What is the history behind the name of "Jews Walk"

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

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back_ache
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What is the history behind the name of "Jews Walk"

Post by back_ache » 5 Feb 2006 14:20

I've wondering for a while, why is the road "Jews Walk" named so, I assume there must be a story, or historical reason as it dosn't sound like a name pulled out a hat.

Anyone know?

stuart
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Post by stuart » 5 Feb 2006 15:56

From Joan Alcock's "Sydenham & Forest Hill - History & Guide" p110:

"...it is generally agreed that it came from David Ximenes, who planted the road with elms. It was replanted with chestnut trees in the 1850s. David Ximenes was son of Sir Moses Ximenes, scion of an old Spanish Jewish family that had fled from the Inquisition. Like Disraeli's father, Sir Moses disagreed with the committee of Bevis Marks synagogue and converted to Christianity. Like Disraeli, David Ximenes was still regarded as Jewish by the public, hence the road's name."

Good book. You can get it from the Kirkdale Bookshop.

Stuart

Pat Trembath
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Post by Pat Trembath » 6 Feb 2006 08:44

As a postscrript to the above.

David Ximenes lived at Sheenewood, a large house in Westwood Hill opposite Jews Walk. The elm tree walk would have led to his front door, so to speak.

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Post by stuart » 6 Feb 2006 09:50

Post postscript. More on Sheenewood here: http://www.sydenham.org.uk/se26_sheenewood.html

Stuart

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 5 Nov 2006 19:58

I was walking down Sheenewood the other weekend... I remember treading on some metal pipe sticking out the ground; could this be anything to do with the old Westwood House fountain? Does that article list all the remnants?

Steve Grindlay
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Post by Steve Grindlay » 7 Nov 2006 14:32

As this has risen almost to the top of the pile I thought I would add my tuppence worth. However, I should explain that, entirely through my own fault, I have seriously fouled up my computer. I get a blue screen telling me that hundreds of file segments are unreadable, and then it crashes. Until I can get that sorted out I have resorted to an elderly, failing laptop. So, Falkor, fascinating and tantalising as your recent posts are, I can't really apply myself to trying to find if there is more to add.

However, every now and then I'm asked to give a talk to a group that meets at the Grove Centre and a couple of months ago they asked me to write something about the history of the centre (posted elsewhere) and of Jews Walk. Here is what I wrote about Jews Walk. It adds a little to what others have already said:

Jews Walk was named after two Jewish brothers who lived in Westwood, a large house on the edge of Sydenham Common, where the Shenewood (my preferred spelling, as it is named after a wood owned by Shene Priory) estate now stands. In about 1769 the brothers obtained permission from Lord Dartmouth, the Lord of the Manor, to create a tree-lined walk across the common from what is now Kirkdale to their house. This walk became known as “the Jews’ walk”. When Sydenham Common was enclosed in the early 19th century the name was retained. By at least 1854 the residents of Jews Walk felt that such a name was not appropriate (undertones of anti-Semitism) and they began referring to the street as “The Grove”. In 1878 the Metropolitan Board of Works, a London-wide body amongst whose responsibilities was making sense of house numbers and street names, was petitioned to officially rename Jews Walk to “The Grove”. To their credit the MBW refused to change the name and “Jews Walk”, one of the oldest street-names in Sydenham, survived. However, the Congregational Church continued to be known as the Church in the Grove.

Steve Grindlay
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Post by Steve Grindlay » 7 Nov 2006 14:52

By the way, Falkor, I'm not sure about a fountain, but Stuart's link has a picture of Mercury's foot hovering above a head which I take to represent the west wind. The whole thing (I have been told variously that the upper part was simply stolen, or came down in the 1987 hurricane and disappeared) was a copy (many such copies were made) of an Italian original. In Jan Piggott's book, Palace of the People, on page 151, is a "cascade temple" with an identical version of Giambologna's Mercury on top. So, Falkor, a question for you. Could you use your sources to find out when these temples were demolished, and is there any possibility that the remains in the front of the Shenewood flats is another surviving remnant from the Crystal Palace?

