Volume 9, Issue 2, January 2006







GIHS Meetings

24th January AGM - Wayne Cocroft, English Heritage - An international exploration of the archaeology, architecture and technology of arms and explosives manufacture

14th February - Clive Chambers - Wood Wharf Update

21st March 2006- John King - Croydon Airport

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

Woolwich Town Hall - Centenary 2006

The Town Hall in Wellington Street celebrates its 100th birthday in 2006. Designed in high Edwardian gothic style by Sir Arthur Brumwell Thomas, it was built in 1906 to replace the earlier Town Hall of 1842 in Calderwood Street. Costing £95,000, the Town Hall was opened by Will Crooks MP who used a golden key to open the door. The Town Hall is noted for its outstanding architectural detail and for the fine stained glass windows by Geoffrey Webb, which depict local historical figures and associations. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria by Frederick Pomeroy which was funded by public subscription.


By Paul Sowan

At our December meeting we heard a presentation from underground historian and geologist Paul Sowan about Gilbert’s pit at Charlton. Paul has now sent part of an enormous dossier of information on these pits – some extracts are included below and, hopefully, more will follow..

The village centre of Charlton (Old Charlton) is on high ground on the Lower London Tertiary beds in south-east London, and overlooks the Thames to the north. Between the village centre and the area of the former Thames-side marshes the ground drops away northwards. Geologically this constitutes the escarpment formed by the Lower London Tertiary beds. The old village centre is about 150 feet above the level of the Thames-side marshes.

New Charlton had developed on the lower ground by the Woolwich Parish boundary, effectively a suburb of that town, by 1839, when two lime burners are recorded there - Sarah Cutts and Lewis Glenton. It later extended westward along the Woolwich Road, and from 1849 was served by Charlton Station, this area becoming known as Lower Charlton.

The North Kent Line of the railway was built along the foot of the escarpment between 1847 and its opening on 30 July 1849. The formerly wooded escarpment has been eaten into by opencast mineral workings (principally for chalk and sand), and in part covered by 19th century and later residential development.

Interestingly, none of the four large chalk and sand pits between Charlton Station and Woolwich appears ever to have been equipped with standard gauge railway sidings into the pits. The Railway Clearing House's 1904 Handbook lists only Beadle Bros.' siding, which was perhaps associated with the Angerstein Wharf branch line of 1852 to the south and west of Charlton Junction. The first edition of the Ordnance Survey large scale plans for the area, surveyed 1866 - 67 and published in 1869, shows several lines of rails in the westernmost pit (currently the location of Charlton Athletic Football Club's stand) converging northwards to run under the main east-west passenger line, and thence northwards to the Thames.

No such railways appear to have been provided for the other three pits further east. If only horses and carts were employed to distribute the materials from these, it may be concluded that they were largely consumed in the immediate locality, or alternatively carted to jetties on the Thames and shipped away.

Woolwich Dockyard was immediately downstream, within a kilometre of Charlton Station and the large chalk and sand pits. England's first salt-glazed stoneware kiln was set up near the Arsenal early in the 17th century, and, soon afterwards, a glassworks was established on an adjoining site. There was thus, from the 16th century onwards, a demand for ballast, moulding-sand, glass-sand, and other mineral products, including large quantities of clays, lime and sand for the bricks and mortar employed in the Dockyard and Arsenal buildings.

There have been four major pits excavated at the foot of, and into, the escarpment at Charlton. These are referred to here, from west to east, as follows:

Charlton Station Pit - Bounded by Charlton Hill on the west, the main railway on the north, and Charlton Lane on the east - indicated as Ballast Pits (sand and chalk) by the Ordnance Survey in 1866 (now occupied by the football pitch and stands).

Gilbert's Pit - Lying to the east of Charlton Lane / Pound Park Road and south of Charlton Tunnel - forming the western part of Maryon Park - disused (transferred to LCC) 1938 - this pit contains the SSSI.

North Pit - Lying north of the railway line and tunnel, and south of the Woolwich Road - now forming the northern part of Maryon Park.

East Pit - Lying to the south and east of the railway line and Mount Street Tunnel - now forming the eastern part of Maryon Park.

The SSSI represents the eastern working face of Gilbert's Pit. The western face of the East Pit is only a few metres further to the east, the SSSI being thus positioned on a narrow ridge of unworked ground between the two pits.

In both the Charlton Station or West Pit and the North Pit the excavation of Thanet Sand was carried downwards to exploit the underlying chalk. The upper surface of the Chalk, and base of the Thanet Sand is thus clearly above the level of the Thames in the immediate locality, although Dewey et al. (1924) observed in connection with the riverside marshes further to the east that: The Chalk which forms most of the southern bank of the Thames between the Erith Marshes and Gravesend is thus saturated with water and numerous springs arise along this stretch. This fact is of paramount importance to engineers. During recent years the cement manufacturers endeavoured by heavy pumping to lower the water-level in the Chalk in order to make more chalk dry and so available for quarrying purposes, but the cost and want of success rendered the operation unprofitable, and it was abandoned. Previously it had been shown that over-pumping draws river water into the Chalk, where that formation is not protected by impermeable beds. Much of the alluvium, however, is permeable and the Chalk on which it lies, though at a depth of 70 ft. from the surface, is generally heavily charged with water.

The operators of the chalk pits at Charlton would similarly have been limited in the depth to which they could excavate by the water table at shallow level. One such operator has been identified, and is the subject of a published article by Barbara Ludlow (2001) who informs us: “For hundreds of years, chalk was dug at Greenwich, Charlton, and Woolwich to be burnt in lime kilns. There were many kilns on the lower slopes of Blackheath Hill and until the beginning of the nineteenth century Greenwich South Street was known as Limekiln Lane. Two other notable sites were Charlton Church Lane and the part of Woolwich, which was later to become Frances Street.

Lime was essential to the brick and tile making industries. It was also used when making mortar and manure, however, when Thomas Nichols left Dartmouth, Devon to settle in New Charlton in the late 1840s much of the local chalk was built over or worked out. Even so, he established himself as a carpenter and lime merchant in Hardens Manorway. Nichols' business prospered and in the mid-1860s, he moved to a site between the North Kent Railway line and Woolwich Road. Here, on the eastern side of Charlton Church Lane and close to the fairly new Charlton Station, he concentrated on lime burning. Thomas moved his family into 444 Woolwich Road, promptly named the house 'Lime Villa' and had two Staffordshire-style bottle kilns built. The business could not rely on local quarries so he brought in limestone [i.e. chalk] from Riddlesdown Quarry, near Whyteleafe in Surrey. The 1871 Census shows Nichols employed thirteen men and that they also lived close to the works. Eventually the business passed to Fred Nichols, and in the early 1920s, the then owner Eric Nichols sold the premises. Lime burning was finished in Charlton but the buildings and bottle kilns, with a chalk capital 'N' set in the neck of both, were purchased by the Crown Fuel Company to produce heating elements for gas fires. In 1950 the Festival of Britain [in 1951] seems to have inspired the Company to branch out into pottery and use the kilns for making decorated ware and small figures of animals, mostly dogs. These goods marked 'Greenwich Pottery' were for export only but they were advertised in the 1951 Greenwich Festival Guide. Towards the end of the 1950s production ceased but a bottle kiln of c.1868 and buildings of about the same date were left. Everything was demolished in 1965 and Barney Close, Charlton, was built over the site. Before the buildings were demolished an Industrial Archaeologist surveyed the site and a photograph of c.1872 was discovered. Nichols is seated and behind him stand five of his workers. A photograph was taken of the attractive mid-Victorian bottle kiln before it was demolished.

The Nichols's kilns, from this account, were close to the junction of Church Lane and Woolwich Road, and not those shewn in the middle of the large Station Pit the other side of the railway line, which is known to have been worked in part for chalk. This large pit presumably went out of production, at the latest, when the football ground was established in it in or shortly after 1900. Fred Nichols certainly worked two chalk pits 'near Whyteleafe' at one time or another. What is usually called the Rose & Crown chalk pit at Kenley, a large working which went out of use as recently as the 1960s, is still a prominent feature on the east side of the A22 Godstone Road just inside the London Borough of Croydon. Over the boundary, in Surrey, were the much shorter-lived Whyteleafe chalk pits and kilns; the kilns have gone and the pits are now barely recognisable as the site has been developed for residential purposes. The Rose and Crown pit never had direct access to the railway, although the Oxted line (South Croydon to Oxted) crosses the open pit on a prominent viaduct. The Whyteleafe works further south did have a siding from Upper Warlingham Station, which would have made the transfer of chalk thence to Charlton relatively straightforward.


