A short history
Lee was once popular with wealthy London merchants who built large houses during the 18th century—among the best known was Sir Francis Baring, founder of the bank Barings who bought Manor House in Manor Lane in the late 18th century. Lee New Town was built from 1825 to house those working in the large mansions. A small hamlet predated Hither Green which it is widely believed was wiped out by the black death. An area of nursery gardens grew until the merchant classes moved in and built themselves homes; they are said to have moved on when the largest fever hospital in the country opened there in 1897. This then closed in 1997 by which stage it was used to care for geriatric and psychiatric patients.
Green spaces and going out
The largest of the parks in the area Mountsfield Park in Hither Green while Manor House gardens has a lake, playground, tennis course and cafe. The area around Hither Green remains largely pub free as a result of conventions put in place by one of the area’s largest house builders, Archibald Cameron Corbett who was a Quaker. Lee itself has a wider selection of places to eat and drink. The nearest theatre is The Broadway in Catford.
Trains from Lee to London Bridge take 13 mins or just 10 mins from Hither Green. The nearest DLR station is at Lewisham.
Did you know?
The astronomer Sir Edmond Halley—after whom the comet is named--is buried in the graveyard of the old St Margaret’s church in Lee.