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Blackheath is an area of South East
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, straddling the border of the
Royal Borough of Greenwich The Royal Borough of Greenwich (, , or ) is a London borough The London boroughs are the 32 districts of England, local authority districts that make up the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London; each is gover ...
and the
London Borough of Lewisham Lewisham () is a London borough The London boroughs are the 32 districts of England, local authority districts that make up the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London; each is governed by a London borough counc ...
. It is located 1 mile north east of
Lewisham Lewisham () is an area of south east London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the he ...

Lewisham
, 1.5 miles south of
Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent and the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east ...
and 6.4 miles south east of
Charing Cross Charing Cross () is a junction in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, a ...

Charing Cross
, the traditional centre of London. The area south-west of its station and in its
ward Ward may refer to: Division or unit * Hospital#Departments or wards, Hospital ward, a hospital division, floor, or room set aside for a particular class or group of patients, for example the psychiatric ward * Prison ward, a division of a pen ...
is named Lee Park. Its northern neighbourhood of Vanbrugh Park is also known as St John's Blackheath and despite forming a projection has amenities beyond its traditional reach named after the heath. To its west is the core public green area that is the heath and
Greenwich Park Greenwich Park is a former hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
, in which sit major London tourist attractions including the
Greenwich Observatory The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (ROG; known as the Old Royal Observatory from 1957 to 1998, when the working Royal Greenwich Observatory, RGO, temporarily moved south from Greenwich to Herstmonceux) is an observatory An observatory is a ...

Greenwich Observatory
and
Greenwich Prime Meridian The prime meridian is a geographical reference line that passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, in London, England. It was first established by George Biddell Airy, Sir George Airy in 1851, and by 1884, ...
.
Blackheath railway station Blackheath railway station is Grade II-listed and is in the south-centre of Blackheath, a village in southeast London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unit ...
is south of the heath.


History


Etymology

;Records and meanings The name is from
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language ...
spoken words 'blæc' and 'hǣth'. The name is recorded in 1166 as ''Blachehedfeld'' which means "dark, or black heath field" — field denotes an enclosure or clearing but however transcribed, qualified the barren meaning of heath or stone just as
Stainfield Stainfield is a village and civil parish about east of the city of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, Lincoln, in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 189. History The name Stainfiel ...
was in the
Domesday Book Domesday Book () – the Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. The English language underwent ...
recorded as Stain and Stainf ld.
Lewis Lewis may refer to: Names * Lewis (given name) Lewis () is a masculine English given name, English-language given name. It was coined as an anglicisation of given names in other languages. "Lewis" has been used to anglicise the Irish language, Ir ...
's topological dictionary opines, considering the adjective developed equally into derived term bleak, that Blackheath "takes its name either from the colour of the soil, or from the bleakness of its situation" before adding, reflecting Victorian appreciation, mention of "numerous villas with which it now abounds...it is pleasantly situated on elevated ground, commanding diversified and extensive views of the surrounding country, which is richly cultivated, and abounds with fine scenery".''A Topographical Dictionary of England'', ed. S. Lewis (London, 1848), pp. 270-275. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england/pp270-275, accessed 11 August 2019. It was an upland, open space that was the meeting place of the
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numerals, Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 (number), 99 and preceding 101 (number), 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five 20 (number), score in order to different ...
of Blackheath. ;Formal name for estates around the heath By 1848 Blackheath was noted as a place with two dependent chapels under Lewisham
vestry A vestry was a committee for the local secular and ecclesiastical government for a parish in England and Wales, which originally met in the vestry or sacristy of the parish church, and consequently became known colloquially as the "vestry". Over ...

vestry
and another erected 1828-1830 designed by George Smith. The latter made use of £4000 plus land from land developer
John Cator John Cator (21 March 1728 – 26 February 1806) was an English timber merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Ca ...
, plus a further £11,000 from elsewhere. The name of Blackheath gained independent official boundaries by the founding of an Anglican parish in 1854, then others (in 1859, 1883 and 1886) which reflected considerable housing built on nearby land. In local government, Blackheath never saw independence;Units covering this area
''Vision of Britain'' (website), © 2009-2017, the
University of Portsmouth The University of Portsmouth (formerly known as Portsmouth Polytechnic) is a public university in the city of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. It is one of only four universities in the South-East to be rated Gold in the Government Teaching Excellen ...

