Monday 8 February 2016

Help Please

James Ashton asks the following questions and help.

Dear Sir:

I was very interested to find your Deptford History web site.  I have a 
question rather than a story that I was hoping you might be able to help 
me with.  The C.S. Forester Hornblower novels refer to Deptford and 
there are mentions of a couple of names that I can't find any references 
to online.

The first is "Deptford Hard".  I know what a "hard" is (a firm, gentle 
slope allowing vessels to be launched or careened, usually with the help 
of the tide) and it seems reasonable that there would have been one in 
or near Deptford Yards.  Does anyone know where it was, or if it existed 

The second is "The George," apparently an establishment with 
accommodation in Deptford.  I suspect this will have been an invention 
of the author but I'd be pleased to discover otherwise. There is one 
online reference to someone living at "The George", George-row, Deptford 
in 1852 but the nearest George-row I can find is in Bermondsey.  Also, 
the National Archives hint at a "George" in Grove Street, near Cornish 
Place, in 1852: 

Thanks for providing such an interesting online resource.

James Ashton



Andy said...

Found this reference to "The Hard" curtesy of A History of Porter.

The first houses in Portsea were built around St Georges Square at the end of the 17th century. One of these still stands. Number 90 was built around 1690 for a wealthy merchant.

By the start of the 18th century workmen in the dockyard grew tired of walking from Old Portsmouth to work each day. They decided to build houses on the farmland outside the dockyard. However the governor of the dockyard was afraid the houses would provided cover for enemy soldiers if they attacked. He threatened to turn his guns on any new houses. However Prince George, the husband of Queen Anne, was visiting Portsmouth. The dockyard workers appealed to him. He spoke to his wife and she gave the workmen permission to build houses near their place of work. Prince George Street commemorates him. Queen Anne visited Portsmouth in 1711 and Queen Street was named after her.

Union Street was named after the act of Union 1707, which joined England and Scotland. (In the 19th century Union Street was the street where most of the lawyers in Portsmouth lived). Hanover Street got its name because the Georges (George I, George II and George III), were kings of Hanover in Germany as well as England. (George I could not speak English!). They are sometimes called the Hanoverian kings.

North Street was probably not given its name because it is in the north of Portsea. It was named after Lord North, who was prime minister in the 18th century. Hawke Street was named after an admiral. There used to be an Orange Street named after William of Orange. Marlborough Row (now in the dockyard) was named after the Duke of Marlborough who won several battles against the French at the beginning of the 18th century. Cumberland Street was probably named after the Duke of Cumberland.

Some streets in Portsea were named after inns. Clock Street and Sun Street were probably named after inns. So was Three Tuns Street. There used to be a Half Moon Street (its name plate is still on the side of a pub). It was probably also named after an inn.

The Hard is believed to get its name after a slipway for boats. Men created a slipway by dumping clay in the sea at low tide then rolling it till it was hard. It was called The Hard. In the 19th century The Hard was named the Devil's Acre! In 1900 there were 13 pubs along The Hard.

Bonfire Corner probably got its name because dockyard workers burned rubbish there. In the 19th century there was an alley in Portsea called 'Squeeze-Gut Alley' because it was so narrow!.



The Grim Reaper said...

The National Archives index entry is solid evidence that there was a George public house in Grove Street in 1852, but whether this is where Forester was referring to is another question. Not a 19th century Deptford pub that immediately springs to mind. 'Deptford Hard' is also a new one on me. Quotes in context might be useful.

. said...

Interesting, the Hornblower quotes are here: