Monday, 1 July 2013

Let's Move to....Eltham, South London...

What's going for it? It's a mighty long way from Eltham to Hollywood, but one local made it. Bob Hope. Yep, Bob Hope. As in Road To Morocco, charity golf tournaments and plaid trousers. He was born on Craigton Road, just up from the post office. He didn't stay long. I wonder what the Bobster made of the place? Did he long for the wild ancient woods up at Oxleas? Did he pine for the views from the top of Shooter's Hill and Eltham Hill? Was Royal Blackheath golf club (England's oldest, triv fans) where the plaid began? Nah, probably not. But he thought enough of the place to help save the theatre (renamed in his honour) in the 80s. In fact, the burb's seen more than its fair share of celebrity: Frankie Howerd, Boy George, Denis Healey, Jude Law, Louise Redknapp and Kate Bush have all passed through. It's practically London's Beverly Hills.
The case against The shadow of Stephen Lawrence's murder still hangs heavy. Don't come here expecting cosmopolitan London. Watch for chronic rat runs.
Well connected? No tube, but roadwise it's good, with the A2 and A20 - though it's usually gridlock at rush hour - and the south circular. Rail: between four and eight trains an hour to Charing Cross, Cannon Street or Victoria from Eltham, and from Mottingham (both 30-ish minutes).
Schools Eltham CofE, St Mary's Catholic, Gordon, Deansfield,  St Thomas More Catholic and Henwick all soar above the national average for English, maths and science. Secondaries more troubled: St Thomas More RC comprehensive is the star, scoring well above average at GCSE, though independents Eltham College and Colfe's are most popular.
Hang out at... Locals Lynne and Steve Lane recommend "the Tudor Barn, built early 1600, opposite the Co-op. Inside there's a little gem of a Cajun-music-and-dance venue." For eating, the Park Tavern and Electriq Cafe get the nod from residents.
Where to buy Excellent, affordable property, very commutable to central London. Eltham was once a village, famous for its mansions and Eltham Palace. You'll still find the village's older property - pricey - on North Park and Court Roads. Prized suburban gems are the Eltham Park estate or "Corbett" estate. Best is the Progress estate for cottagey, Arts and Craftsy houses.
Article date: 2008

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