Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ha'Penny Hatch – local landmark threatened

 The Lifting Bridge at Ha'penny Hatch  Photo by Deptford Visions

Whilst 500 years of Deptford history is under threat from a multi-national company operating out of Hong Kong (we refer, of course, to Convoys Wharf) and by mostly all accounts supported by a weak and vain council leadership ready to trade heritage and local people's needs for some quick and easy Section 106 money that may never be spent in Deptford, more recent signs of the area's industrial heritage are now under threat.

The lifting bridge at Ha'Penny Hatch lies under the jurisdiction of Network Rail. Rumour has it (yellow jackets and suits were spotted with technical equipment and were cross-examined by a local) they are considering its removal, due the potential costs of maintaining the structure, which obviously, should it become unsafe, may cause quite a hazard to train travel. Network Rail reckon they don't have enough cash to maintain the old iron structure.

Many people refer to the lift bridge as the Ha'Penny Hatch, but the name actually refers to the lower crossing on the Creek. The bridge was built in 1963 to replace the original bridge dating from 1838. The Greenwich Phantom has a marvellous story on the history.


  1. it would be tragic if this piece of industrial heritage were to go, it's a striking and modernistic 'sculpture' - the 'Angel of Deptford' you might say.

  2. Dear crosswhat, is this section of the railway within the section that is listed?

  3. There are interesting navigational issues here,somewhat weakened by the low height of the DLR. The right of navigation includes masted vessels, even now, so if a riparian owner wanted to berth such a vessel upstream of the bridge railtrack would have to unweld it and lift it so no wonder they want to make it disappear. Thanks to the slimeballs at the Catford Bunker the only two wharves downstream of the DLR are the waterboard and faircharm. I was the only objector at the planning hearing for the DLR demanding that they build it at the height of the lifted bridge. Needless to say, I was completely ignored. Even the poxy PLA refused to help, "custodians of the river?" PAH !
    A few years previously to this I was going to buy a beautiful 150ft Edwardian whaler (now earthkinds "Ocean Defender" ) what stopped that plan was when I asked Railtrack to lift the bridge. They made it clear that they'd fight me all the way so I bottled out. The navigation right is how you fight them I reckon.

  4. The viaduct is a listed structure. As the bridge is attached to the viaduct this listing includes the bridge even if it is not mentioned specifically in the listing description.

    By virtue of being attached to the listed structure the bridge is effectively protected. This should however be confirmed by the local EH officer responsible. PPS5 covers this aspect of associated structures in more depth, as does EH new document on The Setting of Heritage Assets. See also, Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (The Grenada Convention, Council of Europe 1985)

  5. I agreed with the shipwrights; if the lifting bridge itself is not listed, it is within the curtilage of a listed structure.

    Wonder if the bridge is on the Lewisham or the Greenwich side, any ideas?

  6. good news for the bridge! all they need is for an 'accident' to happen and make it a dangerous structure . . .