Eltham Park, Greenwich
A primarily Edwardian estate situated in the north-east of Eltham
Although evidence of Roman occupation has been discovered in present-day Glenesk Road, the area remained virtually undeveloped until a mansion called Park Farm Place (later Eltham Park House) was erected in the 18th century. Its location is marked with a pin on the map below.
The last private owner of the mansion and its adjoining farmland was Thomas Jackson, a civil engineer involved in the building of the Bexley Heath Railway, who died shortly before the line opened. His widow died in 1899 and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Southwark acquired Eltham Park House. The building served a succession of purposes, including a children’s home, a boys’ school, a convent and a girls’ school. Repeated alterations and extensions to the mansion mean that very little of its earlier form is now discernible.
The surrounding land was bought by Archibald Cameron Corbett, the kingpin of suburban housebuilding in eastern London at that time. Corbett developed the Eltham Park estate between 1900 and 1914 – and allocated sites for churches to be built. The first to be dedicated was Eltham Park Baptist church, on Good Friday 1903. Shown in the photograph above,* Eltham Park Methodist church opened for worship in 1906 and St Luke’s followed a year later. All three churches are on Westmount Road.
A school opened at the end of Dairsie and Deansfield Roads before Glenesk Road had reached this far. It is now Deansfield primary school (and Deansfield Road has become part of Rochester Way).
Cameron Corbett was a proud Scot and he habitually named the streets of his developments after places and geographical features in his homeland. RRC Gregory explains the local specifics in The Story of Royal Eltham (1909), including the following highlights:
|Road name||Origin, according to RRC Gregory|
|Dairsie and Deansfield||estates in the vicinity of Edinburgh|
|Elibank||the estate of a nobleman in Midlothian, whose eldest son is known as ‘The Master of Elibank’|
|Elderslie||there is a decided touch of romance about this name, for it is after the birthplace of the illustrious Scottish patriot, William Wallace|
|Beechhill, Balcaskie, Earlshall and Greenvale||estates in the county of Fife|
|Dunvegan||so named from Dunvegan Castle, in the island of Skye, the seat of the MacDonalds|
|Glenlea, Glenlyon, Glenshiel and Glenhouse||names of Highland glens|
|Westmount||from ‘Westmount’ near Paisley, the home of the late Mrs Cameron Corbett|
|Glenure||presumably after the place where ‘James of the Glens’ was assassinated, as set forth by RL Stevenson in his novel Kidnapped|
|Gourock||a fashionable watering place on the Firth of Clyde|