Volume 7, Issue 2, March 2004


IN SOUTH LONDON 1889 - Part 2





13th April Peter Kent on Riverwatch

18th May Dr. Gerry Moss on The History of Fireworks

15th June Robert Hulse on The Brunel Engine House at Rotherhithe

13th July Philip Peart on Appleby Engineers

12th October - Dr. Jane Grant on The Co-op Women's Guilds

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


Tony Robinson (Baldrick) of the 'Time Team', officially opened Greenwich Council's Heritage Centre in early February. Collections from the local history library in Mycenae Road, Blackheath and the Borough Museum in Plumstead, are now under one roof.

The new Centre is housed in Building 41, part of the New Laboratory Square, on the Royal Arsenal - a building developed between about 1805 and 1878 as storehouses and which, by 1853, was used for making gun cartridges and later became a carpenters and painters workshop.

The opening event was a great occasion - despite the late arrival of guests due to problems in the road outside. It was a time for old friends to meet - and for new ones to be made.

One sad event connected to the opening is the retirement of Julian Watson - Local History Librarian for more years than we care to think about, and a great support to so many local researchers. So - thanks Julian - good luck in retirement - and - are you going to join GIHS?

Julian explains the historical significance of Ballast Quay to a group of Councillors in the mid-1970s.



Members with an interest in riverside sites might like to look at - a new site based upon historic pictures of riverside interest.


Woolwich Antiquarians report from Jack Vaughan that the clock on the Carriage Department, Building 10, Royal Arsenal has been damaged. It seems that vandals scaled the outside of the building and swung on the clock hands until they were broken off. Jack is discussing the clock with the Curator of Clocks at the National Maritime Museum.


The 2004 New Years Honours List included an award to Captain Peter Deeks of the Woolwich Free Ferry as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (M.B.E.). Captain Deeks has been responsible for the Ferry for many years, starting his career as a Thames Waterman before joining the Ferry about forty years ago as a deck hand.


A sharp-eyed member spotted a write-up in the Times for 28th November 2003 on the conversion of Mumford's Mill. This is part of what the writer, Mike Mulvihill, had to say:

"You wouldn't think that I could live less than 200 yards from a large 19th-century flour mill designed by Sir Aston Webb, the architect behind the eastern facade of Buckingham Palace. But until just a couple of weeks ago, when I walked past a 50ft blue sign announcing that the building was being turned into luxury flats, I didn't even know it was there. Mumford's Mill, as I learnt from the sales brochure, was at the heart of the Greenwich community for 100 years after it opened in 1848. But it fell into decline after the Second World War and closed in the 1960s, when it was replaced by a succession of light industrial enterprises. Its days were numbered until a development company stepped in last year with some ambitious plans for the future. It looks as though SE10 is about to get its first proper loft apartments.

As I read on, my mind turned to my very own life as a Trendy Loft-Living London Professional: my girlfriend, Jo, preparing sushi in our open-plan kitchen as I sit in the window playing the saxophone; the boys coming round on a Sunday afternoon to watch football on my plasma screen; Chablis on the balcony on a warm summer's evening; stainless-steel kitchens and Philippe Starck bathrooms; surround sound, fresh coffee, olive oil, perfect hair and a smile on your face - the glossy magazine image of modern life. And here it was on my doorstep. I had to find out more.

There have already been considerable improvements lately, thanks largely to a group of people who you would be advised to follow if you want to know which area is going to be the Next Big Thing: artists. Goldsmiths College has always been a focal point for music and the arts in the area, which has recently witnessed the arrival of the state-of-the-art Laban dance centre, while painters, sculptors and potters are crawling all over the former industrial spaces of Deptford Creek, etc. etc. etc..


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

From: Roy Tindle

I represent a small group of people who share several concerns about the proposed development of Mast Pond Wharf. We are trying to raise consciousness about this site - between the Dockyard Estate and the Woolwich Ferry and currently lying derelict.

That this site dates back at least to the Royal Naval Dockyard of King Henry VIII, indeed the wool exporting business on which Woolwich was founded probably used this land for many centuries prior to this. Mast Pond Wharf is, with Convoys, all that remains of a very significant part of Britain's history. The two Royal Naval Dockyards can be a said to be part of the heritage of much of the 'New World' too. Local heritage-driven tourism has an important role to play in inner city regeneration; that much of this heritage lies close to the river suggests greatly increased river passenger transit as the tourism aspect is developed. I probably do not need to observe that the most dramatic views of many major cities are obtained from the rivers that bisect them.

There is planning consent to build a hotel on the site but this permission is about to expire without any construction having taken place. I understand that there will soon be another application, this time seeking permission to build flats. Their choice has been limited by both the Thames Pathway and the intention to use the southern margin of the land to build a rapid transit roadway as part of a wider Greenwich transport plan. We should not permit this major piece of heritage to vanish under flats. I really don't think that the size of the place makes much difference in housing terms but it could play an invaluable role in civic pride.

Our most serious concern is the further loss of riparian land: this, the ferry terminal and the slipway to the east of the Waterfront Centre are the sole remaining road/river access points in Woolwich. The remainder of the south bank of this reach of the Thames has only limited river access: for example, the new Woolwich pier ends on an elevated walkway to which vehicular access is very limited. Furthermore, the increasing housing density along the Thames is going to exacerbate an already labouring transport infrastructure. The sensible, low cost and environmentally sound transport route with a huge capacity surplus is the Thames but the same housing development is seriously depleting access to the river. There is a further anomalous component in this equation and that is that housing is being primarily sited along the river frontage while new industrial premises are being situated inland, away from river access, thus increasing the burden on road and rail.

This site offers the potential for specialist historic small ship restoration that could run in parallel with the functions of a normal riverside boatyard. Further, we are aware of two historic vessels that have indicated a desire to use the site as a home mooring and repair facility. The updated PLA Economic Impact report shows 482 direct jobs and £14.8M gross value added to Greenwich but that is peanuts when compared to the value of riverside housing land. Long term that added value keeps coming in and all that new housing that's going up for miles along the river will require new transport.

Woolwich Ferry seen from Mast Pond Wharf when in use by Cubow
(Picture thanks Howard Chard)

The fate of the Woolwich Free Ferry is another issue but is linked to the local wharves. The south terminal is adjacent to a large car park, which could be sold for housing development thus losing the remaining vehicular access to the river. We will be proposing alternative economically viable passenger uses for the ferry vessels in due course.

Finally, the Woolwich Community Website Project, which I chair, is working with Cory Environmental to establish a digital photographic record of the Thames banks from Cory's depots in Wandsworth to Mucking. This will consist of a series of relatively high-resolution images (6 megapixel) taken in overlapping sequence.

I understand too that both the Massey Shaw and the Swiftstone are looking for permanent moorings and Mast Pond would be very convenient.

From: Glynis Turner

I write from Australia as I hope you might help me with regard to the industry in the Deptford area circa 1800- 1820s. In 1801 Elizabeth Wibrow was baptised at St. Paul's Deptford, father Thomas Wibrow, coachmaker of Copperas Lane. Do you know of any coach building in the lane? Or could I have misread it for Soapmaker? Elizabeth married in 1816 Francis John King. They came to Sydney Australia in 1827. Francis was a soap maker who initially superintended Aspinall's Soap Manufactory and later built a soap making business, which included rendering fat by boiling down livestock in a number of locations in New South Wales and Queensland. One of their sons was involved in exporting beef to California (during 1850s gold rush) and England canned and/or refrigerated in the 1870s - I am yet to determine the details. There certainly was a shipment of frozen meat to England in 1877.

From: Sylvia Snipp

On the WW2 Memorial of S.E. Met Gas workers - has anyone a list of the names on the memorial? Was there any such list of WW1 S.E. Met Gas workers? I have a Long Service Certificate of my husband's grandfather - Henry Snipp. Whilst he had worked 25 years in 1936, he stayed until his retirement and lived for many years afterwards. He was born in Greenwich in 1884. I'm not sure how the SMGC accounted for long service if someone fought in the war. Would you happen to know if the '25 years' excluded war service? If someone wanted to find out more about a relative who worked for SMGC where would you advise they look? Are there any lists of employees on the internet somewhere?

From: Caroly Howe

There is a Naval Dockyard Society site, which provides a Database & Information on Dockyard History. One was called "Deptford Shipbuilding". My husband's ancestors were Shipwrights in Deptford from 1720's through to the early 1800s. We are anxious to find out more about the Deptford Shipbuilding industry.

Do you know of the "Deptford Shipbuilding" and where I may find the site?

From: Karl Von Rensberg

I have been trying to find the foundry where the propellers for the Queen Mary were cast. My interest in this is that I have some really dated pictures of this. When my grandmother was alive she explained that her father was the foundry man who cast them. His name was John Hall.

From: John Hanman

I collect old drinking glasses etched with pub or brewery names mainly from the Kent area. I have obtained a spirit glass which is etched. Property of 'The Bunker', Greenwich. This is within fancy scroll work which leads me to think it dates from 1900-30's ish and is similar to others I have. I have searched the internet but can find no mention of 'The Bunker' Greenwich and I wonder if you have a record of it. I thought it might have something to do with the Navy buildings if not a pub. Hope you can help me shed some light on this little glass.

From: Leslie Morris

I read with interest the article about the visit to Greenwich Power Station. According to records in the RIBA the architect responsible for the design, presumably working for the LCC department, was Vincent Emanuel Harris later to become famous as designer of Public Buildings - the Round House Library at Manchester civic centre. The Board of Trade Building in Whitehall and numerous Town Halls and Civic Buildings around the country. His own house designed in 1932/4 and lived in by Mr Harris, is situated in the road I live in, Fitzroy Park, Highgate, N6. We successfully persuaded English Heritage to recommend it for listing (Grade 11) when it seemed in danger of redevelopment. Mr Harris received the RIBA Gold Medal in the 1950's.

From: Pat O'Driscoll

Re: The Woolwich Navy, as mentioned on the back page of the January GIHS Newsletter. A book, 'The Unknown Fleet' by Reg Cooley was issued by Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd, in I993. One of the appendices describes the uniform laid down for officers. It was a proper uniform despite Mr. Bowen's comments.

When I worked afloat (1959-70) H.R. Mitchell's of Woolwich Arsenal still operated several motor craft carrying ammunition and Government stores. I remember Katherine Mitchell (the largest) and the Vawdrey and Geoffrey Stanley. They also had a tug, the Legde. Mitchell's replaced A.R.Sales at the Arsenal. By then nobody wore uniform.

Before the war they had two wooden dumb towed craft, Gog and Magog fitted with lowering ramps. These took'big guns' to and from Shoeburyness. The guns were secured on railway tracks in the craft's hold and when the ramp was lowered the guns could be pulled forward by a steam hauler, to connect with a light railway ashore.

Magog (the second of this name) was built in 1900. She measured 90 ft x 30 ft x 7 ft. To my personal knowledge she still existed, in 1966, when she was being used as a sort of small dry dock at Piper's yard. I would have photographed her had it been possible, but small craft were generally moored alongside so that one could not get a clear view of her. We were then on Piper's with Olive May, having a number of job's done.

Another old-stager in the War Dept. Fleet was the Marquess of Partington. I knew someone who served in her during the war. A contemporary photo shows her name plainly displayed on her bow - perhaps a wartime identification measure.

From: Patsy Beech

I was wondering if you could help me with the history of Deptford Gas Works? My Great, Great Grandfather, Walter Farmer not only worked at Deptford Gas Works in 1881, but also lived there with his wife and family. On the 1881 census his address was Cottage at Gas Works, Creek Street, Deptford, and his occupation is given as Gate Keeper, in 1890 on my Great Grandmother's wedding certificate it is recorded as Gas Works Manager.

