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Sydenham (pron.: //) is an area and electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham; although some streets towards Crystal Palace Park, Forest Hill and Penge are outside the ward and in the London Borough of Bromley, and some streets off Sydenham Hill are in the London Borough of Southwark. Sydenham was in Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created. The population of the Sydenham ward in 2011 was 15,605, Upper Sydenham is included in Forest Hill ward.
Sydenham is most famous as the location where the Crystal Palace from the Great Exhibition was relocated. Famous people who have lived here include Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer; George Grove of musical dictionary fame; John Logie Baird, the television inventor; Jason Statham, an actor; the comics and film historian Denis Gifford; and Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement.
Brief history 
Sydenham started out as a small settlement, a few cottages among the woods, whose inhabitants grazed their animals and collected wood.
In the 1640s, springs of water in what is now Wells Park were discovered to have medicinal properties, attracting crowds of people to the area. Sydenham grew rapidly in the 19th century after the introduction of the canal in 1801. Potential gas companies began to consider the Sydenham area in the 1840s after the opening of the railway.
In 1851 the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park was housed in an immense glass building, called the Crystal Palace. In 1854 the building was bought by a private company, dismantled and re-erected in Sydenham Park (Now called Crystal Palace Park). Exhibitions, concerts, conferences and sporting events were held at the Crystal Palace (until it burned down in 1936), and Sydenham became a fashionable area; many new houses were built. They could be supplied with gas from the Crystal Palace and District Gas Company's works at Bell Green, which continued in production until 1969. A large Sainsburys store now occupies part of the site.
Sydenham today is a bustling town centre with an active and engaged community, excellent public transport, schools, parks, shops and restaurants. The town centre is home to 185 small and medium-sized businesses, many independently owned and offering a wide range of goods. The town centre has a very community and villagey feel making Sydenham a well connected location where there are many independent run businesses as opposed to a more vast and informal environment with branded chain stores that neighbouring Croydon, Bromley and Lewisham home.
Notable buildings and structures 
- Sydenham is the home of St Bartholomew's church, (1827–1832), at the end of Lawrie Park Avenue, featured in Camille Pissarro's painting of 1871. The building was designed by Lewis Vulliamy.
- Park Court Sydenham, (1936), by Frederick Gibberd, pioneering modernist development of residential flats on the estate on Lawrie Park Road adjacent to the famous Crystal Palace Park.
- Six Pillars, (1934–35), by Berthold Lubetkin, on Crescent Wood Road, a villa strongly in the spirit of Le Corbusier with eponymous six pillars at street level.
- Cobbs Corner, takes its name from a draper’s shop at 291-307 Kirkdale run by Walter Cobb. The shop grew into a large department store catering to the gentry of the area. Interesting imposing dome where you can find the date on the building.
- 180 and 182 Kirkdale, built in the 1850s in Gothic style, with Tudor doorcases.
- 168–178 Kirkdale, three pairs of Italianate houses built around 1862. Number 174 was briefly the home of the conductor August Manns.
- Memorial to Queen Victoria, (1897) baroque-style memorial celebrating Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Restored for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee and designed by Alexander Hennell, a Sydenham resident and architect.
- Jews Walk, it is believed that a wealthy Jewish resident planted a row of trees to define the boundary of his walk from the Common. Numbers 2,4 and 6 are classical villas dating from the 1840s. Karl Marx's daughter Eleanor lived on Jews Walk. On 9 September 2008 a blue English Heritage plaque was placed on the house to commemorate this fact.
- Halifax Street, beautifully preserved street with houses dating from the 1840s. Of notice are in particular the closeness of the houses, the length of the street and the size of the gardens.
- The Kirkdale Building, previously the Sydenham Public Lecture Hall, it was built in 1861 by Sydenham resident Henry Dawson.
- Mayow Park, originally named Sydenham Recreation Ground, this is the borough’s oldest municipal park. The park is home to the Mayow Park Bowls Club and has two tennis courts and a refurbished children’s playground.
Beast of Sydenham 
The Beast of Sydenham, as of 25 March 2005, is a large, panther-like black animal, named Arak, which has been spotted around the area, and attacked a man. The beast was said to be 6 ft in length and 3 ft in height.
Sydenham Children's Hospital 
Although "Sydenham Children's Hospital" was its popular name, the hospital's official name was The Children's Hospital, Sydenham. It was open from 1872 until 1991. Its services are now part of Lewisham Hospital.
Primary schools in Sydenham are four non religious schools (Adamsrill Primary School, Eliot Bank Primary, Haseltine School and Kelvin Grove Primary School) and three religious schools (St. Michael's Primary School, St Philip Neri Roman Catholic Primary School) and St. Bartholomew's Church of England Primary School. The former includes children of other faiths.
