Lee Green's history has been shaped by its location on an important traffic route connecting London with Kent and the coast.
From its origins as a hamlet and village green, it grew into a popular location for London merchants to live in the 17th and 18th centuries. The importance of the route (now the A20) for horse-drawn carriages and marching armies saw the village green and duck pond swept away before the railway arrived in 1866 bringing more housing and people to the area. The Old Tiger's Head and the New Tiger's Head public houses on the northern quadrant of the crossroads have important pasts and remain key Lee Green landmarks.
Other notable local buildings include Lee Green Fire Station (built 1906) on Eltham Road and the police station (built 1904 – now apartments) on Lee High Road. The 1960s saw the development of Leegate Shopping Centre on the south-east quadrant of the crossroads, replacing Carston Mews (the former site of Lee Green farm). Much of the south west quadrant of the crossroads was replaced by a Sainsbury's foodstore in the 1980s. Shifting retail patterns have seen the Leegate Centre fall into decline, while locals and visitors alike complain that Lee Green today suffers from a lack of identity and focus as a district centre.