Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sayes Court

View of the John Evelyn's manor house at Sayes Court, based on a drawing by Evelyn himself. The diarist John Evelyn came into possession of the Elizabethan manor house and the estate at Sayes Court through marriage to the heiress Mary Browne in 1647. He took up residence at the house in 1652 and lived there until 1694 when he returned to his family estate at Wootton, Surrey, letting the property to rent paying tenants.

The house was pulled down in 1728 or 1729, and the workhouse built on its site 

Sayes Court was the ancient manor house of Deptford. There was a building on the site from the 12th century. However, the building shown here (originally the St Nicholas Workhouse) dates from 1729. It was demolished c.1930.

This picture depicts one of the old parish workhouses that served the local poor in south London. In 1777 the parish of St Nicholas was known to have 130 inmates. The Poor-law amendments in 1834 stated that "no able-bodied person was to receive money or other help from Poor Law Authorities except in a workhouse". Despite the workhouse being considered a harsh environment, one observer of Greenwich's poor was to note: "It is curious to notice the effect that the workhouse regime has in prolonging the lives of those who may have often survived hard buffetings in the world. Anxiety and care concerning the future are thrown off at the entrance to the house, and the inmates are henceforth placed under conditions more favourable to health and longevity than they have ever before experienced".

Creek Bridge through the Ages

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I'm looking for any information/photographs reflecting life in Pender Street (off Deptford Church St and Berthon St), particularly between the two World Wars, and wondered whether any one on Old Deptford might be able to help.

My father grew up at 25 Pender Street between 1920 and 1937 with his younger sister and, early on, with an older married sister and her husband who lodged there. For some of this time, his mother (my grandmother) worked as a charwoman at theRachel McMillan Nursery which Dad also attended from age 3 to 9 before transferring to the Clyde Street School for Boys. 

Dad later described the area as 'a dreadful slum area by the Thames' and, with no other financial support (as far as I know), it must have been a poverty-stricken up-bringing. How my grandmother managed to keep the family together and a roof over their heads in such circumstances I can't imagine so any insight into day-to-day life at that time would be fascinating, or any recollections at all.y

Dad did record some of his experiences many years later and recalled these names among his nursery schoolmates - Katie Seymour, Dorothy Amstead, Hilda Court, the Fergusons, the Rossiters and Bertie Shear. So perhaps these might ring a few bells?

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Christopher Snowden