Mottingham Station

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Post to the west Mottingham Lane

Court Road

An attractive, winding road with many fine trees, and a number large late 19th century detached houses, interspersed with modern houses and blocks of flats.  The road was constructed after the opening of Mottingham Station in 1866; followed the line of an old track, which led to Chapel Farm in Mottingham.  The west side was developed in the 1870s, the east side mainly in the 1890s.  

Eltham Lodge.  classical mansion built 1664. The palace lands were leased by Charles II to Sir John Shaw, who built Eltham Lodge for himself in the middle of the former Great Park. Sir John Shaw, a wealthy vintner and banker. Evelyn visited him at the Lodge, though his opinion of the house was not high.  Pepys called him 'a miracle of a man' and 'a very grave and fine gentleman'. Shaw leased the Eltham estate from the Crown in 1663, left the palace site to be used as farm buildings, and built himself this new house. May belonged, with Roger North, Sir Roger Pratt, and William Samwell, to the group of gentlemen architects patronized by the court and its circle after the Restoration. Later he was one of the surveyors responsible for the government's negotiations with the City of London after the Fire. Eltham Lodge is one of his first known works. The interior was extensively refurbished in the mid 18th century.  From 1840 to 1889, the tenant was Anne Wood, aunt of Charles Stewart Pamell's mistress Kitty O'Shea. It was due to Mrs. Wood's objections that the first railway line to Eltham was in 1866 routed to the south of Great Park.  Since 1923, it has been the clubhouse of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club, though it remains on Crown land.  The Club (which claims to be the world's oldest golf club) moved here from Blackheath in 1923 to merge with the Eltham Golf Club, which had occupied the grounds since 1892.  It is a compact rectangular block, two storeys with basement and dormers, red brick with stone dressings. The front has slim giant pilasters and a pediment with garlands and coat of arms. Inside is Main Staircase, the Secretary's Office, and the O'Shea Room.  the Anteroomleads to the garden porch.  The Nineteenth Hole, a small bar, with a wooden chimneypiece.  Ladies Lounge, with an elegant chimneypiece and intricate plasterwork on the ceiling.  Bar, with an extraordinary chimneypiece of white and pink Carrara marble and carved rams on either side of a carved panel showing cherubs shearing a sheep. Main Staircase has the original woodwork with pine panels of foliage and Cherubs, and posts topped by floral urns.  portraits of Sir John Shaw and family.  Billiard Room, with a marble chimneypiece the Captain's Room, with an Wedgwood style plasterwork ceiling. Dining Room, with carved plasterwork. O'Shea Room. probably decorated c1750.  museum in the attic, containing 18th and 19th century golf clubs, golfing trophies etc, as well as the original lease of the house. 

The golf course and the grounds. woodland with a large pond.  In the north-east of the grounds is a smaller pond, surrounded by willow trees-, which has a large population of great crested newts. .

There are sections of brick wall, largely 17th century, both to the east and to the west of the house. Nearer to the Tarn is a selection of wet land plants.

Cottage, of 17th century structure but substantially altered and extended in the early 19th century;

Wooden garden pavilion, early 19th century. 

St.John's Path

185  Royal Tavern.  pub with unusual plastered walls and ceiling in Saloon bar. Live music

Court Yard

The section of this street from Tilt Yard Approach south to the moat formed the Green Court of Eltham Palace, and retains something of its atmosphere.  The only remains of the Court now are the Lord Chancellor's Lodgings.  Where medieval markets held

32/32a behind the early 18th century frontage is the Tudor timber structure of the buttery, a service building to the Lodgings.  

32-38 Lord Chancellors Lodgings.  Tudor, buildings which formed part of the Green Courtyard, which overlooked the palace itself.  converted to three houses.  It preserves early 16th century timber framing with a continuous overhang on the exterior; there are later brick extensions at the rear.

38 impressive projecting house, the Great Chamber.

Bramber House.  Post war is built on the sites of other Tudor service buildings.

Chaundrye Close: a group cl960 further north in Court Yard going towards Wythfield Road was built on the site of the Outer Courtyard.  Tudor walls Chancery Close where candles were made


Old walling on both sides of the road, contributing to the atmosphere, in lengthy stretches.  The date of these walls is uncertain; they may have been erected here in the 18th century, though parts of the brickwork may be older.

Orchard House.  Post war,  built on the sites of other Tudor service buildings.

The Gatehouse the large house with half-timbered gables at the junction with Tilt Yard Approach is located alongside the site of the original gatehouse to the Green Court.  It was built in 1914; note the Tudor rose and portcullis designs on the porch.

United Reform Church 1936.  

