Until Bexleyheath was enclosed in the nineteenth century, it was a wild area,the haunt of footpads and highwaymen. The development of textile printing by Charles Swaisland in Crayford drew workers to the area. Enclosure brought permanent homes, and more prosperous residents moved in, some creating landmarks like Red House, home to artist William Morris. The inexorable growth of London made Bexleyheath a desirable place for commuters to live, and eventually London swamped the district entirely and Bexley became a London Borough. John Mercer traces the rags-to-riches story of Bexleyheath from its emergence in the early nineteenth century to the present day. Through a focus on the specific events, locations and inhabitants that have been integral to the town's development, he creates a detailed picture of the growth of the area and its rise to municipal importance as one of thirty-five major centres in Greater London.