Friday, 4 April 2014

The Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission - Call for Evidence

The Prime Minister’s Commission on the Holocaust is a national, cross-party commission that has been established to investigate whether further measures should be taken to ensure Britain has a permanent and fitting memorial and meaningful educational resources for generations to come.

“Many organisations and individuals have worked tirelessly to ensure the memory of the Holocaust remains alive and its lessons continue to resonate today. Survivors have played a crucial role by sharing their testimony. But we will not always have survivors with us and as there is a danger that, as the events of the Holocaust become ever more distant, they will feel increasingly remote to current and future generations.

The Commission is asking for written evidence. From this evidence, two expert groups focussing on education and commemoration will review current provision and identify gaps and opportunities for the future.

The Commission will report its findings to the Prime Minister by the end of 2014.”

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Deptford Whale

On 23rd October 1842 a whale was sighted off Deptford Pier and caught and landed. It was identified as a 'Fin Back' whale, 14ft 6ins long and weighing 2 tons.

"On Sunday afternoon, between four and five o'clock, several watermen on duty at Bell-water-gate, near the Deptford Pier, observed a huge dark substance projecting above the surface of the river. The animal was moving down the river between the pier and the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital-ship. Five of them put off in their boat, and one of them, armed with a large bearded spear, commenced the attack upon the monster ..."

The whale was eventually loaded onto the pier where  "In a short time afterwards such immense numbers of persons congregated to gratify their curiosity that Mr John Taylor, the high constable of Deptford, was compelled to call for the aid of the R division of the police to keep order."

The whole event was recorded and published in the Illustrated London News. You can read the original on the web using our online subscription to the Illustrated London News 1842-2003. You can access this in any Lewisham library or from home with your library card number.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Open House London - what you can see in Lewisham

Open House London takes place on 21st and 22nd September, and this year there are 24 buildings and venues open for you to visit in Lewisham. These range from modern, contemporary buildings such as 22 Weardale Road and the Glassmill leisure centre to historic listed buildings such as Boone's Chapel and St Margaret's Church.

This year Convoys Wharf will also be open on Saturday from 11am to 4pm, with open access to the site of the proposed masterplan, an exhibition of the plan with architects and project consultants on site and a pop-up cafe.

Pick up a brochure from one of our libraries - available from next week - or check online at

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Lewisham Races in August 1836

Did you know that Lewisham once had its own races?  The Lee, Lewisham, Greenwich and Eltham Races were held on a course on meadows next to the main road on the lower side of Blackheath. In August 1836 The West Kent Stakes (worth 15 sovereigns), The Railway Stakes (worth 50 sovereigns) and the Greenwich Borough Cup (worth 50 sovereigns) were held there.

This comes from the sporting intelligence section of  The Morning Chronicle of 19th August 1836. One of the many newspapers that you can access on the 19th Century British Newspapers . This is one of the online resources available to all Lewisham Library Service members to use in a library or from home.

You can find out more on our website

The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Friday, August 19, 1836; Issue 20844

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"Here then is Deptford ...." - Poem in Thankfull Sturdee's Reminiscences of Old Deptford

In 1895 Thankfull Sturdee published his Reminiscences of Old Deptford, a collection of 67 illustrations of the Deptford area reproduced from original art works and photographs. In the front he included a poem, but without any attribution. We'd like to find out who wrote it but haven't had any luck with our searches so far. If any one can help throw some light on this - please add your information below or email us at

Monday, 8 July 2013

Children of the Great War

Do you have a relative who fought in The Great War, served in the Ambulance Corps, in Munitions, or experienced the War on the Home Front? 2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. As part of the commemorations Age Exchange invite you to share your family history and contribute to an international archive.

Age Exchange invites you to go along to 11 Blackheath Village on Tuesday July 16th, 11am - 4pm to share your unique family story, passed down through generations. Please also take with you any relevant photos, objects, and memorabilia for them to copy and photograph. Your story will be recorded and will become part of the touring exhibition, and theatre production, and will contribute to an international archive that commemorates the 100th  Anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in 2014.

For further information contact:
Age Exchange,11 Blackheath Village, London SE3 9LA
Tel: 020 8318 9105

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Landing of the Queen's Presents

On 12th June 1842 an Arabian man-of-war 'the first that ever appeared in English waters' came up the Thames and moored off the Victualling Yard at Deptford. The vessel came from Zanzibar carrying presents from the King of Muscat for Queen Victoria - including four valuable Arabian horses.

You can find out more about this in the Illustrated London News which is available online in all of Lewisham's Libraries and which can be used at home, etc, with your library card barcode. All of our online services can be accessed from here -