Lewisham was once famous for having the largest purpose-built police station in Europe, but over the last 10 years it has changed into a vibrant Zone 2 metropolis with new smart high-rise flats, public spaces and leisure facilities
A short history
The ‘healthy air’ of Lewisham encouraged a growing number of middle-class merchants to build houses during the 18th century but its rapid growth took off after the railway was opened in 1849. It quickly became a transport hub and grew as one of the main shopping areas of south-east London but much of the town centre was bombed during the Second World War. This had to be rebuilt after the war when several municipal estates were laid out on the outskirts of which the Orchard estate, begun in 1963, was one of the largest.
Green spaces and going out
Parks tend to be located in nearby neighbourhoods such as Hilly Fields in Brockley but Blackheath itself is only a short cycle or bus ride east. Taking a leaf out of nearby Peckham’s book, Model Market is a street food night market set in a disused 1950s marketplace located just off Lewisham Hight Street. It’s held during the summer months. Thanks to the regeneration efforts of Antic London and the entrepreneurial spirit of local breweries, Lewisham’s selection of bars is a lively mix of old and new. The Lewisham Art House is a creative hub which runs workshops, exhibitions and a programme of visual art and experimental music.
Lewisham station is on the DLR with direct trains to Canary Wharf which take 19 mins. South Eastern trains take 12 mins to London Bridge, 18 mins to Cannon Street and 27 mins to Victoria. If the Bakerloo line extension goes ahead, it will go to Lewisham via Old Kent Road and New Cross Gate.
Did you know?
The long-demolished Lewisham Odeon was once a key UK rock music venue where The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, David Bowie and local music heroes Squeeze all played.