Deptford docks: “There will be no references left of what’s there” 

Emma Warren has written an article about the Voice 4 Deptford campaign in The Developer.

She writes:

The Deptford Royal Dockyard has seen off Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Admiral Lord Nelson, but will its history survive the Convoys Wharf redevelopment?

The gates to Deptford Docks are wide open. Malcolm Cadman and Marion Briggs from community group Voice 4 Deptford are standing on the threshold of this site which contains huge histories, where Kings and Queens commissioned globally-famous warships and exploration vessels for 350 years. 


The Deptford Royal Dockyard is where Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Admiral Lord Nelson departed and arrived. The famous abolitionist Olaudah Equiano was abducted off Deptford Docks and forced to work on Caribbean plantations until he bought his freedom and returned to London. Streams of dockworkers came through the gates every day, not to mention local timber merchants, ironmongers, sail makers and vendors of the myriad items that the country’s foremost dockyard required. 


“It’s the history of skill, endeavour and creativity by people themselves,” says Cadman. “It’s world history, and of world historical proportions.”


It’s also the site of a highly contested development. Convoys Wharf gained planning consent back in 2014 when then-Mayor Boris Johnson called in the application and approved it, overruling Lewisham Council.

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