A Deptford Walk (including the High Street)

Route & what to see


Deptford has never regained the prosperity it enjoyed when the dockyard was in operation but this has saved many buildings from re-development. An area of characters and history. It has become home to several galleries and art studios under regeneration projects.

The sections of this walk are linked by the DLR. The main part between Deptford Bridge and Cutty Sark is about 3 miles. The section between Cutty Sark and Deptford Bridge which makes the walk circular is just under a mile. An additional extension between Deptford Bridge and Lewisham via Brookmill Park is one mile. The 5 mile walk described begins at Lewisham and finishes at Deptford Bridge with Greenwich as a refreshment stop. Note that Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are market days when Deptford High Street is closed to traffic and lined with stalls. There is some overlap with the Deptford & Millwall walk.
The route & notes for a Riverside walk devised for the 2005 Lewisham Walking Festival / Made in Deptford event are available [
click here]

Details of the features in UPPER CASE can be found on the additional information page

From Lewisham Station go into Lewisham Road and take Silk Mills Path (by Maggie's Cafe) through the Tesco car park
This is a historic MILL SITE

Exit into Connington Road. Cross the DLR and RAVENSBOURNE RIVER and follow the path through BROOKMILL PARK.
New housing was constructed but buildings of the waterworks remain.

From DEPTFORD BRIDGE (important as a river crossing point) go left into Brookmill Road.
The gin distillery operated between the 1770s and 1970s. It utilised a former storage warehouse for Peppercorns to the left of the original central building. Mereton Mansions was formerly CARRINGTON HOUSE, a men's hostel, built in 1902-3 along with neighbouring Sylva Cottages. The Norfolk Brewery opposite was established in the 1830s and demolished for shops in 1909.

Return to Deptford Broadway and go left
Noodle King was the Fountain pub dating back to c1700 but rebuilt in the late 19th century. The buildings on the north side include former Royal London Assurance, Barclays Bank and Lady Florence Institute premises. Numbers 9-13 were built as a Burton's Store in the 1930s. Peppercorns occupied several premises along here 1822-1916. New buildings on the corner with Church Street replaced the Odeon cinema built by George Coles in 1938 and demolished in the 1970s.

Left into Harton Street
On the corners are an old shop (once a cafe) and a former Westminster Bank. Further along are a mission hall and the Deptford (once Tideway) Telephone Exchange of 1934-5.

Right into Vanguard Street
Note the backs of the premises in Tanner's Hill

Detour right into Tanner's Hill.
Numbers 27 -31 built in 1728-30 are rare survivors of three roomed timber-framed houses. Wellbeloved Butchers is an old established (1829) business.

Across into Pearson's Avenue.
To the left are sites of former joinery and chemical works. Ahead is Addey & Stanhope (my old school!). Once squeezed into an L-shaped site it has now extended into the corner plot.

Go right along Willshaw Street, left into New Cross Road and cross at the zebra crossing.
Look across to the frontage of the school. This was built in 1899 to replace two older charity schools. The adjoining Yoga Institute was built as the New Cross Building Society established in 1866.

Go back along New Cross Road (left) to the top of Deptford High Street.
The new shops set back on the south side replaced the Broadway Theatre designed by WGR Sprague in 1897 and built on the site of a corn & seed warehouse. It was used as a cinema 1916-63.

Make your way down Deptford High Street SLOWLY.
There is lots to look at, the SHOPS themselves and the buildings they occupy. Until 1825 this was known as Butt Lane and was mainly residental. Numbers 11/13 have a bowed front and ionic columns. Numbers 10/12 with terracotta panels were the premises of Tricketts (Tea, Coffee & Colonial Merchants). Although some pubs remain several have been converted to other uses. Numbers 63-67 were the premises of Bland & Phillips and later Marks & Spencers. Number 77 (Caxton House) was a ladies school 1820s-1860s. Number 70 replaced the Dean Stanhope School (built 1723) in 1882. The junction with Giffin Street marks the site of a funfair closed in 1961.

Detour left into Douglas Way
On the left is a cobbled footpath. The Albany Institute is now an arts & community venue but was established in 1894 to provide welfare facilities for the poor. Its premises in Creek Road were gutted by fire in 1978 and the new building replaced slum clearance in 1981.

Return to and continue down the High Street.
The RC Church of Our Lady of Assumption was built in 1845 with additions in 1859. Just beyond this was the Mechanic's Institute which later became a cinema (1908-15) then a billiard room before being redeveloped in the 1980s.

Past the church look left to view the access ramps for Deptford Station.
The first passenger RAILWAY in London was built in 1836 between Deptford (later Greenwich) and Spa Road (later London Bridge). It runs on a viaduct of 878 arches, which proving unsuitable for housing are used as workshops and storage. An inclined plane was constructed to carry rolling stock onto the track.

