Forest Hill, London

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Forest Hill
London, Forest Hill Library.jpg
Forest Hill library
Forest Hill is located in Greater London
Forest Hill
Forest Hill
Location within Greater London
Population14,854 (2011 Census. Ward)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ354736
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtSE23
Dialling code020
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°26′21″N 0°03′15″W / 51.439189°N 0.054063°W / 51.439189; -0.054063Coordinates: 51°26′21″N 0°03′15″W / 51.439189°N 0.054063°W / 51.439189; -0.054063

Forest Hill is a district of the London Borough of Lewisham in south east London, England, on the South Circular Road, which is home to the Horniman Museum.


A map showing the Forest Hill ward of Lewisham Metropolitan Borough as it appeared in 1916.

Like much of London, Forest Hill was only sparsely populated until the mid-19th century. The name Forest Hill, originally simply "The Forest",[2] referred to the woodland which once covered the area[3] 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.[4]

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.

Local area[edit]


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.

Following a successful and widely supported campaign from local group Save The Face Of Forest Hill, Louise House was designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage.[5]

Forest Hill Library was built in 1901 to an Arts and Crafts design by local architect Alexander Hennell.[6] It is one of over 500 Grade II listed buildings in Lewisham Borough.[7][8] It was refurbished in 2008.[9]


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.[10] There are three nature reserves in Forest Hill: Dacres Wood,[11] Devonshire Road[12] and Garthorne Road.[13] 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.


There are nine primary schools in SE23 (Dalmain, Fairlawn, Holy Trinity, Horniman, Kilmorie, Perrymount, St George's, St William of York), 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.


Notable residents[edit]


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.

Nearest places[edit]


  1. ^ "Lambeth Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  2. ^ Hibbert, C. The London Encyclopedia, Macmillan, p. 304
  3. ^ Field, J. Place names of Greater London, Batsford, 1980, p.49
  4. ^ Dacres Wood
  5. ^ "Lewisham Council: News". Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Forest Hill, London SE23 – Forest Hill Library". Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  7. ^ Option Study Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Lewisham Council – Statutory register – listed buildings". Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Lewisham Council – Forest Hill library project". Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  10. ^ "History". Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club. Dulwich and Sydenham Golf Club. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Lewisham Council - Dacres Wood nature reserve". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012.
  12. ^ "Lewisham Council - Devonshire Road nature reserve". Archived from the original on 16 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Lewisham Council - Garthorne Road nature reserve". Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  14. ^ Hughes, Mark (8 July 2011). "News of the World to close: Andy Coulson's house searched after arrest". The Daily Telegraph. London.

External links[edit]