Friday, February 07, 2014

Deptford from Telegraph Hill in 1815

This illustration is entitled 'view of Deptford from Plow Garlic Hill, Brockley, AD 1815'. It is reproduced from 'The History of Deptford' by Nathan Dews, published in 1884. One thing that is unclear is whether this is a reproduction of an illustration from 1815, or an engraving done in the 1880s by someone imagining what the view would have looked like 70 years earlier (none of the illustrations in the book are credited or dated).

'Plow Garlic Hill' is what is now known as Telegraph Hill- and indeed by 1885 was already so-named, though probably both names co-existed for some time. Telegraph Hill Park was opened in 1895, and the semaphore station that had given its name was there from the late 1790s until 1816. The earlier named 'Plow Garlick Hill' does appear on John Cary's 1786 map of this part of London. Well for those who argue whether any of Telegraph Hill can be claimed for Brockley rather than New Cross, this illustration seems to be in their favour (I would say more of it is in SE14 but would concede that some of the lower southern slopes are in SE4!).

Not sure that the illustration is entirely accurate in terms of scale and perspective. St Pauls and St Nicholas churches in Deptford look bigger than I think they would appear to the naked eye. There's only one building shown on the hill amidst the fields and farm animals. This is not fanciful, an 1839 image of the area presents a similar rural picture.

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