New Cross

This area used to be known as Hatcham, an Anglo-Saxon name, meaning 'Hacci's village', or possibly 'the village in the clearing in the woods'. A map of 1619 shows the area as still heavily wooded. The ancient road from London to Dover and Canterbury runs through the area, and in the 18th century travellers using the road had to pay tolls at the turnpike gates. The gate at Hatcham was called New Cross Gate, after the New Cross Inn which stood nearby, and gradually the area became known as New Cross rather than Hatcham.

In 1614 most of the land here was bought by the Haberdashers Company, as an investment for one of their charities. In the 1860s they began to build houses on this land, and founded a boys' and a girls' grammar school here, using money from a charity founded by Robert Aske.

The first railway station in New Cross was on the London and Croydon line, opened in 1839. The North Kent Line's station followed in 1849. Confusingly, both stations were called New Cross until 1923, when the Croydon Line station was renamed New Cross Gate. The East London Line, running from New Cross northwards and through the original Thames Tunnel, began operating in 1869.

Deptford Town Hall was built in 1905 to serve the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford - this became part of the London Borough of Lewisham in 1965. The Town Hall has now been acquired by Goldsmiths College. Now part of the University of London, Goldsmiths College was founded as a technical college by the Goldsmiths Company in 1891. Its building was formerly the Royal Naval School, for the sons of naval officers.

In January 1981 a tragic fire in a house in New Cross Road killed thirteen young black people, who were attending a birthday party. The cause of the fire has not yet been established. It was widely believed to have been started deliberately, and a demonstration, the Black People's Day of Action, was attended by 15,000 people.

Open Spaces:

Archive Collection pages with connections to New Cross:

People with connections to New Cross:
Marie Lloyd (1870-1922) the great music hall star, lived in Lewisham way from 1887 to 1893. She is remembered for songs like 'Oh Mr Porter!' and 'My old man said follow the van'.
George England (1811-1879) was an early manufacturer of railway locomotives, at the Hatcham Iron Works in Pomeroy Street. Some of his locomotives can still be seen on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

Pages with connections to New Cross:

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