Sunday, 15 November 2015

How Deptford has changed in a decade

A lot has changed in Deptford in ten years. If you remember Little Mo's cafe, Witcomb Cycles, The Last Lick wine bar (yes really!) and the old butchers shop that used to sell tins of pease pudding, you might know some of the faces in Michael Smith's three-day photography project in Deptford in 2005 the photos from which he's finally got around to posting online.

Many of the faces are still around on the high street, just looking a bit older and a bit thinner on top, but a lot of them have come and gone. Michael wants to hear from anyone who knows any of the people in the pictures, contact him at

All photos copyright of Michael Smith; see if you recognise any of the others on his page.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Petition to bring back the anchor

The Deptford Society has teamed up with Deptford is Forever to launch a new petition asking Lewisham Council to return the anchor to Deptford High Street.

The anchor was removed ahead of the high street refurbishment and in response to lobbying by some people who blamed it for attracting street drinkers to the south end of the high street. Money from the Mayor's outer London fund was used to pay for the refurbishment that was carried out - here's how the top of the street was intended to look after the work.

And here's what's there now: shabby and useless street furniture, electric points and broken bollards.

An abandoned waymarker, still wrapped in its plywood coffin. Covered in fly posters and slowly rotting.

An empty space where a cafe kiosk/row of trees/symbolic anchor/all three could happily co-exist. Now providing parking for Asda trucks to unload their goods noisily at anti-social hours.

The former setting of the anchor, on a low plinth, made it attractive to street drinkers, and their presence was one of the reasons given for its removal. Now the drinkers gather in Giffin Square instead, next to the school and library. 

Removing the anchor has swept away Deptford’s history, but the social issues persist. There is an empty space where the anchor once stood as a proud reminder of the Royal Dockyard. 
Our anchor can be reinstated without a plinth. The landscape architect responsible for installing the anchor in 1988 has said the plinth is not essential. There are many examples of anchors without plinths across London and the UK. 

Deptford began as a small fishing village and grew prosperous from its position on the river. The anchor serves as a reminder of the skills, industry, trade and international links so significant to the town’s history. We therefore demand that the Deptford Anchor is returned – without a plinth – to its rightful place, marking the gateway to the river where the town was born. 

It's time for something different. Time to bring back the anchor.
Sign it here.