Volume 10, Issue 2, September 2007



18th September – David Saville. The Cruel Sea

16th October – Andy Brockman. The Battlefield that Never Was. Stop
Line B and the Defence of Shooters Hill in World War II

20th November – Brian Sturt. Coals to the South Met. Gasworks

22nd January – AGM plus Tim Smith. Hydraulic Power in London and Greenwich

19th February – Malcolm Tucker. South Metropolitan Co. Gasholders

18th March – Mark Smith. Firepower. The History of the Collection

15th April – John King. Railway Air Services Ltd - A Story of
Business Politics in the 1930s

15th July – Roger Owen. Early Steam Ships and the City Canal

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

AMC and Matchless Rally

An AMC and Matchless Rally is to be held on the Arsenal site on
9th September - meet AMC personalities - see and hear bikes in action - go on a run to the factory site in Maxey Road - bring an AMC bike if you have one...... 10.00am onwards

AMC Article

The Gas Holder

Contributed by G.A. Steller

On 30th August, 2007, Greenwich Planning Board agreed a planning application for a new secondary school on the Greenwich Peninsula – one condition is the de-commissioning of the East Greenwich Gas Holder.

How has this come about? Let’s quote from a press release from Ken Livingstone’s office – under Mayor slams health and safety 'barmy bureaucrats Ken says "The Health and Safety Executive has proposed new risk assessments for planning applications surrounding 'hazardous installations' - mainly gasholders - with changes to how land around these installations is used. The Mayor has commissioned independent research which concludes that there is no evidence of serious risk associated with gasholders in London. There hasn’t been a major incident or loss of life as a result of a gasholder accident in at least 70 years, the period covered by available records".

So our local holder has to go. It is the biggest gas holder in Europe – and when it was built it was the biggest in the world. It was the second in a series of a revolutionary design (the first is at the Old Kent Road) initiated by Sir George Livesey – our local gas industry hero – a visionary industrialist and pioneer of so many new ideas and initiatives. The design style is described as having “a guide frame on revolutionary cylindrical shell principles… quite gigantic size….. structural innovation“ and that the holder is part of a “progression of increasing size and sophistication”. These holders were built deliberately without ornament following advice from a Major Dresser (any relationship to the contemporary designer Christopher Dresser has never been shown) - thus relating them to growing Modern Movement ideas of industrial design. In 1880 the design and safety of these holders was studied by Sir Benjamin Baker – and expert in the field. In a detailed analysis he determined the structure ‘robust and safe’.

The East Greenwich holder was built 1884-1886 as part of the new state-of-the-art East Greenwich Gas Works (Livesey’s aspirations - never low – were that everything at East Greenwich should reach perfection!). It was the first holder ever to have four lifts, and when it was soon to be followed by the even bigger (and demolished in 1986) East Greenwich No.2. and together they made up the biggest concentration of safe storage of inflammable gas the world has ever seen. Shouldn’t we be proud of this? World-wide there are a number of gas holders which have been converted into other use.

Information and comments would be welcome.

Webmeister update, November 2017. The East Greenwich Gasholder has been saved.. and will be included in a new development on the site.
About the Gas Holder consultation
.. from the GIHS Blog.


By David Erickson

I was pleasantly surprised to find a product from Greenwich during a visit to Cape Point (immediately adjacent to the Cape of Good Hope) in South Africa - an old lighthouse, of cast iron construction, and in excellent condition. I am in touch with a former designer of lighthouse optics, who worked with Chance Brothers at Smethwick in the West Midlands. Chance, who later became Stone-Chance, were major suppliers of lighthouse optics to lighthouse authorities worldwide. I have emailed him to see if he knows anything of an early competitor to Chance (Deville).

