Upstream from Greenwich Pier you can see the site of the old Deptford Dockyard. It was from here that John Evelyn, the 17th-century diarist, witnessed the departure of the Ruby and the Diamond on 15 March 1652.
These two vessels played a central role in capturing a number of Caribbean islands as part of Oliver Cromwell’s plan to gain and consolidate English territories in the region. Jamaica was taken from the Spanish in 1655 and Barbados became a slave trading centre during this period.
It was also from the Wharves of Deptford that the 18th-century black writer, political agitator and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano was alledgedly 'kidnapped' and re-sold into slavery by his owner. From here he was plunged into a 'new slavery; in comparison of which all my service hithero had been perfect freedom; and whose horrors… now rushed on it with tenfold aggravation…'