Thursday 17 May 2012

Video of Convoys Wharf Consultation Day

Public Open Day - March 2012 from HardHat on Vimeo.

This short video made by Hard Hat, Hutchison Whampoa's communications team, gives a flavour of the consultation day held in March 2012. You can also read our report of the event here.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Meanwhile, in Deptford Docks...

SALON, the Society of Antiquaries of London, has covered Convoys Wharf in its latest online newsletter (14 May 2012).

Meanwhile, in Deptford Docks...

The Council for British Archaeology is engaged in another campaign with a maritime flavour down in Deptford Dockyard, in the East End of London, where developer Hutchinson Whampoa have plans to build 3,500 new homes, plus hotels, offices and a cultural centre on a huge site called Convoy’s Wharf. Local people, while welcoming the investment, do not feel that the current master plan for Convoy’s Wharf pays sufficient heed to the heritage of England’s first Royal Dockyard, founded by Henry VIII in 1513, and visited by Peter the Great in 1698 when the Tsar came on a three-month fact-finding visit prior to establishing the Russian navy.

The target of heavy bombardment during World War II, the historic docks were levelled after the war, but recent archaeological work carried out by MOLA has revealed that far more archaeology survives than was thought, including impressive eighteenth-century dockyard walls and slipways and the ground floor and cellars of Sayes Court, home to the diarist and horticulturalist John Evelyn (it was here that Tsar Peter lived during his three-month visit as a guest of the English government, leaving such a trail of destruction that the Treasury eventually agreed to pay £350 to Evelyn in compensation).

Such is the strength of local feeling in favour of retaining and restoring evidence of the site’s past use that Lewisham Council has sent back the initial planning application for further thought, saying that the master plan was not ‘sensitive enough to the unique heritage assets of the dockyard’. As a consequence, the developers, Hutchinson Whampoa, have called in Sir Terry Farrell to look at redrawing the master plan.

The Council for British Archaeology has offered a helping hand and has convened a panel of independent experts from the Naval Dockyards Society, the Garden History Society, the Panel for Historic Engineering Works and the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. Hand in hand with the local campaign group ‘Deptford Is’, the CBA has offered to ‘assist the developers and English Heritage in their understanding and enhancement of the dockyard and its remarkable history … with the aim of achieving a better, heritage-led scheme that delivers wider public benefit and a more sophisticated approach to this internationally important site’.

The events that Deptford witnessed included the refitting of the Mary Rose, the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind in 1581, the refitting of HMS Bounty in 1787, the rebuilding of Cook’s Endeavour in 1768 and the construction of several of the warships that served under Nelson at Trafalgar. Just as importantly, lying beneath the site’s concrete are the avenues, orchards and trial beds of John Evelyn’s garden, where he experimented with the new plants brought back by Deptford ships from all corners of the globe, thus having a enormous influence on garden design and planting in England in the seventeenth century; a re-creation of that garden is certainly one possibility that the group would like the developers to consider.

Thanks to Jon Wright from the Council for British Archaeology for forwarding.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Lenox study day - save the date!

Deptford Is.. and Build the Lenox are working together to organise a study day which will be held at the Master Shipwright's House in Deptford.

There will be a series of talks given by experts on naval dockyards and the history of the Lenox and her sister ships, and we also hope to be able to bring you the latest news from the dockyard at Rochefort in France where the Hermione will just have taken to the water for the first time!

The Hermione under construction

If there is enough interest from delegates, we will investigate the possibility of visiting the Royal River exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich after the presentations.

The date for your diary is Wednesday 11 July.

There will be a charge for the event will include lunch and refreshments, with any surplus going to the funds for the Lenox project.

The full programme and booking details will be announced on this site and on Build the Lenox before the end of May.

We hope to see you in July!

Friday 11 May 2012

Build the Lenox forms a CIC

The proposal to build a replica of the Restoration warship the Lenox in the restored King's Yard is one of the projects that comes under the Deptford Is.. umbrella organisation, so we are pleased to announce that Build the Lenox has now been constituted as a Community Interest Company and is starting the process of raising funds and applying for grants.

Build the Lenox already has a project website where you can get more details about this exciting community-led proposal, and has just added a funding page with information about what costs are involved in running the campaign and how they are being met so far.

A Paypal donate button has been included for anyone wanting to support the project, and the team will be announcing specific fundraising efforts in the near future.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Thank you for signing our petition

Things have moved on considerably since we began our campaign in September 2011. Our online petition to Lewisham Planning, Hands Off Our Heritage, hopefully aided their resolve to work with Hutchison Whampoa to find a better solution for the site. Deptford Is... would like to thank all those who signed and recommended it.

Saturday 5 May 2012

John Evelyn study day

The John Evelyn study day organised by members of Deptford Is... in collaboration with the Garden History Museum and the London Parks & Gardens Trust was a great success, despite poor weather.

A report of the event was posted on London's Lost Garden blog.
The Mulberry Tree in Sayes Court Gardens