Famous residents 
- John Logie Baird — the inventor of the television
- Thomas Campbell — poet
- Connie Fisher — singer and actress, winner of the BBC TV program "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?"
- Denis Gifford — comics and film historian
- Wilfrid de Glehn — painter, was born in Sydenham
- W. G. Grace — England's greatest cricketer
- George Grove — of musical dictionary fame
- Rolf Harris — was a key figure in the Sydenham Society
- Norman Hunter — writer and creator of Professor Branestawm
- Shivani Kapoor — Indian model, cousin of famous Bollywood sister actresses Karisma & Kareena Kapoor
- Linda Ludgrove — Commonwealth gold medallist swimmer
- Eleanor Marx — daughter of Karl Marx
- John Scott Russell — naval architect who built the SS Great Eastern
- Dame Cicely Saunders — founder of the modern hospice movement
- Ernest Shackleton — the Antarctic explorer
- Jason Statham — film actor
- David Wiffen — Canadian singer/songwriter was born in Sydenham in 1942
- Bill Wyman — member of The Rolling Stones, grew up in Sydenham
- Tsakane Valentine Maswanganyi — Opera singer, she first came to public notice as a member of the world-famous opera band Amici Forever
- Lionel Logue CVO, an Australian speech therapist and stage actor who successfully treated, among others, King George VI. He lived in a villa named Beechgrove from 1933-1940
- Flora Klickmann — editor of the Girls Own Paper from 1908 to 1931
Sydenham is the over all area but the central part is just referred as Sydenham. The central area includes Sydenham Road or Sydenham High Street by locals and is the main shopping area. The main railway station is called Sydenham which links to Croydon, Penge, Forest Hill, New Cross, Shoreditch, Dalston and the major terminii London Bridge and London Victoria. Sydenham is served by bus routes 75, 122, 176, 194, 197, 202 & 450. Sydenham is also home to a Co-operative, originally Safeway, more recently Somerfield supermarket on Sydenham Road.
Sydenham Hill is to the north of Sydenham and there is also road called Sydenham Hill. It includes three postcodes (SE26, SE23 and SE21) and is partly in the London Borough of Southwark and the London Borough of Lewisham. The London Borough of Southwark area is part of the "College ward". Sydenham Hill has direct links to Herne Hill, London Victoria, Bromley and Orpington. The area is served by bus routes 202, 356, 363 and the 450. Local amenities include Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club and Sydenham Woods.
Upper Sydenham is North West of Sydenham. It has the same postcode of SE26 and in the London Borough of Lewisham, but is included in the Forest Hill ward. Upper Sydenham is served by bus routes 122, 176, 197, 202 & 356. Local Parks are Wells Park and Baxters field. A Tesco Express Store opened in June 2009 on Kirkdale. There was a former station in the area called Upper Sydenham railway station.
Lower Sydenham is in the East of the area. It has the same postcode and is in the London Borough of Lewisham and a small part in the London Borough of Bromley. The Crystal Palace District Gas Company was founded in Lower Sydenham in 1854, supplied with coal by newly opened railway. The Company supplied gas to the relocated Crystal Palace and defined Lower Sydenham as a working class area. Gas production stopped in 1969, but the South Eastern Gas Board continued to be based there and gas holders still remain. Most of the site was redeveloped in 1996 as a Savacentre (as this was its original name) by locals, Sainsburys 'Sydenham' is one of the largest Sainsbury's store in the UK. Lower Sydenham has its own railway station Lower Sydenham which links to Hayes, Lewisham, Catford, London Bridge and Charing Cross. It also has Home Park which boasts an Adventure playground and is situated next to Sydenham Library, funded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904. Further down towards Bell Green is The Old Bathhouse (now an antiques reclamation yard). The area is served by bus routes 181, 194, 202, 352, 356 & 450.
The future 
Nearest places 
Nearest railway stations 
- Penge East railway station
- Sydenham railway station (London)
- Sydenham Hill railway station
- Lower Sydenham railway station
- Upper Sydenham railway station (closed in 1958)
- Penge West railway station
- Forest Hill railway station
- New Beckenham railway station
- Kent House railway station
- Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population Estimates". Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "'Big cat' attacks man in garden". BBC News. 2005-03-20. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- Barkham, Patrick (2005-03-25). "Fear stalks the streets of Sydenham after resident is attacked by a black cat the size of a labrador". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- London Borough of Lewisham: Sydenham High Street
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sydenham|
- Sydenhamtowncentre.com Town centre website.
- SEE3 Town Team Portas Pilot website for Sydenham/Kirkdale/Forest Hill
- Sydenham.org.uk Community website and forum.
- Sydenham Society Local community group.
- Virtual Sydenham
- Historical images of Sydenham