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The History Of Forest Hill Station
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Posts: 23
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #1
31-01-2008 07:43 PM

Thanks to Steve Grindlay for alerting me to the existence of this magazine/article, which I bought on Ebay last year and have scanned for a couple I met at last night's talk. Others may find it interesting, too, though I warn you: it's very technical!

Unfortunately, this forum only allows me to post (3) images, so you can read the rest at Sydenham Town Forum...

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Posts: 129
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #2
31-01-2008 11:39 PM

Great pictures - looks like we must have had trams running here too

I like this one with the guard posing by standing on the rail!

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Posts: 653
Joined: Feb 2007
Post: #3
01-02-2008 12:12 AM

Such a lovely building Sad

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Posts: 48
Joined: Dec 2007
Post: #4
01-02-2008 12:54 AM

wow thanks ..

how interesting . and how beautiful and elegant it used to be

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Posts: 729
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #5
01-02-2008 10:32 AM

Note the caption on the picture that starts: "The up side..." - "full quota of bricked up and boarded up windows" and "motorists stuck in traffic on the South Circular road"

Plus ca change, eh!!

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Posts: 335
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #6
01-02-2008 10:43 AM

at least they had the excuse that it had been bombed in the war - the current versions are down to neglect and underinvestment

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Posts: 30
Joined: Jun 2007
Post: #7
01-02-2008 12:12 PM

And to think that the lovely Victorian building with the tower has been replaced by a portacabin......

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Posts: 104
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #8
01-02-2008 06:12 PM

I've uploaded a selection of pictures of the station to Flickr, which you can see . There are many others, but they all show more or less the same view, which just goes to show what an iconic building this station was.

For a random selection of items on local history visit my blog at:
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Posts: 58
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #9
01-02-2008 06:19 PM

What an amazing building - anyone know what happened to it?

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Posts: 335
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #10
01-02-2008 06:26 PM

Bomb damage at the end of WW2 (as you can see from the later pictures - roof missing, windows boarded/bricked up) and eventually had to be demolished.

I think Steve's point the other night was interesting. It was always a grander building than we really needed in FH, but then again several directors of the train company lived locally ....

I doubt that was the case when it was replaced, and now who could justify such an expense?

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Posts: 104
Joined: Oct 2006
Post: #11
01-02-2008 06:31 PM

grahamw wrote:
What an amazing building - anyone know what happened to it?

The station was severely damaged by bombing in 1944. The building was patched-up and continued in use until 1972, when it was demolished to make way for the present building.

For a random selection of items on local history visit my blog at:
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No longer registered

Posts: 85
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #12
01-02-2008 06:51 PM

Having ploughed my way through the entire text of the article now, I found it somewhat amusing to see that at a public meeting held in February 1879, the main complaints made by the attendees to the railway company were

  • "the oft delayed trains involve long waiting at the station"
  • "there is not enough standing or seating room in the waiting areas, and the waiting areas are filthily kept" and "the down platform is worse still, providing nothing that can be called a shelter"
  • "often we find there is no room for us in the carriages and are often foul and offensive to be in"
  • of our wonderful subway "it would be better termed a mudway - i have seen pigstyes much cleaner"

An interesting comparison with February 2008, don't you think?

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Posts: 26
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #13
01-02-2008 08:31 PM

As a child I lived in noel terrace just a stones throw from the station.From my bedroom window I used to watch the steam trains go through the station and the excursion trains used to stop at the central platform.The upside booking hall was massive,with wooden floor and two phone boxes inside,the platform was very wide just outside the door getting narrower towards the end.The downside booking hall was a lot smaller,same wooden floor but after you climbed the stairs to the platform there was a waiting room with a fire of some sort in and also a ladies waiting room with a toilet within.
Just outside theupside booking hall there was a funny little sweet and tobacco shop sort of built into the station building.Down the road just on the bend used to be Jones the dairy (run by a welshman) used to be the only shop round there that was open on a Sunday morning,my mum used to tell me he had a hose and cart type thing he used to deliver milk from.
PS Steve Grindlay put a photo of Forest Hill signal box on Sydenham forum,keep up the photos on both sites Steve

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Posts: 23
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #14
01-02-2008 09:29 PM

I think that article is one of the best ever written, and I'm glad many of you find it interesting--thanks also to Steve for adding the wonderful pictures--but there's still one mystery that remains unsolved: The Perry Vale side of Forest Hill Station is on a high embankment, hence one has to walk up the steps to reach the level of the railway line, which continues over Waldram Crescent aided by a bridge; therefore, how could London Road have possibly continued across the railway--via the level crossing, to Perry Vale--with such a big drop from track level to ground level? I know Steve and I have discussed this before on the Sydenham Town Forum without reaching a conclusive answer, so I thought I would bring it up again... Even the Atmospheric Railway pumping house, in the early days, appeared to be on a much lower level to the track.

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Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #15
03-02-2008 12:41 PM

Does anyone remember what was located at the Sainsbury's site before the 'old' Sainsbury's was built? I recall the parade starting with a dry cleaners, then a deli and a fish and chip shop - then whatever Sainsbury's was - then a Woolwich building society, a DER rental shop, fruit and veg, Woolworths, sweet shop, Place Bakeries, Bloomfields bakers, Guinnes (now Mackays) Sainbury's (where the Red Cross shop is) and launderette on the corner. There might also have been a boot menders in the mix.

Anyone else able to jog the old grey cells?

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Posts: 26
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #16
03-02-2008 04:59 PM

Coming down from above Sainsbury was Goslings aloveley shop that roasted coffee beans in the window thenalittle way down was a toy shop where you put a penny in a slot and a train went round the window.There was a garden shop that sold seeds dried flowers vases etc.a hairdressers .Stitchers supermarket then on the corner where Abbey is used to be a hardware shop,that smelled of paraffin.Who remembers Carvers,mens and womens hairdresser on the opposite side of the road just down from Weatherspoons

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Anyone else?

Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #17
04-02-2008 10:27 AM

Thanks for that. Good to see some local history.

Wouldn't it be a nice idea to restore the station to something like it used to be. I presume that once the ELL goes in there will be some refurbs to the station. Why not go the whole way and restore the station to something like it's former condition.

It already looks like we will be getting some money from the Department for Transport "Access for all Stations"
I also assume we will get some type of cash injection from the ELL extension to retrofit the station.

Maybe we could contact the council, heritage groups etc. and see if they want to throw some cash our way.

A grand station would be a nice feature.

Anyone up for a little more lobbying?

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Posts: 133
Joined: May 2007
Post: #18
04-02-2008 11:34 AM

It was a lovely station. As a child in the late 1950's I used to sit on the up platform bench and watch the steam trains come and go while my mum did the shopping. The station staff would keep an eye on me and the engine drivers would give a wave or wink as they passed through.

I think the hardware shop where the Abbey now is was called Bendy's. The man used to deliver paraffin to your door in a Navy blue dormobile van.

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Posts: 2,002
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #19
09-02-2008 09:05 PM

Yes there was a hardware shop called Bendy's . Cannot remember exactly where.

Would be great to have the middle platform back .

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Posts: 24
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #20
10-02-2008 11:54 AM

I also recall a chemist and a travel agency on the Sainsbury's side of the street. Along Devonshire Road we Wests butchers, Plug and Socket, FH&W for shoes and Saxones (or similar shoe shop), plus another travel agency. Quite a thriving little shopping centre!

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