Honor Oak

Honor Oak

infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Honor Oak
latitude= 51.4531
longitude= -0.0489
os_grid_reference= TQ355745
london_borough= Lewisham
london_borough1= Southwark
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= SE
postcode_district= SE
dial_code= 020

Honor Oak is an inner suburban area principally of the London Borough of Lewisham, with part in the Southwark. The name originates from Oak of Honor Hill, or One Tree Hill. On 1 May 1602, Elizabeth I picnicked with Sir Richard Bulkeley of Beaumaris in the Lewisham area by an oak tree at the summit of a hill. The tree came to be known as the Oak of Honor. The tree surrounded by railings is an oak, planted c1905 and a successor to the historic one.


The beacon at the summit was erected to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Beacons on the same site were used to give warning of invasion by the Spanish and later the French.The Hill was also the site of Watson's General Telegraph, a relay system established in 1841 linking London with shipping in the English Channel

In 1896 the open space was due to become part of a golf club, but there were riots and demonstrations by local people. This fell through, and later it was bought by Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell and made into a public open space by 1905.

During World War I a gun emplacement was erected on the hill to counter the threat of raids by Zeppelin airships.

Beneath one part of the open space that did become the Aquarias Golf Club lies the cavernous Honor Oak Reservoir constructed between 1901 and 1909. When it was completed it was the largest brick built underground reservior in the world cite web | title = Honor Oak Reservoir | publisher = London Borough of Lewisham | url = http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/2FF892AF-0AAD-4316-8204-F38A27328649/0/ForestHillandHonorOakfinalPDF.pdf | accessdate = 2007-07-17 ] and is still the largest in Europe cite web | title = Honor Oak Reservoir | publisher = Thames Water Utilities | url = http://www.thameswater.co.uk/UK/region/en_gb/content/News/Media_Pictures_000002.jsp?SECT=Media_Pictures_000002 | accessdate = 2007-07-17 ] .

Between 1809 and 1836, a canal ran through Honor Oak as part of its route from New Cross to Croydon. It also went via Forest Hill and Sydenham. The canal was replaced by a railway line after 1836, and this now forms part of the line between London Bridge and Croydon. Honor Oak Park railway station opened in 1886 is on this line. Honor Oak railway station was opened in 1862 but closed in 1958 as part of the closure of the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway, originally built to take passengers to The Crystal Palace. The remains of the embankment of this line can still be seen, forming part of Brenchley Gardens.

Famous Residents

Political activist Jim Connell (1852-1929), author of 'The Red Flag', lived in Stondon Park Road (which is on the border of Crofton Park and Honor Oak). He wrote the anthem en route to his home in December 1889.

The comedian Spike Milligan (1918-2002), lived at 22 Gabriel Street, Honor Oak, and 50 Riseldine Road (which is on the border of Crofton Park and Honor Oak) after coming to England from India in the 1930s.

Other famous residents include actor Timothy Spall and singer Gabrielle.

Nearest Places

* Crofton Park
* Brockley
* Forest Hill, London
* Catford
* Ladywell
* Nunhead

Relevant Links

* [http://www.se23.com SE23.com - The local community website for Forest Hill and Honor Oak, London SE23]
* Honor Oak Christian Fellowship Centre
* [http://www.segalselfbuild.co.uk/projects/waltersway,lewis.html Walter Segal Self Build Trust]
* [http://www.thehonoroak.com The Honor Oak, Public House]
* [http://www.othas.org.uk One Tree Hill Allotments ]

References and notes

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