Lee History

This page brings together all the posts on Lee in one place in a way in which it is easy to see at a glance the subjects that the blog has covered.  It isn’t exhaustive and will be added to over time.

Boundaries – as a ‘rule of thumb’ this page will cover the old civil parish of Lee – a long thin parish, stretching from was Upper Kid Brook (which flows through the centre of Blackheath ‘Village’) in the north to Bromley side of Grove Park in the south.  To the west its edge followed the Quaggy from Lewisham and then various streams close to what is now the railway to Grove Park.

There is a virtual walk broadly around the edge of Manor House Gardens which covers the middle part of Lee and is a good starting point to the history of the area.

For posts on the neighbouring areas of Hither Green, Lewisham, Catford and Blackheath there are separate pages.

The Large Houses of Lee

Lee was once home to a series of large houses, homes to the wealthy, these were mainly centred around Old Road and several were directly or indirectly had links to slavery.

Lee Place –  a Stately Home of Lee – the first of the large houses in the area, home to the Boones (pictured below) – it was probably built by George Thomson

Source – information board by St Margaret’s Church

The Firs – home to the Papillions, the Sladens and Wingfield Larkings – was on the western bend of Old Road, at its junction with Manor Lane Terrace

The Manor House – the story of the house that is now home to the library, the first part covers its early links to slavery, it’s ‘dark heritage’; the second looks at the decades before it was bought by the London County Council

Pentland House – next door to the Manor House, probably the oldest residential property in Lewisham, it became a university hall of residence and is now a hostel.

Lee House – a medieval mansion which was demolished and rebuilt as a Victorian country house,its site is now occupied by the Lee Centre

Shakespeare & Lewisham – the links between Brian Annesley, a Lord of the Manor of Lee and King Lear, he lived in a large farm roughly where St Margaret’s Lee School is now situated

Wyberton House – originally home to William Webster who built Blackheath Concert Halls, the non-conformist chapel at Hither Green Cemetery & the ‘Cathedral on the Marshes’ – Crossness Pumping Station.

Housing & Development

W J Scudamore – a building firm working in the area from the late 19th century to the 1960s – their homes cover much of Lee from Chalcroft Road to Baring Road

Pound Land – the Homes of John Pound in Lee and Grove Park (and Blackheath) – relatively few houses remain but he was a major builder on Northbrook land

The Woodstock Estate – The 1930s Homes of Woodyates & Pitfold Roads in Lee

The Firs Estate – Rembrandt, Murillo, Lochaber Roads – part of the post of The Firs

A Dairy and a Pastor – the story of Waite Davies Road

Lee New Town – early 19th century servants’ housing in the Boone Street and Lee Church Street area, little bits of this remain, the post also covers the redeveloped housing of the early 1960s.

Aislibie Road – covered both in the posts on Lee House and on Benjamin Aislabie

The Mercator Estate – mid 19th century suburbia to 1960s council housing

Farming in Lee

Until the 2nd half of the 19th century Lee was rural, and even into the 1930s there were fields and farming at its edge in what was then suburbia.  The farms and their land have had a direct impact on patterns of development since.

William Morris & Lee Green Farm – the story of a farm that used to be where the Leegate Centre is now


From information board at Lee Green

College Farm – A Dairy Farm on Burnt Ash Hill

Horn Park Farm – a remnant of the Royal Parks of Eltham

Melrose/Woodman’s Farm – a relatively short-lived farm whose farm-house remains on Ashdale Road (part of a post on an airship that landed there)

Burnt Ash Farm – in a prominent location at the junction of what is now Baring Road, this post charts the story of the farm which was to later become a diary.


Pubs, Watering Holes & Public Halls

Pound’s Pubs – the Summerfield, the Northbrook & the Crown (below)

The Prince Arthur – A lost Lee green pub

The Woodman – a former Lee High Road hostelry

The New Tiger’s Head – a currently closed Lee Green boozer

A Sunday Constitutional in Lee – memories of a Sunday lunchtime pub crawl in Lee & Blackheath from the autobiography of Phyllis Willmott

Lochaber Hall – the former church hall of Holy Trinity

The Swan – its history was covered as part of a post on the former lake behind

Lee Public Halls – a home for variety, soap suds and building supplies over the years on Holme Lacey Road

Lee Centre – on brief history of the Centre, built  ‘For the use and benefit of the men and lads of Lee’ as part of a post on Lee House 


Victorian Sports at Lee Green

Until the railways came to SE London, Lee Green was still rural and the Old Tiger’s Head (its pre-1896 version is below) was home to various sports.

Source – information board at Lee Green

Lee Races – 19th century horse racing,  initially at Lee Green, later in Harrow Meadows (off Eltham Road) and in Shooters Hill Road

Victorian Sprinting & Hurdling at the Old Tiger’s Head

Victorian distance running at the Old Tiger’s Head – part of the story of Tom Cook, the Greenwich Cowboy

Victorian Pigeon Shooting at the Old Tigers Head


Parks, Leisure and Sport

Lee Picture Palace – a short lived cinema on Lee High Road

Imperial Picture Palace (Pullman) – a cinema near Lee Green

Manor House Gardens Ice House & WW2 Air Raid Shelters in the Park

Death by Falling from the Clouds – a parachute fatality at Burnt Ash Farm

Parklife – Manor Park – the story of the park’s rejuvenation

Lee’s Accidental Airship Record – Willows II ‘voyage’ from Cardiff to Lee which then set a record in 1910



Manor House Gardens Ice House & WW2 Air Raid Shelters in the Park

Remembering the WW1 War Dead in Lee & Lewisham

Remembering those who died on the WW2 Home Front in Lee, Hither Green & Blackheath

Remembering Lewisham’s World War 1 combatants – including at St Mildred’s Church

First Day of the Somme – post on some of the local young men who lost their lives at Gommecourt

Lenham Road V1 Attack –  a V1 that hit the junction of Lenham and Lampmead Roads


Rivers, Streams & Lakes

The Quaggy – Sutcliffe Park to Lee Green – the penultimate section of a series of posts following its sourcebook its confluence with the Ravensbourne

The Quaggy – Lee Green to Manor Park – the urban river passing between Victorian and Edwardian houses and two of south London’s finest parks

The Quaggy – Manor Park to the Ravensbourne – the final stretch into Lewisham as it flows from Hither Green into Lewisham, stopping briefly to listen to Kate Bush

The Looking Glass of Lee – the part moat and lake of Annersley and the Boones and the former course of Mid Kid Brook

Mid Kid Brook – joins the Quaggy behind the Old Tiger’s Head (below)

Upper Kid Brook – formed part of the northern boundary of old Lee and joins the Quaggy by St Stephen’s in Lewisham



Currently a short section but will be added to in 2019

Market Terrace – a Lee High Road shopping parade

310 – 322 Lee High Road (Part 1) and Part 2 – the shops to the east of Bankwell Road


Ghost Signs

Charles Holdaway Painter and Grainer – Belmont Hill, considered Lewisham now, but Lee when painted

Frederick Stimpson, Gilder and Carver – Lee Road (sadly currently hidden)

Wittals Motors – Bankwell Road, part of wider piece on Ghost signs in Lewisham and Catford

John Campion & Son – a Catford ghost sign, it included two shops in Lee


‘Lost’ Churches

Christ Church – the Lost Church of Lee Park

Church of the Good Shepherd – the original church ‘lost’ to fire in the Blitz

Holy Trinity, Glenton Road – another church ‘lost’ in WW2

Source e Bay September 2016

The Tin Tabernacle of Lee – on the corner of Baring and Waite Davies Roads (above)


Lee People

E Nesbit, the Railway Children & Lewisham – with some links to Lee and Grove Park, which may well have inspired the book

Ernest Dowson – the decadent poet who was born on what is now Belmont Grove and has a block of flats named after him

Caroline Townsend – a Lee suffragette

Olive Llewhellin – a militant suffragette who lived in Burnt Ash Hill

Benjamin Aislabie – the last tenant of Lee Place, slave owner, the worst ever first-class cricketer -remembered by an incorrectly spelled street name

George & Maurice Thomson – owners of Lee Place and Lee House respectively, the latter a slave trader, the former also had links to the slave trade but is better known as a soldier and MP during the Commonwealth

James Waite Davies – the story of Waite Davies Road, the man and the dairy that preceded it


A Lee Miscellany

36 Old Road – a story of horse drawn buses, crash repairs, the Lord Mayor’s Show and toffee

87 Old Road – from Lee Working Men’s Institution – a Victorian non-drinking club for the wealthy, to Chiesman’s  warehouse, an auction house, indoor shooting and now flats

Suffragette City – Lee and Hither Green – covers the full range suffragette activities from pillar box ‘outrages’, to the arson of a cricket club and jam making

Northbrook School – the three buildings and three names of the school (also Trinity and Hedgley Street)

Garibaldi in Lewisham – Criterion Biscuits

Lee’s 12th century invasion of Lewisham – part of a wider post on Lewisham’s Belgian connections

Graffiti Ancient & Modern – 18th century graffiti in St Margaret’s Passage, along with the alley’s former names

Following the Meridian II – Into Inner London – through Hither Green and Lee to St Margaret’s Churchyard, part of a wider ‘trip’ from the edge of London to the Observatory

The Leahurst Road Murder – the sad story of a WW2 murder with links back to a WW1 tragedy

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The source for the black and white photograph of St Margaret’s Lee School which was taken in 1959 is http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app Record number 189098 / Catalogue reference: SC_PHL_02_0327_59_2658 – permission given for use here, but no rights to elsewhere.