Riverside east of the Tower and south bank. Deptford Riverside

Riverside east of the Tower and south bank.
Deptford Riverside

This post refers to sites south of the river only.  The north bank is Millwall

Post to the north Millwall
Post to the east Cubitt Town and Highbridge and Ballast
Post to the south Deptford Creek
Post to the west Thames Tributary Earl Sluice - Deptford

Borthwick Street
Called Butcher Row until 1938.  It has been suggested that this was part of a community and village centre until the early 1840s when buildings appear to have been cleared. Archaeology in this area has uncovered a cess pit containing, among other things, the bones of pelicans and walrus.
Upper Watergate Stairs. At the end of the street footpath leading to the river and Watergate Stairs. They were once known as Kings Stairs.
Stone wharf on 1623 map. This is shown as the site of Payne’s Wharf.
Gordon’s Yard. Adam Gordon Engineering works. The Gordon family had a yard described as in Deptford Green, but clearly on the riverside. This was a metalworking site and had been leased from the Pitt Estate and dated from at least 1784. It adjoined a ship yard and the Harrison anchorsmiths business. The site was Gordon and Stanley, anchorsmiths. Gordon’s main yard was to the north west at what had been Dudman’s Dock.  At Deptford Green was the ironworks also with a brass foundry and making many items including anchors and chain cables. Among others they sold to railways.  They built locomotives for the London and Greenwich railway and steamboat engines. They also cast the beams for Brunel's Bishops Road canal bridge and also built the Maplin Sands lighthouse.  They site seems to have been ceased work in 1843.
Deptford Pier Junction Railway. A steam boat pier was proposed here in 1836 following on from the construction and plans for expansion for, the London and Greenwich Railway, for which an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1836 and land was sold to the company by Gordons. The idea was for passengers to change from the railway to a boat to continue their journey and a pier was to be built.  It is thought that this pier was constructed and the Gun Tavern demolished. Work may also have included the arcading on what is now Payne’s Wharf. Plans were also made for a stream ferry service. The scheme appears to have collapsed by the early 1840s and abandoned by 1846. A new Act of Parliament allowed the pier to be demolished and new watermen’s stairs erected. In 1845 a new ferry service began from Cocoa Nut Stairs on the Isle of Dogs. The Company of Watermen published a list of prices from here to a number of other sets of stairs. In 1885 the Metropolitan Board of Works proposed a steam ferry from here to the Isle of Dogs, but this was defeated. Eventually the ferry closed with the opening of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. A double line of wooden posts is said to have survived from the causeway of the Deptford Ferry.
Payne’s Wharf. The riverside arcading is thought to have been built in 1835 for the Deptford Pier Junction Railway. It was later taken over by John Penn and Sons.
Boilermakers Shop of Penn's Engineering Works. Marine engineers, Penns, were on this site from the early 1860s but may well have been there far earlier. Their main works was on Blackheath Hill and this was their Lower Shop where boilers were made and engines and boilers installed into ships. In 1901 the firm was taken over by Thames Ironworks who were in liquidation themselves by 1911.  It was then taken over by Payne Brothers as a paper store. In the 21st the site has been converted into flats and its listing status removed.  The first roof spans use laminated timber later replaced by iron. The original windows were also in arched laminated timber frames. These original frames, were removed and destroyed by the developer Lane Castle
Cast iron bollard. This bollard which is inscribed 'J. Penn & Son Deptford' rests against the Payne’s Wharf at the junction with Watergate Street.
Humphries, Tennant & Dykes Ltd, shipbuilders. Humphries had been Chief Engineer at Woolwich and worked for Rennie and Penn, Dykes a director of Thames Ironworks. They made steam engines and stationary engines first supplying in 1860 a superheated compound engine for SS Mooltan built by Thames Ironworks. Among other things they made in 1894 Triple expansion engines for the Russian Battleships Poltava and Tri Sviatitelia and in 1899 the engine for The Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert.  They closed in 1907blaming he higher wages paid in the London area, 
Borthwick Wharf. Wholesale meat factors.  Cold Store on site of Humphrey and Tennant Marine engine work. Opened in 1934 and designed by Sir Edwin Cooper. It has 22 miles of piping and temperatures maintained at 16 degrees.  Included a canopy over the river side for 40 feet so that four insulated barges could berth alongside. Taken over by the Hays Group. This has now been demolished and replaced with yet another tower block.
Middle Watergate Stairs
East India Company Yard. On the Deptford map of 1623 the East India Company are shown as having a yard alongside Middle Water Gate. The yard was later located to the east of this square on the site of the power station
Ahoy Centre, This is a water sports Based charity building life-skills through sailing and rowing. The primary objective is giving opportunities for disadvantaged and at-risk youths plus offering opportunities for disabled people to participate in activities and courses on an equal level. We
Blue Bell pub. Now gone. This was next to Payne’s Wharf
Ship Chester Pub. Now gone.  It was known as The Old Ship Chester in 1814
4 Three Tuns. Pub now gone. This appears to have been taken over by John Penn for his works in the mid 19th
25 Prince of Wales pub. Now gone. It was extant in the 1840s until the Great War
Lower Watergate Draw Dock and Stairs. A drawdock of 1842 which slopes down from the east of the street.
Twinkle Park. On the site of an earlier recreation built itself on the Site of the Red Lion Pub. It was designed by David Ireland Associates. Half of it is a wildlife garden with timber decking around a pond. A stainless steel structure, looking like a bandstand, has hinged seats on wheels and was designed by Nigel Abbott. They divide the park from the school playground and after school hours the space can be used for basketball

