Volume 4, Issue 4, July 2001





17th July - John Ridley - Crossness Engines Trust

18th September - Jack Vaughan - The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich

16th October - Ron Kichin Smith - Archaeological Finds on the Arsenal Site

19th November - Michael Bussell of the Concrete Society - The History of Re-inforced Concrete in the UK

11th December - Christmas Mystery Night. Bring your mystery objects and let other members guess!

15th January - Annual General Meeting - Dennis Smith - The Life of Henry Maudslay

All meetings will take place at The Old Bakehouse in Blackheath Village at 7.30 pm.


Some of you may have noticed that the ex-Mersey Ferry Royal Iris has been in London for some time. She is presently at or near the berth where the Russian submarine Foxtrot U475 used to be open to the public before she went to Folkestone Harbour. The berth is just east of the Thames Barrier. Royal Iris is in a rather decrepit condition with peeling blue paint but hopefully a silver repaint will take place soon. The intention is to restore her for use for parties, nightclubs and similar uses.

With diesel engine twin-screw propulsion she had a speed of 13 knots and is 159 feet long with a beam of 50 feet. The other Mersey Ferries were of about half the tonnage and all straight diesel. By the mid-1970s Royal Iris was not in regular ferry use but reserved for dining and cruising. With a streamlined styling, she was an odd vessel.

Anyone interested should contact her present owner; Mr. James Jegede, MV Royal Iris, Barrier Gardens Pier, Unity Way, SE18 5NL. 078 1865 6201 or


A report by Jack Vaughan

This expressive title stands for the new Museum of the Royal Regiment of Artillery which opened with a considerable bang on May 27th and 28th. It is located within the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

It is important to differentiate between the Museum and the Royal Arsenal site. The latter, until 1967, housed the Royal Ordnance factories, namely the Royal Gun Factory, 1716, the Royal Laboratories, 1696, The Royal Carriage Department, 1805, The Royal Filling Factories and the Mechanical Engineering Dept., responsible for all machinery on site. At its maximum the site extended from Woolwich Town Centre eastward to the present site of the Crossness Sewage Treatment works with a greatest width of a mile. The much emaciated remains are now open to the public but are mainly enclosed in dreadful blue hoardings behind which a leading property developer seems to be reducing most of the remaining buildings to what seems to be rubble for what some would see as charmless residences.

The Museum will eventually occupy four or five listed buildings of which one is in full occupation and open having in its past been a paper cartridge factory, a bomb shop and a metallurgical laboratory.

The founding of the Museum had its origins in 1985 when concern was expressed within the Regiment, the first two companies of which were raised around 1716, about the conditions of the guns, medals, books, archival records and artefacts, of which deterioration was somewhat advanced. A study was organised; the outcome of which was the suggestion of a large new Museum to cover the above items, these being then held at the Royal Military Academy and the Rotunda Buildings at Woolwich Common. The suggested site was, near Stonehenge, at the School of Artillery in Larkhill.

At that time Greenwich Borough Council has published a Development Brief for the Royal Arsenal site including seventeen listed buildings, plus others of some interest. The potential cost of putting a suitable building on a green field site ruled out Larkhill and the local sentimental links with the Royal Regiment and the Royal Arsenal resulted in the earmarking of certain listed building therein. This seems to the writer to have been a logical outcome from the start.

Thus arrived opening day. It was even to my jaundiced eye a remarkable turnout. Just for the two days the Museum was part open free and the site proper was open for strolling, including the river path. Fairground equipment, bouncy castle, coconut shies, beer tens etc etc abounded. Military band marching was superb as were the firing displays. Re-enactment displays, pikemen, musketeers, etc. were exceptionally interesting and appropriate, echoing the 17th century Civil War.

Inside the Museum's principal building we witnessed by eye and ear a quite incredible display of Firepower. I shall not try to describe it - members should try if for themselves. Four film screens showed 20 minutes of artillery actions of various dates, and the accompanying explosive noises were loud enough and smoked realistically. Nostalgic background music is used also but I noted two ommissions on that front. Dame Vera Lynn's voice should be heard and the marching song of the Afrika Corps. Adopted by the Eighth Army - need I say its name?

I hope this scant report will persuade you to visit. Further buildings will be opened in due course - and the Medal Collection is of course, a must.

Cheap it isn't. Adults £6.50, concessions £5.50, children £4.50 (I think)



Sir Neil Cossons, English Heritage Chairman took part in an historic milestone event on 29th May for the restoration of the beam steam engines to achieve full steam at the Crossness Engines at Abbey Wood. He tightened the bolt on the Prince Consort engine so guests at the Champagne reception could see the great wheel of the engine turn for the first time in over fifty years. Whilst not in steam yet - this stage of restoration is putting the reality of steam driven one step nearer. Other guests celebrating this event included broadcaster Lucinda Lambton, Bill Alexander, Thames Water Chief and local Bexley Mayor Mrs Aileen Beckwith.

Trust Chairman Peter Bazalgette celebrated the event with Sir Neil. Peter is the great, great grandson of the Victorian chief engineer responsible for the building Crossness, and creator of the popular TV 'Changing Rooms' programmes.

Trust spokesperson Alison Miller said: "This is a real success story for a small band of volunteer enthusiasts who have been working over many years to restore these magnificent engines. The volunteers have all been looking forward to this historic event and are delighted to have their work acknowledged by English Heritage, the Government's lead body for the historic environment in England".


14th October 2001

Greenwich Industrial History Society has got itself involved in the above event at Crown Woods School, Eltham. Although our prime function is to raise the profile of industrial history and this looks like a logical effort to support, your Chairman is without experience in the field. Bearing in mind the need to arrange an interesting and possibly relevant exhibit, anyone who can help with the task of helping with this....... setting up, transporting, manning the stall - suggestions would be welcome.

Ring Jack Vaughan; 020 8855 6512.


Members may already be aware of an event related to the above important, and locally born, engineer. This is actually a day-long seminar (July 26th) and our own Mary Mills is giving a paper. Venue is the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

There is, I understand, a supporting exhibition, but for how long that is 'open' I don't know.

Maudslay's importance in Engineering Heritage cannot be overstated.


Where addresses are not given, please contact through the Editor, c/o 24 Humber Road, London SE3


From: Stephen Schwarz

Stephen's first letter:

I am interested in building materials and particularly re-used building materials. Here in Suffolk this tends to be limited to Rio and brick and stone material re-used in churches, or monastic stone reused in garden walls.

My father lives in, knows Greenwich, and yesterday showed me Ballast Wharf and the extraordinary wall along the alleyway between the riverside path and Banning Street running on from Derwent Street. This wall looks more like recent demolition material than ballast. I wonder whether the wall is made of wasted material from Mowlem's Granite Wharf or another demolition or stone working yard or wharf. My father has also noticed other similar walls in the borough which may or may not be related - or indeed recorded.

A recent photograph (16/9/01).. complete with the usual grafitti!

Stephen then contacted geologist Eric Robinson via the journal Geology Today - who sent him the following letter:

I was interested to have your enquiry about the 'Cyclopean' wall at Greenwich, which I know quite well. The history is unlocked by the link to the name Mowlem. The contemporary firm trace their origins back to the 18th century at least, when they were directly involved in the shipping of Portland Stone and Purbeck Stone from the Dorset Coastal quarries up the Channel and into the Thames at Greenwich.

From their stockyard in Greenwich, barges took the stone upriver to wharves at Blackfriars, Westminster, and Pimlico whence the stone was carted to the sites. So rather than recycled stock, those walls are primary supply of the range of limestones from Dorset to which was added some Bath Stone and dressed granite from S.W.England for kerbs and sills.

Still more exotic are the ballasts from the tea clippers, which also found their way into the Greenwich foreshore. Some limestones hold up the cutting to Blackheath. Michael Kearney and I, - yes - 30 years ago, identified some as limestone from the coast near Adelaide thanks to the boring bivalves still within their drill holes.

Do you know my Holiday Geology Series - fold card on Greenwich? BGS published my Trafalgar Square, Westminster, St.Paul's, the Tower and finally Greenwich in 1995-96 at £1.95 each.

Stephen comments:

I hope the wall is listed Grade I.!


From: David Riddle

I went to the Firepower! event on Sunday afternoon (May 27th). Good show, but not very crowded. I came to it by bike from the 'Waterfront end' and found them doing 'costume' firings of half a dozen pieces pointed out over the River towards North Woolwich. The River Path was open (at both ends) with little sign that the Royal Arsenal Gardens end was going to be closed again. There is no gate whatever at that end (now there is!). Although the Thamesmead end has a decent gate on it and could, potentially, be locked up again.

Most of the Arsenal site is now 'blue-boarded' and secure, so I assume it could be left open from now on. There is certainly no way access through to Beresford Square can be prevented assuming the Path is left open.

Having arrived 'by road' from back as far as the Barrier, on returning I followed the signs, and was pleasantly surprised on my return journey to find Thames Path signposted around the back of the Waterfront and the Ferry Offices, then across a new stretch of tarmac laid through Mast Pond Wharf. A bit odd this? Some expense has gone in to it, yet I thought that there was supposed to be a hotel and housing on that site, already approved? This carried on through the Woolwich Dockyard Estate and on to the new estate next door. I carried on right to the end of this stretch, to arrive within a stone's throw of Sergeants at the Barrier, at the eastern edge of the Westminster Industrial Estate. Any news on what is happening across the river frontage of this site? It looks like they may be making a pathway, but there is some new build going on right alongside Sergeants that could block any route at that end (unless the path goes underneath it?). I would have thought there must be something in the wind here, since all the signs say 'Interim Route' for this missing section that is currently routed via the Woolwich Road.

