Tag Archives: Baring Hall

Beating the Bounds of Lee, Part 4 – Chinbrook and Downham

During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown Running Past has been following the boundary of Victorian Lee before it was subsumed into Lewisham, aided only by a Second Edition Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1893 and a fair amount of local knowledge. Posts have taken us in stages from Lee Green to Winn Road, appropriately passing Corona Road en route; the second took us through Grove Park, crossing the never built Ringway and the previous one through Marvels and Elmstead Woods leaving the boundary on the edge of Chinbrook Meadows allotments – and it is on to the Meadows that we now proceed.

This section is marked by the red dots on the adjacent map.

At around the point of a kissing gate, at the top of a steep hill down into Chinbrook Meadows the 1893 and 2020 variants of the boundary of Lee diverge.

The current variant of the boundary heads down into the lovely Chinbrook Meadows; it wasn’t always like this when the farmland became a park, the Quaggy was hidden. A blog post from a few years ago, covers its rejuvenation in 2002. The now Bromley and Lewisham border largely hugs the bottom of the railway embankment coming in from Elmstead Woods.

The 1863 version of the boundary crosses the railway in what is a deep cutting at this point, and emerged in what was then a small field and is now part of the smaller southwestern field of Chinbrook Meadows following the fences to the rear of the gardens of Portland Road until the Quaggy is again reached (further upstream than when covered in earlier in the circuit of Lee).

The 1893 boundary followed the Quaggy for around 100 metres until a confluence with the Border Ditch underneath the railway embankment. The ‘border’ in Border Ditch appropriately refers to the boundary we are currently following. When we followed Border Ditch as part of the tracking of the Quaggy and its constituent tributaries, the Ditch in Chinbrook Meadows was in a poor state but there were plans for a sustainable urban drainage system to be incorporated into its flow. Alas, this seems not to have materialised and the watercourse looked decidedly uninviting during lockdown – the photographs of its latter stages are from the initial visit in 2016.

Border Ditch has an even shorter flow than the Quaggy within Chinbrook Meadows – it emerges from culverting in a way that is more reminiscent of a drain than a stream.  As had been the case in the summer of 2016, there was little sign of movement in the ominous looking muddy water. 

The Ditch continues upstream and seems to have marked the border until the 1991 proposals came into force, although as was noted in the post on Border Ditch there were several minor re-alignments of the Ditch and the boundary over the years

Over the other side of the physical boundaries of the railway, which required a significant detour, Border Ditch only appeared as a field boundary on the 1893 Ordnance Survey map. It is now not only the border between Bromley and Lewisham but between the private sector semis of the former and the social housing of the latter. Traces of water were difficult to find in lockdown in the normally still flowing division between the two.

Streams, even quite small ones create valleys and out on the main Burnt Ash Lane the dip is noticeable and there lies both the current and 1893 variants of the boundary. The photograph above probably dates from just after the map was drawn, is of what was then a bridge and is looking towards Bromley.

Burnt Ash Lane was a name that once continued from here to the junction with St Mildred’s Road, but the it was renamed in ‘honour’ of the Lords of the Manor – the Baring Family. At the time they bought the Manor of Lee at least part of the Barings money was coming from an enslaved estate in Montego Bay in Jamaica. John Pound built much of Victorian Grove Park, on Northbrook/Baring land, naming the pub after them – the lovely Baring Hall.

We’ve strayed 400 metres away from the boundary putting the street name into some context, so back to the border, Border Ditch. The 1893 Lee (now Lewisham) – Bromley border continued westwards across fields to a three-way split in 1893 with Lewisham providing the third part of the trio. During the 19th century there had stood, according to F H Hart, ‘a tall round-top oak tree, a land mark from Lee Church’ at the junction of Lee Terrace and Brandram Road. It seems that this may have been lost by 1893, as this point was marked with a boundary post. In 2020, it is part of one of the dozens of largely access roads to garages in the area made largely redundant by the increase in car size, this one behind Welbeck Avenue.

