This iconic landmark was first installed on Deptford High Street in 1988 and has since become a famous symbol of the history of Deptford, an area of southeast London. Deptford Dockyard was one of England’s key areas of shipbuilding and trade from the 16th until the 19th century. First established by Henry VIII as the first Royal Dockyard, it was an essential location for the Royal Navy where building and repairing some of the country’s finest sea vessels would take place. The anchor pays tribute to this historic past and is seen by many as the focal point of the community.
In 2013, the anchor was removed from its location on the street, much to the dismay of locals who had grown to love it. Interestingly, at the time of the removal, the local council attributed the rise in antisocial drinking behavior in the area to the position of the anchor. It was said by some that the anchor acted as a meeting place for locals to sit on the adjacent wall to drink alcohol. Unsurprisingly, the removal of the anchor did little to change this.
The removal of this symbol of maritime heritage angered many local residents and a petition was set up by the local campaign group Deptford is Forever, titled ‘Give us Back our Bloomin’ Anchor’. This gathered more than 4000 signatures and the campaign was made more popular by the sale of t-shirts, stickers, and frequent temporary drawings of anchors appearing through the local area. It was in January 2018 that the anchor was put back in the original site and its return was seen as a triumph to the campaigners, giving them a strong feeling of what people’s power can achieve.
Know Before You Go
The anchor takes pride of place right at the end of Deptford High Street. It is a short walk from Deptford Bridge Station.