St John’s (or Deptford New Town as it was originally known), is an excellent example of a working class Victorian suburb. It is unusual in that it was developed largely by one landowner from one estate- but over a long period of time - and because much of the development is largely intact today.
The survival has been due to good estate management and following the estate’s acquisition by Deptford Borough Council in 1964, its later designation as a conservation area.
In 1800, urban or suburban Deptford did not venture south of New Cross Road, but by 1900 the area was entirely urban. In St John’s this process took place gradually over virtually the entire century.
In 1800 the district was pasture and market garden. It was split by only one road, the modern Tanner’s Hill, then called Butt Lane, which was a southerly extension across the Broadway of the line of the High Street. Butt Lane continued across Lewisham Way to its terminus at open land on the modern Upper Brockley Road. There was another road, no more than a lane, called Dog Kennel Row, or Dark Lane, which linked Manor Farm, Brockley with the Broadway. Manor Farm stood on the modern Brakespeares Road between Lewisham College and the railway bridge. Mill Lane (the present Brookmill Road) ran for about 400yards from its junction with the Broadway, where it terminated at the entranceto the waterworks
Today the area is popular with families due to its tree lined Victorian streets and with commuters thanks to the excellent transport links. St John's itself enjoys 2 DLR stations - Elverson Road and Deptford Bridge as well as a mainline station - St. Johns, while the London Overground at New Cross is a short walk away.