Them and us: Hither Green

We'd wager that, if Brockley Central's Hither Green doppelganger popped up on this site to ask readers to take part in a Q&A about SE4, they'd be inundated with people happy to wax lyrical about Brockley's many and much-discussed charms. Not so the people of Hither Green.

It took us months to track down anyone who'd talk to us about the area and we fired out so many speculative emails that (typically) when we eventually got a reply, another one swiftly followed. So here we have two different takes on Hither Green; a place divided by a railway track, famous for its conservation area and experiencing some modest regeneration but still crying out for a few more places to get a drink....

Because of these parallels, we've been particularly keen to feature Hither Green - an area that's done good things with street trees and boasts a hugely successful cafe in its park.

The first set of answers is from Hither Green blogger Bagelmouse, the second from another resident who’s happier remaining nameless, but we promise is not just a figment of our imagination. Thanks to both of them for such detailed answers.

What are the best things about living in HG?

It's an incredibly friendly, peaceful place to be. Yes, there aren't places to go out on an evening and there's far too many greasy takeaways and mini markets, but the park is gorgeous, I hear the schools are excellent and the eastern side of HG is worthy of the Brockley conservation area. Transport links are also excellent from the station, and if you live on the outskirts it's only a short walk to good bus routes. Not that the best thing about living in HG is being able to leave it!!

I think HG is a comfortable, attractive and safe area. It's relatively small and made up almost entirely of Victorian and Edwardian terraces. It's a quiet area too, with a lack of serious crime (I never see those yellow and blue Police notice boards here, plus the fast, frequent trains to Charing Cross and Cannon Street make it great for working in Central London.

How important has Friends and Users of Staplehurst Road Shops (FUSS) been to the area?

I'm not aware of their specific actions - but if they're the people responsible for the planters and general village air of Staplehurst Road, then they're the saviours of HG! The Nightingale Road side of the station is quite depressing - Staplehurst Road serves as a lovely introduction to the lovelier side of HG.

I live on the other side of the tracks, so am not too familiar with their work, but I do think they've made a very positive contribution to the Staplehurst Road side in particular, brightening up the shop frontages, winning a silver award in London in Bloom, and generally promoting the area.

What have been the most important improvements to HG's public spaces over the last few years?

Getting the planters in might sound like a small thing, but it really did make a difference.

It's also important to realise that HG is split into two very distinct sections by the railway tracks. Often, people think of HG as being the east side, towards the Lee side - but there's also the much less attractive, but more served by shops and transport, west side by Hither Green Lane. As a resident of the west side I want to stake our claim for being very much part of HG, and not a sub-section of Lewisham! Hither Green Lane has definitely been unloved, but it's also an important public space itself, and is starting to get a wash-and-brush-up.

HG has three very good parks. Manor Park, the smallest, has only just reopened after extensive renovation; Manor Park Gardens was renovated to a very high standard and won a Green Flag Award in 2006; and the largest, Mountsfield Park, has just secured funding for a cafe and toilet facilities.

Apart from parks, we have the Staplehurst Road shopping area, which FUSS has worked to improve, and a new 'piazza' around the clock tower at the Meridian South development on the old hospital site. With units free for shops and restaurants, that could become a new focal point for people living around Hither Green Lane.

How does the community support improvements to public spaces in HG?

I think one of the problems with HG is that, at the moment, there's a massive movement of incomers (of which I am one, guilty as charged). There's notice boards at the station for the community groups but they don't seem to be updated that often - I suspect it's a small group of residents who are leading the charge, and it's going to take a while for the incomers to bed down and start to take a real interest in their new surroundings. And I'm also starting to wonder about possible friction between the people who've lived in HG all their lives and the newbies... I think the reaction of the lads to the new deli (see below) says a lot. I wonder if there's going to be resistance to gentrification by people who feel pushed out.

I know that there is a group called Friends of Mountsfield Park, but am not very sure who represents the other two. A local community association has been set up and was due to meet for the second time on 30 January. I didn't make it along, but there's a summary here:

How does HG get the most out of its park?

