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A Timeline History of Forest Hill  


A timeline history of Forest Hill with prints, photographs and maps
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Brockley History

Catford History

East Dulwich History

Sydenham History

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Forest Hill named from extensive woodland formerly covering the area. Part of Lewisham parish, bordered Great North Wood and Westwood Common (into Sydenham).

Tudor Forest Hill

1602 Queen Elizabeth I visited Sir Richard Bulkeley at Sydmonscourt. Tradition has it that she lunched under the shade of an oak on the hill known as One Tree Hill between Forest Hill and Brockley.

Georgian Forest Hill

1790-1810 Georgian villas built in Forest Hill: Hill House, White House and Ashberry Cottage.

Croydon Canal built through Forest Hill.

1815 Dartmouth Arms station opened at 9 Dartmouth Road, led to development of Forest Hill.

1836 Railway built on old Croydon Canal, led to development of Forest Hill.

Victorian Forest Hill

1839 Dartmouth Arms station opened.

1845 Dartmouth Arms station renamed Forest Hill for Lordship Lane.

Railway used atmospheric pressure traction with 4 steam pumping engines at Dartmouth Arms (Forest Hill) station.

1847 Atmospheric pressure system replaced by steam trains.

Christ Church built

1853 Telegraph Tavern (later Railway Telegraph) opened with John Hunter as its first landlord.

1854 New railway station opened at Forest Hill. 

1862 Stanford’s Map of London (Forest Hill section). Shows remnants of Croydon Canal, plus Forest Hill Station, Christ Church, Railway Telegraph (Telegraph Tavern)

Mid Victorian Forest Hill

1878 Mayow Park opened as Sydenham & Forest Hill Public Recreation Ground

Late Victorian Forest Hill

1883 Forest Hill station rebuilt.
German Church  opened on Dacres Road 

1885 Spire added to Christ Church 

Forest Hill Hill pools opened on Dartmouth Road, Designed by Wilson and Aldwinckle. Thomas Aldwinckle (1845-1920) lived at Dacres Road.

1890 EC (Ted) Christmas set up business at 55 Dartmouth Road
1890 Frederick J. Horniman established a general collection at Surrey House from his travels.
1898 Surrey House demolished to make way for new Horniman Museum.

Edwardian Forest Hill

Colour-tinted postcard of Forest Hill

St Augustine’s Church opened on One Tree Hill Honor Oak

Horniman Museum  opened on London Road. Founded by Frederick John Horniman (1835 – 1906) and presented to London County Council along with 21 acres of park and gardens. Designed by Charles Harrison Townsend (1851-1928) in his distinct style.

Forest Hill Library opened on Dartmouth Road in Arts & Crafts style. Designed by Alexander Robert Hennell.

1902 Fire Station built in Perry Vale.

1913 Stanstead Picture Palace opened at 12-14 Wastdale Road from converted shops with seating for 825. 

Prewar Forest Hill

1927 Stanstead Cinema , 12-14 Wastdale Road, added canopy over entrance. Designed by the architectural firm Frank Matcham & Co.

1929 Capitol Cinema opened by London & Southern Cinemas on at 11-21 London Road. Designed by John Stanley Beard (1890-1970) in Neo-Classical style. 

1931 Stanstead Cinema renamed Astoria Cinema.

1933 Capitol Cinema acquired by ABC cinema chain.

1936 Forest Croft modernist flats built on site of The Mount house. Designed by Arnold Andre Higuer (1879-1937).
Taymount Grange flats built on Taymount Rise on site of Taymount, a C19 house. Designed by George Bertram Carter (1896-1986) in Modernist style.

Forest Hill in WW2 

1944 Forest Hill station damaged by flying bomb

Post war Forest Hill

1949 Francis Rossi (later of Status Quo) born & raised in Mayow Road. Family later moved to Perry Rise. 

1955 New Astoria Cinema closed on Wastdale Road.

1964 Oct 3:  Rolling Stones played the Glenlyn Ballroom (c.1961-1967), 15a Perry Vale, supported by The Detours (later The Who). Other bands that played there  included The Animals, The Yardbirds, The Birds & The Kinks. 

1968 Capitol Cinema renamed ABC.

1972 Victorian Forest Hill station demolished due to war damage. New modern station added.

1973 ABC closed down on London Road.

1975 Cinema building on Wastdale Road demolished.

1976 Roxy club DJ Don Letts (b.1956) moved to a house built on the second highest point in London with his then girlfriend Jeannette Lee (later of Public Image Ltd). Also Leo Williams and Humphrey "J.R." Murray, (both in Basement 5 with Letts), Joe Strummer (The Clash) and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) lived there at different times.

1978 Peter Perret (b. 1952) of Only Ones group lived at Manor Mount.
Cinema on London road became a bingo hall.

1990 Swiss Cottage pub at 149 Stanstead Road, on the corner of Wastdale Road, demolished.

1995 The Centre for Understanding the Environment (CUE) opened at Horniman Museum.

1996 Bingo Hall closed at old Capital/ABC cinema on London Road.

2001 Old Capital/ABC cinema re-opened as a Weatherspoon pub.

2002 Horniman Museum extended.

2010 Forest Hill station served by new London Overground service as well as mainline trains.

2012 Horniman Pools refurbished and rebuilt.


Retracing Canals To Croydon and Camberwell (1986 Living History Publications)
Forest Hill and Sydenham - Adrian Prockter (1987 London Reference Books)
London and Croydon Railway - Adrian Prockter (1989 London Reference Books)
Images of England: Sydenham and Forest Hill - John Coulter (1994 Sutton)
Sydenham and Forest Hill Past - John Coulter (1999 Historical Publications)
Sydenham and Forest Hill History and Guide - Joan P. Alcock (2005 History Press)
Sydenham and Forest Hill Through Time - Steve Grindlay (Amberley 2014)

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