Living in/around Sydenham

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  • So, thinking about buying a place of my own and areas I've rented in for the last 15+ years (Peckham, Camberwell etc.) are out of my price range particularly with the recent influx of hipsters and young families in Peckham where I was hoping to stay having pushed up prices.

    Sydenham seems like one of the few affordable(ish) places in a vaguely similar area. I know it quite well - used to work there years back, realise it is quite different to Peckham.

    But what's it like to live there? Experiences please! Ta!

  • Sydenham is used to describe a really wide range of places, all the way from the CP transmitter down to Bell Green, taking in bits of what's really Penge. Some parts are lovely (and correspondingly pricey), such as the Thorpes roads north of Sydenham Road, and some of the bits up the hill. Some of the bits off Newlands Park and down towards Alexandra rec are quite nice and leafy as well, and probably quite cheap compared to Peckham. Other parts (including the place where we bought our first house) are a bit dodgy - a colleague once described Lower Sydenham as "the arsehole of London" and I found it hard to disagree: a fair amount of street crime, fried chicken, joyriding, yellow police signs asking for witnesses of shootings and knifings etc.

    The main shopping drag (Sydenham Road) is excellent - pet shop, co-op, superdrug, proper butcher, fishmonger, greengrocer, post office, Kirkdale Books is fab, some gastro pubs in the area, Mayow Park is great. Trains to London bridge and Croydon are quick, ginger line is handy for some. Good cycling routes out to the country via West Wickham.

    Arup used to be down this way.

  • I'm in Forest Hill, which is (as Ludd suggests) either almost the same place, or not.

    Anyway! I really like it, the whole place is in a bit of a state of flux it would appear- the swimming baths re-opening has had a big impact on the high street, which used to be heavily dependant on the fried chicken trade but is now slowly gaining other shops- a deli, a proper butchers etc.

    Like most places in London it's very variable, our 1930's place backs onto a couple of tower blocks- at some point in the past razor wire has been strung between the two, but periodically that gets breached and we have a rash of burglaries. In short, this is London my friend.

    We previously lived on Peckham Rye directly opposite the park which was great, but whilst we could afford the rent we couldn't afford to buy there, hence the move a little further out.

    I can jog to the Rye in 5 minutes though.

  • Oh, and Sydenham Wells Park is nice too, and Crystal Palace Park is close by. Dinosaurs, but sadly no otters any more. Some nice Pissarro connections in the area. Someone got his head smashed in with an axe in the pub next to the old ice cream parlour. There's a Bicycle Tag of Bike tag waiting to be done in a little back street on the Upper Sydenham/Forest Hill borders.

  • many thanks for the thoughts and info! i am trying to sell to myself that i have to move from where i have called home for so long, balancing the positives with the negatives - and getting a more nuanced view than the 'standard' blogs/forums e.g. the East Dulwich Forum!!

    Not looking forward to pedalling up and down that bastard hill all the time though...!

  • The hills are, well, hills.

    You could always come in via Brockley, that misses out the A205 and it's rollercoaster section.

  • Someone got his head smashed in with an axe in the pub next to the old ice cream parlour.

    That was like 40 years ago no?

  • Yes, or maybe 30.

    And the ice cream place has gone.

    There's still a bit of the old canal by the junction of Dacres Road and Silverdale. One unfortunate lady drowned in the reservoir for the canal. That was probably about 180 years ago though.

    Wellbeing sells delicious Yirgacheffe ground coffee.

    Hugh the butcher likes my "Awesome 531" t shirt.

    Karl Marx's daughter lived in Sydenham, as did Jason Statham.

  • Thanks!

    I was told that not only did Marx Jnr(ess) live there, she also killed herself there, in a house on Jews Walk.

    Wellbeing has been there for ages and is a proper health food shop nothing trendy nor hollandnbarret about it. I also remember going into Fresh and Fruity a lot when I worked over there.

    Did not like the hill. However like long rides on flattish roads so will find a long way round if I do end up down there.

  • As said above, Sydenham is massive and has got some not so hot bits. However, the nice bits are really good. The high street is decent and improving and I think will continue to given how the surrounding area is on the way up. The extention of the overground really has made a difference. The stupid mustache ratio has shot up since that's been open.

    I've lived in Forest Hill for the last 5 years and in that time the area has really improved, to such an extent that it's now meant to be one of the most desirable places in London to live, so I hear. There are lots of independent shops that have been becoming well established and the swimming pool reopening is another good thing. I have friends who live in Sydenham and they say that they can really see a of Forest Hill effect spreading into this side of Sydenham. In the last couple of years the prices in Forest Hill have started to go up again, and it sounds like people are now looking to Sydenham to give the sort of value that Forest Hill did a few years back.

    Also, there is a really nice bakery in Sydenham called IBS Bakery, which always makes me laugh. Get your IBS here.

  • Oh, and my LBS - Viadas Cycles in Honor Oak, is really good and only a short ride away.

  • The words "living" and "Sydenham" do not often appear in the same sentence.

  • Shush Cliveo.

