12 of us viz Adam, Angy, Christine, Gillian, Ian, John G, Mike M, Norman, Pat, Ray, Robin and my good self set out from North Cheam. 12 miles to my home in Crystal Palace through suburbia although the route kept us away from too many busy roads. Coffee and then a trip round the local excitements.
First the almshouses:
There are many Victorian almshouses in Penge, the oldest being the Royal Watermen's Almshouses, built around 1840 by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the City of London for retired company Freemen and their widows. It is also known as the Free Watermen and Lightermen’s Almshouses on Beckenham Road, built 1840-1841 to designs by George Porter (architect). It is the most prominent building in Penge, Kent. In 1973, the almspeople were moved to a new site in Hastings, and the original buildings were converted into private homes.
The Queen Adelaide Almshouses, also known as the King William Naval Asylum, St. John’s Road, founded 1847 and built in 1848 to designs by Philip Hardwick at the request and expense of Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, the widow of King William IV, to provide shelter for twelve widows or orphan daughters of naval officers. Again, the almshouses are now in private residences.
Then the dinosaurs:
In 1854 Queen Victoria opened ‘the world’s first theme park’ complete with the first life-sized models of prehistoric animals built anywhere in the world. These models were built to demonstrate the process of evolution - before the publication of Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’. A recent massive restoration programme has restored them to their former glory.
Then the remains of the Crystal Palace:
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. Following the success of the exhibition, the palace was moved and reconstructed in 1854 in a modified and enlarged form in the grounds of the Penge Place estate at Sydenham Hill. It attracted visitors for over seven decades.
Sydenham Hill is one of the highest locations in London; 109 metres (357 ft) above sea level (spot height on Ordnance Survey Map); and the size of the palace and prominence of the site made it easy to identify from much of London. This led to the residential area around the building becoming known as Crystal Palace instead of Sydenham Hill. The palace was destroyed by fire on 30 November 1936 and the site of the building and its grounds is now known as Crystal Palace Park.
Then swimming for some and lunch for all.
Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it was after 3:00 before we left. As soon as we set out Pat let the side down by having a puncture and ended up with a wheel that wasn't circular. A glimmer of sunshine on our way back to Mitcham Common where we parted. I'm most grateful for the bottle of malt whiskey and the bottle of wine which I was given.
Very many thanks.