Shooter's Hill (or Shooters Hill) is a district in South East London
within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It borders the
of Bexley. It lies north of
Eltham and south of Woolwich. With a
height of 132 metres (433 ft), it is the highest point in the
Greenwich and one of the highest points in London.
Shooter's Hill also gives its name to the A road which passes through
east to west and is part of the A207 road, the A2 road, and also
2 Literary associations
4 Road alterations
6 Notable former residents
8 Nearest places
11 Further reading
12 External links
It reputedly takes its name from the practice of archery there during
the Middle Ages, although the name is also commonly linked to its
reputation as a haunt for highwaymen and was infamous for its gibbets
of executed felons, mentioned
Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1661. The
name is also linked to the Second World War, where it was the site of
an array of anti-aircraft guns which protected London. As part of
London Stop Line Central' it was a last line of defence from a German
land invasion, that was assumed would follow
Watling Street from
Dover. A number of devices were under the control of the Home Guard
including a fougasse and a flame thrower. Adjacent to the
Shooter's Hill was also the location of a
prisoner-of-war camp, situated on what is today part of a golf course
on the north-eastern slopes.
Eltham Common was the site of
Shooter's Hill police station (now
Eltham was allegedly the only town in
England with two fully
functional police stations (the other in
Well Hall Road), having been
placed there due to the lawlessness associated with that area.
Celia Fiennes, who in 1697 proceeded out of
London along the Dover
Road, wrote in her diary of stopping at:
"Shuttershill, on top of which hill you see a vast prospect ...some
lands clothed with trees, others with grass and flowers, gardens,
orchards, with all sorts of herbage and tillage, with severall little
towns all by the river, Erith, Leigh,
Woolwich etc., quite up to
London, Greenwich, Deptford, Black Wall, the
Thames twisting and
turning it self up and down bearing severall vessells and men of warre
As the name also implies, the district is centred upon a hill - one of
the highest points in
London 132 metres (433 ft)  - offering
good views over the River
Thames to the north, with central London
clearly visible to the west.
Oxleas Wood remains a public open space
close to the top of the hill; there is also a golf-course and one of
the last remaining areas of farmland in inner London, Woodlands Farm
(now an educational charity).
Shooter's Hill Road stretches eastwards from the heath at Blackheath
up and over the hill, initially as part of the A2 road as far as the
Sun in the Sands, and then the A207. The road follows the route of
Watling Street, a
Roman Road linking
London with Roman settlements in
north Kent. This was used as a route for horse-drawn mail-coaches
London with Dover.
Don Juan is waylaid while romantically musing on Shooter's
Hill when he first arrives in
London (Canto XI). As the narrative of
A Tale of Two Cities
A Tale of Two Cities opens, Mr. Jarvis Lorry is a
passenger in the
Dover mail coach, "lumbering up Shooter's Hill"; and
Dickens refers to a public house there in The Pickwick Papers. The
Shooter's Hill is also mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula
although referring to the Hampstead area, some distance away, and also
in H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and by Thomas Carlyle. On 11
April 1661, diarist
Samuel Pepys mentions passing under "the man that
hangs upon Shooters Hill" (probably a highwayman hanged and left to
rot as a warning to other criminals - at '
Gibbet Field', now part of
the local golf-course). In the graphic novel
V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta by Alan
Moore and David Lloyd, the character Evey Hammond describes her
childhood, spent on Shooter's Hill.
The distinctive gothic revival water tower at the top of Shooter's
Hill is a landmark that was built in 1910 and can be seen from far
around. Other local landmarks include Severndroog Castle, a folly
designed by the architect
Richard Jupp in 1784 and built to
commemorate Commodore Sir William James, who on 2 April 1755 attacked
and destroyed a pirate fortress at
Suvarnadurg along the western coast
Another water tower (of 130 ft) is further west down Shooter's
Hill. This was originally built in the 1890s to designs by Thomas W.
Aldwinckle to supply water to the 'Brook Fever hospital', which was
demolished in the 1990s, to be replaced by a housing development. The
tower consists of a plain brick pillar ornamented simply with bands of
terracotta tiles and windows like arrowslits. It is not listed, but it
was cleaned, repointed and underpinned for conversion into a family
home. It is the centrepiece of the housing estate.
