Facts about Forest Hill
Forest Hill History
Like much of London, Forest Hill was only sparsely populated until the mid-19th century. The name Forest Hill, originally simply “The Forest”, referred to the woodland which once covered the area and which was a relict part of the Great North Wood. In 1809, the Croydon Canal opened. However, the large number of locks meant it was not a commercial success, and it was bought by the London & Croydon Railway Company who used the alignment to construct the London Bridge to Croydon railway line opening in 1839.
When the Crystal Palace was moved from Hyde Park to Sydenham in 1854, many large homes were built on the western end of Forest Hill along with Honor Oak. In 1884, London’s oldest swimming pool was constructed on Dartmouth Road. The tea merchant Frederick Horniman built a museum to house his collection of natural history artefacts. He donated the building and its gardens to the public in 1901 and this became the Horniman Museum.
Following a successful and widely supported campaign from local group Save The Face Of Forest Hill, Louise House was designated a Grade II listed building by English Heritage. Forest Hill Library was built in 1901 to an Arts and Crafts design by local architect Alexander Hennell. It is one of over 500 Grade II listed buildings in Lewisham Borough.
A few parks are located and around in Forest Hill. Horniman Triangle Park is located directly opposite Horniman Museum and Gardens, with Tarleton Gardens close by. Blythe Hill is located on the border with Catford, while in Sydenham, Baxter Field, Mayow Park and Sydenham Hill Woods are located on the border with Forest Hill.