The word “Penge” comes from an old anglo-saxon term meaning “the end of the woods where the pigs are fed”. With the ancient forests of Norwood to the west and that which surrounded the now equally horrible Sydenham to the North, and with the astonishing amount of pigs inhabiting Penge, this meaning has secretly prevailed.
Upon arriving at Penge from Westwood Hill, you will notice a large row of very posh looking houses lining the edge of the renown Crystal Palace Park. This is a false illusion. As soon as you catch sight of the Railway Bridge, which is Bromley Borough’s top flooding spot in stormy weather, you have thus doomed yourself for life by entering Penge.
The pavement of Penge High Street has more chewing gum stuck to it than there is for sale in every newsagents in Bromley Borough. One of the first shops on Penge High Street you will see is the decaying pet shop “Warm Fuzzies”, which everyone must seriously feel sorry for the animals within, as no one obviously ever shops there for fear of catching multiple unheard of diseases.
Hit the big craning traffic light thingy and you have set foot into chav territory. The reason being is that if you look down either Crampton or Kingswood roads to your left, you will notice that the houses have started to show. And indeed, down the end of these roads lie some of the most trashed estates in south east london, perhaps only second to the ones in Kidbrooke, and the infamous Penge East Station.
Penge East only has one staff member minus the ticket office people, thus not making it very safe, and making it a huge chav hotspot. The Penge East line serves many other chav towns such as Brixton, Beckenham, Bromley and Orpington and ones once every half hour each way. Children as young as ten have been known to lose their lives to the hand of the live rails at this station, which gives a nice picture of how these poor infants are brought up. It also seems traditional for people to neglect large quantities of chips at this station, especially at night as the benches on platform 2 are often strewn with squished french fries in the morning.
Look the other way on the high street and you will see “Malcolm Primary School”, which is where I unfortunately spent the first 6 years of my education and was the worst school in the borough for a few years running. This is where the Chavs to be of Penge struggle to learn how to string two words together as they sneak into classrooms to practice scribbling burberry patterns and tags on the boards in their spare time, while any positive or wise thoughts in their heads are driven out and destroyed by the ridiculously annoying nature of the staff there (mostly local residents with the dreaded Penge accent).
Carry on down the high street and eventually you will see “The Crooked Billet”, which is a quaint little pub in which the residents of Penge meet at night in stylish fashion drinking coffee and discussing the israel-palestine situation.
You are now in the centre of Penge, and on youre right are faced with a massive long row of badly kept, shabby looking discount stores which sell items such as out of date cans of coke imported from syria, vegetable racks and children’s lucky dip bags for a pound each. Walk a bit further down, however, and you will notice a more traditional suburban london feel on your left had side as you pass very anglican looking butchers and bakers, which in the morning are kept well clear of by the masses of chavs waiting at bus stops for their transport forn school, or wherever they plan to go skiving that day.
A few spaces down, however, is a small chav free zone, as a large, blue building takes control of the nearest left corner of the busy, impossible to cross interchange between Penge High Street and Croydon Road, which leads to the equally delightful suburb of Anerley. This blue building, “Penge Police Station”, obviously isn’t doing much for Penge, as the chav/crime rate stays at a steady high the billboard outside advertises fresh murders which happened several years ago.
After this, there isn’t much left to see. If you keep walking down the road, you’ll get to Beckenham, and trust me – you don’t want that. Not after what you’ve just experienced. Turn left down the road and you’ll start walking towards Catford. Turn right and you’ll end up in Croydon. Just don’t stay in Penge. No, really, just don’t.