Christopher Muttukumaru CB, DL is a regular walker in Beckenham Place Park. He contributes to The Foundation for Research on Law and Business (Fide) based in Madrid on current legal and economic topics. Their website describes their primary purpose is to be a meeting place for companies, public administration and independent professionals in civil society. These photographs were exhibited as part of an international discussion on Covid-19 and lockdown.
The first collage was an experiment. It shows aspects of the lake as it filled from the autumn of 2018 onward. In a sense, it is a set of “before” and “after” pictures of the same scene. Thus the top left image shows a digger on a winter’s morning as the lake began to fill. The sequence takes the reader from the winter of 2018 to a few verdant summer scenes in 2019 ; and finally to the autumnal colours that are reflected in its waters.
Beckenham Place Mansion is seen from roughly the same place, near Summerhouse Hill Wood, first in heavy snow after the “Beast from the East” left Bellingham like a winter wonderland and secondly in the autumn of 2019.
During the Covid 19 lockdown, the park was a haven of tranquillity. The bluebells in Summerhouse Hill Wood were especially rich in colour. It was poignant to spot this juxtaposition of the NHS key worker rainbow motif and the gentle invitation to look out for the bluebells. Regular walkers know how attractive the woods are . Now, as a result of Lewisham Council’s foresight, the park has attracted new visitors.
The top row shows the bluebells in Summerhouse Hill Wood during the Covid 19 lockdown.
The lower row shows three buildings. At bottom left, there is Foxgrove Lodge, a Grade II listed building. The wisteria in 2020 has been sumptuous. Along with Southend Lodge (centre) , also a listed building, these were two of the gatehouses to Beckenham Place Mansion. The mansion (lower right) was built for John Cator in the period between 1760 and 1773. The house, a listed building, was built on a rise called Stumps Hill. Cator was a MP between 1772 and 1793. He was responsible for planting much of the estate, including some exotic species.
Thanks and Credit: Christopher Muttukumaru CB, DL, is a resident of Bromley. He has been walking in Beckenham Place Park each morning since 2012. As an amateur photographer, he has photographed the park over many years. He was a senior civil servant in the Government Legal Service. He is a barrister, a Bencher of Gray’s Inn and, in retirement, a part time consultant at a City law firm. He has shared these additional, technically innovative and artistic compositions of Beckenham Place Park exclusively here: