Charlton’s history, in brief
Charlton, located in South London, is part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. This enchanting suburb is located 11.6 km east-southeast of Charring Cross, or the centre of London.
Well placed in the historic centre of the county, Charlton is a major residential hub today and caters to all kinds of populations including young professionals, families and has a rich and diverse local culture encompassing several ethnic groups.
Charlton retains its own historical identity because of the well-preserved old village centre composed of the famous Charlton House, the old village garden just across the house, St. Luke’s Parish Church and the village street.
The name of Charlton is derived from two Old English words ‘ceorl’ and ‘tun’ and means ‘farmstead of the freemen or peasants’. Somewhere between 50 BC and 250 AD, a large Romano-British settlement rested on top of a hill north of the present village. There was also a Saxon village not very far from the modern-day site with a church established in the 11th century.
The history of the place is enshrined in the public records ever since the great survey of England and Wales in the 1000s was recorded Domesday Book. It was made for the purpose of determining who was liable for what taxes.
Bermondsey Abbey, an ancient abbey was given the area of Charlton by a Bishop, and within two centuries was also granted rights to host markets on Mondays. In the 1200s, this meant wealth and prosperity for the entire district. Some of the annual fairs seemed to have been very rowdy, but it all increased the prosperity of the place.
Over many fruitful, yet uneventful, years Charlton prospered. Charlton House was built in 1607 and St Luke’s Church was also built in the same century. Another important landmark in the history of Charlton is that it was an important industrial centre during Victorian times. This occurred with the laying of a railway line in 1852 through Charlton. It even had one of the first telegraph systems in the world. But the industrial activity has died down to a large extent now, the decline starting in the 1960s.
Today, however, Charlton has progressed to being a residential area with all kinds of facilities, but yet boasting of a rich history in the development of England and London. Extensive bus services connect Charlton to other parts of London and it also has its own local train station. Since it is located on the river Thames, boats are also available for transport. With shopping complexes and retail outlets, Charlton today is a very busy business centre. But it has retained its charm and is well worth a visit on a trip to London.
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