Bridgehouse Meadows in New Cross

The Lewisham Council website simply says that one can access the site from Surrey Canal Road, Winslade Estate, Hornshay Street, and John Williams Close. And that ‘…Bridgehouse Meadows is once again open to the public, after it was used by Transport for London (TfL) as their base of operations for much of 2011/12. As well as re-seeding the Meadow and planting new trees, TfL have also installed paved and lit subways at both Hornshay Street and Rollins Street to improve access. As part of its programme of works to improve walking and cycling routes in the north of the borough, the Council is working with Surrey Canal developer Renewal on options to further enhance the Meadows in the longer term, with the aim of increasing its use by the local community when the development and Surrey Canal Road station go ahead…’.

The entrance from Hornshay Street

The entrance (up the steps) from John Williams Close

The Rollins Street subway

The entry from the Surrey Canal Road

Bridgehouse Meadows is a wide, open, grassy space alongside the railway line, originally the Croydon, Brighton and South Eastern Railway. The South Eastern Railway Company operated from 1836-1922 and the development of the line was complex! The original aim was to establish a rail link between London and Dover.

Bridgehouse Meadows, looking towards John Williams Close and estate

Bridgehouse Meadows, looking towards John Williams Close and estate, with the railway line on the right

The railway line at the edge of the meadows

Dipping down towards Surrey Canal Road

As befits ‘meadow’ there were plenty of indigenous plants and flowers when I visited and a suitable degree of ‘wildness’.

Bridgehouse Meadows was the site of The New Cross Stadium which ‘…was opened in the early 1900s as an athletic stadium but was mainly used for greyhound racing and speedway…. The track was often referred to as ‘The Frying Pan’. It was built inside the greyhound track and had banking all the way round. At the time of its closure in 1969 the stadium had a capacity of 26,000. The stadium was demolished in 1975…’. The first Formula 1 Stock Car Race was at this stadium in 1954. The Stadium even had its own speedway team! The Den, the home of Millwall Football Club, was established alongside the Stadium in 1910, moving from the Isle of Dogs. The site was closed in 1993 and the club moved to a newly built stadium nearby.

The remains of the banking in the former New Cross Stadium, with the railway on the left

The remains of the banking in the former New Cross Stadium, with the structure of the new Millwall FC in the background

Looking over the Meadows towards the John Williams Close

This is an interesting area and worth visiting, but I would have felt uncomfortable on my own.

Further information & Sources
https://natureconservationlewisham.co.uk/tag/bridgehouse-meadws/
https://deptforddame.blogspot.com/2010/10/deptford-xtrabridge-house-meadows.html
https://runner500.wordpress.com/tag/bridgehouse-meadows/
Voluntary work in Bridgehouse Meadows

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