Recent archaeological work carried out during the demolition of Wood Wharf at the north end of Horseferry Place, SE10 which was at the southern end of the Greenwich Steam Ferry (ref. Engineering, 17 February 1888, and The Engineer, 2 December 1892) has provided some surprising information. It had been thought that there were two or three steam engines on each bank to work the pair of travelling platforms each side of the river and to raise and lower the slowly moving landing stages (one on each bank) which were adjusted as the tide rose and fell. However, excavation now reveals that there was only one engine bed at Wood Wharf and it appears that a single (large) steam engine (using steam from three locomotive boilers) perhaps worked the three platforms by a complicated drive. The platforms were not counterbalanced by each other but by massive weights in shafts.

There were three of these, one for each platform, over 150 feet deep (this depth has been verified by diving). Further excavation revealed remains of a drain at a lower level which ran to an outfall a short way to the north of Wood Wharf. It is thought this drain predates the Steam Ferry. Having independently counterbalanced moving platforms would allow the platforms which communicated with the landing stage to move at any time as traffic dictated. This is analogous with the lifts or elevators in a tall building. The implication is that heavy traffic was anticipated. Mention has been made that it was an American system installed at Greenwich and one wonders if ferries of a similar kind ever operated in New York. The arrangement is rather unlike British practice at the time. The use of locomotive boilers to drive stationary steam engines was not that uncommon and even the locomotive's cylinders and motion might be used. In 1879 the Metropolitan Board of Works purchased six broad gauge engines from the Great Western Railway in order to use them at pumping stations. They were obtained at a reasonable cost - £500 each. Two went to Crossness, one to Falcon Brook, Battersea, one to Effra Vauxhall Gardens and two were put in store. The pair at Crossness drove centrifugal pumps and provided steam for other plant. It is not known how long they survived.

Bob Carr (extracted from GLIAS Newsletter)
Clive Chambers is due to speak on the ferry remains at our February meeting.


Swiftstone is a locally preserved tug. The following extracts are from a review of their work in the past year along with work on preserved firefloat, Massey Shaw.

On September 18th, 2004 Swiftstone took part in the Thames Festival at Bankside. We went on up to Bankside for the festival where we circled round hooting and tooting for the benefit of spectators. They waved and blew bubbles appreciatively.

On October 25th, 2004 we went to inspect Woolwich Arsenal Pier for a potential mooring. It was not ideal for the Swiftstone, but Massey Shaw is currently moored there.

In October 2004 ft was discovered that Swiftstone had a leak. Not too bad at that time and, as she was moored at Wood Wharf on the foreshore the water that came in with the tide and for the most part drained out with the tide. On the night of October 22nd, Ian and Julian spent a very uncomfortable time digging away the sand and mud and gravel in a torrential downpour to find the leak.

On 28th October 2004, Reg was informed of a break-in on the Massey Shaw. Vandals had been aboard, smashed in the cabin door and gained access to the crew space and galley area. The lads were greeted by a sorry sight. The vandals had drunk some, and stolen other, bottles of beverages, had left excrement and committed acts of general havoc.

On 1st November 2004, Reg got another phone call to say that Massey Shaw appeared to be sinking. The phones ran red hot for a time - fortunately Swiftstone’s pumps were working so Massey Shaw was pumped out and refloated and it was found that the engine room had been broken into and valves had been opened causing the sinking.

Later that day Massey Shaw was towed away by agents of the insurer's after which she went to Woolwich Arsenal Pier.

We were hoping for a repair of Swiftstone in time for the summer events but it was not to be. There are so few repair facilities on the Thames that we had to wait our turn at Corys. This is the first time that Swiftstone had been in the dry dock at Cory despite having been owned by them for more than 50 years.

In our search of potential moorings for Swiftstone we discovered in the Greenwich area a long jetty in reasonably sound condition. We were informed by the owners that they had no objections at all and would be rather pleased if we could take over the river licence from PLA and that is where we hit the bumpers in a most drastic way. The PLA are demanding an enormous amount of paper work from us - business plans, financial accounting and a guaranteed source of finance to completely demolish and remove the structure from the river at some unknown time in the future and they want survey reports on the structure and planning approval.

Help keep us afloat - send a cheque made payable to The Swiftstone Trust to Reg Barter 132 Lodge HBI, Welling. Kent DA16 1BL.