University of Portsmouth
and others
Parish locator and church information by grid reference
''A Church Near You'',
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
, retrieved 2019-08-11
at first split between the Lewisham, Lee, Charlton and Greenwich vestries or civil parish councils and Kidbrooke liberty, which assembled into
Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent and the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east ...
, Plumstead (in final years called Lee) and Lewisham Districts then re-assembled with others into Greenwich and Lewisham
metropolitan borough A metropolitan borough is a type of districts of England, local government district in England, and is a subdivision of a metropolitan county. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972, metropolitan boroughs are defined in English law as ...
s in 1900. ;Etymological myth An urban myth is Blackheath could derive from the 1665 Plague or the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by the plague bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bact ...

Black Death
of the mid-14th century. A local burial pit is nonetheless likely during the Black Death, given the established village and safe harbour (hithe) status of
Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent and the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east ...

Greenwich
. At those times the extent of mortality meant that churchyard burial widely became unwieldy.


Archaeology

A key (becoming a
Roman road Roman roads ( la, viae Romanae ; singular: ; meaning "Roman way") were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, and were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Re ...

Roman road
and later
Watling Street Watling Street is a historic route in England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is separated from by the ...

Watling Street
) scaled the rise that is shared with
Greenwich Park Greenwich Park is a former hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
and a peak east-by-southeast,
Shooters Hill Shooter's Hill (or Shooters Hill) is a district in South East London within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It borders the London Borough of Bexley. It lies north of Eltham and south of Woolwich. With a height of , it is the highest point in t ...
. In the west this traversed the mouth of Deptford Creek (the
River Ravensbourne The River Ravensbourne is a tributary of the River Thames in south London, England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to ...
) (a corruption or throwback to earlier pronunciation of deep ford). Other finds can be linked to passing trade connected with royal palaces. In 1710, several Roman urns were dug up, two of which were of fine red clay, one of a spherical, and the other of a cylindrical, form; and in 1803, several more were discovered in the gardens of the
Earl of Dartmouth Earl of Dartmouth is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted noble ranks. P ...
and given to the
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
.


Royal setting

Certain monarchs passed through and their senior courtiers kept residences here and in Greenwich. Before the
Tudor Tudor most commonly refers to: * House of Tudor, English royal house of Welsh origins ** Tudor period, a historical era in England coinciding with the rule of the Tudor dynasty Tudor may also refer to: Architecture * Tudor architecture, the fi ...

Tudor
-built
Greenwich Palace Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, centred east-southeast of Charing Cross and located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent. For administrative purposes it formed part of the M ...
and Stuart-built
Queen's House Queen's House is a former royal residence built between 1616 and 1635 in Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, centred east-southeast of Charing Cross and located in the Historic county of ...
, one of the most frequently used was
Eltham Palace Eltham Palace is a large house at Eltham Eltham () is a district of South London, southeast London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It is east-southeast of Charing Cross, and is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 ...

Eltham Palace
about to the southeast of the ridge, under the late
Plantagenet The House of Plantagenet () was a Dynasty, royal house which originated from the lands of County of Anjou, Anjou in France. The family held the English throne from 1154 (with the accession of Henry II of England, Henry II, at the end of The A ...

Plantagenet
s, before cessation as a
royal residence , the official residence of Emperor of Japan The Emperor of Japan is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head o ...
in the 16th century. On the north side of the heath,
Ranger's House Ranger's House is a medium-sized red brick Georgian mansion in the Palladian style, adjacent to Greenwich Park in the south east of London. It is situated in Blackheath, London, Blackheath and backs directly onto Greenwich Park. Previously known a ...

Ranger's House
, a medium-sized red brick Georgian mansion in the
Palladian Palladian architecture is a European architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. It is a sub-class of Style (visual arts), ...
style, backs directly onto Greenwich Park. Associated with the Ranger of Greenwich Park, a royal appointment, the house was the Ranger's official residence for most of the 19th century (neighbouring Montagu House, demolished in 1815, was a royal residence of
Caroline of Brunswick Caroline of Brunswick (Caroline Amelia Elizabeth; ; 17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821) was Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy ...

Caroline of Brunswick
). Since 2002, Ranger's House has housed the Wernher Collection of art. The Pagoda is a notably exquisite home, built in 1760 by Sir William Chambers in the style of a traditional Chinese pagoda. It was later leased to the
Prince Regent George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland There have been 12 British monarchs There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union A polit ...

Prince Regent
, principally used as a summer home by Caroline of Brunswick.


Meeting point

Blackheath was a rallying point for
Wat Tyler Wat Tyler (c. 1320/4 January 1341 – 15 June 1381) was a leader of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt in Kingdom of England, England. He marched a group of rebels from Canterbury to City of London, London to oppose the institution of a Tax per head, ...
's
Peasants' Revolt The Peasants' Revolt, also named Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black ...
of 1381, and for
Jack Cade Jack Cade's Rebellion was a popular revolt in 1450 against the government of England, which took place in the south-east of the country between the months of April and July. It stemmed from local grievances regarding the corruption, maladmi ...

Jack Cade
's Kentish rebellion in 1450 (both recalled by road names on the west side of the heath). After camping at Blackheath, a contingent of
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...

Cornish
opposed to the heavy taxation at the time, were defeated at the foot of the west slope in the
Battle of Deptford Bridge The Cornish rebellion of 1497 ( Cornish: ''Rebellyans Kernow''), also known as the "''First'' Cornish rebellion of 1497", was a popular uprising that began in Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremon ...
(sometimes called the Battle of Blackheath) on 17 June 1497. In 1400,
Henry IV of England Henry IV (April 1367 – 20 March 1413) or Henry Bolingbroke was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styled himself King of ...

Henry IV of England
met here with Byzantine Emperor
Manuel II Palaiologos Manuel II Palaiologos or Palaeologus ( gr, Μανουὴλ ὁ Παλαιολόγος, Manouēl ho Palaiologos; 27 June 1350 – 21 July 1425) was List of Byzantine emperors, Byzantine Emperor from 1391 to 1425. Shortly before his death he was to ...

Manuel II Palaiologos
who toured western royalty to seek support to oppose Bayezid I (Bajazet), Ottoman Sultan. In 1415, the lord mayor and aldermen of London, in their robes of state, attended by 400 of the principal citizens, clothed in scarlet, came hither in procession to meet
Henry V of England Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422), also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England This list of kings and queens of the begins with , who initially ruled , one of the which later made up modern England. Alfred styl ...

Henry V of England
on a triumphant return from the Battle of Agincourt. Blackheath was, along with
Hounslow Heath Hounslow Heath is a local nature reserve in the London Borough of Hounslow and at a point borders London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames. The public open space, which covers , is all that remains of the historic Hounslow Heat ...
, a common assembly point for army forces, such as in 1673 when the Blackheath Army was assembled under
Marshal Schomberg Friedrich Hermann von Schönberg, 1st Duke of Schomberg, 1st Count of Mertola, (french: Frédéric-Armand; pt, Armando Frederico; 6 December 1615 – 1 July 1690) was a Marshal of France and a General in the English and Portuguese Army. He wa ...
to serve in the
Third Anglo-Dutch War The Third Anglo-Dutch War, or Third Dutch War ( nl, Derde Engelse Zeeoorlog), was a naval conflict between England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of En ...
. In 1709–10, army tents were set up on Blackheath to house a large part of the 15,000 or so German refugees from the Palatinate and other regions who fled to England, most of whom subsequently settled in America or Ireland. With Watling Street carrying stagecoaches across the heath, en route to north Kent and the
Channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...

