Charlottenburg Park in New Cross

The Mulally website tells us that ‘…Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham officially opened the new Charlottenburg Park on Saturday 3rd September. This new park was constructed by Mulalley on the former Deptford Green school site in Amersham Vale and was named, following a public poll, in honour of Lewisham’s twinning arrangement with Charlottenburg in Berlin, which seems a rather curious ‘twin’…

Regeneration plans

Charlottenburg Park is part of a wider regeneration scheme being undertaken by joint venture partners Sherrygreen Homes and Family Mosaic to provide 330 much-needed new homes in the Deptford area. The park has a multi-games area which is surrounded by seating, as well as suitable play equipment and safety flooring for younger users. As well as new lawns, Mulalley also planted over 400 trees…’.

The plans for housing are, as always, slightly more more complicated at second sight, with crowding and balance of ‘affordable’ and ‘market price’ homes apparently a problem in 2016. New housing will also be between 1 and 5 stories in height. Whether this is still the case I don’t know – there is as yet no building on the site. The housing is proposed as below:

Architect's drawing of the proposed housing alongside Charlottenburg Park
Architect’s drawing of the proposed housing alongside Charlottenburg Park
Charlottenburg Park today
The Park today taken from the same angle as the proposal above

History of the area

Charlottenburg Park is encircled by  Amersham Vale, Amersham Grove, and Edward Street. In Amersham Grove, amongst the Victorian houses, there is a building with a plaque on the wall saying ‘museum’. According to the excellent ‘Edith’s Streets’ this was ‘…once a private museum of curios collected by a J.T.Taylor, a merchant navy captain, and opened in 1890. The house nextdoor, no.38, is a red brick double fronted house, probably built in the 1865 with big stone balls on the forecourt walls…’.

Amersham Vale
View from Amersham Vale of the building site, Amersham Grove, and the park in the background
Victorian housing alongside Charlottenburg Park
Victorian housing in the continuation of Amersham Grove

I have seen Edward Street called ‘Loving Edward Lane’ on old maps – curious! – and it offers two churches. Olivet Deptford Baptist Church which was founded in the 1860s under the influence and leadership of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  And just down the road is St Mark’s Anglican Church, built as a Chapel of Ease to St Paul’s Church in Deptford in 1883 by A H Newman, says Edith’s Streets, and closed in 1955. It became a ‘redundant church’ in 1998 and was sold to the Celestial Church of Christ. 

The Olivet Deptford Baptist Church
The Olivet Deptford Baptist Church
The former St Marks Church; now the Celestial Church of Christ and St Marks Centre
The former St Marks Church; now the Celestial Church of Christ and St Marks Centre

In Amersham Vale there is a distinctive brick building which Edith’s Streets tells me dates to ‘…1912 with bowed windows and wrought iron railings.  This is a do-it-yourself art centre with 42 artists’ studios, a gallery, independent project spaces, a radio station, band rehearsal space and pop-up cocktail bar…’.

The old police station in Amersham Vale
The old police station in Amersham Vale

Charlottenburg Park today

New homes will be built in the above surroundings, joining the small park which has already been laid out. The facilities in the park include a children’s play area, with an imaginative, ‘musical’ walking plank ‘toy’ – it is hard to describe the planks below but as the child walks on them they tilt, each one making a differently pitched sound – even as an adult I found it fun! And the multi-purpose games arena can be laid out for different sports by attaching coloured tapes to fixings in the ground, marking out different court sizes as appropriate.

Children's play area in Charlottenburg Park
Children’s play area, looking towards Amersham Grove in the background
The centre of Charlottenburg Park
Centre of the park with Children’s play area on the left, and the all-purpose games arena on the right, beyond the birch trees. Amersham Grove in the background
All-purpose games area
The all-purpose games arena

I loved the birch tree walks! Wonderfully imaginative columns of white with a green canopy, and a winding path between the trunks. I visited on a warm day and it was quite cool under the trees, and felt even secretive as I followed the winding path through the cast iron ‘gateways’.

The birch tree walk alongside the all-purpose games arena
A gateway into a birch tree walk, with a winding path leading through the trees and log seats
The winding path and log seats under the birch trees

Next to the children’s play area is a sunny stretch of grass. This is bounded by perennial and shrub borders, but they are becoming unkempt – another job for ‘Friends’…?

Ash tree and border
The grassed section of the park alongside the children’s play area
Lawn alongside the children’s play area

The allotments

Just round the corner, on Amersham Vale, is a thriving group of allotments, in Royal Naval Place – I wonder why this name? The allotments back on to the Victorian houses in Amersham Grove.

The allotments with the hoarding around the building site beyond, and the former St Marks Church in the background

I found Charlottenburg Park an imaginative little park, unexpected, and quiet, but I wonder how the housing is going to fit into the area, and what the impact of more expensive housing will be in an area of very mixed income..

Further information & Sources
New development in Deptford
Plans to develop in Deptford Parks
The involvement of the Peabody Estate in the developments
Fordham Park proposals –

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