Walter Farmer died in 1895, but his son George Farmer took over the job, and was still living there with his mother (Mary A. Farmer) at the time of the 1901 census. My Dad can remember being taken there as a young boy in the late 1920's. His memories include playing in the large garden, picking tomatoes in the big greenhouse, being fascinated by George adjusting the weights to alter the levels of the gas, the stream at the end of the garden (Deptford Creek!), and of a large hole where a gas holder had once stood, and which filled with water so was great for throwing stones into. My Dad will be 83 in a few days time, but his memories are quite clear if rather scant.

Deptford Gas Works is the site of what is now the Creekside Centre - they are very interested in the history of their site and the surrounding area. Contributions should be sent to Chris Gittner at the centre, or via GIHS.

From: Bill Ellison

Would George Orwell have been referring to the Gas Works on the site of the Creekside Centre, Phoenix Site, now Greenwich Reach East when he said:

Even in the most sordid street the coming of spring will register itself by some sign or other, if it is only a brighter blue between the chimney pots or the vivid green of an elder sprouting on a blitzed site. Indeed it is remarkable how Nature goes on existing unofficially, as it were, in the very heart of London. I have seen a kestrel flying over the Deptford gasworks, and I have heard a first-rate performance by a blackbird in the Euston Road. There must be some hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of birds living inside the four-mile radius, and it is rather a pleasing thought that none of them pays a halfpenny of rent.

George Orwell: 1946 Some Thoughts on the Common Toad

An appeal for information on Charles Lungley, Deptford.


by Mary Mills - edited by Barry Wilkinson for inclusion in Historic Gas Times

Men in the local gas works have come out on the issue of freedom to organize and against the profit sharing scheme introduced by the Chairman, George Livesey.

Strikers on the gas works in London had been replaced by Blackleg labour - 'Conditions were bad inside the works. Blacklegs complained of drunkenness. A foreman left because of the dirt. Men were ill. There were special sanitary arrangements with unpleasant disinfectant - blacklegs were 'wallowing in filth'. The Medical Officer of Health at Lambeth Vestry inspected works at the striker's request. There was ale in zinc buckets, and clay pipes. Between the gasholders at Old Kent Road was a marquee with a piano and an old retort bench (available) for heating. The work was unfamiliar and more skilled than many recognised. Men were injured - 150 were burnt (but even experienced men got burns) and one was killed moving a coal truck. Military ambulances were requisitioned for injuries. By New Year 1890 the 'new men' were hardly new any more and afraid they would be discharged if the strike was settled - they were reassured but 'old men' were returning to work, (such as the) coal porters at West Greenwich with promises of future good behaviour. Those still out described them as 'sneaking rats, double-dyed traitors - the ordinary blackleg is white in comparison with such miserable curs'. Will Thorne spoke on 17th January: 'they had come out for eight hours (shift length) and they would go back for eight hours,' continuing with more drama 'they were not going to creep and crawl to Livesey for work, they would become revolutionists - a revolt of every working man in England to overwhelm the country'.

Mark Hutchins said he had hoped to be able to announce the end of the strike they had been to Livesey with an offer but while they were talking the Secretary pulled him away. The London Trades Council had been asked to find a solution and on 4th February it was announced that an agreement had been reached at a mass meeting at the Hatcham Liberal Club. 'That, except where mutually agreed to the contrary the company reverts to the eight hour system - that in the event of any vacancies arising the directors will give their former workmen the opportunity of returning to their employment in preference to strangers.' The strike headquarters became an agency for co-ordinating help for hard-pressed families and an appeal was issued. They were soon to be visited by Livesey with a donation.


Livesey's bonus scheme flourished. It became the 'co-partnership' scheme where all workers became shareholders. They were encouraged to put bonus payments into property and the company formed a building society. A consultation process was set up with elected representatives to discuss workplace problems and policy. Three company directorships were elected by the shareholding workforce - with the same rights and powers as directors appointed by capitalist shareholders. Livesey fought long and hard to get legislation for these changes through a hostile Board and House of Commons. By the 1920s most gas companies still in private hands had schemes like it - but without the worker directors.

