Volume 8, Issue 2, April 2005





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 - Greenwich Power Station Strike in support of the miners.

12th July - Mary Mills - George Livesey: hero of South London gas

13th September - Frances Ward - Colonel North and Avery Hill

15th November - Geoffrey Belcher. The Decline and Fall of the British Motorcycle Industry (with particular reference to AMC)

21st March - John King - Croydon Airport

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


By Jack Vaughan

In January of this year Jack Vaughan told us that he could not continue as GIHS Chair since ill health had prevented him coming to meetings. Jack has been Chair since the Society began in 1998 and we must all be very grateful to his commitment and hard work. The 2005 AGM in January agreed to elect him as an Emeritus President of the Society for life ‘whether he likes it or not’. Jack has been devoted to the Greenwich’s industrial past and his contributions to the planning process will be sadly missed - although hopefully his clock making skills are still intact! He has asked us to include the following article, which appears in the current Woolwich and District Antiquarians Proceedings (Vol. LVII)

Since this is an apprentice tale, let me say at the outset, that the title "lad" is misleading since the word was applied to a particular type of apprentice, as will be explained in due course.

My story starts as a seven-year-old as Fox Hill School, the family home being at the top of Fox Hill, adjacent to the public house - The Fox and Hounds. Having failed the Scholarship examination my secondary education was undertaken at Woolwich Central School in Sandy Hill Road. I believe all London Boroughs had Central Schools, intellectually somewhere between the Elementary and Grammar Schools. The first two years were the same for all pupils, but at the end of that a choice had to be made between "technical" and "commercial". The latter would lead to the world of economics - banking, money etc., while the former was directed towards science, engineering and industrial activities. Unluckily, my father had died before I was born; he had worked as a turner in the Royal Arsenal. My mother tried to persuade me to choose commerce and a nice clean job in a bank - I said no! Although I had thoughts about marine engineering, I was not academically able enough to try for the Navy. Eventually, I sat examinations for the RAF and the Royal Arsenal. The result of the Arsenal exam arrived first. I had achieved tenth place in a field of over two hundred! In that year (1932) twelve places were available. The family situation was somewhat shaky and I felt it right to take the plunge into starting work. My 'reward' was my first bicycle, a Royal Enfield (built like a gun!) costing three pounds, fifteen shillings, and bought at Blackett's, next to what is now 'The Tramshed', in Woolwich. It served me well for many years - although the front wheel was such a good fit in the Plumstead Road tramlines that I sometimes had visions of ending up in the Abbey Wood Tram depot. In September 1933 I presented myself at the "Main Gate" in Beresford Square, in downtown Woolwich, and was conducted to the Central Office, which still stands as Building 22.

If you want to read the rest of Jack’s biography contact Sue Bullevant, for a copy of Proceedings......
(Sue Bullevant, 11 Riverview Heights, Shooters Hill, SE18)


Historic considerations

By Alan Pett

The present London Borough of Greenwich (joined with that part of Deptford incorporating the Royal Dockyard, now in Lewisham L.B. but previously within Greenwich) was the focus of early industrialisation, before the Industrial Revolution. It was here that the ‘cutting edge’ of naval architecture - epitomised by Peter Pett’s “Sovereign of the Seas” – provided the Royal Navy with the ships to establish and sustain the British Empire by beating their European naval competitors. This was coupled with the output of the Royal Arsenal and the endeavours of the soldiers and sailors of that time. Whatever our views of Empire and colonialism may be today, it was this early industrialisation, joined with Royal patronage, which the led to the importance of the area, then and now.

The early industrial development of the area of Greenwich Borough might be expected to compromise the availability of green space in this inner city area today. Fortunately, this is not the case.

Large land holdings by the powerful and wealthy, including the Royal Park of Greenwich and the Maryon Wilson family estate, represented by Charlton House, Charlton Park, Maryon Park and Maryon Wilson Park were preserved from this development. Today, they provide a substantial green area where otherwise industry or housing might be expected. Other quirks of history account for smaller parcels of land in the otherwise built up area of the Thames valley floor, such as East Greenwich Pleasaunce and Charlotte Turner Gardens. Post-industrial redevelopment has led to the provision of significant areas of open space, including Royal Arsenal Gardens, and especially the green spaces of Thamesmead (though not owned by the Council) on the former Royal Arsenal site. Other sites throughout the borough owe their existence to similar previous ownership, such as Well Hall Pleasaunce (associated with the Royal Palace of Eltham), Shrewsbury Park (once owned by the Earls of Shrewsbury) and Avery Hill Park, once owned by Colonel North, a successful Victorian entrepreneur.

