Deptford Dockyard
HM Dockyard, Deptford
720px-Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg.png
Type Naval Dockyard
Country United Kingdom
Founded 1513
Abolished 1869
Headquarters Chatham, Kent, England
Operator Royal Navy
Controlled by Navy Board (1544-1832)
Controlled by Board of Admiralty (1832-1964)
Sub-component Victualling Yard Deptford

Deptford Dockyard also known as Deptford Royal Dockyard was an important naval dockyard and base at Deptford on the River Thames, in what is now the London Borough of Lewisham, operated by the Royal Navy from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. It built and maintained warships for 300 years, and many significant events and ships have been associated with it.

1) History

Founded by Henry VIII in 1513, the dockyard was the most significant royal dockyard of the Tudor period and remained one of the principal naval yards for three hundred years. Important new technological and organisational developments were trialled here, and Deptford came to be associated with the great mariners of the time, including Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh and naval administrators William Gonson. The yard expanded rapidly throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, encompassing a large area and serving for a time as the headquarters of naval administration, and became the Victualling Board's main depot. Tsar Peter the Great visited the yard officially incognito in 1698 to learn shipbuilding techniques. Reaching its zenith in the eighteenth century, it built and refitted exploration ships used by Cook, Vancouver and Bligh, and warships which fought under Nelson.

The dockyard declined in importance after the Napoleonic Wars. Its location upriver on the Thames made access difficult, and the shallow narrow river hampered navigation of the large new warships. The dockyard was largely inactive after 1830, and though shipbuilding briefly returned in the 1840s the navy closed the yard in 1869. The victualling yard that had been established in the 1740s continued in use until the 1960s, while the land used by the dockyard was sold, the area now being known as Convoys Wharf.

2) Administration of the dockyard

From 1550 until 1688 the Master Shipwright was the key official in charge of the dockyard until the introduction of resident commissioners by the Navy Board after which he became deputy to the resident commissioner. The Commissioner of Deptford Dockyard held a seat and a vote on the Navy Board in London. In 1748 the dockyard was managed directly by the Navy Board,. In 1832 the post of commissioner was replaced by the post of superintendent, who was invested with the same power and authority as the former commissioners, "except in matters requiring an Act of Parliament to be submitted by the Commissioner of the Navy". On 5 September 1971 all Flag Officers of the Royal Navy holding positions of Admiral Superintendents at Royal Dockyards were restyled as Port Admirals.

Key officials

2.1) Keeper of the Storehouses at Deptford (1514-1537)

  1. 1514-1524 John Hopton
  2. 1524-1537, Vice-Admiral Sir William Gonson

2.2) Master Shipwright Deptford Dockyard (1550-1731)

Incomplete list of post holders included:

  1. 1550-1589, Peter Pett
  2. 1589-1606, Joseph Pett
  3. 1619-1623, William Burrell
  4. 1623-1631, Peter Pett
  5. 1647-1668, Christopher Pett
  6. 1668-1675, Jonas Shish
  7. 1686-1688, Fisher Harding

2.3) Commissioner of the Navy at Deptford and Woolwich Dockyards (1688-1828)

  1. 1688-1702 Baltasar St Mitchell
  2. 1702-1744 Henry Greenhill
  3. 1744-1745 Thomas Whorwood
  4. 1745- 1746 Edward Falkingham
  5. 1746-1747 James Compton
  6. 1747-1748 William Davies
  7. 1806-1828 Captain Charles Cunningham (also Commissioner at Chatham in March 1828)

Note: From 1748 to 1806 the yard was managed directly by the Navy Board.

2.4) Warden of the Navy at Deptford (1834-1838)

  1. 1833-1838 John Eddy

2.5) Captain/Commodore/Rear-Admiral Superintendent Deptford (1838-1869)

Incomplete list of post holders included.

  1. 1838-1841 Captain William H. Shirreff
  2. 1841-1843 Captain Sir John Hill Kt.
  3. 1843-1851 Commodore Sir John Hill Kt.
  4. 1851-1852 Hon. Richard S. Dundas
  5. 1853-1856 Captain Thomas Horatio Austin
  6. 1863-1866 Captain Henry Chads

2.5.1) Master Shipwright Deptford Dockyard (1688-1860)

  1. 1688-1705 Fisher Harding
  2. 1705-1727 Joseph Allin
  3. 1727-1742 Richard A. Stacey
  4. 1742-1746 Joseph Allin
  5. 1746-1752 John Holland
  6. 1752-1753 Thomas Fellowes
  7. 1753-1755 Thomas Slade
  8. 1755-1785 Adam Hayes
  9. 1785-1787 Henry Peake
  10. 1787-1795 Martin Ware
  11. 1795-1799 Thomas Pollard
  12. 1810-1813 William Stone
  13. 1853-1860 Henry Chatfield

3) Sources

  1. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1828 March). The Navy List. Principle Officers in the Dockyards and Establishments under the Navy Board. John Murray. London. England. p.121.
  2. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1834 March). The Navy List. Principle Officers in the Dockyards and Establishments under the Navy Board. John Murray. London. England. p.136.
  3. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1835 March). The Navy List. Principle Officers in the Dockyards and Establishments under the Navy Board. John Murray. London. England. p.135.
  4. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1840 November). The Navy List. Officers of the Dockyards. Simpkin Marshall & Co. London. England. p.135.
  5. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1841 August). The Navy List. Officers of the Dockyards. Simpkin Marshall & Co. London. England. p.265.
  6. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1843 August). The Navy List. Officers of the Dockyards. Simpkin Marshall & Co. London. England. p.263.
  7. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1844 February). The Navy List. Officers of the Dockyards. Simpkin Marshall & Co. London. England. p.263.
  8. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1847 December). The Navy List. Officers of the Dockyards. Simpkin Marshall & Co. London. England. p.236.
  9. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1848 December). The Navy List. Dockyards. John Murray. London. England. p.173.
  10. Admiralty, Great Britain. (1852 December). The Navy List. Dockyards. John Murray. London. England. p. 185.
  11. Beaston, Robert (1788). A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain and Ireland. I. G.G.J. and J. Robinson. p.353.
  12. Clements R. Markham (2012) The Arctic Navy List 1773-1873. Andrews UK Limited, Luton, England. p.3 (ref for Capt Supt: Thomas H. Austin.
  13. Clowes, Sir William Laird. (1897-1903). The royal navy, a history from the earliest times to the present. Volume III. S. Low Marston. London. England. p. 4.
  14. Harrison, Simon. (2010-2018) "Master Shipwright at Deptford Dockyard". threedecks.org. S. Harrison.

4) Attribution

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/Deptford Dockyard
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