Catford is a district of south east London and the administrative centre of the London Borough of Lewisham. It is located south west of Lewisham itself. The majority of Catford is located in the Rushey Green and Catford South wards.

The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[2]

Street with row of shops one of which has a black cat sculpture above its entrance

The Catford Cat, a giant fibreglass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance to the Catford Centre, with the Village Green and Water Pump shown in the foreground
Catford is located in Greater London
Location within Greater London
Population15,124 (2011 Census. Catford South Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ385735
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtSE6
Dialling code020
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly
Broadway Theatre, Catford, SE6 (6877523774)
The Broadway Theatre.
Catford gyratory
The town centre, with the 'village green' including water pump just visible to the right



Lewisham Met. B Ward Map 1916
A map showing the Catford ward of Lewisham Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916.

The name derives from the place where cattle crossed the River Ravensbourne in Saxon times. [3]It is also said that the name originates from all-black cats, associated with witchcraft, being thrown into the ford to drown during the witch hunts.

Catford was historically part of Kent until 1889, when it was absorbed into the new London County Council, along with the majority of the present day London Borough of Lewisham. Catford covers most of SE6 postcode district. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[2]

Built environment

John Betjeman Reads William Horton's Petition to Save Lewisham Town Hall, 1961
John Betjeman reads William Horton's Petition to Save Lewisham Town Hall, 1961

Early developments

Broadway Theatre is an art deco building adjoining the town hall. It is a curved stone structure decorated with shields and heraldic emblems and topped with a copper-green spire. It was opened in 1932 as the Concert Hall and is now a Grade II listed building. The interior is in art deco style. The last cinema in the borough stood diagonally opposite the theatre until its closure in 2002. Catford also boasts a large Gothic police station. In 2006, a large blue pipe sculpture was unveiled outside Eros House, which was another former cinema (The Eros Cinema), and the Lewisham Hippodrome theatre .[4]

The 1960s and 70s had a considerable impact on the architecture of Catford. The old Town Hall of 1875, was replaced by the current Civic Suite in 1968, soon after the merger of the metropolitan boroughs of Lewisham and Deptford. Laurence House, where many of the Lewisham Council offices are housed, is on the site of old St Laurence's Church. The original Gothic C of E St. Laurence Church was located where Laurence House is today (known as the Catford Cathedral), but as part of the urban renewal of Catford in the 1960s, the church is now housed in a more modern style building 200 metres down Bromley Road.

St Laurence, Bromley Road, Catford (geograph 2258443)
The 1968 St Laurence Church

In Rushey Green the old village water hand-pump from the 1850s survives.

At the end of World War II, the 188-bungalow Excalibur Estate was laid out in Catford, and by 2011 this was the largest surviving prefab estate in Britain. However, it is now planned that all but six of the prefabs will be demolished and replaced by new housing, although many residents voiced their opposition to demolition.[5]

Brutalist architecture

A few examples of Brutalist architecture survive including the Catford shopping centre and Milford Towers, designed by the architect Owen Luder in 1974. The design was to make it the Barbican of the south.

Architecture critic Ian Nairn praised Eros House, which is now Grade II listed as:

A monster sat down in Catford and just what the place needed. No offence meant: this southward extension of Lewisham High Street badly wanted stiffening. Now there is a punchy concrete focus ('you know, that funny new building') both close to and at a distance, from the desolate heights of the Downham Estate, where it stands straight to the afternoon sun. Rough concrete is put through all its paces, front convex eaves on Sainsbury's to a staircase tower which is either afflicted with an astounding set of visual distortions or is actually leaning. Again, no offence meant. Unlike many other avant-garde buildings, particularly in the universities, this one is done from real conviction, not from a desire for self-advertisement. The gaunt honesty of those projecting concrete frames carrying boxed-out bow windows persists. It is not done at you and it transforms the surroundings instead of despising them. This most craggy and uncompromising of London buildings turns out to be full of firm gentleness.[6]

Current plans put forward by Lewisham Council are to demolish Milford Towers, as the estate has fallen into disrepair and the land can be better used to meet the needs of local residents.[7]


Catford Cat
The Catford Cat - a giant statue in Catford town centre, depicting a giant cat clawing at the Catford Centre sign.

Catford's most prominent landmark is the Catford Cat, a giant fibreglass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance to the Catford Centre. This is a small shopping centre, housing Tesco and Iceland supermarkets as well as other high street stores. There is a street market on Catford Broadway. Catford has several pubs and a variety of non-chain restaurants and cafes.

Catford's oldest pub is the Black Horse and Harrow and Karl Marx is reputed to have been an occasional patron. Between 1932 and 2003, Catford Stadium was a successful greyhound racing track, but was closed and then destroyed by fire in 2005[8] and ultimately demolished to make way for a new housing development.

The Catford Bridge Tavern is another heritage listed building close to the old dog track; this mock tudor pub burnt down in March 2015, but has since been refurbished and reopened in April 2017.[9] Nearby, is St Dunstan's College.

The area was once home to the Catford Studios, producing films during the silent era. Catford also use to have a cinema diametric to the theatre. Catford was also satirised in The Chap magazine in a series called 'A Year in Catford' named after Peter Mayle's best-seller A Year in Provence. The magazine poked fun at Catford's mundanity.


Catford town centre

Catford is a priority area for regeneration in the London Borough of Lewisham.[10] Several key sites around the town centre have been identified for redevelopment - Milford Towers, Catford Dog Track, Catford Island, The Civic Centre, Lewisham Town Hall & The "Wickes" site have all been highlighted for significant change in the proposed Catford Plan.[11]

Previous attempts to regenerate Catford have been hampered by various complex issues such as the number of different landowners in and around the town centre. However, in 2010, as a sign of commitment to ensuring a regeneration of the area, the Council seized upon the opportunity to buy Catford Shopping Centre, thereby giving it greater influence over future plans.

The Council's aspiration is for the complete redevelopment of the Catford Centre and Milford Towers, which would require demolition of both plus the car parks and associated buildings along Thomas Lane. Lewisham Council are currently working towards a target vacant possession date for the site of late 2015, although this is subject to many factors, including identifying a deliverable scheme, and agreeing commercial terms with the key parties who are, or will be, involved in the redevelopment of the site.

In the meantime, £1.5 million has been secured from the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund to make improvements to Catford Broadway.

Catford Broadway

Catford Broadway and Catford Market already play a significant role in terms of the local economy. The Council hopes to make substantial changes to the town centre as a whole and, in order to facilitate this, Catford Shopping Centre may close for between one and two years.

In 2011, the Council successfully obtained £125,000 from Round 1 of the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund to develop designs and carry out feasibility surveys to explore how Catford Broadway could provide a better environment for businesses, residents and shoppers. The results of this work formed part of a bid for further Outer London Fund money, and in January 2012 it was announced that just under £1.5 million has been allocated to carry out a series of improvements. The Council is providing approximately £600,000 in match funding.



Catford is served by two railway stations, Catford and Catford Bridge. Services from Catford station run to Blackfriars, St Pancras, Bromley South, Kentish Town (London Victoria on Sundays) and Sevenoaks via Swanley. Services from Catford Bridge station run to London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Bridge, Waterloo East and Hayes.


Catford is served by many Transport for London bus routes.[12]


Catford's main road is the A205 South Circular which crosses South London, running from Woolwich in the east to the junction of the A406 (North Circular Road), the M4 and the A4 at Gunnersbury in the west.

Proposed transport links

Bakerloo line extension

It has been highlighted in the Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategy that there should be a capital infrastructure development in the medium term of developing the Bakerloo line from Elephant & Castle through to Catford. This programme of work is known as the Bakerloo line extension and could start as early as 2020.

Docklands Light Railway extension

Transport for London (TfL) are currently considering the extension of the Docklands Light Railway from Lewisham to Bromley, with the first phase being from Lewisham to Catford. So far TfL have not expressed a preferred route, provided detailed plans, or indicated costs and funding. Lewisham Council has suggested that any route should be underground to reduce physical and visual impact.


Local authority maintained schools

The local council maintains Conisborough College and Greenvale School.

Independent schools

Catford has two independent schools, St Dunstan's College and a small faith school, Springfield Christian School.

Parks and greenspaces

River Pool Linear Park

The walk follows the River Pool downstream from the Ravensbourne River. The banking has been planted with native trees and shrubs, herbaceous planting, wild flower grassland and wetland marginal planting. The park forms part of the Waterlink Way which forms a significant section of the river from Sydenham to the Thames.

Unlike many of London's rivers, the Pool remains above ground for most of its length. The section of river flows through a linear park from Southend Lane to Catford Hill.

Mountsfield Park

In the 1920s, Charlton Athletic played at The Mount (stadium) in the park. The Council holds its annual People's Day event here in July.

Ladywell Fields

The park consists of three fields with a river running through them, and is next to University Hospital Lewisham. The middle field contains one of the last established rare Dutch Elm trees in London.

Iona Close Orchard

Iona Close Orchard is a preserved Victorian garden. In common with most old orchards, the site is of high nature conservation value. The houses to which it originally belonged dated to about 1825.



The 20-acre Jubilee Ground is operated by St Dunstan's College.

Catford Stadium was one of thegreyhound racing venues in the UK until its closure and subsequent demolition in 2005. It also hosted boxing and several other sporting events.

Local sports teams

Catford has a Non-League football club Lewisham Borough F.C. who play at the Ladywell Arena.

Kent County Cricket Club have played at Catford several times in the past.