The redundant access road is the course of Border Ditch which continues another 50 metres or so to a source in what is now some school playing fields. A small pond was marked in 1893. Oddly for such an elevated situation, close to the watershed between the Quaggy and Ravensbourne catchments, this was a small World War 1 airfield, Grove Park Landing Ground.

On the other side of the redundant track to redundant garages is the edge of one of the larger London County Council (LCC) estates, Downham, which was built in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The name doesn’t have any local links, rather it was that of a Chairman of the LCC just after World War 1.

The Lee – Lewisham boundary of 1893 was through fields, the boundary following what were then the hedges of field edges not marked in any way by posts, markers or marks on trees. Despite the transformation of the area between the World Wars, the street pattern still at least partially follows the field patterns. The former Lee – Lewisham boundary was follows the middle of what is now Geraint Road; like many boundaries that follow roads, it’s marked by white paint. The 1893 boundary then bisects Ivorydown, the name of a former field in this area, to reach Downham Way.

We will leave the boundary there for now because on the other side the nature of what is followed changes from field edge to hidden stream.

Credits and Thanks

  • The Ordnance Survey Map is via the National Library of Scotland on a non-commercial licence.
  • The black and white photograph of Burnt Ash Lane was originally used in the post on Border Ditch on the basis of a creative commons from this site, although the photograph library with it seems to have been deleted.

The series of posts on the Lee boundary that this post is part of, would probably not have happened without Mike Horne, he was the go-to person on London’s boundary markers; he had catalogued almost all of them in a series of documents. He was always helpful, enthusiastic and patient. He died of a heart attack in March but would have loved my ‘find’ of a London County Council marker in some undergrowth on Blackheath during 2020’s lockdown, and would have patiently explained the details of several others he knew to me. A sad loss, there is a lovely series of tributes to him via this link.

Pound’s Pubs

Running Past has covered several pubs that, for a variety of reasons, have been consigned to history – such as The Northover on the edge of the Downham Estate, the Plough and the Roebuck in Lewisham town centre, and Lee High Road’s Woodman and Prince Arthur.  This post is somewhat different in that it covers a quartet of fine looking Victorian boozers that are still pulling pints for the residents of the southern part of Lee  and Grove Park – the Crown, the Summerfield, the Northbrook and the Baring Hall at Grove Park.  All are the work of one man – John Pound.
As was covered in a previous post, Pound is, perhaps, better known as one of the major Victorian developers of Lee and Grove Park, along with some streets in Blackheath.    It is clear that like James Watt a generation later, he understood that, in addition to building homes, money could be made from leisure activities built adjacent to the housing.  For the non-conformist Watt though pubs would have been an anathema, he built cinemas and skating rinks instead.

Pound was born in Blackheath in 1827. He was the son of publicans, Thomas and Sarah, who ran the Three Tuns pub  (now O’Neill’s), above, in Tranquil Vale in Blackheath from 1824 (1).  In the 1851 census he was living at the pub and listed by the enumerators as a joiner, as was his younger brother Richard. His older brother William took over the tenancy in 1853 on his father’s death (2) and seems to have stayed there until his own death in 1878. The current building post-dates the Pounds as it was rebuilt around 1885 (3).

(from information board at Lee Green)

He married into the pub trade – his wife, Rose, was daughter of Caroline  Morton who ran the (Old) Tiger’s Head at Lee Green above for over 2 decades in the mid 19th century, initially with her husband Charles, but for most of the time on her own after being widowed in 1844.

John Pound was already a well established developer, living in Lee, by the time he built his first pub, the Lord Northbrook (above) in 1866 – named after the Lord of the Manor, and at the time the major landowner of the area.  The family wealth as was covered in a post on Lee’s Manor House, was at least partially derived from slavery. The Northbrook is situated on the corner of Southbrook Road (Southbrook is a reference to part of the village of Micheldever, close to the Northbrook’s Hampshire house at Stratton Park).

Pound whilst the first landlord, didn’t live on site, although his home was only a few doors away – roughly where Bellamys Citroen garage is currently sited.  There were some grumbling by the licencing magistrates about him not living on-site when the licence was considered in 1866 – the pub was described as being part of a ‘flourishing neighbourhood’ (4).  By the following August Arthur Bowker had become the licensee.

