Friday, July 23, 2010

קריסטל פעלעס - Jewish Norwood

Bob from Brockley wonders about coming across a flyer with the Hebrew letters for 'Crystal Palace' on it - קריסטל פעלעס. Can't throw any light on that, but there's certainly an interesting Jewish aspect to the history of the wider Norwood area. Most notably, the area was home from 1866 for around 100 years to the Jews' Hospital and Orphan Asylum (renamed The Jewish Orphanage in 1928 and in 1956 the Norwood Home for Jewish Children). Former residents remembered "We enjoyed swings, skipping-ropes, hoops, walks to the Crystal Palace, rambles among the lovely hills, dales and woods of Norwood, Dulwich and Sydenham" and "Pictures twice a week at the old Norwood Palace, and later at the Regal. Then there were the concerts at Brockwell Park, and the mad scramble back afterwards - to be rewarded with sweets when we arrived."

The orphanage was demolished in 1961 - it was replaced by the Norwood Synagogue, but this too closed during the 1970s I believe. Norwood still exists as a Jewish children's charity, but no longer has any particular link with South London. The old orphanage site in Knights Hill, West Norwood now belongs to Lambeth Council as Norwood Hall - for which there are ambitious plans to build a swimming pool and health centre, albeit dependent on uncertain government funding and planning permission (see update at West Norwood News blog).

1 comment:

bob said...

Thanks for this - only just found it. Let me know if you come up with anything re Crystal Palace!