diamond geezer

 Friday, January 03, 2020

London has four SomethingTwenty postcode districts, one of which is SE20. Essentially it covers Penge, but its official postal designation is Anerley, a lesser suburb to the south. For the purposes of today's post I'll be exploring the Anerley half rather than the Penge half. And if you'd like to join me in sightseeing round SE20, I've provided a map to accompany my wanderings. [map]

20 sights to see in SE20



1) The very first thing to be built around here was a canal. The Croydon Canal linked New Cross to Croydon and seemed like a good idea in 1801, but this was swiftly disproven. All that remains of the canal is a brief section in Betts Park retained for pleasure boating, now little more than a landscaped trench overlooked by trees and modern housing, but the ducks seem to like it. For a map and additional background, the information board at the northern end is a) very good b) still legible.
2) Anerley is actually the name of a house, the first to be built on Penge Common after it was enclosed in 1827. A Scottish silk manufacturer called William Sanderson liked the remoteness of the spot and so named his home Anerley, either because it was a dialect word meaning isolated or because his was the 'anerley' house in the area. Sources vary. His canalside house is long gone, swallowed up by the suburb that followed, but was somewhere in the vicinity of Ashurst Close near the bowling club. As '80s cul-de-sacs go, it's not worth a detour.
3) After the canal proved uneconomic it was bought up by the London and Croydon Railway, a speculative 1830s venture which straightened out the route and replaced water with rails. William Sanderson allowed the line through his land on the condition that they built a halt near his house, initially called Anerley Bridge, thereby kickstarting the development that ruined his peace. The station's now called Anerley, a bleak pair of platforms absorbed into the London Overground network ten years ago.
4) A second stretch of the old canal survived beside the station and was made the centrepiece of Anerley Gardens (1842-1868), a demure attraction for Victorians in search of amusement. In addition to boating visitors could enjoy a maze and perhaps fishing, along with a Swiss-style chalet that served tea. It proved a popular day out until the Crystal Palace was erected half a mile away on top of Sydenham Hill, and Anerley Gardens could not compete. A walk through the estate along Castledine Road will show you where it used to be.
5) Only the tea chalet continued in business after 1868, completely rebuilt. It became the Anerley Arms, an imposing winged hostelry, which in 1984 survived a gas explosion and is now owned by Sam Smiths.



6) Anerley Town Hall is the dominant building on Anerley Road. It started out in 1878 as Anerley Vestry Hall, but was elevated to town hall status (and appropriately enlarged) in 1899 when the borough of Penge came into being. After Bromley took over it was no longer required, so is used by the Crystal Palace Community Trust as their events hub and business centre.
7) It's about time we visited the true heart of SE20, Anerley Post Office, which is immediately across the road. The only problem is it closed 'temporarily' five years ago, replaced by VALG Property Ltd, and is now identifiable only by the pillar box outside. Never fear, Royal Mail have finally found a replacement space at the back of Shillings supermarket which should be opening next month, except that's a ten minute walk up the hill which puts it in SE19 rather than SE20. I had hoped for a look inside to bring you a progress update, but the shutters at Shillings come down early at this time of year.



8) At 144 Anerley Road is The Douglas Fir, a microbrewery microbar currently serving up Hepcat IPA from one of its eight keg taps. The hepcats within keep passers-by informed by scrawling their latest programme of events across its window.
9) Also, if you're quick, Petal Florist nextdoor is offering Christmas flowers "half prise", specifically "mistoe" for £3 and "ponsia" for £5.
10) The last shop in SE20, just before the railway line, is the Anerley Frock Exchange, a 'Nearly New Dress Agency for Ladies and Children'. Hang on, no, it's been boarded up and sold for development. Sorry, but to reach 20 interesting places in Anerley I've had to broaden my net somewhat.



11) Don't go looking for Orchard Lodge, London's last secure children's home, because it's recently been demolished and replaced by a housing development called Venue. I note that its marketing prioritises Crystal Palace rather than Anerley because that's the buzzier neighbourhood.
12) Those with smaller financial reserves might prefer to purchase on the South Penge Park Estate, a dense warren of less-loved postwar blocks. One of its houses looked to be called 'Dogs Loose'.
13) Thornsett Road, by contrast, retains its generously apportioned semis and boasts a brilliant blue plaque double. Number 12 was the last home of Thomas Crapper, incorrectly famous for inventing the flush toilet, in reality a very successful plumber and "developer of the controlled flow cistern". Meanwhile...
14) ...nextdoor at number 14 lived author Walter de la Mare, a national treasure on his way up, and who wrote some of his better stuff here. I love that these two disparate celebrities lived in adjacent houses, which would be the inspiration for an excellent TV sitcom if only they'd been here at the same time, but alas Crapper died in 1910 and de la Mare only arrived nextdoor in 1912.



15) Marlow Fish Bar on Marlow Road looks to be the perfect corner shop, established 1962, and still serving up cream soda and spam fritters along with its wrapped cod and chips.
16) Off Oak Grove Road I found a dead end called Tramway Close. It can't have been a tramway depot, I thought, because it's on a backroad down a hill. But it was.
17) Number 31 Ash Grove is a most unusual house. For a start there's a giant barn owl painted across its entire side wall, perched on a seasonal tree stump. That went up last year. The front porch is a jet black cuboid with a bright pink door, like some kind of abstract art exhibit. And then there's the velociraptor in the flower bed surrounded by pure white gravel. I couldn't get all three oddities in the same photo, so I decided to prioritise porch and dinosaur.



18) The Robin Hood pub at the Croydon Road crossroads closed in 2002, suffered an arson attack in 2006 and has been replaced by an Aldi. Such is progress.
19) There is still a Post Office in Anerley SE20, but it's on Elmers End Road tucked away at the back of VM's Variety. If you want gifts, toys and groceries with your Special Delivery labels, do drop by.
20) Finally I must mention SE Twenty a few doors down, the smart cafe/kitchen which has named itself after the postcode it serves. If only it had been on the opposite corner of Ravenscroft Road it would indeed have been in SE20, but alas its postal address is BR3, and I am not a fan of geographically incorrect coffee.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
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

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain
#coronavirus

read the archive
Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv