Our previous post about things we miss in south London proved very popular. So now it’s time to get all nostalgic again as we look at more of the things that we maybe once enjoyed, but are no longer around.
The (Old) Den – New Cross SE14
We start with a football ground – one unlike any other, loved by older Millwall fans, hated by visitors. Possibly the least attractive ground in Britain had the look of part fortress, part prison camp, with dressing rooms like dungeons and where the atmosphere generated by the famous ‘Millwall roar’ in those echoey old stands was hostile and intimidating. Even the address – Cold Blow Lane – was unwelcoming. Gary Lineker thought “it might be a good idea not to score at this place!”. Some say the old Den was worth a goal start, but it was closed in 1993 as it was unsuitable for an all-seater stadium and the site was used for housing, the Lions moving a short distance along Ilderton Road to their new purpose-built stadium.
The New Concorde Pub – Bermondsey SE16
Huge numbers of pubs have closed down in recent times (see the Lost Pubs website) – last time we featured the Montague Arms in New Cross which, remarkably, has been resurrected rather than converted into housing. The New Concorde on Webster Street, Bermondsey could not escape that fate, however, closing in the mid-2000s. Here was a slice of old Bermondsey, rapidly disappearing now, tucked away behind the former Southwark College/Scott Lidgett site (now also mostly housing). It was an unpretentious ‘old school’ pub whose sign proclaimed it was ‘licensed for fun’ – on Friday evenings a very ageing trio played and older couples danced, while there was plenty of other live music and karaoke too. One story recounts that Oasis used to visit in the 90s when they were using a nearby recording studio.
Dick Sheppard School – Tulse Hill SW2
This was Brixton’s largest school from the 50’s to its closure in 1994, when it was sold off for a housing development called ‘Brockwell Gate’. Named after a well-known Anglican cleric, it was originally a girls only school, becoming a mixed school later. It was not just a school, but a youth centre and adult education centre as well, and its closure (along with Tulse Hill Boys) left a big gap in education provision with, effectively, no school at all in Brixton. Lambeth Borough had to ‘export’ it’s students for a number of years to neighbouring boroughs until recently, when new schools such as Elm Green and Evelyn Grace were built. There’s still a Dick Sheppard Facebook group.
Streatham Megabowl – SW16
Streatham Megabowl was a popular bowling alley and games centre on Streatham High Road, close to Streatham Hill Station, which closed in 2006. It was originally the Gaumont Cinema, opened in 1932, which became a bowling alley in 1962, later adding on the upper floor the Zapp Zone -a laser gun games area which was a bit like paintball without the paint. If you were brought up in south London or had younger children here, you may well have been to a birthday party at the Megabowl. It was perfect for children’s parties – first the bowling, then the party food, then the Zapp Zone – all under one roof and no mess to clean up if you were a parent! Read Ashley Clark’s amusing childhood memories of the place here. Our photo shows how the building’s facade has been retained while the rest has been demolished to make way for the imaginatively-named housing development ‘London Square’.
We normally like to feature five items in blog posts like these, but we thought we’d turn the fifth one over to you. What do you miss in south London? It could be a pub, club, shop, school or anything which had a significance for you and the area. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with around 100 words about the thing you miss and attach a photo if you have one. We’ll publish a selection of your contributions – over to you!