As a former employee of the Corporation of Trinity House I have a special interest in lighthouses. There are other cast iron lighthouses of a similar age in South Africa, and it’s entirely possible that Cape Point was not the only one that originated from the furnaces of the Victoria Foundry. Nearby in False Bay, is the only rock lighthouse on the South African coast, Roman Rock which was completed in 1861. Like Cape Point, it was manufactured from cast iron segments bolted together at site. Also on the Cape is Slangkop Lighthouse, which is the tallest cast iron tower on the South African coast - 30.8 metres from the base to the balcony. However this one is later having been completed in 1914. The consulting engineer for Slangkop was a W.T. Douglass, acting on behalf of the High Commissioner for the Union of South Africa. This name is familiar; across the river Thames from Greenwich lies the former Trinity House Buoy Wharf at Blackwall. This incorporates a lighthouse that was built in 1866, not as an aid to navigation, but as part of the experimental facilities made available by Trinity House to Michael Faraday during the 1860’s/1870’s for his research into optics and electric lighting. The designer of that lighthouse at Blackwall (which still stands) was Sir James Douglass, Engineer-in-Chief of Trinity House.

I should point out that there are two lighthouses at Cape Point. The original, as manufactured in Greenwich, was in use from 01-May-1860 until it was extinguished for security reasons during the First World War. It was not entirely successful; the location chosen, 238 metres above sea level, was on the basis that the higher the light, the further it would be visible. In clear weather the original 2,000 candlepower light, which was comprised of four sets of one-wick oil burners, was visible for 36 miles. However in this area there is a fair frequency of low cloud, which obscured the light. Recommendations to move the light to a lower position were recorded in the South Africa Lighthouse Commission’s reports of 1872, 1890 and 1906. However it was not until the Portuguese passenger ship S.S. “Lusitania” (not to be confused with the Cunard liner of the same name) was wrecked on Bellows Rock, south-west of Cape Point, in foggy conditions during the night of 18-Apr-1911, that the need for urgent action was realised. 800 people were on board the vessel, and it was fortunate that there was relatively little loss of life. A new lighthouse was then constructed in stone, 160 metres lower down the cliff. This was completed in 1915, but because of the wartime security was only lit for the first time on 11-Mar-1919.

The cast iron sections for the first Cape Point lighthouse were shipped from Greenwich to Simon’s Town where the sections were transferred to a smaller boat and taken down the coast to Buffels Bay where a modified gun carriage was used to haul them overland through difficult terrain to a camp near the Cape of Good Hope. A bullock-drawn sledge was used for the final leg of the journey, up the very steep and rocky approach to the peak at Cape Point. A very arduous journey. The difficult terrain caused problems in supplying the lighthouse. Deliveries of oil and food were only made once every three months, and in 1876 there was great difficulty in getting oil supplies to the lighthouse. A new road from Simon’s Town was completed in 1882 but evidently did not entirely solve the problems, for the lighthouse keeper in 1898 had occasion to complain bitterly of ‘nearly starving to death’.

Turning now to the Roman Rock lighthouse, this has an interesting history. The original recommendation for a lighthouse was made in 1823 by Commodore Nourse R.N. (bearing in mind that the British were in control here from 1806 until 1957), and for two decades there was discussion and argument about the best location. Rear Admiral Sir Jocelyn Percy and Surveyor-General Colonel Mitchell inspected the suggested sites and unhesitatingly recommended Roman Rock, despite the greater expense of constructing the lighthouse on an isolated rock that was awash most of the time. Now for the interesting bit – “in May 1857 the prefabricated cast iron tower, designed by Alexander Gordon, was despatched from England in the ‘Royal Saxon’”. Although not explicit, it seems entirely possible that it may have originated at the Victoria Foundry. There must have been an enormous demand for iron; I imagine that the Victoria Foundry was probably running flat out to meet its orders. What a wonderful time to be alive, in the hubbub of all that activity and interest, by comparison to today’s sterile scene. However, whether because of design deficiencies or manufacturing problems, the cast iron plates in the lower section of Roman Rock developed cracks before the structure was completed. The problem was solved (at very considerable expense) by encasing the lower part of the cast iron tower with granite blocks 1.2 metres wide, which were quarried locally. Each block weighed 4 tons. The interior of the lower section was then filled with concrete. Whilst work had begun on the rock in 1857, the lighthouse prefabricated cast iron structure was not completed until 16-Sep-1861. Only 96 working days had been achieved, because of the weather conditions. The additional granite work took about a further five years, and it was only in March 1867 that the Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse, handed over the completed lighthouse to the Colonial Government.

Whilst I was at Simons’s Town Museum I was able to view a considerable file of photographs of the Roman Rock Lighthouse, which was also designed by Alexander Gordon, and the same method of construction was used – cast iron segments which arrived in 1857 aboard HMS Royal Saxon. I have yet to positively confirm it, but it seems very likely that both lighthouses had their origins in Greenwich. They may have been commissioned by an organisation known as the Imperial Lighthouse Service, part of the old Board of Trade before it was subsumed into the Ministry of Transport. Standing in the foyer of the museum is the optic from Roman Rock, which was brought ashore when the lighthouse was electrified in 1992. In all of my years with Trinity House, I did not see an optic quite like this; the products of Chance/Stone-Chance always had vertical bronze structural elements, these angled elements in the dioptric prism area (the centre section) are most unusual. I examined the optic to see if I could locate any maker’s stamps, but none were immediately visible. I wonder if this is the product of the Deville Company?


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

No letters included this issue.




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.


2007 marks not only the Centennial Anniversary of Matchless Motorcycles winning the first Isle of Man TT Race but the 40th Year since the Associated Motor Cycles factory at Plumstead finally closed its doors. To mark the occasion, it is proposed to run a major One Day Event, at the Arsenal Site just across the way from the former factory site.

AMC history

AMC, best known for Matchless and AJS machines, included many of the pioneer names of the 20th century as the industry rationalised and these small companies were brought into the AMC Group. By the early 1960’s this included Nortons from Birmingham so that there were just two main manufacturers left, BSA/Triumph in the Midlands and AMC in the south.

AMC struggled on until 1967. They were based in Plumstead Road, Woolwich, when both of the remaining concerns were acquired by an industrial company to become Norton Villiers Triumph. NVT soldiered on for a further 10 years based at Andover before manufacture of traditional British motorcycles ceased.

All of the marques that formed AMC have their own fascinating stories. AJS produced successful racing motorcycles before the war. The Matchless G3L was the favourite dispatch rider’s bike during WW2 and served in all of the campaigns around the globe.

Although the industry was in decline in the post-war years, AMC produced a range of road machines that were exported around the world and provided everyday transport in many countries. The company also produced championship-winning trials and racing machines during the 1950’s and 1960’s. In those days the competition machines had family resemblances to the road-going models.

Although the factory and indeed the industry are long gone, AMC motorcycles are kept alive by an energetic club with a world-wide following. This is the AJS and Matchless Owners Club Ltd. As well as seeing regular road use the surviving bikes still perform regularly in competition. AJS trials bikes are the pick of the machines for pre-1965 trials events. Matchless G50 racing bikes are front-runners in Classic racing and brand new machines built from replica parts are available.

AMC were a significant employer in SE London during the age of waterside commerce that built up alongside the docks and wharves to the Thames. At its height AMC were one of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the world producing products, mainly hand-crafted, using an extensive skills base. It is a tribute to the factory that the motorcycles held their own for many years despite being produced on antiquated machinery compared with modern tooling and techniques, particularly as invested in Japan in the early post-war years. The 40th anniversary of the closure of the Plumstead Road factory offers an opportunity to re-engage with the AMC story just along the road from the old factory.

Such was the size of the factory and its supporting component industries that many local families have stories about AMC. There will be fathers and grandfathers who worked at the Woolwich Road factory. There are photographs of batches of the famous machines resplendent in their stove-enamelled black and gold lining (silver if it was Matchless) waiting to be shipped overseas for police duty or some other worthy role. Perhaps most thrilling of all was to see one of the beautiful racing bikes on test up and down Plumstead Road without too much concern for legal paperwork. There are many stories such as the account of some East European motorcyclists who turned up at Woolwich Town Hall immediately after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, demanding to know where the AMC factory was. It was their first thought. They were, sadly, over twenty years too late.


by Philip Binns

Over recent months the group has commented on the following sites of interest to industrial historian:

Creekside Village West. Creekside Industrial Estate. Plans for development, 371 homes, shops, gym, parking, etc, etc, etc. Group raised concerns of height and bulk and – alongside other developments in the area – excessive number of units.

Creekside Village East. Demolition of existing buildings and erection of flats and facilities for the Laban School of Dance. Group expresses concern at the number of homes to be provided and concern at height and bulk, etc.

Building 10 Royal Arsenal. Concern at height of proposed blocks and at the design of elevations.

