Tuesday 6 January 2009

Deptford: Butt Lane to High Street

In August 1825, a notice appeared:
THE PUBLICK are respectfully informed, that by the general Consent of the Inhabitants, the NAME of the STREET hitherto called BUTT LANE is now altered to HIGH STREET, by which Appellation it will in future be designated

High Street, Deptford,

August 13, 1825.

Printed by James Delahoy, Deptford Bridge.
The change of name reflected a change of function. In the eighteenth century, Deptford Church Street had been the town's main road. Butt Lane, by contrast, was a mixture of residential and agricultural premises. However, by the early nineteenth century, shops had moved to Butt Lane's larger buildings and it had effectively become what it is now called: the High Street. Within a few decades, its status was further confirmed by the building of the railway station.

Today, the High Street remains the centre of Deptford's shopping. Two highlights: first, a few years ago, Yellow Pages named it London's best, on the basis of a formula to calculate diversity. (Its only chain stores are Peacock's and Iceland). Second, the market on Wednesdays, Fridays and especially Saturdays is brilliant for all sorts of bargains - and don't miss the secondhand section on Douglas Way.

Related posts: Deptford Station, R Trickett's store.


Adam said...

'Butt' is an interesting word in itself, probably stemming from the French 'butte' meaning hill. In Reading, the St Mary Butts (and 1970s Butts Centre shopping mall) took their name from an ancient archery practice mount.

CarolineLD said...

Yes, I'd come across it in the archery butts context from Newington Butts in Kennington. (No sign of archery practice there now though!) I haven't yet found confirmation that that is where the Deptford name came from - something to look into when I have time!

Anonymous said...

And here's me thinking the name change was for a different reason. ;)

Btw, I started a new meme at the Markeroni blog -- the history nugget. If you'd like to check it out, I've posted the link below. I don't expect it will be very busy just to begin with, but still. :)

I am loving hearing about your bit of London. :)

Anonymous said...

let's try that link again ;)