Where we sing

Lewisham and Deptford Community Choir

Deptford Community Choir sings in the London Borough of Lewisham. Although Deptford used to be its own district, it was amalgamated into the Borough of Lewisham in 1965. We have members from across the borough, including New Cross, St John’s, Brockley, Catford, Sydenham, and more. The borough of Lewisham is very diverse and its citizens come from all over the world. Deptford community choir brings together the residents of the Borough and creates a community and space for friendship and singing.

Lewisham History

The first records of Lewisham show that a manor existed there, the homestead of a man called Leof of Leofsa. It was granted to the Abbey of St Peter of Ghent by Elfrida, Alfred the Great’s daughter. The Domesday Book shows that there were about half a dozen mills were operating on the river in the Lewisham area. Over time, these mills performed a variety of industrial functions, including  grinding corn, steel, and for tanning leather and weaving silk. A village began to stretch along an elm-lined central road, which is now known as Lewisham High Street, and the construction of St Mary’s church began at the end of the 15the Century. King James the First was so impressed by the beauty and expanse of the settlement that he declared “On my soul, I will be king of Lusen.” (The spelling of ‘Lusen’ is not found anywhere else but the ‘s’ sound was used for centuries, and the ‘sh’ in Lewisham is much more recent development). Lewisham was well-known for its ‘healthy air’ and in the 18th century merchants began to move to the area and build their residences, but it was the arrival of the railway that saw the beginning of the borough’s development.

Victorian Era

The first lines to run were South Eastern Railway’s North Kent line that came to Lewisham in 1849, and the site of the present station is where the Mid Kent line branch was built in 1857. The Upper Middle Classes built large residences in the area with a number of cheaper housing developments for their servants and workers up until the 1870s. As the area became more crowded, the wealthy classes started to move away from busy the streets, and clerks and artisans began to move into smaller and more tightly built together housing. Nearby Ladywell began to merge with the village of Lewisham as public services and civic amenities expanded across the river Ravensbourne. Towards the end of the 19th century, many of the more historical buildings had been demolished and replaced. Lewisham had become an important transport hub with its two railway lines, and a tram and bus system. It was rapidly becoming a destination for shopping and trade.

A view of a street in Lewisham with new housing developments

20th Century and Post War

The High Street’s clock tower was built in honour of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee and a street market began in 1906, which still continues to this day selling groceries and other items. The High Street saw continued development in the early 20th century, and St Saviour’s Catholic church was completed in 1909, its iconic tower and campanile was completed two decades later.

Like Deptford and New Cross, Lewisham was bombed heavily during the Second World War, and municipal and council estates were built along the edges of the Borough. Work began in 1963 on one of the largest was the London County Council’s Orchard estate (which now falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal Borough of Greenwich). Another of Lewisham’s most iconic buildings is the Riverdale shopping centre which was built in 1977. Nowadays it is known as the Lewisham shopping centre, and new developments are nearing completion around the historic high street.