Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London

24 March 2011

Take in the view from One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill, in South London, is a park which as the name suggests, is atop a pretty little hill, overlooking Peckham and South London, which has led a varied life, and was famously once a picnic spot for Elizabeth I.

The hill stands five miles south of London Bridge, largely wooded in an area which would have once formed part of the famous Great North Wood, and offering views out from strategically placed holes in the canopy towards Central London.

The hill is, apparently famous for attracting artists to paint its scenes, but its strategic position also attracted the Honorable East India Company, who used it as one of a chain of semaphore stations during the Napoleonic Wars, in order to signal vessels in the English Channel from Central London. It was also used as a gun emplacement During the First World War.

For more on the hill, visit http://www.onetreehill.org.uk/


  1. There's a semaphore tower still extant (now a residential building) in Guildford which was part of the line to Portsmouth and you can still see the one near Esher from the A3. I can't find any reference to One Tree Hill in the list of stations on the Portsmouth - London line, so perhaps it was a tower on the route to Dover...

  2. I wish i'd found your blog sooner! Me and my boyfiend visited london in february and are hoping to go again in may. I will definitely be having a good look at your blog before we make our plans! :)

  3. Think you are talking about Telegraph Hill.....

  4. Um, I don't think I am, but thanks for your comment anyway.

  5. Sorry, I meant that I think that you are talking about Telegraph Hill as being one of the semaphore stations.

  6. Hmmm, you may be right Catherine. It's only single-sourced from the text of "The Story of the One Tree Hill Agitation: With a Short Sketch of the History of Honor Oak Hill" by John Nisbet.

    He says "The hill was at the commencement of the last century used as a semaphore station by the Honourable East India Company, to signal the appearance of their vessels in the Channel.".

    Perhaps they were both part of the chain, though I would have presumed they were too close together for it to make a difference...