There are many places to live in London but none as unique as Catford. It is the south of London and a part of the Borough of Lewisham. It is 6.3 miles south-east of Charing Cross and its postcode district is SE6. Bellingham, Grove Park, Brockley, Forest Hill, Hither Green, Ladywell, Downham, Lee, Lewisham, Crofton Park, Sydenham and Bromley are nearby. It has been identified as one of the London Plan's thirty-five major centres. It has many transport links, most of which are buses but also has several railway stations.
The name of the area derives from a crossing over the River Ravensbourne that was used to transport cattle in Saxon times. Historically, Catford had been a part of Kent but it merged with the London County Council, as was many other London regions in 1889. One of the first curry houses in Britain opened in 1824. A hand pump that dates back to the mid 19th century still exists in Rushley Green. The town hall known as the Catford Cathedral was constructed in 1875 but was replaced in 1968 by the Civic Suite. An old church known as St. Laurence's used to exist in the area but was replaced by the Laurence House office block. The Frank Matcham designed Eros House supplanted Lewisham Hippodrome in 1960 and is a grade II listed building. In 1974 the Owen Ludar designed Catford shopping centre opened. The Broadway Theatre stands near the town hall and is a Grade II listed art deco building. It contains a large and small auditorium and hosts a variety of shows. There are various places of worship in Catford, mostly Christian churches but the Lewisham Islamic Centre caters to the large Muslim community and there are also Sikh, Buddhist and Hare Krishna temples.
The most well-known landmark in the town is the Catford Cat. It is a giant fibreglass sculpture that resides above the Catford Centre. The Catford Mews is a shopping centre and a street market is held there regularly. The are many varying pubs and restaurants including the Black Horse which has existed since 1897. Lewisham Peoples Day in Mountsfield Park and the beer festival Campaign for Real Ale are held annually. The now closed Catford Stadium is expected to be transformed into an apartment building alongside shops and a doctor's surgery. Lewisham Borough F. is the local football team and the Catford Cycling Club has been going strong since 1886. Other sports represented here include cricket, bowls and tennis.
Some notable people to have lived in Catford include writer and comedian Ben Elton, boxing champ Sir Henry Cooper, actress Leslie Dower, poet Earnest Christopher Dowson, musicians Cat Stevens, Jacqui McShee, Jak Airport and Robin Trower, photographer Anthony Jones and soldier turned author Andy McNab.
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