By the London Government Act 1963, the borough was formed in 1965 by merging the former boroughs of Lewisham and Deptford, created as divisions of the County of London in 1900.
Several minor boundary changes have taken place since its creation. The most significant was the transfer of the former Royal Docks area from the London Borough of Greenwich in 1996.
The metro borough of Lewisham corresponded to the ancient parishes of Lee and Lewisham, while Deptford corresponded to the parish of Deptford St Paul, including Hatcham. In 1889, Hatcham became a county in London from Surrey, while the rest was a county in Kent.
It is bordered on the east by the Royal Borough of Greenwich (between Deptford and Horn Park), to the south by the London Borough of Bromley (between Horn Park and Crystal Palace Park), and to the west by the London Borough of Southwark (between Crystal Palace Park and Rotherhithe).
A short section of the Thames runs along the northern border of the Tower Hamlets Borough, while Deptford Creek, Pool River, River Quaggy and River Ravensbourne also pass through it.
There are a number of major landmarks in the area, including All Saints Church in Blackheath, Citibank Tower in Lewisham, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Church (Sydenham's German Church, technically located in Forest Hill) and Horniman Museum. South Bermondsey is home to Millwall Football Club, whose stadium The Den is located there.
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The Millwall Football Club was founded in 1885, in the Isle of Dogs, East London. Although they moved to New Cross, South London in 1910, they retained their original name. The Den is in Bermondsey, but it falls under the Borough of Lewisham. The Borough has a Non-League football club, Lewisham Borough Football Club, which plays at the Ladywell Arena, Catford.
In 2020, Lewisham was named London Borough of Culture. In June 2017, the Mayor of London launched the prestigious award, which awards Lewisham £1.35 million for an ambitious, year-long cultural programme aimed at celebrating the borough's creative talent and creating lasting social change.
The 2011 census indicated that Lewisham has 275,885 residents, 53% are white and 47% are BME. There are 43% of households that are owner-occupied.
Trust for London and New Policy Institute found that Lewisham's poverty rate is 26%, near the city's 27%.