Lewisham's Administrative History

Ancient parishes

The London Borough of Lewisham includes the ancient parishes of St Margaret, Lee and St Mary, Lewisham, also the parish of St Paul, Deptford. The following districts also come within the borough: Bellingham, Beckenham (part), Blackheath (part), Brockley, Catford, Crofton Park, Downham, Forest Hill, Grove Park, Hatcham, Hither Green, Ladywell, New Cross, Southend and Sydenham.
Detached areas and divided parishes

The ancient parish of St Nicholas, Deptford was divided in 1730 into the parishes of St Nicholas and St Paul. At this date the two parishes were of equal rateable value, but St Paul's had a far larger area and therefore acquired a much greater population in the 19th century. In 1900 the civil parish of St Paul, Deptford become the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford, whilst the civil parish of St Nicholas, Deptford was included in the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich. Part of the parish of St Paul's (the western half of the New Cross area) was in Surrey until the County of London was formed in 1889.
Poor Law Unions

St Paul's, Deptford was part of Greenwich Union 1834–1930. Plans, minutes, reports, registers, contracts and correspondence are at London Metropolitan Archives.
Lee and Lewisham were part of Lewisham Union. The main series of records are at London Metropolitan Archives, but see also Lewisham hospital records for minutes, accounts, letter books, plans, relief application and report books and other records, 1836–1972.

Local authorities 1855–1900

  • St Pauls Deptford

Administered by the Greenwich Board of Works, which comprised Greenwich and both the Deptford parishes. However, the powers of the Board were mostly delegated to committees for each parish

  • Lee

Administered by the Plumstead District Board of Works until 1894 when this was dissolved. From 1894 to 1900 Lee and was administered by the Lee District Board of Works, which comprised Lee, Charlton, Eltham and the Liberty of Kidbrooke

  • Lewisham

Administered by the Lewisham District Board of Works, which comprised Lewisham and Penge.

Ad hoc authorities

Dates given are those for which records survive.

  • St Paul's Deptford Burial Board 1858–1902
  • Lewisham Parochial Charities Trust 1874–1883
  • Lewisham Board of Highways 1849–1855
  • Lewisham Burial Board 1855–1900
  • Lewisham Public Baths Commissioners 1855–1892
  • Lee Burial Board 1868–1900
  • Local authorities 1900–1965
  • Metropolitan Borough of Deptford: the civil parish of St Paul, Deptford, with minor boundary adjustments
  • Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham: the civil parishes of Lee and Lewisham, with minor boundary adjustments.

Other authorities with responsibilities in the area

  • Kent Quarter Sessions, 1596–[1889]. Records at the Centre for Kentish Studies, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent.
  • Metropolitan Board of Works, 1855–1889. Records at London Metropolitan Archives. Printed Minutes 1859–1899 at Local Studies Centre.
  • London School Board, 1870–1904. Records at London Metropolitan Archives.
  • London County Council, 1889–1965. Records at London Metropolitan Archives. Printed minutes 1889–1965 at Local Studies Centre.
  • Greater London Council, 1965–1986, and successor bodies. Records at London Metropolitan Archives. Printed minutes 1964–1981 at Local Studies Centre.
  • Inner London Education Authority, 1965–1990. Records at London Metropolitan Archives. Printed minutes 1964–1982 at Local Studies Centre. Please ask in advance about the availability of these records.
  • Surrey and Kent Commissioners of Sewers 1569–1848. Records at London Metropolitan Archives.
  • Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers 1848–1855. Records at London Metropolitan Archives.
  • Diocese of Rochester, period before 1846 and 1877–1905. Records at the Centre for Kentish Studies, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent.
  • Diocese of London, 1846–1877. Records at Guildhall Library.
  • Diocese of Southwark, since 1905. Records at London Metropolitan Archives.
  • For parts of the New Cross area only: Surrey Quarter Sessions to 1889. Records at Surrey Record Office, 130 Goldsworth Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1ND.
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