Rushey Green: Preserving The Heritage of an Old London Coaching Route

Rushey Green is a remarkable road, extending south from Lewisham High Street to Catford, where it seamlessly continues as Bromley Road. The road carries with it a rich heritage that dates back centuries. In this blog post, we will delve into the origins of Rushey Green, uncovering its historical significance and the transformations it has witnessed over time.

Rush Green and the Origins of Rushey Green

The name Rushey Green finds its roots in an open space situated at Catford during the 18th century, known as Rush Green according to John Rocque’s map. Back then, Catford boasted a handful of houses near Catford Bridge, with separate hamlets thriving at Perry Hill and Rushey Green. It was during this era that the foundations were laid for what would become a bustling and vibrant community.

By the mid-19th century, the east side of Rushey Green began to showcase the emergence of numerous houses, displaying the architectural influences of the time. However, the growth of Catford towards the end of the century sparked a wave of redevelopment, transforming this prime location into a hub of modernisation and progress.

The Coaching Route of Rushey Green

In the days when coaching was the primary mode of transportation, Rushey Green played a significant role as a pivotal point along a renowned coaching route. This route, originating from Southwark and extending through New Cross and Lewisham, served as a vital connection to destinations further south, including Farnborough, Sevenoaks, and Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The bustling thoroughfare of Rushey Green witnessed the comings and goings of horse-drawn coaches, carrying passengers, goods, and the hopes of adventurous souls embarking on journeys to distant towns. It was a vibrant hub of activity, with the clatter of hooves and the rumble of carriages filling the air, as travelers set off on their expeditions, forging connections and forging paths to new horizons.

The historical significance of Rushey Green as part of this well-traveled coaching route cannot be understated. It stood as a testament to the importance of efficient transportation and the necessity of reliable connections between urban centers and the rural outskirts. In an era before railways and modern highways, the coaching route along Rushey Green played a vital role in facilitating commerce, trade, and personal travel. It provided a lifeline for the exchange of goods, ideas, and culture between bustling city centers and the picturesque towns nestled in the verdant landscapes of Kent. The echoes of this bygone era still resonate in the fabric of Rushey Green, a reminder of the rich history that has shaped this vibrant thoroughfare.

Eros Cinema Rushey Green

The Eros Cinema, situated at 135-137 Rushey Green in Catford, holds a significant place in local history. Originally known as the Hippodrome, the cinema opened its doors in 1952, carrying on the tradition of film screenings in the same location, which had been home to another cinema from 1931 to 1933. Sadly, the Eros Cinema era came to an end in 1959, and it was subsequently demolished in 1960. Today, the site is occupied by Eros House, a modern building that stands as a testament to the cinema’s former presence.

Located on Bromley Road in Catford, the ABC cinema has its own storied past. Originally known as the Central Hall Picture House, it first welcomed audiences on December 23rd, 1913. The cinema was the brainchild of James Watt, who had previously operated the Electric Picture Palace Theatre on Sangley Road. In November 1932, it was renamed the Plaza Cinema and underwent a change in ownership, becoming part of the Union Cinemas chain in 1935. Associated British Cinemas (ABC) took over in October 1937, ensuring its profitable operation for several decades. On May 27th, 1961, the Plaza Cinema closed temporarily for internal reconstruction led by architect C. ‘Jack’ Foster. It emerged as the ABC cinema once again on November 26th, 1961, with the screening of the beloved film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” featuring Audrey Hepburn. This reopening marked a new chapter in the cinema’s legacy, captivating audiences with memorable movie experiences.

Swaddlings the Rushey Green Pram shop in the 1950s

Swaddlings, the pram shop nestled in Rushey Green during the 1950s, held a special place in the hearts of local residents. Beyond its reputation as a premier destination for prams and baby essentials, it boasted another endearing feature: the renowned “doll’s hospital.” Parents and children alike cherished this unique service, where damaged toys received expert care and restoration. Swaddlings’ skilled craftsmen worked diligently to mend and revive beloved dolls and cherished playthings, bringing joy and relief to young hearts. The shop became a haven for both the practical needs of growing families and the sentimental attachment to treasured childhood companions. Swaddlings, with its prams and the enchanting doll’s hospital, left an indelible mark on the community, creating a haven of care and nurturing for both little ones and their cherished playthings.

Youel’s The Draper’s Shop

Youel’s was a drapers shop located between the Black Horse pub and Sangley Road in Rushey Green.

While specific historical information about Youel’s Draper’s shop in Rushey Green may be limited, we can still explore the broader context of drapers shops during that era. Drapers shops played a crucial role in the fabric of local communities, offering a variety of textiles, fabrics, and haberdashery items. These establishments were often family-owned businesses, serving as gathering places where customers could browse and select materials for clothing, furnishings, and crafts.

During the early to mid-20th century, drapers shops like Youel’s were essential in providing the necessary supplies for clothing and household textiles. They catered to the needs of local residents, offering a range of fabrics, threads, buttons, ribbons, and other accessories. Drapers shops were known for their expertise in tailoring and sewing, providing services such as alterations and repairs.

While we may not have specific historical details about Youel’s, we can imagine the bustling atmosphere of the shop, with customers perusing the latest fabric selections, seeking advice from knowledgeable staff, and engaging in lively conversations about fashion and style. Drapers shops like Youel’s were intrinsic parts of the community, where generations of families acquired the materials and skills needed to create clothing and adorn their homes.

Although the specific history of Youel’s remains elusive, its presence as a drapers shop in the vibrant area of Rushey Green serves as a testament to the importance of such establishments in the fabric of everyday life.

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