Post to the north Crystal Palace
Penge Common. This area was originally part of Penge Common.
The Croydon Canal. The canal lay to the north of the railway but the route was obliterated by development in the 1870s. In the 1840s the canal was still in water and used for leisure, activities like boating and angling.
Penge West Station. Opened in 1839 this now lies between Anerley and Sydenham on Southern Rail and is now also part of London Overground, who currently manage the station. The original Penge station was opened by the London and Croydon Railway in 1839 and was closed again in 1841. The buildings remained while the line was parallel for the atmospheric railway and widened twice. In 1863 it was reopened by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway when the buildings were replaced. The ticket office was on the down platform along with a goods office, and waiting room. It appears to have been renamed Penge Bridges for a while. It was then accessed by a road from Penge High Street and there were sidings and a coal yard. This area has all now been removed and replaced by a large shop and access to the whole station is only from Anerley Park. The building on the up side was burnt down in 2005 and has since been rebuilt. The white painted house at the far eastern end of the station frontage has been suggested as the gatekeeper’s house from the original London and Croydon railway.
Road built in 1827 following the enclosure of the common Land sold to SE railway by W.Sanderson
Railway Bridge. This under road bridge carries the line running south from Crystal Palace station.
The Thicket. This pub was closed in 2011 and is now flats. It appears to date from the 1860s
Clarendon Hotel. This was originally the City of London Hotel and stood on the corner with Madeline Road. It was associated with the Crystal Palace Brewery to the rear.
Local authority housing built in the 1970s. It appears to be on the line of what was Ridsdale Road.
Anerley Tea Rooms Gardens. These lay to the west of the canal - a ‘pleasure garden’ with a maze and bandstand built parallel with the canal. It remained until 1868.
The Croydon Canal. This lay between the railway and the tea gardens – probably on the line of what became St. Hugh’s Road – now covered by housing south of Castledine Road. It is said that some signs and relics of the canal can be seen on the west side of the road.
St. Hugh’s Community Centre and playground. When the estate was built residents lobbied for community facilities and it was agreed a community hall should be built on empty land. The St Hugh’s Estate Community Centre was opened in the early 1980’s, plus a small public open space and games area. The residents’ association took on the day-to-day management.
St. James’s Mission church. This stood on the corner of what were St. Hugh’s Road and Castledine Road. It was attached to St. Paul’s church south of Anerley Road. It survived into at least the late 1960s.
Mural –colourful mural with mysterious lettering
The Canal ran from Croydon to the Grand Surrey Canal at New Cross, It opened in 1809 and closed in 1836, the first canal to be abandoned by an Act of Parliament. The canal was bought by the London and Croydon railway whose line closely followed the canal route. The line of the canal through this area thus follows the railway as it runs from Penge West to Anerley Stations.
Crystal Palace. A vast edifice of glass and iron. This square covers the south eastern quarter of the park, although not the site of the Palace itself. The rest of the park is in squares to the north and west.
The Crystal Palace was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and stood in Hyde Park. After the Exhibition the Palace was dismantled and in 1854 was re-erected mainly through the sponsorship of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company. The site had been owned by Leo Schuster a director of the railway, who sold it to the Palace company. The site had previously been Penge Place in part of the Great North Wood. It opened in 1854. It was eventually burnt down in 1936 but the park has remained. In 1951 Gerald Barry, Festival of Britain, director, was asked to advise on the best use of the space by then taken over by the London County Council. He proposed an exhibition centre but the Council only acted on his idea of a sports and training centre.
National Sports Centre. Although a major feature of the park the address is Ledrington Road (below)
Penge Entrance. The main entrance to the pleasure grounds is from this entrance in Thicket Road. It was once a lesser pedestrian entrance, which was enlarged around 1880 to include a small ticket office, and it now leads to a car park.
Anerley Entrance. This is a pedestrian gate immediately north-east of the railway bridge over Thicket Road
Grand Central Walk. This was 2,660 feet long and 96 feet wide to provide a walk way link up to the palace. It has since been curtailed and goes to the raised terrace of the sports centre and is lined by plane trees.
Cafe. This is adjacent to the Central Walk and was built in the 20th.
Visitor Centre. This is on the site of the lower engine house which pumped water from the tidal lake up to the intermediate lake. A supplementary supply of water came from an adjacent 500 feet deep artesian well
Gorilla. Adjacent to the Central Walk is the statue of the late Gorilla, Guy, an inmate of London Zoo, shown on all fours in smooth marble. It dates from 1961 and is by David Gwynne.
The Lower Lake - boating lake. This is west of the Central Walk. It was built in 1854 as a lower reservoir for Paxton's water displays. The lake contains three islands and Paxton, with Professor David Amsteam, designed them to represent geology. The tail of the lake is crossed by a rustic iron bridge designed by Paxton which also provides a viewing platform.
