Croydon Canal revisited

The History of Sydenham from Cippenham to present day. Links to photos especially welcome!

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Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Croydon Canal revisited

Post by Falkor »

I was speaking with Ken Kiss, whom believes that the footpath between Sydenham Park footbridge and WH Smiths could not have been a towpath for the Croydon Canal. Ken argues the following:
*The angle of the canal coming from the Dacres Road stretch is too sharp to curve back round for the relatively straight footpath and railway line.
*The canal ran in line with a pond at the bottom of Albion Villas road.
*The plot lines on the map, dividing land around the Clyde Vale (Raglan Street) area, forms a perfect curve.

Therefore, according to Ken, this means the Croydon Canal was too far out to be anywhere near the footpath, which in turn could not have been the towpath. Perhaps the footpath was just formed when the railway was built?

So, the question is: how accurate is Ken's representation of the Croydon Canal on this medium-scale map?
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Steve Grindlay
Posts: 606
Joined: 4 Oct 2004 05:07
Location: Upper Sydenham

Post by Steve Grindlay »

I'm not sure that anybody has claimed the footpath follows the exact line of the towpath. The canal's course, from New Cross to West Croydon, was fairly winding, following the natural contours, whereas the railway was as direct as the engineers could make it.

This area was part of Sydenham Common, enclosed in 1819. The enclosure map (drawn up after the canal was opened, but long before the railway was built) clearly shows the plots of land between the canal and Dartmouth Road, with the canal on the same alignment as suggested in the map above. There can be little doubt that this is the route that it followed, and in fact it is still apparent on modern maps (or was - I suspect the recent building works in Clyde Terrace have changed that). The canal towpath, incidentally, was on the eastern side of the canal.

An interesting feature on the map (dated about 1863) is the firing range on the eastern side of the railway line. This was constructed for the Sydenham Rifle Corps in 1858. They were based at the [Armoury] (now Serin House) on the corner of Hindsley's Place.

Greg Whitehead
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Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

I also find these maps interesting Steve and Falkor. I always struggled to reconcile how Dacres Wood on Silverdale could contain one of the last remnants of the original canal. It's very clear to me now, I think it was a case of wrongly assuming that the railway line just faithfully followed the filled-in canal route.

Falkor
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Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Greg, mate, we've definitely got to arrange a walkabout this summer based around the Dacres Wood nature reserve! I'm dying to get a look at the canal; I've got my diving suit at the ready!

Greg Whitehead
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Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

Yes, we have Falkor.

Perhaps I should make contact with Nick again and we'll see if it's ship-shape enough to view after the vandalism last year?

Great idea Falkor!

Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

Greg Whitehead wrote:Yes, we have Falkor.

Perhaps I should make contact with Nick again and we'll see if it's ship-shape enough to view after the vandalism last year?

Great idea Falkor!
*Bump* What say you Giles?

Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

Sydenham College on Sydenham Park Road?


Please Giles & Steve can you enlighten me as to the history of this College just south of what I assume to be plot 1062 on the second map. I have walked up and down this road a few times (though admittedly not it's full length but haven't come across any building remotely suited).

Steve Grindlay
Posts: 606
Joined: 4 Oct 2004 05:07
Location: Upper Sydenham

Post by Steve Grindlay »

Greg, Sydenham College was on the corner of Sydenham Park Road and Sydenham Park. There is a block of flats on the site now (about 45 Syd Pk Rd). The college opened in 1860 and closed in about 1900 when the building was converted to flats, called College Mansions. The building was demolished in the late 1960s.

In its day Sydenham College was Sydenham's most prestigious boys' school. It is regularly claimed the Rene Lalique, the noted and very collectable glass designer, was a pupil at Sydenham College but this is unlikely to refer to this institution which was an academic school, preparing its pupils for university. It is more likely that Lalique attended the Crystal Palace School of Art.

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Greg, that sounds like a good idea, mate! You know I'm always up for it... I did a 20 mile walk last week--took 4-5 hours--no sweat!! Blisters healed within 24 hours... but I got a back injury and was panicking I wouldn't be able to do any serious walking after that, but it healed on it's own, unlike my blasted neck injury. Anyway, it doesn't get dark until after 7pm now, so good time for walkabouts etc...

