Woodland Road



Maps and Land Ownership
The land on which Woodland Road is built was originally in the ownership of the first Lord Thurlow (1730-1806). The earliest map so far identified is the Lambeth Inclosures map of 1806. The section in the bottom right hand corner bounded by Beaulieu Hill (now called Gipsy Hill) and the Camberwell Parish boundary becomes the location of Woodland Road. The Archbishop of Canterbury owned the land to the immediate north and some seven landowners held small parcels to the south leading up to the Croydon boundary.

Lambeth Inclosure Map of 1806

The next dated information comes from the parish map of 1841. This again shows the Camberwell boundary and Beaulieu Hill but shows that the land between these two lines is now divided up and partially occupied.

Lambeth Parish Map 1841

Two years later the Lambeth tithe map identifies the owners of the various parcels of land. Some of the names are faded and illegible, but it is possible to read the plot numbers. Plot 14 was owned by James Corner and its usage is described as brickfield, whereas Plot 15 was owned by George Corner and its usage is meadow, pasture, garden and arable. These are plots alongside which Woodland Road was built. Plot 15 would seem to be between the current two side roads: Cawnpore (previously George) Street and Woodland Hill. Particularly significant is the location of Plots 20 and 21. It appears these must have been too small for their owners to be listed but they probably form the location of some of the earliest buildings – whose sites contain the oldest buildings still in existence on the road.

Lambeth Parish Tithe Map 1847

The land on which Woodland Road is built was probably originally in the ownership of Lord Thurlow. The road was built just off the lower part of the map below to the right of Gipsy Hill. It was part of the Great North Wood that spread over the hills to the south of London. A watercourse, possibly a tributary of the River Effra, ran down a small valley from the top of the hill (now Crystal Palace Parade). This valley was used in 1854 for the route of the new LC and SE railway line running between the Crystal Palace Lower Level Station and West Norwood.

Section from the 1864 Stanford map

1856 London, Brighton and South Coast Railway

‘From the outset trains were operated by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR). Initially the station was the terminus of a spur line from Sydenham. In 1856 the station was able to take through train services to Wandsworth via West Norwood and Streatham Hill, following the completion of the 746 yard (690 m) Crystal Palace Tunnel. Although relatively short, the tunnel was regarded as a major engineering achievement as it was cut “through the same treacherous material [clay], through the hill on which the Crystal Palace stands, and immediately under one of the great water towers, a superincumbent weight of 2,200 tons which taxed in its execution all the skill and workmanship of the eminent contractors.

OS Map Showing Woodland Road in 1875

OS Map Showing Woodland Road in 1895

OS Map Showing Woodland Road in 1897

OS Map Showing Woodland Road in 1951

   
Timeline
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Building of the street
The Building of Woodland Road

Woodland Road in the 1850s

The oldest remaining buildings on Woodland Road consist of a small terrace of cottages, three of which are two storey and two are three storey. They are currently numbered 102-110 but were previously called Plummers’ Cottages and were built by George Plummer in the 1850s. There was also a sixth cottage behind this row (formerly 100), but it no longer exists, the land now forming part of the gardens of 102-106.

George Plummer was born in Palace Villas, Palace Terrace, Hastings, Sussex in 1818. The 1851 census reveals him to be living with his wife Mary, 34 years, three children (Mary 4 years, (George) Henry 3 years and Emma 9 months (is this Anna?)  and a 15-year-old niece Mary, who was working as a house servant. George was obviously a successful builder as he was employing 16 men.

Woodland Road in the 1860s

By 1861 George and his family, now including 9 year-old Anna, 7-year-old Julia, a 4-year-old son, whose name may be Walter, and 8-month-old Elizabeth, are living in 1, Woodland Road. Is this the building on Plot 20? They also have two lodgers: Terrance Chais(?), a painter, and James Swinyard, a decorator.

Nowadays Woodland Road runs downhill off Gipsy Hill, takes a turn to the right and progresses up to Westow Hill. Originally that bottom arm was called College Street. It seems to have been included as part of Woodland Road in 1885 when the street numbering system was changed to follow a continuous sequence from the top of the hill rather than consisting of various groups of cottages and villas that had been built at different periods and numbered somewhat haphazardly. It is interesting to note that the early houses were called cottages whereas those that followed later, and up the hill from Woodland Hill, were called villas.

