Developer Hutchison Whampoa have boldly declared their thorough disregard for the nation's maritime history in their proposals for the site of the former King's Yard at Deptford. Even before archaeology has begun on the John Rennie works to the basin
Hutchison Whampoa's recently submitted master plan to Lewisham Council shows their intention to destroy the opportunity of reintegrating the listed Olympia building with the area of the dockyard's great basin, also preventing the river related building from even being seen from the river.
Hutchison Whampoa have completely disregarded English Heritage guidelines on Maritime and Naval Buildings (2011) that marks out works by John Rennie for a high grade of protection and describes sites such as the basin, basin slipways, basin slipway covers and caisson gate infrastructure, all works by eminent Georgian and early Victorian engineers, as "sites of collaborative genius." The developer's design team have also ignored English Heritage London Area Committee comments from 2003 and 2005 requesting that the Olympia building be viewable for the river.
The basin is where the Mary Rose was harboured in 1517.
Deptford is the first of the royal naval dockyards to have a wet dock or basin. This technology was exported to the outlying dockyards such as Chatham c.1650. Under the administration of Sir George Carteret, Deptford's skilled workmen and naval dockyard officers built the wet dock at Chatham.
The basin is also where John Evelyn carried out the first diving bell experiments,
where Cook hoisted the pennant on board the Endeavour in 1768,
where Bentham built the dry dock in 1802 with Edward Holl,
where in 1814 John Rennie rebuilt the basin entrance with the latest technology of a caisson gate,
where Capt. Sir William Denison built the slipways to the basin
and George Baker &Sons built the slipway covers (Olympia Building)
and George Biddel Airey tested the effects of ships magnetism on navigation instruments.
where in WWI and WWII supplies were sent out to troops stationed across the world.
The basin is the heart of the dockyard, the dockyard is the heart of Deptford. It is most likely the reason that Henry VIII established the dockyard here in 1513 as the basin provided shelter for his ships from the tides and dangers of the river.
Hutchison Whampoa would rather you didn't even know it was there. The proposed buildings cut right across this most important of London's maritime heritage assets. If you don't like the l
ook and the sound of this attempt to erase the nation's maritime history and would prefer to see Deptford's history treated with more respect then you can write to Lewisham Planning firstname.lastname@example.org malcolm.woods@english-heritage .org.uk and email@example.com and visit the blog deptfordis.org.uk to sign the petition for a better future for Deptford, for London and for the nation's maritime history.