P.S. I was in Greenwich Park yesterday PM (May 28th) and saw the Europa leave around 4.45pm. Pretty impressive, at nearly 29,000 tons. The Barrier seems to have survived!

From: Diana Rimel

The Mercury of 9th May contains a large article giving details about re-opening the path round the Dome, called Regeneration Game, and explaining why the path was shut. This is probably in response to a complaint by me on 4th April, in the Mercury, in an article The Lost Millennium, (which the Council replied to by letter in the Mercury following) and in which I complained about it being closed just when I had been planning to take Greenwich Society members round. I pointed out that I thought it was part of the Thames Path and therefore should legally have been open.

In the same article I also complained about the loss of the cranes at Lovell's Wharf, who was responsible for their removal (edited out by the Mercury) and the amount of aggregates on the path just past the former Victoria Deep Water Terminal. The Mercury also edited out the state of the latter. I do hope GIH members will walk along there and add their voice to mine to Greenwich Council to complain a) if the aggregate firms continue to leave the path in such a state, and b) if the Dome path doesn't reopen - in spite of all the promises.

London Borough of Greenwich says:

There has been considerable public interest in when this Riverside walkway around the Dome site will reopen following closure of the Dome on 1st January 2001. The planning condition required English Partnerships and New Millennium Experience Company to open the footpath for the public access within six months and we have been pursuing English Partnerships to meet this commitment.

They have now set up a Works Programme to separate the Dome site from the Riverwalk and this should take around three months to complete. The works will include new fencing, lighting, remedial works to the surfacing and completion of the link to Drawdock Road.

Whilst this delay is disappointing and regrettable it is essential that the Dome site is properly secured and the Riverwalk is safe for public use.

We will be monitoring English Partnership's progress to ensure they meet their commitment to open this essential public access.


From: Bob Patterson

I am trying to ascertain a few details of the HOLBROOK Lathe Company in Stratford. I am interested to know where the factory was - does anything remain or was it all bulldozed? When did it open and when was it closed. Are there any published reminiscences of people who worked there?

From: Jane Nicholson

Could you advise me where I might find information on the theatre that was built by the gas company? My grandmother was an employee and an amateur opera singer and performed there.


From: Mark Butler

My name is Mark Butler and I am currently undergoing my final year project (2002) at Kingston University. My project is based around four parks in the Thamesmead area of which two are owned by Gallions Housing Association - Birchmere and Gallions; the remaining two are in the London Borough of Bexley. I am hoping that you could assist me or help me in some way for my project. Any historical or present data of the land or ideas for the project itself. I am hoping for some kind of help even if it is just being pointed in the right direction. My number is 07914898926 and address at home is 11 Orchard Gardens, Hove, E.Sussex.


From: Beth Piepenburg

My great-grandfather, Henry Mabbett, was a principal foreman of the Cartridge Factory in the Royal Arsenal (chief foreman of the cartridge-making department of the Royal Laboratory, Woolwich Arsenal). How could I find any information about the subject and about Mr. Mabbett?


From: An anonymous correspondent

I would like to know more about the horse ferry at Greenwich - I wonder if you could tell me where to get information?

From: Stephen Turner

I was just reading the Greenwich Industrial History Society Newsletter: Issue 9 and was interested to hear that someone had a picture of HMS Thunderer, the last battleship built on the Thames at Bow Creek. I would like very much to see this as I am working on an art and heritage project about the Creek leading to an exhibition at Trinity Buoy Wharf in September.

An important part of this will be a 'log book of the river' recording aspects of the Creek 's history, geology, geography, natural history and memories of local people showing how the place has changed over time.

Indeed if you know of any more interesting source material on Bow Creek I would be most grateful to know about it. Please let me know if you would like to receive a catalogue or two.

From: Richard Hodgson

Could you point me towards someone who might know the family history of Sir Adam Newton of Charlton House?

From: Dennis Grubb

I have just dug up the article mentioned in Vol.2. Issue 1 February 1999 referring to the Wickham Lane Chalk Mines, which I presume to be related to the Wickham Lane Brickyards run by my ancestors. Can anyone give me more information?

From: Brian Iddenden

I wonder if you can help me. My name is Iddenden and I see there are Iddenden Cottages somewhere in Greenwich. Could you please give me some information or at least an indication as to their whereabouts? I would be very grateful. Thanks very much.

From: David Bridgewater

I am researching the Vanderwall family who were Quakers and who owned property and the copperas works at Greenwich in the mid-eighteenth Century. Is there anyone who can help with further information on the family and this industry?

From: Philip Peart

I do hope you do not find it an imposition to be approached by a stranger for information. Can you help with any of this?

