Mountsfield Park in Catford offers some good views across the Ravensbourne valley and, except on People’s Day, is a quiet location. So it is not the most obvious place to expect a 50,000 spectator stadium to be found, but tucked away in the south west corner of it used to be The Mount – home to the Catford Southend and, for a solitary season, Charlton Athletic, who were finding the 75,000 capacity Valley difficult to fill.
The outline of the ground is clear to see, once you know it is there; a levelled playing area with a bank at one end carved out of the hill and the climb up to the pitch level at the Laleham Road end.
This steep slope up to the pitch proved to be the ground’s almost literal downfall; the Laleham Road end was presumably just into loose earth and the clays from carving the pitch into the slope. There were concrete pylons supporting the terraces there but the 1923/24 season was rather like the 2013/14 season, phenomenally wet and things began to slide towards Laleham Road.
Part of the plan in moving to The Mount was to merge with Catford Southend and Charlton played in the colours of ‘the Kittens‘ – light and dark blue vertical stripes although the League had blocked the merger before the season had even started.
Charlton’s campaign that season at kicked off with a 3-1 victory against Aberdare Athletic in the old League Division Three, South, but it was still at The Valley as The Mount was not ready until the 0-0 draw with Northampton on 22 December. The season as a whole brought only moderate success on the field – there was a home defeat to Millwall, although a Boxing Day victory over QPR – against whom they had lost on Christmas Day at Loftus Road. Attendances dropped off badly during the season such that by the end of the season, Charlton’s third team, who were still based at The Valley, were drawing bigger crowds than the first team in Catford leading to heavy financial losses. The season and the brief sojourn at The Mount was signed off with a 1-2 defeat to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic and 14th position in the league.
As for Catford Southend, playing in the Kent League, they continued until 1926/27 when they failed to meet their financial obligations and were initially suspended from the League before being wound up later that season. There are two posts of Catford Southend – split between the years before Charlton and their rapid demise after Charlton returned to the Valley.
The Mount was finally demolished in the 1950s and there is more about it at the excellent Derelict London website