The Lewisham Local History Society was founded in 1961 with the aim of encouraging and assisting study of the local history of the London Borough of Lewisham and nearby areas.

The Society enables those who wish to know more about the history of Lewisham and neighbouring districts to share that interest with others of a friendly, like-minded outlook.

A full programme of monthly, illustrated local history talks is provided, together with occasional whole and half-day excursions, and conducted evening and weekend walks, to places of historical interest.

Society Members receive free copies of the quarterly Newsletter and the annual Lewisham History Journal.

This website was launched in 2007 and it is hoped that it will enable the Society to engage with a wider group of people.

The website fell into disuse in 2010, due to the permanent departure of the webmistress. By early 2013 it was up and running again, and has remained so ever since.

Map of the Methodist Church Hall

This shows where our Talks take place.
In "Talks and Events", click on "Top+Map".

May 2017

See “Talks and Events” for an announcement of the Hither Green Festival 2017 which takes place this month.

April 2017

The Creekside Walk on Friday 21 April 2017 promises to be a popular event. We meet at Deptford Bridge DLR station at 2pm for the walk, ending up at the Creekside Centre at 3.30 for tea and biscuits. Book your place SOON – see "Talks and Events".

February 2017

A visitor to this website pointed out (by email) that the Glue Factory in Ladywell Road was known as "The Neuk Laundry" when he lived in the area (1941-67). This Art Deco (or Faux Deco) building was demolished a few years ago, and has now been rebuilt. Go to 'Gallery' to see some recent photos, or Click here.

January 2017

On 3rd January 2017, a Talk was given at Bromley Local History Society about Amy Johnson, the famous pilot (aviatrix?) of the 1930s. It is noted here because of the many Lewisham Local History Society members who were present. The Talk was excellent, and very well researched, with photographs never seen before. Amy liked being famous but there were times when the strain was more than she was able to cope with. She died in a plane crash at the age of 37.

December 2016

This month's special Christmas Talk is on 16th December.
See Talks and Events for details.

November 2016

Prefab Walk in Brockley, Sunday 13th November.
See Talks and Events for details.

September 2016

“It's Prefab Time again!” – Again!
Armed with a well-earned £73,000 Lottery Grant, Elisabeth Blanchet and Jane Hearn are continuing their programme of Prefab Events - they are going national, starting in the Isle of Dogs.
A Guided Walk will take place on Friday 23rd September 2016, starting at St. John's Community Centre, Glengall Grove, London E14 3NE (near Crossharbour DLR station), at 12 noon. There will also be a Talk at 1:15pm and a tea party. There is no charge, but you must book a ticket in advance.

For details of booking, etc., click on Talks and Events (September 2016).

Lee Station 150th Anniversary
On 1st September 2016, a good crowd gathered at Lee Station at 10am to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of the station in 1866. Mike Gibson of South Eastern Trains officiated, and we were pleased to welcome Heidi Alexander, MP for East Lewisham, as our guest. A special Lee Station Anniversary Cake was provided. Other attendees included representatives of Lee Manor Society and, of course, the Lewisham Local History Society.

The Lee Station Cake

Click Here for a history of Lee Station.

August 2016

The Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park Walk.
Following the recent Talk, a visit to the Ecology Park has been arranged, and takes place on
Monday 08 August 2016.
See Talks and Events for details.

May 2016

It's Prefab Time again!
Elisabeth Blanchet and Jane Hearn write:
2016 marks 70 years of prefabs. We are planning a few events to celebrate this unexpected anniversary (prefabs were only supposed to last 10 to 15 years). The first event will be on The Excalibur Estate at St Mark's Church Hall (Baudwin Road, London SE6 1RN), Saturday the 21st of May 2016, from noon to 4pm.
The exhibition and tea party are free. There will be a guided walk costing £5 pp (accompanied children go free) starting at 1.30 pm. You can book your place by emailing prefabmuseum@gmail.com. If you wish to bring old prefab photos and documents to share with us, please don't hesitate! We hope to see you on the 21st. More 70-year prefab events all around Britain will be announced soon!
Elisabeth and Jane
Click here to book your place.

March 2016

Want to be on TV?
On Thursday 31st March, BBC2 will be filming a Victorian market scene in Stratford. We are looking for members of the public, especially those with a tie to historic London, to come down and take part.
Click here to find out more.

December 2015

Medals and their Meaning
A Talk at Lewisham Library on 3rd December.
See "Talks and Events" for details.

October 2015

LLHS Talk Friday 30th October
This Talk has been postponed until next year.
Instead of the Talk, there will be a "Show and Tell" evening.
See "Talks and Events" for details.

September 2015

LLHS Talk Friday 25th September
given by his Eminence the Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury

This was a most interesting Talk, describing the speaker's upbringing in the Lewisham area in the 1960s. His Eminence was involved in the setting-up of LLHS. His recollection of this period (1961-1970) is that there were no Newsletters published, and we can confirm this.
There may have been other publications, with names like 'Journal' and 'Transactions'. If any member has memories of such publications, or actual copies of them, the Web Editor would be glad to know about them.

Prefab Event 17th September
Film Show at 7:30
Catford Constitutional Club, SE6 4SP

Two films will be shown:
'A Place for Us' - the battle to save Catford's prefab Excalibur Estate.
' A House in Bayswater' - the last days of a West London lodging-house.
Free entry. See 'Talks and Events' for more details.

Autumn 2014

Fire at the Prefab Museum
At a recent meeting of the Society (31 October 2014) it was announced that there had been a fire at the Prefab Museum, and it would have to close immediately. Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing, and there is little news about what will happen next.
Elisabeth Blanchet, the curator of the Museum, is said to be 'devastated'. She is, of course, not only the Curator but also the creator of the Museum; she has been working on the history of Prefabs for about 12 years, and gave a Talk to the LLHS in January 2014. She has led tours of the Excalibur Estate throughout 2014, during which time over 2,500 people have visited the Museum.
Your Webmaster visited the Museum to see the damage. The prefab is still in one piece but the windows were blackened and there was a smell of burning. it is normally a cheerful place to visit, with flags, bunting and balloons, but these had all gone, and there was nobody there. Very sad. There was much "memorabilia" inside - newspaper cuttings, photographs, trinkets - of considerable value as it took years of work to collect it and put it on display.
For more details, Click here.

For the latest news (8/12/2014),
Click here
and also here.
Keep December 17th 2014 free!

Yesterday is now History

Materials from a Lewisham Archive
An exhibition at 310 New Cross Road that celebrates objects that we often consider expendable and throw away; plastic bags, posters for local events, notices about 'special offers' in shops. Open 10am-4pm until Monday 23rd June 2014.
For more details, Click here.

Doing the Wandle Walk

"The Walk (on Saturday 7th June 2014), joined by 10 members and friends, was a success, despite a shaky start.
For a full report, NOW with MORE pictures, Click here.

Welcome to Spring 2014

The Excalibur Meridian
Beryl Gibbs the Society Vice-Chair, during a recent visit to the Prefab Museum, posed the question, "Is the Prefab Museum on the line of the Greenwich Meridian?" Several persons immediately started to fiddle with their Smartphones and came up with answers ranging from "maybe" to "possibly" or even "probably". Your Webmaster took the engineering approach: a visit to Greenwich Observatory with a GPS device, and a subsequent visit to the Prefab Museum, showed that 17 Meliot Road is pretty well aligned with the stainless steel line in the Observatory that tourists pay £10 to stand on. You can stand on the Excalibur Meridian for nothing!
Click here for GPS info.

A visit to the Cinema Museum in Kennington on Saturday 12 July 2014 has been arranged. For full details, see "Talks and Events", and scroll down to July 2014.

More Prefab events have been announced. The Prefab Museum will remain open until May 31st 2014. There is a Talk and Tea party on Saturday March 31st 2014, with additional Tours in April and May. See “Talks and Events” for times and dates, or Click here.

The arrangements for the proposed River Wandle Walk are almost complete. It will take place on Saturday 7th June 2014. For more details, click on "Talks and Events" and scroll down to June 2014.

An extra Event has been inserted. “Every Picture Tells a Story” is an exhibition of photographs by the late Chris Schwarz. See the Talks and Events page, March 2014.

The recent Tour of the pre-fabs was well attended (about 18 people, including 4 from LLHS), and included a viewing of the inside of several dwellings and a talk about the Estate. Your Webmaster took some photos and bought an Excalibur pre-fab mug. There will be another tour in Febuary 2014.

The Talk about the pre-fabs (January 31 2014) was extremely well attended, despite the foul weather. Ms. Blanchet has travelled widely in the UK, photographing pre-fabs, and there are a surprising number still in use after 70 years, although their intended life was only 10 years.

Latest LLHS Newsletter

The Winter 2013/4 Newsletter is now available, and contains news of recent events. One event is of great importance to the people of Lewisham - the decision to downgrade some services provided by Lewisham Hospital has been quashed by the High Court. Not yet history - but it will be unless we "watch the Government like a hawk", as the Newsletter Editor puts it.

There is a correction to the birth-place of Claude Rains, and a note about the novelist Joyce Cary, who was born locally. Excerpts from a "Mini-Guide" to Deptford describe St. Nicholas Church whose existence dates back to the 12th century. Christopher Marlowe gets a mention, of course. A further excerpt reminds us that the navy's "Victualling Yard" was located in Deptford. Sounds familiar? A Talk on this subject was given to the LLHS, not long ago. To find the details of this, click on "Talks and Events", which is now an Archive of all Talks from 2010 onwards. Instead of searching for the Talk the hard way, press Control-F and a small window will open. Type "victual" (without the quotes) in this window, and you will go directly to the topic. The longer the document, the more time you save by doing it this way.

Previous LLHS Newsletters

The Autumn 2013 LLHS Newsletter contained news of recent events that the Society organised or has been involved in.

Lewisham Peoples Day 2013 took place on Saturday 13 of July in brilliant sunshine, and there were a very large number of visitors. Some of them called at the Society's stall, and your Webmaster (who took some photos) saw more than one new member being signed up. Thanks are due to Tamsin Bacchus, Beryl Gibbs, and David and Sylvia Eley for organising and manning the stall.

A Riverside Walk took place on Sunday 21 July, along the Pool/Ravensbourne river between Catford and Sydenham. It lasted for 2 hours, and your Chairman, who led the walk, gave a summary of his extensive knowledge of the history of the area, which included topics ranging from gravel pits and floods to cricket and barrage balloons. Despite the extremely hot sun, a good time was had by all and a few decent snaps were taken by your Webmaster.

The latest Newsletter contains articles about recent Talks:
‘Monsters In Our Midst’, inspired by a recent talk to the Society by Alan Payne, relating to local film actors who played leading roles in Universal Studios ‘monster’ films of the 1930s.
‘Ralph Slater – Famous Stage Hypnotist’.
‘Birley House Open Air School, Forest Hill’, one of the first in the country.
‘Pageantry & Protests On Blackheath’.

The Society also looks forward to an expansion of activities in 2014, while stressing the need for volunteers (either members or others who would like to help) to organise visits, walks, etc.

Finally, our Website offers a method of publishing at low cost. No typesetting, printing, paper-handling or binding is needed. It doesn't replace the Society's printed publications but it can add to them. If you have been to a Talk and have something to add to what you heard, you can email Gordon Dennington, or us, and we may well publish your comments here. See the 'Contacts' page.