Labour MP for Erith & Thamesmead

Teresa Pearce MP

Erith past and future

Posted on May 16, 2010 by Teresa Pearce


It’s the Erith Forum AGM on Wednesday night at 7.00 pm at the Vets Club in Park Crescent. I would encourage Erith residents to go as it’s a friendly informative meeting which discusses the future of our town.

 Below I list some things you may not know about Erith’s past.

Twelve things you may not know about Erith 

  1. Erith is a saxon word. 
  2. The Anglo Saxons settled this area after winning the Battle of Crayford in the year 457. 
  3. Erith played a part during the reign of Henry VIII (1509 – 47) Henry is believed to have spent a night here on his way to France . 
  4. Part of his naval dockyard was founded at Erith showing the importance of the area. 
  5. Henry’s famous warship, Henri Grace à Dieu or ‘Great Harry’, was fitted out here in 1515. 
  6. Erith was famous in the 17th & 18th centuries for smuggling. 
  7. Erith played a big role in the famous 18thcentury importer and exporter the East India Trading Company. The company docked its ships at Erith to load and unload cargo before setting out on its trips to the far east and before returning  to London with the remainder of their goods. 
  8. The reason there are roads in Erith called Friday, Crusoe and Selkirk is because the real life mariner Alexander Selkirk ( upon whom Robinson Crusoe was based ) came back to UK after his shipwreck arriving at Erith on 14 October 1711.  
  9. During the First World War Erith was an extremely important area for the manufacture of guns and ammunition, largely due to the presence of the larrge Vickers works in the Fraser Road area. In the Second World War, Erith found itself in the thick of the conflict, being directly on the German bombing routes from Europe to London, and also because of the nearby armament factories. 
  10. The inventor Edward Butler lived in Erith and invented a three-wheeled car called the Butler Petrol Cycle in 1884, considered by many to be the first British car. 
  11. Linda Smith (29 January 1958 – 27 February 2006) was an English  stand up comedian and comedy writer. She was born in Erith and was a regular Radio 4 panellist, being voted “Wittiest Living Person” by listeners in 2002.  
  12.  Wendy Cope (born 21 July 1945) in Erith is an award-winning contemporary English poet.

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