The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Deptford
DEPTFORD, a town and naval arsenal in Kent and Surrey, England, on the right bank of the Thames, at the mouth of the Ravensbourne, on the Croydon and Greenwich railways, and at the junction of the Croydon and Surrey canals, 3 m. S. E. of London bridge, and contiguous to Greenwich; pop. about 40,000. It contains a royal naval school incorporated in 1840, and two ancient hospitals for decayed pilots and shipmasters or their widows. Its principal feature was formerly the dockyard, established by Henry VIII., enclosing an area of 31 acres, with three slips for ships of the line on the river front, two for smaller vessels opening into a basin 260 by 220 ft., and two dry docks, one communicating with the basin, and the other, a double dock, with the Thames. This famous yard, in which Peter the Great worked as a shipwright, and near which Queen Elizabeth visited Sir Francis Drake on board the Pelican, was closed in 1869. The victualling yard for the royal navy, which adjoins it, is still open, and contains sheep and cattle pens, slaughter houses, salting establishments, an extensive mill, bakeries, an immense brewery, and cooper shops. There are several private dockyards in the town, and manufactories of some extent, including large engine and boiler works. The retail trade is considerable, and the market gardens are famous. The workhouse stands on the site of Sayes court, the mansion of John Evelyn, in which Peter the Great resided, and the once beautiful grounds are covered in part by the victualling yard.