Exploring Telegraph Hill and Nunhead

Just turning left instead of right can change your whole perspective on your surroundings. If I’d done that when leaving my front door during the six months I lived in New Cross Gate in the early 90’s then my impression of that area would be completely different. As it is my memories of the only time I lived south of the river are of walking from my flat at the foot of Telegraph Hill to New Cross Gate station to travel into the West End where I worked, and occasionally coming home on the 53 bus which stopped near the end of my road. Had I turned right instead on a rare day off (Sundays) then I would have ascended Telegraph Hill and enjoyed some of the best views of the City skyline (which would have looked quite different back then).

But it never happened for reasons that I can’t accurately remember. I’d loved exploring all the other areas I’d lived in London around Forest Gate, Harringay and Hackney – my roaming on foot taking me from Barking to the West End and from Mare Street through Islington and Hampstead to Muswell Hill and Crouch End. But until this summer I’d never been to Nunhead despite it being a relatively short stroll from New Cross Gate.

New Cross Gate
View from Telegraph Hill Upper Park
view from Telegraph Hill Upper Park
Nunhead mural
Nunhead Cemetery
Nunhead Cemetery

Having made a couple of trips to Nunhead Cemetery in the past six months, I decided to put right this wrong of the past and plotted a walk from New Cross Gate to Nunhead Cemetery and then down to Nunhead Green. It became an almost perfect autumn walk with the bronzed leaves scattered across Telegraph Hill Upper and Lower Parks. Nunhead Cemetery has cemented itself as my favourite of the Magnificent Seven London cemeteries. Nunhead Green was the perfect place to conclude the video, where the head of a Mother Superior of the convent that stood on the site was said to have been placed upon a spike during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. One commenter on the video reported that her ghost was said to haunt The Old Nun’s Head pub.

Packing my camera away I closed the loop of the walk munching on a bag of chips and revelling in reconnecting with those six months spent living on Telegraph Hill. It’s a period that turned out to be a pivotal point in my life, ending with my departure to head off with a round-the-world plane ticket on a journey that lasted three years, led me to my wife and in many ways has never really ended.


  1. christine slike   •  

    Very good walk!👍 Please don’t ever stop saying your “Look forward to seeing you….” ending AND so glad your Bennie got sorted!!!😄😄

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Christine

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