SE27: Into the Wood

SE27 is West Norwood. This is another of those places I have been though but apart from once going to the cemetery, I do not think I have actually walked there.

The name Norwood comes from the “Great North Wood” – the hilly and wooded area to the north of Croydon. This area was originally known as “Lower Norwood”, to differentiate it from Upper Norwood, but as so often happened people did not like the implication of being in a place called “Lower”. The  station was renamed in the 1880s which changed the name of the whole locality.

We start our walk at West Norwood Post Office which is at 12 Knight’s Hill. Turn left out of the Post Office and immediately go down the side street, Nettlefold Place. Our first stop is almost straight ahead as the road bends to the left.

Stop 1: The Clockworks, Nettlefold Place

This industrial looking building is called The Clockworks.

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The Clockworks is a space that combines a museum, workshop, library and meeting space under one roof for people interested in the measurement and distribution of time using electric clocks. (Who knew that such a place existed!)

The Museum at The Clockworks houses a collection of electric clocks and related devices dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1970s. The collection is not restricted to timekeeping but also branches out into allied fields, such as early electricity metering and fire alarm telegraphy – both fields in which the early electric clock pioneers were also active. It is open by appointment.

More info about The Clockworks at: http://theclockworks.org/

Now retrace your steps to the main road and turn right. Our next stop is just past the Post Office on Knight’s Hill.

Stop 2: The old Library

This was the original library in West Norwood

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The West Norwood Free Public Library opened on 21 July 1888. It was commissioned by Sir Henry Tate on land donated by Frederick Nettlefold, who laid the foundation stone on 26 November 1887. The building was designed Sidney Smith, architect of Tate Britain and several other Lambeth libraries.

A new Library Building was opened nearby in April 1969 by Princess Margaret. Since then the ‘Old Library’ has been used by community groups and Lambeth’s youth service. However it is temporarily a library again as the 1960s building is currently being renovated as we shall shortly see.

Now head back down Knight’s Hill and keep going along the continuation which is Norwood Road. Our next stop is a little way along on the left.

Stop 3 Site of Regal Cinema, Number 322 Norwood Road,

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This is an unusual B & Q store being right on a main road. The site as you might have guessed was once home to a cinema. according to the wonderful Cinema Treasures site this was the location of the Regal Cinema. Built for A E Abrahams, it opened in January 1930. Acquired by the Hyams & Gale chain in April 1933, it was then taken over by Gaumont British Theatres in October 1935.

The Regal Cinema was closed by the Rank Organisation in February 1964. It then became a bingo club which lasted to 1978. The cinema building was demolished in November 1981.

Now keep going down Norwood Road until you get to Ullswater Road. On the right you will see an old Fire Station, which is now a children’s’ nursery.

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But look to the left of that and you will see an arched entrance way. That is what we have come to see.

Stop 4: The former Tram Depot

Today this archway leads to a self storage facility. I looked at this and thought it might have a story and indeed it does.

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This was built as a tram depot in 1909 by the London County Council (LCC).

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There is nothing to indicate this from the outside but with a bit a delving I found a picture of the tram depot in 1951

https://thetransportlibrary.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&path=2&product_id=84181

Just think this was only a tram depot for just over 40 years. Since the last trams ran in the early 1950s, it has been something else for longer than it was a tram depot.

Now retrace your steps along Norwood Road.

As you go you may spot the odd LCC Tramways manhole cover in the pavement. LCC trams were unusual in that they had their power supply in a conduit between the rails rather than from the more usual overhead wire. And so the electrical system for the trams was buried in the street with these access points..

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These survive even though the trams have long since disappeared..

At the end of Norwood Road, the street forks and in between sits St Luke’s Church. But before we get to that, turn left into West Norwood Cemetery.

Stop 5: West Norwood Cemetery

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West Norwood Cemetery – or The South Metropolitan Cemetery as it was first known – was one of the first large commercial, inter-denominational cemeteries in London, opening in 1837. The old city churchyards were getting over crowded and were polluting the areas around them, so new burial grounds were sought in what was then countryside. West Norwood Cemetery is one of the so-called magnificent seven Victorian cemeteries.

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It was designed by Sir William Tite (1798 – 1873), who was perhaps more famous for his railway stations. He planned the Episcopal (Anglican) and Dissenters’ (nonconformist) Chapels, both including catacombs beneath, which together could accommodate some 3,500 coffins. Provision was made not only for privately purchased family graves and vaults, but also for paupers’ burials in common graves.

