The Local History and Archives Centre holds historic materials for the borough of Lewisham and is situated in Lewisham Library.
What we do
We can help you to discover:
- the history of the borough
- the history of houses in the borough (when they were built, and who lived there)
- the history of an area within the borough, for a school project or for general interest
- your family history (ancestors in Lewisham, or general information)
- local information on specific topics (for example, famous people who have lived in the borough).
For our opening times, see below. Please contact us in advance of your visit, to check that we have the material you want to see, or for advice on your project.
Archive material is available by appointment only.
The material we hold is in many cases irreplaceable, so it must be treated with great care. You will need to leave any large bag in a locker, and to use a pencil rather than a pen for making notes from archives. Food and drink must not be consumed anywhere in the library, and particularly not in the local history and archives centre.
The area we cover
The borough of Lewisham includes the ancient parishes of St Margaret, Lee and St Mary, Lewisham, also the parish of St Paul, Deptford (the ancient parish of Deptford was divided in 1730 into the parishes of St Nicholas and St Paul. The parish of St Nicholas is now in the London Borough of Greenwich).
The borough also includes the following districts: Bellingham, Beckenham (part), Blackheath (part), Brockley, Catford, Crofton Park, Downham, Forest Hill, Grove Park, Hatcham, Hither Green, Ladywell, New Cross, Southend, Sydenham.
This area was in the county of Kent until 1889 when the London County Council was formed. The exception was the Hatcham/New Cross area of Deptford, which was in Surrey.
Deptford was in the Greenwich Registration District. Lee and Lewisham were in the Lewisham Registration District.
- research services
- photocopying and photographic copies
- separate room for group/class visits
- microfilm and microfiche readers and printers
- occasional talks and lectures
- local history publications sold
- toilets are available in Lewisham library (wheelchair-accessible) and baby changing facilities for male and female readers, and a baby feeding room.
Copying is permitted at staff discretion where the copying process will not damage original material.
black and white A4: 10p
black and white A3: 15p
colour A4: 50p
colour A3: £1.
Copying of archives by staff or use of remote copy service
For orders over 10 pages different charges will apply, please contact the department for details.
If you wish to use your own camera a photography permit is £5 per day (up to 20 images) or per form if you require more than 20.
There are four microform readers covering different types of microform. It is advisable to book appointments to use the machines as demand can be high at busy times – please contact us in advance using the contact details below.
A scanning service is available. Reproduction fees are charged, but may be waived in the case of non-commercial organisations. Please contact the department for further details.
If this material is required on CD there is a charge of £2 including postage.
Talks and lectures
We can give talks and lectures to local groups at the centre or elsewhere. We have a repertoire of standard talks and these are usually illustrated with slides. Where talks are given at the centre, other material from the collections can be used to illustrate them. Due to limitations we can only give one talk a year to any one group.
A group requesting a talk outside our standard range will need to give us six months' notice. We are only able to give talks when staffing levels permit. We can bring a carousel projector, but it is helpful if groups can provide a screen or white wall.
All cheques should be drawn on a UK bank and made out in pounds sterling to 'London Borough of Lewisham'. Credit cards and electronic payments cannot be handled at present.