Deptford High Street on a Saturday afternoon. Still plenty of bustle and life, but its changing.
The traditional market hangs on by its fingertips, there are still plenty of stalls at the southern end of the high street that complement the street facing shops selling fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, bright cloth and gaudy plastic products, but they peter out quite quickly. The new kid in town – the Deptford Yard Market, just off the main drag – is booming as a car boot sale. Most of the goods here are second hand.
Manze’s Pie and Mash Shop and its rival across the road, Goddard’s, and the old boozer The White Swan are still there to anchor the north end of the street, which is less populous and more run down. There are no stalls this side of the railway bridge that bisects Deptford High Street. There are very few living pubs in the street at all any more, either. Most have been converted into cheap restaurants and cafe’s. There are a couple of bars of interest, one being The Job Centre, no doubt named so those seeking employment can tell the missus that they are (genuinely) down The Job Centre when in fact they are supping a crafty pint.
At the far end of the street, close to Deptford Broadway, is the loveliest pound shop in the country. No 13 Deptford High Street is a fine round-fronted, golden bricked Georgian property. Its difficult to find out much of its origin, although it appears likely that a local tea merchant dealing in the tea landed in local docks, was the original owner. Nowadays its pillared doorways that are straight out of a Jane Austen novel are piled high with bright-coloured plastic bowls and toys.