He also designed the grand arch at the main entrance. The shield over the centre of the arch is that of the diocese of Canterbury.

Soon the South Metropolitan became the most fashionable cemetery in south London, known as the ‘Millionaires’ Cemetery’ from the quality of its mausoleums and other elaborate monuments. Not all the original buildings have survived.

Unlike some of the other magnificent seven cemeteries, this one was taken over by the local council, Lambeth who compulsorily purchased it in 1965.

More about the history can be found here:

https://www.fownc.org/

There are a lot of well known people buried here.To help find your way found here is a map:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=west+norwood+cemetery+plan&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjBqKjQhcrcAhXDDMAKHQq8C3kQ7Al6BAgKEA0&biw=1920&bih=898#imgrc=qobqFC1aeYsVQM:

This shows how the cemetery is divided into squares each with a number and you can just about work out where a grave is if you have that square reference.

I tracked down three. First was the Tate family mausoleum dating from the 1890s. If you follow the road to the crematorium and go past it, the Tate vault is just a little further as the road turns.

This is Plot 19897 in Square 38.

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More info at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/13832960/henry-tate

Then if you look ahead and slightly to the left you will see a path going off. This is Doulton Path.

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And not surprisingly this is where the Doulton family mausoleum is to be found.

This is Plot 22589 in Square 36

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More info at: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15606517/henry-doulton

There are a lot of well known people buried here including, cookery writer, Mrs Beeton (Plot 8348, Square 64); Paul Julius Reuter (Plot 28319, Square 23); architect William Burges (Plot 4478, Square 34); and builder Thomas Cubitt (Plot 649, Square 48). I did not get to find these however one I did find was that of Sir Horace Jones (Plot 12335, Square 89). This is along a small walkway called Ship Path which runs parallel to the main road to the Crematorium.

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Who was he, I hear you say. Well Sir Horace Jones (1819 – 1887) was particularly noted for his work as Architect and Surveyor to the City of London from 1864 until his death.

He designed and built some of London’s most famous markets – Smithfield, Billingsgate and Leadenhall. He also designed the memorial at Temple Bar at the boundary between the Cities of London and Westminster. But his most recognised work was Tower Bridge, which was completed posthumously.

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Now retrace your steps out of the cemetery.

As you head towards the lodge by the main gates have a look out for this grave on the left hand side. This is the grave of Sir Hiram Maxim – Plot 34481 in Square 124.

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Maxim is not a famous name, but he is known for creating the first portable, self powered, fully automatic machine gun. As such, it is credited for changing army tactics in the early 20th Century.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/16417890/hiram-stevens-maxim

He lived locally in Norwood Road towards Tulse Hill and developed his machine gun in the garden of his house, much to his neighbours annoyance. The house has been demolished and I have been unable to establish just where it might have been. Hence I did not include it when we were in Norwood Road.

At the gates, turn left. Our next stop is straight ahead.

Stop 6: St Luke’s Church

This is a wonderful set piece and apart from the cemetery, really the rest of West Norwood does not live up to this vista.

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St Luke’s Church was designed by Francis Octavius Bedford in 1822, as a result of the Church Building Act of 1818, which had been passed in response to the end of the Napoleonic wars and the growing urban population. It is known as a “Waterloo church” or a “Commissioners’ church” because it received a grant from the Church Building Commission towards the cost of its construction.

Unusually it is oriented north-south instead of east-west. This is due to a stipulation in the original planning permission that no building in what was then called Lower Norwood should be built within 100 feet of an existing building without the permission of the owner of the other building. An objection from the owner of the Horn’s Tavern meant St Luke’s had to be built in a north-south orientation to avoid falling within 100 feet of the tavern. But that did mean it could be sited it what turned out to be a rather pleasing way.

Inside the church was originally ordered by the main altar on the long east wall but this was changed in the 1870s. and was reordered again in 1972 according to architectural guru, Pevsner.

If you look back from the church you can see the triangular garden which has been created

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There is a small plaque which notes this was rededicated in 2009 and commemorates the residents of West Norwood who lost their lives, or who served at home or abroad during the Second World War.

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Our next stop is just to the right of the garden as you look down the garden from the main front of the church.

Stop 7: former Nettlefold Hall and Library

This is where the library moved in 1969.

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Pevsner calls it “dignified yet inviting”. Although you cannot see it from the road there is a hall behind the library building.

