TOP television historian Dan Snow has warned Deptford's historic royal dockyard - the birthplace of the Royal Navy - will be concreted over and wiped out by a high-rise development scheme.

Mr Snow is backing the Build The Lenox scheme, a community-led project to build a full-size, sailing, working replica of the 17th century navy ship Lenox where she was originally built at Henry VIII’s Royal Naval Dockyard currently known as Convoys Wharf.

Supporters of the scheme say it could become Lewisham's answer to the Cutty Sark, potentially putting it on the tourist trail alongside the Greenwich world heritage site.

The historian, who is patron of the Lenox Project, said: "There are world famous naval dockyards right across Britain. Some of the finest museums in Europe can be visited in Portsmouth, Chatham and elsewhere, yet the place where it all began, where our maritime destiny took shape, is forgotten, and tragically ignored by the very city it did so much to shape.

"Deptford is ground zero for the Royal Navy."

News Shopper: The Lenox

The hope is that the project, also backed by Lewisham politicians, could form part of the planned £1bn redevelopment of Convoys Wharf by Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampoa, which, critics claim, currently makes no nods at all to Deptford's heritage.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has controversially taken planning control of the redevelopment - which includes 3,500 new homes and rises to 40 storeys - away from Lewisham Council and is expected to decide if it should go ahead later this month.

Director of the Build The Lenox project  Julian Kingston said: "The Lenox will be a world-class tourist destination for London and Europe, a living museum that regenerates Deptford, provides work and training for its residents and shows the world where it all began for the British Royal Navy."

Last year, the dockyard has now been put on the 2014 ‘watch list’ of endangered heritage sites by the World Monuments Fund.