Deptford, London

Deptford

"Deptford Creek"
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Deptford (Greater London)

OS grid referenceTQ365775
London borough Lewisham
Greenwich
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SE8
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
London Assembly Greenwich and Lewisham
Greenwich and Lewisham
European Parliament London
List of places: UKEngland UKLondon
Coordinates:

Deptford [dɛtfəd] is an area in the London Borough of Lewisham and London Borough of Greenwich, on the south bank of the River Thames in south-east London.

Position

The name Deptford — anciently written Depeford[] meaning "deep ford" (Latin vadum profundum) — is derived from the place where the road from London to Dover, the ancient Watling Street crossed the River Ravensbourne at the site of what is now Deptford Bridge (not to be confused with Deptford Creek Bridge near the Thames). The tidal reach of the Ravensbourne is known as Deptford Creek.

Deptford, originally part of Kent was originally regarded as two parts, the southern part being known merely as Deptford and the northern, riverside area being known as Deptford Strond [1](variously known as Deptford Strand and Deptford Stroud) which was also referred to as West Greenwich, the town of Greenwich being referred to as East Greenwich until its use declined in the 19th century [2]. The northern part, the parish of St. Nicholas and the southern part, parish of St. Paul's became part of the Metropolitan Boroughs of Greenwich and Deptford respectively in 1900. In 1965 the northern part became part of the London Borough of Greenwich and the southern part, part of the London Borough of Lewisham. In 1996 the former Royal Docks Area was transferred to the London Borough of Lewisham. The Deptford town hall and many other council buildings still remain, but are used for other purposes.

The pilgrimage route to Canterbury from London, followed by the pilgrims in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", crosses the Ravensbourne at Deptford. The town is mentioned in the Prologue to the Reeve's Tale.

The north-eastern corner of Deptford lies in the London Borough of Greenwich. The boundary runs along Watergate Street, Creek Road, Deptford Church Street, Bronze Street, Creekside and Copperas Street to Deptford Creek.

History

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Copy of a 1623 map of Deptford Strond with annotations by John Evelyn showing Sayes Court in the bottom left corner and Deptford Green as "The Common Greene" just above centre-left (click for larger version)
St Nicholas' Church, the original parish church, dates back to the 14th century but the current building is 17th century. The entrance to the churchyard features a set of skull-and-bones on top of the posts. A plaque on the north wall commemorates playwright Christopher Marlowe, murdered in a nearby tavern on — according to the church's own records — 1 June 1593.

The Battle of Deptford Bridge took place on 17 June 1497 on a site adjacent to the River Ravensbourne. Rebels from Cornwall, led by Michael An Gof, had marched on London protesting against punitive taxes. Unable to muster support from people in Kent (the focus of Jack Cade's rebellion of 1450), they were soundly beaten by the King's forces.

In 1513, King Henry VIII decided to site a naval dockyard at Deptford, and this remained in operation until March 1869. Queen Elizabeth I visited the dockyard on 4 April 1581 to knight the adventurer Francis Drake[3]. In 1514, Trinity House, the organisation concerned with the safety of navigation around the British Isles, was formed with its first Master Thomas Spert, captain of the Mary Rose, and remained in Deptford, until 1618, then moving to Stepney. The name derives from the local church of Holy Trinity and St Clement, which adjoined the dockyard[4].

Diarist John Evelyn lived in Deptford at Sayes Court from 1652. Evelyn inherited the house when he married the daughter of Sir Richard Browne in 1652. On his return to England at the Restoration, Evelyn had laid out meticulously planned gardens in the French style or hedges and parterres. In its grounds was a cottage at one time rented by master wood carver Grinling Gibbons. After Evelyn had moved to Surrey in 1694, Russian Tsar Peter the Great studied shipbuilding for three months in 1698[3]. He and some of his fellow Russians stayed at Sayes Court, the manor house of Deptford. Evelyn was angered at the antics of the Tsar, who got drunk with his friends and, using a wheelbarrow with Peter in it succeeded in ramming their way through a fine holly hedge. Sayes Court was demolished in 1728-9 and a workhouse built on its site[0]. Part of the estates around the house were purchased in 1742 for the building of the Admiralty Victualling Yard, later (1858) renamed the Royal Victoria Yard. This massive facility included warehouses, a bakery, a cattleyard/abattoir and sugar stores, and closed in 1960. A place named Sayes Court still remains, accessed from Evelyn Street near Deptford High Street, now a public park.
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Side view of St. Paul's, Deptford
In the early 18th century St. Paul's, Deptford was built, one of the finest Baroque churches in the country. It was designed by the architect Thomas Archer who was a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren. Adjacent to the church yard is Albury St, which contains some fine 18th century houses.

Its railway station is one of the oldest suburban stations in the world, being built (c.1836-38) as part of the first suburban service (the London and Greenwich Railway), between London Bridge and Greenwich. Close to Deptford Creek is a Victorian pumping station built in 1864, part of the massive London sewerage system designed by civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette.

Deptford was the location of the foreign cattle markets - the notorious "gutting sheds" in which girls and women worked in squalor gutting animals until the early part of the 20th century. These were the subject of the play "The Gut Girls" by Sarah Daniels.

Deptford today

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The Laban Centre for Contemporary Dance
Deptford is being gradually re-developed and is a neighbourhood of London with a lively street market Deptford Market and High Street. In February 2005, Deptford High Street was described as “the capital's most diverse and vibrant high street” by Yellow Pages business directory, using a unique mathematical formula.[6] A large former industrial site by the Thames called Convoy's Wharf is scheduled to be redeveloped shortly. This will involve the construction of around 3,500 new homes and an extension of the town centre northwards towards the river. Much of the area along Creek Road, close to Greenwich, has also been redeveloped, with the demolition of the old Deptford Power Station and Rose Bruford College buildings.

