Five Bells Public House at New Cross, Deptford
View of the Five Bells Inn on the New Cross Road. The inn was one of many serving travellers along the busy road from London to Dover. This illustration shows the pub before it was pulled down to make way for a classical-style building.
The Domesday Book notes that New Cross was a hamlet that had nine villagers, two smallholders and three pigs. Records indicate that the locality developed very little during the medieval period, remaining heavily wooded until the 17th century. The district was originally known as Hatcham, an Anglo-Saxon term meaning "Haecci's estate". This title was eventually to be replaced by "New Cross", on account of the very popular New Cross Inn. Many travellers passed through the neighbourhood on their journeys to the capital, and a toll gate was introduced, operating from 1718 to1865. The Royal Naval School was founded here in 1843, providing support for the families of impoverished officers who served in nearby Deptford. In 1869 an underground rail link was made to New Cross and the south east of London using the world's oldest river tunnel.