There are two leading theories about where the name Elmers End originated. The more romantic of the two is that a famous highwayman, Elmer, was hanged at the crossroads, making it ‘Elmer’s end’. The more historically accurate reason is that there were a number of local people who were proclaimed as an Elmerus (Anglo Saxon translation of a criminal), who were executed on the green.
It has a large green space which is the centre of a gyratory. Very close to the combined railway station and Tramlink terminus bearing its name is the old sewage farm. The remains of this industrial site can still be seen. The sewage works is thought to be contaminated with heavy metals and is therefore unfit for building houses. The sewage farm has been converted into a country park (South Norwood Country Park), but many of the locals still know it as the sewage farm. The park falls within the boundaries of the London Borough of Croydon.
The former industrial estate on the south side of the railway track has closed down: it used to house the Muirhead and Twinlock factories, and can be seen from the air here. The companies vacated the sites and it remained derelict until the mid 1990s when Tesco built a new superstore. The former Bolloms paint factory site, on the opposite side of the road has been redeveloped into an industrial estate.
The main Beckenham crematorium is situated between South Norwood Country Park and Birkbeck. Also known as Elmers End Cemetery, it contains the final resting places of such notable people as W.G. Grace, Frank Bourne, Thomas Crapper, Jerzy Wołkowicki, William Stanley and George Evans (VC) who won a Victoria Cross in 1916.
Elmers End railway station connects the area with Southeastern services to London Charing Cross and London Cannon Street via Catford Bridge and to Hayes. There are also Tramlink services to Wimbledon via East Croydon.
Elmers End is served by several bus routes provided by Transport for London. These connect Elmers End with areas including Beckenham, Bromley, Catford, Croydon, Crystal Palace, Lewisham, Orpington, Penge, Purley and Woolwich.