HOME

TheInfoList




Deptford Dockyard was an important
naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owned and operated by or for the military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized f ...
and base at
Deptford Deptford is an area on the south bank of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known a ...

Deptford
on the
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in England and the Longest rivers of the United Kingdom, se ...
, operated by the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It built and maintained warships for 350 years, and many significant events and ships have been associated with it. Founded by
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
in 1513, the dockyard was the most significant royal dockyard of the
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in and includes the during the of until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the in England whose first monarch was (b.1457, r.14851509). Historian (1988) argued that "Englan ...
and remained one of the principal naval yards for three hundred years. Important new technological and organisational developments were trialled here, and Deptford came to be associated with the great mariners of the time, including
Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake ( – 28 January 1596) was an English Exploration, explorer, sea captain, Privateering, privateer, Atlantic slave trade, slave trader, Officer (armed forces), naval officer, and politician. Drake is best known for Franc ...

Francis Drake
and
Walter Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh (; – 29 October 1618), also spelled Ralegh, was an English statesman, soldier, writer and explorer. One of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era The Elizabethan era is the epoch in the Tudor period The ...

Walter Raleigh
. The yard expanded rapidly throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, encompassing a large area and serving for a time as the headquarters of naval administration, and the associated Victualling Yard became the
Victualling Board The Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy, often called the Victualling Commissioners or Victualling Board, was the body responsible under the Navy Board for victualling ships of the British Royal Navy. It oversaw the vast operation of p ...
's main depot. Tsar
Peter the Great Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈp ...

Peter the Great
visited the yard officially incognito in 1698 to learn shipbuilding techniques. Reaching its zenith in the eighteenth century, it built and refitted exploration ships used by
Cook
Cook
,
Vancouver Vancouver ( ) is a major city in western Canada Western Canada, also referred to as the Western Provinces and more commonly known as the West, is a region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth desc ...
and Bligh, and warships which fought under
Nelson Nelson may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Nelson (1918 film), ''Nelson'' (1918 film), a historical film directed by Maurice Elvey * Nelson (1926 film), ''Nelson'' (1926 film), a historical film directed by Walter Summers * Nelson (opera), ''Ne ...
. The dockyard declined in importance after the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
. Its location upriver on the
Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England Southern England, or the South of England, also known as the South, is an area of England consisting of its southernm ...
made access difficult, and the shallow narrow river hampered navigation of the large new warships. The dockyard was largely inactive after 1830, and though shipbuilding briefly returned in the 1840s the navy closed the yard in 1869. The victualling yard that had been established in the 1740s continued in use until the 1960s, while the land used by the dockyard was sold, the area now being known as
Convoys Wharf Convoys Wharf, formerly called the King's Yard, is the site of Deptford Dockyard Deptford Dockyard was an important naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owne ...
. Archaeological excavations took place at the dockyard in 2010–12.


History


Foundation

The Deptford area had been used to build royal ships since the early fifteenth century, during the reign of
Henry VHenry V may refer to: People * Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor (1081–1125) * Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine (1173–1227) * Henry V, Count of Luxembourg (1216–1281) * Henry V, Duke of Legnica (c.  1248 – 1296) * Henry V of Iron (c. 1319 ...

Henry V
. Moves were made to improve the administration and operation of the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
during the
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in and includes the during the of until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the in England whose first monarch was (b.1457, r.14851509). Historian (1988) argued that "Englan ...
, and
Henry VIIHenry VII may refer to: * Henry VII of England (1457–1509), King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1485 until his death in 1509; the founder of the House of Tudor * Henry VII, Duke of Bavaria (died 1047), count of Luxembourg (as Henry II) from 1 ...
paid £5 rent for a storehouse in Deptford in 1487, before going on to found the
first royal dockyard
first royal dockyard
at
Portsmouth Portsmouth ( ) is a port and island city status in the United Kingdom, city with Unitary authorities of England, unitary authority status in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, southern England. It is the most densely populated city in the Unit ...

Portsmouth
in 1496. Henry's son,
Henry VIII Henry VIII (28 June 149128 January 1547) was King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry is best known for Wives of Henry VIII, his six marriages, including his efforts to have his first marriage (to Catherine of Aragon ...
furthered his father's expansion plans, but preferred locations along the Thames to south coast ports, establishing
Woolwich Dockyard Woolwich Dockyard (formally H.M. Dockyard, Woolwich, also known as The King's Yard, Woolwich) was an English naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owned and o ...
in 1512, followed by dockyards at Deptford in 1513 and
Erith Erith () is an area in south-east London, England, east of Charing Cross Charing Cross () is a junction in London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unite ...
in 1514. The latter two were centred around large storehouses, built in order to serve the navy's needs in the
War of the League of Cambrai The War of the League of Cambrai, sometimes known as the War of the Holy League and several other names, was fought from 1508 to 1516 as part of the Italian Wars The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Wars of Italy and some ...
.


The Tudor dockyard

Deptford's Tudor 'Great Store-house' (which outlasted the Dockyard itself) dated from 1513, as recorded on its (still surviving) foundation stone. in length, it stood parallel to the riverbank on a north-west/south-east axis; it was a two-storey brick building with an attic, standing high. The Great Dock (a double-length
dry dock A dry dock (sometimes drydock or dry-dock) is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform. Dry docks are used for the construction, maintenance, ...
) lay perpendicular to it, to the south-east, and was built at around the same time. North-west of the storehouse, a natural pond (which had formed at the mouth of the Orfleteditch, a minor
tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...
) was in 1517 converted into a basin (or
wet dock . A dock (from Dutch language, Dutch ''dok'') is the area of water between or next to one or a group of human-made structures that are involved in the handling of boats or ships (usually on or near a shore A shore or a shoreline is the ...
) to provide a protected
mooring A mooring is any permanent structure to which a vessel may be secured. Examples include quay A wharf, quay (, also ), or staith(e) is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and ...

mooring
area for several of the King's ships. The physical expansion of Deptford at this time reflected the increasing development and sophistication of naval administration: in the 1540s a large house was built, adjoining the north-west end of the storehouse, which served as he official residence of the
Treasurer of the Navy The Treasurer of the Navy, originally called Treasurer of Marine Causes or Paymaster of the Navy, was a civilian officer of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( Fr ...
up until the 1660s; and with the creation of the antecedent of the
Navy Board The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, na ...
in the mid-sixteenth century, a new house was built nearby at Deptford Strand for the "officers' clerks of the Admiralty to write therein". The dockyard grew to be the most important of the royal dockyards, employing increasing numbers of workers, and expanding to incorporate new storehouses. During the Siege of Boulogne in 1544, Deptford's dockyard managed expenditure of £18,824 (in contrast to £3,439 spent at Woolwich and £1,211 at Portsmouth). Its importance meant that it was visited on occasion by the monarch to inspect new ships building there. This was reflected in the expenditure of £88 by the Treasurer of the Navy in 1550 in order to pay for Deptford High Street to be paved, as the road was "previously so noisome and full of filth that the King's Majesty might not pass to and fro to see the building of his Highness's ships." The dock was rebuilt and wharves expanded to cover 500–600 feet of the river front by the end of the sixteenth century. It had by then become known as the "King's Yard". Deptford became increasingly sophisticated in its operations, with £150 paid in 1578 to build gates for the dry dock, removing the necessity of constructing a temporary earth dockhead and then digging it away to free the ship once work had been completed. The significance of Deptford to English maritime strength was highlighted when
Elizabeth I Elizabeth I (7 September 153324 March 1603) was Queen of England and Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to i ...

Elizabeth I
knighted
Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake ( – 28 January 1596) was an English Exploration, explorer, sea captain, Privateering, privateer, Atlantic slave trade, slave trader, Officer (armed forces), naval officer, and politician. Drake is best known for Franc ...

Francis Drake
at the dockyard in 1581 after his circumnavigation of the globe aboard the ''
Golden Hind ''Golden Hind'' was a galleon captained by Francis Drake in Francis Drake's circumnavigation, his circumnavigation of the world between 1577 and 1580. She was originally known as ''Pelican,'' but Drake renamed her mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of ...
''. She ordered that the ''Golden Hind'' be moored in Deptford Creek for public exhibition, where the ship remained until the 1660s before rotting away and being broken up. The dockyard is one of the locations associated with the story of
Sir Walter Raleigh Sir Walter Raleigh (; – 29 October 1618), also spelled Ralegh, was an English statesman, soldier, writer and explorer. One of the most notable figures of the Elizabethan era, he played a leading part in English colonisation of North America ...

Sir Walter Raleigh
laying his cloak before Elizabeth's feet. Deptford's significant role during this and later periods resulted in it being termed the "Cradle of the Navy."


Stuart expansion

The growth of other shipyards, particularly
Chatham Dockyard Chatham Dockyard was a Royal Navy Dockyard located on the River Medway in Kent. Established in Chatham, Kent, Chatham in the mid-16th century, the dockyard subsequently expanded into neighbouring Gillingham, Kent, Gillingham (at its most extensi ...
on the
River Medway The River Medway is a river in South East England. It rises in the High Weald AONB, High Weald, East Sussex and flows through Tonbridge, Maidstone and the Medway conurbation in Kent, before emptying into the Thames Estuary near Sheerness, a tot ...
, eventually threatened Deptford's supremacy, and by the early seventeenth century the possibility of closing and selling Deptford yard was being discussed. Though Deptford and Woolwich possessed the only working docks, the Thames was too narrow, shallow and heavily used and the London dockyards too far from the sea to make it an attractive anchorage for the growing navy. Attention shifted to the Medway and defences and facilities were constructed at Chatham and
Sheerness Sheerness () is a town and civil parish beside the mouth of the River Medway on the north-west corner of the Isle of Sheppey in north Kent on the river Thames estuary, England. With a population of 12,000, it is the largest town on the island. ...
. Despite this, Deptford Dockyard continued to flourish and expand, being closely associated with the
Pett dynasty The so-called Pett Dynasty was a family of shipbuilding, shipwrights who prospered in England between the 15th and 17th centuries. It was once said of the family that they were "so knit together that the Devil himself could not discover them". Thi ...
, which produced several master shipwrights during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. A commission in the navy in the 1620s decided to concentrate construction at Deptford. The commission ordered the construction of six
great ship The rating system of the Royal Navy and its predecessors was used by the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval p ...
s, three middling ships and one small ship, all from Andrew Borrell at Deptford, at a delivery rate of two a year for five years. By the seventeenth century the yard covered a large area and included large numbers of storehouses,
slipway A slipway, also known as boat ramp or launch or boat deployer, is a Inclined plane, ramp on the shore by which ships or boats can be moved to and from the water. They are used for building and repairing ships and boats, and for launching and r ...

