Tudor naval storehouse at Convoys Wharf


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1021239.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 27-Nov-2021 at 22:40:22.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Lewisham (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 37153 78172

Reasons for Designation

Deptford Dockyard is one of the earliest Royal Naval dockyards. The first, founded at Portsmouth by Henry VII in 1496, was of relatively simple form centred around a dry dock of timber construction, where the first purpose-built warships, including the Mary Rose, were built at Portsmouth. Not long after it was established, however, this dockyard was already superseded in importance by those at Woolwich and Deptford, founded in 1512 and 1513 respectively. Although these dockyards were also initially of simple form, they soon developed with a series of both wet and dry docks and, at Deptford, a storehouse which enabled ships to be fully fitted out on the site. Deptford and Woolwich can thus be seen to have been home to the development of the Royal Navy during the 16th century. From the late 16th and through the 17th century, Deptford and Woolwich were in turn superseded in importance by Chatham in Kent, which was more strategically located for action on the North Sea during the Anglo-Dutch Wars. Wars with the French during the 18th century led to a concentration of naval activity in the English Channel and the consequent development of naval dockyards at Portsmouth and Plymouth. Through lack of later development, the layout of the dockyard at Deptford remained largely unaltered from about 1700 until its infilling in the late 19th century. Naval storehouses were created for the storage of materials used in the building and fitting of ships at the dockyard, and for supplying the fleet both at home and at naval stations overseas. Stores would include raw materials and goods such as timber, iron, tar, lead, glass, hemp and paint, and ready equipment such as sails, masts and rigging. Storehouses took on a similar form whether used for general stores or for specialised contents relating to a particular activity, such as sail-making or smithing. They are typically of simple rectangular plan, with internal cross-walls to separate the materials stored and for the provision of a storekeeper's office. Storage was often provided over two principal storeys with additional storage at cellar and attic levels. Construction was normally of brick or stone in order to minimise fire risk; some storehouses included vaulted undercrofts for the storage of particularly flammable materials. To safeguard the security of the stores, access was usually limited to a single ground-floor entrance; from the early 18th century, however, some storehouses were provided with external access to the upper floors via wall cranes. The development of quadrangular storehouse complexes also allowed secure outdoor storage in a central courtyard. While earlier storehouses were built to the instructions of the resident yard officer, storehouses from the late 18th century were usually designed by Navy Board architects. The buried remains of the Tudor storehouse at Deptford are the earliest known remains of a naval storehouse in England; no other storehouse remains of Tudor date are known to survive. The earliest storehouse still standing above ground, at Chatham, dates from 1723, while the majority of standing naval storehouses date from the later 18th century. Although the remains of the storehouse at Deptford are not visible above ground, the below ground remains of the building, including the undercroft and buttresses, survive in very good condition and have been little altered by later activity. Limited archaeological excavation has demonstrated a high level of survival for buried deposits, and internal structural features such as early floors are believed to survive largely intact. Buried remains will also include artefactual and environmental material which will give an insight into industrial and economic activity on the site. A margin of 1m around the building will ensure that the archaeological relationship of this structure to adjacent features of national importance will be preserved.


