar 2010 22:24
Location: Ladywell

Re: Croydon Canal route: Brockley to New Cross

Post by Keithec » 6 Nov 2011 21:10

If any readers of this thread are passing Brockley station over the next few days have a look at the digging going on at the south end of the station to the east of the railway. It looks as though an access road is being built. It would possibly be right on the line of the canal and every day a new heap of soil is dug. Possibly something of interest might surface. It is not possible to get onto the site but it can be viewed from nearby.

Keith

Post Reply