slipway
s, , and other maintenance facilities and workshops. The Great Dock was lengthened and enlarged in 1610, several slipways were remodelled and in 1620 a second dry dock was built, with a third being authorised in 1623. There was further investment in the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existenc ...
period, with money spent on providing a mast dock and three new wharves. Facilities were again improved in the wake of the
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
of 1688: a 'Great New Storehouse' replaced the Treasurer's House alongside the Tudor storehouse, and by the end of the century additional ranges had created an informal quadrangle of buildings. At around the same time terraces of houses for the officers of the yard were built along the south-eastern boundary of the site (they continued in use after the closure of the Dockyard, and were only demolished in 1902). The yard was visited by
Peter the Great Peter the Great ( rus, Пётр Вели́кий, Pyotr Velíkiy, ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj), Peter I ( rus, Пётр Первый, Pyotr Pyervyy, ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj) or Pyotr Alekséyevich ( rus, Пётр Алексе́евич, p=ˈp ...

Peter the Great
, Tsar of Russia, in 1698. He stayed in nearby
Sayes Court Sayes Court was a manor house and garden in Deptford, in the London Borough of Lewisham on the Thames Path and in the former parish of Deptford St Nicholas, St Nicholas. Sayes Court once attracted throngs to visit its celebrated garden''John Ev ...

Sayes Court
, which had been temporarily let furnished by
John Evelyn John Evelyn (31 October 162027 February 1706) was an English writer, gardener and diary, diarist. John Evelyn's Diary, John Evelyn's diary, or memoir, spanned the period of his adult life from 1640, when he was a student, to 1706, the year he ...

John Evelyn
to Admiral
John Benbow John Benbow (10 March 16534 November 1702) was an England, English officer in the Royal Navy. He joined the navy aged 25 years, seeing action against Algerian pirates before leaving and joining the merchant navy where he traded until the Glori ...

John Benbow
. During the Tsar's stay, Evelyn's servant wrote to him to report "There is a house full of people and right nasty. The Tsar lies next your library, and dines in the parlour next your study. He dines at ten o'clock and at six at night, is very seldom at home a whole day, very often in the King's Yard or by water, dressed in several dresses." Peter studied shipbuilding techniques and practices at the dockyard. The Great Dock was rebuilt again in 1711, with gates provided halfway along its length so as to form a true 'double dock' (able to accommodate two vessels lengthwise).


Early-Georgian flourishing

The early to mid-eighteenth century was a time of considerable rebuilding and upgrading at Deptford Dockyard. The storehouse complex was rebuilt more formally as a quadrangle at this time, enclosing the original Great Storehouse of 1513; the mast pond was rebuilt, as was the wet dock, and the smithery (where anchors and other metal items were forged) was enlarged. By 1720 a further dry dock had been added (opening into the wet dock, as did three of the yard's five building slips). With the increasing specialisation among the royal dockyards, Deptford concentrated on building smaller warships and was the headquarters of the naval transport service. Throughout the various wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the navy sought to relieve pressure on the main fleet bases by concentrating shipbuilding and fitting out at riverine docks like Chatham, Woolwich and Deptford, leaving the front-line dockyards at Portsmouth, Plymouth and the Nore for maintenance and repair. Owing to its proximity to the offices of the Navy Board, Deptford also specialised in new or experimental construction work. In the 1750s the first of a new generation of
74-gun The "seventy-four" was a type of two-decked sailing ship of the line A ship of the line was a type of naval warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong ...
warships were built there. In the 1760s and 1770s, various trials were undertaken involving the sheathing of ships' hulls with copper to try to prevent the damaging effects of Teredo worm infestations. Experiments were conducted into converting seawater into drinking water and extracting pitch from coal, among other things. The yard was expanded northwards in the 1770s, enabling the addition of a second (and larger) mast pond, new mast houses and a sixth shipbuilding slip. A 1774 report described both large and small ships being built at Deptford, 'there being a sufficient flow of water for launching them, although not a sufficient depth at low water to lay the large ships on float'; (once launched, therefore, they were taken down river at the first opportunity). Smaller vessels such as frigates, however, could still be laid up at Deptford for repair or equipping, and in times of urgency it was possible to contract additional riggers from other yards on the Thames. Deptford was associated with a large number of famous ships and people. Several of the ships used by
James Cook Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milit ...