The Catford Cycling Club[13] was founded in 1886. In 1894 they built their own track south of Brownhill Road with a pagoda grandstand. By the 1950s the majority of the track had been built over but the club still exists.[14]

Notable locals


Other nearby areas


  1. ^ "Catford South Ward of London Borough of Lewisham". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)" (PDF). Greater London Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 June 2010.
  3. ^ Talling, Paul. "London's Lesser Known Rivers - The Ravensbourne". London's Lost Rivers. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Theatres in Lewisham and Catford". The Music Hall and Theatre History Website. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. ^ Storr, Will (19 August 2011). "Bulldozers home in on historic prefab estate". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  6. ^ "More readers' books of the year". London: The Guardian. 31 December 2005. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Milford Towers". Lewisham Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Stadium is destroyed". News Shopper. 25 May 2005.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ London Borough of Lewisham (Spring 2014). "Catford Regeneration". London Borough of Lewisham.
  11. ^ London Borough of Lewisham. "Catford Town Centre Plan". London Borough of Lewisham.
  12. ^ TFL Bus Route Map from Catford
  13. ^ "Catford Cycling Club". Retrieved 7 July 2008.
  14. ^ "History of Catford Cycling Club". Archived from the original on 9 February 2007.
  15. ^ Wilkes, Roger (30 January 2002). "Inside story: last refuge for a killer's mistress". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
  16. ^ Mangan, Lucy (26 April 2008). "Catford: a tribute (yes, really)". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 28 April 2010.

External links

Bakerloo line extension

The Bakerloo line extension is a proposed southern extension of the London Underground Bakerloo line in South London from its current terminus at Elephant & Castle. An extension to Camberwell was due to be built in the late 1940s, but the project was cancelled. In the 21st century the project has been revived in one version or another, with plans for an extension to be completed by 2028 or 2029. There has finally been a more concrete proposal, which is to extend to Lewisham. Camberwell was originally proposed as a short-range destination for a southern extension of the Bakerloo line, but it is now widely viewed that the extension will continue below ground to Lewisham railway station, and then above ground via Catford Bridge railway station to take over the Hayes Line branch.

Bellingham, London

Bellingham is an area of south east London, within the London Borough of Lewisham. It lies south of Catford and north west of Beckenham.

Broadway Theatre, Catford

The Broadway Theatre (formerly known as the Lewisham Theatre) is a theatre on Rushey Green, Catford, in the London Borough of Lewisham. A grade II listed building, the theatre was built in 1932 and is an example of Art Deco design. The architects were Bradshaw Gass & Hope; the slightly Gothic features were intended to relate to the adjacent Gothic Revival Town Hall which has since been demolished.It has two auditoriums, an 800-seat main theatre and a small 80-seat studio theatre. Its programme consists of a diverse mix of theatre and music, including stand up comedy, nostalgia shows, pantomime, drama and children's theatre. The Broadway Theatre is particularly noted for presenting a wide range of black theatre. Since a refurbishment in 2001, it has also presented a regular programme of films and it is home to the Lewisham Youth Theatre. The Broadway theatre is owned by the London Borough of Lewisham, and is run by its Theatre Manager Carmel O'Connor.

Catford Bridge railway station

Catford Bridge railway station is on the Mid-Kent Line, serving Hayes line trains from London to Hayes. It lies between Ladywell and Lower Sydenham stations, 7 miles 42 chains (12.1 km) from London Charing Cross and in Travelcard Zone 3. It is adjacent to, and on a lower level than, Catford railway station (from which it is separated by the former Catford Stadium site) on the Catford Loop line. The station entrance is on Catford Road, a part of the South Circular Road (A205), and has brick buildings on both platforms, though the up side building is no longer in use by the railway. The station is managed by Southeastern, who operate all trains serving it.

Catford Loop Line

The Catford Loop Line is a railway line in southeast London. It carries a suburban stopping passenger service from central London to Sevenoaks, and is also a relief route for the Chatham Main Line carrying passenger trains from London Victoria to the Kent coast. There is also much freight activity as this is the main route to Willesden and the north via Latchmere Junction, with intermodal traffic from Thamesport and international workings from Dollands Moor.

The line begins at Brixton Junction, where it diverges from the Chatham Main line, and ends when it rejoins the Chatham main line (now extended to pairs of fast and slow lines) at Shortlands Junction, west of Shortlands station.

Catford Stadium

Catford Stadium was a historic greyhound racing stadium in Catford, a suburb of London.

Catford railway station

Catford railway station is one of two stations serving the London suburb of Catford. Mainly used by commuters, it is in Travelcard Zone 3 and is on the Catford Loop Line, between Crofton Park and Bellingham. It is served mainly by Thameslink trains between West Hampstead Thameslink, London Blackfriars and Sevenoaks. Connections to London Victoria are available at Peckham Rye. Catford is 8 miles 3 chains (12.9 km) measured from Victoria.

