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

1 comment:

Speedwell said...

Hello Tony,
As a boy, I lived in Speedwell Street.
There was indeed an abbatior where the white wall is on the photo. It belonged to a butchers in the High Street whose premises were connected. Wellbeloveds, the butcher had their own farm in Kent and the lorries with the animals used to back into Speedwell Street and the animals led in.
I don't recall a short cut to the High Steet, went either via Comet Street or through Empire Place, an alley that ran between the Stage Door at the back of the Empire and the hostel of the Nursing Sisters of St John the Divine (think 'Call the Midwife)
Hope it helps.