Channel
ports, it was also a notorious haunt of
highwaymen English highwayman James Hind depicted in an engraving now in the National Portrait Gallery. A highwayman was a robbery, robber who stole from travellers. This type of theft, thief usually travelled and robbed by horse as compared to a footpad ...

highwaymen
during the 17th and 18th centuries. As reported in Edward Walford's ''Old and New London'' (1878), "In past times it was planted with
gibbet A gibbet is any instrument of public execution (including guillotine A guillotine ( , also , ) is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (p ...
s, on which the bleaching bones of men who had dared to ask for some extension of liberty, or who doubted the infallibility of kings, were left year after year to dangle in the wind."'Blackheath and Charlton', ''Old and New London'': Volume 6 (1878), pp. 224-236
accessed: 4 November 2009
In 1909 Blackheath had a local branch of the London Society for Women's
Suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

Suffrage
.


Mineral extraction

The Vanbrugh Pits, known locally as the Dips, are on the north-east of the heath. A former gravel workings site, it has long been reclaimed by nature and form a feature in its near-flat expanse; particularly attractive in spring when its
gorse ''Ulex'' (commonly known as gorse, furze, or whin) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defin ...

gorse
blossoms brightly.


Vanbrugh Park

The remains of the pits and adjoining neighbourhood Vanbrugh Park, a north-east projection of Blackheath with its own church, so also termed St John's Blackheath, are named after Sir
John Vanbrugh Sir John Vanbrugh (; 24 January 1664 (baptised) – 26 March 1726) was an English architect, dramatist and herald, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace (pronounced ) is a English country house, c ...

John Vanbrugh
, architect of
Blenheim Palace Blenheim Palace (pronounced ) is a English country house, country house in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Duke of Marlborough (title), Dukes of Marlborough and the only non-royal family, royal, non-Bishop, episcop ...

Blenheim Palace
and
Castle Howard Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, within the civil parish of Henderskelfe, located north of York. It is a private residence and has been the home of the Earl of Carlisle, Carlisle branch of the House of Howard, Howard ...

Castle Howard
, who had a house with very large grounds adjoining the heath and its continuation Greenwich Park. The house which was originally built around 1720 remains, remodelled slightly,
Vanbrugh Castle Vanbrugh Castle is a house designed and built by John Vanbrugh for his own family, located on Maze Hill on the eastern edge of Greenwich Park in London, to the north of Blackheath, London, Blackheath, with views to the west past the Old Royal Nav ...

Vanbrugh Castle
. In his estate he had 'Mince Pie House' built for his family, which survived until 1911. Its church, St John the Evangelist's, was designed in 1853 by Arthur Ashpitel. The
Blackheath High School Blackheath High School is an independent day school for girls in Blackheath Village in southeast London, England. It was founded in 1880 as part of the Girls' Day School Trust; the Senior School occupied a purpose built site in Wemyss Road fo ...
buildings on Vanbrugh Park include the Church Army Chapel.


Blackheath Park

Blackheath Park occupies almost all of former Wricklemarsh Manor. Developed into
upper middle class In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phyt ...
homes by
John Cator John Cator (21 March 1728 – 26 February 1806) was an English timber merchant and politician who sat in the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Ca ...
, it forms the south-east of Blackheath: from Lee Road, Roque Lane, Fulthorp Road and the Plantation to all houses and gardens of right-angled Manor Way. Built up in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it contains large and refined
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
and
Victorian Victorian or Victorians may refer to: 19th century * Victorian era, British history during Queen Victoria's 19th-century reign ** Victorian architecture ** Victorian house ** Victorian decorative arts ** Victorian fashion ** Victorian literature ...
houses – particularly Michael Searles' crescent of semi-detached/terrace houses linked by colonnades, The Paragon (). Its alternate name, the Cator Estate, extends to lands earlier those of Sir John Morden, whose (1695) is a landmark in the north, with views of the heath. The estate has 1960s Span houses and flats with gardens with discreet parking. Its church (St Michael & All Angels) is dubbed the ''Needle of Kent'' in honour of its tall, thin spire (it is also nicknamed the ''Devil's Pick'' or the ''Devil's Toothpick'').


Other churches

The Church of the Ascension (see local II*
listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England) is an executive ...
s) was founded by Susannah Graham late in the 17th century. Its rebuilding was arranged about 1750 by her descendant, the 1st Earl of Dartmouth. Further rebuilding took place in the 1830s leaving at least parts of the east end from the earlier rebuild. At this time galleries for worshippers overlooked three sides.


