Can we persuade Boris to save Convoys Wharf?

Milton 1753-460

London Mayor Boris Johnson has a lot on his plate just now – including an almighty furore about airports – but one you may not know that he is considering is a set of plans to develop Convoy’s Wharf at Deptford.

Why does it matter? Convoys is Henry VIII’s naval dockyard, a site that has tremendous potential and which is certainly not just another building site. For one thing, the folks campaigning to save the site propose to use it to build a replica of Henry VIII’s famous warship, the Lenox – it could become a tourist and educational centre not unlike the Globe Theatre further along the southern bank of the Thames. (The Globe, I’m told, is only built because the developers didn’t get permission to build their flats on the site.)

There are also the arguments that the decision here will affect similar decisions about other shipyards and boatyards along the Thames, and that walling-in still more of the course of the river encourages flooding and reduces the habitats available for wildlife.

What can readers do? Help persuade Boris, I guess. He isn’t my kind of chap (he wants to build a bloody airport on the Isle of Grain of all places), but he’s a politician and may be open to a popular point of view – and might even enjoy being credited with being the man who decided in favour of a great touristic and educational future for Convoy’s Wharf.

Meanwhile, Deptford’s campaigners have published some useful information. There’s also a petition – please sign it (it’s on the top-right of the page) and pass it on to your friends, and while you’re at it, why not write to Boris himself?

PS – It seems there’s a lot more to this site than you might think.

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Thames Heritage Alliance formed to campaign to protect historic sites

Thames Heritage Alliance

The Thames Heritage Alliance is a new organisation that hopes to become the voice for those concerned to protect and promote the heritage and of the Thames – including its historic maritime sites, boatyards and so on.

It’s still a tiny acorn – but from tiny acorns might oaks frequently grow, and I hope this one  does exactly that.

It’s sorely needed. As we have seen at Faversham, Brightlingsea and elsewhere, the heritage of The Thames is under threat as never before from commercial and residential development and anything messy and noisy – such as working boatyards – being driven out, not least because they can’t compete when waterside property values are sky-high.

The Alliance says that the Thames’s historic boatyards, slipways, quays, wharves and docks were a crucial part of Britain’s remarkable maritime history. From the time of the Tudors – especially King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth – right through to Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill – sailors and boat-builders along the great River Thames have contributed so much to our national defence and pride.

By linking some of these rare and historic places together, the Thames Heritage Alliance hopes to drawing attention to their importance, and to help them survive in the age of high-rise and high-price property development.

The Alliance’s founding members are working to protect Faversham Creek, Convoy’s Wharf at Deptford and the historic waterfront at Northfleet.