The park's a very planned space, probably because it's quite compact. The divide between dog and non-dog space is great for all the families and young kids, who can picnic or play games on the non-dog area without worrying about stepping in anything nasty! The farmer's market is small but nice to browse around, and I adore the cafe. It's not somewhere you go if you don't want to be disturbed but it's an absolutely gorgeous place that's been well thought-out and maintained.

Brockley plans to plant more trees in its main streets and HG is often held up as a successful model for us to copy - what can we learn from your experiences?

That you can actually have real plums on your streets! One of the most pleasant aspects of HG is its leafiness - it adds a certain air of gentility. There are plans to plant more trees around the station and around a quite scruffy part of Hither Green Lane, an expansion of the recent arrival of the large street planters. What I worry about is that they're more cosmetic, and they're left and not looked after properly (some of the planters by the station are collecting a nice pile of rubbish).

Are you worried about the dwindling number of pubs in Lewisham - has HG been affected?

People often say there's only one pub in HG and that's The Station, but there were more around Hither Green Lane. The Spotted Cow recently closed and is being turned into flats, but... it never looked particularly appealing. I think what people mainly mean when they complain is that there are no "nice" pubs in HG! We have a specific problem in that a lot of the land has covenants on use dating back to the temperance era - I think we might end up with lots of nice cafes but something quite special will need to happen before we get a "nice" (I think people mean "gastro") pub. The Station's really not as bad as people say.

Two pubs have closed here - the Queen's Head and more recently the Spotted Cow, both very traditional, old pubs. Also the Lanier Club has closed.

I think people in HG generally want something up-to-date, and the topic of gastropub frequently appears on the local forum. From what I can see, there's no shortage of potential clientele for a smarter pub or bar.

It's good that we have a smart local cafe in You Don't Bring Me Flowers, also that a new deli is about to open up. However, we still need a decent pub or bar.

What are the most important local issues in HG?

The controlled parking zone is a burning issue. I don't drive so it's not something I seethe over, but it does seem to be something that the council have implemented as a cash cow... extensions to the CPZ have been brought in far outside the station area where there's no parking problems. I live in a CPZ street and there's always space to park, it baffles me.

The other issues are the lack of bars, restaurants and delis. There's been an air of expectancy over the area for the last couple of years, waiting for gentrification to creep in... it's overdue, but I think it's finally happening. The first 'proper' deli opened at the weekend and made many people happy (though the two teenagers who shouted "Hither Green's not posh!" through the open doorway weren't among them; and they may have a point! I've blogged about that particular incident -

And, as mentioned above, the possibility of HG splitting into two 'tribes' of residents. I keep thinking of the 'town and gown' split of university cities. There's a lot of new development and that's only going to bring in more people from outside - which will be good for new businesses and possible gentrification, but is definitely going to shift the demographic balance.

Controlled parking zones on the Staplehurst side, and attracting new businesses - eating places and bars, particularly for all the commuters who want to go out locally.

As a resident of HG, do you ever think visit Brockley or take an interest in developments there?

I do visit Brockley! I'm in awe of The Shop on the Hill, Dandelion Blue, the Broca etc etc. If nothing else, it's interesting to see what's happening because I suspect HG will be the next to be properly hit by the gentrification wave (one deli does not a Blackheath make).

Before we settled on HG 18 months ago, we also seriously considered buying in Brockley. Both are great areas, but it was HG's connections to Charing Cross and Cannon Street that basically made it the better option.

When I look at Brockley now, it's very interesting, especially in terms of the cafes, bars and restaurants springing up. There's no shortage of people in HG who want the same kind of thing. Perhaps a Brockley entrepreneur would consider expanding into HG!

What's your message for the people of Brockley on behalf of the citizens of HG?

It's funny, I've often thought that Brockley had more of a message for HG... Brockley's going where HG seems to want to go (judging by the comments on the HG forum and Facebook group) and we're watching with bated breath.

Keep up the good work - it's clearly paying off.

Click to read the Forest Hill and East Dulwich features.


kate said...

