New Cross: Wikis


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Coordinates: 51°28′15″N 0°02′01″W / 51.4709°N 0.0337°W / 51.4709; -0.0337

New Cross
New Cross is located in Greater London
New Cross

 New Cross shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ365765
London borough Lewisham
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE14
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament Lewisham Deptford
London Assembly Greenwich and Lewisham
List of places: UK • England • London

New Cross is a place and an electoral ward in the London Borough of Lewisham, 4 miles south east of Charing Cross. It is covered by London postal district SE14. New Cross is near St Johns, New Cross Gate, Telegraph Hill, Nunhead, Peckham, Brockley, Deptford and Greenwich.

It is home to Goldsmiths, University of London, of Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College and of Addey and Stanhope School.



New Cross was originally founded by local jester Adam Soffe and was formerly known as Hatcham (the name persists in the title of the Anglican parishes of St. James, Hatcham along with its school, and All Saints, Hatcham Park). The earliest reference to Hatcham is in the 11th century, in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Hacheham. It was held by the Bishop of Lisieux from the Bishop of Bayeux. Its domesday assets were: 3 hides; 3 ploughs, 6 acres (24,000 m2) of meadow, woodland worth 3 hogs. It rendered £2.[1]

Hatcham tithes were paid to Bermondsey Abbey from 1173 until the dissolution of the monasteries when the Crown took over. A series of individuals then held land locally before the manor was bought in the 17th century by the Haberdashers' Company, a wealthy livery company that was instrumental in the area's development in the 19th century. Telegraph Hill was for many years covered by market gardens owned also by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers. Until the creation of the London County Council in 1889, New Cross was a part of the counties of Kent and Surrey.

The electoral ward of New Cross (red) within the London Borough of Lewisham (orange)
Quirky architecture of the Ben Pimlott Building
Goldsmith's Library
The Warmington Tower

In the later nineteenth century, the area became known as the New Cross Tangle on account of its numerous railway lines, workshops and two stations — both originally called New Cross (one was later renamed New Cross Gate).

Hatcham Iron Works in Pomeroy Street was an important locomotives factory, the scene of a bitter confrontation in 1865 between its manager, George England, and the workers. The Strike Committee met at the Crown and Anchor pub in New Cross Road, now the site of Hong Kong City Chinese restaurant. George England’s house, Hatcham Lodge, is now 56 Kender Street.

New Cross bus garage was formerly the largest tram depot in London, opening in 1906. During the 1926 General Strike in support of the miners, strikebreakers were brought in to drive trams from the depot. On 7 May, police baton charges were launched to clear a crowd of 2-3,000 pickets blockading the entrance (reported as "Rowdyism in New Cross" by the Kentish Mercury).

The last London tram, in July 1952, ran from Woolwich to New Cross. It was driven through enormous crowds, finally arriving at its destination in the early hours of 6 July.[2]

On 25 November 1944 a V-2 Rocket exploded at the Woolworth's store in New Cross Road (on the site later occupied by an Iceland supermarket). 168 people were killed, ranging in age from Michael Glover, aged 1 month, to William Frank, aged 80. 121 were seriously injured. It was the most devastating V-bombing of the entire war. On Wednesday 25 November 2009 a new commemorative plaque was unveiled on the site by the Mayor of Lewisham, marking the 65th anniversary of the explosion.

In August 1977 the area saw the Battle of Lewisham, during which the far right British National Front were beaten off by militant anti-fascists and local people.[3]

On January 18, 1981 13 young black people were killed in the New Cross Fire at a party at 439 New Cross Road. Suspicions that the fire was caused by a racist attack, and apparent official indifference to the deaths, led to the largest ever political mobilisation of black people seen in Britain.

New Cross Gate

New Cross Gate, on the west of New Cross, is named after the New Cross tollgate, established in 1718 by the New Cross Turnpike Trust. It is the location of New Cross Gate station. New Cross Gate corresponds to the manor and district formerly known as Hatcham.[4]


The proximity of New Cross to Deptford and Greenwich, both of which have strong maritime connections, led to the establishment of the Royal Naval School in New Cross in 1843 (designed by architect John Shaw Jr, 1803–1870) to house "the sons of impecunious naval officers". The school relocated further south-east to Mottingham in 1889, and the former school building was bought by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, who opened the Goldsmiths’ Company’s Technical and Recreative Institute in 1891. This was in turn handed over to the University of London in 1904 and is now Goldsmiths, University of London.

The former Deptford Town Hall building in New Cross Road, now also used by Goldsmiths, University of London, was built in the Edwardian Baroque style by Lanchester and Rickards, 1903-5. Nautical references include carvings of Tritons, statues of admirals and a sailing ship weathervane on the clock turret.[5]

The Jehovah's Witness Hall was the South East London Synagogue until it closed in 1985. The present building, which dates from the 1950s, replaced another destroyed in a German air raid in 1940.

The Venue nightclub in New Cross Road has a long history as a place of entertainment. It opened as the New Cross Super Kinema in 1925, with a cinema on the ground floor and the New Cross Palais de Danse above, as well as a cafe. The name was shortened to New Cross Kinema from 1927, the plain Kinema in 1948, and finally Gaumont in 1950. It closed in August 1960, and remained derelict for some time. Part of the building was demolished before the old dancehall became The Harp Club and then The Venue in the late 1980s.[6]

Also, the Duke of Albany public house (converted to flats in 2008) was the facade for The Winchester pub in the film Shaun of the Dead.


The area is served by two stations, New Cross and New Cross Gate. Both acted as termini of the East London Line of the London Underground network until its closure in 2007, as well as being suburban railway stations. The Underground platforms will be re-opened in the summer of 2010, as part of the London Overground network providing connections to North London and extending the New Cross Gate branch to Crystal Palace and Croydon. There are however no plans to extend the New Cross branch to Lewisham or other areas at the present time.




During the 1980s, the Goldsmiths Tavern hosted alternative cabaret nights, organised by Nikky Smedley.[citation needed] Playing host to fledgling acts including The Cholmondelys, Julian Clary and Vic Reeves.[citation needed] Goldsmiths' Students' Union also had a reputation for putting on established and up and coming bands of the era including The B-52's, The Pogues, The Monochrome Set, Simply Red, Wet Wet Wet and Wild Willy Barrett.[citation needed]. The Irish owners of the Harp Club let The Flim Flam run a regular Friday night club there.[citation needed] The Flim Flam, with their wide music interest, recruited two DJs from Goldsmiths (Alison ? and Mimi Kerns) to put on a punk and indie night on Saturdays A Million Rubber Bands (later "Totally Wired").

In the 1990s New Cross club, The Venue was central to the Indie Rock and Brit Pop scenes and played host to gigs by many of their finest purveyors including Oasis, Radiohead, Pulp, Squeeze, Levellers, Cast, Shed Seven, Sleeper, Cornershop, Bluetones, Suede, PJ Harvey, Catherine Wheel, Belly, Ocean Colour Scene, Lush, Chumbawamba, Ash, Mudhoney, and Hole.[citation needed] Urban music magazine, Touch, and The Platform Magazine, an Islamic Hip-Hop journal are based in New Cross.[citation needed]

New Cross was noted as the birth place of New Rave[citation needed], and is fast gaining ground with London's fashion and music journalists,[citation needed] some even coming to regard it as South London's answer to Shoreditch in the wake of its commercialisation.[citation needed] The New Rave scene began with a tightly connected movement of artists, DJ’s, bands and squatters called !WOWOW! who have staged parties since 2003 in New Cross.[citation needed] New Rave champions Klaxons spent their formative years in New Cross and released their début single, Gravity's Rainbow, in April 2006 on Angular Recording Corporation, a label set up by two ex-Goldsmiths students.[citation needed]


The area supports a fledgling student opera company, Opera Gold, run by Goldsmiths, University of London.


Millwall Football Club, founded by mainly Scottish workers at J.T. Morton, a cannery and food processing plant in Millwall on the Isle of Dogs in 1885, was based at The Den in Cold Blow Lane from 1910 to 1993. The ground attracted crowds of more than 45,000. Millwall moved a short distance to The New Den, off Ilderton Road and just within Bermondsey, at the start of the 1993–94 season.

Speedway racing was staged at the New Cross Speedway and Greyhound Stadium, situated at the end of Hornshay Street, off Ilderton Road. The venue became home to the New Cross Rangers in 1934 when the Crystal Palace promotion moved en bloc. The track, reputed to be one of the shortest and known as "The Frying Pan Bowl", operated until 1939 and re-opened in 1946 running until the early 1950s. The track re-opened for a short spell 1959 - 1961 and closed its doors to the sport for the last time mid season 1963. The stadium was also the scene of the UK's first stock car race at Easter 1954, with 26,000 in the crowd and thousands more locked outside. The site of the Stadium is now an open space, Bridge House Meadows.

The 1949 speedway film Once a Jolly Swagman, starring Dirk Bogarde, was filmed at New Cross.

Notable residents

Music connections

  • Bands such as Art Brut, Bloc Party, Blur, The Hancocks, Luxembourg, Indigo Moss and Athlete have all originated and been associated with the 'New Cross scene'.
  • British hip hop artist Blade did most of his recording in the area, selling his records personally on the streets there and often name checking it in his songs.
  • Musician Danger Mouse of the group Gnarls Barkley lived in New Cross while working at a pub in London Bridge during the early 2000s.
  • 1970s glam rocker Steve Harley grew up in Fairlawn Mansions, New Cross, going to Edmund Waller and Haberdashers' Aske's schools.
  • Music hall star Marie Lloyd lived in Lewisham Way from 1887 to 1893
  • Nathan Cooper and Chi-Tudor Hart, out of the electro group Matinée Club grew up in New Cross.
  • RnB group Damage. Front man Jade Jones who is from the area is the father of Emma Bunton's baby and is due to marry the Spice Girl some time this year. Two members of the group attended St James Hatcham C of E Primary School situated on St James in New Cross Gate
  • The folk noir band Songdog lived in New Cross for a year or so after first moving to London from Wales. The transition period was difficult for the band members as they suffered from acute homesickness and for a time had rats, no hot water and no money, but frontman Lyndon Morgans says they took heart from the motto "Take Courage" (Courage being a brewery) which was emblazoned across the front of the Amersham Arms, a pub overlooking New Cross Station.
  • Dire Straits lived in Deptford and performed some of their earliest gigs in New Cross pubs
  • Jools Holland performed and practised in pubs in New Cross at the beginning of his career

Other local links

 only fools and horses star PAT MURRAY lived on kitto rd

Places nearby

In song


  1. ^ Surrey Domesday Book
  2. ^ Greenwich Guide, day by day
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Mills, A., Dictionary of London Place Names, (2001), Oxford
  5. ^
  6. ^ [2]

Further reading

  • Lanyado, Benji (22 March 2009). "In London, New Cross and Deptford Attract the Hip". [3].
  • Gordon-Orr, Neil (2004). Deptford Fun City: a ramble through the history and music of New Cross and Deptford. London: Past Tense Publications.

External links


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