Southern Gatehouse, Cambridge Barracks, Frances Street, SE18. Concern at inappropriate Met. Police poster case on Grade II listed building.

Meeting held 21st May

Land at Creek Road/Bardsley Lane. SE10. Demolition of buildings and building of 106 homes, etc, etc.

Land at Stockwell Street, SE10. Development of 129 homes, market stalls, etc. etc. etc.

Land at Belmarsh, Western Way, SE28. Erection of a prison. Question the Environmental Impact Study and lack of information about elevations, etc.

Factory Building, 55 Meadowcourt Road, SE3. Creation of 4 office units – welcome that the basic structure is being maintained.

Seager Site., Brookmill Road SE10. Enlargement of basement and other alterations. No details, so no comment.

EDF Transformer Station, Fuchsia Road, SE2. Erection of 4 houses. Group welcomes the provision of family sized units and made recommendations on tree planting.

Hilton’s Wharf, Norman Road, SE10. Screening for the demolition of existing buildings and erection of 13-storey flats. No details, so no comment.

Greenwich Society Comments on the ‘Cyclopean Wall’ at Lovells Wharf (now under demolition).
The Greenwich Society and the Greenwich Conservation Group objected to the demolition of the wall. the developers have however agreed to certain undertakings, these to include: that prior to the wall being taken down, both sides will be photographed and documented; that stones/bricks to be kept will be cleaned by a suitable method; that the material will be stored carefully and safely covered Once the final design proposals have been agreed, a formal submission will be sent to the Council to discharge the second part of Condition 45 (Brick Structures of Historic Importance) of the planning permission dated 20.02.2007.


Contributed by Richard Buchanan

We reproduce below a (ruthlessly edited) version of David Leggatt’s history of the West Kent Scientific Society plus notes by Richard Buchanan. A fuller version, plus ancillary papers are available.


By David Leggatt

In celebrating its centenary in 1957 the West Kent Scientific Society is accepting the second of three possible first birthdays. The Greenwich Natural History Society, later known as the Greenwich Natural History Club was founded in 1852, The Blackheath Photographic Society was founded in 1857, and the West Kent Microscopical Society in 1859. The Greenwich Natural History Club and the West Kent Microscopical Society amalgamated in 1861 as the West Kent Natural History and Microscopical Society. A further amalgamation in 1863 brought in the Blackheath Photographic Society, and the Society took on the name of the West Kent Natural History, Microscopical and Photographic Society. In 1915 the name West Kent Scientific Society was adopted. Another local society, the West Kent Medico-Chirurgical Society was founded in the same decade. It avoided amalgamation with the other societies and continues its independent existence to-day.

The founder and president of the Greenwich Natural History Society was George Busk who remained president until 1858. Busk appears to have been associated with the district since 1832, when he was appointed assistant surgeon of the “Grampus”, the seamen’s hospital ship then moored off Greenwich. He transferred to the “Dreadnought” which replaced the “Grampus” and became a full surgeon. While serving on these ships he worked out the pathology of cholera, and made important discoveries on scurvy. He retired from the service, and from practice, at a fairly early age and devoted himself to scientific research. He was particularly interested in the microscopic investigation of the lower forms of life, and in 1856 formulated the first scientific arrangement of the Bryozoa. Towards the end of his life he devoted much time to the study of palaeontology and ethnography. Busk was honoured by many learned societies. He became President of the Royal College of Surgeons; Hunterian Professor; a Fellow, and on four occasions vice-president of the Royal Society; a Fellow and vice-president of the Linnaean Society; President of the Microscopical Society; and a Fellow of the Zoological Society. Associated with Busk in the early days of the Natural History Society was Frederick Currey, FRS whose chief interest was in mycology. He became honorary secretary of the Society soon after its foundation, and succeeded Busk as president in 1858. He graduated to the secretaryship of the Linnaean Society. Currey remained an active member of the West Kent Society until his death in 1881 at his home, 2 Vanbrugh Park. The names of both Busk and Currey are perpetuated in the nomenclature of their subjects; the name “Buskia” was given to a genus of Bryozoa; the name “Curreya” was given to a genus of fungi. Busk's collection of Bryozoa enriched the Natural History Museum, South Kensington; Currey’s collection of fungi is in the Kew Herbarium.

