Friday, June 29, 2012

A strange view of Catford

According to LB Lewisham Planning Department both Deptford High Street and the Laban Centre are in Catford Town Centre.

Lewisham have published a Scoping Report relating to the Sustainability appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment of their proposed Catford Town Centre Area Action Plan. It appears to have been put together by consultants Mouchel and then been put out for consultation by LB Lewisham without anybody bothering to check the document. If it was just a case of laughing at the poor choice of photographs by the consultants then it would not be so bad, but look through the document and total ineptitude reveals itself.
We are told that:
"This scoping report for the Catford APP will go out for public consultation in order to give members of the public the opportunity to comment on the issues and topics covered."
"This section of the report identifies key baseline information relating to facts about Catford Town Centre and some demographics of the London Borough of Lewisham and the Rushey Green Ward (within which Catford Town Centre is located)."
and also;
"The Rushey Green electoral ward covers most of central, northern and western Catford."
but we are not told either in the text or by way of a map / illustration what area is actually meant by Catford Town Centre. Now everybody in Lewisham probably knows where Catford is, but (for example) are any of the surrounding residential streets included in the area the Scoping Report. How can the public "comment on the issues and topics covered" if we are not told what area the report relates to.

The report can be accessed at: 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dangling Empty

Boris's vanity project has opened. For the princely sum of £3.20 people can travel from a car park in Greenwich to a car park in Newham. What purpose does it serve?

Tourist Atrraction
Simply too far out of central London. Tourists only travel to Greenwich because the visit includes a river trip there and / or back.

The Dome (or O2 as we are told to call it) only attracts serious numbers of people as a music venue. Excel mainly hosts trade exhibitions. It is hard to see any significant numbers from either bothering with the cable car.

Public Transport
Should any body wish to travel from the O2 to Excel they can catch a Jubilee Line train at North Greenwich to Canning Town and change there onto the DLR to Custom House. As can be seen below the average journey time is around 23/24 minutes.

The map above shows the problem that the cable car stations are much further away from either venue so it is not surprising that the journey takes longer by gondola. (In an effort to woo tourists the cable car will be even slower outside peak travel hours.)

Hardly surprising that today was a slow start:

Convoys Wharf, again

Yet again there is a 'public exhibition' of plans for Convoys Wharf.

The only difference from previous occasions is the clear lack of enthusiasm from the site owners: No colour picture on the leaflet and their website has gone tits up. Plainly they are not longer interested in trying to sell us anything. Perhaps their new strategy is to try and bore us into submission.

Hall & Studio 1st Floor
Deptford Lounge
9 Giffin Street
London SE8

Saturday 14 July 10.00am - 3.00pm
Monday 16 July 5.00pm - 8.00pm

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pete Pope's final send off (2)

On Sunday afternoon we gathered at the Birds Nest PH, Church Street, Deptford. I cannot possibly beat Colin Bodiam's description of our purpose:
It was implied in that programme on Deptford - recently much praised by the media but what do they know? - that Deptford is back in the doldrums, everyone hates each other and there's no sense of community at all. Well, here's proof to the contrary, everyone from all walks of Deptford life gathering together Sunday last to see off one of it adopted sons, Mr. Pete Pope, and after drinks and music, proceeding from The Bird's Nest to the footbridge which Pete helped to bring back, to disperse of his ashes in a glorious cacophony of street percussion and fireworks!

At about five there was some music inside,

and then everybody gathered to move off
up Creekside

past APT

past Faircharm

on our way to the Ha'Penny Hatch Bridge.

With everybody gathered on the bridge the ashes were passed down to the tender,

held aloft, 
and then cast upon the waters of Deptford Creek.

 Loud cheers, more music and the bashing of pots and pans were accompanied by fireworks launched into the afternoon sky.
 When the cheering and noise finished the brief silence was broken by the Question: "Anyone fancy a pint?". As Pete would have said 'It would be rude to refuse'. Then as Pete's ashes floated gently downstream, we floated gently back to the Nest.

Back at the Nest we had a few more drinks. Eventually we all dispersed, but not before in a final touch that Pete would have immensely enjoyed, one woman enquired of another
 "Are you coming to the next one?".
 Photographs by Ayla, Sascha and I. More on the Ha'penny Hatch and Pete's involvement in having it re-built can be found at Scattering virtual ashes

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pete Pope's final send off - Video

Sunday 24 June 2012
Pete's friends giving him a proper send off, with bells, whistles, drums, percussion Instruments and a clarinet, followed by the scattering of his ashes at the Ha'penny Hatch bridge in Deptford Creek!

Still's to follow later.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Scattering of Pete Pope’s ashes

A reminder that the scattering of Pete Pope's ashes will take place at the Ha'penny Hatch Bridge, Creekside, Deptford, London SE8 at about 4.30pm Sunday 24 June 2012.

People will be gathering at the Bird's Nest PH, 32 Deptford Church Street, Deptford, London SE8 4RZ from approxiamately 2.30pm, before strolling round to the bridge.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Late Lunch at Extra Bones

Emy Neu & Extra Bones present a Late Lunch Special 5.30pm Saturday 23rd June 2012.
Extra Bones is at Utrophia, 120 Deptford High Street, London SE8 4NS

Live Music

5.30 Vision Fortune,

6.00 Crushed Beaks,

6.30 Female Band,

7.00 Yucky Slime

7.30  Naseby Fox

8.30 Films including Ultimate Reality!
by Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche.

Lunch Music as ever is free.

Deptford: Putting the Record Straight

Following the complete stitch up of former councillor Nicholas Taylor by Century Films and the BBC in their pretend documentary The Secret History Of Our Streets, Nick's family and friends have got together to launch a website and publish a booklet to correct the false impressions created by the programme.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hide and Seek (1972)

This 1972 Children's Film Foundation production was shot on location in Deptford, at the time of mass demolitions. For example, Giffin Street is the Midland Bank and little else.

The cast includes, amongst others, Gary Kemp, Robin Askwith, Roy Dotrice, Liz Fraser, Alan Lake and Alfred Marks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

City of London sale of Foreign Cattle Market, 1926

The article below gives a potted history of the City of London's acquisition, ownership, closure and eventual sale of the Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford. It first appeared in The Times on Saturday 13th March 1926. Before becoming the Foreign Cattle Market the site written about was the Royal Dockyard opened by Henry VIII in 1513 and closed in 1869. The discussions of the Court of Common Council prior to the acquisition of the Market are set out here.

After being sold to the War Office it continued to be known as the Foreign Cattle Market, but by the time the Ministry of Defence sold it to News International in the early 1980s it had become known as Convoys Wharf. 

The War Office's reasons for buying the site are not entirely clear as apart from its use by US forces during the latter part of the Second World War, the site appears to have been leased out during most of the half century that the military owned it.

The adjacent Victualling Yard mentioned in the piece would normally be referred to as the Royal Victoria Victualling Yard, and is now the site of the LCC / GLC built Pepys Estate.




The arbitration in connexion with the sale of the Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford by the City of London to the War Office has been concluded and the award taken up by the Corporation. the whole market, which consists of 27 acres of land, an extensive river frontage of over 1,000ft., with substantial jetties and a system of roads and railways, is to pass to the government for £387,000. In addition the Corporation will receive 5 per cent. interest on the purchase money from January, 1924. No order has been made for costs, and both sides, therefore, will pay their own.

Some years ago the Corporation offered to sell the whole estate for £250,000. The War Office, however, thought the price too high. Before the arbitrator (Mr JD Wallis) the Corporation asked a substantially larger sum.

The history of the Foreign Cattle Market at Deptford is interesting from the commercial and financial points of view. it marks the rise and fall of an enormous business. When this country found itself unable to feed its population, cattle from overseas began to come in. They were days before the world mnew anything of refrigeration, and the cattle had to be brought over alive.

As owners of the live cattle market at Islington, to which foreign animals were at that time consigned, and of the London Central Markets at Smithfield, the Corporation in 1867 resolved to enter into negotiations with the Government in respect to legislation, then contemplated, for the prevention of the introduction into Great Britain of contagious diseases among animals by prohibiting or regulating the importation of foreign animals, and offered to provide a market for the reception and store of foreign animals, and to appropriate funds for that object without recourse to the imposition of rates for the purpose, other than might be derived from the tolls and rents of the market itself.

The representations of the corporation, though not immediatley successful, were finally accepted by the Government, and by the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1869, the Corporation was made the exclusive local authority in and for the Metropolis in respect of foreign animals, with power to appoint inspectors, and also to provide, erct, and fit up wharves, lairs, sheds, markets, houses, and places for the landing, reception, sale, and slaughter of foreign animals, subject to its providing and opening for public use a market before January 1, 1872.

The site of the Admiralty at Deptford was acquired and the market opened in 1871, the cost being, with enclosing walls, £94,000. Between that date and 1889 the original site was extended to the present 27 acres. Railways were put down, roads made, and three fine waterside jetties constructed. Altogether about £500,000 was spent. A large trade was done; cattle came from Canada, the United States of America, and South America. deptford thrived and the whole neighbourhood became involved in the subsidiary trades which arose from the treatment of hides and offal.

Then, slowly but surely, came refrigeration, and afterwards the knowledge of how to "chill" meat; and side by side with the scientific development restrictions had to be imposed -"the embargo"- to meet the trouble caused by disease. Trade fell off. Whereas in 1907, 184,971 cattle and 4,950 sheep were imported through the market, the figures in 1912, dropped to 21,547 cattle and 1,193 sheep. by the last-named year the losses on trading had become so considerable that the corporation had to make drastic retrenchments, though the market was never actually closed until the war.

How far refrigeration was helped forward by the embargo will never be settled. Deptford still thinks the embargo killed the trade, but the ordinary man, looking at the evidence, will probably feel that refrigeration was bound to win.

Shortly before the war the position was such that the Corporation had entered into negotiations with the Government for the sale of the property. The Royal Victualling Yard being next door, the obvious buyers were the Government, and they had expressed onofficially their interest. Negotiations were proceeding when war broke out. The Lord Mayor immediately sent a telgram to the Government placing the property unreservedly, and at once, at the disposal of the authorities. The offer was accepted and within three days the War Office took posession. Deptford became under Major Millman, a great supply base, sending hundreds of thousands of rations to the troops in France and other theatres of war. The railways were improved and the site was adapted to the requirements of the several Expeditionary forces.

Later the Corporation let the property to the War Office for £10,000 a year as long as the exigencies of the country demanded it, and five years from the termination of the war, giving the Secretary of state the right to purchase on six months' notice, and reserving interest at 5 per cent. on the purchasing money if negotiations lasted more than six months. it is this clause which gives the 5 per cent. on the figures of the arbitration.

According to the latest available accounts there is an outstanding debt on the market of £170,000, the major part of the capital expenditure having been dealt with by sinking fund.

The Times, Saturday, Mar 13, 1926; pg. 12; Issue 44219; col F

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Turning the Tide

Since the broadcast of the BBCs execrable pseudo-documentary The Secret History Of Our Streets there has been much discussion on local blogs and in Deptford pubs about what passes for tv production at the BBC in the 21st Century. For example, did the programme makers use stock footage of who knows where because they were too mean to pay a professional film researcher to locate footage of Deptford or did the BBC make the mistake of commissioning a programme from people who are so ignorant of television that they did not comprehend that there are such people as film researchers? Why did nobody at the BBC notice the ham-fisted editing of the interviews with Nicholas Taylor? Leaving aside the fact that Nick was completely stitched up, the editing was so poor that not so many years ago that the programme would have been pulled on the basis of such technical failings.

Mr Taylor was falsely portrayed as an apologist for the demolitions when he, as the programme makers knew, was the man who stopped the demolitions. A letter  from his son Martin Taylor setting the record straight was published by The Guardian on Wednesday 13 June.

The brouhaha surrounding the programme has re-kindled interest in Deptford and re-newed demand for copies of Jess Steele's excellent 1993 book Turning the Tide: The History of Everyday Deptford. Brand new copies are available from:
for the princely sum of £10 + £2 post and packageing. A number of other Deptford Forum Publishing titles are also available.

You can if you so wish, buy a second hand copy on Amazon who are currently offering it for prices ranging from £50.39 for a copy in very good condition, through £51.95 for one in good condition to £89.18 for one in 'acceptable condition. (All + £2.80 pp)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Once again Betfred have been thwarted in their attempts to open a betting shop in the old Halifax Building Society office at 93-95 Deptford High Street, London SE8 4AA. The full decision of Planning Inspector Graham Garnham is set out below.

The brief history is that the Building Society closed in 2010. Betfred bought the lease on the building, applied for and got a license, but a planning condition from 1974 prevented them from opening. They applied to LB Lewisham to have the condition revoked, but the Council refused. Betfred then appealed to a Planning Inspector who allowed (sort of, but not quite) their appeal, imposing a narrower condition that still prevented the premises from being a bookmakers. The full decision of the first inspector is here

Betfred applied to Lewisham to lift the condition imposed by the Planning Inspector, and when the council refused they then appealed once again to a Planning Inspector and it his decision below.
Ironically, given last week's attack on planners in the BBC's The Secret History Of Our Streets it is only because back in 1974 when the premises became a building society a Lewisham Council planner dotted the 'i's and crossed the 't's by imposing a condition limiting the change of use (from retail) to a building society that Deptford has been able to fight Betfred off.

Whether the message (FRED OFF) will now dawn on Betfred remains to be seen.

Appeal Decision
Site visit made on 18 April 2012
by Graham M Garnham  BA BPhil MRTPI
an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Decision date: 13 June 2012
Appeal Ref: APP/C5690/A/11/2168006
93-95 Deptford High Street, Deptford, London, SE8 4AA

The appeal is made under section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 against a refusal to grant planning permission under section 73 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the development of land without complying with a condition subject to which a previous planning permission was granted.
The appeal is made by Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Ltd against the decision of London Borough of Lewisham Council.
The application Ref DC/11/78506, dated 30 September 2011, was refused by notice dated 16 December 2011.
The application sought planning permission for use of the ground floor and basement for financial and professional services (Use Class A2) without complying with a condition attached to planning permission Ref APP/C5690/A/11/2151228, dated 16 August 2011.
The condition in dispute is No.1 which states that: The premises shall be used for any purpose within Class A2 of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (or any provision equivalent to that Class in any statutory instrument revoking and re-enacting that Order with or without modification) other than as a betting office.
The reasons given for the condition are set out in paragraphs 12-27 of the Decision of 16 August 2011.
1. The appeal is dismissed.
Main Issue
2. I consider that this is whether the condition in dispute is necessary to prevent a rise in anti-social behaviour, crime or disturbance to local residents and other users of Deptford District Centre.
3. In September 1974, planning permission was given to use the appeal premises as a building society branch office.  A condition then imposed restricted the use only for a building society and for no other purposes (including any other in the then extant Class II of the 1972 Use Classes Order).  In an application dated 17 January 2011, the present appellant sought permission to use the premises without complying with the condition imposed in 1974.  This was refused by the Council, for reasons concerning the vitality and viability of the shopping centre and potential anti-social behaviour, crime and disturbance.  The Inspector on that occasion allowed the appeal in part, imposing the condition No.1 copied in the summary at the head of this decision.
4. The September 2011 application then sought permission to allow all uses within Use Class A2.  This effectively meant seeking a permission to use the premises as a betting office, and the representations have been made on this basis.
5. In a letter accompanying the September 2011 application, the appellant argued that the condition imposed by the previous Inspector was unreasonable and that his reasoning showed only a likelihood of harm rather than certainty that there would be adverse consequences from allowing a betting office use.  The appeal statement focused on the alleged lack of substance in the local planning authority’s case.  I consider both aspects of the appeal.  I have also noted that the appeal site is within the southern part of the High Street, where the proposed use would become the sixth in a line of quite closely spaced betting offices.
6. The previous Inspector referred to “a strong body of evidence from local residents and shopkeepers that the existing betting offices in the Core Area give rise to anti-social behaviour, crime and disturbance” [paragraph 13 in his decision].  He took into account the appellant’s view of third party representations as being “subjective and prejudiced” but indicated that, nonetheless, “the frequency of the views expressed paint a clear picture of the nature of the problems experienced with betting offices in Deptford High Street” [paragraph 14].  He went on to consider evidence from the Police; crime data reported by the Licensing Officer; telephone calls from betting offices not resulting in a recordable offence; and a Premises Licence under the Gambling Act of 2005, issued in February 2011.
7. Drawing the evidence together regarding betting offices in the area, the Inspector came to the view that “for whatever reason, the evidence that premises in Deptford High Street act as a ‘magnet’ for miscreants is compelling” [paragraph 20].  He acknowledged that if he dismissed that appeal “the current state of affairs would remain but, to my mind, an additional premises would simply add to problems and should not be supported. Consequently the proposal would be likely to increase anti-social behaviour and disturbance although the implications for crime are less certain.  The appellant company is critical of the Council for referring to the potential for harm to be caused in this respect rather than expressing certainty.  It seems to me that it is not possible to be categorical but that the weight of well-informed evidence suggests that this outcome is likely to materialise.  Put another way, it would be foolish to ignore the convincing accounts given or to assume that they
would not be repeated in association with the proposed betting office” [paragraphs 21 & 22].  
8. As a consequence, the previous Inspector concluded that the proposed betting office use would make the High Street a less safe place and that there would be broad conflict with the intentions of policy STC4 in the London Borough of Lewisham Unitary Development Plan (2004) [the UDP].
9. I have quoted several extracts from the previous decision for 3 reasons.  Firstly, the Inspector dealt at length with evidence directly relevant to the main issue in the present appeal.  Secondly, from reading his letter and the representations now before me, there seems to have been little overall change in the scope, materiality or strength of the local evidence against the proposal.  Thirdly, in these circumstances I see no need to replicate an argument that in my view has already been well made with regards to a directly comparable proposal.
10. There have nonetheless been some changes in circumstances since the previous appeal.  From the appellant’s point of view, the company has been able to contest the appeal decision.  However, while I accept that the evidence of the Licensing Officer, for example, lacks detail with respect to its implications for the present proposal, it appears to be substantially the same information as that taken into consideration by the previous Inspector, along with the range of the other information before him.  The evidence before me is of a similar nature to that before the previous Inspector, and I see no compelling reason to take a different view on it.  In addition, I am not persuaded that, in the appellant’s view, the previous Inspector acted unreasonably and imposed a condition that did not meet all the tests in Circular 11/95, The use of conditions in planning permissions.     
11. With regards to objections to the proposal, many third party representations have been made in reaction to the present proposal.  This indicates to me that the problems identified in 2011 remain of very considerable concern in 2012, and that fear of crime is genuine and persisting.  In addition, two other more recent matters add weight to concerns about betting offices on Deptford High Street.  First, the Mayor of London issued a statement on 18 October 2011 regarding the effect of the proliferation of betting offices on town centres, specifically citing “Deptford with seven betting shops on one street”.  (I saw 7 betting offices on the full length of Deptford High Street.)  Second, in January 2012 the Member of Parliament for Lewisham tabled a Private Member’s Bill to the effect that “betting shops” should be excluded from Class A2 of the Use Classes Order.  These matters may be political in origin and the Bill may not pass into law.  Notwithstanding this, they suggest to me that local concern over the number of betting offices on Deptford High Street has been of sufficient weight to attract wider attention at the constituency and London levels.
12. Another important change has been the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework [NPPF] in March this year.  This has cancelled and taken the place of the national planning policy referred to by the parties.  In favour of the proposal, the NPPF gives support to sustainable economic growth, and urges local planning authorities to “look for solutions rather than problems”.  Bringing the vacant appeal premises into economic use could contribute in a small way to these ends.  However the case has not been made that a betting office use is necessary in order to bring the premises into use: despite the small scale and local nature of many businesses along the High Street and the moderate quality of their premises, I observed only a few vacancies.  
13. In addition, the NPPF states that there are 3 dimensions to sustainable development - the economic, social and environmental roles.  “These roles should not be undertaken in isolation, because they are mutually dependent.”  With regard to promoting healthy communities, the NPPF says that planning policies and decisions “should aim to achieve places which promote [among other things] safe and accessible environments where crime and disorder, and the fear of crime, do not undermine quality of life or community cohesion” (paragraph 69 of the NPPF).  While the proposal might secure a small economic benefit, I consider that this would be outweighed by the significant social harm with respect to anti-social behaviour, crime or disturbance, as identified by myself and the previous Inspector.
14. I have further taken into account the appellant’s claim that the company is a responsible operator of betting offices.  I have no reason to doubt this, but any permission goes with the land and occupancy and management styles could change in the future.  Also, the appellant’s Statement refers to “a number of conditions” imposed on the Gambling Act licence of February 2011, and the company’s NPPF Statement maintains that conditions can be appropriately attached to the grant of planning permission “just as they have been to the licence already approved by the same local authority”.  However, although this is now the second planning appeal since that licence was given, I have not seen any wording for specific conditions that has been made available for formal consideration and consultation.
15. The appeal site is in the Deptford High Street Conservation Area.  I have seen no evidence to indicate that the proposal would not preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.
16. Taking all the matters before me into account, I have found no overriding reasons to take a different view from the previous Inspector, who declined to permit a betting office use for the appeal premises.  The evidence before me appears to be substantially the same as that put forward in the 2011 appeal.  In fact, I consider that the sum total of evidence against the proposal has on balance grown in weight since August last year (paragraphs 11 & 13 above).  I have seen no persuasive evidence that new planning conditions could be used to overcome the problems that have been identified, and thereby allow the disputed condition to be removed.  Neither have I seen persuasive evidence that the condition in dispute fails to meet the tests of Circular 11/95 and should be removed. 
17. Overall, I conclude that the balance of likelihood is that the use enabled by the removal of the condition in dispute would give rise to anti-social behaviour and disturbance to local residents and other users of Deptford District Centre; that the fear of crime would be enhanced by an additional betting office in close proximity to 5 others; and that there is a risk of an increase in actual crime. Such outcomes would broadly conflict with the intentions of criterion (d) of UDP policy STC4.  There would also be material conflict with the social component of sustainable development, as set out in the NPPF.  However, I have not identified conflict with any part of Policy 6 in the Lewisham local development framework Core Strategy (June 2011), also cited on the Council’s decision notice. 
18. Condition No.1 in the planning permission granted on appeal in 2011 is therefore necessary and should be retained, and so I dismiss this appeal. 
G Garnham

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Secret History or A Fisherman's Tale?

The BBC's 'Secret History of Our Streets' programme about Deptford has been much commented on. Crosswhatfields? points out that much of the ground was covered by Jess Steele in her 1993 book Turning The Tide, The History of Everyday Deptford. (Available via Amazon or any good library).The Deptford Dame pointed out that far from being the history of Deptford High Street, it was the history of Reginald Road. I do not accept that it was 'history' in any credible sense of the word. It is well worth reading the comments on both blogs.

It is not unfair to characterise the story told by John Bullman and Century Films as:

Settled white working class area full of salt of the earth types earning an honest crust destroyed and dispersed by nasty middle class Cholmonderly-Warner types who then shipped in people who have to be sub-titled on television because of their skin colour.

The reality is somewhat different.

Church records show Black and Asian people being baptised in Deptford in the first half of the 18th

Century. Anthony Black 'an Indian from Madras' was baptised in St Nicholas Deptford on 28 January 1704.The Deptford St Paul Baptism register records on 17 April 1737:
     "John S[on] of John Greenwich (Negro) Joyner Butt Lane"
The father may well be the same John Greenwich who was apprenticed to Deptford Joiner John Berry in 1730.

The Continuing Search for Black, Asian and Non European People in Early Modern Kent (pdf) contains details of many more baptisms, marriages and burials.

In the 19th Century waves of Irish, Italian, but particulary German immigrants settled in Deptford. After World War I locals with German names anglicised them. William Albert Schultz who had twice been Mayor of Deptford became William Albert Scott.

Bomb damage
During World War II Deptford not only suffered during the Blitz, but was on the receiving of Hitler's V1
Flying Bombs and V2 Rockets: SE8 SE14 The makers of Secret History remarked on how the High Street emerged from the war unscathed, but glossed over the extent of damage in surrounding streets. After the war the Attlee government introduced rent controls to stop private landlords cashing in on the housing shortage. The rent controls made it uneconomic for the big insurance firms such as the Prudential to continue to be residential landlords. In Deptford the Evelyn family sold the housing between Evelyn Street, Edward Street, the railway and Abinger Grove to the council in 1963.

Last weeks programme told us that the Price and Ovenell families owned many of the houses in Reginald Road and gave viewers the 'impression' that the houses had been bought with the income from 2 or 3 market stalls. The programme makers' idea of research was apparently sending an assistant producer to the London Metropolitan Archives to 'discover' records extensively referred to by Jess Steele  nearly twenty years ago. If they had employed a competent researcher they might have discovered a more likely source of family wealth. A basic, perhaps the most basic of all, research tool for anybody researching London in the last 200 years is 'The Times' Digital Archive 1795 - 1985. Search for Reginald Road Deptford and this pops up: 
Art Thefts Organised
A judge at the Central Criminal Court was told yesterday that there appeared to be a highly organised group, possibly of several gangs stealing valuable paintings in England.

Earlier Judge Edward Clarke, QC had sentenced two people to three years' imprisonment after they had been convicted of dishonestly handling a Watteau painting "Les Noces" valued at £150,000. They were Joseph Edward Tyrell, aged 45, builder, of Conduit Road, Plumstead, SE, and Pamela Doreen Price, aged 39, a stallholder of Reginald Road, Deptford, SE.

The judge told them: "This sort of offence must be discouraged...whether the people who take part are rich and unscrupulous art dealers or people who form the necessary link in the chain of disposing of property of this enormous value."

On the direction of the judge, the jury found Mr Tyrrell and Mrs Price Not Guilty of burglariously entering Sir John Soane's Museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields, Holburn, and stealing the painting.

Detective-sergeant Hill said an organised attempt was made to steal the painting and pass it on for export.

In reply to the judge, Sergeant Hill said: "Inquiries in the last 18 months indicate it is not just the work of one highly organised gang but possibly of several gangs. The whole operation appears to be highly organized."

The prosecution said in a statement Mr Tyrrell was alleged to have said that Mrs Price had asked him to help her dispose of the painting.

The Times, Thursday, Dec 18, 1969; pg. 4; Issue 57746; col E

Film Research
One of the most irritating aspects of the programme was the extensive use of stock footage, that had nothing to do with Deptford. Good Film Reseacher will find footage of just about every town and city in the UK from any decade in the last 100 years. Any professional film researcher would have pointed the programme makers in the direction of the 1972 Children's Film Foundation production Hide and Seek starring Gary Kemp. The script and the acting may be a bit naff, but it was shot on location in Deptford and shows the extraordinary extent of demolition in a way that The Secret History Of Our Streets completely failed to do. It is available on DVD from for $9.99 + shippin.

The Director of the programme told Broadcast Magazine that "We wanted these films to be a Who Do You Think You Are? for a street – but without the celebrities." Mr Bullman apparently fails to comprehend that Who Do You Think You Are? is based upon a solid base of professional research. 

UPDATE: 9.40pm 13 June 2012

The Guardian has published a letter from Nick Taylor's son explaining how his father was stitched up by the programme.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anthony Black: 'An Indian born at Madras'

Towards the end of the 18th Century the burial registers of Deptford St Nicholas contain a number of entries where the deceased is decribed as 'A Lascar from a Ship'. Lascars, in this context, were Indian sailors employed on British Ships.

Perusing the Baptism registers for the beginning of the 18th Century, I came across this entry dated 28 January 1704 for Anthony Black:

Anth. Black being an Indian born at Maddaras bapt in ?? Church

Anthony Black is unlikely to have been the first non-white in Deptford, but he the earliest that I have found recorded, so far.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sexy Fish

Dawn Lyon and Les Back have written an excellent little paper Fishmongers in a Global Economy: Craft and Social Relations on a London Market. The full abstract is below, but basically they contrast two Deptford High Street fishmongers Charlie, a white Londoner whose family has been in the fish business for over 100 years, with Khalid, an immigrant from Kashmir, who, even without the tacit knowledge of generations at his fingertips, has successfully found a place for himself in the local and global economy of fish.

"Fingers are like knives and knives are the extension of fingers." There is a realisation that preparing fish, like many manual tasks, depends not just on a set of actions related to size, weight etc., but that feel is important. I am reminded of visiting Chris Cary's Collections where second hand clothes are sorted by staff who know largely by feel what material a garment is made.

The language tends towards sociology-speak, the 'hover mouse over image for sound' does not work in Chrome or Firefox, but it is well worth a read. Many thanks to SociologyGoldsmiths @SociologyGold without whose tweet the article who have simply disappeared into the usual sociology black hole.

Fishmongers in a Global Economy: Craft and Social Relations on a London Market

by Dawn Lyon and Les Back
University of Kent; Goldsmiths, University of London

Sociological Research Online, 17 (2) 23

Received: 1 Feb 2012     Accepted: 5 Apr 2012    Published: 31 May 2012


This article is based on multi-sensory ethnographic research into fishmongers on a south London market, the setting for a specific topography of work. We contrast Charlie, a white Londoner whose family has been in the fish business for over 100 years, with Khalid, an immigrant from Kashmir, who, even without the tacit knowledge of generations at his fingertips, has successfully found a place for himself in the local and global economy of fish. The research pays attention to the everyday forms of work that take place when the fishmongers sell to the public. We use these two very different cases to explore what constitutes work and labour and the different sensibilities that these two men bring to their trade. Drawing on observations, photography and sound recordings, the paper also represents the fishmongers at work. We take the two cases in turn to discuss learning the trade and the craft of fishmongering, the social relations of the market, and the art of buying and selling fish. More generally, the article explores how global connections are threaded through the local economy within a landscape of increasing cultural and racial diversity. It also critically discusses the gain of the visual as well as the aural for generating insights into and representing the sensuous quality of labour as an embodied practice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Secret History of our Streets - Preview

John Price tells stories about his early family life and describes how the streets of Deptford have changed. The market is now a road, his Nan's house is now a footpath and the crabs have become smaller, but no surprise that Harry Hayward manages to sneak into shot. Click on fullscreen to get the whole width.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

124 Deptford High Street

The 124 Deptford High Street development is due to have its launch in about 10 day. The developer's website exhorts us to LIVE COOL, EAT WELL, HANG OUT etc. The development is not without its critics among them the Deptford Dame and Crosswhatfields? .

Two matters that have not been mentioned, either by the developers or the critics, are the construction methods or the history of the site.

Viewed across the remains of the old Deptford Station
The 1970s Job Centre that was on the site was not completely demolished. The foundations and much of the original structural steel was left in place with new steel attached to old to provide the framework of the new larger building on the site. This means that far less energy (therefore much lower Carbon Dioxide emissions) was used in erecting the new building than in conventional construction. Sadly this does not seem to be a selling point for the development and does not find its way onto the developer's website or their sales brochure. Hopefully at least a summary of the structural engineering and some photos from the end of the demolition / de-construction phase will find their way into Lewisham Local History Library.

Site History
124 Deptford High Street (actually 122 & 124) is best known locally as the site of the Deptford Job Centre that closed in November 2010, above which was a solicitors and then an African church. The job centre was followed by the short-lived Social Centre Plus

Before the Job Centre was built around 40 years ago it was the site of Deptford Congregational Church. Originally known as Butt Lane Independent in 1702 the Meeting House was rebuilt in 1756 and replaced by a large chapel in 1862. (Butt Lane was renamed High Street in the 1820s)

The Deptford Congregational Church on Deptford High Street originated in a meeting house of 1702. This was rebuilt in 1756 and then was replaced by a large chapel in 1862. The church closed in 1969. 

A stunning Communion Cup, below, made by City of London silversmith Jonathan Madden was presented to the Church by an E. Swallow in 1708. This two-handed cup is on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, located at Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, room 83, case 6C.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Popery

Some more photos of Pete Pope (4 Aug 1949 - 11 May 2012)  The funeral is on 15 June, fuller details here

Pete and an admirer, 
Dog and Bell July 2010
thanks to Colin Bodiam

The Five Bearded Wonders, 
 Dog and Bell July 2010
thanks to Jill Sull

Three bearded Wonders,

Extreme Picnicking, Christmas Day 2005
in front of the Peter the Great Statue.
Thanks to Sam and Piv.