From: English Heritage


In or around 1512, Henry VIII established a Royal Dockyard in Woolwich which was closed down in 1869. The dockyard had been engaged in the construction and repair of naval vessels. The archaeologists’ watching brief uncovered evidence for 10 phases of activity, beginning in the 18th century. Various timber revetments of this period were shown to have been made with re-used ships timbers and construction scraps, demonstrating that cost was an issue in manufacture. We also noted further revetments, two ragstone slipway walls, cobbled surfaces and drainage elements. Historically the dockyard is known to have been frequently modified and altered. This evidence is supported by the archaeological data. Interesting details of shipwrights, carpenters etc. craft activities were identified as well as information on the Navy's wood procurement strategies.


We found no remains of archaeological importance, apart from noting the possible abandoned course of the Pilkington Canal.

ST. PAUL'S ACADEMY (ABBEY WOOD SCHOOL). Pre-Construct Archaeology

In one trench, a 19th century boundary ditch was found, showing the area was used for agriculture or pasture in post-medieval times.


The Grand Store complex at the Royal Arsenal is of national importance comprising a set of Grade II listed buildings and it is without question among the architectural highlights of the historic military site. The complex was built between 1806 and 1813 due to the high on-going military demands of the Napoleonic Wars and formed part of a wider development at the Arsenal during this period.

The Grand Store originally comprised three quadrangles but only the main central one survives in anything like its original form. It was designed by James and Lewis Wyatt with a plain Georgian classicism and is described as 'architecturally one of the most distinguished of the large late 18th and early 19th century warehouses erected in both naval and civil docks'. However, the external grandeur of the complex masked fundamental flaws in the construction of its foundations and in the decades after its completion parts of it suffered greatly from subsidence and much patching and rebuilding work was undertaken to counteract this.

Buildings 36 and 36a form the southern range and south-east corner tower of the main central quadrangle of the Grand Store. Building 36 is the largest and most impressive of all the Grand Store ranges and it provides the clearest indication of how the interiors of all the Grand Store buildings would have appeared in the complex's hey-day. As with all the ranges the most impressive feature of the building is its internal structural timber frame which survives substantially intact and almost entirely exposed, without ceilings or coverings.

Several of the most interesting features of the building are secondary alterations added during the 19th century. Among these were a series of mezzanines which were added throughout building 36 between the ground and first floor to provide extra storage space. Other secondary features of interest which survive well in the current buildings include two hydraulic hoists, one towards the west end of building 36 and one at the east side of Building 36a.

Hydraulic cranes are known to have been first added to the Grand Store ranges in 1856 so each of these is likely to survive from then. Another secondary alteration of some interest was the division of the building into five independent fire resistant blocks, probably around the turn of the century. The building originally comprised three large arched openings within each cross wall at each floor level but in the late 19th/early 20th century alterations these were each blocked up and pairs of iron-clad, fire resistant doors added in some of the arches.

Other historic features which relate to the former use of the building include a series of related pieces of evidence suggesting that at each floor there were a number of free-standing stoves in many of the rooms.

Building 36 suffered greatly from subsidence and it is known from documentary sources that in 1828 the north wall of the east tower was ordered to be taken down and rebuilt. The current work has confirmed that this work was undertaken as well as confirming that this related to the north wall at the east end of Building 36 rather than the tower at the south-east corner of the quadrangle. The rebuilt wall is a non-structural timber stud frame and it was clearly constructed to be as light as possible, with timber replacement cornice, in order to reduce this area's tendency to subside.

Although the surviving primary structure of Building 36/36a and the other Grand Store ranges has a monumental grandeur and is still impressive in scale today it was structurally relatively conservative when compared to other contemporary buildings and can now be seen to represent the end of the building tradition. It was constructed a decade after the first iron-framed, fire-proof textile mills were constructed and although this type of construction was yet to be widely adopted, it did spread and develop in the early decades of the 19th century, particularly for large structures such as the Grand Store. In a historical context there is no doubt that the construction of the complex has much more in common with storehouses of the second half of the 18th century rather than the commercial warehouses of the first half of the 19th century which comprised cast iron columns, iron beams and brick jack arches. The contrast is even greater with the light-weight iron roof trusses and open floor spaces of various buildings at the Arsenal dating to the second half of the 19th century.


On the south bank, at Wood Wharf, Horseferry Place/Thames Street, Greenwich, a record was made of the below ground Engine Room that served the Greenwich Steam Ferry, which ran from 1888 to 1900. Steam power was needed to move two carriages and the landing stage on rails up and down a concrete ramp on the foreshore to meet the ferry boats and to cope with the tidal range. The cable haulage system was complex and the ferry not a commercial success.


