Growing extensively with the arrival of the railways, Hither Green is characterised by late 19th and early 20th century Victorian and Edwardian domestic architecture, most notably the Corbett Estate. The railway runs through the centre of the area, with Staplehurst Road and its shopping parade to the east, and Hither Green Lane to the west. The lane dates back to Roman times and runs between the Quaggy and Ravensbourne rivers.
Hither Green is relatively peaceful and is noted for its "village" like feel and friendly community spirit. It is situated close to shopping facilities in Blackheath, Lewisham and Catford. It also enjoys fast, frequent transport links to the City and West End as well as connections with the Docklands Light Railway in Lewisham and East London Line in New Cross (now the London Overground). Trains times of as little as 10 minutes to London Bridge at certain times and direct routes to Charing Cross and Cannon St have seen the area become increasingly popular.
The area is known for the Hither Green rail crash, in which 49 people were killed in 1967.
Hither Green acquired its name as it was closer to Lewisham than Further Green located on Verdant Lane. The original Hither Green was located where the present day George Lane intersects with Hither Green Lane. The area now occupied by Hither Green is thought to have originally been a hamlet called Romborough, which was wiped out in the Black Death.
Hither Green had remained a largely wooded area through the medieval times but by the 18th-century most of the trees had been felled, and the first houses were built. Additional houses appeared through the 19th-century, many of them quite substantial residences.
Mountsfield Park opened in August 1905 and has grown through several acquisitions since then. The location of the original park included the substantial residence called Mountsfield, the home of noted entomologist Henry Tibbats Stainton. The house was demolished but remnants of the garden remain.
Additional acres were bought from the School Board for London and six allotments from Trinity College. And when Charlton Athletic football club gave up the football ground at the bottom of the hill in 1923 the park had grown to 28 acres.
Bombing damage to a terrace of houses along the south side of George Lane saw this also added to the park. The final addition came in 1994 when a large majority of the Catford Boys School playing field was added.
Other nearby parks include Manor House Gardens and Manor Park to the east.
Park Fever Hospital
The Park Fever Hospital (latterly Hither Green Hospital) was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1897 for the treatment of infectious diseases such as scarlet fever or diphtheria. The hospital was designed by Edwin T. Hall, the architect behind London's Liberty & Co. department store. The hospital and local area suffered extensive bombing damage during the Second World War. All that remains of the hospital is the water tower with its large clock faces (now the emblem of Hither Green) which is illuminated at night, and several of the hospital’s outbuildings. In 1997 the hospital closed and site was developed as a housing estate called Meridian South.
Much of the Victorian terraced housing dates from the late 19th century when social reformer and Scottish MP Archibald Cameron Corbett built numerous houses on 278 acres of land he purchased from North Park Farm, this was to become known as the Corbett Estate.
A booking hall was added to the east side of Hither Green Station to cater for people living on this new estate. Many of the road names are of Scottish origin, as Corbett was a Scot. Due to his Quaker origins, the area was devoid of a public house and remains so. He gave the land for St Andrew's Church, dedicated to Scotland's patron saint.
St. Swithun's Church
In November 1888, the new parish of St. Swithun's was created. Designed by Ernest Newton the foundation stone was laid in July 1892 and the church, built of red Wrotham brick with Bath stone windows, was completed in 1904.
Wesleyan Church, Hither Green Lane
The large non-conformist Wesleyan Church, designed by Josiah Gunton, standing in the angle of Hither Green Lane and Wellmeadow Road, was completed in 1900 to accommodate 700 people. Built by C. Castle & Son of Lower Clapton of red brick with a nave, two aisles, a transept, chancel, organ chamber and galleries on three sides, along with a tall pinnacled tower.
On the night of 11–12 September 1940, the church was destroyed by the bombing. What was left of the church was torn down and the site was subsequently occupied by the council-built flats.
Hither Green railway station straddles two main lines into London with frequent services to London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, Lewisham (Docklands Light Railway), and New Cross (East London Line, now the London Overground). The station exits to Fernbrook Road in the east, and Springbank Road in the west.
During the morning peak hours there are up to nine trains per hour leaving for central London. The last train from Charing Cross to Hither Green leaves shortly before 1am. Depending on the time of departure, the scheduled duration of a journey to London Bridge varies from nine minutes to 18 minutes.
Hither Green is also served by the following Transport for London contracted London Bus routes: 160, 181, 202, 225 and 273. There is also a night bus, the N171, that connects to Tottenham Court Road. To the south, Hither Green is located on the A205 South Circular road.
The Driving Standards Agency runs a driving test centre located in Hither Green – one of the largest in south London catering for over 1,000 driving tests each month.
Hither Green in the news
- Hither Green in Time Out magazine
- Hither Green in The Guardian newspaper
- Hither Green rail crash (1967)
Notable former inhabitants
- Hither Green Cemetery – contrary to the name, the cemetery is situated in Catford
- Hither Green railway station
- Hither Green rail crash
- "Buses from Hither Green". Transport for London. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2007/11/10/sm_judelaw.xml&page=1 telegraph.co.uk
- Hither Green at Lewisham Council website
- Hither Green's original community forum
- Hither Green's community forum at SouthEast Central
- OurHitherGreen.com - Community Association website
- The website of St Swithun's Church (C of E)
- Hither Green Urban Development Framework
- Video: Driving around Hither Green in the snow
- Hither Green photos on Flickr
- More Hither Green photos
- Leepedia blog
- Manor House Gardens
- Friends of Mountsfield Park
- Walking Hither Green
- The 1967 Hither Green rail crash (BBC)