Tag Archives: Anerley

Penge Stream – A River Pool Tributary

As we have seen with a couple of streams in the Pool catchment, Pissarro’s Stream and Wells Park Stream, the high land above Sydenham was covered in woodland known as the Great North Wood.

Another of these streams is Penge Stream which had several sources just to the south of Crystal Palace Park. It was visible in William Faden’s map of 25 miles around London (on a Creative Commons via the Library of Congress) was surveyed in 1790 (above).

The most obvious source is high up on a street parallel to Anerley Hill, Milestone Road – a road that seems to lacks its name. This source was around a rather attractive modern block of flats which makes extensive use of glazed bricks, Stratos Heights. ‘Was’ is because there is now no obvious sign of water despite the assertions of the contour lines of a valley (streams erode the land they cross and the valley that is created has an upstream pointing notch on maps with contour lines.)

The valley tumbles down through the gardens between of Milestone Road and Anerley Hill towards Cintra Park, here the valley is clear, a pronounced dip in Cintra Park, below.

Cintra Park was also a confluence of streams, one of the other sources is close to the ridge and Belvedere Road. The branch runs almost due east, passing the blue plaqued home of Marie Stopes at 28 Cintra Park – while she made major contributions to plant palaeontology and coal classification, and was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester, she is better known for founding the first birth control clinic in Britain, despite her opposition to abortion.

Below Cintra Park there is another dip on Playdell Road and a further one on Palace View, with each terrace further down the hill, the valley flattens out a little. There is one of the several small, fluvially eroded switchbacks on Anerley Hill just below the road leading to Crystal Park station – here there would have been another small confluence with a stream that ran between houses in Waldegrave Road – it’s course is clear a little further upstream too, with a small dip in Belvedere Road (just below the junction in the picture below).

The Stream, for much of its original course, was crossing Penge Common; most of which was enclosed with the Croydon Enclosure Act of 1797 and the Penge Enclosure Acts in 1805, 1806, and 1827.

To the north of Anerley Hill, contours were slightly confused by the railway line approaching Crystal Palace station but the former course would have taken in through the former Bromley Council housing of Lullington Road – some sold under Right to Buy, the remainder owned by Clarion Housing, the current name of what was once Broomleigh, the housing association all of Bromley’s stock was transferred to.  Lullington Road (Lillington Road on the 1863 surveyed Ordnance Survey map) is on the site of Victorian housing that was developed soon after the arrival of the Crystal Palace. The mention of Battersea below it is not a cartographical error by early Ordnance Surveyors, rather, as was covered in the post of the River Willmore, Penge was for centuries an outlier of Battersea.

Downstream the stream would have crossed the current Thicket Road before traversing the contour hugging Anerley Park (once home the the leading Victorian cyclist George Lacy Hillier). The curvature was the result of the road following the former Croydon Canal – a short stretch still remained into the 1860s. Assuming that the stream was still flowing at the time the canal was built, it may well have drained into it.

Later Ordnance Survey map  contour notches suggest another stream joining around this point – while the cartographical route is clear, it’s former route lacks clarity on the ground.

On the other side of the canal replacement service, the railway, Penge Stream crosses Oakfield Road, there is a no doubt fluvial eroded depression close to Woodbine Grove. Woodbine Grove is and was part of the Groves Estate – first built in the mid 19th century and redeveloped by Penge UDC, then London Broough of Bromley in the 1960s.

Around here, another small stream would have joined just behind the Pawlene Arms; while it’s contour lines are obvious from Ordnance Survey maps, although slightly less so on the ground – there are hints of a depression mid way along Howard Road, parallel to Maple Road, and its neighbours, but tracing it back upstream it peters out well before Anerley Road.

The once larger stream would have probably flowed now not so Green Lane, joining another stream flowing from the northern side of Crystal Palace Park and making a confluence with the Willmore (also known as  Boundary Stream, Boundary Ditch and Shire Ditch) around the junction of Kent House and Parish Lanes – this is not completely clear though, the confluence may have been with the Pool itself around Cator Park school.

The Environment Agency 100 year flood risk map,  whilst relating to surface water is helpful in tracking former streams as storm flows will often follow the courses of former or hidden watercourses due to the small valleys that have been created.  This is shown above for the entire course of Penge Stream, but potential flows become somewhat confused around Penge’s High Street.

Here, as with the rest of the course of the stream, there is no evidence of Penge Stream still flowing – at no stage was there either any water or the tell-tale sounds of water flowing under man-hole covers. While the course is clear, it seems that like many of the other streams that flowed from high up in the Great North Wood, Penge Stream is lost to changes in the water table or Victorian surface drainage (probably the former).

Ordnance Survey map credits – all are from the National Library of Scotland on Creative Commons – the top 1960s  and the bottom from 1863.

Ghost Signs – A Spicknell, Greengrocer of Anerley Road

I noticed this ghost sign on Anerley Road a few weeks ago when I was stopped at the traffic lights at a pedestrian crossing next to it; it is tucked away in a slight gap between two shops and under some overhanging eaves which have protected it from the weather. I must have driven or run past it dozens of times but never noticed it probably because the eye is drawn more to the rather fine building that used to be Anerley Town Hall which is opposite; it would probably be best seen from the top of a bus. I went back on foot to take a few photos.

Arthur Spicknell was a greengrocer at 121 Anerley Road in Penge (1913 Kelly’s Directory), he had moved to Penge in the late 1870s from Alderbury in Wiltshire, working initially as a greengrocers assistant (1881 census) whilst living in Maple Terrace (presumably part of Maple Road) a couple of hundred metres down the hill in Penge.

The bottled fruits and jams that he was happy to be associated with were presumably of T W Beach of Brentford who won prizes at Covent Garden and the 1851 Great Exhibition. Beach apparently lived in the delightfully named ‘Strawberry House.’

There are the remains of a second sign underneath the one for Spicknell’s – the only bits I could decipher, even with some help from Photoshop, were ‘S C Du ‘. Google showed that that I wasn’t the first blogger to have noticed the sign, or that there might be something below. Sébastien Ardouin of the Painted Signs and Mosaics blog had been there six years before (and had found out a lot more about T W Beach). There had been a bit more to see of what lay underneath then ….

S. C. Du…
Auction Valuer / …edd… Manufacturer
… …ouse Agents

Armed with this information, it was possible to find out some more. The National Archives, showed that London Borough of Bromley held some information on

This firm, according to its advertisements, was established in 1873. It closed in 1914. The firm had its warehouse and showrooms at 25 Station Road, Anerley from the 1870s and for some time a depository at 60 Oakfield Road (they also carried out removals and storage of house contents). From about 1895 they also had premises at 99 Anerley Road, Penge.

This would all make some sense as to why a sign on the side of a shop 100 metres away would be appropriate. The 1873 version of the firm was at least the second that a Samuel Charles Dunk had set up, as the London Gazette reported his bankruptcy in 1869 and subsequent discharge later that year.

The second business, and the one on the sign, was probably set up by a son of an identical name. Samuel Dunk, Senior, was born in Catsfield, near Hastings in 1828, but died during the 1870s. Samuel Dunk, Junior, was born in Hastings in 1855 and had probably moved to Penge in the early 1860s, as the 1881 census has his brother being born there.. He was a carpenter in 1871, but by 1881 the census had him employing two men in his upholstery business, and had sufficient income to employ a servant.