City Views from Crystal Palace

At this time of year, the trees in London start to become green once more and the cycle of nature tells us that ‘summer is just around the corner’. Much of London is completely flat. Its cross-section has been likened to a saucer – with hills rising around north and north-west of London and also around south and south-east London. Crystal Palace is an area of London on some of its highest ground. If you pick the right spot, you are treated to some of the grandest views of the tall buildings in Central London – and all for free!

There are several spots that have spectacular views and each one is a little different from the other – both in the angle of view of Central London and of the buildings that are visible. The view above was taken in early April from a steep hill at Crystal Palace called Woodland Road. The particular feature of this view is that it is almost exactly due south of London Bridge which means that its position would be almost in the centre of the view in the picture.

Woodland Road falls sharply from Westow Hill and it is from that T-junction that the view was taken. Along the bottom of the picture are the flat roofs of some low-rise flats and then there is a wooded part formed by the many trees in Dulwich, including Dulwich Park. Above the trees are lines of red-roofed flats, many of which are on and around Dog Kennel Hill.

If you have forgotten the view that you would have seen in the 1970s, it is worth pointing out that one of the only high-rise buildings is the one that is today just to the left of the Shard of Glass. The bulky block is Guy’s Tower which was then the only modern building on the large site of Guy’s Hospital. Since that time the City of London has developed into the large collection of offices that you can see in the picture. One building that the public particularly liked when it went up – and they continue to admire it today – is the ‘Gherkin’. Its nickname arose for obvious reasons, its proper name is 30 St Mary Axe. One of the most hated modern buildings – which happens to be the latest to be added to this view is the ‘Walkie-Talkie’. Its proper name is 20 Fenchurch Street and it is the tall one with the white sides and white top.

Tallest of them all is the Shard of Glass, designed by Renzo Piano and extending 1,017 feet into the sky. Apart from the Shard and Guy’s Tower (which stand in Southwark on the south side of the Thames), all the other tall buildings stand inside the boundary of the City of London.

For subscription members, there is a large pdf version of this image which can be downloaded. It has labels on all the main buildings explaining their names. A link will be sent out by email to all members.


Comment – Updates

In these days of ‘fake news’ on some news Websites, there is also plenty of ‘fake history’ on other history Websites – blogging and otherwise. There are plenty of authors who search for their chosen topic on the Internet and, after finding a couple of suitable write-ups, they copy down the information, edit the text, add a few extra comments of their own then, lo and behold, a new blog has been written. The only problem is that the author, not being a historian, has no idea whether what has been copied is correct or just made up. Sadly such people make little effort to carry out rigorous research to verify what they have created.

Some of us have spent many years researching the information in our blogs. In my case, I am happy to say that my blogs should be free of any hint of fake history.

Since starting these ‘Know Your London’ blogs, most of them have been left unchanged. In just a few cases updates have been made for reasons that are usually (1) a blog has been found to contain factual errors which have come to light since it was written (2) a blog was complete at the time but additional information has been found which has been added or (3) an additional picture has been added to the blog.

Shown below is a list of blogs that have been updated since they were first put on-line. They are listed in the order in which they first appeared. Those of you who are keeping copies of the blogs might like to make updates accordingly.

22 May 2015 – Lyncombe, 1 Crescent Wood Road
The blog was correct apart from details about the life of Lily Payling – which were in error. The blog has been updated under its original date and title.

20 July 2015 – Melon Road, Peckham
A new image related to the original site was found on 30 Nov 2015. The blog has been updated under its original date and title. (The second blog of 30 Nov 2015, announcing the corrections, has been deleted).

12 Aug 2015 – Charlton Lane Crossing
Some of the text was corrected and updated on 25 April 2017 under its original date and title.

21 Aug 2015 – Jamaica Road Tram
Additional information was added to the original article. The blog has been updated under its original date and title. (The second blog of 29 Aug 2015, announcing the corrections, has been deleted).

20 June 2016 – Hay Barges on the Thames
Details about the sepia picture were later found to be incorrect. The blog has been updated under its original date and title. (The second blog of 28 June 2016, announcing the corrections, has been deleted).

13 March 2017 – Paddington Station
Additional text was added on 6 April 2017. The blog has been updated under its original date and title.

29 March 2017 – St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington
The history of building the hospital was later found to be incorrectly described. It has been rewritten and an additional picture has been added. The blog has been updated under its original date and title.

31 March 2017 – Deptford Creek Pedestrian Swing Bridge
A second image was added on 9 April 2017. The blog has been updated under its original date and title.


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