Today the  site is undergoing a transformation. The Nettlefold and West Norwood Library Redevelopment is an ambitious proposal to provide a town centre library, together with a cinema and café. Lambeth Council has partnered with Picturehouse Cinemas to do this. It seems that this was supposed to have been completed last year but it is clearly running late.

Nice to see the building being revitalised like this, but with a new cinema coming up the road in Crystal Palace and a Picturehouse opened in 2015 in East Dulwich, you have to wonder whether there will be enough business for all these new screens.

Now head along the road to the left of the church. Our next stop is just on the right.

Stop 8: South London Theatre

This building was the original fire station dating from 1881. But it had a short life as a fire station because it was built for horse-drawn fire engines and when motorised appliances were introduced they too big for the doors. It was too difficult and/or expensive to alter this building, so a new one was built in Norwood Road – that is the one we saw next to the old tram depot. That in turn has been replaced with something larger and more modern, which is just up Knight’s Hill.

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After the fire station moved this building was used by the local church as its hall. Then in 1967, it was converted into a theatre space designed by Brutalist architect Owen Luder – we saw his work in SE6 as he was responsible for the Catford Shopping Centre.

It is a non professional theatre which aims to produce at least 15 shows a year. The building has just undergone a major restoration and awaits its formal reopening, I understand.

More about the South London Theatre at: http://www.southlondontheatre.co.uk/who-we-are/

Now continue along this road which is Norwood High Street and take the next right.

Ahead on the left is the side entrance to our next stop. The main entrance is up the road and around the corner in Knight’s Hill.

Stop 9: West Norwood station

This is a somewhat uninspiring station.

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Go through the overgrown portacabin of a ticket office and you go onto an open bridge with the almost bare platforms below.

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The station was originally opened in December 1856, as part of the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway which linked into existing lines at Crystal Palace and Balham.

At first it was called Lower Norwood but it was renamed on 1 January 1886. As the area became developed the new residents disliked the connotation of “Lower” and so as explained above the station got renamed “West Norwood” which led to the whole area changing its name..

The line from Victoria to Crystal Palace was electrified in 1911 by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway using an AC overhead wire system. But with the creation of the Southern Railway in 1923, they inherited two different electrification systems and opted to standardise on a third rail DC system used by the London and South Western Railway. The line here was converted to this in March 1929.

The original station buildings were demolished in 1969, and replaced with these rather awful prefabricated buildings.

Now if you are at the main ticket office (or what passes for one) turn left and continue up Knight’s Hill. Our next stop is soon on the right.

Stop 10: Number 76 Knight’s Hill (former Royal Cinema)

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Just here is an unusual kind of place – an auction room. Not what you expect to find in deepest south east London. But in fact this building started off life as a cinema, according to Cinema Treasures. First called The West Norwood Picture Palace it was opened prior to 1929. Then it was renamed Cosy Cinema in 1933 and the Royal Cinema in 1937.

The Royal Cinema was closed in 1955. The auditorium survived but the front section was demolished and replaced by a garage forecourt, which explains today’s odd layout. Since around 2000, Rosebery’s Auction Rooms operate from the former auditorium.

Now continue along Knight’s Hill and soon on the left you will see our next stop.

Stop 11: Norwood Bus Garage

Although it does not look like it, there has been a bus garage here since 1909 when the London General Omnibus Company first opened one here. This makes it one of the oldest motor bus garage sites.

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The building was however rebuilt entirely in the early 1980s and looks like one of those bus stations you get in provincial English towns. Not really much more to say about it.

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Now on the Knights Hill side of the bus garage, there is a patch of rough garden, which is our next stop.

Stop 12: Norwood Bzz Garage

This is a community run garden created to attract bees – The Norwood Bzz Garage. There is an interesting analogy. The bus garage is as busy as a bee hive, and the buses coming home at dusk are just like bees and a bee hive at the end of the day.

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http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/youngreporter/16192546.Bees_Found_In_West_Norwood_Bzz_Garage/

Above the garden is a banner with a poem by Carol Ann Duffy called “A Rare Bee”

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This is more significant than it first appears. The banner has been coated with a new product branded PURETi, which is a harmless substrate made of Titanium Nitrate. This substrate uses light to activate the agent which then transforms NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) into harmless by-products (Water and Carbon Dioxide) and mineral nitrates (Calcium Nitrate) which is in effect fertiliser. Rain runs down the banner and falls on the Bzz Garage garden below taking the Calcium Nitrate with it.

