Volume 5, Issue 6, November 2002






19th November - Ron Howes on Kew Bridge Engines Trust, its work, and the water supply industry

21st January - ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING. Speaker Chris Grabham on the GLIAS database -

How to record everything of interest to industrial historians in London!

18th February - Brian Sturt on Wandsworth Gas Works and the 'flat iron' colliers

18th March - John King on the Trains and Planes of Berlin

15th April - Clive Chambers on Daft Craft on the Thames

17th June - Wesley Harry with films of the Royal Arsenal at work

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


by Jack Vaughan

In Newsletter July Vol. 5 No.3. p.8 I submitted a piece on the above outlining the possibility of rescuing some relevant hydraulic arrangements attached to the base of the former hospital water tower, shortly to be converted into accommodation.

Ownership of the site which includes the tower has now changed hands and we are taking up the rescue question with the newly appointed builders responsible for the Tower building works.

Crossness Engines Trust have shown an interest in housing the hydraulic items in their collection.

We hope shortly to visit the site to discuss any problems of disconnection and transport.


by Phillip Woollard

William Luckett was born in 1865 in Plumstead, son of George and Jane Luckett. In 1881 the family was living at 47 Princes Road, Plumstead with their eight children; the youngest was Frederick aged 4 and the oldest George aged 19. Father George, aged 45, was a 'Helper in Forge - (Iron)', while George junior was an 'Engine Cleaner (F&L)'. William aged 16 was a 'Factory Hand'. The other children were all at school.

The circumstances that changed William from being a factory hand to a pipe-maker are not entirely clear but it is significant that in 1881 at 31 Princes Road (became Herbert Place in 1939) were Henry Stubbs, aged 34, 'Tobacco Pipe-Maker' living with his twice-widowed mother, Ellen Riddle, and at number 13 Princes Road was his brother, Thomas Jeptha Stubbs, 'Tobacco Pipe Manufacturer'. Thomas had nine children three of whom were 'Tobacco Pipe Makers': Thomas, 20, Henry 15 and Walter 13.

Since William was living in the same road and in such close proximity to the Stubbs family, it seems likely that young William Lucket would have known the family, particularly Henry and Walter, and it may have been at this early date that he formed the idea of becoming a pipe maker, if not earlier. In 1898 William had moved to 67 Palmerston Road, a few streets away from Princes Road (at this time he appears in the residential section of the London Directory but not in the Trade section). This part of Palmerston Road must have been built around 1897, as a map of 1894/6, showing the road, does not include his house. What, however, the map does show is that to the immediate east of Palmerston Road was a clay pit belonging to the large Brick and Tile Works of Mr. Dawson. Dawson's house, 'The Links', is also shown to the North-East of the clay pit. It is probable that at least one of the clay bowls mentioned by John McLean in his article, were made using clay from this site. It is not until 1937 that we have a map (originally published in 1907) showing William's house, 67 Palmerston Crescent (note change of name), with the subsequent development of the area. Number 67 was built on a piece of rising land as the map of 1894/6 indicates.

According to William's grandson, John McLean, the kiln that William eventually built was on a piece of rising land which he may have made use of to produce a draught for his kiln. If he was making pipes at this time there is no indication of it in the 1901 census where he describes himself as a 'General Labourer'. However, lodging with William and his daughter Mabel at 67 Palmerston Road, was a 60 year old 'Boarder' - John Longworth, 'Tobacco Pipemaker of London', and to make matters more interesting is the fact that lodging and working for Henry Stubbs (son of Thomas Stubbs) at 23 Princes Road was William Andrews, 62, 'Pipemaker' (born Paddington c. 1863). Both John Longworth and William Andrews would have known each other since in 1861 they had both been in the employ of John Harrison, 'Pipemaker', Muswell Hill Road, Highgate. Furthermore they were both members of the London Journeymen Tobacco Pipe Makers Trade Protection Society. There can be little doubt that John Longworth was helping William Luckett in the pipe-making business, while William was content to describe himself as a 'General Labourer'. In 1906 he makes his first appearance in the Trade section of the London Directory as: William Luckett, Tobacco Pipe Manufacturer, 67 Palmerston Road, Plumstead. Of interest is the fact that William, according to John McLean, was a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters, though no pipes bearing their crest or insignia can be attributed to William.

Of the pipes themselves several examples are known to exist. Three are in the collection of Mr. Peter Hammond which were illustrated in the Newsletter of the Society for Clay Pipe Research (SCPR). One is in the collection of Roy Mitchell recorded in the newsletter of the SCPR (not illustrated). Two are in the Greenwich Museum, one of which, the Derry Castle type, is made from a black clay. The other is a complete plain pipe with the name LUCKETT incised on the left hand side and PLUMSTEAD on the right. The pipe mould mentioned by Mr. John McLean, is of another design; this was made for the Christmas market. It carries the message. HAPPY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR. The mould - generously given to the writer by Mr. John McLean will be donated to the Broseley Pipe Museum Shropshire where Mr. Rex Key will make pipes from it and exhibit them and the mould in the museum.

Of William Luckett's family life, we have the following facts. His wife was Mary Jane Day (known affectionately as Jinny) of Duxford, a hamlet near to Hinton Waldrist, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire). A watercolour of the cottage where Mary Jane Day lived was painted by the present day John McLean and remains in his possession. They had two children, Mabel and Harold. Harold became an engineer. Mabel married John Mclean Snr. about 1924. The Register of Electors has recorded them living at 67 Palmerston Road in 1925 but their names were subsequently deleted, indicating that they had left by this time. They were the parents of John McLean whose reminiscences began this search. William's name occurs in the Register of Electors until 1948/9 but is not there in 1949/50 so we may presume he died in 1948. William Luckett would appear to have been a singular man who, from the recollections of his grandson, was proud, intelligent and strong-minded, not to be trifled with. He followed a trade that was very demanding and not well paid, so one may conclude that his was primarily a labour of love. To add to his problems was the fact that by the late nineteenth century the clay tobacco pipe was going out of fashion so it is a testament to his character that he was able to support himself and a family on the pipemaking trade.


1. RG 11/0751 f.89 p.23
2. RG 11/0751. f.87 p.20
3. RG 11/0751 f.86 p.17
4. RG 13/575 f.93 p.47
5. RG 13/571 f.110 p.37
6. Peter Hammond. Private communication
7. SCPR. Newsletter 1998. No.54. p.62
8. SCPR. Newsletter 1997. No.52. p.56
9. Greenwich Museum Acc. No.1969. 271

My thanks - To John McLean for allowing me to visit his home and treating me as though he had known me all his life. To Peter Hammond, that never failing source of information - many thanks for all the details on John Longworth and the Stubbs family, and for permission to use the illustrations of Luckett pipes from his collection.

(Maps of Plumstead provided by Phillip for this article have not been included for copyright reasons)


(Comments welcomed)


Erected 1855-6 to designs by Lt Col R.S. Beatson, R.E. Has a 2-storey cast iron frame within brick walls. Some of the internal frame has been removed but most of it survives as a good example of robust mid-19th century iron construction. Converted to metal cartridge production circa 1884. By 1932 it was in use as an R.A.F. Bomb Shop. It has been extended to the rear and much altered, with most of the floor to the upper storey removed.

In 1852 the Board of Ordnance set up a committee to make the Royal Laboratory more efficient. It introduced steam power to the production of small arms on a large scale and devised a process for the machine manufacture of small arms bag cartridges, probably originally destined for New Laboratory Square. This plan was disrupted by the outbreak of the Crimean War and it was decided instead to erect a separate building, which was in use by 1857. Beatson had earlier been responsible for innovative use of structural iron at Portsmouth Dockyard: a two-tier cast iron water tower in 1843 and trussed cast iron floor beams in Boat House No. 6 in 1845-8. The Paper Cartridge Factory reflects some features of these buildings.

The contractors for the iron work are not known. Benjamin Hick & Son supplied the machinery and supplied iron elsewhere in the Arsenal at this period, as also did Henry Grissell [who had worked with Beatson at Portsmouth] and Fox & Henderson. The floor framing is of iron. No original flooring survives. It seems likely that this was of timber boarding, so the factory would not have been "fireproof", perhaps a low priority with a process requiring large volumes of water. The roof is in two 12.6m. spans, each framed in iron with elegant composite trusses.

Rags, the major raw material for paper making before 1860, would have been brought to the rag store in the separate north east block. These would have been cut and boiled, probably by women and children, either in the room over the rag store or at the east end of the main block. The main part of the ground floor of the main block was given over to large vats of water, possibly 10 or 15 in number. The rags would have been pulped by beating engines in the vats. The paper was made into cartridges by drying machines over the vats.

The west end of the ground floor to the north was given over to the engine house and, possibly, a water tank. The engine powered line shafting for all the building's machinery and perhaps also pumped water along pipes through the central row of columns to the pulping vats.

From at least 1866 percussion caps, which had been made at Woolwich from 1841, were manufactured in the western bays to the south on the ground floor.

