Shooter's Hill

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Shooter's Hill
Shooter's Hill Water Tower as seen from the Southeast.jpg
The water tower on Shooter's Hill is a local landmark
Greater London UK location map 2.svg
Red pog.svg
Shooter's Hill
Location within Greater London
Population13,433 (2011 Census ward) [1]
OS grid reference TQ435765
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE18, SE3 (part)
Post townWELLING
Postcode district DA16
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
UK Parliament
London Assembly
List of places
51°28′09″N0°04′01″E / 51.4691°N 0.0669°E / 51.4691; 0.0669

Shooter's Hill (or Shooters Hill) is a district in South East London within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It borders the London Borough of Bexley. It lies north of Eltham and south of Woolwich. With a height of 132 metres (433 ft), it is the highest point in the Borough of Greenwich and one of the highest points in Greater London. Shooter's Hill also gives its name to the A road which passes through east to west and is part of the A207 road, the A2 road, and also Watling Street.



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 and was infamous for its gibbets of executed criminals. In the Second World War it was the site of an array of anti-aircraft guns which protected London. As part of 'London Stop Line Central' it was a last line of defence from a German land invasion, that was assumed would follow Watling Street from Dover. A number of devices were under the control of the Home Guard including a fougasse and a flame thrower. [2] Adjacent to an anti-aircraft battery was built a prisoner-of-war camp on what is today part of a golf course on the north-eastern slopes. [3] [4] North of the golf course is Shrewsbury Park, the site for a barrage balloon, part of the Air Ministry's Field Scheme Nosecap for the defence of London; during the Battle of Britain it was manned by 901 County of London Barrage Balloon Squadron. [5]

Eltham Common was the site of Shooter's Hill police station (now closed). Eltham was allegedly the only town in England with two fully functional police stations (the other in Well Hall Road), having been placed there owing to the lawlessness associated with the town.

Celia Fiennes, who in 1697 proceeded out of London along the Dover Road, wrote in her diary of stopping at:

Shuttershill, on top of which hill you see a vast prospect ...some lands clothed with trees, others with grass and flowers, gardens, orchards, with all sorts of herbage and tillage, with severall little towns all by the river, Erith, Leigh, Woolwich etc., quite up to London, Greenwich, Deptford, Black Wall, the Thames twisting and turning it self up and down bearing severall vessells and men of warre on it...

View west from Shooter's Hill, showing Canary Wharf district, north Greenwich and River Thames View west from Shooter's Hill.jpg
View west from Shooter's Hill, showing Canary Wharf district, north Greenwich and River Thames

The hill is one of the highest points in London at 132 metres (433 ft) [6] - 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; on the north side of Shooter's Hill Road is Eaglesfield Park, Shrewsbury Park, a golf-course, and one of the last remaining areas of farmland in inner London, Woodlands Farm (now an educational charity). [7]

Shooter's Hill Road stretches eastwards from the heath at Blackheath up and over the hill, initially as part of the A2 road as far as the Sun in the Sands, 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). As the narrative of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities opens, Mr. Jarvis Lorry is a passenger in the Dover mail coach, "lumbering up Shooter's Hill"; and Dickens refers to a public house there in The Pickwick Papers . The name Shooter's Hill is also mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula although referring to the Hampstead area, some distance away, and also 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 Shooter's Hill and a filthy sight it was to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones." (presumably a highwayman hanged and left to rot as a warning to other criminals - at 'Gibbet Field', now part of the local golf course). In the graphic novel V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, the character Evey Hammond describes her childhood, spent on Shooter's Hill.


War Memorial beside Christ Church, Shooter's Hill.jpg
The Ypres Memorial Milestone, Shooter's Hill.jpg
The grounds of Christ Church on Shooters Hill contains both a twentieth-century war memorial (left) and an eighteenth-century memorial milestone (right), now a Grade II listed structure
Severndroog Castle Severndroog.JPG
Severndroog Castle

The distinctive gothic revival water tower at the top of Shooter's Hill is a landmark built in 1910 and can be seen from far around. Other local landmarks include Severndroog Castle, a folly designed by the 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.

Another water tower (of 130 ft) is further west down Shooter's Hill. This was originally built in the 1890s to designs by Thomas W. Aldwinckle to supply water to the 'Brook Fever hospital', which was demolished in the 1990s, to be replaced by a housing development. The tower consists of a plain brick pillar ornamented simply with bands of terracotta tiles and windows like arrowslits. It is not listed, but it was cleaned, repointed and underpinned for conversion into a family home. It is the centrepiece of the housing estate. [8]

Immediately to the east of the housing estate is the Grade II listed former Royal Herbert Hospital, today the Royal Herbert Pavilions. Further up the hill is the still-functioning Memorial Hospital.

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 by 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.

An 18th-century grade II listed milestone in the grounds of Christ Church on Shooter's Hill has 19th-century plates giving the distances "Dartford 7 miles", "London Bridge 8 miles" and a later addition: "130 miles to Ypres: in defending the salient our casualties were 90,000 killed, 70,500 missing, 450,000 wounded", commemorating the Battle of Ypres. [9] [10]

The Shrewsbury Tumulus, the only surviving Bronze Age burial mound on Shooter's Hill Shrewsbury Tumulus on Shooter's Hill.jpg
The Shrewsbury Tumulus, the only surviving Bronze Age burial mound on Shooter's Hill

Shrewsbury Barrow is a Bronze Age burial mound which is located on the corners of Brinklow Crescent and Plum Lane, and is a Scheduled Monument. It is approximately 25m wide and 1.5m high. It is the last surviving burial mound out of a group of six. [11]

Road alterations

Jack Wood is on Shooter's Hill Jack Wood on Shooter's Hill.jpg
Jack Wood is on Shooter's Hill

During the 1950s the road gradient was lowered in the west where low-powered motor vehicles of the era frequently struggled to get to the top. As a remedy, a small section of the road west of the summit was removed and the road resurfaced from scratch to extend the slope horizontally. This alteration is evident where the road (opposite Craigholm) runs through the cutting and the pavement (following the original gradient of the hill) rises about 1–2 metres above.

