New Eltham, Greenwich
A predominantly white, working-class district situated south-east of Eltham proper and east of Mottingham
This was formerly the farming hamlet of Pope Street, which was centred on what is now Avery Hill Road. Pope Street was the early name of the station that opened here in 1878, primarily to serve first class ticket holders who maintained rural retreats nearby.
An early phase of building followed the arrival of the railway but the village retained a rural character to the end of the century. Several of the old fields have survived as sports grounds, with their original boundaries. Shown in the photograph above,* the Beehive was rebuilt in 1897 and for a while the pub hosted trotting races and travelling circuses in the adjacent field.
New Eltham’s remaining streets were laid out in the early 1930s and most of the present housing dates from that period. The community finally gained a library in 1931. A handful of light industrial enterprises set up shop, most of which have since departed. One of the last to go was Dickerson’s, the builders’ merchant and plant hire contractor, which relocated to Norfolk in 1996 after eighty years in New Eltham. The company’s Avery Hill Road site was soon built over with houses and flats.
Charlton Athletic’s Sparrows Lane training ground is among the sports facilities that presently pack the northern part of New Eltham.
One sports ground, disused since 1992, has recently been developed by Linden Homes as Waterford Place, “an aspirational new development of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom family homes … set around a beautiful landscaped green off Avery Hill Road.” The 13-acre site now has 135 red-brick dwellings, some with white weatherboarding in a nod to the Kentish vernacular. The land was formerly used for playing Gaelic sports, hence ‘Waterford Place’ and the names of the various house styles, which include the Kenmare, the Athlone, the Glengarriff and (shown in the CGI below) the Cashel. In order to obtain planning permission, the developers agreed to renovate another disused sports ground – Bardhill, off Footscray Road – for community use.