Another season of fieldwork has revealed well-preserved evidence for the industrial development of the site from the 19th to 20th century Deposits of reworked alluvial clay in the middle of the site revealed two 18th-century cannon in very good condition. It is likely that both had been brought to the Royal Arsenal for proofing, had failed, and then been recycled as mooring posts. In the north of the site, layers of wood shavings and bark may be evidence for the use of the site as Timber Field, for seasoning, in the middle of the 19th century. In the northwestern corner; remains were found of the1870s Boiler House that powered a steam hammer; the anvil of which was found in the Phase 2 works. The remains of the building were extensive, consisting of brick flues and boiler base supports founded on timber piles. To the east of the Boiler House, contemporary remains of the Rolling Mill were found, including brick-built furnaces and a chimney base. Evidence was seen for the reworking of the Rolling Mill, presumably reflecting advances in manufacturing technology. The substantial structural remains of the south Boring Mill were found. A variety of external features survived too, including cobbled surfaces and bogey tracks. While the remains were consistent with those found of previous the South Boring Mill in Zone 22, it was noticeable that the actual lathe beds in the eastern side of the mill had been removed for the installation of the ground slab of a later building. This shows the change of function of this part of the South Boring Mill. The external elements of the South Boring Mill had been superseded by the 20th-century reworking of Street No 10.

Recording of the Chemical Department Building at the Royal Arsenal,Woolwich took place on this historically important structure. One of the first purpose-built chemical laboratories, it was the home to many major military developments including that of cordite. The building in altered principally through lain extensions, and it was possible to record a number of items such as former fume cupboards, exposed by plaster as well as blocked doorways and other architectural features.


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

From: David Riddle (Web Editor)

It is with great sadness that I feel I should report to all members who may not be aware, that Alan Mills, the husband of Mary, our esteemed Society Secretary, passed away in the early summer. I am sure those of you who have been wondering what had happened to the Newsletter will understand the reason for the pause in publication, and will, like me, wish to send your condolences and best wishes to Mary.

From: Keith Mills

I have no real information relating to Merryweather's of Greenwich, London. I know that following their move from Greenwich, they established themselves at the Rassau Ind. Estate in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. Then, one Easter weekend they moved all their appliances to a store in Plymouth, all this took place between 1982 and 1986. Furthermore, two gentlemen by the names of Greening and Tovil (I believe) set up the G & T Turntable ladder business in Gravesend, Kent. These two gentlemen were former employees at the Merryweather Factory in Greenwich. Further to this I have no other information on their Records/Files on fire appliances. A descendant recently approached the Fire Service College. I believe the descendant was that of Moses Merryweather. I am sure that you have already read up on the Web site of the Merryweather's, just in case, I will enclose the following:-

From: Richard Buchanan

This is in reply to a request in the November 2005 GIHS Newsletter:

SS Faraday (1) is briefly written up in Cableships and Submarine Cables by K R Haigh, published in 1978 by STC Submarine Systems Division (now Alcatel Submarine Systems). The following is an extract:

Brief details - built for Siemens Bros, Woolwich, in 1874 by C Mitchell & Co Ltd, Newcastle.
Length: 360.38 ft, Breadth: 52.25 ft, Depth: 36.9ft, Gross Tonnage: 5052. Compound Engine.

William Siemens was instrumental in her having twin screws and bow & stern rudders for manoeuverability; twin funnels abreast, leaving a clear central cable run from bow to stern, and innovative cable handling gear. There were three cable tanks. She laid 50,000 nautical miles of cable before being decommissioned in 1924, when she was replaced by SS Faraday (2), though survived as a hulk before being broken up in 1950.

From: Yvonne Witton

I saw your website and am hoping you can give me some brief information on the Industrial Buildings Company who owned the Rectory Buildings in Deptford in 1890's.

From: Jennifer Nevill

Do you have any information about CA Robinson & Co which was based at Anchor Wharf until the 1970's?

From: Sharon Waite

I wonder if you could direct me to somebody that may be able to help. My husband lived at 147 Blackheath Hill until he was about 6 (which would have been approx. 1967). We have managed to find an old photo of the building which was spectacular - I am trying to find out the history of the building, what was it used for originally, who built it, etc.. Unfortunately it has now been demolished and some ghastly 1970's-style flats have been erected, but it would be great to know the history of what he remembers.

From: John Davy

We recently had a neighbour pass away and during the house clearance came across two framed certificates awarded to a George Smoker for services in assisting to save lives from a fire at Chestfields, Blackheath Hill, Greenwich, 13th July 1880. I wondered if your local Society would have any information or would know where I could go to find more?



