Monday, March 15, 2010

Deptford or Greenwich

Back in August last year, where work to shore up the Creek's banks was being carried out, a part of Greenwich made a dash from beside Norman Road towards Deptford.  Today I was looking at and I noticed a banner advert for Cycles UK:

Creek Road, Greenwich, SE8? So, while they're busy keeping Greenwich in Greenwich, Greenwich has only gone and colonised Creek Road.  No mention about Deptford at all, just a ''helpful quality cycle shop for the local community.''  You have to wonder which local community they are talking about because it's obviously not the Deptford community or they wouldn't go out of their way to hide the fact that they're actually in Deptford.  Next door, Careers Development Group, a charity sponging off the state to mess New Deal claimants about, do the same thing.

People will get quite agitated about this Greenwich-in-Deptford phenomenon when you tell them that they're actually in Deptford.  So why does it happen?

Is it because that part of Deptford is administered by Greenwich Council?  That's certainly part of it.  But I think it's much more to do with Greenwich having much more of a cachet than its lowly neighbour, and estate agents will not flinch at writing ''Greenwich SE8'' or Creekside Village, Greenwich.''  I've even seen estate agents talking about ''Greenwich SE18,'' which as we all know is actually Woolwich.  Certainly, it comes under Greenwich Council but it's still Woolwich - well, it's exactly the same thing that's happening here.

It's the place and the people who live there that earns the name, not the estate agents who brand  it.

I had friends who lived at the bottom of Deptford High Street and it was Greenwich Council who collected the rates and council tax and allegedly cleaned the streets, but if the logic of ''it's Greenwich Council so it's Greenwich'' holds forth then the High Street loses one end.  And St Nicholas' Church, the original parish church of Deptford,  becomes St Nicholas, Greenwich.

For me, anyone who thinks that Creekside runs from Deptford in the south to Greenwich in the north has confused property values for place values. Creekside does not leave Deptford! And by perpetuating the lie it does Deptford a disservice. Because there's an underlying assumption that Deptford = run down, poor while Greenwich = rich and ''on the map.''  So Deptford can't win; newer developed parts get assimilated into Greenwich while Deptford retreats. 

Still, as a kind of revenge, you can tell yourself that anyone who lives or works in that part of Deptford aspires to be in Greenwich.  But can't afford it.

Update, 17 March: thanks to a post from Guru Red over on the ''tescos'' article, I've learned that the Theatro development on Creek Road is also cheapening the good name of Greenwich:
In a sane world we'd be able to stop Greenwich at the west of the Creek and save them from diluting their own precious product....


  1. little black catMonday, March 15, 2010

    Ha, ha, estate agents have been doing that round here for ages. The now-no-longer-new Barrats Homes rabbit hutches along Douglas Way have been calling themselves Greenwich SE8 for years and they're practically in SE14!

  2. I like the estate agent who called everything this side of Deptford "Greenwich Borders"

  3. Though, given that this area was once part of the Blackheath Hundred, we should just tell people that we live in Blackheath....