Thursday, 18 February 2010

Thames Tributary Ravensbourne - Bellingham

Thames Tributary Ravensbourne
The Ravensbourne River continues to flow northwards
The Pool River continues to flow northwards to join the Ravensbourne.
TQ 37513 71888

The London County Council Bellingham Estate takes up most of this square. Its bell like shape determined by its location. To the west the Pool River and the railway to New Beckenham and to the east the Ravensbourne and the line to Beckenham Hill, with beyond it the main Bromley Road once the A21.  It is a pleasant enough area full of parks and riverside walks. The Fordmill Centre was built to service these waterways and stands where the bell would have hung. 

Post to the west to Perry Hill
Post to the north Catford
Post to the south Bellingham


Bellingham Green
Mound, plus a play area, and a concrete sculpture called ‘Sunstone’, by Hamish Horsley 1985
St.Dunstan. A red brick church of 1925 by Sir Charles Nicholson. Some of it was not built. The font, by the entrance, and is said to have been discovered during excavations for the estate. There is an organ, which came from the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, 1866; brought here in 1925. There is a copy of a painting by Marietta Albertinelli (1474-1514), The Visitation', which is in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.
Christ Church United Reformed. 1924, small, red brick

Bellingham
Sited on the side of the slope of the river valley. Here have been found flood water worn flints - between the two rivers is river gravel where the two streams must once converged. The name might mean ‘water meadow of Beora’s people’ or ‘Beora’could mean ‘the bear’. The area once belonged to the Abbey of Ghent and in 1261 to Stratford Langhorne Abbey. There was medieval mill here called Freremill and a Stratford owned mill called Grangemill.

Bellingham Estate
This is a London County Council cottage estate built in the 1920s-30s. They had taken over the scheme when Lewisham failed to build it. It has a semi-formal plan, with six roads, and 2,700 cottage type houses converging on hexagonal Bellingham Green. It was built on farmland. The final section was not completed until 1936.
Bombs. Between Bellingham Green and Firhill Road was the 13th bomb alert of the war. Bombs fell 26.8.40

Broadmead
A footbridge to the east bank of the Pool, and a path continues to a bridge at Broadmead.
A basic modern bridge over the river
A bridge over the Mid-Kent Line into the Bellingham Estate.
The remains of a Roman road, the Lewes Way, were found in 1969.

Bromley Road
Catford Bus garage. Opened in 1914 by London General Omnibus Company, and was used by Thomas Tilling 1920-23. Buses continue to use the LT code ‘TC’ for 'Tillings'. The original garage was red brick and there is a cream office building of the 1930s, which art deco with a rounded corner tower.
The Old Mill. A building of 1865 which was probably the main house of the 19th corn-mill. Became an architectural salvage yard. Demolished.

Brookehowse Road,
Brookehowse Community Centre. A simple red brick building, also by Nicholson, 1922, which was used as the church before St Dunstan’s was built.

Catford Road
Police Station. Museum of historic vehicles and uniforms since moved to Charlton

Farmstead Road
Home of boxer Henry Cooper 1940-1960.

Firhill
Sports Ground – the London/Lewes Roman Road ran through the area of this field

Fordmill Road
Rivers Centre. This depot of the National Rivers Authority was built in 1977 on a site between the Ravensbourne and Pool Rivers. The brown brick building looks inwards to a courtyard, and vivid red metalwork provides contrast. It was designed and built by the G.L.C. General Works Department, Derek Wells. The main building is a garage plus staff quarters and stores.

Orford Road
Site of Bellingham Open Air Swimming Pool. Included a diversion of the Ravensbourne. Included a cafe and a children’s pool and opened in 1922. Closed 1980.

Randlesdown Road
Bellingham Station. 1st July 1892. Between Beckenham Hill and Catford on South Eastern Trains. Built on the ‘Catford Loop Line’ the station retains its original small red brick booking-hall, and the platforms still have their original wooden canopies and iron columns. It was named after Bellingham Farm which was nearby.
The Fellowship Inn. A mock-Tudor pub of the 1920s. Where Cooper trained for his fight with Cassius Clay.
Toilet. Steps by the pub. closed

Waterbank Road
Site of Bellingham Farm. Weatherboarded and demolished 1932.

Whitefoot Lane
Name of local wood, Whitefoot Shaw, which was on the corner of the lane
Hall, 1910 owned by local MP, Forster

Sources 

Bygone Kent

Field. London Place Names,
Goldsmiths. South East London Industrial Archaeology
Greater London Council. Home Sweet Home
Lewisham Local History Journal
London Lidos. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. South London,

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