Geograph Blog ::

Beddington to West Wickham and back via Beckenham

By David Howard

A trip through some of my favourite parts of South London, from the modern urban centre of Croydon to the leafy backwaters of West Wickham and Eden Park. It was a Sunday (deliberate) and besides a few roadworks had an absolutely free run in both directions from my weekend base in Richmond. I had made the same trip in 2009 to get an old road sign but only took a few other photos en route as was in a hurry that day. I have retraced the route to fill the whole trip in from start to finish. You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page LinkExternal link .

Besides collecting old train tickets, this is an area I've visited every now and then as I have taken photos of nice houses for 30 years and once you reach Dulwich and head SE they are around for miles pretty well to the Kent border in Bickley. The last visit was for an old direction sign there two years ago, but was the Sunday of the Brazilian Grand Prix, and pretty well timed it to get back in time to watch the start. I always take photos of stations as part of my rail interest, so although Bickley was nearby I calculated the time taken turning off, stopping and fiddling about wasn't worth the risk and just did West Wickham which was by the main road and a few interesting places there and back as always. Needless to say I wasn't thinking of my Geograph map then, and just added whatever would be of interest when I got home if I had the chance or saved till I did. It took a dire winter at the end of 2010 to spend four months uploading my complete backlog to around 2005 on digital, and after I'd finished saw the pattern and worked out where to go to extend it, and basically haven't stopped since.

So this was basically a trip retraced but for photos only, and being a Sunday could drive through Croydon unimpeded, although the flyover and roundabouts pretty well keep traffic flowing there if you avoid the silly times. I've always loved Croydon, being Britain's answer to an American city of skyscrapers, where they all have kernels of tall buildings getting smaller around the edges, but the best views were from the flyover with no pedestrian access, so may never manage, although there must be people who did find a way. I didn't have time to stop and do the whole range as just had long enough for a triangular route before the light gave in, and just got a couple more samples to add to the couple I'd taken before.
TQ3365 : Tower block Fairfield Road Croydon by David Howard TQ3265 : Roundabout at the end of Croydon Flyover by David Howard TQ3265 : Park Lane, Croydon by David Howard

But unlike London, the centre of Croydon is still a suburb, so right next to the first tower just outside the middle on the way to Addiscombe were these modern houses filling a large plot off the main road.
TQ3365 : Houses on Turnpike Link, Croydon by David Howard
The suburbia continues following the tram to Sandilands, and turned off left at West Wickham to Beckenham, and back through Shirley to Waddon and west. The tram was far superior to any trains beforehand, over or underground (especially underground) and spent many happy hours going to South Merton or East Croydon and getting them to different points, eventually covering the complete line except to Beckenham via Elmers End on the branch. That included two trips to the annual fair in Lloyd Park, and from what I remember back then around 2000 the fares were a lot lower than the other methods, although haven't checked since we had a mayor and everything shot up. It was nice to see some of my favourite places around Eden Park, although didn't quite cover Ravensbourne and Hayes (although I have some there already), and was going back the following Sunday to head to the M25 and beyond through West Wickham but the snow postponed that and forecast for next weekend as well. I will get there sooner or later though but due to the incredible cheek of having to pay to get across Waterloo Bridge in the week (on top of road tax and massive fuel duty) have to wait till the weekends to do that trip nowadays and any like it. That is the only reason my map peters out beyond Bermondsey, and not through lack of trying.

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Thu, 2 Feb 2012 at 22:25
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geotagged! TQ3467

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