Welcome to the Borough of Lewisham
The history of this South London borough can be traced back to the 6th century. The district is surrounded by attractive residential neighbourhoods and maybe that is the reason why it stays off the radar, despite having so much to offer.
And this time, we are not talking about sugar-coated flatteries, which flooded the streets with tourists. Lewisham is just a place, you can easily call home (by that, we don’t mean the low house prices and affordable rents in the area or the bargain you can make by hiring the Royal Cleaning services for Lewisham).
This area sheltered energetic, creative and diverse communities from all around Britain and the world. Lewisham is constantly and rapidly changing for good, thanks to its residents.
The people we lived with and we’re surrounded by, are among the most important and determinant things in our lives. That’s why this time we decided to focus on the community and the borough of Lewisham seems to hit the spot.
Strong citizens mean strong town and the local community here got this right. Below you can see our top reasons why the residents of Lewisham are the best neighbours.
Learn the Lewisham Motto
Did you know that the motto of the borough is
Salus Populi Suprema Lex, which translated from Latin means:
The welfare of the people (is) the highest law. In the case of Lewisham, this phrase is right in place. Don’t take it on faith and keep on reading.
The Link of Friendship
Except with Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany and Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France the borough is twinned with a town beyond the borders of the Old continent - Matagalpa, Nicaragua – and has also signed a
friendship link with Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Horniman Museum
You can visit Horniman Museum, set in the attractive gardens of Forest Hill, and enjoy its rich exhibitions, and graceful Gardens for free. Well if you want to take a peek at the charming Butterfly House, the fascinating Aquarium or take part in a special hold event, there’s a small fee.
Still, this cultural facility is a great alternative to the Natural History Museum, especially if you want to avoid numerous crowds of tourists.
Enter in the Mini-golf Community
You can take golf lessons at an amazingly low price and become part of the mini-golf community. Tournaments are regularly held in Hither Green and if you’re not into competitions, this can be the perfect family activity for a rainy weekend.
And did we mention this is the only indoor Swedish Felt mini golf course in the country…
The best pasta in the whole of London can be bought in Lewisham. One of the hidden jams of the borough is the small family-run shop, headed up by Antonio.
Just look for the sign Gennaro Delicatessen and you’ll find yourself dazzled by all the tempting delicacies this authentic Italian deli has to offer. Cheese, charcuterie, coffee, bread, olive oil, pesto, ... — you name it - it's all here.
The Mountsfield Park
The marvellous Mountsfield Park in Catford offers widely open-green spaces, it’s a place where you can spoil yourself with traditional tea and biscuits or with home-made ice cream, and you’ll be in the very spot, where the Lewisham People's Day is held.
The Manor House Library
Despite the budgetary pressure, the government of Lewisham decided not to close or lose any of its libraries, which means that the local community stepped in, ready to help.
This was the main reason why The Manor House Library reopened its doors once more on May 2nd 2017 at 9 am, but the new beginning was a bit different.
Now the facility is community-run, in other words, without donations in any form - such as good quality books, CDs, DVDs, records and volunteering - it wouldn’t be there to provide its needed service.
The library is funded by the occasional book sales on site and thanks to the profits from the book and record shop – Leaf & Groove – in Forest Hill.
The Rivoli Ballroom
The Rivoli Ballroom in Crofton Park, which dates back to the 1950s, used to be a cinema at the beginning of the century. Its unique atmosphere is still well-kept and makes it a preferred location for numerous occasions.
After all, who wouldn’t want to feel like a star?! The nonpareil, authentic atmosphere and the novel interior are the reasons why the Rivoli Ballroom is often depicted in films, videos and photo-shoots.
Tina Turner, Oasis and Elton John recorded music videos using the space; notable live performances include The White Stripes in 2007 and Damon Albarn in 2014.
And now why don't you spare a minute on this scenes of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which were filmed at 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park or simply at the Rivoli Ballroom?!
The Battle of Lewisham
After a moment of silence to honour the brave men and women, which gathered to say no to racism and fascists.
On 13 August 1977, the far-right National Front (NF) attempted to stage a march from New Cross and through Lewisham under the pretext of marching
The local community and activist organizations didn’t agree and wanted to scream their No! to this madness, so they took to the streets of Lewisham to oppose the march.
This resulted in violent clashes between counter-demonstrators, members of the NF and the police, as each tried to hold their ground. 5,000 police officers were present, 11 of whom were hospitalized. 214 people were arrested. All of this, because the local community wasn’t ready to stay silent at the moment when someone had to raise a voice.
40 years later, in August 2017, the event was commemorated with a plaque, saying
Remembering the Battle of Lewisham. Thousands united here against racism and fascism.
The story behind Deptford Cinema
Deptford Cinema is another example of how the people of Lewisham can work together in the name of the local community.
After the Deptford Odeon was demolished in the 80s, Lewisham was one of the two London boroughs, that didn’t have a cinema, despite the fact that in 1930, there were 30 venues in the borough showing films.
That’s why a group of volunteers gathered and opened one on Deptford Broadway, on the principle that the cinema should be accessible for everybody.
Deptford Cinema was born as a nonprofit independent venue, which allows any member of the community to get involved, pick films and run events.
As Ingmar Bergman famously said
Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls – his words can be read by anyone on the Deptford Cinema’s website.
The Brockley Market
The Brockley Market is an award-winning farmers’ and street food market. It has been held in the exact same spot for over a century.
The market has a growing reputation in the southeast and beyond, and now attracts customers from all parts of the city. It is so well-established that even has its own shopping bags.
The abundance and quality of the products you can buy are exceptional and so are the prizes. In many cases, you are paying around 10% of the price you would pay in a supermarket.
Brockley market awaits you every Saturday 10AM-2PM and remember - you can only pay in cash.
Lewisham Arthouse is a perfect place to spread the wings of your imagination. It offers the opportunity to run a gallery or event as a volunteer in return for a studio space.
The Arthouse is a magnet for creative, young people and a hub, preferred by students of the Lewisham Southwark College and Goldsmiths College.
The Annual Borough's Festival
Each Easter the annual Telegraph Hill festival is held on the sightseeing of the same name. A large number of local artists filled the air with music and laughter, transforming the venue into a home of art.
If you don’t like loud places, just visit The Telegraph Hill on any other day. Leave the stress and the rush beneath your feet and enjoy the view from the top.
The Catford Cat
There are two types of people they say – cat lovers and dog lovers. According to some recent events, we can assume that most of the residents here reflect Sir Terence David John Pratchett’s point of view.
The famous Catford Cat, built in 1974, was listed as an item of Catford Public Art in 2013. That wouldn’t be possible without the local community.
Once again, the people of Lewisham stand up and raise their voice in order to save the beloved symbol of the district. In 2008 the cat almost lost all of its nine lives at once, when the eye-catching art piece was considered to be demolished.
Thanks to the voice of the community in 2011, the purring fibreglass giant not only continued to meet the visitors of Catford Centre but was repainted as well.
Here are some other facts, proving that the people of Lewisham truly care for the place they call home.
- Lewisham was the first Living Wage accredited council.
- 25,000 Lewisham residents marched to save the hospital - the Government Caved.
- Lewisham Pensioners' Forum is well-known for its activism.
- Lewisham has its own loyalty card.
- There’s an old phone box on Loampit Hill in Lewisham, which contains a tiny library of use for any bookworm, who has desperate need of a good read.
- Lewisham is a home of a marvellous Hindu temple. It is the London Sivan Kovil, the first place of worship in Europe of its kind, to be built as a traditional Lord Shiva temple.
To cultivate a God-conscience society and unify humanity. A single brotherhood based on the foundations of morality, justice, compassion and tolerance.– This is the mission of the Lewisham Islamic Centre - Lewisham Masjid.