The Priors vessels carrying gravel from Fingringhoe to Deptford are a frequent sight on the Thames Estuary if you sail that way. They’re comforting in a way, for they can be almost the only other craft on the water…
So it’s nice to see that Chris Gosling has wangled his way aboard to make a film about their work.
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.