James Cook
on his voyages of exploration were refitted at the dockyard, including , and , as were ships used by
George Vancouver Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milita ...
on his expedition between 1791 and 1795, and . was refitted at the yard in 1787, as was , the vessel used by
William Bligh Vice-admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral William Bligh (9 September 1754 – 7 December 1817) was an officer of the Royal Navy and a colonial administrator. The Mutiny on the Bounty occurred during his command of in 1789; after being set adri ...
on his second breadfruit expedition. Warships built at the yard include and , which fought under
Nelson Nelson may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Nelson (1918 film), ''Nelson'' (1918 film), a historical film directed by Maurice Elvey * Nelson (1926 film), ''Nelson'' (1926 film), a historical film directed by Walter Summers * Nelson (opera), ''Ne ...
at the
Battle of Trafalgar The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval battle, naval engagement between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy, French and Spanish Navy, Spanish Navies during the War of the Third Coalition (August–D ...

Battle of Trafalgar
, and , which was captured in 1801 and fought for the French at the battle.


Late-Georgian decline

The end of the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
and the long period of relative peace that followed caused a decline in both the number of new ships demanded by the navy and the number that needed to be repaired and maintained. Deptford's location and the shallow riverine waters exacerbated the problem as work and contracts were moved to other royal dockyards. The yard had its location close to the main navy offices in London in its favour, but the silting of the Thames and the trend towards larger warships made continued naval construction there an unappealing prospect. Engineer John Rennie commented of the yard that
Ships-of-the-line which are built there cannot as I am informed with propriety be docked and coppered. Jury masts are put into them and they are taken to Woolwich, where they are docked, coppered and rigged, and I have been told of an instance where many weeks elapsed before a fair wind and tide capable of floating a large ship down to Woolwich occurred.
Nevertheless, Deptford continued to be used for experimental work: in 1822 HMS ''Comet'', the Royal Navy's first steam-powered ship, was launched there. Otherwise, only maintenance work was carried out at Deptford from 1821, and from 1830 the workload was reduced further as only shipbreaking was carried out there. The yard was largely shut down between 1830 and 1844, though the navy was reported to have kept a keel laid down in building slip No. 1, in apparent fulfilment of a lease from John Evelyn, who had made it one of the terms that a ship was always to be under construction at the yard. The navy had to hastily lay a keel down in 1843 when it was discovered that the term was not being adhered to.


Victorian rebuilding

Small-scale warship construction resumed, however, in 1837 (and continued for the next 32 years). Vessels launched at Deptford were fitted out at Woolwich Dockyard, where the navy had established its first steam factory (for building and installing marine steam engines). In 1838,
Joseph Huddart Joseph Huddart Royal Society, FRS (1741–1816) was a British hydrographer, engineer and inventor. He surveyed harbours and coasts but made a fortune from improving the design and manufacture of rope. He was highly regarded in his time, and his l ...
's original stationary rope making machine was installed in the dockyard. The Great Dock was rebuilt (following a partial collapse) in 1839–41, and at the same time it was enclosed beneath a substantial timber roof. Then, from 1844 to 1846, the old shipbuilding slips were comprehensively rebuilt. The new slips were numbered: No.1 was immediately north of the basin and ran down to the river; No.2 and No.3 were adjacent to each other and ran into the basin; No.4 and No.5 were also adjacent to each other and ran down to the river just south of the basin. Nos. 4 and 5 were also roofed in timber, whereas Nos.1, 2 and 3 were all given cast iron roofs manufactured by George Baker and Sons of Lambeth. In 1856, the Admiralty went as far as purchasing the adjoining
Sayes Court Sayes Court was a manor house and garden in Deptford, in the London Borough of Lewisham on the Thames Path and in the former parish of Deptford St Nicholas, St Nicholas. Sayes Court once attracted throngs to visit its celebrated garden''John Ev ...

Sayes Court
estate with a view to expanding the dockyard; however, following the introduction of
ironclad warships An ironclad is a steam-propelled warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed for ...
it soon became apparent that the days of Deptford Dockyard were numbered. Less than ten years later, a parliamentary committee recommended the closure of the yard 'so far as shipbuilding is concerned'.


