Westcombe Park is a largely residential area in Blackheath in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, south-east London, England. It is bounded by the main London-Dartford railway line to the north, the Blackwall Tunnel southern approach to the east, the Blackheath common to the south and a road, Vanbrugh Hill, to the west (named after the architect Sir John Vanbrugh who built his house Vanbrugh Castle nearby in Maze Hill).
- 1 Sites of interest
- 2 Amenities
- 3 Notable residents
- 4 Community newsletter
- 5 Transport
- 6 References
Sites of interest
Its most notable existing landmark is Woodlands House, in Mycenae Road. This attractive, four-storey Georgian villa (architect: George Gibson) still lies in its own grounds and was built between 1774 and 1776 for John Julius Angerstein, a Lloyd's underwriter and merchant whose collection of old master paintings was bought for the nation in 1824, following his death, to form the nucleus of the National Gallery, London.
The Angerstein family continued to live in Woodlands House until about 1870. It was later acquired by Sir Alfred Yarrow, a shipbuilder, in 1896.
From about 1923, the house served as a convent; neighbouring Mycenae House (formerly Kidbrooke House) was built in 1933 to provide dormitory space for the Little Sisters of the Assumption convent. Woodlands was then acquired by the London Borough of Greenwich in 1967 and opened as a Local History Library and Art Gallery (Woodlands Art Gallery) in 1972, while Mycenae House continues to serve as a community centre. Woodlands was leased by the London Borough of Greenwich in November 2007 to The Greenwich Steiner school.
To the west, next-door to Woodlands House, was Westcombe Manor, former family seat of the Ballards, the Lambardes, Sir Theophilus Biddulph (1612–1683; see also Biddulph baronets), and, later, of shipowner and timber merchant Thomas Brocklebank. The original house was rebuilt in 1723 by Sir Gregory Page, and let to tenants who included Lavinia Fenton, Dowager Duchess of Bolton, who died at the house in 1760. The building was demolished in 1855, having earlier (1796) been described in Daniel Lysons' Environs of London:
- "West-Combe-park, the site of this manor, was granted by Sir Gregory Page on a long lease to Captain Galfridus Walpole, (younger brother of Sir Robert, and uncle of the present Earl of Orford) who built the present house. The lease of West-Combepark afterwards came into the possession of Charles, third Duke of Bolton, who resided there for several years with Lavinia Fenton, the celebrated Polly Peachem, whom he married on the decease of his Duchess. The Duke died in 1754; Lavinia Duchess of Bolton in 1760, when West-Combe-park became the property of her son, the Rev. Mr. Powlett, in whom the remainder of the lease (which expires in 1824) is now vested. Since the Duchess's death WestCombe has been in the successive occupation of Lord Clive, the Marquis of Lothian, his widow the Marchioness, the Duchess of Athol, Mr. Halliday the banker, and William Petrie, Esq. It is now the residence of William Holmes, Esq. who has the remainder of an under lease granted to Mr. Halliday. West-Combe-house is situated on the verge of a steep hill, agreeably diversified with plantations, and commanding a fine view of the river."
St George's Church
St George's Church (on a sloping site on the corner of Kirkside Road and Glenluce Road) is a Victorian red-brick structure completed in 1892 (architect: Newman & Newman). As well as a place of worship it is also home to a Rudolf Steiner or Waldorf School-style nursery school.
In the early 2000s, Westcombe Park was used as a location by the BBC soap opera EastEnders. The footbridge from which Andy Hunter, played by Michael Higgs, was pushed to his death is easily identifiable as the bridge (over the A102 Blackwall Tunnel southern approach) that runs from Farmdale Road to Westcombe Park railway station.
At the foot of Westcombe Hill, there is a newsagent and a hairdresser's shop.
At the top of Westcombe Hill, the 'Blackheath Standard' area has numerous shops including a Marks & Spencer's Simply Food outlet, a fish and chip shop, a children's toy shop, estate agents, a cake shop, cafes, a Chinese restaurant and take-away, newsagents, a greengrocer and two DIY shops. There is also a library and a post office. The library is equipped with wi-fi Internet access and has a range of music and video DVDs as well as books and journals.
There are three public houses in the Westcombe Park area: the Royal Standard (from which the 'Blackheath Standard' area takes its name) on the corner of Vanbrugh Park and Stratheden Road, the Angerstein Hotel on Woolwich Road, and the Vanbrugh Tavern on Colomb Street. There are also two licensed restaurants on Station Crescent, near Westcombe Park station.
There are several dental and general practitioner surgeries around the 'Blackheath Standard'. One of the largest GP surgeries is the Vanbrugh 2000 practice on Vanbrugh Hill. The nearest hospital is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.
Sports facilities, involvement in Olympic Games, and Rugby Club
Numerous sporting events take place in Westcombe Park. Blackheath rugby club is located to the east. To the west, Greenwich Park also hosts rugby, plus cricket matches, has tennis courts, and is popular with joggers and walkers. The London Marathon and the Sony Ericsson run both route take runners though the Westcombe Park area each year.
Westcombe Park rugby club was originally formed in Westcombe Park, but is no longer based there. Having played on fields in Lee, Shooter's Hill and Sidcup, it currently operates from a sports ground in Orpington.
- Malcolm Hardee, anarchic comedian lived briefly at 33 Glenluce Road, SE3 in the late 1990s.
- Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer lived in the area in the early days of their double act, and performed at the Tramshed in Woolwich.
- Jools Holland, TV personality and musician has a recording studio complex in Westcombe Park.
- Stephan Andersen, former Charlton Athletic F.C. goalkeeper lived at 36 Westcombe Park Road during his time at the club.
A local community newsletter, the Westcombe News, is produced by the local community association, the Westcombe Society.
Nearby tube stations
- North Greenwich tube station - bus routes 108 and 422 run from Blackheath Standard
Nearby DLR stations:
Nearby railway stations
(Westcombe Park essentially lies to the south of the railway line between Maze Hill and Westcombe Park stations)
A little further away…
The following buses run through Blackheath Standard and either through or around Westcombe Park:
- 108 between Lewisham station and Stratford station.
- 286 between Greenwich and Sidcup Queen Mary's Hospital.
- 386 between Blackheath village and Woolwich town centre.
- 422 between Bexleyheath shopping centre and North Greenwich tube station.
- 53 between Whitehall and Plumstead.
- 54 between Elmers End and Woolwich.
- Ward Map, Royal Borough of Greenwich. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Ballard family tree
- English Jacobean Families
- Greenwich as it used to be
- Greenwich Guide - Greenwich Day by Day - January
- From: 'Greenwich', The Environs of London: volume 4: Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent (1796), pp. 426-93. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45486&strquery=Woodlands%20Blackheath. Date accessed: 24 September 2007.