History of the London Borough of Lewisham

The London Borough of Lewisham was formed in 1965 from the Metropolitan Borough of Lewishamand the St Paul's part of the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford.

From Wikipedia
It is most likely to have been founded by a pagan Jute, Leof, who settled (by burning his boat) near St Mary's Church (Ladywell) where the ground was drier, in the 6th Century. 'Leofshema' was an important settlement at the confluence of the rivers Quaggy (from Farnborough) and Ravensbourne (Caesar's Well, Keston), so the village expanded north into the wetter area as drainage techniques improved. In the mid-seventeenth century the then vicar of Lewisham, Abraham Colfe, built a grammar school, primary school and six almshouses for the inhabitants.

The village of Lewisham was originally centred further south around the parish church of St Mary, towards the present site of University Hospital, Lewisham. The centre migrated north with the coming of the North Kent railway line to Dartford in 1849, encouraging commuter housing. Lewisham was part of Kent until 1889 and formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham in the County of London until 1965.

Lewisham's High Street is particularly long and wide for a London suburb.The town centre was hit by a V-1 in 1944 with over 300 fatalities. It devastated the high street and was not restored into its former glory until the mid 1950's.This horrific event is commemorated by a plaque outside the Lewisham shopping centre (opened in 1977).The Sainsbury store in Lewisham shopping centre was briefly the largest supermarket in Europe. The store still exist today and is small by modern standards..This area at the north end of the High Street was pedestrianised in 1994. It is home to a daily street market and a local landmark, the Clock Tower, completed in 1900 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Maggie's Restaurant is a popular cafe where many go near to the railway station. It was once voted the best cafe in the world by local paper, The News Shopper.

Lewisham, an important transport hub

The police station, which was opened in 2004 to replace the station in Ladywell, is officially the largest in Europe. There is also another large police station in nearby Catford. There is planned regeneration of Lewisham town centre.

Almost all of the SE13 Lewisham postcode falls within the London Borough of Lewisham, except for the Coldbath Estate and part of the Orchard Estate along Lewisham Road, which are covered by the London Borough of Greenwich.

Lewisham Cricket Club was one of the most prestigious London sides during the Victorian era. They played at Lewisham Cricket Ground from 1864, which lay north of Ladywell Road until its closure in the latter part of the 19th Century. Lewisham Swimming Club was also very successful with several of their members representing England in water-polo and other gymkhana events. The club still meet at Ladywell Swimming Baths, one of the public swimming pools in Lewisham which include Downham Health and Leisure Centre, the Bridge in Sydenham, Forest Hill Pools (closed for refurbishment) and Wavelengths in Deptford.

In 1977, the Battle of Lewisham (actually in New Cross) saw the biggest street battle against fascists since the Battle of Cable Street in 1936. Over 10,000 people turned out to oppose a National Front march which was organised on the back of increasing electoral success at that time.

Related Pages
Notables of Lewisham

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