Postcard From The Field: In Deptford Creek

by Emma Jackson

1 March 2024

image:  Louise Rondel

It was a blustery grey day when Louise Rondel and I arrived at Creekside. We are halfway through our year-long project ‘Place-making and the Rivers of Lewisham’ and are no strangers to donning waders and getting in the river – but it is always a thrill. And, for me, this was my first time in Deptford Creek. This point on the River Ravensbourne is very different to the stretches I have been in upstream, which are much narrower. Here, the Thames feels close, the mud underfoot is squelchy and the sounds of industry and the DLR reverberate in the river valley.

We were interviewing Kate and Nick from the Creekside Discovery Centre about their work, the ecology of the Creek and their long-established presence in the area. We hear about the ‘hitch-hikers’– the creatures and plants that have arrived at here from elsewhere via the river – the day the river froze over, children’s joy at wading into the muddy Creek on school visits and a passionate account of what it means to engage deeply with your local environment. On days like this, it is overwhelming. People’s generosity with helping with our project and the privilege of getting to stand alongside someone and see the world as they see it.

 Dr Emma Jackson is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London.

︎ Background image : Louise Rondel