Tag Archives: The Sultan

Beating the Bounds of Lee, Part 6 – Following the Quaggy

During the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown Running Past followed the long, thin boundary of Victorian Lee before it was subsumed into Lewisham in 1900, aided only by a 1893 Second Edition Ordnance Survey map. This has been in stages, from Lee Green to Winn Road, appropriately passing Corona Road en route; the second part took us through Grove Park, crossing the never built Ringway; we then passed through Marvels and Elmstead Woods and a Borough of Deptford Cemetery; the fourth part took us through Chinbrook Meadows appropriately following Border Ditch; and the last part followed the hidden stream Hither Green Ditch more or less parallel to Verdant Lane and Manor Lane.

We left the boundary at the confluence of Hither Green Ditch with the Quaggy to which we will return, following the red dots on the map.

The confluence has actually moved – in 1893 it was more or less where 49 Longhurst Road is now located; it is now around 40 metres away on a sharp corner between between Manor Park and Leahurst Road (pictured below).

In 1893 this was still, just, the land of Lee Manor Farm, although this would change dramatically over the next decade. As was the case when we followed the boundary along Hither Green Ditch, the Quaggy not only was the Lee – Lewisham boundary it was one between two farms. On the west was North Park Farm (the top of the map below) and on the east Lee Manor Farm – the sale of the former to Cameron Corbett who created what is known as the Corbett Estate and the latter by the Northbrooks in a more piecemeal fashion was to shape the urban landscape.

The boundary was within the flood plain, with the Quaggy meandering along the boundary of the farm, the Lee – Lewisham boundary of 1893. While this was acceptable in farmland it wasn’t in relation to the smaller suburban housing about to be developed the east of the railway. Memories of the devastating floods of 1878 will still have been prominent – the theory about dealing with such floods, which prevailed until the end of the following century, was to deepen and straighten the river, moving the water on as quickly as possible – this is clear from the photograph below. This approach also made development easier as had been seen with the development of Lampmead Road following the sale of Lee House in the 1880s.

Like the previous sections, the boundary is being followed on foot, the footwear of choice has changed though because while the rest of the route has been run, this section, apart from a 300 metre covered section in central Lewisham, is by walking along the river bed so waders became the footwear of choice.

The river and boundary continue to diverge for a little, the 1893 flow of the Quaggy and consequently the boundary meandered along what is now broadly Longhurst Road. It was never any more than 50 metres away from the river’s current, very straight, deep, engineered course. The convergence of the 19th boundary and the Quaggy more or less where the 21st century bridge from the the entrance from Longhurst Road into Manor Park is now situated – just above the start line for the annual (in non-COVID-19 years) Quaggy Duck Race.

While the Quaggy and Lee – Lewisham boundary are now coterminous and the meanders are broadly similar in 2020 to 1893, much changed in the intervening period. The Quaggy was straightened and channelised through what until the 1960s was the last bit of farming in Lee – a piggery. The open space, Manor Park, was created in the mid-1960s with meanders restored to something very close to those that existed in 1893 in 2007.

At the exit of the Park, there is a bridge, it is a long-standing crossing of the Quaggy, part of an ancient path known as Hocum Pocum Lane which ran from St Mary’s Church in Lewisham to Lee High Road. Despite the work done further upstream to deepen and straighten the course it flooded badly here in 1968.

Beyond Manor Park, the river and 1893 boundary squeezes between the Victorian housing of Weardale Road and Eastdown Park. The land for the latter land had already been developed by 1893, Eastdown Park on land that had been cultivated by the market gardens of Lewisham Nursery, run by Messrs Willmott and Chaundy, until 1860.

Beyond the river’s first meander is the garden of 45 Eastdown Park, possibly very briefly home to the Ginger Baker, his father was there just before the Cream drummer was born in 1939.  A hundred metres or so further on another there is another building with a musical history – the Rose of Lee, now Dirty South, which saw the first public performance by Kate Bush.

We have already mentioned serious flooding that occurred in the spring of 1878 in relation to straightening the Quaggy upstream.  However, while the meanders and boundary of Lewisham and Lee hadn’t changed since then, the depth of the watercourse had.  It is at least half a metre lower than in the prictue showing the partial destruction of the bridge in Eastdown Park.  So whilst it is a pleasant wander down the river there is little to see beyond boundary walls and banks for much of this stretch.

In 1893 on the opposite side of the Eastdown Park bridge was a Baptist Chapel, this was largely destroyed during World War 2 and the site is a vacant garage, last home to Penfold’s.

