Place:Lewisham, London, England

Alt namesLeveshamsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 148
Lewishamsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
TypeBorough (metropolitan)
Coordinates51.45°N 0.017°E
Located inLondon, England     ( - 1965)
Also located inKent, England     ( - 1889)
See alsoLewisham (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon borough to which it was transferred in 1965
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia and other sources

Lewisham is an inner city district in south-east London, England, in the London Borough of Lewisham, centred 5.9 miles (9.5 km) south-east of Charing Cross (a point considered to be the centre of London from which distances are measured).

Originally the parish of Lewisham was in the county of Kent and was governed by a vestry. The ancient ecclesiastical parish was Lewisham St. Mary. From 1855 until 1900 there was also a local civil administration called the Lewisham District Board of Works. The Board of Works was also in charge of the neighbouring parish of Penge which was in Surrey. The village of Lee Green and the parish of Lee were also associated with Lewisham from this time.

In 1889 the administrative county of London was formed, which included the old City, and bringing into the capital Lewisham and other parts of Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. The enlarged area was divided into metropolitan boroughs.

Following the London Government Act 1899, the County of London was split into 28 metropolitan boroughs in 1900. Lewisham, with the neighbouring parish of Lee, became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham. Lee was completely absorbed into Lewisham in 1905. In 1965, after the London Government Act 1963 was passed through Parliament, the current 32 London boroughs where formed and today Lewisham along with Deptford makes up the London Borough of Lewisham.

A nineteenth century description

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Lewisham from Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles of 1887:

"Lewisham, parl. bor., par., and SE. suburb of London with ry. sta. (Lewisham Junction), Kent, on river Ravensbourne, 4 miles SE. of St Paul's - par., 5774 ac., pop. 53,065; parl. bor. (including also the par. of Lee), 7012 ac., pop. 67,500; 1 Bank; has large nurseries. Lewisham returns 1 member to Parliament; It was made a parl. bor. in 1885."

Lewisham was a very large parish compared to other 19th century London parishes. Other places in the parish include: Sydenham, Hither Green, Southend, Cockshed and Rushey-Green.

Research Tips

Kent Research Tips

This list has been taken from GENUKI where more places and websites for researching are listed.

Archives and Libraries

Civil Registration and Census

  • Steve Archer has produced a very useful round-up of the available census records for Kent - and where/from whom they are available.
  • Registration Districts in Kent for the period 1837 to the present. By drilling down through the links you can follow any parish through the registration districts to which it was attached.

Family History Societies

Most of the county is divided between the Kent FHS and the North West Kent FHS.


Probate Records

Kent Probate Records Numerous links provided by Maureen Rawson

Greater London Research Tips

  • See under "London" and also under "Middlesex", "Surrey" and "Kent" for key information about Greater London's jurisdictions and records, plus links to indexes, reference aids and Family History Library holdings.
  • The London Metropolitan Archives (40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 0HB) holds records relating to the whole of Greater London. Ancestry (subscription necessary) has produced transcriptions and provides images of lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials in churches across Greater London. These lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century.
  • GENUKI has a long list of websites and archive holders in addition to London Metropolitan Archives above. (The list from GENUKI is not maintained so well that there is never a dead link in it. However, it is often worth googling the title given on the page just in case the contributor has reorganized their website.)
  • GENUKI also has a list of the Archives and Local Studies Libraries for each of the boroughs of Greater London.
  • The London Encyclopaedia by Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert. An e-book available online through Google, originally published by Pan Macmillan. There is a search box in the left-hand pane.
  • London Lives. A very useful free website for anyone researching their London ancestors between the years 1690-1800. This is a fully searchable edition of 240,000 manuscripts from eight archives and fifteen datasets, giving access to 3.35 million names.
  • London Ancestor, a website belonging to one of the London family history societies, has a list of transcriptions of directories from the 18th century, listing in one case "all the squares, streets, lanes, courts, yards, alleys, &C. in and about Five Miles of the Metropolis..." In other parts of the same website are maps of various parts of 19th century London and Middlesex.
  • The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court, 1674-1913. A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. This website is free to use.
  • Registration Districts in London, Registration Districts in Middlesex, Registration Districts in Surrey, Registration Districts in Kent, are lists of the registration districts used for civil registration (births, marriages and deaths, as well as the censuses). There are linked supporting lists of the parishes which made up each registration district, the dates of formation and abolition of the districts, the General Register Office numbers, and the local archive-holding place. This work has been carried out by Brett Langston under the agency of GENUKI (Genealogy United Kingdom and Ireland) and UKBMD - Births, Marriages, Deaths & Censuses on the Internet.
  • According to 1851 Jurisdictions in England and Wales Non-Church of England denominations identified in Lewisham [St Mary] included: Independent/Congregational, Methodist New Connexion, Roman Catholic, Wesleyan Methodist, and Wesleyan Methodist Reform. This website provides outline maps of all the ecclesiastical parishes in England and Wales in 1851 and lists of all the various civil and eccelesiastical jurisdictions for each parish.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Lewisham. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.