The land on which Hazelwood was built formed part of the lands awarded to the Archbishop of Canterbury under the Croydon Inclosure Acts of 1800. The Archbishop leased a large area to the then Lord Auckland who granted subleases to various people. A Mr. J. J. Welch had a sublease of about 19 acres. At some time Mr. Welch acquired the freehold of a small area of land fronting on to South Norwood Hill. (At the time of the Inclosure Award this land was designated Common!). Mr Welch lived in a house on his freehold land and in 1860 his house was in a bad state; he wanted to replace it by another.
Eloise Akpan’s typically well-written and researched article on the South Norwood composer William Yeates Hurlstone (Norwood Review No. 154) was no doubt partly inspired by the fact that she lives in Hurlstone Road. Eloise has asked me to correct the date when the name was changed in memory of the composer: this took place in 1938/9 when the old county borough was seeking to remove duplicated road names.
Following the articles (Nov 199 and March 2000) and letters about the model villages built by Mr Edgar Wilson, for interest I have enclosed copies of newspaper cuttings from 1945 of Mr Wilson and his front garden at 70 Hamilton Road.
Just prior to the war my and brother and I took a quantity of small bricks and tiles to his house. We were allowed a good look around and then he took us through to his workshop in the back garden. Here he showed us his moulds for the making of the oast house roofs and other units. It was fascinating for us at the age of about six and seven years old.
Locally born Mrs. Osborn Hann was a writer of children’s books from the 1920s for many years until the 1950s. It was a time when there were many writers of children’s and teenagers’ stories and reading among the young was very popular. Thinking about my earliest story books there was one by Mrs Hann and it is still in my book case.
Born on May 12th, 1907, I was educated at Dulwich College from 1920 to 1925. Unfortunately I received no technical training. On leaving the College, I had a prolonged illness, as a result of which I entered a London office with the idea of leading a quiet life. As a hobby, I studied sound amplifiers and microphone equipment, which at that time were in very early stages of development. A year later I found that my hobby left no time for business and I gave up business!
Palace Grove, Upper Norwood, is charming still. It is a small gravelled, tree-lined cul-de-sac made up of five houses; four built in 1847, the fifth some 30 years later. Before the Crystal Palace arrived in 1854, it was called Green Lane.
Up until the early 1960’s, a lamplighter would cycle along each evening as it grew dusk to light the two small, about 10 feet high, gas lamps. One stood at the entrance of the Grove, the other halfway along. They cast a soft yellow glow on the old plaster facades, and surrounding greenery. It was a romantic setting, very stageworthy.
Two or three hundred years ago the most celebrated feature of Norwood was an ancient tree of immense age, known as the Vicar’s Oak. At the spot where this tree stood no less than four parishes (Lambeth, Camberwell, Battersea and Streatham) met; and at the periodical beating of the bounds this place was chosen (among others) for the refreshment of the parochial authorities after their arduous labours. The Vicar’s Oak is frequently mentioned in the accounts of the parish, and that, too, over a period of nearly 150 years.
Several years ago, whilst rummaging through boxes at The Old Ephemera & Newspaper Shop in Kinnerton Street SW1 (is it still there?) I found and bought Drane & Co’s Price List. Drane & Co. were Dispensing Chemists of 56 Knights Hill Road, West Norwood. This booklet came to light again when, in my post retirement zeal to sort out the contents of my home, I found it in a box file labelled 15 years ago (!): ‘TO SORT’.
Surely Norwood Grove must be the most beautiful of all the parks to be found in South London. It is situated 300 ft. high on the Norwood Hills, and consists of 32 acres of gently sloping, velvety lawns, falling beautifully towards Croydon, giving wonderful views and almost unlimited horizons. To our south west on a fine day can be seen Reigate and northwards the grand pile of Windsor Castle. It is also well timbered, a veritable paradise for trees and birds. The trees include wonderful specimens of magnolias, evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex), the strawberry tree (arbutus unero), hollies and yews. The nightingale has been heard there and finches, jays, redwings, wagtails, woodpeckers, wood pigeons and wrens and all the English garden birds delight in this extremely pleasant grove.