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.
The weather in the spring and early summer of 1909 was awful in truly Biblical proportions. Local people corresponded with newspapers and talked of seeing nothing like it since ’88. There were damp foggy mornings, interspersed with gale force winds, hail, sleet and snow that settled. Despite this the Wimbledon tennis tournament was completed, and successfully so for the South Norwood community as it learned from twelve lines half way down a column in an inner page in Norwood News. The winner of the ladies’ singles was Dora Boothby of South Norwood.
As presaged in the last Review, Lambeth Council has sold Elderwood to Portland Developments, whose proposals for converting the building and the adjoining lodge to three houses and 32 flats, and constructing a further 22 houses and 14 flats, at the side and rear have received planning approval.
Elderwood, together with its lodge and Norwood House which was once the infirmary, are the remaining parts of a complex of buildings which originated as a workhouse or House Of Industry for the Infant Poor, established there by the Lambeth Vestry in 1810. The old parish workhouse, which stood on the south side of what is now Black Prince Road, Kennington, was overcrowded and unhealthy, so the Vestry decided to move the pauper children to the rural outskirts of the parish.
Fairgrounds were one of the earliest entertainment venues in the Norwood area. There is an extant photograph of Lord George Sanger’s Circus on a site which is now covered by three streets - St Louis, St Cloud and St Gothard Roads.
The earliest hall for public entertainment which I have traced to date was situated on Knight’s Hill – the West Norwood Public Hall which opened in 1885. It catered mainly for local theatrical and musical groups and was a base for Madame Angless, a composer who ran her own orchestras. Between 1910-1920 it had become a venue for a Kinematograph Theatre and when it closed it was turned into an engineering works. This venue still exists and private film shows continue today.
We have often emphasised the almost mesmeric attraction of the Crystal Palace in its hey-day and more evidence is to be found in pages of the C.P. Magazines of 1900.
Under the heading ‘Popular Musicians of today’, we read - ‘the advent of Mr. Henry Wood (later Sir Henry Wood) and his superb orchestra to the Crystal Palace this season serves to draw attention to the remarkable personality of a conductor who has succeeded in exercising with an orchestra the spell wielded by a Paganini with his fiddle.
Our illustration this month portrays the house of Thomas Attwood (1765-1838) the well known composer and organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral (1796-1818), in which building he is buried. After having studied under Nares and Ayrton, he was sent abroad in 1783 by the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), and received instruction from Lantilla at Naples and from Mozart in Vienna. He composed numerous musical works for the stage and much church music in which the style of his beloved master is palely reflected.
Michael Sadleir was born in 18988 of an educated Oxford family – his father was Sir Michael Sadler, a scholar – and Michael altered the spelling of the surname to avoid confusion with his father’s name. He went to Rugby and Balliol College, Oxford and in 1912 he joined Constable, the publishing firm, of which he became a Director in 1920. Michael Sadleir and his family lived in an 18th century farmhouse with a dairy farm attached near Windsor, and later moved to a 16th century house in Gloucestershire. He died in 1957.
The once renowned Admiral FitzRoy lived during the latter part of his life in Upper Norwood, at ‘Lyndhurst House’, now 140 Church Road. The house still stands on the corner of the drive leading to ‘Homelands’ old people’s home*, and the new housing estate being built, as I write, on the site of the mysteriously named mansion, ‘Ly-ee-Moon’, which was demolished some years ago. ‘Lyndhurst’ is a modest, semi detached Victorian villa and it seems odd that FitzRoy, whose address is given as Onslow Square, Kensington, up to the date of his death, should have rented accommodation so far out of town, and lived in such reduced style. However, he suffered from increasing melancholia for some time before he died, and it may have been for this reason that he sought the unpolluted air and quiet, if unfashionable, surroundings of Upper Norwood.
Five acres of trees, direct descendants of the Great North Wood, are coming back to life near Crystal Palace.
The land in Farquhar Road, SE19, will become the Dulwich Upper Wood City Nature Park. The new wood is managed by the Ecological Parks Trust, which was started from an idea of the Silver Jubilee London Celebrations Committee.
The purpose of the Trust, a registered charity, is to show how an area of city wasteland can be converted into a renewed natural refuge for plants and urban wildlife. Our environment is improved and we can be taught about natural history.