Having brushed aside the archaeology, Hutchison-Whampoa have now come up with a new “masterplan” for their proposed development of Convoys Wharf. If you take a look at part of their plan (on the left – easier to read if you click to enlarge it) you can see that they want to build right on top of the historic seventeenth century parterre, completely obliterating at least half of whatever remains of it below ground. In addition, the same block would cover the northern half of the manor house itself, as well as most of Evelyn’s private garden that adjoined it (which I hope to finally get around to describing here soon). Behind the building a bland, windswept alleyway with a line of lollypop trees would cut through the heart of Evelyn’s grove.
It is clear that the proposed general layout of buildings takes no account whatsoever of the historic character of the site. The areas marked in green between the buildings apparently bear no relation to any of the main features of the gardens. Why could they not be sited so that they at least spare them, if not actually restoring some of them for posterity? Why not restore Evelyn’s “private garden of choice flowers and simples”? Why not display, if necessary under cover for protection, what remains of the manor house ?
For example, the proposed new school, shown in the bottom left of the plan, has its main wing located so as to destroy the western edge of the (innovative and very influential for its time) parterre. Surely its plan could be revised so that the main wing is moved further west, over part of the former orchard? I can’t think of a nicer neighbour for a new school than a restored historic garden of national importance – what an educational resource and delight it could be!
There’s an exhibition and “consultation” taking place tomorrow and Saturday, (Deptford Methodist Church & Mission, 1 Creek Road, SE8 3BT – Friday 9th July, 12pm – 8pm; Saturday 10th July, 10.30am – 2pm).
So if you want to voice your opinions on these plans, please go along and let them know that there are people who DO care about Deptford’s heritage, and the quality of its future.
The new 2010 plan for Convoys Wharf overlaid on Google Earth.
The new 2010 plan for Convoys Wharf overlaid on the modern landscape can be downloaded from https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/gec-history-illustrated/SKQRekFJGqY/wqhxdMe61FgJ
It will take a moment or two to download, then double click on it to open it in Google Earth (which must already be installed). This will open up the image overlaid onto the modern aerial view of the area. Select (by clicking once on it) “New Convoys plan″ in the places panel on the left, then by dragging the slider below (the one that says “the slider sets the transparency of the overlay”) you can adjust the degree of transparency.
If you already have the Plan_of_Sayes_Court_House_and_Garden.kmz file from https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/gec-history-illustrated/SKQRekFJGqY/pYJ2-vIFdS4J the location of the various buildings can be compared to John Evelyn’s 1653 plan.
Google Earth can be downloaded for free from earth.google.co.uk