River bend of watch - Deptford Dockyard on 2014 World Monuments Watch list

Leading heritage NGO, the World Monuments Fund [full disclosure: An Edelman client] has today announced the 2014 World Monuments Watch - its list of 67 heritage sites in 41 countries, which it deems "at risk." One of them, is Deptford Dockyard and Sayes Court Gardens, which have been targeted for redevelopment as Convoys Wharf. The WMF says:

Deptford Dockyard and Sayes Court Gardens, London
In 1513 Henry VIII founded the Royal naval Dockyard at Deptford, and the King’s Yard became the foremost Royal dockyard of the Tudor period. Hundreds of warships and trading vessels were built here, including ships for exploration, science and empire. The Mary Rose was launched from Deptford in 1517, and the dockyard remained a naval powerhouse for another 350 years. The site also includes John Evelyn’s seventeenth-century garden at Sayes Court, one of the most famous and revolutionary gardens of its time.

The majority of the area has been concreted over in past decades, but recent excavations have revealed the dockyard’s extensive maritime heritage. Many large structures survive intact below (and in some cases above) ground level. However, the current low-level designation of the site remains unchanged despite this wealth of new archaeological data, and Deptford’s status as a heritage asset remains disproportionate with the survival of the fabric.

2013 is Deptford’s 500th anniversary, and today the site awaits residential redevelopment. Yet Deptford’s most imminent threat comes from the failure of existing proposals to fully acknowledge and respect the heritage assets that the site has to offer. Incorporating the extensive archaeology and combining this with unique public spaces has the potential to strengthen Deptford’s local identity whilst securing this lost piece of the Thames jigsaw. It would also improve awareness of the little-known existence and overlooked history of the dockyard and gardens on a national stage.

Dr Jonathan Foyle, Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain says, “Every two years, the World Monuments Watch reminds us the world around us changes faster than ever before. Change is inevitable, but it needs to be carefully managed so that we carry the best of the past into the future, and minimise the destruction of our record as a species. So we invite everyone to join us in supporting the champions of special places that need a helping hand to stay useful and beautiful.” 

The Watch list is designed to help raise awareness and encourage action through legislation, public-private partnerships and fund-raising. Battersea Power Station is also listed. For the full project map, click here.