Volume 7, Issue 5, September 2004






21st September - Dr. Chris Philpotts - Work on archaeological assessments of the Woolwich Dockyard and Arsenal sites

19th October - Diana Rimel - The works of Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819-1891): sewage system, bridges, embankments, etc.

16th November - Dr. Jane Grant on The Co-op Women's Guilds

11th January - AGM - Richard Hartree - John Penn and Sons. Three Generations of a Family Firm

9th February - Tim Smith - Hydraulic Power in London and Greenwich

12th April - Clive Chambers - Thames Defences against the Spanish Armada

10th May - Allan Green - The PLUTO Pipeline and the Greenwich Cable Makers

14th June - John Lloyd - The Greenwich Power Station Strike in support of the miners

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


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

From: A Yule

Several generations of my family worked at Woolwich Arsenal in the mid-1800s early 1900s.
Could you please let me know if there are any personnel records for that period and if so where they are stored?

Sandwich, Kent.

From: Chris Beddoe

I am currently tracing my family history which has Greenwich links in the 19th century - of particular interest is a Pub called the Steam Ferry, on Horseferry Road. My great-grandparents Charles George Beddoe and Annie Beddoe (nee Clarke) had the licence around the mid-1880s. My grandfather George Beddoe was born there in 1888. I believe the pub was earlier named the Unicorn Tavern (before the official opening of the Steam Ferry) and both Charles George and Annie were working there before they married in 1886.

I have read with interest the article on Wood Wharf from an earlier edition and I have been wondering if any of your members or contacts has any knowledge of/interest in the pubs around the Wharf. I am particularly interested in seeing any photos of the area from that period.


From: Allan Green

I have just read the latest Newsletter and felt that it was necessary to make some comment about the Stone Brothers and PLUTO article. I saw the obituary in The Timesand was interested to read of the connection they had with Siemens. The PLUTO pipeline was constructed using two quite different types of piping both of which contributed significantly to the war effort.

The type with which Stones were involved was known as HAIS (named after Clifford Hartley, Chief Engineer of the Anglo Iranian Oil Company and also after Siemens) . H artley A nglo I ranian S iemens. It was made mainly from lead and produced by Siemens on conventional cable manufacturing equipment but also by no less than eight other companies including Telcon in Greenwich, Henley's and Johnson and Phillips.................. all very close to home as it were. The lead pipes could be extruded in lengths of 700 yards and had to be joined which is where the brothers Stone came in. It was no mean lead pipe weighing in at 65 tons per nautical mile and no less than 23,000 tons were used to construct that part of PLUTO.

The other type of pipe was known as HAMEL and was made from steel tubes and did not involve lead burning i.e. the Stones were not involved in this one. The manufacturers of HAMEL pipeline were the big steel tube makers like Stewarts & Lloyds and James Mowlem.

From: Tony Osman

For some time I have been searching for evidence to show that Telcon played a significant part in the manufacture of PLUTO. During this 60th anniversary year there have been a number of publications on the development and execution of PLUTO with mention of W.T-Henley. BICC, and Siemens, but nothing which included Telcon. There appears to be no local recognition as to the important part that Telcon played in this historic event.

It is my intention to write a short article on this subject. I can remember (what I believed to be) PLUTO being despatched. I hope others may still be around. I hope you can advise me where I can obtain full details of Telcon's part in the PLUTO Project.



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.


News about preserved tug Swiftstone - and pictures of her work as a support vessel in aid of a sponsored row on 9th August last year for the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital. More recently, on 30th July this year, Swiftstone led the Beating the Bounds ceremony on the river with the Bishop of Southwark.


It really is a pity, given that we have sites of two naval dockyards locally, that this Portsmouth-based newsletter can say so little about them - apart from notices of Society AGMs held at the Maritime Museum, and some cataloguing work done by David Worrell there, they maintain a complete silence on the subject. Can we encourage people to get in touch with them?

Their web site is
Editor Dr. Ann Coats, 44 Lindley Avenue, Southsea, PO4 9NU. 02392 863799.


A glossy produced by Paul Yunnie of Andrews Water Heaters for CIBSE, this gives a page each to a number of remarkable heating systems in historic buildings. One of these is the Courtauld House (Eltham Palace to us). There are some nice pictures of the central vacuum cleaner system and details of the hot water panels embedded in the walls, synchronous clocks throughout the house, a loudspeaker system to relay music and a private internal telephone exchange by Siemens.


The current Guide contains another of Neil Rhind's dynamic articles on Blackheath. This one, The busy life of Tranquil Val, features pictures of Blackheath Windmills. The area began as a sand pit in the 1740s but following flooding and subsequent drying out, windmills were built there. West Mill dated from 1760 and was demolished in 1835. East Mill remained as a stump into the 1850s. Both were replaced with posh houses. The Vale was also home to the National School for Industry (for girls!) and nearby was a brewery from 1825. By 1850 it was owned by James Peacock brewing 'Peacock's Swipes'. His ale cost 1/6d. a gallon in 1861 and was brewed with the help of his wife and 10 children.


On 18th August were offering a prize for the reader who could guess the weight on one of the steam hammer bases being moved in the Arsenal site. They are going to be placed in the entrance to the Shell Foundry as a visitor attraction.


The front page has a remarkable photograph by Bob Carr of the decorated and beflagged ironwork at Crossness on the occasion of the 'first steaming' on 4th April this year.


The August 2004 edition contains Further observations on Henry Bessemer by Mary Mills. This is in response to a write-up of Dennis Smith's GLIAS AGM talk on Bessemer and points out Dennis' omission of Bessemer's Greenwich steel works on the Greenwich Peninsula.


One of the problems which faced Crossness in the past few months was the sudden cancellation of their Open Day on 10th May. This was to be the first public steaming of Prince Consort and people were coming from all over the country. Thames Water are in dispute with Bexley Council on issues of smell from the works and therefore seem to have decided that the public steaming was a likely security risk - and so the Open Day had to be cancelled.

Another item in the Newsletter is - What is under the Valve House? So - 'D.I.D' explains "The Valve House has not had much of a mention in any history of Crossness to date. It lies to the western end of the site and today it houses the Trust's collection of steam items awaiting restoration and display."

D.I.D. goes on "The story starts when the Trust took delivery of an Easton & Anderson Beam engine which had been used to pump fresh water at Addington... Easton & Anderson were a local firm in Erith and it was decided it would be appropriate if it were exhibited at Crossness..... the Valve House was selected as a suitable place to set up the engine. Now that "Prince Consort" is back in steam the restoration of the Easton & Anderson engine has begun! It has an 18ft diameter flywheel and must have a pit which goes below floor level".

However - investigations have led to exciting discoveries. D.I.D. explains: " A survey has recently been carried out in the "cable tunnel" situated at the south-western comer of the Boiler House which is home to electric cables. This tunnel ends abruptly and some of the cables leave the tunnel by turning south. Martin Wilson wanted to know where these cables went when they plunged underground. He lifted up an inspection hatch on the southern side of the garden and found they crossed the garden through an underground chamber attached to the vaulted brick roof. Further investigation revealed a chamber some 13ft wide by 23ft long and quite deep! Further work is needed.


The 2004 edition of this review, produced by English Heritage, contains information about archaeological work on the Arsenal site. They point out that "The Royal Arsenal in Woolwich is a site of national importance in terms of its history, architecture and archaeological remains.... the site contains a large number of listed (and unlisted - but historic) buildings ranging widely in date, function, scale and architectural style".

They describe how "In the past year the main focus has been the on-going programme of works to record some of the main historic buildings in advance of their conversion to new uses. These reflect the variety of structures at the site ranging from the imposing grandeur of the Napoleonic-period Grand Store and the early 18th- century Royal Military Academy to the Crimean-period Shot and Shell Foundry Gatehouse, the later 19th century chemical laboratory and the vast early 20th-century Central Offices. Other buildings recorded include the Paper Cartridge Factory, a pair of very large late 19th century storehouses and the relatively small telephone exchange (originally Naval Offices).

The most recent site recording is the Grand Store complex built between 1806-13 and listed Grade II*. Of three quadrangles only the central survives in anything like its original form. Due to severe subsidence, the ranges are in a poor condition - for instance the north bay had had its original stone and brick construction taken down and rebuilt in timber framing and the original stone cornices were replaced with timber replicas, clearly work to make the construction lighter and less susceptible to subsidence. It is known from historical documentation that the ranges started sinking soon after their initial construction. Several hydraulic lifts were also installed in the 19th century to move heavy equipment between floors. There is possible evidence of a series of small freestanding stoves throughout the ranges but now entirely removed.

Excavations on the south boring mill site showed the development of buildings from 1808, starting with what contemporary plans label as a 'Dipping Square', which was used for making fuses. This brick-built structure was part of the Royal Laboratory division of the Royal Arsenal, primarily charged with the invention and development of weapons. A range of gun carriage timbers, described below, were used as a foundation raft as the structure was built on marshy ground. Later buildings included the South Forge, from which the base for the 35 ton steam hammer and its anvil (which remains in situ).

A total of ninety-two timbers from gun carriages designed and built at the time of Nelson offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the constructional techniques and use of gun carriages. The Arsenal produced weapons and accoutrements for land campaigns and the timbers contained block trails from land carriages and siege guns, and blocks for mounting Cohorn mortar guns. These were invented by the Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn (1641 - 1704). The majority of the collection though was from naval carriages. It included side-pieces (cheeks), wheels (trucks), cross-pieces (transoms) and axles (axle-trees). The majority of the timbers are to be transported to Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower at Gosport, where they will be used as a study collection for artillery experts and educational groups.


The current edition of English Heritage's Historic City for a Modern World contains a short article by Paul Calvocoressi highlighting the important of Convoy's Wharf, Deptford 'key to naval supremacy and Naval Power'. He points out that the Dockyards as 'major state-capitalised undertakings'.. 'were also a key element in the country's development as a leading industrial power'.

We would also like to wish Paul a happy an profitable retirement - hope it will mean his continued and increasing involvement with GIHS - and thank him for his work in East and South East London over the years.


This substantial book has been produced by Dr. Dennis Smith for The Institution of Civil Engineers and consists of a gazetteer or interesting historic engineering sites in the London area. Greenwich sites listed are: Woolwich Ferry and Foot Tunnel, Thames Flood Barrier, Blackwall Tunnels, Greenwich Foot Tunnel, Deptford Pumping Station, Southern Outfall, Deptford and Woolwich Royal Naval Dockyards, London and Greenwich Railway, Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee Line Extension, Deptford Power Station, Greenwich Power Station, Royal Arsenal Woolwich, Enderby's Wharf Greenwich, Millennium Dome and the Royal Military Academy. It's difficult to chose which of those to highlight as an extract - so, let's look at what he has to say about what is probably the least well known in this list:

Deptford Pumping Station - This lift station, on the Southern Main Drainage, was the first to be completed in May 1864. The original plant comprised four beam engines totaling 500 hp and ten Cornish boilers by Slaughter, Gruning & Co. of Bristol. The pumps lifted 123 million gallons per day through 18ft. It is a stock brick building, with round-headed windows, a slate roof and a square brick chimney. Coal was delivered from Deptford Creek and stored in a cast-iron arcaded, covered coal store, which still exists. The building contractors were Aird and Son. The steam engines were replaced by reciprocating oil engines and subsequently by electric motors. It is still an operational station maintained by Thames Water.


This is the latest edition of a Community Vision for the Port of Deptford. Everyone who is interested in the fate of this wharf, the site of the earliest Royal Naval Dockyard, is urged to get in touch with Creekside Forum, 60 MacMillan Street, Deptford, SE8 3HA 020 8488 7675.

They say: "When it became apparent that Convoys was likely to be redeveloped, a clear aspiration was to maximise employment. Out of that desire came the idea of locating London's long wished-for cruise liner terminal on the 25 acres - just over half of the site protected as wharfage.

A mix of marine industries on the wharf would re-connect Deptford with the river, whilst leaving enough space for other forms of employment. Although the cruise liner terminal remains at the heart of the community's vision for Convoys Wharf, this revision additionally seeks to address some of the wider challenges presented, and opportunities afforded, by such a large site. Since the earlier editions of this document were published, the Port of London Authority (PLA) have taken the lead in progressing plans to develop a permanent cruise liner facility at Convoys Wharf. In addition to the work directly related to Convoys Wharf, they have recently published the results of an Economic Impact Study, which shows that some twelve thousand jobs within Greater London are directly related to Port activity. Over and above this, London's international shipping concerns (ship brokers, owners, underwriters, surveyors and specialist legal firms) employ nearly fourteen thousand people within Greater London.

A cruise liner terminal would give both the Port and the international shipping business a visible focus within London that is currently lacking .


by Philip Binns


No news this issue.


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)



5th September, A Journey Through Time. Walk with Rich Sylvester. True Tales of the Ships, Pirates and Convicts of Greenwich Reach. North Greenwich Tube. 6.30pm. Tel: Rich 07822 538143

5th September, GLIAS Walk. Camberwell Green and Pleasant Land (book with SAE to 84a Kingston Road, Luton, LU2 7SA)

12th September, Woodlands Farm Show - come and see our stall there.

16th September, Steve Daly, Susan and Andrew Bullevant on Severndroog Castle. Shooters Hill LH Group, Shrewsbury House Community Centre, 8 pm. Details from Dot 020 8467 4416

18th September, Painting the Park w ith Kate Baker, 11am-4pm. NMM £20.

19th September, Crossness Engines Public Steaming Day. 10.30am-5pm. £4

25th September, GLIAS Treasure Hunt (book with SAE to 84a Kingston Road, Luton, LU2 7SA)

28th September, Sarah Gibson on Recent Archaeological Work in Southwark. SLAS. 7.30pm. Hawkstone Hall, Kennington Road, SE1.

28th September, Crossness Engines Visitors Day £3 booking essential 020 8311 3711

28th -29th September, London Open House Weekend

29th September, Visit to Royal Engineers Museum of Military Engineering. Blackheath Sci. Soc.


2nd October - The Archaeology Of Industrial Processes - London Archaeological Centre, will cover the recent archaeological investigations of industrial processes and production sites in London
e-mail:, or Frank Meddens, Pre-Construct Archaeology, Brockley Cross Business Centre, 96 Endwell Rd, London, SE4 2PD, e-mail:

9th October, Francis Ward - Street Names of Woolwich. Woolwich Antiq. Soc. Greenwich Heritage Centre 2.00 pm

18th October, Tim Green - Powering the Future. Blackheath Sci Soc. Mycenae House. 7.45pm

21st October, Ray Jones - History in Brass Rubbing. Shooters Hill LH Group, Shrewsbury House Community Centre, 8pm. Details from Dot 020 8467 4416

23rd October, Visions of Paradise. Artistic response to discoveries in the Pacific. NMM. Ring 020 8312 6648

27th October, Rank and Style. Naval Uniforms Explored. NMM ring 020 8312 6648

29th-31st October, Rich Sylvester. Halloween stories of Gruesome Greenwich. Tel: Rich 07833 538143


The Port of London. The Industrial Archaeology and Regeneration of a Riverscape
Birkbeck accredited course. North Woolwich Old Station Museum. 2.00-4.00pm. 29th September - 16th March. 22 meetings plus 4 visits. Telephone 020 7631 6627 for details. Tutor: Mary Mills.

Re-thinking the World. The English Experience.
NMM and Birkbeck 11am-1pm. 30th Sept - 17th March. Ring 020 7631 6652

Art and Travel. NMM and Birkbeck. 11am-1pm. 27th Sept - 6th Dec. Ring 020 8858 4422

History of Science. NMM and Birkbeck. 11am-1pm. 28th Sept - 22nd March. Ring 020 7631 6652

Naval Gunnery. 8 weeks from 12th Oct. NMM ring 020 8312 6648

How to Research Maritime History. 8 weeks from 14th Oct. NMM ring 020 8312 6648

Mary Mills now has a limited stock of 'Greenwich and Woolwich at Work' available from her at £10 each plus £2 postage. (24 Humber Road, London, SE3

Call for papers - The Naval Dockyards Society is planning its tenth annual conference at the National Maritime Museum on 20th March 2006. Synopses of suitable papers should go by 30th June 2005 to: Dr Ann Coats, 44 Lindley Avenue, Southsea, PO4 9NU. 023 92863 799



For further information please contact;

Firepower on 020 8855 7755,, website


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


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David Riddle

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