Mr Beck's House, Deptford
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
View of Beck's house at Midway place, Deptford. The Reverend Thomas Beck built his house at Midway Place in the 1780s and lived there until his death in 1844. Midway Place, occupying reclaimed marshes between Deptford and Rotherithe, was not developed until the second half of the 19th century.
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 the reign of Henry VIII.
Despite the town's reputation as a major industrial centre in the 18th and 19th centuries, the large majority of its resident families were poor. Most of the men were unskilled labourers doing seasonal work at the dockyards. Many unsavoury "fragrances" lurked in the air, as the locality was home to glue works, gasworks, tar distilleries, breweries and manufacturers of artificial manure!