Conduit lane is located at the junction of Coombe Road and Coombe Lane and is equidistant between Lloyd Park and Coombe Lane tram stops.
As I have mentioned in a previous blog the Coombe Estate covered around two hundred and fifty acres and the water supply came from Coombe Wood. It was fed by three channels or conduits that ran in the nearby lane, and so it was called Conduit lane. Simple right?
There were also two large water tanks in the garden of Coombe House that powered a Lewis Church organ . Imagine if you wanted to carry out your ablutions. “Sorry darling you can’t have a bath right now I am playing the organ!”
Many years later at the end of Conduit Lane the council garden nurseries opened in 1964 . It provided plants for all council parks and gardens for many decades until the service was privatised a few years ago. I made a trip to the end of the lane to photograph the old nurseries.
The section of Coombe Wood Garden that runs next to Conduit Lane and parallel to the old nursery site is very steep. The path was recently cleared and opened to the public. Please take care around the steep slopes and only proceed if you are sure of foot. I tried to negotiate the inner bend as every athletic fan knows the inside lane is the quickest. However, in my case the gradient on the outer edge is more suitable for passage around this area. It is a bit like floating a stick on the inside bend of a river, it might appear shorter but it often gets stuck with sediment so that water on the outer bend flows quicker.
Running alongside Coombe Woods is the Royal Russell School. It was originally located in Russell Hill Road, Purley about two miles away. The school and the road were named after their original President the former Prime Minister Lord John Russell in 1855. The foundation stone was laid by the then Prince of Wales in July 1863, although the school did not add the title of Royal until 1953 its centenary year. The old Purley site became the location of the Thomas Moore School.
Back to the schools current location the whole area was known as The Ballards Plantation after the landowner and this included Heathfield. Ballards Way is the road that runs next to Heathfield and the road into Heathfield House is Riesco Drive named after the last owner of the house.
At the end of Riesco Drive is a private road leading to Heathfield farm. The horses are wearing blankets for the same reasons that we used to in bed, because they may be feeling under the weather. Who could blame them with the extensive rain we have been having. By the way, if you ever thought of getting a horse drunk and why would you, then please do not bother? They are used to eating a large amount of oats so could manage copious amounts of alcohol. Remember that if you are thinking of spending a “night on the hooves!”