"For some years past the town of Greenwich, although the central one of the three which constitutes this great Borough, has been steadily sinking into a state of decay. The depression has, at length, become so manifest, in the form of empty houses and diminished trade that everybody who has an interest of any kind in the place is anxiously enquiring whether something cannot be done towards a recovery of its lost position and a restoration of its former prosperity. Deptford, which ten or twelve years ago used to excite the sympathy of the people of Greenwich by its impoverished state, its heavy taxes, its silent wharves and its deserted streets, is now thronged with a bustling, cheerful, thriving population while poor Greenwich half the day long is as stirless in its scenes as Salisbury plain.
The silence in it is only broken at intervals by the sepulchral sound of the wheels of an empty omnibus wending its solitary way to Deptford and the Kent Road to pick up a few passengers for the West end. Even if you see some active pedestrian approaching the public baths for having nothing else to do, his melancholy countenance renders it doubtful whether he is about to enter for the purposes of ablution or to drown himself, in consequence of the dullness that reigns in the town.
Woolwich, it seems, is equally prosperous with Deptford and from a like cause- the activity in its government establishments. Scarcely a house in either town is empty; while on many streets in East Greenwich there are more houses to be let than there are houses occupied.
Drawing thanks to Chris Grabham
For an explanation see http://greenwichpeninsulahistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/632/