The Croydon Canal 13) Penge Station and the mythical ‘canal loops’
The pictures showing a horse grazing as the canal makes a very tight loop at Penge is a somewhat romanctised view of the canal. Maps of the canal show that the bends at Penge weren’t even acute. The artist who did the paintings had been drinking too much!
The section beyond Sydenham through Penge is difficult, as traces of this section do not exist. There may be some slight evidence of the canal seen by train observing the spur towards Crystal Palace Low Level immediately south of Sydenham Station. There is absolutely no trace of it on the east side of the railway south of Penge. Luckily some houses in Trenholme Close indicate the route of the canal after its is bisected by the railway. From Trenholme Close towards Betts Park several traces remain. Anyone looking for the site of well known picture of the time featuring the canal at Penge (where the horse is grazing on a slope above the canal in a somewhat exagerated line drawing) would discover instead an industrial estate
In the left hand view (looking from the London end of the down platform at Penge West station) this train from Victoria, having just emerged from Penge tunnel, is passing under the two railway bridges that carry the London – Brighton and Crystal Palace lines. The canal was at a height well above the route of the line from Victoria in between these two railway bridges, just behind where the double yellow aspect signal can be seen. The higher (brick arched) bridge carries the Crystal Palace (down) line and this is the branch coming off the main Brighton route at Sydenham Station, which utilises part of the canal’s route. This view of the railway bridge (above middle) at the top of Penge High Street is where the canal bridge and wharf stood. Its level was about mid-way between the rail bridge and road. The wharf had distinctive buildings whose design have been copied for the outbuildings at Penge West railway station itself (far right)
Below: Meaford Way Industrial estate. The well known drawing featuring the canal at Penge was sited here but there is of course nothing left to see. The canal stood considerably higher that the current elevation here, seen at the rear of Homebase, which fronts onto Penge High Street. The trees in the background mark the railway line and Penge station itself. The canal curved to the east and then turned back towards the railway behind the trees (below right.) The railway bisects the old canal route diagonally and on the far side are cottages in what is known as Trenholme Close. Fortunately these cottages sit on the old canal alignment and help to mark out the canal route more clearly in the next section: Anerley Tea Rooms
THE CROYDON CANAL PAGES:
hatcham / new cross / barriedale / shardeloes rd / brockley / honor oak / boveney rd / davids rd / forest hill / sydenham / dacres wood / venner rd / penge / anerley / betts park / norwood / towpath way / spurgeons br / west croydon / route maps