I’d always had a biased impression of what to expect in New Cross, based only on media coverage over the years. I guess that’s how an unconscious bias is developed, so although I had some unease, I prepared myself for the unknown, and I’m glad I did.
…and wow! What a day and what a walk. I decided to map my journey using Google Maps and realised I’d walked over eight kilometres in an area I had no expectation of being so interesting and enjoyable…taking in New Cross, New Cross Gate, Deptford and Greenwich
New Cross is one of several ‘end of the lines’ on the Overground emanating from Highbury & Islington. The station is also served by Southeastern mainline services passing through from Charring Cross and/or London Bridge en route to the heart of Kent and the coast. Outside the station is an impressive architectural vision of an NHS pharmacy which I capture in homage to the NHS’ 70th anniversary
Whilst getting my bearings, I notice that all the lamp posts in the immediate vicinity and main roads are adorned with banners advertising Goldsmiths University of London so I head off to explore. En route I stumble across an elegant Edwardian style town-house named ‘Bryn Towy’. The Welsh in me makes me want to find out more about this property but alas the best I can do is garner that it’s now student accommodation and part of Surrey House student accommodation.
Down Lewisham Way and into the main university grounds I wander around the campus and even though we’re in the height of the summer, the thirst for knowledge clearly doesn’t stop as I see groups of students everywhere discussing earnestly the intricacies of their earlier tutorials. The campus is a blend of old and new and unusual buildings sprawling into the neighbourhood with whole streets being used for various faculties.
Before I know it, I’ve made it to New Cross Gate station so time to head back to New Cross along the main road to Deptford High Street. A long drag in the heat of the midday sun, but in doing so I pass an international array of food outlets (restaurants, take-aways and shops) catering for the international student community. I also pass the Amersham Arms and ReynA a Turkish Restaurant, and Deptford Town Hall, which played a part during World War 1, so look it up.
Had this been a market day, I’ve every expectation the High Street would have been a colourful and vibrant place full of street traders, shoppers and those just generally milling around. Nevertheless, even though the High Street was devoid of market stalls, there was still plenty of colour on display through the array of wall art, and residents. Whilst taking a few pictures of a wall end adorned with a necktie and a string of pearls, I was approached by a couple of lads from a larger group who were keen to have their picture taken. Whilst Tyrice and his friend were full of bravado, the conversation quickly flowed revealing their funnier side and I was keen to capture this; I think I did? – nice to meet you guys!
Just around the corner, by Deptford station is the redeveloped Deptford Market Yard and Carriage Ramp which lays claim to being the oldest railway structure in London. Watch out for the Bank Holiday weekend where this years Craft Beer Fest is being held.
A mention to a couple of churches as I continue through Deptford headed towards the south shore at Deptford Creek. Firstly to St Paul in the High Street and secondly to St Nicholas by Deptford Green. Both blessed with quiet space for contemplation for those looking for peace or a moment to themselves.
Where old maritime meets new marine
As with many parts of London’s Thames shoreline, multi-million £ developments have erupted along the Thames Path spawning high rise apartments and leisure outlets. I was however surprised with what I found at the mouth of Deptford Creek where it spills into the Thames. The development at Thames Street has engaged with the local community and local school children who have painted scenes of their interpretation of life on the Thames displayed on hoardings. Whilst on a grander scale, Russia has gifted a bronze statue of Peter the Great to the area in recognition of the time he spent in his formative years learning the art of ship building in Deptford.
Walking across the creek and a stone’s throw from the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, you’re reminded of another great ocean adventurer – the Gypsy Moth pub: named after Sir Francis Chichester’s yacht in which he sailed single handed around the world in an attempt to beat the times set by the clippers of the 19th century.
When in Greenwich it would be wrong not to stroll through the covered market, and although I’ve been here several times in recent months, as with any market, it changes before your eyes so it’s always worth a visit.
…and today was no different stopping to photograph some of the colorful displays of socks, dresses and scarves before tasting some scrumptious vegan fudge served up by Raef at The Fudge Patch, a newly opened shop in the market and one well worth stopping by to buy some traditionally home made fudge. The owners John and Patch were a little reticent in the photo opportunity so Raef took the limelight – good to meet you Raef…
Arriving at the North shore
For those unfamiliar with parts of London you may not know that there’s a foot tunnel under the Thames joining Greenwich on the south shore with Island Gardens on the north shore. A feat of Victorian engineering modernised with new lifts in the 21st Century. So my day’s journey ended looking back across the Thames from whence I had travelled during the day.
By the way, and this is new to me, there’s also a foot tunnel joining north and south Woolwich too, so expect to read about that when I visit Woolwich Arsenal in due course.
See all New Cross pics on Google Photo here – feel free to comment
A selection of unpublished New Cross pics on Instagram
For more info, look up New Cross on Wikipedia