Lewisham: Favourite Places From The Past
2020 has been a strange year. Mostly negative to be fair but we cannot ignore the positives. There has been an interesting shift on the high street and the need to support local has become greater than ever. I have been a Lewisham local for most of my life (over 15 years) and have enjoyed the likes of the Horniman Museum and Ladywell Park (in which I carry out my morning 5K runs). However, after speaking with other fellow Lewisham locals, there appeared to be great disappointment, due to the number of amenities which have shut down over the years. I interviewed 2 Lewisham locals, Flo and Chris to discuss their favourite places from the past.
Catford Constitutional Club
Previously located on the vibrant Catford Broadway once stood the nostalgic Catford Constitution Club. Flo’s first interaction with this legendary pub was on his birthday – after struggling to find a fairly-priced location to host, he came across the CCC – whose friendly staff offered him space free of charge. What makes this location truly unique is not the lavish décor, according to Flo, it reminded him of “Shoreditch in the 2000s” – a rundown and old school yet authentic feel. To match the unique vibe of this classical pub, Flo installed a 1920s dress code and invited a magician to perform – replicating the mystique of the Roaring Twenties. The range of food provided at the Catford Constitution Club was unique for a pub – as well as classics they offered speciality meals which include vegan and vegetarian options which Flo stated was perfectly-cooked. Flo’s experience at the CCC led to him exploring Catford more, unearthing the dynamic area which houses a theatre, diverse food shops and much more.
Ladywell Swimming Baths
Many Lewisham residents where sad to see the Ladywell Swimming Baths go. I interviewed Chris whose first memory of the Baths was over 40 years ago. She reflected on the great facilities which were available, her favourites were the swimming pool (of course), the sauna and steam room which Chris used to enjoy weekly. Swimming galas, a variety of aerobic classes and amazing staff. Chris believes that this location is a lot better than the leisure centres we find in Lewisham today and refers to it as her “Second home”. Chris’ most memorable moment was when she had lost her necklace which had strong sentimental value to her – distraught, she informed the staff and they thoroughly searched the baths and managed to find it in the water filter! Top class service. The Ladywell Swimming Baths was truly a Lewisham lodestar.
The Harrods of Lewisham. Chiesmans was a historic department store which was established in 1884 – expanding to become the largest in south-east London. People used to come from all over the UK to visit the Lewisham flagship store. Chiesmans consisted of 4 magnificent floors which housed cosmetics, a salon, furniture, clothing, electronics, food and much more. It was more than a shopping location – it was an enjoyable outing. This spectacular store was located to the left side of what is now the infamous Lewisham Police Station (the largest purpose-built police station in Europe) and was connected to Lewisham Shopping Centre by an extravagant glass bridge. Chris has a range of memories here which include getting discounts on makeup from one of her friends, taking her children to the Christmas Grotto and lovely days out with her friends. But her best-loved experience was when she was invited to the exclusive Chiesmans Christmas Shopping Evening, Chris enjoyed lovely mince pies with wine and received unbelievable discounts. This evening was topped off with a raffle presented by the legendary Barry Norman (celebrity British film critic, television presenter and journalist) – she won a Betamax which was the equivalent of a PlayStation 5 or iPhone 13 back in the day!
I enjoyed talking to both Flo and Chris about places from the past and would have loved to experience the above monumental locations. These interviews highlighted the importance of supporting the local places which we love – especially during this time of uncertainty.
There are numerous community groups and organisations in the local area which you can join to support your favourite local places which include:
• Lewisham Local
• South London Club
• Deptford Neighbourhood Action
• Pepys Community Forum
We work with a range of local stores on the high street to fulfil ethical same-day delivery – supporting local stores and boosting the local economy. If you’d like to be a part of our journey. You can sign up to our newsletter below.