Deptford Dockyard
Royal Naval Dockyard. In the reign of Edward I Deptford men were exempt from taxes because their ships were used for the King. There is evidence that a pond with an inlet communicating with the river was here in the 13th. . Shipbuilding is known to have begun here 1420 with refitting royal ships, and digging of a dock. There had probably been earlier activity. The Thomas was on the stocks here in 1418. In the 1460s Sir John Howard laid up his ships here, In 1487 Henry VII rented a storehouse for naval gear at Greenwich and a shipwright was buried at St. Nicholas church in 1494. In 1513 Henry VIII set up a naval dockyard here, called the Kings Yard, the southern and eastern part of the site lay on a gravel headland, and it was used as the location of the Tudor storehouse, the first permanent Dockyard building under Master Shipwrights Matthew and James Baker. Under Elizabeth the yard was expanded and was associated with Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind and ships which opposed the Armada. In the Hanoverian period, voyages by James Cook, Martin Frobisher and George Vancouver began here. From Deptford were launched several ships for Nelson’s Navy including ships which were at Trafalgar.Expansion continued in the 17th and 18th and in 1822 the first successful naval steamship was launched here. As well as the site of the launching of over three hundred ships it was the point of departure for countless journeys of exploration, voyages of discovery and naval battles.  It was not thought a suitable site for a steam factory, and in 1830 shipbuilding stopped; but ship breaking and refits continued. The final closure came in 1869.  Over 450 ships had been built at Deptford, and many others repaired. 
Cattle Market. In 1871 the Corporation of London installed their foreign cattle market here. The docks and basins were filled in and buildings demolished.  In 22 acres there was provision for 4,000 -5,000 live cattle, pens for 14,000 sheep and 80 slaughterhouses.  Ships bringing the cattle to the market would drop upstream alongside the jetty for unloading. Later three boats 'Racoon,' 'Taurus' and 'Claud Hamilton' would go down river to Tilbury and bring the cattle up to Deptford. The market closed 1912, and the site became a supply depot during.as His Majesty’s Army Supply Reserve Depot and Transport Depot in WWI and WWII. It site was the U.S. Advance Amphibious Vehicle Base and 14 U.S naval personnel were killed as the result of s V-1 rocket attack.   In 1993 the Greenwich and Lewisham (London Borough Boundaries) Order transferred the site from the London Borough of Greenwich to the London Borough of Lewisham,
Convoys Ltd purchased the site in 1984, and was used for the import of newsprint. They were owned until by News International, but closed in early 2000 and sold in 2008. It is now owned Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., and is subject to a planning application to convert it into flats. The wharf is/was safeguarded.   Most of the dockyard structures above ground level which had survived until 1955 had been destroyed. Except for the building now called Olympia. Since then there have been a number of archaeological surveys which established that by far the greater part of the dockyard survives as buried structures filled in between 1869 and 1950. In 2014 the site was added to an international watch list. In 2014 the Mayor of London overruled Lewisham Council in favour of the developers.
Master Shipwright's House – the Shipwright’s Palace. This stands by the eastern boundary wall, facing into the site. The north front faces the river and there is a garden. To the front is a single storey extension, probably c1710, with an early porch. The house was built in 1708 by Joseph Allin, who was the master shipwright. It alongside the great Double Dry Dock and is on the site of a single-storey range. The Master Shipwright was the senior technical officer in the Dockyard who was expected to live in the dockyard and a house went with the job. Joseph Allin, petitioned the Navy Board to rebuild his 'ancient and decayed' quarters; and this was approved in 1707. The house was built by dockyard employees and may have been a remodelling. A plan of 1774 shows the range comprised the pay offices; the 'Tap House'; boatswains lodging and garden; Officers Offices and the Master Shipwrights lodging and gardens’. A single-storey brew house range was added in 1710.  The house's rear wall was also the dockyard boundary wall until at least the 1760s. The house was remodelled, possibly in more than one phase, in the late-Georgian period. The brew house range was also remodelled as a garden room and entrance hall, and a two-storey extension added in 1809. It was sold by Convoys to Willi and Chris in 1998
Hamilton House. This is adjoining to the south and facing west into the site. It is a purpose-built naval office building) dating from c.1700 and central to the functioning of Deptford's Royal Naval Dockyard in the 18th and 19th. It was used by the Master Shipwright and his assistants: Master Attendant, Clerk of Survey, Timber Masters and Foremen. The attic was added in 1805 and used as a drawing office. It is later than the Master Shipwright's House.