Lucas and Aird - My main interest is the Victorian contractors and in particular client/contractor, architect, engineer interface and how contracts were managed. Lucas and Aird who by 1890 were a very large international contractor are of particular interest to me due to the way they harshly treated clients, which finally resulted in their bankruptcy and total demise, when they finally met a client tougher than them.

Lucas was originally a builder from East Anglia; they built Charing Cross Station Hotel etc.

Aird, I understand, was brought up in Greenwich after his father died while constructing the Regents Canal. He was apprenticed to a Greenwich gas works and I believe by the 1840s was Chief Engineer. He then set up his own building gas works and associated distribution systems. By the 1850s he was doing the same in Paris, Berlin, Budapest and possibly Moscow.

Renishaw Iron Company - I rescued a large amount of documents relating to this company. It was a typical ironworks and foundry on the North Derbyshire/Sheffield boundary formed in 1783 and in production until 1968'ish.

The main owners were the Appleby family. There was in their papers one reference (a catalogue) that they had a London Company, Appleby Bros. who in 1867 were in Southwark manufacturing cranes and other dockside equipment. They moved to Greenwich to the premises of Bessemer. They left before 1889 and went into partnership with a firm, Jessops of Leicester. I am interested in when they broke away from the Renishaw Iron Co. Can you give any information?

From: Matt Weston

I have recently moved into a 200-year-old house in Deptford High Street and I am trying to research its history. I would be grateful if you could recommend a resource.

From: Michelle Tonkin

I have been researching my family tree. I am interested as my Grandfathers' father, Arthur Edward Knight, was Inspector of Munitions at the Woolwich Arsenal from 1890 onwards. The only information I have is as follows: He lived in married quarters in Hythe. 1890 presentation from sergeants of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Surrey Regiment leaving for Woolwich Arsenal. He was Inspector of Munitions after returning from America at Woolwich Arsenal. Probably he had left the army by then. He also went to Coventry and Waltham Abbey. I am trying to find out if he only served in the 4th Volunteer Battalion Surrey Regiment or if he served in another regiment also.


From: Roger Hough

We went on a trip from Tower Bridge last Sunday on Balmoral and after popping into Southend we went out into the Estuary and looked at the Thames Forts. I had never heard of them, the author of a booklet about them was on board and gave a commentary about their installation, use during and after the war and as a pirate radio station, hippies etc. The author is Frank Turner and he lists booklets about Gravesend Airport and the forts built at various places along the Thames, Dam Buster trials at Reculver and many similar subjects.

From: Iris Bryce

With reference to the smaller engineering firms of the borough, listed by Ted Barr. I don't think he has mentioned KORKN'SEAL (hope I've spelt it right!) that was in Anchor and Hope Lane, Charlton. My sister worked there from 1930 until she went to Siemens in 1935 - as far as a know the factory made bottle tops of various kinds, especially crown caps. My mother worked full time as a rope maker at British Ropes from 1928 until she retired through illness in 1938 - her stomach muscles collapsed through the strenuous hauling of the heavy ropes - not too much machinery round in those days.

News of the boat trips on the River Lea brings back memories of my life living aboard my narrow boat and we cruised the Rivers Lea and Stort many times. On one occasion entering the Lea from the Thames at Bow Locks - quite an adventure for a nitro boat. I have many photos and transparencies of the area and would be pleased to show then at some time if of interest to members.

I have just discovered a 1915 Merryweather fire pump made in Greenwich. It is part of a Bygones Museum in Claydon, Banbury - a note of interest is that they advertise it as a 'Merry Weather fire pump'.

The Museum has several traction engines and steam engines and they are in steam on the first Sunday of the month and Bank Holiday Sundays and Mondays April-Sept. they take parties at discounted prices and are open Tuesday-Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.

** There is also a Merryweather valve cover plate in the pavement outside the nurses homes in Vanburgh Hill - this site is due to be redeveloped any minute and it may not be there long. Does anyone know what was the use of a pavement installation like this? **




Lorna Baxter writes:

Well .. things are really moving for the Swiftstone Trust now. After what seemed like waiting forever - talking, meeting, negotiating, waiting, paperwork and more waiting - at last, the Swiftstone officially belongs to the Trust and we have 'hands-on' her to begin the preservation work - Wonderful!

Sadly we weren't able to get a full qualified crew together at relatively short notice to assist on Barge Race Day but we have plans to be actively involved in the Sponsored Barge Driving (in aid of the Dreadnought Unit) on August 4th and 5th from Erith to Gravesend.

Swiftstone is now sitting on the foreshore at (the still doomed but not yet lost) Wood Wharf. There is a lovely report about the day she was moved, written by Ian Hale, on the updates page at the site - pop over and look when and if you have a chance at Full results and a few pix of the Barge Race are also up now.

