BY CALUM FRASER
The iconic Deptford Anchor is set to return to the high street after years in exile. Years of campaigning which included chalk drawn graffiti, demonstrations and a petition called Give Us Back Our Bloomin’ Anchor that garnered more than 4,000 signatures, has brought the anchor home.
The Deptford Anchor was dropped in 1988 as a gift from Chatham Dockyard during an initial regeneration project, but it was raised again in 2013 and moved to a storage site following another regeneration project.
The Deptford Society (DS) and Deptford Is Forever (DIF) teamed up to launch the petition to reinstate the anchor.
The reinstallation work is now set to begin on January 15 at the south end of Deptford. A spokesman for DIF said: “The anchor represents the heart of Deptford’s identity and heritage.
“Once a small fishing village, when Henry VIII founded the Royal Dockyard here in 1513, it went on to become the powerhouse of the Royal Navy and the town grew up around it and prospered from 350 years of shipbuilding.
“The dockyard’s history now lies hidden beneath concrete, and the site, now known as Convoys Wharf, is owned by conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa who received planning permission in 2014 to build 3500 mostly luxury homes there.”
“An anchor means lots of different things to different people, but the Deptford Anchor as a landmark puts Deptford back on the map as something more distinctive and meaningful than just a an appendage to the City and the borough of Lewisham.”
“We’ll all be looking forward to seeing our bloomin’ anchor back where it belongs.”
Chairman of the Deptford Society Peter Collins said: “We’re thrilled with the anchor being returned.
Exhibition will celebrate return of iconic anchor
An art exhibition will be held to celebrate the return of the Deptford Anchor this month. The campaign to re-install the anchor gained London-wide recognition after activists paraded down the high street dragging a giant cardboard anchor, made by local artist Laura X Carle, as part of the Deptford X visual arts festival.
Drawing The Line, inspired by this activism, centres on the work of University of Greenwich Architecture graduate Max Barnes.
The exhibition recreates people dragging the anchor down the high street, disrupting existing infrastructures.
An additional exhibition, called Give Us Back Our Bloomin’ Anchor, will be on show to document the four-year campaign of the Deptford is Forever (DIF) group which spearheaded much of the activism leading to the return of the anchor.
This will all be curated by Sayes Court Garden CIC which leads the Sayes Court project, which aims to preserve the historical legacy of the Deptford Royal Dockyard in the Convoy Wharf redevelopment.
Bob Bagley, Sayes Court CIC director, said: “Over the past academic year, more than 100 students from the University of Greenwich Landscape Architecture programme, in collaboration with Sayes Court, have been focusing on Convoys Wharf and Deptford.
“The shear breadth of vision, novelty of thought and intensity of commitment by the students and their tutors has been humbling to witness.
“We present here a highlight of the fruits of their labour: a first step in a relationship with the university which we hope will last for many years to come.”
The exhibition will run from January 19 to February 4 at the Deptford Does Art café on Deptford high street.
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