Thursday 20 June 2024

William Joseph Armitage


My name is Wes Long and I am a writer with the Salt Lake City Weekly. I happened upon your website and thought you might have some insight or suggestions on what I could do to locate information on a residence in old Deptford.

I am researching an article on an artist named William Joseph Armitage (1820-1890), who at the age of 15/16 was admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts as a student in Dec. 1836 (see attached image). On the Royal Academy's admittance sheet, I saw Mr. Armitage's name beside the residence of "10 Union St" in what appears to be Deptford. Having discovered that Union Street was later renamed as Albury Street, I was curious to know if you had noticed any information on 10 Albury Street [may not be current numbering anymore] or if there were resources you'd recommend that I utilize.

From what little that I have been able to find thus far, Mr. Armitage went on to teach art somewhere in London and showcase his work while raising a family. They later relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1881.

I would appreciate any guidance or advice your website might have to give.

With regard,

Wes Long
Salt Lake City Weekly

Monday 2 October 2023

Help for Tony



I read this morning, with great interest, your Old Deptford History, very good, so much information. My reason for looking on your site was because I am starting a novel which begins in Deptford High Street in the summer of 1914.

Why I am sure you ask am I starting my novel there. My mother and her family, of two sisters and four brothers, were born there, although I'm not sure if they were all born there certainly some of them where. 1921 was the year my mother was born there and many years before she passed in 1999 I took her back there. I still have relatives, a sister and now a son that lives in London so I have been a regular visitor over all of my life, indeed I worked there myself for several years.

On my visit back, and in previous family recollections, I learnt about Carrington House, the 'Doss house' it was called, and I learnt about the area and a specific part which I want to check my memory on. My mother said their two up two down terrace was in Speedwell Street.  I remember her taking me along the high street, through a passageway to an area behind the high street that was the terrace that they lived in. My grandparents only rented the top two rooms, there was a second family on the ground floor. I clearly remember being told by my mothers two older brothers that conditions where so cramped that they went next door to sleep.

The other memory I have, as I said if it is true, is that these terraces where opposite a high wall that had behind it an abattoir. I can , I am sure, remember my mother talking about hearing the cattle and the noise and smell. As the family grew they moved to a property in New Cross which was eventually bombed and a final move for the family to Woolwich road in Charlton. 

Could you, or your many subscribers, confirm if my memory is correct before I commit this to paper.

Kindest regards,


Last 4 houses left standing in Speedwell Street. 

Photo curtesy of Tony.
His facebook page is here

Memories all the way from Australia

 G'day from sunny Queensland.

I have just discovered your articles about old Deptford in SE London - fascinating.   I was actually searching for a 'doss house' there called Carrington House - now an unlikely upmarket  apartment building I understand - my interest being piqued by a recent TV programme..  

In the early '60s I was Public Health Inspector with Deptford Borough Council - as was - and was required to make occasional late-night inspections of Carrington House.   It was pretty eerie, walking - accompanied by a staff member, I recall - through dormitories with their serried ranks of beds each occupied by a sleeping male, but the odd thing was that it was pretty quiet and clean, and there were no nasty odours, as one may have expected.  

I also remember some of the nearby places and shops mentioned by other correspondents, such as the Noble's/ Nobels toy shop - bliss for youngsters - and a nearby cinema..

Prior to this time my family had moved into the brand-new Deloraine House council flats in Tanners Hill, and I went to the nearby primary school, Lucas St Primary.   After 12-plus exams I then went on to St Olave's Grammar School in nearby Rotherhithe (strangely, the sadistic Headmaster there was one Dr RC Carrington)..    

In time the family moved to the slightly greener pastures of Eltham, but I returned to Deptford in my early 20s to work as a PHI for the Council.  This job took me all over Deptford and New Cross - on foot of course - so I saw much of the place in those days.   It was very, very much lower working class, still with slums or near-slums commonplace, and not much of Merry England or 'homes fit for heroes' about it.   

