Friday 21 February 2014

Royal Dockyard foundation stone set to return to Deptford

University College London has pledged to return the Tudor foundation stone from the former Royal Dockyard to its home in Deptford.

The stone bears the initials of Henry VIII and his first queen Katherine of Aragon with a marriage knot, and belongs to the original naval storehouse built by the king in 1513 - the scheduled ancient monument whose below-ground remains are due to built over as part of the proposed Convoys Wharf development.

The stone marks the official royal foundation of the dockyard to the service of Henry VIII, when the navy became established; a facility which went on to build ships that sailed the world, defended Britain and discovered new lands.

The stone was rediscovered by Chris Mazeika, a member of Deptford Is.. whose research into the dockyard led him to 1950s drawings of the artefact. It was during a chance visit to the UCL geography department that he glimpsed the stone, which had lain forgotten since being salvaged from the bomb-damaged yard after WWII. 

The university has now pledged to return the stone to its home, after efforts by World Monuments Fund Britain and Dr Negley Harte, honorary fellow and honorary research fellow in history at the university.

Dr Jonathan Foyle, chief executive of WMF Britain said: "The rediscovery of the foundation stone reminds us that this site was the foremost royal dockyard of the Tudor period, and an historic site of national importance at this critical moment when its future is to be decided by the Mayor of London. We hope that UCL's pledge will help to inform the Mayor's decision on the scheme so that the cultural heritage is fully recognised and expressed in any future development."


  1. This is an amazing find. Where will it be placed? Why are the developers allowed to build over the Scheduled Ancient Monument? Can it be better planned around? Surely there is a way to incorporate this all into the new building?

  2. @anon 9.53 unfortunately the law allows 'preservation in situ' of such structures, which means that the developer simply has to place the foundations such that they don't damage the remains.

  3. Could the developers be asked/required to place a glass viewing window above the remains to allow them to be viewed and not forgotten/

  4. They are able to do that, or put a raft over them so there is a room to go in and view the remains or walk in them, as one can do at the Rose Theatre on the south bank, or they could be designed around as has been achieved at the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch. But you will have to lobby the council and EH to do this at the planning stage. It could be really exciting.Write a letter or email.

  5. Rediscovered! Everyone knew where it was. At a conference prior to the "rediscovery" it was talked about being at the university. A conference the "discoverer" was at by the way. There are also earlier newspaper articles that state it's location.
    I thought it was only the developers that participated in this kind of lie. Apparently it goes both ways.