Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Setting the boundaries

So where exactly is Deptford? I hear you ask. Well, I decided to set some boundaries within which to confine myself, and set about finding what actually defines Deptford.

First stop, the parliamentary definition. I've always regarded Deptford as having a rather unnatural relationship to Lewisham Borough, under whose remit we fall. It's stuck out at the top of the borough, a long way from the Town Hall and administrative centre in Catford, and often feels like we get forgotten about by the powers that be. In fact Deptford parliamentary consituency (or Lewisham Deptford, to give it its official name) is much bigger than I had anticipated. Whereas the town centre clusters round the market and the high street, our MP Joan Ruddock looks after an extensive swathe of the borough, which includes Telegraph Hill, Brockley, Ladywell and Crofton Park as well as New Cross and Evelyn. For those who don't know this area very well, let me assure you that of all these wards, Evelyn is by far the most deprived, and the least leafy!

So the parliamentary definition proved too broad, whereas at local level, the town centre is spread across at least three wards - Evelyn, New Cross, and Greenwich West, which comes under Greenwich Council's remit.

In fact until 1974 Deptford was a separate constituency, established in 1885 and initially returning local hero William John Evelyn (more of him later) to parliament.

So here's my own, self-defined boundaries. To the north: the Thames, natch! To the east, Deptford Creek as far as Tesco's at Lewisham; we're going to claim the pointy bit south that's bounded by Loampit Vale and Lewisham Way, since it takes in some interesting cafes and galleries, and then New Cross Road as far as Pagnell Street, Sandford Street and Trundleys Road as far down as Plough Way, then back to the river.

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