A grand avenue leading to Crystal Palace Park. Sydenham was first recorded in 1206 as Chipeham and is thought to reference the village or settlement of a man or woman called Sipa or Cippa. By 1315 it was written as Chippenham and later as Sipheam and in 1560 as Sypenham. John Field in Place-Names of Greater London writes that in 1690 the p changed to a d making it Sidenham “[which] almost certainly took place because of a copyist’s error – and may explain JK Wallenberg’s joke that it means ‘the drunkard’s settlement'”. However, John Coulter in Sydenham and Forest Hill Past writes: “Modern inhabitants can take comfort from the thought that Sipa would almost certainly have lived at what we now call Catford. For the history of Sydenham begins with Place House, which stood between the Pool River and Catford Hill.” By sometime around 1762 it was Sidnum.
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