The monument includes the remains of a Tudor naval storehouse at Deptford Dockyard, a Royal Naval dockyard founded in 1513. Beyond the area of the scheduling, the dockyard, which remained in use until the mid-19th century, extends over an area of at least 16ha along the Thames waterfront north west of St Nicholas's Church. The site, which is now occupied by Convoys Wharf, includes an extensive series of buried remains, the river wall which is thought to be medieval in origin, and the Olympia Building of 1846-7. The Olympia Building is a Listed Building Grade II. Deptford Dockyard was founded by Henry VIII and is situated 1.5km upriver of his palace at Greenwich. The dockyard is thought to occupy the site of an earlier shipyard, referred to in documentary sources of the early 15th century, which had been engaged by Henry V for the rebuilding and refitting of royal ships. The storehouse and Great Dock are believed to have been built in 1513, shortly followed in 1517 by the Basin, which was modelled from an earlier pond. A documentary source of 1517 refers to the floating of the Mary Rose in the Basin, along with other famous ships of the time. Additional storehouses were hired in 1547, and in 1574 the Great Dock was rebuilt. In 1581 a new brick-built dock was constructed near the storehouse to house the Golden Hind, in which Francis Drake had made his historic circumnavigation of the globe in 1577-80. As the first Englishman to achieve the circumnavigation, Drake was knighted by Elizabeth I on board the Golden Hind at Deptford on 4 April 1581. The ship subsequently served as a visitor attraction at the dockyard before finally collapsing there more than 70 years later. Many of the ship's timbers were removed as souvenirs and it is unknown whether other fragments of the ship may survive within buried deposits at the dockyard. During the late 16th century, throughout the 17th century and most of the 18th century, the dockyard was steadily enlarged with the addition of a series of mastponds, wharfs and slips with associated storehouses and other buildings. During the 18th century the dockyard was employed in the fitting out of a number of well known vessels, including Captain Cook's Endeavour and Discovery, as well as ships used in Nelson's campaigns. From the late 18th century, however, increased silting along this part of the Thames, and an increase in the size of warships, limited the size of vessels which could reach the dockyard and resulted in a reduction in shipbuilding at the site. In 1821 it was used for small maintenance work and shipping naval supplies only, and in 1830-44 activity was limited to shipbreaking. There was a brief revival of shipbuilding in the 1840s when the dockyard was reopened for the construction of small warships. It is to this period that the Olympia Building belongs, constructed in 1846-7 to cover nos 2 and 3 slips which were rebuilt in stone at this time. In 1869 the dockyard was finally closed and the site sold for use as London's Foreign Cattle Market. From this time the below ground features of the dockyard were progressively infilled. During World War I the site was used for military storage, and during World War II it suffered some bomb damage, although most standing structures remained in situ. Final clearance of most of the standing buildings took place between about 1952 and 1975. During the later 20th century the site was partly overlain by modern warehouses used for the storage of paper for the newspaper industry. The storehouse constructed in 1513 took the form of a rectangular building, approximately 50m long and 10m wide, aligned north west-south east. It was constructed of brick with an undercroft; a map of 1623 indicates that at that date there were two storeys above ground, while a plan of 1688-98 suggests that an attic storey and chimney stack were also added. Limited archaeological excavation of the brick foundations in 2000 identified the buried remains of the north east wall, surviving below ground to a height of at least 2.1m, measuring 1.2m-1.7m wide at the base and tapering upwards to 0.72m. At a height of 1.44m above the base of the wall an 18th century timber floor was discovered; archaeological layers beneath this floor are thought to include the remains of earlier floor surfaces of the 16th and 17th centuries. One of the external brick buttresses which supported the building was also revealed during excavation. The presence of buttresses reflects the relative instability of the ground upon which the storehouse was built. Documentary sources of the 17th century indicate that a series of adjoining buildings were added to the original storehouse at this time, including an office and additional stores. A north-south range added to the western end before 1623 had already been replaced by a new storehouse before 1698, and further storehouses were added to the north and south sides. In the first half of the 18th century this complex of buildings was largely rebuilt in quadrangular form, extending southwards from, and incorporating the original structure. Parts of the quadrangle were demolished in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and the remainder received some war damage in 1940 and 1943. However, the original Tudor range seems to have remained intact until 1952 when those parts of it still standing above ground were demolished. Many of the bricks salvaged from the demolition were reused to repair Hampton Court Palace, and an ogee-arched niche containing an inscribed foundation stone was re-erected inside the Department of Computer Science at University College, London. By 1984 the rest of the storehouse complex had also been demolished. The scheduling includes the buried remains of the Tudor storehouse, together with a margin of 1m considered essential for its support and preservation. The buried remains of the later parts of the storehouse complex, and those of the other features of the royal dockyard such as the Great Dock and other docks (including that which contained the Golden Hind), the Basin, mastponds, slips, wharfs and river wall, together with their associated buildings and working surfaces, also include remains of national importance. These are considered to be more appropriately managed through planning controls and are not therefore included in the scheduled area. The Olympia Building (appropriately managed through its status as a Listed Building) is not included in the scheduling. All modern ground surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].