I wpuld much rather live in Hither green with our gangsters and drug busts and riots than be stuck in Brockley where they try to ignore the same things happen and only worry about drinking coffee and hous prices!
Also please note mountsfield park comes under CATFORD and Manor park with the cafe and bugaboo mummys/nannies is LEE, little manor park i think just about makes it into Hither green.In a kind of way that telegraph hill ISNT Brockley.

Brockley Nick said...

Are you sure you've been reading the blog Kate? Ignoring crime? It's been a major topic of conversation. But most people not to let it dominate their lives and surely that's a good thing, or would you rather we all spent all our time being miserable?

kate said...

Ok so that came across wrong, but i think you focus too much on brockley house prices and the them and us thing is a bit much for me ...i am not into elitism.

Brockley Nick said...

The point of the article is to learn about other areas, not to be elitist - the headline is just a little bit of a joke and it's been a regular feature.

I didn't ask one question about house prices, though you have to accept that not only it it an important issue for many people, the property market is also an indicator for an area's development (for good and bad).

max said...

I think that Hither Green is home to one of the greatest planning crimes of modern times.
The former Hither Green Hospital, that was an architectural gem (built by the same architect that did Liberty department store) was demolished leaving only the central tower and the external walls as a reminder that something very nice actually was once there.
By retaining the walls they created a split community, had they demolished the walls but kept some of the exceptionally fine buildings of the Hospital for community use they would have created a much more coherent urban landscape and retained an heritage with a purpose that the tower and the boundary walls, as nice as they are, have not.
Now they want to make a piazza with shops as an afterthought, but it's in a development surrounded by walls, very few people that don't live in there ever walk through it, any shop there would not benefit much from clients that live outside of the development.
When the planning for the development was agreed as section 106 the community had 50k spent on an urban study to improve the area. The main finding was that the area lacks focus. Well they should have thought about that before redeveloping the hospital, not after.

kate said...

Yes house prices are important but you exclude others that dont own their properties there are many people in council estates in your area i bet most of them feel almost completely exclude from you blog.
I supose my point is you have a big audience and that you could cater more on social issues rather than asthetics.

Anonymous said...

How do you ignore people who dont own a house by talking about house prices? Its not glorious for home owners kate, things are often better for those who rent.

Even if house prices do go up, its not even clear cut that that would be a good thing. As prices rise, the differential with other areas will decrease resulting in it being harder to attract more of the right influx of people....

Anonymous said...

This is a really great article Nick, could be good to get different reviews of other local areas too. (maybe Forrest Hill vs Brockley, or Catford, or Nunhead etc...

Brockley Nick said...

@Kate - I don't accept that at all. There are hundreds of topics covered on this blog - house prices is only one of them. If people don't think it's relevant to them, they can talk on another thread or suggest something else to talk about.

I do accept that the blog's readership is probably skewed towards the white, middle class, employed community, but it is a diverse group of people that uses this blog and they are welcome to discuss what they like.

As I say, regardless of whether you own or wish to own a house, the subject is still relevant. House prices impact on the kinds of people who live in an area and the kinds of businesses that come in to an area to accommodate them. Now you may disapprove of the changes happening in an area, but they are facts that need to be discussed.

Pete said...

Fortunately we're not all so down on living in Lewisham as you Kate and try to look on things in a more positive light. Sure there are plenty of things wrong with Lewisham but generally speaking I think it is getting better. But as the author of a blog called Lewisham Sucks I guess you disagree.

Anonymous said...

Hither Green is okay but I feel change will come slower there than Brockley due to the old ELL malarky. Whether it's actual impact is that real or not - the perceived impact has already begun (thus creating actual impact - I'm confusing myself here) but the ELL is a date that people view as a catalyst for change, I'll stop now..

Anonymous said...

I know of a number of families that have moved to the Hither Green area from....Brockley.

With Manor House Gardens on one side, Mountsfield Park the other also the refurbished Ladywell Fields and Blackheath are within walking distance that can't be bad?

Because two lines meet at Hither Green trains are pretty frequent, also if you live in the right part of Hither Green there is also available Ladywell station.

Anonymous said...

