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Beauty is more than skin deep

History of Hither Green

  • council: Lewisham
  • phone code: 020
  • postcode area: SE12, SE13
  • county: Greater London

There were several greens in Lewisham, and two of them were called Hither (nearer) Green and Further Green. Hither Green, near the entrance to the former hospital, was on the site of a hamlet called Romborough, which had not been inhabited since the time of the Black Death.

Hither Green was a wooded area in the Middle Ages, but by the eighteenth century the trees had mostly been felled, and the first houses were built. More houses followed in the nineteenth century, many of them substantial residences. Mountsfield, for instance, was the home of Henry Tibbats Stainton, a famous entomologist. The grounds of this house became the core of Mountsfield Park, which opened in 1905 - it has since been enlarged several times.

The Park Fever Hospital (later called Hither Green Hospital) was opened in 1897 for the treatment of infectious diseases such as scarlet fever or diphtheria. After the Second World War, when it suffered severe damage from bombs, other cases were also treated there. In 1997, after a century of service, the hospital closed and site was developed as housing.

In 1896 Archibald Cameron Corbett began to build houses in Catford and Hither Green, now called the Corbett estate. He persuaded the railway company to build a booking hall on the east side of Hither Green Station, for the benefit of his residents, and negotiated reduced-rate season tickets for them. Corbett was a Scot, and gave many of the roads Scottish names. He gave the land for St Andrew's Church, dedicated to Scotland's patron saint.

The author 'Miss Read' (Dora Saint) lived in Hither Green as a child. The film star Gladys Cooper (1888-1971) was born in Ennersdale Road.

Some of Lewisham Borough's famous residents, past and present

Danny Baker (Broadcaster)
Kate Bush (singer/song-writer)
James Callaghan (Labour Prime Minister)
Sir James Clark-Ross (polar explorer)
"Big" Jim Connell (socialist)
Ernest Dowson (poet)
Alfred "Titch" Freeman (cricketer)
Gabrielle (singer/song-writer)
Sir Isaac Hayward (politician)
Glenda Jackson MP (politician & actress)
David Jones (painter & poet)
Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen (TV presenter)
Spike Milligan (comedian & writer)
Mica Paris (singer/song-writer)
Sybil Pheonix MBE (community worker)
Doris Stokes (medium)
Terry Waite (Archbishop's Envoy)
Max Wall (comedian)
Ian Wright (footballer)

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