The district of Catford falls under the London Borough of Lewisham in south east London and is the administrative centre for the borough.
The makeup of the name ‘Catford’ was first recorded in 1254 after the ford across the River Ravensbourne which was a frequent place for wild cats and a crossing point for cattle.
Most of Catford is taken up by the Rushey Green and Catford South wards within the district. Rushey Green itself has its own distinctive history and significance dating back to the 16th century.
Catford’s most prominent landmark is the Catford Cat; a fiberglass painted sculpture above the Catford Centre entrance. Some people believe that all-black cats were thrown into the river to their fate by association with witchcraft during the witch hunts.
In the early 1960s, huge redevelopment took place. At the time, a raw concrete style of architecture from France known as ‘brutalist’ had flourished in London and it is still very evident around Catford today via the shopping centre, the soon to be demolished Milford Towers and the Grade II listed Eros Tower. The same style forged the Barbican Centre and Hayward gallery.
Catford hosts a street market on Catford Broadway and has a variety of non-chain restaurants, cafes, and pubs. The oldest pub being the ‘Black Horse and Harrow’ built in 1700 where Karl Marx is reputed to have been an occasional patron. Catford claims to be home to the first British curry house. Other than the shows at the Broadway Theatre, the main cultural event is Lewisham Peoples day that has attracted 25,000 to Mountsfield Park each year for the last 33 years.
In 2021, the South Circular will be moved to the south of Laurence House. The gyratory (the circular flow of traffic) will also be removed to reinstate two-way traffic, create wider pavements, cycle lanes, new crossings and pedestrianized public spaces. Just over Catford Bridge, you’ll find Catford station aswell, one of two well used stations for commuting.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to do in Catford London and hopefully this episode of the London Districts tour guide video series will help if you’re thinking about living in Catford or planning a day out with the family for sightseeing the attractions or maybe just having a nice walk around. You can also get more tips about the area from the many TripAdvisor reviews which answer more specific questions like is Catford safe to live in or visit and which is the best hotel or most popular restaurant to book.