Mountsfield park is no asset I'm afraid - used to live near there and I wouldn't go in there unless in a group.
Last year there was a mass gang brawl at the Mountsfield park festival. Hither Green is even more divided than Brockley by the railway. The Hither Green lane end is like living on the Brockley road, plus the housing stock isn't all that.
The 'nice' side of the tracks is nicer and fairly quiet but the prospect of change is quite limited because of the spaces for shops - there are only a few. Manor house gardens is lovely and so is the cafe You Don't Bring Me Flowers but that's about it. I looked at the new deli today and it isn't a patch on Dandelion or Degustation. Brockley is a much younger, dare I say 'London' crowd, H Green is more suits and suburbia - not for me. Jim

Anonymous said...

Kate people with jobs and don't expect the council to sort out all their problems are allowed to talk about stuff too you know.

max said...

Jim, your comment is correct in some respect but I think it misses the nature of Hither Green that's fundamentaly very different from Brockley.

Hither Green is not one area, it's a cluster of small neighbourhoods, some quite smart, some less so.
It's mostly residential and each part relates to Lee, Lewisham and Catford Town Centres depending by what part of it you're talking about.

As the architects hired to do the urban study paid by the £50k of section 106 for the Hither Green Hospital redevelopment discovered, Hither Green doesn't have a focus.

In fact the only thing that connects those parts is the fact that they're laid out around Hither Green Station and Hither Green Lane and that's not much of a glue.

The Lee side of the track is possibly more "suite" than "Hip London", true, that is a quiet and leafy neighbourhood and I am of the impression that to have more cafes around the station is not a priority there.
They shop in Lewisham Centre or Lee High Road where there's a Sainsbury that Brockley can only dream of. The offer of cafe and shops near the station is limited but quality and FUSS does a very good job with what they have, Staplehurst Road at peak time is busy but the rest of the day that's a very quiet place, not sure how many shops you want to have there. That is probably not much a centre, rather a nice parade with village feel in front of the station.

The entrance to the station on other side of the track is smack in the middle of a rather sad declined employment area and that will probably see some changes but that can only occur if there's political will. The way it looks now is only testimony of decades of inertia of the Town Hall.
Some residents are starting to ask for changes and I'm confident they will get something done.

As I wrote above a massive area of Hither Green has just been redeveloped and although the houses built are probably not bad they are completely disconnected with the rest of the neighbourhood, a planning disaster.

It's been a phenomenal missed opportunity, Mountsfield Park fronts a concrete wall on its Hither Green side.

Speaking of the mass gang brawls at Mountsfield Park, they happen year in, year out, it's because it attracts kids from all over Lewisham and beyond, not because there is a particular breed of wild teenagers around Hither Green.
It is actually possible to have all that people because the park so big that you can organise mass events.
The park is a very quiet place, I find it beautiful and you can go there on your own, believe me, I do it all the time and I never had a trouble.

Hither Green Lane is not a nice road, I used to have my studio on it and I never liked it and like for Brockley road that is the result of the traffic, nothing to do about it.
But the roads leading to Hither Green Lane are nice and quiet residential roads, you shop at Coop and you have very frequent trains to central London, not hip but very good value for money for families on a middle income.

max said...

Sorry, re-reading I noticed that I forgot to specify that the brawls at Mountsfield Park happen on one day of the year only that's when People's Day goes on.

Anonymous said...

One downside with living there I found was although the trains are good - fairly quick into Charing Cross - on the days they're screwed or too packed to get onto ( and that happens more often than you might want to imagine) it's almost impossible to get into town.

max said...

I have heard that trains are often packed in the morning peak time, I am not a commuter so I don't know how much this is something that Hither Green suffers more than other stations, but trains are very frequent, if you miss one you really don't have to wait much for the next one.

As reported above there are people that chose to move from Brockley and other areas to Hither Green.
The other day I bumped into a friend of mine, an home-owner of Crofton Park, that is trying to sell his flat and put the money together with a new small mortgage on a house in Hither Green. He's after space and you really get quite a lot for your money there. If you have kids it's very attractive.

Recently another friend of mine sold his flat in Pimlico and bought a house just in front of Hither Green Station, he gets to central London just as fast and in exchange for his flat he now has a house, a garden and a sports car.

Anonymous said...

It's not that red Ferrari is it?

