There is also a children's playground for the younger visitor. For those who enjoy more passive pursuits the park has ornamental gardens and a bandstand.

The name derives from the place where cattle crossed the River Ravensbourne in Saxon times.[citation needed]It is also said that the name originates from all black cats, associated with witchcraft, being thrown into the ford to drown during the witch hunts.[citation needed]

Catford is served by many Transport for London bus routes.[10]

The Catford Cycling Club[11] was founded in 1886 and rose to European prominence. In 1894 they built their own track south of Brownhill Road complete with a magnificent Pagoda grandstand. However, by the 1950s the majority of the track had been built over yet the club still flourishes to this day.[12]

The middle field contains one of the last established rare Dutch Elm trees in London. The park is a key cycling and walking route and popular with joggers and dog walkers.

Riverside habitats include woodland and some of the best neutral grassland in the borough. The adjacent railsides provide additional habitat, and are included within the site.

Catford Broadway and Catford Market already play a significant role in terms of the local economy. The Council hopes to make substantial changes to the town centre as a whole and, in order to facilitate this, Catford Shopping Centre may close for between one and two years.

Catford Stadium was one of the most famous greyhound racing venues in the UK until its closure in 2005. It also hosted boxing and several other sporting events. The stadium has been demolished and there are plans to build 500 apartments and community facilities including new shops and a doctors surgery on the site.

Atheists are also known to be active in the area, and the South East London (formerly Lewisham) Humanist Group meet on the third Thursday each month in Catford.[13]

Catford has a Non-League football club Lewisham Borough F.C. who play at the Ladywell Arena.

Catford's oldest pub is the Black Horse and Harrow and Karl Marx is reputed to have been an occasional patron.[citation needed] The pub has existed since at least 1700[citation needed] though the present building dates from 1897. Between 1932 and 2003, Catford Stadium was a successful greyhound racing track, but was closed and then destroyed by fire in 2005[6] and ultimately demolished to make way for a new housing development.

Catford has three independent schools, Sydenham High School, St Dunstan's College and a small faith school Springfield Christian School.

It has been highlighted in the Rail Utilisation Strategy that there should be a capital infrastructure development in the medium term of developing the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle through to Catford. This programme of work is known as the Bakerloo line extension and could start as early as 2020.[citation needed]

The park consists of three fields with a river running through them. The park underwent enhancements in 2007/8 to the northern field to divert the river into main area of the field creating a natural space where river dipping and paddling is popular in the summer months.

Current plans put forward by Lewisham Council are to demolish Milford Towers, as the estate has fallen into disrepair and the land can be better used to meet the needs of local residents.[5]

The local council maintains Conisborough College and Greenvale School.

Catford is served by two rail stations, Catford station and Catford Bridge station. Services from Catford station run to Blackfriars, St Pancras, Bromley South, Kentish Town (London Victoria on Sundays) and Sevenoaks via Swanley. Services from Catford Bridge station run to London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, London Bridge, Waterloo East and Hayes.

The previously named Private Banks Sports Ground, situated at the heart of Catford has been renamed the Jubilee Ground in honour of the HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, and is now operated by St Dunstan's College the independent school in the locality. It is a 20-acre site and is for benefit not only to the pupils of St Dunstans but also to local authority maintained schools, groups and individuals in the local community.

The southern, more residential part of Catford is also home to a large Jewish community, many who worship at the Catford & Bromley Synagogue which is affiliated to the United Synagogue organisation.

Catford is a district of south east London, within the London Borough of Lewisham. It is located south west of Lewisham. The area is the civic administrative centre for the local authority, and comprises both the Town Hall & Civic Suite. The majority of Catford is located in the Rushey Green and Catford South wards within the Borough.

The refurbishment of the street began in June 2013 and was completed in 2014.

In 2010/11 more enhancements were carried out to the middle and southern fields to open the river up to use and as a result children and adults alike can now access various sections to enjoy the environment, including the kingfishers and the heron.

Cricket, bowls and tennis are represented in Catford in the form of Catford Wanderers and Catford and Cyphers sports clubs. Catford also has a skating club. Kent County Cricket Club have played at Catford several times in the past.

The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.[1]

The area was once home to the Catford Studios, producing films during the silent era. Catford also use to have a cinema diametric to the theatre. Catford was also satirised in The Chap magazine in a series called 'A Year in Catford' named after Peter Mayle's best-seller A Year in Provence. The magazine poked fun at Catford's mundanity.

In the meantime, £1.5 million has been secured from the Mayor of London's Outer London Fund to make improvements to Catford Broadway which would benefit businesses, residents and shoppers and help to maintain the vitality of the town centre during any future redevelopment works.

Catford

Kent Athletics Club is an old and established athletics club based within Catford at the Ladywell Arena. They are one of South London's top athletics and running clubs and regularly compete on road, cross-country and track.

Architecture critic Ian Nairn praised Eros House, which is now Grade II listed as:

Catford's most prominent landmark is the Catford Cat, a giant fibreglass sculpture of a black cat above the entrance to the Catford Centre. This is a small shopping centre, housing Tesco and Iceland supermarkets as well as other high street stores. There is a street market on Catford Broadway. Catford has several pubs and a variety of non-chain restaurants and cafes.

At the end of World War II, the 188-bungalow Excalibur Estate was laid out in Catford, and by 2011 this was the largest surviving prefab estate in Britain. However, it is now planned that all but six of the prefabs will be demolished and replaced by new housing, although many residents voiced their opposition to demolition.[3]

TfL are currently considering the extension of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) from Lewisham to Bromley, with the first phase being from Lewisham to Catford. So far TfL have not expressed a preferred route, provided detailed plans, or indicated costs and funding. Lewisham Council has suggested that any route should be underground to reduce physical and visual impact.[citation needed]

Catford has both Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. Non-conformist churches include Plymouth Brethren, Baptists, Methodist, The Salvation Army various Pentecostals as well as Seventh-day Adventists and a Unitarian meeting house.

It is a good place for birdwatching at any time of year, and one of very few sites in Lewisham where five species of warblers can be seen or heard on a summer stroll.

A few examples of Brutalist architecture survive including the Catford shopping centre and Milford Towers, designed by the architect Owen Luder in 1974. The design was to make it the Barbican of the south.

The most prominent Sunday League side now in Catford is Catford Strollers F.C. Catford also boast a large 5-a-side centre with many teams.

The Catford Society was established in 2014, as a result of residents wanting to come together and advocate for their community and locality, after the successful establishment of the Catford Canteen, a pop up weekly restaurant with visiting chefs. The society aims to promote the area as a great place to live, work and study.

Although lower than Hilly Fields the park affords excellent views west over Catford to Crystal Palace in the distance.

In Rushey Green the old village water hand-pump from the 1850s survives.

Lewisham is a multi-cultural, multi-faith community and all main religious groups are represented in the community with their own places of worship nearby to Catford and primarily in the Lewisham Central ward such as the Islamic Centre that serves the needs of the Muslim community in Lewisham and across south London.

Mountsfield Park has a wide range of recreational pursuits for the more energetic, including basketball, football and tennis. In the 1920s, Charlton Athletic played at the The Mount (stadium) in the park.