The Ravensbourne River no.1, The Thames to Lewisham Station

The Ravensbourne is 17km long (11 miles), rising in Keston Ponds at Caesar’s Well, and debouching into the Thames in Deptford. I am walking the river using the DLR, buses and trains. 

The Ravensbourne debouching into the Thames at Deptford
The Ravensbourne debouching into the Thames at Deptford

In 1513 Henry VIII founded a Dockyard in Deptford to build ships for his Royal Navy. The area continued as a busy shipbuilding area, with related supporting industries, until the early 1800s. In 1698 Peter the Great came to Deptford to study shipbuilding and stayed in Sayes Court, now demolished. The London & Greenwich Railway line of 1836 also crosses Deptford Creek next to the lift bridge.

Deptford Creek in 1700s? (www.british-history.ac.uk)
Deptford Creek in 1700s? (www.british-history.ac.uk)

The toll road through Deptford was the route to Dover and the only crossing in this area over the Ravensbourne River. Today the Dover Road still crosses the river crossing, together with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). 

A2 crossing Ravensbourne River in Deptford
A2 crossing Ravensbourne River in Deptford

The DLR runs alongside the Ravensbourne River to Lewisham. 

The DLR in Broadfields Park
The DLR in Broadfields Park
Single swan in the Ravensbourne River in Broadfields Park
Single swan in the Ravensbourne River in Broadfields Park
The Ravensbourne in Brookmills Park, looking towards new flats in Deptford
The Ravensbourne in Brookmills Park, looking towards new flats in Deptford
The Ravensbourne River in Brookmills Park
The Ravensbourne River in Brookmills Park

The Ravensbourne was used for drinking water until 1862 by which time the water was too polluted. Water was instead pumped from below the chalk, and the red brick Victorian pumping station is still used today. The small lake in Brookmills Park is the remains of one of the reservoirs used to store water. Archaeological investigations have revealed habitation of this area dating to c.2,000 BC.

Victorian Water Pumping Station opposite Brookmills Park
The James Engine House – Victorian Water Pumping Station opposite Brookmills Park
Lake in Brookmills Park, the remains of a reservoir
Lake in Brookmills Park, the remains of a reservoir
The Ravensbourne River
The Ravensbourne River

The river the the DLR at Elverson Road, the penultimate stop before Lewisham.

15-6-30 Ravensbourne LR-3951

The Ravensbourne at the Lewisham Roundabout
The Ravensbourne at the Lewisham Roundabout

You may be interested in
London’s Lost Rivers – the Ravensbourne
River Ravensbourne Conservation Plans
The Ravensbourne Valley Preservation Society
History of Deptford
Ravensbourne Improvement Plan
The former waterworks at Deals Gateway
Archaeological investigations of the waterworks site
Walking from the Thames to Lewisham

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