Trains can be crowded but at least I can get on them.

When I used to live at Forest Hill I'd often see people left on the platform at Brockley unable to get on the train.

As for cancelations and delays don't they happen on the Brockley line anymore?

What is the focus of Brockley, is it the station, The Barge or something else?

Maybe both areas lack a strong focus point?

kate said...

Ok so pete and gill fair enough, i do have Lewisham sucks, which is aimed at the council because quite frankly in many areas they do suck. AS for me being totally against everything lewisham well it might seem like that but apart from the parks and a few other things lewisham could do with a hell of a lot of improving on many aspects which i am all for.
And saying i expect the council to sort out all my problems is just complete rubbish. The council do have certain things that they are responsible for and protecting vulnerable people is one of them unfortunately i have no choice to rely on the council for certain aspects such as housing. This does not mean i do nothing else than whine about them not dong nothing for me i am actively seeking positive changes having two diabled childen life isnt always easy but i take responsibility for what i do.
Nick if you want to make this a "class thing" go for it you said yourself the people who read and visit your blog that to me is not inclusive. all the comments saying about bringing the right type of people to the area just show really what you are all about!
I thank you all for not sjust reading what i have commented but for also trying to belittle me a commomn feature to anyone who might happen to disagree with the royal (brockley central ) WE!!!

Also Nick i never said you ignored crime but many people in Brockley do.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lewisham kate - I am still not sure what you are objecting to - I asked a couple of people in HG what they thought of the area and published their answers. There was nothing about houses or house prices in my questions - they were largely about public spaces, which is my main passion and which is a wholly inclusive subject, surely.

As for 'making it a class thing' - I haven't. I'm simply pointing out that this blog's readership is probably more middle class than the average population. The same will be true for your blogs, by the way. But so what?

Anonymous said...

What I'm saying is that when the trains are cancelled from Hither Green there is no alternative, you're buggered. It's just that bit further out which means the options to get into town are the train, car, or nothing. Forget buses.

Beyond that if you think Brockley short on places to go out then Hither Green is in another league, it's a desert. 'Gentrification' or change or whatever you call it is happening a lot slower there than Brockley and the scope to change is limited - partly because of what Max said, the area is spread out mostly with little cohesion.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that this has turned into a bit of a 'Hither Green versus Brockley' confrontational situation :-(
Both areas are nice and south-east London benefits from both of them!
As for this place, it's a blog, ie. it's one person's viewpoint, if you don't like it then stop reading it. Simple.

kate said...

Kate i read as i am interested in all things local whether it be Catford Brockley Hither green Deptford or forest hill anywhere Lewisham. And you say its one persons view well thats just it its not the whole Brockley central thing is suposed to be a community or at least thats how it appears to be sold. I dont think the point of a blog is to agree with everything that is written but it seems that as there is this clique going on anyone who happens to come along and maynot share the smae view point is pounced upon.
There are points on here i dont agree with some i do the whole thing is to share opinions.

Pete said...

Of course you are right that it is up to people to share their opinions but when they disagree they are going have minor conflicts. You say that people pounce on those who disagree but didn't you pounce on all of us first because you disagree with what we think and what we stand for (whatever that is?).

I most certainly did not belittle you.

Anonymous said...

Kate, it's not turned into 'Brockley versus Hither Green', it's just a comparison - I used to live in Hither Green and I now live in Brockley, so I feel qualified to point out some of the pro's and cons. Lighten up.

Bea said...

Lewisham Kate

Why so defensive? There's lots of controversy on this blog with opposing view points. We definitely don’t all have the same opinion you only need to look at the recent posts on the vandalism of the Stephen Lawrence Centre. What we have in common is Brockley.

Sweeping statements unsupported by argument tends to be disparaged. Qualifying your posts with some facts or quotes might make them be taken more seriously. Sadly, both Brockley and Hither Green suffer from crime – they’re not far apart after all!

I find Nick’s articles on other neighbourhoods interesting and has made me want to explore the area around Brockley further e.g. Ladywell Fields has been mentioned a couple of times now – I really should go there and check out the stream.

kate said...

