Blackheath 18th Century

The environs of Greenwich Park had long been popular with courtiers needing to live near Greenwich Palace, but the history of Blackheath as a suburb of London begins c.1690. That is when the Earl of Dartmouth, Lord of the Manor of Lewisham, enclosed some land on the western edge of the common (perhaps illegally) and built the fine street that he called Dartmouth Row. With side turnings and further encroachments on the heath nearby this grew into a substantial and wealthy community with its own chapel. To the west of Greenwich Park Sir John Vanbrugh built a small village of large houses for his family between 1717 and his death in 1726. Of these only his own, Vanbrugh Castle, survives. On the south side of the heath development did not begin until the 1780s, but then it came with a rush as John Cator to the east of the village and Lord Eliot to the west covered most of the frontage before 1805.

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