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Dacres Wood Nature Reserve have a brand spanking new attractive looking plaque at the entrance, but the place is still closed, for special visits only. From what I could see through the fence, I'm not sure if the bridge over the canal looked safe or not...

techman-pete
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Aug 2007 06:58
Location: forest hill

Croydon Canal

Post by techman-pete »

I have become intrested in the Croydon Canal and looking at the recent info and maps as posted - it appears to confirm my belief that the 2nd resivoir was indeed not at sydenham park. As this clearly is a remains of the canal. I believe that the resivior was on higher ground at manor mount, which clearly shows a resivoir on a map i came across. I also believe for anyone intrested that there was a resivior at telegraph hill as there is a resivior road there, and would make sence as this is the first high ground in the lock system of the canal - any comments would be appreciated

Kind Regards peter C

Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Hi Peter, and welcome to the board!

There was definitely a reservoir at Sydenham Park (Sydenham Park Road marks the site of the boundary dam; Longfield Crescent marks the site of the canal feeder). The other Croydon Canal reservoir was at South Norwood. Below are maps showing the Sydenham Park reservoir:
1811
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1815
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1816
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1819
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1820
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1829
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Unknown year
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What/where is "Manor Mount"?
I also believe for anyone intrested that there was a resivior at telegraph hill as there is a resivior road there
There is a detailed map of London and it's environs from 1833 with coverage north of Stanstead Road; no reservoir...
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Falkor
Posts: 1371
Joined: 10 Feb 2006 17:45
Location: Surrey Quays

Post by Falkor »

Wow, check out this 1837 map; the railway and the canal are shown right beside each other! :o
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will greenwood
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Location: moorlinch

Post by will greenwood »

I've bumped up this topic mainly to publicise a walk/talk at Mayow park and Dacres woods on 31st May, and will include the remaining section of canal.
Meet in Mayow Park at 9.30 am.

Tim Lund
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Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

By the Bowls pavillion ...

Post by Tim Lund »

Thanks for this publicity. In case anyone wonders where in Mayow Park, in the Bishopsthorpe / Mayow Road corner, by the bowls pavillion - at 9.30.

Moira Harbord
Posts: 1
Joined: 19 Jun 2008 22:10
Location: South West London

Croydon Canal

Post by Moira Harbord »

Hi
I recently visited the London Canal Museum, and discovered the existance of the Croydon Canal. I bought the book entitled 'Retracing canals to Croydon and Camberwell', have read it from cover to cover - a fascinating read, and discovered I have been driving either on or near this former canal during my last nine years working around the Forest Hill and New Cross areas. I notice on the forum that there was recently a walk of one of the sections of it. I am very interested in being involved in any other walks or talks, etc about the Croydon Canal or indeed any interested groups that exist with this interest. As you have probably guessed, I do have a canal boat, but alas, not on the Croydon Canal!!
Would love to hear from interested parties.
Moira Harbord

loncanals
Posts: 3
Joined: 28 Apr 2008 23:51
Location: London

Post by loncanals »

Hi Moira,

Please see my website on the Croydon Canal:

http://www.londoncanals.co.uk/croydon/ccintro.html

Its a comprehensive guide to the route between Coldblow and West Croydon station

Roger

peter coppin
Posts: 24
Joined: 25 Mar 2008 08:08
Location: honor oak - forest hill

Post by peter coppin »

hi roger

firstly I find your site very good, however it appears to differ around the new cross gate station area where according to maps and prints the canal ran next to th railway and to the north.

Where it should be noted that the railway at new cross gate is built on made up land from spoils of the network.

peter

loncanals
Posts: 3
Joined: 28 Apr 2008 23:51
Location: London

Post by loncanals »

Hi peter,

The website was done before I found out this more recent information. I now suspect that the canal and locks remained in use much later than thought whilst the railway was being built, which explains the 1837 map having both routes. It would be great to know more information on the alignments and just how late into its post closure period the canal remained in use. I am aware of the build up on spoil, the climb up from the former East London Line depot up to New Cross station made this obvious.

On the first page on the Croydon Canal feature I mentioned the railway embankment but I also pointed out some issues with the mapping of the area as I then mentioned the difference between the Greenwoods and other maps in how they showed the canal's alignment

Roger

peter coppin
Posts: 24
Joined: 25 Mar 2008 08:08
Location: honor oak - forest hill

Post by peter coppin »

Hi

I take it from your what you say, you will be updating you great information at sometime.

Mines only an observation considered I`ve lived in and around forest hill all my life - I never knew the canal where the canal came from or went to until about 3 years ago.

your info is what first brought the real existance and route to my attention.

Thank you

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