The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.479994, -0.035711


Situated on the south bank of the River Thames in southeast London, Deptford was the location of the Deptford Dockyards, the first of the Royal Dockyards from the mid 16th to 19th century. Also home of the diarist John Evelyn in 1652.

19 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Home to John Evelyn and his famous garden at Says-Courtt

vincent  •  Link


The East India Company was formed in 1600 and ran its first voyages to the far east from Deptford. The first Company fleet in l601 was commanded by Sir Thomas Lancaster, a Deptford dock owner. At first it borrowed facilities from the Royal Dockyard to lay its cannon and other stores on the wharf. In 1607 the Company leased the Stone Wharf at the end of Watergate Street in Deptford Strand from the Bridge House estate, and built a timber dock in Deptford the following year. The lease was extended in 1610. The Company was building ships at Deptford in 1609.

vincent  •  Link

Sketch map of Evelyn estate, Deptford, with annotations 1623 [copy] available at the library?…
Copies of source materials held elsewhere
Public records
Hearth Tax returns for Deptford, Lee and Lewisham, 1664.
Deptford is located to the west of a creek where the River Ravensbourne enters the Thames. The Roman road from Dover to London forded the creek where Deptford Bridge is now located and a Saxon cemetery existed on the site of the Dover Castle public house, Deptford Broadway. At the beginning of the 16th century Deptford was only a small fishing village when Henry VIII established the Royal Naval Dockyard on a site to the west of Deptford Strand. This served as England's principal dockyard until Chatham took over in the late 17th century.…

Hamish Gallie  •  Link

As a resident of the borough of Lewisham for five years now have had a chance to visit the site of the Deptford Victualling Yrds twice now. It is great that there are still the original storehouses left and the terrace and indeed the original gateway to the yard with original cobbled streets and oficers accomodation. Also the water stairs are still there with token foundry cannons nearby. Good views to the River and Greenwich in particular. Special site, recommend visit.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and walked thither and back again from Deptford, where I did do something checking the iron business, ..."…

Anyone know what the iron business there was? Terry Foreman gives a good annotation on this day about the first recorded instance of iron being used in Navy ships being in 1670, but apparently something was going on at Deptford in 1663/64.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Deptford Dockyard was an important naval dockyard and base at Deptford on the River Thames, in what is now the London Borough of Lewisham, operated by the Royal Navy 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.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Some of the iron made in the Kentish Weald found its way to Dartford where, in 1590, Godfrey Box, an immigrant from Liege, set up the first slitting mill in England for cutting iron bars into rods. The engineering industry at Dartford claims a long ancestry.

Dartford was also a pioneer town in paper-making. The mill which John Spielman, a German, set up there early in the reign of Elizabeth was the second paper-mill to be opened in England.
(also see… )

The Darent provided the power to drive the mill, and also the supply of clean water that is essential for paper-making.
Spielman was given a monopoly of the making of white paper for 10 years and was authorised to ‘gather all manner of linen rags … scraps of parchment, leather shreds, clippings of cards, and old fishing nets, necessary for the making of white writing-paper’.
He employed at least 600 men, many of them Germans.

The paper-making in­dustry in Kent received a big impetus from the arrival of refugee Huguernots after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) and many French terms are still employed in the industry; the large room where the paper is finished, for example, is still called the salle.

By the end of the 17th century there were several paper mills working in Kent, including a second mill at Dartford, a brown-paper mill at Canterbury, and a very small mill at Aylesford ....

EXCERPTED FROM “Industries in the 15th to 18th Centuries“ [in Kent]…

We also had exchanges about paper in general starting at…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Boat-building was carried on in a larger way at the royal dockyards, at Deptford, Woolwich and Chatham.
Deptford was in use as a shipbuilding yard at least 1400.
Woolwich and Chatham did not follow until the 16th century.

All 3 yards derived much of their timber, especially oak, for the building and repair of ships from the Kentish Weald.
Transport presented great difficulty because the roads were old, and often totally impassable after heavy rain.

Oak and Spanish chestnut were also largely used for the building of houses in the Weald, and on those parts of the North Downs where the clay overlying the chalk carried timber-forest.

EXCERPTED FROM “Industries in the 15th to 18th Centuries“ [in Kent]…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.