The original town grew up at the gates of the Royal Palace and has continued to have an important role throughout history to modern times.
Perhaps the most dominant building of the town centre is St Alfege Church, which marked the millennium of the martyrdom of St Alfege in 2012. The current building is a ‘coal-tax’ church of the early 18th century, designed by Hawksmoor, following the collapse of the medieval fabric in 1710. The ragstone tower of the earlier building survived and this was refaced in Portland stone by John James (Clerk of Works for Greenwich Hospital and architect for the west front of Westminster Abbey) in 1730. The great Doric east front of St Alfege has a strong presence in the Town Centre.