Our cemeteries are the earliest example of municipal open space creation, although their justification stems from public health considerations, the cholera epidemics of the 1830s. The Burial Act 1853 empowered the establishment of civil burial grounds (by Burial Boards), following the enforced closure of churchyards by the Burial of the Dead within the Metropolis Act 1852. Within the Borough, they were established as follows: Charlton (1855), Greenwich (1856), Woolwich (1884), Plumstead (1890), Eltham (1935).

Local government for London as we know it today was established at the end of the 19th Century. The development of civic pride and an awareness of the benefits of green open spaces gave rise to the development of space available to meet the perceived needs of the population of the then Metropolitan Boroughs of Woolwich and Greenwich.

At that time in the early 20th Century, the population included a high proportion of poorly paid industrial workers, working long hours in poor conditions. Families would depend upon public transport for mobility and had little disposable income, if any. Two weeks holiday was the norm. ‘Going away’ was the exception rather than the rule. Consequently, public parks, gardens and open spaces were of huge importance locally.

Public parks and gardens were designed with the perceived needs of the public of that time in mind. The Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich was particularly active in providing a number of such sites in the mid-Thirties, including Bostall, Plumstead and Rockliffe Gardens, and Well Hall Pleasaunce. These have an element of commonality with a Bowling Green and Pavilion, formal gardens with built structures and an area of grass for informal activity. They were accessible to a population dependent upon walking or a short tram, trolleybus or bus ride.

With increase in personal wealth and disposable income in the late 50s, coupled with greater leisure time, much of the population was able to travel for holidays, first to the British seaside, later to sunnier European destinations and now anywhere! Related to this has been the development of greater professionalism and commercialism in the presentation of other entertainments, such as professional football. At a time when other activities were exploiting and benefiting from the greater wealth of the population, local authorities were experiencing financial constraints. Funds for basic maintenance were limited – little or nothing was available for development. Parks and Open Spaces nationally became shabby at best. (See “The Times” article, 23rd August 2001) Despite a general increase in wealth and disposable income nationally, the poor were still poor. (Documented in the “Breadline Greenwich”, 1995) Wealth is related to employment for most. High unemployment struck Greenwich with the decline of armament production and heavy industry in the area. With this, and other factors, came a situation in which there are contrasting levels of disposable income, aspirations and needs. Additionally, there has been a change in the cultural mix of the population. Finally, 43% of Greenwich households are said not to have a car, so access remains a problem to many families.


The Society’s Annual meeting was held on 11th January 2005.

The Acting Chair and Secretary gave brief reports outlining meetings and publications achieved during the year.
The Treasurer gave a detailed report and circulated accounts, which were approved unanimously.

Motion. Proposed by Neil Rhind. That Jack Vaughan be elected Emeritus President for life, whether he likes it or not. Agreed unanimously.

Elections: Sue Bullivant (Chair), Ray Fordham (Vice Chair), Mary Mills (Secretary), Steve Daly (Treasurer), Alan Parfrey, Andrew Bullevant. (Committee)


In the latest edition of South East Rambler it says: ‘ if you've completed your 180 mile tramp down the Thames Path and - here you are at the mighty Thames Barrier’ you’ve got to ‘hold on a minute’ because ‘there seems to be another 9 ¾ miles up ahead still’. This is about the extension, created by Greenwich and Bexley Councils to Erith. They start at the Thames Barrier where ‘your first experience is an anti climax - a diversion away from the river’. – as an industrial estate blocks the way.. Eventually at Rustin Road.. . when the new housing ends, an ‘impressive footbridge structure, the Linkbridge, takes you over a flood wall into the former a Woolwich Dockyard”. And “massive cannons on a bastion remind you of the site's past history” and to the left “The Clockhouse of 1784” They warn of building on Mastpond Wharf “ and suggest a walk along Church Street to reach Woolwich Ferry.. “ cross the ferry approach, looking out for vast lorries” Then “a little lane winds down and back to riverside, where you have a grandstand view of the two big ferries trundling back and forth” and next “you are walking beside the grassy humps of Royal Arsenal Gardens, created on the site of a power station demolished back in 1979…. Then a gate leads into Woolwich Arsenal itself, and the broad riverside strip left open to protect the run of listed buildings”. And there you are all the way to Erith! There is no information given as to where more information on this walk can be obtained.


