Lewisham in 1948
Deptford Official Guide, published 1949

What was Lewisham like in 1948 while the Olympics were taking place?

In 1948 the present London Borough of Lewisham was still in two separate parts - the Metropolitan Boroughs of Deptford and Lewisham, which were part of the 29 boroughs which formed London County Council.


The Metropolitan Borough of Deptford was 19th in size of the London Boroughs and had a history dating back to ancient times. It covered 2.5 square miles and had a rateable value of £572,273 in 1948. Its population in the last census of 1931 had been 106,886, but this had fallen to 80,602 by December 1948, mainly as a result of the heavy bombing the borough had sustained and the evacuation of families.


The Metropolitan Borough of Lewisham was 3rd largest of the London boroughs, covering approximately 11 square miles. Its rateable value was £1,756,151 in April 1948. Its population in 1931 had been 219,942 and this was estimated to have grown to 225,740 by 1948.

Lewisham Official Guide, published 1948

The war had had a huge impact on the people and fabric of the borough. Deptford's 2.5 square miles received some 740 high explosive bombs, nine parachute mines, 34 flying bombs and nine rockets as well as thousands of incendiary bombs. 662 people were killed and 1,140 seriously injured. In 1948 rationing was still in place and consumer goods were limited. The NHS had come into being in July. It was a very different place from today.

Find out more about Lewisham in 1948 -

Books and reading Rationing
Education Shopping
Housing Social life
Industry and work Sports

This information is supplied by Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, where the original borough guides, newspapers, reports and photographs can be seen.

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