I'm not going to summarise Sunday's guided walk of Deptford - Andie has already done a brilliant job here. However, it did prompt me to photograph and post about the magnificent houses on Albury Street.
Albury Street was originally Union Street, a name commemorating the union of England and Scotland in 1707. While the south side of the road has been rebuilt with modern homes, the north still has its terrace of wonderful eighteenth-century houses. As a thriving dockyard town, Deptford needed homes for all classes and while labourers might live in wooden cottages, shipbuilders and naval officers wanted something more upmarket. Thus local bricklayer Thomas Lucas built the Union Street homes from 1706; he also built St Paul's Church on the High Street.
Notable residents include John Gast (1772-1837), an early trade unionist, author of radical pamphlets and dissenting preacher. However, he lived not in one of these fine houses but in the King of Prussia public house. Legend has it that Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton met in one of the homes, but there is no evidence to support this romantic tale. In the early twentieth century, nursery pioneers the McMillan sisters held a Boys' Night Camp at number 24. It provided poor children with the opportunity to wash and get clean nightclothes (the girls' camp was in Evelyn Street).
The most distinctive feature of these houses is their magnificent doorways. However, many of the splendid wooden canopies are replacements for originals which were rather mysteriously lost when taken into storage (for their protection!) by London County Council. Master carver Charlie Oldham did much of the restoration work. Now based in Frome, he had his first workshop in Deptford - very appropriately, since it was also the starting-place for Grinling Gibbons.