New development, Renaissance, designed by Assael Architecture on Loampit Vale
Lewisham shown within Greater London
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|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Lewisham Deptford|
|London Assembly||Greenwich and Lewisham|
Lewisham // is a major 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, although Lewisham London Borough Council aspires to upgrade the town centre to become a metropolitan centre like Bromley and Croydon.
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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.
It is now written, as well in parochial and other records as in common usage, Lewisham."
"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  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.
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, 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. The Sainsbury's store in Lewisham Shopping Centre was briefly the largest supermarket in Europe. 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. There is also another large police station in nearby Catford. There is planned regeneration of Lewisham town centre. 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 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.
Almost all of the SE13 postcode district, which is associated with Lewisham, 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.
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. The club still meets 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, now open after 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.
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).
Secondary schools in the area include Sydenham Girls School.
Lewisham Station, originally called Lewisham Junction is served by Southeastern services to London Charing Cross, Waterloo East, Cannon Street, London Bridge and Victoria as well as Hayes, Dartford, Bexleyheath, Woolwich, Peckham and Orpington. Since 1999 Lewisham has been the southern terminus for the Docklands Light Railway with services to Greenwich, Canary Wharf and Bank.
Lewisham is served by many Transport for London buses connecting the district with areas in South, East and Central London including Victoria, Paddington, Stratford, Greenwich, Woolwich, Peckham, Brixton, Croydon, Bromley, Eltham, Orpington and Bexleyheath.
Lewisham rail crash
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.
Among those who were born in the Lewisham are:
- Ginger Baker (drummer of Cream) born and brought up in Lewisham
- Natasha Bedingfield (singer/songwriter) brought up in Lewisham
- Rosa May Billinghurst (suffragette) lived in Lewisham
- Kate Bush (musician) lived in Brockley and Lewisham
- Malcolm Hardee (comedian) lived in Blackheath and Lewisham
- Keely Hazell (page 3 girl & model) born in Lewisham
- Jessica Hynes (actress and comedienne) born in Lewisham
- Frank King (cricketer) born in Lewisham
- Elsa Lanchester (Anglo-American actress) born in Lewisham
- Jude Law (actor) lived in Lewisham
- Neal Lawson (politician) was born in Lewisham
- Angie Le Mar (comedian, radio broadcaster) was born and brought up in Lewisham
- Marie Lloyd (entertainer) lived in Lewisham and New Cross
- Alexander McQueen (designer) born in Lewisham
- Kwes (record music producer and musician) was born and brought up in Lewisham
- Edith Nesbit (writer) lived in Blackheath, Grove Park and Lewisham
- P Money (Grime music artist) born and brought up in Lewisham
- William Page (historian and general editor of the Victoria County History) lived in Lewisham from 1875 until he emigrated to Queensland in 1881
- Jonathan Palmer former Formula One driver and commentator.
- Mica Paris (musician) lived in Lewisham
- Gladys Powers (centenarian) was born in Lewisham
- Maxi Priest (musician) was born and raised in Lewisham
- Luke Pritchard (musician) was born in Lewisham
- Louise Redknapp (TV presenter & wife of footballer Jamie Redknapp) was born in Lewisham
- Kieran Richardson (footballer) currently playing for Sunderland lived in Lewisham
- Doris Stokes (spirit-medium) lived in Lewisham
- Doveton Sturdee British Admiral of the Fleet was born in Lewisham
- David Sylvian (musician) lived in Lewisham
- Ian Wright (footballer) lived in Lewisham and Brockley
- Shaun Wright-Phillips (footballer & son of Ian Wright) grew up in Brockley
- Sid Vicious (musician) was born in Lewisham
- Leland Lewis Duncan (photographer, writer) born in Lewisham
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Other Nearby Areas
- Mayor of London (February 2008). "London Plan (Consolidated with Alterations since 2004)". Greater London Authority.
- London Borough of Lewisham. "Lewisham Shopping Centre". LB Lewisham. Accessed 30 June 2013
- London Borough of Lewisham. "Regenerating Lewisham town centre". LB Lewisham. Accessed 30 June 2013
- 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
- '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.
- "News Shopper". News Shopper. News Shopper newspaper. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Lewisham London Borough Council - Lewisham town centre regeneration
- '1997': The Battle of Lewisham URL:http://libcom.org/history/articles/battle-of-lewisham-1977. Date accessed 21 February 2008
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lewisham.|
- Lewisham Local History Society
- The Battle of Lewisham - an article on london based website libcom.org
- Lewisham Law Centre
- Lewisham cctv
- Lewisham at Surbubia
- Lewisham Photographs
- Lewisham Voices
- Lewisham Council
- Lewisham Forum
- 90 Years of Life in Lewisham
- Lewisham Councillor Mike Harris