THE GRAND STORE [Buildings 36, 37, 46 & 49]

An imposing complex of two and three storey warehouses overlooking the Thames. Originally comprised three quadrangles of which the great central group survives largely in its original form. The north and south ranges of the West Quadrangle survive as part of Building 45 [q.v.} but the East Quadrangle was demolished in 1967.

It was built in stages between 1806 and 1813 by the Board of Ordnance for the Arsenal Storekeeper's Department. The design has been attributed to James Wyatt, architect to the Ordnance Board, and his brother Lewis. The elevations are expensively built, with stock brick generously dressed with stone. Constructionally the buildings are conservative, looking back to the naval storehouses of the 18th century, making no use of structural iron [which was beginning to be employed at this time by Rennie and Alexander in the major warehouse complexes at the London and West India Docks only a few miles away upstream]. Architecturally the elevations adopt an idiosyncratic classical language employing giant pilasters with distinctly unusual fluted capitals. The buildings were erected on piled foundations and started to suffer from settlement almost immediately, requiring partial rebuilding and repairs throughout their operational lives. Further underpinning work is currently being carried out.

The Grand Store served as the general depot for the army and navy for items such as entrenching tools and harnesses as well as gun carriages and shot and shells. In 1855 it became the HQ of the Ordnance Store Department. The storage capacity of the complex proved insufficient, leading to the covering over of the outer quadrangles in 1856-8 and the erection of four farther ranges, including the two storehouses. Buildings 47 & 48, built 1888-9 and c.1890, on the former shot yard of the central quadrangle.

BUILDING 4 [Formerly a timber shed]

Erected circa 1856 as a timber storage shed for the Ordnance Store Department. Single-storey, iron-framed. A good example of the iron framing techniques being used in the Arsenal at this period. It has seven bays, with octagonal-section cast iron columns. The columns were cast with brackets to receive four rails, possibly relating to racking for storing or seasoning timber. Open-spandrel eliptical-arched girders span between the columns and the original composite iron roof trusses survive. Possibly originally open-sided. Later walling and fenestration has recently been removed, as has a 3-bay 20th. Century extension to the south.


Built 1809 for the Arsenal's Storekeeper, who had formerly lived in the Royal Military Academy. Located close to the timber yards that then occupied that part of the site. A double-fronted, stock brick building of three storeys, with a central Greek Doric porch, now enclosed. The top storey may be a later 19th. Century addition. The house takes its present name from its proximity to a now disused entrance to the Arsenal opened in 1843 as the Plumstead Gate. This was later renamed the Middle Gate

when the Arsenal expanded eastwards. The south boundary wall in which the gateway is formed dates possibly from circa 1800. The gateway has four large piers of rusticated masonry flanking two pedestrian side gates and a wider central opening. The gates, until recently hidden behind steel sheeting , are now, disappointingly, revealed to be of modern steelwork.


A three storey polychrome brick building erected as Naval Offices in 1890. The upper storey was added in 1903. The windows are round-arched and the elevational treatment is

very similar to the Chemical Laboratory. Subsequently converted to serve as the Arsenal's telephone exchange but the telephone equipment has been removed.

BUILDING 19 [Formerly Mounting Ground, later Carriage Inspection Shed]

Built 1887 for the Royal Carriage Department. Replaced an iron mounting and painting shed of circa 1856-7 on the same site. This is the building in which guns were mounted onto their carriages.

Drawings for the building are signed by Colonel H. Crozier, Inspector of Works, and George Munday & Sons, building contractors. A single storey shed with three separately roofed ranges. The stock brick exterior has pairs

of round-arched window openings in relieving arches further articulated by plain pilaster strips. The slated roofs have gable ends and skylights along the ridges.

Internally the ranges are separated by tall hollow cylindrical cast iron columns bearing the name of John Lysacht Ltd of Bristol and the date 1887, which support the valley girders.

The two main ranges have clear floors served by overhead travelling cranes. These run on the original gantries though the cranes themselves are replacements. The roofs have steel principals and struts and wrought iron ties.

BUILDINGS 47& 48 [formerly Storehouse and Sea Store]

Two large warehouses forming part of the programme of enlarging the Grand Store's capacity, located on what was formerly the shot yard of the central quadrangle

Building 47: Warehouse, built circa 1890. Three storeys, of stock brick. 17 bays by 4, with giant pilaster strips. In the central 3 bays of the long elevations are two 2-storey

round-arched carriage entrances, reduced in 1967 when the building was adapted as a book store. The 4th and 14th bays on each side originally contained loopholes but the loading doors have been replaced with windows and the hoists removed. The windows are mostly replacements of 1967. The interior has timber floors on cast iron columns.

Building 48: Warehouse, built 1888-90 as a Sea Store. Three storey , yellow stock brick structure with hipped, slated roof. 17 bays by 3, with giant pilaster strips and round-headed window openings on the ground and first floors with cast iron window frames. Timber floors on hollow cylindrical cast iron columns.


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


From: Myles Dove

Yesterday I had to collect my copy of the Greenwich Industrial History Society newsletter from the Blackheath Sorting Office; they could not deliver it because there was no stamp on it and I was left a card stating that there would be a charge of 99p when I came to collect it, made up of the 2nd class stamp value 19p and a handling charge of 80p, total 99p.

It was annoying to have to collect it and pay a charge in this way but my feelings of irritation increased when I started to read my article about the Greenwich Foot Tunnel Centenary and found that there were many mistakes, several serious ones, in transferring text from my original - which was typed not handwritten and so this should not have happened. For example:

Page 3

As printed in GIHS newsletter



55 ft below low water

Currently they are 7 am - 1 on Sunday Monday - Saturday and 10 am - 5.50 pm in the Greenwich foot tunnel (different times apply in the Woolwich foot tunnel-1)

As typed in original



33 ft below low water

Currently they are 7 am -7 pm Monday - Saturday and 10 am - 5.30 pm on Sunday (different times apply in the Woolwich foot tunnel).

Page 4

As printed in GIHS newsletter

Grade I

As typed in the original

Grade II (actually typed Grade 2)

When the GIHS Newsletter has to be produced in this way with no time allowed for proof- reading and checking copy it seems to me that contributors are not being treated properly. I feel let down because people who know me will be puzzled to see that obvious mistakes like the wrong statutory grading have been left uncorrected, and people who don't know me will think I've failed the basic task of checking facts. Please could you ensure that immediate corrections are made on the GIHS Newsletter web site so that people with this facility will have a corrected version. It may be some time before the next issue of the Newsletter but I shall be disappointed if it doesn't include a note of these points.


1. We refunded Myles' money in full. If anyone else has an unstamped envelope please ring 0208 858 9482 and we will refund your money.

2. We cannot continue to send out this newsletter entirely based on the pressed labour of one spouse. Please can someone volunteer to help ensure that the Newsletter is sent out in properly addressed envelopes with the right stamps on them?

3. Sorry - time constraints mean that typed articles have to be scanned not re-typed and the scanner does sometimes get things wrong - so..

4. We need another volunteer to proof read. It is not fair on the pressed spouse who has to do all of it. Things need to be read word for word against the original - and to be done reasonably quickly (say within 36 hours).

5. Contributors need to either provide material on disc. If it is not, and it needs to be scanned, they will need to make it clear if they want to proof read it themselves and be clear that it could mean a two month delay before it is printed.

6. All of Myles' corrections went in before it went onto the Web site.



From: Wesley Harry
Formerly Technical Information Officer, MQAD and recently, Historian, Royal Arsenal. MQAD at The Royal Arsenal

I feel I must dispel the impression that may have been given by Bruce Blissett's excellent article, that the Department was solely concerned with materials at The Royal Arsenal. It was responsible for Outstations scattered throughout the country, Woolwich being its administrative centre, albeit with its own "Outstation".

At the peak of the Second World War, the total number of staff was 1633, of whom more than half were females, and there were sixty six outstations, ranging in size from 4-man laboratories, to composite outstations employing 90 chemists and assistants. In addition there were numerous substations employing 2 or 3 assistants at detached laboratories on contractors' works, these being controlled from the nearest main outstation. Mention must also be made of two chemists who were posted to North America in September 1940, (one to Canada, the other to U.S.A.) to act as liaison officers in connection with the inspection of supplies of explosives and chemicals for shipment to Britain. In 1937 an inspection station was opened in the Bofors factory, Sweden, to cover a contract for anti-aircraft weapons and ammunition. All these outstations were ultimately responsible to the Head of Department, Woolwich.

When the department ultimately closed, there were still outstations at such places as Swynnerton, Bridgwater, Bishopton and Chorley.

From: Ron Roffey

Re: Mary Mills book Greenwich and Woolwich at Work (see review). We read through and looked at the pictures with great nostalgia. We were both born in Charlton. My family had several hundred years of service in Siemens. My grandmother was a Garratt of barge breaking fame - my mother worked in James' shirt factory in Wood Hill and my uncle was a tool maker at Harveys. Joan's father was a propeller slinger at J. Stone & Co. - her mother worked at Johnson & Phillips and Joan herself worked in the Arsenal. I played soccer for the minors of J. Stone and cricket at British Ropes. So you can see why were so fascinated.

