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Coordinates: 51°28′41″N 0°01′35″W / 51.4780°N 0.0265°W / 51.4780; -0.0265

Deptford (pronounced /ˈdɛptfɚd/[1]) is an area on the south bank of the River Thames in south-east London. It is named after a ford of the River Ravensbourne, and from the mid 16th century to the late 19th was home to Deptford Dockyard, the first of the Royal Dockyards. This was a major shipbuilding dock and attracted Peter the Great to come and study shipbuilding. Deptford and the docks are associated with the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Golden Hind,[2] the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh laying down his cape for Elizabeth,[3] Captain James Cook's third voyage aboard Resolution,[4] and the mysterious murder of Christopher Marlowe in a house along Deptford Strand.[5]

Though Deptford began as two small communities, one at the ford, and the other a fishing village on The Thames, Deptford's history and population has been mainly associated with the docks established by Henry VIII. The two communities grew together and flourished while the docks were the main administrative centre of the British Navy, and a few grand houses like Sayes Court, home to diarist John Evelyn, and Stone House on Lewisham Way were erected. The area declined as first the Royal Navy moved out, and then the commercial docks themselves declined until the last dock, Convoys Wharf, closed in 2000.

A Metropolitan Borough of Deptford was formed in 1900;[6] then, in 1965, the area became part of the newly created London Borough of Lewisham to which it still belongs.


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