The Norwood Society

Gipsy Hill Dairy

With reference to the comment in the last Review (152) it is not accurate to say that the Crystal Palace Dairy building in Gipsy Hill has never been photographed.

On page 122 of “Brixton and Norwood in Old Photographs” by Jill Dudman (Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, 1995), there can be seen two photographs of this building, admittedly only showing sideways views rather than the front elevation in the picture on the front cover of the Review.

In the original photograph (held by Lambeth Archives Department) of the first view down Gipsy Hill, it can be more clearly seen that the front of the building bears the name “Crystal Palace Dairy”. As the caption states, this was owned at the time (1910s/20s) by Thomas French & Co.

From the late Geofffrey Manning’s walks around the area it was said that this firm also used to keep their cows in ‘ French’s Field’ at the foot of Gipsy Hill.

Also, Audrey Hammond’s painting of a view virtually identical to the second view down Cawnpore Street is on page 71 of “Crystal Palace – Norwood Heights” (Croydon Society, 1988), and the caption below briefly mentions the dairy:

“The Railway Bell. This fine inn has been “Pub of the Year” more than once. It has a great reputation, and not only locally, as a source of ‘real ale’. It has a neat beer garden, decked with lanterns in the summer. It was built in 1892, opposite a large dairy complete with milking parlours, the main buildings of which survive today as can be seen at the left-hand side of this picture”.

Jill Dudman

The Norwood Review Edition #153.