We (usually!) 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 items this issue.


by Philip Binns

Woolwich Post Office

We have been asked to note a letter to the Planning Department from Dr. Danny Nicol about Woolwich Town Centre redevelopment and Woolwich Post Office. He saysredevelopment involves the demolition of Woolwich Post Office and the adjoining buildings which make up one of the four sides of General Gordon Square. These are splendid buildings which ought to be preserved. The Post Office is a fine redbrick Victorian building, with the then-Sovereign’s initials prominently displayed on the side of the building. Woolwich Town Centre should combine old and new buildings in a tasteful fashion, as has been successfully accomplished at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Woolwich has a proud history, and it is imperative that we retain buildings dating back from when the town was at the height of its prominence. Otherwise we will end up with a bland, soulless town centre full of second-rate 21st century buildings and lacking any local historical distinctiveness.'


The following are extracts from letters written to Greenwich Planning Department from the group:

Warren/Royal Arsenal. Beresford Street/A206 Plumstead Road

In principle, the group has no objection to the partial demolition of elements of this Grade II listed building, the former Royal Carriage Works, and we are especially pleased that a feature such as the clock tower on the Duke of Wellington Streetfrontage is to be retained and that the clock will continue in operation.

We have no objection to the new treatment proposed for the eastern end of Blocks 4. The elevations proposed for this part of the Building 10 grouping represent a major improvement on the run down and inauspicious appearance of this part of the building and the blatantly modern treatment will add to the townscape of this important entry into the whole of the Royal Arsenal complex.

Finally we note that the listed building consent statement produced by Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd list a whole series of mitigation benefits accruing from the proposed redevelopment of Building 10. In addition to the obvious archival recording, we would strongly support the retrieval of any artifacts of industrial archaeological significance, such as the pits for the steam engines, the set of eight columns and the king post roof trusses in Block 1, the gantry crane and iron roof framings in Block 2, the re-used iron arch in Block 3 and the crane tracks and iron roofs in Block 4 and 5.

Master Plan proposals - in looking at this application we have concentrated on whether the changes have answered the areas of concern particularly on the impact of new development on the historic building fabric and the Royal Arsenal Woolwich conservation area.

The decision to create a new primarily residential courtyard (Block D) to incorporate the retained Grade II listed Royal Laboratory buildings, the oldest on the site, is welcomed as this will, to some extent, restore this area to its original condition. However, historically the two laboratory pavilions were the dominant features in the square and now they are to be dwarfed by buildings rising in height from 2 to 6-storeys on their sides.

We also welcome the proposal to create a large raised table to connect the entry to the site with the Beresford Gatehouse in the town centre.


Land at Creek Road/Norway Street/Thames Street/Deptford Creek

SE10 mixed-use redevelopment. The concerns noted on a more recent application persist especially the lack of provision of the boat yard repair facility

Wood Wharf, SE10

Variation to omit the separate rotunda building - welcome the decision to retain the river frontage in its existing form.

134 Timbercroft Lane, SE18

Conversion of commercial site into 2 flats - gross over-development with questionable space standards; object.

White Hart Depot, SE18

Demolition of existing single-storey toilet block, and rendering of adjacent walls, demolition of internal partitions and suspended ceiling, provision of new internal toilets, re-glazing of windows, replacement of roof walkways and of missing coping stones - unobjectionable.


Hidden away in Crossness Record is the information that Crossness Engines have been offered a lottery grant. However News Shopper’s Linda Piper provided a more detailed account telling us that The Heritage Lottery Fund had awarded the money to the Crossness Engines Trust for the restoration of the Grade I Listed buildings and to create a series of visitor facilities.

"The first installment of £99,000 of Lottery cash will enable the Trust to produce detailed restoration and development plans. Once those have been approved the rest of the cash will be released to start the work. As well as the restoration of the original buildings, new facilities such as a cafe, lecture room and library will be created, together with car parking and the launch of a revamped website. The trust will then be able to tell the story of London's sewage problem and feat of engineering which overcame it."

She continues: "There will be activities for schools and visitor workshops, talks, guided tours and hands-on activities as well as dressing up and role play to bring the sewage works to life. Described by the Heritage Lottery Fund as "a heritage gem", the complex is currently open for only 30 days a year. Once restored, the Trust plans to open it three day a week during spring and autumn and two days a week during the winter”.