From: Andrew Gambier

I would like to put together a brief history of Annandale and Calvert Roads - to hopefully demonstrate how this area hasn't changed for 100 years. Can anyone help?

From: L.E.Baldock

Could you please tell me how to find out how the Cutty Sark came to be in its current position - how it was manoeuvred, etc. into that particular space, and the relevant dates. (

From: Derek Barlow

I was interested to read about the blue plaque on 145 Charlton Road to William H Barlow engineers. We are researching our Barlow family and have had no luck in locating William Barlow's first wife. We know that there were two sons from that union, one unknown, the other called Crawford, also little is known about him except we believe they were in engineering. If you have any details on this son or Crawford that you would be willing to share with us we would be very grateful. Is it possible to have a copy of the inscription on the plaque?

From: Graham Manchester

My great-grandfather's company used to be based at Dacre Park in Lee Green. He was the largest importer of working horses in the South East. When trucks came to pass he moved to Anchor and Hope Lane on the site now occupied by Makro and worked for Metropolitan Tar now the Millennium site. After the death of my grandfather in 1966 the company opened up in Ordnance Wharf and Bay Wharf. The company has at this time 120 plus trucks. In 1976 we moved to the Millennium site to be told we had to be off site in 1999 to make way for the celebrations and buildings. (What happened to the ballot for Birmingham and Manchester who knows, but in 1976 they knew it was going to be in Greenwich!). The summer of 1976 was the hottest on record and we fought off mutant ladybirds 1" in diameter. The site was so contaminated I had to leave the it due to skin problems. During the excavations I reported this information to a journalist on Private Eye, next thing we knew tons and tons of the contaminated soil was being taken to Aylesbury. They were none too pleased. The site in Anchor and Hope Lane was shared by Hilton Transport and used for the filming of "The Brothers" T.V series. I can always remember the cast walking up Anchor & Hope Lane during filming. As an 18 year old (1972) Gabrielle Drake and Kate O'Mara made a large impression on me!

From: John Greig

I have just seen that you have put my query in your newsletter. Many thanks, however, there is one problem, in several instances my name is mispelt as GRIEG rather than GREIG, most importantly in the e-mail address (corrected.... Web Maestro)

From: Kay Bigsby

I wonder if you can help me. I recently obtained a birth certificate of one of my relatives. On it it states that he was an engine driver in Building works. He lived in Plumstead. Do you know of any Building works that would have been near there that would have been large enough to have engine drivers? The year is 1900. I do hope you can help.

From: Melanie Boxall

I read with interest Pat O'Driscoll's piece about the Norton's Barge Builders. Richard Norton ("Dick") was my great-grandfather. Richard Norton Senior began the barge company. His eldest son who inherited the business was the Dick Norton that Pat talks about in her article. My grandfather, George Lees Norton, Dick's younger brother, started as an apprentice at the family business, but after just three years he quit and went his own way. Dick's sister Mary had a son, David Bradley, who is now a schoolteacher in the Greenwich area.

From: Pete Stobart

The article 'Taken For a Ride' concludes with the statement that the location of the tram graveyard in Charlton is not known. I used to work for Siemens in the days when trams were being taken apart, and was able to easily view the dismantling proceedings as the plot was directly west of the Siemens site, only separated by the service road running down toward the Thames. Assuming there is knowledge of where Siemens was then the tram graveyard site can be easily determined. It utilized the entire block of ground there.

From: Dan Byrnes

Is there any chance if you could tell me if anyone lately has done any genealogy (not industrial) research on whaler Daniel Bennett (died 1826) of Blackheath? He had an unknown father but a brother William who was a cooper, I can't seem to find anything on them on the Net for some new writing I'm engaging in.

From: Glenn Rigden - Deputy Chairman- Institution of Engineers Australia Heritage Committee

I am trying to obtain some information on the Appleby Brothers Co. who supplied four compound beam engine-pumping stations to the NSW Public Works - Harbours & Rivers Branch back in 1880 - 1883. I would greatly appreciate if there was any information on the actual order and supply of the engines. We have a complete operating beam engine still intact with the original pump house and boilers in Goulburn NSW which was one of the four. The remaining has been demolished. The site is on the Australian national estate listing and as an industrial society we are aiming to plaque this significant site. Can you assist in supplying any information or in giving me any leads?

From: Rod Groombridge - Townsville & Districts Subsection, Naval Association of Australia

I am presently doing some research for the Maritime Museum here in Townsville on a 5" Naval Gun that is at the Museum. The only history we have on it is that it was possibly one of the four that was sent out and two were to be placed on HMQS Paluma and what happened after that is another search. What we are after is the history of this gun and we would appreciate any information that we can gain. The information of the origin of the gun is as follows 5" B.L. Gun 5" V.C.P. Mk1 Made by R. L. Carriage Dept 1887 Exd at R.C.D. Woolwich 1887 t Carriage 12cwt Reg. No. K778

If you have any info on who ordered them, cost, etc. or anything else, it would be greatly appreciated.

From: Paul

My grandmother was born at Anchor and Hope Alley, No 22. Her family, the Hampshires, were bakers and also lightermen on the Thames Barges. Can you advise me whether Anchor and Hope Alley was an Alley off Anchor and Hope Lane?

From: Kathy Lawson

Where can I find information about a Robert Lockhart/Lockhead Lawson, who was a House Surgeon at Greenwich Naval Hospital? - on one of the Hospital ships, which were moored there. He was a local GP living at St Mary's, Barry Road, Camberwell, at the time of the 1881 Census. His wife Harriet, née Poland, daughter of a Lewisham Fur Trader. Robert died in 1898.

From: David Riddle

Did you see this in a recent NewsShopper? It's probably just Jack Cade Cavern though?

Mystery of the hole explained?

I write regarding the caves at Blackheath Hill. I lived and worked in the Deptford and Greenwich area for over 60 years. Copies of NewsShopper are sent to me every month and, I noted with interest, the large hole that appeared on Blackheath Hill. As a teenager I often explored underground caves in this area. Several times we entered the workings through a small covered shaft, which was situated at the rear of a service garage, in Hyde Vale, some 150 yards from Blackheath Hill. When we walked through from the bottom of the shaft we came to a large cavern, about 18-ft high, situated under the hill. Other narrow passages led off in the direction of the Heath and we were told at the time these led out towards Chislehurst Caves. I trust this information will be of interest.

From: David Asprey

Cubow Shipbuilders. Can you help us? We are trying to trace photographs of ships. We carried out the electrical design and installation at Cubow Shipbuilders. The ships we are interested in were built between 1972 and 1982. I believe in 1972 the Yard was called Fairmile Marine but I may be wrong. I do not know the ships' names but I do have a list of Yard numbers. Will you be able to help or point me in the right direction?

From: Len Chapman

The (Greenwich Foot) Tunnel narrows significantly as you approach the lift on the Tower Hamlet's side. The construction also changes and appears to be exposed cast iron rings bolted together. On one of our many trips through the tunnel, my wife asked the Lift Operator the reason for this. He said during the last war, two bombs had landed in close vicinity to that tunnel entrance and caused cracking. The cast iron rings were, in fact, a repair to the tunnel to overcome this damage. I wonder if anyone can confirm this.

From: Jill Murphy

I have a relative Joseph Cleverley who was listed as a "dock policeman" in the 1881 UK census. He was the younger brother of my great-great-grandfather Charles Cleverley and they appear to have been the only two surviving sons. Where would I find more on Joseph Cleverley?

From: Chris Mazeika

I am sending you some information about Deptford Dockyard (Convoy's Wharf). Outline planning permission is being sought. Proposals include 3,400 car-parking spaces, 3,600 homes, three towers up to 40 storeys, industrial and commercial premises, including a propsal by mayoral candidate, Nicky Gavron, to erect a waste transfer station on the site of Henry VIII's Great Storehouse of 1513. Please contact me. (Chris Mazeika, 0208 691 6372, 8 Mary Ann Gardens, Deptford, SE8 3DP).

The information Chris sent about the Dockyard is included as an article below.

From: Peter Wood

I do hope the following may be of interest to you and your readers.

The bronze Memorial Plaque was, as many people reading this will know, presented to the next of kin of those who died in the Great War of 1914-18. I have been doing some research into the subject for the last few years, based on the earlier work of Philip Dutton at the Imperial War Museum. My research has uncovered a fair amount of intrigue, and myths, with regard to the production of these medallions - often referred to as the 'Death Plaque,' and 'Dead Man's Penny.' Production of the memorial plaque was first carried out in Acton. But from June 1922 to 1930 (and maybe later), the brass foundry section at Woolwich Arsenal carried out the work - and made approximately 700,000 plaques distributed to all countries of the British Empire. All the plaques made at the Arsenal are stamped WA on the rear of the plaque. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has knowledge, and photos, of events at Woolwich with relation to the production of these plaques. Each plaque is around 4.5 inches in diameter, weighs around 4 ounces, and the name of the deceased was cast (or sometimes engraved); no rank was ever mentioned, with the idea being that everyone was equal in death.