Bea, Ladywell fields is the best its actually my favourite part of this whole borough.....The stream is really good got a bit of a way to go before really looking something but thats just nature.
sorry defensive because i have to be.
The original comment wast meant to offened i just have a grand way with words. But i must admit i have taken offence to certain things.
I normaly reserve offending people for those that really need a kick up the ****.

BrockleyBiker said...

Aren't there plans afoot for Ladywell Fields?

(Welcome Lewisham Kate btw, good to have a range of opinions)

kate said...

Plans afoot? lol yeah there were plans virtually all finished i think.You should go and see, i kinda wish they hadnt messed with it but its gonna look good time.
Sorry what is BTW?

Pete said...

BTW = By the way.

Anonymous said...

The people doing the disparaging on this blog are often no more intelligent or factually correct than the disparaged, they're just more loudmouthed, and willing to argue.

Anonymous said...

Kate, I can understand why you are saying those things, cos I often feel the same way when i read a few of the comments on here but I think you are being unfair to the people who put this site together.

The blog itself is excellent and covers all manner of things. There are just a few idiots on here who give the impression that they would love to see half of Lewisham pulled down to built more coffee shops and delis, but that is not what the blog is about.

I am not much into house price type stuff, being in a Housing Association place, and I wouldn't be interested in a blog that focussed on that sort of thing. I don't find that is the focus here, just one of the topics that very occasionally come up. Along with Transpontine this is the best blog in south east London - well, that I have yet come across.

PS: make mine a double

kate said...

Hi spincat,ok so it as a bit harsh, ive never really had anything to do with jon so nothing was targeted at him in particular.
I know im not the only one who feels like i do.
That was a really good reply. ;-)

Brockley Nick said...

@Lewisham Kate - good to know it was only targeted at me in particular then ;)

Rather than tell us what we shouldn't be talking about, perhaps you could suggest some specific things we should be talking about. It's hard work writing something new every day and I could do with the help.

kate said...

ERM that wasnt exactly what i meant! Althought having emailed you a number of times and not even having a single reply not even telling me to get lost my opinion of you is probably not the best.
I NEVER told you not to write anything.

Brockley Nick said...

@LK - I can only recall two emails you sent. You once emailed me asking for more details about a playgroup I'd written about - to which I provided as helpful a reply as I was able. I think you also emailed me to say that you thought the Brockley Central drinks was "elitist" too, because you thought it excluded people who don't live in Brockley (which it doesn't). You said the same thing in a blog, to which I replied saying that anyone was welcome. I hope I reply to anyone who takes the time to write with suggestions or requests for further information - which takes considerable time and effort on my part.

And please don't say that you didn't tell me what to write - the whole thrust of your posts on here is that we talk about subjects that might exclude others - the implication being that we shouldn't. Your opinion is noted, but I respectfully and totally disagree.

Brockley Nick said...

Tell a lie, Kate, I also found this email that you sent me, to which I hadn't managed to reply yet:

"I saw in one of your comments about someone contributing a report on a pfi deal for social housing. Firstly housings my thing...ha ha only joking. I was just wondering if this was public knowledge or does your person have inside information? Its just that i am trying to find out as much as possible about housing so your report interests me."

So, to reply now. The full article is on the blog if you click on "social housing" in the label cloud, you will find three articles on the subject. There's no insider information on the topic, it's all public domain. Hope that helps, I'm glad you found something of interest on the site.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, I'm glad all my replies were about how pleased I am that the house prices are shooting up and how wonderful it is that the middle classes are stomping all over everyone else...

(Incidentally, the whole Catford/Lee thing; Hither Green is an amalgamation of three postcodes - SE13, SE6 and SE12. It's a fairly artificial construct itself, but I've always thought of HG being bounded by Lewisham High Street to the west, the South Circular to the south, Courthill Road/Lee High Road to the north and Burnt Ash Road to the east. If HG was restricted to just SE13 half of it would disappear...)

max said...

It's quite difficult to define Hither Green, the boundaries are quite a contientious issue but I would say that it is almost entirely within SE13.