We are now at the end of our SE27 walk. I knew that the cemetery would be rewarding but it was nice to find some other interesting features like a “Waterloo” church, the old and new libraries, an old tram depot and a newish bus garage plus a theatre in a very old Fire Station. Shame I did not mange to find any blue plaques!

There are various buses here for onward travel or else just return down Knight’s Hill to West Norwood station.

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SW16: Pleasure and Payne

When one thinks of Streatham (at least when I think of Streatham), one associates it with two larger than life characters – Cynthia Payne and Naomi Campbell – the former ran her “business” from Streatham, the latter was born here. I know where to go for the Payne connection but have no idea where there might be a Campbell connection in Streatham. And of course her adventures such as those with mobile phones and staff occurred elsewhere. But it did set me off thinking that if there is to be a theme to our Streatham walk it should be “Pleasure and Payne”. Afterall what great pleasure we have had from their exploits, and there is so much more other pleasurable stuff connected to Streatham.

We start at the Post Office which is located in the W H Smith store on Streatham High Road. Our first stop is just across the road.

Stop 1: Odeon (Former Astoria) Cinema

This is a rare survivor of an inter war cinema building still being used as a cinema. This building dates from 1930.

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Although now called the Odeon, this cinema was originally called the Astoria and there is a little reminder of this in the building next door. This is a block of flats over some shops and it is called Astoria Mansions. Unfortunately when I visited it was shrouded in scaffolding so this is the best shot I could get of the name plate.

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This cinema is the same family as the one in Brixton (which is now the Academy). It originally had egyptian style decoration but this was almost all lost in a “modernisation” of 1961. There are now 8 screens in this building.

Turning right out of W H Smith go down the High Road. Just a little further on across the road is our second stop

Stop 2: Tate Library

This Tate Library is somewhat grander than the one we saw in South Lambeth Road, SW8. Maybe this was because Streatham was more important and so warranted a bigger splash. Or maybe it was because Henry Tate, the benefactor, lived locally – as we shall shortly see.

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The building dates from 1890 but the clock is somewhat later. This was added in 1912, as a memorial to King Edward VII who had just died. It was funded by public subscription. The plan was for a clock tower, but they did not raise enough money!

The library is currently having a major facelift costing £1.2 million, paid for by Lambeth Council and the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund. It is due to re-open in 2014.

Continue walking along the High Road. At the next major junction, the main road forks. Just here on the right is our next stop.

Stop 3: St Leonard’s Church

This is the old church at the heart of Streatham. There has been a church here since Saxon times, but it has been substantially rebuilt. According to architectural historian, Pevsner, the mediaeval tower remains but was rebuilt in 1841 whilst  the church itself was substantially rebuilt in the 1830s and then enlarged in 1863 to the designs of Victorian painter, William Dyce. Unfortunately there was a major fire in 1975 which badly damaged the church and destroyed most of Dyce’s decoration.

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At the far eastern end of the church beyond the main altar is what remains of a very old tomb – 13th century? (Postscript – see comment below from Rob Barber who says: “This is an effigy of Sir John Ward who built the original church. It got badly damaged during the reformation. Before the fire of 1975 it was underneath the tower and there is evidence that it was placed in various other positions around the building over the centuries.” Thanks, Rob)

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There are also some nice monuments dating from the 17th century. The ones below are from John Massingberd and wife from 1653 and John Howland from 1686.

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There is also an 18th century monument to the Thrales – the local big family who lived at a house called Streatham Park (demolished 1863). But I unaccountably failed to take a picture of their monument.

The Thrales owned the Anchor Brewery in Southwark. Dr Samuel Johnson met Henry Thrale and his wife Hester in 1765 and was a regular visitor both at Streatham Park and at Southwark until Thrale’s death in 1781.

The epitaphs of Henry Thrale and his mother in law (died 1773) are both by Dr Johnson – in latin, but there is a translation. And Hester Thrale’s documentation of Johnson’s life during this time, in her correspondence and her diary, became an important source of biographical information on Johnson after his death.

One of the fascinating links I stumbled across in my research was a website dedicated to all things Thrale:  http://www.thrale.com/

From the west end of the church, go out into the road below and turn right.

Stop 4: Bishops House, Tooting Bec Gardens

Although we are in the heart of Streatham, this road is called Tooting Bec Gardens – another example of road names to fool the unwary!

