Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Putting the clock back in Deptford.(3)

To avoid a bit of disorientation, it might be useful to note that where we now have, working south, 3 parallel roads - Giffin Street, Frankham Street and Reginald Road - in Booth's day there were 5 parallel roads - Giffin Street, Regent Street, Stanhope Street, Hale Street and Reginald Road.  Looking at this map:

it appears that Regent Street - or Stanhope Street -  has been re-named  Frankham Street, and Hale Street has disappeared apart from the High Street end where there's the remains of a narrow road behind the Shaftesbury Centre (or whatever that churchy-chapelly thing is called).

The next part of Booth's walk takes him from  Mechanics Path/Resolution Way.

 On the west side by the railway is a passage leading to High Street. Ground on south side is taken for Builder's Yard. (Holloway's), one house occupied by foreman. Two and three storied houses; a few shops,

On the site from Browne House and further south, he notes:

opposite Giffen Street and south of that point, people are poor. Barefoot girl came out of one house. Group of women talking in doorway near Hale Street.

For Booth, the sight of a ''Barefoot girl'' is a clear indication of poverty. Women standing in doorways are another.  And

Men sitting on pavement outside publichouse with feet stretched across footway. Pony cart standing on road – chalked for sale. Few shops are comfortable. German baker etc.

hardly makes the area seem more prosperous.  

W along Giffen Street. 3 storied, about 6 rooms. Many of the houses at the east end are dilapidated and boarded up. Slatternly women standing about; some shoeless children. Low class, some prostitutes, hawkers, etc. Some houses let in furnished rooms. Street Roadway has been made up – covered with tar paving and shingle.

All this sounds very attractive.  Low classes, poverty, prostitutes and hawkers. And again, women standing around talking, though this time they're ''slatternly.''  Though there were fewer ''charges'' therefore the area had improved.

Linking Giffin Street and Regent Street there appears to have been a connecting street, Bevill Street.  

S along Bevill Street. Deptford Ragged school – a large square at W. corner of Giffen Street. Three 3 St houses on east side – like Giffen St. Dark blue. E along Regent Street. Two storied houses – broken windows. Some street sellers. Two women talking in roadway as we entered. ''Well known prostitutes'' said the Inspector. The women moved off quickly, evidently recognising him. Board School extended to W. Dark Blue as map. S and W along Hale Street. Narrow crowded street. 2 st houses. Broken windows, sills broken away. Street doors open into room. Beds seen through ground floor windows. When visiting with Inspector in the morning the women were standing about the doors, criticising their visitors. At an afternoon visit I found them sitting on groups on the foot path, one on a chair, more on the edge of the curbstone whilst one woman completed a small circle by sitting in the road with her feet toward the kerb. Costers driving home on their pony carts. Candle factory at west end of street, emitting very evil smells. Not much crime. Dark Blue rather than Dk B lined as map. N into Stanhope Street. 2 st houses, flush with pavement. Broken windows, cemented roadway blocked with barrows. Two men breaking up some gas fitting and putting the metal in a sack. A few Italians; some costers and prostitutes; shoeless children running about and frowsy women gaping at the doors. Board School takes greater part of north side. The west end of the north side is more open and the people a little cleaner, approximating to LB. Dark blue lined black as map.

It seems odd that the only reference I can find to him returning somewhere for an ''afternoon visit'' happens to be to where there are well-known prostitutes.  I wonder why he returned.

(I've placed a transcription of Booth's walk onto the Backtalk page - if you are interested in his observations for the rest of his journey followed by his conclusions, please visit it.)


  1. Imagine, one would have to go to Mayfair today to find prostitutes, and the German Baker, and Italians, this is sounding much more like Islington and where could one find a barefoot girl today? Shoreditch? Dalston?

  2. Oh and Regent Street named after the Prince Regent (c.1900 Arts and Crafts) pub now Barclay's Bank.

  3. I wonder if the building marked with a cross, on Church Street midway between Reginald Road and Regent Street is Christ Church Deptford http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/vcdf/detail?coll_id=14754&inst_id=118&nv1=search&nv2=
    Does anyone know? I hope Frankham House turns out to be consecrated ground.

  4. It could well be. Your link places Christ Church in Church Street and Booth mentions a ''mission church''on his walkabout. But unfortunately he doesn't give the name.

    ''S along Church St. to Reginald Road. 2 and 2 ½ st houses. A few are modern, near on S. side near Church Street. Some houses covered with creepers; clean curtains. Nice little houses – only a few on south side near Reginald Place look poor. Two contractors; remainder comf. working people. Mission Church on north side. ''

  5. Are you getting a consultancy fee from the TV crew making another shock horror of how Deptford is Sue ?? They are using exactly the same Booth maps as a premise Come on girl..spill the beans !!

  6. No Tinker, Marmoset and I had been on the Booth maps for a while, and Marmoset followed it up a bit, which is why he hoped, when the Beeb came along asking local blogs to help out, he wanted people to come through us first so that memories did not end up on the cutting room floor.
    Unfortunately no one has the copyright on the idea, and the Beeb have gone their own way on it. Of course we got fuck all out of it! Don't be daft.