Colin Smith was (or is) a journalist who worked for the Kentish Mercury for many years. He is very proud of their work in producing articles on with local industries. In particular he masterminded a special supplement in 1969 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Francis Tin Box manufacturers of Greenwich. The supplement consisted of many articles about manufacturing methods, products, but, most of all, Francis’ staff. Here are a couple of extracts:


Surrounded by bits of wire, transistors, circuit diagrams and photoelectric paraphernalia, a young man called John Smith works in a small office perched high up in the five-gallon drum department. On the fast-moving automatic one-gallon rectangular manufacturing line, a can passes a beam of light and a blob of hot solder spits out to land precisely at the base of the neck, which is to be fitted. In the same split second, flux arrives precisely on the other side of the neck. The device which ensures that the solder and the flux arrive at the right moment thousands of times a day is a simple example of what can be done by the application of electronics in the tin box trade. John Smith, a 31-year-old Eltham man has been electronic engineer for Francis for the past six months. He arrived there from the Associated Electrical Industries factory in Woolwich, which was closing down. John is only the second man to occupy the office, for it has only been in the last five years that electronics - through the inspiration of chairman Mr. R. P. Lang - has begun to play a major part in production. To the layman the things John Smith and his staff of two, a wireman and an electrician, deal in add up to something akin to black magic. The talk is of photoelectric cells, capacitance probes, proximity switches and micro cells. John would rather we didn't talk of magic boxes and magic eyes, because this suggests that there might be something mystical and impractical about the whole business. In fact there is no doubt that electronics, married inextricably to engineering skill, are the promise for the future of Francis.


The Francis war effort wasn't confined to making camp kettles and meat tins in 1939-45. They made bombs and torpedoes too. Workersat Trundleys Road used to make large square tins destined to be filled with an incendiary mixture. One of those who remembers what happened in the Second World War is 65-year- old drum shop charge hand, Harry Keeble, who has worked for Francis for 51 years. He said: "We used to make 65lb. bomb cases and aerial torpedoes weighing 250lb. They stood as tall as I was. We made cases for depth charges as well." Harry, one of the characters of the drum shop, actually started working for Francis when he was only 13 years old. "I should have been 14 really, but I was only 13 when 1 came into the business as a lad." When he started work he earned 4d. an hour. Now he's looking forward to retiring later in the year to end a remarkable period of service.


As a young woman working for F. Francis and Sons as a solderer, Miss "Lil" Solomons - now a shop clerk - used to call in at Mence Smith's on her way to work to buy a threepenny bamboo cane. When she got to the factory in Trundleys Road the cane would be cut into six-inch lengths and handed around to the girls on the benches around her. The bamboo cane was an essential bit of equipment for any solderer in the old days when everything was done by hand. Today it is done automatically. But in those days no self-respecting solderer would be without her cane. She started work for Francis at 15, following her father into the Deptford business that he served for 30 years as a press operator in the heavy drum shop. Lil. as everyone knows her, is now an office worker. In her earlier days she reckons she did every single job in drum making other than grooving. Today as shop clerk, she collates the information from work sheets and calculates...


Five gallon drums - a familiar sight whereever oil is to be found - are turned out by the thousand every day at the Francis factory. Chimeless - they're the ones with a domed top and inset handle - and standard ones with a flat top, are made for a wide variety of customers. Although they may look more or less alike to the outsider, these drums are made to the precise specifications of many different customers. Some have larger openings than others, handles are different, and the type of tinplate used may vary from one customer to another. All this gives Francis an opportunity to display one of their greatest attributes - versatility - although they are well aware of the advantages of standardisation in speeding up production. One of the most modern and efficient machines in the factory is the Soudronic body welder used in the manufacture of five-gallon drums. This can produce bodies at the rate of 20-22 a minute, compared with about half that number by the old hand-welding methods. After leaving the body welder the drums travel by conveyor belt to be flanged, socketed and double seamed….