Closure

Deemed surplus to requirements, Deptford Dockyard was closed on 31 March 1869. The screw corvette , launched on 13 March 1869, was the final ship built there. Nevertheless, although Deptford ceased operating as a building yard, part of the site (namely everything to the north of No.1 Slip) was retained and remained in operation as a naval store depot, overseen by an Inspector of Naval Stores. As such, 'Deptford (Store Yard)' continued to be listed as a home dockyard in the 1870s-80s (albeit with a permanent workforce of just 28, plus forty or so hired labourers). Its main role was to serve as the central despatch point for all naval stores destined for overseas stations; but some manufacturing also continued on site into the 1880s, mainly in the sail loft, colour loft and joiners shop. By the mid-1890s, the management of Deptford Naval Store Yard had been fully merged into that of the neighbouring Royal Victoria Victualling Yard. In 1898, owing to a lack of available space, the naval stores were moved to new warehouse accommodation at the
West India Docks The West India Docks are a series of three Dock (maritime), docks on the Isle of Dogs in London, England the first of which opened in 1802. Following the closure of the docks to commercial traffic in 1980, the Canary Wharf development was built on ...
(to be termed the Admiralty Depôt), and the Victualling Yard then expanded into the vacated area of the former Dockyard.


Administration of the dockyard

The first naval administrators of dockyards during the early
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in and includes the during the of until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the in England whose first monarch was (b.1457, r.14851509). Historian (1988) argued that "Englan ...
were called Keepers of the Kings Marine, John Hopton was Keeper of the Kings Storehouses for Deptford and Erith dockyards as well as Comptroller of the Navy. The Master Shipwright became then the key official at the royal navy dockyards until the introduction of resident commissioners by the Navy Board after which he became deputy to the resident commissioner. In 1832 the post of commissioner was replaced by the post of
superintendent Superintendent may refer to: *Superintendent (police), Superintendent of Police (SP), or Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), a police rank *Prison warden or Superintendent, a prison administrator *Superintendent (ecclesiastical), a church execu ...
.


Keeper of the Kings Storehouse at Deptford

Post holders included: * 1513–1524, John Hopton (also Keeper at
Erith Dockyard Erith Dockyard located at Erith, Kent, England was an early Tudor period, Tudor Royal Navy Dockyard, naval dockyard operated by the Royal Navy, English Navy that opened in 1512 due to persistent flooding the dockyard closed in 1521. History The na ...
) * 1524–1537,
William Gonson Vice-Admiral (Royal Navy), Vice-Admiral Sir William Gonson (1482–1544), was a List of Vice-Admirals of the Coast, Naval Judge and Naval Administrator of the English Royal Navy who served under Henry VIII of England, King Henry VIII. Biography C ...
(ditto) * 1544–1545,
William Wynter Admiral Sir William Wynter (c.1521 – 20 February 1589) was an admiral and principal officer of the Council of the Marine The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the Regulatory agency, ...
* 1545–1546, Richard Howlett.


Resident Commissioner of the Navy, Deptford

Included: * 1714–1739, Captain Henry Greenhill. * 1740–1745, Captain Thmoas Whorwood * 1744–1745, Commodore
Edward Falkingham Edward Falkingham (c. 1683 – 18 September 1757) was an officer in the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval perio ...
(also resident commissioner of the navy at
Woolwich Dockyard Woolwich Dockyard (formally H.M. Dockyard, Woolwich, also known as The King's Yard, Woolwich) was an English naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owned and o ...
) * 1746–1747, Captain James Compton. (ditto) * 1747–1762, Captain William Davies, (ditto) * 1806–1823, Captain Sir , KCH.


Captain Superintendent Deptford

* 1841–1851, Captain John Hill. * 1853–1856, Captain Horatio Thomas Austin * 1857–1863, Captain Claude Buckle. * 1863–1876, Captain
Henry Chads Admiral (Royal Navy), Admiral Sir Henry Chads (27 October 1819 – 29 June 1906) was a Royal Navy officer who went on to be Commander-in-Chief, The Nore. Naval career Born the son of Admiral Sir Henry Ducie Chads, Henry Chads joined the Roya ...
.


Master Shipwright Deptford dockyard

:Incomplete list of post holders included: *
Peter Pett Peter Pett, (6 August 1610 – 1672) was an English Master Shipwright and Second Resident Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard. He protected of his scale models and drawings of the King's Fleet during the Dutch Raid on the Medway, in Kent in June 166 ...

Peter Pett
, 1550-September 1589. * Joseph Pett, 1589–1606. * William Burrell, 1619-1623 *
Peter Pett Peter Pett, (6 August 1610 – 1672) was an English Master Shipwright and Second Resident Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard. He protected of his scale models and drawings of the King's Fleet during the Dutch Raid on the Medway, in Kent in June 166 ...

Peter Pett
, 16130-1652 *
Christopher Pett Christopher is the English language, English version of a Europe-wide name derived from the Greek language, Greek name Χριστόφορος (''Christóforos''). The constituent parts are Χριστός (''Christós''), "Christ (title), Christ" or ...
, August 1647-March 1668. * Jonas Shish, April 1668-November 1675. * Fisher Harding, October 1686-November 1705. * Joseph Allin, November–December 1705. * Richard Stacey, July 1715-August 1727. * Richard A. Stacey, August 1727-June 1742 * Joseph Allin, July 1742-June 1746. * John Holland, June 1746-April 1752. * Thomas Fellowes, May 1752-March 1753. * Thomas Slade, March 1753-August 1755. * Adam Hayes, August 1755-June 1785. * Henry Peake, December 1785-March 1787. * Martin Ware, March 1787-May 1795. * Thomas Pollard, June 1795 – 1799. * William Stone, July 1810-November 1813. * Henry Chatfield, 1853–1860.


