Lewisham

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For the larger local government district, see London Borough of Lewisham.
For other uses, see Lewisham (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 51°27′41″N 0°00′19″W / 51.461456°N 0.00537°W / 51.461456; -0.00537

Lewisham
Renaissance, Lewisham SE13.JPG
New development, Renaissance, designed by Assael Architecture on Loampit Vale
Lewisham is located in Greater London
Lewisham
Lewisham
 Lewisham shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ385755
London borough Lewisham
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE13
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Lewisham Deptford
London Assembly Greenwich and Lewisham
List of places
UK
England
London

Lewisham (/ˈl.ɪʃəm/) is a major inner-city district in South East London, England, located in the London Borough of Lewisham. It is situated 5.9 miles (9.5 km) south-east of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London,[1] although Lewisham London Borough Council aspires to upgrade the town centre to become a metropolitan centre like Bromley and Croydon.[2][3]

History[edit]

Kaleidoscope Children and Young People's Centre, Catford

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. As to the etymology of the name, Daniel Lysons (1796) wrote:

"In the most ancient Saxon records this place is called Levesham, that is, the house among the meadows; leswe, læs, læse, or læsew, in the Saxon, signifies a meadow, and ham, a dwelling. A Latin legal record, dated 1440, mentions a place in Kent as Levesham which may refer to Lewisham.[4]

It is now written, as well in parochial and other records as in common usage, Lewisham."[5]

"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, then-vicar of Lewisham, Abraham Colfe, built a grammar school, primary school and six almshouses for the inhabitants. On 5 September 1711 William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth became the (hereditary) Viscount Lewisham [6] 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 administratively part of Kent until 1889, and formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham in the County of London until 1965.

The town centre was hit by a V-1 flying bomb[7] in 1944 with over 300 fatalities. It devastated the high street, which was not restored to its former glory until the mid-1950s. This horrific event is commemorated by a plaque outside the Lewisham Shopping Centre (opened in 1977). The plaque is situated on the pavement outside the Marks and Spencers store in the main shopping precinct. However, following reports that the memorial was being worn away by pedestrians, Lewisham Council made an agreement with the store to place a new plaque on a wall alongside the shop.[8] The Sainsbury's store in Lewisham Shopping Centre was briefly the largest supermarket in Europe.[citation needed] The store still exists today and is small by modern standards. The 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. The police station, which was opened in 2004 to replace the station in Ladywell, is officially the largest in Europe.[9] There is also another large police station in nearby Catford.

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 its members representing England in water polo and other gymkhana events. During the First World War, Lewisham Hospital's infirmary became the Lewisham Military Hospital and during the Second World War the hospital was hit by a V-1 flying bomb, which destroyed two wards, injured 70 people and killed one nurse.

Lewisham is also the site of one of the worst disasters on British Railways in the 20th century. On 4 December 1957 a crowded steam-hauled passenger express headed for the Kent coast overran signals at danger in thick fog near St. John's station and crashed into a stationary electric train for the Hayes branch line. The force of the impact brought down an overhead railway bridge onto the wreckage below. An electric multiple unit about to cross the bridge towards Nunhead managed to pull up in time. 90 passengers and crew died in the accident.

In 1977, the Battle of Lewisham[10] (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.

Governance[edit]

Lewisham was governed by the Lewisham District Board of Works Authority until 1900. Following the London Government Act 1899, the County of London was split into 28 Metropolitan Boroughs. As a result, from 1900 to 1965, the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham was created. After the London Government Act 1963 was passed through Parliament, the current 32 London Boroughs where formed. Today Lewisham is part of the London Borough of Lewisham based in Catford. The current mayor is Steven Bullock. For the London Assembly, the Borough of Lewisham is joined with the Royal Borough of Greenwich to form the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency, with the current AM being Len Duvall. For Westminster elections, Lewisham is covered by the Lewisham Deptford constituency with the current Member of Parliament is Joan Ruddock. All representatives are part of the Labour Party.

Commercial area and amenities[edit]

University Hospital Lewisham, Riverside Building

Lewisham's commercial area is one of the largest in South East London. Lewisham Shopping Centre, opened in the 1970s, has 70 stores over 330,000 square feet. Shops include Marks & Spencer, W H Smith, Sainsburys, H&M, TK Maxx, JD Sports, BHS and Argos.[11] The centre is located between Molesworth Street (a dual carriageway section of the A21), but most shoppers enter and leave on the High Street. Lewisham Market and the Library is located outside the shopping centre on the High Street.

Opened in 1894, University Hospital Lewisham is an National Health Service, acute hospital run by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust serving the whole London Borough of Lewisham as well as some surrounding areas. In July 2012 the government recommended that Lewisham's Accident & Emergency ward should be closed, with reliance on emergencies transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich. However, there was a strong campaign in Lewisham against the proposed closure, including a march on 24 November 2012[12] and a successful legal challenge. In July 2013, the High Court ruled that the closure of Lewisham A&E could not go ahead.[13] In October 2013, the Court of Appeal ruled that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did not have power to implement cuts at Lewisham Hospital.[14]

Education[edit]

Sixth form and further education providers in Lewisham include Christ the King Sixth Form College and LeSoCo. Lewisham is also home to Goldsmith's College and the Laban Dance College (part of Trinity College of Music).

Transport[edit]

Lewisham DLR entrance

Lewisham has a major transport interchange served by Southeastern rail services, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Buses and National Express Coaches.

Rail[edit]

All trains are operated by Southeastern. With trains to London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street both via London Bridge and via Sidcup, Orpington, Hayes, Dartford via Bexleyheath and Gillingham via Woolwich Arsenal.

DLR[edit]

The Docklands Light Railway has services to Canary Wharf, Bank and Stratford.

Buses[edit]

Lewisham is served by many Transport for London bus services connecting it with areas including Beckenham, Bexleyheath, Bromley, Brixton, Elephant & Castle, Catford, Central London, Croydon, Crystal Palace, Eltham, Greenwich, New Cross, Orpington, Peckham, Penge, Sidcup, Stratford, Thamesmead and Woolwich.

Regeneration[edit]

Cornmill Gardens development around the River Ravensbourne, 2013

There is planned regeneration of Lewisham town centre.[15] There is a single skyscraper adjacent to the shopping centre which used to be owned by Citibank until they moved to the Docklands. At the end of Lewisham High Street and the start of Rushey Green, stands the 2006 Kaleidoscope Centre in Catford designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects. This new PCT centre provides state of the art facilities and treatment specifically for children and young people in the area.[16]

The Renaissance development on Loampit Vale has seen several 5 to 24 story residential buildings constructed as well as a the new glass mill leisure centre, which opened in 2013, replacing the Laydwell leisure centre.[17]

Lewisham Gateway[18] is a plan to re-develop the land bounded by the DLR station, Lewisham High Street, the Shopping Centre and the Railway to Blackheath. The road layout will be changed, including the removal of the roundabout while the River Ravensbourne and the Quaggy will be re-routed. The development will include shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, leisure facilities and up to 800 homes. The first phase of construction will start in March 2014 with a 15 and 25 story residential building next to the Docklands Light Railway station.

Thurston Road industrial estate had planning consent granted in 2008, however the development has been heavily delayed.[19] The scheme will be a mixed used site, which includes residential and commercial buildings of between two and 17 storeys, as well a car park.[20]

Notable residents[edit]

Among those who were born in the Lewisham are:

Geography[edit]

Almost all of the SE13 postcode district, which is associated with Lewisham, Ladywell and Hither Green, is 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 Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Other Nearby Areas:

Climate[edit]

The nearest Met Office climate station is based in Greenwich Park:


