Local Information

Eltham is a suburban district of south east London, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Eltham today is one of the largest suburban developments in the borough with a population of over 85,000 people.

There are two rail lines to central London. Trains through Eltham terminate at London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street or London Victoria. In addition there is the Bexleyheath Line.

There are excellent schools in the area at both primary and secondary level.

Eltham’s documented history goes back to the 6th century when it was recorded as being in the ancient Lathe of Sutton at Hone.

In the 1086 Domesday Book its hundred was named Greenwich, which by 1166 was renamed Blackheath because it had become the location of the annual or more frequent hundred gathering.

Eltham’s strategic importance led to the building of its most notable landmark, the moated Plantagenet Eltham Palace. Henry the Third, in the year 1270, kept a public Christmas at the palace, being accompanied by the Queen, and all the great men of the realm.

The village streets adjacent to the Palace, and the surrounding land, remained rural until they were developed with suburban housing between 1900 and 1914. The Bexley Heath Railway had opened the Bexleyheath Line in 1895. Suburban development of the district accelerated when the Government built the Progress Estate to house wartime workers in the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.

After World War I the building of housing estates continued. By the beginning of World War II, three large estates were in existence: the Page Estate (1923), Middle Park (1931–36), and Horn Park (begun 1936, completed 1950s). The latter two were built on Eltham Palace's former hunting parks. Coldharbour Estate was built in 1947.

There are some fine houses scattered around Eltham and some of the older Victorian buildings have been subdivided into apartments.

There is a large variety of open green space in Eltham, in the form of parkland, fields and woodland. "Green Chain Walks" are sign-posted footpaths that run through or link the green spaces. Some are also bridleways or cycle routes. Many of the parks and open spaces provide excellent sporting and recreation facilities.

Avery Hill Park is large, open parkland. It is most notable for its Winter Garden, a hothouse containing tropical trees and plants from around the world.

Oxleas Woods, Castle Wood and Jack Wood is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is at least 8,000 years old.

Severndroog Castle, built in 1784 as a memorial to William James of the East India Company, stands in Castle Wood.

There really is something for everyone in Eltham and its immediate surrounds.