Timeline of Lewisham and National events 1900 - Today
By 1900 Southend had become a recreational area and the millpond became a popular boating lake. The land used to be farmland. The two farms were called Shroffolds (to the north) and Holloway (to the west). The people of Lewisham used to take weekend walks over the “Seven Fields”. There was a hamlet on the road from Bromley called Southend. Southend Hall was owned by the wealthy Forster family. There were two water mills on the River Ravensbourne.
1900 Lewisham and Deptford Metropolitan Boroughs were formed. Hatcham Manor Estate development finished. It covered over 200 acres around Telegraph Hill supplying large houses for the middle classes.
1901 Population of Britain 40 million.
1901 Horniman Museum (by C Harrison Townsend in Art Nouveau style) opened. Presented to London County Council along with 21 acres of park and gardens. Grove Park Hospital was built as a workhouse for the poor of Greenwich. It was taken over by the Army in the First World War, and then became a hospital. It is now a housing estate, although some of the hospital buildings have been preserved. Scott’s Expedition to Antarctic, Ernest Shackleton [see 1874 for more details] a Sydenham resident was on it. Lewisham Town Hall was enlarged. Manor House sold to Lewisham Council by Barings. It was converted into a library and park as it is today.
1902 South African War ends. The first Old Age Pension.
1902 Fire Station built in Perry Vale, Forest Hill
1903 Carrington House built as a lodging house for men (corner Brookmill Road). Statue of Robert Aske (died 1689) moved to grounds of Haberdasher Askes.
1904 Police station, 418 Lee High Road.
1905 Deptford Town Hall was built to serve the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford The Town Hall has now been acquired by Goldsmiths College. Goldsmiths' College became part of London University. Mountsfield Park, opened - it has since been enlarged several times.
1906 Lewisham Street Market started in 1906 Lewisham town centre. Dietrich Bonhoffer [1906 – 1945] One of the leading theologians of the 20th Century, was pastor of the German Evangelical Church in Dacres Road, Forest Hill from 1933 to 1935. The house at Manor Mount was the Manse. On return to Germany he became actively involved with the resistance to Hitler. He was arrested in 1943 and executed 1945, a few weeks before the end of the WW2. [Maroon Plaque – 2 Manor Mount, Forest Hill].
1907 Deptford Town Hall opened.
1907/9 First Antarctic Expedition of Ernest Shackleton, See 1874 for more details.
1909 Electric Cinema opened near corner of New Cross Road and Queens Road (closed).
1910 Lee Picture Palace opened at 306 Lee High Road. Closed in 1930s.
1913 The Third Farthing abolished from British coinage.
1913 Imperial Picture Palace, 404-408 Lee High Rd (later Savoy and Pullman).
1914 Compulsory military service and food rationing introduced
1914 Deptford Library opened. Trams reached Southend. Second Antarctic Expedition of Ernest Shackleton, See 1874 for more details. 1914 - 1916.
1914 - 1918 First World War.
1917 Blackheath Hill Station and Lewisham Road Station closed 1 Jan 1917 (London, Chatham and Dover Railway)
1920s Burnt Ash Farm closed down and Lewisham Council built the Grove Park Estate, acquiring Chinbrook Meadows for a recreation ground.
1920 Republic of Ireland gains independence
1920 - 1923 London County Council (LCC) bought the farmland in order to build a new housing estate there. It was named Downham after the Chairman of the LCC, Lord Downham.
1921-1922 Third and Final Antarctic Expedition of Ernest Shackleton, See 1874 for more details. He dies during this expedition.
1922 Forster Memorial park opens
1923 The Croydon Line station was renamed New Cross Gate as Confusingly, both stations were called New Cross.
1923/4 Southend Pond opened as Peter Pan Pool.
1924 Construction of the estate at Downham begins.
1925 Trains started at Grove Park. New Cross Super Kinema opened on New Cross Road and corner of Clifton Rise. Later named Gaumont.
1926 Estate built by the London County Council planned it as a garden suburb or cottage estate. Designed for the working classes. Foundation stone laid for St John’s Church. The railway to central London was electrified, making the journey to central London faster and therefore encouraging commuters to live in Grove Park.
1927 Downderry School [officially opened in 1929] and Southend Village Police Station opens.
1928 Trams started in Downham
1929 Capitol Cinema, Forest Hill opened. Downham Tavern opened.
1930 Main part of Downham Estate completed and Splendid Cinema opens.
1932 Downham Health Clinic opens. Lewisham Town Hall extension was built, containing the Lewisham Theatre 1960s The old part of the Town Hall was replaced by the Civic Suite.
1935/6 Beckenham Place Park opens
1936 Crystal Palace burnt down.
1937 Sir Frank Whittle invents the Jet Engine. The Sovereign and Half Sovereign abolished from British coinage.
1937 Downham Library and Swimming baths opened. The estate was extended at Whitefoot Lane and is now known as North Downham.
1938 Blackheath Preservation Society founded
1939 The Second World War begins.
1939 Police Station opens at 333 Bromley Road, Catford.
1939 - 1945 The Park Fever Hospital (later called Hither Green Hospital) suffered severe damage from bombs.
