Ashburnham Triangle

Ashburnham Triangle, Greenwich

A conservation area in south-west Greenwich, consisting of nine original streets and some later cul-de-sacs, bounded by Greenwich South Street, Blackheath Road and Greenwich High Road

Hidden London: Guildford Grove by Stephen Craven

John Ashburnham – who came from a Sussex family of “stupen­dous antiquity” – acquired the land here as part of a substan­tial inher­i­tance in 1755.

His new set of posses­sions included the Chocolate House, which stood on the brow of Black­heath and had gained its name from tastings of drinking chocolate held there when the beverage first came into fashion.

The Chocolate House was unimag­i­na­tively renamed Ashburnham House in 1820. From around this time the family laid out streets and housing to the north-west of South Street, with the scheme gaining full momentum nearer the middle of the 19th century.

Much of the little estate consisted of tasteful stuccoed terraces, together with several pubs, including the Guildford Arms and the Ashburnham Arms, nowadays known locally as ‘the Ash’.

In the 1880s the Ashburnham family began to sell off the estate in stages and Ashburnham House was demol­ished to make way for further devel­op­ment. Black­heath high school opened on Catherine Grove in 1904. The school was converted to apart­ments just under a century later and three new houses were built in the former playground.

Most of the Ashburnham Triangle’s original housing has survived unspoilt, although the enclave was one of last conser­va­tion areas to be desig­nated in Greenwich. The Greenwich Forge, at 62 Guildford Grove, is a wrought iron worker and black­smith. On Catherine Grove, Maurice Drummond House, formerly an accom­mo­da­tion block for Metro­pol­itan Police officers, has become a Hilton hotel.

Thriller writer Edgar Wallace was born in 1875 at 7 Ashburnham Grove, which now displays an unofficial plaque. Wallace’s unmarried, show business parents offered him up for adoption when he was only nine days old.

Postal district: SE10
Website: The Ashburnham Triangle Association
Further reading: Diana Rimel, Ashburnham Triangle, Ashburnham Triangle Association, 1994, updated 2009
* The pictures of Guildford Grove at the top of this page is modified from an original photograph, copyright Stephen Craven, at Geograph Britain and Ireland and made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is freely permitted under the terms of that licence.