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A Timeline history of West Norwood

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  A timeline history of West Norwood with prints, photographs and maps. Click on images to enlarge.  

Dulwich History

Crystal Palace History 

Herne Hill History


The name Norwood is derived from the (Great) North Wood which once covered North Surrey and stretched from Croydon to Camberwell.

Mediaeval Norwood

Upper Norwood passed to Whitehorse family in reign of Edward III.

Tudor Norwood

In Tudor times timber for Golden Hinde, being built in Deptford, came from Norwood.

Stuart Norwood

1652 The diarist, John Evelyn, was robbed in Norwoood.

John Aubrey described Norwood as 'a great wood... belonging to the See of Canterbury'.

Became a refuge from the Plague.

Georgian Norwood

1747 Rocque's map showed Great North Wood being reduced by commons.

Beginning of enclosure of Norwood area.

1800 Topographical Map Of The Country Twenty Miles Round London (Norwood section showing the North Wood).

Print of Thurlow Lodge, part of Thurlow Park/Knight’s Hill Estate owned by Lord Thurlow (1731-1806).

1806 Lambeth Enclosures Act

Norwood High Street laid out

Regency Norwood

Large houses built on Crown Lane.

St Luke’s by Francis Octavius Bedford (1784–1858) established in open country

1831 Beulah Spa opened.

Early Victorian Norwood

1837 South Metropolitan Cemetery was consecrated (later West Norwood Cemetery). Designed by Sir William Tite (1798-1873) it was the first cemetery to use the Gothic style for its  chapels, gates, and decorative features. It influenced contemporary architects such as GE Street, Charles Barry, and William Burges

1854 Crystal Palace moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham Hill.

Crystal Palace and West End Railway line opened. Much house building.

Mid Victorian Norwood

1860s Dulwich College bought the Knights Hill Estate.

1861 Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum opened on Wellington Road . Buildings included a hospital, an orphanage, a small synagogue and a school (closed 1961).

St Saviour's Almhouses opened in Hamilton Road.

View of West Norwood pre-development

Late Victorian Norwood  

1881 West Norwood Fire station opened
Photo of St Lukes

1888 Lower Norwood became known as West Norwood.
Free Public Library opened on Nettlefold Place. Designed by Sidney Smith (1857-1913). Funded by Sir Henry Tate (1819-1899).

Edwardian West Norwood

1905 Tinted postcard of Knight Hill

1911 Norwood Park opened.

West Norwood Picture Palace opened on Knight’s Hill 

Pre-War West Norwood 

Regal West Norwood opened at 322 Norwood Road. Designed by F. Edward Jones with a seating capacity of 2,100. 

1936 Crystal Palace burnt down.

Norwood in WW2 

1944 Church on Chatworth Way bombed

Post War West Norwood

1953 Holderness Estate, Knights Hill by Howes and Jackman

1955 Royal Cinema closed in and partly demolished, Replaced by Roseberrys. 

Regal Cinema in Norwood Road closed
Free Public Library closed

South London Theatre formed in old West Norwood Fire station premises.

New Norwood Library opened at 304 Norwood High Street. Designed by Ted Hollanby (1921-1999).

2004 Old Free Public Library on Nettlefold Place restored.

2011 New Norwood Library closed.

2018 West Norwood Library converted into a cinema and library/community space, plus bar and cafe.


The Phoenix Suburb - Alan R. Warwick ((1972/RP 2009 Norwood Society)
Norwood Past - John Coulter (1996 Historical Publications)
West Norwood Cemetery: The Listed Structures in West Norwood Cemetery- Geoffrey Manning (1989)
West Norwood Cemetery - Paul Graham (1995)
The Wood That Made London - C.J. Schüler (Sandstone Press 2021)

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