I am of the opinion that it is much smaller than you think and it is centered around the former Hither Green Hospital and only include the first couple of streets after the railway line that have actually double nationality so to speak as they also belong to Lee that is a much more defined entity even from an historical perspective.
Lee is the area defined by Lee High Road, Burnt Ash Hill, the railtrack by Hither Green and the South Circular.

Unknown said...

Max - historically that might be true, but the epicentres of places shift. If you ask people on the Staplehurst Road side of HG where they live, they won't say Lee. I would say that on that side HG is bounded by Manor Lane. On the other side of the tracks, according to the council at least, it stretches as far south as Sandhurst Road. They may have a point as Hither Green Methodist Church and library are both on Torridon Road, but most people today would think of that area as Catford. Still if you think of it as stretching to the S Circular it does include some of SE6. But agree that SE12 is Lee/Grove Park.

Lewisham Kate - oh dear, I am a Bugaboo owner but I don't think of myself as a snob. I can only dream of being like the Manor House Gardens ladies :D

max said...

True, Manor Lane is probably where Hither Green most definitely ends and the station gives to Staplehurst Road and surroundings a strong Hither Green feel but I think that the area between these two places has many shades of grey.

Anyway, as we are ascertaining, the church, the library, the Hospital, they all brings to the idea that there was once a centre around there and that in time it got lost, as you say, epicenters do shift and that of Hither Green has really shifted a lot.

Gareth J said...

Seems to me that the area where you live ends up being pretty defined by your nearest train station.

If everytime someone asks how to get to your house you say "well i live in lee/catford/ladywell but you need to get the train to hither green...", eventually you're just going to cut to the chase.

Gareth J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My point exactly about the way Brockley and Crofton Park will become two separate identities once the ELL comes in. Brockley will be the area around where Brockley Train station is, the Brockley on the tube map (hence all these places opening up around it) Crofton Park will be somewhere down the road.

max said...

The nearest train station is one way to identify a place but not the only one, there are exceptions.
Plenty of people living fairly near Hither Green Station will tell you that they live in Lee even if Lee station is further away.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but I think the ELL is going to be a special case. It will attract new people to South East London for the first time. The reason they'll come will be because 'Brockley' is on the line, they won't be interested in other stations nearby unless they too are on the line like Forest Hill. According to the Evening Standard (i know, ) property values are typically affected (directly) by their proximity to the tube/dlr station. Thus people living in Crofton Park will not be able to 'get away' with saying they live in Brockley when they are obviously served by another station. The Brockley that attracts the new people will be the Brockley that they saw on the tube map - not the historical boundaries of the wider area. ( all in my humble opinion you understand)

Anonymous said...

Mummy! I don't where I live!

I use Ladywell station weekdays and Hither Green at weekends. Now I see in a council report I live a Rushey Green zone which is Catford!

Wasn't Lewisham DLR already on the tube map and both ends of New Cross have been on the map for years. Has it made a difference in those areas?

Gareth J said...

Lewisham has in my experience - for a lot of people the tube map is the only map of london. Being able to put lewisham down as a marker lets people who are scared/ignorant of trains put it into their mental map and maybe even more likely to come down here!

max said...

The descerning Londoner will already know the merits of Lewisham and how to get here by overground in just about 15 minutes from the centre of London.
It's a good selling point for estate agents though and more transport is better than less transport but a good overground connection does bring you to central London just as fast. Unless trains are stuck of course but that happens to the tube too.
Anyway, I don't like the tube, if I can I avoid it and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

The DLR has made a lot of difference to Central Lewisham, it will become very clear when they start the works for the Gateway, it made the area around it a magnet for property developers.

Anonymous said...

People really are nervous of using trains. I work for an Institution which has campuses all over London - most are in central London, apart from my south east London base.
About 60% of the students - or even the older academics - who ring up needing directions to us from another campus are appalled and disbelieving when they find out that the nearest tube is a good few miles away and they need to get an overground - this despite being 3 minutes from a good rail station with frequent services to 3 central London terminals.

Anonymous said...

