Saturday, October 9, 2010

A brief history of Deptwich-Greenford borders.

I noticed the other day that we have 3 new street names in the neighbourhood.  It's something that hasn't happened for a while, but it's by no means a recent phenomenon.  Back when this map was drawn in 1850, the western end of Evelyn Street was still called  Broomfields Place and Creek Road was New Road, Copperas Lane linked up with Deptford Church Street (more like Berthon Street)  -  and Creekside wasn't even a glint in the developer's grandchildren's eye.

In less than 2 decades, however, the whole local landscape had undergone a fairly dramatic reshaping.  The Bridge has been rebuilt and Creek Road has appeared, along with Evelyn Street, though the two don't yet join up.  The street that marked the western boundary of where Crossfields now stands, has appeared under the name Creek Street, now Creekside. But instead of joining up with Deptford Church Street, Creek Street joins up with the attractively named ''Slaughterhouse Lane.''  If you come onto what's now Creekside from the Bird's Nest roundabout, where the road turns left there's still a trace of a road continuing straight on into the APT yard.  This is pretty much the line of Slaughterhouse Lane.
By 1898, when Charles Booth was drawing up his poverty map, Copperas Lane has moved westward to where Copperas Street now is, and Berthon Street has appeared.  Curiously, where Crossfields estate now is, was not then in St Paul's Parish, but was in the Christchurch Parish.  Creek Road has now joined up with Evelyn Street, cutting diagonally across Queen Street
Incidentally, the different colouring of the housing indicates poverty levels.  Black, as seen next to Giffen Street, for example, marks the poorest areas.  Booth classified these households as occupied by:

''The lowest class which consists of some occasional labourers, street sellers, loafers, criminals and semi-criminals. Their life is the life of savages, with vicissitudes of extreme hardship and their only luxury is drink''

So, it's the old Anchor club!

Dark blue, such as where Cockpits Arts/Drake House now is and between Berthon Street and Bronze Street, denoted:

''Casual earnings, very poor. The labourers do not get as much as three days work a week, but it is doubtful if many could or would work full time for long together if they had the opportunity. Class B is not one in which men are born and live and die so much as a deposit of those who from mental, moral and physical reasons are incapable of better work''

Where Crossfields now stands, there's a slightly ''better'' class, shown in light blue:

'' Intermittent earning. 18s to 21s per week for a moderate family. The victims of competition and on them falls with particular severity the weight of recurrent depressions of trade. Labourers, poorer artisans and street sellers. This irregularity of employment may show itself in the week or in the year: stevedores and waterside porters may secure only one of two days' work in a week, whereas labourers in the building trades may get only eight or nine months in a year.''

Charles Booth is almost sympathetic to our plight.

And moving north, to where our new street names are, we see the area is colour coded in red.  We should be reassured to learn that returning to this area will be...

''Lower middle class. Shopkeepers and small employers, clerks and subordinate professional men. A hardworking sober, energetic class.''

These sober and hardworking people moving into ''Creekside Village'', however, might be surprised to learn that ''Creekside is perfectly located within Greenwich...''

Anyhow, here are our new streets.  I bring you....Harmony Place
 And Bridge Walk...
 And Doing the Laban Walk....
 And finally, if you think Creekside is perfectly located within Greenwich, you've just moved from here, haven't you?

If you're interested in browsing these old London maps here is where they can be found:

The top 1850 map, ''Cross' New plan of London,'' is here

The second map, Stanford's Map of London (1862-1871),'' is here

Booth's Poverty map (1886-1903) can be found here


  1. shipwright's palaceSunday, October 10, 2010

    laughed out loud and hissed when i saw Harmony Place, but missed Laban Walk, now that's even funnier!

  2. Yes I too had laughed at Harmony Place and Laban Walk, but hadn't spotted Bridge Walk - perhaps the least contentious?!

  3. It's bizarre down there on Harmony Place...from Creek Road, one gets a view of the Laban, from Copperas Street or whatever it's called now, you get a view of the rather uninspiring student quarters and a dwarfed Duke pub...a big change from the original plans which somewhat hid the Laban from street view.

    BTW, if you look at the Lewisham planning from 2007 on this, you'll find Creekside Village West (bounded by Creekside, Creek Road and Copperas Street) was submitted to Greenwich. Creekside Village East (Creekside, Deptford Creek and Copperas Street) was submitted to Lewisham... Ergo, the present development can legitimately claim to be in Greenwich (Deptford SE10).

    Nice timing with BBC4's The Beauty of the Map this evening, and co-incidentally, The Genius of British Art, both featuring Hogarth. The former also featured Stephen Walter's contemporary map of London 'The Island' ( as well as the maps of Morgan and Roche. No mention of Booth's map, which is surely the most interesting (and discussed in association with the reissue of Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor on Newsnight last week, which grew the seeds of this post).

    And I see we've inspired Shipwright's Palace to unearth more maps...(from where?!)

    BTW, the developers of Creekside Village, Ampurius, are virtually untraceable apart from an address in St Helier, but are stated as being an Israeli company according to issue 12 2003...not that it's relevant, just annoying that it's so difficult to discover...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Shipwright's Palace, I'm not sure which bit of land you're talking about. If you mean that vaguely triangular plot of land between Creek Road and McMillan Street, I thought that land had been built on for ages.

  6. Can you help. Trying to find out about original flats on Crossfield Lane/Street which were demolished early 1970's. My sister and her husband lived in one of these abodes which if I remember correctly, as I was only 8/9 yrs old at the time, were situated along St Pauls Church to the right as you look from Deptford High Street, and the back faced a small square and the mechanics yards under the railway bridge.
    The flat itself consisted of one room for living room and kitchen and dinner; one bedroom that literally only housed one double bed and nothing else, there was a small fireplace on the end of the bed literally; there was not bathroom, toilet in a small cupboard behind what was deemed the kitchen! Kitchen bit being sink with cupboard underneath and small square window to look out at the flat opposite. The front doors almost faced one another (in a V shape) and naturally because of the age of the blocks there was no lift just iron railed stairs.
    I would love to know if I am correct in stating where these flats were situated and if anybody can give more information of put up any photos of these flats.