Thank you for your very interesting Deptford posts, which I shall explore more closely now that I have found it.

Best regards..

Lawrence Watson  

Brisbane, Australia

Whitcher Street.

 Hi there,

I came across your blog whilst looking for information on Whitcher Street, which appears to have existed between the late 1940s to 1970 or thereabouts.

My father, Albert Eric Whitcher (8/7/1927-28/7/2023, native of Epsom, Surrey) had learned in the early 70s that the street was being redeveloped, and purchased the street sign from the council.

It was on display in my childhood home in Battle, East Sussex, and later my father's home in Bury, Lancashire, to which he retired (that's another story of it's own).  I also live in Bury.

I attach a few photographs.  You can see me, aged perhaps 4 or 5, standing next to the sign in the little photo.

My Father was cremated and his ashes interred at the family grave in Epsom on 22/9/23, and there was a family memorial meal.  One of the relatives present was my cousin, the son of Dad's youngest sister.  He and his Mum are Australian - they emigrated there some 55-60 years ago.

We had a family photo taken at Dad's memorial meal with the Whitcher St sign, and my cousin asked that if I was going to sell it, please could he have it for his Mum as a birthday gift.  I agreed, and today he's sent me a picture of his Mum and their family at her birthday, with the street sign.

We're curious to know anything we can about Whitcher St.  I did several searches and found that it had had prefabs after WW2, now demolished, and that it appears on an Ordnance Survey TQ map (1947-1964) held at the National Library of Scotland.

Geographically, it sat above Knoyle St, running between Sanford St and towards Woodpecker St, following the railway line.  Nowadays, the only allusion is to Whitcher Place, 0.2m further down on the end of Chubworthy St, and not actually located on the original Whitcher St at all.  The NLS website has a transparency feature overlaying the OS TQ map with a modern satellite view.

We would be very interested in anything you or your readers can tell us about how the street was named, built or designated.

Thank you very much, and my Lord Jesus bless you and yours,

Friday 30 June 2023

A Bedmaker ... Carrington House.

I have just discovered your Old Deptford web site. I see a lot of comments from 2012, but I hope you are still involved and interested. I have been researching a friend's family history, and found hergrandmother living in Douglas Street Deptford in the 1921 census.She was aged 46, wife and mother, but it was unusual that she had a occupation, which was apparently shared by about 100 other people in the area. She was a "bedmaker" employed by the LCC at Carrington House, Brookmill Road, Deptford. From the information on the web site about this "doss house" it doesn't sound a very congenial job!

Anyway I hope this tidbit was of some interest to you.

Yours, Dave Jacobs

Friday 17 March 2023

Emperor of the United States

Hi All

My name is John Lumea. I live in Boston and am the founder of a nonprofit, THE EMPEROR NORTON TRUST, that since 2013 has been working on a variety of fronts — research, education, advocacy — to advance the legacy of a San Francisco eccentric and sometime visionary that declared himself "Emperor of the United States" in 1859 and went on to become a folk hero and patron saint of his adopted city.

He was born Joshua Abraham Norton in Deptford — the best evidence points to a birth date of 4 February 1818. Joshua was born to Jewish parents — John Norton and Sarah Norden — and, it appears that he was circumcised in Deptford on 13 February 1818. 

I recognize this is a long shot. But, I wonder if you or anyone else associated with the Old Deptford History project know anything about where in Deptford Joshua and his family lived? A street? An address? Was there a known "Jewish district" in Deptford at this time?

Joshua's family remained in Deptford for only another two years. They were among the "1820 Settlers" who emigrated to South Africa that year as part of a well-documented British colonization scheme. They boarded the ship Belle Alliance in Deptford in late December 1819. After being delayed by ice on the Thames for more than a month, the ship finally was able to sail on 12 February 1820.

Many thanks for any light you can shed on the Nortons' place of residence in Deptford.

John Lumea

Friday 14 October 2022

Deptford Memories by Jeff Manning

 My name is Jeff Manning, and I was born and bred in Deptford (1950-1970) and I would like to share my memories of Deptford with other deptfordites. 

