Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Open House Deptford and surrounds

There's plenty to do in Deptford and the local neighbourhood this weekend with Open House London giving us all an opportunity to see behind doors that are usually closed, or visit museums for free.

I'll be poking around the dusty corners of some places I've been to before, as well as having a nosy at a couple of the new kids on the block. It's exciting to see more and more local buildings taking part each year, even if it does mean lots of humming and hawing over what to do in a very limited time. How long till it becomes Open House month? (*crosses fingers*).

Top of my list for local must-sees is usually the Master Shipwright's House, which for the rest of the year is completely hidden from view unless you have a boat or know which way to look from the Thames Clipper as it sails past. This little beauty nestles snugly between Lower Watergate and the eastern extreme of the Convoys Wharf site - of course the house would formerly have been part of the site and was where the master shipwright of the Royal Dockyard would have lived.

Last year was great fun as they pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the dockyard receiving its royal charter - there were some handsome re-enactors showing off their weapons, and sticking it to the Convoys Wharf open house next door with a load of regular bangs.

Of course Convoys is not open this year; the developer having been granted planning permission has no need to schmooze the public and clock up brownie points with 'public involvement'. So it's tough if you wanted to enjoy their waterfront again.

The Lenox Project will be at the Master Shipwright's again this year with their restored Saker cannon - always a hit with the kids - and Twitter tells me they are also serving homemade cakes! Could be a nice spot for your morning coffee break or an afternoon tea.
Saturday, 10am-5pm.

While you are in the vicinity you might want to pop into the Rachel McMillan Nursery which is also open on Saturday from 10am till 2pm. The nursery was opened in 1914 by Rachel McMillan who pioneered the benefits of an open-air environment for children.

The local 'landmark' architectural buildings of Deptford - the Deptford Lounge, the Laban Centre and the Stephen Lawrence Centre - are taking part as usual, and are worth a look if you haven't had chance to see the bits behind closed doors, although the architect David Adjaye did refer to the latter as a 'failure' in a recent interview, perhaps an opportunity to make up your own mind this weekend?

There's a chance to go inside some of our less architecturally-distinguished buildings too, but in the case of the Seager Distillery Tower this has two major attractions.

The first is that when you are inside it, you can't see it! The skyline looks a little more peaceful and refined, even if you are looking across the road at Lewisham College.

The second attraction is that access is to the rooftop viewing area, and if it's a clear day, the views are magnificent despite being through the glass (and it's like an oven in there when it's sunny - I mean, who designs a 'roof terrace' like that?!).

Go and enjoy the views while you can, before someone builds more monstrous towers to block out the vista.

My local choices for those of an architectural bent would be the Richard Hoggart Building at Goldsmiths, which has been remodelled over the last couple of years with new landscaping out front.

In Greenwich the new University of Greenwich building on Stockwell Street is running tours on Saturday and Sunday, offering the chance to look around at the start of its first year of use.

Deptford Green School has tours for just a couple of hours on Saturday, so you need to time your trip carefully if you want to have a look around this one.

Meanwhile the developers of the major Surrey Canal Road redevelopment have got an onsite 'roof top box' (sounds glamorous!) where you can find out more about what's happening there. Presumably it's more than the Sweet FA I see every day when I ride past on my bike.


Anonymous said...

Nice flapjack at the Master Shipwrights but such a small piece, some of us do not need to diet! Lovely tea.

Deptford Dame said...

Perhaps you should have had seconds!