Crystal Palace

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Post to the south Crystal Palace

Border Road

2/2a mid 19th century pair

16/18, substantially altered and not very appealing.   Mid 19th.

Bradford Road

55 Whole families were wiped out in their garden Anderson shelters in the Blitz.  It was quite a common occurrence. On 19 September 1940, seven or eight members of a single family perished

Charleville Circus.

The design of the houses does not measure up to the opportunity presented by this attractive circular layout. There are five pairs on the inner circle, and two groups on the outer circle. All houses are of the 1880s, more or less Gothic in style

13 modern intrusion.

Coombe Road

St Philip the Apostle Church. This low-lying church of 1983, with its steeply raked back roof, occupies the eastern half of the site of the original St Philips Church, built by Edwin Nash 1865, demolished 1982.   The rest of the site now forms part of the Wells Park Estate. An enclosed garden outside has a bell and a crucifix from the old church. The interior has a fine modern altar, font and lectern, and from the old church, a statue of Christ the King and ceramic Stations of the Cross - interwar, attributed to the workshop of Eric Gill

Wells Park Hall, a Gothic building, was built by Edwin Nash c1870 as St Philips School; it is now Sydenham Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Crystal Palace

Ridge between here and Honor Oak. Claygate Beds capping the ridge

Crystal Palace Park Road

Lined with mansions

57 – 61 1882

Chulsa Estate. Craftsmanly style of the 1950s

1-3 lodge of Penge Place – which was demolished for the Crystal Palace

Railway bridge. Between the two railway tunnels was called Hollow Combe and Upper Sydenham Station was there, steps down, it was above North of the Penge Line Railway

Paxton Tunnel. Called this because it passed near under Paxton’s house. 439 yards.

Hollow Coombe – ridge between the two tunnels

Landscaped Woodland on the tunnel cusp.

Halifax Street

This street preserves an authentic atmosphere as it bends round to Wells Park Road. There are pairs of cottages c1849 and terraces of double fronteded houses and an Italianate terrace of the early 1850s.

High Level Drive

Hillcrest Estate Wood. Around portal of old tunnel.  

Hillcrest Estate. This sprawling estate of 1967, accessed by High Level Drive, occupies a valley below the ridge of Sydenham Hill and between Westwood Hill and Wells Park Road. The blocks and terraces, though uninspired in themselves, are nicely arranged in closes in an evocative rural environment, with steep wooded fragments remaining from the Great North Wood.

Bridge House Estate property marker post of 1816.  At the junction of High Level Drive and Westwood Hill.  Rather eroded

South of Upper Sydenham Station the line crossed over the Penge tunnel of the LCDR line

Jews Walk

An attractive road, in which two fine groups of houses have survived.     The street was named after a line of elm trees planted in the late 18th century by David Ximenes, who lived in Westwood House, which was located opposite Jew's Walk on    the other side of Westwood Hill. Villas classical all slightly different

Farnborough House early to mid c19, a three-bay early c 19 villa

1-15 contrasting Victorian Tudor Gothic pairs some plain stock brick, others with diapering. Fanciful Gothic / Tudor houses c1852, rather more eccentric to the group round the corner at Westwood Hill

1/11 is three pairs some with gargoyles and patterned brick.

7 Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl Marx, lived with Edward Aveling from 1895, and committed suicide there in 1898.

13, the southernmost house, is large and detached, handsome in bright red brick, an impressive tower and a recessed Gothic porch.

2/6 at the northern end in Georgian style

Lawrie Park Avenue

The finest street on the Lawrie Park Estate, highly attractive, wide and spacious with grass verges and many trees; it was laid out in this fashion soon after 1852; it was formerly known as Sydenham Avenue and as The Avenue. The view along the Avenue northwards towards St Bartholomew's Church is impressive; this is the view featured in Camille Pissarro's painting of 1871, 'La Route de Sydenham', which is in the National Gallery

Roundabout with the boundary oak, which marked the boundaries of the parishes of St Mary Lewisham and St George Beckenham until 1900, of the boroughs of Lewisham and Beckenham (and of the counties of London; and Kent) from 1900 to 1965, and of the boroughs of Lewisham and Bromley since 1965.

53 The only house remaining from the time of Pissarro's painting facing the roundabout, a large vaguely classical house, probably c1860, but much altered.

