With quite the past, Deptford is now emerging as one of the most vibrant creative districts in the city. The Resident investigates what’s happening in SE8

Words: Trish Lesslie

When Henry VIII opened a dockyard in Deptford, it put the natural London harbour well and truly on the map. By the time Sir Walter Raleigh famously lay down his cloak over a puddle for his queen, a vibrant community was already establishing itself around the area’s wharves and boatyards – but after the docks were closed late in the 19th century, the area began a slow but steady decline.

Today, the historic hood is enjoying quite a renaissance as shiny new riverside apartments spring up alongside 1960s housing estates and period properties steeped in the area’s maritime past. The Zone 2 location, with excellent transport links to London Bridge and Canary Wharf, has long been known for its thriving cultural scene thanks to the community of artists and makers based in studios around Creekside. Now, with 3,500 new homes being built as part of a 40-acre riverside development at Royal Wharf, and a further 1,132 homes being delivered by Lendlease on the 11.6-acre Timberyard site, regeneration is gathering pace.

Water has played a key role in Deptford's history

Water has played a key role in Deptford’s history

The Timberyard Deptford will be made up of six interconnecting new neighbourhoods, cleverly designed to blend and flow into the surrounding area and new green spaces. Cedarwood Square, for example, will bring 203 new homes in the form of one, two, three and four bed apartments and four bed townhouses located between Pepys Park and the new waterline linear park that will run through the development.

Larchwood Place will comprise 210 homes, a combination of family-sized duplexes and apartments, set across three buildings. The tallest will be landmark tower the Riverpoint, which comes complete with a residents’ gym and reception area and will offer fantastic views over the City and Greenwich, plus a generous internal courtyard garden.

‘The architecture and the design is very much inspired by the former warehouse buildings that came to shape Deptford’s landscape and the materials used are in keeping with the local area,’ says Janet Kidner, Project Director at The Timberyard Deptford. ‘Open public space is also key to this new neighbourhood and we are creating a new Waterline linear park which will run through the entire development, following the historic route of the Grand Surrey Canal,’ adds Kidner. New cultural facilities and social spaces are also planned.

‘We’re transforming an underutilised industrial area into a new place for people to meet, relax, enjoy and spend time, and aim to cultivate a truly sustainable community with much-needed new homes, alongside public parks and open spaces for new and existing residents, and a range of flexible retail and office space for a wide variety of businesses, from local start-ups and independent artisans to expanding organisations,’ says Kidner.

The historic hood is enjoying quite a renaissance as new riverside apartments spring up

Lendlease is working closely with local entrepreneurs to provide business planning workshops and is also establishing renovated The Victoria pub in Larchwood Place as an incubation hub for local businesses, with the intention of reinstating its original use in the future. Waterline Yard will be organised around a public square and provide flexible working spaces from the distinctive Y-shaped Waterline Studios, as well as a selection of shops and 149 new homes.

The first phase of homes is expected to complete in winter 2018 and there will also be retail space offering an extension to Deptford’s vibrant high street and market. With a wealth of shops and safe play areas, business opportunities and green spaces, there will be something for everyone in the new neighbourhoods of this historic district.

Visit for more information on the new apartments

places to go in deptford

Deptford Market Yard
Many of the new businesses settling down in the new Deptford Market Yard are set to become fully operational this month. Street food fans should check out Indian fast food from Frankie Goes to Bollywood, Jamaican dishes from Mama’s Jerk and grilled cheese from The Cheese Truck. Fashionistas will be able to purchase hand-printed clothing from Plain Bear, while homemakers should head to Depot, run by textile artist Naomi Ryder, and creative types can check out Childs Draw, local illustrator Jessica Childs’ first permanent shop.

Deptford market Yard

Deptford Market Yard

London Velo
Bike shop-come-café bar providing top quality coffee and bites alongside bike servicing and gear.
18 Deptford High Street SE8 4AF;
020 8691 1500;

London Velo typifies the warm welcome you'll receive at countless places in Deptford

London Velo typifies the warm welcome you’ll receive at countless places in Deptford

Wünderlust Big Red Bus
Part restaurant, part club, you’ll find Austrian-influenced street food and DJs playing disco on this iconic Routemaster.
30 Deptford Church Street SE8 4RZ;
020 3490 8346;

The Waiting Room Coffee Bar
Cool cafe with local art and book exchange, offering artisan coffee, cakes and veggie food. Choose from bagels, burgers and hot dogs. The trademark Deptford Death sauce is optional!
142 Deptford High Street SE8 3PQ;
020 3601 0100

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

This traditional pie and mash shop has been in the Manze family for over 100 years. They’re still making pies by hand, to their secret recipe, baking them fresh every day. The traditional Cockney dish is served with fluffy mashed potatoes and liquor (green parsley sauce).
204 Deptford High Street SE8 3PR;
020 8692 2375;



The Dog and Bell
Tucked away behind Convoy’s Wharf, this ‘proper old boozer’ is a CAMRA institution. With a bar billiards table round the back, beer mats pinned to the wooden bar and an old-school pub carpet, you’ll find students from Goldsmiths rubbing shoulders with long-term locals and ale aficionados drawn to the great draught selection.
116 Prince Street SE8 3JD; 020 8692 5664

The Dog and Bell

The Dog and Bell

Cockpit Arts
You’ll find a great selection of makers in the Deptford branch of the award-winning social enterprise and the UK’s only business incubator for craftspeople.
18-22 Creekside SE8 3DZ; 020 8692 4463

The Albany Theatre
A multi-purpose arts centre with a flexible performance space, the venue has been at the heart of the local community for over a century.
Douglas Way SE8 4AG; 020 8692 4446