About Ladywell & Brockley
Tree-lined and quiet, Ladywell and Brockley are residential neighbourhoods with extensive green spaces, independent shops, bars, markets and community festivals which lie to the west of Lewisham town centre and the River Ravensbourne.
A short history
Ladywell derives its name from a spring—Our Lady’s Well—which was thought to have healing powers in the Middle Ages and was visited by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. Ladywell station opened on the Mid-Kent Railway in 1857 and the well itself was covered over as terraced housing began to line Ladywell Road. In 1894, a farm was bought by the poor law union and St Olave’s workhouse was built in its place; the water tower for the building still exists today, although it’s been converted into residential use.
Brockley as it’s known today was developed from the 1840s by the Tyrwhitt-Drake family who built large terraced houses for upper middle-class families on the site of their market gardens around Brockley Cross. It continued to grow and expand towards neighbouring Nunhead throughout the early 20th century. Brockley’s popularity soared when the Overground station opened in 2012 and drew independent coffee shops and delicatessens in its wake.
Green spaces and going out
Ladywell Fields is a 54-acre park created on former water meadows which is protected from any future inundations through a series of weirs and levees. Popular with runners and dog walkers, it has an adventure playground and a stream for paddling. The 30-acre Hilly Fields borders Lewisham, Ladywell and Brockley. It was saved from development and has been a public park since 1896, thanks a campaign led by the founder of the National Trust, Octavia Hill—it has a cricket pitch, tennis courts and a cafe.
Brockley Max is a community arts festival which is usually held each year at the end of May and the Jack Studio Theatre is a performance venue putting on theatrical productions, film screenings and workshops set in a pub. Brockley is also home to the Rivoli Ballroom, one of the last remaining intact 1950s ballrooms. While Brockley Market, held in in Lewisham College car park, is regarded as of south-east London’s finest. It sells locally produced and sourced products.
Brockley station has trains to Shoreditch High Street for the City (23 mins), Canada Water for Canary Wharf (10 mins) and London Bridge (20 mins). Ladywell station has trains to Cannon Street (23 mins) and London Bridge (19 mins).
Did you know?
Henry Williamson, who wrote Tarka the Otter, grew up in Eastern Road in Ladywell.