diamond geezer

 Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Postcards from Overground South

Penge - High Street
Penge TriangleI had, somehow, never been to Penge before. I'd got as far as Crystal Palace Park at the top of the town, but never ducked below the railway viaduct to explore the main drag. Many a preconception of Penge is conjured up by its unattractive name, Celtic in origin, even though nothing round here older than Victorian. Homebase is rather more recent than that. It took a quarter of a mile before I bumped into anything remotely photogenic, in this case the elegant Tudor-style almshouses in Waterman's Square. Alongside is the Penge Triangle - nothing paranormal but a three sided road junction with an perspex-winged clocktower in the centre. Sorry, I've made that sound far more interesting than it actually is (think more bleak bus-stand in the middle of a cobbled roundabout). Ditto the Crooked Billet nextdoor, allegedly Penge's oldest pub but rebuilt postwar with no redeeming heritage features whatsoever. And then a lot of shops, making this the kind of High Street where there used to be an Art Deco cinema but now there's a McDonalds. I could have continued as far as Beckenham, but I didn't feel I'd uncover anything any more exciting. I wonder what I missed.
Penge photo: Sorry, I cheated and went back to the Penge end of Crystal Palace Park to snap some fake geology instead.
Penge by Brendan: yesterday's location report from Londonist

Anerley - South Norwood Lake
Yes, I know, South Norwood Lake is really in South Norwood. But the water's edge is closer to Anerley station than to South Norwood, as the crow flies if not on foot, so I'm referencing it here.
The Croydon Canal needed two reservoirs to keep its waters topped up, and one of these was dug on Norwood Common. When the canal closed, and most of the rest disappeared under the railway, this reservoir survived as a place for angling and picknicking. 160 years later, not much has changed. There's even a heritage sign by the Woodvale entrance reminding fishermen that a season ticket costs thirty shillings, and that bronze bream shorter than twelve inches must be returned to the water. The latest leisure opportunity at the lake is sailing, even if only smaller yachts can be accommodated. The Croydon Sailing Club meet here - a friendly-looking amateur bunch who on Sunday could be found lounging outside their hut-like HQ because the waters were becalmed. Further round the reservoir I watched as a Dad and his two small kids trampled across the shrubbery to get a closer view of some waterfowl. And throughout my visit, it being Pentecost, the sound of joyful singing echoed across the lake from the evangelists holed up in the Clubhouse. A charming spot and, I suspect, a bit of a local secret.
Anerley photo: Yachts reflecting on the lake
Anerley fact: Anerley allegedly got its name because, when the railways came, there was 'anerley' one house here.

South Norwood - Clock Tower
Whilst South Norwood was once home to such luminaries as DH Lawrence and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the town chooses instead to bring to prominence a rather less well-known former resident. Walk out of the railway station and a plaque welcomes you to "South Norwood, home of inventor, engineer and philanthropist William Stanley (1829-1909)". No, me neither. A few hundred yards further on is the town's ornate iron clocktower, topped off with a gleaming weather vane, which was erected to commemorate Mr Stanley's Golden Wedding. I had to look him up when I got home to find out why he's so much loved around these parts. It turns out that William was very big in the world of technical drawing, back in the days when you couldn't get a computer to design your buildings and artefacts in milliseconds. He made his fortune as an engineer creating mathematical instruments such as beam compasses and proportional dividers, later diversifying into pantographs and surveying instruments. Pinpoint accuracy in a wooden box, essentially, and all churned out from a factory in Belgrave Road. William was generous with his money, back in the days when even a five-figure sum made you look magnanimous, and the community looked upon him with gratitude. Alas history's not been kind to his legacy over the last few years. His company went bust in 1999. His self-built house was knocked down in 2006 before English Heritage could list it. And his Stanley Technical School was rebranded as an academy in 2007 and renamed after a completely different local philanthropist. Thank goodness his cast-iron clocktower survives, no doubt lovingly constructed using the great man's finest precision instruments.
South Norwood photo: The clocktower (obviously)
South Norwood website: Virtual Norwood

West Croydon
Both of Croydon's tourist information centres close on Sundays.
And if they can't be bothered, then neither can I.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream