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Our rich history

As early as 1472 a spring was recorded on the site of what is now 148 Ladywell Road. It was called Our Lady’s Well because of its supposed healing powers and was visited by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.

In the 18th century the Ladywell area was sometimes called Bridge House, after a farmhouse that was the only signi­ficant structure in the vicinity.

From the 1780s small­holders enclosed strips of waste bordering Ladywell Road, often applying to the manor court for squatters’ rights and being granted 21 year leases. On the expiry of these leases the farmers became the direct tenants of the lord of the manor.

In 1830 a brick ??built bridge replaced the wooden footbridge that had formerly provided the sole connection with Lewisham.

Ladywell station opened on the Mid Kent Railway in 1857 and the Lady Well was covered over as terraced housing began to line Ladywell Road. On the far western side of the locality the Lewisham (now Ladywell) and Deptford (now Brockley) cemeteries opened in 1858. As has been pointed out, “for much of its short history the dead population of Ladywell has outnumbered the living.” Originally separated by a wall, the two cemeteries were merged in 1965.

From the mid 1880s a cluster of municipal buildings provided various civic amenities, from a swimming bath to a coroner’s court. In 1894 the five Thames side parishes of the Bermondsey poor law union acquired Slagrave Farm and built the huge St Olave’s workhouse, which opened amid scenes of extraordinary jubilation in 1900. Part of the workhouse survives as Ladywell Lodge; the rest has been replaced by Dressington Avenue.

Council housing was built in Ladywell after each of the world wars, but some former meadows were left open because they were liable to regular inundation when the Ravensbourne


overflowed. These now constitute Ladywell Fields, a 46 acre park divided by the railway lines into three separate sections. The creation of weirs and levées eliminated the flooding problem and sections of the fields were taken for the creation of Ladywell Arena, on the border with Catford, and a major extension of University Hospital Lewisham.

Ladywell leisure centre opened in 1965, in what is really Lewisham itself rather than Ladywell. It was colourfully revamped in 2004 but has since been superseded by the Glass Mill leisure centre, which opened in June 2013 on Loampit Vale, opposite Lewisham station. There were hopes that the old centre might be converted to a cinema but the building was quickly demolished and replaced by a kind of pop up village (as shown in the artist’s impression at the top of the page) of 24 homes on the upper floors, with an enterprise hub, creative workspace, retail space and café at street level. The building will remain here until 2020, by which time it is hoped that a long-??term plan for the site will have been developed and approved.

Ladywell Safer Neighbourhoods team

 The Metropolitan Police Service has increased the number of officers working in Safer Neighbourhoods Teams. Each ward has a Dedicated Ward Officer and Police Community Support Officer. More officers work flexibly across a larger neighbourhood area in support of the dedicated team, all led by a sergeant and an inspector. They are committed to making your neighbourhood a safer place to live, work and visit. They listen and talk to our communities, and find out what affects your quality of life and feelings of security. Their priorities are then set by the local community and They work with you and other agencies to find a lasting solution.

Schools in the area

Prendergast-Hilly Fields College

  • Type:Voluntary Aided School
  • Religious Character:None
  • Age range:11 to 18 years
  • Gender:Girls

Prendergast - Ladywell Fields College

  • Type:Community School
  • Religious Character:Does not apply
  • Age range:11 to 16 years
  • Gender:Mixed


Gordonbrock Primary School

  • Type:Community School
  • Religious Character:Does not apply
  • Age range:3 to 11 years
  • Gender:Mixed



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