About the book
"The Story of Royal Eltham" was written in 1909 by the headmaster of what is now Roper Street school. It is long since out of print and there are very few copies around.
We were lucky enough to borrow one from a kind neighbour. In order to preserve the information for our own future use, and for other local history enthusiasts, we decided to copy the entire book and make it available on the web. (Since writing the above I have been able to buy our own copy of the book.)
Mr Gregory died over 70 years ago in 1927 and his book is now out of copyright. It is available here for research, but not for further publication.
It was a labour of love and scholarship - as Mr Gregory put it, in his edwardian style,
"To the Young Folks of Eltham, with many of whom he has held frequent converse on the topics herein discussed, the writer dedicates this book in the fervent hope that, even in those distant days, when the Young Folks shall have become the Old Folks, its perusal may help them to preserve the memories, and to carry on the traditions associated with the romantic history of Royal Eltham" -- November 1909.
In preparing the book for this website, which in itself has been no small feat, I have come to admire Mr Gregory's work and his feeling for what in his day was still a village. When he wrote the horrors of the first and second world wars, the Depression and the explosive growth of the 20th century were all in an unimaginable future and the world has changed almost unrecognisably from his day. Indeed the Young Folks for whom he wrote were the Old Folks two generations ago and we are their descendants. Yet there is continuity and many of the places he describes can still be found - and people are still people.
I feel sure that Mr Gregory would have welcomed the internet and its ability to bring information to everyone and would have wanted his work to be published on the web, although of course in his day even the telephone was a new and rare thing.
In bringing "The Story of Royal Eltham"; to the web I would like to dedicate it to the memory of Mr Gregory and to open a window on the Eltham of so long ago for those who have not seen his book.