Landing stage. Along the riverfront is a long concrete landing stage bu8kt for the War Department in 1934. This was designed by Ove Arup and constructed by the Danish firm Christian & Nielsen, which had pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. It was linked to the bank by three bridges, and later four bridges.
Roll roll-off - Ro Ro - terminal. This is said to have been built in 1976 and projects into the river. With two berths
Slipways - the five 19th slipways on the site, together with the stone lined 19th entrance to the Great Dock, and the contemporary masonry lined version of the Dockyard basin survived — albeit filled in — in relatively good condition. Only a single Georgian slip was identified on the site between 19th slipways 4 and 5. This is a bed of timber on a chalk ballast base with timber sides wit5h a base significantly shallower than that those of the 19th.  Slipways were then seen as designed for individual ship construction projects to be dismantled following a launch.
Old store house. The earliest structure here was a Tudor storehouse. This was orientated east-west flanking the Thames, and survived at foundation level, with some two feet of brickwork and the building footprint could be traced but it has been completely cut across in by modern foundations. It originally had two storeys and an attic. It was demolished by order of the Admiralty in 1952.3 A foundation stone and arch were preserved in the Department of Computer Science at University College London.
Clocktower. This was saved by campaigners but it was moved to Thamesmead by the GLC and is now on top of the shopping centre there.
The 'Great Dock' — a large dry dock was built around 1517 and rebuilt in 1574. In the 17th it is shown as timber lined with a single dock gate to the Thames with no subdivision between the front and rear of the Dock – the 'Head Dock' and 'Stern Dock' seem to have been added in 1711.
Olympia – This building is still extant and was built for a covered slipway. This is part of a massive iron-framed shed of 1848, with great swooping twin corrugated roofs which originally covered two slipways. It is now stranded in the middle of the site, as the eastern section which extended to the riverfront has been removed, as have strips which ran along the top. They were built by George Baker & Son.
River Wall.  The presently blocked entrance to the docks, stairs, slipways and basin and the length of the extant river wall are the remains of the previous five centuries. They were designed and constructed by the leading engineers of their day, including works by John Rennie and George Ledwell Taylor.   The river wall embodies the dockyard’s defining structures - the docks, slips, great basin and mast ponds.  From the Upper Watergate moving upstream; the Great Dock c.1517, with its magnificent granite piers evident on the wharf wall and the finely engineered massive stone stern dock entrance, dating from the end of the 18th to the early 19th; the Landing Place and Look out stairs dating from c.1720, closed c.1930mwith  an early Georgian causeway still present on the foreshore; Entrances to the pair of slipways; John Rennie’s 1814 monumental stone worked entrance to the Great Basin and the Rennie designed wharf.; George Ledwell Taylor’s canal to the Mast pond constructed c.1828. Parts of the existing wall rest on the foundation of the earlier wall.
Deptford Green
Barnard ship-builders had a ship yard in Deptford Green. This was on the riverside on the extreme east of this square on the site which was partly used for Deptford Power Station (previously General Steam Navigation, and before Barnard the East India Company). Barnard were an Ipswich company and took over a lease on this site in 1779. In 1781 Barnard added another slipway making the yard up to three buildings and a dry dock. Barnard’s main London yard was to the north in Grove Street. In these two yards Barnard built thirteen vessels for the Navy and twenty nine East Indiamen. In the 18th it became known as Deptford Dry Dock. Here the Barnard’s built naval warships and East Indiamen until around 1834.    On Deptford Green the family had a three storey mansion house. The property was still in their hands in the 1840s, but by the 1850s was in a ruinous condition.
Edward Snelgrove. He is thought to have had a shipbuilding yard here. He built at least three ships of the line for the Navy here between 1696 and 1699 – Swiftsure, Orford, and Burford.
Other wharves in the immediate area were, John West, Stacey, John Buxton Junior and Adams and Co.,

Borthwicks. A Century in the Meat Trade
Barnard. Building Britain’s Wooden Walls.
Bygone Kent.
Carr. Dockland
Deptford Dame. Web site
Deptford is Forever. Web site
Hartree. John Penn and Sons of Greenwich
GLIAS. Journal
GLIAS. Newsletter
Grace’s Guide. Web site
Greenwich Industrial History Newsletter and blog
Old History of Deptford. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry, South London
Pub History. Web site
Shipwrights’ Palace. Web site
Shipbuilding and Ships on Thames. Fourth Symposium
South East London Industrial Archaeology


Anonymous said…
Dear Edith, this is most comprehensive. Who are you?
Edith said…
Come to that - who are you?? I was quite proud of this actually. The details of the ferry are in an article in an old Bygone Kent - otherwise they are details from papers at the London Shipbuilding Symposiums (symposia). Will I see you at the next one??

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