The seat while dominated in the south by expansive and panoramic Greenwich Park retains constituent connections to work at the former Royal Docks by and Gas Works in North Greenwich[n 4] and has a considerable social dependency in its Greenwich and Woolwich town centres, including in social housing, heightened by an acute demand for housing, particularly in the western half, SE10 due to architecturally-rich conservation areas and very close proximity to Canary Wharf and City of London. Reflecting this demographic split in the latter 20th century were 5 and 11-year periods when the two predecessor seats were served by the SDP. Including these pre-1997 predecessors, the area has since World War II been a Laboursafe seat, or, as indicated in the 1987 result for Greenwich only, in the best result for a Conservative candidate locally during the years since 1955, occasionally a marginal.[n 5]
The constituency was created in 1997 by the merger of the whole of the former seat of Greenwich and the western half of the former seat of Woolwich.
The Greenwich seat was a safe Labour seat for much of the twentieth century, though it had been a safe Liberal seat throughout most of the nineteenth century. In 1987 it was unexpectedly won by the Social Democratic Party at a by-election, but was narrowly regained by Labour at the 1992 general election.
The Woolwich seat (and its predecessor Woolwich East) was a similar safe-Liberal-seat-turned-safe-Labour-seat. Its Labour MP Christopher Mayhew defected to the Liberals in 1974 before being defeated, and his Labour successor, John Cartwright, defected to the SDP in 1981. He held the seat at the 1983 and 1987 general elections, but narrowly lost it to Labour in 1992, like the neighbouring Greenwich seat.
Following their review of parliamentary representation in South London, and as a consequence of changes to ward boundaries, the Boundary Commission for England recommended that part of Woolwich Common ward be transferred to Greenwich and Woolwich from the constituency of Eltham; that parts of Glyndon ward be transferred from Eltham and Erith and Thamesmead; and that parts of Kidbrooke with Hornfair ward, Eltham West ward, and Middle Park and Sutcliffe ward be transferred from Greenwich and Woolwich to Eltham.
^While not seen in older pronunciation guides than 2000, /ɡrɛnɪdʒ/ is often preferred among those from outside the area, most Transport for London announcements and generally younger or more recent residents