Why people in Lewisham don’t mind their noisy neighbours

Lewisham. Pic; Stephen Colebourne.

Fewer complaints are made about noise in Lewisham than any other London borough    Pic: Stephen Colebourne

Lewisham has the least noise complaints in London, it was announced this week – with only 458 complaints logged in the past year.

Kensington and Chelsea, where terraced houses sell for an average of £4.2 million, was named the worst borough in London with 13,790 noise complaints made last year.

The figures were compiled by Cirrus Research plc through a Freedom of Information inquiry and published in the Evening Standard. Cirrus hopes to use the figures to build up a UK noise nuisance map.

So what do Lewisham residents think of their borough being the most noise-tolerant in London?

Mark Edmondson, who lives on Jerningham Road, New Cross, told Eastlondonlines: “I am very surprised! It would be interesting to know how different it is, to say 20 years ago, when it was a more working class area and whether gentrification has had a bearing on it.

“The main source of noise is the railway line at the back and our neighbour’s ‘friend’ who talks loudly! I can’t ever remember loud music blaring out of people’s houses, maybe The Rose Pub occasionally and police sirens, but not much else.”

Chloe Pelas, a student at Goldsmiths University, said her student accommodation last year was right on busy New Cross Road. She told Eastlondonlines: “I assume places like Chelsea get so many complaints because the wealthy residents are not used to it, and complain at every house party/disturbance. People in Lewisham are used to it being noisy, its normal.”

Lewisham Way, near Loring Hall where Chloe lived last year, was recently voted one of the noisiest roads in Britain.

Close to New Cross is Brockley, where Oliver Bates lives along Kneller Road. Oliver told Eastlondonlines: “I like Lewisham it is a great area of London. I am definitely surprised it is the quietest borough though, not that I thought it was the loudest but it is certainly lively.”

Lewisham was first established in the Saxon era, when it was known as Levesham and consisted of little more than a high street. With its proximity to London, Lewisham became a popular place of residence for rich city men and their families in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The borough was part of Kent until 1889, with its first railway being the North Kent Line to Dartford in 1849. The modern-day borough wasn’t formed until 1965.

Until the late 1800s, Lewisham consisted of mainly large houses with extensive gardens. Shortly after this the wealthier population started to move out and the large properties were replaced by streets of smaller houses for the lower classes.

Today crime is one of the biggest issues faced by the borough. The homicide rate is twice the national average, at 2.5 people per 100,000. Knife crime is particular concern among 13-24 year olds.

The borough is the 15th most ethnically diverse local authority in England, with two out of every five residents being from a black and minority ethnic background.

Figures for 2015 show that Lewisham had the highest proportion of people in economic deprivation in London. Lewisham now, like the rest of London, is becoming increasingly gentrified. In New Cross is Goldsmiths, University of London, most famous for alumni, such as artist, Damien Hirst.

This is most likely responsible for the rapid increase for cafes, bars and pubs in the area.



  1. stuart collings June 10, 2018
  2. Aidan July 3, 2018
  3. Debs September 6, 2018
  4. Tina August 18, 2021

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