Master Attendant Deptford dockyard

This officer of the royal dockyards was appointed to assist at the fitting-out or dismantling, removing or securing of vessels of war, etc., at the port where he was resident. Post holders included: * 1702 Feb-May, William Wright. * 1702–1703, Thomas Jennings. * 1703–1705, Thomas Harlow. * 1705–1706, Richard Clarke. * 1706–1707, John Knapp. * 1712–1720, Thomas Harlow. * 1720–1739, Walter Lunn. * 1739–1744, John Goodwin. * 1744, Nov-Dec, Piercy Brett. * 1744–1747, Richard Dennis. * 1747–1755, John Goodwin. * 1755–1770, Edward Collingwood. * 1770–1776, Thomas Cosway. * 1776–1786, Roger Gastrill. * 1786–1791, Benjamin Hunter.


After closure

Apart from the aforementioned Naval Store Yard (the northernmost part of the site, which was annexed to the Victualling Yard), the land occupied by the Dockyard was sold after its closure. Fifteen acres to the south-west (namely that part of the land that had been purchased in 1856) was sold back to William John Evelyn, who resolved to turned it into a public park. He planted the area with shrubs and trees taken from his grounds at
Wotton House Wotton House, or Wotton, Wotton Underwood Wotton Underwood is a village and civil parish in the Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority A unitary authority is a local authority for a place's borough which is responsible for all local government fun ...
, erected a
bandstand A bandstand (sometimes music kiosk) is a circular, semicircular or polygonal structure set in a park A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation Recreation is an activity of ...

bandstand
in the centre and another building to the side to serve as a museum to his ancestor Sir John. When he tried to place the park and museum in public ownership, however, he found that there was no appropriately constituted public body to receive the gift (the experience helped inspire his friend and contemporary
Octavia Hill Octavia Hill (3 December 1838 – 13 August 1912) was an English social reformer A reform movement is a type of social movement Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered s ...

Octavia Hill
to found the
National Trust The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, commonly known as the National Trust, is a charity and membership organisation for heritage conservation in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, cou ...

National Trust
). The rest of the area (amounting to about 30 acres) was bought by a Mr T. P. Austin for £70,000 in March 1869; he then 'almost immediately' re-sold 21 acres to the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United Kingd ...
for £91,500 (Austin was discovered to be the brother-in-law of the Solicitor to the Admiralty, and questions were asked in Parliament regarding the propriety of these transactions). The site was swiftly converted to become the Corporation of London's Foreign Cattle Market (providing space for the sale and slaughter of imported livestock, in accordance with the terms of the
Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act The Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act is a series of Acts of Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body of the United King ...
, 1869). The old slips and docks were filled in and paved over, and the sheds covering them were joined and fitted up with animal pens, enough to accommodate 4,000 cattle and 12,000 sheep (with room, if required, for thousands more animals outside). Numerous slaughterhouses were set up, filling most of the ground floor area of the Quadrangle Storehouse and adjacent buildings. The Market opened for use on 28 December 1871. A later periodical described how "Deptford Dockyard, dismantled and degraded from its olden service to the Navy, has just been converted into a foreign cattle market and a shambles." The area's use as a Cattle Market continued until 1913, when (rendered obsolete by the advent of
refrigerated The term refrigeration means cooling a space, substance or system to lower and/or maintain its temperature below the ambient one (while the removed heat is rejected at a higher temperature).International Dictionary of Refrigeration, http://dictio ...
transport) the market closed.Pevsner, The Buildings of England - London 2: South (Yale University Press, 1983 & 2002). Not long afterwards, in October 1914, the site was leased by the War Department to serve as a Supply Reserve Depot (SRD) for the Army Service Corps: a centralised facility for the storage and distribution of food and provisions for troops mobilised overseas. (It supplemented, and later replaced, a similar facility on the old Woolwich Dockyard site, which no longer had adequate space.) During the First World War, however, still more space was needed, and the War Department requisitioned all but 1.5 acres of W. J. Evelyn's public parkland for this purpose. The Depot and Victualling Yard were targets of a zeppelin attack in 1915. In the 1920s the War Office purchased the land, which remained in use as No.1 Supply Reserve Depot. In the mid-1930s Deptford was the Army's only Supply Reserve Depot, but it was judged to be highly vulnerable to air attacks; additional depots were hurriedly built at
BarryBarry may refer to: People and fictional characters * Barry (name), including lists of people with the given name, nickname or surname, as well as fictional characters with the given name * Dancing Barry, stage name of Barry Richards (born c. 1950) ...
and
Taunton Taunton () is the county town of Somerset, England, with a 2011 population of 69,570. Its thousand-year history includes a 10th-century monastic foundation, Taunton Castle, which later became a priory. The Normans built a castle owned by the Bi ...
, but Deptford remained in operation and indeed suffered much bomb damage during the Second World War: seven
V1 Flying Bomb The V-1 flying bomb (german: Vergeltungswaffe 1 "Vengeance Weapon 1")—also known to the Allies as the buzz bomb, or doodlebug, and in Germany as (cherry A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus '' Prunus'', and is a fleshy ...
s hit the former Dockyard area in June–August 1944, and a V2-rocket hit, doing further damage, the following March. After the closure of the Royal Victoria Victualling Yard in 1961, the Navy retained a small parcel of land adjoining the SRD to serve as a Royal Naval Store Depot (RNSD Deptford). Comprising 134,000 sq ft of covered and 75,000 sq ft of open accommodation, the depot handled the sending of naval freight through London's docks and airports and it contained warehouses for naval stores of stationery, furniture and other items, and garages and workshops housing the London area naval
motor transport Motor transport (MT) refers to the operation and maintenance of a military vehicle fleet (especially trucks), and sometimes to the servicemembers to operate and maintain them. Traditionally, motor transport organizations are responsible for a unit ...
organisation. The RNSD continued in operation until 1984 (when it was closed in the wake of the cost-cutting Defence Review of 1981). In 1984 the site was sold by the Ministry of Defence to Convoys Ltd (newsprint importers) and so became known as
Convoys Wharf Convoys Wharf, formerly called the King's Yard, is the site of Deptford Dockyard Deptford Dockyard was an important naval dockyard A naval base, navy base, or military port is a military base A military base is a facility directly owne ...
; later taken over by
News International News Corp UK & Ireland Limited (trading as News UK, formerly News International and NI Group), is a British newspaper publisher, and a wholly owned subsidiary of the American mass media conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer t ...
, it was used for the importing and storing of paper products. 28 years later they vacated the site, which now awaits redevelopment as a residential complex.


