Hither Green and the Black Death

Romborough Way is a road that it would be easy to pass by without a second thought but it is a name with some interesting history spanning 700 years.

The most recent part of that history is that Romborough Way, along with Campshill Road, formed Lewisham’s first council estate in the 1920s on the site of Campshill House.

What is now Hither Green Lane has existed as a road for hundreds of years following part of the watershed between the river valleys of the Quaggy and the Ravensbourne. There are 14th century accounts of the road going from an earlier incarnation of St Mary’s Church to a hamlet called Rumbergh.

Rumbergh or Romborough was centred around the junction of Hither Green Lane and George Lane. While there are a number of references to the settlement up to 1349 there are none after, leading to the strong likelihood that the inhabitants of the hamlet were some of the victims of the Black Death epidemic that devastated the English population between 1348 and 1350 wiping out 1.5 million out of an estimated population of 4 million.

Along with the more obvious buboes, one of the symptoms of the Black Death was an acute fever – it therefore somewhat ironic that on the site of Romborough, the Park Fever Hospital, later Hither Green Hospital, was built in 1897 following a London-wide Scarlet Fever epidemic in 1893.



8 thoughts on “Hither Green and the Black Death

    1. runner500 Post author

      Thanks, there is a long and varied history in SE London, and I like finding out about how the past and the geography impact on the present.

    1. runner500 Post author

      I’ve not met him, although it is a name I know well – he has done the commentary on the local maps in the Godfrey re-issue of Old OS maps and has edited several books of old photos of the area.

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