A DEPTFORD project to build a full-size replica of a 17th century warship got some surprise support at the weekend - from Samuel Pepys himself.

At a press conference in the historic Master Shipwright’s House, the former secretary to the navy and celebrated diarist vented his anger at the plans to build over the old Royal Dockyard at the site - currently known as Convoys Wharf.  

News Shopper: A cannon was fired at the end of the event

Mr Pepys, played by actor Jim Conway, was joined by the stars of BBC show Horrible Histories Ben Willbond and Larry Rickard in calling for the building of a full-size, sailing, working replica of The Lenox at the site.

He said: "I wept as a parent at the loss of a child when I returned to Deptford to see what had become of one England’s greatest assets.

"I say to our authorities, what terrible loss of memory has afflicted you so?

"I can think of no more fitting restoration than the building of a great navy ship His Majesty King Charles commissioned me to build as the first of a great fleet.

"To see the Royal Dockyard buried forever under concrete would be to the everlasting shame of the nation."

News Shopper: The Lenox

The Lenox was a 1,000 tonne, 70-gun square-rigger warship, built at the King's Yard, Deptford - one of 30 new ships commissioned by Pepys which enabled the Navy to gain parity with the Dutch and French.

Project organisers now aim to use people from the area to create a replica, and hope the ship will bring the area's cultural and economic heritage back to life.

Under plans by Hutchison Whampoa the Convoys Wharf site will be developed into a £1bn high-rise mixed development, including 3,514 homes along with office and retail space, a primary school and working wharf.

News Shopper: Master Shipwright's House

Earlier this month, Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock said he would urge a meeting with the developers about the Lenox project.

For more on the Lenox, visit buildthelenox.org

News Shopper: Some of the artifacts found on the foreshore by the house.