Catford is a district of south east London, within the
of Lewisham. It is located south west of Lewisham. The area is the
civic administrative centre for the local authority, and comprises
both the Town Hall & Civic Suite. The majority of
located in the Rushey Green and
Catford South wards within the
The area is identified in the
London Plan as one of 35 major centres
in Greater London.
2 Built environment
2.1 Early developments
2.2 Brutalist architecture
Catford town centre
4.4 Proposed transport links
Bakerloo line extension
Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway extension
5.1 Local authority maintained schools
5.2 Independent schools
5.3 Parks and greenspaces
5.3.1 River Pool Linear Park
5.3.2 Mountsfield Park
5.3.4 Iona Close Orchard
5.4 Community and voluntary sector
5.4.2 Rushey Green Community
5.4.3 Voluntary Action Lewisham
5.4.4 Rushey Green Time Bank
5.5.2 Local sports teams
5.6 Places of worship
6 Notable locals
7.1 Other nearby areas
9 External links
A map showing the
Catford ward of
Lewisham Metropolitan Borough as it
appeared in 1916.
The name derives from the place where cattle crossed the River
Ravensbourne in Saxon times. It is also said that the name
originates from all-black cats, associated with witchcraft, being
thrown into the ford to drown during the witch hunts.
Catford was historically part of
Kent until 1889, when it was absorbed
into the new
London County Council, along with the majority of the
London Borough of Lewisham.
Catford covers most of SE6
postcode district. The area is identified in the
London Plan as one of
35 major centres in Greater London.
John Betjeman reads William Horton's Petition to Save
Broadway Theatre is an art deco building adjoining the town hall. It
is a curved stone structure decorated with shields and heraldic
emblems and topped with a copper-green spire. It was opened in 1932 as
the Concert Hall and is now a
Grade II listed
Grade II listed building. The interior
is in art deco style. The last cinema in the borough stood diagonally
opposite the theatre until its closure in 2002.
Catford also boasts a
large Gothic police station. In 2006, a large blue pipe sculpture was
unveiled outside Eros House, which was another former cinema (The Eros
Cinema), and the
Lewisham Hippodrome theatre .
The 1960s and 70s had a considerable impact on the architecture of
Catford. The old Town Hall of 1875, was replaced by the current Civic
Suite in 1968, soon after the merger of the metropolitan boroughs of
Lewisham and Deptford. Laurence House, where many of the Lewisham
Council offices are housed, is on the site of old St Laurence's
Church. The original Gothic C of E St. Laurence Church was located
where Laurence House is today (known as the
Catford Cathedral), but as
part of the urban renewal of
Catford in the 1960s, the church is now
housed in a more modern style building 200 metres down
In Rushey Green the old village water hand-pump from the 1850s
At the end of World War II, the 188-bungalow
Excalibur Estate was laid
out in Catford, and by 2011 this was the largest surviving prefab
estate in Britain. However, it is now planned that all but six of the
prefabs will be demolished and replaced by new housing, although many
residents voiced their opposition to demolition.
A few examples of
Brutalist architecture survive including the Catford
shopping centre and Milford Towers, designed by the architect Owen
Luder in 1974. The design was to make it the
Barbican of the south.
Ian Nairn praised Eros House, which is now Grade
II listed as:
A monster sat down in
Catford and just what the place needed. No
offence meant: this southward extension of
Lewisham High Street badly
wanted stiffening. Now there is a punchy concrete focus ('you know,
that funny new building') both close to and at a distance, from the
desolate heights of the
Downham Estate, where it stands straight to
the afternoon sun. Rough concrete is put through all its paces, front
convex eaves on Sainsbury's to a staircase tower which is either
afflicted with an astounding set of visual distortions or is actually
leaning. Again, no offence meant. Unlike many other avant-garde
buildings, particularly in the universities, this one is done from
real conviction, not from a desire for self-advertisement. The gaunt
honesty of those projecting concrete frames carrying boxed-out bow
windows persists. It is not done at you and it transforms the
surroundings instead of despising them. This most craggy and
London buildings turns out to be full of firm
Current plans put forward by
Lewisham Council are to demolish Milford
Towers, as the estate has fallen into disrepair and the land can be
better used to meet the needs of local residents.