Whether it's sensible or not, it's an undeniable truth that the tube map counts big time on people's perception of where you live. Is no coincidence that Brockley is starting to change now the whiff of the ELL extension is in the air. How much has Brockley changed in the last 5 years compared to the last year? The same changes don't seem to happening in Crofton Park or Honor Oak. It's all bull obviously but perception is everything.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Brockley will become the area around the station. Its quite plan to see by applying a little economic rigour to the situation.

I also think there crofton park will go into relative decline. I imagine a situation where crofton will give more fast food places and brockley will get all the cafes/bars and convience stores. The areas are too close together for both to cater to the same population. One or two cafes may flourish in crofton, but its on the peripheral. (bad spelling i know, if its not a number, i get confused!).

Its the whole concept of regeneration.

Unknown said...

Shame that the ELL is not the tube, but some nonsense called London Overground. Essentially, a glorified train service, which isn't that glorious anyhow.

Plus - are direct trains to Hoxton that much use to anyone? Personally I find Victoria and London Bridge/CHX/Cannon Street far more use.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if the ELL is just a glorified overland train service the impact will have the same effect as the tube arriving. That's my point. Particularly because the 'Overland' will impact on every Londeners life, remember it's not just being rolled out on the ELL - air conditoned carriages might make it preferable to a tube service.

Anonymous said...

The way this thread is going I would expect some negative comments coming from those living in Crofton Park. Albeit all makes sense so far.

Anonymous said...

The 'impact' is already being felt. Inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Glorified train service? - Oh Clare, I'm laughing at that comment, not because it's wrong, but because the little green eyed monster compelled you to say it.

Unknown said...

Not in the slightest. I'm very happy where I am - no green eyes here! Hither Green has a great train service and it doesn't need to appear in orange on the tube map to prove it.

Anonymous said...

Crofton Park will go into decline will it? just as i embrace change for Brockley I embrace decline for Crofton Park ... it sounds fun.

Anonymous said...

Shame it's a tube though and some nonsense that doesn't have appear on the tube map....

Anonymous said...

Hither Green must have the most impressive train station in SE London.

That's about all I can think of in its favour.

Brockley Nick said...

@Spincat - good job it's not true then!

@Andy, why would having a tube station and a (hopefully improved) collection of shops 10 mins away lead Crofton Park in to decline? In most places, a 10 min walk to the tube would be considered a normal journey time. You can be sure estate agents for Crofton Park propreties will use phrases like "conveniently located for the ELL", etc.

Anonymous said...

My viewpoint was centered around the local population changing at a slower pace compared to developments in commercial activity. People tend to have a personal link with specific areas so although over time brockley will get more important, and to a lesser degree crofton park there are certain 'constraints' due to lags in the way people think about things.

on the commercial side, its amazingly easy to form a business nowadays so i can easily see crofton park - in the short term, lose at brockleys expense. Businesses will see more opportunities at brockley and will want to trade there.

In the above post i refered to 'relative decline' not absolute. Crofton park will still do ok but not very well compared to brockley.

Anonymous said...

So that's the bank gone then?

max said...

Hugh, let me give you another prospective, I live here so I'm entitled.

There's a lot of nice houses, it's very green, it has all the basics, it's in walking distance of the Shopping areas of Lewisham, Lee and Catford, it has low crime, it's socially mix, and it's very peaceful, we lack pubs because they were designed out by the original developers that were supporters of the temperance movement, that is actually seen as a plus by many that don't like to have groups of drunkards shuffling about the road.
And as you managed to notice, it has the most convenient train station in SE London.

I really want to say that I do like living here, I don't aspire at moving to another area, if I want to come to Brockley and have a cafe it takes me a 15 minutes walk, a pleasant one, 5 minutes to Catford, 10 to Lewisham centre, in 30 minutes I can be anywhere in central London, door to door.

If I want to have a village war I go and live in the countryside.

Anonymous said...

Re Crofton Park's decline: We don't mind, honest. Show me the way to the next (trendy Brockley) absinthe bar

Anonymous said...

... although of course we ARE getting a tube line in Crofton Park because the line in question will go to Honor Oak as wel as Brockley and for those of us in the south of Crofton Park Honor Oak station is less than 10 minutes walk away ... I have been in a decline, so a bit slow in getting back on this...

Anonymous said...

Good Job! :)

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