UCL News


Royal Tudor foundation stone rediscovered at UCL

21 February 2014

A stone marking Henry VIII’s foundation of the Royal Naval Dockyard at Deptford 500 years ago has been rediscovered behind a false wall in the Geography department of UCL.

UCL unveiling event

Bearing the initials of Henry VIII and his first queen Katherine of Aragon, the stone belongs to the original naval storehouse built by the King in 1513, the remains of which are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The stone, with its surrounding intricate brickwork, was given by the London County Council to UCL in 1954 after the partial demolishment of Deptford and was placed in the entrance hall of the then Bartlett Building as a prominent example of fine brickwork.

Dr Negley Harte (UCL History) says: 

“When the building was again reconfigured in 2005 and the Geography department moved in, the whole object was boxed in behind a false wall in what became the Geography Lecture Theatre (or Pearson G.17), and it has not been seen since.”

The stone was rediscovered due to a chance visit by Chris Mazeika of community group Deptford Is, who had been researching the Tudor dockyard.

Foundation stone 1

UCL has pledged to return the historically significant find to Deptford Dockyard, a month before the Mayor of London is expected to make a decision on the redevelopment of the site.

Sally MacDonald (Director of UCL Museums & Public Engagement) comments:

“We were amazed to find this remarkable piece of brickwork hidden behind a panel at UCL, and fascinated to rediscover its history and provenance. It would be very exciting to see it returned to its original location in Deptford, where it can open up new potential for research and engagement with London’s history.”



  • Image 1: Sally MacDonald (Director of UCL Museums & Public Engagement), Dr Negley Harte (UCL History), Chris Mazeika (Deptford Is), Dr Jonathan Foyle (Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain) Image 2: Foundation stone (Courtesy of Paul Clarke for WMF Britain)