Looking a bit closer at Places & Names
Looking closer at some of my recent blogs I decided to do a bit more research on the places and names I come across on a regular basis.
In a recent walk from Brixton to Crystal Palace, ending up in Forest Hill/ Sydenham, I took a photograph of the sign Jews Walk.
Places and names is also the title of a very good song written by John Cale and Lou Reed featured on the album; songs for Drella. Names can tell us a lot about our environment, if we take the time to investigate.
For this post I will limit myself to exploring: Love Walk- Jews Walk, and Gipsy Hill .
‘Jews Walk was named after two Jewish brothers who lived in Westwood, a large house on the edge of Sydenham Common, In about 1769 the two brothers obtained permission from Lord Dartmouth, the Lord of the Manor, to create a tree-lined walk across the common to their house.
This walk became known as “the Jews’ walk”.
When Sydenham Common was enclosed in the early 19th century the name was retained. By at least 1854 the residents of Jews Walk felt that such a name was not appropriate (undertones of anti-Semitism? ) and they began referring to the street as “The Grove”.
In 1878 the Metropolitan Board of Works, a London-wide body amongst whose responsibilities was making sense of house numbers and street names, was petitioned to officially rename Jews Walk to “The Grove”.
To their credit the M.B.W refused to change the name and “Jews Walk”, one of the oldest street-names in Sydenham, survived.’ Extract taken from Sydenham Town Forum.
The hill once covered in trees was a well- known-haunt of Romani people in the 19th century.
It is an area bordering two London boroughs of Lambeth and southwark, it’s worth a climb to the top for the views of London. A massive hill takes you up to Crystal Palace where you will pass Gipsy Hill train station. Gipsy Hill also can boast its’ own brewery. The Ghost Whale craft beer bar stocks their brew as do other trendy bars.
A couple of interesting facts about the area of Gipsy hill
A 28-room nuclear bunker was constructed between 1963 and 1966 as part of a block of flats on the Central hill Estate called Pear Tree House on Lunham Road.
Famous residents of Gipsy Hill area include the singer songwriter Errol Brown from Hot Chocolate, and Nigel Eaton who was a hurdy -gurdy player for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant also lived in the area.
LOVE WALK AND CAMBERWELL
There is only one street named Love Walk making it unique in the UK.
Every day I walk or cycle from Brixton to Camberwell and walk down Love Walk. I have researched Camberwell and still could not find the exact origin of the name Love walk. During my research however, I realise how much Camberwell means to me.
Years ago I wrote a post comparing Brixton to Clapham, intending to be dismissive of Clapham, turns out I had a soft spot for the place. Likewise I have the same love for Camberwell.
The most famous landmarks is probably Camberwell College of Arts which is also part of St Martins. Maudsley Hospital and Kings College Hospital are significant major hospitals serving Southwark and many areas in Kent. It hasn’t a tube station but a train station called Denmark Hill. Oh and of course Love Walk Café and the famous mural.
There are no high street shops in Camberwell. Morrison’s is the main local shop, and they give 10% off to NHS workers; the other main food shop is the Coop. In recent years we said goodbye to Woolworths and Hello to Costa, but that was the only update.
Camberwell Grove is a leafy residential conservation area and has a steep and long grove. Walking up and down there is enjoyable at lunch times and a way to get some steps in.
Love walk is a pretty walk, featuring old fashioned country cottages situated just off the walk with their own front garden. Camberwell was originally a tiny village in the county of Surrey, the artist and writer John Ruskin moved there in 1823, and Ruskin Park on Denmark Hill is named after him. It’s easy to imagine it as a country village.
I was unable to locate the exact origins of the name LOVE WALK, but did find some interesting theories about the name of Camberwell.
It has been conjectured that, as the name of St. Giles (church) just off Love Walk, conveys an idea of cripples, the well which gave part of the name to the village might have been famous for some medicinal virtues, and might have occasioned the dedication of the church to this patron saint of cripples. The well would then become the well of the ‘crooked’ or crippled. Interesting, as now The Maudsley mental Health Institute and Kings college hospital dominate the area.
See further reading.!
Oh and before I go.
answers on a post card if you know the origins of this name