35a Burnage Court.  At the junction of Lawrie Park Avenue and Westwood Hill, Pissarro shows Dunedin House, 1859; this is the present building on the site,

Lawrie Park Crescent

Preserves more of its original houses than any oil street on the Lawrie Park Estate. It originally comprised four large stuccoed pairs the late 1850s and one smaller house in the middle. Three of the four pairs have survived

82/84 much altered 1900;

2/4 relatively unaltered and quite handsome

10, relatively unaltered and quite handsome

Lawrie Park Gardens

On the Lawrie Park Estate. The part between Westwood Hill and Lawrie Park Avenue was laid out c1863. The part between Lawrie Park Avenue and Lawrie Park Road was laid out earlier, cl860.

10 Ashbourne House, a large classical house of 1864, the contrast between its vivid white stone dressings and its lively yellow brick being quite appealing

87, an attractive stuccoed house, probably of 1864

115/123, 1866, in poor condition and rather ungainly.

183 Woolwich House large stuccoed Italianate house of 1861,

191, with a bold porch. Large stuccoed Italianate house of 1861,

Longton Avenue

An imposing street, which sweeps round the south and west of Sydenham Wells Park. Most houses are Edwardian or interwar, not special in themselves, but they have quite an impact overlooking the park. There are however two interesting groups, at the junctions with Longton Grove and with Ormanton Road are self-build c1982, based on the Walter Segal concept

2/4 1856

6 1862

8 -10 are tall houses, with fine bow through three floors, of 1866

16 a fine classical

70/72 a fine classical  c1857.

Rock Hill

615,000 gall tank and cast iron of brickwork standpipe 415' above OD cottages and buildings. Lambeth Water Co. 1890. Opening of Crystal Palace in 1854 and a lot of building in the area so works built in 1856. Two hp engines, etc. Lambeth Co. standpipe in obelisk form and forced the water over it to a height of 415' above OD.


Grand houses built in the area following the arrival of Crystal Palace. The hilly region of Sydenham has a character quite different from the rest of Lewisham. A sizeable hamlet existed by the c16 along Sydenham Road. Uphill were the 500 acres of Sydenham Common, of which Wells Park is now the only reminder. Springs were discovered there c.1640 and Sydenham became a minor spa, but did not develop much until the common was enclosed in 1819. In the later c19, Upper Sydenham became a suburb of large wealthy mansions. Many directors and officials of the palace lived in the neighbourhood, including Paxton, Owen Jones, its secretary Sir George Grove, and Samuel Phillips, author of the catalogues.

Sydenham Avenue

The continuation of Lawrie Park Avenue to the London Borough of Bromley, and maintains its grandeur. Some older buildings have survived.

6 Sommerfield. Looks like a long low stuccoed Regency house, but was originally a pair of outbuildings for two houses of the 1850s; they were joined together, probably in the late 19th century.

3/9 9, a group of four large and stately detached houses remaining from a larger group c1885, similar in style but alternately red brick

Brooklyn Cottage almost hidden behind trees and shrubs; it was originally the coach-house and stables for Southwood Lodge, later called Brooklyn, built 1859, demolished 1998.

Taylor’s Lane

St Philip, 1864-7 by E. Hash and Round, with transept chapel of 1896 by C. H. M. Mileham. Demolished 1983

Church site of Sydenham Wells Farm - George III. Demolished. Font was supposed to be on the site

Vigilant Close

Upper Sydenham Station. At the far point of the estate, is the site of the platforms of now a flat grassed area leading up to the mouth, with its ornamental brickwork, of the Crescent Wood tunnel, which emerged about 300 metres to the north in Sydenham Hill Wood. A lane leads from here steeply up to the old stationmaster's house.  The station was opened in 1884 on the Crystal Palace High Level line, which closed 1954

Wells Park

Sydenham Wells - just to the west of the canal on the Common. The Wells, which were later written of as coming from the Dulwich Wells, were noted in 1648 by John Peters, physician, for their curing properties.   Poor women were cured by water from the spring in the woods and it became a spa. It became well known, and was visited by George III. Even St.Bartholomew's Hospital bought supplies. Thanks to the Wells, Sydenham was fairly commercialised before even the canal arrived. In 1910 the wells were covered by St.Mary's Oratory.