The Albany Theatre has a lively community arts programme. Lewisham Law Centre (one of the oldest law centres in the country, founded in 1974) is also based in the area. The Laban Dance Centre, opened in February 2003 and designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, is an award-winning new building next to Deptford Creek.
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Night view from the Eddystone Tower, Pepys Estate, Deptford, looking across the Thames with Canary Wharf on the left
Deptford was also one of the first areas in south-east London to be served by a 'bendy bus' route. These long, articulated vehicles are superseding some double-decker buses within greater London, offering easier access and faster boarding times due to multiple door sets.

The area, along with neighbouring New Cross, has been touted as 'the new Shoreditch' by some newspapers and magazines, due to its supposedly developing arts and music scene. Sceptics, however, point out that area has been an artistic and musical hotbed since at least the mid-70s (associated with the then-burgeoning squatter scene) and that the only new phenomenon is that of 'lifestyle' journalists venturing south of the river in search of cool. Among the famous musicians who started in the area are Jools Holland, Dire Straits and, more recently, Athlete.
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McMillan Student Village from the intersection of Creek Road and Deptford Church Street
Deptford plays host to a number of student populations, including those of Goldsmiths College, the University of Greenwich and Laban Dance Centre. The Goldsmiths College Rachel McMillan "Rac Mac" hall of residence in Creek Road was sold in 2001 and was subsequently demolished and replaced with the McMillan Student Village which opened in 2003 and provides accommodation for approximately 970 students of the University of Greenwich, Trinity Laban and Bellerbys colleges. The former Deptford Town Hall in New Cross Road, built in 1905 for the Metropolitan Borough of Deptford was purchased by Goldsmiths College in 2000.

Lewisham Council recently granted permission for the last remnants of the Deptford Ragged School known as The Princess Louise Institute to be demolished and replaced by flats.

Notable residents

  • John Addey (1550-1606) was master shipwright at HM Dockyard Deptford and left money to found what became Addey and Stanhope School.
  • Fred Aylward artist, performed with Vic Reeves.
  • Danny Baker, DJ and journalist was born in Deptford Church Street and lived in SE8 for many years until he moved to Blackheath.
  • John Cleveley (18th century maritime artist).
  • Chris Corner, of The Sneaker Pimps and IAMX bands
  • Olaudah Equiano (African slave - frequent visitor rather than resident).
  • John Evelyn, (1620-1706), writer, gardener and diarist. Lived at Sayes Court (which no longer exists).
  • John Gast, (1772-1837), worked in the Deptford shipyards and helped to organise the Thames shipwrights' strike in 1802. He was also a dissenting preacher and ran the King of Prussia pub at 6 Union Street (now Albury Street), Deptford.
  • George Julian Harney, (1817-1897), radical Chartist, was born in Deptford, the son of George Harney, a sailor.
  • Charles Hayward, ex 'Quite Sun and This Heat' experimental jazz musician, lived on the Crossfield Estate for many years and has often performed locally.
  • Jools Holland, (b. 1958), Blues Musician and TV personality for the BBC, played in Squeeze from 1974 until August 1980. He returned to play with the group several times during the 1980s, as well as developing other music projects and his television career. In 1994, Holland started touring with his own Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and has continued to do so.
  • Margaret McMillan, socialist and early years education pioneer, opened one of the first nursery schools in Deptford in 1910. Rachel McMillan Nursery School is still open today.
  • Tony Malone, graphic designer, lives in the Tanners Hill area
  • Christopher Marlowe (1563-1594), poet, playwright, scholar and spy, frequented Deptford's inns until he was killed, possibly assassinated, in one.
  • Ted Milton, musician, poet, frontman of Blurt
  • Mark Perry, musician, founder of Sniffin Glue (1970s Punk Fanzine) and punk rock band Alternative TV
  • Peter I of Russia, (1672-1725), Emperor of Russia 1682-1725. Lived in Deptford at Sayes Court, a house rented from John Evelyn for about three months in 1698 while he studied shipbuilding in the adjacent shipyard. He and his entourage supposedly caused considerable damage to the house and grounds.
  • Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer both lived in Deptford in the 1980s and performed regularly at the Albany in Vic Reeves Big Night Out
  • Anthony Small (Boxer)
  • Sir Thomas Smith (governor), First Governor of the Honourable East India Company and of the Somers Isles Company. Ambassador to the court of Russia. Had a magnificent house in Deptford destroyed by fire on January 13, 1618 [0].

Notable musical connections

  • Dire Straits, the successful British rock group, shared a council flat in Farrer House on Deptford's Crossfield Estate in the early days of their career. The band Squeeze lived in Deptford in the late 1970s and recorded on the Deptford Fun City label. The bands Athlete, Bloc Party and Art Brut originated from 'Deptford Scene'. Indie twee popsters Hatcham Social also have a song titled 'Deptford Wives'.

Education

''For education in Deptford see the main London Borough of Greenwich article

Transport

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View across Deptford
Nearest tube or DLR stations: Nearest railway stations:

Nearest places

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Pig Statues on Thames Walk, Deptford, leading to the Surrey Docks Farm in Rotherhithe

References

1. ^ Historical Maps of Lewisham
2. ^ The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1 (1797), pp. 340-71
3. ^ Deptford Strand - Greenwich 2000 accessed 12 Jul 2007
4. ^ Moorhouse, Geoffrey (2005). Great Harry’s Navy. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp169,170. ISBN 0-297-64544-7. 
5. ^ 'Deptford, St Nicholas', The Environs of London: volume 4: Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent (1796), pp. 359-85
6. ^ [1]Yellow Pages Media, Press Release. Retrieved 17 March 2007

External links

History

Arts

Community



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