diamond geezer

 Friday, March 20, 2020

Of course London has a Corona Road.

Just the one, in Lee in southeast London.
Just off Burnt Ash Hill.

It's been in existence since the 1880s, and its name derives from the pub on the corner.

This is the Crown Hotel, now the Crown Tavern, which is an impressive three-storey affair. It was built by a barge owner from Bow called William Winn, geographically unlikely as that may seem, on the site of a beerhouse serving a local brickworks. The land was formerly owned by the Crown, hence the name.

The Crown Hotel was an upmarket affair hoping to cater to residents of the local villas and also travellers on the road through to Grove Park. Today it's a Young's gastropub with a garden out front, a large balcony space above and a once a week pub quiz. A contemporary dining annexe has been bolted on out back, ideal for squeezing in more Sunday roast covers. Today was supposed to see the launch of their new cocktail menu, according to the chalkboard when I walked past last Saturday, but I suspect they'll have postponed that by now. Pub's still open, though.

The driveway to the pub car park used to be the entrance to Corona Road, which now starts properly behind. William Winn lived in the first house, 'Corona Villa', which no longer stands. Indeed only one of the original substantial Victorian properties remains (above, right) and the rest of the street has seen considerable redevelopment. Wartime bombing was the catalyst, the prefabs that followed eventually replaced by mundane blocks of flats. Stand at one end of the road and it looks quite middle class, stand in the centre and you can see it isn't.

Most of the newbuild is run by housing association L&Q, who've erected a none too thrilling noticeboard by the recycling point. It tells residents how often caretaker James sweeps the staircases, where to go for coffee and biscuits on a Friday and how to swap your property for something smaller. I assumed the fireplace resting on a mattress beside a Finding Dory armchair was waiting for disposal rather than an interesting piece of art.

The redevelopment retained a lot of land as grass, mostly bland lawn, but a full-on basketball court has been added at one end. Should any local children be allowed outside to play, here's where they'll be. Around this curves a 1980s extension to Corona Road, an extra dogleg fronted by a wall of irregular terraced houses and maisonettes with ample parking space outside. For a suburban cul-de-sac essentially selected at random, Corona Road has considerable housing variety and quite a backstory. For a more in-depth report, the Running Past SE London history blog has lots more to tell.

In the hedge on the corner of Corona Road and Guibal Road I found a heavily weathered stone whose inscription (I think) reads 33ft NE From This Point Is The Boundary Of The Borough Of Lewisham. The boundary with Greenwich once ran straight across open fields, then sliced diagonally across the estate, but a little postwar rationalisation rejigged it to the centre of the street. A dozen houses in Guibal Road are therefore in Greenwich but the whole of Corona Road remains in Lewisham. Should you ever visit. Which, as a result of its namesake, is less likely than it ever was.

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