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Location within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ465755
  Charing Cross 10.5 mi (16.9 km)  WNW
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WELLING
Postcode district DA16
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
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51°27′34″N0°06′35″E / 51.4594°N 0.1097°E / 51.4594; 0.1097

Welling is a town in South East London, England, in the London Borough of Bexley, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Bexleyheath, 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Woolwich and 10.5 miles (16.9 km) of Charing Cross. It was part of Kent prior to the creation of Greater London in 1965.



Local legend has it that Welling is so called because in the era of horse-drawn vehicles it could be said you were "well in" to Kent, or had a "well end" to the journey up and down Shooters Hill which, at the time was steep, had a poor road surface and was a notorious haunt of highwaymen. [1] Until the 1800s, most of Welling down to Blackfen was covered in woodland which offered excellent concealment for outlaws and robbers who would prey on vulnerable slow-moving horse-drawn traffic.

However, local historians have recently concluded that the origin of the name is most likely from 'Welwyn' (meaning 'place of the spring'), due to the existence of an underground spring located at Welling Corner, or possibly a manorial reference to the Willing family, who lived in the area in 1301. [2] The town was referred to as 'Wellen' in John Ogilby's 1675 road atlas. [3]


Early history

The medieval church in Welling, now used by a Greek Orthodox congregation Southern Face of the Greek Orthodox Church of Christ the Saviour, Welling (I).jpg
The medieval church in Welling, now used by a Greek Orthodox congregation

The East Wickham part of Welling is probably one of the oldest settlements in this area. A Neolithic stone axe was found in East Wickham in 1910, and remains of Roman buildings were unearthed near Danson in 1989.[ specify ]

Before opening of the Bexleyheath Line on 1 May 1895, [4] Welling was a village on the main road from London into Kent (Watling Street). It had been a traditional staging post for coaches; the presence of three inns along the main road is the result of that.[ specify ]

20th century

After World War I, Bexley Urban District Council built over 400 houses north of the railway. Later, when the Danson estate was sold to developers, the land to the south was opened up to suburban sprawl and the settlement incorporated the local parishes of St Michael's East Wickham and St Johns Welling

The area was part of the Municipal Borough of Bexley in the administrative county of Kent until, in 1965, the borough was abolished under the London Government Act 1963 and its area transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Bexley. [5]

For five years after 1990, the headquarters of the far-right British National Party (formed in 1982) were based in Welling. [6] The area became the scene of anti-racist riots in 1993. Bexley Council shut down the BNP Headquarters in 1995. [7]

In 1992 a group of local people, led by local Councillor Nigel Betts, revived the old Memorial Hall Trust which was set up in 1921.[ citation needed ] In 1995 it started operation as a local grant giving charity called the East Wickham & Welling War Memorial Trust[1] using the revenue from the old hall to fund grants in the area. Its main aim is remember the men of the district who were killed in World War One so a new War Memorial was built in 1996. Its charitable aim is to help local groups with rents on their meeting places or to help groups maintain their halls. Other grants help young people with adventurous activities and there is an annual academic bursary. In 2006 it gave grants totaling £47,000. As part of a re-investment programme, the Trust sold the Hall for a housing redevelopment in 2007.

21st century

A major upgrade of paving and street lighting was completed in the autumn of 2005. The retention or removal of a section of westbound bus lane from Welling High Street became one of the few specific local issues on which the main political parties disagreed in the approach to the local Bexley Council elections held on 4 May 2006. The incoming Conservative administration immediately revoked the bus lane.

The MECCA bingo hall in Upper Wickham Lane has ceased trading, apparently one of nine in England unsuited to operate after the national ban on smoking in public places. [8] This large building, which originally was an Odeon cinema is operating now as Freedom Centre International, a Pentecostal Church.

In March 2013 the first Micropub in Greater London opened in the High Street in a converted electrical shop – "The Door Hinge". It sells real ale by gravity stillage dispense and cider and wine only. It won CAMRA Bexley Branch Pub of the Year for 2014 and subsequently in that competition became CAMRA Greater London Regional Pub of the Year 2014.


Secondary schools in Welling include:

Primary schools in Welling include:


The "Old Koffi Pot" café, dating from the 1930s was until the early 1990s known as 'Ferrara's'. The venue was well known locally for its ice cream and enjoyed its heyday at the height of the 1960s cafe culture, when young people from Kent and South East London would call in for refreshments on the way to or from dancing at the Embassy Ballroom (since demolished to make way for the building of Embassy Court). The "Old Koffi Pot" closed in 2009 for 'economic reasons', but a modern coffee shop has since opened in its place retaining the name "The Koffi Shop" but a brand new black frontage and interior decor have removed any historical link with the original establishment.[ citation needed ]


Russian Cannon from Crimean War, located at Welling Corner Welling cannon.jpg
Russian Cannon from Crimean War, located at Welling Corner

A large Russian cannon is located at Welling corner. This Russian weapon is a 36-pounder carronade (calibre 6.75 inches – weight 17 cwt) of a type used during the Crimean War (1854 to 1860), displayed on a simple wooden replica carriage. The carronade was in service from 1780 to 1860 and is now on loan from the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich as a reminder of Welling's early association with the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, when huts at East Wickham were built as homes for munitions workers in the Great War.

The former Foster's School building in Upper Wickham Lane is a local landmark. The school relocated to Westbrooke Road in Welling and its original site was converted to residential use (retaining the old Grade II listed main school building and headmaster's house).

Further north of the original site is the 12th-century former St Michael's, East Wickham church, now used by a Greek Orthodox congregation. A new St Michael's church was built next door in 1933, and the original church became a chapel of ease. It was declared redundant in 1973 and acquired by the Orthodox the following year. [9] Another church in the area is St Mary's Church, Welling, a daughter church of St Michael's, which was built in 1955 and which contains a number of examples of 20th-century liturgical art. [10]



Railway overbridge in Welling Railway overbridge, Welling, Kent - geograph.org.uk - 147665.jpg
Railway overbridge in Welling

Welling station connects the area with National Rail services to London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street, Slade Green, Dartford and Gravesend.


Welling is served by London Buses routes 51, 89, 96, 486, B15, B16 and N89. These connect it with places including Barnehurst, Bexleyheath, Blackfen, Blackheath, Bluewater, Charlton, Crayford, Dartford, Eltham, Falconwood, Kidbrooke, Lewisham, North Greenwich, Orpington, Plumstead, Shooters Hill, Sidcup, Slade Green, St Mary Cray and Woolwich.

Sport and leisure

Park View Road ground, home of Welling United Football Club Pvrmainstand.jpg
Park View Road ground, home of Welling United Football Club

Welling has two Non-League football clubs Welling United F.C. & Erith & Belvedere F.C., who both play at Park View Road.[ citation needed ]

Notable people

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Erith</span> Town in England

Erith is an area in south-east London, England, 13.3 miles (21.4 km) east of Charing Cross. Before the creation of Greater London in 1965, it was in the historical county of Kent. Since 1965 it has formed part of the London Borough of Bexley. It lies north-east of Bexleyheath and north-west of Dartford, on the south bank of the River Thames.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sidcup</span> Human settlement in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">London Borough of Bexley</span> London borough in United Kingdom

The London Borough of Bexley is a London borough in south-east London, forming part of Outer London. It has a population of 248,287. The main settlements are Sidcup, Erith, Bexleyheath, Crayford, Welling and Old Bexley. The London Borough of Bexley is within the Thames Gateway, an area designated as a national priority for urban regeneration. The local authority is Bexley London Borough Council.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Old Bexley and Sidcup (UK Parliament constituency)</span> Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1983 onwards

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