Regeneration is a constant talking point in London. Some strongly feel that it provides an area with a new lease of life, while others say prices go up and locals get pushed away. Like most things, gentrification has both good and bad aspects.
The south-east London area of Lewisham has seen its fair share of regeneration over the years. Yet a visit to SE13 doesn’t feel like you are stepping into a whole new world. As far gentrifying an area goes, Lewisham seems to have found a balance.
The parts surrounding the train and DLR station have created a new lease of life and modernised the area. The high street hasn’t lost any of its buzz or vibrancy, however. The postcode is now on the list for many looking for a new home in London.
On a map
Lewisham is in south-east London. It’s part of the broader London Borough of Lewisham and is located 5.9 miles south-east of Charing Cross. It sits between Deptford to the north and Catford and Brockley to the south.
Lewisham wasn’t initially a London borough; it was part of Kent. In fact, it wasn’t until 1965 that SE13 joined the London boroughs. In the 1800s it was known for its picturesque settings, with meadows and plenty of open spaces.
St Mary Church, a famous landmark, is an ancient parish church and is Lewisham’s oldest building. The iconic church is over 1,000 years old and holds cultural significance. To this day it’s still a functioning place of worship.
During World War II, Lewisham suffered from heavy bombing which impacted the high street. The area was restored and rebuilt in the 1950s. In 1955 J Sainsbury’s opened a supermarket which, at the time, was believed to be the largest self-service supermarket in Europe.
Renting in Lewisham
Lewisham’s blend of old and new offers a wide range of choice to renters thinking about moving to the postcode. Lewisham Gateway, the regenerated area by the train station, provides modern residential developments, many of which feature concierge services and gyms.
The conservation area is where historic charm shines through. Many of the properties are from the Victorian and Edwardian era, which are either still intact as full houses or have been converted into apartments.
Rents in SE13 are competitive. A one bedroom property fetches £1,170 per month, a two-bedroom home averages £1,440, and a three-bed generates £1,800. Four bedroom and up properties start from just under £2,000.
Who lives there?
There’s a strong argument to be had that London as a whole offers a diverse mix of demographics – no matter the area. But Lewisham perhaps embodies that persona more than most. The conservation areas are popular with families. Partly because of the large, period houses, partly because of the excellent schools.
Young professionals tend to favour Lewisham Gateway, where the modern apartments and proximity to travel and the amenities hold pulling power. There is also a selection of students sharing in the area as Goldsmith’s University in New Cross is nearby.
South-east London has a reputation for lacking in travel links, so it’s pleasing to see that Lewisham is so well connected. It has a Zone 2 location and offers direct services to Canary Wharf and Bank via the DLR – a massive draw for banking professionals.
The train station has direct journey’s to London Bridge in just 10 minutes. While Cannon Street is 15 minutes away, Charing Cross 20 minutes and Victoria is 25 minutes. Getting from A to B in SE13 is more accessible than in neighbouring areas.
Other nearby stations include Elverson Road DLR, Hither Green, St John’s and Ladywell train stations. There is also a good bus network, while the A21 road runs through the area.
Expect to find a range of cuisines catering to a multitude of tastes. Lewisham is devoid of chain eateries. Instead, you are more likely to find family run restaurants and quaint cafes.Discover mediterranean delights at the Turkish restaurant, Levante Pide. The head chef worked in numerous Turkish restaurants all over Europe before cooking up a storm at Levante. There is a wide selection of food ranging from soups, pides (Turkish pizza), kebabs, seafood dishes and hot and cold mezes.
This contemporary pub, restaurant and performance venue is in the heart of Lewisham and features delectable delights. The burgers vary from honey butter to buffalo, while the wings and strips will please even the hardest chicken connoisseurs.
Ok, so Villa Moura isn’t directly in Lewisham, but as it’s just under two miles to the Blackheath restaurant, it makes a list on a technicality. A visit to Villa Moura offers an authentic Portuguese dining experience in south-east London and scrumptious home cooking .
Address: 127 Lee Rd, Blackheath, London SE3 9DS
Things to do in Lewisham
Residents in Lewisham have a selection of popular high street shops literally on their doorstep. Opened in the 70s, Lewisham Shopping Centre received a number of makeovers throughout the years and now includes an H&M, Marks & Spencer, Foot Locker, Gap and many more.
If you’re looking for some tranquillity, Manor House Gardens should cater to your needs. The open space includes a walled flower garden, ice house, lake and a fountain – all ideal for a pleasant afternoon stroll. There is also a multi-sports ball court and tennis court for the sports enthusiasts.
Lewisham High Street hosts a market with an array of stalls. It’s been trading since 1906 and is very much ingrained in the culture of the area. Locals flock to buy their fresh fish, meats and fruit, while flowers, clothing and household items make up some of the other 64 stalls.
Lewisham features enough variety to appeal to renters of all types, whether families or single professionals. Compared to other areas of London with similar amenities and travel connections, SE13 is still reasonably priced for rental accommodation. It may not stay that way forever, though, which is why now is a great time to look at setting up home in Lewisham.
Main image credit: www.southlondonclub.co.uk