Climate data for London (Greenwich)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.0
(57.2)
19.7
(67.5)
21.0
(69.8)
26.9
(80.4)
31.0
(87.8)
35.0
(95)
35.5
(95.9)
37.5
(99.5)
30.0
(86)
28.8
(83.8)
19.9
(67.8)
15.0
(59)
37.5
(99.5)
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
(46.9)
8.5
(47.3)
11.4
(52.5)
14.2
(57.6)
17.7
(63.9)
20.7
(69.3)
23.2
(73.8)
22.9
(73.2)
20.1
(68.2)
15.6
(60.1)
11.4
(52.5)
8.6
(47.5)
15.2
(59.4)
Average low °C (°F) 2.6
(36.7)
2.4
(36.3)
4.1
(39.4)
5.4
(41.7)
8.4
(47.1)
11.5
(52.7)
13.9
(57)
13.7
(56.7)
11.2
(52.2)
8.3
(46.9)
5.1
(41.2)
2.8
(37)
7.5
(45.5)
Record low °C (°F) −10.0
(14)
−9.0
(15.8)
−8.0
(17.6)
−2.0
(28.4)
−1.0
(30.2)
5.0
(41)
7.0
(44.6)
6.0
(42.8)
3.0
(37.4)
−4.0
(24.8)
−5.0
(23)
−7.0
(19.4)
−10.0
(14)
Precipitation mm (inches) 51.6
(2.031)
38.2
(1.504)
40.5
(1.594)
45.0
(1.772)
46.5
(1.831)
47.3
(1.862)
41.1
(1.618)
51.6
(2.031)
50.4
(1.984)
68.8
(2.709)
58.0
(2.283)
53.0
(2.087)
591.8
(23.299)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 10.8 8.5 9.6 9.4 9.0 8.3 8.0 7.6 8.5 10.7 10.1 9.9 110.4
Avg. snowy days 4 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 16
 % humidity 91 89 91 90 92 92 93 95 96 95 93 91 92.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 49.9 71.4 107.1 159.8 181.2 181.0 192.1 195.1 138.9 108.1 58.5 37.4 1,480.5
Source #1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather,[21] except August and February maximum from Met Office[22][23]
Source #2: All other data from Met Office,[24] except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA[25]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority. 
  2. ^ London Borough of Lewisham. "Lewisham Shopping Centre". LB Lewisham.  Accessed 30 June 2013
  3. ^ London Borough of Lewisham. "Regenerating Lewisham town centre". LB Lewisham.  Accessed 30 June 2013
  4. ^ Plea Rolls of the Court of Common Pleas; National Archives; CP 40/717; http://aalt.law.uh.edu/AALT1/H6/CP40no717/bCP40no717dorses/IMG_1931.htm; second entry; Walter Wheler, husbandman, as defendant in a plea of debt
  5. ^ 'Lewisham', The Environs of London: volume 4: Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent (1796), pp. 514-36. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45489. Date accessed: 3 October 2007.
  6. ^ http://www.personalia.co.uk/manuscripts/history.htm
  7. ^ "Lewisham, V1 Site High Street, Marks & Spencer". Retrieved 2014-07-28. 
  8. ^ "News Shopper". News Shopper. News Shopper newspaper. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.laing.com/project_portfolio/78/118/south-east-london-police-stations.html
  10. ^ '1997': The Battle of Lewisham URL:http://libcom.org/history/articles/battle-of-lewisham-1977. Date accessed 21 February 2008
  11. ^ Lewisham Shopping Centre: Shops Retrieved 12 March 2014
  12. ^ "BBC News - Thousands march to save Lewisham A&E and maternity unit". Bbc.co.uk. 2012-11-24. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  13. ^ Ross Lydall, Health Editor (2013-07-31). "Lewisham hospital campaigners win court battle to save A&E from downgrade - London - News - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  14. ^ "BBC News - Lewisham Hospital: Appeal Court overrules Jeremy Hunt". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  15. ^ Lewisham London Borough Council - Lewisham town centre regeneration
  16. ^ http://webarchive.lewishampct.nhs.uk/?assetId=926&assetGroupId=10
  17. ^ "'Renaissance' at Loampit Vale". London Borough of Lewisham. London Borough of Lewisham. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Lewisham Gatway". London Borough of Lewisham. LB Lewsiham. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  19. ^ Mark, Chandler (26 July 2011). "Long-delayed development at Lewisham’s Thurston Road Industrial Estate granted extra time". News Shopper. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  20. ^ "Thurston Rd industrial estate". London Borough of Lewisham. LB Lewisham. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "London, Greater London: Average conditions". BBC Weather Website. BBC Weather. Archived from the original on 2011-02-28. 
  22. ^ "August 2003 — Hot spell". Met Office Website. Met Office. Archived from the original on 2011-02-28. 
  23. ^ "Monthly temperature records by country". Met Office Website. Met Office. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "Greenwich 1981−2010 averages". Met Office Website. Met Office. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  25. ^ "NOAA". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Heathrow Climate period: 1981−2010". Met Office Website. Met Office. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 

External links[edit]