Sunday 9 January 2011

From the archives: Butt Lane to Deptford High Street

Deptford High Street has a rich past, so there should be plenty to fill a forthcoming documentary featuring it as one of London's 'Secret Streets'. The programme researchers are looking for local people's information and reminiscences. More details are on the Deptford Dame and Crosswhatfields blogs, which have had the excellent idea of collecting those stories so we can share them even if they're not included in the documentary itself.

Here, though, is a look back to a key moment in the street's history:

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.

*Since this was written, Tesco Metro have also moved in. As have many, many betting shops...


Anonymous said...

Hi Caroline, many thanks to you and Deptford's bloggers for adding this info about our series. I'm very much enjoying reading your blogs and researching Deptford. Best wishes, Jaime Taylor, Our Secret Streets

CarolineLD said...

My pleasure, I'm really looking forward to the series!