This attractive park, opened 1901, has in the north rolling parkland, and ponds and springs, now the only visible manifestation of Sydenham Wells.. Was it built to recreate the sections of the Rhine – was it because of all the Germans living there? Some old trees from the old forest of 1648 remain. Lots of pigeons.  Called Hatton Comb Hill. Hambrick Hall site was held by the Manor under Act of Enclosure in 1810 but London County Council/Lewisham bought the park in 1901. 12 wells. John Burns opened it. Pets corner - budgies, rabbits, pheasant, finches, and waxbills.  Originally part of Westwood Common, this is the site of the Sydenham Wells, a popular chalybeate watering hole in the 17th & 18th centuries, visited by king and commoner alike. Opened in 1901 as a formal park, its running waters apparently represent the River Rhine - a lasting testimony to the German community present in the area at that time.

The Shepherd Boy small bronze by Mortimer Brown 1964

Childrens Play area was a  pond near Taylors Lane at the bottom of the hill. Flowed into a valley which can be traced beyond the park.

Hollow Combe in the south west corner of the park spring here which feeds a series of small ponds

Pond at the east end is the largest fed from Hollow Combe. Bridge at the pond outlet. .

Westwood Hill

Few remain of the lavish later Victorian mansions in every style, standing in large wooded gardens, which used to cover the upper slopes.

Boundary of Kent and Surrey. Westwood was tract of waste land which belonged to Lewisham in the Middle Ages - very long legal battle for commons rights in 16th century helped by Colfe who was local vicar

Old Cedars.  Large, with a Victorian front, but from the back visibly a house built c. 1780-90, with two full-height bow-windows, and with contemporary stables at the side. In part late 18th century, now a nursing home. The front view shows, from left to right: the dominant section, of the 1860s, including a canted bay and the attractive entrance porch; the original house of the early 1770s consisting of four bays plus the ground floor only of the next bay; a large neo-Georgian extension of 1992 which also covers the one storey part of the original house. To the left of the house are the Georgian coach-house and stables.

St. Benet 1827-72 house

43 Caen Tower, an extraordinary Gothic house of 1884, with a fanciful tower, gables and oriels.

108 Sunnydene. The most interesting survival at the corner of Sydenham Hill. 1868-70 for W. R. Sutton, founder of the Sutton housing trust. Eclectic Queen Anne mixture, with elaborate brickwork. A large and strange house designed by John Francis Bentley 1870. The projecting windows on the upper floor are the dominant feature; on the buttress underneath is a sunburst (a motif repeated on a gatepost) and the letters AVE. The gable has herringbone brickwork and an eagle on top, and there is some elaborate brickwork. The house forms a fine group with the adjacent houses, 106 and 104, also c1870, but overall more classical in style.

Bridge House Estate property marker - tall post 1816

Ellerslie, although much altered, was also built for Sutton by Bentley.

St.Bartholomew on what was Sydenham Common 1851 inside older

Sydenham High School

Westwood House was built 1766, and used by the Lawrie family in the early 19th century. It was rebuilt by John Pearson 1881 for Henry Uttleton, proprietor of the music publisher Novello, the largest business of its kind in the world when he retired in 1887. The house was demolished 1952; the Sheenewood Estate is now on the site. The elms were replaced by chestnuts in the 1850s. Hand cut bricks.

Sydenham High School, of the Girls Day School Trust. The school opened in 1887 and c1934 moved here to Homer Grange, 19 Westwood Hill.  Horner Grange, a fantastic Gothic mansion of 1883, remains the main building of the school. The front has a triple arched entrance flanked by gabled bays; the rear has a similar entrance with a balcony above; both the front and (in winter) the rear are best seen from Amberley Grove. There is a great look-out tower, with wonderful views to the north and east. A ballroom with a minstrel's gallery remains from a mansion off 1874 on the site; it is now the dining-room, and projects to the rear alongside Amberley Grove. Some of the rooms have exotic fireplaces of the 1900s. The main part of the building was badly damaged by fire 1997, and was well restored 1998. The school also occupies: the former coach-house and stables of Horner Grange, now the Technology Centre, in front on Westwood Hill, an extraordinary Gothic building of 1889 designed by Joseph Fogarty, with fanciful gables, turrets and chimneys: the former lodge. C1887: and 15 Westwood Hill now the Junior School, a large classical building of 1862. In between these older buildings are a series of interwar and postwar buildings, including a startling red brick block of 1993 along Amberley Grove

Fire hydrant opposite Jews Walk. gone

Fire hydrant west of Taylors Lane. Gone

Fire hydrant by Hillcrest Road. Gone


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