Erith (/ˈiːrɪθ/ ( listen)) is a town in south-east
London in the London Borough of Bexley. The town is located to the
Bexleyheath and north-west of
Dartford and lies on the
south bank of the River Thames.
Erith town centre has undergone
modernisation and an increase in dwellings since 1961. The curved
riverside high street contains three listed buildings, including the
England church and the Carnegie Building, while the district
otherwise consists primarily of suburban homes.
Erith is linked to
central London and
Kent by rail, and a dual carriageway links it to
Thamesmead. It has the longest pier in London, and retains a coastal
environment with salt marshes as well as industrial land.
within the historic boundaries of
Kent and has been administered as
part of London since 1965.
1.4 Industrial era
1.5 20th century
6 Notable people
7 Places of worship
10 External links
Mudflats on the Thames, with the
Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in the far
Work carried out at the former
British Gypsum site in Church Manorway
Museum of London
Museum of London Archaeological Service shows that the area was
covered by a dense forest of oak, yew, and alder during the Neolithic
Period, which by the
Bronze Age had given way in part to sedge fen.
The museum's work at the former site of
Erith School in Belmont Road
revealed traces of prehistoric settlement, and of a substantial
community or farmstead in the first century AD.
Following the collapse of Roman rule at the beginning of the 5th
century, Britain was colonised by Anglo-Saxon invaders from northern
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that they won the Battle of
Crecganford (thought to be modern Crayford) in 457 and shortly after
claimed the whole of Kent. Their different way of life was reflected
in their pattern of settlement. The town and country estates of the
Roman bureaucrats gave way to a network of villages, occupied by
warriors and farmers.
Erith was one such village and has a Saxon name,
originally Ærre hyðe meaning "old haven".
There was probably a church on the site of the present St John the
Baptist's during the Anglo-Saxon period. The early settlement was
based around it, meaning that the centre of
Erith was once west of its
The earliest reference to the area is in a Latin charter of 695
recording a grant by the Bishop of the East Saxons of certain lands at
Erith. The surrounding area was known as Lesnes or
Lessness, which is mentioned in the Domesday Survey. After the Norman
Conquest, Lessness passed into the possession of Bishop Odo. In
Royal Charter was granted for a market to be held in Erith
every Thursday. However, it was noted in 1776 that the market had long
Erith owes its existence to the Thames and was, until the 1850s,
essentially a small riverside port, given prominence by King Henry
VIII's decision to open a naval dockyard there, approximately where
the Riverside Gardens are now. Henry's famous warship, Henri Grâce à
Dieu, was fitted out there in 1515.
Following the death of
George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury
George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury in 1538,
Erith 'alias Lysnes' was granted to his widow, Elizabeth, by Henry
VIII 'with all its members and appurtenances, to hold in capite, by
Up until the 19th century
Erith remained a popular anchorage. Ships
often discharged some cargo there to reduce their displacement before
entering the shallows upstream.
Edward Hasted described
Erith as "consisting of one small
street of houses, which leads to the water side", and mentions two
annual fairs, at Ascension and Michaelmas. In 1831 Erith's
population was 1533 – it was described in 1840 as being "composed
chiefly of two streets, one leading down to the water side, the other
branching off to the left towards the church."
A Grade II listed building in Walnut Tree Road by William Egerton,
opened 7 April 1906
Erith was enjoying a short spell as a riverside resort. Its
pier and nearby hotel gave hospitality for day-trippers arriving on
Thames pleasure boats or by railway.
Local Government Act 1894
Local Government Act 1894 brought into existence
District, which became the
Municipal Borough of Erith
Municipal Borough of Erith in 1938. It
Northumberland Heath and Belvedere.
Erith Iron Works was established in 1864 in Anchor Bay by William
Erith was home to a large cable works founded by William
Callender. This became
British Insulated Callender's Cables (BICC),
and eventually Pirelli, which announced its partial closure in 2003.
The remainder became Prysmian.
Engineering became an important industry around Erith, with armaments
and cables being the main products.
Vickers was a major employer and
was linked to the
Royal Arsenal at nearby Woolwich. Another local firm
was Callender's Cables).
A 'dancing fish' statue at the roundabout in the town centre
During the First World War
Erith was an important area for the
manufacture of guns and ammunition, largely due to the presence of the
The town suffered heavy bomb damage in the Second World War, mainly
due its position on the riverside near the Royal Arsenal. The bomb
damage and a gradual decline in local trade prompted major
redevelopment in the 1960s.
Riverside Shopping Centre
In 1961, plans were put forward to redevelop
Erith into a modern,
sleek shopping and working environment. This involved clearing the
sub-standard housing by the riverside and altering the street layout.
Some of the buildings erected, particularly the social housing tower
blocks, are of a brutalist form that typified the overspill estates
put up by almost all councils in England's major cities as an
affordable way of clearing the slums.
In 1965, under the London Government Act 1963,
Erith became part of
the London Borough of Bexley.
Demolition of the old town started in 1966 and continued in phases
until 1980, leaving only a few reminders of the old town centre. Many
of the original Victorian buildings were lost, but some of the
original townscape remains, including the White Hart in the High
Street and St John's Church in West Street.
Erith is the site of the
Erith Oil Works, originally British Oil &
Cake Mills (BOCM). It now processes various seeds into vegetable
Riverside apartment blocks, just east of
Erith town centre
Since the late 1990s
Erith has been undergoing significant changes,
Erith Western Thames Gateway project being the
The regeneration falls within the remit of the Thames Gateway project,
Erith as a key focus for
Bexley Council, as its only
population centre on the River Thames.
Since 2000 a significant number of new flats have been constructed by
the river by private companies. The
Erith Western Gateway will include
a significant number of new riverside flats, and is expected to
continue the regeneration of the area, hitherto a large underused area
of the town centre.
Bexley Council is seeking to produce a mixed-use
development with a potential of 6,000 sq.m of new commercial space and
over 500 new homes.
Erith is a post town in the DA postcode area, consisting of the DA8
and DA18 postcode districts.
Neighbouring towns, villages and places.
Coldharbour (across the River Thames)
Darent Industrial Park &
Dartford Salt Marshes
62% of the population is White British, according to the 2011 census.
The second most common ethnicity is Black African, at 14%.
Erith ward (green) within the
London Borough of Bexley
London Borough of Bexley (yellow)
A large part of
Erith is in the
Erith ward of the London Borough of
Bexley. The local councillors are Joe Ferreira (Labour), Edward
Boateng (Labour), and Abena Oppong-Asare (Labour). The eastern
Erith is in North End ward, and the southern part in Colyers
Erith lies within the
Thamesmead constituency. The
current Member of Parliament is
Teresa Pearce (Labour). The eastern
Erith is within the
whose MP is
David Evennett (Conservative).
Erith is in the
London Assembly constituency and is
represented on the
London Assembly by
James Cleverly (Conservative).
For education in
Erith see the main
London Borough of Bexley
London Borough of Bexley article
Erith Leisure Centre, including swimming facilities, was opened in
The David Ives Stadium is next to the Leisure Centre. It is often
Erith Stadium and is home to
Bexley Athletic Club.
Erith Playhouse Theatre is the largest in Bexley.
Erith has a Health Centre and a library with a meeting room.[citation
Erith Deep Wharf
Erith is the location of the longest pier in Greater London. The pier
has recently[when?] been adapted from commercial to leisure use, and
is popular with anglers.
Erith Riverside Festival has been held for a number of
years in Riverside Gardens alongside the Thames.
