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 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.
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: