Thursday 24 May 2012



Historical Deptford was divided into Upper Deptford (based around Deptford Broadway) and Lower Deptford based around St Nicholas' Church, Deptford Green (formerly Common land?) and Deptford Strand as seen on the 1623 map. Deptford was primarily a fishing village before King Henry VIII founded the Dockyard in 1513.

Church Street acted as a buffer between Lower Deptford and Upper Deptford, and was lined fairly well with properties when Butt Lane (later the High Street) was all but a bare trackway. The Green/Depford Green/Common (not to be confused with the area around St Johns also referred to as Deptford Common) had several alleys leading eastwards to Barnard's Dockyard (later used by the General Steam Navigation Company for ship repair).

Butcher Row (now Borthwick Street) led to Lower Watergate, Middle Watergate (known as Great Thames Street), and Upper Watergate. Straddling Lower and Middle Watergate was Little Thames Street AKA Lower Road. The circulation of these four streets appear to have formed the village nucleus. Unfortunately, just prior to the survey of the 1844 tithe map, most of these streets and buildings were suddenly swept away before they even had a chance to be recorded photographically. What happened was: in 1836 the Deptford Pier and Improvement Company proposed to have a railway connection from the nearly completed line to Greenwich as well as a scheme to develop the river front for passenger and commercial purposes. In the following year the Pier company had already begun purchasing premises in Thames Street, Deptford Green and Butcher Row. By 1841 they seemed to own all the area between Butcher Row and the Thames. In 1843, a legal case was lodged against the company, and the Deptford Pier junction was abandoned. The pier company were replaced by Timothy Tyrrell as owner of the Pier land, occupying a wharf and warehouse, and leasing out many other properties. Unless there's a mistake on the Tithe map it would seem almost all buildings north of Butcher Row were demolished in 1843/44. Certainly they were gone by the 1860s.

Coming from the direction of the Deptford manor house known as Sayes Court (formerly a castle?), Dog Street (known later as New Row then Dock Street/Prince Street) and the top end of Watergate Street (formerly known as Old King Street) also had properties. At the junction between them stood a gateway in Watergate Street, hence the name, which was captioned on the 1833 Cruchley map. The gate can be glimpsed to the extreme right in a photograph taken of the street.

In-between Watergate Street and Deptford Green was an empty field except for maybe the church burial ground until several north-south streets--laid sometime between the late 17th and early 18th centuries--filled the gap. The burial ground, if it even existed before, was maintained as a strip of land parallel to the new streets; from west to east they were named Rope Walk, New Street (extended before 1755), Frenches Field leading to Rumbolols Rope Walk (known as Black Field near the burial ground), and Hughes Field.

 To give you an idea of the many buildings lost in the former center of Lower Deptford during the early part of the Victorian era, here is a directory of trades and industries (not including the many wharves) taken from the 1834 Pigot directory unless otherwise stated; I think its safe to say that the taverns and public houses, here in the heart of historical Deptford closest to the Thames, would have been frequented more by the many sailors, mariners and seamen than in any other part of the village:

Deptford Green

The George (before 1804)
Earl of Romney (John Dickenson 1839)
White Hart (John Hawkins 1839)
Plume of Feathers (Jo Topliffe Knnipple 1839)
Lion & Lamb (John Grix)
School/Academy (Adams, John Williams)
Baker (Lancaster, Joseph)
Engineer (Gordons and Co. and shipsmiths & ironfounders)
Marine Stores-Dealer (Johnson, John)
Plumbers/Painter/Glazier (Harrison and Son)
Shipbuilder (Barnard, Francis and Son)
Lower Watergate
Sir John Falstaff Public House (John Beswell)
Coal Merchant (Wells, Hesketh Davis)
Junk Merchant (Wells, Hesketh Davis)
Timber Merchant (W H Davis)

Butcher Row

Gun Tavern (possibly Henry Mears 1804)
Blue Bell (William Collier 1834, Christopher William Collier 1839)
Ship Chester (James West)
Three Tuns (William Shirley 1834, Elizabeth Shirley 1839)
Carpenter (Deane, Anthony F)
Marine Stores-Dealer (Townsend, John)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Fowles, John)
Thames Street (Little and Great?)
Earl of Romney (John Dickenson 1834)
Marquis of Granby (Ann H, J Bear 1834 Rate)
Royal Ann (no occupier 1834)
Star & Garter (William Francis 1834, William Francis 1839)
Chemist Manufacturing (Leesom, Henry Beaumont)
Coal Merchant (Mussett, Robert and Co.)
Junk Merchant (Mussett, James & Robert)
Marine Stores-Dealer (Godwin, John)
Marine Stores-Dealer (Morris, William)
Steam Miller (Powell, Francis)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Beiderbeck, Betsey)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Doyle, Peter)
Smith (Hughesdon, William)
Ship Chandler (Thomas G)

King Street (Upper Watergate?)