Both sides of the river and boundary into Lewisham were lined with housing in 1893; on the Lee (High Road) side a few remain, 152 was once home to William Sidery (pictured top) part of a multi generational Lee building firm.  Grove Cottage next to the Ambulance Station dates back to 1835 and 96 is the last remaining section of Lee Place (not to be confused with the eponymous mansion off Old Road) which was built in 1813 (lower picture) (1).

The remaining houses were largely lost to Fry’s garage and showrooms, which themsleves were replaced by a large Lidl and topped by an even larger block of flats this century.

On the opposite side of the river in Lewisham in 1893 was the well established College Park estate, briefly home to the poet James Elroy Flecker.

Behind the housing the river retains a pleasant almost rural feeling idlyll – it has probably changed very little in the 127 years since the Ordnance survey map being followed was surveyed.  

Beyond Clarendon Rise bridge, on the Lee side, was the Sultan in 1893 (pictured from early in the 20th century below), replaced in the last decade by Nandos; on the Lewisham side of the bridge is now the beautiful Hindu temple although that was a yard in 1893. Penfold’s moved into the site adjacent to both, known as Clarendon Yard around 1904.

The river disappears under what was referred to as Lee Bridge in 1893 for around 300 metres.  Alas, dear reader, this part was done at street level. 

The raised area above the river was an established shopping parade in 1896 with a tea dealer (83), a pair of boot makers (75 & 81), a wool shop (79), a confectioners with an architect and auctioneers above (77), Singer’s sewing machines (73), a stationers (71), a series of household goods shopsunder George Stroud’s ownership (65-69), a chemist (63), a florist (61) and the mainstay of that part of Lewisham high Street for generations – Chiesman’s Department Store (pictured a few years into the 20th century). 

Much has changed now, rather than Chiesmans dominating the street scene it is a massive and not particularly attractive police station. 

On the side of the police station is memorial that celebrates the contribution of Asquith Gibbes to Lewisham and, in the context of of the Black Lives Matter protests of earlier in lockdown, seems an important place to pause. Such memorials to members of London’s Black community remain a rarity, although just inside the Lee border is the Desmond Tutu Peace Garden, Tutu was a curate in Grove Park.

Asquith Gibbes was born in Grenada, and arrived in Britain in the late 1950s, working in Lewisham for 40 years fighting racial inequalities in education, policing and housing. There is a fuller biography of him as part of the brief for the memorial – two examples of his work have national significance. He chaired Millwall Anti-Racist Trust and instigated the ‘Kick it Out’ programme at Millwall Football Club in 1993, a campaign that was adopted nationally. Asquith was also part of very significant work with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Home Office on reforming ‘stop and search’ rules.

Returning to the Lee – Lewisham boundary of 1893, the Quaggy re-emerges just beyond the shops of 1893 and the police station. The boundary though takes a sharp turn to the east (right) by St Stephen’s church, at what is/was the confluence of the Quaggy and Upper Kid Brook, following the latter towards Blackheath. We’ll cover that part of the boundary at our next visit.

Picture Credits

  • The picture of Chiesmans shop in Lewisham is via e Bay in June 2016
  • The photographs of 1968 floods, the destroyed bridge in Eastdown Park and the map of Lee Manor Farm are from the collection of Lewisham Archives and remain their copyright, but are used with their permission
  • The Ordnance Survey map of 1893 is via the National Library of Scotland on a non-commercial licence
  • The photograph of the Sultan is used with the permission of Robert Crawford, the great grandson of the Craddocks, licensees there in the 1920s, it remains his family’s copyright.

Note

1 Lewisham Leisure (1990) ‘From the Tiger to the Clocktower’

This, and the rest of the series of posts on the Lee boundary, 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.

The Sultan – A Lost Lee High Road Pub

The Sultan was a Lee High Road pub on the corner of Clarendon Rise which was demolished in the early 2000s and is now (2019) a Nandos with four floors of flats above. This post attempts to tell the story of the pub whose drinkers included on occasion John Cooper Clarke and Siouxsie & the Banshees.

There have been two pubs on the site; the first seems to date back to around 1825 (1) and predated the development of the College Park estate on the opposite side of the Quaggy. When built, there was no bridge over the river at that point – this seems to have come as the estate behind was developed. Little is known of the first incarnation until its latter years other than the Lord of the Manor omitting to collect the rent so the tenant obtaining the title (2).

While the unknown tenant may have taken ownership, the beer house seems to have been bought by Courage at some time in the 1860s and 1870s; it was reported in 1870 that they had given a 17 year lease to Ambrose Paine who had gone bankrupt.  His mother, Elizabeth had asked to take over the tenancy but was refused and Courage took them to court to gain vacant possession (3).

