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Civic heraldry of the United Kingdom
Incorporated into: 1964 Lewisham
Deptford had no official coat of arms, but the armorial device used by the Council symbolised interesting events in the history of the Borough. The three black Cornish choughs in the first quarter and the white horse in the fourth represented the two counties in which Deptford was situated geographically, Surrey and Kent. The choughs are from the arms of the Earl of Onslow, a prominent landowner in Surrey, while the horse comes from the arms of the County of Kent.
The golden ship on the stocks in the second quarter symbolises the famous Royal Dockyard founded by Henry VIII, and the figure in the third quarter is that of Peter the Great of Russia, seated on a log and holding a shipwright's adze. This recalls his visit to England to learn shipbuilding and naval architecture in 1698, during which he stayed at Sayes Court, the Deptford home of the diarist John Evelyn.
The dolphins used as supporters and the tridents behind the shield also symbolise Deptford's long and intimate association with the sea.
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© since 1995, Heraldry of the World, Ralf Hartemink
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Literature: Information provided by Laurence Jones, image from the Lewisham council.