Catford Cat - a giant statue in
Catford town centre, depicting a
giant cat clawing at the
Catford Centre sign.
Catford's most prominent landmark is the
Catford Cat, a giant
fibreglass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance to the Catford
Centre. This is a small shopping centre, housing
Tesco and Iceland
supermarkets as well as other high street stores. There is a street
Catford has several pubs and a variety of
non-chain restaurants and cafes.
Catford's oldest pub is the Black Horse and Harrow and
Karl Marx is
reputed to have been an occasional patron. The pub
has existed since at least 1700 though the present
building dates from 1897. Between 1932 and 2003,
Catford Stadium was a
successful greyhound racing track, but was closed and then destroyed
by fire in 2005 and ultimately demolished to make way for a new
Catford Bridge Tavern is another heritage listed building close to
the old dog track; this mock tudor pub burnt down in March 2015, but
has since been refurbished and reopened in April 2017. Nearby, is
St Dunstan's College.
Other than the shows at the Broadway Theatre the main cultural events
Lewisham Peoples day held in Mountsfield Park.
The area was once home to the
Catford Studios, producing films during
the silent era.
Catford also use to have a cinema diametric to the
Catford was also satirised in
The Chap magazine in a series
called 'A Year in Catford' named after Peter Mayle's best-seller A
Year in Provence. The magazine poked fun at Catford's mundanity.
Catford town centre
Catford is a priority area for regeneration in the
London Borough of
Lewisham. Several key sites around the town centre have been
identified for redevelopment - Milford Towers,
Catford Dog Track,
Catford Island, The Civic Centre,
Lewisham Town Hall & The
"Wickes" site have all been highlighted for significant change in the
Previous attempts to regenerate
Catford have been hampered by various
complex issues such as the number of different landowners in and
around the town centre. However, in 2010, as a sign of commitment to
ensuring a regeneration of the area, the Council seized upon the
opportunity to buy
Catford Shopping Centre, thereby giving it greater
influence over future plans.
The Council’s aspiration is for the complete redevelopment of the
Catford Centre and Milford Towers, which would require demolition of
both plus the car parks and associated buildings along Thomas Lane.
Lewisham Council are currently working towards a target vacant
possession date for the site of late 2015, although this is subject to
many factors, including identifying a deliverable scheme, and agreeing
commercial terms with the key parties who are, or will be, involved in
the redevelopment of the site.
In the meantime, £1.5 million has been secured from the Mayor of
London Fund to make improvements to
which would benefit businesses, residents and shoppers and help to
maintain the vitality of the town centre during any future
Catford Broadway and
Catford Market already play a significant role in
terms of the local economy. The Council hopes to make substantial
changes to the town centre as a whole and, in order to facilitate
Catford Shopping Centre may close for between one and two years.
In 2011, the Council successfully obtained £125,000 from Round 1 of
the Mayor of London's Outer
London Fund to develop designs and carry
out feasibility surveys to explore how
Catford Broadway could provide
a better environment for businesses, residents and shoppers. The
results of this work formed part of a bid for further Outer London
Fund money, and in January 2012 it was announced that just under £1.5
million has been allocated to carry out a series of improvements. The
Council is providing approximately £600,000 in match funding.
Specific projects include:
a complete refurbishment of the streets, with new lighting and
seating, and a brand new, level 'shared' surface that will improve
accessibility and resolve issues such as drainage
pedestrianising the street while still allowing vehicular access for
businesses, market traders and residents living on
improving the condition and overall look of a number of shop fronts
providing better facilities for the market and attracting new market
developing a programme of events to attract more shoppers, including a
special market on the first Sunday of every month, the
Club which frequently sold out during its successful summer 2013 run,
The refurbishment of the street began in June 2013 and was completed
Catford is served by two rail stations,
Catford station and Catford
Bridge station. Services from
Catford station run to Blackfriars, St
Kentish Town (
London Victoria on Sundays) and
Sevenoaks via Swanley. Services from
Catford Bridge station
Catford Bridge station run to
London Charing Cross,
London Cannon Street,
London Bridge, Waterloo
East and Hayes.
Catford is served by many Transport for
London bus routes.
Catford's main road is the A205 South Circular which crosses South
London, running from
Woolwich in the east to the junction of the A406
(North Circular Road), the M4 and the A4 at
Gunnersbury in the west.
Proposed transport links
Bakerloo line extension
It has been highlighted in the Rail Utilisation Strategy that there
should be a capital infrastructure development in the medium term of
Bakerloo line from
Elephant and Castle
Elephant and Castle through to
Catford. This programme of work is known as the Bakerloo line
extension and could start as early as 2020.
Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway extension
London (TfL) are currently considering the extension of
Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway from
Lewisham to Bromley, with the first
phase being from
Lewisham to Catford. So far TfL have not expressed a
preferred route, provided detailed plans, or indicated costs and
Lewisham Council has suggested that any route should be
underground to reduce physical and visual impact.
Local authority maintained schools
The local council maintains
Conisborough College and Greenvale School.
Catford has twoindependent schools,
St Dunstan's College
St Dunstan's College and a small
faith school Springfield Christian School.
Parks and greenspaces
River Pool Linear Park
The walk follows the River Pool downstream from the Ravensbourne
River. The banking has been planted with native trees and shrubs,
herbaceous planting, wild flower grassland and wetland marginal
planting. The park forms part of the Waterlink Way which forms a
significant section of the river from
Sydenham to the Thames.
Unlike many of London's rivers, the Pool remains above ground for most
of its length. The section of river flows through a linear park from
Southend Lane to
Riverside habitats include woodland and some of the best neutral
grassland in the borough. The adjacent railsides[clarification needed]
provide additional habitat, and are included within the site.
It is a good place for birdwatching at any time of year, and one of
very few sites in
Lewisham where five species of warblers can be seen
or heard on a summer stroll.
Mountsfield Park has a wide range of recreational pursuits for the
more energetic, including basketball, football and tennis. In the
Charlton Athletic played at
The Mount (stadium) in the park.
There is also a children's playground for the younger visitors. For
those who enjoy more passive pursuits the park has ornamental gardens
and a bandstand.
With its central location and car parking facilities, the park is
often used for large events. The Council holds its annual People's Day
event here each July, which attracts crowds of over 30,000.
Although lower than Hilly Fields the park affords excellent views west
Catford to Crystal Palace in the distance.
The park has a park users group called Friends of Mountsfield Park
that steward the green-space and oversee its management and
The park consists of three fields with a river running through them.
The park underwent enhancements in 2007/8 to the northern field to
divert the river into main area of the field creating a natural space
where river dipping and paddling is popular in the summer months.
In 2010/11 more enhancements were carried out to the middle and
southern fields to open the river up to use and as a result children
and adults alike can now access various sections to enjoy the
environment, including the kingfishers and the heron.
The middle field contains one of the last established rare Dutch Elm
trees in London. The park is a key cycling and walking route and
popular with joggers and dog walkers.
Elements in the park include:
Northern Field: Children's playground, skate park, tennis courts,
Middle Field: Adventure playground, water pumps
Southern Field: Play area for young children.
Ball courts, Skate park, Bowling green, Café, Cycle route - Waterlink
Way, Dog exercise area, Football pitch, Friends of park group, Green
flag, Play area, River,
Iona Close Orchard
Iona Close Orchard is a fascinating relic of a Victorian garden
creating an undisturbed wildlife habitat in the heart of Catford. It
remains quite overgrown, but retains some fine old fruit trees. In
common with most old orchards, the site is of high nature conservation
value. The houses to which it originally belonged date to about 1825.
Hidden away behind a few mature ash and Norway maple trees are several
fine old fruit trees, apples, pears, plums and a mulberry. Although it
has become overgrown, it has remained largely undisturbed, and is
therefore a haven for wildlife. Old orchards are generally of high
nature conservation value and there is concern that they may
disappear. There are a number of uncommon invertebrates which
specialise in feeding on dead wood or sap runs on fruit trees. Fruit
and nectar also provide food for other foraging insects and birds.
Community and voluntary sector
Lewisham voluntary sector is large and developed, with many
significant community and voluntary organisations based within the
Catford Society was established in 2014, as a result of residents
wanting to come together and advocate for their community and
locality, after the successful establishment of the
Catford Canteen, a
pop up weekly restaurant with visiting chefs. The society aims to
promote the area as a great place to live, work and study.