Erith is the starting point for the LOOP (London Outer Orbital Path)
and one of the starting points for the Green Chain Walk. The
Thames Path National Trail, which runs to the source of the River
Thames at Kemble, begins at nearby
Erith Rowing Club is located on the
Erith Yacht Club
is based a short distance downstream from
Erith on the edge of
There are two senior football clubs named for Erith, neither of which
are actually based in the town.
Erith & Belvedere play at Park
View Road in Welling, and
Erith Town play at Oakwood in Crayford.
Philip Absolon (1960–), Stuckist artist, was born in Erith[citation
Ronnie Aldrich (1916–93), jazz pianist and band-leader, was born in
Patrick Young Alexander
Patrick Young Alexander (1867–1943), aeronautical pioneer, born in
Erith or Belvedere
William Auld (1924–2006), Scottish poet, author and Esperantist,
born in Erith
Sir William Anderson (1834–98), engineer and philanthropist, lived
Erith from 1864 until 1889 and contributed substantial time and
money to the local community
Tony Brise (1952–75), motor racing driver, born in Erith
Wendy Cope (1945–), poet, born in Erith
John Downton (1906–1991), artist, poet and philosopher, born in
Kevin Horlock (1972–), footballer,
Northern Ireland international,
born in Erith
Bill Jaques (1888–1925), footballer, born in Erith
James Leasor (1923–2007), journalist and author
Dave Martin (1985–), footballer, born in Erith
Douglas McWhirter (1886–1966), amateur footballer, part of the
gold-medal winning English team at the 1912 Summer Olympics, born in
Percy Hilder Miles (1878–1922), professor, violinist and composer,
was born in Erith
Alan Morton (1950–), footballer, born in Erith
Robert Napper (1966–), serial murderer and rapist, born in Erith
Anthony Reckenzaun (1850–93), the 19th century engineer, worked at
Erith Ironworks and set up evening classes for the
Steve Rutter (1968–), footballer, born in Erith
Sam Saunders (1983–), footballer (
Brentford F.C.), born in Erith
Linda Smith, comedian and writer, came from Erith. Smith famously
Erith was not twinned with any town but did have a suicide
pact with Dagenham.
Jim Sterling (1984–), video game journalist, born and grew up in
Dave Suich (1957–), AKA Joe Bazouki, an original member of the
Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, was born in Erith.
Denis Thatcher, husband of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, headed
the family-owned Atlas Preservatives, based in Erith, until
Henry Wheatley (1777–1852), keeper of the privy purse for King
William IV and Queen Victoria from 1830 to 1846, born and grew up at
A rhyme by William Cosmo Monkhouse:
"There are men in the village of
Erith that nobody seeth or heareth,
and there looms on the marge of the river a barge, that nobody roweth
Places of worship
St. John the Baptist Church
Barnehurst Methodist Church, Erith
Christ Church, Victoria Rd. Erith
Christadelphian Hall, Lesney Park Rd. Erith
Northend Baptist Church, Larner Rd, Erith
Northumberland Road Baptist Church, Belmont Road, Erith
Our Lady of the Angels Church, Carlton Road, Erith
Queen Street Baptist Church, Erith
St. Augustines Church (Slade Green),
Slade Green Rd, Erith
St. Johns the Baptist Church, West Street, Erith
St. Paul's Church, Mill Road, Erith
The Treasure House,
Bexley Road, Erith
Erith is served by
London Buses routes 99, 229, 428, 469, B12 and N89.
Erith Railway Station
The nearest station is
Erith for Southeastern services towards
Barnehurst, Crayford, Dartford, Gillingham, Gravesend, London Cannon
Street and London Charing Cross.
A2016 road bisecting Erith, is a dual carriageway stretching
Museum of London
Museum of London summary of archaeological work carried out in 2001
Archived 15 May 2005 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 6 April 2008
Museum of London
Museum of London summary of archaeological work carried out in 1996
Archived 25 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine. accessed 6 April 2008
^ Hasted, Edward. "'Parishes: Erith', in The History and Topographical
Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 2". British History Online.