The Meeting of the Society on 28th January 1854 must have been unique. Papers were given by three members, all of whom were Fellows of the Royal Society – Busk, Currey and Glaisher. James Glaisher served at the Cambridge University Observatory under Professor (later Sir George) Airy, and moved to Greenwich when Airy became Astronomer Royal in 1835. Glaisher was a pioneer in the study of meteorology; by organising a voluntary service of sixty men (mostly doctors and clergymen) in different parts of the country to take precise observations on standardised instruments he can claim to have established meteorology as a science. Glaisher was Secretary of the British (subsequently the Royal) Meteorological Society from its foundation in 1850 until 1872, broken only by a term as President (1867-8). He was also President of the Royal Microscopical Society (1865-6) and of the Royal Photographic Society (1869-92). Other prominent members of the Natural History Society were: Henry Stainton, FRS President of the Entomological Society (1881-2) and secretary of the Ray Society, whose home at Mountsfield, Lewisham, with his library and collections of lepidoptera, was open each Wednesday evening to members; John Edward Grey, FRS Keeper of the Zoological department of the British Museum; Thomas Bell, FRS, President of the Linnaean Society and of the Ray Society; Dr Spurrell, father of Flaxman Spurrell who later on was himself a member.

Especially interesting are the two reports published in 1859. “The Fauna of Blackheath and its Vicinity, Part 1 – Vertebrate Animals” by Dr Cuthbert Collingwood, embodying the work of the Zoological Committee of the Club, catalogues 39 mammals, 156 birds, 10 reptiles and 31 fishes, with notes on their frequency of appearance. The changes which the century has brought to the district are illustrated by the record of a fox in Peckham. The porpoise is described as “by far the commonest Cetacean we can include. A season seldom passes without their appearance at Greenwich and Deptford”. There is an account of the killing of a 14.5 foot Rorqual opposite Deptford Creek in 1842; squirrels occur in Greenwich Park, moles are abundant, hedgehogs common. Sparrow hawks are “not uncommon”, a golden Oriole was shot at Eltham in 1853, sedge warblers were noted “in a lane between Charlton and the river”, and sand martins were generally to be seen on Blackheath. Quails occurred between Morden College and Eltham and were observed in the open square of Greenwich Hospital. The second report, “On the Botany of the district lying between the rivers Cray, Ravensbourne and Thames”, was prepared by Currey on behalf of the Club’s Botanical Committee. It lists 364 genera and 810 species.

The first president of the West Kent Microscopical Society was John Penn, FRS of The Cedars, Belmont Hill. He was the proprietor of the engineering firm of John Penn and Sons, of Greenwich, which had been founded by his father. Penn and his firm took a leading part in the development of the screw propeller. Penn served on the Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers and was twice president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1859 and 1867).

Sir John Lubbock, FRS, afterwards Lord Avebury, was an equally celebrated but rather less prolific author. To describe him as an author is to do less than justice to his versatility. A banker by profession, he became founder president of the Institute of Bankers from 1879 to 1883. As a Member of Parliament for London University, his unremitting advocacy was responsible for the Bank Holidays Act; for some years the first Monday in August was known as “St. Lubbock’s Day”. His parliamentary persistence also brought in the Act for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments, and the Early Closing Act. It is as a scientist, however, that Lubbock has his place in this narrative. At his parent’s home at High Elms, Farnborough, he enjoyed the friendship and encouragement of his father’s friend, Charles Darwin, who lived close by at Downe, and developed a life-long interest in the life-history of plants and animals. In spite of his range of activity, his scientific work was by no means negligible. He made valuable researches into the metamorphoses of insects, and devoted much time to the study of ants. He combined enthusiasm for research with a passionate zeal for adult education. He showed hospitality to his fellow-members of the Society by inviting them to High Elms.

Ladies appear to have taken part in the field days, and some special “Ladies Cryptogamic Field Days” were held. It was not until 1906, however, that the first ladies joined the Society. These pioneers deserve mention by name in these pages. They were Mrs F Wright, Miss Lindley, and Mrs Kidd, wife of Dr Walter Kidd.

Some have already been mentioned; others are listed in the roll of Presidents; but the majority must be unnamed. No account of the Society would be complete without recording two names: W G Dawson, an ardent entomologist was a member for over 60 years; Stanley Edwards was, with one short break, Secretary for 48 years.

