Place:Sydenham, London, England

Alt namesSydenham Hill
Coordinates51.4254°N 0.0544°W
Located inLondon, England     (1899 - 1965)
Also located inKent, England     ( - 1889)
See alsoLewisham, Kent, Englandparish of which it was part (19th century and before)
Lewisham (metropolitan borough), London, Englandmetropolitan borough of which it was part 1900-1965
Lewisham (London Borough), Greater London, EnglandLondon Borough in which it has been located since 1965
source: Family History Library Catalog
:the following text is based on an article in Wikipedia

Sydenham is an inner-city area of southeast London now officially in the London Borough of Lewisham, but also spreading into the London Boroughs of Bromley and Southwark. Sydenham was located in Kent until 1889 when the County of London was formed. It became part of Greater London on its formation in 1965.

The area was one of the first in southern England to have a railway station, opening 1839 by the London and Croydon Railway. Sydenham claims to be where the Crystal Palace from the London Great Exhibition was relocated in 1854. However, it is more accurate to say it was moved to the parish of Penge which is now in the London Borough of Bromley. Crystal Palace is also claimed by the neighbouring ward of Forest Hill. Sydenham Hill and Crystal Palace are almost one and the same place. Today Sydenham is a diverse suburb and as of the 2011 census, its population was 28,378.

Image:Lewisham Met. Borough 1916.png

During the 19th century, according to Wilson's Gazetteer of 1870-72 (quoted below), Sydenham was the neighbourhood from which Forest Hill and Brockley were formed.

"SYDENHAM, a small town, a [registration] sub-district, and seven chapelries, in Lewisham parish and district, Kent. The town stands on the London and Croydon railway, in direct or near connexion with the London Bridge, Crystal Palace, and Victoria railway, and with the London and Brighton, the London, Chatham, and Dover, and the Southwestern systems, 6½ miles SSE of London-Bridge. [It] was originally a small village, adjacent to mineral springs; rose, through temporary celebrity of these springs, into considerable importance; attracted numerous families to permanent residence, by the salubrity of its air and the beauty of its environs; rose into further prominence, through the erection in its vicinity of the Crystal Palace; is now a very fine metropolitan suburb, with a multitude of new villas all around it; and has post-offices under London S[outh], three [railway] stations with telegraph, and a police station.
"The [registration] sub-district was originally one chapelry, but is now divided into seven. Population in 1851: 4,501; in 1861: 10,595. Houses: 1,656. Most of the chief features, within the limits and immediately adjacent, have been noticed in our articles Crystal Palace, Forest-Hill, Penge, Anerley, Norwood, Lewisham, and others. One chapelry dates from old times; two others date from 1855; and four are much more recent. The livings are all vicarages, some in the diocese of Rochester, others in that of London; and three of them, St. Bartholomew, St. Philip, and St. Michael, are united. Value of these three: £248; of Christchurch or Forest Hill: £150; of St. Saviour or Brockley Hill: £400; of Old Chapeland Holy Trinity, not reported. Patron of St. Bartholomew and of Christchurch: the Earl of Dartmouth; of St. Saviour: the Rev. H. L. Nicholson; of Old Chapel: T. S. Salmon, Esq.; of Holy Trinity: Simeon's Trustees. St. Bartholomew's church was built in 1830, and afterwards enlarged. Christchurch was built in 1854, and enlarged in 1861. St. Philip's church occupies the site of the mineral well; was built in 1866, at a cost of £6,350; and is in the early English style, and cruciform. St. Saviour's church was built partly in the same year, and was to cost £7,000. Holy Trinity church was built in 1867. An Independent chapel was built in 1866, a Baptist chapel in 1861; and both are very fine edifices. There are also Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Bible Christian chapels; a public lecture-hall of 1860; a school-college, a handsome Tudor edifice, with a large staff of professors; national and British schools; a working men's institution; and a horticultural society."

(Source:A Vision of Britain through Time)

Greater London Research Tips

A reminder that Greater London was formed in 1965 and covers a much greater territory than the County of London formed in 1900. The City of London is only a part of the County of London. A map of the boroughs of Greater London is reproduced on all Greater London borough pages. A map of the boroughs of the County of London is reproduced on all County of London borough pages.

Researching ancestors in London will probably be more successful than researching ancestors in the rest of England, particularly for the period before 1837 and the advent of civil registration. Baptisms, marriages and burials are available online for County of London parishes, and possibly for parishes throughout Greater London as well.

  • Anglican Parishes in London is a wiki here on WeRelate listing the places of worship of the established church throughout London. The churches are grouped within the post-1965 boroughs and for each is the street address, a link to the Booth Map (inner boroughs only), the time span for which the database AIM25 holds records, the FamilySearch Wiki link (see below), the Wikipedia link, and further notes. This is a work-in-progress and not all churches are listed as yet, but it is a guide to a great deal more information on those for which information has been gathered.
  • 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. Many of these lists start in 1813 and stretch into the 20th century; some start even earlier.


  • A street-by-street map of London (both sides of the Thames, and stretching from Limehouse and Stepney in the east to Hyde Park and Kensington in the west) drawn by Edward Mogg in 1806. Blows up to a very readable level.
  • Ordnance Survey map of London 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing London parishes just after the reorganization of 1899. The map was originally drawn over a street map at a scale of 1 inch to the mile and can be blown up to inspect a single borough.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Middlesex 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Middlesex parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when much of the former area of Middlesex had been transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Surrey 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Surrey parishes (chiefly Southwark) just after the reorganization of 1899 when the most urban parts of Surrey were transferred into London.
  • Ordnance Survey map of Kent 1900 (provided online by A Vision of Britain through Time) showing Kent parishes just after the reorganization of 1899 when the western part of Kent had been transferred into London.

Registration Districts

  • 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. The names of the individual registration districts are "places" within WeRelate and can be used where the only information has been obtained from UKBMD.


  • Deceased Online includes four of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries (Brompton, Highgate, Kensal Green, and Nunhead) in its inventory of 65 London cemeteries. Transcripts for Abney Park are free with registration online at Ancestry (international subscription necessary) has "London, England, City of London and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Registers, 1841-1966". That leaves West Norwood without comprehensive online access to burial records. (Deceased Online and Ancestry may have increased their provision since this was written in 2016.)

Other online sources

  • See the FamilySearch Wiki 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.
  • 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 and GENUKI has not picked it up.)
  • 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.
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Sydenham. 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.