Canon Corneck’s dream of Deptford’s revival is becoming reality as abandoned shipyards hit the news again with TV news coverage of a potential ship building campaign of ‘The Lennox’ in the shadow of the Master Shipwright’s House.
Lord Stirling’s generosity made the Cutty Sark and the Royal Barge Gloriana a reality and I am a lucky man to see behind the scenes and be able to record my impression of the state barge being built in an industrial unit at Brentford and the launch at close by Thameside pub ‘London Apprentice’.
As a friend of the National Maritime Museum, an organised visit to the ‘Batavia’ made me realise what a splendid undertaking was completed by volunteer Dutch organisations in the Ijsselmeer shipyard – which was in open country on the Zuider Zee.
Having seen recent TV coverage of the new Royal Aircraft Carrier being built in various sites made me wonder if a project such as ‘The Lennox’ replica could also be undertaken by nationwide groups, assembled in the Old Royal Dockyard in dear old Deptford and then located at the proposed Greenwich Historic Ship Harbour on the up and coming Greenwich Peninsular by the O2.
Nearer to home – well in Bristol – a replica of John Cabot’s ‘Matthew’ was built in the shadow of St Mary’s Redcliffe in the heart of the city centre. A purpose built exhibition and educational facilities attracted hordes of visitors during the construction – the outward voyage to Newfoundland and back provided as much adventure and reportage – the emotional return to the home port civic welcome and all was a great experience.
The ‘Matthew’ now lies in the floating dock for all to see and appreciate – much to be learnt from such an imaginative project. Deptford don’t be put off!!