Following a speech by Will Thorne in 1892, Gas Workers' Union membership was banned at South Met. There are stories of workers being victimised when their Union membership was discovered. Although GWU maintained branches in the area membership was often from other trades. The South Met. gas workers' dispute has been described as an episode in 'new unionism'. This is only partly true - it is about something more complicated. New unionism is about the casual, unskilled, previously unorganised joining together. Gas workers in 1889 probably didn't see themselves as casual and unskilled but as workers whose status as respectable people with steady jobs was under threat. The union offered them a means of maintaining their identity and achieving some control over it. George Livesey responded by offering his workforce a means of achieving both identity and control. The union spoke of liberty of the individual; Livesey offered them the chance to become Company men.



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. There is, however, no publications news this issue.

'Dockland Apprentice' by David Carpenter.

This book describes the apprenticeship of a Plumstead boy working at the London Graving Dock in Poplar. It is very highly recommended as a story of work in the docks, when the docks were the docks, and the river was the river. Young Dave - replete with quiff and DA - learns his trade as a marine engineer with a variety of characters and then goes out to service the ships of the world. The first chapter sees him on the Woolwich Ferry and in the last he is steaming off down the estuary to new and foreign engineering jobs. Inevitably most of the accounts of south London are in regard to his daily river crossings through the two-way working old Blackwall tunnel on his Norton - 'flat out in 2nd gear down into the tunnel, taking the first bend at 60 mph, then into 3rd gear at 70 mph, down the straight reaching 90mph ... slow down for the bend, then flat out and out of the tunnel at 95 mph.'.

Bears Hide, 2 Bramber Avenue, Peacehaven, BN10 8LR. £15.99


July/October 2003 gives news of archaeological work.

There is information about the Study Group on Stowage, which has found 18th Century and 19th Century walls. Another article describes investigations in the Arsenal - in part this says "Oxford Archaeology carried out a field evaluation of the north-east zone on behalf of Berkeley Homes. A series of small scale, successive timber stake and wattle structures ran on an E-W alignment 55m inland from the current line of the Thames River Wall. These alignments were dated to the medieval period, the earliest AD 1020- 1280. They are considered to represent elements of former fence lines, possibly fish traps, and the possible foundations of an earthen River Wall. Two ditches, both running E-W are considered to be contemporary elements of the network of drainage ditches which enabled the reclamation of this area of the Plumstead Marshes behind the river wall to provide agricultural land. This system is apparent on maps dating to 1670, 1701, 1717, 1725 and 1749 and may have origins from the 'inning' of the marshes in the medieval period.

In 1779 this area of land was incorporated into the Arsenal having previously been outside its eastern limits. The well-preserved brick built remains of the Proof House, later to become the Proof Offices (built pre-1780) were recorded. Details of the internal division of this structure add to the basic outline detail gained from historic maps. Further brick structures comprised brick walls and surfaces, and related to an E-W orientated range labelled on historic maps as the Proofing Workshops (built 1780-1802). These was no evidence for the contemporary and parallel Convict Sheds to the north however, these may have been totally removed to make way for the north range of the Grand Stores East Quad which was constructed in the same position as the earlier Convict Sheds.

A substantial cut is interpreted as groundworks for a new River Wall commenced in 1802. These works allowed for land reclamation and a new river frontage in advance of the construction of the Grand Stores 1806-15. In the second decade of the 19th Century, the area was completely remodelled with the construction of the East Quadrangle of the Stores Department. Documentary sources reveal that this range suffered subsidence and was demolished in 1831.

WOODLANDS FARM - a brief history.

This five-page booklet costs 20p and is available from the Farm Trust (020 8319 8900).


