Inventory Site Record

Mayow Park (Lewisham)

Brief Description

Mayow Park opened in June 1878 as Sydenham Recreation Ground and is Lewisham's second oldest public open space after Blackheath. It is named after Mayow Wynell Adams, the Mayow family having acquired land here in the C18th, which was once been part of Westwood Common. A drinking fountain was erected in recognition of the efforts of the Revd. William Taylor Jones of Sydenham College in acquiring the land for the park. Among the trees are pedunculate oak that pre-date the 1870s layout, which indicate old farmland field boundaries. The design of the park is little altered since it was laid out although tennis courts have been added on the south side.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Sydenham Recreation Ground
Site location:
Mayow Road, Sydenham
SE26 4JA
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
8am - sunset
Special conditions:
Children's play area, tennis courts, bowling green, Nature Reserve
Public transport:
London Overground: Sydenham. Bus: 75, 356
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea; http://friendsofmayowpark.blogspot.co.uk

Full Site Description

In 1787 the Mayow family had acquired the Old House in Sydenham Road, which reputedly dated from c.1660, and in 1810 purchased c.21.8 hectares of land, c.7 hectares of which later became Mayow Park. The family owned most of the land between Sydenham Road and Perry Vale and by the beginning of the C19th Major Mayow Wynell Adams was the official Squire of Sydenham. His estate to the north of Sydenham Road remained in his family until the area was developed for housing. A younger branch of the family developed Silverdale and the last occupant of the house, Mayow Wynell Adams, developed the area that included Mayow Road and Dacres Road. In 1877 he sold land for a new park to Lewisham Board of Works for £8500, £3520 of which was raised by public subscription. He died in 1898, and a lych-gate in his memory is located at St Bartholomew's churchyard (q.v.). The Old House was demolished at the turn of the century and Earlsthorpe Road was built on the site.

Mayow Park has many mature trees, including at least 20 pedunculate oak, some pollarded, that pre-date the park's 1870s layout, the finest collection of such trees in Lewisham aside from Beckenham Place Park (q.v.). They indicate old field boundaries of the former Perry Vale Farm. The design of the park is little altered since it was laid out although tennis courts have been added on the south side. There is a central levelled area sunk below surrounding paths and further geometrical path layout between the notable older oaks. Good specimen trees include araucaria, gingko and holm oak and there are specimen conifers in the shrubbery beds. In the 1930s land was raised to create a plateau for the tennis courts and bowling green. A drinking fountain was erected by public subscription in recognition of the efforts of the Revd. William Taylor Jones of Sydenham College in acquiring the land, inscribed with the date of the park's opening on 1 June 1878. At the south-east entrance is the Lodge and entrance gates with brick gate piers with stone capitals, and the entrances off Silverdale Road have wrought iron gates. The Friends of Mayow Park was established in 1993.

Sources consulted:

John Archer, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Lewisham', Ecology Handbook 30, London Ecology Unit, 2000; LB Lewisham, "Parks historical trail"; J Coulter & J Seaman 'The Archive Photographs Series: Sydenham and Forest Hill', Chalford, 1995.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ357718 (535750,171850)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Lewisham
Site management:
Greenscene Department, Glendale Grounds Management/Friends of Mayow Park
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

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.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Not known
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - Borough Importance II
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.