A circular walk from Sydenham
Station. 200 years ago the area this walk will take you around
was Sydenham Common. Covering 500 acres it had undulating hills,
streams and valleys. It was used for grazing animals, collecting
wood, recreation, hunting and fairs. However in 1810 an enclosure
act was passed, ownership passed to local landowners and major
Note:The parks included close at dusk. Alternative routes are given in the text.
From the station go right
along Sydenham Road
The railway runs along the route of the Croydon Canal (1809-1836). Between 1903 and 1979 there was a station booking hall on the bridge. THE RAILWAY (1) pub is on the right. Further along was the GREYHOUND (2) Sydenham oldest inn, built around 1720 with a Victorian extension on the front. It would have been adjacent to the canal when that was in existance. Note: this pub has been replaced with a residental development. Cobbs store was founded in 1860 and rebuilt in 1902 and after WWII bomb damage.
Cross to the Kirkdale Care
Centre (Old Cedars)
This house was built on the edge of Sydenham Common in the 18th century.
Continue along Westwood Hill
and go left along Hall Drive
This was the drive of Sydenham Hall, the home of the builder Edward Strong the Younger. The house was rebuilt around 1805, became a school in the 1900s and was demolished in 1939.
At the end turn right into
Lawrie Park Gardens
At the crossroads is a view towards St Bartholmew's Church as painted by Camille Pissarro in 1871 (now in the National Gallery).
Continue ahead along Lawrie
In the Victorian period its elevated position would have made this a desirable part of Sydenham with attractive large houses, some of which remain.
At the end go left up
From 1854 until 1936 the ridge ahead would have been dominated by the Crystal Palace building. Sydenham High School moved into Horner Grange, a Gothic mansion of 1883, and its outbuildings in the 1930s.
Continue as far as
Charleville Circus then cross over and take the footpath opposite
continuing along Ormanton Road
On the right are self-build houses, based on the Walter Segal concept.
To avoid the park go right at Longton Avenue then left along Taylors Lane. Rejoin the route in Wells Park Road.
At the bottom cross over
into Sydenham Wells Park. Bear right then go ahead between the
fences (lake on left). Keep to the left of the brick building
(toilets & information) then go right towards a drinking
fountain and noticeboard. From this go straight across the grass
and exit into Wells Park Road.
From the 1640s until the 1830s you could have taken the medicinal waters at cottages located around the Sydenham Wells. The last of the well cottages (the Green Dragon) was destroyed by bombing in 1944.
Cross and go right along
Wells Park Road (formerly Wells Road)
On the right is THE TALMA (3) pub and on the left THE DUKE (4), formerly the Duke of Edinburgh. Note: this pub has been replaced with a residental development.
Continue to Mill Gardens
Until the 1880s there was a windmill standing here along with cottages built in 1820 - 1830 which remained until 1961.
Take the next left into
Houses here were built in the 1850s. At the end is a view of the flint-knapped rear of THE WOODMAN (5) pub. Note: this pub is now a solicitors.
Go left into Kirkdale
For the Victorians this and part of Dartmouth Road was the main shopping centre of Sydenham and was known as the High Street (until 1936). There was a laundry next to the Woodman pub for a number of years. The two weatherboarded cottages on the right would have been some of the first buildings to have been built on the common after its enclosure.
Go right into Charlcote
Number 2 (then Charles Street) was the home of William Scott Russell, constructor of Brunel's Great Eastern ship at his yard in Millwall.
To avoid the park continue along Kirkdale going right into Thorpewood Avenue. Take Radlet Avenue on the right and re-join the route at Round Hill
At the end you come into
Baxter's Field. Follow the path that goes across (not around) the
In 1867 George Baxter, who had developed a new colour printing technique, was killed by a horse drawn vehicle. This open space was named after him.
Leave the field and continue
along Radlet Avenue. Take the first right into Round Hill and go
into the side road opposite number 3
The spire is from the church of St Antholin in Watling Street, built by Christopher Wren in the 1680s. It was moved to Round Hill House (demolished in the 1860s) as a folly around 1850.
Return to Round Hill and
continue to the end. Go right into Dartmouth Road
On the corner of Willow Way is the BRICKLAYER'S ARMS (6) pub.
Continue to the end of
Dartmouth Road and go left into Kirkdale
THE WINDMILL (7) pub is on the left and FOXS - former Fox & Hounds (8) a little further along on the right. On the corner of Sydenham Park was St Bartholmew's National School replaced by the R C Church (1974).
From this junction go across
to the fountain
This commemorates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The site behind it (now retirement homes) has been Fir Lodge School (attended by Ernest Shackleton), a public hall and a telephone exchange.
Take the road to the right of
the fountain Jew's Walk
Number 7 was the home of Eleanor, daughter of Karl Marx, where she commited suicide in 1898 having discovered her lover had secretly married.
At the end turn left into
Number 12 was the family home of Ernest Shackleton, who was to become famous as an Antarctic explorer.
Walk through the churchyard of
St Bartholomew's Church (if open)
The church designed by Lewis Vulliamy was built in 1832 but did not become the parish church until 1856.
Continue along Westwood Hill
to the road junction
In the 1920s doctors occupied the old parsonage, built in 1848. It was replaced by Kirk's Corner in the 1930s.
Sydenham Station is just
ahead on the left
© london-footprints.co.uk 2013