If you'd like to get involved with any of the activities or events which are being planned give Reg a call on 020 8310 5167 - cleaning, painting, sorting out, and tidying up, or just sitting about and chatting (grin) - we'd be happy to have your help.


who gained more in six days than others in seven.

by Graham Whyte

This article has been sent to us by a reader in Australia

"There once was a Captain of a Pacific sperm whaler and a long-time Greenwich resident, whose name was Robert Clark Morgan. When he was a young man, just appointed to his first command, about ten days before sailing he happened to enter a chapel where a revival service was being held, and the result to him was eventful.

That Greenwich revival service was led by a baker and lay preacher named Mr. Isaac English. It was his habit when he had set his dough overnight to make 'a Bethel of his bake house' - while the process of rising was going on, he lifted up his soul. One night, Robert Clark Morgan overheard his devotion - paused to listen - and was deeply impressed. The result was that Morgan was happily converted to God and became a devout member of the Wesleyan society in Greenwich.

He had hitherto been a reckless, boisterous profligate, living without a thought of God, except to blaspheme - but Divine grace now wrought so wondrous a change in him, that when he once more went to sea the old hands could scarcely recognise him for the same man.

Captain Morgan had sailed for the fishing grounds, when the question of lowering his boats on the Sabbath, should a whale appear all at once started up in his mind. He regretted that he had not thought of this before, and told the ship owner, Daniel Bennet, how he would act. He resolved to follow the Divine command implicitly - but, the crew, were like himself, "on the lay " - that is, they were not paid by wages, but by proportionate shares of the oil captured - so he felt anxious that they might mutiny if prevented from catching whales on a Sunday.

Many weeks passed without a whale sight but at last, one Sunday afternoon "There she spouts! - There again!" reached the deck from the look-out at the mast-head, and instantly all was activity and bustle. For one brief moment the young captain hesitated; for the excitement was contagious - but it was only for a moment, and he heard clearly and distinctly the words, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy!" and his own voice rang through the ship, declaring that not a boat could leave her that day.

The scene, which ensued, may be imagined. But the captain was unmoved, and his courageous demeanour at last quelled the riot; but not until he had promised that he would give up to the crew his own shares in future catches an equivalent to their loss.

"The owner will think nothing of losing his share, of course!" said his mate, "This will be the first and last vessel you'll ever command of his, at any rate! ". Morgan felt the truth of what his mate had said, and that no owner would ever give him a ship to command again. The mate continued: "You see, Captain Morgan, I have a wife and five children to keep; and if Providence sends us a whale on Sunday, I take it as Providence means us to catch that whale - leastways that's my -" ...... the words were arrested on his lips, and he stood still and motionless .. "Captain Morgan! Come here quick, sir, please! Look!" An expression of alarm, mingled with astonishment and incredulity, overspread his features as he saw the mercury of the barometer rapidly falling lower and lower as he stood. Morgan jumped up and both bounded on to the deck to summon the crew. Well was it for that crew that none of them had left the ship in her boats! Well was it for the ship that all her hands were on board! For in half an hour all were engaged in a desperate life and death struggle, which taxed every energy, and demanded the utmost efforts of every individual on board.

For three days they scudded before the hurricane; and when it had passed by they found that they had been driven some hundreds of miles beyond the bounds they had set to their cruising ground; but to their intense delight, they discovered that part of the ocean, which the mate had hitherto declared to be one of the poorest, to be in reality one of the best fishing grounds possible.

Scarcely had the weather moderated, when they found themselves in the midst of a whole "school" of sperm whale and two were secured. Hardly had these been "tried out", i.e., rendered into oil, when more were seen; and, in short, so fortunate were they, that instead of two, or even three years (the usual time taken to fill a good-sized ship), Captain Morgan's vessel returned to Sydney in ten months!

Captain Morgan invariably adhered to his rule of never lowering on Sunday; and yet (with one exception) no Captain in the whole port, on an average of years, brought more oil to his owners than he did. This exception was an individual who was always extraordinarily fortunate in his cruises. His name was Harris; and he often jeered Morgan upon the Quaker-like proceedings and Methodistical humbug (as he termed it) of himself and his ship's crew; and in particular he derided the teetotal principles which, after much difficulty and persuasion, Morgan had at last induced his men to adopt.

Captain Morgan stood first on the list of the men who had brought most money to his owners, even though be had lost many a whale by not lowering on Sunday.

To learn more about Captain Morgan see;

Graham Whyte is from Melbourne, Australia and has a keen interest in Greenwich Industrial History, in particular, whaling activities from Greenwich. He developed this through family history research about his GGGGrandfather Captain Robert Clark Morgan."


by Philip Binns

Notes on the Group meeting of 28th June

Planning applications for the following sites were looked at:

Millennium Site, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10. Details of the Riverside Walk and Cycleway around the Dome to Drawdock Road - case file not available.

Anchor Iron Wharf, Lassell Street, SE10. Redevelopment of the site for 2 residential buildings (one to include a restaurant), riverfront open space with pedestrian walkway and cycle route, on-site car parking and other works. Concern that traditional site use connected to the river would be lost - and that no attempt seems to be made to flood defence works in terms of creating a natural habitat for wildlife and the potential for occasional moorings. The scale of the Ballast Quay buildings should define the height of the development, which should not compete with the Power Station - see the Highbridge development. Felt that the whole height of buildings should be 'substantially lower'.

3 Ballast Quay - roof conversion to gallery. Object strongly to this proposal which in order to provide headroom means the building of a large semi-circular dormer standing above the ridge line - unacceptable in a conservation area. The Ballast Quay frontage to the river should be given a local listing.

White Hart Triangle/West Thamesmead Business Area, SE18. Erection of 106,000 sq. ft. of business units with new road accesses at the junction of Western Way and Central Way. The group expressed grave concern at the visual impact of the new road since it passes over the Ridgeway Green Chain Walk on the top of the Southern Outfall Sewer. It seems that a survey of plant species has been done but there are no records of local fauna and habitats. There is an impression that the road will link up with White Hart Road - adding to already intense traffic pressures in Plumstead High Street. There is also concern that there is no mention of the future of the gatehouse and weighbridge - since they do not seem to be included in the listing (although it is understood from other sources that this is the case). They should, together with the office block and manager's accommodation, be listed as an integral part of the original site.

Royal Arsenal Gardens, Warren Lane, SE18. Demolition of both the LEB sub station and the Gatehouse building. The second application seeks to keep the Gatehouse - and this is welcomed. We welcome as well a proposal to erect a colonnade made of the structure of some of the supply shed buildings on the river face of Building 41. Proposals to accommodate the steam engine base and the kiln in an industrial archaeology garden 'while well intentioned is possibly not feasible given their size and weight'.

The Group has also commented on the old Mercury Building in 6-42 Blackheath Hill and on a proposed development by Alfred MacAlpine for Mumford's Mill.



We receive a great many newsletters and booklets - thank you, and keep them coming - however, what is listed here are only those which have something of Greenwich interest in the current edition. Reviews of any publications of Greenwich interest are always welcome.


The May 2001 issue contains an article by Mary Mills about the goings on at the first Greenwich gas works and the Greenwich vestry in the early 1820s. (This is in effect a rehash of her previous article for Bygone Kent). Also in the same issue is a letter from Brian Sturt about SEGAS musings. This includes comments on the first Greenwich Gas Works and the Phoenix Gas Company, ending 'How many gas companies had a lighterage department? The South Met, with five river-side and one canal-side works operated a fleet of five tugs and about eighty barges to transfer most materials to and from their works'.

Industrial Archaeology News

The summer 2001 edition has printed a letter from our Chairman, Jack Vaughan; on the removal and destruction of the Lovell's Wharf cranes.

Bygone Kent

Vol. 22 No.6. Includes an article by Mary Mills on the copperas industry in Deptford and Greenwich - this is just the first of four articles and covers the industry in the late seventeenth century.

Blackheath Guide

In the June 2001 issue Neil Rhind talks about our rural past - this may not seem particularly industrial, but the farming itself was industrial enough for anyone! Neil describes William Morris who farmed 'vast acreages' south of Eltham Road and in 1813 described himself as a 'milkman'. In Kidbrooke, he had 1,000 acres of dairy farming. By 1931, the farms had been taken over by the Express Dairy, which had opened its first branch at 22 Montpelier Vale in June 1880. The cattle plague of 1865 led to a cull of every cow in London and the Home Counties and in the Second World War previously dairy farms at Kidbrooke became part of the Air Ministry Depot.

In the same issue, Peter Kent describes riverside parks 'parks with their feet in the water'. He notes that north of the river McDougall Park was given by a 'flour king' and Lyle Park by sugar interests.

GLAAS Review

The newsletter of the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service gives some information on dirt digs in Greenwich

'.. Site of the Cutty Sark ... investigation found evidence of land consolidation on the edge of marsh land to reclaim land and built in the 12/13th centuries'.

.. The site of the nation's munitions factory at Woolwich Arsenal which has been subject to an intense regeneration programme revealed an extensive ditched late 'Roman cemetery .... In 1688 the Prince Rupert Fort was built. It was a triangular earthwork built to defend London against the Dutch invasion. .... There was significant archaeological evidence for the munitions process. ... including a gun barrel set in the ground and used as a pivot socket for other machines. It must have been miscast but too valuable to waste. On the site of the Royal Laboratories built in 1696-7 was a double-flued tile pottery kiln dated to the 14th century. The kiln was probably producing vessels made of a fabric known as 'London ware'. This find is very significant as no production sites of London ware have yet been found and indeed no medieval pottery kilns have been previously discovered so close to the City.


We have been sent two walks in the Brentford area of west London. Both are written are by Diana Willment and take in the fascinating areas of riverside and industrial Brentford. These walks are very much recommended and will give Greenwich historians a view of a very different part of London's once-industrial riverside.

