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Upper Norwood Triangle Memories

Price: £12.99

Beryl Cheeseman has put together an impressive collection of personal memories and factual accounts of life in the famous Upper Norwood or Crystal Palace Triangle.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Upper Norwood Triangle was still showing considerable space, woods and grassland. Old conveyance maps show that the Triangle had once been part of Norwood Common, an open space and field with a Windmill towering high, with views of London and all around. An early report by Mr. Wheeler stated that the windmill was demolished in 1853, and had previously been run by ‘Paddy’ who occupied the Mill house close by. The Windmill stood on the spare piece of ground at the back of The Royal Albert Public House, in Westow Hill.

The boundary of the Triangle was marked by Church Road to the south, Westow Hill to the north, and Westow Street to the west.

Situated in Westow Hill was the oldest hotel, The Woodman Public House; its doorstep stated to be on a level with the top of the cross on St Paul's Cathedral, with fabulous views across London on a clear day, long before the London landscape was overshadowed with high-rise buildings. In front of the public house stood a horse trough and a painted signpost showing a woodman with faggots on his shoulder, and a dog walking by his side.

One can dip into it at almost any point and enjoy a description of the various shops and business that once made the Triangle a busy and successful location. Unlike other books and publications, it includes a lot of what, for many people still living, will be the sharing of enjoyable memories of shops and the individuals who ran them for many years.

The world has of course changed, and so has the Triangle. It is becoming increasingly residential due to the unremitting demand for housing, and although, apart from one short stretch in the Church Road frontage, the shop and business frontages have been retained, a lot of them now restaurants and cafes of various kinds, the interior or backland of the Triangle has ceased to be a place of businesses and small workshops.

The pattern of shopping, with the advent of the supermarket, has of course also changed, and the colourful pattern of shops described and illustrated in Beryl Cheeseman's excellent book is unfortunately no more. Nevertheless, the book includes many of what, for many, are living memories.

Paperback 160 pages 89 illustrations