Lee & Hither Green History

This is the area that Running Past centres on – it is where I live in the SE12/SE13 borders and could be referred to as Lewisham, Hither Green, Lee or more optimistically in estate agent parlance ‘Blackheath borders.’

While there is a ‘Lewisham History’ category but it isn’t easy to find things on, so this Lee & Hither Green history page attempts to pull it all together with links to specific posts.  If you are wanting an overview of Hither Green history – there is a ‘Walk’ which provides a good starting point and has links to most of the posts below.

Parks, Leisure and Sport

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

Globe Cinema – a cinema in Staplehurst Road

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

The Sir David Brewster Pub (latterly Hansbury’s) – a history of a closed pub

Pound’s Pubs – the Summerfield, the Northbrook & the Crown

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 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

Hilda ‘Laddie’ Sharp – Hither Green’s 1920s Channel Swimmer

Victorian Pigeon Shooting at the Old Tigers Head

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

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



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

The Zeppelin Attack on Hither Green


Henry Williamson’s fictional re-telling of the Zeppelin Attack

WW1 Goethe Attack – bombing of Leahurst Road, part of wider piece mainly on Sydenham

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

Fernbrook Road V1 attack – the death, damage and post war reconstruction relating to a dooblebug attack in June 1944

Lenham Road V1 Attack – similar to the Fernbrook Road post with 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

Hither Green Quaggy/Ditch– joins the Quaggy in Hither Green and has a small tributary which flows under Hither Green station and a bigger one flowing through the Corbett Estate


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

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

The Large Houses of Lee 

Shakespeare & Lewisham – the links between Brian Annesley, a Lord of the Manor of Lee and King Lear

Lee Place –  a Stately Home of Lee – the first of the large houses in the area, home to the Boones

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

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

Source - EBay Feb 2016

Source – EBay Feb 2016


 On the Street

Thomas Dermody – the name behind the road name

Ardmere Road – a 2 part history of what was once Hither Green’s poorest street, part 2 here

Hocum Pocum Lane – Dermody Road, before it was Dermody Road

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

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

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

W J Scudamore – a building firm working in the area from the late 19th century to the 1960s

Bullseye Cottage – an odd looking Victorian cottage on Hither Green Lane

The Butcher, the Baker and the Disney Store – Shopping through the years on Staplehurst Road

Pound Land – the Homes of John Pound in Blackheath,  Lee and Grove Park

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

The Lee Centre – once the site of a  medieval mansion which was demolished and rebuilt as a Victorian country house, developed in the late 19th century as an Institute ‘For the use and benefit of the men and lads of Lee.’

Ghost Signs

Frederick Stimpson, Gilder and Carver – Lee Road

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

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

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

Fox & Sons – a former Farnborough brewery sign on Hither Green Lane

‘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

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

Hither Green Methodist Church – destroyed in WW2

HG Church


Farming in Lee and Hither Green

North Park – the farm that predated the Corbett Estate

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


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.

A Lee (and Hither Green) Miscellany

Hither Green Rails Crash – the 1967 crash close to St Mildred’s Road bridge that claimed the lives of 49 passengers

Park Fever Hospital – Hither Green’s hospital

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

Hither Green & the Black Death – an early settlement in the area and its links in name to Lewisham’s first council houses.

Garibaldi in Lewisham – Criterion Biscuits

Lee New Town – early 19th century servants’ housing in the Boone Street and Lee Church Street area

Lochaber Hall – the former church hall of Holy Trinity

Gilmore Road Telephone Exchange – some history of the building which was converted into flats in 2014

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

McMillan Sisters – pioneers of nursery education who lived in George Lane

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

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

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

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

I will add more links to new posts on the blog over time so please do come back.  If you don’t want to miss anything, you can follow the blog by email if you don’t have a WordPress account, or by Twitter @running_past.

If you are looking for a a fuller history the following links are a good starting point for  Hither Green and Lee.

Notes on Photos

Top – destroyed houses in Glenview Road, now Nightingale Grove – source Wikipedia Commons

Middle – St Margaret’s Lee School  – source for black and white photograph (1959) http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app Record number 189098 / Catalogue reference: SC_PHL_02_0327_59_2658 – permission give for use here, but no rights to elsewhere.

Bottom – Lee Green Farm – picture from information board at Lee Green


19 thoughts on “Lee & Hither Green History

  1. Kimberley oconnell

    Wow! Accidentally came across your site this morning and must say I am overjoyed
    I was born in Lewisham hosp in ’75 and lived in Lee Green in Aislibie Rd. My lovely Nan and her 2 sisters lived in a row for decades. One in the middle being my ggmothers originally from approx 1930 and is still owned now by my cousin
    I have a question for you
    I was just wondering the origin of “Aislibie”?
    Also there was a bomb dropped opposite my house there, do you have any info on this?
    So looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. runner500 Post author

      Thank you! Benjamin Aislabie (the road name seems to be spelled incorrectly) was the last tenant of the Boones at Lee Place, living there from around 1809 for 14 years, after which the estate was sold – he gets a passing mention in the piece I did on it – see above.

      From memory there were two or three bombs dropped on or around Aislibie Road during the Blitz they are mentioned on the Bomb Sight website, although the exact dates aren’t recorded.

      Thanks for visiting.

      1. Kimberley oconnell

        Thank you! Amazing stuff
        I live in Leigh on sea now and miss the ole place😞

      2. runner500 Post author

        I am really glad if it was of interest to you, there will be more posts about the area over time – if you want to make sure that you don’t miss them, you can get updates via e mail, wordpress reader if you have a wordpress account or via Twitter @running_past. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Pingback: Our Hither Green

  3. Malcolm McLaren

    Wow! Great blog. Originally from Scotland, moved to Pascoe Road a couple of years ago and fascinated at the Scottish connection as well as the broader history. Thank you!

  4. Jenny Hawkins

    I grew up in Lee (Micheldever Road) but bought my first house on the Corbett Estate in Birkhall Road and had my children there, until we moved to Surrey in 1988. They went to Torridon Road School. So pleased to find your site! Still think of this area of London as home.

  5. Marcia hill

    Thank you so much for all your hard work
    Im so much enjoying it. I was born at 3 murillo rd in 1949. Although ive long moved on there’s something very special about Lee, Hither Green and areas around. So rich in history. I will be dropping into your site for more. A big thank you. X

  6. Emma

    This site is superb! I have spent most of my life living in Lee and despite having parents who were keen on teaching my siblings and i local history when we were young I don’t recall any of the information I’ve read this morning.
    I’m looking forward to introducing my parents to the Running Past. Thank you!
    I now live off Courtlands Ave and have been trying for several years to find pictures of the church that was on the corner of Courtlands and Lyme Farm Road, but with no success. Have you come across any in your research?

    1. Paul B Post author

      Thank you, that’s very kind! Sadly, I don’t recall having seen any pictures of the original St Peter’s Church – oddly, I was thinking about that a few weeks ago when I did a post on the original Church of the Good Shepherd. One day I will ask the Vicar, appropriately now Reverend Shepherd, what records the church kept when the parishes merged.

  7. Janet Bounds

    Have just found your website when searching for information on Lee Green – what a treasure trove. My gran lived in Effingham Road from 1929 until 1970 and I remember our annual summer holidays there.

  8. Rosemary H Stevenson

    I wonder if you can help me. I am trying to find two people who are reported to have been living in Lee Green around 1920. The lady Mabel Lilian Knight born 1894, was a nurse. I wonder if you can tell me the name of any hospitals in the area at that time, where she may have worked. The man she was living with was William James Nickerson (already married). They apparently did not register their first three sons births, as no official records exist. This is making research into the family extremely difficult. One of the sons was my late uncle. He was Derek Ashley (Nickerson) born (he said) 28/10/1924. He had two older brothers Peter Aston, born 1922 and Percy W, born 1920. His parents eventually moved to Somerset and married in 1950. William James was born in Caister Norfolk in 1886, son of a fisherman. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Rosemary.

  9. Darreb Coyle


    I have just moved on Northbrook Road. I heard before the red estate, there were large double-fronted Victoria houses. I would love to see any pictures or old plans of the road, so I can envisage how it was like previously. Any help and guidance would be super appreciated. Thanks- Darren


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