Information from Kew Bridge Engines Trust.


A new book of paintings by Anne Christopherson shows the changing scenes of Greenwich and the River Thames since the 1960s - 'cranes, jetties, mooring lines, frayed ropes, nails and rivets, rust and paint .. pattern of paving bricks, the sandy mud'...

Published Unicorn Press, £15 - phone 020 7202 8464, or or available at Woodlands Art Gallery, Mycenae Road, SE3.


More from Ted Barr's list

This is the third part of the list published in the last two issues, is offered with the idea that others may have further knowledge or can help in other ways. Please add and amend it as you think fit.

Seager Evans Cooperage - Blackheath Road, near Merritt and Hatcher. They made barrels for the gin industry.

Merritt and Hatcher - printers, and in particular, at one time they printed the Kentish Mercury.

S.E.C.R. (later Southern) Signal Works - Siebert Road. There must have been a lot of work done there and I remember in the '20s at Invicta School doing our lessons to the sounds of the heavy working of metal, probably steam hammers. Has anyone else managed to get onto the site after my own abortive attempts a year ago?


A.F. Romboy - Gordon Cycle Works c/o Sun Lane and Old Dover Road. Makers of the 'Gordon' cycle. These cycles were based on B.S.A. fitting, bottom brackets, fork crowns, etc. brazed up from steel tubing and finished off with whatever accessories the customer specified. (This reminds me that Dellow No.10 was at one time a frame maker and brazier at Matchless No.39).

F.J. Wells - 'Climber Cycle Works' - Russell Place (now Reynolds Place). According to local hearsay, Fred Wells was a well-known member of the Catford Cycling Club and winner of some of their annual competed-for trophies, including the Westerham Hill Climb - hence the name.

? Allen - traded from a room in a house in Charlton Road between Hassendean and Furzefield Roads.

In my family they all did work for us and were very well known - Romboy especially - who employed a number of men.


Apart from shoeing they had to make all the bits and pieces.

C.E. Thomas - 34 Blisset Street, not known to me.

Jas McKechnie - Sunfields Place (formerly Bedford Place, like Old Dover Road, formerly Standard Lane). Both names were often used by locals in my childhood).

I knew McKechnie very well. A German V2 rocket fell outside the smithy, flattening the place, his home and the rest of Sunfields Place. Because of this, and the shortage of raw materials he finished up as a general smith in the Council's Tunnel Avenue Depot - working on general ironwork for carts and motors, tool sharpening, etc.


H. & W. Williams Ltd. - Osborne House, Osborne Terrace, Lee. Glass bottle manufacturers. I don't know anything about them.

Electric Cable Works. Somewhere in the angle between King George Street and Luton Place.

Anchor Brewery. I have a recollection of seeing this on an old map. Could it have been in Charlton, near the Anchor and Hope PH?


My Word! How the memories come flooding back! It also shows how heavily industrialised Thameside used to be.


This list of meetings and events has been culled from leaflets and notices brought to our attention.

If you want your meeting listed here please contact 24 Humber Road, SE3 7LR (020 8858 9482)

Every Sunday (Foot & Mouth restrictions permitting!)

People required to do real work at Woodlands Farm.
Hot drinks provided. Ring Iain 020 8691 8979 or the Office 020 8319 8900


2-6 July, The Sea. 70th Anglo-American Conference of Historians. Inst. Hist. Research. Maritime Empires. Details 020 8312 6716.

3rd July, Crossness Engines Visitor Day. Ring 020 8311 3711

4th July, Wharf Manager on the Thames, Alan Hawkins. DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

7th July, Crossness Engines Open Day. Ring 020 8311 3711

7th July, GLIAS Walk. Croydon &endash; Castles and Car parks. Meet West Croydon tram station, 2.30p.m.

7th July, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat Bhuna

14th July, Pride of the Lea. Islington Cruise &endash; visit Wenlock Basin.

15th July, Neil Rhind for Blackheath Society. Walk Blackheath as a celebration of Pevsner's Buildings of England. 10a.m. & 2.30p.m. £3.00

15th July, Pride of the Lea. Cruise to the Ragged School Museum.

18th July, GLIAS Walk. Hammersmith. Hammersmith/City Station. 6.30p.m.

20th July, Letters from a Victorian Schoolboy, David Crane. 7.45p.m. LLHS, Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13

20th July, Pride of the Lea. Marshland cruise

21st July, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat fish and chips.

21st July, Eltham and its Development. Frank Kelsall, 2.30p.m. Charlton House. Charlton Society.

21/22 July, Royal Gunpowder Mills Archaeology Weekend. 01992 767 022

26th July, Maudslays and the first Kew Engine. A Kew Bridge Steam Museum seminar. Contact: 020 8568 4757.
An associated exhibition will run from 27th July until 30th September.