The Prehistoric Monsters. These are 22 statues of how prehistoric creatures were thought to look. They are in bronze, realistically painted, and life-size. They were made in 1854 in artificial stone and iron rods by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins under the direction of Professor R. Owen, who invented the word ‘dinosaur’ The iguanodon was large enough for twenty-one men to dine in its half-completed body. In 2000 they were renovated and reset in realistic poses around the lake where the islands were created to represent the rocks and plants from these times. There is a numbered trail to explain what each of the figures represents.
Cave with artificial stalactites. This is now sealed.
Palace Farmyard. This is was the site of polo stables.
South Basin. The remains of this feature, by Paxton is used as a pool for flamingos.
Cricket ground and cricket pavilion. This was built in 1960 to replace the original; pavilion, used by W G Grace. The ground was established in 1857 and used for first-class cricket 1864-1906. Initially it was used by Kent County Cricket Club and fro 1900 by the London County Cricket Club. The site was later used for tennis and then football but, as part of the National Sports Centre, cricket has been played on the site since the 1990s.
HMS Crystal Palace , this is an open-sided timber structure with a ship's bell, which commemorates the men of the Royal Navy at the training depot, H.M.S. Victory VI at the Crystal Palace, 1914 – 1918
Experimental Pneumatic Railway. This ran between Sydenham and Penge gates in the 1860's. The means of propelling the train was pioneered by Webster Rammel. Rammell persuaded the Crystal Palace Company to let him build a 600 yard tunnel which incorporated a sharp bend and at one point a 1:15 gradient. This was a full size carriage which was basically blown down the tunnel and then, the fan reversed, to pull it back up by a vacuum. It was opened to the public in 1864 for 6d. for a return journey. The storey goes that that somewhere beneath Crystal Palace is a 600 yard long rail tunnel, sealed at both ends, is a railway carriage full of skeletons.,
Motor-racing track. The circuit opened in 1927 and the first race was for motorcycles, Racing was halted at the start of the Second World War, but returned between 1954 and 1972.
Maze. This dated from 1866 but fell into disrepair after the Palace fire and was levelled in the 1960s. It has now been recreated by Bromley Council following the original design and using hornbeam hedges.
Crystal Palace Park Farm. This is run as a resource for children by Capel Manor College. It has replaced a Children’s Zoo which had camel rides and an adventure playground
Armoury. This was near the Penge Gate
Rosary and bandstand. This was a rosary, spiral mound and bandstand from 1852. It is now the site of a walkway from the stadium to the station.
Paxton. Large marble head of Paxton, designer of the palace and the park, on a plinth and signed by W. F. Woodington, sculptor of the Lion Brewery lion, and dated 1869. It was reinstalled in 1981 at the entrance to the National Recreation Centre. It is five times life size with a romantic mane of hair.
Crystal Palace Park Road
Built as Penge New Road by the turnpike trust in 1827 and lined with tall red mansions of the 1880s.
Telephone Exchange. This dates from around 1970
Crystal Palace Station Road
Crystal Palace Low Level station. This opened in 1854 and lies between Norwood Junction and Gipsy Hill on Southern Rail and the terminus of the East London Line of the London Overground.. The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway opened the station to passengers on in time for the opening of Crystal Palace in 1854. This was meant to be a combined terminal and through station with a line to Norwood, provided for construction traffic to Crystal Palace and a special line laid for Crystal Palace traffic run and as a shuttle. East of the line there was a local down line for East Station. The LBSCR ran trains in 1856 to the West Station, from Wandsworth Common and from Victoria and then onwards to Shortlands and Norwood Junction. It was a monumental scheme, with an enormous train shed as part of the "Crystal Palace Experience", and so in the grand manner. (it was dismantled in 1905 after Charing Cross Station roof fell down). The booking hall was between the two sets of lines on the bridge above the tracks and with a cast-iron arched roof with ribs in foliage patterns and pavilion roofs on either side. There was a sweeping staircase, on the platform, which has been demolished. There was a chapel in the booking hall and a restaurant on the first floor, stationmaster’s house, and directors’ room. There was a glazed covered way to the Palace with statues with niches in which to have a rest. After the Second World War it provided a service to the National Sports Centre although many of the 19th features have been removed. In 1986 a new entrance and ticket office were built and in 2009 a considerable amount of work was involved in setting it for the London Overground service, including the re-use of a previously abandoned platform.
Three signal boxes.
Goods and coal yard. This was between the two halves of the station. The Crystal Palace Company’s had their own dock.
St.Paul’s Church was built and the parish formed in 1865 as the population of the area expanded. It was replaced by the current octagonal church in 1978.
Crystal Palace National Leisure Centre. This is a large leisure centre with a modern gym, pools, diving boards, climbing walls and tennis courts. It opened in 1964 built by GLC and is currently run by Better. It covers the lower slopes south of the palace site and uses he basins of the fountains as sites.
