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


  1. Bill, surely Social Centre Plus never managed to fully penetrate this building – they were next door where Utrophia presently is?

  2. Sue,

    What is now Utrophia was the main (public) Social Centre Plus space, but they were in 124 as well. There is some detail on the link above.

  3. Great cup. If only Lewisham Borough had a local history museum (based in Deptford?) where things like this could be displayed.