CHARLTON PARKSIDE COMMUNITY HUB
Let’s begin by looking at the meaning of the well chosen names of this group.
Charlton / Carlton is the most common place name in England. In Old English it was written ‘ceorl tun’ meaning the farm or village of the free peasants, that is, peasants who did not owe allegiance to the local Lord, but to the Monarch, who could then be sure of loyalty to him rather than possibly plotting Lords.
Parkside speaks for itself as we are fortunate to surround the lovely Maryon Wilson and Maryon Parks.
Community is a small or large social unit (a group of living things) who have something in common and who share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area.
Hub can be described as a hub of an activity when it is a very important centre for that activity.
So, that’s the name of this rather special community explained, a community with a long history first mentioned in the Domesday Book, and here is the entry from the Domesday Book where Charlton is first described: (in modern English and with my explanations added )
‘William FitzOgier holds Charlton of the Bishop. It is assessed at one sulong (half an acre)
There is land for four ploughs. In demesne (Latin dominium, land in Lordship whose produce is devoted to the Lord rather than the tenants or exploited for the Lord’s home farm) is 1 plough: and 13 villans (Latin vilanus a villager a peasant of higher economic status than a Bordar and living in a village. Notionally unfree because subject to the manorial court) have 3 ploughs. There are 2 slaves and 8 acres of meadow and woodland for 5 pigs. [TRE (Tempore Regis Edwardi) that is before the conquest.] and afterwards as now, worth £7. 2 brothers, Godwine and Alweard, held this land of the king in two manors.’
The naming of the group of roads that form the Hub give those who are interested information about the history of the locality.
This map above, which belonged to my father, was published in 1923 and shows Heathwood Gardens, Kinveachy Gardens and Little Heath. However, you will note that Hill Reach is named as Hill Street and the road at the northern end of Maryon Wilson Park is Hanging Wood Lane, after the adjacent wood, before its renaming.
Flamsteed Road, McCall Crescent and Park Drive are yet to be built.
Even further back, Booth’s Notebooks published in 1897 describe the roads that were built thus :
(Pink by the way is ‘fairly comfortable, good ordinary earnings’ and red is ‘middle class, well to do’).
‘Heathwood Gardens. Built and still building. One and two families. Sold as soon as built. £380 for 99 year lease. Pink to pink barred. (i.e. On the way to being middle class).
Kinveachy Gardens was yet to be built.
Woodland Terrace. New houses SW of church, apartments. A few servants, one family per house, leads to open timbered fields called Hanging Wood at west end. Pink barred to red.
Little Heath. Large old houses on south side, new and smaller on north and building. Red brick, 2st with front gardens.
Maryon Road. 2st. Good Gardens and fronts. South end the best. Pink barred to red.’
And even before that there is a map in the National Maritime Museum which shows that the line of Heathwood and Kinveachy follows the old field boundaries, before development.
A big clue to two of the names of course is the word ‘heath’ which appears in Heathwood Gardens and Little Heath. The land on which this locality was developed is predominantly heath land which is a shrubland habitat found mainly on free-draining infertile, acidic soils and is characterised by open, low-growing woody vegetation. And that's why we need a load of good topsoil to grow anything much in our gardens!
Maryon Road is named after the Maryon Wilson family who were the local landowners. There is a link to their story below.
Kinveachy is a forest in Speyside in Scotland in which the Maryon Wilson family had an interest.
Flamsteed Road of course was named after John Flamsteed FRS (19 August 1646 – 31 December 1719) who was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. He catalogued over 3000 stars.
Woodland Terrace was renamed presumably as a nod to its former name of Hanging Wood Lane. Hanging Wood was the former name of the wood of which Maryon Wilson Park and Maryon Park formed a part. There is a good guide to its history here:
The park was originally wooded and together with what is now Maryon Park, was known as Hanging Wood. Thorntree Road was called Hanging Wood Lane. This was a wild area and formed an ideal retreat for highwaymen who robbed travellers on Shooters Hill and Blackheath. Some say that those who were caught were hung here – hence the name. However, it is much more likely that the name refers to the dense overhanging trees which made the woods a perilous place to travel through. Samuel Pepys described how he dreaded travelling through Hanging Wood when he had to go to Woolwich.
McCall Crescent was named after Cllr Donald McCall JP who was Mayor of Greenwich on two occasions, firstly between 1904 and 1905 and secondly between 1913 and 1915.
Park Drive speaks for itself bordering the army woodland training ground and close to Maryon Wilson Park.
St Thomas’ Church which hosts many of the hub’s activities was built in 1850. It was reconfigured in 1982 with the church now being quite small and most of the former nave used for community activities.
It’s good to know our neighbours and it’s good to know our history. Knowing a little about our predecessors who lived here before us, gives us a sense of place and continuity - a place and a continuity to which we are all adding as the years roll by. A lot of history in a very few names.