It is adjacent to, and on a higher level than, Catford Bridge railway station on the Mid-Kent Line. The two stations are separated by the site of the former Catford Stadium. Interchange on one ticket is allowed between the two stations.

There is only a small shelter, a ticket machine, a few lamp-posts and a stairway on each of the two otherwise bare platforms, unlike the more ornate Catford Bridge station, which has retained most of its original architecture. Each platform has customer information screens.

Cobb Marathon Bowl

The Cobb Marathon Bowl was a greyhound racing competition held at Catford Stadium.It was a leading competition run over the longer marathon race distance and was inaugurated in 1942 over 810 yards.The event was introduced by a Catford greyhound owner called Mr Rupert Cobb (a brewer by trade). The race was discontinued in 1975 because other marathon events such as the TV Trophy surpassed it in regard to importance.

Gold Collar

The Gold Collar is a greyhound racing competition held annually. It was inaugurated in 1933 at Catford Stadium. Following the closure of Catford in 2003 the competition switched to Belle Vue Stadium but only lasted until 2009 when it was discontinued. Six years later the competition was resurrected by Crayford Stadium.

Greenwich Cup

The Greenwich Cup was a greyhound racing competition held annually from 1946 until 2003.

It was inaugurated in 1946 at New Cross Stadium but following the closure of New Cross in 1969 it switched to Charlton Stadium. It only survived two years at Charlton because it also closed and the race found its final home at Catford Stadium in 1972. When the Greyhound Racing Association shut down Catford in 2003 the race was discontinued.

List of public art in the London Borough of Lewisham

This is a list of public art in the London Borough of Lewisham.

London Borough of Lewisham

Lewisham ( (listen)) is a London borough in South London, England and forms part of Inner London. The principal settlement of the borough is Lewisham. The local authority is Lewisham London Borough Council and it is based in Catford.

The Prime Meridian passes through Lewisham. Blackheath, Goldsmiths, University of London and Millwall F.C. are located within the borough.

London Buses route 171

London Buses route 171 is a Transport for London contracted bus route in London, England. Running between Catford and Holborn, it is operated by London Central.

Mountsfield Park

Mountsfield Park is a public park in Catford, near to Hither Green within the London Borough of Lewisham. The nearest railway stations are Hither Green, Catford and Catford Bridge.

Perry Hill Stadium

Perry Hill Greyhound Stadium was a greyhound racing stadium in Catford, London.

Private Banks Sports Ground

Private Banks Sports Ground is a 20 acres (8.1 ha) cricket and multi-use sports ground in Catford Bridge in the London Borough of Lewisham. The ground, which was in the historic county of Kent until 1889, was used as a first-class cricket venue by Kent County Cricket Club between 1875 and 1921. In 2012, the ground was sold to the Educational Foundation of nearby independent school St Dunstan's College and renamed the Jubilee Ground.

The ground is 250 metres (0.16 mi) southwest of Catford town centre. The A205 South Circular road runs along the northern edge of the ground. Catford Bridge railway station is adjacent to the ground and Catford railway station is close by. The Mid-Kent railway line runs down the western side of the ground, with the Catford Loop Line along the southwestern edge.


Selkent (an acronym of South East London & Kent) is a bus company operating in South London. It is a subsidiary of Stagecoach and operates services under contract to Transport for London.

Selkent shares its headquarters with sister company East London at West Ham.

South Circular Road, London

The South Circular Road (formally the A205 and often simply called the South Circular) in south London, England, is a major road that runs from the Woolwich Ferry in the east to the Chiswick Flyover in the west via Catford, Dulwich, Clapham Common, Wandsworth and Kew Bridge. Together with the North Circular Road and Woolwich Ferry, it makes a complete ring-road around Central London. The South Circular is largely a sequence of urban streets joined together, requiring several at-grade turns, and is frequently congested.

Originally planned as a new-build route across South London, construction of the first section of the South Circular near Eltham began in 1921 to a high-quality specification. The remainder of the road was supposed to be of a similar standard but it was repeatedly delayed, and the current route was allocated in the late 1930s to existing urban streets instead. Despite several proposals to either upgrade the road or replace it with a parallel motorway, there has been little change in the century since the route was first planned and most of the road is still urban streets. The South Circular has received sustained criticism for congestion and pollution and is one of the least popular roads in Britain.

The Man Who Bought London

The Man Who Bought London is a 1916 British silent crime film directed by Floyd Martin Thornton and starring E.J. Arundel, Evelyn Boucher and Roy Travers. It was based on the 1915 novel of the same title by Edgar Wallace. It was the first of many Wallace stories to be adapted into films. It was made at Catford Studios.

Districts closest to Catford
Parks and open spaces
Rail stations
Other topics
Central activities zone
Town centre
Lists of areas
by borough

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.