|Table of contents|
2 Literary associations
4 Famous former residents
5 Nearest places
6 Nearest stations
It reputedly takes its name from the practice of archery there during the Middle Ages. As the name also implies, the district is centred upon a hill - the highest point in south London (432ft) - offering good views over the River Thames to the north, with central London clearly visible to the east. Oxleas Woods remains a public open space close to the top of the hill; there is also a golf-course and one of the last remaining areas of farmland in inner London, Woodlands Farm (now an educational charity).
Shooter's Hill Road stretches eastwards from the heath at Blackheath up and over the hill. The road follows the route of Watling Street, a Roman Road linking London with Roman settlements in north Kent. This was used as a route for horse-drawn mail-coaches linking London with Dover.
Charles Dickens mentions such carriages "lumbering" up Shooter's Hill in A Tale of Two Cities, and refers to a public house there in Pickwick Papers. The district is also mentioned in Bram Stoker's Dracula, in H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and by Thomas Carlyle. On 11 April 1661, diarist Samuel Pepys mentions passing under "the man that hangs upon Shooter's Hill" (probably a highwayman hanged and left to rot as a warning to other criminals - at 'Gibbet Field', now part of the local golf-course).
Local landmarks include Severndroog Castle, a folly designed by Richard Jupp in 1784 and built to commemorate Commodore William James who, in April 1775, attacked and destroyed a pirate fortress at Severndroog along the Bombay and Goa coast of India.
In 1749, 'The Bull' public house opened just west of the summit of the hill, and was used as a refreshment stop by the Royal Mail coaches.
Famous former residents
engineer Samuel Brown developed an internal combustion engine that used hydrogen as a fuel and tested it to propel a vehicle (arguably one of the earliest automobiles) up Shooter's Hill in 1824.