Return to and continue along the High Street.
The Salvation Army shop has a plaque recording that this was the site of the Quaker Meeting House (demolished in 1907) attended by Peter the Great during his stay in Deptford. Number 150 built around 1680 is one of Deptford's earliest surviving houses; its neighbour at 152 was rebuilt in the 1990s after being bombed in WWII.

Go right to the church
St Paul's was one of the '50 new churches' built in 1713-30 on a site previously occupied by a market garden and 5 small houses. The Baroque style building was designed by Thomas Archer in Portland Stone with a semi-circular portico. There is a Venitian window at the curved east end and a north rose window commemorating Father Diamond.

Walk through the churchyard into Deptford Church Street.
Once a principle street of Deptford and the 18th century shopping centre this has now become a traffic artery. Opposite the church was the Trinity Hospital (Almshouses) from 1670-1877.

Go left along this street to the traffic lights. Left alongside the railings through to Albury Street (originally Union Street) .
These fine houses with carved doorcases built from c1707 by Thomas Lucas provided homes for sea captains and shipwrights.

At the end turn right into the High Street again.
Number 197 was built in 1910 as the Electric Palace Cinema. Number 227 dates from 1791 and for much of its time served as a bakery. The Noah's Ark pub stood on the corner of Evelyn Street with the Harp of Erin opposite.

Cross Creek Road into Watergate Street.
Further down the wall of the former DEPTFORD DOCKYARD runs alongside this. At the river end the Master Shipwright's House of 1708 is visible. On the opposite corner is Twinkle Park laid out as a community project in 1999. The building on the riverfront was Payne's Wharf (Penn's boiler shop).

Go along Borthwick Street and right along Deptford Green.
The new Fairview housing development occupies the site of the FERRANTI Power Station of 1889. Prior to this the site had been used by Trinity House, the East India Company and the General Steam Navigation Company. St Nicholas House was built in 1926 to house workers at the power station.

Before viewing the church cross to McMillan Street.
The McMillan sisters Margaret and Rachel did much for the health and education of Deptford people. The nursery school they set up remains but the adjacent college building was demolished and replaced with student accommodation. There is a herb garden on the corner site.

This is the original parish church of Deptford restored in 1958 after bomb damage. There are memorials to John Addey and Christopher Marlowe.

Exit through the new east gateway into Stowage
To the left, straight through the housing estate you can access a new statue group on the waterfront to PETER THE GREAT, Tsar of Russia who came to Deptford to learn about shipbuilding in 1698. Note: from the statue the river walk alongside the Creek will bring you back to Stowage.

From Stowage go along Gonson Street and cross Creek Road into Creekside.
Just past Copperas Street on the left is the LABAN Dance Centre.

Continue along Creekside.
On the left is a charming mural 'Love Over Gold' and just beyond the railway bridge the CREEKSIDE CENTRE with attractive gates by Heather Burrell.

Take the footpath alongside this building
To the left is the original railway viaduct and the (derelict) lifting bridge which carried the railway over DEPTFORD CREEK. The new footbridge is a replacement for the Ha'penny Hatch which provided a pedestrian crossing for a halfpenny charge. The toll is no longer payable! Further along on the right is a view of the sewage pumping station, part of Bazalgette's system of the 1860s. Two beam engine houses are joined by a boiler house supplied from open-sided coal sheds.

Go left along Norman Road (not an attractive road!)
At the end on the left is Pryors, one of the last working wharves which still utilises an old crane. To the left a lifting bridge crosses Deptford Creek, the tidal section of the river Ravensbourne. Greenwich Reach ahead (formerly gasworks) has been redeveloped.

Go right along Creek Road. Cutty Sark Station is on the left. Alternatively go down Horseferry Place and walk along the river into Greenwich. There are plenty of places for refreshments in the town. To continue the walk follow Greenwich Church Street to ST ALFEGE'S.
The present church was built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in 1714 with a tower remodelled by John James in 1730.

Walk along Greenwich High Road.
The building with the tall tower is Meridian House, built as the Town Hall in 1939.

Continue to Greenwich Station (also on DLR).
This is in the same style as the original designed by George Smith in 1840 and relocated when the line was extended. Opposite is the Queen Elizabeth College, almhouses founded in 1574 and rebuilt by the Draper's Company in 1817.

Continue along the High Road.
Behind Davy's Wine Vaults are the remains of Lovibond's Brewery. Further along on the right were Merryweather's Works which manufactured fire engines. Opposite Miller House of 1801 and the former Royal Kent Dispensary are all that remain of the Miller Hospital.

Go into the car park on the right.
The former Mumford's Flour Mill (founded 1790) has a silo designed by Sir Aston Webb in 1897. This Grade II listed building has been converted into apartments.

Greenwich High Road leads back to Deptford Bridge and the DLR Station. Trains go back to Lewisham or you can retrace the route through Brookmill Park.

london-footprints.co.uk 2018


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