Lewisham, London Borough of

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Above: Outline map of the borough today with the old boundaries for Metropolitan Deptford and Lewisham. The main place names have been added.

Until 1965 the centre of Lewisham, which had once been a small village, was part of the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham. This had been created in 1899 and it lasted until 1 April 1965. On that fateful day the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham was combined with the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford to become the larger administrative area called the London Borough of Lewisham.

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Above: The place name seen on a trendy rubbish bin beside the busy main road whose grassy verges were once ‘rushey’ because of the reed beds and rushes growing on the marshy land beside the River Ravensbourne.

The old Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham included the original village of Lewisham which ran in a ribbon along Lewisham High Street. The old parish church was at the southern end at what is now called Ladywell. The road extended south, known as Rushey Green (because of the marshy land beside the River Ravensbourne) and the southern end of that road is, of course, Catford. Further south the same road is called Bromley Road which runs even further south to what was the southernmost part of the original parish – hence the place name ‘South End’.

Still within Lewisham, on the eastern side is the village called Lee and the later village, formed in Victorian times, that was called Blackheath. The residents of Blackheath like to think of themselves as living in Greenwich but the truth of the matter is that most of their addresses are SE13 which is ‘good old’ Lewisham.

Other place names also within Lewisham are Brockley, parts of Honor Oak, Forest Hill and Sydenham.

The old Metropolitan Borough of Deptford was what we know as Deptford – originally north of today’s High Street. It also included the area that was originally called Hatcham, now known as New Cross and Telegraph Hill.

As it happens, we have just passed the exact date of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the London Borough of Lewisham which was, obviously, 1 April 2015.

If you are a ‘Full’ member of the Know Your London group you will be able to download a broadsheet (A1 size in pdf format) giving an outline history called ‘Lewisham Borough’. Details of how to download will be sent out to members by email.

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