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Hidden History of London

London's Hidden History
Deptford Bridge

Out of Deptfprd ("deep ford") station and up New Cross Road for a quick peek at the Grade II listed Deptford Town Hall. Built in the Edwardian Baroque style by Lanchaster and Rickards between 1903 and 1905, it is the districts most majestic building. The ornate façade reflects the historic nautical history of the area with Tritons supporting an oriel bay window and statues of admirals between the first floor windows. Early inspection advised as estate agents would say!

Our destination is St Nicholas' church where Christopher Marlow is buried. But first we must pass by another grand old church - St Pauls built in 1713 in the Baroque style by Thomas Archer. This is a favorite of Joan Ruddock, Member of Parliament for Lewisham and Deptford, joy of joy, major refurbishments are under way to restore this magnificent church to its former glory.

Christopher Marlow, the playwright, who some say had he lived longer would have rivalled Shakespeare. But he is now most famous for being murdered in a pub punch up in Deptford. No Bouncers in them days! The locals say the tavern where he died was the Cock Inn on Deptford Strand but that is only one of many pubs that make the claim. What is not in doubt is where he was buried in 1593.

Marlow's greatest play is "Doctor Faustus", not the sort of storyline of today's soap operas but there again being murdered in a pub arguing over the bill, sounds a bit like a plot from EastEnders.

His grave is marked with a plaque in St Nicholas' churchyard. The church itself is well worth the visit alone, see the wonderful Ossuary and yet another Grinling Gibbons wood carving. Now we have mentioned good old Grinling a number of times, remember he carved the font cover at All Hallows.

Grinling is known as the most famous English wood carver of all time, forget the fact that he was born in Rotterdam! During the late half of the seventeenth century he created very ornate lime-wood carvings in Royal Palaces, stately homes and, of course, in shedloads of churches. He specialised in cascades of fruit, leaves, fish, flowers, and birds. So now you know!

A primary school is named after him in Clyde Street in Deptford, now not many people know that!!


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