Thames Tributary Ravensbourne - Pool River - Beaulieu Heights

Thames Tributary Ravensbourne
A small stream – a tributary of the Pool River, flows south east towards the Pool and the Ravensbourne.
TQ 33630 69371

Urban area on the steep south slope behind Crystal Palace. This was part of the Great North Wood and, despite all the houses, the area is still very wooded. Of note here is the South Norwood Lake - a local amenity originally built as a feeder lake for the Croydon Canal, and, on the high slopes, the smaller of the two TV transmitters.

Post to the north Crystal Palace
Post to the east Anerley

Auckland Road
Entrance to Beaulieu Heights Field
Beaulieu Heights Field. This is on a slope and was part of the Great North Wood. The area belonged to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and woodland today is much the same size. There were two houses here Hazelwood and Beaulieu Lodge and the park is made up of their gardens. The land was bought from the Church Commissioners in 1938, but it did not open to the public until after the war. During August 1976 one acre of the woodland was burnt down

Beulah Hill
1-11 group of dwellings which cover a significant period of late Victorian/Edwardian architectural thought.

Cypress Road
Cypress Infants School. Pond and nature garden. The Living Willow Wheel Maze - A local natural resource, young living willow trees have been woven into spirals, walkways and a castle. These sculptures are in the grounds of the school.

Falkland Park Road
Named for the 11th Viscount Falkland, Spurgeon’s College was his mansion. The college came from Newington in 1923

Forsyte Crescent
Site of Hazelwood. The land was owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury under the Croydon Inclosure Acts of 1800. It was leased out to Lord Auckland. Hazelwood was built by a sub lessee. By the late 1880s it was owned by United Kingdom Provident Institution and they wanted to turn it into a film studio but from 1921 it were used for disabled soldiers who did a lot of damage, it was then demolished.

Grange Hill
10 Gayfere

South Norwood Lake
The largest expanse of water in Croydon, the lake was originally a reservoir to serve the canal that ran through South Norwood. The reservoir was entirely different to the one at Sydenham Common. It was on the lower slopes of Beulah Hill, once part of Croydon Common and tapped small streams from springs near the summit of the hill. It was larger but shallow being formed against the canal on the level common. The water is held back by a dam on the south and east sides. The reservoir overflow, the original canal feeder of, is still in the eastern corner at the head of the dam - it had joined the canal north of the railway. Croydon bought it and it to the public in 1931. The davits still there.
The stream flows from the lake through the open space between it and Maberley Road. It flowed into the lake at its north-east corner and out at the south-east. This is one of the sources of the Pool River.

Maberley Road
A stream that rises somewhere near the foot of Fox Hill, flows through the open space between Maberley Road and South Norwood Lake, where it can still be seen in wet weather.

Ross Road
Kilravock House. Thought to have inspired Conan Doyle in the 'Sign of the Four'.
35 Canham Lodge

South Norwood Road
Down from All Saints Church to South Norwood the road was called Beggars Hill and covered with woods. There were gypsy camps all the way down the hill.

South Norwood Hill
TV Transmitter 1955 for ITV. The Authority decided to locate its first station near the site of the BBC transmitter. A suitable open space was found here. The single 10kW transmitter was the first in Band III set constructed in this country. It was an experimental 8-stack omni-directional vertically polarized array, supported on a 200ft tower of 'stock design. The first programmes were transmitted from here in September 1955. a second fully-engineered production 10kW transmitter was later installed as a standby. IBA TV mast. The complex won a Civic Trust award in 1970 with the wooded expanse of the woods of Beaulieu Heights in the background.
All Saints Church. In 1827 the site was called Backcow. The church was consecrated in 1829 designed by James Savage, as a Chapel of Ease to Croydon Parish Church and a Commissioners’ Church. The Tower and Spire were added in 1841 and the Chancel in 1861. It was bombed in the Second World War. Painted by Pissaro during Franco Prussian war. Mentioned in David Copperfield.
Churchyard. The churchyard contains the graves of a number of distinguished residents incouding Admiral Fitzroy, hydrographer and meteorologist, inventor of the Fitzroy barometer, one time Governor of New Zealand who went with Darwin on Beagle. His gravestone is close to the church door.
All Saints schoolhouse. Big argument about pulling it down. Savage designed the famous All Saints school house, which survived until the late sixties but was then demolished allegedly to create more playing field space for the modern All Saints school
Beaulieu Mansion and gardens is still in use and is situated at the top of the hill. The mansion was a hotel for a while and then became an old peoples’ home.

Sylvan Road
St.John the Evangelist. 1878-87 by Pearson. As people moved into the area after the construction of Crystal Palace an iron church was built. Then Reverend William Fairbairn La Trobe-Bateman commissioned a new church funded by local donations. The church was badly bombed in the Second World War and rebuilt again through local donations. It is early English design in plain red brick – very high and grand.
17 Sylvan Mount Lodge
Housing by Riches & Blythin, 1956, taking advantage of the trees on the site.
Sylvan estate, a private estate built in the late 1960s
Harris City Technology College


All Saints Church. Web site

Canals Croydon to Camberwell

Cypress Infant School. Web site
GLIAS Newsletter
Goldsmiths. South East London Industrial Archaeology
Harris College. Web site
London Borough of Croydon. Web site
London Encyclopaedia
Penguin. Surrey
Pevsner and Cherry, Surrey
Pevsner and Cherry. South London,
Stewart.  History, of Croydon
St.John the Evangelist. Web site


AlanS said…
I believe the stream flows from the Maberley Road area to the lake. It is visible in the grass in winter and for the first time in many years in Summer, June 2019. Another stream drains the land south of Sylvan Hill and to the west of Auckland Road. It emerges in the woodland behind Acorn gardens, flows (all year round) through the woods and is piped under the playing field to join the lake at the south west corner.A third subterranean stream flows under Woodvale Avenue.
The davits you mention were for a trip boat once used on the lake. The Croydon sailing Club sails dinghies on the lake.

Alan Simpkins

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