Legacy

Many of the Royal Dockyard's buildings and features survived until the 1950s, but they have since almost entirely been lost or destroyed and the waterways have been infilled. Henry VIII's Great Storehouse of 1513 was demolished in 1954 (its bricks were used for repairs to
Hampton Court Palace Hampton Court Palace is a Grade I listed A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England Historic England (officially the Historic Buildings and Mon ...

Hampton Court Palace
); and demolition of the adjacent eighteenth-century Storehouse buildings followed likewise in 1984. A few buildings have survived, however, most notably the Master Shipwright's House of 1708 (built by Joseph Allin), the nearby Office Building of 1720 and (from a late period of the dockyard's existence) the prominent Olympia Warehouse of 1846. (This building, of distinctive iron construction, was originally a double shed, built over dual slipways alongside the main Basin to enable shipbuilding to take place under cover). Moreover, remains of many of the yard's core features, including the slipways, dry docks, basins, mast ponds and building foundations, still exist below ground level and have been studied in archaeological digs. The subterranean remains of the Tudor Great Storehouse are now a
Scheduled Ancient Monument In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to ...
.


The Lenox Project

In 2013 the Lenox Project put forward a formal proposal to build a full-size sailing
replica A replica is an exact copy, such as of a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid, liquefiable, or solid mastic composition that, after application to a substrate in a thin layer, converts t ...
of HMS ''Lenox'', a 70-gun
ship of the line A ship of the line was a type of naval warship A warship or combatant ship is a naval ship that is built and primarily intended for naval warfare. Usually they belong to the armed forces of a state. As well as being armed, warships are des ...
originally built at Deptford Dockyard in 1678. The ship would actually be constructed on the dockyard site, and would form the centrepiece of a purpose-built museum which would remain as a permanent part of the development of Convoys Wharf. By late 2015 the project had gathered momentum, with more detailed plans fitting the building of the ''Lenox'' into the overall development of this part of Deptford. The 2015 Feasibility Study identified the Safeguarded Wharf at the Western end of the Convoys Wharf site as the most suitable place for the dry-dock where the ship herself would be built; the existing but disused canal entrance could then be modified to provide an entrance for the dock as well as a home berth for the finished ship. It is hoped that the ''Lenox'' will provide a focus for the regeneration of the area as the comparable replica ship ''
HermioneHermione may refer to: People * Hermione (given name), a female given name * Hermione (mythology), only daughter of Menelaus and Helen in Greek mythology and original bearer of the name Arts and literature * ''Cadmus et Hermione'', an opera by Je ...
'' did for Rochefort in France.


