Welcome...

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.

Autumn 2014

Fire at the Prefab Museum
At the 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.