Development of the borough

Before 1714

The London Borough of Lewisham has been formed from three old parishes, Lee, Lewisham, and St Paul, Deptford.

Until the 18th century the typical houses in rural Lee and Lewisham were timber-framed farms, and cottages for farm labourers. There were a few stone-built manor houses, one or two with moats, and late in the 17th century, fine brick houses began to be built for the clergy and for Lewisham's first commuters.

Brockley and New Cross, the southern parts of Deptford, were similar to Lee and Lewisham, but northern Deptford became an industrial town during the 17th century. Spreading from the riverside streets as far as Deptford Broadway were rows of wooden cottages for the shipwrights, sailors and craftsmen and larger brick houses for the foremen, sea captains and officials.

Colfe's Almshouses in Lewisham High Street were built by the Leathersellers Company between 1663 and 1665 with money left by Abraham Colfe, Vicar of Lewisham. They were for six poor old men and women of the parish.

Place House was the manor house of Sydenham. It was rebuilt in the 16th century, and became a popular residence for courtiers who needed to live near Greenwich Palace.

Most Sydenham houses were built of timber until the 19th century. Grove House (pictured above) probably began as a pair of houses late in the 17th century, but was soon converted into a single dwelling. It was a farmhouse for many years. Sir George Grove, the musical historian, lived here from 1860 to 1900.

College, or Clark's Farm stood opposite the Lewisham Shopping Centre and was probably built in the second half of the 17th century. It was demolished in the late 1860s, when Albion Way was laid out across the site.

Albury Street (originally called Union Street) was largely built between 1705 and 1717. These were then amongst the best houses in Deptford, popular with sea captains and shipbuilders.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License