As we walk away from Streatham on the right is an elegant house with a drive. This turns out to be the official residence of the Bishop of Southwark. Southwark diocese was only formed in 1905. Previously most of it had come under Winchester and indeed there are some remains of a medieval bishop’s palace (Winchester Palace), close to modern day Southwark Cathedral, near London Bridge. Somewhere for the bishop to stay when in London.

That was a long time ago. I can see that the area round the Cathedral has not until recently been a desirable place to live. But quite why the Church chose Streatham for the bishop’s residence (and when)  is anyone’s guess – it is not exactly convenient for the Cathedral.

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Continue along Tooting Bec Gardens and cross Garrad’s Road. Ahead is Tooting Bec Common. walk along the main road keeping the common to your right. Go over the railway bridge. This is the main railway line out of Victoria to Croydon and Brighton. Strange there is no station here, as this is the closest point this main line gets to Streatham but unaccountably there is no station here. The railway chose to put the stations at Balham and Streatham Common. Maybe the big landowners did not want a station here.

Stop 5: Tooting Bec Lido

Just over the railway on the right is Tooting Bec Lido. I know it seems wrong but believe me Tooting Bec Lido is in SW16 (Streatham) and not SW17 (Tooting)

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I thought I would not be able to get near but amazingly the gate was open, as there were some hardy souls swimming (apparently during the winter the pool is only open to members of the local swimming club) . So I was able to take some pictures – these are from the deep end.

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The Lido dates from 1906, although it only got the name “Lido” in 1936. It is claimed to be the largest fresh water swimming pool by surface area in the United Kingdom, being 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide – just by comparison an Olympic size swimming pool is 50m x 25m. And it has these great little changing cubicles with bright coloured doors.

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Return to the main road. (by the way the Thrales’ house, Streatham Park was located near here on land on the other side of the road from the common)

Go back over the railway and at the traffic light junction take a right into Ambleside Avenue.

Stop 6: 32 Ambleside Avenue

As I alluded to already, I do not think we can come to Streatham without mentioning Cythnia Payne, aka Madame Cyn. Her “infamous” house is on the left hand side of Ambleside Avenue as the road curves round.

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She first came to national attention in 1978 when police raided her home and found a sex party was in progress. Gentlemen of a certain age were being entertained by ladies of a somewhat younger vintage; the currency being used in the house was luncheon vouchers. When the case came to trial in 1980, she was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, reduced to a fine and six months on appeal.  She actually served four months.

In the late 1980s there were two films loosely based on her life. Wish You Were Here, about her adolescence starring Emily Lloyd, and Personal Services about her adult life starring Julie Walters.

Isn’t it an interesting juxtaposition that this house is just around the corner from the Bishop of Southwark’s.

Continue along Ambleside Avenue until you reach the crossroads with Mitcham Lane. Turn left and cross this road. Go along Mitcham Lane a bit. You will pass a pub called the Manor Arms on your right and just beyond is a green sloping down to another road.

Stop 7: Streatham Green

Streatham Green is the historic centre of the old village of Streatham. In the middle is a rather sad looking monument. This is a drinking fountain designed by William Dyce, the Victorian painter who we came across in connection with St Leonard’s church.  Dyce is perhaps best known for his frescoes in the Palace of Westminster. He was actually working on them when he collapsed, and soon after died at his home in Streatham on 14 February 1864. The drinking fountain was subsequently dedicated to him by the parishioners of St Leonard’s. The fountain is not looking too good and is surrounded by fencing presumably because it is unsafe.

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Go across the green and turn right into Streatham High Road.

Stop 8: Former Bedford Park hotel

Just a little way down across the road, is a former pub dating from the late 1880s. This was the Bedford Park Hotel and like so many pubs these days, it has given up the battle and has a new use. Unusually this is now a shop, selling linens. All there is to remind us this was a pub is the sign in a panel above the left hand first floor window.

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There is a review from a few years back on the “fancy a pint” site see: http://www.fancyapint.com/Pub/london/bedford-park-hotel/1296

Here it is in full:

“We’ve tried with this place – we really have. It’s still awful. Yes, it should be well placed almost bang opposite Streatham station and with a fine Victorian frontage. But inside… we can only describe it as ‘grotty’. And that’s probably unfair to grot. It’s emphasis is firmly on live music and videos of music the rest of the time. We can only imagine who the regulars might be and it’s not pretty. There are worse places to drink in London – oh, heavens, we hope there are.”