    I'm a recent SE23 (Forest Hill) convert. Bought our first place at the top of Honour Oak Road in December last year. Am pretty much smit and can see us staying put for a good long while. Having snaffled a bargain helps We're in a 2 bed ground floor garden flat in a1960s block. Technically the Garden's shared but no-one else had direct access and I've never seen anyone in it. It's south facing with awesome views over a conservation area and South London and Kent beyond. Really, could not be happier.

    The hills are character building if commuting by bike (or on foot). If you're getting the train the coffee from On the Hoof at the station is great.

    Sylvan Post (old post office) and Dartmouth Arms both do good ales and food. Roasts in the former are MobyDickulous.

    I get white middle class guilt (spawned by hatred of my own kind) every time I stray into East Dulwich so try to avoid it if I can.

  • I'm a recent SE23 (Forest Hill) convert. Bought our first place at the top of Honour Oak Road in December last year. Am pretty much smit and can see us staying put for a good long while.
    ...
    I get white middle class guilt (spawned by hatred of my own kind) every time I stray into East Dulwich so try to avoid it if I can.

    I was completely won over when our housing association told me there was a 3 bed flat available on Honor Oak Road. I raced down there the following day and walked around and decided this was where we needed to move to (well, we were in Raynes Park, so almost anywhere would have been a step up). Our flat was on the top floor of Havelock House and the shared back garden runs up to the little transmitter on top of the hill, the view from the living room was across half of kent (including Exedown).

    That was in 1996. We're still in the area, with a brief stint in Lower Sydenham and now in the flatlands near the old fire station.

    And thank you for articulating precisely why I dislike East Dulwich so much!

  • Ha, we're just the other side of the road from the antenna.

    Yeah E.Dulwich man... last time I was there everyone came out of the organic farm shops* delis, gastro pubs and quirky lampshade boutiques to gawp at what I quickly realised was the only black guy within a hundred metres having his face pressed into a wall by an armed policeman. I'm not saying I'm necessarily sympathetic with the black guy (I have no idea what had just happened) but I had a real "What's wrong with this picture?" moment.

    *Where's the farm, so-called farm shop? If you mean that the food you sell came from a farm them surely all food shops, including supermarkets are farm shops? I think you'll find what you are is a "shop".

  • Completely disagree about the east Dulwich comments but each to their own.

    I agree it can be a bit wanky, but fuck me, I will take that over the Camberwell Green (lived there for several years) and its associated problems anyday of the week.

    If I had the money I would almost certainty be investing in SE15.

  • The anti-ED thing is, as dooks said, "white middle class guilt (spawned by hatred of my own kind)". Perhaps not really a criticism of the place so much as an observation of my discomfort at seeing a higher than usual concentration of people who are shopping on Lordship Lane for reasons which I suspect are disturbingly similar to my own reasons for being there - maybe because it's got nice independent eco-friendly sheet music shops and cheese emporia and I can park on any of the side streets and not feel as trashy as I would if I went shopping at the big Sainsbo at Bell Green. Or some shit like that.

  • My main complaint about Lordship lane is the lack of decent coffee, which seems to be something of an oversight given the area.

    Plenty of mediocre coffee, mind you.

    Anway, I quite liked it when I lived on Peckham Rye as a quick jog down Northcote road and you were at Lordship lane and could grab some dinner etc.

    I used to buy a lot of German beer from that little independant offie, for example, and given that my 3rd year anniversary of being booze-free is coming up that shows how long ago that was.

    Fuck I'm old.

  • ^^Was possibly exagerating for effect there. Although the middle class guilt/anxiety experience was real. I have a conflicted relationship with class.

    Having said that, I rode though the other day and thought, "I should come down here more often". Fancy do trying a few of the restaurants. Plus it's the got the the nearest decent offie and fishmongers. And a good independant DIY shop. And secondhand audio/musical...

  • Agree on the coffee, that Luca's is the only decent place but that's always rammed.

    Well done on 3 years off the sauce! Love Peckham Rye, where I currently live.

  • That offie was the only place I found within five miles of home that had Angostura Bitters. I found that out in a frantic pre-house-warming party dash a few months back. How middle class is that?

  • They also do Brooklyn Larger!!! Mwahahahaha

  • I moved to Sydenham at the end of June from Clapton having been away from SE London (New Cross, Deptford, Honor Oak) for about 7 years. Really enjoying it so far, we're close to Mayow Park actually have our own garden(!) and have found the people down here extremely friendly. As mentioned the High Street is pretty good already and looks to be improving. I still haven't checked and rated the local boozers (recommendations please?) but that's next on my list. There seems to be a bit of an influx from North of the river as a few of my mates are looking to buy down here too...

    Cycling wise it beats East London/North East London hands down, 20 minutes riding and you're pretty much in the countryside. I'm also starting to enjoy the hills, you just need to embrace them.

  • Mayow Park is great. Somewhere I have video footage of me and Mrs Ludd riding our tandem round the park. It's also nice to walk from our place through the park to the shops. And the new pavement is pretty good - shiny and wide.

    My favourite hill in the area is the ride from Dulwich College up to the transmitter - smelling the cool air drifting out of Sydenham Woods, enjoying the changes of gradient, passing the geared riders...

  • That's a point- the woods are great, really nice to have a wander.

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Living in/around Sydenham

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