The 1861 census records no houses on the western side of Woodland Road. The listing begins with John Thomas, 60, who worked for the (Crystal?) Palace Company, and his wife Susan, 50. They lived at 1 Woodland (Terrace?), with their lodgers George Collyer, 30, Samuel Cheadle (?), an Agent aged 40, 16-year-old Mary Plummer, a server (?), 7-year-old Elizabeth Jordan and three others.

At 1 Woodland Road lived the rest of the Plummer family: George (43), carpenter, wife Mary (44), and their children: George (13), daughter ? (10), Annie (9), Julia (7), son ? (4) and Elizabeth (8 months), along with Terance ?, a 26-year-old painter and James Swinyard, a 25-year-old decorator. The youngest son was born in Middlesex but the other children were all born in Sussex. The Plummer family came from Hastings, Sussex, where they are recorded in the 1851 census as living at 8 Spring Terrace, Hastings along with daughter Mary (4 years), Henry (3 years) and Emma (9 months). George is described as a builder employing 16 men. We can see Mary had moved out of the family home by 1861 but it is not clear what happened to Henry and Emma. Neither do we know what happened to the building business as in 1861 George Plummer is described as a carpenter, with no mention of employing others. However, it would seem that he became involved in the building trade as by 1871 there is a row of cottages in Woodland Road which came to be known as Plummers Cottages, presumably built by him.

Numbers 2-7 Woodland Road are listed in the 1861 census. 3-7 are likely to be those later called Plummers Cottages.

The Stanford map of 1864 (shown below) shows a terrace of 11 houses at the bottom of the western side of  Woodland Road (called Corner Cottages and presumably built by Mr Corner who is listed in the 1871 census), a pair of houses on the eastern side opposite George Street (now called Cawnpore Street), a small gap and then a row of five houses. This row became known as Plummers Cottages so it is reasonable to suppose they were built by George Plummer. He does not appear to have lived in any of this row – his address being given as 1 Woodland Road (1861 census) and Woodland Cottage (1871 census).

It would appear that Woodland Road was first surfaced in 1869, being paid for by the various builders who were erecting houses on the street. Below is the demand for payment, dated 2nd March 1870.

1864 Stanford Map Showing Woodland Road

 

However, it would seem that a number of the builders, including George Plummer, did not pay immediately, and a summons for non-payment was issued on 26th April 1870 as shown above. Some of the smaller projects have ‘Paid’ beside the name, but Plummers’ Cottages do not.

It would appear that Woodland Road was first surfaced in 1869, being paid for by the various builders who were erecting houses on the street. Below is the demand for payment, dated 2nd March 1870.

It would appear that Woodland Road was first surfaced in 1869, being paid for by the various builders who were erecting houses on the street. Below is the demand for payment, dated 2nd March 1870.

Woodland Road in the 1870s

The later Stanford map of 1872 shows how Woodland Road now includes the terraces of Victoria Cottages (on the lower eastern (railway) side towards College Street) and Willow Terrace (on the other side of Plummers Cottages). Percy Villas have also been built on the same side of the road up to Westow Hill. Surrey Villas have been built opposite and at the top, approaching Westow Hill is a British School.

Stanford Map 1872

The 1871 census places Woodland Cottage between Plummers Cottages and Willow Terrace (shown as Plumbers (sic) Cottage on the renumbering plan of1885), yet the drainage plans show it in the back garden of number 3 Plummers Cottage and becomes 100 in the new numbering system. This house no longer exists – its site now forms part of the shared back garden for 102-106.

The date of this map is unknown but it shows the route of the railway and includes the location of house behind Plummer’s Cottages, variously called Plummer’s Cottage, possibly Woodland Cottage, and definitely 100 Woodland Road. This is shown as a substantial building with a formal garden. This house is listed in the 1882 Directory under the occupation of James Fisher and no longer exists. The local story is that it collapsed because of dampness – date unknown.

ap showing location of Plummers’ Cottages – date unknown

House numbering

It is fascinating to see the change wrought by numbering the whole street from the top of the hill, rather than  by groups of cottages, some numbered in one direction and some in the other.