Maybe some of these places deserved to close because basically they were terrible.  Time has moved on and the business model of the pub as a money making machine come rain come shine has certainly taken a dent.

Continue walking down Streatham High Road past Streatham Station.  Our next stop is soon on the right.

Stop 9: new Tesco development (site of 1930s Ice Rink and a bus garage amongst other things)

Here we have a massive new Tesco, a bus turn round and a new Leisure Centre, topped off with a block of flats. This is a huge site.

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Not sure Streatham actually needs another supermarket – we have just passed a Morrisons by Streatham Station and there is a big Sainsbury’s just down the road. But at least this Tesco development is putting something back in terms of housing and leisure facilities.

According to a quote from Cllr. Lib Peck, leader of Lambeth council: “The entire project has been a triumph of design and construction – it’s only the second time in the world that an ice rink has been built above a swimming pool.” Mmm – sounds like a recipe for problems in the future.

It is sad though that the old ice rink dating from 1931 had to go but it is good the long established ice hockey team, the Streatham Redskins, still have a home. The old leisure centre and swimming pool also went but they apparently needed a huge amount of money spent on them. And the former Streatham bus garage, which latterly found itself used for go karting, was also demolished.

But oddly this new development wraps itself around a United Reform Church – you can just see the church in the first picture. Nice to see this Edwardian building survive but you cannot help feeling that the church could have got a great deal from Tesco for the land.

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Now cross the High Road and continue until you reach the war memorial at the corner of Streatham Common North. Turn left up this road. The next stop is quite a hike uphill and so you may want to catch a 249 bus a few stops to Leigham Court Road. Otherwise just walk up the road beside the Common.

Stop 10: Henry Tate Mews (Park Hill)

At a bend in the road there are some whitish pillars and gates. This was the entrance to Park Hill where Sir Henry Tate (of sugar, gallery and library fame) lived. The house is a stuccoed neo classical villa dating from the 1830s. Pevsner describes Park Hill and its grounds as having all the ingredients of 18th century picturesque reduced to a suburban scale.

After Sir Henry Tate’s death in 1899, it became St Michael’s Convent. Then in 2004 it was turned into a private gated estate, so casual passers-by cannot get near the house, but you can get glimpses from the road through the trees and shrubs.

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Return back towards Streatham – there is only a path on one side. When you can, cross over to the Common side of the road and by the disused paddling (?) pool, go left into Streatham Common South. You will see a car park to your left and just ahead but to the left of the cafe there is an entrance pathway.

Stop 11: The Rookery

Go though the gate and you come into an area known as the Rookery. This was the site of Streatham Spa in the 18th century and then a house called the Rookery. After a local campaign, the site became a garden in the summer of 1913. It has just celebrated its 100th birthday, as can be seen in the floral display and the blue plaque.

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It is a delightful garden with some sloping grassed areas, some formal gardens and a cascade area. There is also a white garden, which was sadly depleted of white blossom at this time of year. However it is said this predates the more famous White Garden of Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

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Retrace your steps out of the Rookery and at the entrance gate turn left.

As you head back down Streatham Common South look at the views. Ahead you can see a large very white building in the distance. That is St Helier Hospital. And looking down Covington Way, you can see the two chimneys, originally of Croydon Power Station and now marking the IKEA store in Croydon.

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At the bottom of the hill you get to the main road, cross over.

Stop 12: Sainsbury’s (former silk mill)

We are going into the Sainsbury’s site, but just before we do I have to point out the Pied Bull pub to the left of the entrance to Sainsbury’s. No doubt an excellent establishment, but look at the pediment over the doorway on the far left. There is a round blue plaque which says Evening Standard 1973 pub of the year”.  Only 40 years ago!

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But we are not here to speculate on pubs of the year. We have a little bit of industrial heritage to see.

The Sainsbury’s supermarket replaced Cow’s India Rubber works in the late 1980s. But one old building from this industrial site survived. This is a three storey textile mill dated from around 1820. Pevsner says this was built by someone called Stephen Wilson in an attempt to convert the Spitalfields silk weaving industry to the factory system. The subsequent owners used the site for other purposes but did not redevelop the whole site. They just added bits piecemeal, hence the survival of this mill building.

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So that brings us to the end of our tour round SW16. A few little pleasures and a couple of surprises in there I hope.

For onward travel, you are now between Streatham and Norbury Stations but there are lots of buses running along the main High Road.