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A Timeline History of Herne Hill




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A timeline history of Herne Hill illustrated with prints, photographs and maps
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Origin of name

Herne Hill may have meant "hill by nook of land"
Medieval Herne Hill

Herne Hill was part of the ancient manor of Milkwell, a relatively small manor which lay partly in Lambeth and partly in Camberwell.

Stuart Herne Hill

Alternatively Herne Hill may have been named after the Herne family, residents in the area from the 17th Century.

1691 Robert Corbett sold his third of Milkwell manor to John Godschall of London, merchant. This property comprised some 124 acres in the areas later known as Denmark Hill and Herne Hill, and included a farm or Manor called Betton's.

Georgian Herne Hill

1760 Half Moon Tavern built by Joseph Miller.

1798 Early reference to Herne Hill in print.

Early C19 By now an affluent rural area with detached houses and large gardens.

1813 Brockwell Hall built on an elevated position for John Blades (1751-1829), later Sheriff of the City of London. Designed by David Riddell Roper (1774-1855) in a free Grecian style. The previous mansion lay close to what is now Norwood Road.

1823 John Ruskin moved to 28 Herne Hill with his family. 

1825-30 Brockwell Hall parkland landscaped by John Buonarotti Papworth (1775 -1847).  Also repaired parts of Brockwell Hall.

Early Victorian Herne Hill

1844 St Pauls Church built on Herne Hill. Designed by G Alexander (?). Later damaged in a fire.

1851 John Ruskin moved to No 30 Herne Hill after his marriage. It was demolished in the 1920s.

1858 St Pauls Church rebuilt after a fire. Designed by George Edmund Street (1824 -1881).

Mid Victorian Herne Hill

1860s Stanford’s Map of London (Herne Hill section). Shows Half Moon & Prince Regent pubs.

1863 Herne Hill railway station opened on new London, Chatham and Dover line. Designed by John Taylor.

1867 St Saviour's  Church built on Herne Hill Road. Designed by AD Gough (1804-1871).

1880 Old Half Moon pub

Late Victorian Herne Hill

1881 London County Grounds (later Herne Hill Velodrome) opened with a track and a Grandstand

1891 78 acres of Brockwell Hall became Brockwell Park.
Many new roads finished and named between Herne Hill and Half Moon Lane. 

1898 Half Moon pub rebuilt as a hotel by James William Brooker (1853-1904) in Jacobean Revival style.

Edwardian Herne Hill

1905 Carnegie Public Library opened on Herne Hill Road. Designed by H. Wakeford & Sons.


1908 Bartholomew's Handy Reference Atlas Of London & Suburbs (Herne Hill section)

1910 South London Botanical Institute opened at 323 Norwood Road

1913 Herne Hill Cinema opened (222 Railton Road ) Photo in c1921 shown below 

1914 Actress Ida Lopino born in Ardbeg Road 

Interwar Herne Hill

c. 1920 Sunray Estate built on Dulwich Estate land. Designed by the Office of Works under its director, Sir Frank Baines (1877–1933), who had trained with C.R. Ashbee on garden town principles.

1920s John Ruskin old houses No 28 and 30 Herne Hill demolished (replaced by 26-20 Herne Hill in Modern style).

1928 Actor Roddy McDowall born in Herne Hill Road.

1932 Herne Hill Cinema (222 Railton Road) renamed the Grand. New proscenium and facade designed by George Coles  (1884-1963).

1936 Dorchester Court flats built in the modernist style. Designed by Leslie H. Kemp (1899-1997) and Frederick E. Tasker who also built cinemas.

1937 Brockwell Lido opened.

WW2 & Herne Hill

1944 Herne Hill escaped lightly with only 5 V1s falling and no V2s

Post War Herne Hill

1948 Herne Hill Velodrome hosted London Olympic track events.

c. 1950 OS National Grid map (Herne Hill section)

1959 Pullman Cinema closed at 222 Railton Road.

1974 First Lambeth Country Show at Brockwell Park.

1978 24 Sept: Rock Against racism convert in Brockwell Park.

St Saviour's Church demolished.

2007 Brockwell Lido restored.

2013 Herne Hill flooded after a 3ft-wide water pipe burst at the junction of Half Moon Lane. Film

Book list:
Herne Hill Heritage Trail - Don Bianco (HHS 2003)
Herne Hill Personalities (HHS 2006)
Out Of the Blue: A Celebration of Brockwell Park Lido (1937-2007) - Peter Bradley (2007)
A Short History of Herne Hill - John Brunton (HHS 2011)
River Effra: South London's Secret Spine - Jon Newman (Signal 2016)
Sunset Over Herne Hill: John Ruskin and South London - Jon Newman (HHS 2021)


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