Deptford New Town: A 19th century working class estate

Social Welfare

Canon Money also directed his attention to social relief and welfare. The parish had a visiting society, gave financial help, food, clothing or coal to what it considered the deserving poor and started a savings bank. These activities did not deal with the fundamental problems of overcrowding and poor sanitation. These were problems that could only really be dealt with by official bodies. It was not until 1890, after the establishment of the London County Council and the passing of the Housing of the Working Classes Act, that reform got under way.

The LCC demolished 50 houses on Mill Lane (Brookmill Road) including eight lodging houses. There was an obligation to rehouse half of those displaced, but this was delayed by a wrangle between the LCC and the Greenwich Board of Works as to the form the housing scheme should take. The result was an obvious compromise, which included the lodging Carrington House (the LCC approach) and Sylva Cottages as favoured by the Board of Works. Both opened in 1903.

The estate remained in private hands through much of the 20th century. It was managed by the company GFW Estates until 1964 when its 400 properties were sold to Deptford Borough Council for £452,635. In the 1970s the Peabody Trust demolished and redeveloped the area enclosed by Albyn Road, Brookmill Road and Friendly Street as the Vanguard Estate.

By virtue of its status as a conservation area the district retains much of its original character. It is still largely residential with few immediately local shops or pubs away from the main roads. The most significant change is that, in common with all of Lewisham Borough, its population now look farther afield than Deptford for their employment and leisure. St Johnís has become a true suburb.