Friday 26 November 2010

History of Albury Street Part 2.

Until 1882, Albury Street was called Union Street, a name which commemorated the Act of Union between England and Scotland. Union Street was already in existence in 1707 although only a few houses may have been built by then. The parcel of land on which the street was laid out is clearly shown on Evelyn's map of 1623 where it is marked as 'James Browns land'.
Its area is about 2 acres. Its boundaries no doubt were medieval, showing the original field pattern although no documentary evidence of this has been found. There is some possibility that the parcel of land may have belonged to the manor which the lord was then Sir Richard Browne. The manor was purchased by John Evelyn but James Brown's land does not seem to have been included in the Evelyn Estate. In 1623, it is shown lying between Church Lane (Church St?) to the East and Butt Lane, later Deptford High Street, to the West. Its southern boundary is shown marked by a hedge and its northern boundary by a few trees. There is a house in the center and two more at the eastern end. No record of the tenure of the adjacent land, nearly two acres of Bridgehouse land to the north leased to Will. Sale has been found for the seventeenth century.

Part of the parcel to the south was occupied by Thomas Lucas as early as 1692/3, and the remainder was in the possession of Elizabeth Clapp, but how and when they obtained their interest in the land, formerly the King's Land, has not been discovered. Further to the south lay Mr Paget's land and half an acre of Bridgehouse land leased to him. The tenure of this strip of Bridgehouse land has been traced from 1603 to 1737, being occupied by Eusebius Paget, his son Ephrain Paget, a clerk, and then by Peter Pett. The land is described in 1647 as pasture and there is no reason to doubt that all the land around here was pasture including James Brown's. By the time Thomas Lucas began his building separations, the lanes surrounding these parcels of land, Butt Lane to the west, Church Street to the east, Flagons Row to the north, and Crossfield Lane to the south were all lined with buildings, traditionally rural in type, some of brick and some of wood, built irregularly with no attempt at an overall plan. By deed of lease and release dated 5th and 6th January 1692/3, the land which was developed as Union |street, was assigned to William Allen of Deptford, Mariner, and others to Isaac Leader, also of Deptford, an anchorsmith. The land was described as containing an orchard and a messuage of tenement. The purchase price was not disclosed. Thomas Lucas obtained the land from Leader again by a deed of lease and release dated 23rd and 24th January 1704/5. Once more the purchase price was not disclosed. Lucas immediately mortgaged the land to Thomas Loving (or Leving ) of Deptford, blockmaker, for £350 by a deed dated 25th January 1704/5. This mortgaged was to run for 1000 years but could be redeemed after one year on  payment of £367.10s. In spite of various payments to Loving and his successor, Ralph Crew, the mortgaged was not fully paid off by the time of Lucas's death. So, by the beginning of 1705, Lucas was in possession of the land on which he was to develop Union Street, and had obtain the capital, on paper rather than in actual cash, to enable him to start building. Apart from his possession of land in Deptford, and that he was described as a bricklayer in the lease and release of 1704/5, and so must have learnt his trade by then, little is known of Thomas Lucas before he began work on what was to become Union Street. On the 22nd December 1703, he succeeded his associate Thomas Leving as foreman of the Deptford jury to the Kent Commission of Sewers. It would be interesting to speculate that Lucas obtained the post to facilitate laying a sewer for Union street, but no evidence of a sewer having been laid has been found. On the 3rd of December 1706, Lucas was rated for his tile kiln  which stood on land owned by Mrs Bridgete Ann Kingswill in Church Marsh Level. By 1706, the kiln was probably already producing tiles for new houses in Union Street. Although the earliest lease discovered of a plot in Union Street is dated 20th February 1707, it is unlikely that Lucas waited until then before starting building. He must of begun the first houses soon after negotiating the purchase of the ground and its mortgage in 1704/5. Some confirmation of this is given by a lease and release of the 18th and 19th October 1805. by which Lucas Freeman of Church Street, Deptford  and the descendant of Thomas Lucas's son-in -law Jon Freeman, assigned No. 8 on the north side (No. 13 now) to Robert Bowring its occupant at that time. Since all the original leases discovered were granted for 99 years it suggests that this house having reverted by October 1805 to Lucas's descendant, probably at the previous Michaelmas, was originally leased in 1706. The original lease has not been found but it could either have been an assignment for 99 years of a house already completed by Lucas, or it could have been a lease by which Lucas assigned a plot of land for 99 years on the express condition that a house be erected on the site within a year. Both types of lease for dates later than 1706 have been found.

