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.