Thursday, 18 February 2010

Thames Tributary Ravensbourne - Pool River - Birkbeck



Thames Tributary Ravensbourne
A number of streams combine in this area as the Beck which flows into the Pool River which eventually flows into the Ravensbourne.
The Chaffinch flows north passing under Elmers End Road and Clockhouse Road.


Suburban area south west of Beckenham. Birkbeck Station itself is on the line to Beckenham Junction but the area also has Elmers End Station once on the old closed line to Addiscombe and now on the line to Hayes and a terminus for the Croydon tram.  The bus station here was badly bombed in the war with great loss of life, and buses.  Muirheads factory was here until the 1980s making high level instrumentation - the site is now a Tesco.  Croydon's huge depot and sewage works is now a country park.

Post to the south Arena
Post to the north Penge - Beckenham


Beck Lane
Named for the Beck which has joined together as many tributaries at this point.
Elmers End bus garage. The area was served by Thomas Tilling’s buses from the Bromley Garage but in 1929 London General opened a new garage which went into London Transport in 1933. It was damaged by a V1 flying bomb in 1944. A plaque to the transport workers killed is in the London Transport Museum. It was rebuilt but in 1986 was closed, demolished and replaced by sheltered housing
Beck Court on bus depot site.

Croydon Road
Muirhead's Factory. Founded by Alexander Muirhead in 1894. He worked in telegraphic design and was the first man to make a recording of a human heartbeat. The collection of his instruments is in the Science Museum. The company was formed in 1904 to run the electrical instrument business. The Company later specialised in the development and manufacture of terminal equipment for submarine cable stations, and also produced electrical and scientific instruments. From 1935 they made Magslip Receivers important in the control of guns, searchlights, predictors, and analogue computers. In 1972 Muirhead Aerospace was the largest manufacturer in Europe of these products. From 1946, Muirhead produced more than half the world's ship stabiliser control system using microprocessor based and solid state electronics. Muirhead pioneered Precision R.C. Oscillators, Wave Analysers and other equipment. Factory closed and demolished 1990s.

Elmers End Road
Was previously called Clays Lane
Beckenham Cemetery: opened in 1880 by the Crystal Palace District Cemetery. It lies between the main road, the railway & the sewage works. It is however still used a lot. There is a 14th style chapel. Graves: Frank Bourne the last survivor of Rorke’s Drift. William Evans VC. Thomas Crapper who invented the water closet; W.G. Grace; the cricketer; Josiah Stamp economist and Director of the Bank of England. Large war memorial as well as a number of war graves near the north boundary. Another memorial pays tribute to 22 local fire fighters killed in action in London's East End
Elmers End Station. 1864. Between Eden Park and Clock House on South Eastern Trains. Terminus of Croydon Tramlink from Arena. Built as a railhead for services from Croydon and Addiscombe. South Eastern Railway proposed to extend the Mid Kent Railway from Beckenham to a terminus at Addiscombe with this as an intermediate station. A later line was built by West Wickham & Hayes Co., 1882, to Hayes. The station was bombed and the down side buildings were eventually demolished and eventually the whole station layout was redesigned. Burnt down by vandals in 1973 and a new glass fronted station was built in 1975.
Goods yard. Originally lots of freight. Shut October 1964
Birkbeck Station. 1858. Between Avenue Road and Harrington Road on Croydon Tramlink. Between Beckenham Junction and Crystal Palace on Southern Trains. Said to commemorate surrounding estate by the Birkbeck Freehold Land Society and Dr. Birkbeck.

Harrington Road
South Norwood Country Park. Was Croydon Urban District Council’s sewage works and dust destructor site. The site included two concentric moats. This was originally farmland, which the council bought piecemeal from the mid-19C until 1951, as a sewage work. It was opened to the public as a park in 1989 and there is now a created lake, playground, trim trails, orienteering routes, pitch and putt course and visitors centre while there are many Birds, butterflies, dragonflies and wild flowers. There is also a wet meadow fed by a spring-fed stream and a view point mound. Beside a large area of grassland runs a feeder stream leading to a large lake. Tree cover is provided by willow—white, grey, great and crack which grows naturally in the park.
Beck Stream which becomes the Pool. The London Clay extends to the southern edge of the South Norwood Country Park where this stream marks the junction with the Blackheath Beds. A stream flowing from the South Norwood Lake comes from there via playing fields and flows into a stream that runs along the northern edge of the Country Park. Another stream from Rylands Fields in the south east of the park joins the stream from South Norwood Lake and they flow along the edge of the cemetery to Elmers End Road.
Elmers End moat site lay 400 yards north west of Elmers End Station in the park. Little is known of its history. The land around the moated house was about twenty acres, and it was not connected to, the track which ran from Beckenham to Croydon. The site is flat and it is now drained by two streams, but when the house was built 1310-20 it was exceptionally wet, and perhaps the house was damaged as a result of flooding. There were two concentric moats excavated in the mid-1970s. The outer one was slightly older so it could have been an attempt to assist drainage. Excavations showed the base frame for a bridge and timbers which could have been used for shoring the moat sides. In 1736 the moats were there but not a house. When the site was bought in the 1860s by the Croydon Board of Health the moats were levelled.

Langley Road
Congregational Mission Chapel

Priory Close
In the grounds of Elmer Grange because it was mistakenly thought that there had been a priory there.

Railway Line
Siding left the line on the up side south of Elmers End Station and went to Croydon Refuse Destructor and sewage works.
Siding left the line north of Elmers End Station to go into the Beckenham Council site.
Junction just south of Elmers End Station taking the line to Hayes. Opened 1882 by the West Wickham and Hayes railway, promoted by Col.Farnaby of West Wickham Court and a Cator estate trustee.

Sources
Bygone Kent
Field. London Place Names,
Glazier. London Transport Garages
Goldsmiths.. South East London Industrial Archaeology
London Borough of Bromley. Web site
London Borough of Bromley. Fifty Years of Freedom in Bromley
Smythe. Citywildspace
Stewart. History of Croydon.
Wagstaff and Pullen. Beckenham anthology,

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