Ownership and management of the heath

In 1871 the management of the heath passed by statute to the
Metropolitan Board of Works The Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) was the principal instrument of London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in ...
. Unlike the commons of Hackney, Tooting Bec and Clapham, its transfer was agreed at no expense, because the
Earl of Dartmouth Earl of Dartmouth is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted noble ranks. P ...
agreed to allow the encroachment to his manorial rights. It is held in trust for public benefit under the Metropolitan Commons Act of 1886. It passed to the
London County Council London County Council (LCC) was the principal local government body for the County of London The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of th ...
in 1889, then to the
Greater London Council The Greater London Council (GLC) was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London Greater London is an administrative area Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...
, then in 1986 to the two boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham, as to their respective extents. No trace can be found of use as common land but only as minimal fertility land exploited by its manorial owners (
manorial waste Manorialism, also known as the manor system or manorial system, was the method of land ownership (or "Land tenure, tenure") in parts of Europe, notably England, during the Middle Ages. Its defining features included a large, sometimes fortif ...
) and mainly for small-scale mineral extraction. Main freeholds (excluding many roads) vest in the Earl of Dartmouth and, as to that part that was the Royal Manor of Greenwich, the
Crown Estate The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use ...
. The heath's chief natural resource is gravel, and the freeholders retain rights over its extraction.


Sport

In 1608, according to tradition, Blackheath was the place where
golf Golf is a club-and-ball sport Sport pertains to any form of competitive Competition is a rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" ...

golf
was introduced to England – the Royal Blackheath Golf Club (based in nearby
Eltham Eltham () is a district of southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrost ...
since 1923) was one of the first golf associations established (1766) outside
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
. Blackheath also gave its name to the first
hockey Hockey is a term used to denote various types of both summer and winter team sports which originated on either an outdoor field, sheet of ice, or dry floor such as in a gymnasium. There are many types of hockey. Some games make the use of ska ...

hockey
club, established during the mid 19th century. In the 18th century, Blackheath was the home of Greenwich Cricket Club and a venue for
cricket Cricket is a Bat-and-ball games, bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players each on a cricket field, field at the centre of which is a cricket pitch, pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two Bail (cricket), bai ...

cricket
matches. The earliest known senior match was
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...
v
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...
in August 1730. A contemporary newspaper report said "the Kentish champions would have lost their honours by being beat at one innings if time had permitted". The last recorded match was Kent v London in August 1769, Kent winning by 47 runs. Cricket continued to be played on the 'Heath' but at a junior level. By 1890,
London County Council London County Council (LCC) was the principal local government body for the County of London The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of th ...
was maintaining 36 pitches. Blackheath Cricket Club has been part of the sporting fabric of the area, joining forces with Blackheath Rugby Club in 1883 to purchase and develop the
Rectory Field Rectory Field is a sports ground in Blackheath, London, Blackheath in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London. It was developed in the 1880s by Blackheath Cricket, Football and Lawn Tennis Company and became the home ground of rugby un ...
as a home ground in Charlton. Blackheath Cricket Club hosted 84 first-class Kent County matches between 1887 and 1971.
Blackheath Rugby Club Blackheath Football Club is a rugby union Rugby union, commonly known simply as rugby, is a Contact sport#Terminology, full-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the Comparison of rugby l ...
, founded in 1858, is one of the oldest documented
rugby Rugby may refer to: Sports Rugby codes * Rugby football in various forms: ** Rugby league: 13 players per side *** Masters Rugby League *** Mod league *** Rugby league nines *** Rugby league sevens *** Touch (sport) *** Wheelchair rugby league ** ...
clubs in the world and was located until 2016 at
Rectory Field Rectory Field is a sports ground in Blackheath, London, Blackheath in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London. It was developed in the 1880s by Blackheath Cricket, Football and Lawn Tennis Company and became the home ground of rugby un ...
on Charlton Road. The Blackheath club also organised the world's first rugby international (between
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
and
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
in
Edinburgh Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinburghshire before 1921), it is ...

