Sydenham: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°25′31″N 0°03′16″W / 51.4254°N 0.0544°W / 51.4254; -0.0544

Sydenham is located in Greater London

 Sydenham shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ352714
London borough Lewisham
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE26
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Lewisham West
London Assembly Greenwich and Lewisham
List of places: UK • England • London

Sydenham, pronounced /ˈsɪdnəm/, is an area and electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham; although some streets towards Crystal Palace Park and Penge are outside the ward and in the London Borough of Bromley, and some streets off Sydenham Hill are in the London Borough of Southwark. Sydenham was in Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created. The population of the Sydenham ward in 2007 was 14,650.[1]

Sydenham is most famous as the location where the Crystal Palace from the Great Exhibition was relocated. Famous people who have lived here include Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer; George Grove of musical dictionary fame; John Logie Baird, the television inventor; Jason Statham, an actor; and Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement.


Brief history

Sydenham started out as a small settlement, a few cottages among the woods, whose inhabitants grazed their animals and collected wood.

In the 1640s, springs of water in what is now Wells Park were discovered to have medicinal properties, attracting crowds of people to the area. Sydenham grew rapidly in the 19th century after the introduction of the canal in 1801. Potential gas companies began to consider the Sydenham area in the 1840s after the opening of the railway.

In 1851 the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park was housed in an immense glass building, called the Crystal Palace. In 1854 the building was bought by a private company, dismantled and re-erected at Penge, close to Sydenham. Exhibitions, concerts, conferences and sporting events were held at the Crystal Palace (until it burned down in 1936), and Sydenham became a fashionable area; many new houses were built. They could be supplied with gas from the Crystal Palace and District Gas Company's works at Bell Green, which continued in production until 1969. A large store now occupies part of the site.

Sydenham today is a bustling town centre with an active and engaged community, excellent public transport, schools, parks, shops and restaurants. The town centre is home to 185 small and medium-sized businesses, many independently owned and offering a wide range of goods. The town centre has a very community and villagey feel making Sydenham a well connected location where there are many independent run businesses as opposed to a more vast and informal environment with branded chain stores that neighbouring Croydon, Bromley and Lewisham home.

Notable buildings and structures

  • Sydenham is the home of St Bartholomew's church, (1827–1832), at the end of Lawrie Park Avenue, featured in Camille Pissarro's painting of 1871. The building was designed by Lewish Vulliamy.
  • Park Court Sydenham, (1936), by Frederick Gibberd, pioneering modernist development of residential flats on the estate on Lawrie Park Road adjacent to the famous Crystal Palace Park.
  • Six Pillars, (1934–35), by Berthold Lubetkin, on Crescentwood Road, a villa strongly in the spirit of Le Corbusier with eponymous six pillars at street level.
  • Cobbs Corner, takes its name from a draper’s shop at 291-307 Kirkdale run by Walter Cobb. The shop grew into a large department store catering to the gentry of the area. Interesting imposing dome where you can find the date on the building.
  • 180 and 182 Kirkdale, built in the 1850s in Gothic style, with Tudor doorcases.
  • 168–178 Kirkdale, three pairs of Italianate houses built around 1862. Number 174 was briefly the home of the conductor August Manns.
  • Memorial to Queen Victoria, (1897) baroque-style memorial celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Restored for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee and designed by Alexander Hennell, a Sydenham resident and architect.
  • Jews Walk, it is believed that a wealthy Jewish resident planted a row of trees to define the boundary of his walk from the Common. Numbers 2,4 and 6 are classical villas dating from the 1840s. Karl Marx's daughter Eleanor lived on Jews Walk. On 9 September 2008 a blue English Heritage plaque was placed on the house to commemorate this fact.
  • Halifax Street, beautifully preserved street with houses dating from the 1840s. Of notice are in particular the closeness of the houses, the length of the street and the size of the gardens.
  • The Kirkdale Building, previously the Sydenham Public Lecture Hall, it was built in 1861 by Sydenham resident Henry Dawson.
  • Mayow Park, originally named Sydenham Recreation Ground, this is the borough’s oldest municipal park. The park is home to the Mayow Park Bowls Club, has two tennis courts and a refurbished children’s playground.

Beast of Sydenham

The Beast of Sydenham, as of 25 March 2005, is a large, panther-like black animal which has been spotted around the area, and attacked a man. The beast was said to be 6 ft in length and 3 ft in height.[2][3]

Sydenham Children's Hospital

Sydenham Children's Hospital lasted from 1872 until its closure in 1991.


Sydenham contains two secondary schools, Sydenham High School - a private school - and Sydenham School. Both of these schools are exclusively girls schools.

Primary schools in Sydenham are four non-religious schools (Adamsrill Primary School, Eliot Bank Primary, Haseltine School, and Kelvin Grove Primary School) and three religious schools (St. Michael's Primary School, St Philip Neri Roman Catholic Primary School) and St. Bartholomews Church of England Primary School. The former includes children of other faiths.

Nearby to Sydenham are Secondary schools which include residents of Sydenham in their catchment area. These include Forest Hill, Harris, Cator Park for Girls and Sedgehill Schools.

Famous residents

Sub areas of Sydenham

Sydenham is the main area of Sydenham which the Sydenham Road or Sydenham High Street by locals and is the main shopping area. The main railway station is called Sydenham which links to Croydon, Sutton, Penge, Forest Hill and London Bridge. Sydenham is served by bus routes 75, 122, 176, 194, 197, 202 & 450. Sydenham is also home to a Somerfield supermarket on Sydenham Road.

Sydenham Hill is in the north of Sydenham and there is also road called Sydenham Hill too. It has the same postcode (SE26) as the other areas of Sydenham and also is partley in the London Borough of Southwark and the London Borough of Lewisham. Sydenham Hill has its own railway station, Sydenham Hill which links to Herne Hill, London Victoria, Bromley and Orpington. The area is served by bus routes 202, 356, 363 and the 450. Local places are Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club and Sydenham Woods.

Upper Sydenham is North West of Sydenham. It has the same postcode and in the London Borough of Lewisham. Upper Sydenham is served by bus routes 122, 176, 197, 202 & 356. Local Parks are Wells Park and Baxters field. A Tesco Express Store opened in June 2009 on Kirkdale. There was a former station in the area called Upper Sydenham railway station.

Lower Sydenham is East of Sydenham. It has the same postcode and is in the London Borough of Lewisham and a small part in the London Borough of Bromley. Lower Sydenham is home to Sainsburys called Savacentre (as this was its original name) by locals, Sainsburys 'Sydenham' is the largest Sainsbury's store in the UK. Lower Sydenham is has its own railway station Lower Sydenham which links to Hayes, Lewisham, Catford, London Bridge and Charing Cross. It also has Home Park which boasts an Adventure playground and is situated next to Sydenham Library, funded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904. Further down towards Bell Green is The Old Bathhouse (now an antiques reclamation yard). The area is served by bus routes 181, 194, 202, 352, 356 & 450.

The future

Nearest places

Nearest railway stations


External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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