Southwood Park is a small recreation ground provided by Woolwich Borough Council post WWII when it was making a concerted effort to acquire sites for public open space. New Eltham had developed after the station opened in 1878. The park is adjacent to New Eltham Library, behind which is a former Civil Defence Centre used in WWII. The south frontage of the park has a planted shrubbery with grass and trees, with railings to the road, behind which the land is open grassland with a playground and sports pavilion. The football pitch to the north-west was used as a cricket field in the late C19th and until c.2003 was in the ownership of LB Bromley..
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/12/2006
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The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.
New Eltham developed following the opening of the railway station on the Dartford Loop line in 1878, near the crossroads of Footscray Road running from north-west to south-east, Cross Lane to the south-west, now Southwood Road, and Pope Street to the north-east, now Avery Hill Road. A few houses are shown here predating the opening of the station. The station was originally called Pope Street Station after the small hamlet to the north-east, of which little survives apart from a late C18th terrace, Theobalds Cottages. Southwood Road and other streets around the station and crossroads were laid out from 1879 onwards and became New Eltham. In 1886 the station was renamed New Eltham and Pope Street Station and in 1927 it changed again to New Eltham Station.
The eastern area of the recreation ground south of the railway line remained open land using for farming well into the C20th. There was a cricket ground to the west marked on the 1897 OS Map, which was owned by LB Bromley until 2003 when it was transferred to LB Greenwich and now makes up part of Southwood Park. New Eltham Library, a neo-Georgian building, dates from 1931; behind the library is a one-storey building that was a Civil Defence Centre in WWII and once contained WWII reports. The park is shown on OS Map of 1957-8 adjacent to the library, with a small area with formal layout of paths and central drinking fountain along the south boundary with Southwood Road, and a playground marked to the north. The roadside frontage of the park retains a planted shrubbery within grass and the old railings to the road, behind which the land is open grassland with a playground and sports pavilion. The old cricket pitch formerly owned by Bromley in the west of the park is now used for football and is surrounded by a semi-natural area with planting of English elm coppice; perimeter trees of the eastern sports field include poplar, birch, London plane and conifers. The London Girls Football Club leases the football pitches and pavilion.
Southwood Road is named for Southwood House, an C18th house within an estate to the north-east of New Eltham, now part of the University of Greenwich. John North lived here while he was building his new Avery Hill Mansion (q.v.).
Reference in E Jefferson 'The Woolwich Story 1890-1965', 1970; Darrell Spurgeon 'Discover Eltham and its Environs', Greenwich Guide-Books, 2000; LB Greenwich 'Southwood Park Management Plan (draft)', 2008