They quote The Lottery Fund London Manager as saying: "The buildings at the pumping station are nationally important and the proposed scheme will open up its history to as many people as possible”. Peter Bazalgette, great-great-grandson of Sir Joseph and chairman of the Trust, said: "The Trust's volunteers have already restored one of the magnificent engines. "Now they are a concrete step closer to their dream the creation of an exhibition and steam centre at the heart of the community which will become the Thames Gateway".


The Independent Photography Project are starting a new series of workshops for Gasworks to Dome for 2006. It will focus on training for taking 'then and now' digital photos of Greenwich Peninsula - and setting everyone a brief for going out and doing it - and then looking at some existing websites, for inspiration! Over the coming weeks we will develop our group's idea for the project's final multimedia presentation, and we'll be bringing in a new digital arts specialist to help us do that.

Contact Andy or Isabel at The Independent Photography Project, Rothbury Hall, Mauritious Road, SE10. 020 8858 2925 or 07947 523756


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 June, GLIAS walk. All walks pre-booked only. Write: c/o 84a Kingston Road, Luton, Beds. LU2 7SA or

18th January, Napier’s Engineering London. GLIAS plus EGM. 6.15pm. Derek Willoughby Lecture Theatre, John Vane Building, Barts Medical School, Charterhouse Square, EC1.

19th January, Maps of Shooters Hill. Chris Johnson. Shooters Hill Local History Society. Shrewsbury House, Bushmoor Crescent, SE18. 8pm

20th January, Windows 2. Brooking Collection Workshop. University of Greenwich. Must be booked 020 8331 9312

21st January, Burying Nelson his funeral and his legacy. 10.30am - 4.15pm National Maritime Museum. 020 8312 6522

21st January, Blood Cholesterol. Dr. Johnson. Blackheath Scientific Society. Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3. 7.45pm.

24th January, East Greenwich History Club. The Forum@Greenwich. 3.00pm. All welcome. Visit by Rib Davies to talk about ‘Gasworks to the Dome’ project by TIPP.

25th January, Piracy. Legal Suppression or Political Tolerance. Susan Hawker. Greenwich Maritime Institute. 6pm. Windsor Castle Room, Queen Anne Court, University of Grenwich.

25th January, Local Greenwich. NMM with Birkbeck, ring 020 7631 6652 3.00pm - 6.00pm

25th January, The Chapel of St. Paul. The Restoration Years. Tim Tatlioglu. Greenwich Historical Society. Blackheath High School, Vanburgh Park, SE3. 7.15pm

26th January, Poplar Council Dispute. Chris Sumner. East London History Soc., Latimer Church Hall, Ernest Street, E1. 7.30pm

27th January, Doors. Brooking Collection Workshop. University of Greenwich. Must be booked 020 8331 9312


3rd February, Cast Iron. Brooking Collection Workshop. University of Greenwich. Must be booked 020 8331 9312

4th February, Mapping Roman London. Peter Rowsome, SLAS. Housing Co-op Hall, 106 The Cut, SE1. 7.30pm

7th February, Crossness Engines. Guided tour visit on non-steaming day. Booking required. Ring 020 8311 3711 Tues or Sun 9.30am - 4.00pm

7th February, Four Centuries of the Cator Estate at Blackheath. Neil Rhind. St.Michael’s Church Hall, Pond Road, SE3. £5

10th February, Staircases. Brooking Collection Workshop. As above.

11th February, Rex Whistler. The Eltham Artist. John Kennett, Woolwich Antiquarians. Charlton House.

11th February, Stocks and shambles. Punishments in Greenwich. Chris Foord. Heritage Centre. 2.00pm

16th February, Edith Nesbit. John Kennett. Shooters Hill Local History Society. As above.

17th February, Grand Challenges in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. Dr. Hirst. Blackheath Scientific Society. Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3. 7.45pm

17th February, Windows 1 Brooking Collection Workshop. Univ Greenwich. Must be booked 020 8331 9312

18th February, Third Symposium on the Thames and Thames Built Ships at Greenwich Maritime Institute.

18th February, Making sense of the universe. A history of cosmology. 10.30am - 4.15pm. National Maritime Museum. 020 8312 6522

19th February, Crossness Engines. Guided tour visit. See above.

21st February, East Greenwich History Club. The Forum@Greenwich. 3.00pm. All welcome. Visit by local author Iris Bryce with her Memories of East Greenwich.

