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Deptford plans and drawings

The history of the area around the royal dockyards revealed in 130 drawings and plans, including those of John Evelyn's lost 17th-century garden at Sayes Court

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Frances Harris

Curator, Manuscript Collections

The historic dockyard neighbourhood of Deptford abounds in history and unexpected contrasts. As the royal dockyard closest to London, it was the administrative headquarters of the Navy from Tudor times and became home to an ever-growing community of shipyard workers. The British Library’s collections contain many striking and evocative surveys, drawings and engravings of the area in its heyday. These have recently been further enriched by a large body of plans and `grass-roots’ records from the adjacent estate of Sayes Court, home of the famous 17th-century diarist, John Evelyn.

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Curator's choice

Frances Harris highlights personal favourite items from the collection

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View of the Dockyard at Deptford Folios 65v 66

As the royal dockyard closest to London, Deptford was the headquarters of the administration of t...

Map of Deptford, with annotations on population growth by John Evelyn

This is a map of the dockyard and town of Deptford in 1623, with additions by John Evelyn, includ...

Plan of Sayes Court House and Garden

This plan of the house and garden at Sayes Court shows in detail the renovations to the house and...

Broadway, Deptford, looking west

Northern Deptford became an industrial town during the 17th Century, and became home to a populou...

Old Roman Eagle, Church Street, Deptford, 1841

This watercolour shows the ‘Old Roman Eagle’ Public House and Assembly Rooms. Situate...

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