The Victualling Yard

In the 17th century a
Victualling Yard The Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy, often called the Victualling Commissioners or Victualling Board, was the body responsible under the Navy Board for victualling ships of the British Royal Navy. It oversaw the vast operation of p ...
was established, independent of but adjacent to the main dockyard, to supply and victual the navy's warships. In 1743 the
Victualling Commissioners The Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy, often called the Victualling Commissioners or Victualling Board, was the body responsible under the Navy Board for victualling ships of the British Royal Navy. It oversaw the vast operation of p ...
took the decision to move their main depot to Deptford from
Tower Hill Tower Hill is infamous for the public execution of high status prisoners from the late 14th to the mid 18th century. The execution site on the higher ground north-west of the Tower of London The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty' ...
, and they embarked on the construction of new facilities on the site: a cooperage, storehouses, slaughterhouses and facilities for baking and brewing. In 1858 it was renamed the Royal Victoria Victualling Yard. The Victualling Yard continued in operation for almost a century after the closure of the dockyard, dedicated to the manufacture and storage of food, drink, clothing and furniture for the navy. It closed in 1961 and a
council estate Public housing (known as ''council housing'' or ''social housing'' in the UK) provided the majority of rented accommodation in the United Kingdom until 2011 when the number of households in private rental housing surpassed the number in social h ...
was built on the site. A number of its buildings and other features were retained and can still be seen in and around the Pepys Estate, mostly dating from the 1770-80s. File:Deptford Victualling Yard - Main Gate.jpg, The Main Gate to the Victualling Yard File:Deptford Strand - geograph.org.uk - 197080.jpg, Riverside storehouse and administrative office. File:Deptford Victualling Yard - Superintendent's House and riverside storehouse.jpg, Superintendent's House and riverside storehouse. File:Old houses in Foreshore, SE8 - geograph.org.uk - 1492338.jpg, Former stable block behind the Superintendent's house. File:Deptford Victualling Yard - Drake's Steps.jpg, The river gate leading to 'Drake's Steps'. File:Deptford Victualling Yard - The Colonnade.jpg, The Colonnade (houses and offices, just inside the main gate). File:Deptford Victualling Yard - The Terrace.jpg, The Terrace (built to house senior officers of the yard).


Plan of the Georgian Dockyard



Notes

a. Dry dock gates existed at Chatham and Woolwich by the early part of the seventeenth century.
Nicholas Rodger Nicholas Andrew Martin Rodger Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, FSA FRHistS British Academy, FBA (born 12 November 1949) is a historian of the Royal Navy and senior research fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Life and academia The ...
considers the introduction of dock gates as marking "...the invention of the true dry dock hich wasa very important development. It was to become one of the key technical achievements underpinning English sea power." The first foreign true dry dock, described as 'a l'anglaise', was ordered at by the French at Rochefort in 1666, nearly a century after the English. b. Evelyn was able to convince the
Treasury A treasury is either *A government department related to finance and taxation, a Finance minister, finance ministry. *A place or location where treasure, such as currency or precious items are kept. These can be State ownership, state or roy ...
to pay him £350 to cover the necessary repair work to his house after the Russians' stay, after a survey of the damage was made by
Sir Christopher Wren Sir Christopher Wren President of the Royal Society, PRS Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; – ) was one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history, as well as an anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist. H ...

Sir Christopher Wren
, the
Surveyor of the King's Works Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land surveyo ...
. c. By the 1790s the Victualling Board had its headquarters at
Somerset House Somerset House is a large Neoclassicism, Neoclassical complex situated on the south side of the Strand, London, Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The Georgian architecture, Georgian quadrang ...

Somerset House
, together with the Navy and Transport Boards. d. Storehouses were required for storage of all the raw materials and goods necessary for building and fitting out a ship. The 1513 Storehouse was a rectangular building of brick construction c.50m x 10m and two stories high. It stood parallel to the river, on the river front, some 40 metres upstream of the (extant) Master Shipwright's House. (Both buildings are visible in Cleveley's painting of HMS St Albans, above.) The original Storehouse was added to, bit by bit over time, and in the early part of the 18th century it became the north range of a quadrangle of Storehouse buildings. This Storehouse complex, with cupola and clock atop the southern range, formed a prominent landmark for ships on this part of the river for over 200 years.


Citations


References

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

*
Scheduled Ancient Monument listing by English Heritage (includes an overview of the history of the dockyard and detailed description of the Tudor Storehouse in the context of the rest of the site).

''A Geometrical Plan, & North East Elevation of His Majesty’s Dock-Yard, at Deptford, with Part of the Town, &c.'', dated 1755
( Pierre-Charles Canot after Thomas Milton and (?)
John Cleveley the Elder thumbnail, ''frigate and fishing boats in harbor'' in the collection at The Mariners' Museum John Cleveley the Elder (c.1712 – 21 May 1777) was an English marine artist. Life Cleveley was born in Southwark. He was not from an artistic bac ...
)
Topographic scenic model of the Royal Dockyard at Deptford, London, circa 1774 (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London).
{{Navy Board, state=collapsed Port of London Shipyards on the River Thames Military history of London Shipbuilding in London London docks Royal Navy dockyards in England Royal Navy bases in England 1513 establishments in England