Walls round the Gate House

Eltham Palace,

Old palace at the end of an unobtrusive little lane.  The medieval remains of the great palace buildings.

15th century bridge, beneath which swans continue to paddle .  Four Gothic arches, date from 14th when the previous bridge was improved.  From here there is an view of moat, and of the north range of the moat wall, which is stone of c 1315 in the low parts and brick of the late 15th century above; large irregular bastion at north-west corner, and the smaller projecting bastion at the north-east corner of the bridge.  A lion and unicorn from the Houses of Parliament were incorporated into the wall in the 1930s.

Fragment of the Tudor gatehouse.

The Great Hall built by Edward IV c1480.  stone-faced exterior of the north wall with high-placed windows with grotesque heads, and the bay at the end with double rows of windows.  Edward IV's emblem 'rose en soleil' above the entrance archway.  The original brick construction of the Great Hall can be seen on the west above the 1936 single storey extension. At the west end of the extensions a modem bronze statue of Jason by Alfred Hardiman.  one of the finest medieval hall interiors in the country, with a hammer beam roof.  The entrance door into screens passage, with two adjacent doorways, which used to lead into the old kitchen, and the hall to the right.  The hall with features remaining from the original building though mainly restored, and additions by Courtauld made during the 1930s.  Original features include: the long hammer beam roof made of chestnut wood, with elaborate pendants; the screen at the east end; the central louvre, now closed up (originally for a fire below); and stone fan vaulting over the bay windows, and the doorways in the bays which used to lead into the Royal Apartments.  minstrels gallery , canopied reredos , curtains and the stained glass all added as part of the 1930s restoration, and the carved 18th century furniture then too.   Stark stone image of Edward IV's celebrated Great Hall, standing virtually unaltered.  Hammer beam roof is the third largest in the country after Westminster and Christchurch, Oxford.  

Excavations area.  The stone remains of the excavations are 14th century and the brick remains late 15th or early 16th century.

Tudor vaulted passage leading down to the moat 

Long stretch of foundations of the Royal Apartments, which may have been built by Henry Vlll in the mid 1520s; they were originally as high as the Great Hall.  Footings of bay windows are clearly visible, also the corridor between the windows and the moat wall.

Lower part of a stonewall with buttresses c1300, and beyond a later flight of steps.  remains of some underground passages and chambers. a good view of the moat, and of part of the west moat wall with its series of late 15th century brick buttress-like bays.

Marble wellhead on the lawn is 18th century Italian, imported in the 1930s.  The well itself is much older, as are the underground passages leading from the well to the moat wall.

Fragmentary section of the cloister of the Great Court, the inner wall of stone and the outer wall of brick.

Octagonal corner turret - remains of three sides of part of Bishop Bek's house c1300

Upper part of the Tudor north moat wall, stretching as far as the bridge; brick, with tiny round-headed openings.  large projecting bastion at the northwest comer.  In 1976/8 an undercroft and a section of tiled pavement from the original manor 'house c1300, and the foundations of Henry VIII's chapel were excavated, but these are now hidden beneath the lawn.  The excavations also found traces of 11th buildings, as well as Roman roof tiles and Saxon pottery.

Foundations of the Royal Palace.  Almost the complete moat walls remain, dating back to the early 14th century;

Remains of three sides of an octagonal corner turret of Bishop Bek's house cl300.

The west side of the Great Court the basements of the King's apartments, the brickwork receding into the ground

Situated on a high hill in northern Kent, it was an ideal residence for monarchs constantly making their way to defend and extend their continental lands, near enough to London to carry out important business, but sufficiently distant to maintain freedom and independence from the pressures of the city.

Like Greenwich, the manor of Eltham, or 'Alteham', belonged to the half-brother of William the Conqueror, Bishop Odo.  In 1297 Edward, I signed a confirmation of the Magna Carta and Charter of the Forests there.  Bishop Bek of Durham rebuilt the manor house into a moated castle, and in 1305, he gave it to the Prince of Wales, later Edward 11.  The lower moat walls are Bek's and the remains of an octagonal turret in the south-west corner of the moated area is all that survives of Bek's four-turreted castle.  Edward II may have settled it on Prince John.  Since Edward II was subsequently deposed and the citizens of London revolted in Prince John's name, a legend grew up about 'King John's Palace', but this is not true - his brother Edward became king as Edward III.  Another John appeared at Eltham palace in the mid-14th century - King John of France, or Jean le Bon, who was captured at Poitiers and held to ransom for four years in London.  He came to Eltham on parole to hunt and dine with the King, bringing chronicler Froissant with him.  Chaucer, the poet, was Clerk of the Works at the Manor of Eltham, and Henry IV, V, and VI, all used Eltham.  Henry Vl's wife, Margaret of Anjou wanted the Duke of Gloucester's residence at Greenwich.  Edward IV, who succeeded Henry VI, became famous for rebuilt the moat bridge in brick and stone, for him the Great Hall was completed in 1482.  Henry VII and Henry VIII both used Eltham frequently for their palace and both made extensive alterations.  Cardinal Wolsey was made Lord Chancellor of England in the Royal Chapel, which stood parallel to the north side of the Great Hall.  Henry VIII held great Christmas feasts there.  Though Henry VIII improved the palace he moved to Greenwich and by 1529 he had left Eltham.  a century later Charles I paid one visit to Eltham.  During the Civil War the trees were felled for the shipyards, its buildings ransacked and left to fall apart.  The new tenant.  Sir John Shaw built himself Eltham Lodge; the old palace and grounds were used as a farm.  In the 20th the Great Hall was restored and Sir Stephen Courtauld's residence was built.

Eltham Hall was built adjoining the Great Hall for Sir Stephen Courtauld by Lord Mottistone (then John Sealy) & Paul Paget in 1936.  two wings at a butterfly angle (one adjoining the Great Hall), linked by a single storey entrance hall.  later used as the officers’ mess of the Directorate of Army Education and Training.  A Tudor-style section was designed to ease the transition from the main building to the Great Hall.  small chess piece figures on the copper roofs of the towers , three half- timbered gables preserved from the Tudor facade overlooking the Great Court.  The entrance is in a curved arcade . sculpture representing Hospitality, two Egyptian cannon captured in 1882. the Rotunda, or entrance hall, in modernist style lit by a lattice-style dome and by a long horizontal window above the door; on either side of the door panelled wood walls have paintings of, on one side, Swedish buildings and a Viking soldier, and on the other, Italian buildings and a Roman soldier.  A smaller room has a mural map of South-East London in leather.  loggia with a series of carved stone medallions by Gilbert Ledward. 

In the garden are three pairs of fluted Ionic columns from Sir John Soane's Bank of England c1800, brought here when the Bank was being rebuilt in the 1930s.

Tudor courts are covered by the lawn, though some grills set into the lawn give a glimpse of an underground passage - a sewer of c1528 leading from the kitchens. 

Moat.  The moat to the south is now grassed and is crossed by a modern wooden bridge resting on late 15th century brick footings. The part of it still in water has a population of amphibians.

King John's Walk

King John’s Walk lane which was the old path from Eltham to Mottingham.  It starts along the north boundary of Eltham Palace, turns left to skirt the west boundary of the Palace, and passes fields on both sides before reaching the Middle Park Estate; it then goes over the railway to Sidcup Road and on to Mottingham Lane.  From here footpaths continue ahead and to the right into Kingsground but the Walk itself turns sharp left.  The next section, which is well paved, provides views over South London and towards Central London, and views of the Great Hall of the Palace.

Eltham Palace Fields.  Horse grazing area south of the Palace.  Many wild flowers and grasses.  Wet areas with fescue and sedge.  Ancient hedgerows surround the site.

12 formerly called The Cottage, a large house c1909 with attractive features - note the dormers and the massive brick chimneystacks

Middle Park

Middle Park was one of three royal deer parks enclosed in the 1300s.  There is a farm which was used as a stud in the mid 19th century Blenkiron.  In 1862 a horse stabled here, Caractacus, won the Derby.  The regular jockey had been replaced by a stable lad.  Today the Middle Park Stakes remains the biggest race for two-year olds at Newmarket.

Middle Park Avenue,

Commemorates deer parks.  Nature area to the north of the avenue was part of the crown lands around Eltham Palace.

Mottingham Station. 1866. Between New Eltham and Lee on South Eastern Trains on the Dartford Loop. Originally called "Eltham for Mottingham" the weather boarded building on the down side is an original building. Then ‘Eltham and Mottingham’ and then Mottingham in 1927.  Its location so far off Eltham was because the tenant of Eltham Lodge at the time, Anne Wood would not agree to the railway crossing the grounds.  1957 main station building. The footbridge is late 19th century.

Goods yard closed October 1968

Holding siding for Hither Green yard opened in the Second World War at the west end of the station. In 1948 became a United Dairies depot.

Middle Park Estate

This estate was developed from 1931 to 1936 by the London County Council. It is laid out with winding roads and greens.  It is located in former royal parkland, and is almost surrounded by fields and open space.  


Mottingham to New Eltham is a green corridor with cuttings and embankments with sycamore and oak woodland.  Hawthorn and bramble providing habitat for birds and animals.

Royal Blackheath Golf Course,

Northern part.  Woodland and trees.  Two ponds own surrounded by trees in eastern woodland, other willow lined.  London biggest population of great crested newts.  SSSA toads too.  Acid grassland

Sidcup Road

The Tarn

Tarn - "small lake'. Applied to a pond in Mottingham Park, this name must be regarded as a fanciful transfer in modern times of a term historically confined to the north of England

Park with a large lake, a bird sanctuary, and many trees.  The lake has islands and is crossed by a modern bridge. It was once part of the grounds of Eltham Lodge but little is known of the early history. The earliest datable objects found are 15th two lead tokens  - which could have been brought there accidentally from elsewhere. By 1933, the Tarn residence was unoccupied and boathouse became derelict while the lake was stagnant and overgrown.  In 1935 Woolwich Council purchased it for £1,750 and then drained the lake was drained; erected wrought iron fencing, built pathways, rustic bridges, culverts, and planted bulbs. A refreshment kiosk and conveniences' were added – this building was later used as the mess room for the keepers and gardeners. plaque commemorating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  In 1964, major work was undertaken in an attempt to improve the lake; another flowerbed was built along with a rockery, waterfall and pond. At some time some broken tombstones arrived. An area of woodland is set aside as a bird sanctuary. 

The lake, crossed by a wooden bridge, is thought to have been used to stockfish for the palace. It is a natural feature and acts as a reservoir for storm water from the adjoining area.  It is fed by small streams and drained by the Quaggy.  Eltham might mean 'home of the swans' – and this might be where they were. The Tarn might have been stocked with fish for the medieval Friday and Lenten diet. Perhaps heron, geese and swans bred there were featured in 15th banquets at Eltham Palace. John Holmes's plan of 1749 and Rocque's map of the 1750's show it as Starbuck's Pond in a rectangle. Old maps also show that was a water- splash or ford in Court Road where the stream from the Tarn ran over the road. It had previously been called 'Starbuck's Pond' but by 1903 it appears as ‘Eltham Tarn’.  A prolific but poor family surnamed Starbuck are known to have lived locally in the late 16th but seem to have left by the late 17th.  Sir John Shaw leased it in 1660 from the Crown including  'fishing rights'.  In 1981, the drainage system was improved with a weir, two outlet sluices, and an electrically operated sluice gate to control the outflow. In 1985, wire mesh 'duck gates' were placed across the open sluices to try and stop ducklings from being swept away and drowned by water on its subterranean route to the Quaggy.

House at the north-west corner of the park, though now outside its fence, used to be part of the property and seems to date from the late 19th century. Directories indicate that it was occupied by members of the 'gentry' who also had fashionable residences in central London and who held the Tarn on short term leases from the Crown. There were Edwardian skating parties on a lake lit by candles hung in coloured lanterns on the trees.

Ice-well, a brick structure of the 1750s sited in a shady spot and formerly used for storing ice (which came from the lake) for Eltham Lodge.  The top section has been removed to give a view of the interior. Ice was cut from the lake and stored. The ice was used to help preserve food and cool drinks served at the Lodge during the warm summer months.  believed to date from approximately 1760. The purpose of the ice well was to preserve blocks of ice cut from the lake in winter into the warmer spring weather. This one 'worked' in the same manner as a vacuum flask by insulating-in the cold and excluding the warmth. Sited in a shaded spot, it is a brick- lined hole in the damp ground. The walls are of cavity construction and the well is drained. The top opening was north facing for extra coolness and the well would have been very thickly insulated with a conical straw-thatched roof. The octagonal pointed pantiled roof on the present shelter seems to echo an antique theme.

Keepers Lodge, 

Royal Blackheath Golf Club.  John Shaw laid out the park in 1663.  Oldest Golf club in Britain.  Long line of trees is on the Roque map.  Baronet, who helped Charles II at restoration, became Surveyor of the Woods.  Pepys said he had 'more offices than any man in England'.  Buried in the church

Garden Pavilion

185 The Royal Tavern

Tilt Yard Approach

This short road has a gateway and long high walls remaining from the Tudor tiltyard and the royal orchard, which were to the east of the Green Court of the Palace.  If the gate is open, a smaller Tudor gateway and a stretch of Tudor wall can be seen on the right.

The Tilt Yard, The house behind the walls is modern.

Brick wall near Court Yard is the boundary of the Tilt Yard Walk.  Walling to the east in is 16th century.

Gateway with Tudor coping – another gate and wall all Tudor inside

West Park

A wide road, lined with horse chestnuts with large and distinctive houses built 1887-89. All the houses of that date have prominent gables; either tile hung or patterned brick; plus plasterwork and rustic timber porches.

31 Inset into the boundary wall outside is a late Victorian wall letter-box


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