21st February, Four Centuries of the Cator Estate at Blackheath. Neil Rhind. St.Michael’s Church Hall, Pond Road, SE3. £5

22nd February, Public Executions in London. Robert Stephenson RBLHS Time & Talents, St.Marychurch Street, SE1. 7.45pm

22nd February, Health and Welfare of Seafarers. Dr. Eliseo, Greenwich Maritime Institute. 6pm. Queen Anne Court.

22nd February, Greenwich in Parliament. Richard Cheffins. Greenwich Historical Society. As above.

23rd February, The Mercers Company and its Treasures. Gary Haines. East London History Society. As above.

24th February, Windows 2 Brooking Collection Workshop. As above.

25th February, Awaiting transportation in the convict system. Frances Ward. Heritage Centre. 2.00pm

29th February, Blackwall Yard and Blackwall Frigates. Clive Chambers RBLHS Time & Talents, St.Marychurch Street, SE1. 7.45pm


3rd March, Doors. Brooking Collection Workshop. As above

4th March, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. A celebration of the man and his engineering. 10.30am - 4.15pm. National Maritime Museum. 020 8312 6522

7th March, Crossness Engines. Guided tour visit. See above.

7th March, Four Centuries of the Cator Estate at Blackheath. Neil Rhind. St.Michael’s Church Hall, Pond Road, SE3. £5

10th March, Cast Iron. Brooking Collection Workshop. As above.

11th March, AGM Woolwich Antiquarians. Severndroog Castle by Francis Ward. 2.00pm. Charlton House.

15th March, Brunel at 200. Prof. Angus Buchanan. GLIAS as above.

17th March, Genetics. Prof. Beales. Blackheath Scientific Society. Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3. 7.45pm

17th March, Staircases Brooking Collection Workshop. As above.

18th March, Space Exploration... the final frontier. 10.30am - 4.15pm. National Maritime Museum. 020 8312 6522

18th March, Liquid History. Recent Discoveries in London’s Maritime History. Museum Docklands 10.30am. £20. 0870 444 3855

19th March, Crossness Engines. Guided tour visit. See above.

21-22nd March, International Convention on the Valorization of Industrial Heritage. Chile. Av. Apoquindo. Nr, 6275, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.

21st March, Four Centuries of the Cator Estate at Blackheath. Neil Rhind. St.Michael’s Church Hall, Pond Road, SE3. £5

21st March, East Greenwich History Club. The Forum@Greenwich. 3.00pm. All welcome. Charles Booth in East Greenwich.

21st March, Kicking and Screaming. Early Football in East London. East London History Society. As above.

22nd March, An Offence against the Nation. Anthony Cross. Presidential address at AGM. Greenwich Historical Society as above.




Thames Merchant Yards in the Napoleonic War, Helen Doe, University of Exeter
The Royal Dockyards of the Thames and Medway and the Introduction of Steam Power and Iron Ship Construction, Dr Philip MacDougall, Naval Dockyard historian and author
Thames shipyards and the American Civil War, Kevin Foster, National Parks Service, Washington DC
The Merchant Banker, the Broker and the Company Chairman: The Thames Iron New Issue, Professor Janette Rutterford, OU
Who was the London Engineer?, Stuart Rankin, Transport and Industrial historian
Civilian training ships on the River Thames from 1783, Dr Alston Kennerley, University of Plymouth
Yarrow’s shipbuilding yard on the Isle of Dogs, Peter Webberley, University of Portsmouth
Early steamship services on the Thames, Hugh Lyon, Maritime historian
Fitting out of early steamships at the City Canal on the Isle of Dogs, Dr Roger Owen, Packet Service historian
John Penn & Son, Marine Engineers of Greenwich, Richard Hartree, descendant of John Penn I.

Chairs: Prof. Sarah Palmer, Greenwich Maritime Institute, and Prof. Andrew Lambert, King’s College London.

Howe Lecture Theatre, Queen Anne Block. Registration 9.30a.m. Registration fee £20. Further details;
Dr Roger Owen, 8 The Drive, West Wickham, Kent, BR4 0EP. e-mail: Tel: 020 8777 7103


None to report.



For further information please contact Firepower on 020 8855 7755,, website

Association for Industrial Archaeology Awards

The AIA award programme aims to enhance the understanding of industrial archaeology and to encourage high standards in fieldwork and publications. Annual awards are made in the following categories

• Fieldwork and Recording

• Essays

• Publications

Applications for the three awards above must be received by 31st March. Entries are also invited at any time from voluntary groups for the Conservation Award.

If you are interested Mary Mills 0208 858 9482 has a copy of the brochure outlining the award.


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