KIrkdale Green & Albion Millennium Green are two small green spaces in South East London – in the Sydenham district of Lewisham. The first is somewhat neglected, and seems to be left over from the grounds for a large Victorian house which has since been demolished. Albion Millennium Green was a neglected tennis court before the local residents converted it into a small nature reserve.
Bellingham Green in SE London on the Bellingham Estate is a large housing estate built by the London County Council on farmland in south East London in the 1920s. This estate narrowly predates the nearby Downham Estate and both surprised me by their relatively late development on what was countryside in London.
Downham in South East London is built-up residential area today, but it was countryside until after WWI. It is probably a little-known area to those living in the more fashionable and trendy parts of London, but I believe that development there has interesting lessons for us in the 21C. (This article was first posted as a Guest Blog with the London Gardens Trust on October 22, 2020.)
The South Field in Ladywell Fields is a large, almost rectangular field which feels very much like parkland. With Predergast School on one side and two railway stations and Catford shopping centre at the other end there are always people walking through and across the park. In the other direction the field leads to the Lewisham Shopping Centre via the Middle Field, and the North Field.
The River Ravensbourne divides the Middle Field in Ladywell Fields in Lewisham into two. One side of the river has the Waterlink Way and is a busy path, almost a through road. On the other side of the river is a ‘hidden’ park – quiet, surrounded by trees and with a little backwater of the River Ravensbourne.
Ladywell Fields in SE London is another of the wonderful public parks in the Borough of Lewisham. Lewisham is a busy transport hub and a densely populated area, and this means that the history of the area, and the preservation of historical green areas, can be overlooked, or disregarded. This park, Ladywell Fields, is one such area which may take visitors by surprise, and I am going to explore the park in two posts. Do follow!
Southend Park in SE London hides away behind housing in Lewisham where it is another of the surprising green spaces. It could be truly magical if the River Pool is opened up again, and the water feature restored. And perhaps the wild south east corner could be incorporated into the park too?
Home Park in Sydenham is a grassy park on a busy main road which still manages to offer a calming open area with exercise facilities for adults and children. Add to that some magnificent trees and you have another lovely green space in South East London.
Blythe Hill Fields in SE London is a large grassy park on top of a steep hill in Brockley. There are wide views towards the City, One Tree Hill (!), and over leafy suburbs between Brockley and the River Thames. These are perhaps surprising views to those who regard London as consisting of streets of dull houses and tall office blocks!
Ravensbourne Park in SE London is a small green space in Lewisham which isn’t actually on the Ravensbourne River! The Ravensbourne Park Estate of high-class housing started developing in the early 19C. At the same time land for a park was set aside on the development. Today the park continues to provide an open space for the surrounding homes. With parking restrictions all round the park it certainly maintains a feeling of exclusivity for the neighbourhood!