The sign is green so it must be Bromley! The Lawrie Park Estate is one cohesive area but that didn’t stop it being put into two separate boroughs. Lawrie Park Road starts in Lewisham – but half way along becomes Bromley.
Back at the Sydenham end – The Old Cedars (originally Wunderbau) was once a hotel but is now a residential home for the elderly operated by Excelcare. The splendid gardens to the rear can still be glimpsed from Raymond Close.
2 Lawrie Park Road – opposite The Old Cedars. A residential centre run by Lewisham Council and recently and attractively refurbished.
Number 64 – another Lewisham Council property. A fine old villa was demolished about 15 years ago to build this home for elderly people. Perhaps not entirely successfully artistically. It has also leaked water across the pavement for many years being a hazard to frail people when frost or ice is around.
Opposite is Cricketers Walk. A plaque on this building proclaims it was built on the site of WG Grace’s old home. This development replaced a post war hostel for NatWest staff. When NatWest closed the building it was used for a time as a hostel by Hackney Council. Presumably for the people they did not want in Hackney! It certainly caused a real crime wave in Lawrie Park.
York House – a good solid traditional set of well maintained apartments. The gardens are attractive and the new wall should mellow with time!
The south side of the Sydenham end of Lawrie Park Road consists of many villas similar to these now converted (or being re-converted) into flats. One of the villas pictured is where the police arrested the infamous M25 murderers. Infamous both because of the terrible way the murders were done and by the controversy over whether there had been a miscarriage of justice.
The villas above had long gardens reaching down to the railway line which have now been redeveloped into modern houses by Lewisham. The initial effect was most attractive – but a lack of maintenence has taken its toll. More successful has been the small scale development opposite known as Colvin Close.
Lawrie Park Road’s most famous address is St Christopher’s Hospice. Founded by Dame Cecily Saunders – this was the foundation of the hospice movement and the belief that all could die peacfully, in comfort and with dignity. The original 1960s building has expanded to include a large house and a new education centre.
Finally – people waiting at the bus stop opposite the Hospice can get a glimpse through the bushes of the Sydenham Lawn Tennis and Squash Club. The Club is ‘seriously competitive’ but the local tennis association runs access courses to enable young and not so young people to get into the game.