Friday 28 October 2011

Battle of Convoys Wharf

A two page article with the title 'Battle of Convoys Wharf' appeared in the Evening Standard on Wednesday 26th October, in the arts section of the newspaper.

The article - which you can read in full here - was written by Kieran Long and addresses some of the issues that Deptford is.. wants to be more extensively considered by the council and developer Hutchison Whampoa.

Long visited the site and interviewed Chris Mazeika of the Master Shipwrights House in an attempt to understand more about the Deptford is campaign. As a result, he has written an in-depth piece which raises some very pertinent questions about the planning process, and identifies with some of the aspects of the Convoys Wharf proposals that we are questioning.

In particular, he questions the difficulty of translating a local understanding of, and passion for, heritage and place, into a practical manifestation of the same:
"The nuanced understanding of the place that the locals advocate here in Deptford is mirrored all over the city by local interest groups, amateur historians, and concerned residents near large regeneration projects. But it has no way of gaining traction in a development process involving this much money, and that is a failure of our planning system and of imagination of the politicians who are the guardians of our city."

It's also reassuring that Long supports our assertion that the bland presentation of the masterplan is harmful and undermines any confidence in the outcome. We believe that with skilled architects engaged in the design process, a much more sympathetic and appropriate solution could be developed.

But in deploying standard urban design tactics the masterplan does find itself ignoring what makes this place special in the first place. I suspect the history of the site will be signalled in branding and signage more than any real, physical or spatial sense. And while it is a very difficult task to capture all these historical and cultural layers of a city in urban design and architecture, good architects should be able to do it.

As for 'vagueness' about our aims, we intend to dispel this impression when we launch our alternative proposals next week (see details here).


  1. Interesting comment over at Deptford Dame, including photo of spoof Private Eye cover spotted on local wall showing Museum of London archaeology team leader Duncan Hawkins pronouncing "Nothing here, mate!"

  2. Deptford Royal Dockyard Site is an Integral
    Part of British Naval Heritage just like Greenwich

    Properly Restored and Rebuilt with Wooden
    Historic Ship Building and given a Ceremonial
    Commission as HMS DEPTFORD Deptford Royal Dockyard Site would be a Splendid Asset of Deptford