History of Charlton

View of Charlton 1775

Charlton, although a London suburb retains some of its principal village characteristics. The manor house, parish church, and Bugle Horn pub grouped around the remnants of the village green. The place name in Anglo Saxon means "farmstead of the freemen or peasants".

The earliest traces of a community at Charlton were found in what is now Maryon Park where an Iron Age hillfort was excavated in the 1920s. Within the hill fort was found evidence of earlier stone age people.

Charlton Village c. 1910

The present village is beautifully situated on high ground overlooking the Thames. At the heart of the community is Charlton House, its former manor house. Built in 1607 - 1612 by Adam Newton (died 1630) this Jacobean mansion is a unique survival in London.

Adjacent to the house are the near contemporary parish church, the original stables, the very fine summer house, and Charlton Park the surviving part of the original grounds.

Charlton House, Charlton Village, c. 1900

In Charlton Road a weather boarded seventeenth century cottage (Poplar Cottage) remains as a reminder of Charlton's rural past.

Although there was Victorian suburban development on the slopes from Charlton Road to the Woolwich Road, Charlton retained the appearance of a quiet Kentish village until the 1930s.

Development had also taken place at the bottom of the hill on the marshes where New Charlton grew up around the burgeoning new industries along the riverside in the nineteenth century.

As a refection of its changing identity the newly developing suburb acquired its own professional football club, Charlton Athletic F.C. Its proud and committed supporters were first rewarded in 1947 when they won the FA Cup and, very much later, the club gained the distinction of being promoted to the Premier League.

Large housing developments, both private and municipal like the Guild Estate, Springfield, and Cherry Orchard, joined the small, attractive Kentish village to its larger neighbours, Blackheath and Woolwich.

If you are interested in finding out more about the history of Charlton's parks, visit http://www.charltonparks.co.uk/ (a project developed by Greenwich Mural Workshop and the Charlton Parks Reminiscence project).

See historic maps of Charlton