Rushey Green Community
The Rushey Green Community Project is a four-year programme levering
money into the
Catford locality from central government funds. The
area was selected for additional funding as it was identified amongst
the 30% most deprived Lower Super Output Areas in the 2011 Indices of
Multiple Deprivation (IMD). The programme creates more social capital
by match funding both in-kind donations and volunteering time from the
local community put back into the area, up to a value of £2,500 per
Voluntary Action Lewisham
Formed in 1967 Voluntary Action
Lewisham Council for
Voluntary Service) is an independent charitable organisation that
supports the voluntary and community sector in the
London borough of
Lewisham. Its role is to oversee and grow the many voluntary groups
and organisations across the borough.
Rushey Green Time Bank
Rushey Green Time Bank was the first time bank in the UK to be based
in a health-care setting. It is the largest time bank in south-east
London and it has established a reputation for pioneering work in this
field for 12 years.
Lewisham Irish Community Centre, Davenport Road,
Catford SE6 2AZ.
Supported by the
London Borough of Lewisham
London Borough of Lewisham and the Irish
Government’s Emigrant Support Programme. Free advice, information
and counselling for Irish people and their descendents.
The previously named Private Banks Sports Ground, situated at the
Catford has been renamed the Jubilee Ground in honour of the
HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, and is now operated by St
Dunstan's College the independent school in the locality. It is a
20-acre site and is for benefit not only to the pupils of St Dunstans
but also to local authority maintained schools, groups and individuals
in the local community.
Catford Stadium was one of the most famous greyhound racing venues in
the UK until its closure in 2005. It also hosted boxing and several
other sporting events. The stadium has been demolished and there are
plans to build 500 apartments and community facilities including new
shops and a doctors surgery on the site.
Local sports teams
Kent Athletics Club is an old and established athletics club based
Catford at the
Ladywell Arena. They are one of South London's
top athletics and running clubs and regularly compete on road,
cross-country and track.
Catford has a
Non-League football club
Lewisham Borough F.C. who play
The most prominent Sunday League side now in
Catford is Catford
Catford also boast a large
5-a-side centre with many
Cricket, bowls and tennis are represented in
Catford in the form of
Catford Wanderers and
Catford and Cyphers sports clubs.
has a skating club.
Cricket Club have played at Catford
several times in the past.
Catford Saints were a professional baseball side playing in the London
Major Baseball League in the early 20th century.
Catford Cycling Club was founded in 1886 and rose to European
prominence. In 1894 they built their own track south of Brownhill Road
complete with a magnificent
Pagoda grandstand. However, by the 1950s
the majority of the track had been built over yet the club still
flourishes to this day.
Places of worship
Catford has both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.
Non-conformist churches include Plymouth Brethren, Baptists,
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army various
Pentecostals as well as
Seventh-day Adventists and a Unitarian meeting house.
The southern, more residential part of
Catford is also home to a large
Jewish community, many who worship at the
Catford & Bromley
Synagogue which is affiliated to the
United Synagogue organisation.
Atheists are also known to be active in the area, and the South East
London (formerly Lewisham) Humanist Group meet on the third Thursday
each month in Catford.
Lewisham is a multi-cultural, multi-faith community and all main
religious groups are represented in the community with their own
places of worship nearby to
Catford and primarily in the Lewisham
Central ward such as the Islamic Centre that serves the needs of the
Muslim community in
Lewisham and across south London.
Lieutenant George Arthur Knowland,
British Army officer and recipient
of the Victoria Cross.
William Colbeck (seaman)
William Colbeck (seaman) (1871 -1930), Antarctic explorer,
lived in Inchmery Road. His sons went to St Dunstan's.
Sir Henry Cooper, British heavyweight boxer came from the area.
Spike Milligan (1918–2002) the comedian and writer went to school at
Catford's Brownhill Boys' School and often visited the suburb where
his aunt and uncle lived. He claimed to have lived in
wrote about the area in his books and sketches. In reality he lived in
nearby Honor Oak.
Ben Elton, comedian and writer, was born in
Catford in 1959.
Leslie Dwyer, actor, was born in
Ernest Christopher Dowson, poet and decadent lived and died in
Catford. Dowson introduced the phrases 'Days of wine and roses' and
'Gone with the wind'.