A scroll accompanied each plaque which did include a person's rank - and the regiment/service in which the deceased had served. You can see a picture of the plaque here:

Your readers may be interested in a Web-site forum where people have been adding to the story:

If anyone can help with this research, please contact me.

Peter Wood, 2 Kidbrooke Park Road, Blackheath, London, SE3 0LW, tel: 0208 319 4106

From: Michael Cooke

Earlier in the year I visited Greenwich because I am doing some research into the early days of the electric telegraph (and submarine cables). My interest centres on Owen Rowland (1820-1877) and his contribution to its development.

My research has revealed his involvement in electric telegraphy from 1848 when he assisted Sir William Fothergill Cooke. Around 1860 he was engaged as Electrician to the Joint Committee set up by the Government to look into the construction of Submarine Telegraphs, following the failure of the first attempts at laying a transatlantic cable. Several of the Appendices in the resulting Report contain results of investigations carried out by him. These were mainly concerned with testing of the insulation of submarine cables, mainly of test pieces but also of the cables being manufactured.

I visited Greenwich to see what has survived of the site of the old cable works of Glass Elliot as almost certainly Rowland would have been in close contact with the company during the time leading up the successful cable being laid by the Great Eastern. I was very pleased to find the 'visitors area' at Enderby's Wharf with its information display board. I found it most interesting.

I am wondering whether any other relics of cable-making 150 years ago have survived at this site: eg. the old tanks used for storing the cables? Have any of the old company records survived, and are they available somewhere for researchers to consult.

Is there any publication that goes into detail about the early days of cable making at Greenwich? I also am wondering if you can point me in the direction of anyone who has made an in depth study of electric telegraph submarine cable making, testing and their deployment in the mid-19th century.

From: David Kempton

I am performing a slow labour of love... that being the publishing on the Web of Wonders of World Engineering. I did a search on this recently and found that you had referred to it with regards to the Queen Mary anchors (I believe that you or the person who typed it may have meant to say "propellors"). Corrected in Web version - Web Maestro.

Anyway, if you felt my site worthy of a mention in your next edition of GIH I would be very grateful. Its only going to be through encouragement that I'll complete this task !!! I'm only up to issue 12, but if you mention it I'll put that article from 23 on as a "queue jump"

Mary Mills replied: Oh dear - yes, I did put anchors, didn't I? I think Wonders of World Engineering is terrific. My father worked at Fleetway, Gravesend where many of these Harmsworth part works were printed and I always had the pictures to play with as a child. We had copies of all of them but I have no idea what happened to them, since they had all disappeared by the time my parents died.

From: Pat O'Driscoll

I have been reading Mary Mills' new book Greenwich and Woolwich at Work - perhaps I can make some comments on the picture on page 22 of the mast holding up the foreshore at Piper's Wharf - the Lucy Richmond was Piper's 'roads' barge - moored off the yard out in the river. She was apparently put ashore at the yard about 1940 so that men could try to locate some leaks which had developed. One night she broke her ropes and launched herself, and was found downstream by a waterman. She was then broken up. Her mast was used to reinforce the river bank outside Piper's for many years. It was only a few years ago that it disappeared - it was towed away by the PLA after it came adrift and local children were playing with it.



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.

LEWISHAM HISTORY JOURNAL - No.10 2002 has just been published by Lewisham Local History Society and contains articles on Dolly Sedgewick and on the Cold Blow Farm area of Deptford. Both of these are outside of the Greenwich area - but who could resist the article about Dolly who was a 'lady parachutist ' in the early 1900s. Dolly went on to marry the Lewisham District Surveyor but kept in touch with her past by flying with the Red Arrows in her 90s

CROSSNESS ENGINES RECORD - Vol.8 No.2. Autumn 2002 - keeps up its usual sanitary standard. Articles on 'The Cinder Path', 'Toilets in China', Notes from the Octagon (see some of this elsewhere), New Boilers needed, book reviews, etc.etc..

BLACKHEATH GUIDE - The September 2002 edition carried an excellent article by Peter Kent in his 'Riverwatch' series - this was called 'Coming up with the goods'. Peter talks here about the aggregate trade in Greenwich and how it has helped the construction of Canary Wharf and much else in Docklands 'had these tonnages been transported by road it would have created in excess of 176,000 lorry movements'. He also notes how prefabricated windows and doors - and indeed the sections of the London Eye and Millennium Bridge - have been transported to their sites by water.

GREENWICH TIME - noted the opening of the new 'Ha-penny Hatch bridge' across Deptford Creek. The original was built as part of the original Greenwich Railway and demolished in the 1930s.

There has also been a mention of the visit to Woolwich of the replica of Captain Cook's ship 'Endeavour' built for the TV series. Endeavour was open to the public for some days at the new Woolwich Pier in the Arsenal.

GLIAS NEWSLETTER - Among a whole range of things of interest to industrial historians is a write up the Greenwich Foot Tunnel 100 year anniversary celebrations (see elsewhere this issue).

JOURNAL OF THE GREENWICH HISTORICAL SOCIETY - This includes a number of articles which are heavily 'dirt' archaeology as well as others - 'Archaeological work in Greenwich 1997-2001' by Julian Bowsher, 'Moving status and Maritime Greenwich' by Joanna Smith, 'The Knill family of Blackheath' by Michael Egan, and an 'Archaeological Investigation at the Cutty Sark station development' by Alistair Douglas. We are also pleased to see a review of Julie Tadman's book 'A fisherman of Greenwich' by Barbara Ludlow.

MERIDIAN - The August 2002 edition of Meridian contained a detailed article about the building of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel as a tribute to its hundredth anniversary.

SLAS NEWS - The 91st Newsletter of the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society contains an article on the TV-based Time Team's excavations in Greenwich Park by our member, Richard Buchanan.

INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE - The Summer 2002 Vol.28 edition contains several articles of interest to Greenwich readers - albeit they are all things which have either appeared in our Newsletter or written by our members: John MacLean's 'Clay Pipe Making in Plumstead' (you saw it here first - see the sequel in this issue). Peter Jenkins on 'Webster and Horsfall' (held back by us for lack of space - you will see it eventually), Mary Mills on 'John Beale of Greenwich'.

GREATER LONDON ARCHAEOLOGY ADVISORY SERVICE - Quarterly Review -Includes under 'Greenwich' reports on archaeological work at the National Maritime Museum along with Channel 4's Time Team. Also at Anchor Iron Wharf where Tudor brick walls are probably those of the Hobby Stables, and as East Wing (Building 14) of the Royal Arsenal - showing a strengthened floor used to store ship supplies.

Reports have been received on a number of Greenwich sites - **National Maritime Museum - Tudor walls from the tiltyard and mooring chains from training ship Fame** Old Royal Naval College - site trenches used as 18th landfill dumps, internal cess pit, 18th graffiti, and some Roman remains.

Sutton Publishing, £12.99 IBSN 0-7509-3000-4

There have been other publications produced detailing the life of Greenwich and Woolwich in pictures but Mary Mills in her book Greenwich and Woolwich at Work has captured in her unique style an aspect not covered before.

At £12.99 this hard cover of 127 pages of high quality produced photographs, accompanied by informative captions is excellent value. For those born in the two districts the book will bring back memories of their early years, of long lost industries, factories, roads and pubs, which were part of the everyday life of their parents, relatives and friends. To those who are relatively new to the area, the pictures will reveal a new and possibly unexpected aspect to what made the people of Greenwich and Woolwich tick. To researchers and students 'Greenwich and Woolwich at Work' should provoke them into further research to discover and explore how the industries mentioned and those many others not covered influenced the lives of the inhabitants in the area.

Review by Ron Roffey


by Chris Mazeika

Following the proposed development plan for the site of the former King's Yard at Deptford by the Richard Rogers Partnership on behalf of News International, it is desired to put into effect a listing proposal for those architectural and archaeological elements which significantly testify to the history of Royal Naval shipbuilding on the Upper Thames from 1513 to 1869.

Deptford Dockyard was the Cape Canaveral of its day, leading the technology of shipbuilding. The position of Master Shipwright at Deptford was the highest ranking of the yards. 1

Deptford is renowned for the laying up of the Golden Hind, putting out ships for the Armada, including the first Ark Royal [Ark Ralegh] as well as ships for Nelson's campaigns. Fitting out Cook's Endeavour and Discovery, and being the favoured yard for constructing the Royal Yachts are a few of its accolades. A commonly held misapprehension is that little survives to commemorate the five hundred years of history. This document intends to correct that perception and calls for a reconsideration of how best to rectify the persistent neglect of the inherent values of this site by bringing into focus the architectural fabric.

