Inventory Site Record

Pepys Park (Lewisham)

Brief Description

Pepys Park is public open space created as part of the LCC's 1960s Pepys Estate, which was built over the site of the Victualling Yard established for storage of provisions and clothing for the Royal Navy in 1742. The Victualling Yard was relocated here when the Tower Hill yard had become inadequate. The park consists of a number of open spaces between the riverside and Grove Street. In the 1950s a playing field had been opened by the LCC called Royal Victoria Yard, which later became Pepys Park in 1968.

Practical Information
Site location:
Grove Street/Foreshore
What 3 Words:
Type of site:
Public Park
Open to public?
Opening times:
Special conditions:
Playground, football pitch
Annual charity fun day
Public transport:
London Overground: Surrey Quays then bus. Bus: 199, 47, 188.
Research updated:
Last minor changes:

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/openspaces/parks

Full Site Description

The Royal Naval Dockyard in Deptford had been created in 1513 for Henry VIII and the Victualling Yard was originally called The Red House; it had a river frontage of 460 metres, and became the largest naval victualling yard in the country, manufacturing a range of provisions including biscuit, chocolate, mustard and pepper, and housing massive supplies of food, tobacco, rum, medical supplies and clothing. In 1858 the Yard was renamed the Royal Victoria Victualling Yard after a visit by Queen Victoria; it eventually closed in 1961. Warehouses were bombed in WWII but a number of the former buildings designed by James Arrow c.1783-88 remained and were later incorporated into the Pepys housing estate, including a Gateway (1788) flanked by 4 large bollards made of cannon leads, the Colonnade (1768), houses and offices for the Porter and Clerk of Cheque, 2 former Rum Warehouses (1780), and Stables.

The estate was named after Samuel Pepys who was Secretary to the Admiralty in the reign of Charles II and so had connections with the area. He visited John Evelyn who lived at Sayes Court (q.v.). The LCC's Pepys Estate was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as 'one of their most confident pieces of brutalist showmanship, and also the only place where London's maritime historic buildings have been successfully preserved on a large scale'. The layout of the estate opens up nearer the river, with landscaped/grassed areas and by 1966 the original scheme of 1,500 dwellings was completed.

In 1971 responsibility for Pepys Park transferred from the GLC to LB Lewisham and the park was extended on the site of another recreation ground on the north side of Grove Street. The borough's only riverside park, Pepys Park is in two parts, divided by blocks of flats that are linked by a walkway. The smaller part next to the river has a playground and once had a paddling pool. Abandoned red gravel sports pitches on the eastern edge were later turned into a nature area; in 1996 the playground and paddling pool were refurbished under Deptford City Challenge. A park keeper's house has since been built over with housing.

DeptfordFolk was established in 2015 as a parks group for Deptford Park and Folkestone Gardens (q.q.v.), to improve the two parks and the routes to them. In 2017 the group teamed up with Lewisham Council and Sustrans to apply for the Mayor of London's Liveable Neighbourhood scheme. In honour of John Evelyn, a project to plant 200 trees throughout the Evelyn Ward was completed in April 2019 with the planting of the 200th tree in Pepys Park.

Sources consulted:

Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 2: South (Penguin) 1999; Document for Glendale/LB Lewisham Parks Conference 11 March 2000; Pepys Park: a brief guide (LB Lewisham Leisure, n.d.); John Archer, Ian Yarham, 'Nature Conservation in Lewisham', Ecology Handbook 30, London Ecology Unit, 2000.

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ368785 (536716,178389)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
LB Lewisham
Site management:
Greenscene Department, Glendale Grounds Management
1950s; 1963-69
Listed structures:
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:


Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
In Conservation Area:
Tree Preservation Order:
Nature Conservation Area:
Yes - local importance (small area 0.5ha)
Green Belt:
Metropolitan Open Land:
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Area of Archaeological Importance; Thameside Policy Area
Other LA designation:
Public Open Space

Pepys Park

Pepys Park - Photo: Candy Blackham
Date taken: 03/11/20 00:00

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Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.