Miss Oregon from – well, Oregon, actually, asks:

Is Blackheath considered part of Greenwich? The books I have seem to include it in the area. My good friend there tells me a story of how it came to be called Blackheath; maybe you have another story? (Learning is good.)

The Phantom Replies:

What an interesting question. Is Blackheath considered to be part of Greenwich ? Hmm. I would say an resounding “no.”

Not by the post office – they have different post(zip)codes – anything SE10 is Greenwich; anything SE3 is Blackheath.

Not by the local councils – I can never remember the boundaries but at least some of Blackheath is operated by Lewisham Council; Greenwich Town, unsurprisingly, is under Greenwich Council’s control.

Not by the good burghers of Blackheath themselves – they are very fiercely “their own men” and would probably be rather horrified to be lumped in with slightly-downmarket-in-comparison Greenwich.

But there are some grey areas. Westcombe Park, for example, LOOKS like it should be Greenwich – after all it’s ‘our’ side of the heath -but has a Blackheath postcode.

Let’s have a show of hands here. If you live in Westcombe Park, do you consider yourself Blackheath, Greenwich – or, indeed, Westcombe-Parkian (and are you applying for devolution in the near future?)

Come to think of it, even within Greenwich we have different areas (albeit some of them Easte-Agent-speak) – the Ashburnham Triangle, for example, or The Peninsula. Blackheath too, has its individual areas – The Cator Estate, or the areas fringing on Shooters Hill or Lewisham.

Me? I’m happy to appropriate and include anything around our area that is lovely and of interest to people from Greenwich – whether it’s “officially” Charlton, Blackheath, Deptford or further afield. I don’t care as long as it’s get-at-able and enjoyable…

As to how Blackheath got it’s name – to my embarrassment I did know and I’ve forgotten. I am sure someone will enlighten you, but in the meanwhile I will consult Neil Rhind’s splendid book about the Heath and get back to you.

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