Initially attention is drawn to the Wharf wall. This element contains many features worthy of consideration. From Upper Watergate, the first significant feature is the entrance to the Double Dry Dock, which is fashioned from massive granite blocks. The dock gates are also believed to be in situ following recent archaeological test sites by English Heritage. A few feet beyond the dock mouth is another granite lining, which is the opening for the Landing Place and Lookout,2 which was open at least until the 1930's and possibly the 1950's. It has been filled in with what look like flettons, and the stone coping of a lighter colour than that around it, suggesting it was reversed at the same time. This Landing Place is the most likely location for access during Royal visits, as evidenced by the paintings of John Clevely.3 Several visits by Elizabeth 1, most notably on the 4th April 1581, for the knighting of Francis Drake aboard the Golden Hind, would have occurred within the immediate vicinity. The reinstatement of these steps would also correct a current historical inaccuracy that Sir Francis Drake ascended steps that were part of the Victualling Yard {1742} and are clearly masonry of the late eighteenth century. The foreshore forward of the Landing Place is paved in stone perpendicular to the steps as can be seen in A Plan of Part of the River Thames Shewing the Harbour Moorings at Deptford, 1774.4

Some timbers from slipways also remain in situ on the foreshore, where repairs and infill to the wall no longer testify to their position. One of the most significant features is the mouth to the Basin. The basin of the Dockyard is mentioned in an Indenture from 1517, 5 where it states there floats the Mary Rose, the Great Galley, the Peter Pomegranite, the Great Bark and the Lesser Bark. The basin is also mentioned much earlier in the time of Edward I, in connection with fishing rights. 6

The extant opening is that designed by the eminent engineer Sir John Rennie,7 a reworking of an earlier proposal by Sir Samuel Bentham, 8 who, amongst several other notable achievements had administered the Navy for Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin. 9 The Wharf walls both left and right which feature stone banding mid-way were constructed to Rennie's designs at the same time. 10 A short distance beyond the basin mouth the walls are constructed in raised panels of brick that are an unusual feature.

Finally the lock to the Mast Pond must be considered since it is the work of George Lewellyn-Taylor, 11 Navy Board architect following Edward Holl, and first president of the Architects and Antiquaries Society. Jonathan Coad, Inspector of Ancient Monuments & Historic Buildings for English Heritage in his book The Royal Dockyards 1690-1850 12 considers Taylor to be one of the finest dockyard architects.

One only has to look across the river to witness the bland monotony of steel sheeting characteristic of so much of the Thames. the Wharf wall of Deptford Dockyard, holding the key to a unique and unprecedented history in the Upper Thames, does not deserve the same fate. The sub-structures of the yard proper, the docks, slips, basins, landing places and stairs, constitute a substantial architectural fabric that is currently extant, though largely invisible, being covered by superficial accretion, or infill.12a

The double dry building dock was host to the workings of Henry VIII's master shipwright James Baker and his son Matthew Baker, who became one of the most important Elizabethan shipwrights. The dock was in early use since it is recorded that in 1517 the Great Nicholas was removed from Woolwich to the dock at Deptford at a cost of £14 3s. 5d.13 Among the most famous of the master shipwrights at Deptford were Peter Pert described in his epitaph as " the Noah of his age" 14 one member of that illustrious dynasty of the seventeenth century and Jonas Shish father to another dynastic line, one of his pall-bearers being John Evelyn. The entry in Evelyn's diary 13th May 1680 reads, "I was at the funeral of old Mr Shish Master Shipwrite of the Kings yard here in this Parish, an honest and remarkable man, & his death a publique losse, for his excellent successe in building Ships, (though illiterate altogether) & for the breeding up so many of his children to be Artists: I held up the Pall with three knignts who did him that honour, & he was worthy of it:... T'was the costome of this good man, to rise in the night, and to pray kneeling in his owne cofin; which many yeares he had lying by him: he was borne that famous yeare of the Gunpowder Plot 1605." 15 Documentation exists to testify to the unique history of this ancient structure. Though it has undergone alteration, this in itself holds the story of technological advancement in construction of ships. Its present design, believed to be by Inspector General Of Naval Works, Sir Samuel Bentham was carried out in his absence by John Rennie.16 It must be stated that not only is this one of the earliest features of the yard but it is also the first double dry dock to be built. It is monumental in scale and at some 370ft long, is unsurpassed as a structure to demonstrate the enormous historical significance of this site.

Though this is not the place to fully document the lamentable loss of the earliest naval building in the country to survive to the twentieth century, it being one of the earliest structures on the Thames, the destruction of the Tudor storehouse of 1513 in 1954.17 and the demolition of the remainder of the 1720's storehouse in 1984 18 with the removal of the cupola and clock to Thamesmead acts as a formidable reminder to the vigilance and determination needed to ensure such violations are not repeated.

The foundation stone with its royal cipher, A.X. {anno Christi} Henricus Rex 1513 and flame headed gothic arch entablature was described in 1953 by J.H.W.Haywood as "an extraordinary example of English brickwork of a beautiful design conceived with due regard and respect to the limitation of the medium employed and may eventually be regarded as the work of an artist craftsmen having very few equals."19 The whereabouts of this historic artefact and the four light mullioned window, both removed prior to demolition, has been established.20 The Tudor undercroft of the Long Barn survives as do the several brick vaulted basements of the 1720's storehouse, with their segmental arches.21 Following these recent discoveries it ought to be possible to go someway to put to rights the devastation wrought on this site up until such recent times.

Already listed Grade II, the covered slipways, another Bentham initiative,22 of 1846 by George Baker and Sons23 will remain. However, Roger's proposal fails to marry the Olympia Sheds to the basin and renders the basin a 3ft deep "water feature" in turn severed from the river. This is both intellectually lazy and historically offensive.

In the early nineteenth century John Rennie was paid £4,500 to widen and deepen the basin.24 When so many docks and inland waterways have been lost, this most ancient and historically rich feature should be reinstated to its last incarnation.

In the scramble for redevelopment account must be taken of the inherent values of this site and care must be taken that the King's Yard at Deptford is not considered as just another brownfield site. The Greater London Authority has already declared its poverty of imagination, current proposals by mayoral candidate Nicky Gavron intend to erect a waste transfer station on the site of Henry VIII's storehouse. With more history than any other stretch of the Thames all efforts must be applied to recognize the group value of the extant features, bookended as they are by the listed buildings of the Royal Victoria Victualling Yard to the west and the listed Master Shipwright's House and John Penn's marine engineers to the east.

The recognition of this site of international significance is intended to resurrect its dormant values and vigorously enhance the sense of place. It takes its lead from the L.S.E's urban report commissioned by Lewisham Borough Council.25 The reinstatement of the elements detailed, whilst contributing to the restitution of meaning aims to promote a potent dialogue with history that carries us beyond the prevalent habit of street naming and erection of statues. The opportunity now exists to raise expectations of what can be delivered on this site considering the extent of development about to happen. The proposals concerning the historic fabric so far are merely cosmetic. They fail abundantly to honour the integrity of scale or resonate with the vigour of the combined endeavours of exploration, world trade, adventure, empire and the requisite investment in engineering and technological invention. Courage and inspiration is drawn from the precedents set by the preservation of the site of building and launching Brunei's Great Eastern as well as Howland's Great Dock now Greenland Dock, and the remarkable achievements in the Chatham Yard.

1 British Library King's MS 44 d. 1774

1a "by far the greater part of the dockyard survives as buried structures." Redevelopment of Convoy's Wharf, Deptford. Environmental Statement, Technical Annexes. Vol.1, p. 19 Archaeological Evaluation of Land at Convoy's Wharf, Deptford, David Divers Jan.2001.

2 Metropolitan Archive MBW2787 Thames Floods South

3 Private Collection H.M.S. Medway John Clevely 1753

4 BL King's MS 44

5 BL MS ADD. CH 6289

6 The Victorian History of the Counties of England, A History of Kent, Maritime History William Page FSA 1926

7 PRO Work 41/594 signed John Rennie

8 NMM ADM Q/ 3320-3323 9 Oct 1802, 23 Aug 1805

9 Potemkin and the Panoptican: Samuel Bentham and the Architecture of Absolutism in Eighteenth Century Russia. Simon Werret. The Bentham Newsletter 1998

10 PRO Work 41/594 see also NMM ADM Y/ D/l 1-D7 16 Nov 1813

11 NMM ADM Y / D / 11 -D8 1828

12 Jonathan Coad, Royal Dockyards 1690-1850 Scholar Press

12a ibid. David Divers. Jan.2001, p. 12 3.5.14. The slips, docks , basins and mastponds shown in the 1868 map were simply filled in intact between c.1869 and c.1955.

