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Shooter's Hill

Shooter's Hill (or Shooters Hill) is a place, and an electoral ward in the London Borough of Greenwich in south-east London. It lies east of Blackheath and west of Welling, south of Woolwich and north of Eltham. It is one of the highest points in London.

Geography

It reputedly takes its name from the practice of archery there during the Middle Ages, although the name is also commonly linked to its reputation as a haunt for highwaymen.

As the name also implies, the district is centred upon a hill - one of the highest points in London - offering good views over the River Thames to the north, with central London clearly visible to the west. Oxleas Wood remains a public open space close to the top of the hill; there is also a golf-course and one of the last remaining areas of farmland in inner London, Woodlands Farm (now an educational charity).

Shooter's Hill Road stretches eastwards from the heath at Blackheath up and over the hill, initially as part of the A2 road and then the A207. The road follows the route of Watling Street, a Roman Road linking London with Roman settlements in north Kent. This was used as a route for horse-drawn mail-coaches linking London with Dover.

Literary associations

Byron's Don Juan is waylaid while romantically musing on Shooter's Hill when he first arrives in London (Canto XI). Charles Dickens mentions carriages "lumbering" up Shooter's Hill in A Tale of Two Cities, and refers to a public house there in The Pickwick Papers. The district is also mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula, in H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds and by Thomas Carlyle. On 11 April 1661, diarist Samuel Pepys mentions passing under "the man that hangs upon Shooters Hill" (probably a highwayman hanged and left to rot as a warning to other criminals - at 'Gibbet Field', now part of the local golf-course).

In chapter three of the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, the character Evey Hammond describes her childhood, spent on Shooter's Hill.

It must be noted that there are other Shooter's Hills that some of the above may refer to, eg Bram Stoker's "Shooter's Hill side of Hampstead" would require exceptionally good eyesight.

Landmarks

The distinctive Victorian gothic water tower at the top of Shooter's hill is a landmark that can be seen from far around. Other local landmarks include Severndroog Castle, a folly designed by architect Richard Jupp in 1784 and built to commemorate Commodore Sir William James who, on 2 April 1755, attacked and destroyed a pirate fortress at Suvarnadurg along the western coast of India.

In 1749, 'The Bull' public house opened just west of the summit of the hill, and was used as a refreshment stop by the coaches, although not the Royal Mail which had an interchange of mail bags at the Post Office by the Red Lion on the London side of the hill.

Schools

  • Shooter's Hill Post 16 Campus, Red Lion Lane
  • Christ Church Primary School

Notable former residents

English engineer Samuel Brown developed an internal combustion engine that used hydrogen as a fuel and tested it to propel a vehicle (arguably one of the earliest automobiles) up Shooter's Hill in 1826.

Education

''For education in see the main London Borough of Greenwich article

Nearest places

Nearest stations

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