Robert Janes, born around 1825, was the landlord during the 1870s – in 1871, he and his wife, Martha and five children were living over the pub, and unlike many other local pubs of the era there were no live-in staff. A decade earlier and he’d been a butcher living on Lewisham Road, close to Blackheath Hill.  It was a trade that he’d carried on in Lewisham in 1851.

The Quaggy which runs behind the site flooded badly in 1878 – the picture above shows the damage a few hundred metres upstream at Eastdown Park.  The flood  seems to have seriously financially damaged Janes – it was the third time in his stewardship that it had flooded and unlike neighbours, who had some financial relief from the parish, Janes got nothing – he posed the question in the local press as to whether it was ‘on account of my being a beer house keeper?’ (4).

The letter may have had an impact though as a new gully was constructed to try to protect the cellars and they escaped flooding in August 1879 (5).

The next name above the door was that of Frederick Waghorn from the spring of 1880 – Frederick put out adverts in the local press advertising ‘wines and spirits of the finest quality’ at The Sultan in (5).   Frederick was noted as being a plasterer in the 1881 census, so it was presumably Sarah who was running the pub its early years.  Frederick died in 1889.

At some stage in their period at The Sultan beer house was rebuilt (7).  Throughout the period that the Waghorns were there, the new building was split with a shop front on the corner of Clarendon Rise – as the mid-1890s Ordnance Survey map below shows. Between 1886, and probably earlier, the occupants of 16 on the corner were fruitiers, initially Thomas Longhurst but from 1888 to the end of the first decade of the 20th century Walklings, although  variety of others used the site too.

In the early days the of the Waghorn tenancy the Sultan was also home to the Lee and Lewisham Harmonic Brotherhood, who held a quarterly supper there (8).

After Frederick’s death, the licence passed several times between family members – initially it was Sarah’s name on the brass plate (9), but it was transferred to her son Walter in 1896 (10).

However, it was back in Sarah’s name by 1904 as she was found guilty of ‘selling intoxicating liquor to a drunken person’ (11). She was back in court for the same offence the following year but with a much larger fine of £2 with costs (12).  The pub is on the right hand side of the photograph above from Lee Bridge from around this era, although its ‘sign’ isn’t that clear.

Sarah Waghorn didn’t stay much longer as by the end of 1905 George Craddock was pulling the pints at The Sultan; he was a Bermondsey boy, helped by his wife Alice. George came from a family of pub landlords – his father was running Blackheath’s Royal Standard in 1901, and a decade before the City Arms in West Square, Bermondsey, The pub is pictured above in that era with the Craddock’s name emblazoned on the side. George’s older brother, Thomas, ran the Woodman further up Lee High Road for a while.  George stayed at The Sultan until 1928.  It seems that it was under his stewardship that The Sultan took over the shop front next door, around 1925 modernising the pub and extending the public bar in the process –  before and after photographs of the public bar below.

The former shops became the ‘private bar’ – set up as a small dining room in the photograph below, which offered ‘luncheons’ – see photograph after.

The Craddocks moved on soon after the changes to a house in Upwood Road – it seems that they retired early to care for their sick daughter. The house was probably built by John Pound and backed onto a small nursery which grew roses. George remained there until his death in 1967. The house, presumably at the end of a 99 year Crown lease, was demolished soon after,

Returning to the Sultan, pictured above in the late 1920s; by the 1930 Kelly’s Directory it was listed as being run by Richards and Sons, the probably took over in 1928. Nine years later, when World War 2 broke out the landlord was Leonard Orves who lived some distance away in Ronver Road.   W J High was the landlord in 1945; succeed by his wife or daughter Ellen in 1950.  Beyond the 1950s, while the pub is listed in Kelly’s Directories, the name of the landlord is absent,

Roll forward 50 years, the pub had a mixed, but overall positive, review in the News Shopper in 2000; their Pub Spy described as a ‘curious little gaff’ which ‘doesn’t exactly look welcoming from the outside.’ It had an ‘Under New Management’ sign – usually subtext for past problems which may or may not have been dealt with.

The décor was mainly dark wooden panelling (that had been there in the 1920s, see above), the public bar complete with pool table was empty although the lounge (originally the private bar) at the rear was busier and noisier with rock ‘n’ roll and reggae from the jukebox.  The review summed the pub up as

The Sultan is not a good bet for young groups on the razzle, or even an ideal family boozer. But it is a pub for friendly, real people who enjoy their drink.

