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The Ragged School Blog Deptford

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Benjamin Franklin and Ferranti

If you've done any research on electricity and found Deptford as the site of the seminal electric Power station in Britain, you might then be surprised to find it merely commemorated by the recently named Ferranti Park opposite the Laban. Whilst this gesture is great, why isn't there a significant memorial on the site by the river ? There stands instead a monument to Peter the Greats visit to the Naval Dockyard. And if you visit the site of Sayes Court to investigate that in turn, where is any clue that Sayes Court the house and its grand gardens existed ? The answer is because history is a very expensive commodity to present, or can be. Its one thing to have it documented, another to access the documents and another to fund the capital investment and servicing of an historical or cultural facility. Very rarely an historical building will survive, and even rarer an opportunity to bring it alive again. Benjamin Franklin, the man who used a kite to tap lightning in early research on electricity, lived in a house behind Trafalgar Square, near what is now Charing Cross station. The house has finally opened as a museum this month, for the first time enabling a combined visitor study facility with archive material of Franklins work catalogued by Yale university. Why is Lewisham one of the few boroughs not to have a local history museum yet ?


At 12:30 am, Blogger james said...

Lewisham Local History Society attempted to start a local history museum and were in negotiations with the site owners and Lewisham Council in 2004/05. The site was perfect (Lewisham's Riverdale Mill), being a fine example of Lewisham's industrial heritage and in a prime central location. The owners were going to provide the site for use as a museum for a peppercorn rent. However eventually the Council pulled out of the idea when they refused to pay to make the building compliant with disability access regulations. I'm hoping that a new site will come up again, although I don't have much hope that the council will be of much use.

At 12:49 am, Blogger james said...

The statue of Peter The Great by the Thames in Deptford is quite possibly the worst ever statue in the history of sculpture. A huge body with a tiny head infront of a awful throne and next to a dwarf. This statue is so bad it's beyond kitsch.


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