Housing estates



Notable former residents

Shooter's Hill ward (green) within the Royal Borough of Greenwich (light grey) Shooter's Hill location.PNG
Shooter's Hill ward (green) within the Royal Borough of Greenwich (light grey)
Shrewsbury House, built in 1923 and now Grade II listed East Face of Shrewsbury House, Shooter's Hill (01).jpg
Shrewsbury House, built in 1923 and now Grade II listed

Nearest places


Shooter's Hill is served by many Transport for London bus services connecting it with areas including Woolwich, Eltham, Greenwich, Bexleyheath, Thamesmead, Lewisham and Crystal Palace. The closest rail links to the area are Welling and Falconwood railway stations.

Related Research Articles

Blackheath, London Human settlement in England

Blackheath is an area of South East London, England, straddling the border of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Lewisham. It is located 1 mile north east of Lewisham, 1.5 miles south of Greenwich and 6.4 miles south east of Charing Cross, the traditional centre of London.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Royal borough in United Kingdom

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is a London borough in southeast Greater London. The London Borough of Greenwich was formed in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. The new borough covered the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich and part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich to the east. The local council is Greenwich London Borough Council which meets in Woolwich Town Hall. The council's offices are also based in Woolwich, the main urban centre in the borough.

Kidbrooke Human settlement in England

Kidbrooke is an area of South East London, England, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich 7+12 miles (12 km) south-east of Charing Cross and north west of Eltham.

Welling Human settlement in England

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Woolwich District in southeast London, England

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A2 road (England) Road in southern England

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Eltham District of southeast London, England

Eltham is a district of southeast London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It is 8.7 miles (14.0 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross, and is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London. The three wards of Eltham North, South and West have a total population of 35,459.

Oxleas Wood

River Shuttle

The River Shuttle is a small tributary of the River Cray in London, United Kingdom.

New Eltham Human settlement in England

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Falconwood Human settlement in England

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Eltham (UK Parliament constituency) UK Parliament constituency since 1983

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Parks and open spaces in the Royal Borough of Greenwich

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Woolwich West (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1918–1983

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Eltham Common

Eltham Common is a park and area of common land in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south-east London. Forming an approximate triangle between Well Hall Road and Shooter's Hill, it is part of a larger continuous area of woodland and parkland on the south side of Shooter's Hill: other parts are Jack Wood, Castle Wood, Oxleas Meadows, Falconwood Field, Oxleas Wood and Eltham Park North.

Well Hall Human settlement in England

Well Hall is a place to the north of Eltham in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in southeast London, England, with no present formal boundaries and located 13.5 km (8.4 mi) east-southeast of Charing Cross. In the past Well Hall was the grounds of a manor house, and then a hamlet. Today it is a largely residential suburb and housing estate absorbed by the development of Eltham and London. It is centred on the main road between Eltham and Woolwich, on which many shops and businesses are located. Several major A roads including the South Circular Road and A2 road pass through the area, as does a railway line, serving Eltham station which is located in Well Hall. The Postcode that covers Well Hall and most of the Eltham area is SE9, and the 020 dialing covers the entire Royal Borough of Greenwich. Well Hall is split across two electoral wards, Eltham West on the west side of Well Hall Road, and Eltham North on the east side of Well Hall Road. In 2015 the population of these two wards combined was recorded as 24,621, although the wards cover a larger area than just Well Hall.

Coldharbour Estate Human settlement in England

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Avery Hill Human settlement in England

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Shooters Hill Sixth Form College is a large mixed further education college for students aged 16–19, located in Shooter's Hill in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, England.

Shrewsbury Park

Shrewsbury Park is a public park situated on Shooter's Hill, south of Woolwich, in the Royal Borough of Greenwich in south east London.


  1. "Greenwich Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  2. The Archaeology of the Second World War - Uncovering Britain's Wartime Heritage pp26-8
  3. "Shooters Hill Local History Group – Prisoners of War and the Local Community". e-Shooters Hill. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  4. "History". Shooters Hill Golf Club. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
  5. "Shrewsbury Park, including Shrewsbury Tumulus (Greenwich)". London Gardens Trust. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  6. Greenwich Council ward structure
  7. "Woodlands Farm Trust". Woodlands Farm Trust. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  8. Partridge, Chris (25 July 2004). "Tall order to save romantic tower". Guardian.
  9. Historic England. "Milestone to North of Christ Church (1211875)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  10. "Ypres Memorial Milestone". Public Monuments & Sculpture Association. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  11. "Historic England: Shrewsbury Barrow, Entry No 1430983" . Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  12. Farndale, Nigel (19 November 2006). "A man in touch with his inner anorak". Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  13. Howerd, Frankie (1976) On the Way I Lost It, W.H. Allen, ISBN   0-491-01807-X
  14. "Tyrannosaurus Rex". Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  15. Crace, John (10 December 2010). "TV review: The House That Made Me | My Father, The Bomb and Me | Rick Stein's Cornish Christmas". The Guardian. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 18 October 2019.

Further reading