13 ibid. Page 1926

14 Leftwitch, The Parish and Church of St. Nicholas Deptford, Ecclesiological Society 1947

15 Guy de la Bedoyere Diary John Evelyn Boydell & Brewer 1995

16 PRO ADM1 /3501-3503 May 18 1815

17 PRO Work 14/1944 see also MA HLG 126/876, MA ACC/3499/EH/07 /01/447

18 MA ACC /3499/EH/02/148 [d. 1985]

19 MA ACC/3499/EH/07/01/447 [d.1950-1970]

20 Times, Register May 13 2002 Marcus Binney

21 MA ACC/3499/EH/09/01/01 [d.April 1977, April 1979]

22 Transactions of the Newcomen Society Vol.60.1988-89 Ship Building and the Long Span Roof, R. J.M.Sutherland p. 110

23 ibid. p. 117

24 PRO ADM 106/3185

25 L.S.E. Urban Planning Report, development of Convoy's Wharf, Deptford 2000

See also Hawkins. D. 2000 Archaeological Desk Based Assessment, Convoy's Wharf, Deptford, S.E.8. - unpublished report, CgMs. Ltd. Hawkins. D. 2000 Proposals for an Archaeological Evaluation Assessment: Convoy's Wharf, Deptford. S.E.8. - unpublished document CgMs. Ltd.

Copyright {C}2002, Chris Mazeika.

This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents and this copyright notice remain intact.


by Philip Binns

Minutes of meeting held 3rd September

Rose Bruford College, Creek Road - demolition ands replacement with office block and 39 flats. Group felt there was some disparity in scale between this and other planned developments in the area.

St. Mary's St. Andrew's and Mast Pond Wharves, Woolwich Church Street. 303 flats, café, bar, riverside walk, etc. etc. Grave concern at massive over-development of these historic sites (arguably the birthplace of the Royal Navy). Will obstruct views from the church, parking will be a visual disaster. Retention of slips is welcomed but bridges across them are not lifting. In conflict with the recently published Mayor's Draft Spatial Policy.

Docklands Light Railway in Woolwich. Will mean the possible demolition of many locally listed buildings.

Building 37 Royal Arsenal. To be converted into flats. Group wants to ensure that the wall-mounted war memorial plaque is retained and that the internal staircase is preserved.

Broadwater Dock/ Gallions Park West. In-filling part of the Dock and erection of some flats. Need to ensure that the lock gates, swing bridge and other historical artefacts are retained. Why is the inland section of the canal to be filled in - why can't it be used as a water feature?

Minutes of meeting held 10th September

Annandale School site - although this is not an ex-industrial site, it has generated a lot of local feeling and the group agreed that the height and density were unacceptable while welcoming the modern idiom.

Meridian Gateway - demolition and rebuilding in the Deptford Creek area - works to Creek wall, landscaping, parking and cycle paths. Some concerns about the number of residential units in this scheme.

43-81 Greenwich High Road. (Merryweather factory site) Redevelopment for offices and light industry. Still no effort to retain the frontage or the Station House building.

Creek Road/Creekside/Copperas Street - new footbridge over the Creek. Welcomed this additional link.

Star Public House, Wellington Street, Woolwich - application to demolish and replace with a five-story block of flats. Object to this - why can't the existing building be converted?

Some correspondence on listing status from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (Architecture and Historic Environment Division)



English Heritage, the Secretary of State's statutory advisers on the historic environment, has assessed the above building and has advised that it does not possess sufficient architectural or historic interest to merit listing.

Reason For Decision: The criteria for listing are not fulfilled.

Borthwick Wharf was purpose-built as a cold store for meat in 1934. It was designed by Sir Edwin Cooper, one of the leading architects of his day and architect to the Port of London Authority. It is currently in use for document storage. Cooper worked extensively for the Port of London Authority, and some of his surviving work is listed, but more has been demolished and better examples than this rejected against our advice. It has the neat brickwork and some patterning as one expects from the work of Cooper and Giles Scott from this time, but not the extra finesse found in buildings such as Scott's Guinness Brewery or Cooper's Custom House. The rooftop addition is also insensitive. We feel that it is pleasant, not special, while it is neither rare in Cooper's oeuvre as industrial gilding nor early as a cold store.



The Secretary of State has decided to list the building. It was added to the list today in Grade II having been judged to be a building of special architectural or historic interest. I enclose a copy of the list entry for your information.

Marine boiler factory currently used for paper storage. Front part of c.1860 in Italianate style, rear part probably 1880s and is shown on Stanford's map of 1891. Built for Penn and Sons marine engineers. Front part of stock brick in Flemish bond with painted stone dressings. River front has moulded cornice and six giant arches with rusticated keystones moulded impost blocks and pilasters. The arches are currently boarded up but mid-C20 photographs show wooden Diocletian windows above the impost blocks and brick lower sections with metal C20 shutter-fronted openings. Side elevation has two bays with cornice pilaster and imposts block. Two cambered openings on two floors but all are blocked except for the first floor left opening with later C19 metal-framed casement. Remainder of the building also in stock brick but English bond. Side elevation of two storeys, fifteen windows, metal casements, ground floor openings blocked. The rear elevation has four painted gables with eight cambered casements and a left side hoist flanked by side windows to the first floor and there are large blocked openings to the ground floor.

HISTORY: the engine of the world's first iron-clad HMS Warrior was fitted here and also the engines of the early Dreadnought battleships. Production ceased in 1911.

Signed by authority of the Secretary of State


48-81 GREENWICH HIGH ROAD. GREENWICH (Merryweather Factory)

The Secretary of State has decided to accept English Heritage's advice and will not, therefore, be adding the buildings at 48-81 Greenwich High Road to the statutory list.

The Engine House at the east end of the Skillion site is a mid to late C19 workshop building built of stock brick with roof covered in corrugated asbestos. Windows are mainly metal-framed casements, but some have C&O double-glazed units behind. The end facing the road has an oculus to the attic and a bracket-shaped Iron hoist as well as an inserted C20 window on the first floor. There is a C20 shutter-fronted opening to the ground floor right and a later C20 bricked-in opening in yellow brick with late C20 door to the left. This building is not of sufficient architectural quality and has undergone some C20 alterations and is not sufficiently special to meet the listing criteria for a later C19 industrial building. The north-east end of the Greenwich High Road frontage has an early C20 two storey stock brick building with red brick dressings and black brick windowsills. There are metal-framed casements with pivoting sections to the first floor and fluted panels with relief diamonds between the floors. The Parapet is ramped up with the name "MERRYWEATHER", manufacturer of fire engines, flanked by flaming torches - an allusion to the products manufactured here earlier in the C20.

The frontage building to Greenwich High Road appears to be of the 1930s in Moderne style. It is a three-storey brick building retaining horizontally glazed me, at casements including curved windows to the left hand corner. To the extreme right is a square staircase tower with parapet; metal clad face and tall tripartite staircase window rising through two floors with projecting ribbed divisions, recessed metal double doors and solid hood with fluted decoration.


By Gary Cummins

Another account of a local event which also featured in our last issue.

At 11am on Sunday 4 August, 2002, a small ceremony was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. This occasion was almost overlooked, but for the sleuthing work of Barry Mason, a local bicycle campaigner, and co-ordinator of Greenwich cyclists. Barry discovered by accident the birthday of the tunnel and contacted Greenwich and Tower Hamlets councils to see if any official event was happening to celebrate the occasion. On being told that there was no interest from the local authorities at either end of the tunnel, he contacted the consulting engineers Binnie Black and Veach, who are the successors to Sir Alexander Binnie, the original designer of the tunnel.

Fortunately, Binnie Black and Veach have an enthusiastic PR department and they arranged a ceremony in co-operation with Mr Mason. Greenwich and Tower Hamlets councils then jumped on board. A small stage was erected nearby the southern entrance to the tunnel, standing in the shadow of the Cutty Sark. During a sudden downpour of rain Chris Binnie, great grandson of Sir Alexander and himself a retired engineer specialising in water supply, gave an excellent, very funny speech. He dressed for the occasion in the style of his great-grandfather, including a stovepipe hat and pearl tie pin.

Watched by a crowd of puzzled tourists, the group, including 20 or so cyclists from Barry's cyclist group, representatives from Binnie Black and Veach, and the great and good from both Borough Councils, retired to the Greenwich University hall for a champagne lunch, compliments of the engineers.

The following extract is taken from an information pack handed out on the day:

The tunnel was opened in August 1902, and was built to replace the ferry services that were causing congestion on that particularly busy part of the Thames, The ferry provided an essential link to the docks for many workers who lived south of the river. At the time there was no free crossing from Tower Bridge to the Woolwich ferry. The terry was also subject to weather delay, and at the time a ferry fare cost a workman half his day's wages.

The tunnel was designed by Alexander Binnie, and work commenced under his guidance in June 1899 by Messrs John Cochrane and Co at a proposed cost of £109,500.