The Summerfield (formerly Tavern), above, was named after the street which it stands on the corner of what is now Baring Road.  Summerfield, as the name suggests, was a field pre-development – it may have originally been part of the land used by the Butterfield Dairy on the next street – originally Butterfield Street now Waite Davies Road.

It is not absolutely certain that Pound built the Summerfield Tavern, although there is strong very strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he did.  He almost certainly developed the neighbouring Summerfield Street along with the terrace to the south of the pub on Baring Road.  There were also mentions in the press describing the area to the south of the about to be built school on the then Bromley Road as ‘Pound’s Estate.’ The first licencee was his younger brother Richard from September 1870 with his sister-in-law Ann taking on the tenancy in 1874 after the death of her husband.  She probably stayed there until around 1879/80 when landlord became a C Harding (5).


The Crown (initially Hotel now Tavern) is located on what is now called Burnt Ash Hill, south of the South Circular, close to Winn Road.  The link here to Pound is less certain but it is a pub generally attributed to him – if nothing more as the builder.

Unlike the other pubs covered, the land seems to have been in Crown ownership – a remnant of the former hunting lodges of Eltham Palace, covered in relation to Lee Green and Horn Park Farms.  Neighbouring land had been used by Pound as brickfield from the 1850s until 1874 when the lease was sold (6).  At this point there was already a beer house on the site – a licence to sell beer but not wine and spirits (this is explored more in the post on the New Tiger’s Head).  There were references to the Crown Beer House from 1872 (7).

The land seems to have been bought at the auction in 1874, or soon after, by William Winn.  The current building was completed in 1878 and was a granted a full licence in the September session at the Green Man to the then licensee – James Playford (8).  Winn was almost certainly the developer of the pub, and also developed the original houses in Corona, Guibal and Winn Road (see note from Pat below) and Pound probably the buider.

 

The Baring Hall (above) was due to open around 1880 and Pound had applied for a licence on that basis, but it didn’t open until the autumn of the following year (9). Like the other pubs built by Pound, it is a lovely building, opposite Grove Park station. It was designed by local architect Ernest Newton who was also behind the listed Lochaber Hall, the original Church of the Good Shepherd and St Swithun’s Church on Hither Green Lane.

Pound was to remain the landlord until 1886 (10) when it was transferred to William Basnett, who was already involved with running the business – he was mentioned in relation to a theft case from the Baring Hall in 1883 (11).

The Baring Hall suffered a fire in the early 2000s and survived planning applications to demolish it in 2011 and 2012. The building is locally listed although English Heritage declined to give it a national listing and the degree of protection that goes with it in 2011, although was given the status Asset of Community Value (ACV) for 5 years from 2013. It was eventually re-opened as a pub by Antic in December 2014.  At the time of writing (January 2018), there is a campaign to extend the life of the ACV to ensure that it remains a pub.

Unlike many of the pubs to the north and west Pound’s quartet have not succumbed to either the bulldozer or the developer, and from the outside at least, remain thriving, welcoming splendid looking pubs.  In part, their longevity relates to the relative lack of competition that each of them has and has had in the past particularly those in Lee.   – something at least partially controlled by one of the big landowners of the area – Lord Northbrook – whose family name remains in two of them – the Northbrook and the Baring Hall.

Notes

  1. Neil Rhind (1983) Blackheath Village and Environs Volume 2 p364
  2. Ibid
  3. Ken White (1992) The Public Houses of Lee & Lewisham p243
  4. Kentish Mercury 28 September 1866
  5. White op cit p240
  6. Kentish Mercury 30 May 1874
  7. Kentish Mercury 20 July 1872
  8. Kentish Independent 5 October 1878
  9. Kentish Independent 27 August 1881
  10. Kentish Mercury 12 November 1886
  11. Woolwich Gazette 14 September 1883

Thank to Pat Chappelle, see comment below, for correcting me on The Crown and adding some interesting details on William Winn.