Forest Hill, London

Forest Hill, London

infobox UK place
country = England
region= London
official_name= Forest Hill
latitude= 51.4457
longitude= -0.053
london_borough= Lewisham
constituency_westminster= Lewisham West
post_town= LONDON
postcode_district = SE23
postcode_area= SE
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ354736

Forest Hill is a suburb and electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham, situated between Dulwich and Sydenham in southeast London, England. Increasingly popular amongst house-buyers and investors, the area has enjoyed extensive investment since plans to extend the East London Line to Forest Hill were unveiled in 2004.


Like many London suburbs, Forest Hill was only sparsely populated until the mid-19th century. The name Forest Hill came from 'the forest with a big hill', which was coined by a developer in the 1790s, and referred to the remaining area of Forest on Sydenham Hill which was originally part of the Great North Wood.

A canal, the Croydon Canal, was constructed through the area in 1809 but the large number of locks (28) meant it was not a commercial success, and it was bought by the London & Croydon Railway Company who constructed their railway along the same route, opening it in 1839. The retaining wall of the footpath opposite the station outside the pub is about the only physical evidence of the canal which still exists. When the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham, large homes were built on the western end of Forest Hill.

In 1884, what would become London's oldest swimming pool was constructed on Dartmouth Road.

The tea merchant Frederick Horniman built a museum to house his impressive collection of natural history artifacts. He donated the building and its gardens to the public in 1901 and this became the Horniman Museum.

As its population grew, two large secondary schools were built in the area - Forest Hill Boys and Sydenham Girls on the brink of Forest Hill.

Now in the 21st century, Forest Hill has a large residential population and the area is becoming increasingly desirable as a peaceful, leafy suburb with good transport links into the centre of town, and slightly lower-than-average property prices.

Amenities and Entertainment

Forest Hill is home to the celebrated Horniman Museum. Despite a leaning toward anthropological and cultural collections, the museum is also home to a newly opened (July 2006) aquarium and one of the most varied collections of taxidermy in the northern hemisphere. It also houses one of the finest collection of musical instrument in the British Isles. Contained within its accompanying gardens is an animal enclosure, flower gardens, and a Grade II listed early 20th century greenhouse. Views from the gardens stretch out over central and north London.

The Hob Public House, opposite Forest Hill station, is a live music and comedy venue. Home to the E.D. Comedy Club, it has attracted acts such as Bill Bailey, Phil Jupitus and Mark Lamarr. Recently renovated, The Dartmouth Arms has been named by The Times newspaper as "one of London's very finest gastropubs".Fact|date=June 2007

Forest Hill Swimming Baths were closed in 2005 due to health and safety concerns surrounding its roof and plumbing. An intrusive survey in October 2006 suggested that a full refurbishment would cost £5.5 million.Fact|date=June 2007 Lewisham Council recently green-lit the renovation, pledging to fully renovate whilst retaining the building's early 20th century character and original features. Latest proposals Fact|date=April 2008no longer honour this pledge and invite suggestions incorporating the site with the adjacent Louise House, one-time industrial school and children's home, into a completely redeveloped leisure centre.

Forest Hill Library is located next to the swimming baths, and in February 2001 hosted 'an evening with J. K. Rowling', attended by children from the local Fairlawn Primary School. The library closed for refurbishment in 2007 and re-opened, completely modernised, for 2008.


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, the Horniman Museum, and classic art deco mansion blocks Forest Croft and Taymount Grange.


Forest Hill railway station is located on the South Circular Road (A205), and is served by frequent trains to London Bridge. It will also be linked to the East London Line which is to be extended south to West Croydon by 2010.

Notable residents

(in alphabetical order)
*Danny Baker (Broadcaster)
*Home decor personality Linda Barker
*Dame Doris Beale, Matron-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) 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.
*Kate Bush (singer/song-writer)
*James Callaghan (Labour Prime Minister)
*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.
*Choong Ting Max Clarke still lives on Marler Road
*Sir James Clark-Ross (polar explorer)
*"Big" Jim Connell (socialist)
*Ernest Dowson (poet)
*Desmond Dekker South London's King of Ska
*Irish-born television, film and stage actor Michael Gambon, currently 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.
*Alfred "Titch" Freeman (cricketer)
*Gabrielle (singer/song-writer)
*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.
*Glenda Jackson MP (politician & actress)
*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
*Infamous fraudster Andre Thierry Michauld operated in Forest Hill, although it is not known whether this was his primary residence or one of many probable London-residences used throughout the 1990s.
*Richard Jefferies, the naturalist and author, lived at 20 Sydenham Park (a Blue Plaque indicates the house)
*David Jones (painter & poet)
*Hollywood actor Boris Karloff was a resident of Forest Hill.
*Tom Keating the famous forger lived in Forest Hill.
*Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen (TV presenter)
*Walter De La Mare Poet and novelist, author of Songs of Childhood, The Listeners and Other Poems, The Return, etc. In 1877 the family moved to 5 Bovill Terrace (now 61 Bovill Road), Forest Hill. C. 1887 they moved to 57 Brookbank Road, Lewisham.
*Spike Milligan (comedian & writer)
*Mica Paris (singer/song-writer)
*John Parris world renowned cue maker.
*Sybil Pheonix MBE (community worker)
*Don Letts, Desmond Dekker and Peter Perrett (of The Only Ones, in its 1970s musical heyday).
*Henry Price CBE was a Conservative politician who represented Lewisham West between 1950 - 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.
*Musician Francis Rossi, lead singer and guitarist of Status Quo, was born in Forest Hill on 29 May 1949
*Singer Millie lived in Forest Hill at the time of her major hit "My Boy Lollipop"
*Actor Timothy Spall is a current resident of the Forest Hill area.
*Gavin Stamp (Architectural critic)
*Doris Stokes (medium)
*British broadcaster, journalist and cricketer E.W.Swanton was born in Forest Hill on 11 February 1907
*Jackie Trent the singer/songwriter lived in Forest Hill when she first had success in the 1960s
*Terry Waite (Archbishop's Envoy)
*Max Wall (comedian)
*Ian Wright (footballer)
*There is no evidence to support the claim of a private plaque that Dorothy Jordan, mistress of the Duke of Clarence, later William IV, lived in Forest Hill
*John Illsley bassist from Dire Straits

Nearest Places

*Honor Oak
*Crystal Palace
*Crofton Park

Primary Schools

*Kilmorie School
*Dalmain School
*Perrymount School
*Horniman School
*Fairlawn School

econdary Schools

*Forest Hill School
*Sydenham School

External links

* [ Forest Hill Society: Civic group for SE23 and surrounding area]
* [ Forest Hill.Org: Community website]
* [ Community website]
* [ The German Church, Forest Hill]
* [ Dietrich Bonhoeffer Remembered]
* [ parish church website]
* [ Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Forest Hill Pools — is a small local leisure centre in Forest Hill, London. It contains two Victorian Swimming Baths and is located on the same Road as Forest Hill railway station, and is located next to Sydenham School and Forest Hill Library. Structure Of The Roof …   Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill (disambiguation) — Forest Hill may refer to different places: In England *Forest Hill, London **Forest Hill railway station *Forest Hill, Oxfordshire *Forest Hill, Wiltshire In the United States of America ;Cemeteries *Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin… …   Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill Library — Infobox Historic building caption= name=Forest Hill Library location town=Forest Hill, London location country=United Kingdom architect= client=London Borough of Lewisham engineer= construction start date= completion date=July 1901 date… …   Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill — ist der Name eines Stadtteils von London Borough of Lewisham mehrerer Orte in Großbritannien: Forest Hill (Oxfordshire) Forest Hill (Wiltshire) in den Vereinigten Staaten: Forest Hill (Alabama) Forest Hill (Indiana) Forest Hill (Kentucky) Forest… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill Station — Forest Hill is the name of several train and light rail stationsIn the United States: *Forest Hill Station (San Francisco), a Muni Metro station in San Francisco, California *Forest Hills (MBTA station), a Massachusetts Bay Transportation… …   Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill School — Infobox UK school name = Forest Hill School built(Old building) = 1956 demolished(Old building) = late 2007 construction began (New Building) = 2007 Built (Predicted) = Early 2008 motto = Specialist school in Performing arts phone = 02086999343… …   Wikipedia

  • Forest Hill railway station — Infobox London station name = Forest Hill manager = Southern zone = 3 locale = Forest Hill borough = London Borough of Lewisham platforms = 2 railexits0405 = 2.033 railexits0506 = 2.007 railexits0607 = 3.015 railcode = FOH start = 5 June 1839… …   Wikipedia

  • Buckhurst Hill (London Underground) — Stationsgebäude Blick auf die …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Forest Croft — and Taymount Grange are two 1930 s Art Deco–style mansion blocks situated at the top of Taymount Rise in Forest Hill, London. Forest Croft was built in 1937 to designs of Arnold Andre Higuer, on a site previously occupied by a house called The… …   Wikipedia

  • London Buses route 197 — infobox London Bus number=197 operator=Arriva London length=10 miles (15 km) time=41 71 minutes vehicle=DAF DB250/Alexander ALX400 garage=South Croydon start=Croydon end=Peckham via=Norwood Junction Penge Forest Hill Dulwich level=Daily frequency …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.