Master Shipwright’s House at Deptford Strand.

An invitation to a pre opening at Master Shipwright’s House for the Open House Event was a must for that special weekend designed for the curious of the capital.

Master Shipwrights001

Sited behind a great dock wall with the necessary limited access to the hoi polloi has managed to keep this treasure house from vandals and the like.

The Great Royal Dockyard lies within sight of my studio window and I have kept my binoculars trained on the developments which surround this hallowed riverside dockyard.

The adjacent Paynes & Borthwick residential development is now ready for inspection +44(0)20 7087 5000 – Jones Lang LaSalle are the obliging letting agents.

The last remaining crane is about to come down – but I fear the upstream Convoys Wharf massive development is ripe for construction which will increase my crane count reminding me of the first phase of Canary Wharf.

When last in Hong Kong I called on Hutchinson, the developer, offering my artistic skills on their massive Whampoa dock development scheme which materialised rapidly well before the handover to China States happened.  l look again at Deptford, where for years, we have waited for News International to replace the vast warehouse serving their newsprint import wharf complex which has long been closed and we are now no longer seeing the great white RoRo ferries coming up the river.

The once busy wharf served Fleet Street presses which now no longer exist in this busy part of the City now occupied by professional practices – a glass of fine sherry in El Vinos will remind one of the lively mix of journalists  and lawyers which once thrived there. Nowadays a visit to Deptford’s Dog and Bell could provide a background view of the demise of the Royal Dockyard and later a massive victualling yard for the Royal Navy and later an international cattle market where the local lasses earned not only a steady income but also a salacious reputation – so the saga goes on!!

Perhaps one can reflect how the prosperity of South East London has hinged on the whim of great traders.

John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys would have provided a scandalous diary of these contemporary events which I dare not tread.

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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