Notes by R J Buchanan

Amalgamation of the Three Societies - This was aided by the substantial common membership between them – Natural History was the science of the day, when flora and fauna were first being described scientifically by the Linnean system - and natural historians were early users of both microscopes and cameras.

Glaisher at the Greenwich Magnetic Observatory - He set up and was superintendent, for 34 years until his retirement, of the Magnetic Observatory, at a building on the next bluff to the east in Greenwich Park overlooking the Thames. Later on the Magnetic Observatory was an objector to electric trains on the surface in Greenwich. He was also a founder member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

John Penn - John Penn and Sons were located just beyond the bottom of Blackheath Hill between Blackheath Road and John Penn Street, where Wickes et al are now. Their major business was the design and manufacture of steam engines for marine propulsion. Penn himself installed an early telegraph between his house (The Cedars on Belmont Hill) and the Works.

Prosperity of the Combined Societies - The annual subscription was half a guinea (52.5p in modern money, but worth as many pounds). One of the original Societies had set a quarter guinea subscription, but this was inadequate. Notices were then either written individually to members by hand, or printed – at a large cost, usually the major secretarial expense.

Kidbrooke House - This was on the Shooters Hill Road, diagonally opposite the “Sun in the Sands” pub, where the slip road from the motorway towards the Blackwall Tunnel now comes up to take A2 traffic towards Blackheath. When the motorway was built the Community Centre moved to what is now called Mycenae House, though for many years it continued to use the Kidbrooke House name.

Local History Room at Blackheath Library - This was run by Mr Leggatt. When the Community Centre moved to Mycenae Road the Local History Archive came too in 1970, to the upper floors of “Woodlands”. Mr Julian Watson ran the Archive at Woodlands for many years, retiring in 2003, just before its recent move. The Archives are now held by the Greenwich Heritage Centre at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, in the Search Room and an air conditioned Store.

Sir Frank Dyson, FRS - Astronomer Royal, 1910-1933.


This list of meetings and events has been culled from leaflets and notices brought to our attention. If you would like your meeting listed here please contact Mary Mills, 24 Humber Road, SE3 7LR (020 8858 9482)



6th September, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. Ring 020 8311 3711 on Tuesday or Sunday daytime for bookings.

9th September, Endeavour visits Woolwich. Maritime Festival Event.

16th September, Thames Nelson Flotilla. Recreation of Nelson’s funeral. Maritime Festival Event.

17th September, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. 11.00am, meet at Cutty Sark figurehead. Maritime Festival Event.

17th September, Trafalgar Great River Race. Maritime Festival Event.

18th September, Crossness Engines Public Steaming Day, free, 10.30am

18th September, London Open House Day

24th September, Alan Payne. The History of Cards. Mycenae House Group. 10.15am. Details:

26th September, Neil Rhind. The Captain’s Houses and Tea Caddys. Greenwich Historical Society. Blackheath High School, Vanburgh Park, SE3 7.15pm

27th September, Voicless Odysseys. Excavating the unspeakable in enslavement. NMM. Details:

28th September, Sally Deves. Crossing the Borders, Lewisham and Bromley. Lewisham LHS, Methodist Hall, Albion Way, Lewisham High Street. 7.45pm, £1 entry


1st October, Dr. Ann Shirley. James Clarke Ross., Polar Explorer of Blackheath. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

3rd October, Gordon Dickins. London Docks and Shipping. Docklands History Group. Museum in Docklands 5.30

4th October, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above).

6th October, Jim Marret – Per Woolwich Omnia Shipping on the Thames. Vincent Memorial Lecture. Woolwich Antqui. 2.00 Charlton House.

8th October, Finbarr Whooley. The History of the Horniman. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

14th October, Richard Norman. Theatres and Cinemas of Peckham, Peckham Soc. Goose Green Centre, SE22 3 pm

15th October, Jennie Howells. The History of Bermondsey and the Leather Industry. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

16th October, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above).

