Getting through West Norwood by road has been a struggle for a year as Thames Water digs up Norwood Road, the main shopping street in this south London district, with traffic down to one lane and bus diversions in place.
After years of leaks, the company is spending £14 million to replace the Victorian water main beneath the road and traffic chaos is set to continue until the job’s done in June.
Work has reached the junction near St Luke’s Church. This landmark is close to the jewel in West Norwood’s crown, the famous cemetery, one of the “Magnificent Seven” giant Victorian cemeteries created to deal with London’s growing population.
Now a wildlife haven, West Norwood Cemetery contains spooky catacombs with rows of lead-lined coffins stacked on shelves, while a separate Greek section has its own chapel.
The cemetery opened in 1836 and its 69 listed monuments include mausoleums for sugar magnate Sir Henry Tate and Royalm Doulton pottery works founder, Sir Henry Doulton. Isabella Beeton, author of the 1861 work Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, is also buried here.
The cemetery is now undergoing a £6.7 million renovation thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery, Lambeth council and the Friends of West Norwood Cemetery.
Plans include restoring 16 monuments to remove them from Historic England’s at risk register; two new entrances; restoration of St Stephen’s Chapel, and the creation of a new visitors centre.
A local home search will turn up a mix of Victorian, Edwardian and Thirties houses (Daniel Lynch)
West Norwood offers well-rated state and private schools, double-fronted Edwardian houses and more affordable Thirties family homes, plus a strong sense of community. There’s a new swimming pool and leisure centre, and a recently opened Picturehouse cinema.
Estate agent Shaista Bibi, local sales assistant manager for Kinleigh Folkard Hayward, says buyers are coming from more expensive areas such as Clapham and Balham because they see West Norwood is on the up.
Families seeking state schools aim for the Streatham side of the district, with Julian’s Primary or all-through Dunraven in their sights.
Bibi says the shopping scene has improved: “There is a greater variety of shops along Norwood Road, so more people are shopping locally”.
On the first Sunday of each month from April to Christmas, West Norwood Feast is a popular volunteer-led celebration of food, music, vintage and craft held in five locations, including outside the cinema, in St Luke’s Church grounds and on Roseberys auction house car park.
South of the town centre, West Norwood has south London’s largest industrial area, with names such as paint company Mylands, and Denso, making anti-corrosive products.
Artists work in the Acme studios, ceramicist and writer Edmund de Waal has his workshop here, and West Norwood Bzz Garage is a community gardening project in and around the bus garage with planting designed to attract bees.
Six miles south of central London, West Norwood has Tulse Hill and Herne Hill to the north; Dulwich to the east; South Norwood and Thornton Heath to the south and Streatham to the west.
The property scene
A local home search will turn up a mix of Victorian, Edwardian and Thirties houses.
The best roads are to the east of Norwood Road, with detached, semi-detached and terrace Edwardian houses.
A five-bedroom double-fronted house in Idmiston Road is on the market at £1.75 million and a four-bedroom end-of-terrace house in Lancaster Avenue is for sale at £1.2 million.
Homes are cheaper south of the town centre. There are streets of Thirties semis to the east of Elder Road, with a three-bedroom house in Norwood Park Road on the market for £765,000.
In the triangle formed by Knights Hill, Crown Dale and Elder Road there are Victorian terrace houses. In Tivoli Road a three-bedroom terrace house is on the market for £725,000.
One of the best-value houses is a three-bedroom Sixties house in St Peter’s Gardens, a road between West Norwood and Streatham.
Most flats in West Norwood are period conversions, although in roads such as Casewick Road, Auckland Hill and Durban Road there are some self-contained Victorian flats.
A three-bedroom garden flat in a double-fronted Edwardian house in St Julian’s Farm Road is on the market for £685,000, while in Casewick Road there is a purpose-built three-bedroom flat in need of modernisation with its own section of garden, on the market for £499,950.
Elder Place is a pretty conversion of a former orphanage and workhouse in Elder Road overlooking Norwood Park. A one-bedroom flat here is on the market for £215,000.
Lewis House on the corner of Beulah Hill and Queen Mary Road is a McCarthy & Stone retirement development for the over-60s of 26 one- and two-bedroom flats that are move-in ready.
One-bedroom flats start at £411,000 and two-bedroom flats are priced from £490,000. Call 0800 201 4811.
The Marziale is a development of 19 apartments in Knollys Road in nearby Streatham which launched last week, for occupation next month.
One-bedroom flats start at £410,000, with two-bedroom flats from £500,000 and three-bedroom flats from £620,000. Call Lauristons on 020 8879 9099.
A single two-bedroom flat remains at Great Northwood House in Crown Dale, a development of nine apartments. The price is £459,995 and Help to Buy is available. Call Acorn New Homes on 020 8315 6996.
Housing association Notting Hill Genesis has shared-ownership flats for over-55s in its Cheviot Gardens development in Thornlaw Road. A one-bedroom flat is £250,000 for a minimum 65 per cent share and the full market price would be £385,000. Call 020 3815 1234.
West Norwood is not the busiest of rental areas, with only a handful of houses currently available. Three-bedroom houses start at £1,895 a month.
There are more flats available, with one-bedroom flats starting at £925 a month, two-bedroom flats at £1,250 a month and three-bedroom flats at £1,850 a month.
The most expensive flat is a three-bedroom home arranged over two floors in a converted Edwardian house in Clive Road, available for £2,550 a month.
McCarthy & Stone has flats to let to the over-60s at Lewis House (as before). One-bedroom flats start at £2,300 a month and two-bedroom flats at £2,630 a month. Call 0800 201 4811.
Sarah Burgess, lettings branch director at the Streatham office of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, says families are often looking for homes in the catchment areas of Julian’s Primary School and Dunraven all-through school, although the catchment of Dunraven is shrinking.
With so many different types of homes, families have the opportunity to move up and down the housing ladder and those who appreciate the area’s strong sense of community do tend to stay.
SE27 is the West Norwood postcode; it is a small postcode so there are parts of West Norwood that stray into SW16 the Streatham postcode and into SE21 the Dulwich postcode.
KFH estate agent Shaista Bibi rates the large Victorian houses on the Streatham side of West Norwood, in roads such as St Julian’s Farm Road and Thurlby Road.
On the Dulwich side, the large double-fronted Edwardian houses in Chestnut Road, Idmiston Road and Lancaster Avenue are sought after.
Up and coming
Bibi says that first-timers and second-time young buyers are beginning to appreciate the smaller Victorian houses south of the town centre around Tivoli Road and Romany Road, which still offer the potential of expanding into the loft and side return.
Trains from West Norwood station take around 22 minutes to Victoria and London Bridge. Tulse Hill station has trains to London Bridge which take around 18 minutes and cross-London Thameslink trains to Blackfriars, Farringdon and St Pancras.
The two useful commuter bus routes are the No 2 to Marylebone station via Brixton, Victoria and Marble Arch, and the No 68 to Euston via Elephant & Castle and Waterloo.Council: Lambeth council is Labour controlled. Band D council tax for 2019/2020 is £1,445.20.
Lambeth council is Labour controlled. Band D council tax for 2019/2020 is £1,445.20.