Forest Hill, London
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Forest Hill library
|Population||14,854 (2011 Census. Ward)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Like much of London, Forest Hill was only sparsely populated until the mid-19th century. The name Forest Hill, originally simply "The Forest", referred to the woodland which once covered the area and which was a relict part of the Great North Wood.
In 1809, the Croydon Canal opened, however, the large number of locks (28) meant it was not a commercial success, and it was bought by the London & Croydon Railway Company who used the alignment to construct the London Bridge to Croydon railway line opening in 1839. The ponds in the Dacres Wood Nature Reserve and the retaining wall of the footpath opposite the station outside the pub are about the only physical evidence of the canal which still exist.
When the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham in 1854, many large homes were built on the western end of Forest Hill along with Honor Oak. In 1884, London's oldest swimming pool was constructed on Dartmouth Road. The tea merchant Frederick Horniman built a museum to house his collection of natural history artifacts. He donated the building and its gardens to the public in 1901 and this became the Horniman Museum.
Horniman Museum is home to anthropological and cultural collections, an aquarium and one of the most varied collections of taxidermy in the northern hemisphere. It also houses one of the finest collection of musical instruments in the British Isles. Contained within its accompanying gardens is an animal enclosure, flower gardens, and a Grade II listed early 20th century conservatory. Views from the gardens stretch out over central and north London.
Forest Hill Library was built in 1901 to an Arts and Crafts design by local architect Alexander Hennell. It is one of over 500 Grade II listed buildings in Lewisham Borough. It was refurbished in 2008.
A few parks are located and around in Forest Hill. Horniman Triangle Park is located directly opposite Horniman Museum and Gardens, with Tarleton Gardens close by. Blythe Hill is located on the border with Catford, while in Sydenham, Baxter Field, Mayow Park and Sydenham Hill Woods are located on the border with Forest Hill.
Alongside Sydenham Hill Woods, is the Dulwich and Sydenham Golf course, dating back to 1893. There are three nature reserves in Forest Hill: Dacres Wood, Devonshire Road and Garthorne Road. Dacres Wood Nature Reserve is open on the last Saturday of each month and Devonshire Road Nature Reserve on the last Sunday of the month.
With a range of architectural styles spanning the late 19th and 20th centuries, Forest Hill was described by Sir Norman Foster as "a delightful pocket of South London". Of particular note are the Capitol Cinema (now a JD Wetherspoon pub), the Horniman Museum, and classic art deco mansion blocks Forest Croft and Taymount Grange.
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There are eight primary schools in SE23 (Dalmain, Fairlawn, Holy Trinity, Horniman, Kilmorie, Perrymount, St George's), one specialist through school (Brent Knoll) and one secondary school (Forest Hill School for boys). Eliot Bank primary and Sydenham School (for girls) is close by in Upper Sydenham. There are no private schools in Forest Hill; however, Dulwich College, James Allen's Girls, St Dunstans and Sydenham High are in surrounding areas. Furthermore, there are no colleges in Forest Hill; however, Forest Hill and Sydenham schools have a joint sixth form.
Viewing the London skyline from the Horniman Museum garden
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- Home decor personality Linda Barker
- Dame Doris Beale, Matron-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service for three years during the Second World War was born in Forest Hill on 9 August 1889.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945), the German Protestant theologian and Christian martyr killed by the Nazis, briefly lived and preached in Forest Hill.
- Raymond Chandler, mystery and thriller writer, author of The Long Goodbye and The Big Sleep. Born in the USA, but educated at Dulwich College. Probably lived with his mother at 148 (now 138) Devonshire Road, Forest Hill from 1909 until he returned to America in 1912.
- Andy Coulson, editor, News of the World, 2003–07; Director of Communications, Conservative Party, 2007–11.
- Ernest Dowson, poet
- Desmond Dekker lived in Devonshire Road, more towards Honor Oak.
- Irish-born television, film and stage actor Michael Gambon, famous for portrayal of Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movie franchise lived at Forest Croft in Forest Hill in the early to mid-1960s.
- Henry Charles Fehr (1867–1940), sculptor, was born in Forest Hill
- Denis Gifford, historian of film, comics, radio and television, was born in Forest Hill.
- Sir Isaac Hayward, politician
- Vince Hilaire, one of the first black players to establish himself in English football was born in Forest Hill on 10 October 1959 and went on to have a distinguished career with local club Crystal Palace.
- Tea merchant Frederick John Horniman (1835–1906) lived in Forest Hill. A keen traveller, he accumulated a large collection of items relating to local cultures and natural history. This became so large that he built a special museum for it, donated to the public in 1901.
- British film actor Leslie Howard (1893–1943) was born in Forest Hill on 3 April 1893
- Craig Fairbrass, actor, lives in Forest Hill
- David Jones, painter & poet
- Hollywood actor Boris Karloff was a resident of Forest Hill Road, Honor Oak.
- Lionel Jeffries, actor and film director, was born in Forest Hill.
- Tom Keating the famous forger lived in Forest Hill.
- Don Letts, film maker and musician
- Singer Millie lived in Forest Hill at the time of her major hit My Boy Lollipop
- William Page (1861–1934), historian and editor, lived here 1886–96
- Mica Paris, singer/songwriter
- John Parris of Parris Cues world-renowned cue maker.
- Peter Perrett, of The Only Ones, in its 1970s musical heyday.
- Henry Price CBE was a Conservative politician who represented Lewisham West between 1950 and 1964. He founded the "Middle Class Alliance" and in 1954, London County Council sought a compulsory purchase order for his home in Forest Hill to build council housing.
- Luke Pritchard, lead singer of The Kooks, was born in Forest Hill
- Aaron Renfree dancer and former singer
- Iwan Rheon, singer-songwriter and actor, formerly of the E4 series Misfits.
- Arthur Rhys-Davids, World War I ace fighter pilot was born in Forest Hill
- Musician Francis Rossi, lead singer and guitarist of Status Quo, was born in Forest Hill on 29 May 1949
- Mary Patricia Shepherd, thoracic surgeon, was born in Forest Hill
- Actor Timothy Spall was a resident of Honor Oak.
- Gavin Stamp, architectural critic
- Doris Stokes, medium
- Broadcaster, journalist and cricketer E. W. Swanton was born in Forest Hill on 11 February 1907
- James Todd, cricketer
- Jackie Trent the singer/songwriter lived in Forest Hill when she first had success in the 1960s
Forest Hill railway station is located on the South Circular Road (A205), and is served by frequent London Overground and Southern trains to London Bridge, London Victoria, Croydon, Caterham, Crystal Palace, Dalston Junction and Highbury & Islington. Forest Hill is also served by a number of bus routes: 75, 122, 176, 185, 197, 356, 363, N63 and P4.
- "Lambeth Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- Hibbert, C. The London Encyclopedia, Macmillan, p. 304
- Field, J. Place names of Greater London, Batsford, 1980, p.49
- Dacres Wood
- "Lewisham Council: News". www.lewisham.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- "Forest Hill, London SE23 – Forest Hill Library". www.foresthill.org.uk. Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Option Study Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine lewisham.gov.uk
- "Lewisham Council – Statutory register – listed buildings". www.lewisham.gov.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "Lewisham Council – Forest Hill library project". www.lewisham.gov.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- "History". Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club. Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Hughes, Mark (8 July 2011). "News of the World to close: Andy Coulson's house searched after arrest". The Daily Telegraph. London.
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