The sports centre building was designed by the London County Council Architects Department under Leslie Martin between 1953–54. Inside is a central concourse with a complex exposed concrete frame supporting the roof, which has a folded teak lining. The diving pool has, or had, a dramatic reinforced concrete diving platform.
Crystal Palace Brewery, Ransby and Billing. This seems to have opened in the mid-1870s and to have had a variety of owners until destroyed by Second World War bombing.
A service road round the rear of recent industrial development. It is mainly built on the site of sidings and coal yard connected too Penge West Station. It lay between the railway and the route of the
Ametek Muirhead Aerospace. This was set up in 1950 as Field Aircraft Services and is a subsidiary of AMETEK Inc. They provide support to the aviation industry with a facility near to London Heathrow Airport is one of the largest independent repair facilities in Europe. It offers sales, repair, overhaul, modification and flight data recorder transcription capability.
Europa. This is a furniture hire business which evolved from a carpet fitting warehouse.
Croydon Canal.The canal curved through this area and provided a boundary to rear gardens. In 1970 when the ground beside the railway was dug for development they found a wall of brown clay and rubble infilling on what was the old canal bed.
Public Library. Penge's original library was on the corner with Laurel Grove and opened in 1894. It closed in 1928. The building here was damaged in the Second World War and has now been replaced with flats.
Oakfield Industrial Estate – originally engineering works and sheet metal works.
2 Royal Oak. This pub closed in 2011. It probably dated from the 1850s and was originally with the Lion Brewery. The site is now flats.
17-19 a new medical centre here replacing the old (listed) Penge Clinic which included a Relief Station and other outbuildings.
48 General Jackson. Charrington pub demolished in the 1970s.
121 Railway Bell. This pub was demolished in the 1970s – despite its green tiled frontage. It dated from the 1880s. The pub sign however remains in place on the roadside.
Oakfield Road School, this was transferred to Penge School Board in 1901 – presumably from Kent. It was a monumental school, but not in the London School Board style. It was latterly Penge County Secondary School.
Housing from the 1980s on an area previously railway sidings and unused. The dinosaurs are in the park on the other side of the railway
Penge High Street
Originally known as Beckenham Lane
2 Bridge House pub
Bridge House Theatre. In the upstairs of the pub
Beckenham Wharf – John Scott’s wharf on the canal was just north of the bridge on the west side of the road. It was also known as Penge Common Wharf canal.
Croydon canal. This crossed the road at the same point as the London to Croydon railway. The crossing included a swing bridge. .
Railway Bridge. This ornamental bridge of 1854 carries the line to Crystal Palace Station. It has three segmental arches with ornamental panelled brickwork.
Railway Bridge. The London and Croydon railway originally crossed the High Street by a level crossing and trains would have waited while the crossing gates were opened for them. After the station closed in 1841, the level crossing was converted to a bridge. The road had to be lowered to provide headroom.
Penge West Station. The original entrance to the station was on the High Street. Evidence of this can be seen in the brickwork below the bridge. On re-opening it was first called Penge Bridges.
Railway Bridge. This was built in. 1854 and his skew with an ornate perforated parapet.
Croydon Canal. Properties in the Close follow the alignment of the canal which was to the right of Trenholme Terrace and ran towards Castledine Road
Anerley School for Deaf Boys. Founded in 1902 to each a ‘pure form of oralism’. Boys were taught bakery, shoe mending, carpentry and so on. The school closed 1956 on conversion to a school for ‘maladjusted children’. As Anerley School for Boys it was a ‘Community Special School’. This has closed and the site is now flats.
Church, - this is now flats. It was built as the New Church (Swedenborgian). The architect was W.E. Henley, manager of the Concrete Building Company and is built in pitted concrete, now coloured pink. In the Second World War the building was damaged by a rocket attack. The building was finally sold in 198.
Community Vision Nursery
Beckenham History. Web site
Canals from Croydon to Camberwell,
Chelsea Speleological Society. Newsletter
Cinema Theatres Association. Newsletter
Clunn. The Face of London
Crystal Palace Park Heritage and Nature Norwood Trail
Darke. The Monument Guide
Green Chain Walk., leaflet
Green. Around Dulwich
Forbears. Web site
Headley & Meulenkamp. Follies, Grottoes and Garden Buildings
Industrial Archaeology Review
Laurie. Beneath the City Streets
London Borough of Bromley. Web site
Lost Pubs Project. Web site
Norwood Society. Web site
Parks and Gardens. Web site
Pevsner. West Kent
Pevsner and Cherry, South London
Pub History. Web site
Remnants of the Croydon Canal. Web site
South East London Industrial Archaeology
Thames Basin Archaeology of Industry. Report
Thorne. Old and New South London
Wagstaff and Pullen. Beckenham. An Anthology of Local History
Warwick. The Phoenix Suburb