Renumbering of houses of in Woodland Road – courtesy of Lambeth Archives

The buildings at the lower end of Woodland Road have now all been replaced by flats, some in tall blocks and others smaller. There are two small cottages below Plummers Cottages, which may be the remaining end of Victoria Cottages, now numbers 112-114.

Houses built on the Eastern Side of Woodland Road

1-5-Plummers-Cottages-now-numbered-102-–-110-Woodland-Road-own-photo-taken-March-2019.

St John’s Villas, now numbers 62-80

Westbank Villa (on right), now numbers 58, and 60

St Helena’s Villas, now numbers 52-56

Florence Villas, now numbers 34-50

Percy Villas, now numbers 4-32

Houses built on the Western Side of Woodland Road (from the top)

Surrey Villas, now numbers 1-16

Surrey Villas – house

Chestnut Villas Sign

Chestnut Villas, now numbers 33-39

Relationship to the Crystal Palace

It is clear that throughout the years Woodland Road was overshadowed by the Crystal Palace

This early photo (date unknown) shows an unmade George (now Cawnpore) Street. The two tall houses at the bottom are 4 and 5 Plummer’s Cottages and behind the row of chimneys can just be seen the chimney stacks of 1-3 Plummer’s Cottages. On the far horizon looms the Crystal Palace. No houses are pictured where currently Farquhar Road and Jasper Road run, only a series of long low roofs, possibly on workmen’s sheds.

The two tall houses at the bottom are 4 and 5 Plummers Cottages and behind the row of chimneys can just be seen the chimney stacks of 1-3 Plummers Cottages.

The same view along Cawnpore Street in 2019 (own photo)

This later photo below, again date unknown but possibly taken by Zola during his sojourn in Upper Norwood, is a view along Woodland Hill showing Woodland Road at the bottom. The house on the left is the last in the row of Willow Terrace, later number 82 and now rebuilt. Jasper Passage may just be seen, and then the start of the row originally called St John’s Villas, now numbers 80-62. The height of the Crystal Palace bears down on the three roads: Woodland Road, Jasper Road and Farquhar Road. The pinnacles on the Upper level Crystal Palace station can be picked out in the centre of the huge central hall of the Palace and are not shown in the earlier photo – presumably because the station had not then been built.

This later photo below, again date unknown but possibly taken by Zola during his sojourn in Upper Norwood, is a view along Woodland Hill showing Woodland Road at the bottom.

This third photo is again date and photographer unknown but I suggest it is later than the previous photograph as the trees and bushes are larger. All three were taken before the advent of the primary school, initially called Woodland Road Elementary School, now Paxton Primary school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodland Road in 1895 OS Map

Woodland Road in the 1950s

Woodland Road in 1951 OS Map

Woodland Road in the 1970s

Woodland Road in 1970

House numbering

It is fascinating to see the change wrought by numbering the whole street from the top of the hill, rather than  by groups of cottages, some numbered in one direction and some in the other.

The buildings at the lower end of Woodland Road have now all been replaced by flats, some in tall blocks and others smaller. There are two small cottages below Plummers Cottages, which may be the remaining end of Victoria Cottages, now numbers 112-114.

 

Architecture
Woodland Road in the 1920s

View of Woodland Road and the Crystal Palace 1920

The Eastern Side of Woodland Road Courtesy of J. Harrison (2019)

 

Woodland Road in 1968

 

 

 

Significant Street Buildings

    1887 – Paxton Primary School (Woodland Elementary School)

    A British School is one that was run by the nonconformist churches at a time when all education was in the hands of the churches. When the government took over education in 1870, although the Anglicans and Roman Catholics kept their schools the nonconf …


Social History
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Residents

    The Helyer Family – Woodland Road

    Hugh Helyar (Helyer) was born in West Coke, Somerset in 1843 to Thomas and Ellen Helyar. Thomas was a weaver and Ellen a glover. In 1851 the family was living at 8 Parish Lane, West Coke. Hugh became a cordwainer and we next hear of him when he married …


Memories
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War
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