Locale: Sydenham

An area of South-East London, mostly lying within the London Borough of Lewisham (in the SE26 postal district).

It is served by three rail stations, which from west to east are Sydenham Hill, Sydenham, and Lower Sydenham, offering mainline services to Victoria or London Bridge. Sydenham Station is also on the East London Line (part of the London Overground network).

Prior to the late nineteeth century, Sydenham was basically a rural village. However, the coming of the railway in the mid-1800s, the divvying-up of the common land by local landowners, and the relocation of the Crystal Palace from Hyde Park to Sydenham in 1852 all contributed to its transformation into a London suburb. The proximity of the Crystal Palace, where regular concerts were held, attracted a number of musicians and composers to the area, as well as writers such as George Grove (of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians).

[Crystal Palace Park]? is still the largest public green space in the area, but there are also a number of smaller parks, such as Mayow Park (with a cricket pitch, bowls, and community garden), Home Park (adventure playground, library, and outdoor gym), and Wells Park (slides, kids' water play area, and landscaped grounds).

While Sydenham has been described as "pound shop capital of the world", this is perhaps a rather unfair characterisation. The public life of the area is mostly concentrated around Sydenham Road, which runs east from Sydenham Station, and is lined with cafes, mini-markets, independent furnishing shops, and other small businesses. The more ubiquitous high-street chain stores are absent, though smaller and more retro/local chains like Wimpy still exist. Further up the hill is Kirkdale, which was the original high street, and which mostly hosts independent businesses such as costume hire places, piano shops, and handmade furniture shops.

See also:

Auto-generated list of places in Sydenham (view them on a map):

Historical info mostly extracted by Kake from Sydenham and Forest Hill, by Joan P Alcock. Information on park facilities provided by an anonymous visitor, June 2010.

Last edited 2016-11-16 21:09:43 (version 14; diff). List all versions.