Blackheath History

This page attempts to bring together all the posts on Blackheath in one place in a way in which it is easy to see at a glance the subjects that the blog has covered.  It isn’t exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Rivers, Streams and Watercourses

Upper Kid Brook – a now hidden stream that flowed from Kidbrooke, around Morden College, through the Cator estate and then followed what is now the route of the railway into Lewisham

Mid Kid Brook – a largely hidden stream that rises close to the former Brook Hospital, flows through Kidbrooke, it is visible by the side of Thomas Tallis School, through the Cator Estate before being diverted underneath Lee Road to join the Quaggy at Lee Green, it originally took a slightly different route through Lee

Conduit Head, Hyde Vale – part of a wider post on the Hidden Waterways of Greenwich Park


Protest, Rebellion and Preaching on the Heath

Whitefield’s Mount – a meeting point for protest, preaching and rebellion on the Heath used by revolting peasants, Chartists, suffragettes and Methodist preachers

The Battle of Deptford Bridge – the rout of the Cornish in 1497

The Cade Rebellion – the 1450 revolt against Henry VI that gather on the Heath

A Suffragette Pillar Box Attack – by May Billinghurst and Grace Michelle on Aberdeen Terrace


Sport & Leisure on the Heath

Victorian fireworks – celebrating the fall of Sebastopol in 1855

George Wilson – the Blackheath Pedestrian – an unsuccessful attempt to walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours which was prevented by local magistrates in 1815

Josiah Eaton – who successfully walked 1100 miles in 110 hours in 1815, and again in 1816

A View from The Point – changes on the edge of the Heath

Following the Meridian III – To the Observatory – across the Heath, close to the Tea Hut and on to the Observatory, the final part of a wider ‘trip’ from the edge of London to Greenwich


Blackheath Buildings

Blackheath Art Club & the GPO Film Unit – incredible documentary and propaganda films made in Bennett Park, including ‘Night Train’ and ‘London Can Take It’

6 Grotes Buildings & its role in Mass Observation – a brief history of the social research tool Mass Observation and its links to Blackheath

Blackheath Wesleyan Methodist Chapel – destroyed in a WW2, V-2 rocket attack

Blackheath’s Windmills – including a painting of them by Edward Cooke

Pre-fabs from above – Post WW2 prefabs from the air on Blackheath (and elsewhere)

Emily Davison & her home – the early life of the suffragette and the history of the house and its successor – the Vanbrugh Park Estate

St Andrews Church Vanbrugh Park – a demolished church painted by the Elwin Hawthorne of the East London Group in 1934.

(c) Elwin J. Hawthorn; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(See below for picture credit)

There is some overlap with the page on Hither Green and Lee History as that tends to keep to the old boundaries of Lee – some of which is now regarded as Blackheath

This isn’t a general introduction to the history of Blackheath, if that is what you are looking for, a good starting point is the Blackheath page on the Ideal Homes site.  If you are looking for a more comprehensive account there are a trio of books by Neil Rhind which offer an unrivalled and fascinating level of detail

  • ‘Blackheath Village and Environs, 1790 – 1970, Volume I The Village and Blackheath Vale
  • ‘Blackheath Village and Environs Volume II, Wricklemarsh and the Cator Estate, Kidbrooke, Westcombe, The Angerstein Encroachment’
  • The Heath: A Companion to “Blackheath Village and Environs”

The first of these is certainly still in print and available in print from the Bookshop on the Heath, the other two appear not to be, but it is often possible to find second hand copies on line and locally.

Picture Credit for Painting of St Andrew’s Church

The painting can be viewed at Manchester City Art Galleries; it was made available via the BBC’s Your Paintings Project, which in turn allows reproduction in non-commercial research – this includes blogs (page explaining this only works intermittently).