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 12 Nov 2006 21:04

Jews Walk was named after two Jewish brothers who lived in Westwood, a large house on the edge of Sydenham Common, where the Shenewood (my preferred spelling, as it is named after a wood owned by Shene Priory) estate now stands. In about 1769 the brothers obtained permission from Lord Dartmouth, the Lord of the Manor, to create a tree-lined walk across the common from what is now Kirkdale to their house. This walk became known as “the Jews’ walk”. When Sydenham Common was enclosed in the early 19th century the name was retained. By at least 1854 the residents of Jews Walk felt that such a name was not appropriate (undertones of anti-Semitism) and they began referring to the street as “The Grove”. In 1878 the Metropolitan Board of Works, a London-wide body amongst whose responsibilities was making sense of house numbers and street names, was petitioned to officially rename Jews Walk to “The Grove”. To their credit the MBW refused to change the name and “Jews Walk”, one of the oldest street-names in Sydenham, survived. However, the Congregational Church continued to be known as the Church in the Grove.
Fascinating stuff! :D
In Jan Piggott's book, Palace of the People, on page 151, is a "cascade temple" with an identical version of Giambologna's Mercury on top. So, Falkor, a question for you. Could you use your sources to find out when these temples were demolished, and is there any possibility that the remains in the front of the Shenewood flats is another surviving remnant from the Crystal Palace?
I'm not quite sure about the Water Temples, although I could look into it... I know the waterworks were filled in/demolished in the following order:
1) Stone Arcade in the 1880s (structural problems)
2) Grand Fountains (1894)
3) Water Temples (1904?)*
4) Central Fountain converted into a Bandstand (1910) for Festival of Empire then converted back into a fountain.
5) Upper Fountains and Cascades (1950s).

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Water Temple and Cascades.

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Water Temple, Cascades and Stone Arcades

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Stone Arcade gone by 1889.

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Grand Fountains filled in, in 1894 (Water Temples and Cascades still visible above Cycle/Speedway Track)

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Water Temples with Statues on top.

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Water Temples without Statues on top.

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Statues must have been removed before Water Temples were demolished.

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Football Stadium and Cycle Track after 1911. Central Basin is still a Bandstand. Water Temples have been demolished. Cascades survive underneath buildings (circled).

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Central basin converted back into a fountain, but innactive and now derelict (1950s).

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Derelict upper fountain (1950s).

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Derelict Cascades (1950 - 1955).

*I'm sure I remember Ken Kiss telling me the Water Temples were standing until a date between 1900 - 1910. I think he said 1904, but I can't swear to it...

Not sure about the North Side Pool either...
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I'll check the remains at Shenewood and see if Ken Kiss knows anything about the statue... He knew about "Pacific" (opposite Dacres Wood Nature Reserve), as well as another one somewhere near the River Thames. I spoke to a couple at the Crystal Palace Museum who claimed to have a certain lower terrace walkway statue in their back garden! They were able to point out exactly which one it was in an early photograph...

leaf
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Post by leaf » 13 Nov 2006 00:15

great pics falkor,

what a huge shame that the crystal palace is no more :cry:

it really must have been an amazing sight,i wonder what records,if any,there are as to who visited?

was it something that people from all walks of life came to see,or just the upper classes?

was it a free attraction,or was there an entrance fee?

Steve Grindlay
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Post by Steve Grindlay » 13 Nov 2006 11:38

I've finally managed to upload a couple of photographs to [flickr]. By comparing these with the original [here] it is clear that the Shenewood statue is a copy of the Giamblogna's Mercury, with just the part below the foot surviving. From your pictures, Falkor, it also looks to me as though a copy of the same statue is atop at least one of the Water Temples. So the question is: did Henry Littleton, who largely rebuilt Westwood House in the early 1880s, get his statue from the Crystal Palace?

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 13 Nov 2006 21:26

So the question is: did Henry Littleton, who largely rebuilt Westwood House in the early 1880s, get his statue from the Crystal Palace?
Good question! Being just down the road from the Crystal Palace, it seems very likely this copy of the statue would have come from there.

Yesterday, a collector whom I'm now trading with visited the Crystal Palace Museum with some exceptionally high quality photos of the CP that I had not seen before. They were re-produced on some thick A3 blocks direct from the masters in very fine detail indeed. One of the photos included an alternative view of the 1889 photo (with the model of Tower Bridge spanning the South Grand Fountain).

Even though there never were any nude statues inside the Water Temples (seen in early artistic illustrations), there definitely were statues on top as seen from the stereoviews in [this] topic.

When I receive copies of those A3 photos, I'll be able to see the Water Temples clearly in the 1889 view (the photo above is too poor quality to make out anything*). If the statues are missing as early as this date then that would better support the hypothesis that one of the statues was used for the Westwood House fountain.

*Observing the grainy photo, I would guess that the right Temple statue was still intact in 1889, but the left Temple statue appears to be missing! :lol:

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 13 Nov 2006 22:43

Oops, forgot about leaf--sorry! :oops: I thought you were coming down the museum, you naughty woman! :)
it really must have been an amazing sight,i wonder what records,if any,there are as to who visited?
There were, on average, 2,000,000 people visiting each year. You should buy/borrow the Jan Piggott book "Palace of the People". It tells about some of the royal visits etc.
was it something that people from all walks of life came to see,or just the upper classes?
All walks of life! Sometimes there were large groups of people visiting...
was it a free attraction,or was there an entrance fee?
There was an entrance fee, and it was more expensive on Saturdays. The exact prices are recorded in the Jan Piggott book I think. Until the last few decades, on Sundays it was always closed. Whenever there was a full fountain display 4-5 times a year, visitors also had to pay to enter the park.

leaf
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Post by leaf » 13 Nov 2006 23:32

hi falkor

i havent been very well this last week,ive had flu[real flu,not the man variety :wink: ]culminating in a chest infection on friday :cry:

i really do hope to buck up a bit soon and bring my sons to see the crystal palace museum...and meet you of course!

thanks for that info,i'll look out for that book.

if only i could time travel,the crystal palace is one of the first places id go,my oldest son is working on the design of a time machine at the moment-he is very optamistic about its viability...bless

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 14 Nov 2006 00:13

i havent been very well this last week,ive had flu[real flu,not the man variety ]culminating in a chest infection on friday
Damn, I hope you are feeling better soon... Chest infections can be nasty... :(
i really do hope to buck up a bit soon and bring my sons to see the crystal palace museum...and meet you of course!
That would be great! :) There's activities for the children, including a quiz, and if they win they get a certificate! 8) How old are the little ones? We've got jigsaw puzzles where children can have a go at building the roof of the Crystal Palace--or the entire thing--depending how clever they are... :)

leaf
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Post by leaf » 14 Nov 2006 00:18

thanks for your concern,my chest is much better,but im still coughing a lot at night :(

my children are nearly 4,7 and 10 and im sure they woukd have a great time at the museum,the jgsaws sound like the sort of thing my oldest would like.

maybe this sat am or pm?

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 14 Nov 2006 00:38

thanks for your concern,my chest is much better,but im still coughing a lot at night
It's been a while since I had flu or even a cough *touch wood*, but I always used to take these "cough caps", and they were really great. Lemsip never used to work on me...
my children are nearly 4,7 and 10 and im sure they woukd have a great time at the museum,the jgsaws sound like the sort of thing my oldest would like.
I'm sure we could find something to keep the children busy so you can have your own personal guided tour around the museum--stress free! :wink: You sound quite interested yourself, so it would be a great day out for the whole family no doubt. The main thing is that everyone goes out feeling like they've leant something.
maybe this sat am or pm?
I don't usually arrive until the early afternoon, but there are other stewards on at different times... Ken Kiss--the great master--is there Saturdays; he can tell you anything specific you need to know.
Last edited by Falkor on 14 Nov 2006 12:17, edited 1 time in total.

leaf
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Post by leaf » 14 Nov 2006 00:42

sat early afternoon sounds good to me,saturday mornings are not for rushing!

i find neurofen cold and flu tablets are excellent,make you feel so much better.

i look forward to visiting the museum,see you there!

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 18 Nov 2006 19:24

leaf, what happened to you? :shock: I was looking forward to meeting you... Are you still ill!? I realise you must have a lot on your plate having to support 3 children... I don't think I could handle the responsibility.

Steve, I spoke to Ken about the Water Temples; he said the statues were made of metal--either zinc or copper (most likely copper to help with their green colour)--light and hollow. I couldn't find the statue base at Sheenewood today--need to check out Stuart's article again to find out exactly where it's located--was walking around Sydenham in the dark again. From your photos you put up last week, I remember the Shenewood statue base also being of a greenish colour, but was it made of metal or stone? Following the demolition of the Water Temples, Ken believes the statues may have been placed on top of the 2 Bandstands (North Tower Gardens and Central Lower Terrace) within the grounds of the palace up until around the time of the war. However, looking at a cropped photo of the 1889 Tower Bridge model over the South Grand Fountain, the south Water Temple statue does appear to be missing this early on(!), unless it was taken down temporarily or something. It would be impossible to know the full details of these 2 specific statue copies, as there were about a thousand throughout the entire grounds, and a lot of this history just isn't recorded as you know. I still need to check out the large 1889 photo showing both Water Temples, and Ken said he will look into it some more over the next fortnight.

leaf
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Post by leaf » 18 Nov 2006 19:50

:oops: sorry falkor

i cant even use my children as an excuse,just me having a bad day,im really sorry.

Falkor
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Post by Falkor » 19 Nov 2006 11:27

Statue doesn't appear to be on one bandstand...
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But it appears to be on the other bandstand!
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