Parklets Hiding in Plain Sight (4)

Haven’t had one of these for ages, so I thought I’d go with a parklet that looks much smaller than it actually is today.

It’s in the area just north of Maze Hill station, around Tyler Street/ Walnut Tree Road (which is bisected by it) and Columb Street and manages to encompass open grassland, mature trees and a kiddies playground in an area that in my memory at least is always teeny.

It’s clearly the result of bomb damage and what has always amazed me is that there is a park there at all; that the whole of it wasn’t just subsumed into new builds. I am sure it would be now.

I was curious to know just which bombs it might have been, so I enlisted the help of resident Phantom Blitz Expert, Stepen Hunnisett, who gave me a rundown of just how flattened the area had got by the end of World War II:

  • 8/9/1940 (no time given) – Tyler Street/Trafalgar Row – High Explosive /Incendiary Bombs – Fire at Francis Campion’s premises
  • 17/10/40 @ 16:58 – 16-18 Tyler Street – High Explosive Bomb – no casualties
  • 10/01/41 @ 00:15 – Tyler Street – numerous Incendiary Bombs – no casualties
  • 8/9/40 no time given – Maze Hill Station – Incendiary Bombs on line
  • 9/9/40 no time given – 99 Maze Hill – Incendiary Bomb – fire in house
  • 9/9/40 @ 23:11 – 111 Maze Hill – Incendiary Bomb – fire in house
  • 9/9/40 @ 23:15 – Maze Hill Station – Incendiary Bomb on down line
  • 17/10/40 @ 17:20 – 75 Maze Hill – High Explosive – no casualties
  • 18/10/40 @ 23:59 – 139 Maze Hill – High Explosive – 1 walking casualty
  • 18/10/40 @ 09:19 – Maze Hill Station – 2 Delayed Action Bombs discovered in Goods Yard
  • 18/10/40 @ 10:12 – 37 Maze Hill – UXAA Shell
  • 20/10/40 @ 22:50 – 139 Maze Hill (again) – High Explosive Bomb

Blimey – after that little lot it’s hardly surprising there’s so much post-war new-build. Of course they were aiming for (among other things) the railway line – and sometimes actually hit it – but it’s clear living round Maze Hill in 1940 was a dangerous occupation.

The area is still pretty darn cute (I’ve always loved Walnut Tree Road) but it must have been even cuter before 1940. Still – respect to whoever decided not to cover every single inch with what must have been much-needed housing and instead pay attention to the social needs of the people who were going to live in the new homes.

If you’d like to know more about wartime Greenwich and Blackheath, Stephen has two of his occasional Blitzwalks coming up. The first is this Sunday, May 19th,  at 11.00am, the second, unusually, on a Friday 28th June at 6.30 p.m.

Both walks meet outside All Saints Church, Blackheath Village, cost £9 per head and last 2 hours 45 minutes. You can pay on the day but pre-booking is strongly advised as they’re always popular, via the website.


the attachments to this post:

Tyler Street park 3
Tyler Street park 3

Tyler street park 2
Tyler street park 2

Tyler street park 1
Tyler street park 1

Tyler street park 4
Tyler street park 4

6 Comments to “Parklets Hiding in Plain Sight (4)”

  1. Mary says:

    When I moved to the area in the late 1960s that area was all pre-fabs and it was built up as it is now in the early 1970s. I wasn’t that involved with the Council, obviously, then – but I think the whole area was planned by the GLC around the remaining houses as a neighbourhood. On the whole I think it has worked – give or take some problem users of the playground.

  2. When giving the above list to The Phantom, I deliberately missed out the Blackheath end of Maze Hill as it wasn’t really relevant to the article but this part was also badly knocked about with a couple of V-1 incidents and also the John Roan School being hit.

  3. I should also have mentioned that Tyler Street was the location of Air Raid Wardens’ Post ‘River 5′ which is described as being in Tyler Street, adjacent to Maze Hill Station. The Chief Warden was a Mr Haywood, who lived at 2 Woodland Place. The phone number of the Wardens’ Post was Greenwich 0650. How about that?

  4. Sophie says:

    How fascinating. I walk and/or run through there most days and have fond associations with it, not least because of the time a lad young enough to be my son said, “Some legs you got there, girl!” as I passed him.

  5. Barbara says:

    Ouch, just missed the walk, and can’t make the next one because of the time. Hope there will be another one… I have just moved to the area, am enjoying learning about the neighbourhood (used to live in Hampstead, where you can see very clearly the bits that were bombed during the war as well).
    BTW, I’m in the Woodland Heights building in Vanbrugh Hill, found out about this blog (brilliant, by the way) when I was researching the building and its history.

  6. Mary says:

    Barbara = Greenwich Industrial History always interested to hear from people researching local non-domestic buildings. Until recently – it might even still be there – there was a Merryweather plate in the pavement on Vanburgh Hill. I have often wondered ahout that – was there some sort of integral fire prevention system installed in the nurses home, did Merryweathers do some sort of deal with the old Met. Borough of Greenwich – and was there anything inside the building?