Southend was the last part of Lewisham to become built up, although it was a village in the 18th century and probably earlier. There were two mills on the Ravensbourne at Southend, called the Upper and Lower Mills. the Lower Mill stood on the south side of the junction of Southend Lane with Bromley Road. the Upper Mill was almost opposite Winlaton Road.

In the 19th century Southend was dominated by the Forster family who owned a lot of land locally and lived at Southend Hall. In 1919 Lord Forster gave part of his estate to Lewisham council in memory of his sons who were killed in the First World War and Forster (Memorial) Park was laid out.

The railway came to Southend in 1892 when the Nunhead to Shortlands railway was opened, but Southend had changed little by 1919 and was still surrounded by fields, allotments and sports grounds. In the 1920s and 30s new streets and buildings at last began to change Southend into a London suburb.

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