Two shafts were sunk to depths of 44 and 50ft, the shafts are 1,217ft apart. The cast-iron tunnel was bored using a trap/box style shield, with an external diameter of 12ft 9in. 12,000 cubic yards of earth were excavated. Workers operating in the compressed air environment were examined once a week, by a doctor. A medical lock was constructed for cases of 'cassion sickness' but was only used twice. Progress was at a rate of 5ft 6in per day, 33ft per week for 36 weeks. The tunnel is made of cast-iron segments, lined with concrete and faced with 200,000 white glazed tiles. 1,670 tons of cast iron was used and 700 tons of steel. Lifts were built in 1904 at either end and were still in use until their upgrade in 1992. The tunnel is a quarter mile long, and lies 53ft below the high-water mark and 33ft below the low-water mark. There are 88 steps on the Isle of Dogs side and 100 on the Greenwich side and the tunnel, at its steepest, has a gradient of 1 in 15.

The final capital expenditure on the project was just under £180,000 and compensation was paid to the water (ferry operators) of £100 each for lost business when the tunnel opened.

Binnie received a knighthood from Queen Victoria for his part in the tunnels construction. With Sir Benjamin Baker he promoted the reconstruction of London's main drainage system and completed the sewage treatment works at Barking and Crossness. In 1905 he was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and in 1906 designed the Vauxhall Bridge. In 1913 he published 'Rainfall, Reservoirs and Water Supply'. The business went through a number of name changes. In 1909 Sir Alexander Binnie and Son merged with Deacon & Sons to Form Sir Alexander Binnie, Son and Deacon and the same year they undertook a water supply project at Kalgoorlie in Australia, their first major overseas work. In 1922 they designed and supervised the Gunong Pulai Dam in Singapore and in 1930 the design and supervision of Gorge Dam in Hong Kong. By 1995 the practice was known as Binnie and Partners, and it merged with Black and Veach of the USA, to form Binnie Black and Veach. Today the company is a large engineering and management consultancy with an annual turnover of $2.3bn, employing 9.000 in 100 offices worldwide. '

Following the event, the cyclists left Greenwich and made a 20-mile round-trip down river to the Woolwich Foot Tunnel, they went through and then came back toward London where they ate tea and cake in Island Gardens, before finally riding into the Greenwich Tunnel one last time and singing it 'happy birthday'!

Adapted from GLIAS NEWSLETTER 202, October 2002, without permission.




Notes in 'Festival Times' that the original beams of the Dome of Discovery were hidden away in a Greenwich school sent me scurrying off to find out - was it true? A look through the local papers for Greenwich in 1951-3 made me pretty sure it wasn't true because there was no coverage of the story at all but there was something else - there were stories of the enormous new school started in Kidbrooke in April 1951. Although its enormous hall was actually planned before the Festival of Britain and before the Festival Hall, it has been compared with them in both style and scale - and it is easy to understand how the story of the beams began.

I am not really sure if the school is really anything to do with the Festival but I am writing to tell Festival Times about it because, apart from the story of the beams, it really has something to say to us about the early 1950s. The school was the first purpose-built comprehensive school, originally for girls only. It was on a scale not seen before - for 2000 girls and with huge range of special features (eg: 5 gymnasia!). They hold huge scrapbooks of their press coverage over the years - and it is fascinating to read the hostile stories in the press when the school opened in 1954 and the constant barrage of critical stories in the tabloid press of the day. Nevertheless it has survived and along with the educational ideas which marked it out, it is rapidly being realised that it is a treasure of early 1950s architecture. The present management is doing the best it can to see that original features are preserved and, in some cases restored.

The school scrapbooks also contain articles from the technical press, which detail the construction methods and materials in a great deal of detail. The copper domed school hall today stands out above the surrounding suburban housing - inside it is, understandably, a bit worn, but the integrity of the underlying design shines through. The dome is, however, not really like the Dome of Discovery. If anyone would like details I am happy to send references or a photocopy. A series of articles was written about the roof by B.K.Chatterjee, who was one of the engineers involved - who was he, and what happened to him? Work by an Asian engineer on such a major building must have been very unusual at the time. The architects of the building were Slater, Uren and Pike and the consulting engineers were Ove Arup.


The long-awaited Museum in Docklands failed to open this summer after a mysterious benefactor failed to keep a promise to underwrite running costs. As a result it has been forced by its main fonder, the Heritage Lottery Fund, to hold merger talks with the Museum of London.

The museum, which chronicles the 2,000-year history of the Port of London received an initial £11.5m grant from the HLF five years ago. Construction costs ran £1.7m over budget, and so far a total of £16m has been spent. Grants of around £4m from the former Docklands Development Corporation and corporate donors were quickly swallowed up.

The museum's site, a Napoleonic era warehouse close to Canary Wharf dating back to 1802, it is itself a piece of Docklands history. It has been refurbished to house artefacts, paintings, models, boats and machinery that tell the story of London's port from Roman times to the present day. The exhibits are all in place, including numerous archaeological finds from Roman and Saxon times. The galleries are almost ready to be opened, and a fun area for children is nearing completion. The centre also includes a lecture and film theatre.

Copied from GLIAS NEWSLETTER 202, October 2002 without permission.



Prince Consort Engine

Following the lagging and the cladding of pipework, gauges needed to be installed to monitor the control of the engine at work. Meanwhile work on the new cooling pond is progressing - this is being constructed in a former bunded area which lay beneath two enormous diesel storage tanks, which were removed from the site two years ago. The pond has been waterproofed and wooden weirs are being installed to separate out leaves and oil from water on its way back to the condenser.

The Valve House

The site for the Easton and Anderson Engine has almost been decided subject to some final measurements.

Beam Engine House

Work continues on the windows and soon we will be able to remove stored materials and find room for parts removed from the Victoria Engine.

Visitor Centre

A cabinet (inherited from Hall Place, Bexley) has displays of the tools made on site. Labelling of the photographic display is almost finished and then lighting will need to be renewed.. We have started to improve the main hall and a bust of Sir Joseph Bazalgette has been splendidly displayed in a 'classical' cabinet set on the wall at the far end and painted by our 'resident artist' to depict London in the 19th century.

The Terrace Garden

Circular flower beds are being restocked with fresh flowers ready for the spring. We are intending to replace all the missing 'rope' style border edging and would like to know of a source of this (please contact if you can help).


1. Appleby Single-Cylinder Horizontal Steam engine from a Vinegar Works in Southwark has been donated. This was once used to drive line-shafting in Sarson's Works. It was stored at the old Streatham bus garage and two reconnaissance sorties were made to plan its disassembly. On Monday 23rd Sept. a group went to tackle the job which took about five hours, and on the Wednesday a 'H1AB' crane lorry picked up the engine and brought it to Crossness. The lorry had previously been to Kew Bridge Engine Museum and picked up two Watson pumps, originally from the Houses of Parliament where they had been used in the air-circulation system. These will eventually be on display in The Valve House.

2. A Sirex WC pan (c. 1900) is being extracted from the 19th century Bexleyheath Adult Education College building. It should soon be on display in the Visitor Centre.

Lady visitors will be pleased to know that the LADIES facility in the small building outside the Beam Engine House has been fitted with new toilet pans and sinks and awaits redecoration.

Adapted from: The Crossness Engines Record, Vol. 8 No.2. Autumn 2002 without permission.

Ministry of Defence Materials Quality Assurance Directorate (MQAD) at The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich

Personal Reminiscences by Bruce Blissett

At the end of my interview for a job in the Royal Arsenal, I asked to see the laboratory in which I would work if I were to be accepted. I was shown the laboratory during the lunch hour and while it had a slightly unusual layout and generous provision of fume cupboards and fume extractors, the most striking difference from all other laboratories I had seen was the cleanliness and order of the place.

All surfaces in laboratories where ammonia solution is used as a reagent become coated in a white film of ammonium salts but this laboratory had clean windows, reagent bottles, burettes, pipettes and other glass equipment. The benches and cupboards were varnished and clean and even the glazing of the fume cupboards was clean and transparent. It was all so different from the typical cramped, poorly maintained and grubby little sweatshop that I had become accustomed to in private industry. I decided there and then, to accept the job if it were offered even though it would mean a substantial cut in salary.

It took over three months, during which time I was given a thorough medical examination and was vetted for security clearance, before I actually started work. After starting work, I soon found out why the laboratory was so clean, orderly and well maintained for although it was staffed entirely by civilians one sensed the discipline normally associated with the armed forces. Every week there would be an inspection by the Chemist in Charge and his deputy for tidiness, cleanliness and equipment maintenance. The nine or ten bench-working chemists were supported by three industrial staff who would keep the floor, laboratory furniture and glassware clean as well as maintaining the supply of general reagents, solvents and demineralised water. Industrial staff would also wash the more robust laboratory glassware such as flasks and beakers provided the chemists had brought it to a state where it could 'easily" be washed with water. Some of the physical testing would be carried out by industrial staff.

In those days the MoD seemed to take a serious interest in the quality and value for money of the materials that industry supplied and there were two main routes by which the quality of procured materials was controlled. Larger companies, which had their own quality control laboratories, could gain approval to supply goods while issuing their own certificates of inspection (MoD forms 640 or Release Notes). Such firms would first have to be assessed by a senior member of scientific staff who would agree a scope of approval with the firm and interview the firm's nominated inspector before the company could be registered under the Approved Firms' Inspection scheme. The laboratories of these companies would be visited at least twice per year (unless they had not released any products to the MoD or sub-contractors in the last six months) and probably a material sample taken for correlation check testing. Check samples of products would also be taken from Central Ordnance Depots after delivery and tested for specification compliance.

