Fears eased over Deptford landmark removal

Deptford bridge Pic: Michael Pooler

Fears over the fate of an iconic Deptford landmark have been quelled after rail authorities announced it is not to be demolished.

Concerns that the Lifting Bridge at Ha’Penny Hatch would to be taken down due to safety concerns surfaced on a local blog this month.

‘Crossfieldswhat’, a blog run by residents of Crossfields estate, reported that a member of the public saw workmen in high-visibility jackets and with equipment inspecting the vertical structure.

This gave rise to the belief that rail authority Network Rail, which manages the bridge, was considering its removal.

But Network Rail has told EastLondonLines that there are no plans to demolish the bridge. They are considering removing the lifting mechanism, which has fallen into disrepair after 30 years of no use.

The upright steel structure, which consists of a H-shape frame resting on four steel legs, stands above a Victorian-era brick railway viaduct that crosses Deptford Creek. Since its opening in 1954 it has been a prominent feature of the local skyline.

The 40-tonne span was designed to vertically lift a section of the railway track that crosses the strait, in order to give ample passage to masted vessels passing down the creek.

The bridge has not been used in several decades and the lifting section was welded shut into ‘down’ position over 10 years ago.

Locally the bridge is a popular sight as well a visual reminder of Deptford’s industrial heritage. The rumours did not go down well with some residents.

Earlier, EastLondon Lines spoke to Deptford residents about the possibility of its demolition.

Bill Grant, 50, from Deptford, told EastLondonLines that he would be saddened if the bridge was removed. He said: “I come by here four or five times a week and when I pass the bridge I have to stop and look – no matter how many times I have seen it already. It is unique and it would be sad for it to go.”

Local shipwright Julian Kingston called for its restoration. He said: “It is a seriously iconic structure that is listed. I see no reason why Network Rail don’t spend a little money on it – even just a bit of paint. Knocking it down would surely be more expensive.

“It is part of Deptford’s heritage.”


  1. Mary November 23, 2011
  2. Deptford Dame November 23, 2011
  3. Michael Pooler November 24, 2011
  4. Edmund Bird January 6, 2012

Leave a Reply