For 25 years, the anchor – a gift from Chatham Dockyard – was the only visible reminder of Deptford’s rich, unique and international maritime history.
Since the completion of the renovation works, and more than two years since its removal, the anchor has still not been reinstated and the council has not made any plans for its future.
The former setting of the anchor, on a low plinth, made it attractive to street drinkers, and their presence was one of the reasons given for its removal.
Now the drinkers gather in Giffin Square instead, next to the school and library. Removing the anchor has swept away Deptford’s history, but the social issues persist. There is an empty space where the anchor once stood as a proud reminder of the Royal Dockyard.
Rosie Chard was the landscape architect who designed the plinth and chose the anchor, who at the time lived in New Cross. She reflects ‘The placement at the junction was so that as many people as possible could see it.I had no idea that the anchor had been held in so much affection by local people. I don’t think a plinth is essential and you could argue an anchor without a plinth makes it feel more like a functional anchor in its “natural” setting, sitting on the edge of a harbour, waiting to be used.’