Olympia Warehouse in the former Deptford Dockyard has the distinction of being Grade II listed. Its exterior will certainly appeal to lovers of industrial heritage and corrugated iron, but the reasons for listing it may not be obvious at first sight.
Built in 1846 by George Baker & Son, it is of distinctive iron-framed construction: the original wrought- and cast-ironwork is still visible inside. Originally, the two spans covered slipways, allowing ships to be constructed within. They led into the dockyard basin (now filled in) rather than directly into the river. While the building now has a concrete floor and its more recent use was simply as a warehouse, the slipways are intact a little below current ground level. Only one other such shipbuilding shed survives, at Chatham.
The future of the warehouse is, according to the current plans, as a cultural space. It certainly has a distinctive atmosphere and presence which provide a vital connection to the dockyard's past, and with sensitive use would be a real asset to the area. Thoughtful use and an appropriate setting will be vital, however, for this significant and special piece of Britain's shipbuilding heritage.