The current Crossness Engines Record includes this item:

"Off to Sea"

In July, 1908, a neatly penned note observed that the Main Drainage Committee's Chief Engineer approved an allowance of 1/- per head for refreshments for children from the Outfalls at Barking and Crossness during their excursion. This exciting day out was a journey on one of the new sludge vessels as no doubt it took its cargo out to the Barrow Deep, five miles off Clacton, Essex. A rudimentary calculation of the number of children at the southern outfall, reveals that about fifty children would have been of an age to make such a trip. Assuming a similar number would be available from the northern outfall, the prospect of the Captain and crew being responsible for about one hundred little souls either running around or throwing-up, beggars belief. The one hundred plus miles round trip can be very pleasant, but the excitement of the day, sandwiches and pop and maybe an on-shore breeze against an ebbing tide making for unwanted motion, could no doubt turn some of the youngsters a shade of eau de nil. Whatever the weather conditions or minor discomforts, I am sure that many children would carry memories of that 'day out' for many years to come. The thought occurred to me - who was the first person to promote the idea of a sea- going trip for children of the workforce of the two outfalls and when did the practice cease?


This volume contains an extremely important article on Creevey's Yard, Highbridge by Nicholas Cooke and Christopher Philpotts. This gives an enormous amount of details illuminating our knowledge of the historic riverside. The following brief extract may be of particular interest:


Amongst the copper alloy objects are a group of pins. Pinners' bones from the site indicate the presence of a small-scale industry manufacturing these objects. 46 pins came from gully [with further examples from the large dumps of domestic refuse pit. Small pins, used mainly as clothes-fasteners, were made from the medieval period onwards. Two forms are present, which may reflect the distinction between pins made on site, and subsequent incidental losses. The pins from the gully have simple wire-wrapped heads and are relatively consistent in length (30-32mm). This group includes a significant number of what appear to be unsharpened 'blanks', and also two additional items: a short length of wire (46mm) and a probable needle. As far as can be ascertained, all the other pins from the site have heads formed by wire wrapped around the shaft and then shaped to a globular form. Lengths vary from 24mm to 32mm, and there are no apparent 'blanks'."


On 1st February 2004 the Kent Underground Research Group (KURG) entered the Bostall Estates chalk mine to survey the condition of the mine. At the same time four surveyors from the London Bat Group (LBG) surveyed the mine for hibernating bats. The Chalk Mine is located in Abbey Wood. The entrance shaft is approximately 18 metres deep and is located in the grounds of a former Hospice on Federation Road, approximate grid reference TQ 478 735. Construction of the mine began in 1900 in order to supply raw materials for the construction of the Bostall Estate by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. During the next 6 years some 610 metres of tunnels were dug some up to 6 metres high. Mining ceased in 1906. In 1914 a sloping entrance close to Federation Hall allowed access to the mine for use as a bomb shelter. This tunnel was finally filled in the early 1960's. This is the first recorded bat survey of the mine.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 all British bats and their roosts are protected on Schedule 5. This act is subject to amendments under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 implements the Council Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. All bats are listed as 'European protected species of animals' and it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take a bat. It is also illegal to intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place that a bat uses for shelter or protection (regardless of whether bats are actually present at the time); or to intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat.

Access to the mine was down the main shaft by winch. The mine was then searched by the four surveyors using mining lamps to search the walls and ceiling for hibernating bats. The temperature outside and inside the mine was recorded. One surveyor also carried out a cursory examination of the shaft for the presence of bats. Only a small percentage of available crevices were searched as the winch mechanism did not allow the surveyor complete control over his rate of ascent. During the survey no bats were found.

The relatively high temperatures recorded during this survey meant that at the time of this visit it is unlikely that bats were using the site for hibernation purposes. However it remains a strong possibility that bats may still be using the mine at other times. It is known that the surrounding Abbey and Bostall Woods experience high levels of bat activity with a number of different species having been recorded in the locality. In a visit to the site in September there was unobstructed bat access via a hole in the concrete cap over the main shaft. At the time of this survey this hole had been covered with a sheet of plyboard although bat access would have still been possible. With the exception of the high temperatures, conditions within the mine were largely suitable for roosting bats. The rough-cut walls and ceiling provided enough nooks and cracks for bats to find roosting spots. At the time of the visit much of the mine floor was under up to ~60cms of water. This would increase humidity levels, which would be to the benefit of roosting bats.

