Deptford History

Deptford History and Family History

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Welcome to the main page for Deptford History and Family History. From here you can link to various other pages containing information on Deptford history. Some of them are our own pages, but we also include links to other handy websites.

We have included the modern map of Deptford (above) for those who do not know the area. Compare, though, with John Evelyn’s map of Deptford (below).

Deptford railway station and Deptford Bridge (DLR) are the nearest stations.
Most of Deptford is in the Borough of Lewisham, but a small part along the Thames in the northern edge of Deptford is within the Borough of Greenwich. These are the two main research places for those researching Deptford history and those seeking info on Deptford ancestors.

Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre
199-201, Lewisham High Street,
SE13 6LG
Tel: 0208 314 8501
Lewisham Local History and Archives website

Greenwich Heritage Centre
Artillery Square
Royal Arsenal
Woolwich, SE18 4DX
Tel: 0208 854 2452
Greenwich Heritage Centre Website

Churches and Chapels

Many churches are of architectural interest, and the church played a large part in peoples lives. Family historians in particular will be interested in what churches their ancestors were baptised, married or buried.

Deptford Schools and Colleges

The 1870 Education Act stipulated that all children should attend school, and the school registers give a great deal of information on home address, parents names, dates of entering and leaving the school, etc.

Deptford History Books

These are of interest to those interested in the history of Deptford for its own sake, and also for those wanting to find out more about the town in which their ancestors lived and worked. An ancestor’s name might actually be mentioned! Click here for Deptford History Books for extracts of interest and the option of buying.

We are always looking for info on all thing to do with the history of Deptford, and consider social history and family history to be of great importance. So please add your own info, no matter how trivial you consider it. It is the accumulation of such `trivial’ information that helps build a good knowledge of Deptford’s social history.
You may have info on pubs, factories, shops, streets, characters, and your own ancestors. Please share.

Deptford History: John Evelyn's Map of Deptford

John Evelyn’s Map of Deptford

Below is an extract from History of Deptford, by Nathan Dews, which FamLoc has republished as an eBook:

At what time the parish adopted its present name is not certain, but it could scarcely have been before the Norman Conquest, for, as has already been seen, in the Domesday Survey, it is spoken of as Meretone, and in the Saxon Chronicle, A.D. 871, it is also called Meretun. Lambarde, in his “Perambulations of Kent, 1570,” says this place was called “West Greenwiche,” in ancient evidences, and in Latin “Vadum profundum”. It received its modern name of Deptford, after the Norman Conquest, from its position on the river Ravensbourne, which being subject to tidal influences rendered the fords at certain times, of great depth. As tenements were erected along the banks of the river, it obtained the addition of Stronde or Strand. We also frequently find it termed Depeford-le-Stronde and Deptford-Strond, alias West Greenwich, from its relative position to Greenwich; in course of time, however, this latter appellation was disused, and it retained its present name of Deptford.
We find the word spelt variously in many old books, manuscripts, and on the Deptford tokens, viz: Depforth in Mackyn’s Diary, A.D. 1551; Depforde in 1555; Depeforde in 1570; Depford in 1572 and 1649; Detford in 1648; Depthford in 1665; Deadford in 1665; Dedford in 1667 and 1673; Deptforde on an old token, no date; Depthorde in the Harleian Manuscript; Debtford in an old ballad, printed in black letter in 1675, entitled, “The Debtford Frolick, or a Hue and Cry after the Shag Breeches,” of which three different editions are in the British Museum. On an ancient monument in St Nicholas Church we find it spelt Deepford.


  • Brenda

    My great-grandfather lived in Duke Street, Deptford (source: 1871 census), but I cannot find it in current street directories. Maybe the street has been demolished, or there has been a name-change. Can anyone help?

    • Jan

      Duke Street is now Alverton Street and Dorking Close. Dorking Close was once Alverton Street when it connected Abinger Grove and Gosterwood Street.

  • Jan

    Thanks very much; we have added a link to The Hunthouse from our Home page, and hope they will link to us. Duke Street did indeed become Alverton Street, but in the 1970s Alverton Street was split into two, with the part east of Rolt Street becoming Dorking Close.

  • Kathy Ballard

    I was awarded a copy of History of Deptford when leaving John Evelyn School. I’ve always been very proud of my book!

  • Eva Miller

    I want to trace my school days at Tidemill school in Deptford, Frankham st Deptford ,any info out there I don’t know where to start

  • Rodney Brown

    Can anyone advise me of the Church or Chapel that was regarded as “The Royal Naval Chapel.
    Thanks in anticipation.
    Rod Brown

  • Henry Macdonald

    I am looking for Isabelle britton married to Charles bailey Isabelle grandmother was bush Charles and Isabelle married 1960 deptford she was born 1933. Isabelle father Benjamin britton mobile is 07831262930

  • Charlotte

    My Nans grandmother was Mrs Rolt, from a family of cabinet makers and we have always been told that Rolt Street is named after them!

  • Ellie Carter-Maidment

    My family mum and brother’s and sisters all eleven of them grew up in church St. The Stuart’s my great granddad was called dunge Taylor use to fall a sleep on his horse an d it would take him to Lewisham and back..
    I’m Steve Stuart love my family history still got a great aunt that takes snuff if any one knows what that is haha love her…

    • Jennifer walters

      I am looking for any information regarding the deptford German mission. I believe started in the eighteen hundreds by relatives of my husband. We have a little information their names were kluthe. Can anyone help

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