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White Hart - underground shops


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#1 MartinofGrim

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 01:02 AM

Hi folks,

I have been looking through the history topics and I don't think this one has been talked about before - so here goes.

I got yarning with a chap in the Alma a couple of weeks ago whom said an old landlord of the White Hart had taken him to the cellar and shown him something quite interesting! (Insert Frankie Howard line!)

He said that there was a 'tunnel' with shops fronts along it. He said he was lead to believe that it was a subterranean shopping arcade and although now partly bricked up, extended quite some way originally. Talking with the current landlord he also seemed to suggest that there were 'shops' and said he thinks the road must have been lower - I don't know if that at all likely but does verify that the 'shops' exist. Chatting to a barman also brought up more information. he said that he thinks the tunnels go as far as the Queens Hotel and that access can still be gained into one shop where there are ovens and stuff.

Hmm... I'm half expecting a reply to say they were a bakery and that the shops are kitchens or something, but I do love the idea of this underground shopping arcade laying untouched for a century!

anyone been down there? any ideas what it is?

#2 matt-h

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 08:07 PM

Oooh, no idea, but that does sound really interesting. I love old buildings and ones underground are even better! If you manage to find out any more, please let us know :-)

#3 andreas

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 08:45 AM

I can imagine that there might be extensive beer cellars, but underground shops is - sadly I suspect - an urban myth.

Until the mid-19th century the Triangle was semi-rural. Then after the Palace came, so did lots more shops but there would have been plenty of room at street level to accommodate all retail outlets, without the need to burrow underground. A nice story though!
opposed to taking terrapins.

#4 solstice

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 07:09 PM

Please could someone ask the manager of the White Hart if they could go in the cellar and take pictures, I`d love to see the secret tunnel, or what ever is down there.

#5 Melvyn Harrison

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 10:52 PM

Please could someone ask the manager of the White Hart if they could go in the cellar and take pictures, I`d love to see the secret tunnel, or what ever is down there.


I (as Chairman of the Crystal Palace Foundation), my Vice-Chairman Martin Frelford, Gerry Savage from Upper Norwood Library and Keith Holdaway (Norwood Society) visited the White Hart basement today. The areas that we saw were :

Two coal chutes the chains hanging beside each chute were probably to hold a coal-sack

A visible but as as yet inaccessible small white glazed brick (or white tile) faced room (possibly a cold-store or wash-room)

A large room with a large fire-place that was probably the cooking / kitchen area of the inn / pub in times past. There are also windows in the room that
are now boarded up on one side but possibly originally looked out on to an open-air area or to another food preparation area or store-room(s)

Another room (illustrated in the Streatham Guardian) that contains a large 'bowl' indented into a brick stand with a grate underneath that was possibly a
clothes washing tub. It would originally have had a heavy wooden lid. The majority of this room has only been roofed fairly recently and was probably originally a small walled open-air yard. There is also a small room in one corner that was a 'privvy'. The windows open out-wards into the 'yard'. The other side of windows is another smaller room possibly also for food preparation and with a solid-slate table top and zinc 'fly-mesh' on the door. There is also a high wall on one side that can be looked over and on the other side is a large iron grill that is the 'roof' of the bakers shop basement next door. I am told that the two buildings were originally one

We saw no indication of a tunnel to The Alma or anywhere else

We saw no indication of any other bricked up rooms or areas

An interesting area of old norwood but no mystical witchcraft, secret societies or ghosts (not while we were down there anyway). I took several photographs that I can make available.

#6 Elmo

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 01:37 AM

I took several photographs that I can make available.

Yes please...
Jermaine was right... "You can't reason with stupidity"

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#7 Ziwa

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 07:46 AM

Just because you have no evidence you think its not true?!
It makes life more interesting if there are tunnels and secrets there.
I BELIEVE!

#8 Melvyn Harrison

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 09:28 AM

Just because you have no evidence you think its not true?!
It makes life more interesting if there are tunnels and secrets there.
I BELIEVE!


I did not say that I did not believe I just said that I did not see any evidence.

As an historian I have to be open-minded enough to consider the probable and improbable in equal proportions.


Yes please...


Ok.

#9 Ziwa

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 02:29 PM

...consider the probable and improbable in equal proportions.

Thank goodness for that!
I am getting tired of 'evidence', which just goes around raining on everyone's parade of beliefs.

#10 mcleanmuir

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 03:04 PM

I (as Chairman of the Crystal Palace Foundation), my Vice-Chairman Martin Frelford, Gerry Savage from Upper Norwood Library and Keith Holdaway (Norwood Society) visited the White Hart basement today. The areas that we saw were :

Two coal chutes the chains hanging beside each chute were probably to hold a coal-sack

A visible but as as yet inaccessible small white glazed brick (or white tile) faced room (possibly a cold-store or wash-room)

A large room with a large fire-place that was probably the cooking / kitchen area of the inn / pub in times past. There are also windows in the room that
are now boarded up on one side but possibly originally looked out on to an open-air area or to another food preparation area or store-room(s)

Another room (illustrated in the Streatham Guardian) that contains a large 'bowl' indented into a brick stand with a grate underneath that was possibly a
clothes washing tub. It would originally have had a heavy wooden lid. The majority of this room has only been roofed fairly recently and was probably originally a small walled open-air yard. There is also a small room in one corner that was a 'privvy'. The windows open out-wards into the 'yard'. The other side of windows is another smaller room possibly also for food preparation and with a solid-slate table top and zinc 'fly-mesh' on the door. There is also a high wall on one side that can be looked over and on the other side is a large iron grill that is the 'roof' of the bakers shop basement next door. I am told that the two buildings were originally one

We saw no indication of a tunnel to The Alma or anywhere else

We saw no indication of any other bricked up rooms or areas

An interesting area of old norwood but no mystical witchcraft, secret societies or ghosts (not while we were down there anyway). I took several photographs that I can make available.



Melvyn,

many thanks for going in there, and for making the images available.

regards Ian

#11 Joe

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 12:09 AM

Melvyn,

many thanks for going in there, and for making the images available.

regards Ian


Seconded !

It must have been very interesting to get a snap shot of life in bygone days.

#12 MartinofGrim

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 10:51 AM

Wow haven't been on here for a bit. What a result! thanks for going there guys!

At least we know a bit more about what they are and whats down there. Out of interest you said that the buildings were originally 'outside' so whats covering them now? partof the building? the road? why were they so low down? still confused as how they became covered up??

Sorry for all the additional questions, but as a previous archaeologist I am fascinated with any old story I hear or read and have to investigate. Its great that you guys took it so seriously and went down there!

have you posted the pics up anywhere?


And heres the story in the Streatham Guardian:

http://www.streatham...unted_by_girl_/

So that pic is the windows? wow its more substantial then I thought it would be!

Edited by MartinofGrim, 25 March 2009 - 10:51 AM.


#13 Anthony

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 05:13 PM

Just a thought, that pub has been there for a long time and the photo of the cellar? looks, if I remember rightly,
a lot like the old pub used to look at street level, so what if it was a resting place and stables for the crews and
horses of the old horse drawn trams that must have plied up and down Anerley Hill between the wars.
There used to be as many horses as there now are cars around.
Another thought how about a connection in some way to the old Crystal Palace High Level Station from the
Victorian aera? That was a lot deeper but still possible.
.

#14 Heather

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:19 AM

I love this story, it's fascinating.

Where can we see the other photographs?

#15 Jen@StreathamGuardian

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 08:56 PM

Hi everyone,

Here's the latest news on the 'underground shops':

http://www.streatham...alace_basement/


Happy Easter!

Jennifer.