1942 Downham Nursery opens
1943 Sir Barnes Wallace [1887 – 1979] designed the bouncing bomb to destroy the Mohne Dam in the Ruhr Valley in 1943. See 1887 for more details.
1944 Tigers Head, Downham hit by V1, 18 killed and 40 injured. Woolworths V2 Incident – 25 November 1944. Struck at midday on Saturday when Woolworth’s and the Co Op next door were crowded with shoppers. 168 were killed and at least 123 seriously injured. [Plaque – Maroon 277 – 281 New Cross Road].
1946 The Park Fever Hospital (later called Hither Green Hospital), began to treat other cases from this date.
1951 Festival of Britain
1952 Elizabeth II becomes Queen.
1952 Last tram ran in Downham.
1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
1954 Span flats built at The Priory, Blackheath. New lifting bridge built across Deptford Creek. Honor Oak Station [Crystal Palace and South London Railway] and Upper Sydenham Station [London, Chatham and Dover Railway] Closed 20 September.
1957 The £5 introduced into British Bank Note System.
1957 Splendid Cinema closes, demolished in 1958. Railway disaster at St John’s kills 94, many from Downham.
1958 Malory School and the Library reopens after being damaged in the Second World War.
1960s The last farmland was built on in the 1960s; however, private sports grounds as well as Chinbrook Meadows provide open spaces.
1960 The Farthing abolished from British coinage.
1960 Gaumont and Eros (formerly Lewisham Hippodrome) cinemas demolished. New Cross Gaumont closed (became Venue nightclub in 1990s.
1961 Royal Victoria Victualling Yard closed. Became Pepys Estate, some 1790 buildings remain (officers houses and warehouses).
1962 Eros House offices built by Owen Luder
1963 St Johns C of E Primary School, Downham opens
1965 The Crown abolished from British coinage.
1965 LCC becomes the Greater London Council and the boarder with Kent moves to Bromley Borough’s border at Bromley Hill. St Paul’s part of Borough of Deptford incorporated into Borough of Lewisham and became the London Borough of Lewisham.
1967 5 November, an express train from Hastings to Charing Cross derailed between Grove Park and Hither Green station, close to where the railway crosses St. Mildred's Road. 49 passengers were killed.
1968 Old Town Hall demolished
1969 The Half Crown abolished from British coinage.
1969 The Crystal Palace and District Gas Company's works at Bell Green closed down. A large store now occupies part of the site.
1970 Decimalisation came to Britain. The Half-Penny, Penny, Threepence, Sixpence, Florin and Shilling abolished from British coinage. Circulated as 2.5p until 1980[sixpence], 2 Shillings or 10p [Florin] and Shilling as 5p after this.
1973 Britain joins the European Community
1974 Catford Shopping Centre built by Owen Luder.
1976 Haberdasher Aske’s School, New Cross went comprehensive.
1977 The shopping centre at Lewisham was built.
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first woman prime minister
1980 The Sixpence abolished from British coinage.
1981 Peter Pans Pools closes [Southend Pond] and a DIY store opens on the site. In January 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 15,000 people attended a demonstration, the Black People’s Day of Action.
1982 Falklands War. The 20p was introduced into British coinage.
1983 The Pound Note was abolished and the £1 coin introduced into British coinage.
1983 Southend school is demolished.
1984 The 1/2p abolished from British coinage.
1984 On the 21st July the first People’s Day was held at Hilly Fields.
1986 The £2 coin was fish introduced as a commemorative coin into the British coinage.
1986 The Downham Estate became the responsibility of London Borough of Lewisham.
1990 The Shilling abolished from British coinage and the 5p reduced in size. The £5 was introduced into the British Coinage.
1990 Lewisham Council takes over the running of Educational Services in the Borough from the ILEA when it was abolished.
1991 First Gulf War. Sir Tim Berners Lee invents the World Wide Web
1991 In July Wavelengths Leisure Centre opens with Swimming Pool and Library
1992 The Florin or 2 Shillings worth 10p was abolished from British coinage and the 10p reduced in size.
1992 Lewisham High Street in the town centre was pedestrianised giving a traffic-free street market and an open space. The new eastern section of Lewisham Town Hall. Laurence House, which offers additional accommodation for Council staff, was built on the former site of St Laurence's church.
1994 Channel Tunnel links Britain back to the European continent
1996 Sybil Phoenix was awarded the Freedom of the London Borough of Lewisham in recognition for her service to the people and community of the London Borough of Lewisham.
1997 The £2 coin went into general circulation in the British coinage.
1997 Downham Central School is demolished. The Park Fever Hospital (later called Hither Green Hospital), after a century of service, the hospital closed and site was developed as housing.
1999 First Welsh National Assembly and Scottish Parliament.
1999 Light Railway stations opened at Lewisham and Deptford Broadway connecting to Docklands, East London and Lewisham.
2002 Laban Dance Centre Opens, designed by Herzog & De Meuron, architects. Won Stirling Prize for Building of the Year in 2003. Lewisham was one of the first Councils in the country to have an elected Mayor. Sir Steve Bullock was first elected in 2002 and was re-elected in 2006 for another four years.
2003 The Second Gulf War. England Wins the Rugby World Cup
2007 New Centre at Downham is opened to include Health Centre, Library and Swimming Baths.
2013 Downham Tavern Closes
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