The London Bat Group strongly recommends that bat access into the mine is retained and enhanced through bat-friendly grilling. The mine entrance could also be securely fenced to reduce disturbance and improve public safety. Further advice should be taken from the London Bat Group and suitably qualified experts.

Refs: Le Gear R.F, 1987; The R.A.C.S. Chalk Mine and the Building of the Bostall Estate. Kent Underground Research


by Philip Binns

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE OF WOOLWICH are reported by Woolwich Antiquarians via a headline of the "News Shopper". They say that the MoD has again reviewed their presence in the Borough and it seems that their days are numbered. The Officers Mess, Sergeants Mess and Parade Square are listed buildings, but much of the Barracks will become "decamp property", which seems to mean demolished or released for civilian use. The former "Royal Military Academy" will be placed on the market within 18 months. Victoria House, the former Royal Army Medical Corps Officers Mess of the Royal Herbert Hospital is earmarked for disposal by 2006/07, the former Radio Station erected for World War I military needs was demolished last year, the Ha Ha Road site on the edge of Woolwich Common will be closed - this was for many years a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Base Workshop.

Minutes of a meeting held at the Town Hall on Wednesday, 18 February 2004

EDF Sub-station, Fuchsia Street, SE2

Demolition and erection for 14 residential units and parking for 12 cars - the flat roof solution is inappropriate for the area, there is a paucity of communal amenity space and the value of that proposed for the top floor flats is questionable; this solution, mainly over four floors, continues to represent an incongruous over-development.

The Victoria PH, 757 Woolwich Road, SE7

Conversion of existing building to include café and light industrial use, along with erection of residential annexe - there is a concern, however, at the mismatch of fenestration in the new-build element of the return elevation and the turret-like housing for the stair egress to the roof - its eastern face should be set back behind the main building line below.

A recent article in the Mercury drew attention to residents concerns about Greenwich Reach East - and a pressure group is being formed. This site was originally the Greenwich Gas Works of the Phoenix Gas Company but in recent years has dealt with aggregate. Maureen O'Mara as the Council's Planning Chair has said she will demand that the owners, London Merchant Securities, to tell what its intentions are for this riverside site. Planning permission was granted in 200 for a cruise liner terminal but this appears to have been left and the 8-acre site is now left as a rubble filled wilderness. Information from Creekside Forum via 020 8488 7675.

Meanwhile - the demolition of Wood Wharf proceeds apace.


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)



4th March, Andrew Westman. Listing a Docklands Building. DHG Museum in Docklands, West India Quay. 6pm.

17th March, Prof Isabel Rivers - Dissenting, Methodist and evangelical literary culture 1720-1800. Univ Greenwich. 1pm email

19th March, Maurice Kenn. Sundials, Blackheath Sci. Soc. Mycenae House, SE3. 7.45pm. All welcome

24th March, Anthony Cross on 'Coloured according to Class' - Booth's poverty map of London. Greenwich Historical Association, Blackheath High School, Vanburgh Park. 7.30pm.

26th March, Laura Proner on The Lungs of Lewisham. Lewisham Local History Soc.

31st March, Peter Gurnett on The General Steam Navigation Company, RBLHS, Time and Talents, St.Marychurch Street, SE16. 7.45pm


3rd April, Transport Through the Ages. Council for Kentish Archaeology. Faversham Grammar School. 2-5 pm £4. CKA, 7 Sandy Ridge, Borough Greenwich, Kent, TN15 8HP (includes John King on 'Air').

3rd April, Naval Dockyards Soc. Annual Conference. Gibraltar as a Naval Base, National Maritime Museum 11am-5pm. £20 non-members.

7th April, Rick Hogben. Post Card images of the River Thames. DHG Museum in Docklands, West India Quay. 6pm

16th April, Tessa Hodgkinson. Fish Tracking Devices. Blackheath Sci. Soc. Mycenae House, SE3. 7.45pm. All welcome.

17th April, South East Region IA Conference. Churcher's Cottage, Petersfield. Info: G.Davies, Cedar Cottage, 17 Grenehurst Way, Petersfeld, Hants GU31 4AZ.

