Developers announce submission to Planning

This week, Hutchison Whampoa announced to the press that it has delivered its application to Lewisham Planning. Although the developer mentioned Build the Lenox as part of its remit to the community and to Deptford’s heritage in its public exhibition at the end of February, there has still been no firm commitment to include the project on the site. Deptford Is…noted that not all publications viewed the news of the planning application uncritically.

The campaigners also published in full an article from Estates Gazette written by regeneration expert Paula Hirst that was less than complimentary. Hirst is one of the candidates selected as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Lewisham Deptford seat, to replace Joan Ruddock when she steps down.
Deptford Is…Convoys Wharf plans: ‘everything that is wrong with our property industry’

Joan Ruddock at Naval Dockyards Society Conference

On Saturday 20th April, Joan Ruddock opened the Naval Dockyards Society Conference at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where the society was celebrating “500 years of Deptford and Woolwich Royal Dockyards”. Deptford Dockyard was given its Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1513.

Members of the Lenox Project team also attended and were pleased by the support they received from other attendees. You can read Joan’s speech, in which she talks about Convoys Wharf and her backing and patronage of Build The Lenox, in full on her website.

Historian J P Davies writes about Lenox

J D Davies writes fiction and non-fiction about 17th century naval history. In his blog, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins, he has recently been talking about the Thirty Ships programme. In Part 1 of “The Return of the Thirty Ships” he talks about the Lenox’s sister ship Anne, which was built at Chatham and whose wreck now resides at Hastings. Part 2 covers Lenox, and the Lenox Project’s aims to build a ship at Convoys Wharf – see Gentlemen and Tarpaulins.

Convoys Wharf Public Exhibition

The new proposed masterplan for Convoys Wharf is due to be presented by developer Hutchison Whampoa at two open days at the end of this month.

Thursday 28th February (3pm-9pm) at Charlotte Turner School, Benbow Street, Deptford SE8 3HD

Saturday 2nd March (10am-3pm) at The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG

Lenox Project in the news

The Lenox Project was featured on the front page of the South London Press, Friday 14th September. The project was also covered in some detail this week in a great piece by Laurence Dodds for East London Lines. 
Newsblog The Londonist and local blog Transpontinealso covered the story.Nick Rutherford wrote in the SLP:Enthusiasts in Deptford hope to build a life-size replica of a 17th century warship to attract visitors and regenerate the area.The Lenox was built in the royal dockyard at Deptford between 1677 and 1678 as centrepiece of Charles II’s fleet.

The Build The Lenox group has drawn up plans to create a 52m replica of the ship from around 1,900 oak trees and “a substantial amount” of other trees including ash, which will be “sourced sustainably”.
Project director Julian Kingston said: “Around one million tourists visit Greenwich each year but don’t realise that Deptford has an equally important maritime history.

“It was the first royal dockyard and some of the greatest ships from the 16th to 19th centuries were built or refitted here. It was the Cape Kennedy of its day, at the centre of things. Even all the biscuits eaten on ships all over the world were sent out from Deptford.”

Mr Kingston, 60, who is a boat builder, came up with the idea two years ago and there are now eight members in the group – including a maritime historian, bridge builder, graphic designer and architect – and around 400 supporters on the mailing list.

If building goes ahead, the Lenox will be the centrepiece of the redevelopment of the 42-acre Convoys Wharf, which is seeking to build 3,500 new homes, a school and cultural spaces along the riverside.

Mr Kingston said the project would bring employment and education opportunities, and that visitors would be able to watch the construction in progress over an estimated eight-year period. He said: “We are in the early stages now and looking for funding (he estimates costs of about £23m). If this goes ahead, it will bring focus, identity and pride back to Deptford.

Lenox Project included in new masterplan

On 14 & 16 July, developer Hutchison Whampoa and its masterplanners Terry Farrell & Partners held a public exhibition at the Deptford Lounge to present ideas and proposals for the new planning application it intends to submit for Convoys Wharf later this year.Our proposal to build a replica of the restoration warship Lenox was represented on the groundscape plan by a little wooden boat and flag. However the masterplanners have suggested that the project should be housed on the working wharf at the west end of the site.There are several major problems with this.Firstly the fact that if the ship were built in this location it could not be launched in any straightforward or technically-proven manner. This part of the site has no slipway or dock and any boat built here would have to be lifted into the water. In order to do this, the structure of the vessel would have to be adapted to incorporate special lifting points or have extra strengthening built in to allow this to be done safely. It would entail additional analysis and the services of a marine architect, and it would create extra risk for the project as a whole.

If the boat were to be built in a dry dock (such as the one at the east end of the site) or on a slipway (such as the two in the Olympia building) it could be launched in the traditional tried and tested manner, which its original design allowed for. Since the masterplan did not offer any proposed use for the protected Olympia building, we respectfully suggest this as a no-brainer.

Secondly the project needs to attract sufficient visitors to be financially viable. We believe that the presence of the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark in Greenwich will aid us greatly in doing so, but we feel strongly that the project needs to be as close to Greenwich as possible in order to make it successful.

Thirdly, we strongly support the creation of a proper working wharf which we believe could offer genuine additional employment opportunities for the area. It would also be appropriate to consider creating a marine enterprise zone on this land, to encourage the establishment of businesses that could not only support the Lenox project, but could benefit from its high profile.Previous arguments that the remaining dockyard structures were not able to be uncovered because they were at risk of degradation have been dispelled by the archaeological investigations. Duncan Hawkins, who led the archaeological excavation, had no objection to the reopening of the great basin, if it were to be lined.Several weeks ago, the Lenox Project supplied additional information to Farrell’s on request, highlighting these points and also a number of other benefits and considerations material to the project and its proposed site. Download and read this document here.

Also

See also news of Farrell’s appointment as new masterplanners (March 2012).

Build The Lenox skipper in Thames Jubilee Pageant

Julian Kingston, director of The Lenox Project, took part in the Thames Jubilee Pageant on 3rd June. His boat, Cathia, processed in the Lifeboat Section within the larger category of “Historic & Service” in the middle of the 1000-strong flotilla (and terrible weather!). This picture, taken from BBC coverage, shows Cathia cruising past a large lifeboat crew at Tower Bridge.

Twelve years ago, Julian – a boat builder by trade – rescued the Cathia from destruction and brought it back to his moorings in Deptford Creek. With the hull in fine condition, Julian set about rebuilding the main cabin and cockpit, and most recently he has been restoring the fore cabin and galley area to get her into shape for the pageant.

Cathia was originally a lifeboat, and like many boats of its age (it was built in 1924), it was converted to a motor cruiser in the 40s. “Adam Hart-Davies wrote a book on how to convert working boats into motor cruisers and leisure boats,” says Julian. “Standard conversions of ships like lifeboats were very cheap to do. Quite a few working boats were rehabilitated at around that time by amateur enthusiasts for whom sailing and motor cruising would otherwise have been financially prohibitive. But there are very few boats like this remaining, which makes Cathia special enough to be included in the flotilla.”