Smaller firms ranging down to a man in a garage with scales, a mixing drum, four bricks and a gas ring, could also supply to the MoD by having his product sampled and tested by the General Chemicals Laboratory, which, if the product complied with the specification, would issue the certificate of inspection. These small firms were very valuable because, with such low overhead expenses, their products were cheaper and they were also able to supply against small contracts for specialised chemical products.

From time to time, the MoD would find successful new products which naturally would be proprietories and usually expensive. If the MoD started buying large enough quantities of such a product not covered by patents, a sample would be sent to the General Chemicals Laboratory where it would be analysed and a laboratory-made sample of an equivalent product sent back to the user for approval. Provided the user found the equivalent product satisfactory, a specification including the laboratory formulation for the new product would be written and offered to manufacturers for tendering against contracts to supply. The money saved by doing this covered the running costs of the General Chemicals Laboratory.

While the pressure of work remained high because we were made very aware that the time taken in testing goods awaiting issue of a certificate of inspection would be, in effect, costing our suppliers money, the main emphasis was placed on the accuracy and reliability of our test results in our role as a referee test house. This was in stark contrast to my experiences in private industry where speed was always most important and as long as test results were reliable enough to enable decisions to made, accuracy was unimportant. The only exception to this rule was when the company received a contract under the MoD Approved Firms' Inspection scheme.

It was very interesting to be gaining expertise in testing such a large range of products but the most satisfying work was analysing new products, devising methods of test for inclusion in new specifications or improving existing analytical procedures.

On the 1st April 1984, the Materials Quality Assurance Directorate ceased to provide a direct service to the Master General of the Ordnance and its predecessors - a break in tradition going back 130 years.


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

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



6th November, Tony Rolfe, HM Customs and Excise work. DHG

12th November, Crossness Visitor Day. (You must book on 020 8311 3711)

13th November, Grain, Gravel and Gunpowder. The Thames Sailing Barge. Elizabeth Wood at CNHSS United Reform Hall, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon, 7.45pm

13th November, Mechanism of Flat Glass Manufacture. Prof. Michael Cable. Newcomen Soc., Science Museum, 5.45pm

15th November, An Evening with the Stars. Royal Observatory Planetarium. 5pm (£6), 6pm (£8) & 7pm (£10)

15th November, Dementia in Developing Countries. Dr. M. Prince. Blackheath Scientific Society, Mycenae House, SE3 7.45pm

16th November, The First Anglo-Dutch War. 10.30am £28 NMM. 020 8312 6747

16th November, Buying and Selling in Metropolitan London. Museum of London 10am-2pm. Enquires to 36 Church Road, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7PX

20th November, GLIAS Lecture - John Porter on From Tyne to Thames. Restoring HMS Cavalier. Lecture Theatre 2 or 3, Charterhouse Square, EC1. 020 8692 8512

22nd November, Henry Williamson's Lewisham Brian Fullagar, Lewisham Local History Society, Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13. 7.45pm. £1 donation

23rd November, Re-living the Past. The Sealed Knot. By Adrian Dawling. Woolwich Antiquarians Charlton House, 2.30pm

24th November, Crossness Visitor Day. (You must book on 020 8311 3711)

26th November, Feltmakers in Southwark. SLAS, 7.30 Hawkstone Hall, Kennington Road, SE1

27th November, Mile End Old Town. Derek Morris. Greenwich Historical Society. 7.15pm. Music Centre, Blackheath High School, Vanburgh Park, SE3.

27th November, English Civil Engineer in America: William Weston by Denis Smith. Inst. Civil Engineers, 5.45pm

27th November, The first GPO Steam Packets built at Rotherhithe. Roger Owen. RBLH Time and Talents, St. Marychurch Street, SE16. 7.15pm


4th December, Seasonal Delights. DHG, (see above)

6th December, The Roland Moyle Papers. Roland Moyle. Lewisham Local History Society, Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, SE13. 7.45pm £1 donation

6-7th December, Exploration in the wake of Captain Cook. 10.30am. £28 NMM. 020 8312 6747

10th December, Crossness Visitor Day. (You must book on 020 8311 3711)

14th December, The Suburban Home Front. Britain in World War II. Woolwich Antiquarians Charlton House, 2.30pm

11th December, Construction of the Uganda Railway. Henry Gunston. Newcomen Soc. Science Museum, 5.45pm

12th December, Estuarine English, The Ubiquitous River Lighters of Erith. Giles Dawkes. LAMAS, Museum of London 6.30pm

13th December, An Evening with the Stars. Royal Observatory Planetarium. 5pm (£6), 6pm (£8) & 7pm (£10)

18th December, St. Mary's Church, Rotherhithe, Rev. Richards. RBLH Time and Talents, St.Marychurch Street, SE16. 7.15pm

20th December, Short talks, and refreshments. Blackheath Scientific Soc, Mycenae House, SE3 7.45pm

28th December, Crossness Visitor Day. (Ring 020 8311 3711)



8th January, AGM, plus Technology and British Cartoonists. J. Agar. Newcomen Soc. Science Museum, 5.45pm

11th January, Silk Production. Lisa Doyle Burnett. Woolwich Antiquarians, Charlton House, 2.30pm

12th January, Crossness visitor day (Ring 020 8311 3711)

11-16th January, Day Skipper. (over three weekends). £250, NMM. 020 8312 6747

15th January, GLIAS Chris Rule London's Type Founders, Lecture Theatre 2 or 3, Charterhouse Sq., EC1. 020 8692 8512

17th January, An Evening with the Stars. Royal Observatory Planetarium. 5pm (£6), 6 pm (£8) & 7pm (£10). Special session for deaf visitors at 6pm

17th January, The Management of Pain. Sister Jane Meldrum. Blackheath Scientific Soc, Mycenae House, SE3 7.45

21st January, Crossness visitor day (Ring 020 8311 3711)

24th January, An Evening with the Stars. Royal Observatory Planetarium. 5pm (£6), 6 pm (£8) & 7pm (£10)

29th January, One Hundred Years of an Eltham Street. Gaynor Wingham. RBLS Time and Talents, 7.45pm.


5th April. SERIAC to be held in the University of Greenwich, Romney Road, SE10.


CONVOY. THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC. Tues. 10.30 from 28th January. £39 NMM. 020 8312 6747

OUTPOSTS OF EMPIRE. Wednesdays 10.30 from 29th January. £39 NMM. 020 8312 6747

ELIZABETH. Tuesdays from 29th April 10.30. £39. NMM. 020 8312 6747

A SEA OF ISLANDS. A MARITIME HISTORY OF THE CARIBBEAN. Wednesdays from 30th April. 10.30 £39. NMM.

THE RED PLANET. Sundays from 12th January. 10.30. Planetarium and Discovery Room. Adults £8. Children £6. NMM. 020 8312 6747.

THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. Sundays from 11th May 10.30. Planetarium and Discovery Room. Adults £8. Children £6. NMM. 020 8312 6747

EXPLORING THE PLANETS. Sundays from 8th June 10.30. Planetarium and Discovery Room. Adults £8. Children £6. NMM. 020 8312 6747


Shows daily 2.00 pm and 3.30 pm (except 24, 25, 26th Dec.). £4 (children £2).

Special shows first Sunday in each month 11.30 - 12.30, include - Messier objects, retrograde motion of the planets, skies of the Arctic and Antarctic, skies of Africa, solar eclipse.

Second Symposium, Shipbuilding on the Thames and Thames-built Ships
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich - Saturday, 15 February 2003

This will be the successor to the first symposium, which was held at Nelson Dock House, Rotherhithe, in September 2000. Papers offered to date include:

William Evans, shipbuilder of Rotherhithe and his steamships - Stuart Rankin
Thames built ships of the Orient Line and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company - Peter Newall
The General Steam Navigation Company Yard at Deptford - Peter Gurnett
Early steamship machinery installation and repairs on the City Canal, Isle of Dogs - Roger Owen
Coastal shipping and the Thames - John Armstrong
Convicts to Australia. The story of HMS Glatton and her sister ship HMS Calcutta, former East Indiamen, 1802-3 - Brian Swann
An aspect of warship building on the Thames - Rif Winfield

Dr. J.R. Owen, 8, The Drive, West Wickham, Kent, BR4 OEP,
Tel: 020 8777 7013, e-Mail:-

Professors Sarah Palmer and Andrew Lambert will co-chair the Symposium.
The fee will be £10. Further details will be issued towards the end of the year.



For further information please contact;

Firepower on 020 8855 7755,, website


The Society's officers are currently 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 2001.
Subscriptions remain at £10 and should be sent to:

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

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.



The Web version has been created by;

.... David Riddle, Goldsmiths College

Space courtesy of Goldsmiths College, University of London