"So far as I have been able to make out, Sydenham has no Ancient History." Mayow Wynell Adams 1878
Sydenham became fashionable in the 18th century by exploiting the springs first publicised in the 17th century - the development of the canal, railway and gas works sustained a growing population.
Sydenham Wells Park was awarded the Green Flag for the fourth year running and boasts a state-of-the-art water-play area Sydenham Wells Park is a horticultural jewel boasting a diverse range of trees, shrubs and seasonal bedding. The park is set in a valley on approximately 7.7 hectares of land and enjoys the benefits of natural springs that feed the pond and tributaries that run through the park. The springs were first publicised in the 17th century by Dr Benjamin Allen, who declared the site a medicinal spa. Within a few years the park was attracting visitors in large numbers.
The state-of-the-art water-play fun facility with fountains and mists is activated from pressure pads and includes a special system to reduce the amount of water used as well as keeping it clean. The Council made the decision to remove paddling pools from our parks following national health and safety concerns regarding their safety. As I was the Cabinet Member for the Environment, I recognised the importance of waterplay for the enjoyment of young people and following much work with the Sydenham Wells Park Improvement Group (SWPIG) we allocated the capital funding (£100,000) to provide this excellent facility for children. Sydenham Wells Park has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag status for four years in a row.
Sydenham Library celebrated the first 100 years I was delighted to attend the celebration to mark the 100th birthday of this valuable library with local MP Jim Dowd and co councillor Marion Nisbet. Andrew Carnegie gave a donation of £4,500 for a library in Lower Sydenham and this beautiful building is now listed. As well as providing books and newspaper the library offers access to eight free computer terminals to surf the net. The library also has the benefit of a wifi connection to the internet so you can bring in a laptop and surf for free!
The library is open Mondays and Saturdays from 9.30am to 5pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am to 7pm - telephone number is 020 8778 7563.
As well as being a bookshop for some 40 years the gallery often has exhibitions including local artists. Geraldine Cox was the Chair of Sydenham Traders Association for a number of years and the Kirkdale Bookshop has won a number of awards including the "Best Customer Service" award at Lewisham Business Awards. Pictured with Geraldine and myself are Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, co-councillor Marion Nisbet and Liam Carlise from the Credit Union offices - in the same parade as the bookshop.
Sydenham has a page in Wikipedia and includes famous residents such as John Logie Baird, Ernest Shakleton, W G Grace and Dame Cicely Saunders.