Deptford had 2 excellent pie and mash shops I remember my brother and me eating in Goddards 

when it was in Evelyn Street but we also enjoyed pie and mash in Manzes 

(Pie and mash was one shilling and 4d for a Pepsi to wash it down.)  Does anyone remember the toy shop on Lamerton Street? 

See below a list of shops I remember:

Edwards the Bakers baked delicious Jam doughnuts they were only a penny each.

Fantos (Does anybody know when Fantos first came to Deptford?)

Mayne’s, Swans Bookstall (Deptford Market Yard), Woolworths

Johnson’s Bakers, Bridges Fish and Chip shop Douglas Way

Perry’s sweet shop Douglas Street, Pecry's

Rossi ice cream shop (Deptford high street and New Cross Road)

Marks and Spencer, Ovenells (Winkle Stall), Lillie’s (Shere Road)

Shopping in Deptford High Street on a Saturday with my mum in the fifties used to take a long time before supermarkets you had to queue up at all the different shops, but it was always busy and vibrant in Deptford then, the crowds so big sometimes you had to walk in the road.

 Deptford High Street Signs

10  Trickett Co Ltd 1889 160 -162 Rebuilt 1846

45 Red Lion & Wheatsheaf

77  Caxton House? (Ladies School in the 1820s)

91 Deptford High Street Built in 1898

Corner of Hamilton Street and Deptford High street 2 small street signs (Hamilton street and Hamilton Place)

thanks all




Wednesday 7 September 2022

13 Deptford High Street.


Thank you for creating the old deptford history website I have enjoyed reading the articles and looking at the old photos,it brought back so many wonderful memories.

I was born and bred in Deptford and have always had an interest in the history of Deptford. I was always curious about the building at number 13 Deptford High Street with its  pillars at the front , 3 steps and the iron railings, it seemed out of place with the rest of the buildings near it.
Could you please let me know if you any information about this building?

Jeff Manning

Hi Jeff

The London  Street directory shows Lipton Ltd  occupying  the property.

London Street Listings in 1940.

Deptford High street 
West side
1 Maison Alvarez, ladies tailor
4,7 & 9 Burton Montague Ltd, tailors
11 Sandford Bros, fruiterers
13 Lipton Ltd, provision dealers
13A Wellbeloved William Hy, butcher

It's obvious Liptons where in the area.

Sunday 28 August 2022

Help for Warren McIver tracing family History.

Hi All

The story I have is less a story about Deptford and more about a family mystery that led me to Deptford. I live in Auckland New Zealand. My son and his family live in Walthamstow in London and we visit as often as we can to help out with their young family. I have always had the unusual feeling when we visit that I belong here. I hold the name McIver because that was my father’s adopted name. He was adopted by his grandmother and her 3rd husband. His family emigrated to NZ from Northern Ireland in the 1880s. His grandmother’s family was of Shetland Island and Swedish origin, both families emigrating to NZ in the 1870s. My mother’s family is of Scottish heritage, Macerlichs, and MacDonalds. They emigrated to NZ in the 1920s My Dad was born illegitimately and he never knew who his birth father was. He was born in 1920 and died in 1990. 

About 15 years ago I started to research his upbringing only to find that the documentary record of who his birth father has never existed and family history ( if it ever existed ) had been lost as those family generations departed. About 3 years ago I decided to use DNA as my research tool.  Aided by some experts in this field and some serendipity, including Johnson descendants in England that knew of their grandfather’s lost half-brother who came to NZ but knew some snippets of information, I positively identified John Johnson of Deptford as my ‘lost’ grandfather.

My recent visit to Watergate St was the first chance I have had to visit since the  Covid travel restrictions. I was very happy to read your Old Deptford website and will use that to continue my research and to communicate my findings within our family.

So, a story not directly related to the history of Deptford, but some of your readers may know of the Johnson family of lightermen of Deptford.

Regards and thanks

Warren McIver

Thursday 30 December 2021

Princess of Wales Pub



 Hoping the Deptford history community might be able to help me out with something...

 My partner recently bought a ground floor flat in the former Princess of Wales pub (88 Grove Street), which was converted into flats in 2006 and I'm keen to hear from anyone who might have photos of the interior of this building when it was still a pub and if not photos, then any kind of description of how it looked inside (the layout, etc), or even any anecdotes or memories of time spent in there.

Sadly, when the building was converted, all original features and any kind of character were removed from the ground floor and basement (the upper floors still have some original fireplaces, ceiling roses, etc). We're about to embark on stripping out and redesigning the flat he's bought and as a history-obsessed designer, I want to make sure we're being sympathetic to the building's history. All memories of this place would be welcomed!





Thursday 25 November 2021

Patrick 'Patsy' Houlihan, Deptford born and bred.

 Hi everyone,

I'm a sports writer and historian and currently researching a book about the life of Patrick 'Patsy' Houlihan, Deptford born and bred and the greatest snooker hustler of all time as well as former amateur national snooker champion and later a snooker professional too.

I would love to hear from anyone who knew Patsy or has any information or memories about him.

A synopsis of my book is below...

Many thanks
Luke G. Williams

Patsy with Jimmy White

The Natural: The Story of Patsy Houlihan, the Greatest Snooker Player You Never Saw is the compelling story of a man who potted balls fast and potted them hard.

South Londoner Patsy Houlihan was one of the top amateurs of the 50s and 60s as well as the greatest hustler of all time. He should have been a major player on the world stage, but the professional game was a closed shop and the likes of Patsy weren’t welcome.


However, in the smoke-filled snooker halls of the backstreets of working-class Britain, populated by tough men seeking to make a quick buck from the game they loved, Patsy was a folk hero and an inspiration to a generation of players, including his close friend Jimmy White. 


A snooker pioneer and a master entertainer, this is the story of the greatest snooker player who never made it to the big time, but whose exploits, adventures, and skills guaranteed him immortality in the minds and imaginations of those lucky enough to have seen him play.


The Natural brings to vivid life the story of great forgotten talent.

Friday 19 November 2021

Deptford Decades from the Deptford Ragged School Archives.


Residents of Deptford  tell their stories.

My thanks to Katharine Alston of the Deptford Ragged School Archives for her permission to publish this video.  Please visit the website

Thursday 7 October 2021

Buttons of Deptford

The image is from
The button was found on the Thames foreshore by Mike 'Cuffs' Walker

Brian's Button

Hi, my name is Brian. I live in North Carolina in the United States. I was recently metal detecting on an and uninhabited Island on the coast called Cape Lookout. I found a button with the word Deptford on it. I’m assuming J Taylor was the Tailor who made it. I’ve been searching the web trying to find more information about this person and came upon your blog. I was wondering if anyone could help me find information on this person. How cool is it that this button made it all the way to North Carolina?

Cape Lookout 
View from Lighthouse 


Sunday 31 January 2021

Our Shop part 2

Here's a story involving our shop which might interest you, and might even jog some memories

I must have been about 9 or 10 years old when this happened.

Opposite Wilson street, on the other side of New Cross Road, there was a fried fish shop, I guess you might call it a fish and chip shop today, but we just called it, 'the fish shop'. I can't remember it's name. One day a horse and cart was parked outside the fish shop when a steam engine went past. I don't mean a train, but rather a road-based steam engine. If my memory is correct, anyone delivering using a horse and cart had to make sure that someone was holding the horse's reins whilst the delivery was taking place, I think this was the law at the time. So usually there were at least two people with a horse and cart. The steam engine terrified the horse, and the horse was unattended, or the person with it was not holding the reins, or they were and the horse got away from them, I'm afraid I don't know exactly why, but the horse bolted, and headed down Wilson Street.