The new management didn’t last long though, as in October 2002 planning permission was granted to demolish and replace The Sultan with a 4 storey block of flats and a restaurant – presumably the well-known purveyor of peri peri chicken, Nando’s, had been lined up by the developers before their submission.  Its neighbour is the stunning London Sivan Kovil Hindu Temple, just visible behind.

With most of the Lewis ham and Lee pubs that have disappeared there seem to be fond memories on-line, these were included for posts on pubs such as the Woodman and New Tiger’s Head further up Lee High Road and the town centre pubs The Plough and The Roebuck.  There have been a few Facebook threads on this post which have triggered some good memories.

I can only remember going into the Sultan once, and that wasn’t planned.  Sometime during 1993, I had been into Lewisham with my toddler son in a buggy and was confronted by a low-speed car chase – the pursued car had come out of Clarendon Rise, had mounted the pavement in a vain attempt to evade the traffic backing up at the junction of Belmont Hill and Lewis Grove.  The narrow pavement was busy so the driver slowly inched towards the Clock Tower.

I took evasive action and pushed the buggy into the Sultan’s bar; I was met by a small, slightly unsteady stampede coming the other way of drinkers, glasses in hand, eager to find out the reason for the siren and flashing lights.  The Sultan wasn’t the most inviting pub I’ve ever been in – dark and a fug of smoke so thick that the bar was a little indeterminate in outline.  Outside the excitement swiftly abated; the police pursuers had quickly arrested the driver who had come to a halt when a lamppost blocked his path.  The drinkers retreated back into the boozer and we returned to the healthier atmosphere of the heavily polluted Lee High Road with the young driver being led away by the constabulary.

While I have no fond memories, David (see comments below) most certainly did from the late 1970s and early 1980s

I drank here from 1977 to 81. I lived up the road in 35 Gilmore Road. It was run by Dougie an ex boxer, who everyone called Dougie Sultan. He would punch any drinkers who misbehaved. He was short but shaped like a barrel. It was a real dive but tolerated any drinker who behaved. We were punks and art school kids and unwelcome in most pubs, but not the Sultan. As a consequence at some point it hosted for a drink Siouxie and the Banshees, Seething Wells the punk poet, John Cooper Clark and many others.

A featured drinker was a council worker called Sid who resurrected knocked over lampposts. He used to sing a song at the to of his voice – “I am pissy Sid from Sydenham Hill, never worked and never will”.

The Sultan- to its credit, was significant in the “Battle of Lewisham High Street”, when the National Front marched through Lewisham – by joining forces with the Kebab shop opposite (the Bogaz Icci) to drive the fascists out.

The period when Dougie was landlord seems to have been a golden era, probably stretching from the 1960s to the 1980s. There were lots of fond memories of his period pulling pints, along with his sons John and Chris. A lot of recollections of good nights out, New Years Eve was always special there and the pub ran football team and darts teams, sometimes with money on the outcome, with one particular loss not going down well with members of the darts team.

As with other ‘lost pub posts’ on Running Past, it would be good to be able to add in some other memories into the post. If you worked there or drank there tell your story – who were the characters that were regulars at The Sultan? What about the landlord, the staff, the atmosphere, recollections of the friends and the memorable nights.  You can use your Facebook or Twitter login to comment here, first comments here get moderated before they appear though.  If you found the post via Facebook, you can write your recollections there.  I will update the post with the memories.  Please don’t put anything libellous or that might offend others though…..

Notes

  1. Ken White (1992) The Public Houses of Lee and Lewisham, Part 6C p240
  2. ibid p240
  3. Kentish Mercury 12 March 1870
  4. Kentish Mercury 03 August 1878
  5. Kentish Mercury 30 August 1879
  6. Woolwich Gazette 17 April 1880 and several others
  7. White, op cit, p240
  8. Kentish Mercury 17 December 1886
  9. Kentish Mercury 14 February 1890
  10. Kentish Mercury 28 August 1896
  11. Kentish Independent 24 June 1904
  12. Kentish Mercury 02 June 1905

Picture & Other Credits

  • A massive thank you to Robert Crawford, the great grandson of the Craddocks for the five photos used from probably the early 1920s and filling in some family detail, the photographs are used with his permission here but remain his family’s copyright.
  • The photographs from Lee Bridge and of the bridge on Eastdown Park are part of the collection of Lewisham Archives and is their copyright and used with their permission.
  • The Kelly’s Directory information comes from a mixture of Lewisham and Southwark archives.
  • Census and related data come via Find My Past (subscription required)
  • The Ordnance Survey map is part of the National Library of Scotland’s collection and is used on a non-commercial licence.