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Francis’s was their address in the 1960s ‘Thames Ironworks, John Penn Street, London’


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

From: A resident of the Ashburnham Triangle

I am writing because there is a new planning application in for a development on the site of the old Merryweather Fire Engine Factory in Greenwich High Road. I feel too much is being knocked down, of great historical and aesthetic value. I am concerned that the application fails to recognize the value of the Deptford Creek area for Maritime Greenwich's industrial heritage, and will result in the destruction the Station House, the last direct link with Greenwich's nineteenth century engineering industry anywhere up or down the Creek. In me 19th century, Greenwich became for a brief but glorious period a world leader in maritime engineering, and a pioneer in a number of key 19th century technologies. Within the area that runs from Mumfords Mill down towards Greenwich DLR Station, bounded by Greenwich High Road; the Creek to the new Halfpenny Hatch Bridge, and thence along the railway line to Greenwich Station. There are key survivors of the glory days of Industrial Greenwich - the world's most powerful maritime steam engines were built here, one of the world's first steam navigation companies had its origins here, London's first commuter railway crossed the Creek here to its still surviving Greenwich terminus The Creek is the site of the key pumping station in Bazelgette's pioneering - and still-operating - sewage system for London (another world first). Not to mention the remarkable shift from marine into general engineering that the former Merryweather fire engine works represents. Plus the role the 19' Creekside area played in provisioning London - from Mumfords Mill itself, via Davey's wine cellars, to the old Lovibonds Brewery. The Creekside Triangle encapsulates Greenwich's neglected 19th Century industrial heritage - and what is being proposed for the 43 - 81 Greenwich High Rd. site totally fails to respect that heritage

We should be working to incorporate key buildings like this in modem developments. We should go further, and make the Creekside Triangle a Conservation Area in its own right, to rescue Maritime Greenwich's industrial past from neglect.

Why not a Creekside Conservation Area to honour Greenwich's remarkable nineteenth century industrial heritage?

From: Jeanette Hardy

I am searching for information on the Eltham Brass Band. A Mr. Frederick Charles Weeks 1877-1957 was in the band and I cannot find out anything about him. Does anyone remember him?

From: Emma Clark

The National Maritime Museum, would like to host a forum to discuss local research that has already been conducted, with particular reference to notable local figures and characters who played a part in the community. Also to explore avenues of potential for building relationships with local historians and local history groups and societies for future collaboration.

Local historians might also be interested in Understanding Slavery, an initiative between the National Maritime Museum, The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, National Museums Liverpool, Bristol's Museums, Galleries and Archives, Hull Museums and Art Gallery and the London Regional Hub. It is funded by the DCMS and Dfes, as part of the Strategic Commissioning National/Regional Partnerships programme. The Understanding Slavery Initiative is a major, innovative museums' research and development programme. It seeks to redress the balance in the teaching of the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Museums and classrooms at key stage 2 and 3, within the History and Citizenship curricula. The next stages of the programme will seek to evaluate and modify the new schools resources, establish training support for teachers and build new and further links with community education networks to extend the use of the resources beyond museums and classrooms.

National Maritime Museum

From: Mike Wignall

I'm on the committee that organises the longest standing annual race for the Thames sailing barges in the UK - on the River Thames [est. 1863]. I’m writing a pocket book for the general public which will cover many aspects of Thames barge activity. Its purpose is to raise the awareness of the public to the remaining seaworthy barges [about 35 now survive - out of a population of about 3,000 at the end of the 19th. century] and so get them to join preservation societies or charter barges. Both activities will help this example of "living industrial archaeology" survive longer! One topic I will be including is tide mills I've therefore been searching for information - particularly old photographs/prints of tide mills with sailing barges alongside.

Further details available from:

From: Andy Pepper

Do Easton & Anderson still exist in any shape or form? My interest comes from some research I have been doing into William Bicheno. He was a waterworks engineer and I have just come across a letter from him referring to work he did on the Antwerp waterworks. I know E&A held the contract for water supply to the City of Antwerp up until about 1930. I want to find out if he worked for them or was contracted to them etc.

From: John Burr

I am trying to find information about William White who had a boat yards in Greenwich and Dagenham. I have lived in Greenwich for 39 years and am interested to know where the Greenwich Boat Yard was situated. I knew that my father’s family, the Whites, had been ship, barge and lifeboat builders in the past and that they had yards in Kent, Essex and Southampton. The NMM library has some information on the Southampton Whites, J. Samuel White, who built destroyers. Can you help at all?

(Address from editor)

From: Vic Croft

Benjamin Croft lived at No.1 Pumping Station Houses in Deptford. He was born at Stanningley (York's) in 1837 and was an engineer. He later retired to Walworth in London on a Country Pension.

From: Dave Slocombe

As a resident of the former Rachel McMillan Hall at Creek Road Deptford in the early 1980s I have fond memories of the area’s industrial heritage including of the power station buildings and the Creek Side works. I have revisited twice and observed the remarkable scale of re-development and having learnt of the construction of the new student village I guess the area, whilst having moved forward in any ways, is likely to be almost entirely unrecognisable o me. I have found some 1982 pictures on the London Industrial Heritage website but if our readers have any interesting 20th century pictures of the Creek Road area that could be e-mailed or any information including about the former college and halls I would be most grateful

From: Des

I lived in Blackheath (almost Greenwich!) "before the war" (with Germany!) in a house said to be used by spies in the earlier war (The Great War!) - which was full of secrets and hidden cupboards. There was also a domed brick well hidden deep below the garden with steps and a secret passage to its dry base. My father removed enough bricks to allow him to tunnel into pure sand. This was excellent for his own building works in our garden but he told us he was actually tunnelling a short cut to Blackheath station from where he commuted daily to the BBC. I think we half believed him - and I had visions of startled commuters jumping to one side as he emerged on the platform.



Work done by Pre-Construct Archaeology.

Although un-dated by artifacts, ground thickness matches the process of ground raising from the 17th - 20th centuries to make the marshland suitable for construction. The fill of the Pilkington Canal was seen and 19th - 20th century pottery found in the layer.

A route shown on old maps throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as part of Street No. 10, may have survived. Remains were also found that might be associated with Building D72, the successor to the Rolling Mill but they revealed no major structural evidence as would have been expected, such as was found for the South Forge and Boiler House in Phase 2 a range of buildings of which the Rolling Mill was part. Concrete remains found may be associated with Building C47 a 20th century structure. A number of unidentifiable and undatable remains were recorded, including concrete footings brick wall and deposits. They may relate to short-lived or ephemeral structures that were unmapped.


Work done by Oxford Archaeology

The construction and detailing of Building 20 is so close to that of the immediately adjacent Building 21 that the two form a pair, although building 20 is larger. Also they add significantly to the collection of buildings at the Arsenal and to its varied character.

Among the most significant aspects of the Arsenal is the number of buildings surviving from different periods with different styles and scales and Buildings 20 and 21 contribute to this The building is currently being converted to residential units as part of a major redevelopment at the Arsenal converting many of the historic buildings and constructing new ones. Unlike some of the vast industrial structures at the Arsenal, the more modest scale of Building 20 allows it to be converted with minimal alteration to its external character and thus its contribution to the Royal Arsenal townscape is little affected.

Investigations have provided a good indication of the gradual growth of Building 20 with three main extensions apparently added in the 1880's, 1890's and 1900's. It has also added to our understanding of the former layout of the building with various blocked doorways and former windows revealed by plaster stripping and evidence of the former activities of the building revealed in the form of trap doors, former fume cupboards and other ventilation features. The combination of offices, laboratories, stores and other utilitarian areas make the interior of the building more varied and in some way more interesting than some single-use structures at the Arsenal and the primary double-height laboratory with first floor gallery is a particularly fine space The survival of historic joinery and other features is generally poor and the only surviving fireplaces are in later extensions.


Heritage Links Planning Working Group has launched its first guidance note. Intended to encourage heritage groups as 'expert watchdogs' to get involved in checking and influencing the content of the new style local plans, the Guide sets out clearly the key stages of production and involvement, offers a checklist of policy issues and gives advice on drafting comments.

The Guide is posted on the Heritage Link website:


Funded by the New Opportunities Fund and working with SOPSE (Sense of Place South East), Thames Pilot has been created by a partnership of archives and museum along the length of the Thames to make freely available images and documents from their collections. It aims to help the user navigate through the history of the River Thames through a series of themes which include: working on and along the river, the river environment, leisure activities on the river, the changing riverside landscape, the 'sacred river' and the river in art.



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.

No listings this issue.


by Philip Binns

Notes on meeting held 9th February 2005

Former Gatehouse to Woolwich Dockyard, Woolwich Church Street, SE18

Plan to turn it into flats. Group welcomed the changes and consider works unobjectionable.

Notes on meeting held 16th March 2005

43-81 Greenwich High Road

This is a reworked application for this important industrial site, which already had demolition consent. It appears that the previously approved scheme has just been dusted down and, within the heights of blocks for which planning permission already exists; the applicant is now proposing a different mix of uses. This time lots more residential accommodation, some commercial space, a hotel !!!!, and a gym. Yet again, no attempt to retain the existing warehouse building on the former Merryweather site. In one of the very earliest schemes for this site several years ago now (refused permission because, being mainly housing, it did not comply with the then West Greenwich Development Framework) the warehouse structure was to have been restored and converted into a mix of flats and live/work units.

Dial Arch Square, No 1 Street, Royal Arsenal

Erection of a stone and bronze tribute plinth. Already installed.

Installation of radar and radio antenna on the Arsenal site

Group objects strongly to this.

24 Royal Hill, Greenwich

The decision to give this building a Grade II statutory listing should ensure that the interior, and exterior, of this significant mid 17th C dwelling house, featured by Peter Guillery in his recent book on the subject, are treated more sympathetically than was the case when earlier and current proposals to gut the whole of the property and to build a rear extension occupying the whole of the rear garden/yardcame before the planners.

Royal Arsenal and Warren Lane redevelopment

The Government Office for London sent out a letter at the beginning of March alerting objectors to Berkeley Homes' revised masterplan for the redevelopment of the Arsenal to include the area to the west known as the Warren Lane site and also to the fact that the decision taken by the Council at a meeting of the Planning Board in December 2004 to grant outline approval has been called into question and the matter is to be the subject of a public inquiry.


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)



1stApril, Exhibition on Nelson. The Nelson Room RNC 10.00am Greenwich Maritime Festival Event

2ndApril, Naval Dockyards Society AGM. National Maritime Museum, 10am-5pm.

2ndApril, Walk round Nelson’s Greenwich. 12.00pm under the figurehead of the Cutty Sark. 020 8854 1716

2/3rdApril, Association for Industrial Archaeology. Ironbridge Weekend. Mary Mills is to give a research paper on George Landmann.

3rdApril, Severndroog event (details)

3rdApril, Crossness Engines Public Steaming Day, £4. 10.30am.

5thApril, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

8th April - 6th May, Prize winning film, Receive: the space between memory and technology. Stephen Lawrence Gallery SE10 10am-5pm. Free. Ring 07941 125901 for details.

12th April, Nonsuch Palace, Gerald Smith. SLAS, 106 The Cut, SE1. 7.00pm.

13th April, Lecture to highlight the life of William Burnside, Prof Maths at the Royal Naval College. Room 315, Queen Mary Court, SE10. 7pm. Details 020 8331 8709.

14th April, The Life of George Livesey. Mary Mills. North West Gas Historical Assoc. Gould Street, Manchester. 6.00pm.

15th April, The monument is not a face. Monuments and political architecture. Stephen Lawrence Building, Room 101. 12.30pm. Details 020 8331 9100.

17th April, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

20th April, The limits and possibilities of a global seafarers labour market, Prof Tony Lane. 6pm. Room 101, Queen Anne Court. Details 020 8331 7688.

20th April, GLIAS AGM plus Brian Sturt on Coals to the South Met. - Coal supplies to East Greenwich Gas Works. Morris Lecture Theatre, Bart’s Hospital, EC1, 6.30pm.