Part 2 extract from A Quiney's paper on Albury Street 1979.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

History of Albury Street. Part 1

Albury Street was laid out and developed between 1705 and 1717 or soon after, by a local bricklayer, Thomas Lucas. The method of development which he employed and the two homogeneous rows of terrace-houses which were built each side of the street are typical of speculative building as it developed in London after the Great Fire. It is of unusual interest that a local craftsman should build in a manner typical of the Metropolis in an outlying village, as early as this, and that so much still survives. In the middle ages, Deptford was one of several riverside villages lying below the City of London on the south bank of the Thames. Originally known as West Greenwich, its present name derives from the crossing by a deep ford of the river Ravensbourne nearly a mile from its outlet into the Thames. The village called Deepforde Straund or Deptford Strand grew up along side the Thames rather than by the Ravensbourne. 
The settlement by the ford and then the bridge which led to Greenwich, which was later called the Upper Town, was much smaller than that by the Thames until the nineteenth century when it expanded to become the centre of the suburb.
Looking towards Deptford Strand 1620 to 1630

Royal Dockyard 1513
In the reign of Henry VIII, a royal shipyard was founded at Deptford to provide for the developing navy, and for over three hundred years it brought growth and prosperity to the “Navy Building Town”. A map of the village in 1923 shows the docks and the Kings Shipyard and another belonging to the East India Company with a mass of houses close to the river surrounded by fields.

Christopher Marlowe
Here, Christopher Marlowe was killed in a fight at a tavern and here that Gindling Gibbons was discovered. During the seventeenth century John Evelyn, the diarist took a lease of Sayes Court, the manor house of West Greenwich alias Deptford Strand. His diaries recount much of Deptford life and the sojourn there of its most illustrious visitor, Peter the Great of Russia, in his own house. Evelyn records that at the end of the century “by increase of Building may be seene that the Towne is in eighty years become neere as big as Bristoll”. The most notable buildings to be erected there in these eighty years, Trinity Almshouses, were built in 1664-5 in Church Street, considerably away from the Thames.

Grindling Gibbons
John Evelyn

Throughout the eighteenth century, starting with Albury Street, or rather Union Street as it was formerly called, this increase of building continued as houses were built farther and farther south away from the river. As a result Deptford became eligible for one of the fifty new churches planned by the Act of Parliament of 1711, St Paul’s, built to the design of Thomas Archer between 1713 and about 1724. It was Thomas Lucas who obtained the contract as a bricklayer for the church and as such was responsible for building the core of the building before it was faced in stone.

St Paul's Church, Deptford
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Deptford, New Cross, Lewisham, and Greenwich had become one continuous built up area, but although the riverside had an unbroken series of docks, wharves and houses right to London, there were still open fields stretching to the west as far as Bermondsey. It was across these fields that London’s first railway was built between Spa Road and Deptford in 1836, ultimately to connect Greenwich with London Bridge. With the closure of the Royal Dockyard on the 30th March 1869, and its reuse as the Metropolitan Foreign Cattle Market, Deptford’s former individuality and prosperity were doomed. Enveloped at last by the expanding metropolis, it became the poor industrialised suburb which it has remained ever since.  

Foreign Cattle Market, Deptford

Part 1 extract from A Quiney's paper on Albury Street 1979. 

The History of Albury Street, Deptford.

During my research of Deptford and in particular Albury Street I discovered a document in the Lewisham Local History archives. This document was the most in-depth paper of Albury Street I have ever come across. It’s a fascinating piece of painstaking research of the area carried out in meticulous detail. I was so intrigued by the information contained therein I decided to contact the author and seek his permission to reproduce it in its entirety.

Anthony Prosper Quiney is an architectural historian, writer and photographer who has lived in Blackheath for many years. Dr. Quiney is Professor Emeritus of Architectural History at the University of Greenwich, and a fellow (and former president) of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He has written many books and articles in his chosen subjects some of which are listed here.

Article in the Archaeological Journal, Vol. 136 (1979).
John Loughborough Pearson, 1979. ISBN 0300022530.
House and Home: History of the Small English House, 1986. ISBN 0563211334.
The English Country Town, 1987. ISBN 0500014051.
Period Houses, a guide to authentic architectural features, 1989. ISBN 0540011738.
Kent Houses: English Domestic Architecture, 1993. ISBN 1851491538.
Wall to Wall, An exploration of building materials and domestic architecture, 1994. ISBN 1860000134.
The Traditional Buildings of England, 1995. ISBN 0500276617
Panoramas of English Villages, with Nick Meers. 2000. ISBN 9781857999464.
England's Architectural Heritage, 2002. ISBN 1903807239.
Town Houses of Medieval Britain, 2004. ISBN 0300093853.
A Year in the Life of Greenwich Park, 2009. ISBN 071122871X.