1st August, Some Aspects of Warehousing. Malcolm Tucker. DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

4th August, GLIAS Walk. Royal Victoria Dock. Meet Royal Victoria DLR. 2.30p.m.

4th-5th August, Sponsored Barge Driving, Erith to Gravesend

11th August, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat Tikka Masala

15th August, GLIAS Walk Wapping. Meet Wapping Underground 6.30p.m.

17- 24th August, Assoc. Industrial Archaeology Conference.
Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. AIA Liaison Officer, School of Archeological Studies, Univ. Leicester, LE1 7RH

19th August, Pride of the Lea. Cruise to the Ragged School Museum.

24th August, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat fish and chips

26th August, Pride of the Lea. Marshland cruise with roast dinner on board

31st August, Pride of the Lea. Cruise to Royal Gunpowder Mills


1st September,. GLIAS Walk Islington. Angel Station. 2.30p.m.

2nd September, Pride of the Lea. Cruise to the Ragged School Museum.

5th September, Excavations at the Riverside in North Southwark. Harvey Sheldon. DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

5th September, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat Dansak

9th September, Woodlands Farm Autumn Show.

9th September, Pride of the Lea. Nature Reserve Visit.

14th September, Pride of the Lea. Cruise East London Ring, eat pie and mash

25th September, The Emergency Services in the Second World War. John Mills, SLAS, 7.30p.m. Hawkestone Hall, Kennington Road, SE1

26th September, Southwark Park. Pat Kingwell. R&BLHG, Time & Talents, SE16

29th September, Lambeth Archives Open Day


3rd October, London's Lighterage Industry, John Jupp DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

14th October, Crown Wood Car and Vehicle Show and Industrial Heritage Fair. GIHS stand. Help/ideas required!

31st October, East India Company & the River Thames. Tony Fuller, R&BLHG, Time and Talents, SE16


7th November, History of Turk's Boatbuilders. Mike Turk DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

24th November, Charities of Deptford and Lewisham by Jean Wait. 7.45p.m., LLHS, Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13

28th November, Excavations at Bermondsey Abbey. Alison Steele, R&BLHG, Time and Talents, SE16


5th December, Christmas Quiz. DHG, Room C. Interpretation Dept. Museum of London, London Wall, EC2. 5.30p.m.

7th December, The Medway. Bob Ratcliffe. 7.45p.m., LLHS, Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13

19th December, Magic Lantern Entertainment. Rosemary Gill. R&BLHG, Time and Talents, SE16



30th January, Museum in Docklands. Chris Ellmers. R&BLHG, Time and Talents, SE16


27th February. Frost Fairs on the Thames. Jeremy Smith. R&BLHG, Time and Talents, SE16


Deptford Creek - surviving regeneration. This programme will run from September 2001 and be held in the Creekside offices. Wednesday 3rd Oct - 7th November. £19 fee.

Deptford Past and Present. This will run from Spring 2002 in Lewisham Library. 15th January - 12th February. £19.

Horniman Museum. Goldsmiths classes held at the Horniman Museum, Forest Hill from Summer 2002 in a new arrangement. Horniman Museum taster on Wednesday 10th October. Free.

Historic Architecture in London and Local Boroughs will be held in September 2001 with Diana Rimel as course tutor. Mondays from 7th January. £32 and £21 in the summer term.

Know London will run from Spring 2002 and be run by two blue badge guides. Wednesdays from 7th January 2002. £32

Details of all courses from PACE Goldsmiths College, 0800 092 0659 <>


The Society's officers are curently as follows:

Chair - Jack Vaughan

Vice-Chair - Sue Bullevent

Secretary - Mary Mills

Treasurer - Steve Daly

Committee - Alan Parfrey, Andrew Bullevant

Auditor - Juliet Cairns

Members are reminded that subscription renewals fell due in October 2000.
Subscriptions remain at £10 and should be sent to:

Steve Daly, 5 Pankhurst House, Garrison Close, Shooters Hill, SE18 4JE

The AGM also sent its best wishes - and concern - to Jack Vaughan who has been immobile and housebound since early December. Please come back Jack - we all miss you!

This newsletter was produced for Greenwich Industrial History Society, Chair, Jack Vaughan, 35 Eaglesfield Road, SE18. Views expressed in it are those of the authors and not of the Society.

Contributions (within reason) are always welcome.


Please send to Mary Mills (address below).


Meetings as advertised at the head of this newsletter will be held at;

The Old Bakehouse, (at back of the) Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre, 11 Blackheath Village, London, SE23 9LA.

Do not go to the Reminiscence Centre itself - The Old Bakehouse is at the back, in Bennett Park. Walk into Bennett Park and turn left into a yard. The Old Bakehouse is the building on your right. The entrance is straight ahead. By the way - there is an urn and cups - have we a volunteer who could make tea/coffee for members?



The Web version has been created by;

.... David Riddle, Goldsmiths College

Space courtesy of Goldsmiths College, University of London