It ended up by crashing through our shop door and putting it's front hooves on the counter. It had stopped because the drawbars for the cart had become wedged in the doorway. I didn't see all this myself, as I was at school. When I got home the doors were seriously damaged, and there were two hoof marks on the counter of the shop. These hoof marks stayed there until the shop was destroyed by a bomb in the early years of the war. Thanks goodness there were no customers in the shop at the time! I remember that the doors had to be repaired, and this was a little awkward as they were slightly rounded, being on the corner of the building. I don't know who got the horse out of the shop, or whether anyone paid for the repairs.

Our Shop part 1

 I was born Rosemary Elizabeth Manning on the 6th of December 1926 in Number 8 Wilson Street, which is just off the New Cross Road. My mum and dad were David and Florence Manning, and they ran a corner shop at that address. I had 4 older sisters.The shop was at the end of Wilson Street – which his now Wilshaw Street – on a corner. Diagonally opposite was a rag and bone or scrap yard owned by a family called Read. One of the brothers that ran this business was in fact my brother-in-law. There was also a factory very nearby, at the end of the road, but I can't remember its name or what was done there.
The shop originally belonged to my grandad, my mum's father. My mum and dad, my next oldest sister and I lived with him there until he decided to give the shop up at the age of 83. He went to live with my Aunty Mary, mum's older sister in Forest Hill, and left mum (Florence) the shop. We sold a lot of things in our shop, groceries, haberdashery, and some hardware. We opened early, at 6am, as the local housewives needed to buy things to make their husband's lunch and this sort of thing was done on a daily basis. It was common for people to come in several times a day, as people didn't keep much in their homes. There were no fridges and there wasn't much space in the houses. There were two big jars on the counter, one of pickled eggs and one of mustard pickles and customers would bring a cup for so many pickled onions or for two penny's worth of mustard pickles (they brought their own cups), a single egg, or something else to make a packed lunch with. Our yard was too small for an Anderson shelter, 

So when the bombing started we had to go to a public shelter in the next street. We had to sit upright on benches that ran along each wall. It was difficult to sleep. By the time we'd walked home after the All Clear (usually at 6am) there was already a queue outside the shop. At that stage there was just my mum and me so one of us would go to bed for an hour whilst the other served, then we'd change over. That way we got some sleep before the siren went again and sent us back down into the shelter. I was often left to hold the fort if my mum had to go out. I served on my own from the age of 10 onwards. I loved playing drafts and always had a board set up on the counter and customers would make a move and then another would come in and make the next move and so forth. We sold 7 and 14 pound bags of coal. Again people didn't buy all that much at once. There was nowhere to keep it, and as the downstairs yard of most buildings was communal, it would likely disappear if you left it there. If people wanted a 14 pound sack they had to take it themselves; we had a sack truck that they could borrow if they needed it. But if they ordered 7 pound bags, it was often me that delivered them. My dad made me a miniature sack truck with an iron loop to hold the bags of coal and I delivered the coal from about 8 years old onwards. Most houses were two stories high 'two up and two down', with one family living on each floor and a lean-to kitchen, yard and outside toilet which was shared by both families. So I often had to carry the coal upstairs as well. The coal was delivered into our shed in the back yard via a shoot, 

and it was my job to watch the men carry the hundredweight sacks in and tip them in the shoot: I had to count them in.

 There was a large scale in the shed with a scoop on one end, you put the coal in the scoop and the weight - 7 or 14 pounds - on the other end. Then when the coal was weighed the scoop pivoted so that you could tip the coal into a sac. They used to weigh us kids in this scale! Thursday afternoons were early closing and we did the bagging up that afternoon. Nearly everything was sold loose. The women from the factory would come in during their breaks to buy a single cigarette for a ha'penny, or a bar of chocolate for tuppence - the chocolate was a 2 ounce bar of Cadbury's Milk chocolate. 

The eggs came in big boxes from Denmark and my mum had a shelf with a glass panel on the front, so with the wall at the back and glass in front it was like a topless box and the eggs were placed in there loose. An egg cost three farthings. How much the Danes were paid for them I shudder to think, when they had to send them so far. I always marvelled that they didn't break. Biscuits came in 7lb tins 

and were sold loose. Washing soda came in hundredweight sacks and had to be bagged up. We also weighed up the soda, and dried fruit that came in large sacks. Butter and margarine were delivered in large blocks and had to be cut to size as was required. For the fruit we had thick blue paper bags that stood square. We made cones out of newspaper for the soda. When I got home from school I would fill the bags and my grandad and later my mum would weigh them. An inspector used to come to check that the scales were working properly. We never knew when he was coming, but he came every two or three weeks. We also bagged up things like sugar and dried pulses. My mum cooked whole hams and bacon in a large galvanised pot on the 'Kitchener' in our kitchen.

These were then all cut by hand and sold a slice at a time. She prided herself on the fact that when she sliced the meat you couldn't see where the blade had started or finished, the cut was perfectly smooth. The knife had a blade which was at least 12 inches long and between about ¼ and ½ an inch wide. We also made our own vinegar in the shop. It came 'neat' and we had to add water to make it palatable. It was kept in a red and white striped china barrel with a tap, and people would bring a bottle and we would measure out what they wanted. My mum used to say that you needed eyes in the back of your head when you were serving, as often there were several customers in the shop and it was a small room. She told me that when grandad first left she made a mistake that she never repeated. The women all used to whitewash the steps outside of their houses, many did this every day. The step whitewash (or 'coal wash') was under a shelf on the floor in the shop near the door. At many terraced houses, it was scrubbed clean each day and reddened, or whitened  with pipe-clay or lime donkey stone – an arduous and time-consuming task (and particularly unpleasant on cold days), but often seen as an essential chore. 

One day a customer wanted some and there was none left on the shelf so she went out the back to get some more and someone stole a jar of sweets from the counter. The shop was crowded with half a dozen kids, and they'd gone by the time she'd got back. 

 Next time, school, my dad's allotment and Beam's Breezy Babes dance troop!

Friday 22 January 2021

Peppercorn Bros Furniture

This post shows and example of a dresser made by Peppercorn BROS limited of Deptford Broadway. 

Monday 21 December 2020

Brookmill Road Conservation Area (BRCA Society) online talk



I thought I’d let you know about the Brookmill Road Conservation Area (BRCA Society) online talk coming up in January in which you, or your subscribers, may be interested. Entitled “18th Century Artisans’ Houses in and around Deptford”, the talk will be given by Peter Guillery, architectural historian and Editor of the Survey of London. The talk will be followed by the BRCA Society’s AGM.

Any spreading of the word would be much appreciated.

To register, please go to:

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year,

Julia Rowntree
Brookmill Road Conservation Area Society

Monday 9 November 2020


           United Friends, 25 Wellington Street, Deptford - Licensee T C Entecott

The address is listed as 25 Wellington Street in 1882 and earlier, prior to street renumbering, and as Flagon Row in 1847. The address is at 74 McMillan Street by 1944, again due to street renaming. A listing of London historical public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in Deptford, Kent in the parishes of St Pauls or St Nicholas - now partially in London. 

A Post Card from Eileen

 Hello everyone 

 I though you might be interested in this old postcard as it mentions Southwark Manufacturing at 16 Evelyn Street, Deptford which I believe was gone from there by 1940.

 It also mentions some names: Joan who lived somewhere past Heybridge Avenue – the sender, nothing known of her; Miss Cottrell – nothing known of her.  It is addressed to Betty who I believe is my husband’s paternal grandmother.  She was Elizabeth Redding, born 1888, and I believe at the time she would have been living in New Cross/Newington but I’m not sure.  It must have been sent before December 1914 as that is when her father died.   I find it unusual that this Joan sent the postcard to what appears to have been Betty’s workplace rather than to her home.

Betty’s father was John Matthew Redding born c.1836 who was on Deptford Council from 1900-1905.


Eileen O'Leary

Sydney, Australia