Monday, January 10, 2011

Kent-Surrey Border, SE4

New Cross once straddled the border of Surrey and Kent, before local government reorganisation pushed the boundaries of these counties to the outer reaches beyond the London Boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Bexley and Sutton.

On Vesta Road SE4 there's still an old county boundary marker. Walking up towards the roundabout at the top of Jerningham/Pepys Roads you are historic Kent, until you pass the post:

Walking down the road towards the railway line and Shardeloes Road you are passing from Surrey into Kent as you go past marker:

Today the top of Vesta Road also marks the border between SE14 and SE4.

(I updated this post in light of advice from Malcolm Bacchus in comments - the post tells you where you are not where you are going so if you see Surrey you are still in Surrey, and the same for Kent)


Janet Packer said...

51 Shardeloes Road Seeing your mention of Shardeloes Rd & your earlier post (2008) mentioning Habadashers Company; I wondered if your or your readers could tell me if the HC were likely to have provided residential accommodation to ex-Milliners in the 1870's. I have traced the Bank's sisters who were Milliners & Dressmakers in St Pancras & Marylebone, but who retire to Deptford between 1871 & 1881. Otherwise, I can't find any other connection with the area. They lived at number 51, does it still exist?

. said...

I don't believe that Shardeloes Road was developed by the Haberdashers Company - it's not now part of the Telegraph Hill Conservation Area which covers most of the housing developed by them locally.

I don't think htat house is still there - if you look on Google Earth, you can see that there are lots of old houses on the Western even number side, but on the opposite side of the roard it's mostly flats now at that end of the road. Will have a proper look next time I'm walking down there.

Stephen Rex said...

Interesting stuff - what a folorn-looking trace of the past! There's an old London Kent marker somewhere on the river between Deptford and Rotherhithe. I'll try to take a picture next time I'm there...

MalB said...

This is one of the stopping points on my local history walks. The smaller blackish block in the picture beside the Kent/Surrey boundary marker is the boundary marker for the Haberdasher's estate. So all three boundaries: Kent/Surrey, Haberdashers/other owners, SE4/SE14 follow the same line here. A few of these boundary markers still exist.

Shardeloes Road (also covered on my last walk in March) was built as part of the Tyrwhitt/Drake estates (Shardeloes was the name of their family house near Amersham). It was not of the Haberdashers' estate. In any event, the Haberdashers' estate was built for general rental not for residential accommodation by members of the Haberdashers' company. I don't believe there were even preferential terms offered.

The area, which included 51 Shardeloes Road, was hit by a V2 rocket in the evening of 1 November 1944 (this got mentioned in my last walk as well). A dozen or so houses on that side got totally destroyed and the rest later demolished and rebuilt as a housing estate. 36 people were killed by the explosion.

. said...

Thanks Malcolm, I'm still confused about the Kent/Surrey border and think I may have got it wrong in the original post. Although as you go past the post heading down Vesta Road the bit of the post facing you says Surrey, aren't you actually heading down into Kent at that point?

MalB said...

It tells you where the boundary is and where you are (it is a boundary marker) not what is on the other side or where you are going (it's not a sign post).

So it says "Kent" on the Kent side (East, SE4) and "Surrey" on the Surrey side (West, SE14). Hope that helps.

Paul said...

There is also one of these surviving boundary markers in the back field at Goldsmiths College. It is right beside the tennis court.

. said...

Thanks Paul will check that out with camera in hand!

Lewis W said...

Thank you Transpontine for featuring this historic remnant of the pre-London boundaries of Kent and Surrey. : before discovering your website today I was starting to despair that this cast iron feature had disappeared. I walked around the streets recently looking for it, but had forgotten which road it was in. When I worked for Lewisham Council in the 1980's I got our highways department to repaint this very post--unless there is another on Telegraph Hill.

As Surrey native who finds borders fascinating, I am intrigued by the edgeland of Nunhead and Hatcham--where the county boundaries moved around quite a bit, and a chunk of Surrey (Hatcham) was (at some time) also part of Deptford (Kent). The boundary is actually quite logical all the way from Crystal Palace, generally following the ridge line, , albeit that it features some strange angles (now on the deep railway cutting between New X gate and Brockley stations, just N of Vesta Road ), and goes aong the foot of the hill at Wood Vale.
There is another county boundary marker--a stone-- as noted by Mal B, on the Dockyard wall.
It would be nice to beat the bounds all the way from Crystal palace to the Thames-- and repaint the marker ! Lewis W

Anonymous said...

Dear Transpontine

We're finding it difficult to post this as anything we write disappears in the 'choose an identity' page. However, we'll try.

We too are interested in the ancient Surrey-Kent border as out families have lived and worked in the Bermondsey/New Cross/Brockley area sine the 1870s. We have an 1806 Ordnance Survey map (re-engraved in 1844) which shows what seems to be the ancient border as a dotted line. This starts at the river precisely at the current border between (the London Borough of)Southwark and(the London Borough of)Lewisham and runs west for half a mile before turning south. It seems to run along the current line of Trundleys Road and Sanford Street to the Marquis of Granby. From there it runs down Lewisham Way past Goldsmiths College before turning south-west and crossing Vesta Road.From there it runs along the ridge across One Tree Hill (ie to the west of the railway between New Cross Gate and Forest Hill. Our map runs out at Sydenham.

We would be interested to know if this is the correct route and to have a street-by-street route of the old boundary as far as Crystal Palace (if anyone has one).

Many thanks

Roger and Brenda Crossley

Nick Roberts said...

I was born in Lewisham Hospital in 1958. I think it was in Kent rather than Surrey then, making me a Kentish Man? If anyone has any info please e-mail me directly at as I may never find this site again! Thank you.