Edinburgh
on 27 March 1871) and hosted the first international between England and
Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the Wales–England border, east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It ...
ten years later – the players meeting and getting changed at the Princess of Wales public house. Blackheath was one of the 12 founding members of
the Football Association The Football Association (also known as The FA) is the governing body A governing body is a group of people that has the authority to exercise governance Governance is all the processes of interactions be they through the laws Law ...
in 1863, as well as nearby
Blackheath Proprietary School The Blackheath Proprietary School was an educational establishment founded in 1830. In the 19th century, it had a profound influence on the game of football, in both Association and Rugby codes. In 1863, the school became one of the founders of Th ...
and Percival House (Blackheath). Along with neighbouring
Greenwich Park Greenwich Park is a former hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
, Blackheath is the start point of the
London Marathon The London Marathon is an annual marathon held in London, United Kingdom. Founded by athletes Chris Brasher and John Disley in 1981, it was typically held in April but has now moved to October. The largely flat course is set around the River Tha ...

London Marathon
. This maintains a connection with
athletics Athletics may refer to: Sports * Sport of athletics, a collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking ** Track and field, a sub-category of the above sport * Athletics (physical culture), competitio ...
dating back to the establishment of the Blackheath Harriers (now
Blackheath and Bromley Harriers Athletic ClubBlackheath & Bromley Harriers AC is an athletics club based in South-East London, England. It is based at the Sydney Wooderson Centre, 56 Bourne Way, Hayes, Kent. It competes in division one of the British Athletics League, the premier division of t ...
) in 1869. One of the Marathon start routes runs past the entrance to Blackheath High School for Girls, home of Blackheath Fencing Club. There is also a long history of kite flying on the heath. Growing popularity of the sport in recent years has attracted many kite flyers and Kite buggy, kitebuggying has also appeared on the heath. Be Military Fit runs its evening classes on the heath during the winter months, when
Greenwich Park Greenwich Park is a former hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife or feral animals. The most common reasons for humans to hunt are to harvest useful animal products (meat, fur/hide (skin), hide, ...
is closed.


Geography

Blackheath is one of the largest areas of common land in Greater London, with of protected commons. The heath is managed by Lewisham and Greenwich councils. Highlights on the Greenwich side include the Long Pond (also known as Folly Pond), close to the main entrance of Greenwich Park. On the Lewisham side are three ponds, with Hare and Billet pond considered to be the most natural and probably the best wildlife habitat. Lewisham retains important areas of acid grassland that support locally rare wild plants such as Erodium cicutarium, Common stork's bill, Rumex pulcher, Fiddle dock and Medicago arabica, Spotted medick. Key areas are to the east of Granville Park between South Row and Morden Row and on the cricket field east of Golfers Road. The heath's habitat was well known to early botanists. In the 18th century Carl Linnaeus reportedly fell to his knees to thank God when he first saw the gorse growing there. However, this disputed account is more often attributed to Putney Heath. This environment supported both the flora and fauna of wild grassland. In 1859, Greenwich Natural History Society recorded a wide list of animal species, including natterjack toads, hares, common lizards, bats, quail, ring ouzel and nightingale. Today, bats remain and migrating ring ouzel may occasionally be seen in spring. Extensive mineral extraction in the 18th and early 19th centuries, when gravel, sand and chalk were extracted left the heath transformed. This left large pits in many parts. In 1945 pits were filled with bomb rubble from World War II, then covered with topsoil and seeded with Ryegrass, rye grass, leaving Vanbrugh Pits to the north-east side and Eliot Pits in the south-west. Infilled areas stand out, especially in late spring and early summer, from their deep-green rye grass.