21st April, GLIAS AGM. Denis Smith on Henry Bessemer, Man of Steel. 6.30pm. Morris Lecture Theatre, Robin Brook Centre, Barts Hospital, EC1 7BE

28th April, Richard Cheffins on Ashburnham Place - the Story of a Street. Greenwich Historical Association, Blackheath High School, Vanburgh Park. 7.30pm.

28th April, Prof. Ed Galea, Simulating ship evacuation under fire conditions. 5.15pm. Univ. Greenwich - book 020 8331 7688

30th April, Big is Better. Excavations at Tabard Square, Southwark. Gary Brown Lewisham Local History Soc.


5th May, Dr. Philip de Souza on Seafaring and Civilisation. DHG Museum in Docklands, West India Quay. 6pm.

5th May, Dr. Diana Jones. Ascetic Protestants and their mansions. Univ Greenwich 1 pm email

12th May, The Big Flood, the 1953 East Coast Floods. 10.30-16.15 National Maritime Museum. £29. Bookings 020 8312 6747.

21st May, Anne Haworth. The story of a dinner plate. Lewisham Local History Soc.

25th May, Charles Brooking - The Brooking Collection in Greenwich - past and future. Univ Greenwich, Howe Lecture Theatre. 7.30pm. £8 please book via Greenwich Society, 8 Beverley Court, Breakspears Road, SE4 1UN.

25th May, History of the London Fire Brigade. Esher Mann. SLAS. Hawkstone Hall, Kennington Road, SE1. £1. 7pm (ring the lower bell if you are late).

27th May, Dr. John Dunne. Power on the periphery - prefects, mayors and notables in the Napoleonic Empire. Univ. Greenwich.


22nd April - 10th June, The Stuart Age. Thursdays, National Maritime Museum. £29. Bookings 020 8312 6747.

28th April - The Industrial Archaeology of East London - see boxout below.



For further information please contact;

Firepower on 020 8855 7755,, website


This course will explore in a popular fashion the history of the Port of London and the River Thames - as well as London's East End, Greenwich, the Docks and some of the Lower Thameside. The Port in East London was once the largest in the world and over the past thirty years has been part of a massive regeneration scheme - which still continues but with a greater emphasis on the lower river and south London. What is left of the old Port? How can we discover the old within the new? We will look at the recent past and the massive redevelopment of the area as well as looking to the vibrant days of the eighteenth century and beyond. This will be a sociable and friendly introduction to the subject - lectures will be illustrated and there will be a lively programme of walks and visits throughout the area. Students will be encouraged to do written work and through this will have the opportunity to explore their own individual interests - and will be given help and support in this.

Wednesday 28th April 2004 2.00-4.00pm for 12 meetings including visits

Venue: Old Station Museum, Pier Road, North Woolwich, London E16.
Fee: £70 (£35 concessions)
Tutor: Mary Mills
Enquires and enrolment to FCE Archaeology, 26 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ 020 7631 6627,


The Society's officers are currently as follows:

Emeritus President - Jack Vaughan

Chair - Sue Bullevant

Vice-Chair and Committee - Ray Fordham - Andrew Bullevant, Alan Parfrey, David Riddle

Secretary - Mary Mills

Treasurer - Steve Daly

Auditor - Juliet Cairns

Members are reminded that subscription renewals fell due in October 2006. 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 the Greenwich Industrial History Society.
Chair, Sue Bullevant, 11 Riverview Heights, Shooters Hill, SE18. Views expressed in it are those of the authors and not of the Society.

Contributions are always welcome. If possible, please send on disk 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.
Members and visitors are strongly advised not to try and park in the yard at the Old Bakehouse itself.

Mary Mills now has a limited stock of Greenwich and Woolwich at Work available at £8 each plus £2 postage from 24 Humber Road, London, SE3 7LT, 020 8858 9482

Mary Mills


This Web site is managed by David Riddle

David Riddle

Web space courtesy of David Riddle