Friday, 24 October 2008

Living History

Today I visted the oldest working station in London at Deptford. It has been open since 1836 as part of the London and Greenwich Railway. At the time of opening the line was not ready as far as Greenwich and the terminal at London Bridge was not ready so trains used a temporary terminus at Spa Road. Incidentally the whole line between London and Greenwich was built on a viaduct because it took up less room than an embankment and cut down the cost of land needed. Seems like somethings never change although I wonder what the original promoters would make of things now. There are 16 running lines between London Bridge, Spa Road and Blue Anchor and service frequency is incredible.

Deptford may be the oldest station in London but the oldest railway in Kent is (or was) the Crab and Wrinkle line between Canterbury and Whitstable opened in 1830. The area I cover is roughly triangular in shape and covers from London to Ramsgate,along the coast to Hastings and back to London via Tunbridge Wells.

When I was at school I always found history to be one of the most boring subjects but recently I have become to take an interest. Deptford contains several churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the home of the Royal Naval Dockyards in Tudor times. Deptford Creek is now industrialised but it does not take a lot to cast your mind back and imagine all the sailing ships. Amongst other things that happened there was the knighting of Sir Francis Drake after defeating the the Spanish Amada and its also where Sir Walter Raliegh laid down his cloak for Queen Elisabeth 1 to walk across. Not all things were so joyous though Deptford is the place where Christopher Marlowe the playright was stabbed to death following an argument.

Deptford also has a wonderfull street market which sells all sorts of nice things to eat including many I have never heard of!

I really must remember to take my camera and get some pictures of these places.


Beth said...

I find this very interesting. One thing that we lack here is very old buildings, and I love to tour such places.

I remember enjoying history in school, but not as much as I do now. I wonder what it is in us that gets that interest going as we get older?

Love, Beth

Jan said...

Like you I have rediscovered an interest in history and I would love to see some pictures of some of the interesting places you visited today Jan xx

Stuart said...

i love history and always have it is lovely when folk discover its richness

Odds Bodkins. said...

You sure know your railway history Andy. Have you considered writing a book?


Bill Ellson said...

It is the oldest station site in use in London but the building is actually the third one there. Built in the 1920s so there are dozens of older stations in London.

Sandra said...

How interesting Andy, I`d never heard of the Crab and Wrinkle station, it sounds like something from Thomas The Tank! Poor old Christoper Marlowe, I didn`t realise he met his doom in Deptford.

Love Sandra x

Funnyface said...

Hi Andy, i think History is for Adults, its funny how we all find it so interesting as we get older !
Much Luv, Jaynee X