Immediately to the east of the housing estate is the Grade II listed
former Royal Herbert Hospital, today the Royal Herbert Pavilions.
Further up the hill is the still-functioning Memorial Hospital.
In 1749, 'The Bull' public house opened just west of the summit of the
hill, and was used as a refreshment stop by the coaches, although not
by the Royal Mail, which had an interchange of mail bags at the Post
Office by the Red Lion on the
London side of the hill.
An 18th-century grade II listed milestone in the grounds of Christ
Shooter's Hill has 19th-century plates giving the distances
"Dartford 7 miles", "
London Bridge 8 miles" and a later addition: "130
miles to Ypres: in defending the salient our casualties were 90,000
killed, 70,500 missing, 450,000 wounded", commemorating the Battle of
During the 1950s alterations were made to the road surface to make the
incline less steep. Low-powered motor vehicles of the era frequently
struggled to get to the top. As a remedy, a small section of the road
surface west of the summit was excavated and removed to slightly
decrease the gradient. This alteration is evident today where the road
surface (opposite Craigholm) runs through a cutting and the pavement
(following the original gradient of the hill) can be seen to rise
about 1–2 metres above the present-day road surface.
Shooter's Hill Post 16 Campus, Red Lion Lane
Christ Church Primary School
Greenwich Free School
Notable former residents
Writer Algernon Blackwood, born in
Shooter's Hill in 1869
Landscape painter William Robert Earl died here in 1880
Fanny Cradock and her husband
Johnnie Cradock lived in
Shooter's Hill Road.
Noted comics writer, Steve Moore spent his entire life living in the
same house he was born in on Shooter's Hill. His life, area and its
history were dramatised by Alan Moore's essay Unearthed in an
anthology of essays on
London edited by Iain Sinclair. Unearthed was
later turned into a dramatic reading.
English engineer Samuel Brown developed an internal combustion engine
that used hydrogen as a fuel and tested it to propel a vehicle
(arguably one of the earliest automobiles) up
Shooter's Hill in 1826.
English musician, songwriter, guitarist
Steve Peregrin Took
Steve Peregrin Took (T.Rex,
Shagrat, Steve Took's Horns) was educated at
Shooter's Hill Grammar
School on Red Lion Lane (formerly the
Woolwich County School).
English actor, comedian, satirist,
Frankie Howerd was "gently educated
at Shooter's Hill" Grammar School, as he recalled his time there.
For education in
Shooter's Hill see the main Royal Borough of
Shooter's Hill is served by many Transport for
London bus services
connecting it with areas including Woolwich, Eltham, Greenwich,
Lewisham and Crystal Palace.The closest rail
link to the area is
Welling railway station.
Greenwich Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office
for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
^ The Archaeology of the Second World War - Uncovering Britain's
Wartime Heritage pp26-8
^ "Shooters Hill Local History Group – Prisoners of War and the
Local Community". e-Shooters Hill. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
^ "History". Shooters Hill Golf Club. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
Greenwich Council ward structure
^ Partridge, Chris (25 July 2004). "Tall order to save romantic
^ Historic England. "
Milestone to North of Christ Church (1211875)".
National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
^ "Ypres Memorial Milestone". Public Monuments & Sculpture
Association. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
^ Howerd, Frankie (1976) On the Way I Lost It, W.H. Allen,
Shooter's Hill in Views in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northamptonshire
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shooter's Hill.
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Greenwich Peninsula/North Greenwich
The Bob Hope Theatre
Emirates cable car
Greenwich Heritage Centre
National Maritime Museum
The O2 arena (formerly the Millennium Dome)
Old Royal Naval College
Royal Artillery Barracks
St Alfege Church
The Valley (Charlton Athletic Football Club)
Parks and open spaces
Avery Hill Park
Bostall Heath and Woods
Maryon Wilson Park
Erith and Thamesmead
Greenwich and Woolwich
Bridges and tunnels
Greenwich foot tunnel
Woolwich foot tunnel
Elverson Road (in LB of Lewisham)
Coat of arms
Grade I and II* listed buildings