Culture and community

Two clusters of amenities vie for retail and leisure: the "Village" around
Blackheath railway station Blackheath railway station is Grade II-listed and is in the south-centre of Blackheath, a village in southeast London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unit ...
to the south of the heath and the "Standard" in the north of St Johns/Vanburgh Park i.e. beyond the A2 road, named after the Royal Standard pub (in Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greenwich). The north of the green is in the Westcombe Park neighbourhood, which has its own railway station about 400 metres north — part of East Greenwich. The total green and fountain sub-green was at first one village green, known during the 18th century as Sheepgate Green, beside a crossroads of what was the London-Dover road. Around 1885 local philanthropist William Fox Batley had it refurbished and it became known as Batley Green or Batley Park;Westcombe Park Conservation Area: Character Appraisal, March 2010
Accessed: 20 July 2015
Batley's contribution is recorded in an inscription on a memorial fountain. Just south of the railway station is the The Conservatoire, Blackheath Conservatoire of Music and the Arts. It is located close to Blackheath Halls, a concert venue today owned and managed by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. To the north of the railway station, in Tranquil Vale, All Saints' Parish Hall is a locally listed building in Arts and Crafts movement, Arts and Crafts style, built in 1928. It has housed the Mary Evans Picture Library since 1988. The heath is host to an annual fireworks display on the Saturday in November closest to Guy Fawkes Night. This was previously organised and financed by the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham, but Greenwich Council withdrew its share of the funding in 2010. In September 2014, the inaugural ''On Blackheath'' festival was hosted on the heath. The line-up included Massive Attack, Frank Turner, Grace Jones, Aloe Blacc and Imelda May. The festival was also held in 2015 (line-up included Elbow (band), Elbow, Madness (band), Madness, Manic Street Preachers, Laura Mvula and Kelis2015 Headliners
On Blackheath. Retrieved: 24 August 2015.
) and 2016 (line-up included Primal Scream, Hot Chip, Belle & Sebastian, James (band), James and Squeeze (band), Squeeze).


Transport


Rail

Blackheath railway station, Blackheath station serves the area with National Rail services to London Victoria railway station, London Victoria, Charing Cross railway station, London Charing Cross, Cannon Street railway station, London Cannon Street, Slade Green railway station, Slade Green via Bexleyheath railway station, Bexleyheath, Dartford railway station, Dartford via Bexleyheath or via Woolwich Arsenal railway station, Woolwich Arsenal and Gravesend railway station, Gravesend. Westcombe Park railway station, Westcome Park station also serves northern parts of Blackheath, with National Rail services to Luton railway station, Luton via Blackfriars railway station, London Blackfriars, London Cannon Street, Barnehurst railway station, Barnehurst via Woolwich Arsenal, Crayford railway station, Crayford via Woolwich Arsenal and Rainham railway station (Kent), Rainham via Woolwich Arsenal.


Buses

Blackheath is served by London Buses routes London Buses route 53, 53, London Buses route 54, 54, London Buses route 89, 89, London Buses route 108, 108, London Buses route 202, 202, London Buses route 286, 286, London Buses route 335, 335, London Buses route 380, 380, London Buses route 386, 386, London Buses route 422, 422, London Buses route N53, N53 and London Buses route N89, N89. These connect it with areas including Bexleyheath, Bow, London, Bow, Catford, Charlton, London, Charlton, Crystal Palace, London, Crystal Palace, Deptford, Elephant & Castle,
Eltham Eltham () is a district of southeast The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrost ...
,
Greenwich Greenwich ( , , , or ) is a town in South London, south-east London, England, located in the Historic county of England, historic county of Kent and the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east ...
, Kidbrooke, Lee, London, Lee,
Lewisham Lewisham () is an area of south east London London is the Capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the he ...

Lewisham
, New Cross, Plumstead, Greenwich Peninsula, North Greenwich, Sidcup, Slade Green, Stratford, London, Stratford, Sydenham, London, Sydenham, Welling and Woolwich.


See also

*List of people from Greenwich *List of people from Lewisham


References


External links


The Blackheath SocietyBlackheath Village - a local guide of businesses and events in Blackheath, South East London.
* * {{Authority control Blackheath, London, 1730 establishments in England Areas of London Common land in London Conservation areas in London Cricket grounds in London Defunct cricket grounds in England Defunct sports venues in London Districts of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Districts of the London Borough of Lewisham English cricket venues in the 18th century Nature reserves in the London Borough of Lewisham Sports venues completed in 1730 Sports venues in London