Canterbury. pp. 227–263. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
^ Good Stuff IT Services (20 May 1953). "Parish Church of St John the
Greater London – England". British Listed
Buildings. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
Bexley Area in the Domesday Book".
Bexley borough council.
Retrieved 11 February 2017.
Bexley Local Studies Note 51 – Historical References to Erith
Market[permanent dead link] accessed 6 June 2008
^ a b c d e "History of
Erith History of
Bexley and Districts".
Ideal Homes. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
^ Hasted, Edward (1797). The History and Topographical Survey of the
County of Kent. Canterbury: W. Bristow. p. 227-263.
^ 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume
2' (E.Hasted) Retrieved 6 March 2008.
^ 'Pigots 1840', on website
freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~shebra/pigots_1840 Retrieved 5
Bexley Local Studies Note 66 'Sir William Anderson'[permanent dead
link] accessed 6 June 2008
^ Urban regeneration: the essentials The Guardian
^  Archived 7 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ "London – Places – Why Thames Gateway is good for Bexley". BBC.
15 May 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
^ a b "
Erith Western Gateway". Retrieved 17 September
2007. [permanent dead link]
Erith Councillors". London Borough of Bexley. Retrieved 12 October
Erith Stadium". Runtrackdir.com. 31 March 2005. Retrieved 24 August
Erith Playhouse". Playhouse.org.uk. 21 January 2012. Archived from
the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
^ "Explore South East London's Green Chain". Greenchain.com. Retrieved
24 August 2012.
^ Ramblers. "Thames Path National Trail Paths by name Ramblers,
Britain's Walking Charity". Ramblers.org.uk. Archived from the
original on 28 September 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
^ "Surnames beginning with A". bexley.gov.uk. Archived from the
original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
^ "William Auld". The Scotsman. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 25
^ "Sir William Anderson, 1834–1898". bexley.gov.uk. Archived from
the original on 24 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ "Tony Brise". historicracing.com. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ Lewis, Helen (3 December 2011). "
Wendy Cope interview: "I can't die
until I've sorted out the filing cabinets"". The New Statesman.
Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ "Awards entry catches the eye".
Kent Online. 19 November 2012.
Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ "Chatham Town unveil former Manchester City midfielder Kevin
Horlock, 42, as their new manager". Kentish Football. 15 October 2015.
Retrieved 25 November 2016.
^ Joyce, Michael (2004). Football League Players' Records. soccerdata.
p. 137. ISBN 1-899468-63-3.
^ Adrian, Jack (22 December 2007). "James Leasor: Journalist and
thriller writer". The Independent. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who
2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
Douglas McWhirter bio, stats and results". sports-reference.com.
Retrieved 25 November 2016.
^ Musical Times through Google Books. 37. 1 February 1896. p. 98.
Retrieved 7 February 2011.
^ "Players: Alan Morton". The Historical Don. Retrieved 25 November
^ Hughes, Mark (19 December 2008). "Rachel Nickell: Six mistakes in
hunt for serial killer". The Independent. Retrieved 25 November
^ Rollin, Glenda; Rollin, Jack, eds. (2012). Sky Sports Football
Yearbook 2012–2013 (43rd ed.). London: Headline. p. 439.
^ "Linda Smith – Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 1 March 2006.
Retrieved 13 November 2016.
Jim Sterling (11 April 2012). "Beautifully bleak, a quasi-defense of
"dark and gritty" games". gamefront.com. Retrieved 23 November
^ "The Ukulele Orchestra Players - The Ukulele Orchestra of Great
Britain". www.ukuleleorchestra.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
^ "Surnames beginning with T". bexley.gov.uk. Archived from the
original on 14 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the Thames (London: Ebury
^ "The Wheatley's Housekeeper's accounts, 1792–1817". bexley.gov.uk.
Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 25 November
^ Nonsense Rhymes, Cosmo Hamilton, R. Brimley Johnson, London, 1900
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