19th October, Alan Ashby. Lifeboat Design. Blackheath Scientific Society. Mycenae House. 7.45pm

21st October, Trafalgar Night Dinner. Painted Hall. Maritime Festival Event

22nd October, Tony Tucker. The White Sugar Trade in Whitechapel. Mycenae House Group (see above)

23rd October, Nelson Mass. Chapel, RNC

24th October, Dr. Huew Lewis-Jones. The story of the Bellott Memorial and Arctic Exploration. Greenwich Hist Soc. (see above)

24th October, Wilberforce in Lewisham and Deptford. Lewisham LHS (see above)

30th October, Crossness Engines Public Steaming Day, £4, 10.30am


1st November, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above)

3rd November, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. 11.00am, meet at Cutty Sark figurehead Greenwich Maritime Festival Event.

5th November, Derrick Spurr. Greenwich Park: An overview. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

7th November, Robert Baldwin. The Anniversary of the Thames Conservancy. DHG (see above)

10th November, Thomas Coram and the Foundling Hospital. Woolwich Antiq (see above)

12th November, Gill Cooper. The History of Charlton House. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

16th November, Prof. Dave Elliott. Marine Renewable Energy. Blackheath Scientific Soc. (see above)

19th November, Len Reilly. Bankside. Mycenae House Group.

19th November, Guided Walk on Nelson’s Greenwich. 11.00am, meet at Cutty Sark figurehead Maritime Festival Event

20th November, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above).

23rd November, Roots of Resistance. Abolition of Slavery 1807. 1.30pm. NMM Study Session

25th November, Woodlands Farm Christmas Fayre

26th November, Peter Kent. The Thames. Mycenae House Group. (see above)

28th November, Dr. Gordon Higgott. Wren and Hawksmoor’s drawings for Greenwich Hospital. Greenwich Hist. Soc. (see above)


2nd December, Jo Smith. Costume between the Wars. Mycenae House Group (see above)

6th December, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above)

8th December, Ian Bevan. Victorian Leisure and Pleasure. Woolwich Antiq. (see above)

10th December, Diana Rimel. The Dignaries and Westcombe Park + Christmas Social. Mycenae House Group (see above)

14th December, Blackheath Scientific Soc. Members Evening (see above)

18th December, Crossness Engines. Guided Tours. (see above).


5th January, Mary Deering. A Year at Chartwell. Woolwich Antiq. (see above)

18th January, Prof Gabriel Aeppill. Introduction to Nanotechnology. Blackheath Scientific Soc. (see above)


9th February, Roger Hodge. Cutty Sark Restoration after the Fire. Woolwich Antiq. (see above)

15th February, Alan Jenkins. Police Dog Training. Blackheath Scientific Soc. (see above)


14th March, Bob Dean. Investigation of Engineering Failures. Blackheath Scientific Soc. (see above)

14th March, Chris & Joanne Johnson Greenwich Park and AGM. Woolwich Antiq. (see above)


18th April, Andrew Mawson. Induction Furnaces. Sintering. Blackheath Scientific Soc. (see above)

19th April, South East Region Industrial Archaeology Conference. To be held at the University of East London.


16th May, Steve East. Thames Defences. Blackheath Scientific Soc.. (see above)

Manacles, sugar tongs and gin – exploring the roots, routes and legacy of the transatlantic slave trade, NMM, Thursdays, 4th October – 13th December. £110/50

Hidden Histories. Black British History and memory in archives and beyond, NMM, 6 Saturdays, October 2007 – March 2008 £120/£65. New member: G.W.Keyse



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

Sponsor a tile at Crossness

One of the Crossness Engine Trust's objectives is to return the Beam Engine House to its original 1865 condition. To this end, they have been actively looking at the possibility of replacing an area of missing floor tiles in front of the north facing windows on the Beam floor. They feel that this colourful display of Victorian tiling would add to visitors’ enjoyment of the Engine House. It is laid with tiles of varying shape and colour (red, black and harvest blue) to form a geometric pattern. They have located a company at Burslam, Stoke on Trent, which still makes an exact match of the original tiles, in both size and colour.

The Trust is seeking help from those who would like to contribute to this restoration project. This will take the form of sponsorship and you can sponsor as few or as many tiles as you wish, up to a maximum of the 900 required, at a cost of £1 per tile.

If you are interested, please make your cheque payable to:

Crossness Engines Trust, The Old Works, Thames Water S.T.W., Belevedere Road, Abbey Wood, SE2 9AQ


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