Penge Common

Penge Common was an area of north east Surrey and north west Kent which now forms part of London, England; covering most of Penge, all of Anerley, and parts of surrounding suburbs including South Norwood.[1] It abutted the Great North Wood and John Rocque's 1745 map of London and its environs showed that Penge Common now included part of that wood.[2]

An area named Penge Place was excised from the northernmost part of Penge Common and was later used for the relocation of The Crystal Palace.[3] It included parts of the Great North Wood which later became Crystal Palace Park.[4]

The London and Croydon Canal was built across Penge Common along what is now the line of the railway through Penge West railway station, deviating to the south before Anerley railway station.[5] There is a remnant at the northern corner of Betts Park, Anerley. Following the closure of the London and Croydon Canal, The London and Croydon Railway, initially an atmospheric railway was built largely along the same course, opening in 1839.[1][6][7]

The Croydon Enclosure Act of 1797 and the Penge Enclosure Acts in 1805, 1806, and 1827 resulted in most of the remaining Common and Penge Green being subdivided.[5] One of the first new houses was named "Annerley" which gave its name to the Anerley area;[5] the name means 'lonely' or 'only' in Scots.[8]

Remnants of Penge Common that survive as public open spaces include Crystal Palace Park, Penge Recreation Ground and Betts Park in Anerley.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "History | Penge Heritage Trail". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  2. ^ Wilson, James Benson (1973). The story of Norwood. London: London Borough of Lambeth. p. 10. ISBN 0-9501893-3-2. OCLC 1257147.
  3. ^ Thorne, James (1876). Handbook to the Environs of London: Alphabetically Arranged, Containing an Account of Every Town and Village, and of All Places of Interest, Within a Circle of Twenty Miles Round London. J. Murray. p. 467.
  4. ^ Schüler, C. J. (2021). The Wood that Built London A Human History of the Great North Wood. La Vergne: Sandstone Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-913207-50-2. OCLC 1265465591.
  5. ^ a b c "History of Penge". Penge SE20. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Penge West Station | Trains to Penge West | Trainline". Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  7. ^ Brown, Joe (2015) [2006 p=40]. London Railway Atlas (4th ed.). Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7110-3819-6.
  8. ^ "Anerly adv., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Sep 2022 <>

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Coordinates: 51°24′51″N 0°3′51″W / 51.41417°N 0.06417°W / 51.41417; -0.06417