Fox (Thomas Hunt 1834, Joseph Hunt 1839)
Brazier/Tin-Plate Worker (Seager, Thomas)
Bricklayer (Smith, James)
Grocers/Tea Dealer (Bensted, Elizabeth)
Snack? Proprieter (M., John)

Old King Street

Red Lion Inn (Samuel Edwards 1834, Samuel Edwards 1839)
Bull and Butcher (William ? 1834, William Williams 1839)
Fishing Smack (Jason Moreland 1834, Tim Riordan 1839)
Freemasons' Arms (James William ? 1834, William Batch 1839)
Red Cow (John Fester 1834, Kenneth Philpott 1839)
Rose & Crown (Samuel M)
School/Academy (Kemp, William)
Baker (Bradbrook, Harriet)
Brazier/Tin-Plate Worker (Matthews, Richard)
Butcher (Scott, William)
Butcher (S*lmes, Jeremiah)
Cooper (Jacob Powling)
Furniture Broker (Scruton, John)
Grocers/Tea Dealer (Prudence, Thomas)
Hat Manufacturer/Hatter (Hyman, William)
Lighterman (Riddall, William)
Plumbers/Painter/Glazier (Berry, Arthur)
Mathmematics Teacher (Stoole, Jason)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Anderson, William)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Slone, Thomas David)
Shopkeeper/Groceries and Sundries Dealer (Waikman, Mary)
Slopseller (Barnard, Esther)
Slopseller (Chapman, Edmund)
Slopseller (Gibeon, Robert)
Timber Dealer (Poole, James)
Tobacco Pipe Maker (Gosling, William)



1623 Deptford map
18th Century Deptford Strand map "Controller Bridge House Plan 57A"
1745 Rocque map
1755 Milne map
1833 Cruchley map
1834 Pigot directory
1839 Pigot directory
1844 Tithe map
1868 Os map
White, Ken (1997). The Deptford Pier and Riverside.

Other rate books (at Lewisham Local Studies) and directories may shed further light on the above:

1784 Bailey
1793-1798 Universal British Directory
1799 Holden
1801 Holden (supplement to 1799 or 1800 reprint)
1802 Holden
1803 Finch (Kent; main towns only)
1803 Holden
1804 Holden (supplement to 1803)
1805 Holden
1805 Holden (supplement to previous edition)
1808 Finch (Kent; main towns only)
1808 Holden
1809 Holden
1810 Holden
1811 Holden
1812 Holden
1813 Holden
1814-1815 Holden
1816 Underhill / Holden (London and 480 towns) at Guildhall Library
1817 Underhill / Holden
1822 Pigot London and Provincial
1822 Underhill / Holden
1823 Pigot London and Provincial (revised in 1824 and then in 1825)
1826 Pigot London and Provincial (re-printed in 1827 and then in 1828)
1827 Pigot Metropolitan (re-printed in 1828)
1830 Clayton
1832 Pigot London and Provincial (revised twice in 1833 for 1834)
1836 Pigot London Alphabetical… (revised with a supplement in 1837 and 1838)
1838 Robson Home Counties (19th edition in strong room at Guildhall Library)
1839/1840 Pigot
1845 Post Office Home Counties (Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex)
1846 Kelly (Kent) at Bexley Library
184 Post Office London and Nine Counties at British Library
1847 Bagshaw
1847 Post Office Hampshire with Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex
1850 Williams (Kent and Surrey; main towns only)
1851 Mason (Greenwich and Blackheath)
1851 Post Office Home Counties (Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex)
1852 Archdeacon (Greenwich, Woolwich incl. Deptford, Blackheath, Lewisham…)
1852 Bass (Deptford incl. Blackheath, Lee, Lewisham and Sydenham)
1855 Post Office Home Counties (Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex)
1857/1858 Meville (Kent)
1859 Post Office (Kent)
1859 Post Office Home Counties (Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex)
1860 Post Office London Suburban
1862 Post Office Home Counties (Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Sussex)
1863 Post Office London Suburban

A great piece of research by Giles Gaffney. Hopefully more to come