I would like to thank Professor Anthony Quiney for allowing me to serialise his paper on Albury Street over the coming weeks. Part 1 will be posted soon..

Thursday 18 November 2010

Deptford Fairground/Boxing Booth.

As a child I can remember the fairground just up past the station. I know it had been there for years with thousands of people visiting the fair over the years. My grandfather, Jimmy White, was a regular at the boxing booth fighting at straw weight, a little heard of fighting weight nowadays. My uncles told me he was a devastating  little boxer who went on to become Southern Area Champion whilst serving in the army. One year he had ,so I'm told, 113 fights! The Mosleyites knew of him leading up to the war years and use to pitch many a fighter against him only to have seven barrels knock out them. This was verified not only by family members but also in another way. I and my brothers were attending a family funeral at Lewisham Way and after the service went to the pub on the junction of South St and Lewisham Way. I cant recall the name. There was an old gentleman sitting in there with his collie dog and he enquired who's funeral we had attended. We told him it was family. He asked if we were the White family from Albury Street, Deptford . We said yes and he to recounted the same boxing stories about our grandfather.

Joe Bowker

All for Two Shillings!..Went on then....Goes on now.

GODSELL George (61, horsekeeper), and STEVENS, Alfred (41, hawker), both unlawfully uttering counterfeit coin twice on the same day; both feloniously uttering counterfeit coin.

Mr. Holford Knight prosecuted.

Prisoners were tried on the second indictment.

HARRY NAPPER , barman, "Oxford Arms," Church Street, Deptford. On January 23 at 11 a.m. Stevens entered the saloon bar, Godsell entering the public bar. Stevens called for a drink, handed me bad florin (produced); I gave him in change one shilling, a sixpence, and four pence. Godsell paid 1d. for a drink. Prisoners remained four or five minutes. I tested the florin, found it bad, and spoke to my father, who is the licensee. Prisoners had then left.

WILLIAM GEORGE NAPPER , licensee, "Oxford Arms," corroborated. When prisoners left I went to the door and saw them talking together about 20 yards off. I spoke to the constable, we followed them and saw them enter another public-house, where I spoke to the landlady. They were then given into custody.

MARIA HARROLD , wife of George Harrold, licensee, "Plume of Feathers," Deptford Green. On January 23 Godsell came into my public bar, Stevens entering the saloon bar, called for a burton and bitter (2d.), tendering florin (produced); I gave him one shilling, sixpence, and four pennies in change, and put the florin on the shelf of the till. Shortly afterwards last witness came in and made a communication to me. I then tested the coin and found it bad. I handed it to a detective.

Police-constable WILLIAM BALL , 254 R. On January 23 at 11.20 W. G. Napper pointed out prisoners to me in Church Street, Deptford. We followed them. They entered a urinal; then Godsell entered the public bar of the "Plume of Feathers," followed by Napper: Stevens went into the saloon bar. Mrs. Harrold showed me bad florin (produced). I took the prisoners into custody. Godsell said, "I shall go quiet." Stevens said, "All right, I won't give you any trouble." They were searched. Ten shillings, 11 sixpences, and 3s. 4d. in bronze were found on them.

Detective ANGUS ROMFORD , R Division. On January 23 at 12.30 p.m. I went to the "Plume of Feathers," where Mrs. Harrold handed me coin (produced).

SIDNEY WILLIAM SMITH , Assistant Assayer, H.M. Mint. Two florins (produced) are counterfeit, both made from the same mould.

Verdict (both), Guilty. The other indictment was not proceeded with.

Godsell confessed to having been convicted at this Court on March 19, 1912, of uttering. Five other convictions, commencing January 13, 1896, for coining offences, including four years' penal servitude, were proved. Stevens confessed to having been convicted at this Court on January 7, 1908, of possession of a mould. Four other convictions of coining, commencing December 12, 1896, were proved.

Sentences (each): Five years' penal servitude.

Extracts from the records of the Old Bailey. February 1913.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Pie & Mash, Eels and Fruit Pies!