22nd April, Health Risks of Mobile Phones, Graham Barber. Blackheath Sci Soc., Mycenae House, 7.45pm.

23rd April, SERIAC Chertsey, Surrey.£8.50 to Stuart Chrystall, Dene Lodge, Drovers Way, Ash Green, Aldershot, Hants GU12 6HY. Booking essential. Programme includes Paul Sowan on Croydon, Mersham and Godstone Railway, Chris Ellmers on London Docks, and speakers on Col. Stephens, Croydon Airport and Surrey and the Motor.

27th April, A backward glance Greenwich Historical SJulian Watson, ociety . Blackheath High School. 7.30

30th April, The Story of the Meridian. NMM ring 020 8312 6648 Greenwich Maritime Festival Event


2nd May, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. See above.

3rd May, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

10th May, Old London Bridge, Clive Chambers, SLAS, 106 The Cut, SE1. 7.00pm.

11th May, England Expects. Nelson at Trafalgar, Dr Colin White. Friends of Greenwich Park Annual Lecture. Room 315, King William Court. 7.30pm. Tickets £10. Christine Bevan, 52 Greenwich Park Street, SE10 9LT. Needs sae.

13-14th May, The British West Indies. NMM. Ring 020 8312 6648 Greenwich Maritime Festival Event.

15th May, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

20th May, Restoration of the River Quaggy. Matthew Bulmer, Blackheath Sci Soc., Mycenae House. 7.45pm.

30th May, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. See above.


4th June, Crossness Engines Public Steaming Day. £4. 10.30am

7th June, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

11th June, Women and the Sea. NMM. Ring 020 8312 6648. Greenwich Maritime Festival Event.

18th June, Artists at Sea. NMM. Ring 020 8312 6648. Greenwich Maritime Festival Event.

16-19th June, City Safari to Turin. More info

19th June, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. 020 8311 3711 on Tues or Sun daytime for bookings.

25th June, Greenwich People. NMM, ring 020 8312 6648. Greenwich Maritime Festival Event.

26th June, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. See above.

27th June, Nelson and British Intelligence – plus launch of his new biography of Nelson. Prof Roger Knight. 6pm. Room 080 Queen Anne Court. Details 020 8331 7688.


The Industrial Archaeology of East London

Birkbeck accredited course at North Woolwich Old Station Museum, Pier Road, E16. First meeting 27th April.
Tutor Dr. Mary Mills. Details from 020 7631 6627 or email or just turn up.



For further information please contact;

Firepower on 020 8855 7755,, website

Londoners at Work

A photographic Essay. Museum in Docklands, Tel: 0870 444 3855 for details.

Severndroog 250

By Sue Bullevant

Saturday April, 2nd 2005 will be the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Severndroog in 1755 and the Severndroog Building Preservation Trust is planning events at Severndroog Castle, Castle Wood on Shooters Hill, SE18 on Sunday 3rd April 2005.

Severndroog (or Suvarnadrug) is an island fortress off the Malabar Coast of India, between Bombay and Goa. Sir William James defeated the Malabar pirates at the battle of Severndoorg, thus clearing the trade and shipping routes of the East India Company and the local Indian rulers.

Bombay has been part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza and consisted of several low-lying islands. Charles II sold it to the East India Company who drained the land and established the port. William James was the son of a miller in Wales and became a ploughboy there. He went to sea when he was 12 years old on a Bristol trader, and was ship wrecked when he was 18 in the West Indies. He became a Captain in the service of the East India Company and later a Commodore. On his retirement he lived at Park Place Farm in Eltham and became a director of the East India Company and an MP.

He died at his house in Gerrard Street Soho in 1783 and in 1784 his wife had Severndroog castle built. The architect was William Jupp (the East India Company’s architect). The Castle featured in the BBC's Restoration programme in 2004 and is statutory listed Grade 2*.

The building is a triple towered Castle in the gothic style on 3 floors with a viewing platform, and is built as his memorial. He and his wife are buried at Eltham. The East India Company’s ships were built at Blackwall and had docking facilities there.

Severndroog Castle Web site (2017)


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