Anthony Jones, art photographer lives in the area.
Andy McNab, former serviceman in the
Special Air Service
Special Air Service (SAS) and
writer was born in Catford
Maxwell Confait, Colin Lattimore, Ronal Leighton and Ahmet Salih. See
The Murder of Maxwell Confait.
Ethel Le Neve.
Frank Pullen, the property developer and racehorse owner was born in
Catford and opened the first of his shops on
Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster
Henry Forster, 1st Baron Forster - Forster Park is named after him
Cat Stevens lived in a flat above a
Catford furniture shop in the
Bernard Sunley, property developer and philanthropist, born in Catford
Jem Karacan, Turkish international footballer
Robin Trower, Guitarist, Procol Harum, and extensive solo career.
Lucy Mangan columnist for The Guardian newspaper claims to have lived
Catford for thirty years.
Jak Airport, guitarist of punk band
X-Ray Spex and new wave band
Classix Nouveaux, was born and raised there.
Jacqui McShee, folk singer and co-founder of Pentangle.
Japan (band), 1980s new wave band. Vocalist David Sylvian, bassist
Mick Karn, drummer
Steve Jansen and keyboardist
Richard Barbieri all
grew up in
Catford and attended
Catford Boys School.
Alexander McQueen, fashion designer was born in Lewisham
Robert Stanford Tuck, Second World War fighter ace.
Districts closest to Catford
Other nearby areas
Catford South Ward of
London Borough of Lewisham". Neighbourhood
Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 October
^ a b Mayor of
London (February 2008). "
London Plan (Consolidated with
Alterations since 2004)" (PDF).
Greater London Authority. Archived
from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2010.
^ Talling, Paul. "London's Lesser Known Rivers - The Ravensbourne".
London's Lost Rivers. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
^ "Theatres in
Lewisham and Catford". The Music Hall and Theatre
History Website. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
^ Storr, Will (19 August 2011). "Bulldozers home in on historic prefab
estate". The Daily Telegraph. London.
^ "More readers' books of the year". London: The Guardian. 31 December
2005. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
^ "Milford Towers".
Lewisham Council. Retrieved 23 February
^ "Stadium is destroyed". News Shopper. 25 May 2005.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2015.
Retrieved 5 September 2015.
London Borough of Lewisham
London Borough of Lewisham (Spring 2014). "
London Borough of Lewisham.
London Borough of Lewisham. "
Catford Town Centre Plan". London
Borough of Lewisham. Retrieved Spring 2014. Check date values
in: access-date= (help)
^ TFL Bus Route Map from Catford
Catford Cycling Club". Retrieved 2008-07-07.
^ "History of
Catford Cycling Club". Archived from the original on 9
^ "South East
London Humanist Group".
^ Wilkes, Roger (30 January 2002). "Inside story: last refuge for a
killer's mistress". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
^ Mangan, Lucy (26 April 2008). "Catford: a tribute (yes, really)".
The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catford.
Catford from the OpenStreetMap
Catford - a short history from Ideal Homes website
Catford from The South
Catford Dog Track from Derelict
Lewisham Hippodrome' (now demolished) from Ideal Homes
Parish church of the part of
Catford south of
Catford community portal and information web site
London Borough of Lewisham
Telegraph Hill, Lewisham
Broadway Theatre, Catford
Honor Oak Gallery
Laban Dance Centre
The Den (Millwall Football Club)
St. Paul's, Deptford
Parks and open spaces
Beckenham Place Gardens
Bridge House Meadows
Forster Memorial Park
Hilly Fields Park
Manor House Gardens
Sydenham Wells Park
Lewisham West and Penge
Honor Oak Park
New Cross Gate
Grade I and II* listed buildings
Areas of London
Central activities zone
Holloway Nags Head
Kensington High Street
King's Road East
Elephant and Castle
Isle of Dogs
Lists of areas
Barking and Dagenham
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
Kingston upon Thames
Richmond upon Thames
Canley (borough) (The Bill: TV soap)
Charnham (suburb) (Family Affairs: TV soap)
Gasforth (town) (The Thin Blue Line: TV series)
London Below (magical realm) (Neverwhere: TV series, novel)
Walford (borough) (EastEnders: TV soap)
London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network –