203 Deptford High St.

The Goddard’s Pie and Mash business was founded in 1890 by Alfred Goddard in Evelyn Street, Deptford, London. Alfred passed the business to his two sons in 1936. In 1952, another shop was opened in Greenwich at the same time as the Cutty Sark was placed in dry dock. For a time, pies were cooked in the Deptford shop and transported by van to Greenwich. After a couple of years the two brothers decided to take one shop each and our grandfather took the Greenwich shop while his brother remained in Deptford. In 1972, Bob and his wife decided to retire and passed the Pie House to his eldest son, Dave Goddard and his wife Pam. Dave and Pam worked hard to build up the business and extended the opening days to include Sundays. Dave and Pam introduced their sons Jeff and Kane to the business at a very early age. Both boys were working in the shop at the weekends from 10 years old. Sadly, in 1990, Dave Goddard suddenly passed away and the pie and mash shop was then managed by Jeff, Kane and Pam. The Pieshop in Greenwich was closed in November 2006 enabling Jeff and Kane to concentrate on providing pie and mash on a wholesale basis and for delivery.

338 Evelyn Street.

Thursday 11 November 2010

A Victorian London Diary.


Venue: Hale Street, Deptford, 30th January 1873.

SUPPER follows naturally on tea, and I may here relate my experiences of strange company, derived from my having on one occasion fallen among thieves.T The invitation ticket was neither elaborate nor imposing. It merely set forth, on three inches by one and a half of modest pasteboard, that on Monday, the 30th of January, at six o'clock in the evening, "Ned Wright" would give a supper to boys who had been convicted of felony.

Honest boys were ineligible. A sort of committee of investigation was instituted some days before, and each case was inquired into, so as to make quite sure that the applicant for a ticket was a genuine black sheep, and not a lamb in wolf's clothing. How necessary it was to take this precaution was proved by more than one barefaced fraud that was attempted. Hale's Street, Deptford, was to be the scene of the banquet, and that neighbourhood abounds with squalor and poverty, which may account for the many ingenious devices resorted to by really honest lads to pass themselves for the sake of a meal of soup and bread, as convicted thieves. One lad had been at the pains to get himself "coached" in the most elaborate manner. He laid claim to have "served" both in Maidstone gaol and the prison at Wandsworth, knew the names of the governors and of the chief warders, the peculiarities of the work, and the food, and all the rest of it. Even Mr. Edward Wright, despite his practical experience, was nearly taken in by the honest little villain, but on cross-examination a slip of the tongue betrayed him, and he slunk away shamefaced, and let us hope not with a stern determination to make his claims beyond dispute by the time the next felon's supper was announced.

Having been assured that the guests invited to the supper were to be bona fide thieves, I must confess that I went prepared to face some sort of danger. Just imagine, a hundred of the professed "dangerous class," the young of the tribe, to be sure, but none the less to be dreaded on that account. Five score of budding burglars! A hundred robbers in training, and with not even that care for their own safety that might be naturally expected in ruffians of experience. In the midst of them, with a decent hat on one's head, a coat worth a pound on one's back, and possible shillings in one's .pocket, and no police to protect you! Terrible, indeed, was the picture the excited imagination conjured up - marvellously flat, and poor, and commonplace was the reality.

Let the reader imagine a barn-like building with whitened walls, and rows of forms-schoolboys' desks - with nothing as yet more promising in view in the way of supper than several pyramids of enormous white basins at the further end, and a heap of tin spoons piled on a table. A few ladies and gentlemen - a dozen, may be - are talking here and there, quite free and fearlessly, while by twos and threes some small boys make their appearance and take their seats in front.

They make their appearance to the number of thirty, perhaps, and there is nothing either striking or picturesque about them; they are merely poor half-starved little wretches of the gutter, ranging in age from nine to thirteen. They are not in the least abashed. They talk and laugh, and criticise the ladies and gentlemen, and make jocular remarks concerning the spoons and basins.

"When do you expect the thieves?" I venture to enquire.

"These are thieves," is the answer. "You see the little ones are bolder than the big ones, and come earlier so as to get front seats and the first of the soup."

It was so hard to believe that I got into conversation with the children, and sure enough my informant was right. There was not one of them that had not "done his bit," as they said, and more than one had tasted prison fare and picked prison oakum on three distinct occasions. They did not evince the least shame in making confession - they seemed proud of it, rather; and one young gentleman, aged eleven, who, with a haughty twist of his side locks, announced that he had been "in" five times, was at once set down by a friend, who told him that he needn't make such a jaw about it, and to bear in mind that they wasn't all convictions, but two was "marnders" (remands), and that he was both times discharged at the second hearing. One little boy told me how that he had "done three months at Maidstone" for nailin' two glasses of sweetstuff out of a shop, and had treated his companions to a peep-show with the proceeds, and was vilely betrayed by one whom he had declined to treat, and was arrested with his eye at the peep-hole, and in the midst of his enjoyment of the thrilling spectacle of the murder of Mr. O'Conner by the Mannings.

