Deptford from the Greenwich Road
This view of Deptford appeared in Hughson's "Description of London" It shows the parish churches of St Nicholas and St Paul's. The view is taken from the Greenwich Road and shows the Royal Hospital for Seamen on the right.
Deptford became an important suburb of London in the 16th century, when it was one of England's main shipbuilding sites. The Royal Dockyard and the East India Company's yard were established here during Henry VIII's reign.
Despite Deptford's reputation as a major industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries, the large majority of the families who lived in the area were poor.
Most of the men were unskilled labourers doing seasonal work at the dockyards.
Many unsavoury “fragrances” lurked in the air at Deptford, as the locality was home to glue works, tar distilleries, breweries, gasworks and manufacturers of artificial manure!