Monday 31 October 2011

Deptford presents: Alternative visions for the King's Yard

Friday 4th November, 6.30pm - 10pm; presentation at 7pm.

Saturday 5th November 9.30am - midday. Drop-in open house.
The Master Shipwright's House
Watergate Street

This exhibition is a showcase for local responses to the development opportunity at Convoys Wharf, the former King's Yard at Deptford. A large portion of this forty-acre stretch of the Thames has been closed off to the public for the last five centuries, but now it is to be developed into a new neighbourhood with a range of homes and spaces for work and play.

The King's Yard is one of the most significant historic locations on London's riverside: since the Royal Naval Dockyard was founded here by Henry VIII in 1513, this was the starting point of some of the greatest voyages and maritime innovations in our nation's history.

Portrait of the Lennox by Willem Van de Velde circa 1684 (National Maritime Museum)

It was here that Sir Francis Drake was knighted, and here also that Elizabeth I commanded that his ship the Golden Hind be preserved as a monument in his memory.

The Golden Hind painted by Harold Willier. (National Maritime Museum)

Part of the site was at one time the home of the diarist John Evelyn, and his famous garden here at Sayes Court was a favourite retreat of his good friend Samuel Pepys – whilst Peter the Great showed his appreciation by riding through the holly hedges in a wheelbarrow. This garden had an exhilarating renaissance in the 19th century, when it became a public park which played a formative role in the origins of the National Trust.

John Evelyn: carving by Grinling Gibbons, 17th century. (National Maritime Museum)

Inspired by this wealth of heritage, local residents and designers have proposed a series of interventions which use the physical history within the site to create a dynamic environment with a strong sense of identity and local pride.

Suggestions include building a Restoration warship using a combination of traditional and modern ship-building skills, and recreating the historic garden as an innovative and productive public open space. The ideas put forward in this exhibition focus on activities which encourage collaboration between the existing community and its new residents, helping to meld the development into the vibrant neighbourhood of Deptford.

The workhouse in 1840; it was built on part of Evelyn's land after Sayes Court was demolished in the 18th century

With elements ranging from local to international significance and opportunities for education, work and leisure, Deptford Presents proposals which have the capacity to inform and infuse the wider design to create a world class place for London.

Come along on 4th or 5th November to find out more!

If you intend to come, please help us plan by sending a brief RSVP to


  1. Great post. Just a couple of historical inaccuracies regarding Sayes Court. That painting of the workhouse actually dates to 1840. The building ceased being used as a workhouse in 1848. It is not the same building as John Evelyn's manor house, which was demolished in the eighteenth century.

  2. I have amended the caption, thanks for picking that up.

  3. isn't it abundantly clear from the invitation image how the slipway adds to the understanding of the Olympia building and vice-versa? Come on Lewisham and English Heritage! Isn't it a simple matter of you applying your own policies? Haven't EH just published a whole new document