After a little while other thieves arrived, and the room began to fill - older lads these last arrivals - some of them seventeen and eighteen, I dare say, but all of precisely the same type. Downcast, hungry-looking, woefully seedy-looking, poor fellows, lively only for a feeble attempt at devil-may-care, evidently got up for the occasion. All thieves, Mr. Wright himself assured me-lads who were in and out of prison constantly, and who yet were so "hard up" as to be glad to march in there, avowing their trade, and with their faces fully revealed in the gaslight, for the sake of securing a quart of soup! We are told that periodicals of the "Jack Sheppard" and "Boy Highwayman" school sell in hundreds of thousands weekly to the youth of the nation who unhesitatingly believe in the splendour and gallantry of the heroes therein described. What a memorable lesson for the money-wasting young stupid-heads, could they for half- an-hour have contemplated that poor ramshackle starveling crew who sat so patiently waiting for the white basins to be filled!

As I gazed on the ragged rows, one behind the other - on the heads that as yet were fiercely bristling in telltale token of the recently-applied gaol scissors, on heads to which oil had been bountifully applied, in the desperate endeavour to make the growing crop "lie down," like that of honest people, and on still other heads - these the vast majority - that were thatched with a towzled mat of what was hair, but which looked like tangled wisps of dirty felt - as I contemplated the array of pinched and poverty-stricken and pale and haggard faces so eloquent of intimate acquaintance with vice and misery in their worst forms - I could not but think how very much better off the entire company would be if one and all were arrested on the spot, and carried off to prison.

No wonder that the law's worst scourge for evil-doers has no terrors for such as these! I recollect some time since inspecting a great prison; it was evening time, and in the autumn. Along with others, the van had brought with that day's batch of convicted prisoners two lads of about thirteen and fifteen years old. Outside the cell door of each were the rags they wore at the time of their capture - their dirty, tattered jackets, their trousers of many patches, and their gaping, down-trodden old shoes - each lot in a sort of cabbage-net, all ready for depositing in the steam-purifying apparatus down below. Then the cell-doors were opened, and the legitimate owners of the woefully dilapidated suits were revealed no longer dirty. Each one had had his sousing and scrubbing in a plentiful bath of warm water; their faces yet glowed, and their ears were crimson and clean. The hammocks on which they reposed were scrupulously white, the rugs that covered them warm and comfortable, and the walls and ceiling and floor of their dungeon spotless and wholesome. The lads had partaken of supper, and knew for a certainty that a warm breakfast would be got ready for them next morning. It did not in their case - which was doubtless the case of at least fifty of the young thieves now before me - seem a bit like punishment and prison. It was more like coming "home" after a season of disheartening struggling and striving. As one turned from them, cuddled comfortable and clean under their rugs, and once more glanced at the poor rags and the old boots bundled up in the cabbage-net, one could not help reflecting, "Poor wretches ! it must be a desperately hard life while you are at liberty to pursue it; but, thank Heaven! you are here well provided for for a few months, at all events."

The thieves' supper itself was a decided success. When the three enormous tin holders, of the sort that milk is brought from the country in, made their appearance, one hungry roar made the roof ring, and there was no such things as pacifying the lads until their kindhearted, black-coated friends on the platform turned back their cuffs and applied themselves to filling the quart basins. The understood terms were a "tuck out," which in Hale's Street is short and simple language for as much as can be eaten. Enough was provided - thirty-five gallons - with bread enough to allow a full pound to each guest. Little thieves and big thieves ate with a ravenous relish that was at once gratifying and painful to behold. Two quart basinfuls were a common allowance - and at least half-a-dozen exceptionally long and narrow lads were pointed out to me as having emptied four basins. One quite forgot that they were thieves-they looked so thankful.

The supper, of course, was but a preliminary to the discourse that afterwards followed. To say the least, the strange audience received it in perfect good-humour and seriousness; and, when the question was put, Would they be willing to abandon their evil courses if they found the chance? up shot their assenting hands as though let loose by the pulling of a single string. And truly, when one saw what a poor miserable lot they were, is was not at all difficult to believe them sincere.

Extract from: