Abbey Wood: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°29′11″N 0°06′39″E / 51.4864°N 0.1109°E / 51.4864; 0.1109

Abbey Wood
Abbey Wood is located in Greater London
Abbey Wood

 Abbey Wood shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ465785
London borough Greenwich
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE2
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Erith and Thamesmead
London Assembly Greenwich and Lewisham
Bexley and Bromley
List of places: UK • England • London
The ward of Abbey Wood (green) within London Borough of Greenwich (light grey)

Abbey Wood straddles the eastern edge of the London Borough of Greenwich and the western edge of the London Borough of Bexley between Plumstead to the west and Belvedere, London and Erith to the east, and takes its name from the extensive and picturesque ancient woodland (Bostall Woods) to the south, and the remains of Lesnes Abbey to the east.



The Abbey of St Mary and St Thomas the Martyr at Lesnes (or Lesnes Abbey) was founded in 1178 by Richard de Luci, Chief Justiciar of England. The Abbott of Lesnes Abbey was an important local landlord, and took a leading part in draining the marshland. However, this and the cost of maintaining river embankments was one of the reasons given for the Abbey's chronic financial difficulties. It never became a large community, and was closed by Cardinal Wolsey in 1525, under a licence to suppress monasteries of less than seven inmates. It was one of the first monasteries to be closed after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1524, and the monastic buildings were all pulled down, except for the Abbott's Lodging. Henry Cooke acquired the site in 1541 and it eventually passed to Sir John Hippersley who salvaged building materials, before selling the property to Thomas Hawes of London in 1632. It was then bequeathed to Christ's Hospital in 1633.

Abbey Wood railway station was opened in 1849, immediately to the north of the area now known as "The Village", built where Knee Hill became Harrow Manorway. Contemporary maps show Knee Hill as a minor track compared with a more major pathway through the centre of the existing woods.[1] The Village consisted of a dozen or so cottages, and two pubs, the Abbey Arms (next to the railway station) and the Harrow Inn (demolished in 2009).[2].

The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS) owned two farms on the hillside to the south of The Village, and between 1900 and 1930 built the Bostall Estate. Once known as "Tin Check Island" after the Society's dividend system, and known locally as "The Co-op Estate", this has streets named after Co-operative themes (Alexander McLeod, the first secretary of the RACS, Rochdale, Robert Owen, Congress), a school & shops but, like much social housing of the period, no public houses. The housing is largely traditional of the "two up, two down" design, in distinctive yellow London brick, with gardens to the front and rear.[3]

Between 1955 and 1959 the London County Council built the Abbey Estate on former Royal Arsenal marshland just south of the railway. Predominantly conventional brick houses with gardens, equipped with a shopping centre, schools and open spaces, the estate was first used to rehouse people from London's East End, though again at first there were no pubs and few shops. The main through-road is Eynsham Drive.

In the early 1970s the Greater London Council began building the first phase of Thamesmead on more ex-Royal-Arsenal land, north-east of Abbey Wood station. The original railway level crossing was replaced by a flyover.

Abbey Wood has benefited from the opening of the DLR station at Woolwich Arsenal, whilst the next stage in the development of the area will be the construction of Crossrail, a development tipped to encourage the growth of local house prices by the time it is opened in 2017.[4].

The Greenwich ward of Abbey Wood has a population of just over 13,000,[5] and its rail station sees over 3 million passenger journeys a year.

Places of interest

Places of interest include the little-known ruined 12th-century Lesnes Abbey and the ancient Bostall Woods & Heath. Bostall Woods (part of the South East London Green Chain) includes one of the few camping and caravan sites in London and is a known source of fossilised sharks' teeth. The co-operative woods was also the site of the first camp for the Woodcraft Folk.

St. Michael’s Parish Church [1] was opened in a temporary building in 1905. A permanent church, designed by Sir Arthur Blomfield, was consecrated three years later, and the original building became the church hall. The Victorian Crossness Pumping Station is another notable local attraction.

Recreational facilities and Parks

Abbey Wood has a number of parks and sports areas, including Bostall Gardens (play area, tennis courts and basketball court)[6], Bostall Heath (cricket pitch, bowling green, orienteering, football pitch)[7] and Abbey Wood Park (play area and football pitch)[8]. It also has a women's netball team Abbey Angels, more information can be found on [

People of interest

Sir Charles Tilston Bright, the British electrical engineer who oversaw the laying of the first transatlantic telegraph cable in 1858, died in Abbey Wood in May 1888.

Snooker champion Steve Davis came from Plumstead but went to Alexander McLeod Primary School and Abbey Wood Secondary School. Boxer Julius Francis went to St Thomas a Becket Primary School and Abbey Wood School, and Olympic runner Jennifer Stoute also went to Abbey Wood School. Playwright Jonathan Harvey also taught there. Kate Bush briefly attended the convent school at the top of Knee Hill. Victor Ogunwusi of Hampton & Richmond Borough F.C. also attended Abbey Wood School.

William Morris lived at the nearby Red House, in Bexleyheath [2], a house which was built for him by the architect Philip Webb. Morris regularly walked to Abbey Wood station, and a plaque just off Knee Hill commemorates this association.

Time 106.8, a licensed local radio station that evolved from an early cable channel - Radio Thamesmead - had studios on the Abbey Wood/Plumstead borders, and closed in April 2009. Abbey Wood also hosted London's first cable TV station at Wickham Lane.


For education in Abbey Wood see the main London Borough of Greenwich article, and for schools east of Knee Hill-Church Manorway see the main London Borough of Bexley article.




The nearest railway station in the area is Abbey Wood railway station. Trains from this station run to London Bridge, London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street via Woolwich and Greenwich or Lewisham to the west. To the east the trains go to Dartford and Crayford or Gravesend and Gillingham.

Abbey Wood is the planned south eastern terminus of Crossrail One.


Nearest railway stations

Nearest places


External links


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